NordVPN or ExpressVPN? Which one of these two rivals is better?
NordVPN is 50.02%* better than ExpressVPN.
These providers are the fiercest competitors in the industry which have set a high benchmark for upcoming VPN services to meet and exceed.
A comparison between the two providers was therefore in order.
In this article, I’m going to put both providers through 14 different factors to determine which is the best VPN option for you.
The summary for our NordVPN vs ExpressVPN comparison is as follows:
|Jurisdiction||Panama||British Virgin Islands|
|Logging Policy||No logs||No logs|
|Speed||27.91 Mbps||27.17 Mbps|
|Server Network||5,500+ servers|
|Customer Support||Live Chat||Live Chat|
Let’s explore how we compared both.
NordVPN is among the most popular VPN providers in the industry today. The provider launched its services in 2012 and has since acquired millions of satisfied customers through top-notch privacy and security features.
See our NordVPN review for a thorough evaluation of the provider.
- Privacy friendly jurisdiction (Panama)
- No Logs policy
- 6 simultaneous connections
- 5,500+ servers in 60 countries
- 24/7/365 Live Chat
- CyberSec, Multihop, DNS Leak Protection, Kill Switch
- Works with Netflix
- No free trial
- Does not support split-tunneling
- Does not accept PayPal
ExpressVPN is widely rated as the best VPN provider in the industry. The provider was established in 2019 has remained on the frontline guarding online privacy of netizens.
Our ExpressVPN review delves deeper into the salient features of this VPN service.
- Based in BVI (Privacy-friendly country)
- Zero logs policy
- 5 simultaneous connections
- Works with Netflix
- Split-tunneling, kill switch, DNS leak protection
- 3,000+ servers in 94 countries
- Live chat feature is not permanent
- No free trial
- Expensive pricing
1. Jurisdiction: NordVPN vs. ExpressVPN
Result: Both providers are located in privacy-friendly jurisdictions
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.
|British Virgin Islands|
NordVPN– 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– 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.
2. Logging Policy: NordVPN vs ExpressVPN
Result: Both have a strict no-logging policy
|Strict zero-logs stance||Strict zero-logs stance|
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.
3. Pricing, Payment Options, and Refunds
Result: NordVPN is 64.06% cheaper than ExpressVPN
|1-month plan: $11.95/mo||1 month plan: $12.95/mo|
|6-month plan: None||6 month plan: $9.99/mo|
|1-year plan: $6.99/mo||1 year plan: $8.32/mo|
|2-year plan: $3.99/mo||2 year plan: None|
|3-year plan: $2.99/mo||3 year plan: None|
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.
ExpressVPN – is more expensive than NordVPN and offers fewer packages as well.
The cheapest offer is the 1 year plan which is available for $8.32/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.
Related Reading: Cheapest VPN Service Guide for 2019
4. Speed: NordVPN vs ExpressVPN
Result: NordVPN is 2.72% faster as compared to ExpressVPN
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. More details are available on our Fastest VPN Guide.
|US: 28.45 Mbps||US: 26.62 Mbps|
|UK: 26.07 Mbps||UK: 26.68 Mbps|
|Germany: 28.73 Mbps||Germany: 28.97 Mbps|
|Australia: 28.41 Mbps||Australia: 26.43 Mbps|
|Avg. Download: 27.91 Mbps||Avg. Download: 27.17 Mbps|
NordVPN – Testing NordVPN on a US server, the service produced extremely impressive results with 28.45 Mbps of download speed.
The speeds dropped a little bit on the UK server, but it is still considerably fast at 26.07 Mbps.
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.
Testing it on the UK server, it recorded a download speed of 26.68 Mbps.
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.
5. Server Network: ExpressVPN vs NordVPN
Result: NordVPN has 83.3% more servers than ExpressVPN
|5,500+ servers in 60 countries||3,000+ servers in 94 countries|
NordVPN Servers – They have the largest server network among all providers in the industry, which is currently numbered at 5,500+ having a presence in 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 vs. ExpressVPN
Result: ExpressVPN supports more devices and platforms than NordVPN
NordVPN supports all major devices and platforms including Windows, MacOS, iOS, Linux, and Android, plus other devices as well.
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.
This is quite a large list of ExpressVPN compatible devices, which is why it is the winner this round.
7. Performance and Reliability
Result: ExpressVPN offers faster connectivity than NordVPN
|Simple and Interactive GUI||Appealing GUI|
|Well-functioning App||Smooth App Functionality|
|Good Connectivity||Excellent Connectivity|
NordVPN – Comes with a decent app interface for all major platforms and operating systems. It is visually appealing and the app works considerably well without any bugs 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. You can connect to any server of your choice within a matter of seconds.
Thus, this round is a tie once again.
8. Customer Support: Nord VPN vs ExpressVPN
Result: NordVPN live chat response time was 30 seconds, whereas ExpressVPN live chat was unavailable at the time.
NordVPN has excellent customer support through 24/7 live chat. The support staff is highly responsive and helpful, capable of resolving your queries instantly.
I tested their live chat to see how quickly they respond to general queries. They replied within 30s when I asked them (with a pseudonym) about their Netflix servers:
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’s live chat support is an inconstant feature: it isn’t always available. There are times when the “live chat” button will simply open a box for sending an email-based query.
Since an email-based response usually takes longer (it took me an hour to get a response), NordVPN is superior to ExpressVPN in the customer support department as well.
Therefore, NordVPN wins this round.
9. Torrenting: ExpressVPN vs Nord
Result: ExpressVPN has more p2p-enabled servers than NordVPN
|Supported on certain P2P-enabled servers||Supported 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: ExpressVPN vs NordVPN
Result: ExpressVPN is more consistent at unblocking Netflix than NordVPN.
|Supports good quality streaming on US, UK, and other servers||Supports 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 lately.
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.
11. Security and Features: NordVPN vs ExpressVPN
Result: NordVPN has wider range of features, but both offer strong encryption and tunneling protocols for resilient security.
The choice between NordVPN or ExpressVPN depends on a great extent on the level of security the two provide. First, we checked both services if they were leaking IP/DNS (read VPN leak test guide for more details).
NordVPN came out clean in this test. Connecting to a France (Paris) server, the leak test tool detected the new French IP address which shows that the actual IP is not getting leaked.
ExpressVPN also defends strongly against any IP/DNS leaks:
Both providers have a lot of excellent features in common including:
- AES-256 encryption
- OpenVPN and IKEv2 tunneling protocols
- Obfuscated servers
- IP/DNS leak protection
- P2P support
- Browser extension
Other than these commonalities, NordVPN has the following distinguishing features that ExpressVPN doesn’t have:
- Onion over VPN – Combination of VPN + TOR for greater anonymity (learn more here)
- CyberSec – An ad, tracker, and online malware blocking tool (learn more here)
- DoubleVPN – The VPN chaining technology to combine two VPN servers for stronger security (learn more here)
- Dedicated IP addresses
- 6 simultaneous connections
ExpressVPN, for its part, has the following unique features:
- 5 simultaneous connections
Overall, NordVPN is clearly the richer of the two when it comes to features.
12. Transparency: Nord vs ExpressVPN
Result: NordVPN is more transparent than 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, but it is clear that the company is owned by Tefincom S.A.
NordVPN 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 – The provider claims to be owned by Express VPN International Ltd, a company based in British Virgin Islands.
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?
13. Which is Better for China?
Result: ExpressVPN works better in China than NordVPN
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.
However, the Great Firewall of China is an aggressive filtering technology and there are times when even ExpressVPN fails to work inside of China.
14. Which is Better for Singapore?
Result: NordVPN is better for Singapore as compared to ExpresssVPN
NordVPN has more than 86 servers in Singapore, while ExpressVPN has only 3. There’s no question here that NordVPN is the superior choice when it comes to service within Singapore.
NordVPN vs ExpressVPN: Conclusion
The winner for this comparison is NordVPN which has proven to be 50.02% better than ExpressVPN.
Although NordVPN managed to beat ExpressVPN, it is important to remember that ExpressVPN 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 are considered. As long as you know what to expect from an either VPN provider, you’re good to go.
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