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ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN – There is only one winner

Express VPN and NordVPN are two of the most common VPN services. We break down what’s best about each program, as well as some drawbacks, and expose our favorite.

VPNs are no longer the domain of the whiz kid or hacker; they’re becoming increasingly ubiquitous all over the world.

This increased use can be due to a growing understanding of the value of online security, as well as the ever-growing number of high-quality VPN providers available. So, in this head-to-head, we’ll pit two of the most powerful players against each other in a VPN battle.

Don’t forget to read our article on the best VPN services that are currently out there for 2021.


Techxpert recommends NordVPN

We prefer NordVPN if you can’t decide between ExpressVPN and NordVPN. With the latest discount, it’s a fantastic low-cost alternative that has one of the best speeds of any service we tested and is ideal for streaming. NordVPN has excellent authentication capabilities as well as a no-logs policy. However, ExpressVPN is still a fantastic option. It’s a bit more expensive, but it comes with a substantial discount when you purchase during a promotion.


ExpressVPN

If you sign up for a one-year contract, ExpressVPN will give you three months free, making it a better deal. If you agree to paying for two years of service in advance, you will get a rate of $3.71 per month.

You’ve already heard of ExpressVPN, and for good reason: it’s a premium provider with excellent support and a large range of servers. NordVPN, on the other hand, is a hugely successful competitor and, at this stage, a household name, offering everything you’d expect plus some interesting in-depth features.

Pros

  • Unblock Netflix, Hulu, Sky Go and more
  • 94 server countries with 3000+ servers
  • Fast enough to allow for continuous streaming
  • Based in the British Virgin Islands, it unblocks a wide variety of region-restricted streaming services.
  • Easy to use mobile friendly app.
  • Apps for Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, Android, Amazon Fire, and Linux are all available.
  • Firmware for custom routers
  • Split tunneling
  • Website: Expressvpn.com

Cons

  • It’s a little more pricey than its competitors.
  • There are no labels on streaming servers.
  • Occasionally, connections are dropped.

Prices

ExpressVPN

Save 49% with 3 months free

  • Starting from £4.95 a month

NordVPN

NordVPN is up against some of the toughest rivalry the industry has ever seen. ProtonVPN offers all of the same features for a fraction of the price. Surfshark and others don’t limit the number of concurrent links, and CyberGhost has surpassed NordVPN as the biggest server network.

NordVPN’s strength has always been that it combines all of the competition’s top features into a single kit. It has a massive fleet of servers all over the world, and it does so by maintaining a high level of customer support. Incorporating emerging technologies like WireGuard into the company’s main brands has also paid off. Despite this, NordVPN is still a great option.

Pros

  • Unblock Netflix, Hulu, Sky Go and more
  • 59 server counters with 5,200+ servers
  • The fastest speeds available on the market
  • Six links are active at the same time.
  • Panama is the location of the business.
  • Excellent at unblocking geo-restricted services from other countries.
  • Mobile friendly.
  • Ad-blocking, virus detection, and advanced wifi protection are all available in apps for Windows, Linux, macOS, iOS, and Android.
  • Website: nordvpn.com

Cons

  • No split tunnelling
  • Rather pricey
  • Interface can be a little crowded at times.

Prices

NordVPN

68% off 2 year deal

  • Starting from £2.74 a month

Features

ExpressVPN and NordVPN are two of the only VPN providers that have command-line tools for fast installation on Linux computers. Native updates are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, and Amazon Fire smartphones from all providers.

ExpressVPN outperforms NordVPN when it comes to routers because it has its own simple custom firmware that fits for a limited number of routers. With routers flashed with compliant firmware, manual configuration is possible for both providers. ExpressVPN and NordVPN also have comprehensive tutorial libraries that demonstrate how to set up the VPN on various router forms.

NordVPN’s simultaneous linking allowance is marginally higher than ExpressVPN’s. If you mount the VPN on a router in any case, it just counts as one link against your allowance.

CyberSec is NordVPN’s ad-blocker and malware-protection scheme. This feature can be activated inside the app.


What can you unlock on ExpressVPN

Pros

  • Netflix – US, Canada, Australia, UK and more
  • Hulu – US, Japan
  • Sky Go
  • Amazon Prime Video
  • ABC
  • CBS
  • NBC
  • ITV
  • Channel 4

Cons

  • BBC iPlayer

What can you unlock on NordVPN

Pros

  • Netflix – US, UK
  • Hulu – US, Japan
  • Sky Go
  • Amazon Prime Video
  • ABC
  • BBC iPlayer
  • NBC
  • ITV
  • Channel 4

Cons

  • ABC

When it comes to unblocking geo-restricted streaming pages, ExpressVPN and NordVPN are more than capable. There aren’t many streaming channels that you can’t reach from outside the United States using one of these services. But, in recent months, ExpressVPN has had issues with BBC iPlayer.

ExpressVPN has one advantage over NordVPN is that it can unblock a few more Netflix repositories. It’s worth noting that not all ExpressVPN servers in a given area would unblock a streaming platform from that region, so you may need to contact customer service to figure out which one to use.

In the case of NordVPN, any server we tried was able to unblock Netflix. If the library associated with your host location cannot be unblocked, NordVPN will immediately redirect you to the Netflix library in the United States.

You can use one of these VPNs to get around regional bans on TV channels if you have a Kodi box. Neither ExpressVPN nor NordVPN have a Kodi app that can be installed. However, both provide a wide variety of VPN protocol choices (see below), so you’ll have plenty of options if your Kodi box doesn’t support OpenVPN.

If you’re using Kodi on a desktop, you can monitor your geolocation with the ExpressVPN or NordVPN software that’s already installed.


Speed test

Based on our latest speed test results, both NordVPN and ExpressVPN are among the top ten fastest providers. There is a pretty substantial difference between the two, though. NordVPN came out in first place, with an average speed of 115 Mbps (largely thanks to its speedy new NordLynx protocol) while ExpressVPN averaged 58 Mbps (putting it in seventh place). This is still fast enough to stream 4K video without any issues, but you might struggle if lots of people in your home use the internet at the same time.


Security

VPN protocolsNordVPN

OpenVPN, Lightway, L2TP, IKEv2
ExpressVPN


OpenVPN, NordLynx
OpenVPN data encryptionAES-256AES-256
OpenVPN control channel encryptionRSA-4096RSA-2048
Cloaking technologyCipher block chainingObsfproxy
Extra transmission protectionDouble-hop routes
Leak protectionDNS, WebRTC, and IPv6DNS, WebRTC, and IPv6
App securityKill switch (desktop)Kill switch (desktop and iOS), automatic wifi protection, ad-blocking, malware-scanning
DNS statusPrivate DNSPrivate DNS

ExpressVPN and NordVPN also have a variety of VPN protocols to protect the internet traffic. OpenVPN is the best of these and is the device you can use if you want the highest degree of stability. OpenVPN’s encryption processing is a bit slower than that of lighter protocols. Because of NordVPN’s recent data leak, ExpressVPN comes out on top in terms of protection.

The best VPN has it all: strong security features, simple software, and the ability to unblock geo-restricted websites like Netflix, among other items.

If you need a little extra transfer speed for things like online games, you can use ExpressVPN’s L2TP protocol or NordVPN’s IKEv2 protocol (which is also supported on mobile devices).

ExpressVPN supports PPTP, but this is an outdated protocol that is no longer considered stable. ExpressVPN also supports SSTP, a more stable alternative to PPTP.

Overall, both providers provide a good selection of VPN protocols. NordVPN has a marginal advantage since it supports IKEv2 for handheld devices.

ExpressVPN’s encryption standard is marginally superior to that of NordVPN’s. AES encryption with a 256-bit key is used by both firms. Since the cipher is unbreakable, this provides impenetrable online encryption.

ExpressVPN has a distinct advantage in terms of control channel security. This cypher protects the distribution of AES keys and is used to construct sessions. For this channel, both NordVPN and ExpressVPN use RSA encryption, but ExpressVPN uses a longer key — 4,096 bits to NordVPN’s 2,048 bits.

This level of protection is especially critical if you are in China. Chinese authorities are thought to have cracked RSA with a 1,024-bit key and are working on the 2,048-bit key variant. NordVPN would be absolutely insecure in China if and when they get there, but it will take some time. To ensure absolute security, ExpressVPN has over-engineered its control channel encryption.

Both firms scramble the encoded content of packets to prevent indications in the encrypted transmission from forming.

Since DNS calls are unencrypted, if you let your VPN allow your machine to use the default DNS service designated by your Internet Service Provider (ISP), any of the websites you access could be logged by your ISP, hackers, or government spies listening in on the line. Fortunately, both ExpressVPN and NordVPN compel all DNS requests to go through their encrypted tunnels, preventing any outsiders from accessing your information.

Both providers’ applications have similar protection features that help you protect your actual IP address from being revealed. Both applications can be programmed to start when the operating system boots up, allowing you to have them running on your device at all times. A kill button is available in both applications. This feature would block any app on your device from linking to the internet using your internet connection.

NordVPN has a global kill switch as well as the ability to build a per-app selective kill switch. While ExpressVPN lacks the per-app kill switch, it does support split tunnelling. This helps you to choose which applications should use the VPN and which should not.


Conclusion

When it comes to browsing area Netflix collections, ExpressVPN is a fantastically robust service that outperforms most of its competitors. It’s still high on anonymity, and we also think it’s a great option for anyone willing to pay a little extra per month.

Still, in the end, NordVPN is the best option. It’s a lot faster, has a lot more servers to pick from, and gives you a lot more flexibility over your security settings than ExpressVPN. Because of its powerful unblocking capacity and dedicated IP address option, it’s also a good choice for downloading.

ExpressVPN and NordVPN also offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can test them out for yourself. Regardless of which VPN service you use, you will be secure.

Don’t forget to check out our list on the best VPN services currently for 2021 and also how to setup NordVPN. We’ve also listed some of the other providers out there currently.

Best VPN offers for 2021

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