Security: How secure are Avast VPN and NordVPN connections?
Both Avast VPN and NordVPN use the same open-source standard for encrypting the VPN connection.
They use AES-256 (Advanced Encryption Standard, 256-bit) encryption to keep your data safe.
The 256 stands for the length of the secret key created for each connection. There’s a whopping 2^256 possible combinations — aka a final number with over 77 zeros in it. There are only nine zeros in a billion, in case you forgot.
That level of encryption means it’s virtually impenetrable to brute force attacks. Even with an entire intelligence agency behind you, it would take millions of years to get through this encryption.
AES-256 is the same standard of encryption you’ll hear folks refer to as “military-grade encryption” or “bank-grade” encryption.
Note that it’s not specifically designed or created by military agencies or financial institutions. However, it’s so secure that many large banks and official government agencies, such as the U.S. military and the NSA, use it to encrypt data.
DNS leak protection
Both providers also offer DNS leak protection, vowing that your IP address will remain unseen no matter what. We decided to put that promise to the test.
Do both Avast and NordVPN succeed in masking your location and original computer IP? Let’s find out.
First, we connected to a French VPN server from NordVPN and did an in-depth five round query test.
As you can see, we successfully tricked the DNS test into thinking we were in France while using NordVPN.
Using Avast led to the same results (although we chose a server in the UK this time).
So it looks like for privacy and security, both providers are great options.
Avast vs NordVPN: Streaming and accessing geo-restricted content
One of the reasons many people want a VPN is to access geo-restricted content while traveling or working abroad. This could include content from your home country or another area of the globe.
Because of copyright laws, all major streaming sites, including Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu restrict access to some content for some users.
Leading streaming websites actively work against VPNs. They don’t want you to have unrestricted access to content catalogs across multiple countries.
Do Avast VPN and NordVPN unblock Netflix and other major streaming sites?
Netflix is dedicated to blocking overseas access to protect its contracts. As such. It actively blocks known VPN servers from accessing its service.
In fact, Netflix has already banned most of Avast’s VPN servers. Depending on the server you’re using, you’re likely to see a Netflix “streaming error.”
Instead of watching your favorite show, you might end up staring at the Netflix black error screen of doom.
Likewise, Avast came up short in our test when we tried to use it to unblock BBC iPlayer. We just saw the error screen and thus couldn’t catch up on the latest news and programming from the UK.
In our tests, NordVPN successfully unblocked Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and other streaming sites.
So why does Avast come up short? Well, the company has a relatively limited number of servers. Avast has a server park with 700 options in 34 different countries. At first glance, that seems like a lot, and to be fair, it is a respectable number.
NordVPN, on the other hand, has 5,300+ servers in 59 countries. It also takes active measures to keep the streaming option functioning.
For example, it regularly rotates or renews IP addresses to ensure that Netflix and other sites can’t permanently block all servers.
So for streaming, NordVPN clearly comes out on top.
Torrenting: Do Avast VPN and NordVPN support torrenting?
While NordVPN doesn’t openly condone torrenting on its landing pages, it has multiple guides for setting up torrent proxies using NordVPN servers.
The company also has dedicated P2P servers optimized for peer-to-peer file sharing. These servers use specific protocols to help you share and download files faster while also keeping your privacy safe when torrenting.
A further benefit of using NordVPN is the “split tunneling” feature. It basically means that you can single out specific apps to always use VPN traffic, even if you’re at home.
That way, you can ensure your torrent connection is always private, even if you want to browse or stream video content without the VPN turned on.
Avast doesn’t mention peer-to-peer sharing on its official website, but when digging through user forums, you can find the information you need.
Apparently, Avast only allows torrenting on eight of its major servers, including:
London, United Kingdom
Prague, Czech Republic
New York City, New York
In other minor server locations, Avast Secureline VPN blocks P2P traffic to keep the server load down.
Connection speed and performance: Which is faster, Avast VPN or NordVPN?
Let’s cut the chit-chat and get straight down to the data. In a head-to-head test, which VPN is faster — Avast or NordVPN?
Let’s find out.
NordVPN has a reputation as one of the fastest VPN services on the market. Does it live up to the hype?
With a U.S. server and NordVPN turned on, we saw download speeds of 48.5 Mbps. The ping was stable at 24 ms. That’s proof of a robust and stable connection.
What’s more impressive than the speed is the stability of the performance. When using the VPN, we never experienced lag or unexpected buffering while streaming.
Avast Secureline VPN speed
Using a U.S. VPN server from Avast VPN (the default is Boston), we saw some really impressive results.
It maintained over 80% of the original download speed, and the upload speed was impressively fast as well.
The ping barely took a hit, coming in at 28 ms. (The test server was in Somerville, Massachusetts.)
But when using both popular or minor servers, we did experience some performance issues during peak hours. We experienced a bit of buffering when streaming HD video content and other hiccups along the way.
So the top connection speed for Avast is higher than NordVPN, but the overall performance was worse.
(If you only care about speed, ExpressVPN is the fastest option we’ve tested. Check out our ExpressVPN review to see the speed test results.)
VPN features compared: Avast VPN vs. NordVPN
Now that we’ve covered streaming, speed, and security, let’s take a closer look at the specific features of each VPN service provider.
Out of Avast VPN and NordVPN, which offers the most robust functionality? Let’s find out.
We break down how they stack up across some of the most important VPN features in the table below.
Speed Test Results (Download)
84% (54/64 Mbps)
75% (48/64 Mbps)
✓ (Limited to eight major servers)
Up to 10 simultaneous connections
Up to six simultaneous connections
No Log Policy (Private Surfing)
✓ (On Mac & Windows)
✓ (Android and Windows)
X (Unreliable, only unblocks three locations)
Unblocks Amazon Prime
Unblocks BBC iPlayer
Lowest monthly cost
$3.99 per month (With one-year plan)
$3.48 per month (With a two-year plan)
No matter the mobile device or computer setup you have, NordVPN has you covered. There’s a native app for every popular platform.
Both Avast and NordVPN offer the “kill switch,” a feature that automatically stops all internet traffic if your VPN connection drops.
But only NordVPN offers “split tunneling,” where you can choose specific programs to use or not use the VPN.
NordVPN also comes with dedicated P2P servers and a much better record at unblocking content on streaming websites. For more detailed information about these features, read our full NordVPN review.
Avast VPN vs NordVPN: Plans and pricing
Obviously, you can’t invest in a service without knowing what it costs. Between Avast and NordVPN, which VPN provider is the better deal?
Let’s find out.
NordVPN focuses on long-term deals. A one-month plan costs $11.95, which would come out to over $140 per year.
The company also offers one-year and two-year plans. The latter is the best deal, averaging seven-day to just $3.71 per month for the first two years.
Note: after the initial period, the price of NordVPN’s annual plans increases to $120 per year.
Avast VPN vs NordVPN: which is the best option in 2023?
When it comes to everyday browsing privacy and security, both VPN providers are equal.
For speed, Avast VPN registered higher top speeds. But that speed advantage came with some performance issues throughout the day.
But when it comes to features and unblocking geo-restricted content, NordVPN is just a step ahead of Avast.
Beyond speed, the only tangible advantage Avast Secureline VPN has over NordVPN is that it offers connections for up to 10 devices. But NordVPN offers up to six device connections, which is more than enough for most people.
Again, in pricing for the initial term, the cost is more or less the same. With a two-year plan, NordVPN is cheaper, but with a one-year plan, it’s more expensive. Avast is cheaper over the long term since the recurring plan costs less.
But pricing isn’t everything.
After considering all aspects of a VPN, we have to conclude that NordVPN is a better option. Yes, Avast can be faster under the best conditions, and it’s a bit cheaper, but it lacks features and can be unreliable.
That’s not to say Avast VPN is a bad VPN. Far from it. It’s a consistently solid choice with stellar security and privacy.
However, Avast doesn’t offer split tunneling, struggles to unblock Netflix and other streaming sites, and offers fewer countries and server locations.
NordVPN is consistently better across the board, and with the right plan, it’s even cheaper than Avast (for the first two years of your contract).