🏆 Winner: ExpressVPN
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 one of the best VPNs in 2021.
But now we are challenged with a tough question: which VPN is better: ExpressVPN or NordVPN? To find the answer, we are going to perform a comparison between these VPNs with due diligence to pick a winner for the ExpressVPN vs NordVPN 2021 battle.
At first, both VPNs seem identical in their strengths. Upon deeper evaluation, one VPN is a clear winner than the other in several areas, as you’ll find in this blog. So, let’s begin.
NordVPN vs ExpressVPN: Setting Up a Fight
|Jurisdiction||British Virgin Islands||Panama|
|Security||AES 256 Bit||AES 256 Bit|
|Leaks||No IP, DNS & WebRTC||No IP, DNS & WebRTC|
|Servers||3,000+ in 94 Countries||5,200+ in 59 Countries|
|Speed||27.17 Mbps average||24.95 Mbps average|
|Streaming||Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and More||Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and More|
|Compatibility||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, routers||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, routers|
|Trustpilot||4.6 ★★★★ – Reviews 7,432||4.0 ★★★★ – Reviews 6,127|
|Best For||Overall Best VPN||Best for Geo-Unblocking|
|More Info||ExpressVPN Review||NordVPN Review|
|Visit Site||Visit Site|
Quick Overview: ExpressVPN vs NordVPN
To provide you with a detailed comparison of NordVPN vs ExpressVPN, we have tested both VPNs on certain criteria. The comparison between ExpressVPN and NordVPN is divided into 12 different categories.
ExpressVPN vs NordVPN: Detailed Analysis [Updated September 2021]
We have tested both ExpressVPN and NordVPN on 12 performance criteria. Let’s look at each test in detail.
1. Unblocking Strength: ExpressVPN vs NordVPN
Both NordVPN and ExpressVPN are among the best VPNs for streaming that we have tested so far. But, one VPN is a clear winner here.
|Netflix||US, UK, Canada, Germany,|
France, Japan, and more
|US, UK, Australia, Canada,|
Japan, Netherlands, and more
|Hulu||US, Japan||US, Japan|
|Amazon Prime Video||Yes||US, UK|
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 the US library and 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 services.
2. Pricing: ExpressVPN vs NordVPN
Here are the details of pricing plans of both the VPNs, along with special offers:
|Regular Plans||1-month: $11.95/mo|
12-month: $4.92/mo – 58% off
$3.30/mo (VPN Awareness Month - 2 year plan at 72% off + 3 months FREE)
– 69% off
12 + 3 months extra:
$6.67/mo – 49% off
|Cheapest Plan||69% off on a 24-month subscription||49% off on 12 + 3 months subscription|
|Special Offers||3 months free on a 2-year plan||3 months free on a 12-monthly plan|
|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.
NordVPN is slightly cheaper than ExpressVPN. The most expensive plan from NordVPN 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.
With both VPNs, you get a 30-day money-back guarantee. So, if you are skeptical about either of them, you can sign up for a subscription and cancel ExpressVPN or cancel NordVPN to get your refund. Both ExpressVPN and NordVPNs refund policies are user-centric and excellent.
Related Reading: Cheapest VPN Service Guide for 2021
3. ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN: Security and Encryption
The privacy and security features are exceptionally strong in both NordVPN as well as ExpressVPN. From encryption to tunnelling protocols and logging policies, these VPNs have it all covered.
|Encryption||AES-256 encryption with|
SHA 382 HMAC authentication
|AES-256 encryption with|
SHA 512 HMAC authentication
|Protocols Supported||PPTP, L2TP/IPSec, SSTP and OpenVPN UDP / TCP||OpenVPN, IKEv2, IPSec/L2TP|
|Kill Switch||Available on Windows, Android, macOS,|
Linux, and router. Not available on iOS
|Available on Windows, macOS, Android, iOS,|
Linux. Not available on router
|DNS Leak Protection||✔||✔|
|No Logs Policy||Yes (external audits)||Yes (external audits)|
Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN offer the best server security in the industry. Here are some of the noteworthy features of both VPNs server networks:
ExpressVPNs Server Security
- All servers run on RAM-disk mode that offers high security as no server physically stores any data.
- Rents servers from third parties and does not have colocated servers (self-owned servers)
- Uses some virtual locations.
NordVPNs Server Security
- Just like ExpressVPN, all NordVPN servers are running on RAM-disk mode.
- All servers in the network are colocated servers (self-owned), meaning there are no third-party rented servers like ExpressVPN.
- All of its servers are running on physical hardware (no virtual servers).
Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN offer IPv6, DNS, and WebRTC leak protection. Both the VPNs performed excellently and passed all the leak tests. Therefore, you can expect foolproof privacy with both ExpressVPN and NordVPN. Here are the leak protection test results of both the VPNs:
ExpressVPN Leak Protection Test Results
We conducted the test by connecting to ExpressVPN’s US server, and there was no IPv6 leak, as shown in the image below:
For DNS leak testing, we ran tests on dnsleaktest.com, and the results were amazing. After connecting to ExpressVPN’s US server, our DNS address was changed to a DNS address from the United States, proving no DNS leak.
Similarly, ExpresVPN also passed the WebRTC leak test. After connecting to ExpressVPNs US server, results showed a US IP address instead of our real IP address, thus leaking no WebRTC.
NordVPN Leak Protection Test Results
Just like ExpressVPN, NordVPN doesn’t leak IP, DNS, or WebRTC. NordVPN passed all the tests without any issues. After connecting to its US server, the IP leak test showed no data leaks.
Similarly, NordVPN also passed DNS leak tests without any issues. It showed no signs of DNS leaks after connecting to its US server, as you can also see in NordVPN vs Surfshark comparison.
Finally, it also passed our WebRTC leak tests. Our default IP address was nowhere to be seen, as shown in the screenshot below.
The jurisdiction that a VPN is based in often determines their logging policies and whether the VPN companies are under any legal obligation to share customer information with agencies or governments.
NordVPN is based in Panama – 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.
ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands – The country is far from the reach of Five Eyes, a network of intelligence-sharing countries. The laws in the British Virgin Islands are protective of individual privacy and place no data retention requirements on service providers.
Both Panama and the British Virgin Islands are not members of the 14 Eyes countries and are safe from the influence of the US and European Union when it comes to data sharing and retention.
4. ExpressVPN vs NordVPN: Logging and Privacy
When it comes to privacy and user logs, both NordVPN and ExpressVPN are great options.
|Headquarter||British Virgin Islands (safe)||Panama (safe)|
NordVPN’s logging policy
NordVPN’s privacy statement is highly reassuring as they take the step of minimizing the data logging of users and don’t log data like time stamps, session information, and more.
Audits: NordVPN has undergone two separate audits by PWC AG in Switzerland. You can get the details in our NordVPN logging policy blog.
ExpressVPN’s 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.
Audits: Like NordVPN, ExpressVPN has also undergone third-party audits by PWC and Cure53. You can get the details about their logging policy in our ExpressVPN logging policy blog.
5. ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN: Speed Test
|United States||26.62 Mbps||25.4 Mbps|
|United Kingdom||26.43 Mbps||25.9 Mbps|
|Germany||28.97 Mbps||24.29 Mbps|
|Australia||26.40 Mbps||24.81 Mbps|
|Avg Download Speed||27.17 Mbps||24.91 Mbps|
Download speed is an important factor to consider when evaluating the performance of a VPN. No matter how good a VPN is, it won’t do you any good if it’s too slow to even load a page properly.
NordVPN is extremely consistent. From the 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.
Server Speeds in the United States
ExpressVPN US server speed test results:
ExpressVPN gave a reasonable speed of 26.62 Mbps on its US server, considering my internet speed of 30 Mbps.
Let’s check NordVPN’s speed now.
NordVPN US server speed:
NordVPN gave a speed of 25.4 Mbps on its US server, with very high pings (226 ms).
Long-Distance Speed Tests in the UK
We also ran long-distance speed tests with UK servers of both ExpressVPN and NordVPN. Here are the results:
ExpressVPN UK server speed:
ExpressVPN gave 26.43 Mbps speed on its UK server, with surprisingly lower pings as compared to the US server.
NordVPN UK server speed:
NordVPN gave a decent speed of 25.9Mbps on its UK server with considerably lesser pings than its US server, but they were higher as compared to ExpressVPN.
Therefore, you can see that ExpressVPN offers not only high-speed servers but also lesser pings which makes it the best VPN for gaming with its marginally better performance.
ExpressVPN’s slow OpenVPN speeds
When using the OpenVPN protocol, you should expect slower speeds. ExpressVPN gave significantly slower speeds on OpenVPN protocol as compared to speeds on other protocols. Pings were also very high.
NordVPN’s slow OpenVPN speeds
NordVPN is a great choice for users who want to use OpenVPN protocol as it offered faster speed as compared to ExpressVPN’s OpenVPN speeds, even with double VPN encryption. NordVPN gives a great performance on both OpenVPN and WireGuard protocols as can be seen in the NordVPN vs TorGuard comparison.
6. ExpressVPN vs NordVPN: Servers and Performance
The server network is something that VPN providers excel in.
NordVPN has 5,200+ servers in over 59 countries. On the other hand, ExpressVPN has 3,000+ servers in 94 countries.
NordVPN only offers its services in 59+ countries but has more server locations than ExpressVPN overall. Nonetheless, ExpressVPN covers 94 countries which is quite remarkable.
7. ExpressVPN vs NordVPN: Special Features
Both NordVPN and ExpressVPN offer a wide range of features for different users. But, there is a clear winner in this category.
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-hop), and Onion Over VPN. These features can boost your online privacy significantly when browsing the web.
DoubleVPN encrypts your traffic over two servers for an additional layer of protection. NordVPN’s CyberSec feature blocks harmful content online including ads.
The NordVPN kill switch works on two different modes. You can either enable it to cut off the 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.
NordVPN also offers obfuscated servers that disguise your traffic as normal HTTPS traffic. This is great for using a VPN in countries like China, Russia, and more where VPNs are blocked.
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 Double VPN.
Though you get a split-tunnelling 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 also offers this feature, but it is limited to Windows and Android only.
8. Netflix and Streaming with ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN
Both NordVPN and ExpressVPN work with Netflix and are excellent choices for accessing geo-blocked streaming sites from anywhere in the world. However, ExpressVPN has a larger server network with 30+ more server locations than NordVPN. Meaning, you can stream local content from any country, including various Netflix libraries from anywhere in the world.
ExpressVPN also offers fast-speed servers as compared to NordVPN, which is great for streaming without any lags or buffering. Therefore, it is one of the best VPNs for Netflix in 2021.
Both NordVPN and ExpressVPN unblocked the Netflix US library without any issues. You can also use NordVPN’s dedicated IP address feature to access blocked content from anywhere in the world.
Netflix US testing with NordVPN
Netflix US testing with ExpressVPN
We also tested other country servers to access different Netflix libraries using NordVPN and ExpressVPN. ExpressVPN unblocked all Netflix libraries within seconds, NordVPN, on the other hand, took some time. Here are the results:
|Netflix South Korea||✔||✔|
Both NordVPN and ExpressVPN unblocked most Netflix libraries from abroad, but ExpressVPN is the real winner. NordVPN failed to unblock Swedish Netflix, which ExpressVPN had no problem unblocking. ExpressVPN also managed to serve excellent streaming speed as there were no buffering or lags.
9. ExpressVPN vs NordVPN: Torrenting
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 for safe and secure torrenting.
When looking for the best VPN for torrenting, you have to consider two important things:
- Speed: The VPN should be fast enough to download large files.
- Leak protection: The VPN should offer both DNS and IP leak protection for secure torrenting. It should also offer a kill switch in case your VPN connection drops.
While, both ExpressVPN and NordVPN offer IP and DNS leak protection, along with a kill switch for safe torrenting, but in terms of speed, ExpressVPN is faster.
ExpressVPN’s Torrenting Support:
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 Torrenting Support:
NordVPN supports torrenting on a limited number of servers. There is a limited number of dedicated P2P servers. NordVPN also offers good download speeds for torrenting as we observed in our comparison between NordVPN and PureVPN.
Moreover, since both providers are equipped with robust security, they can both be relied on for torrenting purposes. Also, they are both among the best VPNs for torrenting in the VPN industry at the moment.
10. ExpressVPN vs NordVPN: Gaming
One of the major advantages of using a VPN for gaming is lower pings, a lag-free experience, and security.
Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN are great choices for gamers who want to bypass geo-restrictions, speed throttling, and DDoS attacks. However, ExpressVPN is the winner as it is faster than NordVPN.
ExpressVPN Gaming Test
After connecting to ExpressVPN’s Singapore server, our pings significantly reduced from 203 to 66ms while playing Fortnight. Thus, the gaming experience was lag-free and it was more responsive.
NordVPN Gaming Test
After connecting to NordVPN’s Germany server, our network pings reduced from 104 ms to 78 ms while playing Counter-Strike. NordVPN also offers Double VPN encryption for gamers, but you might experience slower speeds with this feature.
11. ExpressVPN vs NordVPN: Device Compatibility
A VPN needs to offer good compatibility in order to serve users across all devices and platforms. Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN offer dedicated apps for a wide range of devices and operating systems.
You can find dedicated apps for both providers for mobile devices as well as desktops. Now let’s see how the two VPNs compare for specific OSs and devices:
While ExpressVPN supports 5 simultaneous connections and NordVPN supports 6 simultaneous connections.
NordVPN’s dedicated app supports Windows as far back as XP and Vista and obviously the newer versions up to Windows 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 the current Android 11. 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 back as iOS 9.0. With ExpressVPN, however, you will need a device with iOS 10 at least. You can use the iOS apps of both VPNs for iPhone as well as iPad devices.
NordVPN has a common-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, Arch, and Raspbian (32-bit only).
Router support is available for both VPNs. You can get a router with a pre-configured ExpressVPN or NordVPN set up, or you can also perform the manual setup yourself (but it is pretty tricky).
ExpressVPN also supports the following:
- Video game consoles (Xbox, PS4/5, etc) and Smart TVs
- Browser extension (Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari)
- Amazon FireStick
NordVPN can also be used with:
- Browser extension (Chrome, Firefox)
- Smart TVs and video game consoles (Xbox, PS4/5, etc)
- Amazon FireStick
App Usability and Interface: ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN
|One-click installation setup||Android, iOS, Windows, macOS||Android, iOS, Windows, macOS|
|Browser Extensions||Chrome, Firefox, Edge||Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari|
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 have 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-tunnelling feature, and tinker around with other preferences.
NordVPN also offers any options for changing the VPN protocol and you can also control its advanced features from settings.
This includes CyberSec and a kill switch. The Double VPN 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 of Onion Over VPN, but it can really make your online experience much 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.
12. ExpressVPN vs NordVPN: Customer Support Test
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.
Both ExpressVPNs and NordVPN’s customer support services are excellent.
Both providers are also extremely efficient in responding to your queries if you reach out through their live chat or email support. You can also check ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN Reddit threads and see that both providers offer amazing customer support.
We found ExpressVPN a little bit faster in responding to our queries through email as compared to NordVPN, though both providers are equally quick when answering through live chat support.
To test both VPN services, we decided to test them by asking a few questions.
NordVPN offered human response instead of automated responses through its Live Chat feature. The response time was also pretty good, coming at around 3 minutes 25 seconds.
Similarly, we tested ExpressVPN too, and we got our reply in a short time of just 2 minutes and 17 seconds which is pretty good. The response was not automated and personal as can be seen in the screenshot below:
FAQs – ExpressVPN vs NordVPN
Yes, ExpressVPN is better than NordVPN as it offers a wide server network, fast speeds, and more control over security compared to NordVPN. It is a solid choice for both streaming and torrenting as well owing to its excellent unblocking ability, P2P optimized servers, and fast speed of 27.1 Mbps on a 30 Mbps base connection.
ExpressVPN is faster, but NordVPN comes pretty close too. ExpressVPN delivered a fast speed of 27.1 Mbps and NordVPN managed an average speed of 24.9 Mbps on a 30 Mbps base connection. ExpressVPN is overall the best choice for gaming and streaming.
ExpressVPN is arguably the best VPN in the market. It offers a perfect balance of speed, security, and performance. It also offers a wide server network of 3000+ servers across 94 countries (160 locations), so you can unblock any geo-restricted site you want with ExpressVPN.
NordVPN vs ExpressVPN – Which 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.
|Security and Encryption||✔||✔|
|Logging and Privacy||✔||❌|
|Servers and Performance||✔||✔|
|Netflix and Streaming||✔||❌|
🏆 Winner: ExpressVPN
Nonetheless, we had to choose one, and ExpressVPN is the winner of this battle. It is fast, with excellent unblocking ability and it works with all major streaming platforms. Similarly, it is easier to use with a clean app interface as compared to NordVPN. ExpressVPN is a solid choice for streaming and torrenting as well with P2P-optimized servers.