ExpressVPN and NordVPN – both are veterans, boasting over 10 years of experience in the VPN industry.. But which of the two providers is the better one?
Read our NordVPN and ExpressVPN comparison to find out! We evaluate all key criteria, including security, privacy, speeds, and price, to determine the service worth your money. No time to go through the whole comparison? Check out this VPN overview to instantly see where one holds the edge over the other.
NordVPN vs ExpressVPN comparison highlights
|Our rating||9.6 ⭐||8.2 ⭐|
|Current offer||Get NordVPN 68% OFF!||Get ExpressVPN 35% OFF!|
|Price starts from||$3.09/month||$8.32/month|
|Money-back guarantee||30 days||30 days|
|No-logs policy||Independently-audited||Court-proven and independently audited|
|Servers||5500+ servers in 59+ countries||3000+ servers in 94+ countries|
|VPN protocols||NordLynx, OpenVPN, IKEv2||Lightway, OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP, PPTP|
|Streaming||Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, and more||Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, and more|
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 a better package for nearly half the price.
If you want stellar performance from a service, having the latest tunneling protocols is a must. NordVPN and ExpressVPN go beyond in this case by offering proprietary protocols. And yet, the former leaves its competitor behind. That’s because NordLynx is much faster than Lightway, and you can see that in our VPN speed test section.
If your Internet Service Provider (ISP) is throttling your bandwidth, using any of these VPNs will make your connection faster. However, one will facilitate better loading times than the other. And 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||209 Mbps||1,572 Mbps|
|Upload Speed||151 Mbps||1,552 Mbps|
|Download Speed||130 Mbps||1,202 Mbps|
|Upload Speed||186 Mbps||1,210 Mbps|
|Download Speed||287 Mbps||603 Mbps|
|Upload Speed||304 Mbps||1,024 Mbps|
|All physical servers||Yes||No|
|Owns all servers||No||No|
Having a vast server fleet benefits subscribers in two ways. First – it prevents overcrowding, which has a negative impact on performance. Second – you get more variety in terms of what kind of foreign content you can unblock.
NordVPN boasts a sizable network of 5500+ servers spread across 59+ countries. Virtual servers are known for slower speeds; thankfully, this service has none. Moreover, all standard hardware runs solely on RAM modules, meaning they can’t store data long-term.
ExpressVPN, on the other hand, has fewer connection points but covers more ground – 3000+ servers in 94+ countries. And the provider doesn’t deny that some percentage of the fleet is virtual. As for hardware, everything here runs on TrustedServer technology, so all data is wiped with every reboot.
|Free trial||7 days, available on the Google Play Store||No|
|Money-back guarantee||30 days||30 days|
|Payment options||Credit card, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, ACH Transfer, cryptocurrencies, UnionPay, cash||Credit card, PayPal, Apple Pay, Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, UnionPay, Paymentwall|
NordVPN and Express VPN offer the standard VPN pricing options – a monthly plan and lengthy subscriptions. They also protect them with 30-day money-back guarantees and support plenty of payment methods. However, there are some glaring differences between the two.
For starters, ExpressVPN doesn’t offer a chance to test its service beforehand. And there is no option to subscribe for more than a year. Couple it with the fact that the plans are considerably pricier compared to NordVPN, and it’s not the best long-term investment.
The provider has several subscription tiers, all coming with different perks. The Standard one includes just the VPN service, and you can pick from three options:
Then there’s the Plus tier – additionally, you get the NordPass password manager and a data breach scanner. And the Complete package offers the previous add-ons, plus 1 TB of encrypted cloud storage. What’s notable is that the prices remain quite low in each case, as you can see from the table below.
You can subscribe to this service with a 68% discount by utilizing some NordVPN coupons. Paying however you want shouldn’t be an issue either since it supports a vast array of payment methods, from credit cards to cryptocurrencies. And getting a refund is an option if it doesn’t live up to the hype, thanks to the 30-day money-back guarantee.
Curious about NordVPN but don’t want to commit just yet? Thankfully, the provider has a free 7-day trial version just for that. While it’s only available on the Google Play Store, you can use it on other devices apart from Android after signing up.
ExpressVPN only comes with three subscription offers:
- $12.95/month for the monthly plan
- $9.99/month for the 6-month plan
- $8.32/month for the annual plan
All options come with a built-in password manager. But there’s a lack of 2 or 3-year plans, which usually are the best choice for users in terms of cost. You can’t even test the service since there’s no trial version.
Currently, ExpressVPN offers a 35% discount, and the subscriptions are protected with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Furthermore, you can complete the purchase using credit cards, PayPal, Apple Pay, Bitcoin, UnionPay, and Paymentwall.
|Protocols||NordLynx, OpenVPN, IKEv2||Lightway, OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPsec, L2TP/IPsec, PPTP|
|Security features||Double VPN, Threat Protection, Onion over VPN, SOCKS5 proxy, Obfuscated servers, DNS and IPv6 leak protection, split tunneling, kill switch||Split tunneling, Stealth mode, Threat Manager, DNS and IPv6 leak protection, Network Lock (kill switch)|
Both NordVPN and ExpressVPN provide excellent security. They have reliable kill switches, IP and DNS leak protection, and industry-leading AES-256 encryption.. The differences are few and will matter only to some users. However, I give NordVPN an edge because of its more solid feature set.
NordVPN security features
Feature-wise, NordVPN tends to come out on top due to all the perks included in the client. Some of the more notable ones you can use to customize your experience are:
- Obfuscated servers. These hide all tracks of VPN usage as regular traffic, allowing to use this software in internet restrictive regions like China.
- Double VPN. The feature routes your internet via two servers instead of one, resulting in twice the encryption and elevated untraceability.
- Meshnet. Allows you to connect to devices directly through encrypted private tunnels. Handy for those who want to share files securely.
- Threat Protection. Essentially an ad & malware blocker that works even if you’re not connected to a VPN server. It even scans downloads and deletes harmful ones before any damage can be done.
- Split tunneling. Let’s you route the VPN connection through select apps only. Like the torrent client or streaming applications.
We recommend heading to our NordVPN review for a more in-depth analysis of everything this service has to offer.
ExpressVPN security features
Compared to the competition, ExpressVPN doesn’t offer much in terms of features. Besides the essential toolkit, subscribers also get:
- Split tunneling. The same as with NordVPN, it directs VPN traffic to go just through specified applications. The rest access the internet per usual.
- Stealth mode. The VPN automatically switches to Stealth mode if it detects Deep Packet Inspection (DPI). Because of this, you can bypass restrictive firewalls.
- Threat Manager. Blocks app and website user trackers listed in ExpressVPN’s blocklist. It is updated quite frequently – with every new client version.
You can read a detailed analysis of the service in our ExpressVPN review.
|Jurisdiction||Panama||British Virgin Islands|
|Logging||Independently-audited no-logs policy||Independently-audited no-logs policy|
|Anonymous payment||Cryptocurrencies, cash||Bitcoin|
Again, both ExpressVPN and NordVPN are well known for their focus on privacy. The 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 its servers in 2017 and found nothing.
Anonymous payment options are vital for those who want to retain their privacy. 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.
|Major dedicated apps||Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android||Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android|
|Other dedicated apps||Fire TV & Fire Stick, Android TV, Kodi||Fire TV & Fire Stick, Android TV, Kindle Fire, Nook HD, Chromebook, Routers|
|Browser extensions||Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Brave||Chrome, Edge, Firefox|
|Manual setup||Routers, firewalls, NAS||Chromecast, Roku, Nvidia Shield|
Both desktop and mobile apps of ExpressVPN and NordVPN are user-friendly and easy to like. The ExpressVPN app is list-based and a bit simpler, 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. Regarding browser extensions, both providers offer Chrome, Edge, and Firefox versions. NordVPN additionally has an add-on for the Brave browser.
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 manually set up a VPN on routers.
Finally, NordVPN has SmartPlay (Smart DNS) combined with VPN, and ExpressVPN offers it separately (MediaStreamer). You’ll be able to unblock various streaming platforms on your smart TV or game console with both. In terms of simultaneous connections, though, NordVPN offers more – 6 – beating ExpressVPN’s 5 device limit.
NordVPN desktop and mobile apps
NordVPN offers streamlined, easy-to-navigate desktop & mobile applications for all major operating systems. Both PC and phone versions include a map with server markers for easier navigation, or you can use the country list instead.
The interface is clean and you can easily find the features you need in the Settings menu. The best thing is that mac and Windows versions are virtually the same. As for the phone versions, not much is different, apart from the visual aspect.
The main difference between the Android and the iOS apps are the features. The former includes split tunneling and Tapjacking protection, while the latter doesn’t have them. On the other hand, iPhone users benefit from Siri shortcuts.
ExpressVPN desktop and mobile apps
The ExpressVPN desktop and mobile applications are simplistic and neat. Unlike NordVPN, they don’t have a map, only the list of countries you can connect to. There’s not much of a difference between the Windows and mac versions either.
What’s notable is that the PC and phone apps look nearly identical. When it comes to OS, Android and iOS don’t have all the same features. The former has a native kill switch, while the latter doesn’t have one at all, not making it the best choice.
|Other Netflix libraries||Yes||Yes|
NordVPN sits right at the top as the best VPN for Netflix. It’s also slightly faster and more reliable, allowing you to stream your favorite shows in crisp HD quality. The service has over 2,500 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, and Hulu, among others. Finally, both ExpressVPN and NordVPN work great with Kodi, ensuring safety and privacy.
Torrenting and P2P
|Allowed on||All servers||All servers|
|Free SOCKS5 proxy||Yes||No|
|Split tunneling||Yes (Android, Windows)||Yes (Win, Mac, Android)|
Speed and security are of primary importance for torrenters, but there are other considerations in this case. P2P is available in all ExpressVPN and NordVPN countries – but is there something that makes one better than the other?.
NordVPN additionally offers P2P-optimized servers for all your torrenting needs. They facilitate even better speeds than the regular ones, ensuring lightning-fast uploads and downloads.
As for torrenting-oriented perks, both include split tunneling, but ExpressVPN doesn’t have a free SOCKS5 proxy as NordVPN does. The former has port forwarding, though, which is useful for upkeeping your upload/download ratio. As it stands, the providers are tied regarding torrenting.
|Works in China||Yes||Yes|
|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.
|24/7 live chat||Yes||Yes|
It’s nice to have someone you can consult whenever an issue arises. And since VPNs aren’t perfect, having responsive customer support and direct channels to contact them is a must. In the ExpressVPN vs NordVPN debate, both provide plenty of options and even self-help resources.
NordVPN includes 24/7 live chat and email. Furthermore, the service’s knowledgebase is expansive, covering several sections. These are the FAQ, general information, billing, and connectivity troubleshooting guides.
ExpressVPN offers the same – 24/7 live chat and email. Its knowledgebase can be found in the Support tab and it also includes several sections. These are the FAQ, troubleshooting guides, setup instructions, and video tutorials.
NordVPN vs ExpressVPN video review
NordVPN vs ExpressVPN – Reddit opinions
Reddit boasts a passionate userbase with thousands of varying opinions. If you want to hear personal experiences, this is the place you should head to. And when it comes to VPN providers, users aren’t afraid to be honest. Things aren’t exactly clear cut in the ExpressVPN vs NordVPN fight, but it’s hard not to notice which service Redditors tend to favor.
There are countless posts and comments across various VPN subreddits debating which is better. Unsurprisingly, NordVPN is well-liked and recommended, with users switching to it even after using ExpressVPN for years. And when asked about updates, most respond like the Redditor below.
Best VPN by category
|Speed and servers||Wins✔️||Loses❌|
|Total wins||4 out of 9||0 out of 9|
ExpressVPN vs NordVPN – which is better?
At the end of this ExpressVPN vs NordVPN battle, the latter wins in four out of nine categories. While both proved to be equals in many aspects, NordVPN surpassed its opponent in the most crucial ones. We’re talking about performance, features, and pricing.
This doesn’t mean that ExpressVPN is bad – there are plenty of good reasons to prefer it in certain situations! But if you want a service that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg and works like a charm, NordVPN is it.
Is NordVPN worth getting?
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.
Is NordVPN better than ExpressVPN?
ExpressVPN is good, but it’s not better than NordVPN. ExpressVPN is pricier and has slightly fewer features. However, it is better in terms of device compatibility.
How much faster is ExpressVPN than NordVPN?
Actually, NordVPN is faster than ExpressVPN. While both have proprietary tunneling protocols, NordVPN’s NordLynx facilitates significantly better performance. It probably can be attributed to the fact it’s an enhanced version of the already fast WireGuard tunneling protocol.
Is NordVPN cheaper than ExpressVPN?
Yes, NordVPN is much cheaper than ExpressVPN. In fact, the former offers more servers, robust features, and better performance than the latter. If you want a great service that doesn’t cost much, NordVPN is it.