VPN Provider

ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN: Who Will Win?

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Do you ever connect to public WiFi networks? Run out of things to watch on platforms like Netflix or Amazon Prime Video? Or maybe you're tired of websites and Internet service providers (ISPs) collecting data about you, bombarding you with ads, and following your activities. Whatever the case, VPNs are important for anyone who types their name on a computer or device. But which is the best?

In EXPERTE.com's comprehensive review, we tested 27 of the most well-known providers, with NordVPN and ExpressVPN emerging at the top of our list. Across every category we measured, both performed exceptionally, surpassing all other contenders, but how do they stack up against one another?

Top VPN Provider 2024
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per month
NordVPN
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ExpressVPN
from $0.00
per month
Proton VPN
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ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN

NordVPN
NordVPN
(877,857 )
5,500+ servers, 60 countries
excellent performance
no logs
6 devices simultaneously
affordable 2-year package
9.4
excellent
Data Volume
unlimited
Devices
6
Protocols
5
Contract Period
1 - 24 months
NordVPN 2-year plan
 $3.79
monthly price
Visit Website*
30 days money-back guarantee
ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN
(736,465 )
3,000+ servers
160 cities in 94 countries
reliable performance
good for streaming
secure browser extensions
9.4
excellent
Data Volume
unlimited
Devices
5
Protocols
7
Contract Period
1 - 12 months
ExpressVPN 12 Months
 $6.67
monthly price
Visit Website*
30 days money-back guarantee
1.

Installation and Features

Our head-to-head begins with a tie: ExpressVPN and NordVPN split the points for their user-friendly and feature-laden apps. We couldn't choose between ExpressVPN's no-nonsense approach and NordVPN's world map, which visualizes server locations for desktop and smartphone users.

The world map in NordVPN's desktop client is dynamic, allowing users to zoom in and scroll around at will.

In terms of functionality, both apps include a kill switch, split tunneling, and most of the other features we expect from a VPN. With split tunneling, you'll be able to select which apps use the VPN tunnel you've created. This is particularly handy if you're streaming video content from Europe while downloading a file from North America.

Despite our split decision, there are some differences between the two: ExpressVPN has a better browser extension, which not only creates a proxy connection but also acts like a remote control for the software's main desktop client, making high-quality VPN connections possible.

NordVPN compensates for this with its "Specialty Servers", which are optimized for certain activities: P2P servers are for peer-to-peer platforms like BitTorrent, whereas "Onion Over VPN" offers enhanced anonymity by establishing a connection to Tor network.

Depending on how important (or unimportant) either feature is for you, as well as which user interface you prefer, you might favor one service over the other. We can't pick a clear winner though.

Winner: Draw

2.

Server Network

Unlike the first category, we do have concrete figures for each provider in this second: As of August 2023, NordVPN offers more than 5,000 servers across 59 countries, whereby ExpressVPN provides access to more than 3,000 servers spread across 160 locations in 94 countries. NordVPN has more server power, but ExpressVPN's global presence is better.

Thanks to its facilities in Africa (Kenya, South Africa, Algeria, and Egypt), ExpressVPN stands out from the North American/European-dominated server portfolios of its competitors.

In terms of server network, we also can't decide between NordVPN or ExpressVPN.

Again, both providers are miles ahead of their competitors, but neck and neck with one another. Similar to the first category, you might prefer one over the other, depending on your needs. Should server power be more important, NordVPN will be your best bet, however, if the geographical spread of servers is more critical, go with ExpressVPN.

Winner: Draw

3.

Performance

For day-to-day usage, NordVPN and ExpressVPN performed excellently, offering reliable, stable, and fast connections over which we could view foreign content on four streaming platforms (Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and the BBC's iPlayer). In addition, we could establish connections from China with both services.

Even though they performed just as well as one another for regular usage, we also measured the average speeds of each over an extended period of time. To do this, we used a server in Europe with a 1 GB/s connection, randomly connecting to NordVPN and ExpressVPN servers in the US and Germany at different times of the day.

1.
Proton VPN
209.9 Mbit/s
Download
37.0 Mbit/s
Upload
2.
NordVPN
194.9 Mbit/s
Download
36.2 Mbit/s
Upload
3.
PureVPN
211.2 Mbit/s
Download
16.4 Mbit/s
Upload
4.
PrivateVPN
211.1 Mbit/s
Download
15.9 Mbit/s
Upload
5.
TorGuard
174.0 Mbit/s
Download
17.3 Mbit/s
Upload
6.
VeePN
142.4 Mbit/s
Download
30.0 Mbit/s
Upload
7.
ExpressVPN
140.4 Mbit/s
Download
28.3 Mbit/s
Upload
8.
Private Internet Access
147.4 Mbit/s
Download
18.8 Mbit/s
Upload
9.
ZenMate
131.1 Mbit/s
Download
18.6 Mbit/s
Upload
10.
CyberGhost
130.9 Mbit/s
Download
18.7 Mbit/s
Upload
11.
Hotspot Shield
92.1 Mbit/s
Download
40.0 Mbit/s
Upload
12.
Windscribe
88.3 Mbit/s
Download
33.9 Mbit/s
Upload
13.
VPN Unlimited
70.6 Mbit/s
Download
26.7 Mbit/s
Upload

Both providers received perfect scores, however, with slightly higher download speeds (and a nearly equal upload speed) NordVPN edged out ExpressVPN.

Winner: NordVPN

4.

Security and Privacy

Which provider is safer? First, we checked where each is headquartered and registered since this impacts their privacy policies. Laws in some countries require Internet providers to save certain data and user logs for a specific period of time. ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands, and NordVPN calls Panama home, which translates into equally good scores: Both countries are known for non-compliance with foreign data requests.

The second aspect is the variety of VPN protocols on offer: NordVPN uses NordLynx, a protocol based on WireGuard, however, it is possible to switch to OpenVPN. ExpressVPN offers OpenVPN, IKEv2, and L2TP/IPsec, alongside its proprietary Lightway protocol. Both providers utilize AES-256, which is the global standard for encryption.

Similarly, both providers passed our VPN leak tests (DNS, WebRTC, and IPv6) with flying colors.

We didn't identify any leaks when using either ExpressVPN or NordVPN.

Both providers promise not to log user activity, regularly submitting to (and passing) independent security audits. This means that we don't have to take their word(s) for it and can actually trust in their "No-Logs" guarantees.

In terms of security and privacy, we award a point to both.

Winner: Draw

5.

Customer Support

Both providers offer extensive help sections loaded with FAQs as well as guides for features and known issues. NordVPN and ExpressVPN offer direct support via live chat and email, whereas ExpressVPN's app includes an integrated contact form. This makes it convenient to pose questions when and where an issue appears, with support staffers sending answers directly to the email account you provide them with.

In terms of response times, we waited slightly longer to receive an answer from ExpressVPN, with NordVPN replying within 12 hours compared to ExpressVPN's 20. When testing the respective live chats of either service, we were connected to staffers in a matter of seconds.

Both providers offer excellent and neatly arranged support centers.

Once again, there's almost nothing separating the two providers, however, with a faster response time, the point goes to NordVPN.

Winner: NordVPN

6.

Pricing

Monthly subscribers will pay a pretty penny for ExpressVPN or NordVPN, however, the latter is a bit more affordable. This difference grows the longer your contract is: A 2-year NordVPN subscription costs less than half as much (per month) as ExpressVPN's cheapest package (12 months). In other words, NordVPN offers more than twice as much bang for your buck, making it a clear winner, at least for those interested in inking long-term VPN deals.

Winner: NordVPN

A detailed price list for both providers can be found here:

ExpressVPN Prices

12 Months6 Months1 Month
Monthly Price $6.67 $9.99 $12.95
Contract Period (Months) 12 6 1
Limits
Data Volume unlimited unlimited unlimited
Number of Devices 5 5 5
Features
Number of Servers 3,000 3,000 3,000
Number of Countries 94 94 94
No Server Logs
P2P Allowed
Tor Access
Kill Switch
Protocols
OpenVPN
PPTP
SSTP
IKEv2
IPSec
L2TP
Proprietary
OpenVPN
PPTP
SSTP
IKEv2
IPSec
L2TP
Proprietary
OpenVPN
PPTP
SSTP
IKEv2
IPSec
L2TP
Proprietary

NordVPN Prices

2-year plan1 year plan1-month plan
Monthly Price $3.79 $4.49 $12.99
Contract Period (Months) 24 12 1
Limits
Data Volume unlimited unlimited unlimited
Number of Devices 6 6 6
Features
Number of Servers 5,000 3,400 3,400
Number of Countries 60 60 60
No Server Logs
P2P Allowed
Tor Access
Kill Switch
Protocols
OpenVPN
WireGuard
SSTP
SOCKS5
IKEv2
OpenVPN
WireGuard
SSTP
SOCKS5
IKEv2
OpenVPN
WireGuard
SSTP
SOCKS5
IKEv2
7.

Customer Reviews

If you read reviews before making a purchase, we're happy to note that both providers enjoy good reputations: NordVPN and ExpressVPN are seen as user-friendly offering high-quality applications and plenty of flexibility. Nevertheless, there are some who complain about support and other problems.

Overall, both providers had equally high customer ratings as of the time of writing.

Winner: Draw

ExpressVPN Customer Ratings

Customer Ratings
4.5 / 5
736,465 Bewertungen
Visit Website*
We analyzed the reviews and ratings from various portals and found 736,465 ratings with an overall rating of 4.5 out of 5 .

NordVPN Customer Ratings

Customer Ratings
4.5 / 5
877,857 Bewertungen
Visit Website*
We analyzed the reviews and ratings from various portals and found 877,857 ratings with an overall rating of 4.5 out of 5 .

Conclusion

In our head-to-head battle between NordVPN and ExpressVPN, the former took three rounds, while the others were draws. NordVPN might have edged out ExpressVPN in terms of performance and support, but only by a narrow margin.

With that said, NordVPN did excel in one category that might be the most important for a majority of customers: Price. For less than the cost of 12 months with ExpressVPN, you can have 24 months of NordVPN. If paying monthly, both services will set you back the same.

Thanks to its better price-performance ratio, NordVPN, our overall winner, also triumphs over ExpressVPN in a direct contest.

Of course, this doesn't mean that NordVPN is the best service or perfect for your needs. With that in mind, we encourage you to check out our full reviews of both services as well as 25 others in our comprehensive VPN evaluation.

Best Overall 2024
NordVPN
NordVPN
(877,857 )
NordVPN is our number one VPN because it combines speed, ease-of-use, and functionality in a slick package that's also pretty affordable.
5,500+ servers, 60 countries
excellent performance
no logs
6 devices simultaneously
affordable 2-year package
9.4
excellent
Data Volume
unlimited
Devices
6
Protocols
5
Contract Period
1 - 24 months
NordVPN 2-year plan
 $3.79
monthly price
Visit Website*
30 days money-back guarantee
Review
9.4
excellent
Visit Website*
Check Review
Performance
10 / 10
Security & Privacy
9.4 / 10
Bedienung & Features
9.4 / 10
Support
9.4 / 10
Server Network
8.6 / 10
Top VPN Provider 2024
Sponsored
from $3.79
per month
NordVPN
from $6.67
per month
ExpressVPN
from $0.00
per month
Proton VPN
from $1.99
per month
Surfshark
show all
Author (German Version): Martin Gschwentner
Martin has been a freelance writer in the B2B sector for more than eight years, specializing in technical case studies for tech companies like Google Cloud. He lives in London, where he runs his own company, GSCRIBE, focusing on customer success stories and employer branding. At EXPERTE, he shares his knowledge about software and strategies that help freelancers and self-employed professionals optimize their business processes and work more efficiently.
Translation: D Bare
* Ad disclaimer: For links marked with an asterisk, EXPERTE.com may earn a commission from the provider. The commission has no influence on our editorial rating.
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Best Overall 2024
Sponsored
NordVPN
5,500+ servers, 60 countries
excellent performance
no logs
6 devices simultaneously
affordable 2-year package
9.4
Review
excellent
Try NordVPN now
30 days money-back guarantee