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ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN—Which VPN Is More Secure?

Ashley Ferraro, Product
Jun 11, 2024
 • 
10
 Min Read

Damages resulting from cyber threats have been rising at an alarming rate. Data shows that between 2017 and 2024, losses haveincreased by 400%, reaching $2.5 billion. As cybercrime evolves, the need for robust online security measures has never been more critical. 

Virtual private networks (VPNs) such as ExpressVPN and NordVPN offer potential solutions to this growing threat. Given these services’ popularity and high ratings, choosing between them can be challenging, especially for first-time users. 

This comparison of ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN will provide an in-depth look at their security features, helping you decide which VPN best meets your needs. If you want to add an extra layer of security beyond what these VPNs offer, this article will also introduce virtual cards as an effective way to protect your sensitive details when transacting online.

Disclaimer: The information in this review is accurate and up-to-date as of April 2024. The features and performance of these VPNs are subject to change.

ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN—A Comparison of Features

We’ll examine the similarities and differences between ExpressVPN and NordVPN across five key categories:

  1. Security and privacy features
  2. VPN speed
  3. Global server network
  4. Device compatibility
  5. User experience

Security and Privacy Features

A photo of a black combination lock placed on a laptop keyboard
Source: TheDigitalWay

ExpressVPN and NordVPN offer various security features, including:

  • Military-grade encryption—Both use AES-256, the standard trusted by security experts worldwide[1][2].
  • No activity or connection logs—Neither service logs traffic data, DNS queries, or anything that could be used to identify users[1][2].
  • Kill Switch—Both VPNs have a Kill Switch feature that blocks all network traffic if the VPN connection unexpectedly drops, reducing the risk of data leaks[1][2].
  • Split tunneling—This feature, available in both VPNs, allows users to choose which apps use the VPN and which do not, giving control over how traffic is routed[1][3].

Both VPNs support OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols, which are helpful if a website or platform blocks a specific protocol. ExpressVPN and NordVPN can also help you block ads and trackers

Each has something of its own to offer. Unique to ExpressVPN is the Lightway protocol, engineered for a faster, more secure, and more reliable VPN experience[1]NordVPN offers NordLynx, an implementation of WireGuard, an open-source protocol renowned for its speed.

NordVPN also offers Onion Over VPN, a feature that routes traffic through the Onion network (Tor) for an extra layer of privacy. DoubleVPN is NordVPN’s feature that routes traffic through two VPN servers instead of one, encrypting the user’s data twice. 

Additionally, NordVPN allows users to create local networks via its Meshnet feature and pick a dedicated IP address[2]. ExpressVPN, on the other hand, comes with its own password manager, ExpressVPN Keys. 

VPN Speed

ExpressVPN and NordVPN can both deliver commendable speeds, although results may vary depending on the user’s location, the server they’re connected to, and their original internet speed. 

Third-party tests[4] suggest that users may experience up to 18% loss in the base internet speed when connected to ExpressVPN, higher than the 10% slowdown NordVPN users may get. Users with data-intensive needs, such as videoconferencing, may find NordVPN’s speed more suitable, although both VPNs can provide a decent experience to the average user.

Global Server Network

A photo of a smartphone with a VPN’s interface open, placed on a white laptop
Source: StefanCoders

ExpressVPN operates servers in 105 countries and doesn’t disclose the number of its servers. NordVPN has 6300 servers in 111 countries[1][5]. A larger server network can offer more connection options and potentially better speeds due to less server load, which might give NordVPN an edge for users seeking more global connection options. 

Still, the broad server distribution of both VPNs can help bypass geo-restrictions, allowing users to access local news from foreign countries. Other VPNs that offer a similarly vast network of servers include Surfshark VPN, Proton VPN, and CyberGhost VPN.

Device Compatibility

ExpressVPN and NordVPN offer extensive support across various platforms, including the following:

  • Windows
  • Mac
  • Linux
  • Android
  • iOS
  • Routers

The VPNs also provide extensions for browsers like Google Chrome, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge. 

ExpressVPN allows up to eight simultaneous connections, while NordVPN accepts up to ten connections[6][7]. VPNs that allow for a similar number of connections include Avast SecureLine VPN, Bitdefender Premium VPN, and Norton VPN

User Experience

ExpressVPN and NordVPN strive to offer a seamless user experience. Both services have step-by-step installation instructions for all supported platforms, making them accessible for users of all levels. 

The apps are stable and reliable across various platforms, providing consistent performance. The VPNs also have 24/7 customer support, convenient for users who need quick assistance. 

NordVPN vs. ExpressVPN—Is Their Protection Foolproof? 

A photo of a laptop with a smartphone placed on its left lower edge, both showing a VPN’s interface
Source: StefanCoders

ExpressVPN and NordVPN are excellent choices for people seeking a more private and secure web browsing experience. Their protection will keep your web traffic safe from potential snoopers, and their added features can make things much more manageable, like storing passwords or accessing devices on a local network. 

However, If you rely only on a VPN for your online security, you may expose yourself to other attack vectors. Password managers, antivirus software, and virtual cards are all important protocols for your online security. For example, if you like to shop online, your payment card details can be stolen if the merchant’s servers suffer a data breach.

In that particular case, virtual cards are your line of defense to minimize potential financial damages. These cards include a unique 16-digit number that masks your actual card details at checkout. While there are banks that offer them to their clients, independent card providers like Privacy provide advanced security and customization features that make using virtual cards easier and more secure.

A photo of a hand holding a credit card, close to a laptop
Source: JoshuaWoroniecki

Safeguard Your Online Transactions With Privacy Virtual Cards

When you sign up for Privacy, you will be asked to link a funding source with the service, either a debit card or a bank account. From then on, whenever you want to pay for something online, you can do so with a Privacy Virtual Card, not your actual payment card. Because the merchant never receives your real financial information, it cannot be stolen in case of a data breach. 

Privacy employs robust security measures to protect your information, including:

  • End-to-end encryption
  • Two-factor authentication 
  • Transaction monitoring 

Privacy Card Types and Features

Privacy offers two types of virtual cards: 

  1. Merchant-Locked Cards 
  2. Single-Use Cards

Here’s a detailed breakdown of each card type:

Card Type How It Works
Recommended Use
Merchant-Locked Cards These cards are “locked” to the first merchant you use them at. If someone tries to use the card with any other merchant, the transaction will be declined. They can be ideal for subscriptions or other recurring payments to a single merchant.
Single-Use Cards These cards are valid for one transaction only. Shortly after the transaction, the card becomes closed and can’t be reused. They can be perfect for one-time purchases, especially on websites you’re not familiar with.

You can set spending limits on Privacy Virtual Cards, and Privacy will decline any charge that goes above your pre-defined limit. You can also pause or close your Privacy Virtual Cards, protecting you against unexpected charges. 

Privacy Makes Using Virtual Cards Easy

Privacy provides convenience features that make it easier for you to manage your virtual cards and online transactions: 

  • Mobile app—Privacy’s mobile app is available on both iOS and Android platforms. It allows you to create, manage, and delete your virtual cards right from your smartphone. 
  • Browser extension—Compatible with most major web browsers, including Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Safari for iOS, and Microsoft Edge, the Privacy Browser Extension autofills your virtual card details during online transactions, streamlining your online shopping experience.
  • Card sharing—Privacy’s Shared Cards feature lets you securely share your virtual card details with trusted individuals, offering a secure way to delegate purchases and reducing the risk of compromising sensitive information.
  • 1Password integration—Privacy integrates with 1Password, adding an extra layer of convenience by allowing you to store and autofill your virtual card details directly from your 1Password vault. It also reduces the need to manually enter card details, which can be prone to keylogging or other types of cyber threats.

How To Get a Privacy Virtual Card

To get started with Privacy, all you have to do is:

  1. Visit the signup page
  2. Enter the required details to verify your identity
  3. Link a source of funds, which can be a debit card number or your bank account
  4. Request and generate a virtual card

Privacy has three monthly plans—Personal, Pro, and Premium. Here’s a detailed breakdown of each plan:

Plan Price What It Offers
Personal Free for domestic purchases
  • Up to 12 new cards per month

  • All card spending controls

  • Mobile app and browser extension

Pro $10 per month
  • All features of the Personal plan

  • Up to 36 unique cards per month

  • 1% cashback on eligible purchases up to $4,500 per month

  • No foreign transaction fees

  • Shared Cards

  • Priority support

Premium $25 per month
  • All features of the Pro plan

  • Up to 60 new cards per month

Privacy Virtual Cards are accepted by most vendors and websites that accept Visa® and MasterCard®. You must be a U.S. resident aged 18 or over with a U.S. checking account.

References

[1] ExpressVPN. https://www.expressvpn.com/features, sourced April 11, 2024
[2] NordVPN. https://support.nordvpn.com/hc/en-us/articles/19559429814545-List-of-NordVPN-features, sourced April 11, 2024
[3] NordVPN. https://support.nordvpn.com/hc/en-us/articles/20321703651985-Split-Tunneling-feature-on-NordVPN-extension, sourced April 11, 2024
[4] CNET. https://www.cnet.com/tech/services-and-software/fastest-vpn/, sourced April 11, 2024
[5] NordVPN. https://nordvpn.com/servers/, sourced April 11, 2024
[6] ExpressVPN. https://www.expressvpn.com/go/features/how-many-devices-can-i-connect?, sourced April 11, 2024
[7] NordVPN. https://support.nordvpn.com/hc/en-us/articles/19476515228305-How-many-devices-can-I-use-with-NordVPN, sourced April 11, 2024

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