ExpressVPN Review

ExpressVPN Review

Overall Rating

ExpressVPN is a VPN provider operating out of the British Virgin Islands. The company focuses on VPN and offers a range of supplemental features to the service. In this review, we’ll zoom in on what the provider has to offer potential customers, delving deeper into key aspects of the service including its privacy policy, encryption, software, server performance and all the crucial info that that customers need to know before signing up.


Quick Links


Server network

ExpressVPN servers

At the time of writing this review, ExpressVPN offers 136 VPN locations in 87 countries:

Click to see all locations
  • United States
  • Canada
  • Argentina
  • Bahamas
  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Ecuador
  • Guatemala
  • Mexico
  • Panama
  • Peru
  • Uruguay
  • Venezuela
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Cambodia
  • Hong Kong
  • Indonesia
  • Japan
  • Macau
  • Malaysia
  • Mongolia
  • Philippines
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam
  • United Kingdom
  • Germany
  • Albania
  • Andorra
  • Armenia
  • Austria
  • Azerbaijan
  • Belarus
  • Belgium
  • Bosnia & Herzegovina
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Georgia
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Isle of Man
  • Italy
  • Jersey
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Macedonia
  • Malta
  • Moldova
  • Monaco
  • Montenegro
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Serbia
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Ukraine
  • Algeria
  • Egypt
  • India
  • Israel
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kenya
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • South Africa
  • Turkey
  • Uzbekistan
Having monitored the service’s rapid network expansion since 2012, it’s safe to say that ExpressVPN is likely to continue adding further nodes to its growing catalogue, maintaining its status of running one of the largest networks on the VPN market.

Privacy policy

ExpressVPN privacy policy

To get to know a VPN provider’s approach to user privacy, look no further than its Privacy Policy or Terms of Services. Here’s what ExpressVPN says about its own policy:

“We are committed to your privacy and do not collect or log traffic data or browsing activity from individual users connected to our VPN.”

For those not too familiar with VPN privacy policies, it’s worth noting that near enough every provider pledges not to store customers’ traffic logs – a fairly standard and expected promise; after all, “privacy” is an inherent selling point of any VPN company.

But what really begins to set privacy-centric providers apart from their competitors, at least in terms of small-print, is the service’s approach to connection logs. Providers often record and keep them for an X number of days in order to improve the service, and also to weed out unwanted spammers and abusers. The logs typically include the user’s original IP address, connection timestamps and the amount of data used.

While further scanning its privacy statement, we discovered that ExpressVPN sporadically keeps ‘some’ connection logs, however, limits the scope of the collected data to choice of server, amount of data and connection dates only (without timestamps). Based on this, and with confirmation from an ExpressVPN live chat support agent, we understood that personally identifiable IP addresses are not included in the process, which would surely be a big plus for any potential customer.

Encryption

ExpressVPN enables connections over OpenVPN (UDP or TCP), L2TP/IPsec, SSTP and PPTP protocols.

The recommended OpenVPN protocol is encrypted using strong AES 256-bit ciphers, while users have the option to manually switch between UDP and TCP transports, depending on their individual network requirements.

For those opting to connect over the slightly faster but less secure L2TP/IPsec protocol, the connection will be encrypted using the weaker 128-bit keys. Likewise using 128-bit key encryption is the speedy but penetrable PPTP protocol, which is recommended for faster browsing but certainly not for working with sensitive data.

Windows-native protocol SSTP is also supported, though, due to a significant reduction in connection speeds, would be better recommended for users accessing the web through tough firewalls (SSTP uses port 443 – also used by HTTPS traffic, thus making the port unfeasible to block).

While all of the above protocols are available for desktop systems, ExpressVPN’s mobile apps have a more limited range of options. Android users can switch between UDP and TCP (both over OpenVPN), while owners of iOS devices can connect over L2TP/IPsec.


Visit Provider


Applications

ExpressVPN makes available to all of its users native VPN clients for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Android and iOS operating systems. For this review, we will look at the in-app features of both the Windows and Android apps, testing out available functions as well as running some basic connectivity tests.

Windows app

The PC client is quite compact in its design, with secondary windows popping up as you navigate through the in-app menu:

ExpressVPN Windows app ExpressVPN Windows servers

The “Location Picker”, which is found in the menu, is divided into three sections: Recommended, Favourites and All Locations. Each country has an option to bookmark that location as well as city-specific servers within.

In the “Recommended” section, the app automatically suggests servers that would be most suitable to connect to based on our location. The “Favourites” section simply shows previously bookmarked servers, while the third tab – “All Locations” displays the full list of nodes, divided into continents and broader regions.

Further down in the menu is the Speed Test feature which tests and lists servers in the order of minimum recorded latency and top download speed:

ExpressVPN Windows speed test
ExpressVPN Windows app speed test

The Options menu contains three sections: General, Protocols and Advanced:

ExpressVPN Windows app ExpressVPN Windows app protocols

  • General: includes app-related options such as “Launch of Windows startup” and the “Internet killswitch”
  • Protocols: here we can choose between UDP (OpenVPN), TCP (OpenVPN), L2TP/IPsec, SSTP and PPTP encryption protocols. There’s an option to let the client choose what it thinks is the best protocol based on your connection. More often than not, it will default to UDP (OpenVPN), though, if traffic-restricting firewalls are detected, it will select the slightly slower but overall more stable TCP (OpenVPN) protocol. Note that the server choice is limited when using L2TP/IPsec, SSTP and PPTP protocols.
  • Advanced: this tab contains only two options – a toggle for connecting with ExpressVPN’s own DNS servers and an option to send some anonymous diagnostics data to the provider.

By double-clicking on a chosen server from the Location Picker menu, we had prompted the app to connect to the destination node. After a few seconds, the app indicated that our computer was now connected to the server, meaning our web traffic was now secured through an encrypted tunnel:

ExpressVPN Windows app ExpressVPN Windows

Android app

As expected the mobile version of the ExpressVPN client has some limitations, however still looks, feels and functions very much the same as its desktop counterpart.

Having first downloaded the app, which is available from the Play Market or directly from the ExpressVPN website, we headed to the Settings menu to explore available options for modifying our VPN connection:

ExpressVPN Android app ExpressVPN Android app

The primary and most important feature in this section is protocol selection. Notably, there are just the OpenVPN-UDP and OpenVPN-TCP protocols to choose from.

Elsewhere in Settings, you will find the “Automatic Reconnect” options which will prompt the client to connect to the last chosen server on device boot.

Server selection is accessible via the app’s homepage. Its layout closely resembles that of the Windows client. In the top-right corner is a speedometer icon, which, when tapped, will begin to run a ping to determine the best server to pick based on the user’s location:

ExpressVPN Android server ping test ExpressVPN Android app

As seen in the first of the above screenshots, the ping test measures the time taken for data to travel from the user’s device to each of the listed VPN servers. The lower the number, the better the connection will most likely be, though, ultimately, the speed depends heavily on the server bandwidth.

The app will also suggest its own “Smart Location” which will likewise be selected on the basis of lowest ping response time.

Having selected our preferred server and tapped the large “Connect” button on the homepage, the app proceeded to establish the connection, which was then visibly confirmed on-page and by the appearance of the key icon in the top-left corner.

ExpressVPN Android

Speed test

Despite having at hand the built-in speed test tool that’s present in ExpressVPN software, a more accurate server performance check would involve testing with an active VPN connection and, ideally, through a third-party resource.

While testing multiple ExpressVPN servers from Midwest (USA) with a gigabit connection, we achieved the following results:

ExpressVPN speed test

Nearly matching our original fibre optic connection was an Atlanta node, through which the connection was barely diminished at a staggering 840 Mb/s, while upload speeds were equally as impressive at 680 Mb/s.

Far-away servers including Amsterdam, Netherlands, and London, UK, achieved download speeds in the region of 60-70 Mb/s, while upload speeds floated at roughly 7 Mb/s.

Tech support

ExpressVPN provides customers with both live chat and email support. The chat system is available mainly during weekdays, however, according to the provider’s website, support agents will respond to email inquiries within a few hours.

In-depth tutorials and troubleshooting guides are also provided, offering support on setting up the VPN as well as answering a wide range of common technical questions that deal anything from connection issues to DNS server configuration.

Price

ExpressVPN offers three basic subscription plans. From our perspective, a big positive is that none of the tariffs have any service restrictions. The only aspect distinguishing the three plans is the billing cycle.

ExpressVPN price

  • 1 month: $12.95
  • 6 months: $ 59.95
  • 12 months: $99.95

On a final note, for those customers wishing to try out the service without committing to a regular payment plan, ExpressVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.


Visit Provider


Like this article? Spread the word!
Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook1Share on Reddit0Share on Google+4Share on LinkedIn0Share on VK

TREMENDOUS

16 thoughts on “ExpressVPN Review

  1. This use to work good for me but not anymore. I’ve been having issues from the past months. It keeps disconnecting very frequently. I cannot use the fastest servers anymore as they were removed. Customer service is good, but does not help resolve the issue. Very disappointed customer here.

  2. The internet connection becomes intermittent whenever I use this VPN. Total waste of money and time. If only their customer support is helpful, but no. Frustrating.

  3. when downloading copyright materials (movies etc etc), i used a US server by ExpressVPN. am I at risk of being exposed?

    should have used a hk or netherlands server had I known better!

    • Hi James,

      Need not worry. ExpressVPN allow torrent/P2P traffic on all servers, and is one of the few providers which does so. Either way, your traffic would not be exposed if you are connected to the VPN. Normally, if a server is not designated for torrents, but the user downloads something, the VPN provider would disconnect the user or automatically throttle their traffic.

    • Thanks for sharing this test result. The original tests in the review were done over a 30Mb connection, which means ExpressVPN matched up to nearly 80% of our original speeds. Curious – what was your original connection when you ran your test?

  4. Really like how they configure their iOS app by unwrapping the server list straight into the built-in Apple VPN client. All the locations in one place and the option to switch it on or off is just next to the wifi network settings. Very convenient, and I’d probably give ExpressVPN a strong 8 out of 10, if it wasnt for the rare start of connection error on the odd occassion. Saying that, I haven’t used one provider with which I could avoid these small hiccups. After all, network systems are hardly perfect, so judging by that benchmark, this service is consistent enough to use all day.

  5. Fast service when connected, though not a huge fan of their Android app, because of the slightly annoying “%” loading screen which occasionally lags and every now and then doesn’t bother to even establish a connection (stops short at around 20%). Works very well on Windows (configured it manually) – I’ve been working with the VPN for 9 hours and it hasn’t disconnected on me yet.

  6. No complaints for me. I use this on my business laptop for the high speeds. worth the price

  7. Good customer service, but pitiful streaming and download speeds from Australia to the Americas and European servers. Very good speed within country, fair to good regionally, but that is no help for accessing European and N. American and S.American content. Year subscription is almost expired; I am currently researching for a new vpn that can deliver faster speeds from the Americas and Europe.

    • Hi ejay,

      Sorry to hear about your troubles. The geographical distance is substantial and playing a major role in determining your VPN connection speed. What speeds and ping response are you achieving on average between Australia and Europe/Americas?

      If it’s just unblocking that you need, it may be worth looking into a service that offers SmartDNS, which is designed to unblock regionally restricted content, without affecting your actual connection. Have a look into http://www.bestvpnz.com/cactusvpn/ or http://www.bestvpnz.com/overplay-vpn/. Both providers offer SmartDNS alongside VPN. Keep in mind that SmartDNS doesn’t offer the security/encryption that comes with VPN.

    • Hi Kurt, “torrent transfers” means bittorrent/P2P downloading. However we have just updated this information because ExpressVPN now allow torrent downloads on all servers.

      Torrent mit ExpressVPN ist jetzt erlaubt.

Leave a Comment