Without much hesitation, it could be said that ExpressVPN and NordVPN are the top dogs of the VPN industry. Both of them have been around for a long time, they offer great value for the price they ask, and plenty of high-end features.
However, this is also what makes it hard to choose between the two. So, which one is better – ExpressVPN or NordVPN? We’re going to take a look at what sets the two apart in this ExpressVPN vs NordVPN comparison guide.
When we reviewed ExpressVPN, it was hard to imagine another VPN being able to directly compete with it. ExpressVPN is extremely user-friendly, polished, and offers exceptional customer service.
Then, we reviewed NordVPN, and – suddenly – we were torn. NordVPN goes toe-to-toe with ExpressVPN in usability but also offers a wider range of features that help you customize and enhance your VPN experience.
Because of that, the differences between the two can be hard to notice. But we’ll do our best to highlight them in this article.
First, here’s a breakdown of the most important ExpressVPN and NordVPN highlights. Take a look at the following table to compare their most prominent features.
|Jurisdiction||The British Virgin Islands||Panama|
|Logs||No logs collected, whatsoever.||No logs collected, whatsoever.|
|Number of Servers||3,000+ servers in 90+ countries.||5,200+ servers in 50+ countries.|
|Encryption Standards||AES-256; OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP/IPSec||AES-256; OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPsec, NordLynx|
|Average Speeds||110 to 170 Mbps||160 to 190 Mbps|
|Supported Platforms||Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Chromebook, Nook, Kindle Fire, web browsers, and routers.||Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, Android TV, iOS, web browsers, and routers.|
Next, take a look at the final scores from our reviews of these two VPN providers. Then, keep reading to dive deep into the specifics.
|Ease of Use||10/10||9/10|
|Media Streaming & Torrenting Support||10/10||7/10|
|Security & Privacy||10/10||10/10|
|Speed & Performance||8/10||9/10|
We had no choice but to create the ultimate head-to-head to find out which VPN deserves to sit on the throne. So, keep on reading our ExpressVPN Vs NordVPN comparison.
ExpressVPN vs NordVPN (2020) – Which One’s Better?
Just like in our reviews of these two VPN giants, we’ll be taking a look at every important aspect of using a VPN service. So, let’s jump right in.
Table of Contents
Background, Jurisdiction & Reputation
When choosing VPNs, you’ll want to check their background first. Ideally, you should pick a VPN outside the 14-Eyes Alliance that didn’t go through any privacy scandals in the past.
- ExpressVPN: This VPN brand comes from the British Virgin Islands. It’s outside of the 14-Eyes Alliance, and it’s known for its favorable privacy laws. ExpressVPN has had its services reviewed by an independent party in the past, and it’s one of a few certified no-logs VPN services.
- NordVPN: This VPN comes from Panama, a privacy-friendly country with no data retention laws. NordVPN is also independently audited, so they’re a guaranteed no-log provider. In addition, NordVPN is always quick to resolve any issues in its apps via prompt updates. And let’s not forget the fact that this VPN received numerous VPN-related awards.
Winner: Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN are highly reputable brands – so we’ll call it a tie. No matter which one you pick, you can be sure that you’re private and sensitive data is being handled in the best way possible.
Supported Platforms & Devices
Depending on how many devices you want to use, you need a provider whose apps work on the most popular platforms. Lucky for you, both ExpressVPN and NordVPN offer decent cross-platform compatibility.
|Desktop Platforms||Windows, macOS, Linux, Chromebooks.||Windows, macOS, Linux, and Chromebooks.|
|Mobile Platforms||Android, iOS, Amazon Kindle Fire, Nook HD.||Android, iOS.|
|Web Browsers||Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox.||Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox.|
|Routers||DD-WRT, Tomato, and more.||DD-WRT, Tomato, and more.|
|Other Devices||Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, PlayStation 3 & 4, Roku, Xbox One & 360, NAS, Boxee Box, and WD TV Live.||Android TV, Amazon Fire TV devices, NAS, PlayStation 3 & 4, Xbox One & 360, and Roku.|
- ExpressVPN: They have a wide range of native apps that can be installed on all popular desktop and mobile operating systems. There are also apps for Linux and even Blackberry. What’s more, you can install ExpressVPN on VPN-compatible routers, and use it on up to 5 devices at the same time.
- NordVPN: When it comes to supported devices, NordVPN doesn’t disappoint. It offers highly polished apps for every popular platform out there. Also, you can set it up on a wide range of routers. NordVPN can be used on six devices at the same time, which gives it a small advantage over its direct competitor.
Winner: It’s hard to pick a winner in this category since both of these VPNs are present on pretty much any platform. If we really want to nitpick, we’d go with NordVPN since it offers one extra simultaneous connection.
Installation & Initial Configuration
Next, let’s take a look at how easy it is to set up the providers’ apps.
- ExpressVPN: After signing up for a new account, you can download the app. It doesn’t contain any bloatware, so it takes up very little space on your hard drive. You can install and start using the application in less than a few minutes on both desktop and mobile. ExpressVPN also has numerous helpful installation guides for all devices.
- NordVPN: Just like its biggest competitor, NordVPN has a highly polished installation process. The setup file is quite small so you don’t need a fast web connection. Aside from desktop and mobile devices, NordVPN can be installed on compatible routers. Like ExpressVPN, NordVPN also offers reader-friendly step-by-step tutorials.
Winner: Once again, picking a clear winner is quite hard. To be honest, our opinion is that both ExpressVPN and NordVPN offer an equally simple installation process. Even complete newbies won’t have a hard time installing and getting started with these VPNs.
Our next step in the ExpressVPN Vs NordVPN debate takes us to their most important features.
|VPN Protocols||OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, PPTP, IKEv2||OpenVPN, IKEv2, NordLynx|
|Kill Switch||Available on Windows, Mac, Linux, and routers.||Available on Windows (also with App Kill Switch), iOS, and Android.|
|Ad-blocker & Malicious Domain Blocker||No||CyberSec|
|Split Tunneling||Available on Windows, Mac, Android, and routers.||Available on Android.|
|Special Servers||No.||Dedicated IP servers, obfuscated servers, double VPN servers, P2P servers, Onion over VPN servers.|
- ExpressVPN: The best thing we can say about ExpressVPN is that it just works. It is rock-solid, reliable, and nails the fundamentals. Aside from that, you’ll get to use a highly polished kill switch as well as excellent VPN protocols. On top of that, ExpressVPN also offers split-tunneling on both Windows and macOS. But the best part is that even inexperienced users will easily get the hang of more advanced security features.
- NordVPN: NordVPN, on the other hand, is almost overflowing with features. The kill switch, double VPN, and Onion servers are just the start. There are special obfuscation servers, a paid option for dedicated IP servers, and new protocol built around WireGuard (NordLynx). All in all, you’ll find plenty of features here that can satisfy even the most demanding users.
Winner: Even though both ExpressVPN and NordVPN are hugely capable VPN services, we have to say that NordVPN is the winner of this round. You get a constant stream of new features and even ad-blocking is included.
Server count is extremely important if you want to enjoy a smooth experience. If neither ExpressVPN or NordVPN meet your needs, take a look at our article about VPNs with the highest number of servers.
|Number of Servers||3,000+||5,200+|
|Unlimited Server Switches||Yes.||Yes.|
|Specific Cities Selection||Yes.||No.|
- ExpressVPN: This provider manages a network of over 3,000 servers spread across 90+ countries. This is more than enough to meet your every need. Also, you get to test the speed of each server and pick the fastest one. This translates to a pleasurable streaming experience, and can be especially helpful if you want to download large files.
- NordVPN: Without any doubt, NordVPN is the most powerful service in terms of servers. It has more than 5,200 servers spread across the globe. However, that doesn’t necessarily translate to more variety. Compared to ExpressVPN, NordVPN only has servers in 50+ countries. Also, you should expect some speed loss if you use their double VPN servers since double encryption is used.
Winner: Even though it doesn’t have as many servers as NordVPN, ExpressVPN should meet your every need. Having 3,000+ servers is an incredible perk. In addition, ExpressVPN’s servers are present in 90+ countries, which is one of its biggest selling points.
Ease of Use
Both VPNs have very user-friendly interfaces, and they cater to almost every type of device under the sun. They both invested a lot of time and effort into refining the user experience to make it as convenient as possible.
- ExpressVPN: Their app has a simple and elegant design. The main screen has a big, bold power button that will connect you to a Smart Location. With a single click or tap, you can connect to the web without needing to mess around with any settings. If you want to pick the server manually, there is a short list of recommended locations to try, or the full list of ExpressVPN’s servers. There’s no immediate way to know what server to choose, but you can run a speed test (it takes about five minutes) on all the servers to determine the fastest options for you. And while ExpressVPN is limited to just five simultaneous connections, their router client will protect every device connected to it.
- NordVPN: This VPN greets you with a stylishly designed map of the world and a Quick Connect option that will automatically connect you to a recommended server. We absolutely love how NordVPN organizes its servers into types and countries – especially that you can click on a country or server type to get an overview of the available servers. You’ll also see the server load, which helps you make the perfect choice. NordVPN allows up to six simultaneous connections (one more than ExpressVPN), so you should be able to install it on pretty much every device you own (while also leaving room for your friends when they come over).
Winner: Both VPNs are exceptionally user-friendly, but ExpressVPN digs beneath the surface level to provide a richer experience. In our opinion, ExpressVPN comes on top.
Media Streaming & Torrenting Support
Want to stream online content and download torrents in peace? Let’s see how both providers handled that.
|Netflix US||Yes.||Yes – via some servers.|
|Hulu||Yes.||Yes – via some servers.|
|BBC iPlayer||Yes.||Yes – via some servers.|
|Amazon Prime Video||Yes.||Yes – via some servers.|
|Torrenting (P2P) Support||Yes.||Yes – but only on dedicated servers.|
- ExpressVPN: We strongly believe there’s no better VPN for streaming than ExpressVPN. It can unblock pretty much any website out there including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, and more. Also, this VPN fully supports torrenting on all its servers.
- NordVPN: NordVPN can unblock the most popular sites, but it’s a bit of a hit or miss situation. They only support certain sites in specific regions (for example, DAZN only works on Canadian servers). And unlike ExpressVPN, NordVPN only supports torrenting on dedicated P2P servers.
Winner: It’s clear that ExpressVPN wins this round. It’s the most capable VPN service for media streaming and downloading torrents.
Security & Privacy
Besides unblocking content, privacy and security are the second reason why people use VPNs. Well, we’re happy to say that your data is safe with both ExpressVPN and NordVPN:
Winner: Both services offer really good security and privacy. They don’t keep logs and have proof to back up their claims, and offer a wide range of features that protect your data. In our opinion, you’re safe with either one of them.
Speed & Performance
Security and privacy are great but not when they come at the cost of speed. If you’re going to connect to servers on the other side of the world, you will eventually experience slowdowns, but a great VPN will minimize it. To check out other options, here’s our overview of the fastest VPN providers.
|Nearest Servers||170.00 Mbps||192.05 Mbps|
|Nearby Servers||164.24 Mbps||188.57 Mbps|
|Remote Servers||113.17 Mbps||166.62 Mbps|
|Average Speeds||110 to 170 Mbps||160 to 190 Mbps|
- ExpressVPN: There are two ways to connect to a server via ExpressVPN. You can run a speed test and then connect to a server manually. Or, you can let the application decide which server works the best at any given moment. As a result, you’ll experience throttle-free web browsing and media streaming. Based on our tests, ExpressVPN offered us speeds around 110 Mbps and 170 Mbps.
- NordVPN: The service offers smooth speeds, and it’s really cool that you can pick the fastest country and server for every category and location. And in our tests, NordVPN offered us average speeds ranging from 160 Mbps to 190 Mbps.
Winner: NordVPN takes the lead here. This is one of the fastest VPN services on the market, offering great performance even with OpenVPN (a really resource-intensive protocol).
We were very impressed by the levels of support these VPNs offer. Whichever one you pick, you’ll get the help you need.
|Response Time (Live Chat)||Instant.||Instant.|
|Response Time (Email)||Three hours.||Over 24 hours.|
- ExpressVPN: ExpressVPN was lightning fast in responding via live chat (which is available 24/7). Over email, they took a bit longer (three hours). Still, you may not even need to talk to anyone because their website contains plenty of tutorials and guides to help you find the solution you need.
- NordVPN: As good as ExpressVPN’s live chat was, we were even more impressed with NordVPN’s 24/7 support. Their reps were just as fast, and we didn’t feel like they were reading from a script. It’s also pretty cool that you can offer your email in advance while using live chat, so you don’t need to do it mid-conversation (like you need to with ExpressVPN). However, responses to our form submissions took much longer (over 24 hours compared to ExpressVPN’s three hours) during our tests.
Winner: Both services provide top-level customer service, and your questions will be answered in a timely manner. ExpressVPN connects you faster through live chat, but NordVPN’s chatbot is pretty helpful too. It’s basically a tie, but we liked ExpressVPN more because they responded faster via email.
ExpressVPN and NordVPN are considered two of the most expensive VPNs on the market by most people. But having spent a lot of time with them, we can confidently say they’re worth every penny.
- ExpressVPN: At the moment, the most affordable plan is the one-year subscription ($99.95/year or $6.67/month). With their current offer, you also get three extra months for free. Their plan comes with a nice 30-day no-questions-asked refund that doesn’t impose any bandwidth limits.
- NordVPN: They don’t have a one-year plan, but a two-year plan. While it’s a bigger commitment, it’s also more budget-friendly. It comes to around $89.00 per year (billed at $3.71/month). Like ExpressVPN, they also offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. And yes, it’s also a no-questions-asked policy, but they will try to troubleshoot the issues you’re experiencing before offering the refund.
Winner: Both providers offer similarly-priced monthly and bi-annual plans. NordVPN’s yearly plan is cheaper, but – with ExpressVPN – you get three extra month at no extra charge during your first year. Right now, we’d say ExpressVPN is the most attractive option.
ExpressVPN vs NordVPN: Which One Should You Pick?
ExpressVPN and NordVPN are, in our opinion, the best of the best. You can’t go wrong with whichever choice you make, but there can be only one winner. And for us, that’s ExpressVPN.
ExpressVPN has the looks of a champion and delivers the privacy and security that you’d want from a quality VPN service. It’s just as easy to use as NordVPN (newbie-friendly) but also offers deeper functionality for those who want a bit more control over their connection.
And even though NordVPN is more affordable, it doesn’t really offer the same level of service or functionality as ExpressVPN. So, go ahead and sign up for ExpressVPN today. You won’t regret it!
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