NordVPN vs ExpressVPN full review

So you’re trying to decide which VPN service to sign up to, and you’ve narrowed your shortlist to NordVPN and ExpressVPN.

Both, as you no doubt already know, are great choices.

The real question is whether it’s worth paying more for ExpressVPN because – let’s face it – it’s more expensive than Nord and this adds up to a big difference over a year, and even more if you’re signing up for longer.

So, here we’ll take a closer look and break down the differences between the two services so you have a clearer idea of what each offers and therefore which is the best one for you.

We’ll compare the two in terms of:

Price

Ease of use

Security

Features

If you want a more in-depth look at each service read our full NordVPN and ExpressVPN reviews.

NordVPN vs ExpressVPN: Price

As with all VPN providers, Nord and Express have several different plans which - unsurprisingly - get cheaper when you commit for longer. They’re both pretty expensive if you sign up for only one month at a time, but this plan is really intended so you can try each service out before you subscribe for a longer period.

NordVPN Pricing

  • One month plan - £9.15/$11.95
  • One year plan - £5.35/$6.99 per month (£64.26/$83.88 upfront)
  • Two year plan - £3.05/$3.99 per month (£73.36/$95.76 upfront)
  • Three year plan - £2.29/$2.99 per month (£82.40/$107.64 upfront)

See all of the plans and sign up on NordVPN's website.

ExpressVPN Pricing

  • One month plan - £9.93/$12.95
  • Six month plan - £7.66/$9.99 (£45.96/$59.94 upfront)
  • One year plan - £6.38/$8.32 (£76.56/$99.84 upfront)

See all of the plans and sign up on ExpressVPN's website.

The big difference here, then, is that ExpressVPN is more expensive than Nord across the board, and doesn’t offer two- or three-year deals like Nord does. The longest is a one-year deal, which gives you three months free, but even this works out at £5 / $6.67 per month. But with Nord’s two year plan, the monthly cost is £3.05 / $3.99, and it gets even cheaper if you’re happy to commit to three years.

Both offer a 30-day month money-back guarantee, too, so you can try the services effectively for free.

Both allow you to pay using credit or debit cards, but also via Bitcoin and other payment methods if you are bothered being completely anonymous when using a VPN.

NordVPN vs ExpressVPN: Ease of use

Both NordVPN and ExpressVPN are extremely easy to use, with no technical knowledge required so no matter which one you choose you’ll find it intuitive to navigate your way through menus and options.

All of the apps offer a ‘one-click-connect’ option that allows you to connect and disconnect to the VPN at the click of a button.

NordVPN Server Selection

The above image shows the NordVPN Windows interface for selecting the server you wish to route your connection through. Just below you can see ExpressVPN's mobile interface.

ExpressVPN UI

Here are the apps and extensions available for each service

NordVPN

ExpressVPN

Windows

Yes

Yes

macOS

Yes

Yes

iOS (iPhone / iPad)

Yes

Yes

Android

Yes

Yes

Amazon Fire TV

Yes

Yes

Android TV

Yes

Yes

Linux

Yes

Yes

Browser extensions

Chrome, Firefox

Chrome, Firefox

Router installation

Yes

Yes


Both services also have step-by-step guides which show you how to get the VPN working on lots of other devices including NAS boxes, RaspberryPi and more.

All the apps have a simple, clean design, allowing you to choose a country or server and get connected quickly.

 

NordVPN vs ExpressVPN: Security & privacy

VPN providers live and die by the security they offer and you can be sure that both NordVPN and ExpressVPN take this very seriously.

They offer the most secure protocols on each operating system, ensuring the connection is virtually unbreakable. And if the VPN tunnel does collapse – which means the connection loses its encryption, both services have a kill switch that immediately stops any data being sent or received until the VPN connection is re-established.

There are slight differences to the kill switch depending on which device and which encryption protocol are being used, though. Plus, note that ExpressVPN’s kill switch (called Network Lock) isn’t available on iOS or Android, whereas NordVPN’s iOS and Android apps do have a kill switch.

In terms of privacy, which is a key factor for any VPN, neither NordVPN nor ExpressVPN keep any logs. This means they do not store the following data about you:

  • Your IP address
  • Browsing history
  • DNS queries
  • Traffic destination
  • Files downloaded

Put simply, it means that there is no record of when you used the service, how long you used it for, or what you did online while you used it: your activity is private. Your ISP, your government and any other third parties will not be able to see or find out what you have been doing.

However, do bear in mind that your activity can be logged and stored by any websites you log into. So if you’re connected to a VPN, but you browse to Amazon.com and login with your usual details, Amazon will know who you are and what you’re browsing and / or buying. A VPN can’t make you anonymous when you hand over your login details to websites.

Location / jurisdiction

NordVPN is based in Panama and ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands. Both locations are outside of the “14-Eyes” group of countries which share intelligence and neither require the storage of data by law.

Either way, with the no-logs policies you’re going to be extremely safe with either of these providers.

NordVPN vs ExpressVPN: Features

Both companies offer a similar service so far. But there are a few differences in the features on offer and their network coverage.

For example, here are a few features that NordVPN has that ExpressVPN does not:

  • Double VPN Encryption
  • 5500+ servers (ExpressVPN has 3000+)
  • Up to 6 connections at once, compared to 5 on ExpressVPN
  • Cyber security features that help keep you safe from ads and malware

NordVPN also offers a Warrant Canary, which updates daily to let users know if the service has been issued with a National Security letter, gag order or any warrant from another organization. You can find this at the very bottom of itAbout Us page.

ExpressVPN has the following features that NordVPN doesn’t have:

  • Split-tunnelling
  • PayPal payment method
  • Servers in 94 countries (NordVPN has 60)

In case you’re wondering, split-tunnelling is where you can pick which apps are routed via the VPN and which aren’t. It’s a little like when you use a VPN web browser extension: only the web browser uses the VPN, but any other apps you’re running connect to the internet as normal without the protection (or possible slow-down) that a VPN brings.

Split tunnelling is a feature in Express VPN’s Windows, macOS, Android and router apps.

Servers

Don’t get too caught up in network coverage: just because Nord has more servers or ExpressVPN covers more countries doesn’t really matter. So long as there is a server near you (for the best speeds for normal use) and a server in the country where you want to unblock content, that’s all that really matters.

And both services have servers in the UK, US and other key countries and, yes, they both unblock Netflix and BBC iPlayer.

Performance

Both companies claim to have fast networks, and while it is very difficult indeed to test a VPN provider’s speed – because it varies all the time – we have used both services extensively for a couple of years and can say they are both very good indeed.

Neither is noticeably better or worse than the other: connections are generally reliable and plenty fast enough to stream HD video.

Tech support

When you run into a problem or have a question, both providers have 24/7 live chat. This is excellent because it means you can speak to someone at any time and typically they’ll be able to help there and then without referring your question to someone else (and then you’ll probably have to wait for an email reply).

They also offer email support if you prefer that, and a ticketed system to ensure queries are answered in order. Both sites have good support pages with lots of information, step-by-step guides and troubleshooting articles which answer a lot of common questions and problems.

Verdict

Both NordVPN and ExpressVPN are exceptional VPN providers. They offer a wide range of features, are easy and intuitive to use and have excellent security.

While both offer a similar list of features some are exclusive to one or the other, but that is the only place where they tend to differ. NordVPN is unquestionably cheaper, so unless ExpressVPN has that one feature you really can’t live without - vote with your wallet and head over to pick up NordVPN’s three year deal.