26% of users utilize a VPN when accessing the internet. Among these, users of NordVPN and ExpressVPN make a considerable chunk of the market.
Each of these VPNs has its benefits and shortcomings. Evaluating which one is the best for you can be confusing and can waste a lot of time. Fortunately, we have planned this guide to help our readers decide the best VPN for streaming, file sharing, privacy, and others.
Our detailed comparison of NordVPN vs ExpressVPN is based on speed, price, features, ease of use, and much more.
Brief Overview – Which VPN is the Best?
Each VPN has its Unique Selling Point. Some are good for streaming, while others provide higher speeds or an extensive feature set. Let’s discuss some of the outstanding features of the VPNs on our list.
Apart from offering stable connections for streaming, NordVPN is ideal for P2P file sharing. Also, it has other advantages such as dedicated servers for specific workloads. Overall, NordVPN is priced well and provides excellent value.
ExpressVPN is a household name among VPN service providers. According to Techradar, it’s “the best offshore VPN for privacy and unblocking.” With 3000+ servers in more than 94 countries, ExperssVPN offers excellent infrastructure among its competitors.
NordVPN vs ExpressVPN – Price Comparison
Let’s take a look at the pricing of our VPNs and what kind of value they provide.
|1-year||$6.67/month (49% off)||$4.99/month|
|2-year||N/A||$3.79/month (54% off)|
Both, NordVPN and ExpressVPN, provide a 30-day money-back guarantee, and the packages are billed at the beginning of the period.
Both the options have distinct pricing strategies. ExpressVPN charges the most as it is somewhat of a premium option. NordVPN is pricey too, but it offers heavy discounts for long-term customers.
ExpressVPN offers $6.67/mo (Save 49% and get 3 extra months FREE with 12-month plan). This deal is sure to attract a lot of users that want premium features at a fraction of the cost.
The Winner: NordVPN turns out to be an inexpensive and worthy option as far as the pricing comparison goes. Their 2-year plan is suited best for everyone at $4.79/mo (Save 54% and get 3 extra months FREE with 24-month plan).
The Speed Test – Which VPN is the fastest?
VPN reroutes your internet traffic and your internet speed is bound to get affected by that. Let’s discuss why this happens before we test these VPNs for their speed.
What Affects Your Internet Speed While Using a VPN?
Internet speeds can be affected by various factors that may or may not be related to VPNs:
- Bandwidth Throttling: ISPs often share bandwidth with different networks causing your speeds to throttle. In addition, they may put limits on certain downloads, such as large files or P2P file sharing.
- Your Connection Speed: Your connection speed has the most noticeable impact on how fast your internet is.
- Server Location: A VPN that has physical servers all over the world will provide stable connections wherever you are. Generally, it’s best to have a server in your country or a neighboring one.
- VPN speed limit: Some VPNs may limit the speed they can provide, such as 15mbps-50mbps, regardless of your connection speed.
A good VPN optimizes your connection to minimize bandwidth loss. We have done our analysis by checking which VPN provides the fastest speeds.
First, we compared the baseline speed our ISP allows
Our numbers via ethernet on our desktop are 10.10 Mbps download, 10.23 Mbps upload, and a 2 ms ping.
NordVPN retained 77% download speed. This kind of performance is still excellent, but it’s lesser than ExpressVPN. While this speed is sufficient for Full HD streaming, a ping this high will ruin your online gaming experience.
Upon testing, ExpressVPN provided some of the highest speeds that we’ve seen. It retained more than 95% of the download speed. This kind of speed is more than enough for streaming, browsing, and more or less every other task. Moreover, a 183ms ping can also handle multiplayer games in most cases.
The Winner: Without any doubt, ExpressVPN turns out to be a blazing fast VPN due to its higher download and upload speed.
Ease of use (Setup/Interface)
Every software needs to be intuitive and easy to use. This applies to VPNs as well. To help you figure out the best one in this category, we did an in-depth VPN comparison for ExpressVPN and NordVPN based on ease of navigation and user interface.
NordVPN also presents a user-friendly interface. The quick-connect option works fast and handles the settings all by itself. Moreover, the option to choose between specialty servers on the front page is a pleasant addition.
On the other hand, the windows application provides plenty of options for advanced users, ranging from obscured servers to custom DNS.
The user interface is simple and easy to use with a prominent button that lets you secure your connection. It chooses the best server for you and connects quickly.
On the other hand, ExpressVPN offers plenty of options for various user preferences. Users can choose when the program starts, which servers it connects to, and toggle the built-in internet killswitch.
The Winner: While personally using both of these apps, ExpressVPN seemed easier to use and navigate. Their app is compact and displays everything required.
NordVPN vs ExpressVPN – Features Comparison
Take a look at this table to see which of the two VPNs has support for the following features.
|No Logs Policy||✓||✓|
|Automatic Kill Switch||✓||✓|
|DNS Leak Protection||✓||✓|
|Native Onion Over VPN||✓||✓|
|Multi-logins||5 devices||6 Devices|
As you can see, both of these VPNs offer a range of services, and they are quite competitive with the features they offer.
Apart from various features, a VPN needs to have a robust infrastructure as well. A good VPN should have servers located all over the world so the users get a reliable connection regardless of where they are located. Here are the stats for each of our picks:
- NordVPN has more than 5200 servers in 59+ countries
- ExpressVPN has more than 3000 servers located in 94 countries.
A well-scaled network of servers has obvious benefits. It allows users to access uncensored internet, and region-free streaming, among other things. For example, a user located in China can connect to a US server and get uncensored access to the web. They can even stream shows from Netflix US.
Both NordVPN and ExpressVPN have successfully established a network of fast servers over the globe that support streaming, file sharing, and provide superior security.
Now, let’s talk about the USPs of each of our VPNs.
Since ExpressVPN provides the highest speeds, it is ideal for streaming. Moreover, it has an excellent android app. This makes ExpressVPN the best option for streaming Netflix, BBC, Hulu, Disney+, etc.
On the other hand, NordVPN has dedicated support for P2P file sharing and specialty servers that support Onion over a VPN. P2P and onion service can be used with ExpressVPN, but NordVPN supports it natively. It provides higher speeds for torrenting via clients like uTorrent, BitTorrent, etc. Most NordVPN servers provide full support for P2P.
Looking at the features, we can see what each VPN is best for. ExpressVPN is on top if you need privacy over various platforms. It supports consumer-grade Windows, as well as NAS storage for professionals. It also provides a stable connection and excellent customer support (more on that later)
The Winner: NordVPN costs marginally less and performs just as expected. It also provides support for various platforms, but perhaps it functions best in streaming services, for downloading large files and providing overall internet security.
Device Compatibility: Which VPN is the Best?
Both of these providers offer great compatibility with apps for all major platforms. Yet, ExpressVPN and NordVPN are very different in terms of app functionality.
Here’s a table showing a side-by-side comparison of device compatibility of the two providers:
|Amazon Fire TV||✔️||✔️|
|PlayStation / Xbox||✔️||✔️|
|Browser Extensions||Chrome, Firefox, Safari||Chrome, Firefox|
ExpressVPN Device Compatibility
ExpressVPN is a great multiple-device VPN that offers easy-to-use and feature-rich apps for all major devices like Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, and more. There are apps for Chromebook, Kindle Fire, and routers too.
What we love about ExpressVPN apps is that all of their apps offer the same functionality and features. Even its mobile apps pack almost full functionality of the desktop app. This is rare because most VPNs only offer advanced features for desktop apps.
Moreover, it’s one of the few providers offering an app for routers so you can skip the manual configuration and there’s a Safari browser extension. It also supports up to 5 simultaneous device connections on a single account.
NordVPN Device Compatibility
NordVPN is compatible with a wide range of devices with great apps for iOS, Android, macOS, Windows, and Linux.
There are two apps for macOS – one available on Apple Store, and the other available on NordVPN’s official website. Both offer different features in terms of VPN tunneling protocols and more.
NordVPNs iOS and Android apps are also feature-rich with features that are not available on its desktop versions like Threat Protection Lite technology. Moreover, NordVPN allows up to 6 simultaneous device connections on a single account.
The Winner: ExpressVPN is the winner in this category as it offers a dedicated app for routers, and a Safari browser extension as well. Its apps are also similar across all platforms, offering great functionality.
ExpressVPN vs NordVPN – Unblocking Capability Comparison
Here, we’ll compare how well-optimized ExpressVPN and NordVPN are when using streaming services.
NordVPN performed the most consistently out of the two VPNs, perhaps due to its servers being more optimized for streaming. Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer streamed flawlessly with no buffering or lag.
Just as we expected, ExpressVPN performed flawlessly in this regard. The VPN took a few seconds to connect to a US server. Although the speed was noticeably slower compared to the nearest servers, we could see all US specific shows. We tried streaming on Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer, all of whom worked without any issue.
The Winner: When it comes to streaming, both NordVPN and ExpressVPN perform well. If you have to make your decision solely based on streaming performance, then we’d recommend NordVPN as it’s cheaper.
Unblocking Geo-Restrictions in China and Other Highly Restrictive Countries
China is famous for its Great Firewall which comes with heavy restrictions and censorship not only on websites but also on VPN providers, which is why not many VPNs can bypass it undetected.
Therefore, we decided to see if these two providers can work in Chinese cyberspace. Here are the results:
Does ExpressVPN work in China?
Although most VPNs no longer work in China, ExpressVPN does. The VPN provider doesn’t have server locations in China, but there are servers in Hong Kong that you can connect to.
ExpressVPN servers run on an obfuscation technology that helps bypass Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) undetected. Just set your tunneling protocol option to automatic and this feature engages automatically.
We even confirmed from chat support and they said that ExpressVPN is working in China currently.
Does NordVPN work in China?
Yes, NordVPN’s obfuscated servers (Stealth VPN) are its biggest advantage for users in China. It also offers servers in nearby countries like Singapore, Japan, and Hong Kong.
NordVPN’s obfuscated servers make your VPN traffic look like regular HTTPS traffic, bypassing Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) used by the Great Firewall.
It also offers a Double VPN feature that uses two servers instead of one for added security. Moreover, its Onion Over VPN feature adds Tor relays over the VPN connection, offering better anonymity. Overall, it’s a great option for users in China.
The Winner: Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN are the winners in this battle as they offer obfuscation technology to help bypass DPI deployed by countries with heavy censorship like China, Iraq, UAE, and more.
NordVPN vs ExpressVPN – Torrent Comparison
Not all VPNs work with torrenting, therefore, we decided to compare the two providers to see which one offers the best performance while torrenting.
Is ExpressVPN Good for Torrenting?
ExpressVPN is one of the best VPNs for torrenting anonymously. The fact that ExpressVPN allows torrenting on all servers, makes it the best choice for torrenting. Moreover, it offers an automatic kill switch and 256-bit encryption to keep you secure while torrenting.
There are 3000+ servers available in 94 countries, so you can easily connect to a nearby server for secure and anonymous torrenting. Thanks to its Lightway protocol, you get a fast download speed for torrenting.
During testing, we used ExpressVPN with uTorrent and got an average bitrate of 9.2MB/s which was fast considering our base connection was 100 Mbps.
Even though ExpressVPN does not offer a SOCKS5 proxy, there are plenty of other features for torrenting like split tunneling and port forwarding for the best torrenting performance.
Is NordVPN Good for Torrenting?
NordVPN is a safe option for torrenting with dedicated P2P servers (around 4800) that offer the best performance, with leak-proof security, a kill switch, and AES 256-bit encryption. NordVPN is also compatible with all major torrent clients like uTorrent, BitTorrent, Vuze, etc.
Unlike ExpressVPN, NordVPN does not support P2P on all its servers, but if you are not connected to a P2P server while torrenting, it will automatically change your connection to make sure you are always secure.
It does, however, offer a free SOCKS 5 proxy with which you can securely download torrent files with fast connection speeds. NordVPN offered us a bitrate of 7.6MB/s on our 100 Mbps base connection.
The Winner: ExpressVPN is the winner in this round as it supports P2P traffic on all of its servers with fast download speed and tight security.
ExpressVPN vs NordVPN – Servers and Performance Comparison
It’s interesting to see how the servers work. NordVPN has by far the highest number of servers that provide you with better connectivity options. But, it’s limited to 59 countries. That’s not bad, but ExpressVPN has servers in 94 and 78+ countries.
In practice, ExpressVPN performs similarly to NordVPN, as evident from our initial speed test. But that’s not it, there are other aspects to consider in a server and performance comparison.
For example, a dedicated IP. Dedicated IPs handle large amounts of traffic better, which makes them ideal for, say, a gaming server. Not only that, but dedicated IPs also allow users to install SSL certificates, and help SEO professionals improve their site ranking, among other things.
In our list, only NordVPN provides a dedicated/static IP. ExpressVPN does not provide a static IP as its servers are regularly rotated.
In addition to Dedicated IP, NordVPN has a few other specialty servers:
- P2P servers
- Onion over VPN
When it comes to compatibility and server performance, NordVPN takes the trophy! It offers various servers for specific uses like:
- Dedicated IP for stability and building a better brand identity, especially for e-commerce professionals.
- Onion over VPN: Native support for secure browsing using the .onion domain.
- P2P servers: for high-speed file sharing
The Winner: NordVPN, due to its robust features and prime performance.
ExpressVPN vs NordVPN – Security Protocols Comparison
Modern VPNs use military-grade encryption. This refers to AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) that’s used by the military for confidential and top-secret data. AES-256 bit is the highest level of encryption and is used by most VPNs today.
It’s no secret that security protocols evolve. With time, experts develop advanced security protocols that offer higher security and better optimization. Here are the performance and compatibility comparisons of various security protocols that these VPNs offer.
|PPTP||Fast||Poor||Medium||Good||Good||Most OS and devices|
|IPSec||Medium||Good||Good||Good||Good||Most OS and devices|
|L2TP/IPSec||Medium||Medium||Good||Good||Good||Most OS and devices|
|IKEv2/IPSec||Fast||Good||Good||Good||Good||Most OS and devices|
|OpenVPN TCP||Medium||Good||Good||Medium||Good||Most OS and devices|
|OpenVPN UDP||Fast||Good||Medium||Good||Good||Most OS and devices|
|WireGuard||Fast||Good||Poor||Medium||Medium||Android, Linux, iOS, and Mac|
VPNs choose the most suitable security protocols for their target performance. Accordingly, we have prepared a table that shows supported VPNs for ExpressVPN and NordVPN.
The security protocol mumbo jumbo may be confusing for you, so let us break it down in simple words.
OpenVPN is by far the most commonly used, and reliable security protocol. There are similar protocols like SSTP that are better integrated with the Windows platform. There are other protocols like L2PT that come with native support for various devices. But OpenVPN still outweighs the competition when it comes to benefits.
NordVPN uses OpenVPN by default but supports other protocols if you’re facing compatibility issues. It also supports Wireguard (NordLynx), a modern security protocol developed by NordVPN itself.
On the flipside, NordVPN does not support PPTP, unlike ExpressVPN. PPTP is one of the less secure protocols, but it’s the fastest. It can be ideal for casual use such as streaming and browsing.
The Winner: ExpressVPN, was the one that came up with the more secure WireGuard protection at first. And also they are a popular solution for maximum online privacy.
NordVPN vs ExpressVPN – Logging Policy Comparison
ExpressVPN Logging Policy
ExpressVPN has a strict no-logs policy that is independently audited by PwC. The provider does not log any identifiable data like IP addresses, browsing history, etc.
Moreover, its based in the British Virgin Islands, a country with no data retention laws, which means the VPNs don’t have to keep any data on their users.
NordVPN Logging Policy
NordVPN has a trustworthy no-logs policy as it’s been audited by PwC. In 2020, the provider switched to RAM-only servers that cannot store data on them locally, and with every reboot, all data is wiped out automatically.
Therefore, NordVPN servers cannot store any data like originating IP addresses, browsing history, the server connected to, etc.
Furthermore, the provider is based in Panama, a jurisdiction with no mandatory data retention laws for ISPs and VPN companies.
Privacy / Data required to Sign-up
Privacy is of utmost importance for VPN users. Sites that require you to input your payment details gather only your contact and billing information. VPNs also adhere to this standard.
NordVPN and ExpressVPN both accept payment via Bitcoins, and NordVPN even offers a 30-day money-back guarantee via Bitpay.
ExpressVPN vs NordVPN – Customer Service Comparison
Our comparison is based on the following criteria:
- Response times
- How helpful the representatives were
- Time is taken for Live Chat support to respond
But first, let’s take a look at the various support options available for each VPN.
|Mode of Support||ExpressVPN||NordVPN|
|Dedicated “Help/Support” tab||✓||✓|
Having a help/support page can go a long way for users facing connectivity issues.
When it comes to Live Chat support, NordVPN again took the lead. The representative who contacted us was prompt, knowledgeable, and was able to quickly resolve the issue.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t get any response from ExpressVPN as they’ve relieved their support staff due to the ongoing pandemic.
But it’s worth noting that neither of our VPN customer support is without its fault. NordVPN is fairly well-known for an unnecessarily long inquiry process where users have to go through multiple calls before they can solve their issues.
The Winner: Overall, we found ExpressVPN to be more helpful with their strong email support and resourceful guides.
More VPN Comparisons
Check out our other VPN comparisons:
- Surfshark vs ExpressVPN
- NordVPN vs CyberGhost
- Surfshark vs NordVPN
- PureVPN vs ExpressVPN
- Avast SecureLine vs ExpressVPN
Frequently Asked Questions
Is ExpressVPN better than NordVPN?
Do ExpressVPN and NordVPN offer any deals?
Yes, ExpressVPN offers a 49% discount on its 12-month plan. This deal is the best considering the premium features offered at a fraction of the cost. NordVPN offers 54% off on its 2-year plan.
Is ExpressVPN faster than NordVPN?
Yes, ExpressVPN offers faster speeds than NordVPN. Depending on what country you want to connect to, ExpressVPN offers lightning-fast speed on all of its servers with unlimited bandwidth and its proprietary Lightway protocol.
Bottomline – 1 Clear Winner
Here is, our final verdict on NordVPN vs ExpressVPN. What we can conclude from our thorough testing is that ExpressVPN is a premium option for users that want the best possible speed without compromising their privacy. NordVPN comes a close second and offers support for extra features.