Table of Contents
Promising to offer blazing-fast speed, serious security and no-restrictions, ExpressVPN ranks amongst the top VPN providers in the virtual private network industry. The VPN service is powered by amazing features and functionalities that every VPN user desires.
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Multiple VPN protocols
- Split tunneling
- 148 VPN locations
Now that we are done with the overview, let’s have a closer look at ExpressVPN and review its services.
Operating from the British Virgin Islands, ExpressVPN offers secure and anonymous Internet access to users around the globe. The VPN has been operating for over a decade and has made its way to the top-tier services in the industry.
The VPN offers a slick and minimalistic user interface, packed with an intuitive navigation which allows users to easily make their way to server selection and other features. Moreover, it is also among the few VPN service providers that offer access to Netflix.
However, there are a few things that might not be attractive to majority of the users, especially ones who are looking for affordable VPN services. For instance, the VPN lists amongst the expensive services in the industry. Although the pricing of the VPN make some users cringe away, but the seasonal deals might sound attractive to many.
We will discuss the pricing plans later in this ExpressVPN review.
ExpressVPN Pros & Cons
Moving on, like any other service provider, ExpressVPN also has its advantages and drawbacks. Let’s start with the Pros.
- Intuitive and minimalistic UI
- 1700+ global VPN servers
- 148+ VPN locations
- Cross-platform compatibility
- Browser extensions
- And more.
- No free trial
- Simultaneous connections for up to only 3 devices
- A bit expensive than other VPNs
- No advanced features
- Kill switch reportedly fails to stop non-VPN traffic
ExpressVPN Pricing & Plans
As mentioned earlier, ExpressVPN has one of the most expensive pricing plans in the VPN industry…unlike its competitor such as PureVPN that costs only $4.95/month (Yearly Plan).
ExpressVPN’s pricing plan starts with a hefty $12.95 per month. It is quite a lot to ask for a monthly package. If you prefer to go for a semi-annually plan, it starts with $9.99 and you will be billed $59.95 for a total of 6 months.
Comparatively, you will be more attracted to its annual plan that starts at $6.67 and is billed at $99.95 annually. At the time of writing this article, the VPN service is offering a 49% discount. It means that if you take the 49% discount away, the annual charges would cost a total of $194.25.
The pricing plan isn’t the main problem here, though. The main point to discuss here is that whether the hefty cost is worth the service. In some cases, it is, however, in some cases, it isn’t.
For instance, after paying a hefty price for a VPN service, you would want to buy a single account for multiple devices in your home. Unfortunately, ExpressVPN offers limited simultaneous connections, i.e., only 3 devices with a single account.
Likewise, you will expect ExpressVPN to provide some advanced security features. After all, it is asking for a huge price tag for a VPN. Take for instance PureVPN that offers Enterprise-Grade add-on and you will only have to pay $107.28 as compared to ExpressVPN’s $99.95 only for a VPN service.
All in all, you can’t ignore the fact that the VPN is seriously pricier than the rest in the industry.
When we talk about pricing, we shouldn’t ignore discussing the trial availability of the VPN service. After all, it is a SaaS product and it should come with a trial service. Unfortunately, in ExpressVPN’s case, you will be disappointed to hear that the VPN provider doesn’t offer any free trial at all.
It is quite unlike for a SaaS product to offer no trial at all. However, it does offer a risk-free trial service where you will be asked to subscribe to the service as you would usually do but you get a 30-day money-back guarantee.
You will have the control whether to carry on using the product, or cancel ExpressVPN trial and get your money refunded before the 30-day period expires.
So, if you are thinking about giving a test drive, you should understand that you will be billed at the end of the month if you don’t ask for a refund before 30 days.
ExpressVPN Setup & User Interface Review
Before we move on to the features and other aspects of the VPN service, let’s first discuss the setup, Express VPN download process and interface.
To get started, you first need to subscribe to ExpressVPN’s service by visiting its order page, picking the right plan as per your needs and placing the order.
Confirmation and Activation Code
In a few minutes, you will receive an email in your inbox which will contain the confirmation details as well as a link to a unique activation code that will be required for each device you on which you would use the VPN.
Although it is a bit demanding process to put VPN activation codes for each device, it would make it easy for you to open the app and use it promptly, i.e., without re-entering the credentials every time you access ExpressVPN’s application.
Next, download ExpressVPN APK or client from the download page of its website. Once you have downloaded application, you will notice how easy it is to install the application.
When I installed the ExpressVPN app, I didn’t encounter any type of problems at all during the setup process. The setup process of the VPN service went smooth.
ExpressVPN User Interface
Regardless, when we talk about a VPN with probably the best user interface in the Virtual Private Network industry, ExpressVPN ranks at the top 5, along with the likes of Ivacy, PureVPN, NordVPN, etc.
ExpressVPN offers the most minimalistic design that is easy on the eyes as well as easy to use.
Before you run the application, it is better to make some tweaks in the settings menu. For instance, you may want to check what type of VPN protocol ExpressVPN has set as default. If you want to change the protocol, simply tap or click Settings and go to VPN Protocol to set it as per your needs.
You may also want to set whether the application gets reconnected on device restart or not.
Once the settings are done, you can go to the main menu. There you will find Smart Location and Choose Location. By choosing Smart Location, you would leave it up to the app to find the optimal server location and connect you. Choose Location, on the other hand, lets you pick the server or location of your choice.
Once you connect the application, you can leave it running in the background while you surf anonymously on the Internet.
There’s a whole load of powerful features to talk about in this section of ExpressVPN review. Let’s start with the Kill Switch, aka ExpressVPN’s Network Lock, feature.
Kill Switch (Network Lock)
For now, ExpressVPN offers its Kill Switch feature for systems that are running either Windows or the Mac OS. It means that you can’t expect the feature to work on Android or iOS devices just yet.
If you read about the Kill Switch on the VPN’s website, you will see that the description says that the VPN disconnects all the incoming and outgoing traffic in the event of disconnection. Sounds interesting, right?
Unfortunately, we have seen that it is not exactly the case with the feature when it was tested. Although it is true to its promise that the connection gets disconnected when the Kill Switch is triggered. However, when you switch servers, your non-VPN traffic will not be blocked. For instance, if you have a torrent download running in the background, it would immediately expose your traffic when you switch the VPN server. After all, when you switch server, the client first gets disconnect and reconnected to a new server.
When it comes to Kill Switch, you have other best alternative VPN service providers such as:
DNS issues are something that always make us worry about online security, especially when trying to access new websites. However, ExpressVPN’s Smart DNS feature takes those worries away from you. The feature resolves the users’ DNS request through secure DNS servers, and as a result users are able to browse the web faster. Moreover, when it comes to Smart DNS, you are able to stream the content at a faster speed.
As the name suggests, ExpressVPN offers multi-login functionality that allows users to use a single account in up to 3 devices simultaneously. Although the multi-login devices limit given by ExpressVPN is not that attractive as compared to other VPN services, but it is better than nothing.
The multi-login feature works when you sign in on a device. Unless you sign out, it will be considered as active and hence you won’t be able to sign in to a different device.
Torrenting & P2P
Torrenting and P2P file downloading are amongst the top most important concerns of VPN users. Don’t you agree? Fortunately, ExpressVPN allows users to run torrent clients or download P2P files. More importantly, unlike many other VPN services, ExpressVPN has enabled torrenting or P2P file downloading on all of its servers.
When it comes to these types of activities, another concern of VPN users is the bandwidth limit allowed by the VPN provider. Unlike many other services that offer a limited bandwidth to its users, ExpressVPN allows unlimited torrenting and P2P file downloading. Another service that offers the same feature with unlimited downloading is PureVPN.
Unblock Netflix & Other Streaming Channels
Let’s just face the fact that most VPN users subscribe to a VPN service because they want to unblock websites, especially online streaming channels. When it comes to streaming channels, the most popular ones are Netflix, Hulu, etc. However, Netflix is amongst the streaming services that immediately detect a VPN service because it has a large database of blacklisted IPs coming from VPN servers.
Good news for ExpressVPN users (as well as PureVPN users) is that they can easily unblock Netflix on their service without any problems at all. These services are using a new pool of IPs that are not detected by Netflix or any other streaming channel that locks even a VPN IP.
Moreover, it is not just the Netflix accessibility but also the streaming speed that’s worth a whole discussion. However, let’s keep it short and say that you can expect a good speed on Netflix when using ExpressVPN.
ExpressVPN Router VPN
If you are looking for a router that comes preloaded with a virtual private network, you can turn to ExpressVPN. Due to their partnership with Flashrouters, they have made available special routers that have a built-in VPN. However, if you are not into a preloaded VPN router, you can also go for a VPN client for the router and flash or configure it yourself. ExpressVPN has a complete guide available on its website on how to install it.
VPN router is a nice to have feature because it makes your router – the central hub in your home – secure and encrypted. So, no matter how many devices are connected to your router, consider all the devices secured. Moreover, if there is a device that is not compatible with the VPN client, you can make it secure as well when you connect it with a VPN-enabled router.
ExpressVPN Chrome & Firefox Extension
When it comes to a Chrome and Firefox VPN extension, PureVPN was the first VPN provider that came up with the idea of helping users secure their browsers. However, it seems that ExpressVPN along with other VPN providers has jumped on the bandwagon.
Yes, ExpressVPN has also rolled out its Firefox and Chrome VPN extension. In fact, you can use ExpressVPN browser extension on your Safari browser as well. However, unlike PureVPN, ExpressVPN doesn’t offer the standalone version for the VPN extensions. It means that you need to have the native client installed on your system for the extension to work.
Although not having a standalone version is a bummer, it is better than nothing that you get to use a VPN extension.
Regardless, the VPN extensions of ExpressVPN offers a minimalistic user interface with basic VPN functionalities.
ExpressVPN Split Tunneling
Split tunneling is an amazing feature that every VPN user needs. Luckily, you can find this feature on ExpressVPN app. As the name suggests, the feature allows you to split the traffic between your ISP and your VPN.
In other words, if you don’t want some Internet traffic routed through the VPN, you can set the split tunneling feature. This feature is required for accessing both the VPN traffic as well as local traffic that doesn’t work while a VPN is enabled.
Moreover, the feature also allows users to secure specific type of Internet traffic by limiting what type of traffic should use the VPN and what type of traffic should use the ISP directly. Regardless, you shouldn’t need to be worrying about security and privacy when you are using ExpressVPN.
However, you definitely like the split-tunneling feature when you want to access local and foreign content online.
- Like any other VPN service provider, ExpressVPN collects basic personal information of the user for the purpose of user account subscription, newsletters, seasonal deals emails, and more. The personal information includes the user name, email address and the payment details.
- ExpressVPN collects other kinds of VPN related data as well which excludes IP address, browsing history, DNS, and other identifiable information. The information they collect include user app version so that the service is presented to the user accordingly. Connection establish logs allow the VPN service to perform better technical troubleshooting, amongst other problems.
- Another type of information that the service collects from its users are the crash reports for diagnostic purposes. However, users can opt-out from this option from the app or client.
- Although we haven’t used any MediaStreamer but ExpressVPN clearly states that it collects information when it comes to offering its MediaStreamer services since it is separate from its VPN service.
So, if you still ask, does ExpressVPN keep logs? The answer has been laid out above.
ExpressVPN offers the best security in the industry. The VPN service uses the 256-bit AES encryption that promises utmost security of the user data that travels back and forth through a VPN tunnel. However, the encryption and security gets more interesting when we talk about SHA-512 HMAC authentication and RSA-4096 which is used for the key exchange. However, it is a highly technical feature that we don’t want to get into.
The VPN offers the OpenVPN protocol along with three other types of protocol. However, you might find the performance or speed a bit slower due to the highest level of encryption used by the service. Regardless, if security isn’t much of a concern to you, the protocol settings can always be changed to lowest encryption methods as they offer fastest speed such as the PPTP protocol that is ideal fordecent security but faster speeds.
ExpressVPN Servers and Locations
Server volumes and locations are amongst the top most concerns of VPN users around the globe. After all, a strategic dispersion of the VPN servers enables VPN users to enjoy utmost anonymity, security, privacy and freedom, especially when it comes to unblocking content which is blocked by a country or its ISPs.
Therefore, when it comes to the number of servers and locations, users always go for a VPN service that offers the highest number of servers in different locations. Upon reviewing the ExpressVPN, we have noticed that the VPN service offers a great number of servers in different regions.
To be exact, ExpressVPN has over 1700 VPN servers located in around 94 countries. If we talk about regions, the VPN service has servers in the Americas, Europe, Asia Pacific, Africa, Middle East and India.
With so many servers at your disposal, as a user you will be able to unblock a great number of online platforms by using the IP of the regions where these platforms are available. Apart from geo-restrictions, using anonymous IPs have a number of other benefits as well. For instance, users can get cheap flight tickets using the anonymous IPs of other locations. Apart from cheap flights, users can get cheap fares, hotel bookings, car rentals, and fight passes etc., saving you tons of money.
ExpressVPN in China
You might wonder why we are discussing the VPN service’s availability in China in this ExpressVPN review. Well, who doesn’t know about the Great Firewall of China? The country has the strictest content censorship in the world. The country is famous for censoring any sort of content that is violent in nature, anti-state content, etc. As a result, the country has restricted even the most popular social channels in the region which include Facebook, Tumblr, Snapchat, Twitter, etc.
In fact, you cannot even access Google in China. To replace these popular networks and portals, China has introduced their own version of social networks and search engines. Regardless, many netizens in China want to access the global online portals, which they cannot do due to the Firewall.
Luckily, ExpressVPN has a good number of stealth servers in China (particularly in Hong Kong). Since HK has different laws, it allows VPN users to access the content they want. Moreover, the VPN service is also great for bypassing the ISP-throttling that render many users from streaming the content at fastest speed, i.e., without buffering or delay.
ExpressVPN Speed Test
When we talk about servers and locations, we cannot forget the most important aspect of a VPN service which is the speed and performance offered by its servers. Although there are many services you can find that offer a plethora of servers, it is not always necessary that the service offers the speed and performance that it promises to deliver.
Nonetheless, when we tested the ExpressVPN in terms of speed and performance, the results were not very dull but also not stellar at all. In comparison, ExpressVPN has performed slower than its rival VPN, PureVPN which we have tested and experienced more efficient in speed.
To test the speed, we kept in mind several different factors that include different servers (nearby and remote), protocols, and the time of the day. Moreover, we also tested the speed on different streaming channels to ensure that service works perfectly with high definition video streams.
We started the VPN speed test by testing the speed without a VPN using the popular speed testing website, speedtest.net. The second test we ran using the VPN service ExpressVPN and other VPN service, only for speed comparison. We selected a nearby server and set the VPN protocol to PPTP, which is known for decent security and fastest speed. We ran another test by switching to a different server and switching to a different VPN protocol.
In the speed test result, we found that though ExpressVPN performed better than some VPNs but when it was competed against top-tier VPN service like PureVPN, there was a significant drop in the speed and performance. For instance, ExpressVPN has a higher latency, while its competitor VPN service has low latency. Likewise, PureVPN upload and download speed exceeds far greater than the speed test of ExpressVPN.
Again, let us inform you that we are not saying which VPN is faster. The comparison is done only to help you understand the speed and performance difference of different VPN services.
ExpressVPN Supporting Devices & Operating Systems
Amongst many of the amazing aspects of ExpressVPN is that it is compatible across several different devices as well as operating systems. The list includes
- Amazon FireTV
- Apple TV
- And more.
ExpressVPN Customer Support
Customer service is needed by almost all customers and even potential buyers or leads. ExpressVPN is a great service to use, a service that doesn’t require customers to spend their time questioning things on their customer service portal. However, the VPN service does offer a Live Chat feature where customers can contact for troubleshooting a problem or get their other concerns resolved in no time. Moreover, the response time of the VPN service is also good. Only within a few seconds, you will get a response from the customer support.
In any event, you don’t find a person on the Live Chat – which is something you would rarely experience – you may try the contact us form. Simply, fill out the form and leave your query. You will get the response within 24 hours, and sometimes sooner than that.
When it comes to customer support service, a company should always provide multiple means for its users so they can use any means that they deem convenient. Sometimes, customers want immediate solution to their problem which is why they want immediate customer service. However, ExpressVPN doesn’t offer any direct means to get in touch with us, i.e., a telephone number.
ExpressVPN Payment Methods
Convenience is something that every customer wants, no matter what type of product or service it is. Likewise, when it comes to a VPN service, it is imperative for the service to offer its users multiple means to pay for the VPN. ExpressVPN is amongst those VPN services that take their customers’ convenience and satisfaction seriously and thus offer multiple payment methods so that the customer can pay for the service using any means that is convenient for them.
ExpressVPN accepts card payments including Visa card, Master card, American Express, Delta, and more. Likewise, users who are comfortable paying with PayPal can select this option for fast and easy payment. Apart from these popular means, users can also use other means for payments such as AliPay, FanaPay, and more.
If you want to stay anonymous, when it comes to paying for a VPN service, you can always opt for the BitCoin payment method.
However, it is important that you must go through the Terms of Service of the ExpressVPN and read its refund policy, cancellation policy and also the service usage policy.
Final Thoughts on ExpressVPN Review
ExpressVPN has all the basic features and functionalities a VPN service should offer and it includes multi-protocols availability, a decent number of servers in different locations, Netflix and torrenting support, and a big IP pool. However, comparatively, there are still some features or added functionalities where the ExpressVPN lacks such as the limit on multi-login capability. Given the expensive cost of the VPN, the service should have provided users with the capability of logging in more than 3 devices.
Apart from the multi-login capability and cost of the VPN service, ExpressVPN is still a good VPN service you can opt for to surf the internet anonymously, unblock restricted websites and enjoy secure online activities.