ExpressVPN Review

See what we thought of this service provider

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4.3

ExpressVPN

expressvpn

Express VPN

What We Like

  • Over 3,000 servers in 94 countries

  • Works on an extensive range of platforms

  • Split Tunneling option for enhanced performance

  • Network Lock (ExpressVPN kill switch)

  • Speed test for Windows and Mac

  • You'll get three months free when you sign up for an annual plan

What We Don't Like

  • No free trial (just a 30-day money-back guarantee)

  • To get the lowest price of $6.67/month, you must commit for 15 months

If you’re in the market for a highly rated, no-logs VPN service that delivers fast speeds, extreme security features, support for multiple platforms and devices, 24-hour live support, and works with Netflix catalogs — then ExpressVPN may be a good choice for your needs.

4.3

ExpressVPN

expressvpn

Express VPN

If you’re looking for a fast, highly secure, no logs VPN provider, ExpressVPN delivers. Consistently ranked as one of the fastest VPN providers on the market, ExpressVPN offers over 3,000 VPN servers in 160 VPN server locations across 94 countries, including Australia, Japan, India, and Brazil (where bandwidth can be expensive).

We tested ExpressVPN to see if the service lives up to its reputation. We evaluated how easy it was to set up, the design of the interface, performance, and cost to determine if it’s worth buying a subscription. (If strong security is important to you, then the answer is probably "yes").

Setup Process: Simple and straightforward

The setup process for ExpressVPN is very simple. From the ExpressVPN website, download the appropriate software for your device and operating system, then follow the installation steps on your screen.

With ExpressVPN, you don’t need to install any configuration files or tweak the settings to make it work. However, we noticed that the software adds an additional ExpressVPN Shortcuts (i.e. configurations) folder on the hard drive. You can delete this folder, but it will reappear every time you connect.

Design: User-friendly

We found that ExpressVPN is easy to use, even for those who may not be familiar with VPNs. All you need to do is launch the VPN application, and the VPN connection screen pops up.

From this screen, you have a few options:

  • Connect to the last server used: From the connection screen, click the large Connect button. 
  • Connect to Smart Location: Click Smart Location to allow ExpressVPN to select the best VPN server for your location.
  • Connect to another server: Click the round ellipsis button. This opens a second pop up. Click the Recommend button or search by country. Choose a server, then press the Connect button again.
ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN 

We found the dual screen design a little clunky, but it does the job. For some, the ability to drill down into the entire global server list on the second screen may be a desirable feature. Once you’re connected to your chosen VPN location, you’re good to go. You can check the connection status at the top of the screen (it looks like a flying V with a checkmark).

We were able to connect to Netflix in Japan, Netflix and Hulu in the United States, and even got past the BBC's strict proxy tests for the BBC iPlayer in the UK.

Performance: Excellent

We can confidently say that the connection, surfing, and streaming speeds on ExpressVPN are excellent. To achieve the best speed and performance, use the Smart Location feature.

Smart Location is a tool built into ExpressVPN that uses special algorithms to find you the best VPN server based on factors such as download speed, latency, and distance. It always picks the best server for your location, so you don't need to guess where you’ll get the best performance.

ExpressVPN
 ExpressVPN

We found ExpressVPN's servers to be speedy across the board, with a maximum measured connection speed of 183.1 Mbps when using our 1Gbps connection. That's plenty for even the most strenuous of tasks, even streaming 4K HD video and fast paced gaming.

ExpressVPN's commitment to privacy was proven when the Turkish government demanded data from ExpressVPN in 2017, and there was no data to hand over.

For remote regions with poor security standards, ExpressVPN uses a feature called Virtual Servers. As the name suggests, the Virtual Servers are not located in the country as the IP address assigned to you.

This is important if you need an IP address in a country that doesn’t meet ExpressVPN’s security standards, e.g. Indonesia. If you are located in one of these Virtual Locations countries, ExpressVPN will route all of your internet traffic through a server in another country, while assigning you a local IP address. This adds another layer of security to your internet browsing.

Streaming: Good coverage, but no dedicated servers

ExpressVPN doesn't provide dedicated streaming servers like some of the competition, but you can still use this service to unlock content from some of your favorite providers. We connected to servers in the United States, Japan, and the United Kingdom, and we actually had pretty good luck.

We were able to connect to Netflix in Japan, Netflix and Hulu in the United States, and even got past the BBC's strict proxy tests for the BBC iPlayer in the UK. These results aren't guaranteed, since streaming video services are constantly trying to block VPNs, but we had a very good experience with ExpressVPN.

Privacy Policy: Strict

ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), which has stricter privacy laws than many other countries. The BVI is not a member of member of the 5, 9, or 14-Eyes Alliance and has no data retention laws. This means they don’t keep any IP addresses, browsing history, data traffic, or Domain Name System (DNS) queries that could be used to identify any specific user.

Indeed, ExpressVPN's commitment to privacy was proven when the Turkish government demanded data from ExpressVPN in 2017, and there was no data to hand over.

ExpressVPN is a worthy choice for anyone wanting greater privacy and security on the web.

From ExpressVPN's privacy policy: "We do not collect logs of your activity, including no logging of browsing history, traffic destination, data content, or DNS queries. We also never store connection logs, meaning no logs of your IP address, your outgoing VPN IP address, connection timestamp, or session duration.”

Security Features: Best in class

ExpressVPN uses a range of best-in-class security features to ensure privacy and safety on many levels. This makes ExpressVPN suitable for a wide range of personal privacy uses, including torrenting, hiding activities from your ISP and search engines, streaming movies, and getting around geo-restrictions, even in China. 

ExpressVPN’s impressive list of security features include:

  • Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) with 256-bit keys: A military-grade encryption standard used by government agencies and security experts to protect highly sensitive data.
  • A strict no-logs policy: ExpressVPN never keep logs of your outgoing IP address, browsing history, traffic destination, data content, connection timestamp, or DNS queries.
  • TrustedServer: ExpressVPN servers run on volatile memory (RAM), not hard drives. This guarantees any data in RAM is erased whenever the power cycles.
  • Network Lock (ExpressVPN Kill Switch): This feature ensures your data traffic and IP address stay private (i.e. they won’t leak) even if the VPN connection suddenly drops.
  • 60-Minute Rekeying: In addition to negotiating a new secret key every time you connect, ExpressVPN automatically also negotiates a new key every 60 minutes while you’re using the VPN.
  • Chrome Browser Extension with HTTPS Everywhere: An extension that automatically directs you to the more secure HTTPS version of major websites. It works whether or not you’re connected to ExpressVPN.
  • Optional VPN for Wi-Fi router: This feature allows you to set up your home router with an application that secures all devices on your Wi-Fi network. Having this feature means you don’t need to install the VPN app on each separate device.

To help ensure the VPN is always on, you can check the option for Launch ExpressVPN on startup under Preferences > General.

ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN offers a variety of VPN protocols to choose from, including OpenVPN over UDP/TCP or L2TP/IPSec. If you want to switch protocols, it’s easy to do. Just go to the Preferences menu and click the Protocol tab. However, ExpressVPN recommends that you stick with OpenVPN, or let the app automatically pick the protocol most appropriate to your network.

An Extra Security Feature: Split tunneling

ExpressVPN has a unique feature called split tunneling. Split tunneling allows you to select which apps (Chrome, Firefox, etc) use the VPN, and which do not. This can be useful when you want to use the VPN to keep your online activities private on certain sites, but don't want to slow down other sites where you'd be better off using a local IP address.

An example of split tunneling might involve using the VPN for torrenting or streaming movies overseas, while keeping a non-VPN connection for sites such as local businesses or food delivery services. Keep in mind that when using ExpressVPN’s split tunneling feature, your internet service provider or outside party could potentially see or intercept the data traffic that's not protected by the VPN.

ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN

Torrenting: Works with uTorrent

The ExpressVPN service also works for torrenting. To use it, you'll need to download uTorrent from the official uTorrent site. Once installed, you can use the uTorrent application with ExpressVPN turned on to torrent privately. It probably goes without saying that if you torrent, always use a reliable and highly secure VPN service.

ExpressVPN uses a range of best-in-class security features to ensure privacy and security on many levels.

Ad Blocking: Not available

Some VPN services include a built-in ad blocker, which acts as an extra level of security against overzealous ad trackers learning information about your system and connection. ExpressVPN doesn't include an ad blocker, so that feature isn't available here.

Customer Service: Web chat, email and a ticket system

ExpressVPN doesn't have phone support, but they do offer an excellent web chat system. Some VPNs cut corners by using AI-based chat systems, but ExpressVPN allows you to talk to a real human if you find yourself having trouble with the service.

In addition to web chat, ExpressVPN also has an email address that you can contact for asynchronous support at your convenience, and a ticket-based system that you can fill out through their support site.

Price: Good

In terms of pricing, ExpressVPN is reasonably priced for all the features and options you get. While not as cheap as other services, you may find that the extra features of ExpressVPN outweigh the cost.

Currently, ExpressVPN offers three payment options: one month, six months, or 15 months. A one month plan is $12.95, six months is $9.99, and the best deal is $6.67 for 15 months. The 15-month plan works out to be just 22 cents a day, which is still relatively cheap.

Competition: ExpressVPN vs NordVPN

As two of the top-rated VPNs, you’ll often find the ExpressVPN and NordVPN ranked against each other. However, there are some differences between them. For starters, ExpressVPN is the more expensive option, with a 15-month plan costing $6.67/month. Meanwhile, NordVPN will set you back $2.99/month for a 3-year plan.

For those who want to keep local connections while using a VPN, ExpressVPN offers split tunneling; NordVPN does not. And, when it comes to available platforms, you’ll get more choices with ExpressVPN, which even has apps for Chromebook, Kindle Fire, and Nook. The good news is, both companies offer a 30-day money back guarantee, so you can trial the services at no risk.

Final Verdict

A good value.

If you're after fast speeds, responsive 24-hour chat support, military-grade encryption protocols, and additional security features, take a good look at ExpressVPN. With its massive global server infrastructure, Smart Location feature, built-in speed test, and many more cool value-added features — ExpressVPN is a worthy choice for anyone wanting greater privacy and security on the web.

Specs

  • Product Name ExpressVPN
  • Price $8.32
  • Speed (Fastest Observed) 183.1 Mbps (Tested on a 1Gbps connection)
  • Operating Systems Windows, macOS, Linux, Chromebook, iOS, Android
  • Devices Five devices at a time
  • Server Locations 94 Countries
  • Number of Servers 3,000+
  • Streaming Tested Netflix (Japan, US), BBC iPlayer, Hulu (US)
  • Torrenting Yes (works with uTorrent)
  • Encryption AES 256-bit OpenVPN
  • Logging No logs policy, transparency report available
  • Jurisdiction British Virgin Islands
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