NordVPN vs ExpressVPN (2023) – The Ultimate Battle

NordVPN and ExpressVPN are the two most popular service provider in the VPN industry. At first glance, they look pretty much similar and choosing one for another isn’t all that easy.

We have done all the research and extensively compared these two VPN giants to see which comes out the best. Hopefully, our guide will help you pick out the right fit.

NordVPN vs ExpressVPN Reviews – The Comparison

In our comparison today, we looked into several important aspects listed below:

  1. Servers and Network
  2. Speed
  3. Streaming
  4. Torrenting
  5. Ease of Use
  6. Compatibility
  7. Jurisdiction
  8. Privacy
  9. Security

1. NordVPN vs ExpressVPN – What are the available servers and network?

Number of Servers

A VPN service is really as good as the number of servers available for users to connect to. All the best VPNs can afford to maintain a huge server and IP address park. This way the users can be evenly distributed among the servers to maintain speed and stability.

As of today, NordVPN is packed with more than 5600 servers while ExpressVPN is at 3000+. While NordVPN wins in this category by a huge margin, ExpressVPN is still one of the top VPNs in terms of number of servers.

Number of Countries

Another important aspect to take note of is the number of countries offered by the VPN service providers for their users to access the internet with. Generally, most VPN users prefer to hide their IP addresses, however, there is still a significant number of netizens that need an IP based in an “obscure” state such as in the case of accessing location restricted media content.

Most countries shouldn’t give you a headache in this issue, but if you often travel to China, you should pay attention to this. Fortunately for you, we’ve done a review on the VPNs that work best in China

NordVPN supports 60 different countries while ExpressVPN has 94. While NordVPN has a larger number of servers, this VPN provider covers fewer countries around the globe as compared to ExpressVPN. 

2. NordVPN vs ExpressVPN – Which has better speed?

Both NordVPN and ExpressVPN have decent speed test results, which were conducted using OpenVPN with AES-256 encryption and my baseline speed was at approximately 160 Mbps.

I tested out the server speeds in several server locations as listed below:

Despite NordVPN having more servers than ExpressVPN, NordVPN seems to offer a slightly slower download speeds. If performance is your top priority, ExpressVPN may your go-to due the higher download speeds.

3. NordVPN vs ExpressVPN – Which is more ideal to access Netflix & streaming?

If you are a major Netflix lover, you’d be curious as to whether NordVPN or ExpressVPN supports your streaming activities better. Fortunately, both NordVPN and ExpressVPN are able to access US Netflix without any issues. This is a great feat as streaming Netflix through a VPN is often hit-or-miss, there are only a handful of VPN services that unblock Netflix. 

NordVPN proves to be a better pick for Netflix fans as it works effortlessly to unblock content in the US, UK, Canada, France, Japan, and Brazil. This provider is well-equipped for consistent streaming with their extensive server locations and proprietary SmartPlay DNS feature.

Other than that, NordVPN and ExpressVPN can unblock a large number of streaming services, both in the US and internationally such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, HBO, Showtime, and others.

All-in-all, ExpressVPN and NordVPN are good choices in terms of streaming services.

4. ExpressVPN vs NordVPN – Which offers better Torrenting accessibility?

The great news is that ExpressVPN and NordVPN allow P2P connections on their servers. You can find a separate tab in NordVPN’s app provides hundreds numbers of servers that are optimized for P2P activities in different locations around the world.

ExpressVPN is also completely file-sharing friendly and allows such activities on all of its servers. If you have any questions, they even have helpful instructions on how you can best use their service with a P2P app.

ExpressVPN supports BitTorrent in all 94 countries while NordVPN only supports 37 countries. On top of that, both VPNs support SOCKS5 proxies which require an extra authentication instead of just encryption. These proxies also tend to provide better connection speeds.

Lastly, NordVPN and ExpressVPN are based in Panama and the British Virgin Islands (BVI) respectively. Since both are not a US-based service, they are not obliged to follow a strict Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) policy. This makes them suitable for torrenting. 

5. NordVPN vs ExpressVPN – Which is more user-friendly?

What good would a VPN be if you face a difficult time trying to use it? Both NordVPN and ExpressVPN understands this and that is why their apps have stylish and intuitive user interfaces.  Both like to keep things simple with a sharp design and a one-click protection with their quick connect button.

They offer ready-made apps specifically for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. Both apps are very minimalistic, and they offer the ability to browse through different servers in various regions seamlessly. Other than that, you also have the option to tweak security settings, such as protocols, kill-switch, and DNS settings on ExpressVPN and NordVPN.

6. IPVanish vs ExpressVPN – Which is more compatible?

As one of the best commercial VPNs available on the market, NordVPN and ExpressVPN work seamlessly on a variety of platforms. They both have dedicated apps for each major operating system, as well as specialized support for many other devices that would allow simutalneous connections.

The majority of internet users prefer Windows operating system and both VPNs work impressively here. NordVPN app support starts from Windows 7 and up – similar to ExpressVPN. Although, NordVPN does have a little more flexibility with manual setups for XP and Vista versions.

Additionally, NordVPN offers native VPN apps for macOS, iOS, Linux, Android, Android TV, and Amazon Fire. There are even browser extensions available for Chrome and Firefox. platforms.

Rounding back to ExpressVPN, this service provider also features native apps for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, Kindle Fire, BlackBerry, and Amazon Fire TB platforms. They offer browser extensions for Chrome, Safari, and Firefox platforms.

Lastly, they both also can be set up through a router. There are clear instructions, customer support function and email support available on both of their websites to assist you in setting up your VPN router.

7. Jurisdiction

If you’re concerned about the safety of user data, you need to take a good look at where your VPN service provider is based at. There have been many cases in the United States where government agencies have forced VPNs to handover user data. That is why it is important to look for a VPN provider that is in a “Safe” location far away from the fourteen eyes alliances.

In terms of jurisdiction, NordVPN is based in Panama which is considered to be in a safe country. Panama is not a member of any of the international surveillance alliances and is not obligated to submit your information to the authorities.

ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands and it is located in one of the safest countries for users’ online privacy. BVI does not have any kind of data retention laws, meaning the company is legally permitted to hide your online activity from the government. 

Regarding jurisdiction, NordVPN seems to have chosen a better location in Panama as it does not require any data storage. While ExpressVPN is officially based in BVI that also does not have mandatory data retention law, BVI does have strong ties to the UK that is known for its strict regulation.

In any case, there is no real direct evidence to prove that jurisdiction will affect the privacy of your VPN users in a bad way. Both NordVPN and ExpressVPN were never caught gathering or sharing their user data.

8. NordVPN vs ExpressVPN – Which VPN has better privacy?

Logging Policy

The main reason of subscription to VPN is made is due to privacy control hence, privacy feature is very crucial as there are many that alleged that they do not keep any logs. However, most of the time you’ll find loopholes in the fine print or hidden behind intentionally vague statements. One way or another, VPN service providers do need to retain a certain amount of data on their users. This is where it’s critical to understand the difference between connection logs and activity logs.

NordVPN is headquartered in the data retention-free jurisdiction of Panama on top of employing a strict no-logs policy. Although it does not record your browsing activity, the company does collect some information like your email address and payment details. This is completely normal as any VPN service that accepts credit cards and PayPal.

ExpressVPN does not collect or log any of your activities and even accepts Bitcoin as subscription payment to ensure all your information is completely incognito.

ExpressVPN’s logging policy clearly outlines that they will never log:

  1. IP addresses
  2. Browsing history
  3. Any website you visit/Torrent you download
  4. DNS queries

Though the service does record some information when you connect, none of it is tied to your account. The information saved by the company includes login date, server location used, and the user data transferred.

9. NordVPN vs ExpressVPN – Which is more secure?

NordVPN and ExpressVPN take security features very seriously, which you’d notice an astonishing and comprehensive security features as listed below.

Protocols & Security

Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN offer multiple security protocols and the best among them is the OpenVPN system that you should probably use if you’re seeking top-level security. However, the encryption process of OpenVPN can be slightly slower compared to the other protocols, but it’s a small compromise compared to the amazing security it brings to the table. With the recent data bread in NordVPN, ExpressVPN currently takes the lead in security.

If you do need to squeeze a little extra speed out for certain situations like online gaming, you have the option to switch to L2TP with ExpressVPN or the IKEv2 with NordVPN. PPTP is also offered by ExpressVPN but this is an older standard that is no longer considered secure. In replacement, ExpressVPN provides SSTP protocol.

Overall, the choice of VPN protocols is solid for both providers though NordVPN has a slight advantage as it offers fast IKEv2 for use with mobile devices.


ExpressVPN is better than NordVPN in terms of the encryption standard offered. Both companies use military-grade AES encryption with a 256-bit key that is currently uncrackable for cast-iron security.

ExpressVPN offers better security features for the control channel. This cipher is used to protect the distribution of AES keys and for session establishment. While both companies use RSA encryption, ExpressVPN uses a longer 4,096-bit key against NordVPN’s 2,048-bit key.

This is particularly important if you are hoping to use a VPN in China. It is commonly believed that the Chinese authorities can now crack RSA with 1,024-bit key and is now working towards the 2,048-bit key version. When they do get there, NordVPN will no longer be secure in China. As of now, ExpressVPN has over-engineered its control channel encryption to ensure total crack-proof security.

DNS Leaks

DNS calls are actually unencrypted, so all the websites you’ve visited can be logged by your ISP, hackers, or the authorities if the VPN lets you carry on with the default DNS service nominated by your ISP. Luckily, both NordVPN and ExpressVPN force all DNS references to travel down their encrypted tunnels to prevent anyone from seeing your web activities.

Both offer the same security options in their app to help prevent your IP address from getting exposed. You can even set the apps to start immediately when the operating system boots up to ensure they run on your computer all of the time. Both apps also include a kill switch option that prevents any app on your computer from connecting to the internet without an active VPN.

However, NordVPN offers an overall kill switch that also allows you to create selective kill-switch for each app. ExpressVPN currently does not feature the per-app kill switch but it does offer split tunneling which allows you to nominate apps to bypass the VPN while the others remain protected.

The Final Verdict – ExpressVPN or NordVPN?

Overall, ExpressVPN and NordVPN are highly recommended. In a nutshell, ExpressVPN is faster and works better to unblock geo-restricted content such as Netflix and the Great Firewall in China. NordVPN, on the other hand, is a VPN that does what is required at a cheaper range. If you’re still wondering – Is NordVPN worth it? You probably have a more concrete answer now. 

Regardless of which VPN you find is best for you, it is always best to test them out first with a shorter subscription plan before committing to a cheaper but much longer payment plan. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is using ExpressVPN or NordVPN legal?

Yes, using ExpressVPN or NordVPN is completely legal. It is in your right to protect and encrypt all your internet connection to protect your personal data. It is the same concept as using an envelope to cover your letters. Some information is better kept private to ensure you’re not vulnerable to all kinds of malicious cyber-attacks.

Am I anonymous when browsing through ExpressVPN or NordVPN?

No, you are not anonymous when browsing through NordVPN or ExpressVPN. Many providers advertise complete anonymity, but their privacy policy may suggest otherwise. Also, there is no real way of knowing how credible their zero-logs claim really is.

While a VPN greatly increases your security and privacy, it does not make you anonymous. By subscribing to their services, you essentially expose yourself and your online activities to the VPN provider.

You also need to take note of the location of NordVPN and ExpressVPN. Many countries have a data retention law that compels a company to log user activity that they are required to hand over to the authorities. VPN companies that focus on privacy will accept gift cards cash, or Bitcoin as your subscription payment. You will also not be required to submit your real name, phone number, address, or banking details in order to use their services.

Am I safe when using public Wi-Fi hotspots with ExpressVPN or NordVPN?

Yes, it is safe to use public Wi-Fi hotspots using NordVPN and ExpressVPN. NordVPN and ExpressVPN both utilise 256-bit AES encryption that will ensure no DNS leaks are detected. This is to ensure potential hackers do not track your user data or any personal information.

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