NordVPN vs ExpressVPN

October 30, 2018

1:27 pm

If you’re concerned about your online privacy – and you should be – then a VPN (Virtual Private Network) is essential. By masking your activities online, your personal data and your computer are free and safe from hackers and snoopers.

Two of the big name brands in the VPN world are NordVPN and ExpressVPN. We think NordVPN comes out on top, but they’re both strong choices.

Read on to find out which one is best for you.

In This Guide:

  • Express VPN vs NordVPN – Both Express VPN and NordVPN are well known and highly rated in their field, but we pitched them against each other, and found that NordVPN came out on top.
  • NordVPN is Faster than ExpressVPN – A VPN can really be a drag on your internet speeds, with the re-routing of your traffic causing a significant hit on your downloads. We found that NordVPN has a minimal impact on regular speeds.
  • Express VPN Has a Great Set of Features – The more features a VPN has, the more options it gives you as a user. In our testing, we found that Express VPN boasted an awesome suite of features for users.
  • Express VPN and NordVPN Both Handle Your Privacy Well – Privacy is vital when it comes to VPN usage – you don’t want your online activities compromised due to poor security. We found that both NordVPN and Express VPN both did an excellent job here.
  • NordVPN is the Easiest to Use– While both VPNs are well suited to beginners, it’s NordVPN that really goes out of its way to ensure that users of all abilities can find their way around.
  • Pricing – A good VPN needn’t cost the earth. You can make a substantial saving with either of these VPNs, especially if you commit to a year.
  • Verdict – It’s NordVPN that takes the fight for best VPN of the two, although Express VPN is certainly no slouch.

ExpressVPN vs NordVPN: Head-to-Head

They’re both great VPNs, but it’s Nord VPN that takes the lead when the two are put side by side. It offers excellent speeds, faster than those achieved by ExpressVPN, and that’s important to heavy downloaders. It also has a wide range of servers at the user’s disposal, making it easy to find the best one for your needs.

However, it’s worth pointing out that ExpressVPN is a strong contender, thanks to its superb suite of features and excellent security.

Whether you opt for NordVPN or ExpressVPN, you can rest assured that you’ve picked a secure and safe VPN.

ExpressVPN NordVPN
Ease of Use 5 stars 5 stars
Speed 2 stars 4 stars
Features 5 stars 3 stars
Privacy 5 stars 5 stars
Help & Support 4 stars 4 stars
Value 3 stars 4 stars
Number of servers 1500 3605
Torrent Support Yes Yes
Killswitch Yes Yes
Built-in Speed test Yes No
Ad blocking No Yes
Data Logging No No
Number of Devices 3 5

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Express VPN logo ExpressVPN Pros:

  • Easy to use with great support
  • Extensive features
  • Smart location selection

Express VPN logo ExpressVPN Cons:

  • Inconsistent speeds
  • Expensive

Get NordVPN for just $2.99 a month

NordVPN logo NordVPN Pros:

  • Fast and effective
  • Packed with features
  • Excellent value

NordVPN logo NordVPN Cons

  • Not the most intuitive VPN
  • Can’t unblock some streaming services
  • Assumes some technical knowledge

NordVPN logo NordVPN is Faster than ExpressVPN

Speed is a major consideration when picking a VPN, especially if you’re someone who does a lot of downloading or streaming. As VPNs route your traffic through their servers to render it untraceable, they’re adding another link in the chain, which can affect internet speeds. All VPNs will have some effect on the speed you would usually expect from your ISP, but some are better than others.

In our testing, we found that the typical speed hit when using ExpressVPN was around two-thirds. NordVPN on the other hand was capable of achieving speeds that weren’t too adversely affected, making it the best choice of the two.

When accessing local servers, NordVPN’s download speeds took just a 4% hit, where as ExpressVPN’s speed was down by 67% on average. For international traffic, NordVPN experienced a 33% speed reduction for downloads, while Express VPN almost doubled that, slowing down by 59%.

Express VPN logo Express VPN Has a Great Set of Features

expressvpn-help-support

Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN are fully loaded VPN suites that offer a full package worthy of the subscription price. While some packages are scant when it comes to additional features, NordVPN and ExpressVPN both offer a large number of tools to assist you in getting the most from the software.

Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN offer a killswitch, which can be a great defense against unintentionally making your online habits visible. A killswitch kicks in when your VPN loses its connection, stopping your activity dead, rather than defaulting to your ISP, which is less secure and could reveal your actions.

ExpressVPN has a trick up its sleeve that NordVPN doesn’t. It offers split tunnelling, a method that allows for your traffic to be allocated to the VPN or ISP. This means that you can route all your traffic for torrenting, for example, through the VPN, while relying on your standard connection for daily browsing.

express-nord-vpn-logo Both Express VPN and NordVPN Handle Your Privacy Well

For many people, privacy is the main reason to invest in a VPN. By masking your online activity, a VPN can protect you from prying eyes, whether they belong to hackers, colleagues or governments. Some VPNs, typically the free ones, will even keep logs of your data, meaning that there is a record of the sites you’ve visited and the files you have downloaded. Others allow users to piggyback off your connection, potentially exposing you to illegal activity that is out of your hands.

As you might expect, both NordVPN and ExpressVPN do a fantastic job of protecting your privacy. It’s the reason you’re paying them, after all, and they know that.

Neither service keeps logs of your history, meaning that the sites you visit, the files you download, and the messages you exchange aren’t saved anywhere for future reference.

In testing, we also found both services to be robust and leak free. It’s not a claim that many VPNs can make, but our checks for holes in the security protocols came up negative, which is reassuring news.

NordVPN logo NordVPN is the Easiest to Use

NordVPN choosing server

The best VPN in the world can come unstuck when it’s in the hand of a new user. By their very nature, VPNs can be a difficult piece of software to understand, but this is easily remedied with a clear and well planned-out interface. Not all VPNs offer this. NordVPN and Express VPN do.

NordVPN offers plenty of assistance if you need it, with guides and help text well signposted. You can also contact NordVPN support via email and live chat if you need to, while the NordVPN site is also a good source of information. It’s not daunting for new starters.

ExpressVPN has an impressive startup process that walks you through the process. It also offers informative videos and help guides along the way, making it difficult to come unstuck.

While both are good choices for beginners, NordVPN just slightly takes the lead.

Pricing

VPN’s tend to be competitively priced, and Express VPN and NordVPN are no exception. You can make a bigger saving per month if you decide to sign up for a longer period of time. Commit to a year, or even longer, to make a substantial saving.

ExpressVPN NordVPN
1 Month $12.95 $11.95
6 Months $9.99 N/A
12 Months $8.32 $6.99
2 Years N/A $3.99
3 Years N/A $2.99

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NordVPN logo Verdict: ExpressVPN or NordVPN – Which is Best?

For anyone looking for a well-rounded VPN with a good suite of features, either ExpressVPN or NordVPN are excellent choices.

However, we rate NordVPN highest, thanks to it’s uncompromising download speeds, robust privacy features and simplicity to use. It’s also stuffed full of brilliant features, aimed to make your VPN experience as flexible as you’d like.

ExpressVPN is a worthy runner up, and while it has a good suite of features, it lacks the raw speed of Nord VPN, and isn’t quite as an attractive value for money proposition.

One small issue is that if you’re looking to unlock Netflix access, then you’ll need to pick a VPN that can do this for you.

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Jack is a senior writer at Tech.co with over a decade's experience researching and writing about consumer technology, from security and privacy to product reviews and tech news.

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