ExpressVPN Review – Speedy Security and Extreme Privacy


Summary

Our Verdict

ExpressVPN


A favourite of many industry professionals because of its speed, security and extensive platform support, ExpressVPN is one of the best overall.

 
Overall 91%
Content
Usability
Value

If you’ve been shopping around for a good, trustworthy and reliable VPN to meet your needs, you might already have noticed that few VPNs come as highly recommended as ExpressVPN. And in an increasingly popular and crowded field, that’s no small achievement.

ExpressVPN Facts

  • Free trial available: No
  • Price: from $8.32 USD per month
  • Countries supported: 160+
  • Number of servers: 3000+
  • Supports: PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, Routers

Started ten years ago and based in the British Virgin Islands, ExpressVPN developed a reputation for its strong security above all else. Incorporating enterprise-grade encryption throughout its service ensuring your data remains visible only by you. ExpressVPN’s dedication to a reliable, secure and fast VPN service has routinely landed it at the top of “best VPN” lists, and in terms of user numbers, it’s one of the world’s largest.

What Makes ExpressVPN Unique?

If you’ve spent any length of time shopping for a VPN, you’ll already know it’s a very, very crowded field – and getting more so every year as VPNs become more desirable to more people. The problem with many VPNs, though, is a simple one – speed.

When you connect to a remote VPN server, you’re using a part of a finite resource – both the internet links to and from that server and the capacity of the server itself. With many low cost VPN providers, that can mean that while you do get the security and flexibility you were promised, the resulting VPN connection is disappointing in terms of speed.

That can be a big problem if you’re using your VPN to download a game, movie or any other large file from another country. You can have the fastest broadband in the world at home, but if that VPN connection slows to a crawl, there’s nothing you can do about it.

Connection Speed

ExpressVPN, as the name suggests, make connection speed a high priority, always. And in many independent tests, they’ve been rated as one of the fastest VPN providers on the planet when it comes to connection speeds.

Military-grade Encryption

As well as fast connections to thousands of servers around the world, ExpressVPN secures all your traffic with “military-grade” 4096-bit encryption – making sure that even if someone was able to intercept your data, they’d have no possible way of reading it or even knowing what it contains. ExpressVPN keeps no log files of user activity, either (a fact that’s been verified by real-world attempts by the authorities to obtain them) so you can be assured of complete privacy – something that’s vital in this age of data retention and surveillance.

What Else Does ExpressVPN Offer?

One of the best things about ExpressVPN is that it runs on almost anything. Aside from the obvious devices – your phones and tablets, your desktop and laptop PCs, and all the popular web browsers – you can also install ExpressVPN directly onto your broadband modem/router if you have a compatible model. It works on popular routers from Asus, D-Link, Linksys, Netgear, TP-Link and more – but if you don’t have a compatible device, ExpressVPN can sell you one, pre-configured with your account, so all you need to do is plug it in and go.

Using ExpressVPN on your router means that everything on your home network – both wired and wi-fi – is protected by your VPN. That means that every device – from smart TVs and DVRs to smart globes – and even smart speakers like Amazon Alexa – are protected by a rock-solid VPN. If you really value your security and privacy, this is the way to set up your VPN – and ExpressVPN supports it better than any other.

Naturally, there are also full-featured apps for your mobile devices, which let you remain secure behind a VPN no matter where you are – and regardless of whether you’re connected to your 4G mobile network or to free public wi-fi (usually a no-no because of lack of security, but totally secure when used with ExpressVPN).

Can ExpressVPN Get Around Geo-blocking?

While companies find it necessary to restrict access to certain websites or services based on your geo location, to most internet users, it’s a pain. Of course, that’s where a VPN can solve the problem for you effortlessly by letting you appear to be from whatever country you need to be – and ExpressVPN takes this one step further by actively supporting the unblocking of many services which a regular VPN cannot.

So if you want to connect to BBC iPlayer, Showtime, Hulu, or other countries’ versions of Netflix and Amazon Prime, ExpressVPN has the smarts to get it done seamlessly for you. That’s a hugely handy thing to have around, too: while it’s easy enough to “unblock” some streaming services with a so-called “smart DNS” service, a proper VPN can do a far more reliable job. Of course, to stream video through a VPN, it needs to be a fast VPN – and that lands us back at ExpressVPN’s impressive connection speeds.

How Many Countries Does ExpressVPN Support?

While other VPNs offer support for more countries or servers, ExpressVPN makes sure the ones it does support – and it’s still a huge list – are correctly set up to be as fast and secure as always, no matter which country you’re heading to. The service has support for 160 server locations that take in over 90 countries, and a pool of 30,000 distinct IP addresses (handy for getting around additional geo-blocking measures).

Are There Any Downsides?

The only things that might be an issue for some users are the number of connections supported – and the price of the service. ExpressVPN used to only support three simultaneous connections – and for certain types of downloading where multiple connections are used, that’s pretty restrictive. They’ve since increased that to 5 connections, which should be more than enough for most people.

And then we get to the price. Now, there’s no getting around it – ExpressVPN can’t come close to the super-cheap prices that some of their competitors can boast. To their credit, they don’t even try to pretend that it’s a price war – but rather, that you get what you pay for.

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How Much Does ExpressVPN Cost?

As a superbly designed and run VPN service with high-speed connections and one of the best reputations in the business, their pricing isn’t too egregious – though we’d recommend you opt for the one-year subscription to get the cost down substantially. Prices start at $12.99 USD on a monthly basis, or $9.99 USD per month for the six-month plan. But the annual ones where the value lies – at $99.95 USD every 12 months it equals about $8.32 USD per month – and you can frequently find special offers that get that price down even further.

No matter which plan you choose, there’s a 30-day no-questions-asked money-back guarantee. If you’re not happy with the service in any way, you can cancel your subscription at any time within the first month and not have had to pay a cent. While there’s no free trial (those tend to get abused by serial freeloaders) the guarantee more or less acts like one.

ExpressVPN: The Pros and Cons

The Good

  • Support for a vast range of platforms
  • Dedicated support for a variety of routers
  • Able to get around geo-blocking on dozens of sites
  • 24-hour customer support

The Gotchas

  • Can be expensive, and a discount for extended plans could be better
  • Not as many servers as some competitors
  • Number of simultaneous download connections limited

ExpressVPN Summary: Best-in-class Performance and Security at a Price

In the crowded field of VPNs of all shapes and sizes, you really want to be short-listing the ones that take the job seriously and deliver a rock-solid service that’s backed by both support and actual results. ExpressVPN doesn’t top the “best VPN” lists by coincidence – it’s deservedly up there with the very best, and it makes for an excellent choice for all your VPN needs. Sure, the price is higher than some – but sometimes, it’s worth paying a little extra if what you get in return is of exceptional quality.