ExpressVPN vs NordVPN in 2021

Jan Youngren
Jan Youngren | Chief Editor
Last updated: June 16, 2021
ExpressVPN vs NordVPN comparison

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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.

NordVPNExpressVPN
Our rating9.6⭐8.3⭐
“Best for” nominee
Best overall, Best for Netflix, Best for P2P, Best for China, Fastest VPNBest overall, Best for P2P, Best for China, Fastest VPN
Price starts from$3.30/month$8.32/month
ReviewNordVPN reviewExpressVPN review
WebsiteNordVPNExpressVPN

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.

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Security of NordVPN vs ExpressVPN

NordVPNExpressVPN
EncryptionMilitary-gradeMilitary-grade
ProtocolsNordLynx, OpenVPN, IKEv2OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPsec, L2TP/IPsec, PPTP
Kill switch
Internet kill switch, app kill switch, Always-on VPN for AndroidNetwork Lock (unavailable on iOS)
DNS and IP leaks
No leaksNo leaks
Security featuresDouble VPN, Onion over VPN, CyberSec, SOCKS5 proxy, Obfuscated servers, DNS and IPv6 leak protection, split tunnelingSplit 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.

ExpressVPN protocols

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 That’s not the case because these protocols are outdated, and NordVPN ditched them purposefully.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.

NordVPN
NordVPN
VPNpro rating: 9.6 / 10

Privacy features of NordVPN and ExpressVPN

NordVPNExpressVPN
JurisdictionPanamaBritish Virgin Island
LoggingIndependently-audited no-logs policyIndependently-audited no-logs policy
Anonymous payment
CryptocurrenciesBitcoin

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.

NordVPN payment options - cryptocurrencies
NordVPN cryptocurrencies

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

More live data from our VPN Speed Test tool
ExpressVPN NordVPN
USA server
Download Speed 206 Mbps 1,432 Mbps
Upload Speed 420 Mbps 1,364 Mbps
UK server
Download Speed 122 Mbps 1,327 Mbps
Upload Speed 264 Mbps 1,244 Mbps
Germany server
Download Speed 194 Mbps 1,093 Mbps
Upload Speed 388 Mbps 1,074 Mbps

ExpressVPN vs NordVPN apps and ease of use

NordVPNExpressVPN
Major dedicated apps
AllAll
Other dedicated apps
Fire TV & Fire Stick, Android TVFire TV & Fire Stick, Android TV, Kindle Fire, Nook HD, Chromebook, Routers
Browser extensions
Chrome, Edge, FirefoxChrome, Edge, Firefox
Manual setup
Routers, firewalls, NASChromecast, Roku, nVidia Shield
Simultaneous devices
65
Customer support
24/7 live chat, email, FAQ, tutorials24/7 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.

NordVPN server map

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.

ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN
VPNpro rating: 8.3 / 10

Torrenting and P2P with NordVPN and ExpressVPN

NordVPNExpressVPN
Allowed on
Selected serversAll servers
Free SOCKS5 proxy
YesNo
Split tunneling
Yes (Android, Windows)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 P2P-optimized servers

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 as NordVPN does, but its split tunneling feature more than makes up for it. To sum up, neither of these two VPNs has the upper hand. I reckon this NordVPN vs ExpressVPN round is a draw!

ExpressVPN or NordVPN – which one is better for Netflix?

NordVPNExpressVPN
Netflix US
YesYes
Other Netflix libraries
YesYes
Other platforms
YesYes

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.

ExpressVPN unblocks Netflix

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?

NordVPNExpressVPN
Works in China
YesYes
Stealth VPN
Yes (Obfuscated servers)Yes (Stealth servers)
Tor over VPN
Yes (Onion over VPN)No

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 stealth VPN features. NordVPN has obfuscated servers, while ExpressVPN has Stealth servers. However, only NordVPN has an integration with the Tor network, which is the Onion over VPN feature.

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

 

NordVPNExpressVPN
Free trial
Yes, 7-day on AndroidNo
One month
$11.95/month$12.95/month
Six months
N/A$9.99/month
One year
$4.92/month$8.32/month
Two years
$3.30/monthN/A
Money-back guarantee
30 days30 days
 Get NordVPNGet ExpressVPN

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.

Additionally, NordVPN offers a 7-day trial for Android users. Furthermore, the app can be used on any device once claimed.

Check the best deals available right now:
NordVPN coupon codes
ExpressVPN coupon codes

ExpressVPN vs NordVPN – which VPN is better?

NordVPN🥇ExpressVPN🥈
Security
Wins✔️Loses❌
Privacy
TieTie
Speed
Wins✔️Loses❌
Apps
Loses❌Wins✔️
Torrenting
TieTie
Streaming
Wins✔️Loses❌
China
Wins✔️Loses❌
Prices
Wins✔️Loses❌
Total wins
5 out of 81 out of 8
NordVPN reviewExpressVPN 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!


You may also like to read:
NordVPN vs Surfshark
NordVPN vs Mullvad
ExpressVPN vs Surfshark
ExpressVPN vs Private Internet Access

FAQ

Is NordVPN worth buying?

Yes, NordVPN is worth buying. It has high-quality servers around the globe, fast and secure tunneling protocols, abundant security features, good device compatibility, and a reasonable price. Plus, it has a free trial for Android users and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

How do I choose a good Nordvpn server?

Clicking Quick Connect will choose the best and fastest server automatically. Alternatively, you should pick a server in a nearby country for optimal connectivity. Plus, choosing the right tunneling protocol also affects your connection quality.

How much does ExpressVPN cost?

ExpressVPN has three pricing plans:

  • $12.95/month for a monthly plan
  • $9.99/month for six months
  • $8.32/month for a yearly subscription

Is ExpressVPN better than NordVPN?

ExpressVPN is good, but it’s not better than NordVPN. ExpressVPN is pricier, but also has slightly fewer features. However, it is better in terms of device compatibility.

Is using a VPN in Singapore illegal?

VPNs in Singapore are not illegal. However, using a VPN to access censored content is still illegal.

Top VPN providers
NordVPN
9.6 / 10
30-day money-back guarantee
Military grade encryption
Friendly support
Surfshark VPN
9.4 / 10
Strong encryption
Excellent performance
Unlimited simultaneous connections

Disclaimer: Affiliate links help us produce good content. Learn more.

29 comments
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  1. Mose

    NordVPN has onion over vpn function which Express VPN doesn’t have and it’s an intergration to Tor network but I don’t really understand how it works and why is it needed. Is it different than turning vpn on when browsing Tor? Thanks


    1. avatar
      Ethan Payne

      Hello, Mose. Onion over VPN is meant to be used by journalists to protect their sources, to browse in authoritarian countries, and other similar extreme situations. For casual browsing, using a regular server with the Tor browser is enough. 


  2. Silvianooo

    Everyone’s debating which one expressvpn or nord vpn is better so here’s my logic behind this:1) I suspect quality is similar or the differences are unoticable to regular users 2) nordvpn has double the servers express vpn.has and is half the price as well. 3)No need to say more


  3. Levis

    When it comes to the choice of nordvpn vs expressvpn, all I can say from my side: I tried both. Both work, and work very well. Getting around geo-blocking became easy. Although sometimes with Nord I have to switch servers for everything to work fine, it’s much much cheaper than Express VPN and I basically get the same service. This time I’ll stick with Nord. We’ll see about the future.


  4. horace

    I was looking at the nordvpn vs expressvpn in china section and I couldn’t understand the difference between obfuscated and stealth servers. Is that just the same thing with a different name?


    1. avatar
      Ethan Payne

      Hey there, Horace. In essence, yes, they are features from different providers for the same purpose. Both Obfuscated and Stealth servers are used against DPI (Deep Packet Inspection) to mask your VPN traffic and make it seem like regular traffic. 


  5. Major Em

    nordvpn vs expressvpn speed test seems even hard to believe! nordvpn is 10x faster. And cheaper as well….


  6. Royston

    The debate ‘ ExpressVPN vs NordVPN ‘ is definitely a tough one and you could find some good things on either side. However, in the end it all comes down to price and speed. NordVPN is a winner in these two categories and that means a YES from me!


  7. Asahel Betzalel

    I use public wifi quite frequently but heard it can be quite unsafe. I like to sleep peacefully at night so now I’m really curious about choosing the right service:) Which one of them is actually a better service?


    1. avatar
      Jan Youngren Author

      Hi, Asahel. Turning off Wi-Fi on your devices at night could help you sleep peacefully as hackers won’t be able to reach you. On a serious note, I think NordVPN is the overall better service. It’s cheaper, faster, and offers a great number of security features. Make sure to enable CyberSec when connecting to public Wi-Fi. 


  8. ikari

    NordVPN at its lowest is $3.71 a month compared to ExpressVPN at $8.42/month, ExpressVPN is MORE than double the price. When it comes to basic needs, ExpressVPN us not 2 times better to justify paying more than double.


  9. Arley Green

    NordVPN 6.25 Error
    Do I turn off the update ?


    1. Kevin Marlowe

      Hi Arley,

      Sorry for the (very) late reply. I would suggest getting in touch with NordVPN support about any issues with updates to their software.


  10. Mike

    I would have liked to have a 3 or 7 day trial of both Express and Nord. It’s too bad there’s no such thing available right now. I generally like to try out a service before paying for it. Guess I’ll have to pay for a month with both and see the differences.


  11. Rodo

    The two are similar in many regards, with ExpressVPN seemingly investing more in being present with servers in more countries and Nord trying to increase the sheer number of servers they have.


  12. 1wayout

    Nord is my choice because it works great on Windows 10, the setup is super easy, the speed is great even when I’m torrenting and the list goes on and on.


  13. Alexander

    While both VPNs are top notch and probably the best two in the world, as a client of both (have used both) I like ExpressVPN a little more. I know there’s the price difference but Express has a better service if you ask me.


  14. Damian

    Both of these VPNs are extremely good choices. It’s hard to choose between them and depending on what you want and need, either of them may be appropriate. The bigger server number, the great speed (test it to see how they do in your country – in mine they did great), the level of security, nice torrenting options, price, etc; all of these things make me put NordVPN at the top spot. Express is very good but honestly, do I really need to pay $5+ more for it when NordVPN offers me everything I need? I wonder. Some say that ExpressVPN has better security and is very reliable in China and other restricted countries. I guess if you’re living in those countries or working there and would like to remain anonymous you should choose ExpressVPN. Otherwise, Nord should do well.

    On another note, ExpressVPN accepts paypal at this time while NordVPN doesn’t anymore. Is paypal a good thing or a bad one when it comes to a VPN service? I think paying with a cryptocurrency is the most anonymous so I can understand why Nord isn’t using Paypal anymore. So, I guess if you want really good VPN services, you can choose either of these two (depending on your specific requirements) and you won’t be sorry.


  15. Golden Jet

    It’s a tough comparison on this one. For someone who has used both VPNs, I can be in a better position to share my experience. They all are great for reasons you mentioned in the article except for Nord, all P2P traffic is routed in a specific location that affects your browsing session and this is a drawback for me. I hope they fix this soon but also an interesting thing about them is that they offer Ikev2 protocol which results in a faster connection and drains the battery much slower. Nord offers a free trial but Express does not, what they do is that you can test out ExpressVPN for a whole month – and get your money back when you’re done if you aren’t satisfied
    I didn’t notice any drop-in speed during usage of both. The only drawback with express is their poor customer service of 5 hours per day which makes it difficult getting your issues solved quickly
    For the price, I give it to Nord and this is the only thing that made me prefer Nord to Express in this comparison. Express VPN is damn expensive for me otherwise, they are both great


  16. Gerald.82

    I’ve had a test on both NordVPN and ExpressVPN when I was in a dilemma in buying either one of the two. I have to say that the torrenting ability and the widespread server of NordVPN convinced me to purchase NordVPN. It’s alsso way cheaper than ExpressVPN.


  17. Valeria

    Express vpn separate app works better than the chrome extension. VPN itself is THE BEST I’ve used, but the extension is just not good enough, doesn’t make the experience any easier or faster. Lacks ‘Speed test function. Nord which is the best alternative, in this case, wins for me. Nords reddit reviews are great too


  18. Taylor

    These two VPN giants are just too hard to choose between for me! They are both strong across the board, and which one you should pick always depends on what features are the most important to you at the end of the day.

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