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This battle of ExpressVPN vs NordVPN only has one winner. Which of the two providers is the better one? Read our NordVPN and ExpressVPN comparison to find out!
I evaluate all key criteria, including security, privacy, speeds, and price, to determine the service that’s worth your money. No time to go through the whole comparison? Check out this overview of each VPN to instantly see where one holds the edge over the other.
|“Best for” winner||Best overall, Best for Netflix, Best for P2P, Best for China, Fastest VPN|
|“Best for” nominee||Best overall, Best for P2P, Best for China, Fastest VPN|
|Price starts from||$3.49/month||$6.67/month|
|Review||NordVPN review||ExpressVPN review|
As you can see, both providers are among the top VPNs overall. Each one is very fast, works in China, and is great for torrenting. The only difference is the cost – NordVPN offers virtually the same package for nearly half the price.
Security of NordVPN vs ExpressVPN
|Protocols||NordLynx, OpenVPN, IKEv2||OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPsec, L2TP/IPsec, PPTP|
|Kill switch||Internet kill switch, app kill switch, Always-on VPN for Android||Network Lock (unavailable on iOS)|
|DNS and IP leaks||No leaks||No leaks|
|Security features||Double VPN, Tor over VPN, CyberSec, SOCKS5 proxy, Obfuscated servers, DNS and IPv6 leak protection||Split tunneling, Obfuscated servers, DNS and IPv6 leak protection|
Both NordVPN and ExpressVPN provide excellent security – they have reliable kill switches and no leaks. The differences are few and will matter only to some users. However, I give NordVPN an edge because of its more solid feature set.
Each contestant offers military-grade encryption and modern tunneling protocols. Those new to the VPN industry might think that ExpressVPN should get more points for L2TP/IPsec and PPTP. That’s not the case because these protocols are outdated, and NordVPN ditched them purposefully.
SOCKS5 proxy and split tunneling outweigh each other, but that still leaves NordVPN with more security features. Its Double VPN gives you extra security because of two servers used. In the meantime, TOR over VPN sends your encrypted traffic via the Onion network and lets you access it without the Tor browser.
Privacy features of NordVPN and ExpressVPN
Winner: ExpressVPN and NordVPN
|Jurisdiction||Panama||British Virgin Island|
|Logging||Independently-audited no-logs policy||Independently-audited no-logs policy|
Again, both ExpressVPN and NordVPN are well known for their focus on privacy. Their companies are registered in countries with no data retention laws, allowing them to offer true no-logs policies. While both were independently-audited, ExpressVPN’s policy was tested in practice when Turkish authorities seized one of their servers in 2017 and found nothing.
Anonymous payment options are especially important for those who want to retain their anonymity. ExpressVPN offers to pay with Bitcoin, and NordVPN supports a few more cryptocurrencies. To sum up, neither provider holds a winning card, forcing us to declare this ExpressVPN vs NordVPN round a draw.
ExpressVPN vs NordVPN: speed and performance
While ExpressVPN covers more countries, NordVPN offers way more servers. And when it comes to sheer speed, NordVPN leaves its competitor behind. That’s because it uses the next-gen WireGuard protocol which is much faster than any other.
Provided that your ISP gives enough boost, it would be easy to notice the differences between ExpressVPN and NordVPN. And if your provider is using bandwidth throttling, using any of these VPNs can even make your connection faster! However, since we have NordVPN as our fastest service, it would be fair to give it an edge over ExpessVPN in the performance section.
ExpressVPN vs NordVPN: 14-Day Speed Average
|Download Speed||141 Mbps||1,715 Mbps|
|Upload Speed||240 Mbps||1,627 Mbps|
|Download Speed||111 Mbps||1,342 Mbps|
|Upload Speed||245 Mbps||1,229 Mbps|
|Download Speed||193 Mbps||1,191 Mbps|
|Upload Speed||312 Mbps||991 Mbps|
ExpressVPN vs NordVPN apps and ease of use
|Major dedicated apps||All||All|
|Other dedicated apps||Fire TV & Fire Stick, Android TV||Fire TV & Fire Stick, Android TV, Kindle Fire, Nook HD, Chromebook, Routers|
|Browser extensions||Chrome, Firefox||Chrome, Firefox|
|Manual setup||Routers, firewalls, NAS||Chromecast, Roku, nVidia Shield|
|Customer support||24/7 live chat, email, FAQ, tutorials||24/7 live chat, email, FAQ, tutorials|
Both desktop and mobile apps of ExpressVPN and NordVPN are user-friendly and easy to like. ExpressVPN app is list-based and a bit more simple, but NordVPN also has a map with marked servers and is hands-down the better-looking one. Additionally, NordVPN’s options tab offers more choices, yet is very intuitive at the same time.
These services have apps for all the main platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS. Linux versions lack GUI, but that’s not a big issue for the average Linux user. When it comes to browser extensions, both providers offer Chrome and Firefox versions.
ExpressVPN has more apps overall, including those for Kindle Fire, Chromebook, and, most importantly, routers. This is where NordVPN shows its weakest point, even though it provides detailed instructions on how to set up more than a dozen router makes manually. Finally, NordVPN has Smart DNS combined with VPN, but ExpressVPN offers it separately, meaning that you’ll be able to unblock various streaming platforms on your smart TV or game console.
Torrenting and P2P with NordVPN and ExpressVPN
Winner: NordVPN and ExpressVPN
|Allowed on||Selected servers||All servers|
|Free SOCKS5 proxy||Yes||No|
|Split tunneling||Android only||Yes|
Speed and security are of primary importance for torrenters, but in this case, there are other considerations. P2P is available in all ExpressVPN countries and only 40+ NordVPN countries – so a clear victory, right? Well, not quite.
NordVPN only offers P2P in countries where the law is lax in this regard. Furthermore, they optimized hundreds of servers for P2P in particular. You can choose these from the list of “Specialty Servers” on the NordVPN client.
ExpressVPN doesn’t have a free SOCKS5 like NordVPN does, but its split tunneling feature more than makes up for it. To sum up, neither of these two VPNs have the upper hand. I reckon this NordVPN vs ExpressVPN round is a draw!
ExpressVPN or NordVPN – which one is better for Netflix?
|Other Netflix libraries||Yes||Yes|
Both providers are among our best VPNs for Netflix, but NordVPN sits right at the top. It’s also slightly faster and more reliable. NordVPN has over 1,800 servers in the US alone – more than half of what ExpressVPN has in total.
Each contestant unblocks not only Netflix US but other popular libraries in Japan and the Netherlands as well. They are also great for streaming Disney+, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, among others. Finally, while neither ExpressVPN nor NordVPN have a custom app for Kodi, both work great with it, ensuring safety and privacy.
NordVPN or ExpressVPN – which one to use in China and other restricted countries?
|Works in China||Yes||Yes|
|Tor over VPN||Yes||Yes|
Both services have a constantly growing server list, making it harder for the governments of China and other countries to keep up. They also provide Tor over VPN for that extra anonymity when you work with sensitive information. However, only NordVPN has obfuscated (stealth) servers to beat Deep Packet Inspection (DPI). These are available in 14 countries and 17 locations.
Whichever VPN you choose, make sure you download and install it before you go to China. The websites of NordVPN and ExpressVPN are blocked there, so you’ll need to contact customer support or find a working mirror site on your own.
NordVPN also offers more servers in total, which makes it less susceptible to blocking efforts. Therefore, I announce NordVPN, our best VPN for China overall, as a winner of this close round.
ExpressVPN vs NordVPN: pricing comparison
|Money-back guarantee||30 days||30 days|
This NordVPN vs ExpressVPN round one’s easy – if you buy the former for longer than a month, it becomes WAY cheaper. What’s more, ExpressVPN doesn’t have a two-year plan, making it a poor long-term investment. You also get to use six devices simultaneously with NordVPN, compared to ExpressVPN’s five.
Neither of these providers has a free version or a free trial. Both VPNs come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
ExpressVPN vs NordVPN – which VPN is better?
|Total wins||5 out of 8||1 out of 8|
|NordVPN review||ExpressVPN review|
At the end of ExpressVPN vs NordVPN battle, the latter wins in five out of eight categories. ExpressVPN turned out to be better at Apps and ease of use, while both services tied in Privacy and Torrenting. Even if ExpressVPN managed to win or tie more, I’d still be crowning NordVPN as long as it offers a much lower price.
This doesn’t mean that ExpressVPN is bad – there are plenty of good reasons to prefer it over NordVPN in certain situations!
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Jan is a cybersecurity and consumer protection specialist focused on investigations that help readers navigate the complex infosecurity sphere. His research and commentary has been featured in Forbes, ComputerWeekly, PC Mag, TechRadar, ZDNet, The Mirror, Entrepreneur, and many other leading publications around the world.