We strive to keep our readers informed by making the most detailed VPN reviews possible and this time, we want to help everyone make the right decision with this comparison article on two of the best VPNs in the market – ExpressVPN and NordVPN.
You might have encountered both of these providers through our “Best VPN List ” article and most of the time, they’re on top with ExpressVPN being number one and NordVPN coming in on the second place.
In this article, we’re going to tackle 6 different aspects starting from streaming, cost, ease of use, speed, server network, then security and privacy.
ExpressVPN vs NordVPN Comparison
ROUND 1: Streaming
Starting with one of the main reasons why people use a VPN, let’s see how these two work when it comes to unblocking streaming sites like Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Hulu, and others.
Some of these sites are not accessible when you are outside of the U.S. depending on what country you are in, or the catalog of available content within them may vary from one country to another.
VPNs can help you get around these geoblocks by way of spoofing and making it appear like you’re browsing from the country where your desired content is available.
But not all VPNs perform equally on this aspect.
Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN work great in this aspect as our tests for Netflix and BBC iPlayer both returned great results.
So our verdict on this round is a tie and both VPNs get a point.
They were able to work like magic in tackling VPN detections, algorithms and geoblocks being used by these streaming sites.
That is why it’s really hard to tell which one is better and which one is not.
It is a bit disappointing not to have a definitive winner for this round but it’s comforting to know that both actually take unblocking seriously, making them perform at their best every time.
ROUND 1 WINNER: ExpressVPN and NordVPN
ROUND 2: Pricing
NordVPN is definetely the stronger service in this round and is able to give some power shots to the champion.
There’s no question about it, NordVPN beats ExpressVPN in terms of pricing and overall subscription cost.
But don’t worry, this article is going to go through the other aspects of each VPN to see which one really offers better value for money but upfront, NordVPN really costs less which makes it take the point for this round.
Its three-year subscription costs only $108 and there are other plan periods for users to choose from.
ExpressVPN lacks in this aspect and it costs more for every subscription, making it a more expensive option.
ROUND 2 WINNER: NordVPN
ROUND 3: Ease of Use
With the bout just getting started, ExpressVPN fans are already worried about its loss in round two.
But the champ isn’t giving up just yet.
While NordVPN is enjoying its early win, the champ is flexing its muscles to get on the challenger on the next rounds.
So in this third round, we talk about ease of use.
In this aspect, ExpressVPN and NordVPN differ.
The former is more minimalist while the latter offers more options making the interface look like a control room. This is going to be very obvious when both VPNs are launched.
ExpressVPN’s interface looks like that of a mobile app even on its desktop client.
On the other hand, NordVPN is more detailed with an interface that can be defined as “cool”.
It has more bells that you can hit with your control stick but it still manages to remain clinical and neat. On this aspect, we’ve decided to let personal preference work.
In our tests, we have seen that both of the interfaces are able to perform according to their purpose but everyone will have their preference.
Both VPNs claim to be the best one for novice users but ExpressVPN is easier to use because it’s basically just one big button that the user can press.
But there’s a small advantage which NordVPN has and that is on its ability to provide more information and options to people who know their way within VPNs.
There are options to select the protocol, kill switch, and many others which are available in the “Options” menu.
ExpertVPN, on the other hand, offers more things to play with for expert-level users.
Both providers have OpenVPN as their default protocol and it’s a fast and safe one but only ExpressVPN lets users have freedom over controlling the configuration.
It’s possible in NordVPN but it’s a bit more complicated.
Customer support is great with both providers.
There’s an email and live chat support where you can find people who are knowledgeable enough and knows the ins and outs of the VPNs.
You will not be in the dark for a long period of time in case a problem occurs.
Putting all these into account, we call this round a tie so both VPNs get a point.
They both have strengths and weaknesses and in the end, both weighed the same.
So for ease of use, it all depends on your preference. It is whether you want a minimalist approach from ExpressVPN or more control with NordVPN.
ROUND 3 WINNER: ExpressVPN and NordVPN
ROUND 4: Speed
At this point, NordVPN has got the lead so far but ExpressVPN still has other aces in its deck of cards.
NordVPN has been exhausted in the previous rounds so ExpressVPN can start giving some hard blows fast.
Fast because in terms of speed, ExpressVPN is the fastest so far despite the fact that it is using encryption that is heavier.
It should be noted that the heavier encryption type that is used, the slower will connection speeds be. The table below shows the difference in speeds for both VPNs when tests were done in the same location.
Its ability to maintain good speeds even for far-away servers make it a perfect choice for those who are looking for a stable VPN service provider.
As you can see, ExpressVPN is the clear winner in this round so when it comes to speed, be sure to pick ExpressVPN first before entertaining other alternative VPN service providers.
ROUND 4 WINNER: ExpressVPN
5. Network of Servers
The battle is almost ending but it’s getting more heated this time.
Both VPNs traded blows in different rounds and there’s still a bit of indecision among the crowd on which VPN to use.
So far, the score is tied and this next round is important as it will take the winner one step ahead to the final round.
NordVPN is confident because it’s got a good number of servers and a wide network of it.
It’s got a total of 4,489 servers which is definitely more than the 2,000+ servers that ExpressVPN have.
And from those numbers alone, it’s tempting to declare which one wins the round.
But that’s not the case.
Despite NordVPN’s massive server network, it still lags behind because of the fact that it’s harder to find a particular server from its map.
The location points in NordVPN’s user interface don’t have labels so it’s going to be inconvenient for the majority of users.
ExpressVPN has fewer servers but it works better and is easier to use.
These servers are scattered across 94 countries including servers in less common countries like Laos and Algeria.
Overall, this round goes to ExpressVPN because it has servers in a wider scope of countries.
NordVPN has more servers but only covers 62 countries while ExpressVPN has less number of servers but covers 94 countries.
This means that you’ll have access to more geoblocked websites and other stuff.
This time, ExpressVPN’s tactic of patiently waiting for NordVPN to get exhausted is paying off.
ExpressVPN is able to take the lead in this round but there’s still one more round and let’s see who’s going to win in it.
ROUND 5 WINNER: ExpressVPN
6. Privacy & Security
Both VPN fighters are now tired and there’s no one to blame because both are doing their best to win in every round.
One depends on strength while the other chooses to stay patient and let to the opponent be exhausted.
Right now, we come to the deciding round where we’ll see if it ends up with a real winner or both will take the win in a draw decision.
Both fighters are in luck on this last round because security is somewhat hard to judge and it’s difficult to see who really wins and who loses especially that both these VPNs are on the top spot.
Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN use the 256-bit AES encryption which is a great thing since this cipher level is impossible to crack (at least that’s as far as anyone knows).
The difference between these two services no depends on what you do as a user in order to protect yourself.
For ExpressVPN, it is possible to protect yourself by configuring the OpenVPN files where encryption can be further increased.
This is much-needed if especially if it’s a “Great Firewall” that you are trying to tunnel into.
It’s not the cleanest method of doing these things and we wish that there could be an improvement in such areas so ExpressVPN can take a leap further from is competitors.
However, it’s a way that has no foolproof especially for those who have less technical know-how and effectively prevents any major catastrophic accidents.
On the other hand, NordVPN does not offer the same advanced settings that ExpressVPN has and it also does not allow tweaking the config file in terms of encryption.
There are “specialty servers” though which gives access to the ones that work best for P2P and as well as DoubleVPN servers.
DoubleVPN servers are a new dimension when it comes to security and works by getting your already encrypted tunnel into another server giving you twice the protection.
There will be a decrease in speed which comes as a side effect but it’s going to guarantee that there will be no one who will be able to spy your sessions.
They’re both equally strong in the kill switch feature but there’s a difference in how this same feature works in each of them.
ExpressVPN’s kill switch cuts the connection as soon as it detects a problem with the server you’re currently connected to while the one in NordVPN does not allow you to connect to the Internet unless you flip the switch on.
There’s also an option which will place a switch in specific programs. You decide which one works better in this aspect.
In the end, we see that both services actually offer excellent features for securing your connection so you won’t regret going for any of these two.
This round is again a tie!
ROUND 6 WINNER: ExpressVPN and NordVPN
The bout ends here and we can say that NordVPN has put on a good fight against the champ.
There’s nothing wrong with the service and it only lost by a single point.
We declare ExpressVPN as the winner and to think that it was a close fight, the victory is even sweeter!
As we have said earlier, the winner of this bout will really get the advantage of personal preference and it is ExpressVPN who got our favor in one single aspect.
But as you can see, there are no cold, hard facts to identify which one definitively wins. Both perform really well and will serve their purpose after being installed. There’s no bad choice between the two!
THE OVERALL WINNER: ExpressVPN
Here’s a concise and more visual version of the comparison:
|Best Use Case:||General Users, Privacy Oriented Power Users||General Users, Privacy Oriented Power Users|
|Supported Client Software/OS:||Android, iOS, Windows, MacOS, Linux||Android, iOS, Windows, MacOS, Linux|
|Number of Servers:||500+||500+|
|Simultaneous Connections Allowed:||5 Devices||6 Devices at Once|
|BitTorrent & P2P Support:||Yes||Yes|
|Diverse Geographical Servers||Yes||No|
|Free Version Available||Yes||No|