ExpressVPN Review

Features

  • Best-in-class security & encryption
  • 30 days risk-free
  • 24/7 customer support by live chat
  • Ultra-fast servers in 94 countries
9.3
(294 User Reviews)

Price from

$6.67/Mo

Available on

  • Windows
  • macOS
  • Android
  • Linux
  • iOS

The internet is a world of its own; a huge one, flooded with thousands, if not millions of three-letter agencies and scammers looking over users’ shoulders. That’s why you need a VPN, such as ExpressVPN, to secure your online presence and browsing. ExpressVPN is a service like no other which has been blazing the trail in terms of privacy and security measures, as revealed in this review.

VPN Explained

There is no safety in connecting your laptop, tablet, or smartphone to your local hotel’s Wi-Fi network since a malicious individual using the same network can use the opportunity to easily snoop on your online traffic and steal your vital information. In fact, some people deliberately create unsecured Wi-Fi so that they can fetch information from users. That is why it is advisable to steer clear of such networks. Don’t forget that even governments (some of them, that is) are out to gain access to your web traffic. With a VPN, however, you can use any unsecured network without having to worry about snoopers. The tool encrypts and anonymizes your data before releasing it onto the internet. This prevents any third parties from intercepting your data while in transit. Since your traffic will appear as though it is emanating from one of the tool’s servers, your actual IP address will be completely indiscernible.

Having said that, you need to understand that VPNs differ in terms of features, which determine their efficiency and effectiveness. While there are those tools which are extremely good, others are so bad that you should never even think of using them. Thankfully, ExpressVPN is on the extreme positive end of the spectrum.

Why You Should Choose Express VPN

Based on self-proclamations of this service provider, you can tell a lot about their potential and what they can offer. Without exaggeration, ExpressVPN is the best VPN solution thus far. In fact, not many such solutions come close. Hence, you have every good reason to choose this tool. With its 3,000-plus servers established in various locations around the world, the tool offers what one would call lighting speeds, which are great for torrenting and streaming. Another positive thing about ExpressVPN is its compatibility with a vast range of devices. From routers to Android, Linux, iOS, Windows, and Mac, the tool works on just about any device.

ExpressVPN VPN offers several different subscription plans. Each of these plans has a 30-day money-back guarantee attached to it. It means your money will be refunded in full, as long as you are requesting a refund within the timeline. So, you have 30 days to enjoy ExpressVPN for free!

ExpressVPN users also have every reason to believe in the provider’s security systems. Coming with AES-256-bit encryption accompanied with a kill switch, split tunnelling, and DNS leak protection, the tool’s security level is simply unrivalled.

Location

ExpressVPN’s location, which is the British Virgin Islands, is not accidental. Rather, it is purely intentional to ensure that users enjoy an extra security layer. The British Virgin Islands is a jurisdiction without data retention statutes, which means there is nothing like the overbearing hand of the government. Thus, when ExpressVPN provider claims to be a no-logs service, you’d better believe them since they are perfectly within the law.

Getting Started With ExpressVPN

To start using ExpressVPN you will first need to download and install the software on your internet-enabled gadget. The software can be accessed by visiting the provider’s official website. The homepage of the website offers device-specific download links, which you will need to choose from depending on your type of device. The download and setup process is typically short, lasting for just five minutes or so. Once you click on the link for your device, you will be redirected to another page where you can launch the download process.

Besides offering incredibly simple and clearly written setup instructions, the website contains video tutorials for those who don’t want to read. The videos are device-specific, so you will need to choose one that suits your gadget. Done with the setup process? Simply choose a server and connect to it. From there, you can start to browse, torrent, or even stream content on virtually every restricted site, as long as you are connected to the right server. You can see all the recommended locations from the tool’s location bar.

Manual Setups

There is nothing complex when it comes to setting up ExpressVPN on Nvidia Shield, Roku, or Chromecast. All you will need is to go through a few more steps since these devices don’t come with an in-built VPN functionality or MediaStreamer DNS. Roku users will need to first connect the device to a virtual or VPN-supported router. The step-by-step instructions for this connection can be found on the ExpressVPN’s Roku software page. Chromecast users will need to go through a similar process. The Chromecast software page contains the instructions for the same.

The manual installation process for Nvidia Shield, on the other hand, differs slightly from that of its two counterparts. Again, ExpressVPN provides instructions for this particular setup. You will need to either sideload the APK or download ExpressVPN client from the app store. Once you have done that, you can then activate, configure, and connect the app to the VPN of your choice.

Server Locations

Part of the reason why VPN users are willing to pay a premium is that they want to access a fleet of servers. Servers are the machines from which your online traffic will appear to be coming from while using a VPN. A great VPN tool should have a diverse server distribution. This puts users in a position to find one that is closest to them for the best experience. A large server network also gives you a wide range of options to spoof your location.

As already stated, ExpressVPN has at least 3,000 servers. These servers are erected in tons of locations (in at least 160 cities) across 94 countries. What this implies is that nearly every website and application can be accessed via this tool. As you would expect of the best VPN service, the majority of ExpressVPN’s servers are located in Europe and the United States, regions with the most sought-after content. As well, Asia is well covered, and so are South America, the Middle East, and Africa. Some of these regions are rarely covered by VPN providers, but ExpressVPN has decided to break that limitation, to establish servers there. It is no wonder it is the best service in the market.

The full list of ExpressVPN’s server locations can be viewed on the provider’s official website. There is a color-coded dot provided for each server location. If you see gray with a superimposed ‘X, ’ it means the tool is not supported to offer services in the implied locations. All available locations are denoted by green, with a checkmark in it. Red with a dash means that that the service is not available. Availability in certain locations is indicated by yellow with a check mark inside.

As you will realize, green is the dominant color, which means ExpressVPN has servers almost everywhere. You can filter the servers by country or region. The tool comes with what is known as Smart Location, a program that automatically detects the most ideal VPN location for users. The program does this by use of an algorithm, which ranks locations based on such metrics as speed, latency, and distance. Hence, users don’t need to assume the responsibility of switching server locations unless they wish to do so. Users who want to change a server location can get a hint from the list of recommended locations. Another option is to simply choose the location they want from the list of the available locations.

Supported Devices

You will come across ExpressVPN apps tailored for various different devices. There are apps for Windows, Android, Mac, Blackberry, iOS, and Linux. Routers are also well covered. In terms of browser extensions, no stone has been left unturned. Whether you are using Chrome, Safari, or Firefox, you will perfectly be within ExpressVPN’s coverage. And that is not all as far as supported devices are concerned. The provider also supports PlayStation, Android TV boxes, Fire TV, Samsung Smart TVs, Nintendo Switch, Xbox, Kindle Fire, and Apple TV. And yes, as already explained, ExpressVPN can manually be set up on Roku, Nvidia Shield, and Chromecast devices. It goes without saying that a single ExpressVPN user account can simultaneously be connected to up to three devices. Sure, some of its competitors support higher numbers of simultaneous connections, but ExpressVPN makes up for this by offering a wide range of unique features you may not find elsewhere.

Speed

You will not experience any slowed down internet speed with ExpressVPN. The tool has the fastest servers to its name and offers unlimited bandwidth. Besides, its 3,000-plus server network is not small. While some internet service providers may slow down or throttle content streaming, this tool effectively eliminates the problem, allowing you to enjoy smooth and throttle-free browsing and streaming. Your device will be able to load content quickly, and you will be able to download and even upload content at a lightning speed. In fact, ExpressVPN tends to increase your internet speed in case of throttling.

Worried about reaching a bandwidth limit? With ExpressVPN, there is nothing of the sort. The implication for unlimited bandwidth is that you can download and upload as much data as possible. Since the tool prevents your internet service provider from seeing your internet activities, any bandwidth limits imposed by such a provider will effectively be removed.

Pricing Plans

As said earlier, all ExpressVPN users are entitled to 30 days of money-back guarantee. That alone calls for a smile on your face. Users can choose from a total of three plans, which differ in terms of aspects such as time period and discounts. As you will see, users on the longest plan enjoy the best discount.

The longest plan lasts for one year, and it is the most popular especially for long-term users. As of 2019, the plan sets users back $8.32 a month, and it is billed once every year. That means you will need to pay $99.95. The monthly plan costs $12.95, which means users on this plan spend $4.63 more than their counterparts on the yearly plan. If you use the monthly plan for 12 months, you will part with $155.40, which is not the best deal. However, this plan is the best choice for those who use the service only occasionally. There is another plan, which runs for six months. This plan bills users $59.95 once every six months, which means you will pay an average of $9.99 a month.

Users enjoy the same services, whether on the one-month, six-month, or 12-month plan, in terms of customer support, servers, server locations, and the range of apps. All the plans also come with 256-bit encryption and no-logs policy. In comparison to other services, ExpressVPN is not the cheapest solution in the VPN world. But given its unique high-level security features, such as DNS (the provider uses their own) and a super-fast server network, the prices are justified. Additionally, ExpressVPN’s referral program cannot be taken for granted because not every VPN service provider has such a nice program in place. Simply convince your friend to opt in and you will enjoy the service free of charge for 30 days.

Payment Options

If there is one VPN service that believes in diversity, it is ExpressVPN. And this diversity is not just for the sake of it; rather, it is for purposes of ensuring that clients have an adequate range of options to choose from. Besides servers and server locations, ExpressVPN’s diversity is reflected in the provider’s numerous payment options. To pay for the service, you could use credit cards, such as American Express, JCB, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa. Other payment methods, such as OneCard, Yandex Money, FanaPay, Mint, Interac Online, GiroPay, WebMoney, Klarna, iDEAL, UnionPay, AliPay, and Sofort are also acceptable. Users can also pay through Bitcoin or PayPal. What a list!

Does ExpressVPN Support Torrenting?

Torrenting or P2P file sharing is an online activity associated with controversies. Many internet service providers around the world have, for a very long time, been facing pressure from some large firms to track and punish torrentors for such things as DMCA violation and software piracy. While it is advisable to use a VPN for P2P file sharing, some services don’t support this internet activity. With ExpressVPN, you will be able to avoid the threat of being tracked and penalized for crimes such as those mentioned in the previous sentence. There is even a page on the provider’s website detailing how to set up a torrent client on a computer or mobile device. One aspect which makes ExpressVPN a great fit for P2P file sharing is its download speeds. Also, the provider offers unlimited bandwidth, which allows torrentors to download and share tons of torrent files without worrying about running short of bandwidth.

Does It Unblock Netflix?

Netflix, especially the American version, is one of the most sought-after sites when it comes to streaming. Unfortunately, it puts restrictions on who can access its content and where. That is why the site’s content is not the same in every country. With a service such as ExpressVPN, you can easily unblock this site, irrespective of your location. With the tool’s excellent speeds, seamless and latency-free video streaming is guaranteed. The tool also unblocks dozens of other geo-restricted streaming platforms, such as Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Sky TV, and Crunchyroll, among others. You may want to reach out to the provider’s customer desk in order to know the servers that work with each content streaming platform.

Does ExpressVPN Bypass the Great Firewall of China?

ExpressVPN has been working in China for many years now, allowing users from the mainland to gain access to open and free internet. Of course, it is a big task for any VPN to defy the feared Great Firewall. This is the reason why users may sometimes experience downtimes. While this is a common phenomenon with many VPNs, ExpressVPN tends to bounce back almost immediately.

Privacy and Security

ExpessVPN takes security and anonymity of users so seriously, which should actually be the case for every service provider of this kind. To prevent tracking and hacking, the tool uses the so-called 256-bit AES encryption, a powerful security feature recommended by the majority of VPN experts around the globe. The tool also keeps zero logs of user traffic data or DNS queries, making it impossible to track user activities.

ExpressVPN also uses an innovative technology known as TrustedServer, which ensures that no data is recorded on the hard drive of the user’s gadget. So, if there are cyber criminals trying to pry on you, there will be no data on your device for them to steal. The solution also comes with the so-called zero-knowledge DNS, which improves its connection speeds, as well as the safety of internet users.

Other security features such as a kill switch, split tunneling, and DNS/IPv6 leak protection complement the tool’s encryption. The kill switch keeps your data safe if the VPN loses connection, while split tunneling routes some of your traffic through the VPN and some to the internet directly. Let’s now look at ExpressVPN’s security features in detail as shown below:

Protocols

Since VPNs are one of the most advanced technologies, they offer various different ways for users to create a connection. These ways are known as protocols, and OpenVPN is the most preferred protocol thanks to its reliability – not to mention speed. But most importantly, this protocol is known to be an open-source project, which means it makes it possible for users to seal all the loopholes for vulnerabilities. Thankfully, ExpressVPN is one of those tools supporting OpenVPN on a variety of devices, with Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and Linus all covered. The tool also allows router users to configure their device for OpenVPN.

On a more positive note, ExpressVPN does not just support one protocol as most tools do. On top of OpenVPN, it also supports L2TP protocol on certain devices, including Windows and macOS. Although this is an old protocol, it is still serviceable, and it may not disappoint you at all. Another protocol supported for ExpressVPN is PPTP. Although it is a less secure protocol, it offers an alternative way just in case the other protocols fail. However, PPTP is usable on Windows devices only. With IKEv1/2 protocol also supported (on iOS), very few services can compete with ExpressVPN in this regard.

Let’s not forget that ExpressVPN also supports the most preferred protocol in its iOS application, which is actually a noble idea. Remember, many app developers looking to use OpenVPN are not prepared to go through the tiresome hoops imposed by Apple. To sum up, OpenVPN should be your number one choice, unless otherwise. Although IKEv1/2 protocol comes a distant second in the list, it offers a great service.

Logging

Does ExpressVPN log user traffic? The answer is simply no, a big no, as a matter of fact. The provider spells out clearly the information they collect and that which they do not collect from their patrons. For instance, they don’t collect IP addresses, DNS queries, or browsing history of the user. They do not collect information on traffic destinations either. Remember, ExpressVPN, as said earlier, is located in the British Virgin Islands where there is no law requiring the provider to log user activities for future use. Since the tool does not log user activities, it also means that it cannot detect the website users visit. Hence, there is a complete lack of logs with connection timestamps, session duration, VPN IP addresses, or source.

Like any service, ExpressVPN does collect some user information. However, it does so in a more transparent manner, and with the full knowledge of the user. This is perhaps where the tool beats most of its competitors, given that some tools out there collect user information without being transparent on the same. You can read the provider’s Privacy Policy to know what information is collected and that which is not. The tool collects the total data MB transferred on a daily basis, your server location, the apps and app versions you are using, and the dates when you used the tool.

Despite the fact that ExpressVPN collects some information, the best part is that the tool does not match the data collected back to the owner. The reason for collecting this data is to make it easy for the company’s technical team to resolve issues affecting their customers. The data also helps the company in identifying any connection problems and providing country-specific advice. At no single time does the company try to use the information to identify its individual customers.

ExpressVPN also collects anonymized analytics data, including speed tests, connection failures, and crash reports, for purposes of improving customer experience. The good thing is that users can set up the tool in such a way that ExpressVPN does not gain access to this data. However, given the purpose for which these pieces of data are collected, it would be pointless to do so.

Network Lock

This is just another security feature worth exploring in detail. It refers to a kill switch, which maintains data security in the event of a dropped connection. It works by automatically blocking your internet traffic, only to be restored when the VPN connection returns. Scenarios when this feature comes to your rescue include when your device sleeps, when experiencing a power failure, and when changing a Wi-Fi network.

Essentially, the Network Lock, as the name suggests, locks outs all third parties and your internet service provider to ensure they don’t gain access to your information. So, even if you experience a brief failure in connection, your data will still be completely on the safe side. The feature eliminates the possibility of IP address leak or the sending out of unencrypted data. Remember, ExpressVPN’s Network Lock is automatic by default, for both unblocking and blocking. The feature, however, can easily be turned off with just a few clicks of the mouse. This is not recommended though, as you never know when the accident may occur. And why would you leave your data exposed?

Zero-Knowledge DNS

This is one of the key security features embedded in ExpressVPN. The feature shows that the tool runs its own DNS on each of its servers. This implies that ExpressVPN has full control of the DNS, which gives users high-level privacy they deserve. There is a page dedicated to explaining ExpressVPN’s DNS on the provider’s website. You will also get to understand what a DNS is. Just at a glance, DNS in full means domain name systems. It is the way your internet device transform URLs into website addresses. While most VPNs obtain their DNSs from third parties, this could be somewhat risky as such DNSs don’t come with encryption protocol or tunneling, rendering user data vulnerable. Additionally, a DNS obtained from a third party tend to keep personal identifiable user data, which makes it possible for users to be tracked.

On the contrary, ExpressVPN DNS’s zero-knowledge aspect means that the feature does not keep data which can be used to identify persons. ExpressVPN also prevents any potential man-in-the-middle attacks by stopping DNS blocking or filtering. So, users can freely enjoy the content they want online without the worry of someone denying them access.

ExpressVPN’s TrustedServer

This is yet another security feature, which is unique to ExpressVPN. It eliminates the need for hard drive usage. Using a hard drive is too risky as it exposes your stored data to potential hackers. TrustedServer ensures that all the servers of ExpressVPN run on the random access memory of your device, rather than the hard drive. The feature automatically erases all the information collected once you turn on or off the server.

Were it not for TrustedServer, ExpressVPN would have been forced to use hard drives, just as other similar services do. Hard drives keep user data until it is erased. Since the process is a bit complicated, it is prone to errors, which expose the data to prying eyes. Using hard drives also poses the danger of users’ sensitive data accidentally finding its way into servers. Hackers will even be able to install a backdoor, which is indefinitely open.

Split Tunneling

As explained in the introductory portion of this section, split tunneling is a feature of ExpressVPN, which allows users to transmit some of their traffic through an encrypted VPN. With this feature, users can set certain devices or applications to directly access the internet without going via the VPN. The feature enables users to gain access to devices in their local networks without endangering their privacy. If split tunneling wasn’t there, users would not be able to simultaneously gain access to both their local and foreign internet services. Lack of split tunneling may also translate to other issues, including bandwidth depletion and inability to access LAN gadgets while the VPN is still connected. Split tunneling, therefore, enables you to download content without the worry of slowing down your other processes online.

To get the best out of ExpressVPN’s split tunneling feature, you will need to correctly set it up. Remember, it would be easy for your internet service provider or third parties to track any traffic which is not VPN-protected. As such, ExpressVPN advises all its users to protect their sensitive data with the tool. Whether you are downloading or torrenting, the tool should be active.

When setting up split tunneling, ExpressVPN offers you two options to choose from. By default, this security feature provides protection to all devices and applications. You can choose to exclude those devices and apps you want to directly connect to the internet. Another option is to leave everything to flow outside your VPN tool. The second option is highly discouraged by ExpressVPN and security experts alike. The tool offers split tunneling for its Windows, Mac, and Android apps. The feature is also available for router users.

Education Resources

Besides functionality features, ExpressVPN supplies users with a wide range of educational resources, which can be found in the blog section of the company’s official website. From the internet privacy news to security tips and everything in between, the site has tons of resources.

Want to understand why you should trust the provider? You could visit the Trust Center page, where you will learn a lot of things about ExpressVPN. For instance, it is almost impossible for the company system to be breached. In the unlikely event of a breach, hackers would not be able to cause any serious damage to the system. You will also come across the tool’s constant defense tests on this page.

For users looking for the best tips and methods for anonymous and secure stream sports, the provider offers guides on the same. There are how-to privacy guides, which cover topics such as how to safely use a public Wi-Fi network and how to delete personal data collected by Google.

Customer Service

With a truly 24/7 customer support, ExpressVPN does not disappoint in this area, as expected of a service of its caliber. This means you can have any issue resolved as soon as it occurs. The live chat is definitely the icing on the cake, as it means that users can receive responses in seconds. At the push of a button, you could also access the provider’s FAQ section, which has a wealth of questions and answers concerning ExpressVPN.

Pros
  • Unblocks US Netflix
  • Supports torrenting and streaming
  • Super fast speeds
  • Works in UAE and China
  • Offers advanced security features on both servers and apps
  • Round-the-clock live chat customer service
  • Zero logs policy
  • Located in a secure jurisdiction
Cons
  • Unlabeled streaming servers
  • Costs slightly higher than most of its competitors

Conclusion

There is a sea of internet users who appreciate the fact that ExpressVPN is the best virtual private network thus far. As clearly stated in this review, the tool provides users with strong protection from hackers, snoopers, and even government surveillance agencies. The tool provides this protection through data encryption and keeping IP addresses hidden.

ExpressVPN is one service with a huge server network. Its speeds are one of the best too, which makes it the best choice when it comes to content streaming. Its ability to unblock Netflix and bypass the Great Firewall of China highlights how advanced the tool is in terms of effectiveness. The provider’s stance on zero logs, security, and privacy is something every user will be happy about. Other unique features, such as split tunneling and TrustedServer, make the tool exemplary. While the pricing is somewhat pocket-unfriendly, given that some other VPNs are cheaper, the tool is worth a premium thanks to its quality. After all, there is nothing abnormal about spending a little bit more on the best service. Remember, excellent performance, security, and privacy come at an extra cost. Surely, ExpressVPN is the best tool in the market.

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