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ExpressVPN Review

article by Nicky Hoseck author July 18, 2019
our score
ExpressVPN is famous for its speed, claiming to be the world's fastest VPN. They offer a global network with unlimited bandwidth and data for all subscribers. Their app is incredibly intuitive and great for everything from anonymous browsing to hardcore streaming.
pros
  • Unlimited data and bandwidth
  • Global network with servers in 94 countries
  • Intuitive "Plug and Play" app
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Zero logging, military grade encryption, 99.99% uptime
cons
  • More expensive than other VPN providers
  • Speeds are solid, but not the "fastest" VPN
  • Telephone support unavailable
ExpressVPN works well. They have speedy networks, no data caps, and I like their ‘zero logging’ policy.
Nicky Hoseck, author
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Server Locations Servers In 94 Countries
Multiple Devices Simultaneous Connections on Up to 3 Devices
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Personal Use Benefits Usability

If there’s one thing about ExpressVPN that really stands out, it’s the level of professionalism and this becomes apparent with the very first download. The website is easy to navigate so all you have to do is click on the right button and, before you know it, you’ll be zooming around the virtual world anonymously, hidden from prying eyes by a top-grade encryption code.

Once installed, ExpressVPN provides a user-friendly interface via which you can customize your settings and choose your preferred server. For such a sophisticated piece of software, ExpressVPN is surprisingly easy to operate, even when it comes to more advanced features. Any problems you may encounter can be solved with a quick visit to ExpressVPN’s support section which has a wealth of useful information and step-by-step guides.

While the main window controls your basic connection and server selection, other features and options are just a click away. The menu gives you access to a world of possibilities, enabling you to activate split tunneling and select what traffic is encrypted and what is bland enough that it can skip past the VPN tunnel. You can also protect your browser by launching one of ExpressVPN’s browser extensions and protect your real IP address by triggering the in-built kill switch.

Despite providing one of the most technologically advanced cybersecurity solutions, ExpressVPN’s intuitive interface makes it ideal for beginners while offering enough customizable features to appeal to the more experienced user.

speed Speed

ExpressVPN has always prided itself on being able to secure some of the fastest connections in the world but, if you start hunting around looking for proof of this statement, you’ll uncover a host of contradictory speed tests and reviews. While some confirm that ExpressVPN is the fastest in the world, others dispute that claim and provide speed test results to back them up, so let’s dig a little deeper and see what’s really lurking under the hood of ExpressVPN.

A VPN adds another link in the chain that connects your device to the internet so the likelihood is that it will have some effect on speed, although, in some cases, a VPN can actually improve your connection speed. If your internet provider is throttling or restricting your bandwidth in any way, this can have a negative impact on the speed of your connection. A VPN masks your online activity so your internet provider can’t identify what site you’re using and is, therefore, unable to throttle your bandwidth.

Aside from that aspect, a VPN’s speed is judged according to three basic criteria: ping rate, download speed, and upload speed. These are influenced by the proximity of the server you’re using, the amount of traffic traveling through that server at the time, and the level of encryption. In general, the safer the connection, the slower the speed.

The speed of many VPNs fluctuates according to location, so it comes as little surprise that ExpressVPN achieved its fastest speeds in the UK, with Europe a close second. ExpressVPN performs fast and effectively throughout the US, with the majority of servers giving consistently high speeds. In some outlying areas where the internet connection also tends to be slower, ExpressVPN’s performance is slightly less impressive but it still manages to deliver perfectly workable speeds, even in areas like South Africa where there are limited servers and dubious internet speeds.

Overall, whether or not ExpressVPN is the fastest in the world depends on a number of variables but the bottom line is that it consistently delivers high-speed connections all over the world, enabling you to stream, play games, and torrent with minimal interference.

Privacy

To say that ExpressVPN is committed to user privacy is like saying Trump is enthusiastic about a border wall. Both have taken it much further than mere commitment and ExpressVPN are trailblazers when it comes to privacy. Since its inception in 2009, ExpressVPN has been a leading light when it comes to no-logging and privacy policies and has taken VPN reliability to a whole new level, joining forces with the Center for Democracy and Technology to implement an initiative aimed at making VPNs more transparent and trustworthy.

ExpressVPN’s no-logging policy is backed up by the fact that its headquarters are situated in the British Virgin Islands, where data retention laws act in its favor. According to its website, ExpressVPN “only keeps the bare minimum information required to operate a highly reliable VPN service”. Furthermore, ExpressVPN’s no-logging policy was legally proven after the company was asked to give up information pertaining to the assassination of Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov in Turkey two years ago. ExpressVPN responded to the request saying, “we lack the knowledge to answer such questions, as we do not possess connection logs or activity logs”.

That’s not to say that ExpressVPN doesn’t collect any data at all but what they do gather can’t be linked back to an individual user. Anonymized data regarding speeds, connection failures, and crash reports are collected in order to optimize performance. Undoubtedly, ExpressVPN isn’t the only VPN collecting data of this nature but is one of the few that’s brave enough to be upfront about it.

Being based in the British Virgin Islands means that ExpressVPN is under no compunction to adhere to European or American data retention laws. Additionally, the BVI isn’t part of the 14 eyes’ data sharing alliance within which various intelligence agencies intercept international communications. While the full implications of using a VPN based within a country inside an intelligence-sharing alliance are not fully understood, the risks include the possibility of a law enforcement agency subpoenaing access to customer data. Of course, where no logs exist, no data is available, so ExpressVPN is keeping your data safe and confidential on a number of levels.

ExpressVPN was also the first VPN provider to provide answers to all the Signals of Trustworthy VPNs compiled by the Center for Democracy and Technology and run regular penetration tests and audits to prove the validity of their privacy claims. A quick visit to ExpressVPN’s Trust Center will quickly dismiss any concerns you may have about confidentiality issues.

In addition to its exemplary privacy and no-logging policies, ExpressVPN is an active advocate for digital freedom, supporting non-profit organizations such as the Electronic Freedom Foundation and Fight for the Future, both of which are committed to defending freedom of speech and privacy online.

Features

A VPN of this caliber is necessarily chockablock with features, including standard security options and more advanced attributes. ExpressVPN gives users unlimited bandwidth on a range of devices, including Linux, Android, iOS, and Mac. ExpressVPN also provides top of the range encryption with its AES-256 standard and supports a variety of security protocols, including the most reliable OpenVPN. Although anything open sounds unprotected, in fact, OpenVPN is a flawless security code which, when combined with AES-256, offers the most secure VPN protocol you can find.

While some VPNs allow you to connect six or more devices at the same time, ExpressVPN limits you to three simultaneous connections. This may sound a bit stingy, but, when you consider that your router is just one device, it certainly shouldn’t limit your online activity unless you’re living in a cooperative with dozens of other digital dudes.

To protect your sensitive data and your device in the event of an unexpected connection failure, ExpressVPN provides a network kill switch that will block all traffic and prevent any accidental leakage of information. While this is a common feature among the best VPNs, ExpressVPN also boasts a number of less conventional features, including zero-knowledge DNS on all its servers. This boosts both security and speed and ensures complete privacy even on less secure public Wi-Fi hotspots.

ExpressVPN has one of the most extensive server networks in the world, giving users access to 160 different server locations in 94 countries. This means you can access geographically restricted content, including the notoriously tricky Netflix, from anywhere in the world. ExpressVPN’s speed test feature also means you can check the traffic load and speed of each server in a specific country before selecting the one that’s going to work best for you. For example, if you want to watch the German soccer premier league, Bundesliga, you can use ExpressVPN to create a German IP address and access the original Sky Germany coverage as well as the streams offered by Fox Sports.

Additional features include a password generator that will create random passwords that would take a hacker around 39,320 years to crack! As well as a DNS Leak test, ExpressVPN puts even more power into its users’ hands by giving them the tools to check for WebRTC leaks which have the potential to expose your real IP address.

Although ExpressVPN is jam-packed with features, they’re not there simply to make it look good. Unlike some of its rivals, each ExpressVPN feature has a specific role to play in providing its users with a fast and reliable service. These features are supplemented by a solid customer support system and educational website pages that give detailed information on troubleshooting, as well as step-by-step setup guides.

Meal Delivery Services_icons_80x80_Cost Pricing

As with everything else about ExpressVPN’s service, its pricing tiers are transparent and self-explanatory. There are no hidden fees or unexpected and costly upgrades required to get the best of ExpressVPN. Although a little pricier than some of its rivals, ExpressVPN nevertheless offers great discounts on longer subscriptions, as well as a 30-day money-back guarantee, which means you can try it out before committing to a long-term subscription.

One month with ExpressVPN will set you back $12.95 and makes little sense when you consider that a 15-month commitment will currently cost you almost half that at $6.67 per month. In fact, given the reliability and efficacy of the product, it’s not really worth opting for anything else, after all, when you’ve found one of the best VPNs, you may as well stick with it. As with most VPNs, ExpressVPN gives you a range of payment options, including untraceable methods like Bitcoin so you can maintain your anonymity at all levels.

Looking around at some of the other top VPN services it becomes apparent that, while ExpressVPN may be a little more expensive, it’s hardly out of the ballpark. For example, CyberGhost VPN costs $12.99 for a single month, even though its longer subscriptions are much cheaper. Even SurfShark VPN, which is one of the cheapest and most reliable VPN services around, will set you back $11.95 for a single month which is saving of just one dollar per month. Admittedly, SurfShark VPN’s longer subscriptions are a bit more competitive, but that may well change as it becomes more established, after all, it’s only just out of its cyber-nappies!

ExpressVPN may not be the cheapest option around but it will give you exceptional security and speeds, as well as three months’ service for free when you sign up for a year’s subscription which, let’s face it, makes it a steal.

Support

We’ve already touched on the number of resources available on ExpressVPN’s website but there’s plenty more to admire in the customer support department. In addition to one of the most comprehensive FAQ sections in the VPN industry, ExpressVPN also has a host of tutorials and how-to guides available online.

Troubleshooting guides and set-up tutorials are organized logically, according to topic, making it easy to find the answers to almost any question or problem. Another bonus is that you don’t have to be a complete computer geek to follow the instructions, with ExpressVPN making sure it attends to the most basic of questions (How do I know if ExpressVPN is Working?) as well as the most advanced (How to configure your DNS servers in Windows XP).

Although ExpressVPN’s online support is extensive, it’s not exhaustive so, if you can’t find the answers there, you can either file a support ticket, send an email, or type your questions into the live chat message box. The last option is generally the most efficient and, as the support team operates 24/7, you’ll get a fast response no matter what time of day or night it is.

Customer services within the VPN industry are generally of a very high standard, with all the top VPN providers offering 24/7 live chat. Obviously, just having the capacity to contact a real human being is a bonus, but not if that person has limited useful knowledge to impart or if the message system is inundated with advertising. ExpressVPN wouldn’t do such evil things to its users, however, and their online live chat service is operated by knowledgeable and efficient customer service assistants.

Not only is ExpressVPN powerful and easy to use, but it also has a solid and informative customer support system to back it up.

Bottom Line

Sometimes it’s just not worth settling for second best and, with cybercrimes on the increase and cybercriminals adopting more progressive technology every day, you need the best protection possible if you’re going to survive unscathed in the virtual world. ExpressVPN’s performance is as close to perfect as it gets, with top-of-the-range encryption and security features, worldwide coverage, and lightning fast speeds. ExpressVPN gives you all that and more, with an intuitive user interface, solid customer support and lots of additional security features.

Whether you want protection when shopping or banking online or you want to stream without your ISP throttling your bandwidth, ExpressVPN offers an exceptional service at a competitive price. While pricing may be the one sticking point for ExpressVPN’s critics, in reality, ExpressVPN isn’t that much more expensive than its rivals and, given the quality of its service, offers excellent value for money.

ExpressVPN has been around for 10 years now, proving its consistency as well as its commitment to service delivery and user privacy. This kind of longevity is the proof in the pudding that ExpressVPN works and will still be working years from now, so if you want a cybersecurity solution that’s going to give you long-term, airtight protection, you can’t do better than ExpressVPN.

17 comments
Mikey M says:

Where is ExpressVPN based? You’ve said no logs but that means nothing if their native government can issue data requests…

neil says:

Anyone else having Netflix issues with Express? It’s been working fine for ages but I can’t seem to get on right now. Any suggestions?

Marv Richmond says:

Great service. Used ExpressVPN for years. No issues with HD, fast connection, impressive client and a great attitude towards customers. Never changing as have no reason to want to try another.

Ella-Rose says:

What does 99.99% uptime mean? Do people still run into problems? Has anyone experienced a connection drop with this client? I ask because I need a VPN for work, but the country I’m in (as an expat) has made VPNs illegal. I really can’t afford to get caught out with a sloppy service.

Sarah Turner says:

100% would recommend. Never had a problem with this service and I’ve convinced several friends to use it as well.

Bernice G says:

Haven’t had any problems getting on Netflix from western Europe. Speeds are ok, sometimes need to buffer first but happy to connect.

Eliza V says:

What happens if I want to cancel? Will I get my money back instantly?

Kendall E. says:

Really wish there was phone chat. Annoying.

Hacker says:

The zero logging is so clutch. Governements are on the attack. PROTECT YOURSELF PEOPLE

April says:

How many servers do they offer?

Rich says:

It’s so expensive. Other companies do the same things for far less money.

Liza says:

I have Express, it’s speed makes it great for streaming!

Tom says:

Who is ExpressVPN’s biggest competition?

Danny says:

Streaming and torrenting are nice but what about gaming? I’m starting to travel around for tournaments and need to know how this works with gaming outside the US. Don’t want to get over to Sweden and can’t connect to my servers because they are blocked.

Mandi says:

Hey, how does this service do for Hulu? I have used VPN in the past and while I can get to Netflix, I always get a “you’re using a VPN” message. What can I do to avoid this? Will ExpressVPN work for Hulu?

Morgan says:

You claim this can download torrents, but have you actually tried to do so? If so, how’s the speed and are torrent downloads available across the board or just on a couple of servers? Would love to see a review from an actual torrent user.

Mark says:

I’ve been using this service for years. It’s not perfect but it is extremely reliable, like that car you had in college that looks like crap but got you everywhere you wanted to go. Sure, you had to pay a bit to keep it running, but it was a solid car. That’s ExpressVPN.