Like you, I've lost count of how many VPNs exist right now. The fact that many of them offer similar features, plans, and benefits makes choosing the right VPN even harder. If you need to choose between NordVPN vs ExpressVPN, this article will save you a lot of time (and possibly money).
- Key features
- Security & privacy
- Customer support
- Service extras
Don't have time to read through it all? Here's a quick summary to help you make a decision right away:
ExpressVPN is faster and offers a more enjoyable internet experience than NordVPN. However, NordVPN provides better security, privacy, and pricing.
So, if you need a high-end VPN for your streaming and gaming, sign up and try the ExpressVPN service.
If you want maximum security and privacy, with more affordable subscription plans, sign up and try NordVPN.
NordVPN vs ExpressVPN: Main Features – Speed, Server Locations, and More
|Speed||Download: 38mbps – 45mbps|
Upload: 5mbps – 6mbps
Ping: 5ms – 40ms
|Download: 54mbps – 65mbps|
Upload: 4mbps – 6mbps
Ping: 7ms – 70ms
|Stability||stable||Slightly less stable|
|Compatibility||Apps for: Windows, Linux, macOS, iOS, Android|
Extensions for: Chrome, Edge, Firefox
|Apps for: Windows, Linux, macOS, iOS, Android, routers, Chromebook, Amazon Fire|
Extensions for: Chrome, Edge, Firefox
Limited services for:
● smart TVs (Apple, Android, Chromecast, Firestick, Roku)
● gaming consoles (PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo)
|Connectivity||Max. of 6 devices||Max. of 5 devices|
|No. of Locations||60 countries||94 countries|
|User Interface||Easy to use||Extremely easy to use|
After spending time with both NordVPN and ExpressVPN, I took note of how their key features performed.
Because every device's internet speed is slower with an active VPN connection than without one, you can only hope that your chosen VPN doesn't ruin your browsing experience.
So, I tested NordVPN for speed. Thankfully, I only noticed a slight drop when I connected to the VPN server. To be sure, I ran more tests using different servers, locations, and protocols. Here're the results:
● Download speed: 38mbps – 45mbps
● Upload speed: 5mbps – 6mbps
● Ping speed: 5ms – 40ms
Download speed is a big deal for me and most avid internet users, hence, I was pleased to see that NordVPN allowed me to play high-end games and stream 4k videos with almost no hitch. The upload speed wasn't bad either.
Although I don't own many IoT devices, I found that NordVPN's download and upload speeds were more than suitable to run IoT devices in a smart home.
From experience, I know that when it comes to ping, the lower, the better. And anything below 50ms is great. Throughout my tests with NordVPN, my ping never went higher than 40ms.
Stability in VPNs indicates how well the service maintains connections on single or multiple devices without dropping. It also represents the ability of the VPN to maintain its highest speed throughout a session.
I did a little research before I tried NordVPN, just to see potential problems users were experiencing. Stability was one of the major issues, apparently. However, my tests showed that the developers have fixed the issues plaguing their software's stability.
There were a few drops in speed here and there, but nothing too severe, and I enjoyed a stable connection every time I used the software on any of my devices.
NordVPN has apps that worked with my iOS (App Store), Android (Google Play Store), and macOS devices. From the company's website, you can find apps compatible with Windows and Linux.
For browsers, NordVPN currently provides extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Edge. With all these supported devices, I believe the service has good compatibility with common gadgets, but doesn't go the extra mile like ExpressVPN.
I always say that paid VPN services shouldn't restrict how many devices subscribers can use on their accounts. Unfortunately, the reality is that many VPN providers do. NordVPN is one of them, and it only allows subscribers to connect a maximum of 6 devices per account.
Of course, I also believe paying subscribers shouldn't have a limit to how much data they can consume under the protection of their VPNs. Thankfully, the majority of VPN services agree with me, including NordVPN. There are no data limitations to your account during your subscription period.
Having a VPN with servers in dozens of locations gives you access to content that would otherwise be unavailable to you. The number of servers per location also affects speed, stability, and user experience.
NordVPN has 3200+ VPN servers in 65+ countries, which is pretty decent.
The apps and extensions are well-designed and everything seems to be in place. Although I'm tech-savvy, regular software users should have no problems as NordVPN is easy to use.
NordVPN has built a reputation of being one of the fastest in the industry. Hence, I was pleasantly surprised to find that ExpressVPN goes toe-to-toe with it in this aspect, even surpassing it.
Here's the summary of the data I got from my ExpressVPN speed tests:
● Download Speed: 54mbps – 65mbps
● Upload Speed: 4mbps – 6mbps
● Ping: 7ms – 70ms
The best part of these results is the download speed. I seamlessly played the most demanding online games and streamed 4k videos.
It didn't work too well when I tried to use it for live streaming, though. I wasn't too surprised because the upload speed is less than the recommended 10mps.
As for ping, ExpressVPN could do much better to reduce the upper limit of their current range.
If you want to reach the best speed on ExpressVPN, run the Lightway protocol. You'll thank me later.
After several days of testing, I realized that ExpressVPN is slightly less stable than NordVPN. The speed hardly fluctuated but the VPN server connection did drop a few times, particularly when I put my laptop on sleep mode.
After doing some research on the ExpressVPN website, I found that their apps are downloadable on a wide variety of systems. There is an ExpressVPN app for: Windows, Linux, macOS, iOS, and Android. Also, they have software that you can install directly in your routers, Chromebook, and Amazon Fire.
Having a dedicated firmware for my router was a breath of fresh air. I didn't have to go through a complicated set-up to connect my router to ExpressVPN.
I did try the MediaStreamer option on my Android smartTV. With it, I was able to unlock Netflix content on my smartTV even without connecting directly to the VPN. Unfortunately, doing this increased the number of connect devices on my account.
You can also use MediaStreamer on your gaming consoles.
If I was annoyed at NordVPN for restricting accounts to 6 devices max., ExpressVPN did not help matters. The service only allows a maximum of 5 devices per account.
There are no data limitations with ExpressVPN. You can use unlimited bandwidth and data on any subscription plan.
ExpressVPN claims to have 3000+ VPN servers in 94 countries. Although I've seen VPNs on a larger server network, very few offer as many as 94 countries to choose from – not even NordVPN.
The interface was spectacularly simple. Anyone can navigate it. I found nearly all the ExpressVPN apps extremely easy to use.
🏆 Winner is: ExpressVPN
NordVPN vs ExpressVPN: Security & Privacy – Encryption of VPN Servers, VPN Industry Policies, and More
|Encryption Technology||AES standard – Double Encryption|
Protocols: IKEv2/IPsec, OpenVPN, NordLynx
|AES standard – Traffic Mixing|
Protocols: Lightway, OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, and IKEv2
|No-Log Policy||Nearly 100%||Not 100% – logs the following: |
Personal Data: email address, payment info, and order history
Anonymous Data: App versions used, server locations used, connection dates, amount of data used, crash reports, and connection diagnostics
|Kill Switch||System-wide and selective||System-wide|
|Malware Protection||Websites and files||None|
Security and privacy in a VPN is just as important as any other benefit. People like me download such apps to feel more secure about their data and internet connection.
Before I reveal details of NordVPN's encryption, let's see the basic VPN encryption roadmap:
● You connect your VPN
● The software creates an encrypted tunnel
● Your data goes through this tunnel
● Only your VPN servers can make sense of the encryption, and no other party (even your internet service provider)
NordVPN has AES 256-bit standard encryption technology, which is the highest level of internet security. It is also a military-grade encryption. They took this a step further by offering a feature called Double VPN. It reroutes your traffic to a second specialized server before sending it to its original destination. Hence, a NordVPN server gives you twice the encryption.
The Double VPN feature was only automatically available for me on the Android app. For iOS, I had to switch to the OpenVPN protocol to see it.
With VPNs, no logs policies are tricky. They say they don't keep logs of personal data, but that's easier said than done. Usually, carefully reading their privacy policies will reveal that they indeed log some of your data.
It's impossible for us to test no-log policies directly, and VPN services know this. The sincere ones submit to third-party security and privacy audits regularly.
I did some deep research into NordVPN and found that their near 100% logless claim has some truth to it. They are a Panama-based company, and as such, don't have the same strict data retention laws as other VPN services (such as ExpressVPN in British Virgin Island).
Also, they have submitted to two audits by PricewaterhouseCoopers AG (PwC) – both coming out favorable.
So, my verdict is that they truly do NOT log user information except email and username.
IP masking is a basic VPN feature that you should be entitled to when you pay. NordVPN hides the real IP address for all connected users.
In case you don't know, a Kill Switch is a VPN feature that cuts off internet activity when your VPN connection drops. This feature keeps your devices from having risky moments of vulnerability.
NordVPN has a kill switch that offers both system-wide and selective options. Choosing the system-wide switch will cut off your entire device and its apps from internet access.
But with selective, you can choose which apps maintain access to the internet when your device loses VPN connection. The selective switch helped me keep my mobile bank app running, even when I lost my connection.
NordVPN's Threat Protection feature is an ad and malware blocker. I tried it on my browsers and didn't receive ads while it was on, which was a refreshing change for me.
To test its malware protection, I intentionally visited some sketchy sites and tried to download their content (yes, I did this for you, but I don't recommend it). Threat Protection kicked in with a crucial warning both times.
ExpressVPN also has AES 256-bit standard encryption tech. As an extra layer of security, they mix your traffic with that of other users in their specialty servers so even the VPN providers can't tell which data is yours.
● Personal Data: email address, payment info, and order history
● Anonymous Data: App versions used, server locations used, connection dates, amount of data used, crash reports, and connection diagnostics
According to Techradar, ExpressVPN recently underwent an audit by PwC. So, you can trust their claims.
ExpressVPN help to hide IP address of all subscribers when connected.
The service offers Network Lock, which is a system-wide kill switch. The few times my VPN connection flickered, I couldn't access the internet until it was back on.
Ad-blocker and Malware Protection
ExpressVPN does not have an ad-blocker. I tried to find one in their software, but couldn't. Also, they have no malware protection feature.
🏆 Winner is: NordVPN
NordVPN is a clear winner in this round, all thanks to their near 100% no logs policy, selective kill switch, and ad/malware blockers.
NordVPN vs ExpressVPN: Pricing Plans
|Subscription Durations||One Month, One Year, Two Years||One Month, Six Months, One Year|
|Most Expensive Monthly Plan||$11.99/month||$12.95/month|
|Best Deal||$95.76 for TWO years (51% savings)||$99.84 for ONE year (save 35%)|
|Best Discounts||15% student, apprentice, 18 to 26-year-olds discounts||12-Month Paid Plan + 3 Free Months|
|Refund Policy||30 days||30 days|
Next, I'll let you know how much I spent on both ExpressVPN and NordVPN.
They have three pricing plans:
⮚ 1 Month at $11.99/month
⮚ 12 Months at $4.99/month
⮚ 24 Months at $3.99/month
I chose to save 51% by purchasing the 24-month plan. NordVPN also has a 30-day money-back guarantee.
For discounts, I found only one. It was a 15% discount strictly for students, apprentices, and 18 to 26-year-olds.
The service also offers three pricing plans:
- 1 Month at $12.95/month
- 6 Months at $9.99/month
- 12 Months at $8.32/month
I would have picked the 12-month plan directly from their pricing page to save 35%. But thankfully, I checked for discounts first…
My search uncovered one discount offer. They offered a coupon that gave me an extra 3 free months when I purchased the 12-month plan. It was a limited offer, but you can check the ExpressVPN coupons page to see if it's still on.
🏆 Winner is: NordVPN
NordVPN vs ExpressVPN: Customer Support
|Support Team Quality||Good||Excellent|
I'll relay my personal experience with both VPNs' support facilities, along with the experience of others.
The NordVPN site offers 24/7 live chat support and email assistance, which I found very helpful when navigating my router settings. The live agents responded within 30 minutes and 24 hours respectively.
However, I can't take my experience as typical. So, I went over to Trustpilot to see NordVPN's latest customer service and support reviews. Of 20 reviews, I found 5 bad, 1 average, and 14 excellent. From this, I can tell that generally, NordVPN's customer support is good but not excellent.
I also found several helpful FAQs and tutorials on the site, but no phone support.
The ExpressVPN website also offered 24/7 live chat support and email assistance, and their agents had about the same response times as NordVPN. The site also had FAQ sections and VPN tutorials, but no phone support.
When I checked their customer service and support reviews on Trustpilot, I discovered something fascinating. Of 20 reviews, 19 were excellent and 1 was average – not a single bad review. It's safe to say ExpressVPN offers excellent customer support.
🏆 Winner is: ExpressVPN
From public sentiments, they clearly have a better support team.
NordVPN vs ExpressVPN: Extras
|Connected Devices||Router||Router app and MediaStreamer|
|Unlockable Streaming Platforms||20+ services, including Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, and Hulu||20+ services, including Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, and Hulu|
|Dedicated IP||Yes (paid option)||No|
These are premium VPN services, so it's only fair that they come with some extra perks. Here's how they performed in this aspect.
Sometimes you need certain apps (e.g bank apps, workspace apps, etc.) to function without a VPN protection, even when connected. This is where split tunneling comes into play. NordVPN offers split tunneling for every device.
The service also unlocks streaming services. I used it on 20+ platforms, including Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, and Hulu.
Also, I connected the VPN to my router using this NordVPN post. I was able to use my Playstation with a VPN thanks to this feature.
NordVPN also offers an extra service called Dedicated IP, which gives you your own IP address in any country. If your worksite only allows you to use a specific IP, then you should try it. Although it costs an extra $70/year to get, I like that such an option is available to subscribers who need it.
ExpressVPN also offers split tunneling. I tried it on 20+ streaming sites, including Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, and Hulu. They all worked seamlessly.
You can connect devices through the router app or MediaStreamer. Both are easy to set up, but the app was much better because it allowed me to connect an unlimited number of devices to my router's VPN and bypass the 5 max. rule.
🏆 Winner is: NordVPN
Split tunneling is nice, but having a dedicated IP address can be priceless in the right situation. Hence, NordVPN offers a better add-on.
Is ExpressVPN better than NordVPN?
NordVPN is a better VPN option than ExpressVPN. NordVPN has decent features while offering better security, privacy, and affordability.
Which is cheaper, NordVPN or ExpressVPN?
NordVPN is cheaper than ExpressVPN because its cheapest plan, $3.99/month, is lower than that of ExpressVPN, which is $8.32/month.
Why is ExpressVPN more expensive than NordVPN?
ExpressVPN is more expensive than NordVPN because it offers more speed, locations, and supported devices.
Can you unlock streaming platforms with both ExpressVPN and NordVPN?
Yes, both ExpressVPN and NordVPN will give you access to content from streaming platforms that would otherwise be unavailable for your country.
Which VPN is better for Netflix between NordVPN vs ExpressVPN?
ExpressVPN works better for streaming on Netflix because it is the faster VPN. It also covers more server locations than NordVPN.
Although both VPNs are fantastic, for the sake of the NordVPN vs ExpressVPN debate, you need to know which is better. Well, NordVPN is a better VPN in my opinion. It surpasses ExpressVPN in terms of security and privacy.
Equally important is the affordable pricing plans that NordVPN offers because ExpressVPN is a lot more expensive (nearly $100 for a year). However, I can't deny that ExpressVPN has unrivaled performance.
If you're looking for a cheap and highly-secure VPN with great performance features, try NordVPN. And if you don't mind the cost because you need a VPN that's ideal for gaming and streaming, you should try ExpressVPN.
Both services offer 30-day money-back guarantees, so you have nothing to lose!