NordVPN vs. ExpressVPN for Torrenting

In a world where your ISP and the entertainment industry are slowly killing your ability to access media via BitTorrent, NordVPN and ExpressVPN are two popular choices for those looking for a high-quality torrenting VPN. 

In my opinion, it used to be a close call between NordVPN and ExpressVPN. But after some recent changes in ExpressVPN, the situation changed.

In this blog post, we’ll compare NordVPN and ExpressVPN and analyze every difference between them, especially the factors that impact torrenting. We’ll explore their servers, available protocols, companies that own the VPNs, pricing structures, and other characteristics.

WINNER
NordVPN
LOSER
ExpressVPN
Product
Product
NordVPN
ExpressVPN
Allows Torrenting
Allows Torrenting
Yes
Yes
P2P dedicated servers
P2P dedicated servers
Yes
No
Average speed loss
Average speed loss
6%
11%
Kill Switch
Kill Switch
Yes
Yes
Protocols
Protocols
OpenVPN UDP/TCP, NordLynx
OpenVPN UDP/TCP, Lightway UDP/TCP, IKEV2 and LTP/IPSec
Encryption
Encryption
256-AES
256-AES
Company
Company
NordVPN S.A.
Kape Technologies
Company location
Company location
Panama
British Virgin Islands
Logging policy
Logging policy
No logging (proven)
No logging
Price
Price
Starts at $3.69
Starts at $8.32
Our Score
Our Score
9.7 (out of 10)
6.3 (out of 10)

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Stance on Torrenting

Both seem to allow torrenting. NordVPN clearly allows it because it has P2P servers available in the VPN app, which means torrent downloads are supported. On their website, they also mention P2P as one of the uses of their VPN.

ExpressVPN doesn’t have a similar indicator on its VPN app. Also, nothing mentions it on their website, but many people still use their service for torrenting. I have made many torrenting tests with ExpressVPN, and it worked. 

This gray cloud around torrenting is understandable, to some point. After all, torrenting is connected with online piracy, and some VPNs don’t even want to mention it. But a provider should at least have no problem saying that they support the legal use of the BitTorrent protocol. Knowing that my VPN allows P2P gives me peace of mind when torrenting. 

I have to give a slight advantage to NordVPN for not being ambiguous and showing their support for P2P.

Winner: NordVPN

Servers that Allow BitTorrent

Here, the main differences between both VPNs start to be visible. As I mentioned, NordVPN has servers created solely for torrenting. Such servers are built to download data at a faster rate and can make a difference.

You may have seen in your research that NordVPN has 59 server locations worldwide, and that’s true. But you will only be able to torrent when connecting to P2P servers. 50 of their server locations allow P2P, meaning you won’t be able to do it on 9 of them.

ExpressVPN doesn’t have P2P servers by default, but you can use their regular servers for torrenting. And there are a total of 94 countries with servers available.

It’s important to mention that the highest number of server locations is not necessarily an advantage. The thing to look for is servers in your region that guarantee fast downloads. For example, if I were in the US, I wouldn’t care how many locations a VPN has in Asia. I would instead see if that provider has servers in North, Central, and South America. In other words, the number of servers is just a number, and some VPN providers use it as a marketing tactic.

Winner: NordVPN, but it’s a close one. In the end, I prefer optimal servers designed to work with the BitTorrent protocol, even if there are fewer of them.

Winner: NordVPN, but it’s a close one. In the end, I prefer optimal servers designed to work with the BitTorrent protocol, even if there are fewer of them.

Download Speed

Speed is a critical factor when downloading torrent files. Both VPNs did a great job on our extensive speed tests.

As you may know, there will always be some speed loss when using a VPN. Obviously, you want a VPN that will minimize this loss. In my experience, a 10% to 15% reduction in your regular Internet connection speed is acceptable and quite normal.

NordVPN’s average speeds were better than ExpressVPN, but the difference was not very noticeable. NordVPN had a 6% speed loss, and ExpressVPN had 11%. Both are great results, considerably better than an average VPN. 

Note: These average speeds were achieved when connecting to servers near the place where the test was performed. Using a server located on the other side of the globe would certainly generate more speed loss. That’s why choosing a server location wisely is very important.

Winner: NordVPN

Security Features

Both softwares come packed with features, but we will discuss only some of them here. For this comparison, we will analyze the ones that impact torrenting and P2P.

Kill Switch

The first thing that should be mentioned is the kill switch, which stops the Internet connection if your VPN stops working. It’s a must-have for torrenting to ensure that your real IP address never leaks.

This feature is available in both VPNs. In fact, NordVPN has two types of kill switch; one that kills the entire internet connection and one that only stops the apps chosen by the user. I have decided to award a tie here because they both have the main feature.

Winner: Tie

Protocols

There are a few differences in the protocols these VPN providers use. Here are all of them, side by side, to be easier to understand.

  • OpenVPN UDP/TCP
  • NordLynx
  • OpenVPN UDP/TCP
  • Lightway UDP/TCP
  • IKEv2
  • LTP/IPSec

The most important thing I have to mention is that they have OpenVPN UDP and TCP. That should make many torrent users happy. But let’s look at the remaining protocols.

NordLynx is a protocol created by NordVPN, and ExpressVPN created Lightway. They are both based on the Wireguard protocol. These protocols aim to improve the security of Wireguard but keep the speed. They managed to do that, and because of the great speeds, many torrent users are starting to leave OpenVPN and turning to such protocols. NordLynx and Lightway UDP are pretty similar, with a good combination of safety and speed.

As you can see, ExpressVPN offers a few more. They have a TCP version of their Lightway protocol, which is slower and helpful in locations with challenging connections. They also use IKEv2, which is not one of my favorites, but some users still like it. We are not really counting LTP/IPSec, because there are rumors that it can be broken. 

Winner: ExpressVPN. Even though both VPNs have the best protocols available, ExpressVPN offers a couple of extra ones that may be useful for some users.

Other Features

Besides the features we discussed, they have a few tools in common that can influence P2P. I am talking about shared IP addresses, DNS leak prevention, and IPv6 leak protection.

Winner: Tie

Company

The company that owns each VPN is one of the factors that separates ExpressVPN and NordVPN the most. NordVPN is owned by NordVPN S.A., a company based in Panama with a clean record. There was never a scandal, polemic, or even rumors connected to this company.

We cannot say the same about ExpressVPN. This VPN software was owned by ExpressVPN Technologies Ltd., which was a strong name in the industry. There were no negative comments or rumors about their services, and many users highly praised them.

That changed in September 2021 when Kape Technologies acquired ExpressVPN. This company is the old Crossrider, a company with a dark past. They changed the name to Kape Technologies to try to distance themselves from the bad publicity they had with the previous name.

For us, this was the final nail in the coffin. When Kape bought ExpressVPN, we removed it from our list of recommended VPNs. We are not saying that such a company is still practicing dubious schemes. But we cannot ignore the fact that Kape has a shady past, and it’s hard to have peace of mind knowing we are putting our online activity and sensitive data in their hands. Ultimately, when it comes to your online privacy, it’s better to play it safe.

Winner: NordVPN

Logging Policy

Both companies claim not to log any user activity. In the case of NordVPN, this was proven with an external audit. In a nutshell, a reliable third-party company audited NordVPN, getting access to everything this VPN provider can see. After that, they filed an official document stating that NordVPN didn’t save user activity logs.

ExpressVPN also has a no-logging policy, but to this day, there is no way of being entirely sure.

Winner: NordVPN, because they went the extra mile to prove they don’t save user logs.

Price

NordVPN and ExpressVPN have very different prices. ExpressVPN offers one of the most expensive VPNs on the market. The cheapest plan starts at $99.95 per year, which makes a monthly average of $8.32.

NordVPN has more plans available, with different durations and features, but the most economical one starts at $99.63 for a total period of 27 months (24+3 promotion). That makes $3.69 per month. It’s less than half of what you’ll pay for ExpressVPN, which makes NordVPN a clear winner in this category.

Winner: NordVPN

Should you torrent with NordVPN or ExpressVPN?

The two services have some similarities. Both have essential safety features for torrenting, good speeds, and a no-log policy. They are easy to use, with apps available for just about any device you can think of. In addition, NordVPN and ExpressVPN have many servers around the globe, which is ideal for finding good servers near you. Ultimately, it all comes down to seeing which advantages one has over the other.

On the one hand, NordVPN offers servers built with torrenting in mind; it has faster download speeds, a much lower price, and a company with a reliable name behind it.

On the other hand, the only advantage that ExpressVPN has over NordVPN is a few extra protocols. And those additional ones are not really necessary for torrenting purposes.

In my opinion, NordVPN is the best choice if you want to torrent anonymously.