ExpressVPN and NordVPN: Which VPN software/APP should I choose?

ExpressVPN and NordVPN are not only the global leaders in the VPN field, but also the first choice for users in mainland China. They can not only be used on computers (Windows or Mac), but also perform very well on mobile devices (iPhone, Android, tablets, etc.). The two are equally divided, and it is difficult to say which one is better. The advantages and disadvantages of the two are disclosed below for reference.

Note: I have used both, and they are both excellent. If you are in mainland China, it is recommended to use ExpressVPN. Currently, I have been using expressvpn for a long time.


The easiest way to choose and compare-price (pricing and discount)


  • Fast enough for uninterrupted streaming
  • Unlock a large number of regionally locked streaming services
  • Custom router firmware
  • Split tunnel


  • The fastest speed in the market
  • Very good at removing geographic restrictions from abroad
  • Ad blocking, malware scanning and automatic wifi protection

These two are the top VPN service providers in the industry. If you really cannot choose between ExpressVPN and NordVPN, NordVPN is recommended. It has obvious price advantages, discounts currently available, the fastest speed, and is very suitable for streaming. First-class security features and no-logs policy. ExpressVPN is also pretty good. Although it's expensive, promotions and discounts are also very strong, especially for services like Netflix.

duration1 month1 month
6 months1 year
1 year2 years
Discount1 year subscription-3 months free2 years discount 68% and free 3 months
Maximum monthly price12.95 USD11.95 USD
Lowest monthly price6.67 USD3.3 USD
One year priceUS$99.95 (actual 15 months)59 USD
Money back guarantee30 days30 days


Simultaneous connection56
operating systemWindows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Amazon Fire, choose routerWindows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Amazon Fire
Install the device manuallySet-top boxes and some routersSet-top boxes and some routers
Split tunnelYesWindows only
Free additional featuresBrowser extensions for Chrome, Firefox and SafariBrowser extensions for Chrome and Firefox. Ad and malware blocker

ExpressVPN and NordVPN are two of the few VPN services that provide command-line utilities and can be easily installed on devices running Linux. Both providers also provide native applications for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, and Amazon Fire devices.

ExpressVPN is superior to NordVPN in terms of routers because it has its own custom firmware that can be used with selected routers.

NordVPN's simultaneous connection limit is slightly higher than ExpressVPN (6:5). NordVPN also has an ad blocker and malware protection system called CyberSec, which can be turned on in the app.

Unlock function

TV service
NetflixMore than ten libraries in the United States, Australia, Japan, Canada, etc.More than ten libraries in the U.S., U.K., Japan, Canada, etc.
gourdUnited States, JapanUnited States, Japan
Song of the SkyYesYes
Amazon Prime
BBC iPlayernoYes
National Broadcasting CorporationYesYes
Independent televisionYesYes
Channel 4YesYes

When it comes to unblocking geo-restricted streaming sites, both ExpressVPN and NordVPN can meet the challenge.

Both VPNs work well with Netflix. In the case of NordVPN, every server can work normally. However, if the library corresponding to the server location cannot be unlocked, NordVPN will automatically redirect to the US Netflix library.

If you have a Kodi box, you can use any of these VPNs to bypass the regional restrictions on TV services. Neither ExpressVPN nor NordVPN have apps that can be installed on the Kodi box. However, both have their own range of VPN protocol options (see below).

If you use Kodi on your computer, you can select the geographic location using the native ExpressVPN or NordVPN apps installed on the device.

Performance in Mainland China

Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN performed well in China. ExpressVPN’s main website has actually been blocked in China, but the company provides an alternative address (upgrade link) for Chinese users. Click this link to enter the ExpressVPN website, no need to go over the wall, this is too important. As shown in the figure below (this is what I currently use in China, and it has been used for nearly 4 years):

Settings and interface

Automatic setup wizardWindows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Tomato and DD-WRT routersWindows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux
Main location selectionList-basedMap-based/list-based
Extra settings pageYesYes
Mobile friendlyYesYes

The ExpressVPN application is small and it is very convenient to use on a PC or Mac. You can choose the location to circumvent the wall, and the official generally gives several locations, such as: Singapore (the screenshot seen above, Hong Kong, Japan, Los Angeles 5, Wembley, UK, etc.).

Select recommended locations for China

The NordVPN home screen displays a world map, with a marker for each country/region where the company operates the server. There is also a list view on the left (or at the bottom of the mobile device screen). The server list separates general-purpose servers from those designed for P2P traffic or Tor over VPN connections, so it's easy to find what you need.

nordvpn server-screenshot

Server and performance

Server country9459
Total number of servers3,000+5,200+

Although ExpressVPN has server locations in more countries/regions, there is a lot of choice.

NordVPN has a server function that ExpressVPN does not have, namely VPN links (also known as multi-hop VPN or double-hop VPN).This will route traffic through two servers and encrypt the packet twice.


VPN protocolOpenVPN, Lightway, L2TP, IKEv2OpenVPN, NordLynx
OpenVPN data encryptionAES-256AES-256
OpenVPN control channel encryptionRSA-4096RSA-2048
Stealth technologyCipher block linkObsfproxy
Extra transmission protectionDouble hop routing
Leakage protectionDNS, WebRTC and IPv6DNS, WebRTC and IPv6
Application securityKill switch (desktop)Kill switch (desktop and iOS), automatic wifi protection, ad blocking, malware scanning
DNS statusPrivate DNSPrivate DNS

Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN provide multiple VPN protocols to protect user traffic. ExpressVPN allows OpenVPN, IKEv2 and L2TP connections, and it has its own proprietary protocol Lightway, It combines speed and safety, and is also lighter, which means low power consumption.

NordVPN also has its own protocol-based on WireGuardNordLynx. When the server you choose is far away, NordLynx is easier to audit and faster than OpenVPN.

Both companies use 256-bit keysAES encryptionIn terms of security, almost 100%, because the password is unbreakable. ExpressVPN has a slight advantage in the security provided for the control channel. This password is used for session establishment and to protect the distribution of AES keys. Both NordVPN and ExpressVPN use RSA encryption, but the key for ExpressVPN is a bit longer — 4,096 bits, while the key used by NordVPN is 2,048 bits.

This level of security is especially important if you use VPN in the country. It is said that domestic technology can use 1,024-bit keys to crack RSA, and a 2,048-bit key version is under development. If it reaches the latter level, it may not be safe to use NordVPN in China (I believe NordVPN officials will also have corresponding countermeasures), but it will take some time to achieve this. ExpressVPN over-designed its control channel encryption to ensure complete security.

Both companies will scramble the encrypted content of data packets to prevent any repeated data creation patterns during encrypted transmission.

DNS calls are unencrypted, so if the VPN allows the computer to continue to use the default DNS service specified by the Internet service provider (ISP), thenAll websites visited may be spied by ISP, hackers or governmentThe information stolen. Fortunately, both ExpressVPN and NordVPN force all DNS references to be transmitted along their encrypted tunnels, thereby preventing any outsiders from seeing the user's activities on the network.

Both providers have the same security options in their applications to help users prevent the real IP address from being exposed:

These two applications can be instructed to start when the operating system starts, and they can be set to always run on the computer.

Both applications include a kill switch option. This prevents accidental browsing when the VPN is disconnected. NordVPN allows the use of regular or only affecting specific applicationsKill switch. ExpressVPN does not have an option for each application, but it does provide split tunneling across all applications. This allows users to specify applications to bypass the VPN and protect all other applications.


headquartersThe British Virgin IslandsPanama
Connection logSomeDo not
Activity logDo notDo not
User details for registrationemail addressemail address
Anonymous payment optionBitcoinBitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple

Neither company is located in a "Five Eyes" country, so neither of them will be pressured by security agencies to disclose detailed information about their users' online activities or cooperate with US or UK court orders to track specific customers.

ExpressVPN is located in the British Virgin Islands, which has no data retention laws.NordVPN's location in Panama is not as safe as it seems at first glance. The country has some strict copyright laws and has been forced to cooperate with US authorities on many occasions. However, NordVPN does not have any servers in its home country, which allows it to avoid the pressure of the government to disclose information.

All VPNs say that they do not keep any logs. However, if you dig into this sentence, it means that they don't keep any activity logs.The activity log records every operation performed by the user, Including visited websites and data downloads. Therefore, law enforcement agencies and hackers can trace the connection from the destination to the originator, and trace it all the way to the door of the user. VPN breaks the tracking chain, but connection logs can be used to track users through VPN.

NordVPN does not keep any logs at all. ExpressVPN can, but will do its best to avoid storing any data that can identify the user. Its log includes account ID, date of connection (not time), location of connection, and total amount of data transferred. The company does not record the user's real IP address and cannot be tracked. In this regard, ExpressVPN is slightly inferior to NordVPN.

This brings up another question: whether it is possible to open an account anonymously. If the user can open an account by providing a credit card, then hackers and security departments can track it through it. The identity of the user can also be tracked through his email account.

In response to this situation, both ExpressVPN and NordVPN allow users to use encrypted currency to pay, which means that it cannot be tracked through the bank. With ExpressVPN, you can also choose to pay through the Mint card, which is a prepaid card that can be used to top up cash in the store without needing to prove your identity.To use both services, you need to provide an email address. However, both VPN providers allow users to useAnonymous emailAddress registration, which prevents anyone from linking your activities with your true identity.

The level of privacy provided by ExpressVPN and NordVPN is very good. This is why these two services are very good choices for people who like to download torrents. Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN are open to support for torrent downloaders.

set up

Address allocationsharedshared
Can use static IP addressnoIn France, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom or the United States
DDoS protectionnono
NAT firewallYesYes

Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN use the shared address method to block IP addresses. In this case, all outgoing traffic is marked with the IP address of the VPN server.All other users connected to the server at the same time are also represented by the server’s IP address. If the tracker traces the activity back to the user from the target website, he can only find the VPN server in the end, but cannot determine which VPN client initiated the request.

The shared IP address system is managed by a system called "Port Address Mapping" (PAT), and some VPNs provide NAT firewall protection, which is actually PAT.The address translation system cannot recognize the IP address behind the gateway, This will automatically create a firewall. Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN provide their users with NAT firewall protection.

In some cases, you may also need your own private IP address. This is especially important if you want to accept incoming connections. In this case, the NAT firewall is not applicable to the connection. If you want to set up your own server, you need a private or "static" IP address, for example, your own website, game server, or create your own cloud data storage system.

Reference article:What is a NAT firewall and what does it do?

In this regard, ExpressVPN does not provide a static IP address; NordVPN provides this service, but it charges $70 per year, and you can choose from the United Kingdom, the United States, the Netherlands, France or Germany IP address.It has nothing to do with where you actually live.

All VPNs provide a certain degree of DDoS protection, because anyone who wants to launch a DDoS attack on a user first needs the user's IP address. When a user connects to the Internet through a VPN, no one will see the user's real IP address, only the IP address of the connected VPN server. therefore,Anyone who thinks they are attacking users is actually attacking the VPN server. Their capacity is much larger than the user's computer, so they can absorb most attacks.

In this regard, NordVPN can provide additional DDoS protection, which ExpressVPN does not provide.

customer service

Live chatYesYes
Ticketing supportYesYes
Email supportYesYes
Average email support response time49 minutes3 hours 45 minutes
Phone supportnono
Searchable Knowledge BaseYesYes
Video guideYesYes

Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN attach great importance to customer support in online chat. Both provide real-time chat tools on their websites and are equipped with industry experts to answer questions. In this regard, ExpressVPN is faster.

NordVPN & ExpressVPN frequently asked questions

Does NordVPN run obfuscated servers?

NordVPN allows its users to access specialObfuscate the server, In order to achieve higher online anonymity. Moreover, this feature is built into all of its applications, so no matter which device you use, you can browse safely. If you want to start using these obfuscated servers, inIn the NordVPN Knowledge BaseYou can find a setup guide for each operating system. 

The Ultimate Guide to Setup & Install NordVPN on Windows 7, 8.1 and 10

Which works better on gaming consoles-NordVPN or ExpressVPN?

The first thing to do is: Because major game consoles such as Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch do not currently provide NordVPN or ExpressVPN applications, you must install VPN directly on the router. ExpressVPN provides custom firmware for this, which greatly simplifies the process. 

There is no clear answer as to which is better. It all depends on the needs of users. For example, ExpressVPN is fast, but NordVPN servers are more selective. On the bright side, both providers put user safety and privacy first, so no matter which method you choose, you can play games and live broadcasts with complete confidence. 

Has ExpressVPN been hacked before?

In theory, if hackers are powerful enough, they can invade any software. However, ExpressVPN did not experience any data leaks, leaks or privacy scandals. In addition, this VPN does not record any identifiable data. In other words, even if ExpressVPN is hacked, user privacy remains intact, because hackers cannot tell-which user visited which site.

ExpressVPN or NordVPN, which one has more users?

It's hard to say, because neither of these two companies released user data. However, ExpressVPN has approximately 180,000 downloads on the Google Play Store and approximately 112,000 downloads on the Apple Store. At the same time, NordVPN has close to 350,000 on Google Play and 146,000 on Apple Store.

Which VPN app is the easiest to use: ExpressVPN or NordVPN?

Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN are easy to use and each has its own advantages. For example, ExpressVPN has a browser extension that can control the main application directly from the browser. On the other hand, NordVPN can connect to any server (including its special, privacy-optimized server) without leaving the home screen. In the final analysis, it all depends on personal preference.

Which is better for the dark web: NordVPN or ExpressVPN?

ExpressVPN is a great choice for daily browsing, but if you want to get involved in the dark web, it is recommended to use NordVPN: it is fast and has a better choice of privacy features.

The star feature of NordVPN is its specially optimized Onion over VPN server. These do not need to use Tor browser at all, and encrypt traffic, add another layer of protection on the basis of security.

Which is better for Android TV: ExpressVPN or NordVPN?

Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN are reliable choices for Android TV, and which one is better depends on the needs. If the internet speed is slow, the VPN that has the least impact on this? That is ExpressVPN. If you are interested in removing geo-restricted streaming services, NordVPN works better.

Both services provide a 30-day money-back guarantee, and there is 30 days sufficient time for inspection before the formal purchase.

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