In this article, we’re going to give you an honest, accurate comparison of two popular services: ExpressVPN and NordVPN. Both of these services are widely recognized as being among the best ones available, so we can expect a tight competition.
Throughout our comparison article, we’re going to highlight various key features. Thus, by the end of it, you’ll be able to make the right choice as to which service fits your needs best.
Before we get into more detail, we’re going to lay down a quick side-by-side comparison of these two VPN services. Therefore, you can make a quick decision based on this comparison without spending a lot of time reading.
|Terms of service analysis||Winner||Runner-Up|
|Interface and ease-of-use||Tie|
|Device number / mobile or not||Runner-Up||Winner|
|Number of servers||Tie|
|Killswitch and split tunneling||Winner||Runner-Up|
|Torrenting and Netflix||Tie|
As you can probably make it out yourselves from the table we’ve included above, ExpressVPN (Save 49% now!) is the winner in this comparison article. But not by far, though, NordVPN proved to be a worthy opponent, hence the ungodly amount of ties we had (9/15). If you want to find out more, just keep on reading. We’re positively sure you won’t regret it.
- ExpressVPN (Winner) – British Virgin Islands (Not 14 Eyes)
- NordVPN (Runner-Up) – Panama (Not 14 Eyes) – Might be problematic
ExpressVPN is located in the BVI, a self-governing group of islands in the Caribbean, while NordVPN is situated in Panama. The BVI has a set of self-imposed laws and no intelligence agency is present on this territory. This means that privacy is kept at optimal parameters.
Panama’s constitution safe keeps the freedom of speech, press’ freedom and association freedom. On the downside, the presence of corruption muddies the waters a bunch, and there were some reports that critics of public officials are being handled by the government and some email monitoring has been observed.
The bottom line is that neither countries are members of the 5, 9, 14 Eyes alliances. However, from an objective point of view, Panama might be a bit more inconvenient, due to corruption and government involvement.
2. Terms of service analysis
- ExpressVPN (Winner) – no suspicious mentions
- NordVPN (Runner-Up) – contradictory terms regarding logging timestamps
Like any other product on the market, ExpressVPN and NordVPN both have to comply with the regulations and come up with some form of agreement between them and the end-users. The purpose of these agreements is to decide upon accepted usage of the service and the penalty that arises as a consequence of violating the agreement.
With that in mind, let us take a look at both ExpressVPN’s and NordVPN’s terms of service, to see if either one of the services has unreasonable demands. We’re not going to discuss the full documents, only pinpoint some of their key terms.
ExpressVPN’s terms of service
- If you don’t accept the agreements, either partially or entirely, you must stop using the service and accessing the website;
- You must be both a valid legal entity and at least 18 years old to use ExpressVPN;
- Make sure to check the documentation from time to time, as it can be updated without prior notice;
- ExpressVPN claims to be committed to protecting your privacy;
- ExpressVPN claims not to be collecting or logging browsing history, traffic destination, DNS queries, or data content;
- ExpressVPN will collect some of your personal data during registration;
- You can only use the service after purchasing a subscription;
- You can use ExpressVPN on more than 5 devices by installing it on your router, or purchasing additional subscription plans/licenses;
- There’s a 30-day full refund guarantee;
- You’re not allowed to use ExpressVPN in any way that might be deemed illegal;
- If you misuse the service, ExpressVPN will terminate your account immediately and you won’t be eligible for a refund;
As you can see, their conditions are quite reasonable, as we weren’t able to spot anything that would greatly benefit the ExpressVPN team to your detriment.
NordVPN’s terms of service
- NordVPN’s Terms of Service are a binding legal agreement between you and the NordVPN company;
- You aren’t allowed to use NordVPN if you’re a minor (i.e. under 18 years), a competitor of its business, if your account has been suspended, or if you’re prohibited to access the services;
- You automatically agree to the terms by visiting the website, registering for the service, as well as installing the service;
- If you use NordVPN as an organization, you must agree to the terms on behalf of said organization and you must be authorized to act on behalf of the organization;
- NordVPN doesn’t condone using their service in any unlawful manner;
- You are not allowed to violate the laws of any jurisdiction you might be originating from;
- You’re responsible for knowing and understanding the laws of any jurisdiction that concerns you;
- NordVPN guarantees that your traffic and activity won’t be monitored or logged as long as you’re connected to their service;
- NordVPN doesn’t store, collect, or log any connection timestamp, session info, traffic logs, IP addresses, or used bandwidth amount;
- NordVPN uses an algorithm to keep a timestamp and a username of your last session, but only while the session is active, and after the session is terminated, the data is deleted within 15 minutes. The purpose of this is to limit the number of simultaneous connections;
- You are using the NordVPN services at your own risk and NordVPN isn’t liable for any monetary or non-monetary losses;
- NordVPN shall not be held liable for any monetary losses except for what you paid for the service;
- There’s a 30-day full refund guarantee you can use in case you’re not satisfied with the service;
As you can see, NordVPN also has reasonable conditions in their Terms of Service documentation. However, we couldn’t help but notice that, despite their claim of not logging timestamps, they mention keeping a timestamp to limit simultaneous connections. Granted, that timestamp gets deleted within 15 minutes after closing your session, but it still counts.
3. Log-keeping policy
- ExpressVPN (Tie) – doesn’t keep logs
- NordVPN (Tie) – doesn’t keep logs
ExpressVPN collects some data about you, but it’s not that bad as it sounds. Many VPNs log some data, and ExpressVPN makes no exception. A few examples of logged data are activated apps, dates you connected to the VPN, the server you’ve connected to, the amount of data you transferred. Bottom line is that ExpressVPN doesn’t keep sensitive data about you.
NordVPN does too collect some data about you, but again, it’s not sensitive enough that it can be used to identify you. There’s a bunch of data that you hand willingly, such as your email address and payment data, but NordVPN also collects some info on its own. Namely: the server load information, customer service data, and cookies.
To wrap it up, neither service collects sensitive data on you, nor logs it on their servers.
4. Data collection
- ExpressVPN (Tie) – doesn’t collect sensitive data
- NordVPN (Tie) – doesn’t collect sensitive data
We’ve mentioned that each of the services we’re discussing in this article collects a bunch of data from you. However, it’s not exactly clear what type of data, since the only mention regarding this situation is that the information they collect can’t be traced back to you.
That being said, let’s take a look at what kind of data do ExpressVPN and NordVPN collect from you whenever you’re using their services (and when you’re not).
ExpressVPN collected data
- Your email address
- Your payment info
- Activated apps and their versions
- VPN connection dates (not times)
- The VPN servers you chose to connect to
- Amount of MBs you transferred per day
NordVPN collected data
- Registration data (email address, password)
- Payment information
- Server load (how much of the server is occupied by active users)
- Customer service information (you provide willingly)
As you can see, none of the two services engage in actively collecting sensitive data from their customers. Although some of the information can be linked to you (email address and payment info), they don’t collect it for the sole purpose of shining a spotlight on you.
5. Malware detection
- ExpressVPN (Tie) – a couple of alerts (most likely false positives)
- NordVPN (Tie) – one alert (most likely false positive)
Scanning anything that comes in touch with your computer is crucial when it comes to maintaining your PC’s security at optimal parameters. Therefore, we’ve dedicated a subchapter to this healthy practice.
We’ve scanned both ExpressVPN’s and NordVPN’s Windows clients before installing them on our computers, and the results were as follows:
- Antiy-AVL – Worm[Email]/Win32.LovGate
- Yomi Hunter – MALWARE
- Dr.Web vxCube – MALWARE
Although the files didn’t come out exactly clean out of the scanner, we’d be inclined to believe the alerts are false positives. It’s worth mentioning that we didn’t encounter any trouble after installing them on our computer.
6. Interface and ease-of-use
- ExpressVPN (Tie) – easy to use, but also has advanced options
- NordVPN (Tie) – easy to use, but also has advanced options
It’s quite important that the VPN service you chose for the long run to be highly accessible, regardless of your previous experience with similar products or PC operating skills.
For that reason, we’re going to focus on the interface and maneuverability of both products, so we can decide which one is the best fit for you if you’re a novice, or if you’re an advanced user who likes a lot of configuration options.
ExpressVPN’s interface and overall feel
At first sight, ExpressVPN seems friendly enough to be operated even by inexperienced users. Its main window consists of a large connection button, a location selector, and a hamburger button you can use to access the main menu.
The main menu grants you access to the VPN locations (all of them), lets you perform a speed test, and helps you access the configuration window.
As you can see in the screenshots attached below, you can adjust general settings, but also ones that are related to protocol, account, or browsers. Last, but not least, there’s the Advanced section, which we advise you to refrain from tampering with, especially if you’re a novice.
In the General settings, you can access/modify the following options:
- Launch ExpressVPN on Windows startup
- Start ExpressVPN minimized
- Connect to the last used location automatically upon launch
- Cut Internet traffic (all of it) if the VPN disconnects suddenly
- Allow access to LAN devices (printers, file servers)
- Enable split tunneling and manage it
The Protocol section enables you to choose from the following options:
- UDP – OpenVPN (best speed-security combination, might not work on all networks)
- TCP – OpenVPN (higher applicability than UDP, but might be slower than it)
- L2TP – IPsec (weak security, useful for anonymization when other protocols don’t work)
- PPTP (same as L2TP – IPsec)
In the Account category, you can perform the following actions:
- Sign out
- Refer friends
The Browsers tab lets you:
- Retrieve browser extensions for supported web browsers
The Advanced section lets you modify the following settings:
- Share crash reports, speed tests, and successful/failed VPN connection attempts
- Prevent IPv6 address detection while connected
- Toggle exclusive ExpressVPN DNS servers usage
- Optimize Windows networking to maximize VPN speed
- Choose language
NordVPN’s interface and overall feel
As opposed to ExpressVPN’s, NordVPN’s interface is not necessarily more complicated, but you can notice from the first glance that it’s more… complex, so to say. Instead of sporting the simplistic connect/disconnect dialog with a simple country selector, NordVPN provides you with an interactive map, a series of specialty servers, and a lookup feature.
Like we said earlier, it’s not more complicated than ExpressVPN, it just features a larger main window that encompasses more features. Some of these features might even confuse newer users, who might not be aware of what P2P, Double VPN, or Dedicated IP means.
However, accessing the configuration screen can be done easier than in ExpressVPN’s case, since you don’t have to go through a menu. You can just click the Settings button and you’re there.
Regarding the configuration section, there are only two sections: General and My Account. All the service-related configuration can be done through the General section. Namely:
- Enabling or disabling the CyberSec feature
- Toggling auto-connection
- Starting NordVPN on system startup
- Toggling the Internet kill switch
- Turn your PC invisible on the LAN (Local Area Network)
- Enable an app kill switch
- Toggle notifications
- Start the app minimized
- Choose the protocol
- Enable a custom DNS setting
- Turn on obfuscated servers (to bypass VPN bans)
- Run the Diagnostics Tool
Although some of the settings displayed here are considered complex and is recommended that only advanced users should tamper with them, it’s easy enough to revert to the original configuration scheme if things go wrong. Just flip the switch back to its initial position and you should be good.
7. Device number / mobile or not
- ExpressVPN (Runner-Up) – 5 simultaneous connection
- NordVPN (Winner) – 6 simultaneous connection
There’s not much to debate here. ExpressVPN supports up to 5 devices at the same time, while NordVPN lets you connect up to 6 devices on the same account, without any extra fees.
When it comes to their compatibility on mobile devices, they both qualify, since they both support mobile devices, with dedicated apps, too.
ExpressVPN’s supported devices
- Laptops and desktops: Windows, Mac, Linux, Chromebook
- Mobile devices: Android, iOS, Amazon Kindle Fire, Barnes & Noble Nook HD
- Wireless routers: Asus, DD-WRT, D-Link, Linksys, Netduma, Netgear, Sabai, Tomato, TP-Link
- Streaming media consoles – with DNS: Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Boxee Box, Chromecast, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Roku, WD TV Live, Xbox One, Xbox 360
NordVPN’s supported devices
- Android, Windows, macOS, iOS, iPhone, iPad, Android TV, Linux, Chrome, Firefox
Bottom line: Although it lets you connect more devices, NordVPN has a narrower range of supported devices. Therefore, ExpressVPN is clearly the winner here.
8. Number of servers
- ExpressVPN (Tie) – 3000+ servers – 160 server locations – 94 countries
- NordVPN (Tie) – 5669 servers – 58 countries
Another feature that needs to be taken into consideration when choosing the ideal VPN service is the number of servers. The more servers a service has, the bigger the variety of locations/IP addresses it provides you with is.
It’s a no-brainer: NordVPN is clearly the winner when it comes to the number of available servers. However, note that although NordVPN’s number of servers is almost double than ExpressVPN’s, the latter covers way more countries than the former.
Therefore, we consider it to be a tie: NordVPN offers more servers in fewer countries, ExpressVPN offers fewer servers in more countries.
9. Killswitch and split tunneling
- ExpressVPN (Winner) – has killswitch and split-tunneling
- NordVPN (Runner-Up) – has killswitch but split tunneling is browser-only
The killswitch feature is very important to the end-user. Imagine this: you’re downloading something from torrents through VPN when suddenly your VPN disconnects from the secure tunnel. Your PC automatically re-establishes your default, insecure connection, and your torrent client resumes the download process. The killswitch makes sure this never happens by cutting your default connection when you’re not secure.
Split tunneling makes sure you can still access data on your LAN network by securing only some parts of your activity. ExpressVPN has them both, but NordVPN only has a killswitch, since the split tunneling feature is browser-exclusive.
Conclusion: ExpressVPN wins in this category.
10. Torrenting and Netflix
- ExpressVPN (Tie) – lets you torrent and unblock Netflix
- NordVPN (Tie) – allows you to torrent and unblock Netflix
There’s no other way around it, so we’re going to declare a tie between these services. Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN offer you unhampered access to torrenting and let you access Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and other similar services without a hiccup.
11. Security tests
- ExpressVPN (Tie) – no security issues were picked up
- NordVPN (Tie) – no security issues were detected
We’ve tested both ExpressVPN and NordVPN for multiple faults in their security systems. These parameters include the IP address, PTR, country, city, latitude, longitude, ASN, ISP, domain name, IP type, IPv6 geolocation, DNS, WebRTC, and Flash IP.
During our tests, we didn’t detect anything wrong with either service altogether. ExpressVPN and NordVPN are equally safe when it comes to security.
ExpressVPN’s security test results
As you can see, we’ve tested a wide array of components and made it our priority to check whether they leak your data or keep it all together, airtight.
Not only did ExpressVPN hit a perfect score for basic security features (such as IPmasking), but it also behaved impeccably for more advanced ones, such as DNS, WebRTC, and DNS leak protection, as well as IPv6-based geolocation. To conclude our tests, ExpressVPN can keep every bit of data it processes safe and secure.
NordVPN’s security test results
We couldn’t give NordVPN a different treatment, so we held it against the same array of tests. As you can see from the table and screenshots we’ve included above, NordVPN scored a perfect score in all the sections, for all three tests.
Therefore, you can rest assured that this service will keep your IP hidden, but also prevent prying eyes from picking up on your geolocation, as well as keep DNS, WebRTC, or Flash IP from leaking your sensitive data. The bottom line is that, like Express VPN, NordVPN offers unmatched security.
12. Speed tests
- ExpressVPN (Winner) – (78 Mbps – 270 Mbps)
- NordVPN (Runner-Up) – (3.7 Mbps – 230 Mbps)
We’ve tested both ExpressVPN and NordVPN on our go-to choice speed testing service: fast.com. We’ve tested the speed of these services on multiple servers, in several locations, and we’ve included the lowest speed value and the highest one for each service.
ExpressVPN’s speed tests results
|Location||Internet Speed||Latency||Upload Speed||Downloaded||Uploaded|
|U.S.A.||78 Mbps||148 ms||157 ms||20 Mbps||320 MB||80 MB|
|Switzerland||270 Mbps||64 ms||264 ms||20 Mbps||640 MB||50 MB|
|Brazil||120 Mbps||255 ms||277 ms||21 Mbps||390 MB||70 MB|
|Hong Kong||150 Mbps||229 ms||326 ms||17 Mbps||490 MB||50 MB|
|South Africa||110 Mbps||237 ms||278 ms||19 Mbps||190 MB||60 MB|
|Australia||78 Mbps||283 ms||332 ms||18 Mbps||270 MB||60 MB|
ExpressVPN is, without a doubt, a leader when it comes to speed, thanks to its remarkably fast servers. Notice that the fastest speed value we’ve achieved during our tests was 270 Mbps, which is quite a lot, considering that most VPN services can slow down your connection to a pulp.
Not even the slowest result was disappointing, considering that many other similar services couldn’t even reach this 78 Mbps threshold.
NordVPN’s speed tests results
|Location||Internet Speed||Latency||Upload Speed||Downloaded||Uploaded|
|USA||190 Mbps||190 ms||235 ms||21 Mbps||350 MB||30 MB|
|Belgium||230 Mbps||156 ms||233 ms||23 Mbps||520 MB||70 MB|
|Brazil||160 Mbps||437 ms||541 ms||8.5 Mbps||400 MB||30 MB|
|Hong Kong||81 Mbps||546 ms||558 ms||4.6 Mbps||190 MB||20 MB|
|South Africa||150 Mbps||522 ms||525 ms||21 Mbps||300 MB||50 MB|
|Australia||3.7 Mbps||1.5 s||1.5 s||12 Mbps||20 MB||30 MB|
We’re not gonna lie, we were quite disappointed when it came to Australia’s speed test results since it broke an incredible streak. NordVPN’s servers manifested quite the punch when speed was involved. Few other services could make it so that their servers run at 81 Mpbs, to say the least (average result).
Let alone the fact that the fastest speed value was a whopping 230 Mbps. Therefore, you can understand why we were rooting for NordVPN to keep its streak until the end, and why the 3.7 Mbps speed value we got from Australia was sheer disappointment. Nevertheless, NordVPN is one of the fastest VPN servers we’ve ever tested, and that’s a fact.
The bottom line is that NordVPN’s servers are not as fast as ExpressVPN’s, but they come pretty close to it.
- ExpressVPN (Runner-Up) – $6.67/month (Totally $99.95 for 15 months) – 49% discount
- NordVPN (Winner) – $3.49/month (Totally $125.64 for 3 Years) – 70% discount
Money has proved to be a bump in the road for many VPN service providers since users usually prefer cheaper alternatives, if not downright free ones. Unfortunately, neither ExpressVPN nor NordVPN offers their services for free, so you’ll have to pay up if you want to use them.
Let’s take a look at their pricing plans and try figuring out which one has a greater quality-over-money value.
ExpressVPN’s pricing options
- 1 Month – $12.95 – Buy Now
- 6 Months – $9.99/month (Totally $59.95) – Buy Now
- 15 Months (Including 3 Free months) – $6.67/month (Totally $99.95) – Buy Now and Save 49%
NordVPN’s pricing options
- 1 Month Plan – $11.95 – Buy Now
- 1 Year Plan – $6.99/month (Totally $83.88) – Buy Now and Save 41%
- 2 Year Plan – $4.99/month (Totally $119.76) – Buy Now and Save 58%
- 3 Year Plan – $3.49/month (Totally $125.64) – Buy Now and Save 70%
14. Money-back guarantee
- ExpressVPN (Tie) – 30 days money-back guarantees
- NordVPN (Tie) – 30 days money-back guarantee
Both services offer you 30-day money-back guarantees. Therefore, even if you’re not 100% satisfied with their services, you can ask for a refund. Many other services have an extensive list of requirements you must meet to be eligible, but ExpressVPN and NordVPN impose no such conditions.
Long story short, both services offer the same money-back guarantee, so it’s a tie.
15. Customer support
- ExpressVPN (Tie) – great customer support
- NordVPN (Tie) – great customer support
Now comes customer support. We can all agree that this part is very important to end-users, especially if you’re not exactly tech-savvy and you might require assistance more than just every once in a while.
However, both services offer excellent customer support, with fast response times, friendly agents and a rich library of self-help materials, in case you’re not a fan of basic human interaction.
Both services offer the full customer support experience, comprising live chat, email support, an extensive library of guides, as well as a troubleshooting section. Whether you prefer talking to a human being or you’re a lone wolf who tries to take care of things itself, both services’ customer support sections have got you covered.
Truth be told, we couldn’t expect any less from either service since they currently occupy leader positions on the global VPN market. That being said, we have to declare a tie between ExpressVPN and NordVPN when it comes to customer support as both of them offer top-quality assistance.
To sum it up, while ExpressVPN and NordVPN offer highly similar services, there are subtle differences that can make you tilt the balance towards one service or the other. Both providers have some drawbacks and some strong points, but overall they both offer top-notch service.
Personally, we believe that ExpressVPN has a better all-round experience, but it’s more of a personal choice at this point.