AirVPN vs NordVPN
Comparison & Test Results 2020
AirVPN is a VPN run by and for online privacy advocates. The service offers above-average domestic connection speeds and good (but not great) customer support.
The provider’s reasonable price is a good value for their top-notch privacy protections, which are second to none.
NordVPN is one of the best options around for movie lovers, offering reliable Netflix access, above-average global server coverage and fast international connections.
This provider allows BitTorrent activity on all of its servers around the globe, excellent privacy protection and an above-average number of simultaneous VPN connections.
How to Choose a VPN
In this edition of my VPN faceoffs, I’ll be pitting AirVPN up against NordVPN.
In this contest, I’ll be looking at the 10 most critical categories to pay attention to when deciding on a VPN service. I’ll explain why each category is critical, reveal how well both providers performed and then declare a “winner” for that particular feature.
After I’ve covered all 10 categories, I’ll tally the scores and announce an overall champ.
By the time you finish reading this article, you should have enough information to make an intelligent decision as to which of the two providers is the best for your needs.
It seems as if everything is connected to the internet. Your computer, your smartphone - even the little Wi-Fi surveillance camera sitting up there in the corner of your office. (Oh, you didn’t know it was there? No big deal, just be careful where you scratch from now on. And, um, you might want to get that looked at.)
I test each provider’s connection speed through Speedtest.net.
Local Connection Speeds (U.S.)
The local connection speeds test is designed to offer an idea of the type of performance you can expect when you’re connected to a VPN server in your own country. (I use a U.S.-based server for this test.)
VPN DL Speed
International Connection Speeds (U.S. to U.K.)
The international connection speeds test offers an approximation of the performance you might see when you’re connected to a VPN server located in another country. (For consistency, I always use a U.K. server for this test.)
VPN DL Speed
If you’re on the internet, someone is trying to monitor you. Whether it’s your ISP gleaning traffic data to sell to advertisers or hackers trying to steal your login or credit card info, someone is always trying to look over your virtual shoulder.
When investigating the level of a VPN provider’s privacy protection, ask the following:
AirVPN is based in Italy and follows the privacy rules laid out by the European Union. The provider does not keep any logs whatsoever of their customers’ activities while connected to AirVPN servers. The provider accepts multiple forms of cryptocurrency in return for their services.
NordVPN is based in Panama, where they respect online privacy. This means the provider is not required to save logs related to their users’ online movements. NordVPN also happily accepts private payments, such as Bitcoin.
Both of the providers in this head-to-head comparison are reasonably priced, falling somewhere in the middle when their pricing is compared to other VPNs that I’ve ried.
AirVPN will run you $8.21 per month if you opt for a month-to-month relationship, the price dropping to $5.28 per month (payable as $63.34 annually) if you agree to a year’s worth of service. Also available are 3-day, 3-month and 6-month options.
NordVPN’s price of entry is $5.75 per month (payable at $69.00 per year) when you go for an annual subscription. You’ll pay $11.95 per month if you want to subscribe month-to-month.
Money-Back Guarantee Period
Global Server Coverage
Users will find a VPN provider that offers comprehensive global server coverage to be a valuable asset when they’re looking to access video and audio streaming content that might normally be blocked to citizens in their country.
NordVPN has 4,401 servers distributed among 62 countries around the globe.
AirVPN doesn’t provide a running count of available servers and countries on their website, so the figures I have - 219 servers located in 20 countries - are an estimate I made by looking at the list of servers inside the provider’s app.
I’d venture to say that most of my site visitors own and use more than one device. That’s what makes multi-platform support so important when you’re considering a VPN provider.
NordVPN provides apps for the iOS, Windows, Android and macOS device platforms. The service can also be used with routers and NAS devices, as well as Windows Phone and Linux devices. Firefox and Chrome browser extensions are available.
AirVPN provides app support for the Linux, iOS, macOS, Android and Windows device platforms. In addition, they supply setup instructions to use the service with Chromebooks, pfSense firewalls, and DD-WRT, Tomato and AsusWRT routers.
# Platforms Supported
If you’re a movie-lover, Netflix is your jam. But, did you know that the content you view in your country isn’t the same as the content Netflix streams in other countries? We’re talking about a whole new jar of jam here, folks!
NordVPN provides access to Netflix content in 4 regions: Canada, France, the Netherlands and the U.S.
AirVPN doesn’t claim to offer access to Netflix. I randomly tested various AirVPN servers and only a Canadian server was polite enough to give me access to Netflix’s content.
If you’re looking for reliable Netflix access, opt for NordVPN.
Customer support is like a spare tire. It’s nice to know it’s there, but you never want to have to use it. However, when you need it, you do want it fully capable of helping you get back on the (information) highway.
AirVPN provides a contact form, a helpful FAQ section and a forum where AirVPN personnel and customers can discuss issues.
NordVPN customer support doesn’t offer a live support chat option, but they do offer quick replies to email inquiries and an easy-to-search support library.
Customer Support Star Rating
A VPN provider’s encryption is the special sauce that keeps your online antics, as well as your personal and business-related information, safe from prying eyes.
NordVPN provides AES-256 encryption for their customers’ connections via OpenVPN with TCP/UDP, IKEv2/IPsec, L2TP/IPSec, PPTP and SSTP protocols.
AirVPN also uses AES-256 encryption to protect their customers’ connections. However, they only use OpenVPN with TCP/UDP - no other protocols.
AES-256 encryption, using OpenVPN with TCP/UDP, IKEv2/IPsec, L2TP/IPSec, PPTP and SSTP
AES-256 encryption, using OpenVPN with TCP/UDP
If you’re a small business owner or a modern-day Mike Brady with a large family, you’re going to need VPN protection for more than one device. Always look for a VPN provider that allows for as many devices to be simultaneously connected under that same account as possible.
NordVPN provides 6 simultaneous connections.
AirVPN allows 5 simultaneous connections.
# of Simultaneous Connections Allowed
P2P/BitTorrent is a great way to share files.
However, since P2P file sharing is a popular way to share copyrighted materials, like movies and music, many ISPs block the activity on their networks. Plus, depending on where you live, you could pay a fine or do jail time for sharing copyrighted materials.
NordVPN allows P2P traffic on servers in 42 countries.
AirVPN allows P2P activity on all of their servers in the 20 countries they serve.
# of Countries Where VPN Allows BitTorrent Access
# of Categories Won
AirVPN vs NordVPN wasn’t much of a battle, with NordVPN grabbing the lead early and never surrendering it.
NordVPN snagged top honors in the international connection speed, global server coverage, multi-platform support, Netflix access, encryption, simultaneous connections and BitTorrent categories.
AirVPN was top dog in the local connection speed and pricing columns.
The competitors tied in the privacy category, where they both performed admirably, as well as the customer support department, where they could both stand a bit of improvement.
NordVPN has the globe covered well with their servers, provides reliable access to Netflix to all popular devices (all at the same time), and covers your online antics with excellent privacy and encrypted connections, all of which make it the best choice this go-around.