For now, TorGuard occupies the number four spot on our overall rankings and also makes some of our best-of lists, such as our best VPN for gaming roundup. You can head over to our full TorGuard review to read more. Its high speeds and feature-rich design are what earns it so many top spots in our articles.
As it turns out, speed and features are some of NordVPN’s weakest points, while ease of use is TorGuard’s. That’s why we thought it was about time to pair up these two top contenders and see how they fare when compared one-on-one in this NordVPN vs TorGuard matchup.
Setting Up a Fight: NordVPN vs. TorGuard
To compare NordVPN and TorGuard fairly, we’ll use a set of rules that we’ve developed to pit two VPNs against each other in a head-to-head matchup. While our normal VPN reviews are broken into nine sections, here we have reduced things into five rounds.
This is because we’ve consolidated some of the sections, such as “security and privacy,” which is normally split into two sections in the full VPN reviews. This way, each of the five rounds carries roughly equal weight. The five rounds include features, pricing, ease of use, speed and security.
For each section, we will briefly go over what we are looking for and then look at each VPN individually. At the end of the round, we will compare the two and choose a winner, which will earn a point. The VPN with the most points at the end is declared the victor.
The importance of the features offered by NordVPN and TorGuard will depend on how you plan to use the service. At the very minimum, we expect every VPN to have a kill switch and a way to automatically connect. These are mandatory features because they affect the VPN’s security.
Aside from these features, everything else is mainly just icing on the cake, with things like split tunneling and protocol options only making the application more customizable and versatile. These extra features can help us determine whether a given VPN is geared toward standard users, who might want a simple VPN solution, or power users, who want control over every aspect of their VPN.
As we mentioned in our NordVPN vs. CyberGhost article, NordVPN does an excellent job of covering the most important features. For starters, there is a kill switch to cut off your internet connection if you lose your VPN connection.
In addition to the kill switch, NordVPN also has an app kill switch that allows you to define a list of programs that it will terminate if you lose your VPN connection. NordVPN also gives you the choice to run it when Windows starts up. There is a separate tab in the settings menus for auto-connect, which lets you choose whether the VPN connects as soon as the application launches and, if so, where it connects to.
As far as additional features, NordVPN has a setting that lets you turn your device invisible to other devices on the network, which is great for reducing the risks of using public WiFi. NordVPN’s client also has a built-in feature called CyberSec, which is a new malware and adware blocker.
Although it is great that NordVPN includes these features, they will never be as good as the most secure antivirus software for those who are concerned about this kind of online threat.
Finally, there are a handful of options under the “advanced” tab, including the choice between TCP and UDP protocols, which we’ll examine in the “security” section of this article, as well as DNS settings. Overall, NordVPN does a good job of giving users all of the most essential functions in an accessible and easy-to-understand manner.
Stepping foot into TorGuard’s settings menu for the first time can be a bit daunting. There are countless checkboxes with tons of options and more than half a dozen tabs at the top.
For starters, some of the first checkboxes you’ll see are for the essential things we’ve mentioned. There is a box for automatically running the VPN on bootup and a box for connecting automatically once you run the VPN.
There is also a checkbox for arming a kill switch, as well as a good number of boxes that deal with cosmetic things and how the application minimizes and behaves when not in use. Like NordVPN, TorGuard has an app killer and an internet kill switch, which lets you terminate certain programs if you lose your VPN connection.
TorGuard also gives users the option to run scripts before connecting, after connecting or after disconnecting. While you do have to write these yourself, it gives power users high levels of control over how the VPN runs and behaves.
There are also a slew of network settings, including DNS options and a choice between a few different protocols and encryptions.
Round One Thoughts
Neither NordVPN or TorGuard are known for packing in the best features, and both lack things like split tunneling. (You can read about a feature-rich VPN with split tunneling in our ExpressVPN review.)
That said, TorGuard does a good job of making the application customizable, going so far as to let skilled users write their own scripts. Additionally, it supports more choices of protocol and encryption than NordVPN. This extra configurability wins TorGuard the first point.
Comparing any two products or services is almost impossible without looking at the price. As we saw in our ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN matchup, NordVPN boasts competitive pricing for what it offers.
In this section, we don’t look strictly at the pricing, though. We also consider what kinds of payment each VPN accepts, the refund policy and what kind of free trials are available, if any.
NordVPN’s pricing model includes one plan with four different time lengths. The monthly plan is less tempting, price-wise, and puts NordVPN about on par with other high-end VPNs. The annual plan cuts the price in half, though, and the longer plans make the savings even better.
NordVPN offers long-term, two- and three-year plans that are very affordable. These plans are in-line with pricing you can see in our CyberGhost review, which is one of the cheapest VPNs on the market. The plan lets you simultaneously connect up to six devices and gives all of those devices unlimited bandwidth.
For payment, NordVPN accepts credit cards, cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, and a handful of obscure options, such as Alipay and UnionPay. NordVPN also has a 30-day money-back guarantee, but there’s no NordVPN free trial — making this the only way for users to try the VPN out.
TorGuard offers more plan options than NordVPN in the short-term. The monthly plan is a couple of bucks less than NordVPN’s. The next step up from this is quarterly and brings the cost down a fair bit, making it more comparable to NordVPN’s yearly pricing when you break it down on a month-by-month basis.
- : Unlimited GB
- : 5
- : Unlimited GB
- : 5
- : Unlimited GB
- : 5
- : Unlimited GB
- : 5
TorGuard also offers six-month and annual plans that have the same monthly pricing. This is better than NordVPN’s annual pricing, but it still doesn’t beat out NordVPN’s two-year plan. Finally, TorGuard also gives customers a two-year option that is still not superior to NordVPN’s two-year plan.
On top of the standard subscription, you can make a number of add-on purchases. For almost as much as the subscription itself per month, you can add a static IP in your choice from a list of countries, which can help when you’re trying to reliably stream geo-blocked content.
TorGuard has overall fewer options when it comes time to pay for your subscription, but it still covers credit card, PayPal and several forms of cryptocurrency. Finally, TorGuard does claim to offer a seven-day free trial if you send them an invoice from another VPN. However, even after sending an invoice and following up, we were unable to get this trial. TorGuard does have a seven-day refund policy, though, which means there is at least some way for new users to try out the service.
Round Two Thoughts
While TorGuard does narrowly beat out NordVPN when it comes to short-term pricing, NordVPN wins over TorGuard in the multi-year time frame. Additionally, while neither NordVPN or TorGuard offers a free VPN service, NordVPN’s 30-day refund policy beats out TorGuard’s mere seven days.
Finally, NordVPN accepts more forms of payment and doesn’t try to include streaming add-ons at checkout. This makes NordVPN a strong winner in this section and ties the current score at one point each.
3. Ease of Use
There seems to be a constant battle when it comes to software design. Some companies like to put the power in the user’s hands, but often at the cost of having a more confusing interface. On the other hand, some companies choose to make an incredibly simple product, but at the cost of features.
In this section, we look at how well each VPN provider designed its client to offer a user-friendly experience. We also visit each provider’s site to check its navigation.
NordVPN’s client is one of the best on the market right now when it comes to design and ease of use. When you open up the client, a window with a world map is there to greet you.
As you can see in our TunnelBear vs. NordVPN article, TunnelBear uses a very similar layout, but NordVPN executes it much better. Namely because NordVPN lets you zoom in and out of the map with your scroll wheel, making it easier to look around the globe and accurately click on the server you want.
If you don’t feel like finding your desired location on the globe, there is also an alphabetical list on the left that has a search function. Things continue to be organized and visually pleasing in the settings menu, where the options are written clearly and include small explanations underneath. This makes it easy for even inexperienced VPN users to configure the application to their liking.
NordVPN’s website is streamlined and follows a pretty standard website layout that many VPNs use. There are several bright signup buttons, and registering an account is quick and easy.
TorGuard’s client is much less inviting, at first glance. Upon opening the application, you see a dark screen with a few drop-down menus. These let you choose things like protocol and encryption, while the somewhat hidden “select server” button in the top right allows you to choose your desired location.
If you dare to head into the settings, things get even worse. The number of tabs and checkboxes is overwhelming at first, and some of the options are strangely worded. There are no explanations for the options — unlike NordVPN — making the TorGuard settings even more inhospitable.
A lot of the options found in the TorGuard menus are — as we mentioned in the “features” section — more geared toward skilled users. You can load in your own scripts and even compile and save debugging files to your hard drive. However, this also means that many of the options will be beyond what most users are looking for.
The TorGuard website is less refined than NordVPN, as well. While things are streamlined and navigating the website is easy enough, the checkout process is more involved than NordVPN’s.
Round Three Thoughts
Because TorGuard is clearly meant for users who are well-versed in tech and prepared to get the most from their VPN, the user experience is less refined. It doesn’t have the aesthetically pleasing map or menus like NordVPN.
NordVPN has a more plug-and-play style that allows users to get easily off the ground , while TorGuard puts tons of important and technical options in the users face the moment they launch the software. While this is a matter of preference when it comes to ease of use and user-friendly design, it is hard to beat NordVPN.
When we’ve tested NordVPN in the past for speed — such as in our NordVPN vs. PureVPN matchup — we’ve found that it performs reliably enough for streaming and typical use. However, it is often just shy of being fast enough to make it onto our fastest VPN roundup.
TorGuard, on the other hand, has shown us outstanding speeds when we’ve tested it in the past, so it will be an uphill battle for NordVPN in this round. We set up each VPN to use identical protocols and encryptions, then tested the speed of each provider in the same five locations around the world to get a comprehensive idea of the performance each VPN’s network offers.
NordVPN performed admirably in our testing, with a majority of the servers we tried giving most of our bandwidth back to us. Ping times were reasonably low for all the various distances, and browsing the web — even while connected to distant servers — felt responsive and snappy.
|Location:||Ping (ms)||Download (Mbps)||Upload (Mbps)|
|United Kingdom #201||153||34.78||6.06|
|Double VPN (U.S. to Canada #4)||79||20.48||8.64|
Overall, NordVPN’s speeds were reliable from one server to another, with one glaring exception being South Africa, which lost more than half of our original bandwidth. Even this server, however, still offered us solid web surfing and an even streaming experience despite its performance on paper.
While NordVPN is not necessarily the fastest VPN out there in numbers, it performs well enough for most tasks and offers respectably quick internet to make it a solid contender.
TorGuard was overall less consistent than NordVPN, and the two traded blows from server to server. NordVPN has an edge on the U.S. server, while TorGuard performed better on download speeds on the UK server.
|Location:||Ping (ms)||Download (Mbps)||Upload (Mbps)|
|Unprotected (St. Louis)||8||84.28||22.01|
NordVPN, however, performed better on the Japan and South Africa servers, while TorGuard got faster speeds in Brazil. South Africa was also the most troublesome location for TorGuard, losing the majority of our bandwidth.
TorGuard did see slightly better ping times in the more distant locations, such as Japan, South Africa and Brazil, but the performance gain was not noticeable while browsing. That said, NordVPN and TorGuard both offer a great browsing experience.
Round Four Thoughts
Both NordVPN and TorGuard offer quick web surfing that anyone could count on to work well enough when streaming or doing any typical online task. That said, both NordVPN and TorGuard had some trouble areas, with both options struggling most in South Africa.
NordVPN was faster when it came to download speeds in three of the five locations we tested and also had less variance in performance from one server to another. For this reason, we are giving the point for speed to NordVPN.
5. Security and Privacy
As we’ve already said, NordVPN does not give users a huge variety of options when it comes to security. There is a kill switch and you can have the client connect automatically on startup, which are both essential features.
However, NordVPN locks the encryption into AES-256 and only offers a protocol choice between two forms of OpenVPN: TCP and UDP. Although this doesn’t give users a ton of options, this combination is what we consider to be the gold standard when it comes to VPN security (and NordVPN works in China). We could not find any kind of DNS or data leaks while testing NordVPN.
As for privacy, NordVPN has one of the most concise privacy policies of any VPN provider on the market. It is written in an easy-to-understand manner and is brief enough that it is not difficult to read through it and parse out what information NordVPN collects.
For starters, NordVPN needs an email address and a payment method to set up an account. Those who are concerned about online anonymity can easily handle this with bitcoin and a throwaway email.
NordVPN does not keep any logs with any kind of identifying information regarding people’s use of the VPN. It does, however, collect some information on the website through cookies. This kind of information collection is largely inescapable, as you can read in our anonymous browsing guide. They use the information to improve and maintain the website — it does not have any identifying information or relate in any way to your use of the VPN.
While you can manually configure TorGuard on your computer as a network VPN to use almost any protocol you would like, the application only supports OpenVPN and OpenConnect. As we said with NordVPN, though, OpenVPN is an excellent protocol that is highly secure while still offering fast performance.
For encryption, TorGuard gives a ton of choices, including multiple forms of AES-128 and AES-256. If you’re interested in learning more about different encryption, you can check out our encryption rundown, but we urge people to stick with AES-256 for the best security. TorGuard even lets you choose what port your connection will use, but this is a feature few people will likely ever use.
TorGuard was free from any kind of DNS or IP leaks during our testing. It also has a solid no-logging policy that has yet to be challenged in court or brought into question. Like with NordVPN, TorGuard does collect information on the website through cookies to collect traffic data and maintain its website.
What this means is that, even if authorities attempt to get logs or records from TorGuard, they won’t receive anything because TorGuard don’t log that information.
Round Five Thoughts
Both NordVPN and TorGuard are at the top of the game when it comes to security and privacy. Neither provider has ever had a data leak, handed information over to third parties or been caught up in a lawsuit for logs.
Additionally, both providers offer solid security with comparable options, as well as well-written and consumer-friendly privacy policies. We feel comfortable recommending either of these options to people who want to keep their online data safe and their anonymity secure. For this reason, we are declaring this round a tie and assigning one point to each VPN.
6. Final Thoughts
While TorGuard came out strong with its feature set, it only secured two points against NordVPN’s four. Both providers offer a respectable level of security and performance, but NordVPN took a slight edge when it came to speed.
While NordVPN might sacrifice some things when it comes to features, it does so with careful discretion. All of the most important features are still there. Additionally, in exchange for the slightly less-populated settings menus, the interface is remarkably clean and easy for anyone to use. NordVPN also edges out TorGuard when it comes to pricing with its budget-friendly, long-term pricing and refund policy.
Let us know what you think of NordVPN and TorGuard in the comments below. As always, thanks for reading.