This ExpressVPN review will examine one of the most acclaimed VPNs in great detail. Whether you’re a casual user looking for an agile and streaming-efficient VPN or an avid data miner, ExpressVPN will please you with its top-of-the-line features.
Granted, you may need to pay a little more than you would for other Virtual Private Networks, but with ExpressVPN, you can always make the most of your secure online activity sessions. Loaded with a number of updated features like 256-bit AES encryption, the Lightway protocol, 100% leak protection, and RAM-only servers, it can help you get an IP address from pretty much any country you want.
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What’s more, ExpressVPN is accessible in restrictive countries like Iran and China because it obfuscates your VPN traffic. This facilitates circumventing internet censorship more effectively. However, despite these virtues, does it deserve to be labeled the best VPN on the market? Is it worth putting money into its premium subscription? Keep reading this honest and comprehensive ExpressVPN review to learn everything you need to know to make an informed decision.
What is ExpressVPN?
In 2009, two tech entrepreneurs founded ExpressVPN, registered under Express Technologies, a company based in the British Virgin Islands. However, in September 2021, Kape Technologies took over the ownership of ExpressVPN.
The provider stepped into the market to safeguard user’s personal data and online privacy, and since its inception, it has continually evolved and grown into the top-rated VPN provider it is today. In fact, it’s a poster child in the personal VPN industry, offering its Virtual Private Network services to both individuals and home users.
That said, ExpressVPN boasts over 3,000 servers across 90+ countries — this includes Chile, Algeria, South Africa, Argentina, India, Albania, Taiwan, and Estonia, amongst others. And today, its exclusive services are available in over 180 countries, hence its vast user pool of over 4 million subscribers.
This isn’t surprising. ExpressVPN is highly regarded for flexibility and agility. Its proprietary Lightway protocol aims and deliver a faster VPN experience. Plus, its security is unparalleled. Recently, its services underwent a third-party audit by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). The said audit testifies to the provider’s impenetrable privacy protections, further establishing its trustworthiness.
From protecting your personal data while browsing and allowing you to stream ad-free international TV shows to uninterrupted web scraping, ExpressVPN has you covered. And to top it off, although it employs a bunch of advanced technology for top-notch data protection, it’s still pretty intuitive and easy to use.
ExpressVPN Pros and Cons
Here’s a quick rundown of both the good and bad aspects of opting for ExpressVPN:
- It’s super easy to set up, with only three steps involved
- 24/7 live chat support for every user
- One of the few VPNs that runs smoothly even in countries like China and UAE
- Follows a strict no-log policy so that none of your personal data is stored or tracked
- Excellent performance in terms of content unblocking, especially OTT platforms such as Netflix
- Comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee
- Isn’t the cheapest VPN on the market
- It neither has a free trial nor a free plan (for PC).
How Much Is ExpressVPN?
ExpressVPN plans are quite affordable and come with a lot of variety. Here’s a quick glimpse at what each of them has to offer:
The 6-month plan will save you around 23% more compared to the one-month plan, and better yet, the 12-month plan lets you save approximately 35% on your subscription.
It’s also worth noting that although ExpressVPN doesn’t have a free plan or a free trial, each of its plans comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. So if you don’t find the service suitable for your needs, just cancel within the first month, and you’ll receive 100% of your funds back.
Another thing we really liked about ExpressVPN is that it offers multiple payment options. From supporting almost every popular credit card — Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, and Union Pay, to Pix, Giro Pay, and Sepa — you have countless to choose from. Plus, if you don’t want to use any of the traditional payment options, you also have the option to use PayPal or even Bitcoin.
ExpressVPN’s Features Reviewed
You can’t possibly know if it’s the best VPN service provider for you without delving deep into what it offers. Here are our top favorite features of ExpressVPN:
IP Address Masking
IP masking conceals your real IP address and replaces it with a fake one instead. As you might know, your IP is your identity online, so if you want to remain safe and anonymous while browsing the internet, it’s important to hide it.
That said, ExpressVPN is a robust tool for advanced IP address masking, as it forms an encrypted connection or “tunnel” between your device and the internet, making your online activity anonymous and secure. As it replaces your IP with a shared VPN IP address, tracing back to your original location or identity becomes virtually impossible.
Beyond this, ExpressVPN’s accessibility in 94 countries worldwide means it offers supreme flexibility to choose the origin of your IP address. Leveraging this, you can enjoy enhanced control over your digital experience by bypassing geographical restrictions.
This essentially means that the perception of your location and identity by websites, apps, and services depends on your chosen IP address, not your actual one. This doubles up to also protect you from potential online surveillance and censorship.
So with ExpressVPN, your Wi-Fi network operator, internet service provider, or government agencies can’t track or manipulate your web activity based on your IP address — giving you complete internet freedom.
Intuitive Kill Switch
A kill switch is a safety net that prevents your data from being leaked if the VPN accidentally fails. It’ll continuously monitor to see if your connection is secure or not. The moment your VPN gets disconnected or compromised, it’ll cut you off from the internet, so you don’t spend a single second online without VPN protection.
ExpressVPN’s kill switch — Network Lock — ensures your internet traffic stays within the encrypted VPN tunnel, always securing your information. To achieve this, it constantly monitors your VPN connection, particularly focusing on any changes in your IP address, to ensure complete security for your privacy and data.
In the event of a VPN shutdown, Network Lock promptly blocks all network traffic to and from your device. This way, it eliminates the risk of IP leaks. This blockage ensures your IP address, location, and other sensitive data remain uncompromised, despite any interruption to the VPN connection.
Once the VPN connection is restored, Network Lock automatically resumes the network traffic — by default — to minimize any downtime. Every time you connect, it gets into action and remains active until you disconnect, ensuring a consistent shield over your internet traffic.
Advanced Split Tunneling
With split tunneling, you can decide what part of your internet traffic goes through the encrypted VPN tunnel and what part goes through the open network. So, for example, you can download movies via Torrents with the protection of a VPN, but if you want suggestions on the best local cafes, it’s best to stay on the open network.
Leveraging advanced split tunneling, ExpressVPN divides the VPN tunnel into smaller units called “packets.” These are then encapsulated inside other data packets, encrypting them to make the data inaccessible to unauthorized parties.
With advanced split tunneling offering an additional layer of privacy, you can protect your browsing and shield your chats and other online activities from prying eyes.
That said, ExpressVPN supports different VPN tunneling protocols — including Lightway, PPTP, SSTP, OpenVPN, and IPSEC. If you’re unsure which one to choose, the app, by default, selects the most suitable configuration.
However, if premium users want the flexibility to adjust their VPN tunnel settings for customized network security manually, ExpressVPN offers this level of control.
And it’s also worth noting that your IP address is hidden and replaced with an IP address owned by the VPN provider — which is shared among multiple users — making it difficult, and near impossible, to attribute any specific activity to you.
One of the biggest digital threats you’ll find online is malware and trackers. Malware is designed to track your activities and data to spy on you, steal your money, or sell your information, whereas trackers usually achieve the same thing, but for marketing purposes. Either way, ExpressVPN keeps you safe from them by preventing the site you’re on from interacting with unreliable third parties.
The Threat Manager is a powerful tool that increases your online privacy and control over data usage, as it blocks all tracker and suspicious applications and websites on your device — everything that’s listed on ExpressVPN’s regularly updated “blocklist.”
Deploying the Threat Manager limits your device’s communication with potential online threats, safeguarding your online activity from those with ill intent.
This feature is currently available on ExpressVPN’s iOS, Mac, and Linux apps, and the best part is that setting it up is a breeze. Before you start, you’ll need to ensure that you’re using Lightway as your protocol or have the “Automatic” protocol setting enabled on your app.
For iOS, simply navigate to Options > Settings and toggle the feature on. On Mac, go to Settings > Preferences > Threat Manager and click the box to enable Threat Manager. If you’re using Linux, you can activate it in the Terminal by running the command – “expressvpn preferences set block_trackers true.”
Of course, you want to choose a VPN location that offers the fastest speeds. That said, how will you? Well, ExpressVPN boasts a built-in “Speed Tests” feature that’ll tell you how fast your VPN will work for each location so that you can take the guesswork out of choosing the right server.
The Speed Tests offer users a means to optimize their VPN experience — measuring Latency and Download speed, which is then combined into a singular metric called the Speed Index.
- Latency — Expressed in milliseconds, indicates the time data travels from your computer to the VPN server. Lower latency is preferred, as this implies faster data transfer. That said, distance to the server can affect latency, so farther servers typically have higher latency.
- Download Speed — Quantified in Megabits per second, represents the volume of data transferred per second. A higher download speed is desirable, as it ensures swift data transfer.
For regular web browsing, the server with the highest Speed Index is typically the best choice. However, the server with the highest Speed Index in that country is recommended for accessing websites in specific countries.
For instance, if you want to connect to a U.S. website, choose the U.S. server with the highest Speed Index. For your convenience, ExpressVPN retains the last three servers you connected to and the Speed Test winner — you can find these on the left-hand side of the screen.
Public WiFi Safety
Public WiFi networks raise numerous concerns and are the most common site of digital attacks, as you never know what kind of network you’re connecting to or what it’s hiding. With ExpressVPN, you can feel peace of mind using public WiFi, as it’ll protect you from all types of attacks so that you can have an uninterrupted browsing experience.
ExpressVPN offers robust protection against Wi-Fi hackers, creating an encrypted tunnel to make your data indecipherable and impervious to unauthorized access or modifications.
Imagine a situation where you accidentally connect to an infected Wi-Fi network setup. Without security like this, the hacker can monitor and alter your unencrypted communication, and they can even inject malicious code into your device. Plus, public Wi-Fi hackers often deploy a technique known as a man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack.
Such attacks breach encryption, impersonate sites you visit and intercept your traffic. ExpressVPN’s public WiFi safety’s robust encryption mitigates this risk. The best part is that ExpressVPN’s public WiFi safety apps are available for a diverse range of devices.
This includes Mac, iOS, Android, and Linux – and we rate ExpressVPN as the best VPN app for phones. For a wider reach, the ExpressVPN app for routers secures all devices connected to your home or office Wi-Fi, including gaming consoles like PlayStation and Xbox.
Knowledge Center and Resources
ExpressVPN makes onboarding easier for a new user by offering plenty of guides and resources to get started. It has a massive education center where you’ll find privacy guides, content streaming guides, and an active blog that keeps updating with security tips and news.
This enhances the customer experience, as not only do you get in-depth guides and tips, but ExpressVPN offers step-by-step screenshots and, occasionally, videos to help. Leveraging this, you can enjoy simplified device setups and easy access to a wealth of information.
Beyond this, the resource hub’s consistent updates set it apart — always ensuring you have the latest information available at your disposal. That said, for more complex issues beyond the scope of self-help resources, ExpressVPN provides round-the-clock human support via live chat or email.
Overall, ExpressVPN bolsters its user support with an extensive Knowledge Center and multiple avenues for personal assistance. This ensures you have the necessary resources for a seamless VPN experience.
If you want to connect more than one device at a time, you’ll be glad to know that ExpressVPN lets you connect up to 5 devices simultaneously. Plus, the devices can be of different types as well. For instance, you can use one subscription for five computers or a combination of two iPhones, two iPads, a MacBook, or even two computers, one Kindle Fire, one iPhone, and a router.
Essentially, you have the flexibility to mix and match device types as per your needs. That said, if you reach the connection limit and want to add another device, you must first disconnect a currently connected device.
There are several options for connecting more than five devices simultaneously:
- You could purchase additional subscriptions
- Share your connection from a Windows computer
- Or set up a VPN router to which you can connect unlimited devices
Some may encounter a “Connection Limit Reached” warning, despite having fewer than five devices connected. In this instance, reach out to the ExpressVPN Support Team for prompt assistance.
However, as one of the fastest VPNs, ExpressVPN takes care of this so you enjoy consistent high speeds no matter what you do online. It achieves this by ensuring that your data packets aren’t inspectable by your ISP — so the ISP can’t throttle your traffic based on the services you use, which results in unlimited bandwidth and unrestricted streaming of video.
Moreover, ExpressVPN helps bypass congestion caused by peering conflicts. Instead of routing your traffic through a third-party ISP to access your content, the tool directs your data over a privately maintained network. This network uses the shortest and least congested path, giving you smoother and faster access to your favorite content.
One of the biggest issues with ISPs is restricted bandwidth. Depending on the file size you’re watching or downloading, they can reduce your speed and increase the buffering time.
ExpressVPN, however, never caps your data or bandwidth, as it believes in giving its users the freedom to use the internet without any boundaries. In fact, they’ve been a clear advocate for internet freedom since 2009, so this is unsurprising.
So with all things considered, with ExpressVPN, you can download without restriction, and your ISP is less likely to slow down your connection if you download files with ExpressVPN.
What Devices Can I Use ExpressVPN On?
With ExpressVPN, device compatibility is always a delight. It’s available for almost every contemporary platform you can imagine. This includes but isn’t limited to, the following.
There are some unique advantages to using ExpressVPN on Android. That said, you can use it on devices from Android 5 onwards — you just need to ensure that your device is updated.
One of the key benefits is that if you’re gaming on your device with ExpressVPN, you can switch between different server locations to access geo-locked content. It also tops our list of the best Android VPNs.
And besides this, you can dodge DDOS attacks as well — which is a rare addition. To install the Android ExpressVPN app, you can visit the Google Play Store, or you can also download the .apk from their website.
ExpressVPN is also compatible with all the latest versions of iOS, and what we love most about it is that it ensures quick connection times. However, it’s worth noting that on iOS, you only have the option of using IKEv2 and OpenVPN protocols.
This isn’t likely to be a deal-breaker for many users, though, and ExpressVPN ensures top-notch security – and it’s a highly recommended VPN for iPhone. What’s more, it even offers a free 7-day trial so you can see it in action for yourself.
ExpressVPN works seamlessly with Windows 7, 8, 10, 11, or more updated versions. You can simply download it from the order page and follow the installation process.
The Windows version supports every updated technology, including the kill switch, DNS filtering, split tunneling, and ample. That said, IKEv2 is, however, currently not supported across the Windows line. If you want it, you’ll have to install particular enterprise setups.
ExpressVPN’s Linux app support is relatively weak compared to other leading VPN vendors. That said, you can find an app for installation and download, and it works with Debian, Ubuntu, Raspberry PiOS, Arch, and Mint as a robust VPN for Linux.
One big plus is that even if you don’t have a supported version of these distributions, you can still use the app to get a VPN connection. However, in such cases, you may have to reset and fix your network if things don’t go as expected and you experience issues.
ExpressVPN offers an almost similar experience to Windows to Mac users. From server capacity to technical support, you can expect everything to be premium. However, if you’re using Mac OS 11 or above, you won’t be able to use the split tunneling feature.
And apart from the above, ExpressVPN is also compatible with:
- Browser Extensions
- Wi-Fi routers
- Android TVs
- Amazon FireTV
And more. So, in short, you can cover almost 95% of your home and personal electronic devices with ExpressVPN to ensure a secure browsing environment, prevent data leaks, and keep unauthorized users from snooping around your network through the WiFi router.
ExpressVPN Server Locations
ExpressVPN has a massive network of servers spread across 94 countries. Here’s a quick overview of its server distribution continent-wise:
As you can see, it’s not just the number of servers ExpressVPN has or the number of countries it’s located in — what makes it so much more accessible than its competitors is its vast range of servers. No matter the continent or hemisphere, you’ll find an ExpressVPN server to keep your internet activities anonymous and your sensitive information safe.
Is ExpressVPN Safe? ExpressVPN’s Security
Regardless of the plethora of features or the affordability of a VPN, it all comes down to whether it can genuinely keep your internet activities safe and private. Naturally, you might be interested to know if ExpressVPN finds its place in the list of the most secure VPNs. Here’s a quick breakdown of all the security features it employs:
ExpressVPN uses 256-bit encryption to keep your data safe, which is the highest grade of encryption commonly used in the industry. In fact, you’ll find a lot of government departments and the military using this type of encryption — a testament to its secure nature.
In short, this encryption makes your online presence hard to detect, let alone give anyone the ability to steal your data. Even the most skilled hackers are easily defeated by 256-bit encryption.
Although VPNs are used to keep your online activities private, some providers like Fast VPN and Free VPN have been found guilty of storing user data.
This won’t be a concern you’ll have with ExpressVPN. Under its strict no-log policy, it can neither store your data nor access any information you leave while browsing. Everything you do and use is only for you to know and see.
Advanced Server Technology
Another feature that puts ExpressVPN far ahead of the competition in terms of security is the type of servers it uses. Most popular VPNs still use traditional servers based on hard drives, which are much more vulnerable and easy to compromise.
ExpressVPN, on the other hand, uses RAM-based servers. While traditional servers retain your information even after they’re shut down, RAM servers have their memories wiped clean before every restart, which makes it much harder for anyone to access your data.
ExpressVPN is incredibly sincere about user security. In fact, it also has a bug bounty program that offers anyone who can break into its secure network $100,000 — of course, no one has been able to claim that prize yet, so you have nothing to worry about.
Even if you’re using a VPN to conceal your online activities, there’s a high chance you might still be using the free DNS provided by your ISP. In that case, it gets easier to trace your activities and data despite keeping the VPN on.
Sometimes, a free DNS also blocks certain websites, limiting your online reach and access. However, ExpressVPN provides every user with a private DNS that prevents tracking and website blocking so that you can have a smooth and limitless browsing experience.
ExpressVPN Reviews | What Do Real Users Say?
Learning about the first-hand experience of users is a fabulous way to assess the actual performance of any service before subscribing to it. Here are some popular reviews and feedback left by ExpressVPN users, which, unsurprisingly, is also the best VPN according to Reddit users:
Here’s another outlining how easy it is to get started:
And one more on how helpful ExpressVPN is in exploring all types of content online without the interference of their ISP:
ExpressVPN remains a leader in the VPN realm, and the user reviews are a testament to this — from speed, security, unblocking power, device, compatibility, and everything in between, it never fails in offering insurmountable value for money for complete online freedom and anonymity.
How to Use ExpressVPN | Step-by-Step Guide
If you’re new to ExpressVPN, here’s a quick step-by-step guide that will help you understand how you can set it up on your device, connect it to streaming platforms, and explore all that it has to offer:
Getting set up on Windows is easy. To start with, visit your ExpressVPN dashboard and enter your login credentials. From here, you should get a verification code in your email if your account isn’t already verified. Enter the code to proceed:
Once inside, you’ll find the “Download for Windows” option in green. After the download, make sure you copy the activation code to your clipboard, as you’ll need it later:
Next, you’ll need to find the file on your system, double-click on it, and hit “Install.”:
Once the installation is completed, you’ll be asked to sign in and provide your activation code. Click Continue to proceed. Or, if you don’t want to sign in using an activation code, you can sign in with an email sign-in link. For this, you’ll have to enter your email and click on “Email Sign-in Link.”
Next, you’ll get a few preference options to choose from. First, you’ll be asked if you want to launch the app on startup. If you choose this option, the ExpressVPN app will automatically run every time your computer starts.
Connection & Disconnecting From Servers
Once you’re done setting up the app, it’s time to find a server to connect to. You can either use the default location selected by ExpressVPN using the Smart Location feature or manually select a preferred location.
If the connection is successful, you’ll see the word “Connected” pop up right under the power button — you’re now free to browse the web completely anonymously and with total security.
Disconnecting from the server is also quite easy. You just have to click on the massive power button right above “Connected.” Once the connection is broken, you’ll see the message “Not Connected” pop up on the screen.
The process is similar for all devices, such as Android, Mac, iOS, and Linux. Although you might have to go through a few steps, the basic structure is the same — ExpressVPN makes it super easy.
For instance, while downloading the app on Mac, you’ll get to choose the download destination. Also, if you had previously installed the ExpressVPN app on your device, it’ll ask if you want to keep the existing account or sign in to a different account.
Installing As Browser Extension
To install the app on a browser, simply visit the ExpressVPN setup page and enter your credentials to sign in. From here, enter your verification code to access your account. Once in, you’ll see a huge menu from where you can choose your browser. The options include Chrome, Firefox, and Edge:
Next, select the browser, and on the left side, you’ll see an option to “Get Extension.” Once you click on that, the extension will be downloaded. That said, if you ever want to delete the extension, just go to the extensions or add-on menu on your browser and remove it.
Amazon Kindle Setup
To install it on your Kindle, simply download the ExpressVPN app from the app store and sign in with your credentials. Here you’ll be asked for permission to set up a VPN connection. Click on “OK” to proceed:
Now, either stick to the smart location selected by ExpressVPN or click on the three dots beside it to select a location manually.
Smart TV Setup (Samsung)
Getting set up on a TV involves a couple more steps. To start with, log into your account and register your IP address by clicking on the “Register by IP Address” button in green:
From the ExpressVPN Setup page, sign in and enter your verification code. On the right, you’ll find the MediaStreamer DNS server IP address. Make sure to keep this page open, as you’ll need it in later stages.
Now, switch on your TV and select the Menu option from your remote. Once the menu pops up on the screen, scroll down until you find “Network”:
Under Network, select “Network Status.” The TV will take a few minutes to check its internet connection. Once that’s done, you’ll be given a few options. Select “IP Settings” from there.
Under IP Settings, select DNS Settings and then select Enter Manually. Here, enter the MediaSteamer IP address that we found earlier:
Once done, press “Enter” using the remote, and now your connection should be successful. A similar process can be followed to connect with many other Smart TVs, such as LG Smart TV and Amazon Fire TV.
The best part about using ExpressVPN is they have detailed guides on installations and set-ups for all types of devices it works with. You’ll find all the help you need on its VPN Setup Guides page.
Why You Can Trust Our ExpressVPN Analysis
When it comes to reviewing and comparing software, there are several factors we take into account to ensure that we offer an unbiased, full overview of the tool. For starters, we use the product and spend time navigating the interface and testing the features.
For our ExpressVPN review, we used the 30-day guarantee to test the product. We explored the interface and used the speed testing tool, www.speedtest.net, by Ookla, to test the upload and download speeds and our ping on different servers.
From here, we could compare these metrics and our experience of using the tool with other top VPNs we’ve tested, including NordVPN and Surfshark.
Beyond testing the VPN ourselves, we also took a deep dive into sites like TrustPilot and even Reddit, where you get the Best VPN Reddit threads and discussions from real users about their overall experience.
This gave us a more comprehensive overview to add to our experience to ensure that our readers get a full summary of all the noteworthy benefits, as well as any areas where the tool could be improved.
As we’ve tested and thoroughly examined all the popular VPNs on the market, we can accurately compare these tools in terms of their ease of use, compatibility, functionality, speeds, and unblocking power.
Overall, all this combined allows us to ensure that we deliver the best possible overview of the tools we review to ensure that our readers are able to make an informed decision on whether it fits their needs and proves to be a wise investment or not.
To summarize, ExpressVPN’s technical credibility is unquestionable, and we’re confident that the provider strives to stay true to its promises. Its consistent efforts to maintain and update the offered features testify to this, and to top it off, ExpressVPN houses a team of efficient, dedicated support staff and exceptional technicians.
So, is it worth relying on ExpressVPN? Absolutely. The only time it isn’t the best option is if you’re using Linux. Beyond this, does the provider justify its cost? Well, there’s no rational scope to say no. From features and efficiency to speed and customer support, everything is top-notch with ExpressVPN.
Leverage ExpressVPN’s 30-day money-back guarantee now to test out the service before committing and get a first-hand experience of why it’s recommended as the best across the web.