ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN 2024: Battle of the VPN Titans

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

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On NordVPN's website

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NordVPN
Up to 69% off 2-year plans + a Saily eSIM data gift
  • Ultra-secure, high-speed VPN complete with malware protection and automatic blocking of intrusive ads and third-party trackers
  • Other benefits include a premium password manager, dark web monitoring, and access to IP-restricted content
  • 3 plans to choose from for custom protection on up to 10 devices

Best for compatibility

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On ExpressVPN's website

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  • Hides intrusive display ads when browsing the web, improving page speed and easing data usage on mobile
  • Privacy and safety benefits of a VPN with best-in-class encryption and innovative server technology in 105 countries
  • Enjoy no activity logs, malicious sites and trackers protection, and more on up to 8 devices

We’ve tested both services in a side-by-side comparison and NordVPN is the better choice for most people. It costs less ($3.99/mo (billed every two years) vs. $6.67/mo (billed annually)) and has faster speeds 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're seeking extensive compatibility. 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
Overview
Prices
Which VPN is faster?
Which VPN is more secure?
Compatibility and customer support
FAQs
Is ExpressVPN or NordVPN 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?

Price Starts at $6.67/mo (billed annually) Starts at $3.99/mo (billed every two years)
Max # of connected devices 8 10
24/7 customer support
Compatibility Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and more Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and more
# of servers Server locations in 105 countries 6,400+ servers in 111 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

ExpressVPN pros and cons

ExpressVPN comes with a premium price tag, but you might find it to be a product worth paying for. For one, it provides a security-focused product. Its headquarters are in the British Virgin Islands, which has no obligatory data retention laws. It also undergoes regular third-party audits of its no-logs policy.

ExpressVPN also provides lots of features to make a subscription worth your while. Its proprietary Lightway protocol was created with speed, security, and reliability in mind. Beyond its standard VPN features, it also offers Threat Manager (a tracker blocker) and Keys (built-in password manager).

Pros
  • Headquarted in privacy-friendly British Virgin Islands
  • Extensive server network in 105 countries
  • Includes bonus features like a tracker blocker and password manager
Cons
  • More expensive than NordVPN
  • Doesn't disclose actual server count

NordVPN pros and cons

There aren't many cons when it comes to NordVPN. Compared to ExpressVPN, Nord provides a cheaper starting price of $3.99/mo (billed every two years) for a two-year plan. Even its one-year plan, which is the longest term length ExpressVPN offers, comes in at $4.99/mo (billed annually).

Similar to ExpressVPN, NordVPN has its headquarters in Panama, which also doesn't have any obligatory data retention laws. Nord also abides by a strict no-logs policy that's been verified by third-party audits.

Finally, NordVPN offers plenty of features that make its lower starting price a great value. The Threat Protection feature can block ads, trackers, and malicious websites. You also havethe Dark Web Monitor to monitor for personal information on the dark web.

Pros
  • Headquartered in privacy-friendly Panama
  • Offers 6,400 servers in 111 countries
  • Includes bonus features like an ad and tracker blocker and dark web monitoring
Cons
  • Lots of plan tiers can become overwhelming

ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN: prices

Our Pick
Price range $6.67–$12.95/mo $3.99–$15.99/mo
Best value plan 12-month plan for $6.67/mo (billed annually) 24-month plan for $3.99/mo (billed every two years)
Money-back guarantee Yes — 30 days Yes — 30 days
Get ExpressVPN

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

NordVPN costs between $3.99–$15.99/mo, with its lowest-priced plan coming in at $3.99/mo (billed every two years) for 24 months.

NordVPN is the better choice for most people. It costs less ($3.99/mo (billed every two years) vs. $6.67/mo (billed annually)), 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.

Which VPN is faster?

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, which are the percentages displayed in the table below. 

Server location
Our Pick
US 4% faster 45% faster
CA 7% faster 41% faster
UK 10% faster 31% faster
AU 3% faster 12% faster
Get ExpressVPN

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NordVPN and ExpressVPN both increased our internet speeds, indicating they both provide superior service. We typically anticipate VPNs to slow our internet speeds, since we need to route our connection through a server, so these were surprising results.

NordVPN increased our download speeds significantly more than ExpressVPN with all the locations we tested. We've previously had some trouble finding a good server with ExpressVPN,but our latest round of testing provided a better experience.

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.

Winner: NordVPN wins because it was generally the speedier VPN, but both services increased our speeds.

Which VPN is more secure?

Features
Our Pick
Number of servers Server locations in 105 countries 6,400+ servers in 111 countries
No-logs policy No logs No logs
VPN headquarters British Virgin Islands Panama
Encryption AES-256 AES-256-GCM
VPN protocol Lightway, OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP/IPsec OpenVPN, NordLynx (WireGuard), IKEv2/IPsec
Kill switch
Split tunneling
DNS leak protection
Ad blocker
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 most recently 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 6,400 servers in 11 countries. So the NordVPN server count is higher, and it's surpassed ExpressVPN with the country count now too.

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 105 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.

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.

Winner: NordVPN wins here because it provides more 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: compatibility and customer support

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

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Get NordVPN

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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.

We do like that ExpressVPN created a proprietary router, known as Aircove, with the VPN already installed. That way, you can cover all the devices in your home without being hindered by the simultaneous connections limit.

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 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. 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.

FAQs


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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 $3.99/mo (billed every two years), whereas ExpressVPN starts at a much more expensive Free.


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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.


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What is the monthly cost for NordVPN?

NordVPN costs between $3.99–$15.99/mo depending on the subscription plan. Here’s the typical break down:

  • One-month plan: $12.99-$15.99/mo
  • One-year plan: $4.99-$7.99/mo
  • Two-year plan: $3.69-$6.69/mo

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Is ExpressVPN worth the money?

Unless you need access to a proprietary router, 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 $3.99/mo (billed every two years), whereas ExpressVPN starts at $6.67/mo (billed annually).


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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 VPN router or extensive streaming services compatibility.

5.0
VPN
NordVPN
  • Ultra-secure, high-speed VPN complete with malware protection and automatic blocking of intrusive ads and third-party trackers
  • Other benefits include a premium password manager, dark web monitoring, and access to IP-restricted content
  • 3 plans to choose from for custom protection on up to 10 devices
Learn More

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 NordVPN alternatives to see if you find a better fit:

Price $2.19–$17.95/mo $2.03–$12.99/mo $4.99–$9.99/mo
Free version
Max # of connected devices Unlimited 7 10
# of servers 3,200 in 100 countries Servers in 100 countries 5,100 servers in 91 countries
VPN protocol WireGuard, OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPsec WireGuard, OpenVPN, IKEv2 WireGuard, OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPsec, Stealth
Encryption AES-256-GCM AES-256 AES-256 and ChaCha20
No-logs policy No logs No logs No logs
Headquarters The Netherlands Romania Switzerland
Netflix access
Learn more Get Surfshark Get CyberGhost Get Proton VPN

Customizable Coverage That is Simple to Use
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On NordVPN's website
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NordVPN
Up to 69% off 2-year plans + a Saily eSIM data gift
  • Ultra-secure, high-speed VPN complete with malware protection and automatic blocking of intrusive ads and third-party trackers
  • Other benefits include a premium password manager, dark web monitoring, and access to IP-restricted content
  • 3 plans to choose from for custom protection on up to 10 devices
Author Details
Ben Walker is a security, travel, and credit card writer 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.