ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN 2024: Nord Wins (Easily)

NordVPN is the overall better choice for speed, cost, and number of servers. But you might choose ExpressVPN for specific server locations.
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Best for Low Price and Speeds

4.9
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On NordVPN's website

NordVPN
  • Two-year pricing is about less than half the cost of ExpressVPN
  • Faster download speeds overall
  • Too many confusing plans

Best for Server Location Choices

4.6
Learn More
On ExpressVPN's website

ExpressVPN
  • Allows access to servers in more countries
  • 24/7 live chat
  • One of the priciest VPNs

We’ve tested both services in a side-by-side comparison and NordVPN is the better choice for most people. It costs less ($3.39/mo vs. $6.67/mo), has faster speeds, and provides a higher server count than ExpressVPN.

Both VPNs have a lot going for them, including generally speedy connections, high-level security, and the ability to unblock streaming content. And ExpressVPN might be the better choice if you want to connect to specific server locations, as it provides access to more countries. But our firsthand experience and testing show that NordVPN generally matches or beats ExpressVPN across multiple categories.

Let’s explore our ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN review to dig deeper into details about prices, features, speed tests, and more.

In this article
ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN at a glance
ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN: prices
ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN: features
ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN: internet speeds
ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN: compatibility and customer support
NordVPN vs. ExpressVPN FAQs
ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN: which is better?

ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN at a glance

Your specific virtual private network (VPN) needs might vary, but there are typically a few factors that interest many users when comparing multiple services. This includes cost, speed, compatibility, reliability, security, and privacy.

Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN are generally reliable, secure, and private. They’re also compatible with plenty of different devices. And you can use either VPN to unblock regional Netflix libraries and other streaming content.

But you’ll find some differences between their prices, server counts and locations, and VPN protocols (which can affect internet connection speeds).

How do ExpressVPN and NordVPN compare?


ExpressVPN

NordVPN
Our Pick
Price Starts at $6.67/mo Starts at $3.39/mo
Max # of connected devices 8 6
24/7 customer support
Compatibility Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and more Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and more
# of servers Server locations in 105 countries 6,000+ servers in 61 countries
VPN protocol Lightway, OpenVPN, IKEv2 OpenVPN, NordLynx (WireGuard), IKEv2/IPsec
No-logs policy No logs No logs
Unblocks Netflix?
Get ExpressVPN

Read ExpressVPN Review

Get NordVPN

Read NordVPN Review


The primary differences between ExpressVPN and NordVPN include:

  • Price
  • Max number of connected devices
  • Number of servers
  • VPN protocols

The price of ExpressVPN ranges from $6.67–$12.95/mo. The price of NordVPN ranges from $3.39–$14.99/mo. See more details about prices.

The max number of connected devices, or max number of simultaneous connections to a VPN, is eight for ExpressVPN and six for NordVPN. These are average numbers compared with what other VPNs offer and potentially behind the trend of providers (including Surfshark) offering unlimited connections.

The total number of servers skews in the favor of NordVPN, which offers over 6,000 servers in 51 countries. ExpressVPN doesn't list its server count, but it does provide access to more countries (105). 

Reviewed by Ben Walker
“The total number of servers skews in the favor of NordVPN, which offers over 6,000 servers in 51 countries. ExpressVPN doesn't list its server count, but it does provide access to more countries (105).

More servers could mean less server load, or how congested a server gets from users. But more countries could mean more opportunities to unblock streaming content.”

VPN protocols provide direction for how information is sent through an encrypted connection. Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN use popular and secure protocols, including OpenVPN and IKEv2. But each VPN also has its own next-generation protocol, NordLynx for NordVPN and Lightway for ExpressVPN. See more details about servers and VPN protocols.

VPN features aside, NordVPN also includes malware protection and an ad blocker with all of its plans. If you opt to pay more for its Plus or Complete plan, you'll also get a built-in password manager and data breach scanner.

ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN: prices

Our Pick
Price range $6.67–$12.95/mo $3.39–$14.99/mo
Best value plan 12-month plan for $6.67/mo 24-month plan for $3.39/mo
Money-back guarantee Yes — 30 days Yes — 30 days
Get ExpressVPN

Read ExpressVPN Review

Get NordVPN

Read NordVPN Review

ExpressVPN costs between $6.67–$12.95/mo, with its lowest-priced plan coming in at $6.67/mo for 12 months.

NordVPN costs between $3.39–$14.99/mo, with its lowest-priced plan coming in at $3.39/mo for 24 months.

NordVPN is the better choice for most people. It costs less ($3.39/mo vs. $6.67/mo), has faster speeds, and provides a higher server count than ExpressVPN.

ExpressVPN is expensive, no matter which plan you choose. NordVPN can be expensive, but its long-term options are more budget-friendly if you want to save money on a VPN. Both VPN services provide 30-day money-back guarantees for full refunds within your first month.

Winner: NordVPN wins because it generally has much lower prices and matches the 30-day money-back guarantee of ExpressVPN. Check out our NordVPN review.

ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN: features

Features
Our Pick
Number of servers Server locations in 105 countries 5,000+ servers in 61 countries
No-logs policy No logs No logs
VPN headquarters British Virgin Islands Panama
Encryption AES-256 AES-256
VPN protocol Lightway, OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP/IPsec OpenVPN, NordLynx (WireGuard), IKEv2/IPsec
Kill switch
Split tunneling
Double VPN
Netflix support
Torrenting support
Get ExpressVPN

Read ExpressVPN Review

Get NordVPN

Read NordVPN Review

NordVPN and ExpressVPN provide plenty of similar features, including a kill switch, split tunneling, and torrenting support. They also have strict no-logs policies that have been audited. Nord's was audited by Deloitte and ExpressVPN's was audited by KPMG. 

And both VPNs are headquartered in countries or territories that aren’t part of the Five, Nine, or 14 Eyes Alliances. Both Panama (NordVPN) and the British Virgin Islands (ExpressVPN) have strict data protection laws.

The differences in features are primarily found in the number of servers and the available VPN protocols.

ExpressVPN doesn’t currently publish or release information about its total number of servers, but it was once thought to have around 3,000 servers in 105 countries. NordVPN has more than 6,000 servers in 61 countries. So the NordVPN server count is higher, but ExpressVPN has servers in more countries.

More servers could mean less server load, or how congested a server gets from users. But more countries could mean more opportunities to unblock streaming content. Note that 61 countries is still likely more than enough for the average VPN user.

NordVPN offers more servers overall, but ExpressVPN offers servers in more countries. That could help you unblock more streaming service libraries.

The main difference between VPN protocols from both providers is that ExpressVPN has Lightway and NordVPN has NordLynx. They’re both fast and secure next-generation protocols, but NordLynx tends to have faster speeds than Lightway.

ExpressVPN uses its proprietary Lightway protocol, while NordVPN uses its NordLynx protocol.

NordVPN also offers one more feature that ExpressVPN doesn't: double VPN, also called multi-hop. This likely isn't a critical feature for most VPN users, but it provides extra security for anyone who worries their access to the internet might be limited or blocked.

NordVPN vs. ExpressVPN: streaming support

Platform
Our Pick
Netflix
Amazon Prime Video
Hulu
BBC iPlayer
Disney+
HBO Max
Get ExpressVPN

Read ExpressVPN Review

Get NordVPN

Read NordVPN Review

We tested each of the above streaming platforms with both VPNs individually and found ExpressVPN and NordVPN worked successfully for everything listed. This included loading the streaming websites on Chrome and playing a show or movie to see if it had any lag or other issues.

We tested both ExpressVPN and NordVPN with Netflix and didn't notice any issues unblocking the UK streaming library or other libraries.

We didn’t notice any actual differences between using either VPN service to unblock streaming content. Everything loaded fine as long as we were connected to a VPN server where the applicable streaming content was available.

For example, BBC iPlayer worked with both VPNs while we were connected to servers in the U.K.

As long as you're connected to the right server, both ExpressVPN and NordVPN should allow you to stream content from other countries like we did with the BBC iPlayer.

Nord actually no longer lists Netflix as a support streaming platform, likely due to Netflix's VPN blocking. However, we were pleased to find that it still unblocked Netflix for us.

Winner: NordVPN wins here because it provides more total servers and a faster VPN protocol (NordLynx) while generally matching ExpressVPN across all other features we compared. But ExpressVPN wasn’t far behind with its features.

ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN: internet speeds

We test internet speeds before and after establishing secure VPN connections to see if a service significantly reduces our speed. It’s almost guaranteed that using a VPN will reduce your internet speed to some degree.

But we want to see if it’s a substantial decrease that could affect your regular bandwidth usage, whether from browsing websites, streaming content, or playing games.

We run a speed test before connecting to any VPN so we can get a baseline speed. Then we run speed tests while connected to VPN servers in different locations and see if there’s a significant difference. Keep in mind that connecting to servers that are far away typically slows down your internet connection more than connecting to servers that are nearby.

We ran these speed tests using the ExpressVPN macOS app and NordVPN macOS app on a desktop computer from a physical location in the U.S.

ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN download speeds

Server location
Our Pick
US 98% slower 9.1% slower
UK 83% slower 0.03% faster
AU 39% slower 14.9% slower
Get ExpressVPN

Read ExpressVPN Review

Get NordVPN

Read NordVPN Review

To make it a fair comparison, we connected to servers in the same cities for both VPNs. The cities were Salt Lake City (U.S.), London (U.K.), and Sydney (Australia).

NordVPN had significantly faster download speeds overall in the locations we tested. It even sped up our internet connection while connected to a server in the U.K. With ExpressVPN, it took some work to find a server that didn't impact our speeds dramatically. It's unfortunate that it didn't automatically connect to the fastest server to help us out in this regard.

Winner: NordVPN wins because it was generally the speedier VPN, even though ExpressVPN had lower latency on average.

ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN: compatibility and customer support

Windows
macOS
Android
iOS
Linux
Router
Smart devices
Browser extensions Yes — ChromeYes — Chrome, Firefox, Edge
24/7 support
Customer support options Live chat, email, online guides Live chat, email, online guides
Get ExpressVPN

Read ExpressVPN Review

Get NordVPN

Read NordVPN Review

ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN: compatibility

ExpressVPN and NordVPN were both easy to download and install on our desktop computer using Windows. And both VPNs also have apps for loads of other devices, operating systems, browser extensions, and mobile apps. 

You can also use these VPNs with routers and different types of smart devices that might not have access to VPN apps. To be clear, you can’t set up the ExpressVPN app or NordVPN app on a device that’s not compatible. But you can use a feature called Smart DNS to unblock streaming services on different devices, such as an Xbox or Smart TV.

ExpressVPN offers Smart DNS functionality through its MediaStreamer feature. NordVPN offers Smart DNS through its SmartPlay feature.

ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN: interface

The interfaces for both Windows apps are generally intuitive and easy to use. We had no issues finding server lists, quick connect buttons, or getting into the settings to find other features, such as the kill switch or split tunneling.

Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN have easy-to-use interfaces when it comes to their Microsoft Windows app.

If there was anything slightly frustrating about our experiences with either service, it’s that we couldn’t figure out how to log in to ExpressVPN without going through a verification process (getting a code via email). Multi-factor authentication is actually a helpful security feature, but it could make things difficult if you share an account with other people.

ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN: customer support

Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN offer 24/7 customer service through live chat, email, and online guides. There’s no phone number to call or any official online support forum for either VPN, but you can check out the unofficial subreddits for both providers to interact with other customers.

Not every VPN provider (such as Proton VPN) offers 24/7 live chat support, or you might have to be a paying subscriber to access the live chat feature. But you don’t even have to be a customer to interact with ExpressVPN or NordVPN customer service, which can be helpful if you have specific questions before signing up for a subscription.

We used the live chat features from both companies and found the representatives to be polite, easy to understand, and helpful. We also didn’t have to wait more than a few minutes to be connected to someone.

Winner: This is a draw because both ExpressVPN and NordVPN offer plenty of compatibility for different devices, have easy-to-use interfaces, and provide 24/7 live chat and other support options.

NordVPN vs. ExpressVPN FAQs


+

Is NordVPN better than ExpressVPN?

We think so because NordVPN provides faster speeds and more servers. That’s while matching many of the features that ExpressVPN provides, including a kill switch, split tunneling, and unblocking streaming content. 

And the NordVPN price starts out at $3.39/mo, whereas ExpressVPN starts at a much more expensive Free.


+

How much faster is ExpressVPN than NordVPN?

ExpressVPN isn’t faster than NordVPN. Overall, NordVPN provides faster speeds than ExpressVPN, likely due to its next-generation protocol, NordLynx. 

ExpressVPN also has a next-generation protocol, Lightway, but NordLynx was faster during the speed tests we ran. These tests involved measuring our internet speeds while connected to different VPN servers worldwide.


+

What is the monthly cost for NordVPN?

NordVPN costs between $3.39–$14.99/mo depending on the subscription plan. Here’s the complete breakdown:

  • One-month plan: $12.99 to $15.99/mo
  • One-year plan: $4.99 to $7.99/mo
  • Two-year plan: $3.99 to $6.99/mo

+

Is ExpressVPN worth the money?

Unless you need access to servers in a specific country, ExpressVPN likely isn’t worth the money. NordVPN and other companies typically provide everything the average user needs in a VPN. But most other VPNs are cheaper than ExpressVPN. 

For example, NordVPN is faster than ExpressVPN and starts at $3.39/mo, whereas ExpressVPN starts at $6.67/mo.


+

Which VPN is more secure, ExpressVPN or NordVPN?

Both VPNs generally provide high levels of privacy and security due to their AES-256 encryption and secure VPN protocols. 

They also have DNS leak protection, aren’t prone to IP address or WebRTC leaks, and they both have strict no-logs policies that have been audited by an independent third party. Based on security alone, you likely can’t go wrong with either ExpressVPN or NordVPN.

ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN: which is better?

ExpressVPN provides high levels of security and privacy, can unblock streaming services, and offers fast speeds. But NordVPN does all the same things, costs less, and even outperforms ExpressVPN for speed.

Between the two options, we recommend NordVPN. But keep in mind that ExpressVPN could make sense if it has a feature you want or need, such as a server location that’s not available with NordVPN.

ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN alternatives

ExpressVPN and NordVPN are some of the best VPNs on the market, but they're not the only ones. If you're not sold on either service, then you can review our recommended alternatives to see if you find a better fit:

  • Surfshark: Surfshark is one of the newer VPNs on the scene, but it's quickly climbed onto plenty of best VPN lists due to its combination of affordability and security. Surfshark allows for unlimited simultaneous connections at a price point that can fit any budget. 

    Get Surfshark | Read Our Surfshark Review

  • CyberGhost: CyberGhost is another affordable provider with an extensive server network. It has over 11,000 servers, with some that are specialized for streaming, torrenting, privacy, and more. 

    Get CyberGhost | Read Our CyberGhost Review

  • Atlas VPN: If you're seeking a free VPN to try risk-free, Atlas VPN is a great option. Its owned by Nord Security, so it has the security chops, and the free plan provides no speed limits for unlimited devices. 

    Get Atlas VPN | Read Our Atlas VPN Review

4.9
Limited-time offer: Up to 67% off
Learn More
On NordVPN's website

NordVPN
  • High-quality VPN offering safety and speed
  • Loads of servers for multiple connection options
  • Works with popular streaming services, including Netflix
  • Too many confusing plans
Author Details
Ben Walker is a writer at All About Cookies with a passion for all things internet and technology, whether it's using VPNs while away from home or organizing his life with password managers.