NordVPN vs ExpressVPN 2020 [Which is Best in Comparison?]

NordVPN vs ExpressVPN 2020 - Which is Best in Comparison?

ExpressVPN and NordVPN are considered being “the best” VPN services around the web and also by Private Proxy Guide, but which one of them is a better solution for the ordinary Internet user?

We wrote a general review of both some time ago (read our ExpressVPN review and NordVPN review here). Now, we are going to compare them to each other by the same criteria used in the reviews.


Both VPN providers offer a variety of servers, attractive apps for most platforms, unlimited speeds and bandwidth, a variety of security protocol options, no logs, and a simultaneous connection to multiple devices. They offer a fast connection speed and provide great and reliable encryption. The servers are located in many places around the globe. Generally, NordVPN and ExpressVPN do not differ much, which is why this question is asked a lot on Reddit.


Visit ExpressVPN

  • Simultaneous connections: 5.
  • Supported protocols: OpenVPN, IPSec/L2TP, PPTP, IKEv2.
  • Encryption: AES-256.
  • The number of servers: more than 2000 servers in 148 locations in 94 countries.
  • No logging.
  • Compatible with most operating systems, including Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, Android, Linux, and routers.
  • Pricing: $8.32–$12.95 per month.
  • Various ways of payment: Credit cards, PayPal, Bitcoin, and a lot of other payments operators.
  • Moneyback guarantee: 30 days.
  • Customer support: email, live chat, knowledge base.

Visit NordVPN

  • Simultaneous connections: 6.
  • Supported protocols: OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP, iKEv2.
  • Encryption: AES-256.
  • The number of servers: 5249 servers in 62 countries.
  • No logging.
  • Compatible with most operating systems, including Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, Android, Linux, and routers.
  • Pricing: $2.99–$11.95 per month.
  • Various ways of payment: Credit cards, PayPal, cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple), and a lot of other payments operators.
  • Moneyback guarantee: 30 days.
  • Customer support: email, live chat, knowledge base, a web form.

Privacy policy


ExpressVPN is under the jurisdiction of the British Virgin Islands. Being a part of the United Kingdom, this is an independent country with its own legal system and law control. The country is very well known for its financial privacy. The British Virgin Islands can even be compared to Switzerland. So, your data is absolutely protected and secure. ExpressVPN has a very clear privacy policy. Their users can know what the company collects, doesn’t collect, how they collect and store personal data. They never store your personal data like IP address search requests, DNS queries, traffic destination, browsing history, and activity log. So, this provider is a great solution for those who care about privacy.


NordVPN is under the jurisdiction of Panama. This country does not censor the Internet and has an efficient law to protect customers’ privacy. They also have a clear privacy policy published on their website. Like ExpressVPN, NordVPN does not store any personal data IP address, search requests, browsing history, activity logs, etc. In addition, the Panama law system protects every user from third party requests. So if you care about your privacy, NordVPN is also a great and reliable solution.

Winner: Tie

Score: 1:1

Pricing and payment

VPN Service ExpressVPN NordVPN
Pricing $8.32/mo — 12 months plan $9.99/mo — 6 months plan $12.95/mo — 1-month plan $2.99/mo — 3-year plan $3.99/mo — 2-year plan $6.99/mo — 1-year plan $11.95/mo — 1-month plan
Included Devices 5 6
Bandwidth Unlimited Unlimited
Supported Payment Methods bank cards, PayPal, Bitcoin, and a lot of local payments systems bank cards, PayPal, cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple), the most popular local payment systems

Comparing these two VPN providers, ExpressVPN is much more expensive. Even its cheapest plan does not differ much from the most expensive NordVPN plan. With ExpressVPN, you can save some money buying an annual subscription. In that case, it will cost you $8.32 per month. With NordVPN, the 3-year plan offers one of the lowest prices in the market — only $2.99 per month. Other plans are a bit more expensive, but they are more affordable and attractive than the competitor’s plans.

For both providers, the procedure of registration is very easy: all you need to start is your email address. If you completely want to keep your privacy, you can buy a subscription using cryptocurrencies. ExpressVPN supports only Bitcoin, and NordVPN —Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple. Both services support a huge variety of payment methods. You can choose among credit cards — Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover, as well as others; PayPal, cryptocurrencies, and a lot of local systems like Alipay, WebMoney, Yandex Money, Giropay, etc. So, you will be able to get a subscription no matter where you live.

Winner: NordVPN. Its pricing plans are much more attractive. In addition, it supports more cryptocurrencies.

Score: 1:2


03 ExpressVPN apps

04 NordVPN apps

Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN support almost all existing devices and systems. For the most popular platforms such as Windows, Android, macOS, iOS, and Linux, they provide attractive and easy to use apps. They all have a great interface which is very intuitive even for a complete novice. For all other systems and devices, they have detailed instructions on how to configure everything manually. They include Blackberry, Wi-Fi routers, browser extensions, Xbox and PlayStation consoles, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Raspberry Pi, Synology NAS, etc.

The only difference is that with ExpressVPN you can select any specific country and city, but with NordVPN you will only be able to select countries. Within countries, the servers only have numbers. In the apps of both providers, there is an option to select the most suitable server for your needs automatically.

Winner: Tie

Score: 2:3


Both providers offer features which are de facto the standard for every respective VPN-company. For example, you can use the Kill Switch feature so the app blocks the connection if you disconnected from the VPN server for any reason. However, there are some features specific to each of them.



This is useful when you want to connect only specific devices or apps to the VPN. The feature lets you choose which devices or apps connect to ExpressVPN and which ones access the internet without VPN encryption.

Zero-knowledge DNS

ExpressVPN runs its own DNS on every server. Because it never leaves the VPN tunnel, ExpressVPN’s DNS is fast, leaves no identifiable information, and best of all, your DNS queries are signed and encrypted to be protected from anyone seeing them, stopping them or modifying them.



This is a feature that protects the system by blocking any malicious resources and even ads. Due to this, your device will remain uninfected. It provides better browser performance and improved security and privacy.

Double VPN

On some servers, you can choose the Double VPN feature. First, you connect to one server, then connect to the second one, and finally, you get connected to the website. It highly improves the security and helps to bypass local restrictions.

Onion over VPN

NordVPN offers to connect to the special Onion over VPN server and be absolutely protected. First, the traffic will be sent to the NordVPN server, and then redirected to the Onion Router. The combination of two technologies will hide your IP, DNS, and location, and highly encrypt your connection. You don’t even need to download the Tor browser.

Obfuscated servers

When you are in a country or territory with strong internet censorship such as China, then connect to the special obfuscated server. It will bypass all the limitations and open the window to the world of freedom. You can find what servers support the feature on the official NordVPN website.

Winner: Tie

Score: 3:4


Both providers have a huge network of servers. They have thousands of servers around the globe.

05 ExpressVPN servers

ExpressVPN offers 148 VPN locations around the globe to connect to. They are grouped by continents: Europe, the Americas, Asia Pacific, and Africa, Middle East & India. You can choose the location from the list, or even type a country or city. The company does not specify the total amount of servers, but we know that there are more than 2000 of them.

As for NordVPN, their network currently has 5249 servers in 62 countries. They are located in both popular countries and quite exotic ones. There are also general servers and special ones with a specific purpose. Unlike ExpressVPN, here, you are not able to select the specific location. You can change only countries. All the servers are numbered. On the official website, you can find detailed information about all the servers. You will find the full list of them, and what security protocols they support.

06 NordVPN servers

Winner: tie. NordVPN is the winner in the total amount of servers. However, ExpressVPN allows selecting a specific location.

Score: 4:5.

Speed test

Connection speed is a vital component of any VPN service. Of course, the secure connection will be slower than the direct connection, but it’s important not to be slowed down significantly. While comparing, we were physically located in Ukraine and had the following connection speed:


Then we used several popular locations. Here are the results:

ExpressVPN NordVPN
UK 24.64/45.24 Mbps UK 16.57/48.85 Mbps
Germany 24.43/52.91 Mbps Switzerland 20.95/58.81 Mbps
USA 9.10/33.34 Mbps USA 6.33/35.20 Mbps
Canada 6.75/15.10 Mbps Brazil 5.61/13.84 Mbps
Australia 10.39/3.55 Mbps Singapore 12.31/13.75 Mbps

Obviously, the connection speed was significantly lower due to the physical distance. However, the results are pretty good. If you just browse the pages, you will not probably even notice any speed drop. In any case, you will be able to use any online service without the restrictions.

Winner: ExpressVPN. The average connection speed is higher in most locations.

Score: 5:5.


Both providers support all the popular security and encryption protocols and allow using them without any restrictions. The list of supported protocols includes:

  • UDP — OpenVPN — best combination of speed and security, but unavailable on some networks.
  • TCP — OpenVPN — supports probably all the networks but may be slower than UDP.
  • L2TP — IPSec — L2TP over IPSec with a pre-shared key. Only a subset of VPN locations may be available.
  • PPTP — the least secure protocol, should be used only for specific reasons. Only a subset of VPN locations may be available.
  • SSTP — runs over TCP port 443 and work on any network. Only a subset of VPN locations may be available.
  • IKEv2 — combines high reliability and speed. Supports connection to another network without dropping the VPN connection.

In addition, ExpressVPN uses AES-256 cipher with the RSA-4096 handshake and SHA-512 HMAC hash authentication, while NordVPN uses AES-256 for L2TP/IPSec, 256-bit SSL encryption for OpenVPN, and MPPE-128 encryption for PPTP.

Winner: Tie. Both companies provide a great set of security and encryption protocols.

Score: 6:6.

Streaming & P2P

Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN allow downloading torrent files without any restrictions. They also provide servers specifically configured to use the P2P protocol. We could download the Linux Mint install file without any problems in both cases.

07 torrent

As for geo-blocked services; we could easily access BBC iPlayer, Canadian CBC, Australian ABC iView, and the American version of Netflix. It’s a fantastic result. Moreover, NordVPN provides the SmartPlay feature which helps to access more than 400 streaming services around the globe. When you try to access it, the application automatically turns on this mode and connects to the best server to watch it without any problems.

Winner: Tie. You will be able to watch all the streaming services and access restricted websites using both providers.

Score: 7:7.


Express VPN is the only service that guarantees to work and be available in censored areas and countries like China. You will be able to use the applications on your devices as usual. Moreover, if you live or come to a country which blocks access to the websites of VPN services, the company is the only one which offers a darknet mirror of the website. Use the Tor browser to access it on http://expressobutiolem.onion/.

On the other hand, NordVPN does not guarantee its availability in countries like China. Most probably, the apps will not work. However, try the manual configurations. It highly increases the chance to access the blocked resource.

Winner: ExpressVPN. It is the only provider that guarantees to work in China and provides a Tor version of their website.

Score: 8:7.


Both companies provide technical support via online chat, as well as by email and via a web form. They reply fast, in most cases, in less than a minute, and provides informative instructions. They are ready to answer any question.

Winner: Tie.

Score: 9:8.


We found out that despite ExpressVPN and NordVPN are very similar companies with a great set of features and options, ExpressVPN is the winner. They won due to its higher connection speed and better availability in censored areas. Its features are mostly related to the user’s security and privacy. It also works perfectly with all geo-blocked resources.

Visit ExpressVPN

We are not saying that NordVPN is bad, in fact, we also highly recommend them. NordVPN provides many more servers. However, you are not able to choose their specific location, and they are slightly slower. At the same time, you can save a significant amount of money with NordVPN as its prices are much more attractive.

Visit NordVPN 

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