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NordVPN vs ExpressVPN: what are the differences, and which one should you choose in 2024?


NordVPN and ExpressVPN are two top-tier services among VPN users worldwide, both beginners and experts. Both VPNs show exceptionally fast speeds, implement robust security practices, and offer a number of both essential and additional features.

When comparing NordVPN vs ExpressVPN, NordVPN stands out with its device coverage and extra perks like Threat Protection or Dedicated IP add-on. ExpressVPN, on the other hand, proved to be easier to use. Both providers showed excellent speeds, with NordVPN leading in download speeds only by a fraction. However, NordVPN is much cheaper, compared to ExpressVPN.

In this comparison, I will compare both providers’ speeds, features, security measures, pricing, and ease of use. Read on to find my full NordVPN and ExpressVPN comparison so you can choose the best service for your needs.

NordVPN vs ExpressVPN overview

NordVPNExpressVPN
⭐ Rating:
4.9
4.3
🥇 Overall rank:#1 out of #42#4 out of #42
🖥️ Servers:6,400 + servers in 111 countries3,000 + servers in 105 countries
📖 No logs policy:No logsNo logs
💵 Price:From $3.39/monthFrom $6.67/month
🔥 Coupons:NordVPN coupon 72% OFFExpressVPN coupon 49% OFF
🔒 VPN protocols:OpenVPN, WireGuard (NordLynx)Lightway, OpenVPN, IKEv2
🍿 Streaming services:Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and moreNetflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and more
🖥️ Platforms:Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOSWindows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS
📥 Simultaneous connections:108
💁🏻 Support:Knowledge base, FAQs, email, 24/7 live chatKnowledge base, FAQs, email, 24/7 live chat

Price: is NordVPN cheaper than ExpressVPN?

PlanNordVPNExpressVPN
Free plan❌No❌No
Cheapest monthly price$3.39/month$6.67/month
Highest monthly price$12.99/month
$12.95/month
1-year plan$4.99/month$6.67/month
2-year plan$3.39/month
Risk-free trial✅Yes✅Yes
Best dealGet NordVPN, now up to 72% OFF + free travel data!Get ExpressVPN, now 49% OFF + 3 months FREE!

ExpressVPN is more expensive than NordVPN unless you choose a monthly subscription. If you look at the monthly plan, it costs pretty much the same – ExpressVPN's monthly subscription price starts at $12.95/month, and NordVPNs at $12.99/month. However, the longer the plan you choose, the more you save every month. And this is where NordVPN gives much better value.

NordVPN offers better monthly prices on longer subscriptions. NordVPN’s year-long plan costs only $4.99/month, but the best deal comes with the most-extended two-year plan, which would cost you only $3.39/month. In contrast, ExpressVPN's six-month subscription will cost $9.99/month, and the longest annual subscription comes at $6.67/month.

NordVPN offers more payment options

Both NordVPN vs ExpressVPN offer regular credit card payments, as well as online payment methods such as PayPal, UnionPay, Apple Pay, and Google Pay. Additionally, providers accept cryptocurrencies for anonymous payments. If you paid with cryptocurrency, a NordVPN customer support representative will handle your request and process the refund within three business days. With ExpressVPN you are also entitled to a full refund so long as you’re still within our 30-day money-back guarantee. Keep in mind that due to fluctuations in the cryptocurrency market, the refunded amount may differ from the original payment.

The only difference between NordVPN and ExpressVPN is that NordVPN accepts AmazonPay, and ExpressVPN doesn't.

NordVPN offers more for the lower price

Not only is NordVPN way cheaper than ExpressVPN, but you can also claim NordVPN’s 7-day free trial on the Google Play Store. Unfortunately, neither provider has a free trial for the desktop apps. Luckily, when you get NordVPN’s free Android trial, you can use the same account on other devices (up to 10), including desktop ones. Besides, you can try each provider risk-free with the 30-day money-back guarantee.

Further, a NordVPN subscription covers up to 10 simultaneous device connections, while ExpressVPN allows up to 8. While the difference isn’t that major, it’s still a win for NordVPN.

Worth mentioning that both NordVPN and ExpressVPN have great customer support. My testing showed both providers’ waiting times on 24/7 live chat were short, and questions asked via email were solved in just a few hours.

Wrapping up
NordVPN is a much cheaper option than ExpressVPN. Comparing each of their best deals, NordVPN would cost you only $3.39/month, while ExpressVPN would be $6.67/month. Also, NordVPN provides extra payment options for added security and convenience.

Which one is more secure – NordVPN or ExpressVPN?

Both NordVPN and ExpressVPN offer top-notch security and privacy. Both provide AES-256 data encryption, Hash SHA-512, and industry-standard tunneling protocols OpenVPN and IKEv2.

Neither NordVPN nor ExpressVPN is based in a country that is a part of the 14-Eyes Alliance. Besides, both providers have had their no-logs policies independently audited. ExpressVPN has had two no-log policy audits, done by KPMG in 2023 and in 2022. Conversely, NordVPN has proven trustworthy regarding its no-logs policy with four external audits under its hood. PwC audited it in 2018 and 2020, and Deloitte repeated the auditing process in 2022 and 2024.

As for infrastructure, NordVPN is strategically designed to handle high traffic volumes and maintain consistent performance even during peak usage periods. Therefore, it's better for activities that require high bandwidth, like streaming or gaming. ExpressVPN emphasizes global reach and flexibility, so its infrastructure is optimized to provide users with multiple worldwide servers to access geo-restricted content.

Moreover, NordLynx and Lightway, the new tunneling protocols on both platforms, are expected to be even more secure with XChaCha20 implemented.

During my tests, I didn't find any DNS leaks with NordVPN or ExpressVPN. However, it needs to be mentioned that there was an issue with ExpressVPN's Windows app version 12 in 2024 – its split tunneling feature didn't route DNS requests properly. Provider fixed it fast, though, and now everything works fine again. Plus, ExpressVPN has shown its commitment to transparency by releasing a report on DNS leaks.

Wrapping up
NordVPN is more secure than ExpressVPN. While both VPN providers have very similar security features, ExpressVPN DNS leaks seem a bit concerning for users.

Speed comparison: is NordVPN faster than ExpressVPN?

In my recent in-house testing, the NordVPN vs ExpressVPN speed comparison revealed that NordVPN is faster than ExpressVPN. Although both providers showed similar ping and upload speeds, NordVPN outmatched ExpressVPN in download speed retention rates.

NordVPN’s NordLynx and ExpressVPN’s Lightway are two different protocols. They’re both high-speed, next-generation protocols built for advanced privacy and performance. Developed internally by the providers, they both perform significantly better than older OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols.

I compared the speed test results of ExpressVPN and NordVPN using the available high-speed tunneling protocols – NordLynx and Lightway.

The numbers below show average download and upload speeds from the US, the UK, Canada, Germany, France, and Japan. It’s worth mentioning that the distance to the server location has a significant impact on the results.

Data period: 07.06 - 07.20
Download retention
US (NY) US (NY)
93% (467 Mbit/s) 91% (459 Mbit/s)
United Kingdom United Kingdom
94% (473 Mbit/s) 92% (461 Mbit/s)
Canada Canada
94% (471 Mbit/s) 91% (456 Mbit/s)
Germany Germany
97% (486 Mbit/s) 91% (458 Mbit/s)
France France
95% (478 Mbit/s) 90% (454 Mbit/s)
Japan Japan
92% (463 Mbit/s) 89% (446 Mbit/s)
Australia Australia
88% (443 Mbit/s) 91% (457 Mbit/s)
Netherlands Netherlands
95% (476 Mbit/s) 90% (452 Mbit/s)
Singapore Singapore
90% (453 Mbit/s) 89% (448 Mbit/s)
Sweden Sweden
94% (473 Mbit/s) 92% (463 Mbit/s)
Upload retention
US (NY) US (NY)
92% (462 Mbit/s) 92% (464 Mbit/s)
United Kingdom United Kingdom
92% (461 Mbit/s) 92% (461 Mbit/s)
Canada Canada
93% (466 Mbit/s) 89% (448 Mbit/s)
Germany Germany
87% (435 Mbit/s) 93% (468 Mbit/s)
France France
92% (462 Mbit/s) 94% (470 Mbit/s)
Japan Japan
76% (382 Mbit/s) 86% (434 Mbit/s)
Australia Australia
53% (268 Mbit/s) 51% (259 Mbit/s)
Netherlands Netherlands
78% (390 Mbit/s) 91% (458 Mbit/s)
Singapore Singapore
87% (438 Mbit/s) 65% (325 Mbit/s)
Sweden Sweden
93% (466 Mbit/s) 89% (448 Mbit/s)
Download/Upload baseline speed - 500 Mbit/s

NordVPN's NordLynx protocol offers superior download speeds, making it the faster and better-performing option. While ExpressVPN outshines NordVPN in some server locations for upload speeds, overall, NordVPN emerges as the clear winner in the comparison of download and upload speeds.

Your internet connection may vary, and the results might be different from ours due to differences during testing and daily fluctuations. Consider this data as approximate and subject to change.

I also tested the ping results of these two VPN providers, and the results are as follows:

The UKThe USJapan
NordVPN (NordLynx)
~43 ms~103 ms~290 ms
ExpressVPN (Lightway)
~40 ms~123 ms~277 ms

NordVPN and ExpressVPN are very similar when comparing ping results. I find it interesting that my previous testing showed much higher ping on both providers (for instance, on the US server, NordVPN’s ping was around 202 ms and ExpressVPN’s around 213 ms), whereas now the results have greatly improved. This only shows that both providers continuously improve their products.

So, NordVPN and ExpressVPN are almost the same regarding ping and upload speeds, but, NordVPN takes the lead with download speeds. Besides, NordVPN is a more efficient VPN than ExpressVPN as its NordLynx performance is better regarding download and upload speeds.

Wrapping up
NordVPN is ultimately a faster VPN, but ExpressVPN comes pretty close. NordVPN’s NordLynx technology offers the best overall performance across the board – giving this provider the edge in terms of speed.

Features overview

NordVPN has more features than ExpressVPN. Both providers have features like RAM-only servers, split tunneling, as well as Smart DNS, and Stealth VPN. However, when comparing NordVPN vs ExpressVPN, ExpressVPN lacks dedicated IP and Meshnet features.

NordVPNExpressVPN
Split tunneling✅ Yes (Android, Android TV, Windows)✅ Yes (Windows, macOS, Android, routers)
RAM-only servers✅ Yes✅ Yes (TrustedServer)
Stealth VPN✅ Yes✅ Yes
Smart DNS✅ Yes (SmartPlay)✅ Yes (MediaStreamer)
Dedicated IP✅Yes❌No
Meshnet✅Yes❌No
Specialty servers✅ Yes (Double VPN, obfuscated, P2P, Onion over VPN)✅ Yes (stealth servers)
Web filters✅ Yes (Threat Protection)✅ Yes (Threat Manager)
Breach checker✅ Yes (Dark Web Monitor)✅ Yes (Keys)

For me, features like dedicated IP and Meshnet are too important to overlook. I use a dedicated IP feature when I deal with financial transactions while traveling, so my IP isn’t flagged up every time I log in from a different location. It can also be helpful in disguising your VPN usage from ISPs or authoritative governments.

What’s more, Meshnet helps me securely share files with my colleagues and friends from all around the world. It gives me peace of mind that my most important data stays protected.

On the other hand, both providers offer extra features to improve users’ experience. I appreciate both NordVPN and ExpressVPN offer a feature to prevent app trackers. ExpressVPN's Threat Manager identifies and blocks potential threats proactively. It safeguards users from accessing malicious websites and protects against cyberattacks. However, I’d like to see a bit more functionalities. For example, NordVPN’s Threat Protection Pro is not only an automatic tracker blocker but also works as an ad blocker. There’s also a download scanner (built-in in Threat Protection) for files under 150 MB to check for malware before downloading.

I give ExpressVPN an edge for including a password manager (ExpressVPN Keys) in all of its plans. NordVPN, however, doesn’t include NordPass in its Basic plan – I’d like to see this changed in the future.

Wrapping up
Overall, while both NordVPN and ExpressVPN offer essential security features, NordVPN can be declared the winner. That’s because NordVPN provides exclusive protection features, including dedicated IP, Meshnet, Threat Protection Pro, and others, securing you from virtually all corners.

Server locations

NordVPN is superior to ExpressVPN both in server fleet size and country coverage. To be exact, NordVPN has 6400+ servers across 111 countries, while ExpressVPN has servers in 105 countries, but no longer shares the exact server number (some sources claim it has over 3000 servers).

ServersCountries (total)Virtual locationsSpecialty servers
NordVPN
6400+111✅Yes✅Yes (Double VPN, obfuscated, P2P, Onion over VPN)
ExpressVPN
Undisclosed
105✅Yes✅Yes (stealth servers)

A large server number ensures fast and stable connections, but wide location coverage is necessary to bypass geo-restrictions. For instance, both ExpressVPN and NordVPN offer virtual servers in India, helping to unblock local content.

Overall, both ExpressVPN and NordVPN provide a large number of servers in globally varied locations. But NordVPN has an edge over ExpressVPN because it simply offers a wider country coverage.

I find it important to also mention that both ExpressVPN and NordVPN have RAM-only servers. RAM-only systems mean nothing is stored locally, and your information is wiped out automatically once you disconnect, keeping it entirely safe.

Both NordVPN and ExpressVPN offer a feature called Stealth VPN, which serves as an excellent solution for maintaining a connection even when faced with network restrictions or Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) measures, particularly in countries where internet access is heavily censored, like China.

NordVPN's version of Stealth VPN is called obfuscated servers, and you can select these servers from the specialty Servers list. NordVPN automatically establishes a connection that disguises your traffic as regular HTTPS traffic.

ExpressVPN also provides its Stealth VPN capability, which operates smoothly within the application. If the app detects the need to evade DPI or similar restrictions, it activates the Stealth VPN function without any manual configuration required.

Wrapping up
NordVPN has servers across more countries than ExpressVPN thanks to its recent server fleet expansion. Besides, NordVPN gives more hands-on control with its obfuscated servers.

Which is better for streaming – NordVPN or ExpressVPN?

VPN users recognize both NordVPN and ExpressVPN as excellent choices for streaming. While ExpressVPN offers great streaming capabilities and speeds with loads of servers to select from, NordVPN has a better value being even faster and more secure.

NordVPN unblocks different streaming platforms securely while ensuring stable and consistent connection speeds at all times. It also offers more simultaneous connections – 10, in comparison to ExpressVPN’s 8. This is handy in bigger households – more devices can be connected to different servers. Thus, NordVPN is a better choice for streaming for budget-conscious users.

NordVPN vs ExpressVPN Netflix unblocking capabilities are similar – both services unblock Netflix US and Japan as well as other libraries. When testing, I managed to unblock more than 20 Netflix libraries with NordVPN and about the same number with ExpressVPN. The same can be said about BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Max, Disney+, and other streaming services.

I also liked that ExpressVPN and NordVPN allow streaming on all servers. So when you decide to watch your favorite show, you don't need to switch servers first. Most importantly, the speeds should be enough for HD or even 4K video quality.

Smart DNS support is another excellent option that both providers have. This feature allows streaming platforms to be unblocked on smart TVs, game consoles, and other media devices without the VPN app. ExpressVPN calls it MediaStreamer, and I had it up and running on my PC. However, it didn't work on our office Xbox, so you may want to install it on your router instead.

NordVPN's version is named Smart DNS, and it also supports many media devices. Also, there’s NordVPN’s SmartPlay technology to ensure better-streaming access on all servers.

Wrapping up – it's a draw
Both NordVPN and ExpressVPN are great options for streaming VPNs. They have powerful unblocking and streaming capabilities on various devices – from mobile to smart TV. However, NordVPN is our #1 pick overall because of better speeds and top-notch features.

Torrenting and P2P

Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN offer incredible speeds and a wide range of servers. ExpressVPN is available in 105 countries, while NordVPN is available in 111. This means both providers will guarantee excellent connectivity no matter where you are worldwide.

One of the differences between NordVPN and ExpressVPN is that NordVPN allows P2P only on specialized servers, whereas ExpressVPN allows torrenting on all of its servers.

However, NordVPN is one of the best SOCKS5 proxy VPNs, while ExpressVPN doesn't offer a free SOCKS5 proxy. But with ExpressVPN you can get the split tunneling feature on most platforms – Windows, Mac, and Android, which lets you select the apps that you want to be VPN-secured. NordVPN also has this feature but doesn't support it on Mac.

Wrapping up
NordVPN and ExpressVPN are great options for torrenting. Both providers support torrenting, have incredible download speeds, and offer a large server fleet.

Platforms, interface, and ease of use

Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN have good-looking interfaces and are easy to use. Additionally, providers let their users to efficiently secure every device in their households. For example, NordVPN covers 10 simultaneous connections, while ExpressVPN – 8. You'll find apps for all major platforms, too, including Chrome, Firefox, and Edge browser extensions. Yet ExpressVPN has one client that NordVPN misses: a router applet.

NordVPNExpressVPN
Supported OSWindows, macOS, Linux (no GUI), Android, iOS, tvOSWindows, macOS, Linux (no GUI), Android, iOS, tvOS
Router applet❌No✅Yes
Other software and devicesAndroid TV, Fire, Roku, Kodi devices, Apple TV, and moreAndroid TV, Fire devices, routers, Apple TV, Roku, PlayStation, Xbox devices, and more
Browser extensionsChrome, Firefox, EdgeChrome, Firefox, Edge, Brave, Vivaldi
Simultaneous connections108
Usability levelEasy to set upEasy to set up

I think that while you can manually configure NordVPN to work with the most popular router brands, it's still not as convenient as downloading and installing the service immediately. Finally, the difference in simultaneous connections is not so important, especially when you can remove the limit by installing the VPN on a router.

While NordVPN and ExpressVPN Windows and Mac apps are easy to install and use, they offer a totally different approach. I liked the NordVPN app more, as its visually pleasant and intuitive. On the other hand, ExpressVPN is much more easy to use, as there are no distracting elements and less features if you’re a total beginner.

Interestingly, NordVPN has two apps for macOS. The one available on the Apple Store is "the right one" as it supports all tunneling protocols, including NordLynx. The version from the provider's website is more of a sideload that supports OpenVPN only but has more features.

Neither provider has a GUI for Linux. You control everything using command lines instead. Moreover, NordVPN's Linux app is open source. In the future, I’d like both providers to develop a GUI for better usability.

Android and iOS clients look pretty much the same on both NordVPN and ExpressVPN and are also quite similar to their desktop counterparts. However, there are some features not available on Windows and Mac. NordVPN's Android app doesn't have a kill switch of its own. Therefore, you'll need to use the native always-on VPN setting. In contrast, you can't turn off the iOS kill switch.

In the case of ExpressVPN, the Android version is superior to the iOS. It has split tunneling and a kill switch, two of the essential features.

Wrapping up
In this round, I declare ExpressVPN as the winner, as it exceeded NordVPN's compatibility. NordVPN doesn’t offer a router applet, while ExpressVPN does. This makes it more convenient and lets every user on the same network use the VPN simultaneously.

Video review: NordVPN vs ExpressVPN

Check the showdown of the two rivals in this video review of NordVPN vs ExpressVPN. It’s a deep dive into their features, performance, and everything that sets them apart.

NordVPN vs ExpressVPN – which one do I recommend?

As per my research, I find NordVPN a better choice when pitted against ExpressVPN. It’s swift, provides numerous security features, has a comprehensive server network, and is significantly cheaper than ExpressVPN.

CategoryNordVPNExpressVPN
Price
Protection
Speed
Features
Server locations
Streaming
Torrenting
Ease of use

I recommend NordVPN for those looking for an affordable and well-rounded VPN to meet all your security and entertainment needs. It supports slightly more simultaneous connections per account, provides better speeds, and offers more features.

I found ExpressVPN to be a better choice for those willing to pay a premium for an ultra-private and reliable VPN that has numerous independent audits under its belt. While it has fewer features than NordVPN, it’s almost on par regarding speed, streaming, and protection.

If you are still wondering which VPN is best for you, both NordVPN and ExpressVPN offer a 30-day money-back guarantee that gives you a chance to try them risk-free.

Comparison methodology: NordVPN vs ExpressVPN

There’s a lot to consider when comparing different VPN providers. Our research team performs various tests, analyses, and research to see different aspects of a VPN service. In this NordVPN and ExpressVPN comparison, to determine which was superior, we thoroughly tested both providers in each category, including price, security, speeds, compatibility, and more. Here’s the process of how we compared NordVPN vs ExpressVPN:

  1. I examined each provider's subscription plans and pricing, as it’s one of the first things potential VPN users look at.
  2. Then, together with our research team, we analyzed and tested both NordVPN’s and ExpressVPN’s security features, comparing their usability and functionality.
  3. We then did speed testing to see which provider offers better speeds and more stable connections. We looked at download and upload speed retention rates, ping, and other important aspects.
  4. I have then compared each provider’s server fleets and their global coverage and evaluated specialty servers and their functionalities.
  5. Our team has also tested the streaming and torrenting capabilities that both ExpressVPN and NordVPN offer to see which one gives better experience.
  6. We did hands-on testing on each VPN’s apps to evaluate their ease of use and interface, regardless of technical aptitude.
  7. After all the research, I gathered all the cumulative data and compared each provider side by side. This way, I was able to rate each category and rank the providers to find which one was better overall.

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