ExpressVPN is a very popular VPN with millions of users. For this ExpressVPN review, we tested all its applications to see if they are just as fast and secure as before.
While ExpressVPN isn’t perfect, it comes close, and it remains our top-rated VPN. It delivers fast global speeds, strong security and great usability. It also works very well with all popular platforms and services.
Also, ExpressVPN allows all types of web traffic on its no-log 3,000 servers. Traffic flows through secure VPN protocols and AES 256-bit encryption.
It also features DNS and IP leak protection, and a VPN kill switch to protect your IP address at all times.
ExpressVPN is the best VPN of 2021. Try it risk-free for 30 days.
ExpressVPN Pros & Cons
ExpressVPN Key Data
|Logging Policy||Anonymous Server Usage Data|
|Jurisdiction||British Virgin Islands (Privacy Haven)|
|Works in China||Yes|
|Support||24/7 Live Chat|
|Cheapest Price||$6.67/mo over 15 Months|
ExpressVPN is well worth the price
Price & Value for Money
ExpressVPN offers three main subscription plans, all of which include the same features. The longer you subscribe for, the cheaper the monthly cost – although you will have to pay the full subscription fee up front.
The monthly plan costs $12.95 per month, while a six-month plan is priced at $9.99 per month. A 15-month subscription plan gives you a 49% saving, bringing the monthly price down to $6.67.
This is very good value for the best all-round VPN service you can get.
US$12.95/moBilled $12.95 every month
US$9.99/moBilled $59.95 every 6 months
US$6.67/moBilled $99.95 first 15 months and 12 months thereafter
All plans have 30-day money-back guarantee
Payment & Refund Options
All subscriptions come with a 30-day no-questions-asked money-back guarantee. Effectively, you can try ExpressVPN free for a month.
To get a full refund, simply contact customer support within 30 days of signing up. You’ll get your money back within 5 to 10 business days.
As for payment methods, ExpressVPN accepts the following credit/debit cards:
- Visa Electron
- American Express
- Diners Club
Plus, more modern payment methods, such as:
And international payment methods (via Paymentwall), like:
Very Fast Global Speeds
Speed & Reliability
ExpressVPN is one of the fastest VPNs we’ve tested. We recorded an average speed loss of just 8% connecting to its nearby VPN servers.
The VPN’s speeds are remarkably consistent, on both short-distance and long-distance connections.
All apps connect quickly to servers, and we didn’t experience any connection drops over thousands of tests.
What really stands out is ExpressVPN’s speeds on long-distance connections.
Local Speed Test results before using ExpressVPN:
- Download Speed: 95.46Mbps
- Upload Speed: 99.62Mbps
- Ping: 3ms
Local Speed Test results with ExpressVPN:
Download speed loss when ExpressVPN is running: 8%
To measure the impact of ExpressVPN on internet speed, we compared our download speeds before and after manually connecting to a nearby VPN server (using the ‘Smart Location’ feature).
Here are our full speed test results:
Download speed without ExpressVPN: 95.46Mbps
Download speed with ExpressVPN: 87.46Mbps
Our download speed loss when ExpressVPN is running: 8%
Only 8% speed loss while using a VPN is very impressive. Testing the OpenVPN and Lightway protocols, ExpressVPN had barely any impact on our download and upload speeds.
An 8ms ping time is also excellent, especially if you’re gaming online. Lag can ruin an online video game, so the lower the latency (ping time) the less lag you’ll experience.
International Speed Test Results
We also measured ExpressVPN’s average speeds connecting to servers around the world. We wanted to see how well the service performs over long-distance connections (even if these places may not be far from you).
Here are our latest long-distance speed test results:
USA (New Jersey):
- Download: 78.92Mbps (17% slower)
- Upload: 45.36Mbps (55% slower)
- Download: 88Mbps (8% slower)
- Upload: 74.98Mbps (25% slower)
- Download: 73.12Mbps (24% slower)
- Upload: 22.35Mbps (78% slower)
- Download: 69.44Mbps (27% slower)
- Upload: 23.44Mbps (77% slower)
ExpressVPN is one of the fastest VPNs on long-distance connections, something many VPNs struggle with.
ExpressVPN is extremely fast. Try it risk-free for 30 days.
Very Safe & Secure
Security & Features
ExpressVPN is an extremely safe VPN service that uses the highest standard of security protocols and encryption.
The VPN’s security has been verified through audits by trusted firms like PWC and Cure53.
Not to mention many of the VPN applications are open-source and open for external scrutiny by security researchers.
High Degree of Encryption
All apps use AES-256 bit encryption, in combination with the OpenVPN protocol, a 4096-bit RSA key and SHA-512 HMAC authentication. This is the level of encryption that governments and banks recommend.
What’s more, ExpressVPN runs its own private, zero-knowledge DNS servers. In other words, ExpressVPN handles and encrypts your DNS requests (the websites you visit), not a third party. Only the finest VPN services offer this.
By default, the VPN service uses Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS). This adds another layer of protection by creating a new encryption key for every session, and replacing it every 60 minutes.
PFS means that even if someone intercepted and decrypted your data transfer, the most they could get is 60 minutes of data.
Secure VPN Protocols
The VPN apps automatically choose the best VPN protocol for you, but you can choose one manually if you prefer.
We recommend using OpenVPN, or ExpressVPN’s proprietary protocol named Lightway.
Lightway has been performing very well in our speed and security tests. It also uses less battery than other VPN protocols, since it has fewer lines of code.
Effective Kill Switch
ExpressVPN doesn’t have a tonne of advanced security features, but those it does have are extremely effective.
Its reliable VPN kill switch is called Network Lock. This feature stops your internet connection entirely in the unlikely event your VPN connection drops. In doing so, your true IP address is never exposed.
Network Lock is available on Windows, MacOS, Linux, and Android (on which it’s called Network Protection). It’s not on the iOS app yet, which ExpressVPN needs to fix.
The VPN also comes with TrustedServer. This proprietary technology ensures your web data is never written to a server’s hard drive.
TrustedServer has the following security benefits:
- Wipes all data with every reboot, as VPN servers run on RAM only
- Servers never write to the hard drive, further minimizing data risk
- The entire software stack is reinstalled on every server at startup
- Allows ExpressVPN to know what’s running on every server, with no inconsistencies
Split tunneling is a useful setting that you won’t find in many VPNs. It lets you decide which apps should use the VPN connection, and which ones shouldn’t.
Split tunneling can have practical uses (for example with your wireless printer). You can keep certain devices connected to your standard internet line, rather than the VPN, preventing connection issues between devices.
IP and DNS Leak Test Results
We ran the VPN apps through IP, DNS, and WebRTC leak tests and it passed all tests with no leaks whatsoever.
As you can see below, ExpressVPN masked our real UK IP address, replacing it with a Swedish one.
We also tested the VPN extensions for HTML5 browser leaks, which also passed with flying colors.
Verified No-logs VPN Service
Logging Policy & Jurisdiction
ExpressVPN is a virtually zero-logs VPN service. It’s a trustworthy company that goes to great lengths to protect user privacy.
The VPN doesn’t collect any personal activity logs. It only keeps some connection data, including the date of the connection and your choice of server, but it doesn’t store your full IP address or web activity.
Here’s all the information ExpressVPN collects:
- Dates when connected to the VPN service
- Choice of VPN server location
- Total amount of data transferred per day
That’s it. ExpressVPN maintains this is the minimum amount of data needed to keep server performance as strong as possible. All this data reveals is that you used the VPN at some point.
ExpressVPN’s logging policy was stress tested in December 2017. One of its servers was seized and inspected by Turkish authorities investigating the assassination of the Russian ambassador, Andrei Karlov.
However, the Turkish investigators couldn’t find any user connection logs.
Based in Safe Jurisdiction
The VPN service was founded in 2009, and is operated by Express VPN International Ltd.
The company is incorporated in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), and outside the 14 Eyes surveillance alliance.
The BVI is an excellent choice of jurisdiction for a privacy-minded company. The country has full sovereignty over its data regulations, and outside governments or agencies cannot force ExpressVPN to surrender information.
ExpressVPN is safe and private. Try it risk-free for 30 days.
3,000 Secure Servers in 160 Locations
ExpressVPN operates 3,000 VPN servers across 160 cities in 94 countries.
It’s one of the largest VPN server networks available. No matter where you’re located you shouldn’t have trouble finding a server close by.
The more servers there are, the less likely they’ll suffer from traffic congestion and slower speeds.
Wide Range of City-level Servers
You can access 51 specific city-level servers in the following locations:
- Australia (4 cities)
- Brazil (2)
- Canada (3)
- France (2)
- Germany (2)
- Hong Kong (3)
- India (2)
- Italy (2)
- Japan (3)
- Netherlands (3)
- Singapore (3)
- Spain (2)
- Switzerland (2)
- UK (4)
- US (14)
The VPN has servers in 14 city-level locations in the US, and four in Australia. Servers on both sides of these big countries equals fast VPN speeds across the land.
There are plenty of servers in Asia, and in countries that aren’t typically available with other VPN services.
ExpressVPN has one of the widest ranges of server locations. Try it risk-free for 30 days.
Works Well on All Devices
Platforms & Devices
You can use one ExpressVPN subscription on five devices at the same time, which is the industry average.
For unlimited connections, you’ll need to install the VPN on your home router.
ExpressVPN is compatible with the following routers:
- Asus RT-AC56(U/R/S)
- Asus RT-AC68U
- Asus RT-AC87U
- Linksys EA6200
- Linksys WRT1200AC
- Linksys WRT1900AC(S)
- Linksys WRT3200ACM
- Netgear R6300v2
- Netgear R6700v3
- Netgear Nighthawk R7000
- Netgear Nighthawk R7000P
You can also manually set up the VPN on these router manufacturers:
- Other Asus models
ExpressVPN works with all devices. Try it risk-free for 30 days.
ExpressVPN provides full VPN browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox and Edge.
Most of the VPN browser add-ons we review are proxies and not full VPNs, but ExpressVPN’s extensions are the real deal.
The browser add-ons need the desktop application to run at the same time. In reality, they act more like a remote control for the full application.
Private and Secure Browser Add-ons
The security and privacy of these extensions is reinforced by the use of HTTPS Everywhere. The tool encrypts your browser’s communication with insecure websites still not using SSL certificates.
What’s more, the ExpressVPN extensions are the only browser add-ons that prevent HTML5 IP location leaks.
Apps Are Easy to Set up and Use
Ease of Use
ExpressVPN is so easy to use that it’s hard to go wrong. Its apps are among the best in the industry – they’re easy to set up, intuitive and well-designed.
It took us less than five minutes to install each VPN application for our tests. Chose your subscription plan, create an account, and enter your payment details.
After you’ve subscribed, you’ll receive a confirmation email with an activation code and a link to the installation guide for your device.
Once you’ve installed the application, the ExpressVPN home screen is simply a big on/off button and a list of VPN servers.
You can also customize your experience by adjusting the advanced settings in each app. These are labeled and explained in plain language, so you’ll know exactly what you’re doing.
Here’s a summary of the differences between ExpressVPN’s applications for each device:
Let’s take a closer look at each application and the key differences between them:
ExpressVPN’s Windows 10 Client
The Windows app is the most complete out of ExpressVPN’s applications. It’s very easy to use despite having all the tools and features an advanced VPN user could need.
Click on the server you have selected, and a second window with a server list will open next to it. Don’t miss the two tabs at the top: ‘Recommended’ is selected by default, but it doesn’t reveal the whole server list. Click ‘All Locations’ to see the full list, or use the search bar to find a specific location.
Other important features are the kill switch (called ‘Network Lock’ under the ‘General settings’ tab) and the protocol selection tab. From here you can select your preferred VPN protocol, or leave it set to ‘Automatic.’
ExpressVPN’s Mac Client
ExpressVPN’s MacOS app is practically identical to the Windows version. Many VPN services release subpar Mac apps compared to their flagship Windows app, but that’s not the case here.
The only issue for Mac users is that there’s no extension for Safari yet.
ExpressVPN’s iOS App
ExpressVPN for iPhone and iPad is even more simplified than the desktop version.
It looks largely the same, however once you dive into the settings menu you’ll notice there’s not much there.
You have the option to choose between OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols, and a toggle for whether or not the VPN automatically reconnects if it loses connection. There’s also a button to reset the VPN configuration, if the app stops working.
It’s obvious ExpressVPN decided to make its iOS app more lightweight for mobile. But, it would be good to see some of desktop features on the iOS app, too. The kill switch is the most notable absence of all.
ExpressVPN’s Android App
The Android app has the exact same home screen as the iOS app, but there are a few differences between the two applications.
The main difference is the inclusion of a kill switch. With this feature enabled, you can use your smartphone safely with the confidence that your IP address will remain hidden if your VPN connection ever drops.
You’ll find the kill switch under Settings > Network Protection > Block internet when unable to connect or reconnect to VPN.
The other useful feature on Android, that’s missing on iOS, is split-tunneling. Because the Android platform is more flexible, ExpressVPN was able to introduce this feature, which lets you choose which apps (if any) should not use the VPN connection.
ExpressVPN’s Linux Client
Despite having great apps for every other platform, ExpressVPN’s Linux app is disappointing.
In fact, ExpressVPN doesn’t even have a true app for Linux. There’s no GUI (graphical user interface), meaning that it runs straight from the console.
Linux users are likely used to this, and a little more tech-savvy than many ExpressVPN users, but it’s still an oversight.
Once you’ve installed ExpressVPN using standard Linux console commands, you can connect to the recommended server, or see a full list of servers along with the console commands required to connect to them.
You can also toggle the Network Lock (the kill switch), change protocol, and instruct the client to auto-connect on startup.
Excellent 24/7 Live Support
|24/7 Live chat support||Yes|
ExpressVPN’s helpful 24/7 live chat is the best in class. If you ever have a problem, you’ll be back up and running as quickly as possible.
This is one of the most customer-focused VPN services we’ve reviewed. Its support team makes sure to keep you happy both before and after you’ve become a customer.
You can also email customer support, with equally responsive, helpful and enthusiastic responses.
If you experience a specific technical issue, it makes a big difference to receive a response tailored to your message. Too many VPN companies use support centers with agents who don’t know the product. That’s not the case with ExpressVPN.
There’s also a huge range of support guides, FAQs, video tutorials, and troubleshooting options available on the support website. The online help center is available in over 16 languages.
ExpressVPN offers excellent support. Try it risk-free for 30 days.
The Bottom Line
ExpressVPN is the VPN service we recommend the most. Its speeds are fast and reliable, its security unmatched. Our review above confirms that it’s absolutely worth the cost.
Whatever device you’re using, you get the same smooth user experience with all ExpressVPN’s apps.
If you want to protect your online privacy and security, ExpressVPN is ideal for both beginner and advanced VPN users.
While ExpressVPN isn’t perfect, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better all-round VPN.
ExpressVPN is the best VPN of 2021. Try it risk-free for 30 days.