NordVPN vs ExpressVPN Comparison – Which is the Best
NordVPN and ExpressVPN are two of the most widely-acclaimed VPNs in the industry. Both of these providers are exceptional in quality which is why they are a part of our best VPN list
But now we are challenged with a tough question: which VPN is better for multiple use cases either ExpressVPN or NordVPN?
That’s not an easy question to answer. We are going to perform a comparison between these VPNs with due diligence to pick a winner for the NordVPN vs ExpressVPN battle.
At first, both VPNs seem identical in their strengths. Upon deeper evaluation, one VPN trumps the other in several areas as you’ll find as you read along this post.
Overview of ExpressVPN vs NordVPN
This comparison between ExpressVPN and NordVPN is divided into 10 different categories.
Unblocking strength: Here we will see which VPN has the better ability to access Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video etc.
Torrenting: The next section will focus on torrenting and P2P support of each VPN to see which VPN is better for anonymity.
Pricing: Where we will evaluate subscription plans, refund policy, and payment methods.
Security and Privacy: Here we will focus on factors such as protocols, encryption, logging policy, and security features.
Servers and network, speed, compatibility, and ease-of-use cover the performance aspect of both VPN, so if you want to see the which VPN is more efficient in usage, this is the section for you.
Jurisdiction: To find out where the VPNs are based and what that means for you from the privacy standpoint.
Customer support: To evaluate which VPN has a more professional and responsive team of customer support.
A Quick Comparison of NordVPN vs ExpressVPN
This is a summary view of the both VPNs in terms of their main features:
|Jurisdiction||Panama||British Virgin Islands|
|Logging Policy||No logs||No logs|
|Speed||24.91 Mbps||27.17 Mbps|
|Server Network||5,000+ servers
|Customer Support||Live Chat||Live Chat|
If you want to see other comparisons, see this detailed VPN comparison chart.
|Netflix||US, UK, Australia, Canada,
|US, UK, Canada, Germany, France, Japan, and more|
|Hulu||US, Japan||US, Japan|
|Amazon Prime Video||US, UK||Yes|
Unblocking streaming platforms is a difficult task for any VPN today. This is because of the strict blocking technologies that services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and other use.
The good news is that both ExpressVPN and NordVPN are efficient at unblocking multiple popular platforms.
For instance, ExpressVPN works exceptionally well for Netflix and unblocks more Netflix libraries and regions as compared to NordVPN. While NordVPN works great for US library and some others as mentioned in the table, it doesn’t work for many other regions that ExpressVPN is good for.
Both providers are also impressively reliable for BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and other streaming apps.
ExpressVPN supports a wider range of Netflix libraries as compared to NordVPN. Therefore, you’re more likely to be successful in satisfying your streaming cravings with ExpressVPN, though NordVPN is a very good option itself if you’re only looking for certain popular Neflix libraries such as the US, UK, and Canada.
One of applications of a VPN is to hide yourself in order to safely download torrents. Directly performing p2p-activities without taking any privacy measures is a risky business. This is why it is important to mask your identity with a VPN.
ExpressVPN supports p2p on all of its servers. Connect to any server and you will get access to blocked torrenting websites with full privacy.
NordVPN supports torrenting on a limited number of servers. These servers are optimized for streaming and will give you the best performance while also guaranteeing secrecy.
Moreover, since both provider are equipped with robust security (as you will learn below) , they can both be relied on for torrenting purposes.
Winner: It’s a Tie
Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN are perfectly capable of unblocking torrents and providing you the security you need to perform p2p activities safely, away from the view of law enforcement.
|Regular Plans||1- month: $11.95/mo
12-month: $6.99/mo – 41% off
24- month: $4.99/mo – 58% off
36- month: $3.49/mo – 70% off
12-month: $8.32/mo – 35% off
|Cheapest Plan||70% off on 36-months subscription||35% off on 12 months subscription|
|Special Offers||3 months free on 3 year plan||No Special Offers|
|Payment methods||Credit cards, PayPal & Bitcoin||Credit cards, PayPal, Alipay, Bitcoin|
Most of the big fish in the VPN industry follow a similar pricing structure: expensive monthly subscriptions and discounted annual plans.
This is also true of NordVPN and ExpressVPN. NordVPN’s subscription periods start from 1 month to 3 years. On the other hand, ExpressVPN offers 1-month, 6-month, and 15-month plans.
NordVPN is slightly cheaper than ExpressVPN. The most expensive plan from Nord is the 1-month subscription which costs $11.95/month. ExpressVPN’s most expensive plan is also the 1-month subscription costing $12.95/month.
The most affordable NordVPN plan (on a per-month basis) is the 3-year subscription with the price tag of $3.49/month, whereas that of ExpressVPN is the 15-month subscription costing $8.32/month.
With both VPNs, you get a 30-day money-back guarantee. So, if you are skeptical about either of these, you can sign up for a subscription and cancel ExpressVPN or cancel NordVPN to get your refund.
Winner in Pricing: NordVPN
NordVPN is a cheaper VPN service than ExpressVPN, but you will have to go for the longer-term subscription (3-year) to get the best value out of it. Both VPNs are slightly higher priced, but if you had to pick one as a permanent solution on a budget, NordVPN will result in more savings.
Related Reading: Cheapest VPN Service Guide for 2020
Security and Privacy
The privacy and security features are exceptionally strong in NordVPN as well as ExpressVPN. From encryption to tunneling protocols and logging policies, these VPNs have it all covered.
|Headquarter||Panama (safe)||British Virgin Islands (safe)|
Their privacy statement is highly reassuring because it is hard to come across service providers that actually take the step of minimizing data logging of users.
Coupled with the fact that ExpressVPN is located in the BVI, these are good reasons to trust the provider to keep your privacy intact.
The jurisdiction that a VPN is based in often determines their logging policies and whether the VPN companies are under any legal obligations to share customer information with agencies or governments.
The good news is that NordVPN is based in one of the most privacy-friendly countries: Panama. There are no mandatory data retention laws in the country, which is why they don’t log any information other than what is needed to deliver services to each user.
The same can be said of ExpressVPN which is located in British Virgin Islands. The country is far from the reach of Five Eyes, a network of intelligence-sharing countries. The laws in British Virgin Islands are protective of individual privacy and place no retention requirements on service providers.
Encryption & Protocols
|Protocols Supported||OpenVPN, IKEv2||PPTP, L2TP/IPSec, SSTP and OpenVPN UDP / TCP|
For encryption, ExpressVPN has a slight upper-hand over NordVPN. Although both providers use AES-256 encryption for the data channel, ExpessVPN use RSA-4096 on the control channel which has longer keys as compared of NordVPN’s RSA-2048 keys.
The tunneling protocols offered by ExpressVPN include OpenVPN, L2TP, SSTP, and PPTP whereas NordVPN only offers OpenVPN and IKEv2.
NordVPN implements the OpenVPN protocol on Windows, Android, and Mac apps. IKEv2 is only available for its iPhone/iPad apps.
NordVPN offers a wealth of features and is one of the best in the business when it comes to value added features.
It is equipped with CyberSec (ad/website blocker), DoubleVPN (multi-hopping), and Onion over VPN. These features can boost your online privacy significantly when browsing the web.
The NordVPN kill switch works on two different modes. You can either enable it to cut off internet at the system level, or you can select specific apps that should be cut off from the connection in case your VPN service drops temporarily.
ExpressVPN offers a kill switch that cuts of your internet connection entirely if the VPN connection goes down. However, it lacks some of the features available in NordVPN such as ad-blocker and DoubleVPN.
Though you get a split-tunneling feature with ExpressVPN which allows you to select apps that should use the VPN connection and apps which should connect to the internet directly.
NordVPN has a much larger set of privacy-boosting features as compared to ExpressVPN. Though ExpressVPN great features in the form of split-tunneling and kill switch, NordVPN offers a lot more than that in the form of CyberSec, DoubleVPN, and Onion over VPN.
Server network is something that VPN providers excel in.
NordVPN has 5,500+ servers in over 59 countries. On the other hand, ExpressVPN has 3,000+ servers in 94 countries.
NordVPN only offers it services in 55+ countries but has more server locations than ExpressVPN overall. Nonetheless, ExpressVPN covers 94 countries which is quite remarkable.
Winner: It’s a tie
There is no definite winner here. ExpressVPN has a larger coverage in terms of countries, whereas NordVPN possesses the bigger overall count. Both VPNs have a strong server network, better than most other providers out there.
NordVPN vs ExpressVPN: Server Country Checklist
You can use the following table to see server locations offered by both providers:
|Bosnia & Herzegovina||Yes||Yes|
|British Virgin Islands||No||No|
|Isle of Man||No||Yes|
|Papua New Guinea||No||No|
|Trinidad and Tobago||Yes||No|
|Turks and Caicos Island||No||No|
|United Arab Emirates||Yes||No|
|US: 25.46 Mbps||US: 26.62 Mbps|
|UK: 25.09 Mbps||UK: 26.68 Mbps|
|Germany: 24.29 Mbps||Germany: 28.97 Mbps|
|Australia: 24.81 Mbps||Australia: 26.43 Mbps|
|Avg. Download: 24.91 Mbps||Avg. Download: 27.17 Mbps|
Download speed is an important factor to consider when evaluating the performance of a VPN. No matter how good you a VPN is otherwise, it won’t do you any good if it’s too slow to even load a page properly.
To test the speeds of both providers, a base internet connection of 30 Mbps and the tool speedtest.net were used. Check more details in our fastest VPN guide.
NordVPN is extremely consistent. From US to Australia, it delivers fast speeds that almost reach the level of the base internet connection.
However, ExpressVPN is even faster, but only slightly. It reached as high as 28.97 Mbps at its fastest.
The average download speed of ExpressVPN was recorded at 27.17 Mbps while that for NordVPN was 24.91 Mbps.
NordVPN is extremely fast. That cannot be denied. But ExpressVPN worked even faster, even if the difference is really small. Although you can’t go wrong with either provider if you want a fast performing VPN, we can’t argue with numbers. ExpressVPN wins this round by a small margin.
VPNs need to offer good compatibility in order to serve users across all devices and platforms. Privacy needs protection no matter which device you are using.
ExpressVPN and NordVPN offer dedicated apps and devices for a wide range of devices and operating systems. You can find dedicated apps for both providers for mobile devices as well as desktops.
NordVPN also supports multi-logins of up to 6 with a single subscription. ExressVPN supports 5 simultaneous logins.
Now let’s see how the two VPNs compare for specific OSs and devices:
NordVPN’s dedicated app supports Windows as far back as XP and Vista and obviously the newer versions up til 10. ExpressVPN’s dedicated VPN app supports Windows 7, 8, and 10. If you want to use the VPN on Windows XP, you will have to rely on manual setup through OpenVPN GUI.
For Mac, NordVPN and ExpressVPN both offer extensive support. The dedicated Mac apps of these VPNs are compatible with Mac OS as far as Yosemite 10.10 up to Mac Catalina 10.15. So even if you have an old Mac machine, you should have no difficulty running the apps of either of these powerful VPNs.
ExpressVPN is compatible with Android 5 all the way up to current Android 10. It also supports Android TV and Android-based tablets with its well-designed app. NordVPN also supports a wide range of Android OS versions including Android TVs.
NordVPN has a slight edge over ExpressVPN as its apps work for iOS versions as far as 9.0. For ExpressVPN, however, you will need a device with iOS 10 at least. You can use the iOS apps of boths VPNs for iPhone a well as iPad devices.
NordVPN has a command-line based app for Linux users that works with the Debian distro. For other distros, you will need to manually install the VPN. ExpressVPN offers wider support for Linux users offering its command-line app that is compatible with Ubuntu, Debian, CentOS, Fedora, Aarch, and Raspbian (32-bit only).
Router support is available for both VPNs. You can get a router with a pre-configured ExpressVPN or NordVPN installation or you can also perform the manual setup yourself (but it is pretty tricky).
NordVPN also supports the following:
- Video game consoles and smart TVs
- Browser extension (Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari)
ExpressVPN can also be used with:
- Browser extension (Chrome, Firefox)
- Smart TVs and video game consoles
Compatibility is never a problem with either of these VPNs, but ExpressVPN goes the extra mile with excellent support for Linux users with its command-line based interface. If you want to use a VPN on your common phone or desktop, both VPNs are equally matched. But when it comes to extended support for some less popular platforms, ExpressVPN often gets the better of NordVPN.
App Usability and Interface
|One click installation setup||Android, iOS, Windows, MacOS||Android, iOS, Windows, MacOS|
|Browser Extensions||App Dependent||App Dependent|
The ExpressVPN app has a neat, compact design for all of its apps. The look and feel is quite similar between its desktop as well as mobile apps, featuring a big connect button for instant connection to a server, or you can move to a list-based server view to choose and select any server of your choice.
The NordVPN app for desktop is covers a lot of space on the big, because it has a map-based view for server selection, but it is just as neat and well-designed as ExpressVPN. The mobile version of NordVPN apps also features this map-based view (with mobile appropriate proportion) that make NordVPN is distinctive look across all devices.
Both apps allow you to select your server instantly from the main screen, but the settings and other advanced features are tucked into separate tabs for better usability. It is a respectable design decision and makes the apps a highly well-organized appearance.
The Options tab of ExpressVPN can be used to change the VPN protocol, change kill switch settings, configure the split-tunneling feature, and tinker around with other preferences.
NordVPN doesn’t offer any options for changing the VPN protocol – which is OpenVPN by default for desktop and Android, and IKEv2 for iPhones – but you can control its advanced features in settings.
This includes CyberSec and kill switch. The DoubleVPN and Onion over VPN features are basically “specialty servers” that you can use from the server selection screen. Only a few servers are designed with the functionality for the above, but these can really make your online experience secure when enabled.
Both apps are highly user-friendly and users of all levels – beginner to expert – will enjoy using these apps. The balance of usability and configuration level is nicely maintained in both apps.
Winner: It’s a tie
In both cases, the app interfaces are efficient, appealing, and professional-looking. The learning curve is small enough to get users rapidly familiar with these apps and find their way around it, whether they are looking for a specific server or control some setting. This is why this round is a tie.
Efficient customer support is an important component that determines the quality of service for any company. The fact that NordVPN and ExpressVPN are widely considered to be the best in the VPN industry, we would expect nothing less than top-notch customer support.
So, it’s great to see that both VPNs provide excellent customer support through detailed and understandable articles, guides, and installation instructions.
Both providers are also extremely efficient in responding to your queries if you reach out through their live chat or email support. We found ExpressVPN a little bit faster in responding to our answers through email as compared to NordVPN, though both providers are equally quick when answering through live chat support.
It is hard to choose a winner as both VPNs have excellent customer support teams. However, the depth and quality of ExpressVPN’s support articles trumps that of NordVPN even though both are equal in other aspects of customer support. Therefore, ExpressVPN has a slight edge over NordVPN here.
Final Verdict: ExpressVPN is the Winner!
This was arguably one of the toughest battles between VPNs. It was almost impossible to choose a winner considering how powerful NordVPN and ExpressVPN are.
Nonetheless, we had to choose one and ExpressVPN is the one we decided to crown victorious.
This decision was based on account of the fact that ExpressVPN won in 4 of the categories against NordVPN, which won in 2 categories.
But overall, these are both top-of-the-line VPNs that have set the benchmark for quality in performance for the whole industry. You can toss a coin and pick either one of these and won’t be disappointed. The winner, nonetheless, is ExpressVPN as far as this head-to-head comparison is concerned.