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NordVPN and ExpressVPN have come a long way, having established themselves as the leaders of the VPN industry.

Both providers offer great value with excellent features for users seeking privacy.

In this comparison, I’m going to pit both providers through 16 different factors.

The summary is as follows:

VPN ProvidersNordVPNExpressVPN
JurisdictionPanamaBritish Virgin Islands
Logging PolicyStrict zero-logs stanceStrict zero-logs stance
Pricing, Payment Options, and Refunds$2.99/month, 30-day refund window, payable via Credit Cards, Cryptocurrencies, and Alipay$6.67/month, 30-day refund window, payable via Credit Cards, PayPal, Bitcoin, and more
Speed28.45 Mbps (Download)26.62 Mbps (Download)
Server Network5216 Servers in 60 Countries3000 Servers in 94 Countries
CompatibilityWindows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Android TV, Chrome, Firefox, RoutersWindows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Routers, Chromebook, Kindle Fire, Notebook
Performance and ReliabilityWell-designed apps function reliablyExcellent, responsive overall performance
Customer SupportLive Chat, TutorialsLive Chat, Feedback forms, Tutorials
TorrentingSupported on P2P optimized serversSupported on all servers
Netflix UnblockingSupports good quality streaming on US, UK, and many other serversSupports high quality streaming on US, UK, and other servers
Tunneling ProtocolsOpenVPN, IKEv2OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, PPTP
Extra FeaturesObfuscated servers, DoubleVPN, CyberSec, Onion over VPN, kill switchSplit-tunneling, Network Lock
TransparencyWarrant Canary, Independent audits, No clear information about business ownersSuccessful independent audit of chrome app, No clear information about business owners
Value for MoneyView DetailsView Details
ChinaSupportedSupported
SingaporeSupportedSupported
Website

 

The winner for this comparison is ExpressVPN courtesy of its better performance, extra features, compatibility, torrenting support, streaming, and better value for money.

Let’s explore how we compared the both.

 

1. Jurisdiction

Both of these providers are headquartered in safe jurisdictions, making them ideal choices for users that want to keep their privacy secure data surveillance agencies and ISPs keeping logs.

 

VPN ProviderNordVPNExpressVPN
JurisdictionPanamaBritish Virgin Islands

 

NordVPN: Panama – based in Panama, a country located far from the clutches of 5, 9, and 14 Eyes, which actually have been involved in some pretty objectionably invasive surveillance practices over the years.

Panama does not have any mandatory data retention laws and that is all that a privacy-conscious user you and me really want, right?

ExpressVPN: British Virgin Islands – headquartered in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) which is a very privacy-friendly place with laws that don’t entertain any data retention laws.

The BVI and Panama are both pretty attractive locations from the privacy standpoint and the fact that both of these services have chosen these locations is a testament to their commitment to maintaining user privacy.

Winner: Both VPNs are based in privacy-friendly jurisdictions. This round is thus a tie.

 

2. Logging Policy

 

VPN ProviderNordVPNExpressVPN
Logging PolicyStrict zero-logs stanceStrict zero-logs stance

 

NordVPN has a user-friendly privacy policy, since the provider does not record IP address, time stamps, bandwidth, or traffic logs of any kind.

NordVPN-logging

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.

 

ExpressVPN has always been known as one of the best in the industry in terms of its logging policy. Visiting the privacy policy page of the provider, it is immediately clear that no type of data that could lead to exposure of user identity or activities is being logged by this VPN:

ExpressVPN-logging-policy

Coupled with the fact that ExpressVPN is located in the BVI, these are good reasons to trust the provider to keep your privacy intact.

Winner: Tie as both providers have sound data logging policies.

 

3. Pricing, Payment Options, and Refunds

 

 

NordVPN – Offers multiple packages, all of which are refundable within a period of 30 days.

The best value plan is the 3-year long subscription which is available at $2.99/month

You can purchase their subscription using credit cards, crypto currencies, Alipay, and a few other options.

NordVPN-Payment-Options

 

ExpressVPN – ExpressVPN is more expensive than NordVPN and offers fewer packages as well.

 

The cheapest offer is the 15-month plan which is available for $6.67/month.

All the plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. It accepts payment through multiple different modes including credit cards, bitcoins, PayPal, and more.

ExpressVPN-Payment-Options

Winner: NordVPN wins this round with wider packages and cheaper plans.

 

4. Speed

The factor of speed can make or break a VPN. We conducted speed tests to analyze the faster VPN from these two. We performed tests on a 30 Mbps connection.

 

VPN ProviderNordVPNExpressVPN
Download Speed28.45 Mbps26.62 Mbps

 

NordVPN – Testing NordVPN on a US server, the service produced extremely impressive results with 28.45 Mbps of download speed.

Nord-VPN-US-Speed-Test-1

 

The speeds dropped a little bit on the UK server, but it is still considerably fast at 26.07 Mbps.

NordVPN-UK-Speed-Test

 

ExpressVPN – The service is widely known for its fast servers and the results bear this out. It clocked in a 26.62 Mbps on the US server.

Express-VPN-US-Speed-Test

 

Testing it on the UK server, it recorded a download speed of 26.68 Mbps.

Express-VPN-UK-Speed-Test

It is important to note that speed tests vary on a wide range of factors, so don’t take these results as gospel, but only as a ballpark estimate.

Since both VPNs delivered almost same results in terms of speed, this round is once again a tie.

Winner: While contesting the speed, we found that this round is a tie again.

 

5. Server Network

Winner: We finally have a winner. NordVPN wins this round owing to its larger server network.

 

VPN ProviderNordVPNExpressVPN
Servers5216 Servers in 60 Countries3000 Servers in 94 Countries

 

NordVPN Servers – They have the largest server network among all providers in the industry, which is currently numbered at 5,216 having presence in over 60 countries. The provider only uses physical servers which guarantee strong performance.

 

ExpressVPN Servers – Have one of the largest network consisting of over 3,000 VPN servers in 94 countries. However, unlike NordVPN, many of ExpressVPN’s servers are virtual (see our article on physical vs virtual VPN servers for details).

So, NordVPN not only has more servers, but the entire network is powered by physical servers, making it the winner in this round.

 

6. Compatibility

NordVPN supports all major devices and platforms including Windows, MacOS, iOS, Linux, and Android, plus other devices as well.

NordVPN-Compatibility

ExpressVPN has compatibility with a large range of devices provides dedicated apps for many of these including Kindle Fire and BlackBerry, which are often ignored by providers.

ExpressVPN-Apps

This is quite a large list of ExpressVPN compatible devices, which is why it is the winner this round.

 

7. Performance and Reliability

NordVPN – Comes with a decent app interface for all major platforms and operating systems. It is visually appealing and the app works considerably well while also being simple enough to use.

ExpresssVPN – It has the most well-designed app in the VPN industry. It is simple, appealing without being excessively fancy, and is free from any kinds of bugs. The responsiveness of ExpressVPN apps for different devices makes it a pleasure to use it and attain privacy.

Thus, this round is a tie once again.

 

8. Customer Support

NordVPN has excellent customer support through 24/7 live chat. The support staff is highly responsive and helpful, capable of resolving your queries instantly.

The provider also has a blog and knowledge-base full of troubleshooting guide and other information to assist prospective as well as existing customers.

ExpressVPN offers live chat support, a feedback form, and extensive tutorials/guide to assist users resolve their complaints and queries.

Therefore, both VPNs are tied in this round.

 

9. Torrenting: ExpressVPN vs Nord

 

VPN ProviderNordVPNExpressVPN
TorrentingSupported on certain P2P-enabled serversSupported on all servers

 

NordVPN is a good choice for torrenting because of the good logging policy, jurisdiction, security, and large server network.

However, for MacOS users, Nord VPN is not as secure for torrenting because of the lack of a system-wide kill switch.

ExpressVPN, on the other hand, has a great kill switch feature in addition to an excellent jurisdiction, and logging policy.

Although both VPNs are excellent for torrenting, ExpressVPN is a slightly safer choice for torrrenting owing to the fact that it has more servers for torrenting and also because of its highly responsive Network Lock (kill switch).

 

10. Netflix Unblocking

VPN ProviderNordVPNExpressVPN
Netflix UnblockingSupports good quality streaming on US, UK, and other serversSupports high quality streaming on US, UK, and other many other servers

 

NordVPN is a popular choice among VPN users who want to unblock US or any other region of Netflix. However, the service has experienced some problems being unable to unblock Netflix. These issues were reported by users and have been resolved by the provider now.

ExpressVPN, in contrast, has never had any difficulties unblocking Netflix from any region. You can stream all available shows in HD quality, courtesy of the fast server speeds and excellent unblocking capability.

Winner: As such, ExpressVPN gets a one up over it’s contestant in this round too.

 

11. Tunneling Protocols

The choice between NordVPN or ExpressVPN depends on a great extent on the level of security the two provide. Let’s see how they compare in terms of security.

NordVPN – It uses AES-256 bit encryption for maximum protection of user data. The provider delivers some great extra features to further boost your security such as DoubleVPN, CyberSec, and kill switch.

Their DoubleVPN feature of is basically another name for VPN chaining, a technique that tunnels user data via multiple VPN servers for extra encryption.

CyberSec is an ad-blocker feature to keep you safe from ad pop-ups and other annoying bugs.

The kill switch used by Nord has two different versions. There’s an “App Kill Switch” and an “Internet Kill Switch”.  The former terminates the apps that are programmed (by you, the user) to do so if the VPN connection experiences any hiccups to prevent accidental leakage of your real IP address.

However, the Internet kill switch is a much more logical and effective device for ensuring such accidental leaks. This version of kill switch terminates your system-wide access to the web when the VPN server drops in connection, thus keeping you secure.

The problem is, the Internet kill switch is not available on Mac versions of NordVPN app, which is disappointing.

Nonetheless, the service successfully passed IP and DNS leak tests in our VPN leak test guide.

NordVPN-IP-DNS-Leak-Test

The Onion over VPN feature is quite rare for VPN services to offer, this really adds some points to NordVPN.

 

ExpressVPN – Doesn’t offer a huge range of extra security features. It only sticks to essentials, but is able to offer a level of security few can match in the industry.

The provider offers a strong kill switch feature which is branded as Network Lock. The feature is available for Windows, Mac, and Android apps. The provider only uses system-wide Network Lock to ensure maximum user protection.

With ExpressVPN, you can completely forget about your IP or DNS leaking as the protective strength of the VPN is extremely strong. As you can see below, the service does not leak your IP address or DNS.

ExpressVPN-IP-DNS-Leak-Test

Thus, on the security front it is once again hard to pick a winner between ExpressVPN and NordVPN.

This is a tie.

 

12. Extra Features

NordVPN vs ExpressVPN Comparison 2019

NordVPN – The provider has special servers which use obfuscation technology to unblock those websites that filter VPN traffic. In countries such as North Korea and China, the authorities use VPN-blocking technology that doesn’t allow any traffic originating form a VPN.

In these situations, obfuscation comes in real handy, because it hides the fact that you are using a VPN, thus letting you access any website that is partial against people using VPNs.

Other than obfuscation, NordVPN has good security features as discussed above including simultaneous connections for 6 different devices. But this VPN lacks split-tunneling, which is one feature that only a few VPN providers have the technology to support.

 

ExpressVPN – This provider does not offer much in the way of extra features, however it does have split-tunneling for Windows as well as Mac.

Service also offers obfuscated servers for users that need to access blocked websites with anti-VPN filtering in place.

Overall, NordVPN offers a broader ranger of extra features. This is why NordVPN takes the cake in this round.

 

13. Transparency: Nord vs ExpressVPN

The element of transparency is seldom taken account of in the world of VPNs which is ironic because it should be one of the primary rating criteria of a VPN’s credibility. Our VPN transparency guide contains extensive research on which VPNs have transparency and which are lacking in this department.

NordVPN – The provider has never published a transparency report over its tenure. However, the company has successfully undergone independent audits which is refreshing to see for a VPN service.

In addition, they have a warrant canary which is basically just a clever way of letting users know if the service has received any gag orders or data requests from agencies.

All in all, the provider has good transparency, but it can certainly do better in this regard.

ExpressVPN – They do not release transparency reports either, but the case involving the assassination of a Russian Ambassador in Turkey clearly proved that the provider truly follows a no-logging policy.

Although the provider hasn’t undergone complete audits of its business, the Chrome VPN extension of the service was actually tested by a cybersecurity firm Cure53, the results of which came out positive.

As such, ExpressVPN has built credibility on firm foundations, but there is still room for improvement in its transparency. Perhaps the provider can start publishing annual reports and warrant canaries?

Winner: Both VPNs need to improve their transparency, but they are making progress in almost a similar way. For this reason, this round is a tie.

 

14. Value for Money

The choice between ExpressVPN or NordVPN ultimately depends on which provider offers the better value for money.

To judge which alternative has the better value for money, the first factor that naturally comes to mind is price. On this criteria alone, NordVPN would seem to be the winner in this comparison.

However, value is not all about price. You would expect tangible benefits for the price you are paying. So a better question would be: what is the level of performance the VPN delivers for the price it is sold at?

From this perspective, ExpressVPN offers the better value for money even though it is more expensive than its contender. This is because of the better performance of the service in terms of stability, consistency, seamless support for torrenting and streaming, and better security.

ExpressVPN is the winner as it offers better value for money.

 

15. NordVPN or ExpressVPN: Which is Best for China?

Getting a VPN to work in China is one of the toughest challenges that VPN providers have to deal with. China uses strong blocking and network filtering technologies to prevent VPNs from working in the country and access websites not approved by the excessively controlling government of the country.

As such, the strength of a VPN’s unblocking capabilities is most rigorously tested by checking if their servers work in China.

NordVPN’s ability wavers when it comes to working in China. There are times when the service will work in the country, but it will simply fail other times. As such, it not very reliable.

The situation is a little better with ExpressVPN, which has a much better success rate unblocking websites and services in China.

So the winner here is ExpressVPN.

 

16. Which is Best for Singapore?

Both providers have servers in Singapore and allow people in the country to easily connect to other locations as well in order to gain access to geo-restricted foreign sites in the country.

NordVPN has more than 86 servers in Singapore, while ExpressVPN only has 3.

Winner: NordVPN for it’s higher server count and cheaper pricing.

 

ExpressVPN vs NordVPN: Conclusion

Winner is ExpressVPN

Although ExpressVPN managed to beat NordVPN, it is important to remember that NordVPN is the toughest competitor it has met so far.

In fact, you can’t go wrong with either VPN as far as quality and performance is considered. As long as you know what to expect from either VPN provider, you’re good to go.

 

Extending This Comparison by Adding More Providers

Both services are placed in a competitive industry. The performance and quality of these VPNs in related to a few other successful VPN brands is compared below.

 

Comparing ExpressVPN and NordVPN with PIA

Overall winner: ExpressVPN

FeaturesNordVPNExpressVPNPIA
JurisdictionPanamaBritish Virgin IslandsUSA
Servers5,100+3,000+3,275+
ProtocolsOpenVPN, IKEv2/IPSecOpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, PPTPOpenVPN, L2TP, PPTP, SOCKS5
Kill switchYesYesYes
Simultaneous connections635
Netflix SupportYesYesYes
Trustpilot score5.19.67.9

 

PIA (Private Internet Access) is another veteran VPN service in the industry. Unlike NordVPN and ExpressVPN, however, PIA is headquartered in the United States, which is a country with the heaviest domestic surveillance programs.

Nonetheless, PIA more than makes up for it by a very convincing zero logging policy and even has started publishing a transparency report bi-annually.

PIA also has useful extra features such as kill switch, but lacks split-tunneling.

On a head-to-head comparison, ExpressVPN is a better service than PIA. However, the contest between NordVPN and PIA is much more evenly contested.

 

Comparing IPVanish, NordVPN and ExpressVPN

Overall winner: ExpressVPN

FeaturesNordVPNExpressVPNIPVanish
JurisdictionPanamaBritish Virgin IslandsUSA
Servers5,100+3,000+1,200+
ProtocolsOpenVPN, IKEv2/IPSecOpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, PPTPOpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP/IPSec, PPTP,
Kill switchYesYesYes
Simultaneous connections635
Netflix SupportYesYesYes
Trustpilot score5.19.69.7

 

IPVanish is another popular name in the VPN industry. It is based in the US which puts it right in the hub of the Five Eyes.

The logging policy of IPVanish is hard to comment on, because it does not reveal much about what types of logs the provider actually keeps. VPNs like ExpressVPN and NordVPN have earned user confidence by well-written logging policies that explicitly mention what type of information they are keeping logs of.

In addition IPVanish has a smaller network of servers than the other two but it does offer obfuscation, kill switch, and split-tunneling features.

On the whole, the provider is a strong competitor to Express VPN and Nord VPN but its privacy, security, and servers fall short of the standard set by these two providers.

Therefore, IPVanish lacks in a few departments that other contenders cover with great efficiency.

 

Nord VPN vs ExpressVPN vs PureVPN

Overall winner: ExpressVPN

FeaturesNordVPNExpressVPNPureVPN
JurisdictionPanamaBritish Virgin IslandsHong Kong
Servers5,100+3,000+2,000+
ProtocolsOpenVPN, IKEv2/IPSecOpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, PPTPOpenVPN, IKEv2, PPTP, L2TP/IPSec, SSTP
Kill switchYesYesYes
Simultaneous connections635
Netflix SupportYesYesYes
Trustpilot score5.19.69.4

 

PureVPN is one of the toughest competitors to NordVPN and ExpressVPN. The provider has a large number of servers distributed over the 140 countries and offers valuable features like split-tunneling and Internet kill switch.

PureVPN is based in the privacy-friendly jurisdiction of Hong Kong and has a good logging policy as well. It has all the capabilities of top-notch VPN providers but its app performance is the one area where it loses out to competitors.

If PureVPN manages to improve its app functionalities, it will develop a good chance of outperforming industry leaders.

 

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