ProtonVPN vs. ExpressVPN (2021)

Last updated: 4 Apr 2021

ProtonVPN vs ExpressVPN
ProtonVPN vs. ExpressVPN

VPN is essential, but finding the best VPN is challenging. ProtonVPN is from ProtonMail emailing service, while ExpressVPN is an industry-leading VPN tool. Is ProtonVPN better than ExpressVPN? The article explores the two and covers ProtonVPN vs. ExpressVPN.

Quick ProtonVPN vs. ExpressVPN comparison

FeaturesProtonVPNExpressVPN
Servers14573000+
Total countries5594
ProtocolsOpenVPN, IKEv2OpenVPN, IKEv2. & Lightway
Location test
Speed testD: 45 Mbps
U: 31 Mbps
D: 42 Mbps
U: 30 Mbps
DNS leak test
P2P test
Dedicated IP
Encryption level256-bit encryption256-bit encryption
Max devicesPlan dependent5 at a time
PurchaseProtonVPNExpressVPN
Quick comparison

Platforms

ProtonVPNExpressVPN
Windows
macOS
Linux
iOS
Android
Chromebook
Android TV
Router (limited)
Windows
macOS
Linux
iOS
Android
Windows Phone
Blackberry
Apple TV
Amazon Fire TV
Samsung Smart TV
Kindle Fire
Playstation 3/4
Xbox
Nintendo Switch
Nook
Google Chrome
Firefox
Safari
Router setup
forms comparison

The list of supported platforms for ExpressVPN goes and goes. ExpressVPN would be the tool supporting the highest number of platforms right now.

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

Servers

Server Locations of ExpressVPN and ProtonVPN
Server Locations of ExpressVPN and ProtonVPN

ProtonVPN offers over 1457 servers in 55 countries. ExpressVPN offers over 3,000 servers in 94 nations. Interested in the full server list? Check out the full list of ProtonVPN and ExpressVPN.

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

Protocols

The VPN protocols are essential for the VPN connection. ProtonVPN only uses OpenVPN and IKEv2, which are, of course, the most popular. Although depending on the platform, you might not find both. For example, on Windows, it only comes with OpenVPN, while on iOS and Android, you find both.

ExpressVPN, alongside their own protocol Lightway, offers OpenVPN, IKEv2, IPSec, and L2TP/IPSec, but not all protocols support all devices. For example, IKEv2 and IPSec are only available on macOS, iOS, and Windows. According to the official website, OpenVPN is available on the majority of the platforms.

Winner: Tie | Score: ProtonVPN: 1 | ExpressVPN: 3

Streaming services

ProtonVPN vs ExpressVPN - Streaming Support
ProtonVPN and ExpressVPN – Streaming Support

Streaming geo-restricted services are popular, but if no good VPN is used, your account could be banned. It’s worth investing a few extra bucks and getting a good VPN. Thankfully, both VPNs support quite many streaming services to watch.

Although the list is taken from the official websites, the actual number of supported services could be more, so we will make this round of ProtonVPN vs. ExpressVPN tie.

Winner: Tie | Score: ProtonVPN: 2 and ExpressVPN: 4

Related: Surfshark vs. ProtonVPN

VPN Tests

Speed test

To find the fastest VPN provider, I took a few speed tests. How did I choose the servers? 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 was slightly lower than ProtonVPN on both wi-fi and mobile data, but this should not be an issue on a fast network.

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

Location test

Speed 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, and both changed my public IP and my location to the selected destination’s. The video above shows one of the servers.

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

Related: VyprVPN vs. CyberGhost

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?

ProtonVPN vs ExpressVPN | DNS Leak Test
ProtonVPN and ExpressVPN – DNS Leak Tests

Connecting to a server in Canada showed no leak while testing ProtonVPN. ExpressVPN, on the other hand, showed two different IP Addresses, but I don’t think you should be worried because both IP’s were from ExpressVPN.

Winner: Tie | Score: ProtonVPN: 5 | ExpressVPN: 6

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, which makes torrenting possible.

Both offer P2P, but while testing, ProtonVPN was more responsive. ExpressVPN was good too, but it took it longer time to get the speed. Of course, the server and location also matter, but it was worth mention what happened during the test.

Winner: Tie | Score: ProtonVPN: 6 and ExpressVPN: 7

Additional features

Common features

ProtonVPN

  • Secure Core
  • Open-source
  • Tor Over VPN
  • Transparency reports
  • Ad-blocker

ExpressVPN

Winner: ProtonVPN | Score: ProtonVPN: 7 | ExpressVPN: 7

Pricing

ProtonVPN vs. ExpressVPN – Pricing

Which one is for you?

Pricing changes everything in the end. Overall, ExpressVPN is cost-effective in the long run, while for a month to month paying user, ProtonVPN would suit better.  The mentioned prices are as of 9th March 2021.

Overall, both are great. ProtonVPN was overall faster, and it could connect to the server quickly. ExpressVPN, a couple of times, took longer to connect.

In the end, if you want a service for the long term, then ExpressVPN would be the ideal choice. If ProtonVPN does not offer the server you want, you don’t have any choice. For a user who is looking for a short term (a month), then go with ProtonVPN.

The final score in the battle is ProtonVPN: 7 & ExpressVPN: 7

Purchase

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 below. Thanks for having a read, and have a nice day.

2 thoughts on “ProtonVPN vs. ExpressVPN (2021)”

  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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