NordVPN and ExpressVPN are two of the best VPNs available at the moment. But being at the top doesn't mean they are the same. They are both great but they offer different features and options.
For that reason, we've made this side by side comparison. That will help you to choose the one that offers the most attractive features, according to your personal preference.
When it comes to basic security details, these two VPN providers are very similar. The only detail where they differ is the company location. The location is very important because of the laws of that country. They have both chosen countries without data retention laws. The governments of Panama and the British Virgin Islands won't be asking about any user info. And even if they did, both providers wouldn't have anything to show them, because they don't keep any logs.
The protocols offered are the same. For us, the most important is that they both have OpenVPN available. This protocol has a 256 encryption cipher, the most modern level of encryption. So far, it hasn't been broken.
The extra safety features is the area where these two VPNs are the most different. NordVPN has a clear advantage here, offering many options for more demanding users. ExpressVPN went with the must-have options, which are enough for a full-protection. Those are the Kill Switch and the DNS Leak Prevention. The only thing that ExpressVPN offers that NordVPN doesn't is a built-in speed test. This feature allows you to test the download speed and ping latency of every server.
NordVPN offers a lot of tools; they have plenty of features for all kinds of users. For example, the most paranoid ones can use a double VPN connection. There's more interesting stuff, such as selecting a server by purpose, such as P2P. There's also the recently added CyberSec, to browse with protection against bots, ads and malware. You can see a description of all the options by clicking on the button above.
Regarding the speed, the test results were very similar. But there was a slight advantage to NordVPN. It's important to understand that each server is different and provides different speeds. These results are an average of the best servers available in each VPN.
We kept 95% of our original connection speed in many of the NordVPN servers. On ExpressVPN, we had 93% of the normal Internet connection. Both results are among the best we ever had while testing a VPN. The difference was barely noticeable.
This one is very close, as both providers have great numbers. With 3000 servers spread around 94 countries, ExpressVPN covers the globe. It's very easy for users to find good servers in a location close to them, which is very important for speed.
But NordVPN also has very respectable numbers. They may cover fewer countries, but they have more servers available. With so many server choices, the user won't ever have the problem of overcrowded servers. They were also careful to include servers in every part of the globe. That makes things easy for users on every continent.
Both VPNs allow BitTorrent and P2P traffic on their servers. The difference is that ExpressVPN allows it on every server location. NordVPN allows it on 36 of its 62 locations. At first sight, you may think ExpressVPN has the advantage here, but it's not that simple.
NordVPN excluded locations that have strict policies regarding torrenting. To compensate for this, they optimized hundreds of servers for BitTorrent in those 36 locations. Although the number is lower, those servers are faster for torrenting.
Compatibility and Connections
They are compatible with the main platforms, such as Windows, Mac, Android, iOS and Linux. They are also compatible with many devices. Some examples are computers, tablets, smartphones, routers, consoles, even smart TVs. The number of connections is different though. NordVPN offers 6 simultaneous connections, which means you can protect all your devices. There are probably enough connections to let someone you trust use your account.
ExpressVPN has less, but still enough. They offer 5 connections at the same time. This is also enough for most people. One single account can protect 5 devices. You can secure your laptop, smartphone, tablet, and there's still room for 2 more devices.
Price wise, NordVPN is a clear winner. Especially because of their current discount, where they reduce the price down considerably. ExpressVPN offers an acceptable price for the 1-year plan. They are even giving away 3 additional months for free. But it still can't compete with NordVPN's price at this moment.
Both VPNs offer a great software that provides military grade protection. This is the most important thing. But if we go into details, NordVPN proves to be better in almost every area, offering more and better options. On top of that, it's cheaper. ExpressVPN has more servers and is also capable of doing a great job, but that is not enough to win this head to head.