Introducing ExpressVPN and NordVPN
NordVPN and ExpressVPN are two of the more popular and well-known VPN options around. Both of them are based in privacy friendly jurisdictions including Panama for Nord and the British Virgin Islands for Express. They have similar features, but different enough to allow you to choose based on your situation with Nord costing less money and Express having advantages for certain kinds of traffic like torrents.
Both companies have their main base of operations in jurisdictions with strong privacy laws, with ExpressVPN being located in the British Virgin Islands and NordVPN being based in Panama. This means that they are not necessarily beholden to any third-party companies or organizations.
Both companies claim no logs including activity or connection logs that track where a particular IP visited at what time.
Transparency and Audits
NordVPN went through a third party audit recently, starting in 2018. The company was called PwC Switzerland and it independently verified the claims that NordVPN makes about not keeping any logs. The audit also did a lot in terms of testing general transparency as well. For example, the audit covered interviewing employees, inspecting servers, checking other kinds of logs, and so on. Another one was done recently in May 2020. This was called an “assurance engagement.” They passed all testing.
NordVPN vs ExpressVPN: Native Apps
When considering NordVPN vs ExpressVPN looking at what kind of native app support each has is one solid way of helping you decide.
NordVPN has a native windows application for Windows 7 and later. It has easy access to many of the best Express features like their Kill Switch, Onion servers, or their DoubleVPN. It should be simple to set up, and there are even instructions on how to do so right on their site. They also have native apps for all the major platforms including Linux, iOS, MacOS, and even AndroidTV. This works on up to 6 gadgets simultaneously.
ExpressVPN also has native apps for Windows, Linux, OSX, iOS, Android, and even Amazon Kindle, BlackBerry, and Chromebook.
Exclusive browser extensions are another excellent way to differentiate between the two when considering ExpressVPN vs NordVPN.
ExpressVPN has an extension for Chrome and Firefox. It’s worth noting that in order for the browser extensions to work, you will need to have one of the other ExpressVPN apps as well, such as the one for Windows or Mac.
NordVPN has extensions that focus mostly on Chrome or Firefox.
In either case, browser extensions allow you to protect just your browser traffic from third parties. The rest of your Internet traffic will be unaffected, so it gives you a bit of flexibility if you want to handle which application gets which IP address.
NordVPN has the multi-hop features such as the option to route traffic through Onion servers on Tor, or the Double VPN feature where you can route traffic through 2 different IPs at different locations, making it particularly difficult for any third party to track you.
ExpressVPN has something called its TrustedServer technology for extra security. This tech makes it so that user data can’t ever be written to the VPN server, it’s just impossible.
Combined with the fact that NordVPN has had security issues in the past, such as the breach in 2018, it’s easy to see how many people would favor ExpressVPN in terms of features, especially when it comes to security.
ExpressVPN has over 3000 total servers in 94 different countries. There are ten different countries among these where you can even go so far as to select down to the city.
In contrast, NordVPN has 59 different countries with only 5 that gives you a city choice. NordVPN has more servers total, however, with over 5500.
Overall though, ExpressVPN definitely gives you the wider options in terms of choosing exactly what country you want. This will generally tend to make it more effective when it comes to bypassing geo locks or generally unblocking sites.
Streaming and Torrenting
ExpressVPN says that they “reserve the right” to block certain kinds of traffic that they view as “abusive.” In general, it just depends on what sorts of practices they view that way. It is worth noting that ExpressVPN has been more effective at unblocking Netflix or AppleTV.
Nord claims that they don’t restrict any kind of Torrent or P2p on their servers. There are certain servers that are optimized for that sort of thing, however, so this is worth noting. They also don’t use port forwarding and they do block NetBIOS or SMTP25 ports.
There aren’t any servers specifically for streaming.
ExpressVPN sometimes has trouble unblocking the BBC iPlayer, however, this is fixable by using their split-tunneling feature to get the iPlayer working outside of the VPN.
ExpressVPN has the exact same deal at a 30 day trial, so it’s a complete tie when it comes to that part of the category.
Overall, ExpressVPN does a bit better in this category since it’s more reliable when it comes to getting the outcomes you want.
Free Trial and Price
NordVPN offers a free trial of 30 days where you can get your money back if you decide not to go on, which is fairly generous.
In terms of pricing, ExpressVPN is definitely a bit more expensive than ExpressVPN. If you go by the year, it’s $8.32 per month for ExpressVPN. On the other hand, NordVPN charges $6.99 per month if you purchase a year ahead of time.
Nord also offers $4.99 a month if you purchase 2 years. So, there’s no doubt that Nord is noticeably cheaper.
NordVPN vs ExpressVPN. Summary
NordVPN and ExpressVPN are similar in terms of many of their features, but ExpressVPN has a bit of an edge if torrenting and streaming is your thing. NordVPN is more economical by a considerable margin. Their logging policy is also a bit better than what you get from ExpressVPN.
This means that in general, ExpressVPN is often going to be the better choice since many people are more worried about security in general than they are about other factors, and ExpressVPN has that proprietary TrustServer technology that makes user data recording impossible. After all, the reason why everyone is using a VPN in the first place is due largely to privacy and security, and this is where ExpressVPN excels. Their huge country variety when it comes to servers also tends to give them an edge for bypassing geolocks, giving them an edge for that reason as well.
All in all, they are both strong choices and well-worthy trying out if privacy is a big concern.