ExpressVPN vs NordVPN

ExpressVPN and NordVPN have established themselves as two of the best VPN providers in the world. Both companies have earned the trust — and subscription payments — of millions of users.

We’ve put these brands head-to-head to help you decide which VPN provider is right for you.

Pricing

ExpressVPN

NordVPN

1-month plan

$12.95 per month

$11.99 per month

6-month plan

$59.99 (equivalent to $9.99 per month)

N/A

1-year plan

$99.95 (equivalent to $8.32 per month)

$83.88 (equivalent to $6.99 per month)

2-year plan

N/A

$119.76 (equivalent to $4.99 per month)

3-year plan

N/A

$125.64 (equivalent to $3.49 per month)

Refund period

30 days

30 days

There are two things to consider when assessing pricing — cost and flexibility.


Both brands offer flexible pricing, with monthly plans and longer-term subscriptions available. ExpressVPN offers one-month, six-month, and one-year plans. NordVPN offers one-month, one-year, two-year, and three-year plans.


Those longer-term plans may sound like a big commitment, but both brands offer a 30-day money-back guarantee across all plans. 


As for cost, NordVPN is cheaper than ExpressVPN across all plans. The price difference between these two brands is small when paying monthly. However, the gap widens with longer subscriptions, and NordVPN offers its two-year plan and three-year plan at a huge discount.

NordVPN


NordVPN wins on price — it’s cheaper and offers huge savings for those who can pay up-front for a longer subscription. 

Features

ExpressVPN

NordVPN

Connections

5

6

VPN apps — operating systems                                  

Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, Amazon Fire, various routers including ASUS, Linksys, and Netgear models.

Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, Amazon Fire.

Browser extensions

Chrome, Firefox, Safari.

Chrome, Firefox.

Manual install on routers

Yes

Yes

Split tunneling

Windows, macOS, Android, routers.

No

Bonuses

Speed Test

CyberSec (anti-malware and ad blocker software)

NordVPN allows up to 6 simultaneous connections, whereas ExpressVPN only allows 5.


Both providers offer native apps for desktop and mobile devices. ExpressVPN also offers apps for several common models of router. This allows you to route the traffic from all devices on your home Wi-Fi network through the VPN. 


Both VPN providers have browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox. ExpressVPN also offers an extension for Safari, which gives it a significant advantage for Mac users.


ExpressVPN offers split tunneling, whereas NordVPN does not. Split tunneling allows you to split your network traffic so that certain apps connect via the VPN and others bypass the VPN. This can be helpful if, for example, you want to download a file at high speed via your regular connection while browsing the web in private via your VPN connection.


NordVPN comes with “Cybersec,” a free anti-malware and ad blocker software product. Cybersec’s ad-blocking capabilities are no more impressive than many free ad-blocking browser extensions. However, as a free anti-malware product, it’s worth checking out.


ExpressVPN includes an in-built speed test. As a bonus feature, ExpressVPN’s Speed Test is not as good as NordVPN’s CyberSec, but it’s worth having.

ExpressVPN


ExpressVPN wins our “Features” category due to its easy-to-use router apps, split tunneling feature, and Safari extension. 

Security

ExpressVPN

NordVPN

Protocols

OpenVPN with TCP/UDP, IKEv2  L2TP/IPSec, PTPP.

OpenVPN with TCP/UDP, IKEv2, L2TP/IPSec, PPTP

Data/control-channel encryption

AES-256-CBC, RSA-4096

AES-256-CBC, RSA-2048 

Double encryption

No

Yes

Killswitch

Desktop apps

Desktop apps, iOS app

Both VPNs offer the same broad selection of VPN protocols — and both provide high-grade AES-256 data encryption to ensure that your browsing activity remains private. 


ExpressVPN offers a higher grade of control channel encryption on the OpenVPN protocol. The control channel is responsible for encrypting certain connection data on the way to the VPN provider’s servers. While NordVPN’s RSA-2048 algorithm is still highly secure, ExpressVPN uses the superior RSA-4096 algorithm.


Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN offer a killswitch for their desktop apps. A killswitch cuts your internet connection if your VPN drops out to ensure your device doesn’t automatically connect to your regular ISP.


NordVPN includes a killswitch with its iOS app, whereas ExpressVPN does not. Neither service offers a killswitch on Android. NordVPN’s killswitch is also slightly more sophisticated, allowing users to apply the killswitch to certain apps and not others.


Unfortunately, NordVPN suffered a data breach in 2018 that left some users very worried about their privacy. A hacker was able to penetrate one of NordVPN’s 5200+ servers, exposing the IP addresses of connected users. NordVPN quickly cut all ties with the server provider, but this incident has damaged its reputation.

ExpressVPN


Both VPN providers are extremely secure, but NordVPN’s recent data breach means that ExpressVPN wins this round.

Speed & servers

ExpressVPN

NordVPN

Servers

Over 3000

Over 5200

Countries

94

58

First, which VPN provider is faster? Well, that’s not actually a straightforward question. 


There are many variables determining the speed a VPN provider can achieve, including actual location, server location, broadband speed, etc. 


Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN are among the fastest VPN providers on the market. On any given day, either one of these two brands might give you a faster download speed than the other. There’s little point declaring which is faster “overall.”


As for server locations, ExpressVPN has servers in more countries than NordVPN. This means you can access geo-restricted content from a wider range of countries. However, NordVPN has more servers, which can bring an advantage in terms of speed and reliability.

ExpressVPN


There’s little difference between these two VPN providers in terms of speed, but ExpressVPN wins this round due to the huge range of countries in which it offers a VPN connection.

Privacy

ExpressVPN

NordVPN

Logs policy

Logs certain data about the apps you use and the servers you connect to

None

User info required

Email address

Email address

Crypto payments accepted

Yes

Yes

Home jurisdiction

British Virgin Islands (BVI)

Panama

A VPN should keep your online activity private from your ISP and the government. However, using a VPN means routing all your network traffic through the VPN provider’s servers. Therefore, it’s crucial that you can trust the VPN provider itself to respect your privacy.


Neither ExpressVPN nor NordVPN maintains activity or connection logs. This means that they don’t store data about individual users’ online activity, IP address, or connection history.


NordPass has a strict “no logs” policy. It doesn’t keep any records of user activity at all. ExpressVPN logs certain aggregate data regarding the apps a person uses, their user ID, and which servers they successfully connected to from which country on which day. ExpressVPN claims that it would be impossible to link this data to any individual.


Both companies require users to provide an email address at signup. Neither brand requires users to pay by credit card or PayPal — they both accept anonymous cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin. NordVPN accepts a wider range of “altcoins,” including Ethereum and Monero.


Both brands are based in countries that respect individual privacy. ExpressVPN is based in British Virgin Islands (BVI) and NordVPN is based in Panama. Neither country requires VPN services to maintain logs of user activity. Neither country is part of any data-sharing agreement such as the “Five Eyes” alliance.

NordVPN


Both of these VPN providers can guarantee near-total user privacy. However, NordVPN’s stricter logging policy means it offers a marginally more private service than ExpressVPN.

Content unblocking

ExpressVPN

NordVPN

Netflix

Yes

Yes

BBC

Yes

Yes

Amazon Prime Video

Yes

Yes

Hulu

Yes

Yes

A VPN lets you connect to servers all around the world, which means you can access online content available in your “virtual” location. Many people use this function of a VPN to access online streaming services that are unavailable in their region.


Companies like Netflix will attempt to block incoming traffic from VPN providers, and so there is no guarantee that you’ll be able to access the content you want on a given day.


However, ExpressVPN and NordVPN both have excellent unblocking capabilities and can provide a reliable connection to many streaming services, including Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, and Hulu.

Tie


When it comes to allowing users to access geo-restricted content, there’s no clear winner — both ExpressVPN and NordVPN have excellent reputations for providing a fast and reliable service across a range of virtual locations.

Our pick

ExpressVPN


It’s not easy to choose between these two excellent VPN providers. Both offer powerful security features, near-total user privacy, and fast, convenient access to streaming services all around the world.


However — with its easy-to-use apps, incredible range of server locations, and spotless security record — ExpressVPN beats NordVPN in our head-to-head.


If you want to try either brand — or both — remember that they offer a 30-day, risk-free, money-back guarantee.

Alex Grant
 

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