- NordVPN is a little bit faster than ExpressVPN
- 5,000+ servers in 59 locations
- Up to 6 simultaneous connections
- Supports P2P sharing
- Compatible with more devices & platforms
- 3,000+ servers in 90 countries
- An excellent choice for streamers and gamers
- ExpressVPN consistently works in China
In the world of VPNs, ExpressVPN and NordVPN are the service providers to beat.
They are both highly reliable and lead the way with new advanced and proprietary technologies to keep you safe.
But one has to be better than the other, right?
Truth is, ExpressVPN and NordVPN offer very similar services.
And while they do have their differences, you simply cannot go wrong with either.
That said, the best VPN for you is one that meets your needs and preferences – be it speed, security, or budget. So, is it going to be ExpressVPN or NordVPN?
Read on to find out!
In this in-depth NordVPN vs. ExpressVPN comparison post, I’ll examine the VPNs side by side to make your choice easier.
- NordVPN is the best VPN service when it comes to security. It offers robust encryption and maintains a strict zero-logging policy. The provider also has powerful geo-unblocking capabilities and works incredibly well with Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and other major streaming services.
- ExpressVPN is known for its speed. It provides fast and stable server connections across a world-best 94 countries. Besides, the VPN is compatible with a wide range of devices.
|vpnAlert Rating:||4.9 of 5 ⭐||4.7 of 5 ⭐|
|Jurisdiction:||Panama||British Virgin Islands|
|Discount:||Exclusive NordVPN Offer||Exclusive ExpressVPN Offer|
|Logging policy:||No logs||No logs|
|VPN protocols:||NordLynx, IKEv2, OpenVPN (UDP/TCP)||Lightway, IKEv2, OpenVPN (UDP/TCP)|
|P2P & Torrenting:||Yes||Yes|
|Platforms:||Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS||Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS|
Privacy & Jurisdiction
As I’ve often pointed out, a VPN is only safe if it can guarantee a no-logs service.
But with most providers advertising a zero-logging policy, it can be tough to figure out which VPNs actually do what they say.
Luckily, that’s not a problem with NordVPN and ExpressVPN.
Both providers have had their servers and operations independently audited by PWC (PricewaterhouseCoopers). As a result of this alone, we can be confident their claims are accurate.
NordVPN Logging Policy
As we saw in the IPVanish vs NordVPN comparison, jurisdiction matters a lot. Being a US based company, IPvanish does not enjoy the same privacy law advantages Nord does.
NordVPN is located in Panama, which is great for privacy. The central American country is not a part of the ‘14 Eyes’ intelligence-sharing community, and is as such a great location for a VPN provider.
But it’s not all sweet over there. Panama has some very harsh copyright laws and works closely with the US to enforce them.
Fortunately, the country does not have mandatory data laws, which means NordVPN does not need to store logs.
That said, every VPN provider does need to collect some data to process payments and keep the service running smoothly. On their side, NordVPN collects your:
- Email address
- Payment information
Additionally, NordVPN processes some technical information that may or may not be considered personal data. This includes:
- Server load information
- Customer service information
ExpressVPN Logging Policy
ExpressVPN has its headquarters in the British Virgin Islands.
Just like Panama, the BVI is an excellent jurisdiction for privacy. Despite sharing the same monarch as the UK, the country is not a member of the ‘5 Eyes’ or the extended ‘14 Eyes’.
The BVI has independent privacy laws, which do not include any requirements for mandatory data retention.
The provider proved this in the toughest way possible when the Turkish authorities seized one of their VPN servers as part of a criminal investigation.
While ExpressVPN did cooperate with the government, due to their strict no logs practices, they simply had no information to give.
And the company confirmed the same in a press release:
Just like NordVPN, ExpressVPN does collect some Personally Identifiable Information, though. That includes your:
- Email address
- Payment Information
- Selected server location
- Dates (not time) connected
- App versions
While NordVPN and ExpressVPN do store some personal data, your online activities still remain anonymous thanks to their strict no-logging practices.
Both providers also support cryptocurrency payments, which further improves your privacy.
NordVPN also offers a warrant canary, which ExpressVPN does not.
The warranty canary allows providers to circumvent the law and notify you when they receive a secret subpoena or a gag order.
Security & Encryption
ExpressVPN and NordVPN offer largely similar security features.
The providers use AES 256-bit encryption, which is the same encryption used by the NSA and other top government agencies. Needless to say, 256-bit AES is as good as it gets.
ExpressVPN does not stop there. To further protect your data, the provider launched TrustedServer, an advanced server technology that stores data on RAM
Usually, VPNs servers use hard drives, which retain all data until they are erased and written over.
Hard drives present a security risk should a hacker infiltrate the network or the authorities bust into the data center. RAM-disk mode offers an extra layer of protection since all information is wiped every time the system is powered off.
Likewise, NordVPN is preparing to move to diskless servers. The company has since completed a full scale third-party independent audit to make sure all their servers are safe.
Read Also: NordVPN vs AVG VPN
ExpressVPN supports three protocols – OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP/IPsec, and PPTP.
Most of their apps come with OpenVPN as the default protocol, and you can opt for either UDP or TCP.
OpenVPN UDP offers the best combination of speed and security but may not function on all networks. This is where OpenVPN TCP comes in.
Although it’s a bit slower than UDP, TCP works with almost all types of networks.
NordVPN, on the other hand, supports OpenVPN UDP/TCP, IKEv2, and the WireGuard protocol, more on this in a bit. The VPN also uses the TLS v1.2 protocol, but this is limited to their browser apps only.
Remember, while VPNs can keep you safe online, they do so at the expense of speed. WireGuard promises to change all that.
This new tunneling protocol is so fast that it allows you to retain virtually all your baseline bandwidth.
While speed is its strength, WireGuard also uses robust cryptography to encrypt your data and keep you safe online. However, the protocol is not as reliable when it comes to anonymity.
WireGuard is still under development and, in its current state, does not support dynamic address management and instead relies on static IPs.
As such, it requires IP logging to run, which is a risk to your online privacy.
As a result, many VPNs have chosen not to offer the protocol.
But not NordVPN: the provider has unearthed a new proprietary technology – NordLynx – that enables them to provide WireGuard without conflicting with their no-logging policy.
NordLynx is a privacy solution built around this new protocol.
It eliminates the vulnerabilities of the original WireGuard allowing you to stay anonymous online.
So how does it work?
NordLynx features a double NAT (Network Address Translation) system that hides your physical IP and adopts a new and uniform originating IP for all users.
Once the VPN tunnel is established, the second NAT then kicks in and assigns you a public IP.
With NordLynx two NAT systems, NordVPN avoids logging your real IP and instead logs their own IP.
Besides robust encryption and protocols, NordVPN and ExpressVPN offer multiple other security features in their VPN apps. These include:
- Automatic kill-switch
- DNS leak protection
Additionally, NordVPN has the following security features:
- Double VPN encryption (encrypts your data twice)
- CyberSec (an ad and malware blocking tool)
Leaks Test– IP, DNS, & WebRTC
Connections leaks are some of the biggest threats to your online safety.
If your VPN is a culprit, then it means your ISP can see your identity.
I connected to different servers and tested for IP, DNS, and WebRTC leaks.
Both VPNs performed well, and there were no leaks whatsoever.
Here are the screenshots of the results:
NordVPN Leak Test
ExpressVPN VPN Leak Test
Countries & Servers
Both providers have massive global server networks.
NordVPN offers over 5400 servers in 58 countries, while ExpressVPN offers 3000-plus servers in 94 countries.
Very few VPNs can match this.
Regardless of your location, chances are you will find a server near you.
The providers have servers across the Americas, Europe, the Asia Pacific, Africa, and the Middle East.
Besides excellent global server coverage, both providers also offer multiple specialty servers. ExpressVPN features SmartDNS and Tor compatible servers in some of their server locations. NordVPN, on the other hand, offers obfuscated, Dedicated IP, Double VPN, and Onion over VPN (Tor) servers.
Which Provider Is Better for Australia?
As VPN usage in Australia continues to surge, many providers have been expanding their server coverage in the country.
ExpressVPN has 5 server locations spread across 4 cities – Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney.
Not to be upstaged, NordVPN also has multiple server locations in the country.
You can connect to Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, and Melbourne.
Both NordVPN and ExpressVPN have a good number of servers in Australia, and the speeds are decent. As we saw in the speed tests, the average speed reduction was 29% with ExpressVPN and 36% with NordVPN.
If you are currently in Australia, you should experience much better speeds than these. But for that to happen, you’ll need to connect to a local server.
So, back to our question: Which is the better VPN for Australia?
I find both to be perfect.
If you have many gadgets, then you’ll want to look for a VPN that supports simultaneous connections. Such a VPN can also be of great value for a family or small office where multiple people need VPN protection.
Luckily, many providers, including ExpressVPN and NordVPN, support simultaneous connections. NordVPN supports up to 6 devices per license, while ExpressVPN limits the number to 5.
If you are looking for the VPN that will allow you to cover the most devices at a go, then I recommend NordVPN. It supports up to 6 simultaneous connections compared to ExpressVPN 5.
Speed & Performance Test
Speed is the bane of most VPN service providers.
Despite the numerous “ultra-fast” “super speeds” slogans, only a few VPN do well in this area. And if you are a streaming fan or online gamer, the last thing you want is a service that returns you to dial-up speeds.
Read Also: Do Streamers Use VPNs?
NordVPN and ExpressVPN deliver incredible speeds and are among the fastest VPNs around. To determine the better performer, I conducted multiple tests using different servers in the US, UK, and Australia.
Below are the speed test results.
Note: When conducting the tests, my benchmark speed was 98.34 Mbps download and 51.96 Mbps upload.
|Provider||Avg. Ping||Avg. Download Speed||Avg. Upload Speed|
|NordVPN||94 ms||75.70 Mbps||30.96 Mbps|
|ExpressVPN||115 ms||80.37 Mbps||35.07 Mbps|
NordVPN Speed Results
|Connected to UK Server||46 ms||87.67 Mbps (-10.85%)||45.22 Mbps (-12.97%)|
|Connected to US Server||164 ms||76.51 Mbps (-22.19%)||29.01 Mbps (-44.16%)|
|Connected to Australia Server||252 ms||62.93 Mbps (-36.01%)||18.65 Mbps (-64.11%)|
ExpressVPN Speed Results
|Connected to UK Server||37 ms||90.71 Mbps (-7.75%)||48.12 Mbps (-7.39%)|
|Connected to US Server||113 ms||80.94 Mbps (-17.69%)||32.44 Mbps (-37.56%)|
|Connected to Australia Server||196 ms||69.46 Mbps (-29.37%)||24.65 Mbps (-52.56%)|
Gaming: Ping Times & Security
|Latency||29 ms||32 ms|
As every online gamer would probably tell you, speed is everything.
It can be the difference between winning and losing. But while the download and upload speeds are essential metrics when choosing a VPN for gaming, the often-overlooked ping is as critical.
NordVPN and ExpressVPN both have incredibly low ping times, which allows you to enjoy a lag-free gaming experience.
To get an idea how the two VPNs performed with regards to gaming, I connected to a few servers when playing PUBG.
My gameplay was amazing and I didn’t experience any lags.
When connected to the smart location, NordVPN averaged a ping of 29ms, while ExpressVPN averaged 32ms over 60 minutes.
Speed aside, both VPNs offer protection against DDoS attacks, which are very common in the gaming world. DDoS – Distributed Denial of Service – attacks can be used to slow down your gameplay, allowing your competitor to gain an advantage.
Torrenting without a VPN can land you in legal trouble.
Sites like The Pirate Bay are full of all sorts of content, and I’ve seen people get DMCA notices for downloading content they didn’t know was copyrighted.
While I do not encourage copyright infringement, it’s always advisable to use a VPN when browsing torrent sites. It will keep your activities private as well as protect you from hackers lurking in torrent swarms.
But not all VPNs that support P2P traffic are ideal for torrenting.
Many have weak encryption, poor logging practices, and slow connection speeds.
Luckily, none of these issues plague NordVPN or ExpressVPN – both providers are great for torrenting. But which is the better option for torrenting?
NordVPN & P2P Optimized Servers
NordVPN allows P2P connections on 4673 servers, which is roughly around 86% of all their servers. That’s by no means a small number.
Most providers don’t even offer this amount of servers in their entire network.
Another thing about Nord that impressed me was their P2P optimized servers. Many of their servers support torrenting, but these servers are configured to make your downloads faster.
On their VPN apps, all P2P dedicated servers are grouped together, which helps you eliminate ‘guesswork’ when selecting the best server for torrenting.
NordVPN also offers a fantastic server recommender feature that allows you to find the best P2P server available at any given time.
Is ExpressVPN a Good Choice for Torrenting Too?
Security wise, ExpressVPN presents a good choice for torrenting.
Similarly to NordVPN, they keep no logs and allow P2P traffic on most of their servers. However, I was disappointed to learn that the provider does not have any torrent-optimized servers.
But once you get past this, ExpressVPN has its perks too.
Their apps come with a speed test tool that allows you to find and connect to the fastest server.
In addition to torrenting, this feature can also come in handy when streaming.
Again speed is not an issue when it comes to these two providers.
Now having said that, NordVPN does deliver a slightly better torrenting experience thanks to their P2P optimizations.
Overall, NordVPN is significantly more affordable than ExpressVPN.
Let’s put it into perspective: NordVPN’s cheapest subscription (3-years) will cost you 48% less than ExpressVPN’s cheapest plan (12 months).
NordVPN Subscribtion Plans
ExpressVPN has three different pricing plans – 1-month, 6-month, and 12-month subscriptions.
All the plans have identical features, and the only difference is the subscription periods.
And as is often the case, the longer the subscription, the less you pay in the long-term.
ExpressVPN Subscription Plans
NordVPN and ExpressVPN both support numerous payment services.
You can pay with credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover) as well as Bitcoin and Alipay (China).
Additionally, ExpressVPN supports PayPal, which, surprisingly, NordVPN no longer does. ExpressVPN also accepts UnionPay, WebMoney, Yandex Money, Diners Club, JCB, Sofort, and multiple other payment options.
Free Trials & Money-Back Policy
NordVPN and ExpressVPN do not offer a free trial, but both have a 30-day money-back guarantee, which allows you to try the services risk-free.
Their refund policies cover most of the payment methods.
However, if you purchase the VPNs through the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, chances are you may not get your money back.
Do They Offer Discounts Often?
ExpressVPN offers the best compatibility. While both VPNs support Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, and routers, ExpressVPN is also compatible with:
- Apple TV
- Multiple Smart TVs
Both VPNs can also be used on Chrome and Firefox browsers.
Streaming is one of the first things I tick off when getting a new VPN.
Choose wrong, and you may end up getting stuck with a VPN that can’t even unblock a YouTube video leave alone Netflix.
While many media services do impose geo-restrictions, none do it as effectively as Netflix. The streaming service employs robust security measures that detect and outright block VPN IPs. As such, not many VPNs can access Netflix.
Fortunately, NordVPN and ExpressVPN are among the few that can.
Both worked on the first try, and I didn’t have to go through the usual trial and error process.
Incredible. However, I’m guessing what you really want to know is whether the VPNs can reliably unblock US Netflix.
The US Netflix version has the most extensive content library and numerous titles that can only be viewed with the US.
To see which VPN works better with Netflix, I connected to multiple US servers to see which were compatible with the streaming service.
ExpressVPN Netflix Test
|USA - New York||Worked!|
|USA - New Jersey 1||Worked!|
|USA - Chicago||Worked!|
|USA - Miami||Worked!|
|USA - Los Angeles||Worked!|
All delivered great speeds, and I was able to watch movies and TV shows with no buffering.
Below I’m streaming ‘The West Wing’, a US-exclusive title.
Read Also: Top VPNs for New Jersey Reviewed
MediaStreamer is a SmartDNS service from ExpressVPN that provides access to restricted content without encrypting your traffic.
As a result, you are able to use close to 100% of your internet speed, which makes for an enjoyable streaming experience.
Additionally, MediaStreamer allows you to unblock media in game consoles, Roku, Apple TV, and other devices that lack built-in VPN functionality.
NordVPN Netflix Test
On their website, NordVPN boldly claims to be the “Best VPN for Streaming.” While that is open for discussion, it does go to show how confident they are about their service.
I was particularly impressed by their SmartPlay technology, which allows you to automatically bypass geo-restrictions, like those imposed by Netflix, with a single click.
Both NordVPN and ExpressVPN can be contacted via live chat.
Whether you are a beginner or seasoned user, you may still experience issues with your VPN. When that happens, a quick and knowledgeable support team can help you get things back up and running.
That’s why I always insist on 24/7 live chat support.
To test the reliability of NordVPN and ExpressVPN live chat support, I contacted both providers at the same time and asked a few questions about their service.
Both responded within a minute, but NordVPN was the quickest to answer my questions.
With ExpressVPN, I first had to verify my account, but after that, everything else was swift.
Both David (NordVPN) and Shep (ExpressVPN) were friendly and professional.
Besides live chat, you can also contact both providers through email or by filing a support ticket.
The providers even have a searchable knowledge base where you can find FAQs, setup tutorials, troubleshooting guides, and other informative content.
Do They Offer Video Tutorials?
User Experience & Usability
Both NordVPN and ExpressVPN are simple to set up and use.
They offer custom dedicated apps for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, and Android TVs.
Their apps are sleek and well-designed and allow you to connect with a single click.
Here is how the NordVPN and ExpressVPN Windows apps look.
Both apps offer a range of customization options, including the ability to switch protocols, initiate the internet kill switch, and activate au activate and disable the internet kill switch and automatic startup.
They also both include the split tunneling feature that allows you to route some of your apps’ traffic via the VPN while letting the rest access the internet directly.
The smart locations in both apps allow you to establish a connection with a single click. NordVPN also extends this feature to the rest of their servers: selecting a server means connecting.
With ExpressVPN, that doesn’t seem to be the case.
After selecting your VPN location, you’ll need to go back to the ExpressVPN main screen and click the ‘Connect’ button.
Which VPN Is Cheaper, NordVPN or ExpressVPN?
Between NordVPN and ExpressVPN, NordVPN is the cheaper alternative.
Which VPN Is Faster?
Both NordVPN and ExpressVPN are considered to be some of the fastest VPNs on the market. However, between the two, ExpressVPN is slightly faster.
Is ExpressVPN Worth the Money?
Both NordVPN and ExpressVPN are considered to be some of the fastest VPNs on the market. However, between the two, ExpressVPN is slightly faster.
NordVPN and ExpressVPN are two excellent VPN services.
Both deliver fast and secure connections and are perfect for unblocking restricted content. As I mentioned earlier, you just cannot go wrong with either.
However, one has to come out on top. And after thorough testing and reviewing, NordVPN proved to be the better deal.
That said, as I mentioned at the start, the best VPN for you will depend on your preferences. After all, both ExpressVPN and NordVPN have their strengths and weaknesses.
Check them out and let me know what you think in the comment section below!
THE WINNER IS NORDVPN
Protect private web traffic from snooping, interference, and censorship. All plans are covered by a no-hassle 100% money-back guarantee for your first 30 days of service.