NordVPN vs ExpressVPN comparison

NordVPN vs ExpressVPN: Speed, Streaming & Torrenting Comparison in 2021

Are you spoilt for choice between ExpressVPN and NordVPN?

And are wondering which between these two is the best vpn for you…

ExpressVPN and NordVPN are two of the most popular vpn services in 2021 and it can be hard to differentiate these two vpn services because they offer quite similar features.

In this NordVPN vs ExpressVPN comparison today, we are going to look at the pros and cons of each of these vpns.

I hope that by the end of this ExpressVPN vs NordVPN comparison you’ll be able to decide which is the best vpn for you between the two.

Let’s get started…

Here is a quick summary.

NordVPNExpressVPN
Websitenordvpn.comexpressvpn.com
Servers5,8003,000
JurisdictionPanamaBVI
StreamingNetflix, Hulu, Amazon, iPlayer Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, iPlayer
Speed4.1/54.4/5
TorrentingP2P serversAll servers
Kill SwitchYESYES
Works in China?YESYES
Devices65
Pricing$ 3.49/month$ 8.32/month

About

NordVPN is a VPN company based in Panama that enables you to browse the internet anonymously and access geo-restricted content.

Here is a detailed NordVPN review.

ExpressVPN on the other hand is a VPN service provider based in the British Virgin Islands that provides you private internet access and anonymity online.

Check out my detailed review of ExpressVPN.

Server Collection

The more servers a vpn has the better the services they should be able to provide because they’ll less load on the servers.

Even though this is not the case for some vpns like HMA that have a ton of servers but still offer average services.

NordVPN has a total collection of 5,200 vpn servers that are spread over 59 countries in different geographical locations.

ExpressVPN also has a total of 3,000 servers spread over 94 different countries.

While ExpressVPN has less servers in total compared to NordVPN, they more fairly spread out in different continents as compared to NordVPN.

If you are looking for a vpn that will avail a nearby server in most countries that you visit then I recommend ExpressVPN.

Streaming

Will you be able to stream content from popular platforms like Netflix using NordVPN and ExpressVPN?

If you particularly interested in purchasing a vpn to unblock content on platforms like Netflix then you need to do your due diligence to ensure that a vpn actually is capable of unblocking Netflix in that particular region before you commit yourself to a plan.

Earlier on it used to be very easy to access content on these platforms using proxy addresses…

But since these platforms started blocking vpn IP address it has become very hard for most vpns to unblock content on these platforms.

NordVPN is able to unblock Netflix in various countries like the US, UK, Canada, Brazil and Japan.

Apart from Netflix you’ll also be able to unblock other streaming sites like Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and BBC iPlayer.

ExpressVPN is also able to unblock Netflix in different countries like the US, UK, Canada, Japan and Brazil.

You’ll also be able to stream content on Hulu, BBC iPlayer and Amazon Prime.

From the perspective of streaming services both NordVPN and ExpressVPN square it out as they are able to consistently unblock all the most popular streaming platforms.

If you are looking for a vpn for streaming content online then both NordVPN and ExpressVPN are great options.

Speed

Which one is faster between NordVPN and ExpressVPN?

VPN connections speeds is a very important factor to consider before choosing a vpn because some vpns can really slow down your internet connection.

A good vpn should be able to keep at least 80% of your original connections speeds.

This way your browsing speeds might not be noticeably affected by connecting to a vpn because that leads to a poor browsing experience.

In order to compare the connection speeds of ExpressVPN vs NordVPN I used speedtest.net by Ookla.

I connected to three different servers based in three different locations and then measured the ping, download and upload speeds.

NordVPN maintained an average of 83% of my original download speeds which gives its speed test a rating of 4.1/5.0 stars.

ExpressVPN on the other hand maintained an average of 87% of my original download speeds for all the servers that I connected to.

From this speed comparison it is clear that ExpressVPN delivers faster internet speeds than NordVPN.

If you are looking for a vpn that will keep your speeds to the original speeds then I recommend ExpressVPN.

Torrenting

Downloading torrent files is another very popular activity online.

But since anti piracy laws are getting tougher by the day, it is very important to ensure that your torrenting is completely private and anonymous.

In fact, you should never start downloading any torrent files before connecting to a vpn.

Do NordVPN and ExpressVPN support torrenting?

NordVPN has special servers that are dedicated to downloading torrent files.

In order to start torrenting you must first head over to the P2P options in the settings and choose which torrenting server you want to connect to.

Once you successfully connect to a torrenting server, you can safely start torrenting.

ExpressVPN on the other hand has better support for torrenting because it supports torrenting activities on all its servers.

So when you want to start downloading torrent files, you don’t need to switch servers or connect to special servers… you simply start torrenting from your current connected server.

It therefore means that even though both NordVPN and ExpressVPN allow torrenting on their servers, ExpressVPN has better support for torrenting.

In addition to that, as we’ll discover later, NordVPN offers a completely zero logs policy so your torrenting is completely private and anonymous with NordVPN.

I can’t say the same for ExpressVPN because they collect a lot of your vpn activity logs as we’ll discover below.

If you are looking for a vpn that is great for anonymous torrenting, then I strongly recommend NordVPN.

Privacy Policy

While a vpn is supposed to make you invisible to your ISP…

The next problem is that the vpn is able to see all your traffic and internet usage which gives them a lot of powers more than your ISP.

A good vpn that cares for your privacy should therefore no log any of this data to ensure that your are completely anonymous and that no user logs can be tied back to you.

Even though this should be the case, some vpns employ shady practices and go ahead and log this information.

Do NordVPN and ExpressVPN keep user logs?

First of all, NordVPN is located in Panama which is a privacy haven because it does not form part of the 14 eyes countries.

Panama also does not have any data retention laws that obligate a vpn to keep activity logs of its users.

Secondly, NordVPN states very clearly privacy policy that they do not keep logs of your activity and connections to their vpn.

So this means that there is no data on their servers that could be used to identify you or tie you to certain browsing activities…

ExpressVPN on the other hand is based in the British Virgin Islands.

Even though it is very close to the UK, which forms part of the 14 eyes countries, the BVI does not form part of these surveillance happy countries.

In addition to that, they do not have any mandatory data retention policies for vpns.

Because of this we can say that the BVI a pretty privacy friendly place to base a vpn company.

ExpressVPN states in their privacy policy that they do not log your IP address whenever you connect to their vpn servers.

However, after diving deeper into their privacy policy I discovered that they log much more information about you.

According to their privacy policy, ExpressVPN logs your connections timestamp, bandwidth usage and your internet service provider.

While this is not personally identifying information, it shows that ExpressVPN is particularly log happy than they should.

If you’re looking for a vpn that delivers on their promise of complete anonymity online, then I recommend NordVPN.

Encryption & Data Protection

Using a strong data encryption technology ensures that your information is impossible to decrypt should it land in the wrong hands.

Most vpns employ standard encryption technologies that have been tried and proven to be tamper proof.

Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN use NSA recommended AES 256-bit encryption that is bulletproof and cannot be decrypted.

It is the same encryption that is used by militaries to encrypt classified sensitive information.

Protocols

Which vpn connection protocols does ExpressVPN or NordVPN use?

In order to transmit data between your device and the server, they need to connect using certain connection protocols.

Fast and secure connection protocols ensure you have a great browsing experience because your internet access will be both quick and safe.

Both NordVPN and ExpressVPN employ the use of two of the most secure and fastest connection protocols: OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPSec.

While OpenVPN is the default protocol for the desktop and Android apps, IKEv2 is the default protocol for iOS devices.

Since they both use the best encryption technologies and connection protocols, ExpressVPN and NordVPN guarantee you complete safety online.

Ad Blocker

An ad blocker enables you to block display of ads and have an ad free browsing experience on most of the websites that you visit.

Even though most websites rely on ads to make money, some websites are very aggressive with their advertising display which be intrusive and annoying at the same time.

This is partly because people have become ad blind these days… so it takes more aggressive advertising to draw their attention.

NordVPN has a CyberSec feature that when turned on will enable you to prevent ads from displaying.

It is also able to protect your device from malware attacks from phishing websites.

So a hacker cannot hack your computer and use it remotely to launch a DDoS attack on other servers online.

ExpressVPN, unfortunately does not have an inbuilt vpn ad blocker in any of its apps… so you won’t be able to block ads on the sites that you visit.

It also lacks a malware blocker that can protect your device from being hacked or infected by malware.

If are looking for a vpn that will provide you a safe browsing experience online, then I recommend NordVPN.

Dedicated IPs

You need a dedicated IP to connect to certain restricted networks like your work network or your home security camera feed.

Most of such applications need a dedicated IP address that you can whitelist in your apps in order to gain remote access.

So let’s look at which one between NordVPN vs ExpressVPN will give you dedicated IP address for your personal use.

NordVPN comes with a dedicated IP address feature for all plans.

If you need connect to a vpn dedicated IP, head over to the dedicated IP settings in the menu where you’ll find a list of servers available for you to connect to.

You can then choose a particular server and location that you always want to connect to using the same IP each time.

ExpressVPN, unfortunately, does not have a dedicated IP address feature.

So you won’t be able to choose to use a particular IP address each time you connect to the internet.

If you are looking for a vpn that will provide you with a dedicated IP address then I recommend NordVPN.

Kill Switch

A vpn will make your internet access secure and private.

But is only the case as long as you remain connected to the vpn servers.

If your connection drops and your vpn app disconnects from the server, your real IP address is revealed and your ISP can see and log your internet activities.

In order to ensure that this does not happen, you need to use an automatic internet kill switch.

A kill switch ensures that your internet access for your entire device is cut off whenever your vpn app disconnects from the server.

This way your real IP is not revealed and your internet access is only restored when your vpn reconnects to the server.

NordVPN has a powerful internet kill switch that when turned on will ensure that you only access the internet when it is safe to do so.

It is turned off by default so you’ll need to turn it in first.

ExpressVPN also has an internet kill switch for this very purpose… once turned on you wont be able to access the internet anytime your vpn app disconnects from the vpn server.

You should turn on this internet kill switch anytime you want to start downloading a torrent file.

Split Tunneling

Even though a vpn is great for browsing the internet safely and anonymously, it makes it an inconvenience when using some apps.

For example, since a vpn causes drops in your connection speeds it is particularly not great to connect to the vpn when running backups as it will slow you down.

Also, since a vpn assigns you a new IP address every time you connect to the server, it makes you skip through additional loops in order to log into your banking app that expects you to always use the same IP.

It is for this reason that you need a split tunneling feature.

A vpn split tunnel enables you to specify certain apps to be exempted from having their traffic channeled through the vpn tunnel.

Fortunately, both ExpressVPN and NordVPN have an inbuilt split tunneling feature.

Through this features you’ll be able to specify certain apps that will not have their traffic encrypted through the vpn.

Remember that these apps will therefore not benefit from anonymity and security provided by your vpn and your ISP is able to see and log your traffic on these apps.

Works in China?

China has a powerful firewall that not only blocks access to certain websites but also blocks vpn traffic that is used to access these censored websites.

So a vpn must have a powerful obfuscation technology in order to be able to bypass the deep packet inspection technology of China’s firewall.

NordVPN has specialized obfuscated servers that enable you to access content on restricted countries like China.

NordVPN works in China.

ExpressVPN on the other hand also has a technology that is able to make their vpn traffic look like normal https traffic and bypass the great firewall of China.

It will work flawlessly in China.

If you are looking for a vpn that you can carry with you to China then both NordVPN and ExpressVPN are great options.

Pricing

How much does it cost to use NordVPN and ExpressVPN?

Let’s finish this ExpressVPN vs NordVPN review by looking at the various pricing plans that are available for each of these vpns.

Even though it’s packed with a lot of premium features, NordVPN is actually a budget friendly vpn company.

Their cheapest plan is the 3 year plan that goes for $ 3.49/month.

ExpressVPN on the other hand is an expensive vpn company with their cheapest plan being the 1 year plan that goes for $ 8.32/month.

If you are looking for a vpn that provides you with premium servers for cheap then I recommend NordVPN.

Payment Options

Lastly, let’s compare NordVPN vs ExpressVPN by looking at the various payment options that each one provides.

When you are looking for a vpn company that is big on privacy and anonymity online, you check to ensure that they offer payment options that encourage anonymity by providing as little information about you as possible when signing up.

This is particularly the case with anonymous payment methods like gift cards and crypto payments.

NordVPN supports various credit cards and payment platforms except PayPal.

In addition to that, you also get to make payment through cryptocurrencies like Bitcoins.

ExpressVPN also supports all the major payment platforms  and credit cards, including PayPal.

Besides the standard payment methods, ExpressVPN also supports crypto payments through Bitcoins.

So if you are looking for a vpn that will allow you pay with Bitcoins then both NordVPN and ExpressVPN are great options.

Conclusion

I hope this ExpressVPN vs NordVPN review in 2021 has helped you learn about the similarities and differences between these two popular vpns.

So which is the best vpn… NordVPN or ExpressVPN?

Even though compete fairly in most of the features that they offer, I’ll lean towards NordVPN because they are true to their no logs policy and collect as little information about me as possible.

Have you used ExpressVPN or NordVPN before?

Please share your experience in the comments below.

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