Overview of ExpressVPN vs NordVPN
All it takes is a few minutes of research to figure out what the top VPNs are. An overwhelming majority of review sites will rightly steer you towards either NordVPN or ExpressVPN.
You probably know that much already if you’re on this page, but what’s next? Which is the better choice?
The answer should really be some variation of “depends,” but we all know fighting is fun, so let’s see some blood in this battle of ExpressVPN vs NordVPN!
In the blue corner, we have the Panama-born NordVPN, brandishing some military-grade AES-256-CBC encryption, Double VPN, TOR over VPN, a strict no-logging policy and no DNS or IPv6 leaking.
And in the red corner, we have ExpressVPN with the same AES-256-CBC encryption, an effective no-logging policy, as well as no DNS/IPv6 leaks.
The two are very equally matched, but NordVPN’s additional security features mean the judges score this round of ExpressVPN vs NordVPN in favor of the latter. The Double VPN can give you that extra edge in cases where the privacy if of utmost importance – for example, if you’re a journalist in China reporting some anti-governmental news.
TOR over VPN (or Onion over VPN) is another powerful security feature that sends your encrypted traffic through the TOR network, especially useful if you’re a leader of a revolution in Iran.
Speed and performance
Round 2 – Fight! Both competitors boast a huge number of servers, covering a variety of locations. NordVPN has 5,000+ servers in over 60 countries, while ExpressVPN has 2,000+ in more than 90 countries.
Ultimately, while these numbers are impressive, they’re not necessarily conclusive. The number of servers and locations is important to make sure you have a stable connection all over the globe and the speed doesn’t drop drastically when you’re switching from one server to another.
Our speed testing shows a close fight – performance differences between NordVPN and ExpressVPN are rather negligible. In the end, ExpressVPN has a better jab and wins this particular round.
Ease of use
Both tools are very user-friendly and easy to like. ExpressVPN is a bit more simple, but NordVPN is hands-down the better-looking of the two.
It has another important advantage as well – NordVPN’s options tab offers more choices, yet is very intuitive at the same time. A nice uppercut from NordVPN to end the 3rd round of ExpressVPN vs NordVPN.
Torrenting and P2P
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 36 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.
We reckon this one’s a draw!
Netflix and other entertainment platforms
While speeds are important for Netflix users, one should also take a look at reliability. While ExpressVPN wins slightly on speed, reliability is a whole different matter.
NordVPN has over 1,000 servers in the US alone – around two-thirds of what ExpressVPN has in total. As such NordVPN is the more reliable choice for Netflix, as well as BBC iPlayer, Hulu, HBO, Kodi, etc.
Don’t get us wrong, ExpressVPN will still probably beat everyone else, but this round goes to Nord.
China and other restricted countries
It’s hard to keep up with the VPN blocking efforts of China and the absolute majority of providers give up, even though the market for VPNs is constantly growing – 100 million or 14% of all of China’s online population uses one or another.
That’s not the case with either ExpressVPN or NordVPN. Both services have a constantly growing server list, making it harder for the government of China to keep up. Furthermore, both have obfuscated (stealth) servers to beat Deep Packet Inspection (DPI).
Having said all that, it seems that ExpressVPN works both more consistently and with greater performance in China. The same is true for some other restricted countries as well (albeit not all of them).
Round 6 of ExpressVPN vs NordVPN ends with the former winning.
Both have apps for all the main platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS. The latter two clients are well-crafted for the touchscreen, user-friendly and functional. NordVPN’s Linux version lacks GUI but that’s not a big issue for the average Linux user.
Yet ExpressVPN offers two custom apps for Ubuntu and Fedora, which is already much more than most other VPN developers care to deliver. What is more, ExpressVPN not only offers Chrome and Firefox, but also a Safari app.
ExpressVPN blows the round-defining punch with its router client, which makes it easier for less tech-savvy users to take advantage of their VPN at the router level, the two most important being:
- the router acting as a funnel, so all devices that use the traffic going through the router are not counted in the simultaneous devices limit
- split tunneling allows you to split the traffic not by app but by device
This one’s easy – if you buy NordVPN for longer than a month, it becomes WAY cheaper than ExpressVPN.
A brutal beatdown, the judge should probably step in…
NordVPN vs ExpressVPN – which is better?
The battle of the titans – ExpressVPN vs NordVPN – goes the distance. Each trade blows on security and performance, but while the overall features are slightly in NordVPN’s favor, ExpressVPN wins due to its reliability in China and other restricted countries.
That doesn’t mean NordVPN is bad – there are plenty of good reasons to prefer it over ExpressVPN in certain situations!
Read our full reviews: