ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN 2022: Nord Wins (Easily)

Ben Walker, Author
Catherine McNally, Editor
Last updated Nov 8, 2022

Best for Low Price and Speeds

Learn More
On NordVPN's website

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

Best for Server Location Choices

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On ExpressVPN's website

  • Allows access to servers in more countries
  • Also fast download speeds
  • 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 ($2.99 vs. $8.32 per month at the time of writing), 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
NordVPN vs. ExpressVPN: streaming support
ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN: internet speeds
ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN: compatibility and ease of use
ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN: customer service
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 From $8.32/mo From $2.99/mo
Max # of connected devices 5 6
24/7 customer support
Compatibility Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Android TV, Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, Kindle Fire Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Android TV
# of servers 160 server locations in 94 countries 5,000+ servers in 59 countries
VPN protocol Lightway, OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP/IPsec OpenVPN, NordLynx (WireGuard), IKEv2/IPsec
No-logs policy No logs No logs
Unblocks Netflix?
Read ExpressVPN Review Read NordVPN Review
Prices as of 11/4/2022.

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 $8.32 to $12.95 per month. The price of NordVPN ranges from $2.99 to $14.29 per month. See more details about prices.

The max number of connected devices, or max number of simultaneous connections to a VPN, is five 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 5,000 servers in 59 countries. But ExpressVPN provides access to more countries (94). 

Reviewed by Ben Walker
“The total number of servers skews in the favor of NordVPN, which offers more than 5,000 servers in 59 countries. But ExpressVPN provides access to more countries (94).

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

ExpressVPN NordVPN
Our Pick
Price range $8.32–$12.95/mo $2.99–$14.29/mo
Best value plan 12-month plan for $8.32/mo 24-month plan for $2.99/mo
Money-back guarantee 30 days 30 days
See Full Pricing Details See Full Pricing Details
Prices as of 11/4/2022

ExpressVPN costs between $8.32 to $12.95 per month, with its lowest-priced plan coming in at $8.32 per month for 12 months.

NordVPN costs between $2.99 to $14.29 per month, with its lowest-priced plan coming in at $2.99 per month for 24 months.

NordVPN is the better choice for most people. It costs less ($2.99 vs. $8.32 per month at the time of writing), 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 cheapest 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 ExpressVPN NordVPN
Our Pick
Number of servers 160 server locations in 94 countries 5,000+ servers in 59 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
Read Our ExpressVPN Review Read Our NordVPN Review
Data as of 11/4/2022.

NordVPN and ExpressVPN provide plenty of similar features, including a kill switch, split tunneling, and torrenting support. They also have strict no-logs policies with independent audits done by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

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 94 countries. NordVPN has more than 5,000 servers in 59 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 59 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 ExpressVPN NordVPN
Our Pick
Netflix
Amazon Prime Video
Hulu
BBC iPlayer
Disney+
HBO Max

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.

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 Windows app and NordVPN Windows app on a desktop computer from a physical location in the U.S.

Baseline speed: 118.95 Mbps download / 11.98 Mbps upload / 12 ms latency (ping)

Before we tested each VPN's effect on internet speeds, we ran a baseline speed test where our download speed hit 119 Mbps and our upload speed hit 12 Mbps. We also had a latency of 12 ms.

ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN speed test results

Server location ExpressVPN NordVPN
Our Pick
US
  • Download: 107.8 Mbps
  • Upload: 11.2 Mbps
  • Download: 112.6 Mbps
  • Upload: 10.9 Mbps
Canada
  • Download: 105.1 Mbps
  • Upload: 11 Mbps
  • Download: 107.4 Mbps
  • Upload: 11.1
UK
  • Download: 88.3 Mbps
  • Upload: 11.3 Mbps
  • Download: 88.9 Mbps
  • Upload: 11 Mbps
AU
  • Download: 88.2 Mbps
  • Upload: 10.6 Mbps
  • Download: 92.8 Mbps
  • Upload: 11.1 Mbps
Read Our ExpressVPN Review Read Our 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.), Toronto (Canada), London (U.K.), and Sydney (Australia).

NordVPN had faster download speeds overall in the locations we tested. That’s not to say Nord blew ExpressVPN out of the water (these are often considered two of the fastest VPNs available), but Nord ended up with better results.

While connected to a nearby server (Salt Lake City) with ExpressVPN, our download speed was 108 Mbps, upload speed was 11 Mbps, and our latency was 41 ms.

While connected to a nearby server (Salt Lake City) with NordVPN, our download speed was 113 Mbps, our upload speed was 11 Mbps, and our latency was 36 ms.

We also took note of our latency before and after connecting to VPN servers. Your latency is basically a measure of how long it takes networks to communicate. Lower latency is better.

Our baseline latency was 12 and the highest latency we reached was 208, which occurred while using NordVPN to connect to a server in Sydney. ExpressVPN had the lower latency numbers on average, but it wasn’t too different between the two VPN providers.

ExpressVPN had lower latency on average — while we were connected to a Sydney, Australia server it hit 183 ms.

NordVPN's latency wasn't much worse than ExpressVPN's — it hit 208 ms when we connected to a Sydney, Australia server.

NordVPN vs. ExpressVPN latency comparison

Server location ExpressVPN NordVPN
US 41 ms 36 ms
Canada 64 ms 56 ms
UK 134 ms 142 ms
AU 183 ms 208 ms

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

ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN: compatibility and ease of use

ExpressVPN NordVPN
Our Pick
Windows
macOS
Android
iOS
Linux
Router
Smart devices

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. This includes macOS, Apple iPhones, Android phones, and Linux.

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.

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.

Winner: This is a draw because both ExpressVPN and NordVPN offer plenty of compatibility for different devices and have easy-to-use interfaces. Learn more in our ExpressVPN review and NordVPN review.

ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN: customer service

ExpressVPN NordVPN
Our Pick
24/7 live chat
Phone
Email
Support forums
Online guides

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 provide 24/7 live chat and other support options, including email and online guides.

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 $2.99 per month, whereas ExpressVPN starts at a much more expensive $8.32 per month.


+

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 $2.99 to $14.29 per month depending on the subscription plan. Here’s the complete breakdown:

  • One-month plan: $11.99 to $14.29 per month
  • One-year plan: $4.49 to $6.79 per month
  • Two-year plan: $2.99 to $5.29 per month

+

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 $2.99 per month, whereas ExpressVPN starts at $8.32 per month.


+

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.

NordVPN is our pick for best price and speeds
Learn More
On NordVPN's website

  • Loads of servers for more connection options
  • Works with popular streaming services, including Netflix
  • Too many confusing plans

Still deciding? Learn more about each VPN in our Express VPN review and our NordVPN guide.

Author Details
Ben Walker
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.