At a Glance
ExpressVPN is a good option to users looking for top-notch multi-platform support and comprehensive global server coverage. The provider’s privacy protections and customer support are optimal, and fans of P2P file-sharing will appreciate the service’s fast speeds and global support for the activity. This provider offers great bang for the buck.
NordVPN could be attractive to users looking for a torrent-friendly VPN provider that offers the fastest connection speeds in this head-to-head, as well as top-notch customer support and privacy protections. While the provider’s global coverage could be better, NordVPN’s simple-to-use VPN service is reasonably priced and provides a good value.
How to Choose a VPN
When researching various VPN providers in your search for the right one for your needs, there are a huge number of factors and features to list and rank.
This article will feature a head-to-head comparison of the popular VPN providers NordVPN and ExpressVPN. I’ll cover the most important factors in any VPN-buying decision and take a look at how well both providers perform in that specific category.
I will declare a “winner” for each category and use the providers’ rank in each category to declare an overall winner at the end of this article. At that point, readers should have enough information about both services to decide which one is the best fit for their needs.
You’re always connected. It doesn’t matter if you’re sitting in front of your computer, watching a show on Netflix or walking down the street, you’re always connected to the internet.
Today’s “always-online” world means a high-speed VPN provider is more important than ever.
Pixel Privacy conducts the VPN connection speed tests as follows:
- When testing the download speed of a VPN, we use a gigabit Ethernet connection based in North America.
- We test each VPN by connecting to 3 different locations – the United Kingdom, the United States and Hong Kong – on 3 different days and at 3 different times of day.
- We use the Windows version of the provider’s app and configure it to connect using the OpenVPN protocol over UDP.
Local Connection Speeds (U.S.)
Numbers like these mean both providers should offer fine performance for most online activities and fast access to even HD video content. You’ll find both providers will be well up to downloads and online gaming.
Local Connection Speed Winner: NordVPN
|NordVPN||27.58 Mbps||Visit Site
|ExpressVPN||21.10 Mbps||Visit Site
International Connection Speeds (U.S. to U.K.)
While ExpressVPN measured in at an average download speed of 11.65 Mbps, NordVPN performed significantly faster, at 25.6 Mbps. However, both providers should be able to handle nearly anything you throw at them.
International Connection Speed Winner: NordVPN
|NordVPN||25.6 Mbps||Visit Site
|ExpressVPN||11.65 Mbps||Visit Site
While neither of our head-to-head combatants can be considered a low-price leader, both providers offer a good bang for your hard-earned buck.
ExpressVPN’s monthly subscription price makes it one of the highest-priced VPN providers available today. NordVPN is also priced somewhat dearly (coming in at just one dollar cheaper per month for its monthly subscription).
However, both providers offer much better deals for users willing to commit to a long-term relationship.
NordVPN goes for $11.95 if you opt for the month-to-month option, while ExpressVPN will take a $12.95 month-to-month chunk out of your credit or debit card.
Opting for annual service takes NordVPN’s price down to $6.99 per month ($83.88 per year), and ExpressVPN’s tariff drops to $6.67 per month ($99.95 for 15 months during their special deal).
Pricing Winner: ExpressVPN
|Monthly Price |
|Month-to-Month Price||Money-Back Guarantee Period||Link|
|NordVPN||$6.99||$11.95||30 Days||Visit Site
|ExpressVPN||$6.67||$12.95||30 Days||Visit Site
Internet privacy is more important today than it’s ever been. Users want to make sure any VPN provider that they consider does a good job of protecting any record of their online travels from outside parties and that their payment information is also kept under wraps.
While researching any VPN provider’s privacy protections, consider the following factors.
Is it based in a privacy-friendly country? Does the provider retain any logs recording your online activities? Do they accept privacy-enhancing payment options, like Bitcoin or merchant gift cards?
ExpressVPN is located in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), where the government does not require providers to retain user logs of any kind, allowing this provider to follow a strict no-logs policy. ExpressVPN also accepts Bitcoin as payment for subscriptions.
NordVPN is based in Panama, which does not require VPN companies to keep any types of logs related to their customers’ online antics. As a result, NordVPN also follows a strict no-logs policy. The provider accepts Bitcoin as payment for their services.
Privacy Winner: Tie
Never concentrate on just one or two categories when researching VPN providers. Instead, be sure to consider a VPN’s performance across all of the important categories before laying your money down for a provider.
In this section, I’ll be taking a close look at the various features that our two contestants offer. I’ll explain each provider’s offerings in the category and then announce my decision as to which provider performs best in that particular area of service.
ExpressVPN features AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) with 256-bit keys protection for its connections (AES-256). Protocols used in the provider’s apps include OpenVPN, PPTP and L2TP/IPSec.
NordVPN also offers AES-256 protection via the OpenVPN, PPTP and L2TP/IPSec protocols, providing the same type of protection to its users.
Just FYI, AES-256 encryption is the best level of protection in the VPN business. It’s the same level of encryption used by the military to protect their data. If it’s good enough for them, trust me when I say it’s good enough for your purposes.
Encryption Winner: Tie
|ExpressVPN||OpenVPN, PPTP and L2TP/IPSec||Visit Site
|NordVPN||OpenVPN, PPTP and L2TP/IPSec||Visit Site
Always make sure any VPN provider you’re considering allows more than one connection per account at a time. The more simultaneous connections a provider allows, the more family members or employees who can use it at once, increasing the value of your VPN protection.
Please note that both providers offer comprehensive router support, allowing all of the connected devices in your home or office to be connected to the providers via a single login.
Simultaneous Connections Winner: NordVPN
A VPN makes an excellent tool for protecting your file-sharing activities from the prying eyes of your ISP, as well as movie and music company lawyers.
ExpressVPN is completely file-sharing-friendly, allowing such activity on all of its servers, and even provides helpful instructions on how to best use their service with P2P app uTorrent.
NordVPN, while allowing P2P activity, restricts it to servers located in 37 countries.
BitTorrent Winner: ExpressVPN
|Provider||# of Countries Where |
VPN Allows BitTorrent
|ExpressVPN||All (94)||Visit Site
Global Server Coverage
Comprehensive global server coverage ensures you will have access to gaming servers, music and video streaming content, and other services that might normally be blocked from access in your area.
ExpressVPN provides 3,000+ servers to its users, well spread out in 94 countries around the globe. This means the provider’s users will have open access to content and services that might normally be blocked by geographical restrictions.
NordVPN, while offering a larger number of servers than its face-off foe (5,000+), covers fewer countries around the globe, with 61 countries serving as a home for NordVPN’s server farms.
While this provider’s server location numbers might mean you’ll have fewer countries to choose from, you’ll still enjoy a decent chance to unblock content.
Global Server Coverage Winner: ExpressVPN
If you’re like me, you own multiple computers, mobile devices and other connected devices. That makes good multi-platform support from your VPN provider more important than ever.
ExpressVPN features native apps for the Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, Kindle Fire, BlackBerry and Amazon Fire TV platforms. Browser extensions are available for the Chrome, Safari and Firefox platforms. Setup instructions for popular routers are available on the ExpressVPN website.
NordVPN offers native VPN apps for various versions of Windows (Windows XP through Windows 10), macOS, iOS, Linux, Android, Android TV and Amazon Fire TV. Browser extensions are available for the Chrome and Firefox platforms.
Chrome OS, Windows Phone, Raspberry Pi and router setup instructions are also available on the NordVPN website.
Ready-to-go, plug-and-play routers are available for both VPN services through the FlashRouters website.
Multi-Platform Support Winner: ExpressVPN
|Provider||Platforms Supported||Browser Extensions?||Link|
|ExpressVPN||8||Y, 3 Browsers||Visit Site
|NordVPN||7||Y, 2 Browsers||Visit Site
Both of the VPN providers facing off in this article provide easy-to-use apps and services, but the odds are that you’ll need to contact your provider’s customer support department with an occasional question about the service.
When that time comes, you’ll want to feel secure that information about your issue(s) will be readily available.
ExpressVPN offers 24/7 online support chat, a trouble ticket submission form, a searchable knowledge base and troubleshooting guides. All 4 support options provided solutions for my support inquiries.
NordVPN provides similar support options, including 24/7 live support chat, an email-based trouble ticket submission system and an easy-to-use support library. All 3 of the support options proved to be an excellent way to resolve any issues I experienced while using the provider’s services.
Customer Support Winner: ExpressVPN
|Provider||Customer Service Score||Link|
And The Winner Is…
While I always strive to announce a clear winner in these head-to-head VPN contests, I’m actually pleased when two providers prove to be well matched, as this means that no matter which provider my readers decide to go with, they’ll be well served.
ExpressVPN won against NordVPN, 5 – 3. They tied in the encryption and privacy categories, where they did equally well.
ExpressVPN offers excellent multi-platform and customer support, as well as top-notch global server coverage. It offers BitTorrent support in a whopping 94 countries, and the provider’s annual price, while still expensive, was slightly lower than that of its competitor.
NordVPN provides fast VPN connections and a satisfying number of simultaneous connections. The provider also offers good multi-platform and customer support, as well as above-average global server coverage. All of this is provided at a reasonable price.
Begin protecting yourself now with an ExpressVPN subscription.