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VPNs are no longer the property of whiz kids or hackers, VPNs are becoming more commonplace around the world.

This rise in usage is not only due to the increasing awareness of the importance of online security, but also due to the ever-growing range of high-quality VPN providers. So, in this head-to-head, we would pit two of the biggest hitters against each other in a VPN battle for the ages: ExpressVPN vs NordVPN.

You may have heard of ExpressVPN, and for good reason – with great support and a large number of servers, ExpressVPN is a premium service through and through. NordVPN, however, is a hugely popular rival and practically a household name at this point, offering everything you’d expect, plus some intriguing features.

The best VPN offers the complete package-watertight security features, user-friendly apps, and the ability to access geo-blocked websites like Netflix, among others.

So how do ExpressVPN and NordVPN stack up against each other – and what’s worth spending your money on?

Specifications

From the moment you install them, it’s crystal clear why these are two of the biggest beasts in the world of VPN. Both boast great products.

Once installed, both have you logging on to your choice of their large number of servers within just a few seconds. ExpressVPN with its huge inviting on / off button, NordVPN with its illustrated world map and “Quick Connect” option.

As you can see from the specification comparison,you don’t want server locations. From Albania to Vietnam, these two providers have done it the hard way to give their users options all over the world. Nord may have the sheer abundance of numbers, but Express pips it with the diversity of locations.

ExpressVPN vs NordVPN: plans, pricing and trials.

ExpressVPN opens with a one-month plan at a price of $12.95, which drops to $9.99 per month if you opt for a six-month plan. NordVPN only offers a plan for less than a year, which equates to one month for 11.95 USD or an eye-popping 4.92 USD/pm if you sign up for a year.

However, things get a little cheaper if you sign up for longer. The cheapest ExpressVPN is the one-year plan, which currently offers three additional months for free, bringing the monthly cost down to just $6.67.

The star of the show, however, is NordVPN’s two-year plan, which is currently offered for just $3.71 per month. That’s an excellent value, as long as you don’t mind committing that little bit longer.

Both offer a 30-day money-back guarantee.

If you’re happy to commit to two years of NordVPN (which is prepaid), the services run ExpressVPN in terms of pricing. Although the extra three months free from the latter makes it more than competitive.

ExpressVPN vs NordVPN: Privacy

NordVPN and ExpressVPN both have impressive privacy credentials. Both offer perfect forward secrecy, which means that even if one session is compromised, your next one will be protected again by using a different key.

Both also claim to block DNS leaks, and our tests have confirmed this. However, ExpressVPN runs its own 256-bit encrypted DNS on all servers without knowledge. Keeping this kind of work under its own roof is a good sign.

NordVPN offers some great features like Onion over VPN and a dual VPN system, but unfortunately the 2018 server hack still leaves a bad taste.

It’s hard to separate the two here because while NordVPN offers some features not available from ExpressVPN, they probably won’t be used by the vast majority of users – and ExpressVPN has a squeaky clean track record.

ExpressVPN vs NordVPN: Logging.

The logging status of a VPN service is a major selling point, and both were reviewed by an independent PricewaterhouseCooper audit that met their claims of absolutely no logging.

ExpressVPN logs a very minimal amount – just the date of the connection and the choice of server. This information alone does not compromise the user in any way and since no other data is stored.

In both cases, the logging policies are clear and easy to understand. It’s always a good sign when all relevant information is readily available, and we applaud both services for their commitment to transparency.

ExpressVPN vs NordVPN: Performance

Now for something you may notice from day to day. The performance of a VPN is critical – if your connection is reduced to a crawl, there’s no point in being connected at all.

Once again, both providers performed admirably. In part, that’s thanks to each now providing proprietary protocols for their users: Express ‘ s Lightway and NordVPN’s version of WireGuard, which calls it NordLynx.

The latter had the edge in our tests, especially when it came to U.S. server connections, as we recorded a staggering 350Mbps download speed.

But even with the more traditional OpenVPN connection, speeds are still impressive. On our US test line, ExpressVPN averaged 140Mbps, while NordVPN peaked at 160. Of our UK test line, ExpressVPN had the edge, with highs of 220Mbps compared to North’s 75.

When connecting to more distant servers, both services ran well, However, there were some very slow connections. ExpressVPN proved to be slightly more reliable, however, and only came out on top in a footrace.

ExpressVPN vs NordVPN: Streaming

One of the main reasons many consider a VPN is to access geo-blocked streaming services. If that’s you, this is a crucial comparison in your choice.

ExpressVPN explicitly states which websites it can unblock for you – a bold move, as these services are constantly struggling to restrict VPN access. However, ExpressVPN backs up these claims and unlocks every one of our tested Netflix servers, YouTube, and the notoriously difficult BBC iPlayer (mostly).

NordVPN doesn’t explicitly claim to unblock specific websites on its main homepages, though it does imply that you’ll get access to “entertainment content”. That being said, every Netflix site we tried was successfully unlocked, as was YouTube.

iPlayer proved to be a stumbling block for Nord, however, and we had to use the browser extension along with the desktop client to unlock the BBC’s streaming service.

While both were (eventually) successful in unlocking everything we tried, ExpressVPN makes the process easier. No wonder we consider it the best Netflix VPN available.

ExpressVPN vs NordVPN: Torrents.

If you regularly perform unprotected torrenting activities, you expose your IP – address to everyone you share files with-and a VPN is the perfect security solution.

Fortunately, both ExpressVPN and NordVPN offer excellent P2P features.

ExpressVPN supports P2P sharing on all servers, has no bandwidth limitations and no data capacity. It’s a hassle-free experience that also offers an effective kill switch that kicks in when your internet connection is interrupted.

NordVPN doesn’t support P2P on every single server, although it can detect if you’re running torrents and switch you to a server that supports it without you doing anything. You can also choose a P2P-friendly server from the get-go, and there’s a kill switch there, too.

ExpressVPN vs NordVPN: Mobile apps

Staying safe when connected to public Wi-Fi can be a big concern, especially for those who like to work in coffee shops or frequently use public transportation. For this reason, excellent mobile apps are an essential feature of any VPN worth its salt.

NordVPN’s mobile apps are powerful – as you would expect from such a full-featured VPN – and iOS support for their proprietary NordLynx protocol is a real standout feature.

ExpressVPN ‘ s apps are also well featured, with a choice of protocols and a very clean layout. In general, it’s practically as easy to use Express on your phone or tablet as it is on your desktop.

And it’s on the latter that NordVPN’s apps get bogged down – when we open the app, we’re faced with a strange map-based location selection. While there’s a list of servers if you’re looking for them, the initial layout is awkward. Not a disaster, but a design tweak we definitely think is worthwhile.

ExpressVPN vs NordVPN: Support

Even experts can have trouble with VPNs – there’s a lot to go wrong – so an effective support service can mean the difference between solving a problem in minutes and never using an app again.

ExpressVPN’s list of troubleshooting guides is long and easy to navigate. There is very little jargon and it will prove useful to even the greenest VPN user.

Although NordVPN’s list of help articles is long, it is far from easy to work with. However, once you find what you’re looking for, the information is well presented and useful.

Both services support email and live chat, and both work very well – although ExpressVPN’s live chat was probably more comprehensive if we had to choose. Available seven days a week, 24 hours a day, there’s always someone available to lend a hand if you’re struggling.

ExpressVPN vs NordVPN: which is better?

It was a tough battle, and scalpels were taken on both sides. However, as the dust settles, you can easily see why ExpressVPN pips in our guide to the overall best VPN services.

A worthy contender, NordVPN is a powerful service that offers a lot that others don’t,but for us, ExpressVPN is the stronger choice. You can sign up for ExpressVPN by going to their website here.

With great apps, strong privacy, excellent unlocking features, and an unwavering commitment to making everything as easy as possible, ExpressVPN is a complete, polished package – and is definitely worth the small additional cost if you can afford it.

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