ExpressVPN Reviews and Expert Opinion - August 2019

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ExpressVPN Overview

August 2019: Major Updates


- ExpressVPN now supports 5 devices at the same time
- TrustedServer technology improves user data security
- Control your VPN directly from Chrome and Firefox with browser extensions

Many VPN services promise to have the best speeds, the most secure security protocols, or privacy policies worth trusting in — but not many deliver. What makes ExpressVPN one of the best VPNs on the market is that it not only delivers in every aspect, it gives you extra features that other VPNs simply do not. Its proprietary TrustedServer technology enhances your safety on top of already impressive security protocols. The VPN is compatible with a wide range of platforms and devices, including routers. With a browser extension, you can also control the app directly from your browser for utmost convenience. Top that off with an honest approach to its business and we believe ExpressVPN has the winning edge.

With over 3000 servers available in 160 server locations in 94 countries, ExpressVPN has a huge variety of secure connection options worldwide. Apart from connections in the US and Europe, ExpressVPN also offers numerous servers in more remote locations like the Middle East, Africa, and parts of Asia. You won’t find this variety with other VPN providers like TunnelBear or Windscribe.

Introducing its TrustedServer technology is a sign that ExpressVPN is clearly ahead of the game in server security. ExpressVPN’s servers now run on RAM, which ensures your data is wiped from its servers as soon as it reboots. Its use of dynamic encryption keys for Perfect Forward Secrecy further reinforces your level of data privacy and security online.

Another key highlight is that ExpressVPN now gives you the ability to connect up to 5 devices at the same time. This may not be as many as other services offer, but it may just be enough for a single user. Broad platform compatibility also means that you can use ExpressVPN with the majority of your devices. Apps are available for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Linux, as well as custom firmware for compatible routers, and in-depth guides for Apple TV, Chromebooks, and Kodi among others.

We’ve tested over 300 VPNs to let you know if ExpressVPN is worth investing in.

 

Get 49% off ExpressVPN + 3 months free



Can ExpressVPN Deliver on Its Promise to Unblock Global Content?


On its website, ExpressVPN publicly lists over 25 sites it provides access to, including sites like Wikipedia, Netflix, and Facebook. Many VPN services won’t claim that they can unblock particular sites for fear of backlash if the service doesn’t deliver, so this bold move by ExpressVPN certainly inspires more user confidence.

ExpressVPN claims to unblock these servicesExpressVPN publishes the list of websites it unblocks


We all know that many sites, like Netflix, are constantly stepping up their efforts to block VPNs from accessing their content. So we decided to test a few sites from this list (using various servers) to see if ExpressVPN could get past them.

BBC iPlayer — Unblocked


BBC iPlayer has some pretty robust VPN detection, and we found it took several tries to find a server which allowed access. Fortunately, ExpressVPN has plenty of UK-based servers to choose from, so it was purely a matter of selecting different options until we found the right one. We were able to access both live TV and box set series, like Doctor Who, Peaky Blinders, and Top Gear.

 

BBC iPlayer was no match for ExpressVPN



Vudu — Unblocked


Vudu is an American-based streaming site with a wide variety of free content to choose from — but only if you’re in America. With ExpressVPN, we were quickly able to access the site and, after making a basic free account, stream any of the content we wanted in high quality with minimal buffering.


ExpressVPN unblock VuduExpressVPN unblocks Vudu content



Netflix — Unblocked (Except South America)


We were able to view Netflix America, Japan, Argentina, and Egypt without any issues. Streaming was smooth and high quality, with minimal buffering. We weren't able to watch Netflix while connected to servers in Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico.

ExpressVPN successfully unblocks Netflix


Netflix’s VPN detection is continually evolving and changing, with more servers being “burned” (or discovered by the algorithm) daily. We encountered the Netflix Error Proxy several times during testing, but there are ways around it.

If you face the Netflix proxy error, try switching to a new server in the same country or the same region. ExpressVPN has an abundance of servers to choose from in a host of different countries, so finding one that works is easy. You can also contact ExpressVPN’s live chat team who will readily recommend you a suitable server.

Through the rounds of testing, ExpressVPN has emerged the overall winner. Successfully accessing a range of sites using different servers, we could not recommend it more for unblocking global content.

 

Get 49% off ExpressVPN + 3 months free


 

Pros

  • One of the fastest VPNs on the market
  • Top-shelf security features such as AES-256 encryption, kill switch, zero-knowledge DNS, TrustedServer, Perfect Forward Secrecy
  • Based outside of the Five, Nine, and 14 Eyes alliance
  • Payment options include PayPal, credit cards, and Bitcoin
  • Ability to use up to 5 devices at the same time
  • Easy access to popular geo-restricted services
  • Continuously updating security features, platform functionality, and more
  • 24/7 customer service
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • Slightly more expensive than other premium VPNs
  • Support is only available via chat or email – no phone support

Important to know

British Virgin Islands
2009
No
5
30 days guaranteed
windows mac linux android ios blackberry router

Contact Details

[email protected]
www.expressvpn.com

Speed10

We carried out our own speed tests to see just how fast ExpressVPN is. We looked for consistency in download and upload speeds across different servers, and checked to see if distances from the server impacted our internet speed. Our tests showed that:

1. ExpressVPN has similar download speeds across different servers.
2. Connecting to servers closer to your physical location results in faster speeds.
3. Connectivity speeds were consistent throughout tested locations worldwide.
4. Occasional drops in download speed didn’t affect the streaming experience.
5. The average connection time is between 2 and 5 seconds.

Overall, we were able to stream, torrent, and browse the web seamlessly.

ExpressVPN Speed Tests & Results


In order to get a fair representation of speed, we tested at least 3 servers from each ExpressVPN server region:

- Asia Pacific
- Europe
- The Americas
- Middle East & Africa

ExpressVPN does have its own in-built speed test, but for the sake of being impartial, we used Ookla to perform all speed tests. We also tested speeds at different times during the day for the most accurate results. Here’s what we found:

Result #1: ExpressVPN Has Similar Download Speeds Across Different Servers

Speed tests run on different servers showed similar download speeds across the board. Local servers provided better speeds, but even those located further away offered a more than adequate overseas connection.

 

ExpressVPN Speed testsConsistent download speeds across ExpressVPN servers


Result #2: ExpressVPN Has Consistent Connectivity Speeds

We got some of our team members around the world to run some speed tests to see how ExpressVPN fared from different physical locations. The results demonstrate ExpressVPN’s impressive ability to maintain — if not improve — connectivity speeds.

 



Baseline test without ExpressVPN




Nearly matched the connection with the San Francisco server




Our speed increased while using the Sydney, Australia server


Result #3: Drops in Download Speeds Didn’t Affect Streaming


We connected to a local server using Smart Location and were surprised to find that the Smart Location server had a 37% drop in download speed. Despite this drop, we didn’t notice a change in site streaming (no additional buffering on Netflix).

 

ExpressVPN smart location speed test
Connecting to Smart Location resulted in a drop in download speeds


In our tests, ExpressVPN allowed us to use a variety of servers with minimal buffering and streaming interruptions. Watching shows, listening to music, and accessing different sites were all quick and smooth experiences. In comparison to 9 other major VPNs we’ve tested (including NordVPN, CyberGhost VPN, and IPVanish VPN), ExpressVPN is the clear winner in terms of speed.

Get 49% off ExpressVPN + 3 months free



How to Get Faster Connection Speeds


On the rare occasion that you experience a slow connection, here are some ways to quickly fix it:

  1. Switch to a different server. You can simply choose a different server and connect to it, but it may take some trial and error to find one that works. Alternatively, contact ExpressVPN’s 24/7 live chat support team and they will recommend servers to you.

  2. Select faster protocols. ExpressVPN offers you a variety of different protocols in the Options menu. Protocols like TCP are generally slower so if you’re facing issues with connection speeds, switch to a faster protocol (like UDP).


ExpressVPN Protocols

Choosing protocol options on ExpressVPN is simple

Why Most Speed Tests are Pointless & How We Correctly Test VPN Speeds

Speed determines how fast content uploads, so if you're torrenting or streaming, you want the speed to be somewhat identical to your regular internet speed. Since a VPN encrypts your data, it usually takes a bit longer to send your data back and forth, which can slow down your connection. However, if your ISP deliberately slows down your connection (also known as throttling) a VPN might increase your internet speed. Testing a VPN is somewhat pointless because new servers pop up and affect speed. Your speed can also differ according to your location, so your speed test might not match ours. Having said that, we tested the speed in numerous locations to provide you with the average.

Servers9.3

When it comes to VPN servers, you need quality and quantity, and ExpressVPN certainly delivers on both fronts. With 3000+ servers in 94 countries, ExpressVPN offers a massive selection for you to choose from — and those numbers are growing all the time.

ExpressVPN’s quality servers are encrypted with sophisticated security protocols to protect you online. Firstly, TrustedServer technology ensures that your data is not stored on servers. Secondly, ExpressVPN uses OpenVPN by default, which is the most secure VPN protocol currently available. This protocol is encrypted with 256-bit AES and uses a 4096-bit SHA-512 RSA certificate to ensure your online activities stay safe. We were certainly impressed with how ExpressVPN has gone the extra mile to ensure the highest level of security.

Whilst many VPN services lack transparency when it comes to disclosing details on their no-logs policies, we found ExpressVPN refreshingly different in its honesty. ExpressVPN clearly states that it does not log sensitive information, such as activity and collection logs. It also lists down the minimal information it collects for customer support and service purposes (which is pretty much an industry standard). This transparent nothing-to-hide approach definitely helped earn a little more of our trust.

 

Get 49% off ExpressVPN + 3 months free



 Torrenting


ExpressVPN does support torrents and actually offers some great options if you are into torrenting. One of the best perks is saying goodbye to overloaded servers. ExpressVPN gives you access to all its server locations so you won’t be restricted to using dedicated torrent-only servers.

The company also states that there is no data cap and promises never to throttle your connection. Whilst most VPNs reserve the right to limit bandwidth with a “fair use” clause, ExpressVPN makes no mention of one in its Terms of Service. It has a comprehensive Acceptable Use Policy, which prohibits things like downloading copyrighted material, but does not mention any sort of data cap or limit.

We tested ExpressVPN with different torrent sites and different servers to see how well it would perform. Overall, we were pleased with the way the VPN handled P2P traffic and the level of security we had. We found that we were able to access torrent sites (like uTorrent) quite easily, and speeds were consistent while torrenting. Downloading TV shows was not a long, laborious process. Take a look at the screenshot below to see our upload and download speeds.

 

Torrents upload and download speeds with ExpressVPN



The Great Firewall of China


One of our team members had a long layover in China, which gave him the perfect opportunity to test ExpressVPN and see if it could avoid detection by the Great Firewall of China. The “Great Firewall of China” is the name for a combination of legislation and technology employed by the People’s Republic of China which regulates the internet. Access to sites such as Facebook, Google, Netflix, and YouTube are wholly blocked, and cross-border internet traffic is slowed significantly.

While in China, we found that we were able to connect to ExpressVPN as easily as at home, with no extra steps required. Once connected, we were able to browse the web normally, undetected by the firewall.

Server Locations

Albania
Algeria
Andorra
Argentina
Armenia
Australia
Austria
Azerbaijan
Bahamas
Bangladesh
Belarus
Belgium
Bhutan
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Brazil
See all supported locations...

User Experience10

ExpressVPN is very easy to get started with. It only takes a few minutes from making your purchase to getting set up and accessing servers.


Once you are logged into the dashboard on your web browser, the site does the work for you. There’s no need to search for the correct download button for your device. The site detects what you’re using and creates a download button for that particular client.

After ExpressVPN has downloaded onto your device, the clever setup means you don’t have to re-enter your login details. Instead, the site provides you with a unique access code, and all you have to do is copy the code and paste it when prompted. The software automatically sets up your credentials for you, making the entire set-up process smooth and straightforward.

ExpressVPN has made it a priority to support a wide variety of platforms, bringing VPN accessibility across multiple operating systems and IoT devices. This VPN supports Windows, iOS, Android, Mac, Linux, as well as having options for AppleTV, Playstation, Kodi, and more. ExpressVPN also offers the option of installation straight to your router (if your router allows it), which secures the connection for every router-connected device.

Windows


The Windows interface for ExpressVPN is intuitive and straightforward. A big “on/off” button is front and center and navigating between servers is easy. The user can choose from an available list of servers or can manually type in a location and choose a server that way. For Windows users, the option for ExpressVPN to connect automatically on startup is available.

ExpressVPN Mobile App


The mobile app, available for Android and iOS, is optimized for smaller screens but just as easy to navigate as a desktop version. We found the one-click feature particularly useful, enabling us to connect to our desired location quickly. The app also features space for 5 shortcuts to our most-used or favorite apps (like Netflix, Spotify, and our web browser), making it easy to use.



ExpressVPN’s mobile app interface is intuitive and easy to use



How secure is ExpressVPN?


There are VPN services on the market which sacrifice their security in order to improve their other features. For instance, HolaVPN was caught turning user devices into exit nodes and selling the bandwidth they’d stolen to third parties. Another VPN service, Zenmate, suffers from frequent IP leaks.

One way ExpressVPN protects your security is by being based in the British Virgin Islands. Non-member to the Five, Nine, and 14 Eyes alliances, the BVI is not a member of any intelligence-sharing agreement. This means that there are no data retention laws and no pressure on ExpressVPN to give anyone access to customer data.

ExpressVPN also has world-class security features to protect you online. We put some of these to the test and found that:

  1. ExpressVPN consistently and successfully masks your identity online.

  2. ExpressVPN prevents DNS leaks to guard your privacy.

  3. Instant initiation of the kill switch keeps you protection even if your connection drops.


ExpressVPN’s Security Features


When looking at ExpressVPN’s security features, it’s clear to see that it goes above and beyond to ensure the highest quality service is available. ExpressVPN servers were even recently audited by PwC to confirm essential privacy protections, giving us even more confidence and trust in them.

Some of ExpressVPN’s security measures include:

  • 256-bit AES (Advanced Encryption Standard)

  • Built-in kill switch: Any brief interruption is quickly detected and internet traffic is completely blocked until protection is restored.

  • HMAC: Keyed-Hash Message Authentication Code protects against data being altered.

  • A variety of VPN protocols for the user to choose from implements secure encryption between the device and the connected server.


Get 49% off ExpressVPN + 3 months free


On top of that, there were a few security features that stood out from the crowd. Here’s what we were most impressed with.

TrustedServer Technology


One way ExpressVPN stands out from other similar VPN services is the introduction of its game-changing TrustedServer technology.

Industry standards have typically run servers through hard drives. The problem with this is that hard drives retain all data until they are manually erased or overwritten. This includes sensitive (personal or identifying) data, which creates potential privacy issues.

ExpressVPN created TrustedServer technology as a solution to this problem. Instead of using hard drives, TrustedServer is run on RAM. RAM requires power to store data, so every time it is powered off and on again, all information is instantly wiped out. And it isn’t just information that gets erased — it also removes any intruders on the server when rebooted. If that isn’t going above and beyond to safeguard privacy, we don’t know what is.

Perfect Forward Secrecy


Perfect Forward Secrecy (also known as Forward Secrecy and PFS) ensures that internet transactions are secure by creating a unique session key for each transaction. Every time you disconnect and connect to ExpressVPN, a new key is generated. The key also regenerates automatically every 60 minutes, which is useful for extended sessions online.

What does this mean for you? If a dedicated hacker successfully compromised your computer or the VPN server, they wouldn’t be able to access data from any past sessions, and they wouldn’t be able to use that same key to access future data. The most data they could ever obtain would be up to 60 minutes’ worth. This adds a layer of security to keep your data safe online.

Zero-Knowledge DNS


Third-party DNS services aren’t protected by the same level of encryption and tunneling as the VPN, which can leave the server open to manipulation. These third-party services can log personally identifiable data and are more easily identified by governments, ISPs, and corporations who want to deny access to certain content.

ExpressVPN has its own private DNS, which gives it a considerable advantage over any competitor using a third-party service. Whenever you are connected to ExpressVPN, you are protected by encryption and tunneling protocol. The private DNS is run on every single one of ExpressVPN’s servers, meaning no matter which server you choose, you are covered with 256-bit encryption.

By avoiding the use of third-party DNS services, ExpressVPN is able to ensure your identifiable data is not stored on servers. Requests are protected from censorship, manipulation, phishing, and DNS filtering, which means you can access the content you want.

ExpressVPN Security Test & Results


ExpressVPN’s number of impressive security features seem to be unbeatable. We wanted to find out if they were really effective, so we put them through some tests. Here’s what our security tests revealed:

Result #1: ExpressVPN Successfully Masks Your Location

Using the WizCase IP tool, we checked to see if our local IP would be recognized while using ExpressVPN. ExpressVPN passed with flying colors and masked our location perfectly.

 

ExpressVPN IP leak test
The WizCase IP tool could not detect our local IP


Result #2: ExpressVPN Prevented DNS Leaks

We also checked for DNS leaks by running an online test and the results speak for themselves.

ExpressVPN DNS Leak TestExpressVPN successfully prevents DNS leaks to guard your privacy


Result #3: Kill Switch Protects You When Your Connection Drops

As with any VPN service, some connection drops happen. But with every drop, the automatic kill switch instantly initiated, meaning that we weren’t left unprotected until server connection was reinstated.

All-in-all, ExpressVPN consistently performed well in security tests. We were highly impressed with the layers of protection it has in place — well worth the monthly fee for guaranteed peace of mind.

Support9.7

When you’re paying a premium price for a premium service, you expect top-quality support — and ExpressVPN definitely delivers here.

Confidence in tech support is essential for both experienced users and customers who are entirely new to the service. You want to be sure that your questions and queries will be answered quickly and competently.

We were pleased to see that the 24/7 live chat was operated by real people, rather than chat-bots trying to troubleshoot issues. The operatives we chatted with were helpful and knowledgeable, and a person was always available to talk to within a few minutes.

Another contact option is via a form on the ExpressVPN website, which you can use to address your issue and wait for an email response. There is no phone number provided, so users are not able to talk directly to customer service representatives.

The support site is well-organized and easy to navigate. An extensive list of troubleshooting guides are also available, from how to diagnose slow speeds to the meaning of particular error messages. We found the setup articles particularly impressive. Each is in-depth, and there are several available for each supported platform, which includes ExpressVPN’s own apps as well as manual setup.

Support site articles are well-written and not overly complicated for users without technical expertise. Each one offers several potential solutions with clear step-by-step guides.

How We Test Customer Support and Why Should You Care

We personally test the customer support team of every VPN we review. This means asking technical question through the live chat feature (where applicable) and measuring the response time for email questions. Whether you need to connect to a specific server, change your security protocol, or configure a VPN on your router, finding a VPN with quality customer support should be important to you.

Pricing9.8

Is ExpressVPN’s monthly subscription really all that costly, or are there cheaper ways to get it? The monthly pricing may be above average when compared to other VPNs, but we know that the extra dollars are worth the quality of the service.

Several different plans are clearly outlined on the ExpressVPN website. The monthly premium is the most expensive, as it is with other VPN services. The best value deal is the 12-month subscription, which is currently available for 49% off and includes an additional 3 months extra for free – a total of 15 months of VPN service. A 6-month subscription also includes a discount.

Get 49% off ExpressVPN + 3 months free


Each plan also comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, meaning you can use the service for the entire 30 days and still get your entire monthly fee back. We tested the cancellation and money-back guarantee and can say that cancellation is very easy. You can either talk to a live chat agent or access the subscription settings on the desktop site. You won’t be asked to fill out forms or justify why you want to cancel, suggesting that ExpressVPN is confident in the service it provides — a reassuring sign for the customer.

ExpressVPN accepts a range of different payment methods, from credit cards and PayPal to cryptocurrency like Bitcoin.


ExpressVPN offers a wide range of payment methods



Final Verdict


The high-quality service ExpressVPN provides is well worth the extra monthly expense. You’ll receive high-speed connections, security and privacy which give peace of mind, reliable access to geo-restricted content, and exceptional customer service — all of which make ExpressVPN extremely hard to beat.

ExpressVPN offers the following plans

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