NordVPN and ExpressVPN are two of the most popular virtual private network (VPN) services on the market. A VPN allows users to securely access the internet, encrypt their data, hide their IP address, bypass censorship, and more. When choosing a VPN, speed is one of the most important factors for many users. After all, an extremely secure VPN is not very useful if it slows your internet connection to a crawl.
This article will compare NordVPN and ExpressVPN’s connection speeds based on recent speed tests. It will also look at some of their other features, compatibility, customer service, and performance in streaming/gaming. By the end, you should have a good understanding of which provider offers better speeds, and which is the best overall VPN depending on individual use-cases.
II. Speed Comparison
Multiple third-party speed tests have shown that NordVPN provides faster download speeds overall compared to ExpressVPN, based on averages across all locations tested. According to recent data, NordVPN offered 24.91 Mbps download speed on average, while ExpressVPN provided 27.17 Mbps. However, these numbers do not tell the full story.
In the U.K., NordVPN was observed to actually speed up users’ internet connection compared to their base speed without a VPN. ExpressVPN, on the other hand, required users to find a specific server that did not slow down their speeds dramatically. Out of 160+ countries with ExpressVPN servers tested, only around 30 provided reasonable speeds compared to the base connection. Still, when the fastest servers are selected carefully, ExpressVPN does edge out NordVPN in download speed by a couple Mbps.
It’s important to understand that many different factors affect VPN speeds. These include the protocols used, encryption standards, the number/location/load of servers, ISP throttling, and much more. In general, connecting to a VPN server that is geographically closer to your location will provide the fastest speeds.
III. Other Criteria Comparison
Beyond pure speed performance, NordVPN and ExpressVPN both have their strengths and weaknesses when looking at other criteria like features, pricing, compatibility, customer service, security, and streaming/gaming functionality.
In terms of features, ExpressVPN offers split-tunneling, a password manager, and limited leak protection. NordVPN has specialty servers for P2P filesharing, double VPN encryption, and Onion Over VPN. ExpressVPN has apps for more devices and platforms. Both services have user-friendly apps, allow torrenting, and work in China.
When it comes to pricing, NordVPN is significantly cheaper at only $3.29 per month for a 3-year plan. ExpressVPN costs $8.32 per month for a 6-month plan or $6.67 monthly for one year. Both have a 30-day money back guarantee.
For compatibility, ExpressVPN has apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and manual setup guides for Linux, routers, Kindle Fire, Chromebook, Apple TV, and more. NordVPN is compatible with all the same devices but does not offer apps for some more obscure platforms.
In terms of customer service, ExpressVPN provides 24/7 live chat as well as email support. NordVPN also has 24/7 live chat but support agents are sometimes slow to respond or disconnect suddenly. Both services have extensive troubleshooting guides and FAQs available.
For security, ExpressVPN and NordVPN both use AES 256-bit encryption but ExpressVPN uses slower SHA-512 hashing by default compared to NordVPN’s SHA-256. Both VPNs have a strict no-logs policy that has been verified through external security audits. ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands which likely offers stronger privacy protections compared to Panama where NordVPN operates from. Ultimately both services provide excellent security.
When it comes to streaming, ExpressVPN unblocks more services more consistently across its servers. It provides fast, reliable access to Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, YouTube, and more. NordVPN’s specialty servers work well for streaming too but users may have to test out multiple server locations to find one that can successfully unblock the desired platform. For gaming, ExpressVPN generally performs better by avoiding natural latency increases that come with VPNs.
While recent speed tests showed that NordVPN provided faster downloads speeds compared to ExpressVPN on average globally, there were also many instances where ExpressVPN’s speeds outpaced NordVPN. When selecting optimal servers geographically nearby, ExpressVPN reached up to 30 Mbps download compared to NordVPN’s 25 Mbps.
However, NordVPN’s impressive ability to actually increase UK internet speeds above the base speed gives it an advantage that power users should consider. The ability to use specialty servers for P2P filesharing is also a nice bonus. And with pricing that is less than half of ExpressVPN, NordVPN offers great value – especially if you primarily care about speed and are not concerned about accessing Netflix or BBC iPlayer.
Ultimately, ExpressVPN earns its reputation as the best VPN for streaming thanks to reliably fast connections that can unblock just about every popular service. Gamers will also likely prefer ExpressVPN to avoid excess latency. Additionally, more privacy conscious users can rest easy with ExpressVPN’s BVI location.
So in the end, while NordVPN takes the crown when it comes to affordability and faster downloads globally, ExpressVPN still retains its standing as the best overall VPN service for 2022 thanks to its unmatched streaming/gaming capabilities, superior privacy protections, better compatibility, and excellent customer service. For most use cases, ExpressVPN is worth paying extra for – but NordVPN remains an incredible budget-friendly option.