If you’ve been shopping around for a VPN, chances are you’ve read extensively about ExpressVPN and NordVPN, the two leading providers of the VPN industry.
But although you may have narrowed your decision down to these two juggernauts of the VPN world, deciding between them is difficult – especially as on the surface they offer such similar features.
That’s why we’ve put together this short article to help you decide which VPN is right for you. As these two providers offer an incredibly closely matched service which covers everything a standard VPN does, we’re not going to use this article to deep dive into their tech, but you can do that here.
Instead, we’re going to be looking at the proprietary features of ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN, and use those features to determine which service offers the best value for money overall.
Based in Panama, NordVPN is an internationally recognized VPN provider established in 2012, and offers the following basic features:
- Strict no-logs policy
- Internet kill-switch
- Full clients for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, and Linux
- Support for six devices
- Access to major streaming services
- IP & DNS leak prevention
These are unique features which NordVPN offer that ExpressVPN doesn’t currently offer, or at least not in the same form. These include:
- Onion over VPN – NordVPN users can connect to a VPN server which also routes their traffic through ‘The Onion Router’, or ‘Tor’, to further encrypt their traffic.
- Double VPN – NordVPN’s Double VPN connections route your traffic through two geographically separate servers in order to fully obfuscate your location and other data.
- Obfuscated Servers – If you’re in a country that restricts content at a national level, NordVPN lets you bypass these restrictions with their obfuscated server feature.
- CyberSec – NordVPN’s CyberSec feature blocks malicious ads, malware, identifies phishing attempts, and blocks trackers during your browsing session.
NordVPN offers good value for money, with monthly subscriptions starting from just $3.49 if you pay in one lump sum of $125.64, which covers you for three years.
Otherwise, a month-by-month subscription will cost $11.95 per month, which is only marginally cheaper than ExpressVPN’s monthly price.
Based in the British Virgin Islands, ExpressVPN have been operating since 2010, and are generally one of the most trusted VPN services in the world.
They offer the following basic features:
- Strict no-logs policy (and TrustedServer, explained below)
- Network-lock feature
- Apps for Windows, MacOS, Linux, iOS, Android, Routers and a range of smart devices
- Support for five devices
- Access to major streaming services
- 24 hour live chat support
There’s a collection of proprietary features offered by ExpressVPN which have contributed significantly to its success, including:
- TrustedServer Technology – One of the most attractive features of ExpressVPN, TrustedServer technology ensures that all data passing through ExpressVPN’s servers is stored on RAM memory, and no data is ever written to a hard disk and therefore isn’t recoverable by third parties.
- Zero Knowledge DNS – While NordVPN do use their own DNS servers to prevent leaks, they don’t use zero-knowledge DNS like ExpressVPN, which uses separate DNS servers for each and every website you visit.
ExpressVPN is one of the priciest VPN providers, with only moderate savings for subscribing for a significant length of time.
Purchasing a yearly subscription upfront will cost just over $99, equivalent to $8.32 per month, and paying month-by-month is $12.95 – significantly more expensive in the long term.
A three year subscription at NordVPN costs just under $30 more than a year’s worth of ExpressVPN subscription.
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While both of these VPNs are packed full of features and will serve you incredibly well regardless of what level of user you are, we have to pick a winner.
Overall, we have to recommend NordVPN. Feature wise, NordVPN is neck-and-neck with ExpressVPN, and even offers some proprietary features such as CyberSec, but there’s not much in it and these two services are fairly similar.
As a result, it comes down to price and server variety. NordVPN is a fraction of the price of ExpressVPN, with their cheapest monthly subscription price of $3.49 coming in at over twice as cheap as ExpressVPN’s cheapest monthly cost of $8.32 – a huge saving if you’re looking to subscribe for a decent length of time. NordVPN also supports six devices where ExpressVPN supports just five.
Likewise, NordVPN currently has far more servers for users to choose from, with over 5,500 servers in 94 countries compared to some 3,000 offered by ExpressVPN.
So, although we can see that these two services are somewhat comparable in performance, NordVPN offers marginally better access to servers, and does so at a far more affordable monthly price – and you can pay your subscription in Bitcoin if you’re concerned about sharing your payment information.
That said, there’s certain proprietary features of ExpressVPN we think are interesting to those concerned with data privacy, especially their TrustedServer technology, which guarantees that your browsing data can never be recovered by third parties, something NordVPN don’t currently offer.
Still undecided? Read our complete ExpressVPN and NordVPN guides here, where we discuss each provider’s full list of features.