NordVPN and ExpressVPN Security Ratings:
NordVPN Security Rating: 9.6
ExpressVPN Security Rating: 9.7
The table below compares ExpressVPN and NordVPN’s encryption and security features side by side to illustrate how close the VPN services are:
||IKEv2/IPSec, L2TP, OpenVPN, Lightway
||IKEv2/IPSec, OpenVPN, NordLynx
||Yes (not on Android or Fire TV)
||DNS, IPv6, WebRTC
||DNS, IPv6, WebRTC
ExpressVPN and NordVPN’s encryption and security features
To protect their user’s security, VPN services must use the strongest and most up-to-date encryption software. Thankfully, NordVPN and ExpressVPN both excel in this department.
Both services use the industry’s safest VPN protocol, OpenVPN, along with the AES-256 encryption cipher.
However, both only allow basic configurability. If you want to customize the VPN encryption and tinker with advanced settings, PIA is a good alternative to NordVPN and ExpressVPN.
NordVPN was the first of the two VPNs to incorporate the highly-regarded WireGuard protocol, however ExpressVPN is the stronger option when it comes to protocols due to the wider protocol choice and excellent automatic protocol selection tool.
The protocol settings menu on ExpressVPN’s desktop app.
Both VPNs include a number of important security features such as perfect forward secrecy, IP and DNS leak protection, and first-party DNS.
Moreover, both services use diskless (RAM-based) servers, which never write data to the servers, not even temporarily.
Both VPNs also offer a VPN kill switch, each with its own unique drawback. For ExpressVPN, the kill switch doesn’t work on iOS. For NordVPN, it doesn’t work on Android or Amazon Fire TV Stick.
The NordVPN settings of its iOS application.
Furthermore, we’ve never experienced an IP or DNS leak while testing either VPN service.
Uniquely, NordVPN has a ‘Double VPN’ (multi-hop) feature that lets users route their traffic through two different VPN servers to add an extra layer of privacy.
However, when it comes to security, we must take NordVPN’s 2018 security breach into consideration.
The breach was minor and NordVPN’s initiatives since the incident have been highly commendable. But, ExpressVPN has never suffered a breach to this date.
Security & Encryption Winner: ExpressVPN
Both VPNs use the most secure VPN protocols, encryption ciphers, and advanced security features. ExpressVPN is marginally better because of its automatic protocol selection tool and because it has never suffered a security breach.