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NordVPN vs 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 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?

To find the 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 with this post.

However, covering every detail is not possible for either of these VPNs. To get complete information, see ExpressVPN tests and NordVPN review.

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 a better ability to access NetflixBBC iPlayerAmazon 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 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

Winner: NordVPN

This is a summary view of both VPNs in terms of their main features:

FactorsNordVPNExpressVPN
JurisdictionPanamaBritish Virgin Islands
Logging PolicyNo logsNo logs
Pricing$3.71/mo $6.67/mo
Speed24.91 Mbps27.17 Mbps
Server Network5,000+ servers
55+ countries
3,000+ servers
94 Countries
Customer SupportLive ChatLive Chat
TorrentingSupportedSupported
Netflix UnblockingSupportedSupported
SecurityStrongStrong
Websitenordvpn.comexpressvpn.com

If you want to see other comparisons, see this detailed VPN comparison chart.

Unblocking Strength

NordVPNExpressVPN
NetflixUS, UK, Australia, Canada,
Japan, Netherlands
US, UK, Canada, Germany, France, Japan, and more
HuluUS, JapanUS, Japan
Sky GoYesYes
Amazon Prime VideoUS, UKYes
BBC iPlayerYesYes
CBSYesYes

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 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.

Winner: ExpressVPN

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.

Torrenting

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

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.

Pricing

NordVPNExpressVPN
Regular Plans1-month: $11.95/mo

12-month: $6.99/mo – 41% off

24- month: $3.71/mo – 68% off

1-month: $12.95/mo

6-month: $9.99/mo

12 + 3 months extra: $6.67/mo – 49% off

Cheapest Plan68% off on 24-months subscription49% off on 12 + 3 months subscription
Special Offers3 months free on a 3-year planNo Special Offers
Money-back Guarantee30-day30-day
Payment methodsCredit cards, PayPal & BitcoinCredit 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 the 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 $3.71/mo, whereas that of ExpressVPN is the 15-month subscription costing $6.67/mo .

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. Check here to get the 30 day free trial hack for ExpressVPN.

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.

Logging Policy

NordVPNExpressVPN
HeadquarterPanama (safe)British Virgin Islands (safe)
Activity LogsNoneNone
Connection LogsNoneSome
Anonymous PaymentYesYes

NordVPN has a user-friendly privacy policy, since the provider does not record IP address, time stamps, bandwidth, or traffic logs of any kind. As such, you don’t have to worry about your personal identity or details leaking to the world, because NordVPN makes no records of your personal information.

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.

Jurisdiction

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

NordVPNExpressVPN
EncryptionAES-256AES-256
Protocols SupportedOpenVPN, IKEv2PPTP, L2TP/IPSec, SSTP and OpenVPN UDP / TCP
RSA KeysRSA-2048RSA-4096
App SecurityKillswitchKillswitch

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.

Features

NordVPNExpressVPN
KillswitchYesYes
Split TunnelingNoYes
Simultaneous Connections65
Ad/website blockerYesNo
ObfuscationYesYes
Double HopsYesNo

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.

Winner: NordVPN

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

NordVPNExpressVPN
Countries5994
Locations190160
Servers5,500+3000+

The 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 its services in 55+ countries but has more server locations than ExpressVPN overall. Nonetheless, ExpressVPN covers 94 countries which are 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:

CountryNordVPNExpressVPN
AfghanistanNoNo
AlbaniaYesYes
AlgeriaNoYes
AndorraNoYes
AngolaNoNo
ArgentinaYesYes
ArmeniaNoYes
ArubaNoNo
AustraliaYesYes
AustriaYesYes
AzerbaijanNoYes
BahamasNoYes
BahrainNoNo
BangladeshNoYes
BarbadosNoNo
BelarusNoYes
BelgiumYesYes
BelizeNoNo
BermudaNoNo
BhutanNoYes
BoliviaNoNo
Bosnia & HerzegovinaYesYes
BrazilYesYes
British Virgin IslandsNoNo
Brunei DarussalamNoYes
BulgariaYesYes
CambodiaNoYes
CanadaYesYes
Cape VerdeNoNo
Cayman IslandsNoNo
ChileYesYes
ChinaNoNo
ColombiaNoYes
Costa RicaYesYes
CroatiaYesYes
CyprusYesYes
Czech RepublicYesYes
DenmarkYesYes
DominicaNoNo
Dominican RepublicNoNo
EcuadorNoYes
EgyptNoYes
El SalvadorNoNo
EstoniaYesYes
EthiopiaNoNo
FinlandYesYes
FranceYesYes
GeorgiaYesYes
GermanyYesYes
GhanaNoNo
GreeceYesYes
GrenadaNoNo
GuatemalaNoYes
GuyanaNoNo
HaitiNoNo
HondurasNoNo
Hong KongYesYes
HungaryYesYes
IcelandYesYes
IndiaYesYes
IndonesiaYesYes
IrelandYesYes
Isle of ManNoYes
IsraelYesYes
ItalyYesYes
JamaicaNoNo
JapanYesYes
JerseyNoYes
JordanNoNo
KazakhstanNoYes
KenyaNoYes
KuwaitNoNo
KyrgyzstanNoYes
LaosNoYes
LatviaYesYes
LiechtensteinNoYes
LithuaniaNoYes
LuxembourgYesYes
MacauNoYes
MacedoniaYesYes
MadagascarNoNo
MalaysiaYesYes
MaltaNoYes
MauritaniaNoNo
MauritiusNoNo
MexicoYesYes
MoldovaYesYes
MonacoNoYes
MongoliaNoYes
MontenegroNoYes
MontserratNoNo
MoroccoNoNo
MyanmarNoYes
NepalNoYes
NetherlandsYesYes
New ZealandYesYes
NigerNoNo
NigeriaNoNo
NorwayYesYes
OmanNoNo
PakistanNoYes
PanamaNoYes
Papua New GuineaNoNo
ParaguayNoNo
PeruNoYes
PhilippinesNoYes
PolandYesYes
PortugalYesYes
Puerto RicoNoNo
QatarNoNo
RomaniaYesYes
Saudi ArabiaNoNo
SenegalNoNo
SerbiaNoYes
SeychellesYesNo
SingaporeNoYes
SlovakiaYesYes
SloveniaYesYes
South AfricaYesYes
South KoreaYesYes
SpainYesYes
Sri LankaYesYes
St LuciaNoNo
SurinameNoNo
SwedenNoYes
SwitzerlandYesYes
TaiwanYesYes
TajikistanYesYes
TanzaniaNoNo
ThailandNoYes
Trinidad and TobagoYesNo
TunisiaNoNo
TurkeyNoYes
TurkmenistanYesNo
Turks and Caicos IslandNoNo
UkraineNoYes
United Arab EmiratesYesNo
United KingdomYesYes
United StatesYesYes
UruguayYesYes
UzbekistanNoYes
VenezuelaNoYes
VietnamYesYes

Speed

NordVPNExpressVPN
US: 25.46 MbpsUS: 26.62 Mbps
UK: 25.09 MbpsUK: 26.68 Mbps
Germany: 24.29 MbpsGermany: 28.97 Mbps
Australia: 24.81 MbpsAustralia: 26.43 Mbps
Avg. Download: 24.91 MbpsAvg. 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. 

Winner: ExpressVPN

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.

Compatibility

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. ExpressVPN supports 5 simultaneous logins.

Now let’s see how the two VPNs compare for specific OSs and devices:

Windows

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.

Mac

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.

Android

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.

iOS

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.

Linux

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).

Routers

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).

Additional Platforms

NordVPN also supports the following:

  • Kodi
  • Video game consoles and smart TVs
  • Browser extension (Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari)

ExpressVPN can also be used with:

  • Kodi
  • Browser extension (Chrome, Firefox)
  • Smart TVs and video game consoles

Winner: ExpressVPN

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

NordVPNExpressVPN
One click installation setupAndroid, iOS, Windows, MacOSAndroid, iOS, Windows, MacOS
Supports configurability YesYes
Overall usabilityEasyEasy
Browser ExtensionsApp DependentApp 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.

ExpressVPN-iOS-interfaces

The NordVPN app for desktop is covered 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 a distinctive look across all devices.

NordVPN-User-Interface

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.

ExpressVPN Settings

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.

nordvpn-settings

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.

Customer Support

NordVPNExpressVPN
Live ChatYesYes
Email SupportYesYes
Tutorials/Setup GuidesYesYes

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.

Winner: ExpressVPN

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 trump 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.

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However, if you’re looking for more VPNs to try, here are the best VPNs that offer a free trial.

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