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ExpressVPN vs NordVPN: Which is the Best VPN of The Two?

ExpressVPN and NordVPN are two of the biggest names in the VPN industry. Both VPN providers have strong features, making it hard for users to pick one of them. If you’re one of those people, don’t fret. Read our ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN comparison to make an informed decision. ExpressVPN vs NordVPN: Features Let’s list first […]

ExpressVPN and NordVPN are two of the biggest names in the VPN industry. Both VPN providers have strong features, making it hard for users to pick one of them. If you’re one of those people, don’t fret. Read our ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN comparison to make an informed decision.

ExpressVPN vs NordVPN: Features

Let’s list first the common features shared by ExpressVPN and NordVPN, then highlight the differences:

  • Kill switch: When your VPN connection drops and you switch to a non-VPN connection, you make yourself vulnerable by exposing your IP address. You can prevent this by choosing a VPN with a kill switch. ExpressVPN’s version is called Network Lock; it blocks your entire connection if your VPN connection goes down. NordVPN also has a kill switch, but it works differently; instead of blocking your connection, it stops pre-selected apps.
  • AES 256-bit encryption: Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN use AES-256, an encryption standard that’s too tough to crack.
  • VPN protocols: A VPN protocol describes the way a VPN transmits data over the Internet. ExpressVPN supports three protocols: OpenVPN, PPTP, and L2TP/IPSec. NordVPN supports those three and the relatively new IKEv2.
  • Simultaneous connections: For every account, ExpressVPN allows three devices to connect at the same time. NordVPN allows six devices.
  • Device, OS, and browsers: You can use ExpressVPN and NordVPN with Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. Both have browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox. Moreover, ExpressVPN works with Linux and has extensions for Safari. The many devices supported by ExpressVPN shown below.

ExpressVPN Supported Devices

Pretty impressive, to say the least.

Special ExpressVPN features

Specific to ExpressVPN are the following features:

  • Split tunneling: This is a rare VPN feature that lets you “split” your apps. You can select apps that will use the VPN (like a torrent app) then set others not to pass through the VPN. Why do this? The VPN’s encryption process could slow down your connection. By routing only a few apps, you take some load off your VPN to speed up your surfing, while those that don’t need protection don’t get slowed down.
  • Zero-knowledge DNS: The domain name system (DNS) lets computers convert URLs into IP addresses. Unlike other VPNs that use third-party DNS, ExpressVPN runs its own DNS and doesn’t store personal data on its servers. It also prevents DNS leaks and DNS blocking.
  • IPv6 leak protection: If enabled, this feature will prevent IPv6 address detection during a VPN connection.
  • In-app and on-site testing tools: ExpressVPN has an in-app speed test feature inside the app, something not commonly found in other VPN apps. ExpressVPN also has a few privacy and security checkers on their website, much like our own tool for IP addresses here at BVP.

These features of ExpressVPN are quite unique that you won’t usually find them in most VPN providers.

Special NordVPN features

Not to be outdone, NordVPN has special features of its own:nordvpn logo

  • Double VPN: Most VPN providers route traffic through a single VPN server before sending the traffic to the destination website. With Double VPN, your traffic is routed through two VPN servers, providing an extra layer of privacy and security.
  • CyberSec: This is an ad blocking and malware protection feature that NordVPN says will block suspicious websites and annoying ads.
  • Onion over VPN: Both VPN and The Onion Network (Tor) are used for private browsing. NordVPN supports Tor, letting you combine the privacy and anonymizing powers of both networks.
  • SmartPlay: This is NordVPN’s dedicated feature that lets you access websites (including streaming sites) that aren’t available to you due to censorship and regional restrictions.

These special NordVPN features provide an extra advantage in the areas of online privacy, security, and geo-unblocking. If they appeal to you, you’re encouraged to learn more about NordVPN by reading our review of them!

ExpressVPN vs NordVPN: Servers and reach

ExpressVPN has 3,000+ servers in 94 countries:

ExpressVPN Server Locations

ExpressVPN also has virtual servers in some countries. With virtual servers, you’re assigned an IP address of the country of your choice; however, traffic will be routed through a different server in another country with a better connection. For instance, virtual servers in Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, and Vietnam are routed through Singapore.

NordVPN has 5,000+ servers in 61 countries:

NordVPN Server LocationsNordVPN has more servers, but ExpressVPN is present in more countries. Still, both providers have extensive networks. More importantly, they offer unlimited bandwidth and no speed limits (no throttling). As of this writing, both VPNs work in China.


Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN can get around geo-restrictions of streaming sites, notably Netflix. However, we found ExpressVPN to be a tad better than NordVPN in this area. For instance, when accessing Netflix US, using NordVPN is quite cumbersome. You might also like the fact that ExpressVPN explicitly lists the streaming sites that you can access:

ExpressVPN Streaming


Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN allow P2P, a welcome feature for users who torrent. However, as in streaming, we found ExpressVPN to be better at torrenting. It provides excellent speed across all of its servers.

On the other hand, NordVPN only allows torrenting if you use one of its dedicated servers. These are located in 37 countries, including Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and Germany.

ExpressVPN vs NordVPN: Performance

After testing, we found both ExpressVPN and NordVPN to have minimal impact on our connection speeds. Regular users won’t notice the difference at all.

Here’s the speed result without a VPN:

ExpressVPN Non-VPN Speed

Here is our connection speed when we connected to an ExpressVPN’s server in the UK:

ExpressVPN UK Server Speed

This is the result of an ExpressVPN’s server in the USA:

ExpressVPN US Server Speed

We randomly tested other servers, and there were no apparent slowdowns. While there are lags and latency issues the farther the VPN server is from your physical location, know that this case applies to any VPN.

NordVPN is also good, but we found the speeds to vary across its servers. Perhaps this is because NordVPN doesn’t own all of its servers.

ExpressVPN vs NordVPN: Usability

At a glance, ExpressVPN’s has a minimalist but outdated look. It uses pop-outs whenever you click something on the main screen. For instance, if you selected a server in another country, you’ll get this pop-out window:

ExpressVPN App

When you open the NordVPN app, what will greet you is a large home screen of all of its servers, including those dedicated to torrenting.

NordVPN App

Also, advanced users will like NordVPN’s configurations, like connecting to the Tor network or choosing the Double VPN option.

While we find NordVPN a bit easier to use, the choice boils down to the preference of the user.

ExpressVPN vs NordVPN: Pricing

Let’s take a look at ExpressVPN’s plans:

  • Monthly plan: $12.95 per month
  • Six-month plan: $9.99 per month, billed upfront as $59.95
  • One-year plan: $8.32 per month, billed upfront as $99.95

ExpressVPN Plans

Here are NordVPN’s plans:

  • Monthly plan: $11.95 per month
  • One-year plan: $6.99 per month, billed upfront as $83.88
  • Two-year plan: $3.99 per month, billed upfront as $95.78
  • Three-year plan: $2.99 per month, billed upfront as $107.55

NordVPN Plans

In terms of the plan-for-plan pricing, NordVPN wins this round. Also, it offers more package options for subscribers who want long-term plans.


ExpressVPN accepts major credit cards, PayPal, Bitcoin, and other payment modes.

ExpressVPN Payment Modes

NordVPN also accepts major credit cards. It accepts Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies. However, it doesn’t accept payment through PayPal.
NordVPN Payment Modes

In terms of payment modes, ExpressVPN is the winner as it offers more options.


ExpressVPN and NordVPN don’t have free trials, but both have 30-day money-back guarantees. You can try either service risk-free for 30 days, then you can request a full refund if you’re unsatisfied. However, with NordVPN, note that the company would attempt troubleshooting first before it grants your refund request.

Customer Service

Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN have several support channels. Both have 24/7 live chat options, and they actively respond to emails. Moreover, their websites are peppered with FAQs and guides where users can look for information if they want to troubleshoot themselves.

ExpressVPN vs NordVPN: No logging policy

For the ultimate privacy of users, both providers have a no-logging policy. The countries where the two are based—British Virgin Islands for ExpressVPN, and Panama for NordVPN—have no data retention laws. Moreover, these two countries are not part of any intelligence-sharing agreements.

According to ExpressVPN’s Terms of Service, the company doesn’t store activity or connection logs. However, it collects email addresses, billing information, and details needed to address technical issues.

NordVPN also maintains a strict no-logging policy. The company says on their website that independent auditors have confirmed this policy. However, NordVPN mentioned it still stores email addresses, billing information, customer service chats, and timestamp of a user’s last session (to enforce the six-device limit).

ExpressVPN vs NordVPN: Who wins

To see which is the better VPN, we listed the areas where one VPN has the advantage over the other. Let’s start with NordVPN which is stronger in the following sections:

  • Pricing: Plan-by-plan, NordVPN’s rates are more affordable than ExpressVPN’s rates. NordVPN also have longer-term plans
  • The number of connections: NordVPN allows up to six devices to connect at the same time. That’s double the maximum number permitted by ExpressVPN.

ExpressVPN is better in the following sections:

  • Kill switch: ExpressVPN’s Network Lock is better than NordVPN’s limited kill switch feature.
  • Geographic coverage: NordVPN has more servers (5,000+) than ExpressVPN (3,000+), but looking at the distribution, ExpressVPN’s 91 countries trumps NordVPN’s 61.
  • Streaming: ExpressVPN has explicitly listed the streaming sites that can be accessed. Moreover, when it comes to Netflix, ExpressVPN is a lot easier to use.
  • P2P/Torrenting: ExpressVPN provides consistently fast speed across its network. On the other hand, NordVPN only allows torrenting on a limited number of dedicated servers.

Aside from the above factors, ExpressVPN supports more devices, operating systems, and browsers. It has more payment options. It’s one of those rare VPNs with split tunneling feature and an in-app speed test.

NordVPN is a worthy contender, but we declare ExpressVPN as the winner. Check our ExpressVPN review here for more about this great provider. If you still can’t decide, remember: you can try both VPNs within 30 days. If you’re looking for more VPN choices, check our list of the best VPN providers below.

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