ExpressVPN Reviews 2021

ExpressVPN has established itself in the VPN industry and is, in our opinion, the best VPN out there. Enthusiastic reviews from users and industry experts confirm its reputation as the best. But it’s not all hype, and here we unpack the details of how and why ExpressVPN is such an effective and useful tool.

Are you short of time? Here are my main findings

  • Unblocks many streaming platforms: ExpressVPN is very reliable at bypassing geoblocks – Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, BBC iPlayer and more are all easily accessible.
  • Ultra-fast, buffer-free streaming: No other VPN performs as well over long distances. A website on the other side of the world is faster than my default settings!
  • Huge network of servers: With 3000 servers in 90 locations, you can find one near you to ensure the fastest speeds.
  • Military-grade encryption with advanced security features: ExpressVPN’s encryption technology and advanced security features ensure your connection remains completely anonymous.
  • A trusted company committed to protecting your privacy: A strict no-logging policy is not just a rumour. ExpressVPN is proven to protect its customers.
  • Native apps for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux and routers: You get a user-friendly, feature-rich app for all major operating systems, although 1 misses some features.
  • It works in China: ExpressVPN is one of the few remaining VPNs that can bypass the Great Firewall of China.
  • Very reasonably priced, especially for a long-term subscription: If you option for the annual package, the price is cheaper.

ExpressVPN was founded in 2009 in the privacy-friendly British Virgin Islands and has been on the rise ever since. The abundance of global servers makes it attractive worldwide and is used by millions of people.

However, it is not the cheapest VPN on the market due to its high subscription fees. Therefore, we want to find out if ExpressVPN is worth the money and how it compares to its competitors.

Feature Data

Over All Rank

#1

Usability

Very Easy, Support All Devices

Log Files

No Logging Policy

Locations

94Countries, 3000+Servers

Support

24/7 Live Chat

Torrenting

P2P and Torrenting Allowed

Netflix

Unblock Netflix USA

Encryption/Protocol

256-bit AES/ASSTP, PPTP, OpenVPN, IPSec and L2TP

Cost

$6.67/Month

I tried 5 different geographical locations and found that the further I was from my actual location, the worse the service got. Under normal conditions, I was able to get close to the 500Mbps speeds that my ISP advertises.

Baseline test result on a Malaysia server without VPN

Malaysia Server Without VPN

ExpressVPN Speed Test – US Server

ExpressVPN Speed Test US - VPN OFF
ExpressVPN Speed Test US - VPN ON

ExpressVPN Speed Test - Germany Server

ExpressVPN Speed Test Germany - VPN OFF
ExpressVPN Speed Test Germany - VPN ON

ExpressVPN Speed Test - South Africa Server

ExpressVPN Speed Test South Africa – VPN OFF
ExpressVPN Speed Test South Africa – VPN ON

ExpressVPN Speed Test - Singapore Server

ExpressVPN Speed Test Singapore – VPN OFF
ExpressVPN Speed Test Singapore – VPN ON

ExpressVPN Speed Test - Australia Server

ExpressVPN Speed Test Australia – VPN OFF
ExpressVPN Speed Test Australia – VPN ON
Term Length Monthly Price Billing

1 Month

$12.95
Billed $12.95 Monthly

6 Months

$9.99
Billed $59.95 Every 6Months

12 Months

$8.32
Billed $99.95 Every 12Months

Choose between a one-month, six-month, or one-year billing option. As you can see, the monthly price gets lower as the term increases. It’s important to note that ExpressVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. So, if you cancel ExpressVPN completely, you can get a full refund via a digital “return”. It might be a good idea to try out the service for a month before investing in a less costly long-term plan.

The longer you sign up, the cheaper ExpressVPN monthly fees become. Explore your options. With each subscription, you can switch between an unlimited number of servers and maintain five simultaneous connections. If you want more simultaneous connections, you can purchase an additional license or set up a VPN router to get unlimited. With each subscription, you can use an unlimited number of devices, which I like a lot.

Reliable servers

This is not a standalone feature offered by ExpressVPN. Instead, it’s the underlying technology that powers this VPN’s privacy-focused infrastructure.

Basically, TrustedServer technology refers to the temporary servers that ExpressVPN uses to run its services.

These servers are not used to store data. They function more like temporary storage. The data is deleted after every restart because these servers actually only run in RAM. They never write anything to the hard disk.

In this way, the service providers ensure that no data is stored – not even accidentally or unintentionally.

In this way, they ensure the highest security for users, not only from governments but also from hackers. If ExpressVPN doesn’t physically have user data, it can’t give it to the government. Even intrusive hackers cannot get their hands on your data.

They also frequently shut down and restart their servers to cut off power to RAM and ensure that data is not stored for long periods of time.

In addition, these VPN providers make sure that all their servers work in the same way. Therefore, every time the server is restarted, the entire software package and operating system is loaded from a read-only image.

In this way, ExpressVPN ensures that all its servers work with the same technology. Furthermore, none of these systems are particularly misconfigured or vulnerable to hacking.

Obfuscated servers

Some countries block VPN traffic. This is where obfuscated servers come into play when you’re trying to buy a VPN.

ExpressVPN offers a range of obfuscated servers. And luckily, obfuscation is already enabled! You don’t need to do any additional configuration.

If you are in a country that blocks VPN traffic, you must use the server specified for that country. For example, if you live in China, you should use the server specified for Chinese users. If you do not know the exact server, you can always ask Customer Service.

We use ExpressVPN with a number of different streaming services, including the usual suspects: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, and Disney+. We’re happy to say that it works smoothly and effortlessly on all of these platforms, meaning that videos are streamed in full quality across all server locations. Even better, it does so seamlessly.

It also provides access to country-specific series and movie catalogs in multiple locations, including the U.S., U.K., Japan, and several European countries, including France and the Netherlands. So, if you’re looking for a diverse list of Japanese anime, Dutch thrillers, or Korean dramas, just switch locations and ExpressVPN will have you covered.

In terms of censored or blocked sites, ExpressVPN still has a few countries it can’t bypass, including the UAE. However, we have found that it can unblock some places that are heavily censored, such as China.

It’s worth noting that you can download this software (desktop and mobile versions) to any device. You can use ExpressVPN to secure all the devices in your house, but only five devices can connect to your server at the same time.

This is called a “simultaneous connection” and is very common with all VPN services. The average is around 3-5 simultaneous connections, so you get what you expect with ExpressVPN.

ExpressVPN offers 24/7 customer support via chat and email support. The support section of the website has many articles that answer common questions, and the blog is well-maintained with the latest trends and information. There are plenty of videos that walk you through most challenges step-by-step, and ExpressVPN also offers separate guides for each platform. There’s even a troubleshooting section for dealing with log file errors and other bugs.

While the company’s own background may be shady, the support offered by ExpressVPN is top-notch. Information on everything from setting up the service to canceling it and everything in between can be found easily.

One thing that could make the support guide even easier is the addition of an index within the website. If you want to learn more about one of the features – like TrustedServer – a search in the support index returns zero results. And the search option is only available within the support section.

If you’re a gamer and want to use ExpressVPN to play games at another server location, I don’t recommend it. VPN connections have a serious lag that will likely disrupt your game unless you connect to a VPN server near your location. That would be pretty pointless anyway, so take that into account.

Note: These tests were performed using the default protocol and settings of the ExpressVPN Windows client. I tried running ExpressVPN through my own router, but since I have a cheap home router, the speeds were terrible. I wouldn’t recommend running a VPN service on a home router unless you have a top-of-the-line model like the Netgear Nighthawk X10, which is very expensive.

My test machine was a new laptop with an 8th generation Intel chip. I suspect this is the bottleneck in some cases, and you can achieve faster speeds with more processing power by running the VPN service on a new desktop.

ExpressVPN clients are generally very sophisticated and user-friendly, but they’re not the only way VPNs work. The company also offers extensions for Chrome and Firefox that let you control clients and services directly from your browser.

Unlike almost all VPN providers, ExpressVPN Browser Extensions are not simple proxies. They are browser-based interfaces to Windows, Mac, or Linux clients: if you don’t have them installed, they won’t work. While this is inconvenient, it has some significant advantages.

For example, if you launch the ExpressVPN browser extension, it can communicate with the desktop client and read its status. The default location is the same as the client. When the client is connected, this is indicated in your extension.

You can also control the desktop client from the browser. If you want to unblock a single website, you can select a VPN site in your browser, connect to it, perform the necessary search and, when you’re done, disconnect from ExpressVPN. It’s all very quick and easy, and there’s absolutely no need to switch back and forth between your browser and the ExpressVPN client.

It works well on a simple level. The interface of the browser extension is very similar to the traditional client and app, and the system for browsing and selecting websites is also very similar.

Since it is just a simple front-end for the desktop engine, it is not surprising that the extension has some limitations. For example, there is no favorites system or speed test. There are only two major settings options (“Connect on browser startup” and “Show desktop notifications”), although the desktop application settings dialog can be opened directly from the browser extension.

Chrome and now Firefox extensions include settings that prevent HTML5 geolocation from revealing your actual location when connecting to a VPN, block WebRTC leaks at the browser level, and use HTTPS Everywhere to automatically connect to HTTPS versions of website.

Thanks to improved localization, the extension is now available in 17 languages. The browser extension won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, especially since it requires the application to be installed. But the ability to control the application from the browser is a very useful feature that you won’t find in the competition, and overall it’s a very valuable addition.

ExpressVPN is available for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, and routers. They also have browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.

Windows, Mac, and Linux apps can be downloaded directly from the ExpressVPN website. Linux users will be happy to know that they have a separate app. iOS and Android apps can be downloaded from their respective app stores.

You can configure ExpressVPN on your router, there is a configuration guide on the website, and the entire installation process takes just a few minutes.

Since ExpressVPN works on multiple devices, it is a good choice for almost all types of users.

Ease of Use

The first thing we checked in this ExpressVPN review was the usability. After all, optimal user experience is important. You can definitely expect that from this provider. Setup is very easy and quick, and the provider’s software is intuitive. On the website, you will find clear information about the different payment methods you can use. You have not found a solution yet or have questions? Then you can immediately call the experienced customer support via the live chat feature.

Security and Privacy

  • Jurisdiction: British Virgin Islands
  • Encryption: AES-256, 4096-bit RSA key, perfect forward secrecy
  • No leaks detected
  • Shutdown switch included

I like that ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands, which is often considered a privacy-friendly country because it has no surveillance data sharing agreements with other countries. Although the BVI is a British territory, it is legally separate from the U.K., has no data retention laws, and the country’s Supreme Court has in the past taken a negative stance toward requests for business records from abroad.

Encryption is AES-256 by default and supports Perfect Forward Secrecy, which means keys are changed frequently to avoid security risks. The company also offers a useful kill switch feature that prevents network data from leaking outside the secure VPN tunnel if the VPN connection is interrupted.

ExpressVPN’s detailed privacy policy explicitly opposes the logging of personally identifiable user data. Like almost all VPNs, it collects maintenance-related data, including the location of the server, the total amount of data transferred, how long the server was connected, and what versions of the application you have installed. You can choose to have it send crash reports to your company to help with diagnostics.

One of the clearest ways for a VPN provider to prove that it doesn’t keep logs is for the authorities to seize its servers. That’s exactly what happened to ExpressVPN in 2017, when Turkish authorities seized one of ExpressVPN’s servers and searched the logs of criminal conversations while investigating the 2016 murder of Turkish Ambassador to Russia Andrey Kolov. The authorities came up empty, and ExpressVPN has had a log-free reputation ever since.

The company switched to RAM disk mode in 2019, which means it doesn’t store anything on disk. Not all VPNs offer this feature. NordVPN, for example, only switched to full RAM disk usage this year as a security measure against the hack. That said, about 3% of ExpressVPN’s server fleet is virtual (which is often claimed to be less secure than physical machines), but the company says these virtual servers are only used in countries where there is not enough network infrastructure support or where using hardware would be riskier, such as Turkey.

In our tests, no IP addresses, DNS or other data that could identify users was compromised. However, caution is warranted here as well. Previously, in 2019, ProPrivacy reviewers discovered IPv6 leaks in both macOS and Windows tests. However, such leaks are not surprising. The technology built into most browsers called WebRTC – which is used to run audio and video applications – is known to have issues with data leaks, even when using a VPN.

This type of leak can reveal your identity and location, but while it may seem complicated to the average user, it’s easy to avoid. ExpressVPN’s browser add-ons fill most of the gaps, and you can disable WebRTC by getting it for free via the company’s user-friendly guide. You can disable WebRTC independently from ExpressVPN’s website by accessing a competing VPN-provided by -Private Internet Access’ widely available free IPv6 leak test (we recommend the classic IPLeak if you’re web-savvy) to test for IPv6 leaks yourself.

ExpressVPN uses 256-bit encryption, and OpenVPN UDP is recommended and also set as the default protocol. These are the highest international encryption standards, so you don’t have to worry about your privacy. ExpressVPN supports the following protocols.

  • OpenVPN UDP: The best combination of speed and security, but may not be available for all networks.
  • OpenVPN TCP: Can work on all network types and is probably the most secure VPN protocol, but can be slower than UDP.
  • L2TP/IPSec: Less secure – useful for anonymity and relocation when other protocols are not available.
  • IKEv2/IPsec: Generally very fast, but not suitable for all network types and offers fewer configuration options than OpenVPN, though it is available on iOS while OpenVPN is not.
  • Lightway (Beta): A new protocol that ExpressVPN is working on. It is still in beta and is not recommended for now.

However, it is worth noting that not all ExpressVPN servers support every protocol. L2TP/IPsec and PPTP are only supported by a few servers worldwide. Also, PPTP is not a protocol supported by the ExpressVPN software. Since some routers only support PPTP as a protocol, they support it in some way. They don’t want to support the protocol too much because it’s not that secure, but they also don’t want to turn away customers who use a VPN router.

With the Lightway protocol, they want to promise customers a faster, more secure, reliable and stable VPN experience. For example, ExpressVPN claims that Lightway increases connection speed. In addition, ExpressVPN says they will soon open source the Lightway core code, which will increase the security of the protocol. Finally, this will allow anyone to verify the code, which should also be relatively easy since the code base will be relatively small, ExpressVPN says.

Third-Party Audits

Very few VPNs have been audited by an independent third party. I find this strange – should we rely solely on the reputation and blind trust of VPN providers to evaluate their claims?

So I’m impressed that ExpressVPN has an independent audit to back up its commitment to privacy and security. In 2019, ExpressVPN commissioned PricewaterhouseCoopers to audit its privacy policy. After a thorough review of its servers and code, PwC confirmed that ExpressVPN was in full compliance with its published privacy policy (including its no documentation policy). PwC even reviewed key security features, including TrustedServer technology, to ensure everything was working as advertised.

ExpressVPN also worked with cybersecurity firm Cure53 to audit its browser extension for security vulnerabilities. The full results of the audit are publicly available on the internet, and ExpressVPN has even published its browser extension so that users can check the code for themselves.

ExpressVPN is one of the few VPNs that still works in China.

We test ExpressVPN access in China on a weekly basis and it is without a doubt one of the most stable VPNs in the region. This is due to the significant resources invested in bypassing China’s “Great Firewall”.

The blocking technique is enabled by default when the protocol selection in the app is set to Auto.

ExpressVPN offers dedicated servers for Chinese users. Contact their support team (24/7) to get the latest server alerts.

These servers are usually located in nearby places like Hong Kong (where the internet is still free). With servers in Hong Kong, you can access Chinese TV and websites from outside China.

ExpressVPN’s official website is blocked in China. So make sure you download the latest version of the app before it arrives.

ExpressVPN’s built-in obfuscation tool is very effective, and the VPN works in restricted countries like the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia.

Pros
  1. Large, widely distributed server campus
  2. Strong privacy and information security practices
  3. Distributed tunneling
  4. OpenVPN support for all platforms
  5. Simple interface
Cons
  1. Expensive
  2. Can be challenging for inexperienced users
  3. Would benefit from a comprehensive review

Frequently Asked Questions

Is ExpressVPN legal?

Yes, it is perfectly legal to use any VPN, including ExpressVPN, except in some countries where VPNs are banned.

Does ExpressVPN log my data?

ExpressVPN does not record users’ online activities or any identifying information. According to the privacy policy, it records the application and application version used, the date (not the time) of connection, the VPN site you connect to (not a specific server or IP address), the country and ISP you connect to (not the source IP address), and the total amount of data transferred in a 24-hour period. This information is used for diagnostic purposes and is not shared with third parties.

Users also have the ability to share additional anonymous application diagnostics such as crash reports, availability diagnostics, and VPN connection diagnostics. This includes information about failed connection attempts and speed test data.

Will anyone know if I’m using ExpressVPN?

Maybe. VPNs are private, but not necessarily anonymous.

For example, your ISP may check to see if you are connected to a known ExpressVPN server. If you’re logged into your Facebook account and using Facebook when you connect to ExpressVPN, Facebook can check to see if you’re connecting from a known VPN server. This means that your ISP can’t see what you’re doing when you’re connected to a VPN, and websites and apps can’t see your real IP address.

Can ExpressVPN block ads?

No, ExpressVPN does not have a built-in ad-blocking or anti-tracking feature. Some other VPNs have such features, including CyberGhost and NordVPN.

According to ExpressVPN, users have the right to decide whether and which ads they want to block. The company recommends installing free ad-blocking and/or anti-tracking plugins such as uBlock Origin or Privacy Badger.

How good is ExpressVPN’s mobile app?

ExpressVPN makes mobile apps for Android and iOS. Both are well-designed apps with the same features and security as the desktop versions. ExpressVPN’s apps are fast and lightweight, so you don’t have to worry about your device crashing. For maximum speed and efficiency on mobile, I recommend Lightway or IKEv2.

Can I stop bandwidth throttling with ExpressVPN?

It depends on the situation. If your ISP limits bandwidth for a particular source or type of data, yes. ExpressVPN’s encryption hides the content of your data, and routing your data through the VPN server hides the website, app, or service you’re visiting. Since your ISP can’t see what you’re doing when you use a VPN, it can’t distinguish between specific sources or types of traffic.

Is ExpressVPN really private?

When it comes to privacy, it all depends on the VPN you choose and trust to provide you with security and privacy on the Internet. In the past, there have been cases where VPNs have leaked user data and information. Contrary to popular belief or rumor, they are private and independent companies. This has led to things like “logging policies” that make it clear that companies do not keep logs, store IP addresses, select servers, etc. to share your data with third parties.

So it’s up to you when it comes to VPN timestamps, bandwidth usage logs, IP addresses from logging, and activity logging policies.

By having ExpressVPN adhere to a no-logging policy that can be supported by independent audits, you can rest assured that your data is confidential, well encrypted, and secure.

How much does ExpressvPN cost?

With the 30-day money-back guarantee, you can get ExpressVPN for $6.67 for 15 months, 3 of which are free. Other deals are $12.95 for 1 month or $9.99 for 6 months.

Is it worth it to buy a VPN?

In fact, it is. With the influx of devices and online traffic, it goes without saying that privacy and security are increasingly difficult to control and vulnerable to breaches and leaks. VPNs are really a step in the right direction, making web navigation easier and taking the worry out of security.

Is a VPN safe for online banking?

That’s because VPNs encrypt your data, making it harder for others to access or steal. It’s especially effective if you’re connected to the Internet via a public Wi-Fi service, so you can use the Internet securely, privately, and more freely.

Should I keep my VPN turned on all the time?

If possible, yes. This is to properly protect yourself from data breaches when connecting to the Internet. If you are using a public network, make sure your VPN is turned on.

Can my ISP see my VPN?

No, they can’t. VPNs make it difficult for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to accurately locate user traffic. The only thing they can see is data encrypted through remote servers. They can’t see your website, location, or IP address.

Is it illegal to use a VPN?

Generally speaking, it is legal to use a VPN. The only caveat is that it is still illegal if you use a VPN to access, sell and download copyrighted material or hack computers/networks (without the necessary permission).

Will a VPN slow down the Internet?

It is possible, depending on the number of VPN servers and their location. If there are many users logged into the server, you may experience connection delays. VPNs also add additional processes such as encryption and connection to remote servers. This can slow down your internet connection. It’s best to use a better, more advanced provider, such as ExpressVPN, which can reduce the latency effect to a level that minimizes the likelihood of your connection slowing down.

We live in a risky world where our data is often the target of various third parties and hackers. This can eventually lead to identity theft, having our devices hacked, or simply being bombarded with targeted ads. A good VPN like ExpressVPN will help you regain control over your data.

As you can see from the test results of our ExpressVPN review, this is a top-notch service. Overall, we think ExpressVPN is a great VPN to consider. To summarize, here are the key findings from our ExpressVPN review.

  • Secure offshore jurisdictions and corporate policies to protect customer data and user information
  • Still works with Netflix and most other streaming services
  • Wide range of well-designed, secure, reliable, and easy-to-use apps
  • Secure network with all servers running in RAM disk mode
  • Good customer service, 24/7 live chat support, 30 days money back guarantee

Although there are some drawbacks, we think ExpressVPN is certainly a good choice for all types of users.

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