Short on time? Here’s the final verdict:
- 🥇 ExpressVPN — Winner in Speeds, Streaming, Gaming, Bypassing Censorship, and Apps & Ease of Use. ExpressVPN has lightning-fast speeds, works with 100+ streaming apps, provides an excellent and secure gaming experience, works in restrictive countries like China, and has intuitive apps for all platforms that are very easy to install and use.
ExpressVPN and NordVPN are two of the most popular VPNs on the market — they both provide high-end security and privacy features, have really fast speeds, work with popular streaming sites like Amazon Prime and HBO Max, and come with user-friendly apps for all major operating systems.
On top of having essential VPN security features like a kill switch, 256-bit AES encryption, and a strict no-logs policy, ExpressVPN and NordVPN both provide access to advanced security features and extras, such as:
- Third-party tracker and malware blocker.
- Smart DNS.
- Tor (The Onion Router) support.
- Perfect forward secrecy.
- RAM-only servers.
- Full leak protection.
But there are also a few noticeable differences between ExpressVPN and NordVPN. ExpressVPN has 3,000+ servers in 90+ countries, provides blazing-fast speeds on all servers, allows P2P traffic on all servers, consistently works with Netflix, and works in restrictive countries. On the other hand, NordVPN has 5,000+ servers but only in 55+ countries, has noticeable slowdowns on some distant servers, has dedicated P2P servers in 45+ countries, and can’t consistently circumvent firewalls in countries that censor the internet. But NordVPN has more extra features than ExpressVPN, including an ad blocker, protection against malware-infected files, and a dark web monitor.
I compared ExpressVPN and NordVPN for security features, additional features, privacy features, servers, speeds, streaming, torrenting, gaming, bypassing internet restrictions, ease of use, plans and pricing, and customer service. After several weeks of testing and hours of research, I’m confident I found a clear winner — in my opinion, ExpressVPN is much better than NordVPN. That said, this wasn’t an easy decision, so I strongly recommend reading the entire comparison to better decide which VPN provides you with the best value in 2023.
Download ExpressVPN Now (30 Days Risk-Free)
ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN — Quick Overview
|💸 Starting Price||Starts at $6.67 / month||Starts at $2.99 / month|
|📱 Number of Devices||5||6|
|🔒 Security||256-bit AES encryption,
No-logs policy (audited),
Full leak protection,
Perfect forward secrecy,
|256-bit AES encryption,
No-logs policy (audited),
Full leak protection,
Perfect forward secrecy,
|🌍 Number of Servers||3,000+ servers in 90+ countries||5,000+ servers in 55+ countries|
|⚡ Speeds||Very fast on nearby and distant servers||Very fast on nearby servers, but noticeable slowdowns on some distant servers|
|🎥 Streaming Support||Works with Netflix, HBO Max, Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer, and Disney+||Works with Netflix, HBO Max, Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer, and Disney+|
|⬇ P2P Support||✅
(3,000+ servers in 90+ countries)
(4,500+ servers in 45+ countries)
|❓ Customer Support||24/7 live chat,
In-depth support library
|24/7 live chat,
In-depth support library
|💰 Money-Back Guarantee||30 days||30 days|
Security — Both VPNs Are Extremely Secure
|256-bit AES Encryption||No-Logs Policy||Kill Switch||Leak Protection||RAM-Only Servers||Perfect Forward Secrecy|
|ExpressVPN||✅||✅||✅||Full leak protection (IPv6, DNS, and WebRTC)||✅||✅|
|NordVPN||✅||✅||✅||Full leak protection (IPv6, DNS, and WebRTC)||✅||✅|
You can’t go wrong with either ExpressVPN or NordVPN when it comes to security — both providers come with the following industry-standard security features:
- 256-bit AES encryption. Makes your traffic completely unreadable, and is the same encryption used by banks and the military.
- No-logs policy. Prevents the VPN provider from collecting your IP address and traffic (visited sites and downloaded files).
- Kill switch. Disables internet access if the VPN disconnects to protect you from data leaks.
In addition to a standard kill switch, NordVPN also has an app-based kill switch, which closes selected apps (torrent clients, for example) when you’re not connected to the VPN — I tested it with 5+ apps, and it always successfully shut them down when I manually disconnected from the VPN.
Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN come with RAM-only servers and perfect forward secrecy. RAM-only servers ensure that no data is written to the hard drive, so every server reset wipes all data. And perfect forward secrecy changes the encryption key for each VPN connection to prevent hackers from compromising past or future keys to spy on your traffic.
In addition, you get full protection against IPv6, DNS, and WebRTC leaks with both VPNs — I ran leak tests while connected to servers in 10+ countries from each provider, and I never experienced any leaks.
And it’s great that both providers have their own proprietary protocols — ExpressVPN has Lightway, which is very secure, extremely fast, open-source (anyone can inspect the code for security issues), and audited, and NordVPN has NordLynx, which is built around the very fast WireGuard protocol, is designed to provide strong privacy, and has also been independently audited. In addition, both VPNs provide access to secure protocols like OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPSec.
It’s also great how NordVPN lets you secure your account with multi-factor authentication, which requires you to authorize each login attempt with a time-sensitive code generated by an app or a security key — this is good to see, as it allows you to better secure your VPN account.
Winner (Security): It’s a tie
It’s really difficult to pick a winner in this case, as both ExpressVPN and NordVPN provide access to very strong security features. They both come with industry-standard VPN security features and also provide access to advanced security features. Plus, they both have their own proprietary protocols, which provide strong security and fast speeds.
Extra Features — Either VPN Is a Great Choice
|Split-Tunneling||Obfuscation||Blocks Ads||Blocks Malicious Sites||Tor Support||Smart DNS||Other Features|
port forwarding, App Screenshots
|NordVPN||✅||✅||✅||✅||✅||✅||SmartPlay, Onion Over VPN,
Dark Web Monitor,
double VPN, Meshnet, dedicated IPs, SOCKS5, Tapjacking protection
ExpressVPN and NordVPN both provide access to tons of great extra features, which provide better security and more convenience while browsing and streaming.
Both providers come with split-tunneling, which lets you choose which apps use the VPN and which apps use your local network. I used split-tunneling from both VPNs to only send P2P traffic through my VPN connection, and this increased my downloads by about 10–15%. NordVPN has split-tunneling on Android, Android TV, and Windows — ExpressVPN has it on the same platforms and also on macOS (not many VPNs have split-tunneling on macOS).
I also like how you get obfuscation with both VPNs. This feature makes your VPN traffic look like normal internet traffic, which might help you circumvent VPN blocks in restrictive countries. I think ExpressVPN’s obfuscation is better, though, as the provider supports it on all protocols and across all of its servers (3,000+ servers in 90+ countries) — NordVPN only allows obfuscation via OpenVPN and on 100+ servers in 15+ countries.
ExpressVPN’s Threat Manager and NordVPN’s Threat Protection are pretty similar since they both block third-party trackers and malicious sites. But I think Threat Protection is better because it can also block ads and scan any executable files you download for malware without compromising your privacy — plus, it’s also very convenient because it stays active even if you’re not connected to a VPN server. Threat Manager is available on iOS, macOS, and Linux, while Threat Protection is available on Windows and macOS (there’s also Threat Protection Lite, which only blocks ads and shady sites, on iOS, Android, and Linux).
What’s more, both VPNs support Tor traffic across all of their servers, which means first secure your data with ExpressVPN or NordVPN before accessing the Tor network. But NordVPN also has Onion Over VPN servers in the Netherlands and Switzerland — these servers automatically send your VPN traffic through the Tor network, which allows you to surf dark web sites in regular browsers, such as Firefox or Chrome. That’s much more convenient than having to download and use the Tor browser. I tested NordVPN’s Onion Over VPN servers and had no issue accessing Facebook’s .onion domain in Chrome.
It’s also great that both ExpressVPN and NordVPN have smart DNS tools, which let you access streaming sites on devices that don’t natively support VPNs, such as certain smart TVs or gaming consoles. The smart DNS features require manual setups, but both providers have helpful tutorials. A smart DNS doesn’t use encryption or hide your IP address, so it doesn’t provide privacy — that said, it’s significantly faster than a VPN.
In addition to the smart DNS, NordVPN also provides access to SmartPlay technology on all servers, which combines VPN security features (like encryption) with smart DNS technology. However, it also means you won’t get to enjoy the smart DNS’s fast speeds because SmartPlay uses encryption.
ExpressVPN also provides access to these features, which NordVPN doesn’t have:
- ExpressVPN Keys. This is the provider’s password manager, which securely saves and stores all of your passwords. It can store an unlimited number of logins, and it also lets you check for weak passwords. ExpressVPN Keys comes free with each subscription. It’s built into the iOS and Android apps and available as a Chrome browser extension on Windows, macOS, and Linux.
- Shortcuts. Allows you to create 1-click shortcuts for specific apps and websites, which show up on your screen after you connect to a VPN server — I always use it to get instant access to Netflix after I connect to ExpressVPN. Shortcuts is available on Android, Windows, and macOS.
- Port forwarding. This feature lets you connect to more peers to get faster P2P speeds — in my tests, it usually improved my speeds by about 10–15%. Port forwarding is only available via the provider’s router app, which is luckily very easy to install and use.
- App Screenshots. Provides better privacy by preventing anyone from spying on your in-app activity. It lets you disable in-app screenshots, prevent in-app content from being displayed in the multitasking pane, and stop apps with special permissions from seeing certain in-app content. App Screenshots is only available on Android.
And NordVPN also comes with these extras that ExpressVPN lacks:
- Dark Web Monitor. This feature scans the dark web and sends you alerts if it detects that the login credentials associated with your NordVPN account have been leaked. Dark Web Monitor works really well, but I still wish it would let you also monitor passwords that are not associated with your NordVPN account. Dark Web Monitor is available on iOS, Android, Windows, and macOS.
- Double VPN. Provide extra security, as they route your traffic through 2 VPN servers instead of 1 VPN server. NordVPN has double VPN servers in 5+ countries. Even though double VPN connections are usually pretty slow, NordVPN’s double VPN servers only slowed down my speeds by only 8–10% on average, which is really good.
- Meshnet. Lets you link up to 60 devices over encrypted VPN connections. For example, you could link your friends’ devices to host a virtual LAN party, or link your computer to your smartphone to securely access while traveling. Meshnet is powered by NordLynx (so it has very fast speeds) and is available on iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, and Linux.
- Dedicated IP addresses. For an additional cost, you can get a dedicated IP address, which is only assigned to you. Dedicated IP addresses can help you avoid reCAPTCHAs and access your bank site with a VPN (most banks block shared VPN IP addresses). NordVPN has dedicated IP addresses in the US, the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, and France.
- SOCKS5 proxy servers. These proxy servers change your IP address just like a VPN, but they don’t provide encryption — so you get much faster downloads. On average, using a SOCKS5 proxy server increased my P2P speeds by about 20%. NordVPN has SOCKS5 proxy servers in the US, the Netherlands, and Sweden.
- Tapjacking protection. Protects you against malicious apps that try to add a screen overlay to trick you into performing actions that might compromise your data — like accessing your bank account. NordVPN’s tapjacking protection will alert you if it detects that an app added a screen overlay. This feature is only available on Android.
Winner (Extra Features): It’s a tie
This one was also really close since both ExpressVPN and NordVPN have tons of really great additional features.
ExpressVPN comes with split-tunneling, a free password manager, a feature that blocks shady sites and trackers, and obfuscation on all servers. It also has Tor support, App Screenshots, Shortcuts, port forwarding on its router app, and MediaStreamer.
And while NordVPN’s obfuscation isn’t that good, its Threat Protection protects you from trackers and malicious sites and it also gets rid of ads and protects you from malware-infected executable files. NordVPN also has split-tunneling and Tor support on all servers, plus double VPN connections, dark web monitoring, Meshnet, dedicated IP addresses, SOCKS5 proxy support, and tapjacking protection.
Privacy — Both Providers Are Excellent Choices
|Logs User IP Addresses||Logs User Traffic||Audited No-Logs Policy||Headquarters||Open-Source Apps|
|ExpressVPN||❌||❌||✅||The British Virgin Islands (outside the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliances)||❌|
(outside the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliances)
Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN provide very strong privacy — they have transparent, strict no-logs policies that don’t collect any user data, such as IP addresses or visited sites and downloaded files.
I also like how ExpressVPN’s no-logs policy passed 2 independent security audits in 2019 and 2022 — in addition, one of its servers was seized by Turkish authorities in 2017, but they weren’t able to find any user data on it, further proving the provider doesn’t store any data.
And NordVPN’s no-logs policy has also been independently audited three times, in 2018, 2020, and 2022. What’s more, one of the data centers that housed one of the provider’s servers suffered a data breach in 2018, but no user data was compromised.
What’s more, ExpressVPN also had its TrustedServer technology audited in 2019 and 2022 — only minor issues were found, which were quickly fixed.
And ExpressVPN’s proprietary Lightway protocol is also open-source and has been independently audited in 2021 — while NordVPN’s proprietary NordLynx protocol isn’t open-source, I like how it has passed an independent security audit.
I also like how both VPNs had some of their apps and browser extensions audited as well. ExpressVPN’s Chrome extension was audited in 2018, its Windows app underwent a security audit in 2021 and a retest in 2022, and its iOS, Android, macOS, and Linux apps were audited in 2022 — both the extension and apps were found to be fully secure. And NordVPN’s iOS, Android, Windows, macOS apps were audited in 2019, and only minor issues were found, which the provider quickly patched.
In addition, both providers are headquartered in privacy-friendly countries. ExpressVPN is headquartered in the British Virgin Islands, and NordVPN in Panama — both countries lack mandatory data retention laws, and are outside the jurisdiction of the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliances, a group of countries that share surveillance data with each other.
Finally, I like how both ExpressVPN and NordVPN accept cryptocurrency payments, as they provide much better privacy than other payment methods.
Winner (Privacy): It’s a tie
Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN provide really strong privacy — they both have strict no-logs policies that have been audited, had their apps and server infrastructure undergo security audits, are based in privacy-friendly countries, and accept cryptocurrency payments.
Servers — Both Have Good Server Networks
|Number of Servers||Number of Countries||Virtual Locations||P2P Servers||Obfuscated Servers||Specialty Servers||Dedicated IPs|
|ExpressVPN||3,000+||90+||✅||✅ (3,000+ servers in 90+ countries)||✅
(3,000+ servers in 90+ countries)
(4,500+ servers in 45+ countries)
(100+ servers in 15+ countries)
(double VPN servers, Onion over VPN servers)
(the US, the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, France)
Even though NordVPN has more servers, I like that ExpressVPN has servers in more countries — with NordVPN, you get 5,000+ in 55+ countries, while ExpressVPN comes with 3,000+ servers in 90+ countries. So, with ExpressVPN, it might be easier to use nearby servers for fast speeds, and access streaming sites from more countries.
Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN have physical servers, which are physically located in the country you connect to. But ExpressVPN also has virtual locations, which means the server provides you with an IP address from the country you connect to, but it’s actually physically located in a different country. People assume virtual locations are bad, but they’re actually just as safe as physical servers. And ExpressVPN’s virtual locations work as intended — I ran leak tests on 10+ virtual locations, and they always provided me with the correct IP address.
When it comes to torrenting servers, ExpressvPN is better. While NordVPN allows torrenting on 4,500+ servers in 45+ countries, ExpressVPN allows torrenting on all of its servers, which makes it easier to torrent on nearby servers for fast downloads.
ExpressVPN and NordVPN both have streaming and Tor support on all servers — but NordVPN only supports obfuscation on 100+ servers in 15+ countries, while ExpressVPN supports it across all of its servers, which is more convenient. On the plus side, NordVPN also comes with additional double VPN and Onion Over VPN servers.
NordVPN also provides access to dedicated IP addresses for a small additional cost. There are dedicated IP servers in 5 countries: the US, the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, and France.
Winner (Servers): It’s a tie
Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN provide access to really good server networks — they allow streaming and Tor traffic on all servers. And while NordVPN has more servers, tons of P2P servers, and obfuscated, double VPN, Onion Over VPN, and dedicated IP servers, ExpressVPN has servers in more countries, and supports P2P traffic and obfuscation on all servers.
Speeds — ExpressVPN Comes Out on Top
|ExpressVPN Nearby Servers||NordVPN Nearby Servers||ExpressVPN Distant Servers||NordVPN Distant Servers|
|Website load time||Instantly||Instantly||Instantly||2–3 seconds|
|HD video load time||Instantly||Instantly||Instantly||1–2 seconds|
|HD video buffering||❌||❌||❌||❌|
|4K video load time||Instantly||Instantly||Instantly||4–5 seconds|
|4K video buffering||❌||❌||❌||✅ (minor buffering)|
|Time to download a 20 GB file||9–10 minutes||11–13 minutes||13–15 minutes||18–23 minutes|
Both NordVPN and ExpressVPN have really good speeds, but ExpressVPN is simply much faster — which is not surprising considering it’s the fastest VPN in 2023.
I tested several of ExpressVPN’s nearby and distant servers and had lighting-fast speeds on all of them — websites always loaded instantly, HD and 4K videos loaded instantly and didn’t buffer, and it only took me around 9–10 minutes to download a 20 GB file on nearby servers and just 13–15 minutes to download it on distant servers.
When I tested NordVPN, nearby servers were very fast, but I experienced slowdowns on some distant servers. On nearby servers, websites, HD, and 4K videos loaded instantly (and the videos didn’t buffer), and it took me 11–13 minutes to download the same 20 GB file I downloaded with ExpressVPN. But on some distant servers, sites took 2–3 seconds to load, HD videos loaded in 1–2 seconds (but didn’t buffer), 4K videos loaded in 4–5 seconds and there was minor buffering while skipping through them. I also downloaded the same 20 GB file in around 18–23 minutes.
Winner (Speeds): ExpressVPN
Both providers have very fast speeds, but ExpressVPN was simply faster in my speed tests. I maintained blazing-fast browsing, streaming, and torrenting speeds across all servers — with NordVPN, I had very fast speeds on nearby servers, but I experienced minor slowdowns for all online activities on some distant servers.
Streaming — ExpressVPN Has Better Streaming Support
|Number of Streaming Services the VPN Can Access||Works with Netflix||Works with BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, Amazon Prime, and Disney+||Smart DNS|
While both providers have good streaming support, ExpressVPN is simply better — it can access 100+ streaming services, unlike NordVPN, which only works with 10+ streaming platforms. This is not really a surprise, considering that ExpressVPN is the best VPN for streaming on the market.
On the plus side, both VPNs work well with Netflix — my colleagues in the US, the UK, and Japan ran tests and said they were always able to access their home libraries every time with ExpressVPN and NordVPN. What’s more, both providers can access 10+ Netflix libraries.
In addition to Netflix, both ExpressVPN and NordVPN can access other popular sites, including BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, Disney+, and HBO Max. Plus, they also work with lesser known sites, such as VRV and Pluto TV.
And both VPNs provide access to smart DNS tools, which let you access streaming sites on devices that don’t natively support VPN apps — like gaming consoles and certain smart TVs. NordVPN also comes with SmartPlay, which mixes VPN security features with smart DNS technology to make it harder for streaming platforms to block your VPN connection.
Winner (Streaming): ExpressVPN
Both VPNs are really good for streaming, but ExpressVPN is simply better — it consistently works with 100+ streaming apps, including Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, HBO Max, and Amazon Prime, and also comes with a smart DNS. While NordVPN has a smart DNS and works with most popular streaming services (including Netflix), it still can only access 10+ streaming platforms.
Read more about ExpressVPN’s streaming support in our full review
Torrenting — Both Are Great Picks
|P2P Servers||Works with Top P2P Apps||Port Forwarding||SOCKS5 Proxy Support||Kill Switch||No-Logs Policy|
|ExpressVPN||3,000+ servers in 90+ countries||✅||✅ (via router app)||❌||✅||✅ (independently audited)|
|NordVPN||4,500+ servers in 45+ countries||✅||❌||✅||✅||✅ (independently audited)|
While NordVPN allows torrenting on more servers, I like how ExpressVPN supports P2P traffic on servers in more countries — with NordVPN, you get 4,500+ P2P servers in 45+ countries, while ExpressVPN allows torrenting on 3,000+ servers in 90+ countries. I think ExpressVPN makes it easier to torrent on nearby servers so that you can get fast downloads.
And it’s great that both providers work really well with popular P2P apps — I used popular clients like Vuze, qBittorrent, and uTorrent while connected to both VPNs, and I never experienced any issues.
Also, I like how ExpressVPN comes with port forwarding via its router app — this allows you to connect to more peers to get faster downloads. On average, my P2P speeds were usually 10–15% faster with port forwarding enabled.
While NordVPN doesn’t have port forwarding, it comes with SOCKS5 proxy servers in 3 countries (the US, the Netherlands, and Sweden). SOCKS5 proxy servers change your IP address but don’t provide encryption, so they’re much faster than a VPN — in my tests, I had 20% faster download speeds when using a SOCKS5 proxy server than a VPN server.
What’s more, both ExpressVPN and NordVPN provide excellent security for torrenting. They each have a kill switch, a no-logs policy that has been independently audited more than once, and full leak protection. What’s more, ExpressVPN’s Threat Manager and NordVPN’s Threat Protection can both protect you from malicious P2P sites — though, Threat Protection can also block ads on P2P sites, and protect you from malicious downloads.
In addition, before torrenting, I ran leak tests while connected to 10+ servers from each provider, and I never saw any leaks. Also, I ran torrent IP leaks on 3 torrent clients with both ExpressVPN and NordVPN to make sure the torrent app doesn’t leak my real IP address to other peers — the results always displayed each provider’s IP address.
Winner (Torrenting): It’s a tie
Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN are really good for torrenting — they both allow P2P traffic on a large number of servers located in most parts of the world, work with popular P2P clients like Vuze and uTorrent, and provide excellent security. Also, ExpressVPN comes with port forwarding, while NordVPN has SOCKS5 proxy servers.
Gaming — ExpressVPN Wins This Round
|Ping on Local Servers (Romania)||Ping on Distant Servers (the US)||Lag-Free Gaming||Anti-DDoS Protection||Router Support||Cloud Gaming Support|
|ExpressVPN||18–19 ms||121–125 ms||✅||✅||✅ (via dedicated router app)||✅|
|NordVPN||17–21 ms||141–152 ms||❌
(only minor lag, not game-breaking)
I played several rounds of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive with both providers, and I had the fastest speeds with ExpressVPN. It maintained great ping on local servers, and average and stable ping on distant servers — with NordVPN provided me with good ping on local servers and average ping on distant servers, but I experienced minor lag (not game-breaking) while gaming on some very distant servers.
Both providers protect you from Distributed-Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks, but only ExpressVPN comes with anti-DDoS protection on all of its servers — so even if someone tries to DDoS the VPN server you’re connected to, they wouldn’t be able to do it. With NordVPN, if the server you’re using gets DDoS-ed, there is no threat against your IP address but it may disconnect you from the VPN server and you might have to switch to a different server.
And while both VPNs have router support, only ExpressVPN comes with a dedicated router app. NordVPN has helpful setup tutorials that show you how to configure its service on your router to use it on devices that don’t support VPNs, like gaming consoles — but ExpressVPN’s router app is much easier to install, and it’s also really easy to use thanks to its intuitive design.
What’s more, ExpressVPN comes with cloud gaming support, which means it works with platforms that stream games to portable devices like mobile phones and laptops — I tested it with GeForce Now and it worked without issues.
On the other hand, NordVPN doesn’t guarantee it works with cloud gaming platforms — while I didn’t experience any issues while using it with platforms like GeForce Now, I can’t guarantee that you’ll have the same results.
But I like NordVPN’s Meshnet feature, which you can use to host virtual parties — this way, you can secure your connection to your friends’ devices with VPN encryption. Also, you might experience less lag because Meshnet is powered by NordLynx, which provides fast speeds.
Winner (Gaming): ExpressVPN
Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN provide a great gaming experience, but ExpressVPN is simply better. It provides very fast connections and stable ping across all of its servers, has anti-DDoS protection on all servers, comes with a dedicated router app, and even has support for cloud gaming. NordVPN lets you create secure LAN parties and is also fast, but you might sometimes experience minor lag on very distant servers — plus, it lacks a native router app and anti-DDoS protection.
Read more about ExpressVPN’s gaming support in our full review
Bypassing Censorship — ExpressVPN Is Better
|Obfuscation||Works in China||Works in Russia||Works in Iran||Works in Indonesia||Works in Saudi Arabia|
ExpressVPN is much better at circumventing firewalls in restrictive countries than NordVPN — even though both providers have obfuscation, only ExpressVPN consistently works in places like China, Russia, Iran, Indonesia, and Saudi Arabia, while NordVPN doesn’t guarantee its service will always bypass firewalls in those regions.
I also think it’s really convenient that ExpressVPN supports obfuscation on all of its protocols and servers — most VPNs (NordVPN included) only allow obfuscation via certain protocols or on specific servers.
And it’s great that ExpressVPN has servers in 90+ countries — this makes it very simple for users in restrictive countries to use nearby servers to get fast speeds.
Winner (Bypassing Censorship): ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN provides obfuscation and consistently works in restrictive countries like China, Iran, and Russia. It’s also very fast, easy to use, and very secure. On the other hand, despite also having obfuscation, NordVPN can’t guarantee it will work in restrictive countries.
Read more about ExpressVPN’s ability to bypass censorship in our full review
Apps & Ease of Use — ExpressVPN Provides a Better User Experience
|iOS App||Android App||Windows App||macOS App||Linux App||Smart TV App||Router Support||Other Apps|
(via dedicated router app)
|Chromebook, Kindle Fire|
To start off, ExpressVPN has apps for slightly more platforms than NordVPN — it has apps for iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, Linux, Android TV, Fire TV, Chromebook, and even Kindle Fire and routers (it’s one of the only VPNs on the market with a router app). On the other hand, NordVPN only has apps for iOS, Android, WIndows, macOS, Linux, Android TV, Fire TV, and Chromebook. If you want to use NordVPN on a router, you need to perform a manual setup, which is more time-consuming and difficult than installing and using ExpressVPN’s router app.
Both providers have really good mobile apps — ExpressVPN and NordVPN’s iOS and Android apps are feature-rich, secure, and have very intuitive apps. Plus, I really like how each provider’s iOS app comes with a kill switch (some VPNs don’t have a kill switch on iOS).
But while both VPNs also have really good Windows apps, I think ExpressVPN’s macOS app is much better — the provider only has 1 macOS app version, while NordVPN has 2 macOS app versions (the IKEv2 macOS app and the OpenVPN macOS app), which is pretty confusing. Also, unlike NordVPN’s macOS app, ExpressVPN’s macOS app comes with split-tunneling.
And if you want to mainly use the VPN on a router, ExpressVPN is the better choice because it has an easy-to-install router app that’s also very intuitive. With NordVPN, you need to manually set up the VPN on your router — the provider has helpful tutorials, but this is still more time-consuming and inconvenient than ExpressVPN’s router app.
Winner (Ease of Use): ExpressVPN
Both providers have very user-friendly apps for all major platforms, but I think ExpressVPN provides slightly better ease of use and convenience than NordVPN. In addition to mobile, desktop, and smart TV apps, it also has a Kindle Fire and router app. On the other hand, NordVPN requires you to manually set up its service on a router. Also, ExpressVPN only has 1 macOS app version, while NordVPN has 2 different macOS apps, which is pretty confusing. Plus, unlike NordVPN, ExpressVPN has split-tunneling on its macOS app.
Read more about ExpressVPN’s apps and ease of use in our full review
Plans & Pricing — Both VPNs Provide Really Good Value
|Starting Price||Free Plan||Simultaneous Connections||Payment Options||Money-Back Guarantee|
|ExpressVPN||$6.67 / month||❌||5||credit/debit cards
|NordVPN||$2.99 / month||❌||6||credit/debit cards
ExpressVPN and NordVPN have different pricing, but you get great value with each one. ExpressVPN allows 5 connections, while NordVPN allows 6 connections — both are on the low end of the industry average of 5–7 connections, but I really like how you can quickly set up ExpressVPN’s router app to cover unlimited devices.
ExpressVPN comes with a 1-month, a 6-month, and a 12-month plan (that comes with 3 extra months for free). The 12-month plan provides the best value and savings, though it’s still a bit pricey — luckily, you can use our exclusive 49% discount to get ExpressVPN for only $6.67 / month.
NordVPN has paid monthly and yearly plans, and several tier-based subscriptions: Standard, Plus, and Complete. The Standard subscription includes access to all VPN features, the Plus subscription adds NordPass (which is a password manager), and the Complete subscription adds NordLocker, which provides encrypted cloud storage. I think the Standard subscription provides the best value for people who want to use a VPN — the pricing starts at $2.99 / month, so it’s cheaper than ExpressVPN’s plans.
Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN accept credit cards, PayPal, and cryptocurrency payments — and both vendors back each purchase with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Winner (Plans & Pricing): It’s a tie
It’s just impossible to pick a winner, as both ExpressVPN and NordVPN have attractive pricing. ExpressVPN provides slightly better value than NordVPN, but NordVPN costs less. Both providers come with 30-day money-back guarantees.
Customer Support — Both VPNs Have Excellent Customer Support
|Live Chat||Email Support||FAQs||Tutorials||Troubleshooting Guides||Phone Support|
Both providers come with very in-depth support libraries — they’re full of tons of helpful frequently asked questions (FAQs), setup tutorials that include screenshots and even video guides, and troubleshooting articles. The support guides almost always answered all of my questions, so I rarely had to reach out to ExpressVPN and NordVPN’s support reps.
And I’m also really happy with both ExpressVPN and NordVPN’s live chat support — it always took less than 5 seconds to be connected to a live chat rep with each provider, and the reps were always able to answer all of my questions.
I also had a really good experience with each VPN’s email support — ExpressVPN usually replied within a few hours, and NordVPN replied in less than 24 hours, which is still pretty good. The replies I got were always friendly and helpful.
Winner (Customer Support): It’s a tie
I can’t pick a winner because both ExpressVPN and NordVPN provide really good customer support — they both have in-depth support libraries that contain tons of helpful support guides and tutorials, and also provide really good 24/7 live chat and responsive email support.
ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN: Overall Winner
ExpressVPN provides industry-leading security and privacy features, has the fastest speeds on the market, and consistently works with 100+ streaming services. It also allows P2P traffic on 3,000+ servers in 90+ countries, provides an excellent gaming experience, and works in restrictive countries like China and Russia without any issues. It also comes with intuitive apps for all major platforms, provides excellent customer support, and has a 30-day money-back guarantee.
NordVPN has strong security and privacy features and provides access to cool additional features. It also has 5,000+ servers in 55+ countries, maintains fast speeds on almost all servers, allows torrenting on 4,500+ servers in 45+ countries, and works with popular sites like HBO Max and Amazon Prime. NordVPN also has user-friendly apps, great customer support, and affordable plans that are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.
All in all, I think both ExpressVPN and NordVPN are good top picks in 2023. They’re both very secure, provide really good privacy, have tons of useful extra features, work with top streaming apps, and are easy to use. But ExpressVPN is ultimately my favorite of the two — it has much faster speeds, consistently works with Netflix and 100+ other streaming services, allows P2P traffic on servers in more countries, is much better for gaming, works in restrictive countries, and provides an overall better value.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is ExpressVPN better than NordVPN?
Yes, as ExpressVPN outperforms NordVPN in speeds, streaming, gaming, bypassing restrictive firewalls, and ease of use. That said, I wasn’t able to pick a winner when I compared security features, additional features, privacy features, servers, torrenting, plans and pricing, and customer support.
Which one is better for streaming — ExpressVPN or NordVPN?
Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN provide a really good streaming experience, but I like ExpressVPN more — it works with 100+ streaming services, including top sites like Netflix, HBO Max, and Hulu, it can access 10+ Netflix libraries. Also, it comes with a MediaStreamer, which is a smart DNS that lets you access streaming services on devices that don’t natively support VPN connections, like gaming consoles.
NordVPN works with top sites like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and HBO Max, and it also comes with a smart DNS and SmartPlay on all of its servers, which combines VPN security with smart DNS technology — even so, it can only access 10+ streaming services, so you get less variety than with ExpressVPN.
Is NordVPN faster than ExpressVPN?
No — while NordVPN provides fast speeds on most servers, I experienced noticeable slowdowns on some distant servers. Most websites took up to 3 seconds to load, HD videos loaded in 2 seconds, and there was minor buffering when watching 4K videos.
With ExpressVPN, I always maintained blazing-fast speeds for browsing, streaming, torrenting, and gaming on local, nearby, distant, and very remote servers — which is not very surprising, considering ExpressVPN is the fastest VPN on the market.
Is ExpressVPN better for gaming than NordVPN?
Yes — even though both VPNs are good for gaming, I prefer ExpressVPN. In my tests, it always provided me with fast gaming speeds and average, stable ping, and I also like how the provider has anti-DDoS protection across all of its servers, and it comes with support for cloud gaming platforms as well. Plus, it has a dedicated router app, which makes it easy to game with the VPN on devices that don’t natively support it, like gaming consoles.
NordVPN also has good gaming speeds on most servers, but I experienced minor lag while gaming on very distant servers, and the provider also lacks a router app and anti-DDoS protection on its servers.
Which one is more secure — ExpressVPN or NordVPN?
Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN provide access to high-end security features — when comparing the providers, I actually couldn’t choose a winner.
ExpressVPN comes with industry-standard VPN security features like a kill switch, a no-logs policy that’s been audited, and 256-bit AES encryption. It also has its own proprietary protocol called Lightway, which provides strong security, very fast speeds, is open-source, and has also been audited. The provider also has advanced security features like RAM-only servers (every server reset wipes all data), perfect forward secrecy, which changes the encryption key for each VPN session, and full leak protection.
NordVPN provides access to the same industry-standard security features, and its no-logs policy has also passed independent security audits. It also has its own proprietary protocol (NordLynx), which is secure, fast, and has been audited. Plus, it also has RAM-only servers, perfect forward secrecy, full leak protection, and it also allows you to secure your VPN account with multi-factor authentication.
Which VPN is better for torrenting — ExpressVPN or NordVPN?
Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN are excellent picks, as they both provide great P2P support — I actually wasn’t able to pick a winner when comparing the providers.
ExpressVPN allows P2P traffic on 3,000+ servers in 90+ countries and works with top P2P apps — in addition, it also supports port forwarding (lets you connect to more peers for faster speeds) via its route app, which is easy to install and use. It also provides excellent security while torrenting via a kill switch, full leak protection, and Threat Manager, which blocks malicious P2P sites.
NordVPN has 4,500+ P2P servers (but only in 45+ countries) and also works with top P2P clients. It lacks port forwarding, but it has SOCKS5 proxy servers, which change your IP like a VPN but don’t use encryption, so they provide much faster downloads. NordVPN also provides the same level of security while torrenting as ExpressVPN — but on top of blocking malicious P2P sites, it can also get rid of ads on torrent trackers and prevent you from downloading malicious executable files.