ExpressVPN: Is This the Best a VPN Can Get? Features, Safety & Prices Reviewed
A company owned by Kape Technologies PLC, a United Kingdom-based cybersecurity software company. Read the ExpressVPN review.
Price Currency: $
Operating System: Windows
Application Category: Utility
ExpressVPN is undoubtedly one of the most visible VPN providers around. But what does that really mean? We decided to take a deep dive into one of the most popular VPN services on the market in order to find out where they stand when it comes to functionality such as speed, server locations, ease-of-use and more. Let’s go!
ExpressVPN Pros & Cons
|High-speed servers in 94 countries||Limited port forwarding|
|Unblocks Netflix, great for P2P and gaming||No dedicated IP options|
|Rock-solid security and privacy|
|Works with iOS (iPhone & iPad), Android, Windows, Mac, browser extensions, and more|
|Supports split tunneling|
You can get 3 extra months free with a 12-month ExpressVPN subscription. What’s more, it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Click the link below to get your 3 extra free months now!
This ExpressVPN review will highlight how we came to rank ExpressVPN amongst the best and why you will enjoy using this VPN service too. We’ll be looking at their safety features, encryption, logging policies, speed testing, torrenting, and P2P support, unblocking geo-restricted content, and more.
Let’s take a deep dive into how ExpressVPN works to protect your browsing activity and why users love it.
- 1 ExpressVPN Introduction
- 2 ExpressVPN Pros & Cons
- 3 ExpressVPN Overview
- 4 ExpressVPN’s Company History
- 5 Streaming Movies and TV Shows With ExpressVPN
- 6 ExpressVPN Features
- 7 ExpressVPN Plans and Pricing
- 8 ExpressVPN’s Privacy and Security Features
- 10 ExpressVPN Technical Details
- 11 ExpressVPN Customer Support
- 12 How does ExpressVPN Stack Up Against Surfshark?
- 13 How Does ExpressVPN Stack Up to CyberGhost and IPVanish?
- 14 ExpressVPN Review Summary
- 15 FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
|Servers and Locations||10Gbps servers in the Americas, Europe, Asia Pacific, Africa, and Middle East regions|
|Customer Support||E-mail/Live Chat (24/7)|
|Log Policy||No connection or activity logs|
|Encryption Protocols||AES-256/IKEv2/OpenVPN UDP & TCP/Lightway|
|Supported Platforms||MacOS, Windows, iOS, Android, Linux|
|Simultaneous Connections||5, unlimited with router|
|Torrenting (P2P File Sharing)||Supported|
|Country of Registration||British Virgin Islands|
|Smart DNS||Yes, known as MediaStreamer|
Get 3 extra months FREE today with 12-month subscription.
|Free trial/money-back guarantee||30-day money-back guarantee|
ExpressVPN’s Company History
Our first step with any VPN provider is to research its country of registration and the jurisdiction it falls under. As far as we can see, there is nothing to concern us with ExpressVPN.
ExpressVPN is registered in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), an overseas territory of the UK outside the jurisdiction of the nine-eyes/14-eyes alliances. The BVI has strict laws on information disclosures. This means you won’t need to worry about intrusive legislation and agreements, protecting your privacy and data.
ExpressVPN does not collect personally identifiable data from its users’ online activities outside of what is necessary to establish their paid account and deliver the service.
But who really owns ExpressVPN?
ExpressVPN International Ltd was founded in 2009 by Peter Burchhardt and Dan Pomerantz.
In September 2021, ExpressVPN was purchased by Kape Technologies PLC, a United Kingdom-based cybersecurity software company.
Streaming Movies and TV Shows With ExpressVPN
We tested how ExpressVPN deals with different streaming services. Netflix is well-known for geo-restricting its content, but using ExpressVPN we were able to unblock Netflix and check out the US content from our location in Europe. Besides Netflix, ExpressVPN works with many other streaming services, like:
- Amazon Prime Video
- HBO Max
- BBC iPlayer
Using Streaming Devices With ExpressVPN
You can use the included MediaStreamer smart DNS for devices not supported by the ExpressVPN app. You can also use ExpressVPN on your Wi-Fi router to get the full benefits of a VPN on all your devices. Whichever method you choose, ExpressVPN works with:
- Apple TV
- LG Smart TV
- Nintendo Switch
- Samsung Smart TV
- Amazon Fire TV
- Roku TV
- Android TV
Thanks to ExpressVPN’s high speed and bandwidth, we did not experience any issues with buffering during streaming. Of course, these issues also depend on the speed of your internet connection and ISP.
In this section, we will take a look at some of ExpressVPN’s main features.
ExpressVPN’s Server Locations
It is no secret that ExpressVPN has one of the largest numbers of servers of any VPN provider on the market right now. They effectively leave much of the competition in the shade.
Here we take a look at some of the more unusual or interesting places where the company has servers in place.
If you’re an Aussie living abroad or even if you just want to catch up on what’s going on Down Under, ExpressVPN is a good fit for you. The company has secure VPN servers in Australia in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, and Perth. This is good news for any users who want to watch Aussie TV online safely and in HD from anywhere in the world. So whether you want to watch content from SBS, ABC, Channel 7, Channel 10 or even just check out what is happening on Australian Netflix, ExpressVPN is a good option for you.
Not every VPN provider has servers in Japan, which can mean lots of frustration if you want to stay abreast of what is happening in Tokyo. However, ExpressVPN is one such provider and the company’s option of giving users a Tokyo IP address means you can stream all of your favorite Japanese content safely and securely from anywhere.
So whether you want to watch content from Abema, TVer Japan, Gyao, U-NEXT or anywhere else – ExpressVPN has got you covered.
Available VPN protocols include Lightway, OpenVPN (UDP), OpenVPN (TCP), L2TP/IPsec, IPsec, IKEv2, and PPTP. Lightway protocol is ExpressVPN’s next-generation, open-source VPN protocol, in fact, it is their answer to the open-source WireGuard protocol.
However, only select countries have all protocol options available, and some encryption options like IKEv2 are only available on iOS devices. You can check protocol availability in different countries on the ExpressVPN server page.
You can opt to let ExpressVPN select an automatic protocol or select your preferred protocol from the list of options.
Being a top-of-the-range VPN solution, ExpressVPN supports both app-based split tunneling and inverse split tunneling. Be aware that split tunneling is supported only in ExpressVPN apps for Windows, Mac, and Android, and in ExpressVPN router firmware.
Express VPN App
ExpressVPN has one of the best apps on the market in terms of ease of use, user friendliness, and server locations. Their VPN apps, across all platforms, are designed to be plug and play out of the box, even for tech novices.
Network Lock (Kill Switch)
ExpressVPN incorporates the Network Lock facility (known as a kill switch with other providers). This facility stops your data from being leaked in the event that your VPN disconnects, by locking down your internet connection automatically.
ExpressVPN uses TrustedServer security in its VPN server infrastructure. Essentially, this approach uses diskless servers, running in RAM memory only. Nothing is written to the hard drive, so nothing is permanently stored.
ExpressVPN allows up to five simultaneous connections for a single subscription. If you need to connect more devices, you can purchase additional subscriptions, or use ExpressVPN on your router and secure all devices on your wi-fi network.
ExpressVPN Plans and Pricing
ExpressVPN is at an above-average price point and is one of the pricier virtual private network services on the market. However, while we’ve classified it as the best premium VPN service available, it doesn’t mean that they are unaffordable, or that the service doesn’t deliver what you pay for.
For a single month, the price is currently $12.95. A 6-month plan at $9.99 per month and a 1-year plan at $6.67 per month. That’s a huge 49% that you’re saving. Not only that, the 1-year plan comes with 3 extra months completely free.
Plus, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee on all plans. Just remember that these longer plans are billed every 6 and 12 months respectively.
With the 30-day money-back guarantee, you can access all of the features on all devices.
ExpressVPN offers a variety of ways to pay, from popular options like PayPal and credit cards to other options like GiroPay and WebMoney. ExpressVPN also accepts payments in Bitcoin.
Canceling a Subscription Purchased With a Credit Card or PayPal
First, sign in to your ExpressVPN account. On the left menu select My subscription, then Edit subscription settings. On the Automatic Renewal Settings page, select Turn off automatic renewal, then follow the prompts until you see “Your subscription has been canceled.”
Canceling a Subscription Purchased via Apple App Store or Google Play Store
You have to cancel at least 24 hours before the end of the free trial or the next billing date. Open the App Store or Play Store app. Open your list of subscriptions by clicking on the profile icon at the top right. Select Payment & subscriptions, then subscriptions. Find and click ExpressVPN and follow the instructions to cancel.
Now, what about how others feel about the service? Overall, ExpressVPN users rate the service as above average to excellent. For example, the Google Play Store stands at a 4.3 rating from nearly 1,383,754 reviews.
ExpressVPN’s Privacy and Security Features
Encryption is the bedrock of any quality VPN service. So, it is good to know that ExpressVPN uses one of the industry-standard encryption protocols for confidential information, AES-256 – Advanced Encryption Standard with 256-bit keys.
DNS leaks – Not a Problem for ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN offers its own DNS leak testing to show users whether there are any leaks. We connected to the service and ran the test which showed that there are no leaks. We tried it without any VPNs connected, and it showed that we were not connected to a VPN server and that there is potential leakage.
We also tested leaks with third-party DNS leak detection services. They all implied no leaks.
With its DNS leak protection, ExpressVPN makes sure other entities cannot track your online activities. This includes entities like your internet service provider or your DNS service.
One issue we did find was in switching to a new server. Whenever we attempted to switch, the app gave us a message indicating that “internet traffic may be unsecured during reconnection”. On the one hand, this notice was an excellent reminder that if we didn’t want anything to leak from our activities, we should cease before switching.
The good thing is that ExpressVPN’s Network Lock is automatically enabled and it stops all internet traffic if the VPN connection drops unexpectedly.
ExpressVPN Doesn’t Log Data
We love ExpressVPN for its no-logging policy. While there are VPNs out there with questionable logging activities, ExpressVPN does not log data such as your browsing history, data content, or traffic destination as they have outlined in their Terms of Service and shown in the image below.
- The app version in use
- Dates that you connect to the VPN
- Your server choice
- MB of data transferred per day
None of this data can be considered personally identifiable information which should help to keep your online activities private from your VPN service provider and online.
In December 2017 ExpressVPN came into the spotlight in relation to the investigation of the incident in Turkey. Turkish investigators seized an ExpressVPN server, but were unable to find any logs to aid their investigation, which the company said verified its claim that it did not store user activity or connection logs, adding:
“while it’s unfortunate that security tools like VPNs can be abused for illicit purposes, they are critical for our safety and the preservation of our right to privacy online. ExpressVPN is fundamentally opposed to any efforts to install ‘backdoors’ or to otherwise undermine such technologies.”
This is one example of why ExpressVPN is highly respected.
When it comes to a VPN company’s terms of service, we use a list of necessary sections for terms of service agreements and privacy policies to determine whether all the necessary components of the policy were present. In this case, we found everything in ExpressVPN’s disclosures except for the Last Updated section.
You should also be aware of a few other inconsistencies:
Section 8 – Language and Translation of Content
This section puts the liability for mistranslations from English into any other language of the VPN software on the consumer. While not unethical, it was an odd addition owing to how easy it is to update software and remedy language errors.
Section 14 – Arbitration
The arbitration clause has a few inconsistencies. First, it imposes a 1-year Statute of Limitations on claims against ExpressVPN. Limitation periods in the British Virgin Islands are: “BVI Limitation Act 1961: Contract and tort claims: six years from the date on which the cause of action accrued.”
There are also some contradictory terms. For example, they offer a single remedy for arbitration in one paragraph (i.e. payment in full for services), and then offer alternative remedies in the next paragraph (i.e. attorney fees, damages). Generally, the rules in the British Virgin Islands will apply.
We’ve marked up the terms of service so you can read the entire version with our comments.
ExpressVPN Technical Details
ExpressVPN has easy-to use apps for a number of the most popular operating systems you’re likely to use on your laptop, desktop, or even your mobile device. The company supports Windows, macOS, iOS, Android and Linux.
Meanwhile, the company also provides support if you’d like to use ExpressVPN directly through your router at home. If you’ve got the technical knowhow then this is a good idea because it means that you only need to install ExpressVPN on one device rather than on every device that you use.
While not every VPN provider supports so many operating systems, ExpressVPN has certainly got out of their way to make the service as accessible as possible. For instance, the service supports macOS devices such as MacBooks and desktops directly from the ExpressVPN website.
However, there is something worth noting for Mac users. ExpressVPN has had limited app support for older versions of macOS such as Mac OS X 10.11 and macOS 10.12 since May last year and the app has not been supported on Mac OS X 10.10 and below since August 30 2021.
Meanwhile, another area where this provider excels ahead of the competition is in their support of iOS devices. Again, it should be noted that in order to use ExpressVPN iOS users need to have iOS 12 or above installed.
Beyond that, it is super simple to get setup with ExpressVPN. iOS 16 15 14 13 and 12 devices users need to first sign up for an ExpressVPN account. After signing into the app, users can select between UDP TCP and IKEv2 encryption protocols or simply let the app choose what’s best for them.
IPv6 is the newest version of the Internet Protocol. It basically provides more IP addresses than its predecessor IPv4. For their part, ExpressVPN advises disabling IPv6 to enhance VPN protection.
Another cool feature that ExpressVPN offers is an app for routers. The best thing about this is it that lets you connect and protect all the devices on your home network with just one application so once you install the router app there is no need to bother installing ExpressVPN on each individual device and provides you with always-on protection around your home or business.
This takes a bit of a learning curve but is definitely worth it if you can manage.
If you’re a gamer then you are probably wondering if ExpressVPN can be used to protect you while you’re playing online. The good news is that ExpressVPN works with various game consoles such as PlayStation 5 4 and 3 Xbox Series X Series S One and 360 and Nintendo Switch.
ExpressVPN also supports, streaming media consoles browsers smart TVs computers and other day-to-day gaming tech. One of the good things about ExpressVPN is the wide level of support that the company has for different devices. It truly stands out from competitors in terms of compatibility.
Setting Up ExpressVPN
The setup and use of the service are pretty straightforward. Once you sign up for your ExpressVPN service, you’ll get a welcome email that outlines the VPN setup details. Compared to some of the other VPNs we tested, we found it had just one extra step – you have to put in your activation code.
The app display is basic in that it provides only what you need to connect and no fancy add-ons like maps. The click-to-connect button is prominent, and everything about the app is user-friendly and intuitive.
You can click to connect to the server displayed or choose a different server. In selecting another option, you’ll be presented with the recommended servers. Or, you can search the list for your preferred server location.
There are 3000 servers in 160 locations across 94 countries. While not as abundant a number of servers as some of the other VPNs, it does offer the relevant locations in which having a server is useful.
Does ExpressVPN offer browser extensions?
ExpressVPN offers browser extensions for a number of popular browsers including Chrome, Edge, and Firefox. No matter which one is your browser of choice, ExpressVPN has got you covered.
The extension is user-friendly and can be accessed from the browser window. It supports 16 languages for a multilingual interface and even prevents DNS and WebRTC leaks from happening. Meanwhile, the extension can be accessed from the browser window and supports 16 languages.
One of the more exciting features of the browser extension lies within the Chrome version. The Chrome extension now has HTTPS Everywhere with EFF’s secure browsing technology. So, now when you browse HTTP-only websites, your ExpressVPN Chrome extension will automatically encrypt your communication with that site. HTTPS Everywhere in the ExpressVPN Chrome extension is enabled by default, so your communication online is automatically secured when you visit these sites.
If you’d like to use the browser extension you simply need an ExpressVPN subscription, and from there the extension is relatively straightforward, allowing you to access ExpressVPN from your toolbar in just a couple of clicks.
WebRTC is an interesting piece of technology that enables web browsers to communicate directly with each other, without the need for a server in between. Unfortunately, this useful piece of technology can also potentially expose a user’s public IP address, which could expose a user to online or real world harm.
The ExpressVPN app is designed to protect users from WebRTC leaks. This means that when users visit new web pages while connected to ExpressVPN, their public IP addresses won’t be revealed. The company has even gone as far as having engineers who constantly look for new leaks before developing any necessary fixes.
The company has tools that check for all sorts of leaks, from DNS leaks, to IP address leaks, to WebRTC leaks and they are available online, even to non ExpresssVPN customers.
P2P networks are supported by ExpressVPN, without the need to connect to dedicated P2P servers. Torrenting is not an issue with ExpressVPN.
Speed Testing ExpressVPN
The speed of the VPN is measured in Mbps (Megabits per second) which determines how fast data can be transferred over the network. As you can see from our tests ExpressVPN manages to perform well. The speed you need will depend on what you’re trying to do online.
For instance you might only need1 to 5 Mbps for basic online tasks like web browsing and emails. But you could easily find yourself needing 100 or 200 Mbps if you decide to use a number of devices simultaneously or if you decide to undertake intensive tasks such as video streaming or gaming. ExpressVPN generally gives solid speeds but if you encounter slow internet speed while using ExpressVPN it could be due to various factors such as server location or network congestion.
ExpressVPN is marketed as one of the fastest VPNs available. You need fast upload and download speeds, not a VPN service that will throttle your speeds. ExpressVPN has its own inbuilt speed test though it’s not always available as we found out when connected to a server in Canada.
Keep in mind that running a speed test does come with its limitations such as the computer being used or the internet connection and where you’re located. So, when you run a speed test for ExpressVPN, remember to keep these in mind. However, when compared to all the others we’ve tested, ExpressVPN is a clear leader in the speed Olympics of VPN services.
Independently testing the VPN speed with Ookla speedtest.net below. There is a slight decrease when using the UK server but compared to 51 other VPN services their speed ranks the third best.
The United States server ping went up by 600%. Download decreased by -8.84% and upload by -6.06%.
The United Kingdom server ping went up by 268.18%. Download decreased by -22.53% and upload by -4.55%.
Hong Kong server ping went up by 1290.91%. Download decreased by -9.68% and upload by -15.15%.
ExpressVPN Customer Support
If you need help with any issue with ExpressVPN or have questions, you have multiple options to contact support. They offer a 24/7 live chat option that is visible no matter which page of the site you land on.
If you’re not ready to speak with someone, you can review their extensive troubleshooting guides or get setup instructions in the support section of their website.
How does ExpressVPN Stack Up Against Surfshark?
Both ExpressVPN and Surfshark are well-known and respected VPN providers that have a lot of similar features. ExpressVPN has easy-to-use software for every device under the sun including Mac, Windows, Android, iOS, and Linux routers. ExpressVPN offers servers in 160 locations around the world.
Meanwhile, Surfshark is another VPN provider that offers online privacy and security. It has more than 3200 servers in over 65 countries. Surfshark also hides IP addresses and encrypts communications to safeguard users’ online activity from hackers and other third parties. It has easy-to-use software for all devices including Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android as well as browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox.
Surfshark also has features such as CleanWeb which blocks ads and trackers while browsing the internet.Which one you choose will depend on your individual use cases.
How Does ExpressVPN Stack Up to CyberGhost and IPVanish?
Let’s put all VPN features and speed measurements aside, and focus on the track record of these vendors.
ExpressVPN has managed to successfully avoid security issues and different data logging or leaking controversies so far. On the contrary, ExpressVPN even got positive publicity when one of its servers was seized during the investigation of the assassination of the Russian ambassador in Turkey in 2016. The investigators were unable to find any data or user logs on the server. ExpressVPN also passed many external security audits with flying colors.
On the other hand, CyberGhost was called out in 2016 when its free version phone app tested positive for malware. IPVanish also got news coverage in 2018, when they provided user logs to the authorities in spite of their no-logging claims and policies.
Out of these vendors, ExpressVPN seems to be the most trustworthy option for your private internet access.
ExpressVPN Review Summary
ExpressVPN offers everything you need in a VPN: enhanced anonymity, a fast and reliable connection, and a whole lot more.
It doesn’t log your data outside of what is necessary to deliver you the service, it supports torrents, and it unblocks Netflix and other geo-blocked content. But most of all, it is easy to set up and use.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Is ExpressVPN owned by China?
Express VPN is not owned by China. UK-based Kape Technologies PLC owns ExpressVPN and operates it from the British Virgin Islands.
Is ExpressVPN Better Than NordVPN?
ExpressVPN and NordVPN are both popular VPN services, but there are some differences between them. NordVPN has a larger network with around 5,000 servers in 60 countries while ExpressVPN has servers in more countries. NordVPN is cheaper than ExpressVPN, with prices starting from $3.49/month and it allows six simultaneous connections compared to five for ExpressVPN.
Is ExpressVPN compatible with Mac and Android?
Yes, ExpressVPN provides dedicated Mac and Android apps for these devices. Android versions 13, 12L, 12, 11, 10, Pie, Oreo, Nougat, Marshmallow & Lollipop are all supported.