ExpressVPN vs NordVPN: What’s the best VPN for Netflix & BBC iPlayer?
ExpressVPN and NordVPN are two of the best VPNs you can buy. But which one should you go for? Here we pitch the two heavyweights against each other to see which is better. In the comparison review, we’ll compare features and VPN speed tests side-by-side to help you decide whether ExpressVPN or NordVPN is right for you. See also: BBC iPlayer not working with VPN: Here’s how to fix that!
ExpressVPN vs NordVPN: Price
Price is a good (objective) category to start with. And while both VPNs are competitively priced, there’s a clear winner. NordVPN is cheaper than ExpressVPN across the board.
That said, both services are well priced and represent good value. NordVPN and ExpressVPN each offer massive discounts to users who are willing to sign up to 6-, 12-, or 24-month contracts. Similarly, both VPNs let users sign up for rolling monthly contracts as well – giving customers the ability to cancel at any time.
(All prices are in USD)
- Monthly: $12.95
- 12 months: $9.99 ($69.95 billed upfront)
- 24 months: $8.32 ($99.96 billed upfront)
Note: ExpressVPN lets you use up to 3 simultaneous connections
- Monthly: $11.95
- 12 months: $5.75/month ($69.00 billed upfront)
- 24 months: $3.29/month ($79.00 billed upfront)
Note: ExpressVPN lets you use up to 6 simultaneous connection
ExpressVPN vs NordVPN: Apps and devices
ExpressVPN and NordVPN perform really well here. Each has well-designed and dedicated apps for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android devices. The apps are easy to use and let you connect your device to the server of choice in a matter of seconds.
The one area where the providers differ is how many connections they allow. NordVPN is the more generous, allowing you up to six simultaneous connections at a time. ExpressVPN is more stingy, allowing only three connections.
In reality, both offer more simultaneous connections than you’ll probably ever need.
ExpressVPN vs NordVPN: Speed
The first thing you need to know here is that both ExpressVPN and NordVPN offer really quick VPN connections. Putting an exact figure on the speed of each VPN provider is impossible. This is because each VPN has 1000s of servers in hundreds of different locations. Regularly testing each server’s speed percentage drop is impossible. It’s not helpful for you either. As your experience will be totally different and will depend on the quality of your own internet connection and its distance to the VPN’s servers.
Speed will also vary from day-to-day and hour-to-hour. If you’re connection during peak times, you’re likely to get a more sluggish connection compared to a connection when a VPN’s servers are less busy.
However, we’ve come up with the figures below to help you get an idea of what to expect from each VPN. To come up with the Average Speed Score below, we performed our own speed tests using SpeedTest.net (using VPN servers based in LA and London). We then combined the results with multiple scores from other (respected) VPN reviews.
Average Speed Scores:
- ExpressVPN: 84%
- NordVPN: 74%
The percentage score is calculated from the speed drop from a connection speed with and without each VPN running.
ExpressVPN vs NordVPN: Servers
Both providers have a lot of servers. More than you could ever hope to use. ExpressVPN boasts 1500+ servers in 94 different countries. While NordVPN has 3800+ servers in 64 different countries.
For the majority of you, this won’t really matter. What’s more important is how many servers does it have in countries you need to location spoof to.
ExpressVPN: Number of servers in key countries
- USA: 29 servers
- UK: 7 servers
- Canada: 4 servers
- Germany: 4 servers
NordVPN: Number of servers in key countries
- USA: 1425 servers
- UK: 473 servers
- Canada: 271 servers
- Germany: 208 servers
The mismatch here is clear for all to see. While ExpressVPN has servers in more countries than NordVPN. Nord has the most servers in the important territories. By a long way. If you’re hoping to watch Netflix or BBC iPlayer using a VPN, you’re going to need a provider that has a lot of servers in the US and UK. This helps it win the game of Cat and Mouse (see below to find out more).
Netflix and BBC iPlayer?
A lot of customers only use a VPN to unlock different online streaming libraries. Netflix and BBC iPlayer are two of the most popular services customers use a VPN for. Until recently, any cheap VPN was good enough to stream HD Netflix and iPlayer. However, times have changed. See also: Netflix not working with VPN: How to bypass the Netflix Proxy block?
Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Instant Video… pretty much every online streaming service is now blocking average VPNs.
ExpressVPN and NordVPN are two VPNs that are fighting the ban. Successfully. The strategy each VPN uses is identical. They play a game of Cat and Mouse with Netflix, BBC, Amazon (et al). When one of its servers is blacklisted, it opens a fresh one.
All customers need to do is connect to a server that’s not been blacklisted. To help users, both ExpressVPN and NordVPN have Live Chat services on their websites. Here they invite their customers to speak to agents to find out which Severs are known to be working with Netflix, BBC iPlayer and Amazon (et al).
ExpressPVN vs NordVPN: Security
For the average user, you can just skip this section.
Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN use AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) with 256-bit keys — also known as AES-256 military-grade encryption. This is the same level of encryption the US government uses… more than secure enough to protect your data when using an unsecured public Wifi connection.
However, for the more security conscious there are more features you might want to consider. State-sponsored programs – such as the NSA in the US and the Snoopers’ Charter in the UK – meaning your online browsing activity is being increasingly monitored.
VPNs offer an excellent way around this monitoring by the State. However, if your VPN provider keeps logs on your activity – and are based in one of the Five Eyes (spying network) countries – they can be subjected to an investigation and forced to hand over info to Governments like anyone else. Meaning your browsing data is, actually, accessible. Even when using a VPN.
The best way around this is to use a VPN that doesn’t keep logs on your browsing activity and isn’t based in a Five Eyes country.
ExpressVPN and NordVPN are two VPNs that do exactly that. ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands and doesn’t keep logs of your activity. NordVPN is based in Panama and stores zero customer browsing data.
In Lehman’s terms, this means both VPN providers have HQs outside of the Five Eyes spying network. Plus no browsing activity is stored, so they have nothing to hand over even if they were (somehow) legally obliged to.
ExpressVPN vs NordVPN: Verdict
Both providers offer a secure, fast and affordable VPN service. However, we think NordVPN is the best choice for the average user. Recent Speed Tests results suggest it’s not as fast as ExpressVPN, but the difference is pretty negligible. In every other department that matters, NordVPN is on a par (or better) with ExpressVPN. It’s also cheaper… and has a lot more servers in countries that are popular with VPN users.
Overall winner: NordVPN