NordVPN vs. ExpressVPN Comparison

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 26, 2021
Updated • May 30, 2023
Internet, VPN reviews, VPNs

NordVPN and ExpressVPN are two popular, highly rated, VPN services. If you are looking for a new VPN service to join, you may wonder which of the two comes out at the top in general, and which may be best for you personally.

In this comparison, we will compare the two VPN services in detail to provide you with the information that you need to select the right service.

NordVPN and ExpressVPN at a glance

JurisdictionPanamaBritish Virgin Islands
ServersMore than 5300 in 59 countriesMore than 3000 in 94 countries
VPN AppsWindows
Router/other devices
Router/other devices
ProtocolsNordLynx (Wireguard)
Lightway (custom)
Streaming (unblock)YesYes (limited)
P2P Servers
Obfuscated Servers
Double-VPN servers
Split Tunneling
Split Tunneling
PerformanceVery GoodGood
SupportEmail, chat supportEmail, chat support
PrivacyNo IP leaks
No DNS leaks
Killswitch works
No IP leaks
No DNS leaks
Killswitch works

Price$11.95 per month

$4.92 for 12 months ($59 per year)

$3.30 per month for 24 months ($89 per year) plus 3 extra months
$12.95 per month

$9.99 per month for six months ($59.95 for 6 months)

$8.32 for 12 months ($99.95 per year)

NordVPN and ExpressVPN are both highly rated and popular services, but there are lots of differences on closer inspection.

NordVPN and ExpressVPN jurisdiction

NordVPN is headquartered in Panama, which is not a member of the 14-Eyes countries.

ExpressVPN is headquartered on the British Virgin Islands, which is also not a member of the 14-Eyes countries.

Result: Tie

Server Comparison between NordVPN and ExpressVPN

NordVPN operates more than 5300 servers in 59 countries. ExpressVPN operates more than 3000 servers in 94 countries.

Here it depends on your needs; if you need access to as many countries as possible, then ExpressVPN’s offering is superior. If you just need a base set of countries, then NordVPN with its larger fleet of servers may be more appropriate, especially since it offered better performance during tests.

Result: Tie

VPN Apps supports

nordvpn interface

Both VPN services have clients for all major operating systems (Windows, Linux, Mac, iOS and Android), and support setting up the VPN on devices such as routers or Smart TVs.

NordVPN offers more features in its application, because it offers more.

Result: NordVPN

Protocols support

expressvpn interface windows

Both provides support the OpenVPN and Ipsec protocols. NordVPN’s main protocol is based on WireGuard while ExpressVPN has developed its own protocol Lightway.

NordVPN has the edge when it comes to server performance, and this may be partly because of WireGuard as it is adopted by other VPN services as well whereas Lightway is only used by ExpressVPN.

Result: NordVPN wins

NordVPN vs. Express VPN logging

NordVPN states on its site that it does not log user activity:

We do not store connection timestamps, session information, used bandwidth, traffic data, IP addresses, or other data. Nothing to store – nothing to share with anyone.

The claim has been verified twice through independent audits, the last one in 2020.

ExpressVPN does not log user activity either:

ExpressVPN stores no activity logs and no connection logs from our users.

No activity logs. ExpressVPN does not see or record which websites you visit. We never log the destination or contents of your traffic, and we run our own private, zero-knowledge DNS on every VPN server for added privacy and anonymity.

No connection logs. ExpressVPN never logs connection timestamps, session duration, your source IP address, or the ExpressVPN IP address that your computer assumes when connected to the VPN.

A third-party audit was performed as well and the claim was verified by the audit.

Result: Tie

Streaming and P2P: ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN

Both VPN’s support P2P traffic and the unblocking of regionally restricted content. There are differences between the two offerings though.

NordVPN supports P2P servers which are optimized for the traffic and resulted in better upload and download speeds during tests.

Both providers can be used to unblock Netflix, Amazon Prime and other streaming services, e.g. when you are abroad and want to view new series that are only available in your home region.

NordVPN may unblock more regional offers from services such as Netflix; it did better during tests and unlocked more regional Netflix offerings.

Result: NordVPN wins.

NordVPN vs. ExpressVPN features

NordVPN has the following features:

  • CyberSec – protects against known malicious sites and advertising by blocking these outright when enabled.
  • Killswitch – blocks Internet traffic if the VPN connection drops.
  • Split Tunneling – Use some apps with a VPN connection and others without.
  • P2P servers – special servers optimized for torrent traffic.
  • Obfuscated servers – designed to access the VPN service in countries that make VPN use difficult, e.g. China.
  • Double-VPN servers – option to chain the connection so that it is routed through two VPN servers instead of just one.
  • Tor-over-VPN – option to access Tor .onion sites using the VPN.

ExpressVPN’s feature set is limited in comparison. It features a killswitch, similar to the one offered by NordVPN, and Split Tunneling support.

Result: NordVPN wins.

NordVPN vs. ExpressVPN performance

The performance of NordVPN was slightly better during tests. Granted, the Internet connection of the test system was only 50/20 Mbits, and both came close to maxing these out on most servers that we tested.

NordVPN scored slightly better in the benchmark tests.

Result: NordVPN is the winner.

NordVPN vs. ExpressVPN price comparison

Both VPN services list three plans on their sites. ExpressVPN customers may subscribe for 1 month, 6 months or 12 months, and pay $12.95, $9.99 and $8.32 respectively for the subscriptions.

NordVPN customers may subscribe for 1 month, 12 months or 24 months, and pay $11.95, $4.92 or $3.30 for the subscription. Three extra months are added to the 2-year plan free of charge.

Result: NordVPN is the clear winner.

Conclusion of NordVPN vs. ExpressVPN

NordVPN is the clear winner of the comparison, as it beats ExpressVPN in most categories. It is a lot cheaper if you subscribe at least for 12-months, offers better server performance and speeds, and has more features than ExpressVPN.

ExpressVPN is not a bad service, far from it, but it does not offer as much value for the money than NordVPN does.

NordVPN vs. ExpressVPN Comparison
Article Name
NordVPN vs. ExpressVPN Comparison
NordVPN and ExpressVPN are two popular VPN services, but which comes out at the top objectively if you compare the two services?
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  1. smaragdus said on October 7, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    I have just tested the Wikipedia Book Creator and in works fine. I am pleased that the output format can be EPUB which is far superior than PDF. For me EPUB is the best e-book format, I prefer it to FB2 DJVU and especially over PDF, not to mention Microsoft LIT, Amazon and Mobipocket trash.

  2. benny said on November 2, 2012 at 9:21 am

    they actually had epub export for awhile but then stopped. good to see it’s back.

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