Alex Williams
Alex Williams  —

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ExpressVPN vs NordVPN badgeExpressVPN is something like the Godzilla to NordVPN’s King Kong.

It’s not as widely recognized as Nord, but anyone with experience will have heard of both.

This doesn’t come as a surprise: Express was launched in 2009 — three years ahead of Nord in fact, with a ton of experience in cybersecurity.

Across every metric, Express gives them a run for their money. Server and speed-wise, Express may even have the edge.


ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN Review 2021 🇬🇧

Yet the question remains:

Which between ExpressVPN and NordVPN is better? To find out, we thoroughly examined both services in key aspects.

The results are finally in and you can read them below:

HostingData distilled all the data and came up with two succinct descriptions of the two high-quality VPN services:

  • ☑️ ExpressVPN: Provides a ton of value with its ultra-quick VPN protocol and the most number of locations
  • ☑️ NordVPN: A bit more affordable and offers the best balance of unquestionable security and performance

Now then, let’s delve into the report:


ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN: Price

You might be thinking: “Why do I have to pay for a premium subscription when there are loads of free VPN apps on both desktop and mobile?” You see, while these services won’t charge you money, they’re costly in the sense that they’re big security risks: They’re riddled with malware and most likely still track user activities to profit off user data.

Thus, free VPNs should be an absolute no-go for anyone. Instead, search for premium VPN services that offer the most bang for your buck. You’ll be surprised to see that even the top VPN providers today have significantly affordable plans.

See how much you can save with either service below.

ExpressVPN: Current Plans 📝

Okay, here’s the deal: ExpressVPN is both an expensive and budget-friendly service — and it all depends on the plan. If you’re only planning to use a VPN for a short while, then the $12.95 monthly plan is fine, if not a little pricier than others.

In contrast, its half-year and (most especially) annual plans are competitively priced at $59.95 and $99.95, respectively.

expressVPN pricing and plans

Aside from the price and duration, there are no differences among them. All ExpressVPN subscription plans include the same number of servers, locations, and features such as:

  • ☑️Split Tunneling
  • ☑️Kill Switch
  • ☑️Private DNS
  • ☑️TrustedServer Technology
  • ☑️30-Day Money-Back Guarantee

Fully-Featured Trial and Payment Methods? 🤔

Okay, ExpressVPN doesn’t actually have a ‘genuine’ free trial that requires no sign-ups or first-time payment. Instead, you can use the service for free for a month by creating an account, paying for any plan, and then contacting customer support within 30 days to request a refund.

You may find the process cumbersome (all for a free trial), but we assure you that ExpressVPN grants such refunds immediately.

But how can you pay for ExpressVPN in the first place? You have several options:

  • ☑️ Credit Card
  • ☑️ Direct Credit Card
  • ☑️ Prepaid or Debit Card
  • ☑️ Online Transfer
  • ☑️ Cryptocurrency (including Bitcoin and Ethereum)

NordVPN: Current Plans 📋

Across all three plans, NordVPN offers affordable VPN subscription rates. Its monthly plan is a full dollar cheaper compared to ExpressVPN while the first-year annual plan is a full $40.95 cheaper.

And if you want the biggest savings, NordVPN has a two-year plan with an initial cost of $99 — and the company will even throw in three additional months for free.

nordvpn prices

Similar to ExpressVPN, NordVPN doesn’t restrict features depending on your plan. However, be careful when you’re on the payment page: You may end up unintentionally paying for a monthly NordPass Premium subscription, which might have been automatically added to the cart.

Fully-Featured Trial and Payment Methods? 🤑

NordVPN allows users to cancel their first payment within 30 days, which is the same as ExpressVPN. Thus, you have access to all the premium features — and you have the convenience of contacting customer support through live chat or email for a refund.

You can pay using many methods:

  • ☑️ PayPal
  • ☑️ Google Pay
  • ☑️ AmazonPay
  • ☑️ Credit Card
  • ☑️ iTunes
  • ☑️ Sofort
  • ☑️ Prepaid Card
  • ☑️ Cryptocurrency
  • ☑️ Cash
  • ☑️ Others (depends on your region)

NordVPN is the clear victor here. ExpressVPN plans aren’t badly priced at all, but NordVPN has got your back whether you’re availing of the significantly cheap introductory offer or paying the regular rate upon renewal.

The two-year plan (+ 3 free months) turns into an annual plan for the same price ($99) after your first term — and that’s still $0.95 lower than the ExpressVPN counterpart


ExpressVPN vs NordVPN: Privacy and Security

These two cybersecurity companies know exactly what they need to do right from the start. From their business location bypassing mandatory data retention laws to tried-and-tested security tools, ExpressVPN and NordVPN deserve to be on top.

The Most Advanced Encryption 🔐

data encryptionExpressVPN and NordVPN don’t settle for less when it matters most. Both use AES-256 encryption, which is what the US National Security Agency proposes for safeguarding the most valuable information.

Governments around the world use 256-bit AES encryption — and this standard has yet to fail any entity.

AES-256 is virtually impossible to decrypt through brute force. You can attempt to break it the moment the Big Bang happened (that’s 13.8 billion years ago) — and you still won’t have enough time. Likewise, even a big army of future supercomputers working together 24/7 for billions of years will fail to identify the correct key combination.

Strategically Located Headquarters 🗺️

One important factor in the trustworthiness of a VPN provider is its business location. Why? Some countries are part of the 5/14 Eyes Surveillance group. They’ve agreed to share information, especially if it’s crucial to their national security. However, this pact poses huge privacy concerns to citizens.

Thankfully, neither ExpressVPN nor NordVPN are headquartered in a member country of this surveillance alliance. Express’ company is situated in the British Virgin Islands while Nord is in Panama.

Both don’t have obligatory data retention laws, which means that the two VPNs have authentic no-logging policies.

Other Convenient Measures 🛡️

Aside from the no-logs policy and AES-256 encryption, ExpressVPN and NordVPN utilize the following:

Split Tunneling

What if you need to browse UK-based content and local networks on Chrome while still having encrypted connections for other apps and browsers?

Split tunneling allows you to exclude programs (or even individual websites) from VPN connections. This way, you can avoid getting geo-restricted from your country’s online services and still secure your streaming and file-sharing activities.

Private DNS

Even if you’ve established a VPN connection, your privacy is still unsecured if the traffic still goes through your ISP’s DNS servers. To alleviate potential DNS leaks, ExpressVPN and NordVPN have their own DNS servers — guaranteeing that both online traffic and DNS queries are sent to private, encrypted tunnels.

Kill Switch

kill switch iconExpressVPN calls it Network Lock. Essentially, a kill switch is an emergency security measure.

It automatically blocks your computer from all internet traffic if your VPN connection dips for some reason (e.g., your computer enters sleep mode or your wifi signal goes down).

NordVPN offers more flexibility. It has system-wide and app-level kill switches. The former stops all programs and processes on the network from having access to the Internet. And as its name implies, the second type is for when you still want some apps to remain online even when the connection is no longer secure.

Also, NordVPN has its multi-hopping technology called DoubleVPN. It may have noticeable performance drawbacks in terms of connection speed, but this reinforces your security by connecting you to two VPN servers. A hacker (or ISP or government) has to put in twice the effort to snoop into your online activities.

Not to be outshined, ExpressVPN has TrustedServer, a pioneering, independently audited VPN tech that removes the inherent risks of using hard drives. How? Instead of hard drives, ExpressVPN runs VPN servers on RAM, which needs power to retain data (i.e., all information is automatically wiped each time the servers reboot).

No-Logs Policy No Matter What 😤

Both VPN providers have had at least one headline-making security dilemma. You see, the killer of ambassador Andrei Karlov reportedly used ExpressVPN to remove crucial information on his accounts.

Turkish authorities then grabbed one of its VPN servers in December 2017 but found no logs, which proved ExpressVPN’s no-logs policy. Learning what is VPN Logging can sometimes be a matter of life and death.

Similarly, one third-party VPN server of NordVPN suffered a breach in March 2018. The datacenter they were working with did not inform them of any shoddy configurations nor did they notify NordVPN first when the attack was detected.

As expected, however, the server did not contain any user logs, and NordVPN has since cut ties with the data center and conducted a comprehensive internal audit to improve its cybersecurity system.

You cannot go wrong with ExpressVPN and NordVPN when it comes to security and privacy. They adhere to their principles of security and privacy for all users — even if government authorities demand they share sensitive user data (which their servers don’t keep).

ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN: Speed and Performance

vpn speed iconExpressVPN is one of the most stellar VPNs when it comes to browsing and streaming speeds. When we connected to different servers (all located in London), the speed merely went down by less than a quarter.

Availing the Quick Connect function will likely provide better speeds. ExpressVPN even has a Speed Test feature on Windows and Mac to help you see the servers ranked in terms of speed, latency, and download speeds.

Still, NordVPN has the upper hand whether you’re streaming ultra HD Netflix with VPN or browsing social media. Aside from one or two odd connections, the speed never dipped by more than eight percent — even in distant server locations.

What about ExpressVPN versus NordVPN re: Netflix? Both can unlock geo-restricted Netflix content and allow torrenting. However, you should go for NordVPN if you regularly torrent. It has servers optimized specifically for peer-to-peer activities.

There will always be factors to speed and performance like server location, your internet plan, and the type of online activity. With that said, we highly suggest NordVPN because of its minimal speed reductions and P2P-optimized servers.

ExpressVPN vs NordVPN: Review of Features

ExpressVPN vs NordVPN: VPN Protocols 🔗

VPN shield iconExpressVPN and NordVPN use IKEv2, which is excellent for mobile devices. Likewise, they have the open-source OpenVPN. This VPN protocol can be used on the TCP port for high connection stability or on UDP for better speeds.

NordVPN has NordLynx, which uses the new and speedy WireGuard protocol along with a double NAT (Network Address Translation) system to better secure your connection.

On the other hand, ExpressVPN has L2TP, which can be used for 256-AES encryption. However, all eyes should be on Lightway — an unprecedented protocol designed by the company with speed, security, efficiency, and reliability in mind.

You can establish a VPN connection in less than half a second using Lightway. Furthermore, your VPN connection will only remain idle instead of being shut down if you change networks, use airplane mode, or your wifi signal drops. You’ll remain on the same VPN server.

ExpressVPN vs NordVPN: Simultaneous Device Connections 💻

ExpressVPN allows up to 5 device connections at the same time. NordVPN can have a maximum of 6. However, the number of simultaneous connections to a VPN is the same: 5.

This is because you need a different VPN protocol for each VPN connection. In the case of NordVPN, for example, you’ll be using:

  • ☑️ OpenVPN UDP
  • ☑️ HTTP proxy
  • ☑️ SOCKS5
  • ☑️ NordLynx
  • ☑️ OpenVPN TCP

Both VPN providers recommend using routers if users want to encrypt more than 5 devices at the same time.

ExpressVPN vs NordVPN: Server Count and Locations 🌎

ExpressVPN has over 3,000 servers and 160 server locations in 94 countries. Some countries are difficult to establish physical servers in for reasons such as speed and security, so the company also set up virtual locations. For example, users can connect to Bangladesh and Kazakhstan through servers located in Singapore.

NordVPN server locations

NordVPN has way more servers — 5,245, to be exact. But it has significantly fewer countries available at only 59. Still, it has an obfuscated server for the United Arab Emirates while ExpressVPN has no server in that country.

VPN Protocols

NordLynx and Lightway are in a league of their own when it comes to speed, security, and ease of auditing and maintenance. And even if both become temporarily unavailable, NordVPN and ExpressVPN have IKEv2 and OpenVPN.

Simultaneous Device Connections

NordVPN allows one more device connection, but both can only have 5 different simultaneous VPN connections (without installing the VPN to a router).

Server Count and Locations

NordVPN has at least 2,000 more servers, but ExpressVPN offers more variety (i..e, more regional content to unlock) with 94 countries.


FAQ

Is ExpressVPN Faster than NordVPN? 🏃‍♂️

No. From our experience, NordVPN is faster overall. Its VPN connections only cause negligible speed reductions even if we connect to distant locations. However, we must clarify that ExpressVPN and NordVPN are two of the speediest VPN services we’ve ever used, so don’t discount ExpressVPN either.

Is ExpressVPN Safe for Banking? 🏦

Yes — and so is NordVPN. Just remember to connect to a VPN server in your country to avoid possible geo-restrictions when connecting to your banking app or website.

Is ExpressVPN Better than NordVPN? 🏆

Okay, we’re down to the ultimate question. Should you use ExpressVPN or NordVPN? This is what we have to say:

If you need encrypted access to as many locations around the world as possible and want to connect to a VPN in less than a second (using the revolutionary Lightway protocol) even if the monthly fee is a little pricey, check out ExpressVPN.

If you’re looking for a relatively affordable premium VPN with a plethora of security and privacy features along with reliably fast connection speeds (for browsing, HD streaming, and torrenting), choose NordVPN.

For more information about VPNs for UK citizens, we recommend our newly updated thorough guide to the best VPN services.

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