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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.