ExpressVPN and NordVPN are probably two of the largest and best-known VPN providers in the VPN industry.
NordVPN and ExpressVPN are both highly reliable and reputable providers that offer great security and anonymity features. They cover numerous operating systems, and they usually pass speed tests with better results than most other VPNs.
The results of our tests and comparisons, which I’ll show you below, will ensure you don’t waste your time or money.
Choosing the correct VPN product is essential because if you don’t, you will suffer from:
- Poor download speeds
- Frequent connection drops
- Buffering video playback
- Dangerous record keeping
- Leaks of your information
Not to mention that picking the right provider can hide users’ activities from their ISP, unblock pretty much any streaming service and offer all this and more with excellent data practices that guarantee privacy.
But, they are not equal, and one must be better than the other.
If you can’t wait for the results, skip to the winner now.
So with that in mind, I’ve put ExpressVPN and NordVPN to the test. Let’s discover who came out on top.
Table of Contents
The first NordVPN vs ExpressVPN clash revolves around speeds.
Speeds are important as they allow users to access streaming websites, watch videos, download and upload content, and do pretty much anything on the internet smoothly.
Essentially, fast connection speed can eliminate buffering when watching videos, and it can even stabilize the network.
Now, both ExpressVPN and Nord are known for having very fast internet speed, meaning that the processes that protect the users’ data do not affect the speed as much as what other providers tend to experience.
But how does that relate in actual numbers?
A lot is made about ExpressVPN’s new Lightway protocol and with NordVPN using a secure version of Wireguard they call NordLynx, there’s a lot at stake.
After connecting to our nearest location, London, England and running the same speed tests, NordVPN produced a slightly faster result of 60.16 Mbps, with ExpressVPN coming in slower at 58.2 Mbps.
Internet connection speed also depends on the proximity of the VPN servers, so users should always look for the closest server if they simply wish to browse the internet with security features on, and they aren’t trying to unblock anything.
With that said, which service offers better performance?
According to our tests, NordVPN is better, but only by a hair.
The tests saw a 3% performance increase over ExpressVPN in the speed stakes.
That’s all well and good on a powerful computer, but how does that translate when you’re using a mobile device?
So we ran the same tests, connecting to the same location, utilising the same protocols and here are our results.
ExpressVPN performed better on a mobile device running Android but with barely any noticeable difference.
So, the answer is pretty clear here, NordVPN won by a hair.
In all seriousness, the difference in speed between the two VPNs is practically non-existent, so from this aspect, users can use whichever one they want.
If speed is your deciding factor, NordVPN came out on top.
2. Logging policy
The logging policy is a significant factor when it comes to choosing a VPN with proper privacy preferences.
Essentially, it reveals whether or not your VPN of choice is making logs of your private, browsing, and other details or not.
HideMyAss, another popular provider, faced backlash 10 years ago after handing over data on their users, even though it was part of their policy at the time.
IPVanish, PureVPN, EarthVPN and others have also faced similar criticism over the years when details were either handed over as part of criminal investigations or leaked.
It pays to have a watertight and reputable logging policy.
In the ExpressVPN vs NordVPN situation, we can say that both VPNs are doing rather well.
ExpressVPN and NordVPN are both located in privacy-friendly nations.
ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands
…and NordVPN in Panama.
Both regions are out of reach of 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance’s jurisdiction, and no one can order these VPNs to start recording user data or hand over customer information.
Meanwhile, both ExpressVPN and NordVPN claim to have a strict no-logs policy, meaning that they keep no logs of users’ private information, except for the things needed for payments, such as billing information, credit card data, and users’ email addresses.
Both providers have been audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers, which is pretty much the gold standard for audits. In both cases, the reports state that their no logging claims are accurate.
Also, they keep the conversations with their customer service, as it helps solve potential issues.
In essence, both are trying to collect as little VPN user data as possible, and the only things that they do collect serve to improve performance and maintain subscriptions.
Neither VPN has had their no-log claims tested in a publicly known court-case. However, ExpressVPN was caught up in a high-profile assassination case in Turkey which further proved their claims.
ExpressVPN and NordVPN are equally good but Express VPN take this one with their tested policy.
Winner: Express VPN
The next ExpressVPN vs NordVPN comparison is about the number of servers.
Obviously, servers are a huge part of a VPN service. In fact, a VPN would not be able to do what it does without servers, which is why the more server locations a service has, the better.
Now, the number of servers itself is not the most important part. It also matters in which country the server is located.
A VPN can have a thousand servers, but it matters little if none of them is where you need them to be in order to get the corresponding IP address. And, with no IP addresses, you cannot bypass geo-restrictions and censorship, which is why server locations matter, as well.
So, let’s see how they compare.
- Over 3,000 servers
- Support for 94 different nations
- 160 server locations
- Masking of IP addresses
- VPN split tunneling
- TrustedServer technology
- 5,418 VPN servers around the world
- Support for 59 different countries
- 81 server locations
- Obfuscated servers
- Split tunneling
- Masking of IP addresses
- Dedicated IP addresses
In essence, both VPNs have massive networks with more than enough coverage to accommodate all of their users.
ExpressVPN covers a greater number of countries, while NordVPN has more individual connection points in the locations they support.
However, with over 3,000 servers, you are unlikely ever to experience issues or find them overcrowded.
Do you like the one with more servers or the one with more supported countries?
For us, it’s a clear winner of more locations. You’re never going to utilise every single server, but having the ability to connect to more locations is a clear advantage.
When it comes to comparing ExpressVPN vs NordVPN based on jurisdiction, both VPN services are excellent choices.
As mentioned already, ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands, while NordVPN is headquartered in Panama.
Both places are very privacy-friendly, which guarantees that the government will not request that they hand over user data.
You should always choose a VPN provider that is located in such a nation, and both of these fulfill that requirement.
In fact, a few years back, after the assassination of the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, Turkish authorities discovered that a person of interest in the case used ExpressVPN.
In order to find more information for the case, they seized one of the company’s locations, only to find that there is no useful information on it.
If anyone ever needed the evidence that ExpressVPN uses the privacy-friendliness of its home nation to the fullest extent, this is it.
As for NordVPN, its home nation of Panama has extremely strong laws which obligate the authorities to ‘protect the honor, life, and goods of its citizens and foreigners under Panama jurisdiction.’
With NordVPN being under this jurisdiction, that also includes it, and in extent, its users.
It’s impossible to choose between the two on this aspect, so a draw.
Moving on, we should also compare ExpressVPN vs NordVPN based on the apps that they offer.
Both services offer massive coverage in terms of applications, being able to protect almost any internet device and hide your IP address while doing it.
According to its web site, Express offers apps or solutions for:
- Routers (protect your entire Wi-Fi)
- Kindle Fire
- Apple TV
- Amazon Fire TV Stick
- Samsung Smart TV
- Nvidia Shield
- Nintendo Switch
NordVPN offers via its website:
- Android TV
- Amazon Fire devices
- Raspberry Pi
Both apps are very user-friendly, with NordVPN even bringing simplicity to the next level.
This VPN allows you to choose whether to have its connection points presented in the form of a list or on the map of the world. The map is the default version, but any customer can turn it off and bring the list if they want to.
If not, you can simply find the server on the map and tap it to connect to it.
Apps can be downloaded from the VPN websites directly or from third-party providers such as the Play Store and Apple App Store.
Apps also allow you to modify cookie settings, privacy settings, consent preferences, and they also offer a guide on how to install and activate them. However, doing so is extremely simple, and you likely won’t even need a guide.
Both sets of apps are easy to use but after consulting with a handful of non-tech folks, they picked NordVPN as the clear winner. Some commented that they liked the simplicity of the map view which helped when selecting a location.
Both also offer chat support but you’ll need to visit their site for that.
6. Simultaneous Connections
The number of locations is important for a VPN, but the number of available connections matters possibly even more.
It depends on how many devices you need to be protected at the same time.
For example, a person who only wishes to protect a single device at once will likely not care too much about this.
If you are on your computer when at home and on your mobile when out, you can install two apps and only protect one device at any given time.
If you prefer to use your devices at the same time, such as Smart TV, PC, smartphone, and gaming console, then you might need plenty of connections, which is why you need a VPN that offers as many as possible.
The same is true for someone who wishes to protect their entire family.
So, how do things stand when it comes to ExpressVPN vs NordVPN?
Nord wins by offering 6 simultaneous connections, while ExpressVPN offers only 5.
The difference is in only one connection, and most people can likely find a way to make it work. But, if you need to protect six devices at once, either your own or your family’s, then this might pose a big difference.
Still, given the fact that ExpressVPN used to offer only three connections, this is a significant improvement.
Nearing the end of this comparison, we should also take streaming into account.
As mentioned before, streaming has grown to become one of the most common activities online and also one of the most common uses for VPN technology.
VPN is, of course, much more than that.
It offers advanced security features, such as kill switches, encryption, and security protocols. And, while people still use them for it, international streaming is what made VPNs truly popular.
Now, both have technologies that allow them to unblock various streaming services with top-notch performance.
Performance is important, as you can’t really watch Netflix or Disney+ and constantly have to deal with buffering. As we said in the speed section, both VPNs’ products can handle speed just fine.
We tested both providers with the following services:
- Amazon Prime
- Peacock TV
- BBC iPlayer
- ITV Player
- … and many more!
However, nothing is certain in the world of streaming and while they unblock plenty of other services, an IP Address can often become blocked. It’s impossible to keep an up to date list of every service they can access.
We had no problems accessing the big services with either provider.
With it being so closely cut, we call this a draw.
Lastly, there is a matter of price. Both VPNs have multiple plans that are differently priced.
ExpressVPN has three different plans, according to its site, which are as follows:
- 1-month plan for the price of $12.95 per month
- 6-months plan for the price of $9.99 per month (billed $59.95 once every 6 months)
- 12-months plan for the price of $8.32 per month (billed $99.95 annually)
All plans come with all the features, including kill switch, encryption, split tunneling, and all other important details, as well as a 30-day money-back guarantee.
With our exclusive offer, you can get 3 months free on the 12-month plan bringing the monthly cost down to just $6.67.
You get access to all the services, regardless of what you choose.
Longer plans have you pay more at once, but after that, you won’t have to think about it for months, and, in total, you will have paid less than if you purchased a monthly plan each month.
For example, buying a one-month plan every month for a year would cost you over $155. If you choose a 12-month plan, you only pay $100, so you can save up to $55 per year.
The NordVPN website also has three plans, including:
- 1-month plan for the price of $11.95 per month
- 1-year plan for $4.92 per month, billed once per year (save 58%)
- 2-year plan for $3.71 per month, billed once per two years (save 68%)
The situation is similar, only they tend to require you to dedicate yourself to using it for a longer period, and whether or not you are okay with that depends on you.
We like the cheaper prices but they do cut features from you if you cancel your subscription, even with remaining time, which is quite underhand.
NordVPN clearly wins here, but remember, if you cancel, you may lose access to certain benefits.
Winner: Nord VPN
Verdict: Which is better?
ExpressVPN and NordVPN are two of the industry leaders. However, with 4 wins to NordVPN, 2 for ExpressVPN and 2 draws, NordVPN is the clear favorite.
With that, we have arrived at the end of our comparison.
In the end, the differences between the two are minor.
ExpressVPN covers more locations, while NordVPN has more servers.
Both have excellent security, a kill switch, and all the same features and mechanisms.
The prices are similar too, which is to be expected from top-ranking VPNs, both apps are easy to use, and they both offer multiple connections, with NordVPN offering one more.
So, they have more servers, it is slightly cheaper, and it offers one more simultaneous connection.
ExpressVPN is a bit slower but it offers more locations and supported countries and a few more apps. They also have slightly stronger policies.
Both are equally as good when it comes to jurisdiction and the ability to unblock streaming services.
While NordVPN came out on top, who you ultimately choose is your decision. Thankfully both have a 30-day money back guarantee, so if you don’t like the service you picked, you can get a full refund and try the other.
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