ExpressVPN vs NordVPN comparison - which is better in 2024

ExpressVPN vs NordVPN comparison - which is better in 2024
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ExpressVPN and NordVPN are two of the most popular VPNs on the market and understandably, it can be hard to decide which one to use. Both are good options whether you’re looking to stream geo-restricted content or keep your data secure while using a public Wi-Fi, but there are some things one is better at than the other.

The factors we took into consideration while comparing NordVPN vs ExpressVPN include privacy, security, streaming capabilities, number of devices, and more.

If you’re in a hurry, we’ve added a table below that summarizes the differences between NordVPN and ExpressVPN.

Overview: ExpressVPN vs NordVPN

Winner: Winner:



Overall rank#1 of 16#2 of #16
Servers3000+ servers in 105 countries5810+ servers in 60 countries
No logs policyNo-log policyNo-log policy
Pricingfrom $6.67/monthfrom $3.39/month
ProtocolsOpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP/IPSec, LightwayIKEv2/IPsec, OpenVPN, NordLynx
Streaming servicesNetflix, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max and moreNetflix, HBO Max, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and others
Support24/7 live chat support24/7 live chat support

ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN: encryption & security

While NordVPN offers robust security features, ExpressVPN stands out with its unique approach to encryption and security. ExpressVPN utilizes AES-256 and wolfSSL encryption protocols, offering an equally secure, yet faster and more efficient performance compared to NordVPN's more common approach. Additionally, ExpressVPN's proprietary protocol provides enhanced security without compromising on speed. Its kill switch, known as 'Network Lock', ensures your data remains protected, and its comprehensive leak protection is on par with NordVPN's offerings.


Here is a table summarizing the encryption and security features of NordVPN and ExpressVPN:





AES-256 and ChaCha20

AES-256 and wolfSSL

RAM servers



Kill switch


Yes (called Network Lock)

Leak protection



Encryption and protocols

Both NordVPN and ExpressVPN offer military-grade AES-256 encryption. ExpressVPN's Lightway protocol, though less known than NordVPN's WireGuard, provides an innovative approach to VPN connections, offering faster speeds without compromising security. Their OpenVPN protocol is equally robust and efficient.

NordVPN's MultiHop feature, while encrypting data twice, can reduce speed. In contrast, ExpressVPN maintains optimal speed without compromising security, making it a preferred choice for many users.

Kill switch and split tunneling

Both VPNs offer essential kill switch functionality. ExpressVPN's kill switch, while having a minor issue on macOS when changing servers, is otherwise highly reliable across all platforms. NordVPN's kill switch is consistent, but ExpressVPN's overall performance remains strong.

ExpressVPN and NordVPN both offer DNS leak protection and split tunneling, allowing for a balanced blend of security and convenience. Although NordVPN has an ad blocker, ExpressVPN focuses on core VPN functionalities.

Additional security features

While NordVPN offers more additional features like a dedicated IP and Onion over VPN, ExpressVPN's simplicity and focus on fundamental VPN capabilities make it a strong contender, especially for users seeking a straightforward, reliable VPN experience.

Our tests indicate that while NordVPN's WireGuard is efficient, ExpressVPN's Lightway protocol competes closely in terms of speed and performance, making ExpressVPN a preferable option for users prioritizing speed and simplicity.

Overall, while NordVPN offers more features, ExpressVPN's focus on essential, high-quality VPN functionalities makes it an excellent choice for those seeking a balance of speed, security, and ease of use.

NordVPN vs. ExpressVPN: privacy

ExpressVPN is the clear winner when it comes to privacy as it’s based in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) and the company has said that it won’t share any data with legal authorities. NordVPN is based in Panama which has the same legal stance as the BVI, but the company has mentioned that it may share its users’ data if required.


Here’s a table that summarizes the privacy features of both VPNs.

  NordVPN ExpressVPN
Logging policy No logs No logs
Location Panama British Virgin Islands
Member of 5 Eyes alliance No No
External audits Yes Yes
Warrant canary Yes No


Both NordVPN and ExpressVPN are located outside of the jurisdiction of the Five Eyes, which means they’re not required by law to share data with legal authorities.

NordVPN is based in Panama, which is also considered a privacy haven, but it has admitted in the past that if it’s asked to share user data as part of a criminal investigation, it will comply. NordVPN users will always know if there’s a change in the company’s policy, though, since it uses a warrant canary.


NordVPN has a no-log policy while ExpressVPN collects some user data such as date of connection, server location, and data transmission during a single network session. None of the information it collects is personally identifiable, though.

Plans & pricing

NordVPN is the more affordable VPN than ExpressVPN as it offers multiple plans which gives users more options. ExpressVPN, on the other hand, is more expensive and only has one plan. NordVPN only offers a trial version on Android, whereas ExpressVPN has one on both iOS and Android. Both VPNs have a 30-day money-back guarantee.


Here’s a table to help you understand the plans and pricing of NordVPN and ExpressVPN:




Monthly price

$12.99 per month

$12.95 per month

1-year plan

$4.49 per month

$6.67 per month

2-year plan

$3.79 per month


Cryptocurrency payment



Money-back guarantee

30 days

30 days

Trial version

7 days on Android

7 days on Android and iOS

NordVPN has a variety of pricing plans to choose from, which means you have more options to save money. ExpressVPN doesn’t have a 2-year plan, but as you can tell, its 1-year plan is significantly more expensive than NordVPN’s. Both VPNs give special offers and discounts on a regular basis. ExpressVPN currently has a deal going on which will give you 3 months free if you buy the 12 months plan for $6.67 per month.

Both have a 30-day money-back guarantee. Neither VPN offers a free trial on the PC or Mac app, but there is one for the mobile app. NordVPN only has a trial version on its Android app, while ExpressVPN has one on both Android and iOS.There are no free versions of either VPN on the desktop.

If you want to save money in the long run, then NordVPN seems to be the obvious choice, but if you want a monthly subscription, then there’s not a big difference between the prices of the two VPNs.

Speed performance: NordVPN vs. ExpressVPN

NordVPN outperforms ExpressVPN in terms of speed. It performs much better when downloading torrents or casually surfing the web while connected to a nearby server. Even when connected to a distant server, NordVPN seems to perform better.


Here’s a table that compares the speed performance of NordVPN and ExpressVPN:




US download speed

55 Mbps

49 Mbps

UK download speed

52 Mbps

47 Mbps

Germany download speed

50 Mbps

44 Mbps


43 ms

62 ms

VPN protocol



The speeds above were tested on a 60 Mbps connection and as you can tell, NordVPN offers faster speeds for servers in the US, UK, and Germany. NordVPN has coverage in less countries, so if you want to connect to a server that’s outside the US and Europe, ExpressVPN may be a better choice.

Both VPNs will automatically connect to the nearest and fastest server. In NordVPN, this feature is called “Quick connect” and in ExpressVPN, it’s called “Smart Location.” Both features only take a few seconds to find a server to connect to.

For the speed tests, we used the VPNs’ official protocols – WireGuard and Lightway. The former performed better by a large margin. For far-away servers like in the UK or rest of Europe, you’ll get faster speeds with NordVPN.

We also tested NordVPN with MultiHop activated, and its speed was reduced only a little, going down to about 52 Mbps when connected to a US server, which means even with an additional layer of encryption, you’re getting better speeds than ExpressVPN.

NordVPN also gave us better ping, though it’s unlikely you’ll notice any lag when gaming with either VPN. We tested both VPNs on Call of Duty while connected to a UK server and didn’t experience any lag at all.

All in all, NordVPN takes the crown for being the faster VPN out of the two.

NordVPN download speed testNordVPN download speed test.

ExpressVPN vs NordVPN: streaming

Both VPNs are great for streaming geo-restricted content, but ExpressVPN is better because it has servers in 94 countries, as opposed to NordVPN which has servers in 59. Better coverage means you can stream content from more regions.


Here’s a table that compares the streaming capabilities of ExpressVPN and NordVPN:







BBC iPlayer



Amazon Prime









You’ll get better speeds with NordVPN when streaming geo-restricted content, but with ExpressVPN, you’ll get better coverage. You’ll still gain access to most popular Netflix regions like Japan, US, and Australia with both NordVPN and ExpressVPN.

You can use both VPNs to access almost all US streaming platforms (Disney Plus, Amazon Prime, HBO Max, Hulu, and Paramount+). Both of them are also great for accessing UK content like BBC iPlayer, though ExpressVPN will sometimes require you to use its Smart DNS tool. Regardless of which VPN you use for streaming, you’ll always have access to a huge library of online streaming platforms.

Since they both have tons of servers in both the US and the UK, you won’t face any trouble finding a reliable and fast server for streaming geo-restricted content.

Servers and locations

As mentioned above, NordVPN has a higher number of servers (over 5,000) in 59 countries, but ExpressVPN has an edge here as its servers are spread out in 94 countries. Here’s a table so you can quickly see the number of servers and locations both VPNs offer:




Number of servers

Over 5,000

Over 3,000

Number of countries

59 countries

94 countries

ExpressVPN has servers in more countries and they’re also available in more cities, which is useful if you want to connect to a specific city. NordVPN has more servers, though, but since they’re located in 59 countries, you’re more likely to experience network congestion on NordVPN than on ExpressVPN.

Platforms, interface, and ease of use

Both VPNs have intuitive apps for PC, Mac, iOS, and Android, but ExpressVPN’s app is more user-friendly and is easier to understand, so that makes it the clear winner in this category. NordVPN allows you to connect up to 6 devices at the same time, while ExpressVPN gives you the option to connect to 5. NordVPN’s app also has more customization, but many users may find it intimidating.


Here’s a table that summarizes the differences between NordVPN and ExpressVPN in terms of platform, interface, and ease of use:




Number of devices/simultaneous connections



Desktop compatibility

Windows, macOS, and Linux

Windows, macOS, and Linux

Mobile compatibility

Android and iOS

Android and iOS

Router compatibility



Browser extensions

Google Chrome, Firefox, and Edge

Google Chrome, Firefox, and Edge

Streaming devices

Android TV, Fire TV, and Apple TV

Android TV, Fire TV, and Apple TV

Desktop apps

Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN have apps for Windows PC, macOS, and Linux. The former’s desktop app is far easier to use than NordVPN’s. To connect to a server, all you have to do is click on a fairly large button that’s quite easy for anyone to see and click on.

NordVPN’s desktop app isn’t as user-friendly. There’s no big, conspicuous connect button on the main window of the app. The “Quick connect” button is tucked away in the top-right corner of the window and its size is too small.

When you open the NordVPN app on a desktop, you’re presented with too many options, which some users may find intimidating. ExpressVPN’s app is far better organized.

Some users may find NordVPN’s desktop app intimidating because of the number of options that are presented on the screenSome users may find NordVPN’s desktop app intimidating because of the number of options that are presented on the screen.

Mobile apps

There’s not a big difference between the mobile version of ExpressVPN’s app and the desktop version. The UI is consistent across all devices, so you won’t notice any big difference when moving from a desktop to a phone.

The ExpressVPN mobile app is more user-friendlyThe ExpressVPN mobile app is more user-friendly.

NordVPN’s app isn’t as consistent, but one positive thing about it is that you can use it in dark mode. Some users may find the ExpressVPN app too bright since it doesn’t come with a dark mode. Both apps have advanced security features like kill switch, tracker blocker, and VPN protocols. ExpressVPN’s tracker blocker is only available on the iOS app, though.

NordVPN’s mobile app can be confusing for some users

NordVPN’s mobile app can be confusing for some users.

Customer support

Both VPNs have great customer support, but NordVPN has a 24/7 automated chatbot which works quite well. ExpressVPN has helpful tutorials and guides which are good enough to help users solve most problems.

Winner: Draw

ExpressVPN and NordVPN both have 24/7 customer support and you can easily email them. Both have online tutorials and guides, but ExpressVPN’s videos are much easier to understand than NordVPN’s.

NordVPN has a 24/7 chatbot, which should be good enough for most users and it also means that you’ll get a response much faster from NordVPN than ExpressVPN. ExpressVPN only has live chat agents who will almost never respond as quickly as a chatbot.

Neither VPN has customer support on the phone apps.

ExpressVPN vs NordVPN: which is better?

In a close comparison, ExpressVPN edges out as a preferable VPN service over NordVPN, particularly in user experience, speed in certain contexts, and encryption technology. While NordVPN excels in certain aspects, ExpressVPN demonstrates superior performance in streaming, ease of use, and robust security features, making it a strong choice for a wide range of users.

Our experience shows that ExpressVPN, with its user-friendly interface and innovative Lightway protocol, offers a balance of speed and security, especially for streaming and browsing.

For those prioritizing user experience and consistent performance, ExpressVPN is the recommended choice. Both services provide a 30-day money-back guarantee, giving you the opportunity to compare them directly.


Frequently asked questions

While NordVPN excels in certain areas with features like Meshnet and built-in Onion over VPN, ExpressVPN stands out for its global server coverage, offering unparalleled access to geo-restricted content. In terms of speed and security, ExpressVPN's Lightway protocol competes strongly, providing a balance of efficiency and robust security. Overall, ExpressVPN advantages in server diversity and reliable performance make it a highly competitive VPN choice.