Home VPN ExpressVPN Vs NordVPN in 2023: A Full Comparison
William Baxter Junior Tech Editor Author expertise
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ExpressVPN and NordVPN are two of the biggest names in the world of cybersecurity, and for good reason. Both offer cutting-edge features like Nord’s XChaCha20 encryption or ExpressVPN’s lighting-fast Lightway protocol for unrivaled speeds.

Advanced security features are used by both VPNs, for example, both VPNs offer a password manager built in to guard against data breaches, while NordVPN has a unique Meshnet feature that gives safe access to other devices.

In this comparison, we’ll examine the major distinctions and unique features between NordVPN and ExpressVPN. Our goal is to give you insightful information so you can choose the one that best meets your needs.

Both have undergone thorough testing and analysis, where we looked at their features, streaming abilities, speed, and other vital metrics.

In This Guide

A Quick Overview: NordVPN Vs ExpressVPN

These are two of the best VPN providers right now, and they share a lot of similar functions – both offer super-fast server speeds and military-grade encryption to keep you safe online. But if you’re interested in how similar or different they are, then this next section is for you.

Below, we’ve created a useful table that shows all the key information in one easy-to-read table. With this, you can compare the key functions, such as price, server count, and other important details:

NordVPN ExpressVPN
Starting Price $3.19/month $6.67/month
Free Version No No
Money-Back Guarantee 30-days 30-days
Average Speed 200-300Mbps 200-300Mbps
Server Count 5,800+ 3,000+
Server Locations 60+ 90+
Devices/Subscription 6 8
Streaming Services Unlocked Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and more Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and more

Nord Vs. ExpressVPN Pricing

Although both carriers provide 3 different subscriptions, there are substantial differences in the cost, the amount you save, and the maximum contract term. However, thanks to NordVPN and ExpressVPN’s 30-day money-back guarantees, you can test out any of them risk-free.

ExpressVPN’s Pricing

Unless you choose a monthly subscription, which outperforms NordVPN in affordability, ExpressVPN is the more expensive alternative, as even the longer plans are quite expensive in comparison.

ExpressVPN Pricing

That said, what’s nice about ExpressVPN is that regardless of the plan, you’ll get everything on offer with ExpressVPN — the same isn’t true for NordVPN. Let’s take a closer look at how it differs.

NordVPN’s Pricing

NordVPN is far less expensive than ExpressVPN, and the Google Play Store offers a 7-day free trial of the service. Monthly pricing starts at $12.99/month, whereas an annual plan only sets you back $4.99/month. That said, the best value for money is with the 2-year plans illustrated below:

NordVPN 2-year plans

As we mentioned above, with an ExpressVPN plan, you get all the features on offer regardless — whereas with NordVPN, you get different tiers that offer different features for scaling prices. For example, the basic plan doesn’t include malware protection or a dedicated IP.

That said, overall, the basic includes most of the features on offer with NordVPN at a much lower price point than ExpressVPN.

Other Pricing Factors to Consider

It’s also worth noting that, sadly, neither desktop client for these providers is available via a free trial – which is a bummer. Thankfully, you can use Nord with other devices after you sign up for a free trial using an Android device.

However, ExpressVPN does one-up Nord in terms of device limits, as it permits up to 8 simultaneous connections, whereas NordVPN’s subscription covers just 6 device connections.

Both services provide several payment methods. Credit cards, PayPal (in some regions), AmazonPay, Sofort, prepaid cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and cryptocurrencies are accepted by NordVPN.

ExpressVPN takes credit cards, PayPal, Bitcoin, and others like UnionPay, although it doesn’t support AmazonPay (whereas NordVPN does).

Express VPN Vs Nord VPN Features

Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN contain some truly unique features, but they also both excel at getting the VPN basics spot on – we’re talking kill switches, split tunneling, and so on. To help you compare the two better, we’ve listed all the core features below, as well as some quirks you’ll find with each.

Obfuscated Servers/Stealth Mode

In order to retain a connection even in the face of network restrictions or Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) methods, especially in nations like China, where internet access is highly blocked, both NordVPN and ExpressVPN have a feature called Stealth VPN.

Obfuscated servers, which are available on all OpenVPN protocol connections, are how NordVPN’s Stealth VPN is recognized. NordVPN automatically creates a connection that passes off your traffic as standard HTTPS traffic by choosing these servers from the list of specialty servers.

NordVPN Obfuscated Servers

Users can then easily get around censorship and access restricted content, thanks to this. However, ExpressVPN also offers its Stealth VPN feature, which works without a hitch on the app. If the program determines that it’s necessary to avoid DPI or other restrictions, it automatically configures the Stealth VPN capability.

Split Tunneling

You can select which apps use the VPN connection and which ones connect directly with the help of a useful feature known as split tunneling. It’s incredibly practical when you want to watch Netflix US while having access to your own local news websites.

It’s available in both services, but ExpressVPN has a wider range of compatibility.

ExpressVPN split tunneling

 

In this situation, you have the option of allowing or disallowing the listed apps to use the VPN. Only Windows and Android are supported by NordVPN, both of which operate somewhat identically.

Until then, Mac users running macOS 10.1 or later can use split tunneling with ExpressVPN. Overall, though, there’s not a lot to split these top providers in this instance.

Smart DNS

Smart DNS is another useful feature for users who wish to use a VPN for a multitude of different video streaming platforms. It first unblocks Netflix and other services without encrypting traffic or routing the connection through a VPN server, which results in significantly faster speeds.

Second, it functions on a variety of gadgets that don’t allow VPN connections, including several smart TVs and gaming consoles.

ExpressVPN Smart DNS

The SmartDNS version of NordVPN also supports several media devices, plus you get SmartPlay technology to provide improved streaming access across all servers, making it one of the top VPNs for streaming right now.

The main distinction between this and ExpressVPN is that MediaStreamer is a part of the VPN but also functions outside of it (it’s not only a Smart DNS feature). This means that you’ll have more flexibility in how you employ it.

Kill Switch

Both applications have a kill switch feature which stops you from unintentionally disconnecting the VPN while browsing. You can choose to use a standard kill switch or one that exclusively affects particular apps using NordVPN. However, you won’t find a kill switch on the NordVPN mobile app.

NordVPN Kill Switch

In contrast, you’ll find a kill switch on all versions of ExpressVPN, whether it be on the excellent Android or iPhone apps or either Windows or MacOS clients. On Apple devices, this feature is called Network lock, and you can toggle this on or off in the settings tab via the main dashboard.

On paper, ExpressVPN is the best VPN for Android users, and it offers its kill switches on more devices than NordVPN, which makes it the winner for this category – we’re still hoping that someday, Nord will roll out a kill switch for their Android app – but until then, ExpressVPN has the advantage.

NordVPN Unique Features

As much as these two VPN giants have in common, they also have some major differences and their own unique set of features, and to help, we’ve listed some of said key features below, starting with NordVPN:

  • NordLynx – Built on the WireGuard protocol, NordLynx is a ground-breaking innovation from NordVPN. Without compromising security or privacy, it speeds up your VPN connection and lets you connect to NordVPN servers quicker – hence why Nord is the top choice VPN for gamers and torrenters.
  • Threat Protection – This is Nords answer to antivirus software, and it does an excellent job of keeping you safe from any malware, viruses, or other online threats. As with the best antivirus software, it even scans your downloads to ensure what you’re getting is a legitimate file.
  • Dark Web Scanner – This scans the depths of the internet to check if any of your passwords, credit cards, or personal information of any sort has been leaked onto a large number of databases.
  • Meshnet – This makes it possible to securely connect up to 60 devices, making it ideal for collaboration, remote file access, and virtual LAN parties.
  • DoubleVPN – The Double VPN setting transports your traffic between two servers. When using this, your activity will be encrypted twice because it’ll go through a NordVPN server twice.
  • Dedicated IP – Instead of being shared across several devices or services, dedicated IP addresses are assigned to a single user or device. This indicates that the addresses are maintained and aren’t given to new users. (This is a paid feature.)

ExpressVPN’s Unique Features

Now it’s time to look at what makes ExpressVPN so excellent – we’ve already seen some of the cutting-edge features on offer from NordVPN, so can its rival live up to these high standards?

  • Threat Manager – This is a potent tool created to proactively identify and stop dangerous threats. It defends against cyberattacks and prevents users from accessing harmful websites, guaranteeing a secure online experience.
  • Router Applet – ExpressVPN provides a practical way to set up the VPN straight on your network with the router applet. By doing this, the encryption and privacy capabilities of the VPN can be used by all connected devices in your home or workplace network, increasing overall security.
  • Password Manager – A password manager is provided by ExpressVPN to assist users in creating secure passwords for all their different internet accounts. This makes sure that your login information is securely kept and accessible when needed, improving account security.

Is Nord or ExpressVPN Better for Streaming?

Both VPN services are great streaming options, as they unblock not only Netflix US but other libraries around the world. With NordVPN, for instance, we were able to unblock over 20 Netflix libraries, and likewise with ExpressVPN.

To get around tight geo-restrictions (blacklists of streaming services), NordVPN performed somewhat better and is undoubtedly one of the best VPNs for Netflix. However, both services gave us access to the famously secure Japanese Netflix – a huge win for anime lovers around the world.

Streaming services like YouTube, BBC iPlayer, and others were also tested, and for a full overview of the streaming experience across platforms, we also analyzed the experiences of other long-time users of each VPN.

Overall, we also really liked that all servers for ExpressVPN and NordVPN support streaming, so you won’t have to transfer servers before watching your favorite programs. Plus, thanks to the NordLynx protocol and ExpressVPN’s Lightway alternative, you can stream content in HD and 4K for the best viewing experience.

Support for Smart DNS is yet another excellent feature offered by both providers. Without using a VPN connection, this feature enables unblocking of streaming services on smart TVs, gaming consoles, and other media devices.

Overall, both NordVPN and ExpressVPN are equally excellent for streaming. Both can unblock the most popular streaming services, while, although marginal, NordVPN can get around some stricter limitations. They both allow you to stream content in the highest video quality, and both include the Smart DNS feature.

Is ExpressVPN or Nord Better for Torrenting?

Once more, picking the winner in this category is challenging, as they both offer great speeds and a variety of torrent-friendly servers. However, even though NordVPN has nearly twice as many in total, P2P is only accessible on select servers.

Currently, all ExpressVPN servers allow torrenting, so there’s no need to locate any specialized server, just connect to one nearby, and you’re good to go. Additionally, compared to NordVPN’s 60 countries, ExpressVPN is accessible in over 100 countries across the globe, offering you total coverage.

ExpressVPN also promises fast connections to difficult-to-reach places like India or Belarus, whereas NordVPN’s location coverage makes it pretty likely that you will find a nearby server wherever you are.

That said, we should mention that ExpressVPN lacks a complimentary SOCKS5 proxy, in contrast to NordVPN. On the other hand, you have the option of using the split tunneling feature, which is accessible on Windows, Mac, and Android and enables you to pick which apps you wish to be VPN-secured.

Security: ExpressVPN Vs NordVPN

Top-notch security and privacy are provided in abundance by both NordVPN and ExpressVPN. Neither is based in a nation that belongs to the 14-Eyes Alliance alliance, and both offer the widely used tunneling protocols OpenVPN and IKEv2, as well as AES-256 data encryption.

Below, we’ve listed some of the other key security features offered by both providers.

Logging

A leading international accounting firm, PwC, independently audited NordVPN and ExpressVPN’s stringent no-logs policy. However, ExpressVPN does compile some usage data, like the total amount of data moved and the number of successful VPN connections — only to improve the service.

Privacy

ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands, while NordVPN is registered in Panama. Both countries have zero data retention rules, so these VPNs can have a reliable no-logging policy.

Furthermore, neither of them is a member of the intelligence partnership known as 14-Eyes. Therefore, there’s no cause for concern that the government has asked the ISP to gather and provide information about users’ online activities.

RAM-Only Servers

In 2019, ExpressVPN introduced RAM-only servers under the name TrustedServer, making it one of the first service providers to do so. Because all data is erased following a reboot, that represents a significant advance in terms of security.

Additionally, every time new software is updated, the owner is aware of exactly what’s running. Traditional servers, on the other hand, rely on changing the outdated configuration, which is more prone to attack.

In 2020, NordVPN made the switch to RAM-only servers that were partially owned and managed by the business. So, on the whole, both ExpressVPN and NordVPN have fully transitioned to RAM-only systems, where nothing is saved locally, and your information is automatically wiped out, ensuring complete security.

Encryption

Both NordVPN and ExpressVPN employ 256-bit AES encryption, which, due to the cipher’s impossibility of being cracked, offers unbreakable online security. That said, when it comes to the security it provides for the control channel, ExpressVPN has a slight advantage.

This cipher is employed to establish sessions and safeguard the transfer of AES keys. For this channel, both NordVPN and ExpressVPN employ RSA encryption, although ExpressVPN employs a longer key – 4,096 bits as opposed to NordVPN’s 2,048 bits.

Does Express or Nord Offer Better Device Compatibility?

Each provider offers apps for pretty much any device you can think of, and there’s room for everything, as both support a large range of routers, so you can cover your whole house. Below is a quick glance at the compatibility of both ExpressVPN and NordVPN:

ExpressVPN NordVPN
Supported OS Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS Windows, macOS, Linux (no GUI), Android, iOS
Other Software & Devices Android TV, Fire, Roku, Kodi devices, Apple TV, and more Android TV, Fire devices, Routers, Apple TV, Roku, PlayStation, Xbox, and more
Browser Extensions Chrome, Firefox, Edge Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Brave, Vivaldi
Simultaneous Connections 8 6

It won’t be difficult for users of either VPN to secure every device in their homes, as in addition to browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Edge, you’ll find apps for all the major platforms. However, ExpressVPN offers a router applet, which NordVPN does not.

Even though the latter may be manually set up to function with the most widely used routers, this method is still less convenient than simply downloading and installing the service right away. The difference in simultaneous connections is also minimal, and you can get rid of the restriction by setting up the VPN on a router.

ExpressVPN Vs. Nord Apps: Who Offers a Better UI?

Whether you’re using ExpressVPN on Windows, MacOS, Android, or iOS, the interface is virtually the same across the board. Each app offers that familiar mobile-style layout which is incredibly easy to navigate, even for complete newbies.

It even shows the last server you connected to on the home page, making it easy to pick up where you left off – useful if you’re streaming.

ExpressVPN vpn dashboard

On the contrary, the NordVPN home page features a world map with markers for each country where it has servers. Plus, there’s a list view on the left (or, on mobile devices, at the bottom of the screen).

Finding the exact server you need is always simple, thanks to the server list’s division of general-purpose servers from those made for P2P traffic or Tor via VPN connections.

NordVPN Review

Overall, both offer aesthetically pleasing interfaces, but the ease of use you get with ExpressVPN’s mobile-style layout is more convenient and pleasing to use. We particularly like the look of the iOS version, as iPhone users tend to get pretty shoddy-looking VPN apps – making ExpressVPN one of the best VPNs for iPhones.

NordVPN or ExpressVPN? What Real Users Have to Say

Both NordVPN and ExpressVPN receive high marks from real users for their solid performance and dependable services, and both are often praised for their ease of use, especially ExpressVPN, with many commenting on their pleasant UI.

ExpressVPN Ease of Use – TrustPilot

For NordVPN, many were quick to point out the company’s excellent customer support and overall strength in the depth that VPN offers. In particular, the knowledge of the support staff was a common praise, as their ability to tackle complex issues was top-draw.

NordVPN Support – Trust Pilot

However, one area that seemed to hold ExpressVPN back was its pricing, as it is one of the most expensive VPNs on the market. Customers love the speed, performance, server count, and much more – but the cost of the service often pops up.

ExpressVPN Cost – TrustPilot

In a similar vein, NordVPN has been criticized by some for the lack of transparency on their renewal prices, with many customers being caught out and charged inflated prices – note to users, always read the fine print.

NordVPN – Renewal Prices

Overall, despite the odd criticism, both VPNs boast stellar reputations online across a multitude of sites and are easily renowned as two of the very best VPNs to get in 2024.

ExpressVPN Vs NordVPN Vs Surfshark

To give you an idea of just how good these two are, we’re going to throw a third VPN provider into the mix. Similar to before, we’ve created a table that compares all the important features of each of these top VPNs, including pricing, average speed, and other vital stats:

VPN Cheapest Plan Free Version Devices/Subscription Server Count Server Locations Average Speed
ExpressVPN $6.67/month No 8 3,000+ 90+ 200-300Mbps
NordVPN $3.19/month No 6 5,800+ 60+ 200-300Mbps
Surfshark $2.30/month No Unlimited 3,200+ 100+ 250-350Mbps

As you can see, Surfshark can hold its own against any other VPN, with it being one of the cheapest and fastest VPN providers on the market – you even get to benefit from unlimited simultaneous connections, which is a huge plus.

It may not have Nord’s XChaCha20 encryption protocols or ExpressVPN’s Lightway, but it’s a great alternative to these powerhouses for anyone on a budget. That said, if you’re not set on ExpressVPN or NordVPN, we’d recommend reading our full review and comparison of all the top VPN services before deciding.

ExpressVPN Vs NordVPN Servers

The strengths of the two providers are closely matched again here, and the one that suits you best will depend primarily on your usage.

ExpressVPN outshines NordVPN in terms of global coverage, having over 3,000 servers spread across an amazing 100+ locations. That said, NordVPN is just as impressive as it boasts almost 5,800 servers spread across 60 countries.

While many servers guarantee a quick and reliable connection, bypassing geo-restrictions requires a vast geographic footprint. ExpressVPN, for instance, has virtual servers in India that can be used to unblock regional content. In contrast, NordVPN only provides servers around India and none in the country directly.

Overall, both VPN providers will offer you a sizable number of servers in a wide range of locations. ExpressVPN, however, has a benefit over NordVPN because it has servers in countries like Bolivia, Pakistan, India, and other nations that Nord doesn’t.

Why You Can Trust Our ExpressVPN Vs Nord Analysis

We vigorously tested both VPN services, and we took into account reviews from real customers to ensure that each category we looked at was verifiable. To do so, we looked at the various components that make these top VPN providers good to pinpoint where each one shines and where there’s room for improvement.

For example, the average speeds of each, how many servers they offer and how many countries, as well as the important privacy and security features like split tunneling and kill switches.

We’ve also previously tested dozens of the top VPN services on the market using the same criteria as above, so we feel we’re well-placed to give accurate and honest opinions on each.

With a mixture of our own testing and analysis, plus factoring in reviews from customers who have used these products for years, we’ve tried to be as objective as possible with the reviews and comparisons we’ve made.

Our Other VPN Reviews and Guides

Although ExpressVPN and NordVPN are easily the market dominators, others are increasing the gap, making it all the more difficult to choose the best ones for your needs and budget. From the best budget VPNs to the best ones for streaming, we’ve done the heavy lifting to help.

Here are other guides we’ve compiled that we feel would help you compare these market giants to other prominent VPNs.

Which is Best in 2024, ExpressVPN or NordVPN?

Picking between these two is extremely difficult, as both offer excellent features like server speeds, high server counts, and top-notch encryption protocols to ensure your online activities are safe.

At the end of the day, it really depends on what your primary use of each of these VPNs is for – if you want access to as many countries as possible to unlock geo-restricted content, ExpressVPN is for you, as it has servers in 100+ countries.

However, for a better value-for-money deal with a company that offers market-leading XChaCha20 encryption and lightning-fast speeds via the NordLynx protocol, NordVPN might be your best bet.

Whichever way you spin it, you’ll be in safe hands with either provider, as they both equally nail the basics of a VPN, such as security, privacy, and streaming demands, and each has its own unique set of features to make them truly stand out in a crowded market.

FAQ

Is Express or NordVPN better for streaming?

Is NordVPN actually the best?

Is ExpressVPN better than NordVPN Reddit?

Is ExpressVPN really worth it?

Who wins the ExpressVPN vs NordVPN vs Surfshark battle?

What is the difference between NordVPN and ExpressVPN?

References

The Tech Report - Editorial ProcessOur Editorial Process

The Tech Report editorial policy is centered on providing helpful, accurate content that offers real value to our readers. We only work with experienced writers who have specific knowledge in the topics they cover, including latest developments in technology, online privacy, cryptocurrencies, software, and more. Our editorial policy ensures that each topic is researched and curated by our in-house editors. We maintain rigorous journalistic standards, and every article is 100% written by real authors.

William Baxter Junior Tech Editor

William Baxter Junior Tech Editor

William is a tech writer based in the United Kingdom who has been working in the industry since 2020. He started his career as a journalist, working for a large UK national paper, before moving aboard to Lithuania to work for various Fintech organisations. Additionally, William previously worked for the reputable cybernews website.

With a strong interest in technology, he is well-versed in areas such as cybersecurity, spy apps, CRM, VoIP, and EOR. His knowledge in this sector continues to grow as he consistently crafts reviews, guides, and top tech tips and tricks for his audience.

Trust his reliable insights to stay informed in the ever-evolving world of technology.

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