With so many VPNs on the market, it can be tough to understand which VPN is right for you. When comparing ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN, for example, there are a lot of variables to consider. Do they work with Netflix? How much does each service cost? Do they keep user logs?
In this article, we’ll break down the basics about VPNs, and take a look at ExpressVPN and NordVPN to help you decide which one is right for you. We’ll also take a look at some of the key differences between each service. Let’s get started.
Overview – Understanding VPNs (And What They Do)
VPNs are becoming an increasingly important tool for protecting your online privacy, especially due to the recent repeal of net neutrality laws. VPNs can also be used to subvert censorship in a number of countries, and to access geo-restricted content, such as American Netflix while traveling abroad.
“VPN” stands for Virtual Private Network. Virtual Private Networks are services that allow you to connect to a server and send all of your traffic to that server through an encrypted “tunnel”. This adds an extra layer of security to your web traffic, protecting it from ISPs, government agencies, and other third parties who may want to throttle your connection or see your browsing habits.
In addition, VPNs can be used to make it appear as if you are connecting from another country. In China, for example, you can connect to an American VPN server and access websites like Facebook and Twitter, which are blocked by the “Great Firewall”.
When comparing VPNs, such as ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN, it’s important to note that most VPN services do the same basic thing. However, each VPN service does offer different levels of encryption, available servers, speeds, and other such features.
ExpressVPN is one of the most popular VPN services available, due to its fast connection speeds, military-grade security, and “no-logs” internet browsing policy.
ExpressVPN is a good value, and provides users with a simple and intuitive VPN experience. You don’t have to be any kind of technical expert to get started with this VPN, which is a good thing. Let’s get into the specifics about ExpressVPN now.
ExpressVPN consistently ranks at the top of the VPN charts when it comes to speed and performance. This makes it an ideal choice for those who need a very high-bandwidth VPN, such as those who will be using BitTorrent for P2P file sharing, or streaming video from websites like Netflix.
Speaking of Netflix, another great feature of ExpressVPN is that the company is actively working to bypass Netflix geographic restrictions. While VPNs work for unblocking Netflix, the company has started to use Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) to detect VPN connections and blacklist IP addresses, preventing you from connecting to the service.
This has caused some VPNs, like IPVanish, to give up on trying to unblock Netflix. But ExpressVPN uses rotating IP addresses and other VPN architecture techniques to keep Netflix unblocked, and ensure you can watch American Netflix while you’re abroad.
The service is also available on a wide variety of different devices. You can use it on macOS, PC, and Linux, as well as on iOS and Android. Plugins are also available for Safari, Chrome, and Firefox.
Using MediaStreamer, you can even use ExpressVPN on Xbox One, PS4, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV, making it extremely versatile for multi-device users.
When it comes to ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN, price is a bit of a concern. While it’s reasonably priced, ExpressVPN is still quite expensive compared to some other services, particularly for a short-term, month-to-month subscription.
It also is a bit more restrictive when it comes to simultaneous connections, compared to NordVPN.
However, ExpressVPN is still worth the relatively high cost of entry, given how simple, powerful, and customizable this service is.
NordVPN was first released in 2012, and has quickly built up a huge number of subscribers due to their top-notch security protocols, affordable subscriptions, and simple VPN client. Today, NordVPN has an enormous amount of servers spread throughout the world, making it ideal for those who need to connect to the internet from dozens of different countries.
NordVPN has a number of great features that should be considered when comparing ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN.
First and foremost, it beats ExpressVPN on the sheer number of available servers. Currently, NordVPN has more than 4,688 servers – and the company adds more servers every day. In total, you can access VPN servers in 60+ countries, providing you with plenty of flexibility.
Another great feature of NordVPN is that it has a number of distinct, specialized servers that are optimized for a particular type of web activity. For example, if you plan to use BitTorrent, you can use a dedicated P2P server, which is designed to maximize bandwidth and throughput for large files.
If you need extra security, you can use an “Onion Over VPN” server to secure your connection, and if you need to avoid DPI from Netflix or a similar service, you can use an obfuscated server to ensure you’re able to connect.
NordVPN also has VPN apps for most major desktop, laptop, and mobile platforms, including Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android.
NordVPN is only cheap if you purchase a long-term subscription plan. This may be fine for some people, but others may balk at the idea of having to purchase a 2- or 3-year subscription just to save some money.
It also does not support quite as many platforms as ExpressVPN, and has a somewhat more complex and unintuitive user interface, so it may not be quite as good for you if you are not somewhat tech-savvy.
However, given its low cost and great features, NordVPN is still a great choice for most VPN users.
1. NordVPN is Much Cheaper Than ExpressVPN
Now that we’ve discussed the basics about ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN, it’s time to get into the specifics about each service. Let’s get started by comparing one of the most important metrics – price.
ExpressVPN will cost you $12.95 per month if you pay for a month-to-month subscription. Extend that subscription to 6 months, and you’ll pay $9.99 per month. If you commit to a year-long subscription, you’ll pay only $8.32 per month, which is certainly reasonable.
NordVPN, though, is much cheaper. You’ll pay $11.95 monthly, but if you buy a 1-year plan, you’ll pay only $5.75 per month. Want a 2-year plan? It’ll only cost you $3.29 per month.
Finally, the company occasionally offers a 3-year plan for $99 – which comes out to just $2.75 per month.
If cost is your biggest concern when it comes to ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN, there’s no comparison – NordVPN is the clear winner.
2. ExpressVPN has Fewer Servers Than NordVPN – But in More Countries and Locations
ExpressVPN has only about 2,000 VPN servers, so this falls short of the 4,600+ servers of NordVPN.
However, ExpressVPN has a more diverse set of servers, located in 94 countries compared to NordVPN’s 60+. In addition, ExpressVPN has 148 VPN locations in different cities.
When it comes to the number of servers, there’s no clear winner. While NordVPN has many more servers, ExpressVPN still has more than enough servers for the average user.
3. Both Services are Based Outside of The United States
Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN are not based in the United States. ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands, while NordVPN is based in Panama.
Neither of these countries are part of the “14 Eyes” data intelligence agreement, sometimes known as the UKUSA agreement. In addition, they are not required to comply with US-based investigations of user data, meaning that your user logs will never be exposed to the US government.
4. ExpressVPN has Better Support Than NordVPN
NordVPN offers email support and live chat support, but live chat is not available at all times of the day. While NordVPN customer service has been quite responsive in our experience, they don’t deliver the same level of customer service that ExpressVPN offers.
ExpressVPN offers 24/7 customer service to help you with troubleshooting and account issues. For example, if the server you are using to watch Netflix is blocked, you can just message customer support, and ask them which servers are working for Netflix. It’s just that easy.
The company also has a number of troubleshooting guides and setup guides, which can help you work through most VPN issues on your own.
5. Both Services Offer a 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
If you’re interested in trying ExpressVPN or NordVPN, you can give either service a shot with a free 30-day money-back guarantee. Both of them offer your money back in case you don’t like the service.
This is much better than the “free trials” offered by many other VPN services. Most free trials restrict you to specific servers, or block particular features. But with both ExpressVPN and NordVPN, you can try every feature, without any limitations – and if you don’t like the service, you can cancel it.
6. ExpressVPN has More Consistent, Higher Speeds in Most Regions
When it comes to comparing ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN on the metric of speed, ExpressVPN is the clear winner.
ExpressVPN offers extremely reliable, fast, and consistent speeds, no matter where you are in the world. And, with automatic server functionality, you can set ExpressVPN to always connect to the fastest VPN server near you.
NordVPN offers reasonable speeds and reliability, but we’ve experienced more connection drops and slower speeds in testing, compared to ExpressVPN.
7. NordVPN Can be Used on More Devices Simultaneously
If you are going to be using your VPN on a large number of devices such as routers, laptops, Home Theater PCs (HTPCs), tablets, and smartphones, NordVPN is probably a better choice.
With NordVPN, you can connect on up to 6 devices at once, which is quite generous compared to ExpressVPN. You can only connect on 3 devices simultaneously with ExpressVPN, which is much more restrictive.
ExpressVPN Vs. NordVPN – Which Service is Better?
Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN are great choices for VPN services. In general, we tend to recommend ExpressVPN over other services, due to their rock-solid no-logs policy, exceptional performance, and fantastic customer support.
But if you’re not sure which service is right for you, here are a few questions you can ask yourself to make the right choice.
Are you on a tight budget – and can you commit to a long-term contract?
If you are looking to get a really good deal on VPN service, and you are willing to sign a long-term contract, NordVPN is pretty much the best service on the market. The 3-year subscription is the equivalent of just $2.77 per month, which is an incredible deal compared to ExpressVPN.
So if you are on a really tight budget, and don’t want to overpay for a VPN, NordVPN may be the right choice for you.
Do you need split tunneling?
Split tunneling is a service that’s offered by ExpressVPN, but not NordVPN. Essentially, it allows you to “toggle” which apps use your VPN connection, and which ones use your normal internet connection.
For example, you could set your Google Chrome browser to use your local connection, while you let your BitTorrent client use your VPN. This gives you more flexibility when it comes to using your VPN.
NordVPN doesn’t offer this feature at all, so ExpressVPN may be the better choice if you’re interested in split tunneling.
Do you need 24/7 support?
ExpressVPN has much better support than NordVPN, since you can live chat with a representative 24/7. If responsive and professional customer support is important to you, and you may need help troubleshooting your VPN, ExpressVPN is definitely a better choice.