Why choose ExpressVPNExpressVPN is one of the biggest names in the VPN space right now. The company offers wide coverage, amazing customer support, fast speeds, and much more. Simply put: ExpressVPN is the VPN provider to beat right now.Works withMacWindowsAndroidiPhone & iPadLinuxRoutersBest VPN forNetflix, Hulu, Disney+ and streamingGamingTorrenting and downloadingSecurity and privacy
- Superb 24/7 live chat customer service
- Fast connections
- Lots of international locations
- Netflix unblocking
- Not as cheap as some others
- Limited to five connections simultaneously
ExpressVPN (opens in new tab) is one of the longest standing virtual private network services out there and is widely regarded as one of the best VPN services. Based in the British Virgin Islands, the company started back in 2009 and prides itself on operating a no logging policy meaning data is kept super secure.
In 2017, one of the company's servers was used to delete information related to a Russian ambassador assasination. Despite the server being seized and searched, no information was found. The company used this as an example to show that its level of privacy was superb. It did recognise that it can be used negatively but also stated it still stands for our right to privacy and freedom online.
At the time of publishing ExpressVPN sports an impressive 3,000 servers that span 94 countries and 160 locations across the planet. ExpressVPN passed a comprehensive build verification by PwC as of October 2020 which concluded privacy has been improved even further to reduce the opportunity of malware or attacks into its clients.
Pricing and plans
ExpressVPN keeps pricing pretty easy to understand with three tiers (opens in new tab). It starts out with a month-to-month rate of $12.95 which requires no commitments. If you want to make a saving and are willing to commit to a longer term contract then you can pay for six months at $9.99 per month. This is billed every six months at $59.94.
The best savings comes from purchasing the annual plan, which comes in at $99.95 for the period. It's a one-time fee that gives you full access for the year, and using our special link (opens in new tab) you can actually drop that price down to just $6.67 per month and get three free months of access.
If you're not sure which to go for and that one month is too much then you can download the iOS or Android client and give it a seven-day free trial. Of course if you do want to try that month even that's technically free as you have a 30-day money-back guarantee. You don't need a reason to cancel, there isn't any fine print and all you need to do is tell ExpressVPN and you'll get your money back.
Testing and performance
One of the best ways to test a VPN is on performance, which means speed. This is easily done using a speed test site – even Google has one right there on its search site now. We used this and other speed test sites to assess just how fast the servers are running.
Our tests initially run across two locations – the U.S. and the UK. We then test other locations, like Asia, Australia and Africa, with benchmarking sites to see how fast they run over longer distances.
For the US we used a 400MB line and ran multiple tests using different locations. To start, we ran a speed test with no VPN enabled. That's the top result shown on the right. The second one is using the "Smart Server" location, and the third one was a server based in Singapore. As you can see, the speeds do drop off the further away the connections are, but they are still reasonable, and are actually some of the best we've experienced in our testing. Peak speeds in the US hit an impressive 220Mbps using OpenVPN. With Lightway that could be even better.
In the UK the testing line was a 75Mbps connection. The results were 60 to 65Mbps which was very impressive when you consider how near the top-end of that line's capacity this reached.
From the UK as a base, connecting to the likes of Hong Kong, India or Australia we were getting speeds of a decent 60Mbps. Go to Brazil or Kenya and the results suffered with the top-end hitting nearer to the 20Mbps mark.
ExpressVPN now offers its Lightway protocol support on both Android and Windows. That means the fastest and most secure connections don't need to be sacrificed when you change devices. The mighty 3,000+ servers of ExpressVPN, spanning those 94 countries and 160 locations worldwide mean you can appear to be from virtually anywhere you need. The key with this many server locations is that you should always be relatively close to one so you can enjoy a fast and consistent connection speed.
This VPN masking applies to lots of devices as well as locations. This is thanks to the clients available which span the likes of Mac, Windows, iOS, Linux, Android Chromebooks, Kindle Fire, PlayStation, Apple TV, Fire TV and more. You can also setup the VPN on a router using custom firmware. So, despite ExpressVPN limiting you to five devices used at one time, if one of them is a router that means you can connect as many devices to that as you need.
Getting the apps up and running is super easy. It takes just a few minutes to install ExpressVPN on your Android device. The interface is very simple to understand and makes it something you'll actually want to use regularly instead of something you uninstall quickly.
ExpressVPN uses all its own secure servers meaning you can enjoy that no-logging as well as encryption storage so your data is safe in transit too. The company's relatively new TrustedServer Technology uses RAM to process information meaning none of your data is stored on hard drives at any time, making it even more difficult to get hold of. Also, everytime you connect to a new network, that's not trusted, ExpressVPN will fire up automatically to offer protection. Connect to a secure network again and ExpressVPN will close down so you can get top speeds as your priority.
One of the most standout ExpressVPN features is the 24/7 live chat support. This means you can get help with literally any issues you have – presuming it's ExpressVPN related, of course. Say you're trying to connect to Netflix while abroad but can't, the experts are there to help you find the best server so you not only get access but can enjoy the fastest speeds for what you're doing too.
Since you can access most locations, that means you can get to most content too. For streaming the likes of Netflix, Hulu or even BBC iPlayer, this is a really decent VPN. We even got the chance to test this while in China. Initially we struggled to get access to US Netflix so we got on the 24/7 live chat. We were told exactly what server to connect to and right away we were up and running at great speed.
Privacy and security
ExpressVPN runs an encryption service across its offerings meaning 4096-bit SHA-512 RAS certificate level cover. This uses AES-256-CBC to encrypt and HMAC protection too. There's also support for Perfect Forward Secrecy meaning you get a new secret key every time you connect.
All that is complicated tech-speak for a super encryption. It's as good as, if not better than most other VPN options out there with a few exceptions that offer double hop encryption for yet another layer of protection.
Another highlight is DNS support in the form of DNS leak protection to stop information leaking from the tunnel while in transit. Lots of VPNs offer this but ExpressVPN goes further by running its own zero-knowledge, 256-bit encrypted DNS on all of its servers too. That essentially means you don't have to worry about attackers getting to you or your data.
You also get a kill switch so, should you lose connection, you'll automatically be protected and hidden then too.
The clear lack of logging is also a great way to leave your mind at ease. The company clearly states on its site: "ExpressVPN does not and will never log traffic data, DNS queries, or anything that could be used to identify you."
The British Virgin Island location helps since, despite its small size, the country regulates its own affairs. That means the UK and US don't have jurisdiction to automatically compel ExpressVPN to release any data.
Should you sign up?
ExpressVPN has a lot to like. Beyond the wide spread servers across the world there are the layers and layers of security and encryption backed by a clear no logging policy which combine to give you peace of mind security, anonymity and safety when online.
The pricing is competitive, support is superb and performance speeds are excellent. The only downside is that you're limited to five devices, but with the ability to install this on routers that can be worked around.
This is a tough VPN to fault. If you want even more security there are other double hop options out there and some with more servers but it's hard to find a service with a track record like ExpressVPN. Keep an eye out on our best VPN deals post to ensure you're getting the best price when signing up.
Since you can access most locations, that means you can get to most content too. For streaming the likes of Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ or even BBC iPlayer, this is a really decent VPN. We even got the chance to test this while in China. Initially we struggled to get access to US Netflix so we got on the 24/7 live chat. We were told exactly what server to connect to and right away we were up and running at great speed.
While neither we nor ExpressVPN condone torrenting when it's done illegally, this VPN will support torrents for those that need to use them.
We test and review VPN services in the context of legal recreational uses. For example:
1. Accessing a service from another country (subject to the terms and conditions of that service).
2. Protecting your online security and strengthening your online privacy when abroad.
We do not support or condone the illegal or malicious use of VPN services. Consuming pirated content that is paid-for is neither endorsed nor approved by Future Publishing.
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