NordVPN vs ExpressVPN – These two are 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
Now we are challenged with a tough question. Which VPN is outperforming when it comes to data security and unblock geo-restricted streaming libraries?
To find the answer, we have performed a comparison between these VPN providers with due diligence to pick a winner.
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 with this post.
A Quick Comparison of NordVPN and ExpressVPN
This is a summary view of 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.
Overview of ExpressVPN and NordVPN
Moreover, we focused on factors such as protocols, encryption, logging policy, and security features. Also, we evaluated the subscription plans, refund policy, and payment methods.
1. Unblocking Strength
Result: both ExpressVPN and NordVPN are efficient at unblocking multiple popular platforms.
|Netflix||US, UK, Australia, Canada,|
|US, UK, Canada, Germany, France, Japan, and more|
|Hulu||US, Japan||US, Japan|
|Amazon Prime Video||US, UK||Yes|
ExpressVPN works exceptionally well in unblocking more Netflix libraries and regions as compared to NordVPN. While NordVPN works great for the US library and some others as mentioned in the above 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.
Result: Both providers 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.
One of the applications of a VPN is to hide 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 providers are equipped with robust security (as you will learn below) , they can both be relied on for torrenting purposes.
Winner: It’s a Tie
3. Pricing Plans
Result: NordVPN is a cheaper VPN service than ExpressVPN, but you will have to go for the longer-term subscription like 3-year plan to get the best value out of it.
|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 24-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|
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. 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.
Moreover, both providers offers 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
4. Privacy Features
Result: NordVPN has a much larger set of privacy-boosting features as compared to ExpressVPN.
|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 on often determines their logging policies and whether the VPN companies are under any legal obligation to share customer information with agencies or governments.
The good news is that NordVPN is based on 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 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 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 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.
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.
5. Servers in Countries
Result: 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 has 5,000+ 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 are quite remarkable.
Winner: It’s a tie
6. Speed Results
Result: NordVPN is extremely fast and this cannot be denied but ExpressVPN worked even faster.
|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|
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.
Result: ExpressVPN goes the extra mile with excellent support for Linux users with its command-line based interface.
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 both VPNs for iPhone as 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
8. App Usability and Interface
Result: Both providers are competent enough in-terms of app usability and interface.
|One click installation setup||Android, iOS, Windows, MacOS||Android, iOS, Windows, MacOS|
|Browser Extensions||App Dependent||App Dependent|
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
9. Customer Support
Result: It is hard to choose a winner as both VPNs have excellent customer support teams. However, the in-depth analysis helps in declaring ExpressVPN as the ideal one.
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.
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.