ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN 2024: Which VPN Should You Pick?

Tim Mocan
Tim Mocan Senior Writer
Updated on: June 15, 2024
Fact Checked by Katarina Glamoslija
Tim Mocan Tim Mocan
Updated on: June 15, 2024 Senior Writer

Short on Time? Here’s the Final Verdict:

  • 🥇 ExpressVPN  — Winner in Speeds, Streaming, Torrenting, 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. Both are very secure and have industry-standard security features, including a kill switch, 256-bit AES encryption, and a strict no-logs policy. They can access all top streaming sites like Netflix and Max, as well, and have easy-to-use apps for all devices.

Each VPN also comes with lots of extras, such as:

  • Perfect forward secrecy.
  • RAM-only servers.
  • Full leak protection.
  • Split-tunneling.
  • Ad, tracker, and malware blocker.
  • Smart DNS.
  • Obfuscation.
  • Tor (The Onion Router) support.

But there are also a few noticeable differences between ExpressVPN and NordVPN. ExpressVPN has servers in 105 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 servers in 111 countries, has noticeable slowdowns on some distant servers, has dedicated P2P servers in 45+ countries, and can’t circumvent firewalls in countries that censor the internet. But NordVPN has more extra features than ExpressVPN, including protection against malware-infected files (ExpressVPN only protects against malicious links) and a dark web monitor.

I compared ExpressVPN and NordVPN in many areas, including 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 2024.

Try ExpressVPN Now (30 Days Risk-Free)

ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN — Quick Overview

ExpressVPN NordVPN
💸 Starting Price Starts at $6.67 / month Starts at $6.67 / month
📱 Number of Devices 8 10
🔒 Security 256-bit AES encryption,
No-logs policy (audited),
Kill switch;
Full leak protection,
Perfect forward secrecy,
RAM-only servers
256-bit AES encryption,
No-logs policy (audited),
Kill switch;
Full leak protection,
Perfect forward secrecy,
RAM-only servers
🌍 Number of Countries Servers in 105 countries Servers in 111 countries
⚡ Speeds Very fast on nearby and distant servers Very fast on nearby servers, but noticeable slowdowns on some distant servers
🎥 Streaming Support Netflix
Max
Amazon Prime
BBC iPlayer
Disney+
Netflix
Max
Amazon Prime
BBC iPlayer
Disney+
⬇ P2P Support
(Servers in 105 countries)

(Servers in 45+ countries)
💻 Apps iOS,
Android,
Windows,
macOS,
Linux,
Android TV,
Fire TV,
Chromebook,
Kindle Fire,
Routers
iOS,
Android,
Windows,
macOS,
Linux,
Android TV,
Fire TV,
Chromebook,
Kindle Fire
❓Customer Support 24/7 live chat,
Email support,
In-depth support library
24/7 live chat,
Email support,
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 on Windows, 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. For instance, while downloading files via BitTorrent, the app-based kill switch immediately closed the client to prevent data leaks when the VPN connection was interrupted.

Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN come with RAM-only servers and perfect forward secrecy. RAM-only servers wipe all data with every reset, so nothing is kept permanently on the record. 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.

Security — Both VPNs Are Extremely Secure

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.

It’s great that both providers have their own proprietary protocols that are very secure. ExpressVPN has Lightway, which is very lightweight, meaning it’s both fast and won’t drain your laptop or phone battery quickly. It’s also open source, so anyone can inspect the code for security issues, and has been independently audited and verified multiple times. NordVPN has NordLynx, which is built around the WireGuard protocol, is super fast, and has also been independently audited — but NordLynx is slightly slower than Lightway. In addition, both VPNs provide access to secure protocols like OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPSec.

Security — Both VPNs Are Extremely Secure

It’s also great how NordVPN and ExpressVPN each have 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.

Speeds — ExpressVPN Comes Out on Top

Website Load Time HD Video Load Time 4K Video Load Time Time to Download a 20 GB File
ExpressVPN Instantly Instantly Instantly 10–13 minutes
NordVPN Instantly Instantly 1–2 seconds 13–17 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 2024.

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.

Speeds — ExpressVPN Comes Out on Top

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.

Speeds — ExpressVPN Comes Out on Top

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 Works With Works With Netflix Works With BBC iPlayer, Max, Amazon Prime, and Disney+ Smart DNS
ExpressVPN 100+
NordVPN 10+

ExpressVPN can access more streaming services than NordVPN. ExpressVPN works 100+ streaming services, while NordVPN only works with 10+ streaming platforms. This is not really a surprise, considering that ExpressVPN is the best VPN for streaming on the market.

Streaming — ExpressVPN Has Better Streaming Support

If you’re looking to watch Netflix securely, both VPNs can access multiple Netflix libraries. ExpressVPN works with 15+ Netflix libraries and NordVPN can access 10+ Netflix libraries.

Streaming — ExpressVPN Has Better Streaming Support

In addition to Netflix, both ExpressVPN and NordVPN can access other popular sites without any issues, including BBC iPlayer and Max, as well as several Amazon Prime and Disney+ libraries. Plus, they also work with lesser known sites, such as VRV and Pluto TV.

And both VPNs let you stream on your smart TV or gaming console thanks to their smart DNS feature. NordVPN also comes with SmartPlay, which mixes VPN security features with smart DNS technology to strengthen your encryption.

Winner (Streaming): ExpressVPN

Both VPNs are really good for streaming, but ExpressVPN is simply better as it can access more streaming services — it consistently works with 100+ streaming apps, including Netflix, Disney+, Max, and Amazon Prime, while NordVPN can only access 10+. Both come with a smart DNS, but only Nord has SmartPlay.

Extra Features — Either VPN Is a Great Choice

Split-Tunneling Obfuscation Blocks Ads Blocks Malicious Sites Tor Support Smart DNS Other Features
ExpressVPN ExpressVPN Keys,

Shortcuts,

port forwarding, App Screenshots

NordVPN SmartPlay,
Onion Over VPN servers,
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. Each VPN has a feature that differentiates itself from one another, though. I like ExpressVPN’s free password manager, which stores your logins and passwords in a secure vault and auto-fills your credentials, while NordVPN comes with a unique tool that prevents you from downloading and sharing malicious executable files.

Both providers come with split-tunneling, which lets you choose which apps use the VPN and which apps use your local network. I typically route all my torrent client and browser traffic through the VPN and make sure to exclude the food delivery apps and map apps I use, so I never have to disconnect from the VPN just when I need to use my location. 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) and routers in the form of device groups. NordVPN also allows you to split-tunnel websites, but only through its browser extension.

Extra Features — Either VPN Is a Great Choice

I also like how you can use both VPNs on restrictive networks, like at school or at work, that block VPN traffic. This is because each VPN offers obfuscation, which makes your VPN traffic look like normal internet traffic. I think ExpressVPN’s obfuscation is better, though, as the provider supports it on all protocols and across all of its servers in 105 countries — NordVPN only allows obfuscation via OpenVPN, which is slower than ExpressVPN’s Lightway, and on 100+ servers in 15+ countries.

Extra Features — Either VPN Is a Great Choice

ExpressVPN’s Threat Manager and NordVPN’s Threat Protection are pretty good for blocking ads, third-party trackers, and malicious sites. In my tests, both missed some ads but stopped me from accessing shady sites 100% of the time.

However, NordVPN’s Threat Protection is better because it offers a lot more. It warns you if you’re about to visit a phishing site, has a URL trimmer that removes tracking parameters from websites you visit for better privacy, and even lets you exclude domains from being scanned by Threat Protection. On top of that, it scans executable files you download for malware (File Protection) and checks the apps on your Windows PC for any software vulnerabilities (Vulnerability Protection).

That said, ExpressVPN’s Threat Manager is available on more devices, including Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux, and even Apple TV, while NordVPN’s Threat Protection is available on Windows and macOS. However, NordVPN also has Threat Protection Lite, which blocks ads and shady sites on iOS, Android, and Linux.

Extra Features — Either VPN Is a Great Choice

Both VPNs are great if you use the Tor browser. They support Tor traffic across all of their servers, so you can connect to any location to securely browse 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 lets you use a VPN 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 and other notes. It stores an unlimited number of logins, auto-fills your credentials for 1-click access to sites, includes a password generator, 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 LinuxExtra Features — Either VPN Is a Great Choice
  • 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 open 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. The dark web monitor works really well, but I still wish it would let you monitor passwords that are not associated with your NordVPN account. The 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 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 share files or access while traveling. Meshnet is powered by NordLynx (so it has very fast speeds) and is available on iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, and Linux.
  • 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 have tons of really great additional features. Each comes with split-tunneling, a tracker and malicious site blocker, Tor support, and obfuscation. However, only ExpressVPN offers obfuscation on all servers and has port forwarding. On the other hand, NordVPN blocks ads, too, and has Onion Over VPN servers that let you browse the dark web in regular browsers.

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)
NordVPN Panama

(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.

Privacy — Both Providers Are Excellent Choices

And NordVPN’s no-logs policy has also been independently audited 3 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. Similarly, NordVPN’s entire infrastructure underwent an independent audit in 2022, which found small vulnerabilities that NordVPN’s team immediately addressed.

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.

Privacy — Both Providers Are Excellent Choices

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, and macOS apps were audited in 2019 and 2022 — 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 Countries Virtual Locations P2P Servers Obfuscated Servers Specialty Servers Dedicated IPs
ExpressVPN 105 ✅ (All servers in 105 countries)

(All servers in 105 countries)

NordVPN 111

(Servers in 45+ countries)

(Servers in 15+ countries)

(double VPN servers, Onion over VPN servers)

(10+ countries, including the US, the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, France)

Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN have large server networks. ExpressVPN has servers in 105 countries, and NordVPN covers 111 countries.

Servers — Both Have Good Server Networks

Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN have physical servers, which are physically located in the country you connect to. Each provider also offers 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 their virtual locations work as intended — I ran leak tests on 10+ virtual locations, and they always provided me with the correct IP address.

NordVPN also has colocated servers in 15+ locations — these servers are owned and operated exclusively by the VPN. NordVPN ships its own hardware to data centers that provide storage space and internet access, but only NordVPN staff have access to them.

Servers — Both Have Good Server Networks

When it comes to torrenting servers, ExpressVPN is better. While NordVPN allows torrenting on 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 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 10+ countries: the US, the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Canada, Japan, Italy, Sweden, Australia, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Spain, Belgium, and Denmark.

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 tons of P2P, obfuscated, double VPN, Onion Over VPN, and dedicated IP servers, ExpressVPN supports P2P traffic and obfuscation on all servers.

Torrenting — ExpressVPN is The Better Choice

P2P Servers Works With Top P2P Apps Port Forwarding SOCKS5 Proxy Support Kill Switch No-Logs Policy
ExpressVPN 105 countries
(via router app)
✅ (independently audited)
NordVPN 45+ countries ✅ (independently audited)

I like how ExpressVPN supports P2P traffic on servers in more countries — with NordVPN, you get P2P servers in 45+ countries, while ExpressVPN allows torrenting on servers in 105 countries. I think ExpressVPN makes it easier to torrent on nearby servers so that you can get fast downloads.

Torrenting — ExpressVPN is The Better Choice

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.

Torrenting — ExpressVPN is The Better Choice

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 ads on P2P sites, as well as shady torrenting sites — though, NordVPN also protects you from malicious downloads.

Before torrenting, I ran leak tests in 10+ server locations 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): ExpressVPN

Although each provider offers P2P features that the other doesn’t (ExpressVPN has port forwarding and NordVPN has SOCKS5 proxy servers), I think ExpressVPN is the better option simply because it supports servers in more countries. This means you can find the fastest speeds possible for secure torrenting.

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 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and had the fastest speeds with ExpressVPN. It maintained great ping on local servers, and an average but stable ping on distant servers. With NordVPN, I got good ping on local servers and average ping on distant servers, but I experienced minor lag while gaming on some very distant servers — the good news is it didn’t really affect my game.

Gaming — ExpressVPN Wins This Round

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.

Gaming — ExpressVPN Wins This Round

Winner (Gaming): ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN and NordVPN provide a great gaming experience, but ExpressVPN is 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.

Bypassing Censorship — ExpressVPN Is Better

Obfuscation Works in ChinaBypassing Censorship — ExpressVPN Is Better Works in RussiaBypassing Censorship — ExpressVPN Is Better Works in IranBypassing Censorship — ExpressVPN Is Better Works in IndonesiaBypassing Censorship — ExpressVPN Is Better Works in Saudi ArabiaBypassing Censorship — ExpressVPN Is Better
ExpressVPN
NordVPN

ExpressVPN works in restrictive countries like China — NordVPN doesn’t. Even though both providers have obfuscation, only ExpressVPN consistently works in places like China, Russia, Iran, Indonesia, and Saudi Arabia.

Bypassing Censorship — ExpressVPN Is Better

I also think it’s great 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.

Bypassing Censorship — ExpressVPN Is Better

And it’s great that ExpressVPN has servers in 105 countries — this makes it very simple for users in restrictive countries to use nearby servers to get fast speeds.

That said, both VPNs work on restricted networks, like at school or work. However, NordVPN has obfuscated servers in only 15+ countries, so ExpressVPN is the better choice for this, too.

Winner (Bypassing Censorship): ExpressVPN

Only ExpressVPN works in restrictive countries like China, Iran, and Russia. Both VPNs work well on restricted networks, but NordVPN’s obfuscation tool is only available on select servers — only ExpressVPN supports it on all servers and protocols.

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
ExpressVPN
(Android TV,
Fire TV)

(via dedicated router app)
Chromebook, Kindle Fire
NordVPN
(Android TV, Fire TV)
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, 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, Kindle Fire, 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. The server list is very easy to navigate in both providers’ mobile apps. I like how ExpressVPN displays a list of several server locations that get you the best possible speeds and NordVPN comes with an interactive map that lets you tap any location to connect to a server. Plus, each provider’s iOS app comes with a kill switch (some VPNs don’t have a kill switch on iOS).

Apps & Ease of Use — ExpressVPN Provides a Better User Experience

Both VPNs have really good Windows apps, but 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.

Also, if you want to use the IKEv2/IPSec protocol with NordVPN, you’ll have to manually set it up on Android, Windows, and iOS. This includes installing and configuring the digital certificate on your device, which is a complicated process. NordVPN offers detailed guides on how to do that on all of your devices, but ExpressVPN doesn’t require any of that — all you have to do is find the list of protocols and click on it.

Other than that, their desktop apps are very intuitive — ExpressVPN’s desktop apps are more simplistic as the main screen only shows you the connect screen. To access any other settings, you have to go to the main menu. I also think it’s very convenient that ExpressVPN divides all of its servers into regions for quicker access and has a separate tab for recommended servers that are tailored for your location.

NordVPN, on the other hand, shows you everything in one place. Just like on mobile, NordVPN keeps all of its specialty servers and extra features in different tabs, so they’re very easy to find. I like the interactive map that lets you connect to a server by clicking on the country pin on the map.

But 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 are user-friendly, but I think ExpressVPN apps are more convenient 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 the IKEv2/IPSec protocol and configure it 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.

Plans & Pricing — Both VPNs Provide Really Good Value

Starting Price Free Plan Simultaneous Connections Payment Options Money-Back Guarantee
ExpressVPN $6.67 / month 8 Credit/debit cards
PayPal
Cryptocurrencies
30 days
NordVPN $3.39 / month 10 Credit/debit cards
PayPal
Google Pay
Union Pay
Amazon Pay
ACH Transfer
Cryptocurrencies
30 days

ExpressVPN and NordVPN have different pricing, but you get great value with each one. ExpressVPN allows up to 8 connections — its long-term plans allow 8 connections, while its monthly plan allows only 5 connections. On the other hand, NordVPN allows 10 connections, which is on the low end of the industry average of 5–10 connections. The same applies to ExpressVPN’s monthly plan, 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.

Plans & Pricing — Both VPNs Provide Really Good Value

NordVPN has paid monthly and yearly plans, as well as 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. On top of a dedicated IP address, you can also add a personal removal data service from Incogni to your NordVPN plan for extra privacy. I think the Standard subscription provides the best value for people who want to use a VPN — the pricing starts at $3.39 / month, so it’s cheaper than ExpressVPN’s plans.

Plans & Pricing — Both VPNs Provide Really Good Value

There’s an Ultimate plan available for US and UK users. It includes NordLocker, similar to the Complete subscription, and offers additional cyber protection features. In the US this plan provides identity theft recovery benefits and cyber extortion protection. In the UK it includes cyber insurance for online scams and shopping fraud.

Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN accept credit cards, PayPal, and cryptocurrency payments and back each purchase with a 30-day money-back guarantee. But NordVPN also accepts payment through Amazon Pay, Union Pay, and ACH Transfer.

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
ExpressVPN
(24/7)
NordVPN
(24/7)

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.

Customer Support — Both VPNs Have Excellent Customer Support

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.

Customer Support — Both VPNs Have Excellent Customer Support

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 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.

Overall Winner: ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN offers the industry’s fastest speeds and excels in security and privacy. It’s compatible with 100+ streaming services, supports P2P traffic across all of its servers in 105 countries, ensures a superior gaming experience, and operates effectively in restricted countries like China and Russia. It comes with intuitive apps for all major platforms, provides stellar customer service, and includes a 30-day money-back guarantee.

NordVPN incorporates great security and privacy with numerous extra features. Offering a large network of over 6,266 servers spanning 111 countries, NordVPN provides quick speeds on nearly all servers, facilitates torrenting on over 4,500 servers in more than 45 countries, and is supported by mainstream sites such as Max and Amazon Prime. It delivers easy-to-use applications, superior customer service, and cost-effective packages that come with a 30-day money-back assurance.

Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN stand out for their superior features in 2024. They excel in security, privacy, additional functionalities, and streaming app compatibility, and they both offer intuitive user interfaces. Nonetheless, ExpressVPN edges ahead due to its swifter speeds, great streaming support, extensive P2P server coverage, enhanced gaming performance, efficacy in restrictive countries, and overall value.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is ExpressVPN better than NordVPN?

Yes, as ExpressVPN outperforms NordVPN in several metrics, including 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 provide a really good streaming experience, but I like ExpressVPN more — it works with 100+ streaming services, including top sites like Netflix, Max, and Hulu, and its support staff confirmed its compatible with 10+ Netflix libraries. Also, it comes with a MediaStreamer, which is a smart DNS that lets you use a VPN on devices that don’t natively support VPN connections, like gaming consoles.

NordVPN works with top sites, too, like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Max, and it comes with a smart DNS and SmartPlay on all of its servers, which combines VPN security with smart DNS technology. Even so, it only works with 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 minor 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 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 servers in 105 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 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.

Read more about the best VPNs in 2024

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About the Author
Tim Mocan
Tim Mocan
Senior Writer
Updated on: June 15, 2024

About the Author

Tim Mocan is a Senior Writer at SafetyDetectives. He has 5+ years of experience researching and writing about cybersecurity topics, and he specializes in VPNs. Prior to joining SafetyDetectives, he worked as a contributor for other VPN review websites and as a content writer for several VPN providers. Throughout his freelance writing career, he has also covered other niches, including SEO, digital marketing, customer loyalty, home improvement, and health and rehab. Outside of work, Tim loves to spend his time traveling, playing video games, binging anime, and using VPNs (yes, really!).