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 thoughtful 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. Read below how two heavyweights in the VPN arena stack up: ExpressVPN vs NordVPN!
The broad applications of a VPN make it useful for different types of browsing preferences, whether accessing geo-restricted content and media, exercising your right to anonymity, or just securing your online presence from unwanted eyes. Competition in the market is stiff, and this has resulted in many services that offer a similar value proposition, but two services that go the extra mile have emerged.
Our technical experts will delve into ExpressVPN and NordVPN, and compare these two virtual private networks’ pros and cons to try to identify which comes out on top. While ExpressVPN stands out as a super-fast, feature-rich platform, NordVPN is affordable and puts a premium on safety. Both work as advertised and can serve you well, but which is the ultimate winner? Let’s find out.
Performance is a key indicator of the quality of any VPN. Ideally, it should allow you to access any content on the internet while enjoying speeds rivaling a native connection. For browsing the web, watching videos, and more, performance is largely a factor of how many servers there are in the world, and the strength of the connection between them. ExpressVPN has over 1,700 servers for customers to connect to in over 94 countries. NordVPN has more servers at around 2,200 but these are within a smaller number of jurisdictions—only 56 countries.
Neither ExpressVPN nor NordVPN throttles or limits user connection speed, but in terms of bandwidth speed on the two large private networks, ExpressVPN emerged as the winner by a slight margin. Additionally, users with mobile devices can also enjoy both ExpressVPN and NordVPN, but while the former allows three simultaneous connections the latter generously doubles this amount.
Available Streaming Services: VPNs are primarily used 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. ExpressVPN is confirmed to grant users access to 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 no big deal, but we imagine it might be annoying if it were to occur while you binge on a season of your favorite show, or screen a movie for friends.
Mobile Apps: 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. We were happy to see that 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.
Protocols: The best VPNs allow advanced users who want more control to obtain it, using a variety of different access and protection protocols that can alter one’s level of encryption or optimize their 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.
Split Tunneling: 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.
Thankfully, 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.
Kill Switch: 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.
Multi-Hop: 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, adding slightly to the edge it maintains in security.
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. Both include kill switches and AES256-bit encryption while maintaining no logs of user activity.
While NordVPN may initially seem more secure, due to the presence of multi-hop functionality and VPN over TOR, its kill switch is outmoded by ExpressVPN. By shutting down active applications instead of blocking internet traffic when you lose VPN service, it leaves room for error and is somewhat inconvenient, as one must reopen all their lost windows.
A quality VPN’s customer service representatives should be available, knowledgeable, and friendly, and those working for ExpressVPN and NordVPN are no exception. 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 though 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.
While it’s possible to find free VPN services on the internet, these are often the most bare-bones services and might 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). 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.
So… ExpressVPN or NordVPN?
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 thoughtful features like a kill switch that blocks internet instead of applications, and multi-hop functionality. NordVPN has its strengths as well, particularly in the security department thanks to its many features that offer protection and convenience, and is an intriguing option for the savings-oriented web browser.