In-Depth Comparison Between ExpressVPN vs NordVPN
Virtual private networks are essential if you need completely unrestricted access to the internet and want total protection. Most VPNs can accomplish as much, but it takes some effort to find a VPN that best suits your unique browsing habits, and offers a wide array of benefits at the same time. It often helps to narrow your list to the top entries and compare them, judging each on a feature-by-feature basis.
Today, we are looking at two of the top VPN providers on the market, ExpressVPN and NordVPN, to see how they stack up against each other.
Our overall winner is ExpressVPN. Read on to see the breakdown of how each provider measures up.
|Security & Privacy||Winner||Loser |
|Customer Support||Tie||Tie |
Performance is a key indicator of the quality of any VPN. To review a VPN’s performance means rating how well a VPN provider allows a user to access any content on the internet. This access needs to come with a connection speed that behaves as it would without the added layer of a VPN in place.
For browsing the web, watching videos, and more, a VPN provider’s performance is heavily reliant on how many servers there are in the world and the strength of the connection between them. Quite simply, the more servers a VPN provider has, the better. Plus the more locations that those servers are in, the better.
|Number of Countries||94||62 |
|Number of Servers||+2000||5244 |
ExpressVPN has over +2000 servers for customers to connect to in over 94 countries. NordVPN has more servers at around 5244
but these are within a smaller number of jurisdictions—only 62 countries. Both companies therefore have a large server network and importantly, neither ExpressVPN nor NordVPN throttles or limits user connection speed. Additionally, users with mobile devices can also enjoy both ExpressVPN and NordVPN. However, while ExpressVPN allows 3 simultaneous connections, NordVPN generously offers 6.
However, in terms of bandwidth speed on the two large private networks, ExpressVPN emerged as the winner by a slight margin.
Overall Winner: ExpressVPN
Both VPN providers are highly capable and offer a broad range of features. However, when a deep investigation into the advanced features of both providers is considered, ExpressVPN comes out on top. Here’s why:
|Available Streaming Services||ExpressVPN|
Available Streaming Services
One of the main reasons that anyone uses a VPN is to access TV shows, movies, and music offered by streaming services that restrict customers based on their location. The best streaming platforms are often inaccessible to subscribers who are abroad, and the full selection of content is limited by geography. Accordingly, people look to quality VPN services like ExpressVPN and NordVPN to unblock geo-restricted access. ExpressVPN is the better at doing so with confirmed access to the following streaming services Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, HBO Go, BBC’s iPlayer and more.
NordVPN also skirts the restrictions that these services have installed but suffered from a few minor hiccups during our extensive trials. For watching single episodes of TV shows, occasional server interruptions are not too frustrating. However, in the day and age where users binge-watch box sets or view an entire film, buffering and freezing is the ultimate annoyance.
It’s important to be protected by your VPN no matter where you are, or which device you’re using. Roaming around and using notoriously unsecure public Wi-Fi networks gives you even greater exposure to risk, so this becomes even more crucial. Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN provide mobile VPN applications for customers whose phones are central to their browsing experience, no matter if they’re iOS or Android. ExpressVPN’s is slightly easier and quicker to use, however, regardless of which software you employ it on.
The best VPNs allow advanced users who want more control to customize and choose how they use their VPN software. This means using a variety of different access and protection protocols that can alter one’s level of encryption or optimize an internet connection.
ExpressVPN customers can use the OpenVPN, IPSec/L2TP, and PPTP protocols, while NordVPN adds IPSec/IKEv2 functionality on top of the others. Base level users need not fret over the negligible differences between the two as it’s only the most tech-savvy that will make use of this distinction. However, expert users tend to choose OpenVPN protocols over all others, making ExpressVPN the winner in this case
Being able to use your VPN with multiple devices is a must-have with any modern service, because almost everyone has more than one place that they do their browsing. But what about managing multiple connections on a single device? While browsing on your laptop at home, you might want to maintain an uninterrupted local network connection while also browsing other content from safety. This is widely known as split tunneling.
ExpressVPN grants their subscribers the ability to “split tunnel” their traffic, effectively separating which portions of their traffic they want routed and which they don’t. Unfortunately, however, NordVPN does not offer such capabilities.
If for any reason VPN coverage should momentarily waver, a kill switch feature is useful for ensuring that the applications you’re using don’t reveal your IP or other sensitive information.
While both ExpressVPN and NordVPN have kill switches, ExpressVPN’s is slightly more convenient and protective. It blocks internet traffic entirely if the VPN goes down while NordVPN does not block traffic but instead closes applications that were using previously using the VPN. The distinction is small but can make a difference.
Effective as both methods are, in the case of consecutive outages, it might be frustrating for your applications to close multiple times instead of the internet simply going down.
For users that want an extra layer of privacy or have specific geolocation preferences, the ability to multi-hop, or route traffic through a chain of two (or more) servers, is quite useful. It might not be a deal breaker for most, but it can come in handy for specialized customers. ExpressVPN doesn’t offer this feature but NordVPN does.
Security & Privacy
One major reason people turn to VPNs is to increase their security and privacy while online. Thus, a high degree of protection while browsing is required from the best VPN services.
To protect against unwarranted exposure of your personal browsing data, and to get uninterrupted access to content, ExpressVPN and NordVPN both encompass some of the most important security features. For instance, both include kill switches and AES 256-bit encryption while maintaining no logs of user activity. We like to see all of these security features offered as standard, yet not all VPN providers do.
In terms of NordVPN versus ExpressVPN, NordVPN initially seems more secure. However, due to the presence of multi-hop functionality and VPN over TOR, its kill switch is not quite as efficient as ExpressVPN’s. This is because, by shutting down active applications instead of blocking internet traffic when you lose VPN service, it leaves room for error. This method is ultimately somewhat inconvenient, as a user must reopen all their lost windows.
Overall Winner: ExpressVPN
A quality VPN’s customer service representatives should be available, knowledgeable, and friendly. As to be expected from two of the best VPN providers on the market, those working in customer service at ExpressVPN and NordVPN are all of these things.
If you need assistance learning a new feature or are having trouble setting up your VPN just right, ExpressVPN and NordVPN representatives are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We appreciate that one can start a conversation immediately via live chat with either service although email is always an option as well. Moreover, those with basic questions can simply refer to the knowledge base or FAQ sections on both websites.
Overall Winner: Tie
While it’s possible to find free VPN services on the internet, these are often the most bare-bones services. Ultimately, they’re not worth using as they often put users at risk by leaving out important features.
At first glance, the price between ExpressVPN and NordVPN leave no doubts about which is more economical. ExpressVPN is pricier at $12.95 for a single month of service, $9.99 per month for 6 months of service (total $59.95), or $8.32 per month for a full year’s subscription (total $99.95). Their current popular offer saves you 49% off their regular monthly price at $6.67/mo for 12 months + 3 months FREE of charge.
By contrast, a single month with NordVPN comes with a price tag of $11.95, $6.99 per month for a 1-year plan (total $83.88), and $3.99 for a 2-year plan (total $95.75). In fact, users can even gain access to NordVPN through a three year plan that costs $2.99 a month or $107.55 every three years.
- ExpressVPN: As low as $6.67
- NordVPN: As low as $2.99
Both services offer a 30-day money-back guarantee and the ability to pay in bitcoin, so one can effectively try out the full array of features and still receive a rebate if they aren’t satisfied.
Overall Winner: NordVPN
The Winner: ExpressVPN
It’s possible to argue for either service in the battle of NordVPN vs ExpressVPN, as they both have a strong selection of features with pros and cons in different areas. Despite the tough choice, ExpressVPN emerges ahead due to the greater value it delivers per dollar. For a little more money, customers will enjoy a lightning fast connection and fewer interruptions. Plus its technology in key areas is better. Its kill switch is a prime example as it blocks an internet connection instead of applications and multi-hop functionality.
All that being said, NordVPN has its strengths as well and it may well suit some people better. For example, there is no denying it is still extremely strong in the security department thanks to its many features that offer protection and convenience. Plus, it is ultimately that little bit cheaper, which may appeal to the savings-oriented web browser.