NordVPN vs ExpressVPN

In my line of work and the fact I could be working anywhere in the world at any time, I've had to make use of virtual private networks (VPN's) quite often.

There are literally SO many VPN choices out there, it's hard to choose which one is best.

I've narrowed the choices down to the two most trusted VPN's in the market.

As usual, this is my own assessment so I always recommend you do your own due diligence in researching which is best for YOUR situation.

Hopefully, my breakdown here will help you get more clarity in choosing the right one for you.

VPN Use Cases & Benefits

Before I delve in, you might be wondering what's the uses and benefits of VPN's, after all, it becomes an added cost (whether for personal or business use).

So, I thought I'd share some of the main use cases and benefits of having a VPN service:

  • I use Vimeo as a video hosting service for practically all my marketing and online course videos (and I usually recommend Vimeo to clients) - however, I discovered that many countries have banned access to video hosts such as Vimeo - countries like China, Indonesia, etc - where many of my clients are based, so it's not feasible for me to upload all my videos to a different host since many aren't accessible in those countries anyways, so the easiest solution is to recommend to clients to use a VPN service to access those videos. (It's not ideal, I know, but it is what it is)
  • Security - I've been working remotely for over fifteen years and counting. Sometimes I don't trust the wifi networks I'm on, so accessing the Internet via the VPN is more secure
  • Accessing local content & websites - multinational websites will present different content to you based on your geography. So, if I'm overseas but need to access a site or content that is restricted to specific geographies, using a VPN helps overcome those limitations.
  • Streaming sites - related to the above point - services like Netflix and sports streams where local blackouts can happen, using a VPN helps overcome these problems as well.

Number of Global Servers

VPN's will have servers (literally computers) physically located in various geographies. The more the better and the more diverse geographies, the better.

Why?

Your experience and speeds will vary depending on the # of users connected to any one VPN server. So, the more servers they have, the better and faster the experience you will have.

Feature

NordVPN

ExpressVPN

# of servers

5,800+ servers

3,000+ servers

# of Geographies

60+ Countries

94 Countries

# of locations

N/A

160 locations

Works in restrictive countries? (e.g. China, Middle-East, etc)

Winner: NordVPN - This really depends on your needs. NordVPN has a larger number of servers (which is good if there's a lare user base), however, ExpressVPN looks to have a wider geography base.

If you only need to have access to small handful of geographies, then NordVPN may be the better choice in this case based upon total number of servers.

Security

One of the main objectives of using a VPN is security. So, how do VPN's offer security for you?

First, the type of encryption they use. This is how they "hide" the data that is being transferred between your device and their web servers. The harder it is to decrypt or read the data being transferred, the more secure (I'm really simplifying this I know). Most VPN's will use AES-256 encryption which is the similar encryption grade the military uses.

Second, where the business entity is registered. Why does this matter? If the VPN's legal business entity is registered in a country that has or lack of strict data retention requirements, the more secure it is for you the end-user. Meaning, the VPN has no legal requirement to keep logs of who is using their service (so no tracing of your IP address).

Feature

NordVPN

ExpressVPN

Encryption

AES-256-GCM (military grade)

AES-256 (military grade)

Country of Registration

Panama

British Virgin Islands

No Logs Policy

Ads & Malicious Site Blocking

Winner: NordVPN (very slight edge) - The only difference is in the ad blocking and malicious site blocking feature, I couldn't find that for ExpressVPN so NordVPN wins ever so slightly here.

Devices

Nowadays, we're all connected to the Internet via multiple devices. Laptops, smartphones, iPads/Tablets, etc. So, access to your VPN on multiple devices is important.

Feature

NordVPN

ExpressVPN

Windows devices

mac O/S devices

iOS devices

Android devices

Linux devices

Game Consoles
(Xbox, Playstation)

Only via Router VPN setup

Only via Router VPN setup

SmartTV's, Streaming Devices (Chromecast, Roku, etc)

Only via Router VPN setup

Only via Router VPN setup

Routers

Total # of devices per plan

6

5

Winner: NordVPN (slight edge) - In terms of types of device support, both NordVPN and ExpressVPN offer a good range of device support. NordVPN wins slightly as they allow 6 devices vs 5 devices per single plan.

Support

One of the most crucial requirements for any vendor I consider is the access and response from support.

I haven't had to contact any support (which is good) and I realise everyone's experience can be different.

Feature

NordVPN

ExpressVPN

Availability

24/7

24/7

Live Chat

Email

Ticketing System

Winner: Tie - In terms of availability and channels both are equal here. So, it will come down to your independent experience with support contact.

Price

I saved "Price" for last because I wanted to present all the other features first before you evaluate the price.

If you know you have a specific VPN as your choice AND you know you'll have a use for it on a regular basis, then I would go for the 12-month (annual) plans. Simply because the cost savings are much more attractive.

However, if you want to try it out without making such a long commitment or if you don't see yourself having a need for this on a regular basis, then obviously the monthly plan (or quarterly plans) would be the choice that makes sense.

Both offer a 30-day money back guarantee, so you can try either one to see which one fits you best without much risk.

Only you can decide which makes sense to you.

Winner: If everything being equal and I base it solely on price AND total number of devices you can connect on a single plan, then NordVPN wins on value.

All listed prices are in US dollars.

Feature

NordVPN

ExpressVPN

Annual - 12-month plan

$6.99 / month

$8.32 / month

Monthly plan

$11.95 / month

$12.95 / month

Guarantee

30-Day Money Back

30-Day Money Back

# devices / plan

6 devices

5 devices

My Current Pick

Notice I don't say this is my "final" pick, because with these types of reviews, things can always change.

However, based upon the current information I have and the above analysis, my current pick would be...

Winner: NordVPN - in terms of overall value, NordVPN would be my pick based upon the price plus the total devices included in a plan.

Frankly, I don't think you can go wrong with either one of these choices. As I mentioned at the beginning, there are so many VPN's out there, it's hard to figure out which ones you can trust and which ones are fly-by-night. Both NordVPN and ExpressVPN are established and don't seem to be going anywhere soon.

If ever there was a reason I had to drop NordVPN, ExpressVPN would be a great backup choice.

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