ExpressVPN vs NordVPN in 2022

Jan Youngren
Jan Youngren | Chief Editor
Last updated: November 14, 2022
ExpressVPN vs NordVPN comparison
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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 rating9.6 ⭐8.2 ⭐
Current offerGet NordVPN 68% OFF!Get ExpressVPN 49% OFF!
Price starts from$2.99/month$6.67/month
Money-back guarantee30 days30 days
No-logs policyIndependently-auditedCourt-proven and independently audited
Servers5500+ servers in 59+ countries3000+ servers in 94+ countries
VPN protocolsNordLynx, OpenVPN, IKEv2Lightway, OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP, PPTP
StreamingNetflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, and moreNetflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, and more

Express VPN offers bigger country coverage, but it is considerably more expensive. NordVPN, on the other hand, is more affordable, has more servers, and comes with extra features. Both providers are among the top VPNs overall, but in this NordVPN vs ExpressVPN fight, the former is the winner.

Speed

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

More live data from our VPN Speed Test tool
ExpressVPN NordVPN
USA server
Download Speed 195 Mbps 1,290 Mbps
Upload Speed 99 Mbps 1,241 Mbps
UK server
Download Speed 125 Mbps 1,259 Mbps
Upload Speed 187 Mbps 1,210 Mbps
Germany server
Download Speed 230 Mbps 731 Mbps
Upload Speed 204 Mbps 1,181 Mbps

Servers

NordVPNExpressVPN
Servers5500+3000+
Countries59+94+
All physical serversYesNo
Owns all serversNoNo
RAM-only serversAllYes

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 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.

Pricing

NordVPNExpressVPN
Free trial
7 days, available on the Google Play StoreNo
One month
$11.99/month$12.95/month
Six months
No$9.99/month
One year
$4.99/month$6.67/month
Two years
$2.99/monthNo
Money-back guarantee
30 days30 days
Payment optionsCredit card, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, ACH Transfer, cryptocurrencies, UnionPay, cashCredit 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.

NordVPN pricing

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.

CompletePlusStandard
Monthly plan$14.19/month$12.89/month$11.99/month
1-year plan$7.19/month$5.89/month$4.99/month
2-year plan$5.29/month$3.99/month$2.99/month

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.

NordVPN free trial guide

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.

NordVPN
NordVPN
VPNpro rating: 9.6 / 10

ExpressVPN pricing

ExpressVPN only comes with three subscription offers:

  • $12.95/month for the monthly plan
  • $9.99/month for the 6-month plan
  • $6.67/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.

ExpressVPN pricing

Currently, ExpressVPN offers a 49% 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.

Security

NordVPNExpressVPN
EncryptionAES-256AES-256
ProtocolsNordLynx, OpenVPN, IKEv2Lightway, OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPsec, L2TP/IPsec, PPTP
Security featuresDouble VPN, Threat Protection, Onion over VPN, SOCKS5 proxy, Obfuscated servers, DNS and IPv6 leak protection, split tunneling, kill switchSplit 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.

Privacy

NordVPNExpressVPN
JurisdictionPanamaBritish Virgin Islands
LoggingIndependently-audited no-logs policyIndependently-audited no-logs policy
Anonymous payment
Cryptocurrencies, cashBitcoin

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.

Device compatibility

NordVPNExpressVPN
Major dedicated apps
Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, AndroidWindows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android
Other dedicated apps
Fire TV & Fire Stick, Android TV, KodiFire TV & Fire Stick, Android TV, Kindle Fire, Nook HD, Chromebook, Routers
Browser extensions
Chrome, Edge, Firefox, BraveChrome, Edge, Firefox
Manual setup
Routers, firewalls, NASChromecast, Roku, Nvidia Shield
Simultaneous devices
65

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.

NordVPN sideload app version

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.

NordVPN Android and iOS versions

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.

ExpressVPN Windows 11 app

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.

ExpressVPN iOS app

Streaming

NordVPNExpressVPN
Netflix US
YesYes
Other Netflix libraries
YesYes
Other platforms
YesYes
Smart DNSSmartPlayMediaStreamer

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.

Watch Disney Plus With NordVPN

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

NordVPNExpressVPN
Allowed on
All serversAll servers
Free SOCKS5 proxy
YesNo
Split tunneling
Yes (Android, Windows)Yes (Win, Mac, Android)
Port forwardingNoYes

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.

China

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.

Customer support

NordVPNExpressVPN
24/7 live chatYesYes
Phone LineNoNo
Email YesYes
KnowledgebaseYesYes

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

ExpressVPN review 2022 | 5 things you didn’t know about this VPN!
2022-01-01
NordVPN 2022 review | Is NordVPN worth it and can keep up with the new year?
2021-12-25
NordVPN vs ExpressVPN 2022 | Fight for the Best VPN title 💪
2022-08-13

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.

NordVPN reddit opinion

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.

NordVPN opinion update

Best VPN by category

NordVPN🥇ExpressVPN🥈
Speed and servers
Wins✔️Loses❌
Pricing
Wins✔️Loses❌
Security
Wins✔️Loses❌
Privacy
Draw🤝Draw🤝
Compatibility
Draw🤝Draw🤝
Streaming
Draw🤝Draw🤝
Torrenting
Draw🤝Draw🤝
China
Wins✔️Loses❌
Customer supportDraw🤝Draw🤝
Total wins
4 out of 90 out of 9

Get NordVPN today

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.


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

FAQ

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.

Top category VPN provider
1. NordVPN
9.6 / 10
Excellent security
Flawless privacy practices

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31 comments
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  1. Deb

    Just one thing, the review is super out of date. Do notice that there is the Lightway UDP protocol, which is just a lighter version of Wireguard. Nord also has its own implementation of wireguard called the Nordlynx. Your comparison is simply in favor of one and biased as you have shown inability to obtain the latest app. I am not suggesting Express is better, but you on the other hand, need more work to do. Calling yourself a pro without even getting into the protocol update and explanation is just hilarious as hell.


    1. avatar
      Mikaela Bray

      Hi Deb!

      Thank you for commenting. We did mention Lightway and NordLynx tunneling protocols in the Highlight section before. Nevertheless, we’ve updated the article. We are grateful for your observations!


  2. 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. 


  3. 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


  4. 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.


  5. 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. 


  6. Major Em

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


  7. 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!


  8. 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. 


  9. 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.


  10. 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.


  11. 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.


  12. 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.


  13. 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.


  14. 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.


  15. 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.


  16. 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


  17. 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.


  18. 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

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