Bitdefender VPN vs ExpressVPN: which VPN is better?
If you’re struggling to find the best VPN provider, you’re in the right place to find the answer. Bitdefender VPN and ExpressVPN are well-known names, famous for their years of experience securing their users’ activities online.
However, both VPN providers significantly differ from each other. Therefore, in this comparison, we contrast Bitdefender VPN vs ExpressVPN’s streaming possibilities, pricing options, speed performance, and more – everything for you to pick the best VPN service.
After multiple tests, we were able to determine the winner – it is ExpressVPN. Read along to find out strengths and weaknesses in both providers and find the best one for you.
Bitdefender VPN vs ExpressVPN
Based on the latest tests, ExpressVPN is the clear winner in this comparison. ExpressVPN is significantly faster than Bitdefender VPN and offers better support for streaming services. Also, ExpressVPN beats Bitdefender on more security features and better apps. While this VPN is slightly pricier than Bitdefender, you can redeem discounts below for ultimate savings.
|🥇 Overall rank:||#6 out of #40||#16 out of #40|
|🖥️ Servers:||3,000+ servers in 94 countries||4,000+ servers in 53 countries|
|📖 No logs policy:||No logs||Some logs|
|💵 Pricing:||From $6.67/month||From $2.50/month|
|🔥 Coupons:||ExpressVPN coupon 49% OFF||Cybernews VPN Coupons|
|🔒 VPN protocols:||Lightway, OpenVPN, IKEv2||Catapult Hydra|
|🍿 Streaming services:||Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and more||BBC iPlayer, YouTube|
|🖥️ Platforms:||Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS||Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS|
|📥 Simultaneous connections:||8||10|
|💁🏻 Support:||Knowledge base, FAQs, email, 24/7 live chat||Knowledge base, FAQs, live chat, email, phone|
Netflix and streaming performance
ExpressVPN can unblock all the major streaming platforms, including Netflix. It is an absolute winner in streaming and performance because it has no problem bypassing geo-blocked content at fast speeds.
If you want to explore more media streaming platforms, it’s also a perfect choice for unlocking streaming services, such as Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max, YouTube, and BBC iPlayer. In addition, it is also compatible with other devices, such as Apple TV, so you have many options for streaming.
Unfortunately, Bitdefender doesn’t manage to unblock Netflix's US library, even though it doesn’t show any proxy warning messages. It’s no surprise that Hulu doesn’t work either. However, if you want to access YouTube or BBC iPlayer, then Bitdefender can easily do that, but the list for this provider ends here.
Plans and pricing
Bitdefender VPN vs ExpressVPN is not an exception when it comes to “the longer, the cheaper” pricing plans. In this case, both providers’ offerings vary greatly, and you get a different value for money.
Monthly subscription is a short-term, but the priciest commitment with both providers. ExpressVPN costs $12.95/month, which is almost double what you would pay for a 1-year plan.
However, Bitdefender VPN is way cheaper than the opponent – it only costs $6.99/month. It’s a twice cheaper investment for a month than ExpressVPN, but still – with a 1-year plan, you can get a better bang for the buck.
Nevertheless, ExpressVPN offers more flexibility regarding its plans and price. ExpressVPN’s 6 months subscription costs $9.99/month, and it’s a perfect package because Bitdefender VPN lacks versatility in its pricing plans.
A yearly subscription is where your wallet can thank you. Here, Bitdefender VPN has a massive advantage over the opponent due to the $2.50/month price. Unfortunately, ExpressVPN is almost three times as expensive, costing $6.67/month.
However, both providers offer an opportunity to test their services – their subscriptions come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. But the difference is that Bitdefender VPN includes 10 simultaneous connections, while ExpressVPN only offers 5 devices to connect to your account.
Bitdefender VPN vs ExpressVPN: which is more secure?
Every VPN handles your data, so you must be careful who has access to it. Thankfully, most VPNs implemented good security measures, including ExpressVPN and Bitdefender VPN. However, ExpressVPN does it flawlessly, while Bitdefender VPN has one issue.
For example, both have taken various security measures to ensure your traffic and data are always secure. ExpressVPN and Bitdefender encrypt your data with AES-265 cipher, have implemented a kill switch function, and use a hashing algorithm to protect your authentication methods.
Both companies claim that they do not store any of your online logs. However, Bitdefender VPN logs some user data, which is a very alarming trace. So, if you’re looking for a full-fledged secure VPN, then Bitdefender VPN might not be the safest option.
|A member of the 5-Eyes, 9-Eyes Alliance?||No||No|
|No logs policy||No||Yes|
|DNS leak protection||Yes||No|
ExpressVPN’s servers run on RAM-only. This VPN wipes all data with every restart, and servers never store your data on the hard drive. Such a practice protects your privacy and minimizes the risk of your data ending up in breaches or leaks.
However, Bitdefender VPN doesn’t use RAM-only servers. While it’s a relatively new VPN technology, Bitdefender VPN slacks with the implementation of RAM-only servers. So, while Bitdefender VPN still doesn't support such infrastructure, ExpressVPN is a better and safer option in this case
Both providers aim to provide the utmost security level. However, ExpressVPN has been showcasing a better effort. Bitdefender VPN and ExpressVPN use AES-265-bit encryption – the most secure cipher to protect online traffic. But ExpressVPN’s bundle of security features is more robust and more reliable.
For example, ExpressVPN uses higher-level authentication protection – SHA-512, while Bitdefender still stays on the market with SHA-256, which is slightly outdated hashing algorithm and not the best option for utmost password protection.
All in all, a high-level encryption and authentication protection allows browsing with an ultimate privacy protection layer, so both providers have reasons to be amongt the best VPNs for privacy.
However, you should know that ExpressVPN collects some information about your VPN usage. It includes dates (not time), when you’ve connected to VPN, choice of VPN server location, amount of data transferred per day, and apps you’ve successfully activated.
In ExpressVPN’s case, the company does it to troubleshoot, fix server issues, and provide technical support, and it’s a common practice among VPNs. But don't worry – in the settings of any ExpressVPN app, you have an option to refuse sending such data.
In comparison, Bitdefender VPN claims not to keep any logs. However, this VPN does not have reliable and transparent audits that would prove such a statement.
In addition, logging goes beyond the bare minimum, which can be an alarming case for privacy-oriented users. Besides the name, email address, and payment information, Bitdefender keeps hashed user and device IDs and IP addresses, which isn’t a usual practice among VPNs.
Next, neither of the providers have headquarters in 5-Eyes or 9-Eyes surveillance alliance countries. ExpressVPN is located in the British Virgin Islands, a privacy-friendly jurisdiction without any policies that could potentially harm your privacy.
Meanwhile, Bitdefender VPN is based in Romania. This country doesn’t partake in any surveillance alliances and is a perfectly safe spot for a VPN provider.
Speed comparison: Bitdefender VPN vs ExpressVPN
Usually, many VPN providers offer a standard set of protocols, but ExpressVPN didn’t settle for a conventional practice. Next to common OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols, this VPN offers its proprietary Lightway protocol – a fast, secure, and reliable option for those considering ExpressVPN.
Further on, Bitdefender VPN comes with a poorer selection of protocols. It provides a single tunneling protocol – Catapult Hydra. Aside from not supporting conventional protocols, Catapult Hydra is one of the fastest options on the market. On the other hand, a wider selection would allow you to choose from faster and safer protocols.
However, we tested the speeds of Lightway and Catapult Hydra, and the result was more favorable to ExpressVPN’s protocol. Catapult Hydra has demonstrated excellent speed – it only suffered 19% drop from a baseline for download speed. However, upload speeds plunged dramatically by 74%.
Meanwhile, ExpressVPN’s Lightway protocol showcased more stable download and upload speed results. It has shown a 34% drop in download speed, which is a way slower result than Catapult Hydra. However, the upload speed was much more favorable for ExpressVPN because it retained around 49% of its upload speed.
Bitdefender VPN vs ExpressVPN features
Next to the bare minimum security features, most VPNs also offer various extra security services that tap into your different activities online. However, ExpressVPN offers slightly more and better features. So let's dig into them.
Network Lock is ExpressVPN’s kill switch feature, which protects your data if the VPN connection drops. Bitdefender VPN also includes a kill switch function, however, it doesn’t perform as it should.
ExpressVPN enables Network Lock by default, so the kill switch is active every time you connect to VPN. However, for Linux users, it’ll require a few commands. In general, the provider doesn’t recommend switching off the Network Lock. So, remember that you can't turn off the kill switch on the ExpressVPN router app.
Meanwhile, Bitdefender VPN includes a system-wide kill switch function, which failed during one of our tests. It didn’t stop the Internet connection when we manually disabled VPN background processes. So, a kill switch is available on Bitdefender VPN, but it’s not 100% reliable.
So, with ExpressVPN’s Network Lock, you’ll stay secure whenever you switch VPN servers, use unstable public wifi, or a bandwidth gets throttled. There is a risk of your IP address or data being leaked in all the mentioned situations. So, Network Lock protects from such happening and works just fine.
Split tunneling is a great feature to control which traffic you want to route through VPN. It’s easy to exclude websites or apps you want from the VPN connection. For example, you don’t have to turn off the VPN when you want to access local news but watch foreign Netflix shows.
Bitdefender VPN includes split tunneling on Windows and Android apps, however, it’s unavailable on iOS. Meanwhile, ExpressVPN has this feature on macOS, Windows, and Android, but unfortunately, it’s not supported on macOS 11 and above.
Both providers’ split tunneling function allows setting it up on a browser or selecting a domain you want to connect directly. Therefore, you can fully utilize this feature with both VPNs.
One of the most significant advantages you get while opting in for an ExpressVPN subscription is MediaStreamer – ExpressVPNs SmartDNS feature. And no, MediaStreamer isn’t an extra security layer but a DNS service to enhance your streaming experience.
If you stream media on a device that doesn’t support a VPN, then with MediaStreamer, you can alter a DNS address. Your device will proceed as if it’s using a VPN connection and enable geo-restricted sites. Beware that MediaStreamer only works with US libraries; however, does it flawlessly.
You can choose the same option with Bitdefender VPN. However, it’s only possible to set up a Custom DNS Server on Bitdefender BOX. So, if you’re looking for a VPN to connect to devices that don’t natively support them and stream content, then ExpressVPN is the clear winner.
ExpressVPN stands on the market with another excellent feature – Threat Manager. It prevents apps and websites from communicating with third parties that can be involved in malicious behavior or monitor your activity.
ExpressVPN collects malicious sites and trackers in a blocklist. It’s a regularly updated list, which prevents your ISP and subcontractors from seeing your online logs and traffic. So, a Threat Manager doesn’t only prevent third parties from recording your data. It also adds an additional layer of anonymity.
While Threat Manager complements an already strict ExpressVPN privacy and no logs policy, Bitdefender offers a bundle of softwares to tackle third parties with malicious behavior. As it is primarily an antivirus software, it comes with premium security and privacy packs, that include an antivirus, VPN, and a password manager.
However, for such a suite, you’ll have to leave an extra cash, but keep in mind that with a full-scale pack will keep you secure online at all times.
Both Bitdefender VPN and ExpressVPN have autoconnect function. However, you can trigger it when using P2P clients or connecting to unsecure or public networks, just to name a few.
When connected outside your network, the connection will automatically be routed through a VPN tunnel.
Triggering a P2P app detection is an excellent option because torrenting sites usually run in the background, and you might forget to turn the VPN on. However, Bitdefender VPN can start automatically when you launch such apps on your device.
Remember that you can customize this function on other preferred domains, apps, or websites, so you can always dodge the unsecure bullet.
Such feature is also available on ExpressVPN. However, if you want to be secure whenever you start surfing online, then you have to activate the feature because it’s manually turned off.
Bitdefender VPN has built-in protection against intrusive ads and trackers. It’s effortless to activate – you just need to toggle the feature on or off in a menu bar.
When you enable an ad blocker, it’s recommended to clear your browser’s history, autofill data, sign-in details, and everything else that ads and trackers could potentially work with. Once you perform a clean sweep, not even old ads can get through a blocker and intrude on your browsing experience.
Meanwhile, ExpressVPN doesn’t have an ad blocker, however, its Threat Manager feature identifies and blocks malicious websites. So, you can partially enhance your surfing experience online without harmful intrusive interstitials.
Although Bitdefender VPN offers 4,000+ servers in 53 countries, ExpressVPN provides a slightly smaller server fleet of 3,000+ servers in 94 countries. Therefore, both providers have a large choice of servers and it’s an advantage that helps you avoid server traffic congestion and allows accessing various IP addresses.
Further on, ExpressVPN owns a huge footprint of physical servers all over the globe and has invested in networks where the bandwidth is more expensive, for example, in Japan or Brazil. But be mindful that ExpressVPN also owns virtual servers. These are designed to ensure a fast, reliable, and secure connection.
When identifying whether Bitdefender VPN uses virtual servers, it’s unclear which servers are physical or virtual. Bitdefender collaborates with Hotspot Shield, which has some virtual servers. However, it’s not a proprietary service.
ExpressVPN offers a specialized server for streaming. However, all the regular servers can flawlessly unblock any given streaming media.
Even though Bitdefender VPN allows torrenting, ExpressVPN provides more features for a secure torrenting process.
ExpressVPN allows P2P connections of all servers. The crucial detail is that this provider is fast and has advanced security features, making the torrenting experience seamless and without disruptions. However, torrenting speeds might fluctuate, but it’s a regular occurrence among VPN providers.
If you only want to be safeguarded while torrenting, then Bitdefender VPN can support a fast and stable download speed. However, this provider doesn’t have port forwarding, and you have to activate the kill switch function manually to stay protected in case your connection gets disrupted.
Platforms, interface and ease of use
|Supported OS||Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and Linux||Windows, macOS, Android, iOS|
|Other software and devices||Smart TVs, Apple TV, Android TV, Fire, Samsung Smart TV, Roku, router||–|
|Browser extensions||Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Vivaldi||–|
ExpressVPN and Bitdefender VPN support the major operating systems, like Windows, macOS, Android. Unfortunately, Linux users might look into other VPN provider, as Bitdefender is not compatible with Linux. You can install ExpressVPN on four browsers and use the VPN on devices such as Apple TV.
Plus, if you have consoles that don’t support VPN, ExpressVPN’s MediaStreamer can help you unblock geo-restricted content on such devices.
However, you can use Bitdefender VPN on 10 simultaneous connections, while ExpressVPN offers twice less. So, it’s a plus if you want to share a VPN with your household and use it on all your devices.
Overall, Bitdefender VPN is pretty restrictive when it comes to supporting different operation systems, devices, software, and browsers. Therefore, ExpressVPN is a better option regarding apps.
ExpressVPN’s Windows and macOS apps are almost identical and share the same features. The interface is straightforward to navigate and digest. However, this provider doesn’t offer a map view to see all the available servers. But it provides a functional filter, which helps you select the country you need according to the continent.
ExpressVPN offers a convenient feature named Shortcuts. You can add up to five websites you launch after connecting to a VPN. Clicking the shortcut will open your website or URL link, so you don’t have to look for it. It's a pretty convenient and user friendly feature that adds up to a satisfaction navigating this VPN.
However, keep in mind that ExpressVPN supports split tunneling only on Windows and macOS.
Meanwhile, Bitdefender VPN’s Windows and macOS app designs are very intuitive and match across desktop and mobile. You can access split tunneling, auto-connect, and kill switch features on Windows. Unfortunately, split tunneling and auto-connect functions aren’t supported on macOS, however, you can only use the kill switch.
ExpressVPN maintained a unified interface design across desktop and mobile apps because the mobile version looks almost identical to the desktop version. For example, Android keeps features such as a kill switch, split tunneling, and Shortcuts. So, remember that the Android app has more features than iOS.
Meanwhile, Bitdefender VPN iOS app allows split tunneling, but only for websites instead of apps. iOS also has a kill switch and auto-connect functions.
In addition, Bitdefender’s Android app can block local network traffic, which makes your phone invisible to other devices connected to the same wifi. Technically, it protects your privacy from potential attackers, especially if you’re connected to a public network.
|24/7 live chat||✅||✅|
|Guides or articles||✅||✅|
Both providers offer excellent customer support and are relatively quick to help you solve the issue.
None of the providers offer a phone line. But if you encounter a sudden problem, you can always chat with ExpressVPN or Bitdefender VPN agents in their 24/7 live chat.
If the issue doesn’t need a resolution here and now, then you can make use of their email support. Just keep in mind that response waiting time can be longer than in the live chat.
In addition, you can find answers to your questions in the FAQs sections. ExpressVPN and Bitdefender VPN have created comprehensive guides and articles with thorough explanations on setting up VPNs, troubleshooting, how-tos.
Bitdefender VPN vs ExpressVPN – which one wins?
ExpressVPN confidently wins this battle, however, Bitdefender VPN got to shine with its small price and excellent customer support options.
However, it wasn’t enough because ExpressVPN showcased excellent results in streaming Netflix flawlessly, offering more reliable and transparent security features. It is also a faster VPN which includes more than one tunneling protocol.
Even though ExpressVPN’s server fleet is slightly smaller than Bitdefender VPN’s, it has a better global distribution and provides transparent information about its servers and locations.
In addition, ExpressVPN is compatible with more operating systems, software, devices, and browsers, which is an excellent asset if you want to be protected despite the device you use. Add a better torrenting experience, and it’s an undeniable winner in this battle.
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More VPN comparisons from Cybernews
How does Bitdefender VPN compare to ExpressVPN?
Bitdefender is cheaper and offers more servers than ExpressVPN.
Should I choose ExpressVPN or Bitdefender VPN for gaming?
ExpressVPN is a better VPN for gaming than Bitdefender VPN because it’s fast, offers more than one protocol, and includes all the necessary security features, such as kill switch, or split tunneling. It also has unlimited bandwidth and performs without ping or lag.
Which is cheaper – Bitdefender VPN or ExpressVPN?
Bitdefender VPN is cheaper than ExpressVPN. However, you get more features with ExpressVPN.
Can I try Bitdefender and ExpressVPN free of charge?
Both providers offer 30-day money-back guarantee.