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ProtonVPN vs. ExpressVPN (2020) | 100% Honest Comparison

Last updated: 3 Dec 2020 | Reading time: 6 minutes

ProtonVPN and ExpressVPN Icons
ProtonVPN vs. ExpressVPN

When it comes to VPN, there are no compromises. VPN is essential, but getting the best VPN is challenging. The post will take a look at two popular VPN clients ProtonVPN and ExpressVPN. ProtonVPN is from ProtonMail emailing service, which promises the secured and fast VPN, while ExpressVPN is famous for its great features.

So, ProtonVPN or ExpressVPN? The blog post explores the two and covers ProtonVPN vs. ExpressVPN (2020).

Table of contents

Quick ProtonVPN vs. ExpressVPN comparison

FeaturesProtonVPNExpressVPN
Servers1,101ProtonVPN
No, of countries54ProtonVPN
Location test
Speed test in MbpsD: 45| U: 31D: 42 | U: 30
DNS leak test
P2P test✔ (better than ExpressVPN)
Dedicated IP
Encryption level256-Bit256-Bit
Max devicesPlan dependent5 at a time
Free plan❌ but free trial
WebsiteProtonVPNExpressVPN

Platforms

Not all VPN clients support all the devices. The table below covers the combined platforms and which service supports what platforms.

PlatformProtonVPNExpressVPN
Windows✔️✔️
macOS✔️✔️
Linux✔️✔️
iOS/iPad✔️✔️
Android✔️✔️
Windows Phone✔️
Blackberry✔️
Apple TV✔️
Amazon Fire TV✔️
Samsung Smart TV✔️
Kindle Fire✔️
Playstation 3 & 4✔️
Xbox✔️
Nintendo Switch✔️
Nook✔️
Chrome extension✔️
Firefox extension✔️
Safari extension✔️
Router✔️

Winner: ExpressVPN | Score: ProtonVPN: 0 | ExpressVPN: 1

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Servers

ProtonVPN offers over 1,101 servers in 54 countries, including Australia, UK, USA, Canada, Finland, Hong Kong, India, Iceland, and more. ExpressVPN offers over 3,000 servers in 94 nations, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, UK, USA, Croatia, Ireland, Japan, and India.

Compared to ExpressVPN, which uses IPSec/IKEv2 only on iOS devices, ProtonVPN uses IPSec/IKEv2 on all the platforms. Here is the table covering all the supported states. The blue colour indicates that the competitor isn’t available in that nation.

ProtonVPNExpress VPN
Argentina, Australia, Austria

Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria

Canada, Costa Rica, Czechia

Denmark

Estonia

Finland

Germany, Greece

Hong Kong

Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy

Japan

Korea

Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg

Malaysia, Mexico, Moldava

Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway

Poland, Portugal

Romania, Russian Federation

Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa
Spain, Sweden, Switzerland

Taiwan, Turkey

Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States

Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia
Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Bhutan
Bosnia & Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam,
Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica
Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Isle of Man
Israel, Italy, Japan, Jersey, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Moldova
Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Myanmar, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland
Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa
South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, UzbekistanVenezuela, Vietnam

Interested in the full server list? Check out the full list of ProtonVPN and ExpressVPN.

Winner: ExpressVPN | Score: ProtonVPN: 0 and ExpressVPN: 2

Related: Surfshark vs. ProtonVPN | The Ultimate Honest Comparison

ProtonVPN Secure Core

Secure Core is a feature of ProtonVPN which allows extended security by transferring the traffic to one of the servers in Switzerland, Sweden, or Iceland and then sending and receiving the data from the user-selected server. The user will also get the location of the desired server. The feature is available in Plus and Visionary plans.

In the tests, I found that the Secure Core feature slows down the speed as you are connected to two servers at different locations. I believe people living in Europe are likely to get the best speed on Secure Core because all the three Secure Core supported countries are in Europe.

Speed tests

To find the fastest VPN provider, I took a few speed tests. How did I choose the servers? Well, both offer an option to connect to the fastest/smart server, so I selected the fastest server. Let’s take a look at the results.

Protonvpn vs Expressvpn Speed Test
Protonvpn vs. Expressvpn Speed Test

Both perform very well on the optimal server. ExpressVPN went below 40 Mbps, and on average, the speed was a little bit lower than ProtonVPN, but on a fast speed network, this should not be an issue.

Winner: ProtonVPN | Score: ProtonVPN: 1 and ExpressVPN: 2

Location test

Location is the most basic requirement, and even a free VPN should be able to pass that. I tested both on four servers in different cities, including Sydney, Dallas, and Helsinki. The video above shows for one of the servers.

Winner: Tie | Score: ProtonVPN: 2 and ExpressVPN: 3

Related: Safe Watch for Popcorn Time | Review, Tests and Download

DNS leak test

Although, both services do mention that they are DNS leak-free, but to accept that fact fully, I took the DNS leak test on dnsleaktest.com. Wondering what DNS leak is?

Screenshots of ProtonVPN vs ExpressVPN DNS Leak Tests
ProtonVPN and ExpressVPN – DNS Leak Tests

Connecting to a server in Canada showed one IP Address and the server location in ProtonVPN, whereas there were two IP Addresses while testing ExpressVPN. Should you be worried? No, because both the servers are ExpressVPN’s and the location for both was also the same. But, I should mention that jumping from one IP to another might compromise the internet speed a bit.

Winner: Tie | Score: ProtonVPN: 3 and ExpressVPN: 4

P2P test

The last test in ProtonVPN vs. ExpressVPN is the peer-to-peer (P2P) test. One of the important topics of VPN is P2P. P2P is a type of technology which is used in torrent downloading. Some VPN clients support, and some don’t. While testing P2P on ProtonVPN, the download started within a fraction of seconds on the Plus servers.

ExpressVPN, on the other hand, was not as excited as ProtonVPN. I had to try a couple of servers to get the downloading started.

Winner: ProtonVPN | Score: ProtonVPN: 4 and ExpressVPN: 4

Other features

ProtonVPNExpressVPN
  • Uses AES-256 encryption level
  • Log free service
  • See load on each server
  • Separates basic and plus servers 👇
  • Uses AES-256 encryption level
  • Log free service

Winner: ProtonVPN | Score: ProtonVPN: 5 and ExpressVPN: 4

Pricing

Pricing changes everything as at the end. The table compares both and features each plan offers. The mentioned prices are as of 20th Aug 2020. ProtonVPN also comes with a free plan, which provides slow speed and servers in three countries.

Pricing - ProtonVPN vs ExpressVPN
Pricing – ProtonVPN vs. ExpressVPN

Which one is for you?

Overall, I would go with ProtonVPN. While testing, the service was flawless. I encountered a couple of issues with ExpressVPN mentioned in the P2P test section. ProtonVPN is cost-effective, and the plus plan would be the perfect choice for a severe VPN user. In this comparison, the final score is 5 against 4.


Recommended choice

ProtonVPN


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Try

Both offer a 7-day free trial. With ProtonVPN, no matter which subscription you select, you will get 7-day free access to all the features.


Summary

The comparison of ProtonVPN vs. ExpressVPN covered the essential features of both. If you think something is missing or needs an update, please send me a message or comment down below. Thanks for having a read and have a nice day.

2 thoughts on “ProtonVPN vs. ExpressVPN (2020) | 100% Honest Comparison”

  1. Thanks for your testing and opinion. I saw other Proton vs Express reviews which picked Express as the winner. I have been using Proton and wondered if I should switch. You have helped me to stay with Proton. You addressed more of my needs and showed Proton to be superior in the areas for which I desired a VPN in the first place. Thanks again.

    1. Thank you for the kind words. Honestly, before writing this article, I went on other websites to see what other writers think about both, and I did not agree to most because I had used both. I believe ProtonVPN is better than ExpressVPN in many ways.

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