🥇TLDR; If you’re in a hurry NordVPN is Better than Avast🥇
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Life is full of choices. I don’t know who said that, but a more accurate, up-to-date version of the truism would be this – ‘online life can kill you with choices’. As if it isn’t difficult enough to choose between Black Mirror and Better Call Saul on a regular afternoon, but even a subscription to the best streaming service or the most hackproof anti-virus aren’t enough today. You could be surfing at dozens of terabytes per second, connected to fastest possible bandwidth, but if it’s a public connection you are going to need to make another big decision.
That decision is VPN. Virtual Private Network, as you might already have guessed. It is well-known to anyone with even a basic idea of what online security is about, but in case you don’t already know this wonder software, here’s a simplified description: VPN is a software that masks your identity, turning you digitally invisible. It achieves this magic trick by encrypting your Internet traffic, re-routing your connection through a remote intermediary server and assigning you a new IP address each time.
A VPN – provided it is a good one – is meant to protect your personal and private data (from hackers as well as trackers), provide you access to geo-restricted content (such as copyright-protected content in countries that your subscription services don’t extend to) and keep your ISP and other interested parties such as copyright trolls from catching you red-handed with the latest Hollywood flick torrenting on your system. A brilliant investment on all counts, but here’s the catch – like everything else, there are too many VPNs to choose from!
The Dilemma: How Do I Choose A VPN?
A quick search for VPNs might leave you reeling, displaying so many reviews and offerings that they stretch on to infinite pages. There are VPN vendors out there offering free downloadable services, VPNs that will find you a gap in the infamous Chinese firewall, VPNs that promise unlimited bandwidth and cost whopping numbers that add up to big sums when accounted for on a regular basis. So how does one choose from such an array?
We follow strict criteria while ranking VPNs, and within this criteria security is possibly the most important. For a VPN worth spending money on – and you’ll realize yourself that free ones compromise in this aspect – solid encryption is a must. A good VPN should have a reliable no-logs policy in place so it doesn’t keep tabs on you and then snitch about you to interested third parties. Besides security, the VPN you choose should rate high on performance, i.e. connection speeds, which means it should have an extensive server network in place, covering multiple locations and with plenty of IP addresses. Also, it helps if the VPN has a user-friendly interface, multi-device compatibility and simultaneous connections. Lastly, reasonable pricing goes a long way in sealing the deal.
In this article we take a closer, more critical look at two of the more popular VPNs in the market – Avast SecureLine VPN and NordVPN – comparing the two on the basis of our repeated tests conducted over long periods of time. Considering that these two VPNs are more or less in the same price range, this particular comparison is a great example of how exactly to make the smartest VPN choice.
NordVPN vs Avast Secureline VPN
You’d most probably know of Avast as one of the oldest cybersecurity software companies helping us fight viruses and malware since the early days of the Internet. Founded in 1988 in Czech Republic, Avast has a good reputation as far as cybersecurity goes, but we wouldn’t extend that to cover their VPN service specifically. Avast SecureLine VPN as it is called (referred to as Avast VPN here on in the article), is examined at greater length in our following comparison, but while you proceed to read it, just bear in mind that Avast operates under EU laws, which generally detest VPNs.
What we are comparing Avast VPN to is NordVPN, which is only an 8-year-old VPN service provider, but one that has gained a steadily growing user base for its reliability. Interestingly, NordVPN is based out of Panama (yep! the transcontinental out-there country better known for its casinos and clubs), where data retention laws aren’t as strict, nor are their companies obligated to share any info with third parties (legal, commercial or otherwise).
When comparing the two, we are guided by the parameters outlined in the previous section on how to choose a VPN. All of these observations and conclusions are based on repeated tests we have conducted on the two VPNs, separately testing each for security, performance, privacy and speeds. Make sure you go through each of the following aspects before you decide on which VPN is better – Avast VPN or NordVPN?
1. Avast VPN vs NordVPN – Security
Let’s begin with our first and foremost concern – how does each of the two VPNs protect our identity and traffic? Most VPNs achieve security through some kind of encryption and leak protection, and while Avast VPN and NordVPN have similarities on those lines, there is something that sets NordVPN apart.
Avast VPN defines its efforts at securing your connection in these words on their website: “We use bank-grade encryption to safely tunnel your communication through any network – no matter how sketchy”. Now, firstly ‘bank-grade’ does not sound good (even the number of films involving hacked banks should be clear indication of why). Secondly, we shall hope no network in question is sketchy. That said, Avast VPN does provide the standard AES 256-bit encryption with OpenVPN and has a DNS leak protection feature (available only if you aren’t using the Avast anti-virus on the same system).
NordVPN has all three of those security layers as well, but what sets it apart is Double Data Protection – as in, the usual 256-bit encryption coupled by a solid 2048-bit encryption. It also lets you select the protocol of your preference, and comes with an in-built malware blockerfor additional security against suspicious sites. Moreover, NordVPN’s SmartPlay DNS leak protection feature makes you immune to DNS, IPv4, IPv6 and WebRTC leaks.
Even though both Avast VPN and NordVPN are equipped with a kill switch each, weighing their security features is a no-brainer; NordVPN scores way higher on several counts. After all security has been NordVPN’s USP since they set up shop.
2. Avast VPN vs NordVPN – Speed & Performance
There are users who consider security as the prime consideration while choosing a VPN, but maybe that’s borderline paranoia. On the other hand there are users who swoon over speeds (I admit to being in this latter category), who really are just looking for a VPN that has them downloading and uploading without the slightest compromise on speed. On both counts NordVPN impressed us.
Speeds seem to be inversely proportional to security, but every VPN tries its best to circumvent this issue. In our tests, both Avast VPN and NordVPN fared well within US connections as well as international, and there were times when Avast VPN did better over international connections. For long term though (as repeated testing revealed), NordVPN is the more reliable one as far as consistently fast performance goes.
This becomes obvious when you consider the differences in their network size and reach.Somewhat disappointingly for all its brand popularity, Avast VPN does not mention the number of servers it has (my guess is it’s a modest number), though it does officially claim they are spread across 55 locations in 34 countries. Next to that, NordVPN’s 5,800 servers in over 58 countries totally stands out. That’s the most extensive network offered by any VPN, paid or free.
What’s more, NordVPN relies on split tunneling – routing your traffic through two VPNs, one of which is encrypted and other unprotected – hence providing better bandwidth. The fact that it connects you automatically to the most appropriate server, makes NordVPN a better VPN candidate for speed.
3. Avast VPN vs NordVPN – Privacy
I’m sure none of us want our data accessible to ISPs and advertisers on private connections, or worse, hackers on public connections. Not to forget content owners and copyright trolls who sniff around for torrenters like cats do for mice. But hey, guess what? VPNs make Jerry win over Tom, every time.
They do this by keeping your identity masked and well-hidden from anyone snooping around behind the online curtains. Avast VPN claims to keep no logs of users’ online activity, but I must say I was a bit horrified when I first realized that it records timestamps, amount of data transmitted and also your IP address while connected to a server through the VPN! Avast’s policy says this data is stored for 30 days max, but beware – this particular VPN is under EU jurisdiction, and hence accountable to authorities.
NordVPN, on the other hand, follows a strict no logs policy. That is, zero logging of your circuits around the world wide web, no matter how twisted. Being based in Panama helps legally, and NordVPN even lets you pay anonymously via Bitcoin. Need I tell you the score? I’m afraid privacy is an important factor, and Avast VPN loses out here.
4. Avast VPN vs NordVPN – Connections & Compatibility
The above three factors are for sure the basics that every VPN should be qualified with, but there are also other reasons – more logistical in nature, more driven by convenience – that could make one VPN better than another. The number of devices that a VPN can connect with simultaneously, and the number of platforms across those devices that a VPN is compatible with – I think these two are indispensable to determine a VPN’s worth, especially if you intend to use it in a group.
AvastVPN offers two kinds of payment plans (more on this later) – single-device and multi-device (max five) – the latter of which comes out more expensive than NordVPN. This can be a major setback if it is housemates, co-workers or family that you plan to share the VPN with. NordVPN, on the other hand, lets you connect 6 devices simultaneously, and at a fractionally lesser cost.
It needn’t necessarily even be an issue of the number of users, perhaps you alone wish to have the VPN working on your iPhone and Windows laptop alike. In that case AvastVPNsupports iOS, Android, MacOS and Windows platforms, but to truly understand the meaning of ‘multi-platform compatibility’, you should check out NordVPN. Not only Windows, Apple and Android devices, NordVPN also gets along with Linux systems, and can easily become browser extension for Firefox and Chrome or be configured for use with Blackberry, Raspberry Pi (now that’s called attention to detail!) and router firmware. That’s a tick likely to appeal to more versatile users.
5. Avast VPN vs NordVPN – Torrenting, Streaming & Sharing
Finally, we come to our pet peeve – copyrighted content that is difficult to resist when available for free. Whether to be streamed or shared on P2P technologies, the copyright is what gets in everyone’s way. For streaming, there is the obstacle of geo-restricted content, so that even if you have a Netflix or Hulu or a similar paid subscription, if you aren’t in the country where it is valid, all their content will be blocked, impossible to access. For sharing, or to be precise torrenting, we all know that it isn’t per se illegal, but swapping files of copyrighted content is. A good VPN is meant to get you past both these problems – unblocking content and enabling rapid torrenting.
Avast VPN is disappointing when it comes to streaming. With a single US-based server appointed to the task, you can forget about region-specific shows and films. It does support torrenting and offer dedicated servers for it, but these are also so limited in number – just 8 in 6 countries altogether – that the speed, if nothing, will put you off it for good. And don’t forget – Avast VPN logs a part of your online activity.
What I like about NordVPN is that it not only supports, but offhandedly encourages P2P file sharing and streaming. The excellent speeds make torrenting a breeze, and NordVPN’smassive server presence around the world will have you streaming four films a day (if your local connection can afford it!) in HD. With this VPN you can say goodbye to geo-blocks!
6. Avast VPN vs NordVPN – User Interface
An abundance of features is all good for VPNs, but I see little point of it if the interface confuses the user. In terms of ease of user interface, both Avast VPN and NordVPN perform well but with subtle differences. Avast VPN would go down well with novices; first time VPN users would appreciate the interface’s simplicity boiled down to a primary on-off switch.
At the same time, I can imagine advanced users (or even those kind-of familiar with VPNs) scoff at the lack of features in Avast VPN. Such users would be better off with NordVPN, which opens up with an exciting map of all their server locations, allowing the user far more choice and flexibility.
7. Avast VPN vs NordVPN – Customer Support
Prompt customer support might seem like a supplemental factor at best, but you don’t want to wait until you get an error before you start valuing the voice at the other end. Thankfully, both the VPNs in comparison here score well on this.
Avast VPN has a trouble-ticket system, a user community forum and a support library in place. They are also the only VPN around to offer phone call support (rather retro for a tech service!). We received a response within a day to our request. NordVPN doesn’t do phone calls, but they took less than half a minute to respond to our query on their 24/7 live chat support. Such quick guidance is especially useful when you are scouting for the best server to torrent or stream.
8. Avast VPN vs NordVPN Price Points
I find both the VPNs to be reasonably priced, though NordVPN obviously offers more features at a marginally lesser cost.
Avast VPN has no monthly plans and two kinds of complicated subscription plans based on whether you want a VPN for single-device use or multi-device (up to 5). The annual plan costs $3.99 per month for a single device and $4.99 for 5 devices, while the 3-year plan comes for $2.99 for single device and $3.99 for 5 devices. You can download a 7-day trial version from their website before committing to a purchase.
NordVPN is expensive with its monthly plan costing over $10, but stretch your investment up to a 3-year plan and it ends up costing a few cents lesser than Avast VPN. At $3.49 a month for 6 simultaneous device connections this one’s a real value-for-money deal. And it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can see for yourself if our review holds up.
Avast VPN vs NordVPN: Pros & Cons
Having read our point by point analysis, you can glance through each VPN’s pros and cons below and decide as to which one fares better in the comparison:
Avast Secureline VPN
Avast VPN vs NordVPN Verdict: Which Is The Best VPN?
I would have concluded that Avast VPN puts up strong competition against NordVPN in terms of performance and security, but its half-baked logging policy is like the elephant in the room. The answer to what makes the best VPN really rests upon your personal preferences, but as you have read in our review so far, Avast VPN let us down on more than one factor.
Given the amazing speeds, solid security, reliable customer support and the number of servers they dedicate to streaming and torrenting, I’d vote for NordVPN any day. Considering the negligible difference in the two VPNs’ long-term subscription plan prices, I wouldn’t go for Avast VPN unless I’m exceptionally low on finances. If you are spending a few bucks, why scrimp on a couple of cents? After all, this is a choice that will help you glean the most from your online time.