ExpressVPN Pros & Cons
ExpressVPN Key Summary
|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|
Does ExpressVPN Keep Logs?
ExpressVPN doesn’t collect any personally-identifiable activity logs. Some connection data is kept including the date of the connection and your choice of server, but there is no record of your full IP address or online activity. Here’s all the information collected by ExpressVPN’s servers:
- Dates when connected to the VPN service
- Choice of VPN server location
- Total amount of data transferred per day
That’s it. ExpressVPN maintains that this is the minimum amount of information required in order to keep the performance of its servers as strong as possible.
We spoke to Harold Li VP of ExpressVPN about the VPN’s data retention policy and this is what he told us:
“. . . we do not have a publicly stated data retention period for these types of data . . . duration of retention varies based on the type of data . . . we never collect nor retain any data that could link an individual customer with specific activity on the VPN network. Customers can also request for their data to be deleted at any time, in line with their rights under the GDPR.”
While it’s disappointing not to know exactly how long this data is retained, the most important thing is that it cannot be used to identify you or what you do online.
All that’s possible to reveal is that you have used ExpressVPN’s service at some point. This is totally anonymous, and about as close to zero-logs as you will find.
A 2018 report by the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) questioned ExpressVPN in greater detail, and concluded that its servers were both “extremely difficult to compromise” and “limited in the amount of data that could be revealed” in the event that they were.
ExpressVPN’s logging policy was also put to the test in December 2017 when one of the service’s VPN servers was seized and inspected by Turkish authorities investigating the assassination of the Russian ambassador, Andrei Karlov. The investigators couldn’t find any customer connection logs.
It’s clear that ExpressVPN is a company with respect for user privacy, which means we can fully recommend it to anyone looking to use a VPN to protect their anonymity online. In short, your privacy is safe with ExpressVPN.
Who Owns ExpressVPN?
Very little is known about who owns ExpressVPN. The company behind the VPN service has made the decision to stay discreet and private in order to help keep itself and its users safe.
What is known publicly is that ExpressVPN was founded in 2009 and is operated by Express VPN International Ltd., which is based in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) – far outside the intrusive 14 Eyes surveillance alliance.
The BVI is an excellent choice of location for a privacy-minded VPN company because the country has full sovereignty over its own data regulations. This means that outside governments or agencies cannot force ExpressVPN to surrender information.
ExpressVPN International Ltd. is only incorporated in the BVI to benefit from the safeguards the legal jurisdiction brings. In reality, ExpressVPN is a big company with offices around the world.
We regularly reach out to the company’s staff to find out more about how it works, and we’ve also spoken with its Vice President, Harold Li, on a number of occasions.
While we wish that ExpressVPN would reveal more information about itself, we also understand that its private nature helps it maintain such a strong and safe VPN service. This is likely why the app continues to work in China, and the company has never complied with any data requests from national governments or authorities.
How Fast is ExpressVPN?
ExpressVPN is one of the fastest VPN services we’ve tested, with an average download speed of over 85Mbps when connected to a nearby server. This works out as an average speed loss of just 7%, making ExpressVPN just as fast as (if not faster than) its big-name competitors like NordVPN.
It is also remarkably reliable and consistent when it comes to performance, whether you’re connecting to a nearby server or one on the other side of the world. We didn’t experience any disconnections and the client was quick to connect to our server of choice.
ExpressVPN’s speeds particularly shine on long-distance connections – it’s the best choice if you want to connect to a country far away from your real location. If you’re looking to stream HD video, torrent large files, or make the most of your high-speed internet connection, this is the VPN for you.
Local Speed Test Results
Before using ExpressVPN:
When connected to ExpressVPN:
We compared our download speeds before and after connecting to an ExpressVPN server near our physical location. This allows us to test how much ExpressVPN slows down our internet connection when connected to a local server. Here are our full results:
Download speed without ExpressVPN: 95.71Mbps
Download speed with ExpressVPN: 85.00Mbps
Our download speed loss when ExpressVPN is running: 11%
Our average download speed dropped from 95Mbps to 85Mbps when connected to a server in London, which works out as a percentage speed loss of just 11%. If you’re new to VPNs and are still unsure: that is a very impressive result. ExpressVPN had barely any impact on our download and upload speeds, and the ping stayed exactly the same.
You can expect similar percentage losses wherever you are in the world if you connect to a server near you.
This level of performance is even more impressive considering they were recorded during the UK COVID-19 lockdown, when more people than ever are using the internet and putting strain on the network.
An 8ms ping time is also excellent, especially if you’re gaming online. Lag can absolutely ruin a tense game of Fortnight or a crucial raid in World of Warcraft: the lower your ping time the less lag you’ll suffer from.
We run all of our ExpressVPN speed tests using OpenVPN. We find that it’s the best protocol for striking the balance between speed and security. You could potentially record even better speeds with ExpressVPN if you change protocols to IKEv2 – it’s still super-safe, so you don’t need to worry about sacrificing your security while prioritizing speed.
International Speed Test Results
We also measured ExpressVPN’s average speeds when connecting to servers in countries around the world. Our objective here is to demonstrate how well ExpressVPN performs over long-distance connections (even if these places aren’t that far from you).
Here are our long-distance speed test results:
- USA: 77Mbps (download) & 40Mbps (upload)
- Germany: 79Mbps (download) & 66Mbps (upload)
- Singapore: 73Mbps (download) & 22Mbps (upload)
- Australia: 59Mbps (download) & 1Mbps (upload)
ExpressVPN is by far the fastest VPN on long-distance connections, something a lot of competing VPN services struggle with. Its performance in East Asia and Australia is particularly remarkable: even the best VPNs would usually only achieve around 20Mbps download speeds connecting there.
If you’re not connecting to a country for any specific reason and just want to use ExpressVPN for security, then you’re best off using the Smart Location feature. It’s a clever tool that picks a nearby server optimized for high speed and low latency – it’s the default option within the app, so it doesn’t require any configuration.
Works with US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Disney Plus
Streaming & P2P
ExpressVPN is our top choice VPN for Netflix, as well as other streaming services. It reliably works to unblock geo-restrictions on sites like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and YouTube with fast speeds and minimal buffering.
Our tests found that ExpressVPN easily unlocks US Netflix through almost all of its US-based VPN servers – New York was the only one that didn’t work.
While ExpressVPN doesn’t have servers dedicated to streaming, this isn’t an issue because the vast majority of its servers work with streaming sites.
The Isle of Man and Jersey servers still work well with UK Netflix in 2021, and most UK servers unlock BBC iPlayer (although this will only work if you’re located outside the UK). Our current preferred method to unblocking BBC iPlayer is to use ExpressVPN’s Chrome and Firefox browser extensions and connect to the Wembley server.
The list doesn’t stop there though – ExpressVPN unlocks a huge selection of popular Netflix libraries from around the world in a variety of different languages. Some of the most popular choices are:
Just connect to a server located in the same country as the Netflix library you want to watch and you’re good to go.
You can also use ExpressVPN to unblock other popular streaming services, including:
- Amazon Prime Video
- Now TV
- PlayStation Vue
- Sling TV
In addition to its ability to unblock the most popular streaming services, ExpressVPN’s fast download speeds mean that watching HBO, Netflix, and BBC iPlayer will be totally buffer-free.
Torrenting and P2P traffic is unrestricted across ExpressVPN’s entire server network. There is no bandwidth limit or restriction on P2P activity, either. Combined with strong security and a zero-logs policy, this makes ExpressVPN an excellent choice for torrenting and downloading files securely with absolutely no leaks.
There are no specific servers optimized for torrenting – instead, you can connect to any server in the network and use it to protect your P2P activity. This results in less server congestion, which means faster download speeds.
We tested ExpressVPN with popular torrenting clients including qBittorrent, uTorrent, and Deluge. The VPN worked perfectly to hide our IP address without any additional setup and is actively encouraged to be used alongside your torrent client of choice on its website.
ExpressVPN isn’t just fast, it’s secure, too. Leak protection and a reliable kill switch called ‘Network Block’ keep you anonymous even if your internet connection drops. These features are absolutely vital for torrenting and don’t require any manual setup whatsoever.
Strong encryption guarantees your torrented files will remain private, while advanced features like leak protection and split tunneling allow you to choose the apps and services you want to route through the VPN tunnel.
The only issue with using ExpressVPN for torrenting is that it doesn’t allow port forwarding. That means that while you can still technically upload or ‘seed’ torrent files, your speeds will be incredibly slow. Torrenting is all about sharing and helping other users – while you can still download files just fine, you won’t be much of a team player.
Is ExpressVPN Secure?
DNS Leak Blocking
IPV6 Leak Blocking
VPN Kill Switch
WebRTC Leak Blocking
Please see our VPN Glossary if these terms confuse you and would like to learn more.
ExpressVPN is a legitimate and extremely secure VPN service that uses the highest standard of encryption to keep your data private and secure. By default its apps use AES-256 bit encryption in combination with the OpenVPN protocol, a 4096-bit RSA key and SHA-512 HMAC authentication, which is the level of encryption recommended by governments and banks.
Advanced features include a reliable VPN kill switch, split tunneling, and TrustedServer – a proprietary technology that ensures your data is never written to the VPN server’s hard drive. We also detected no data leaks during the course of our testing.
What’s more, ExpressVPN runs its own private, zero-knowledge DNS servers. This means that your DNS requests (the websites you visit) are all handled and encrypted by ExpressVPN, not by your ISP or a third party. It’s an important step for a VPN provider to take, and one that only the very best services have on offer.
The VPN kill switch is called Network Lock. This feature stops your internet connection altogether in the unlikely event your VPN connection drops. In doing so, your true IP address is never exposed.
Unfortunately, Network Lock isn’t included in the iOS app – it’s only available on Windows, MacOS, Linux, and Android (on which it’s called Network Protection). This is one area where we’d like to see ExpressVPN improve.
By default, ExpressVPN also uses Perfect Forward Secrecy, which adds another layer of protection by automatically creating a new encryption key for every session and then replacing it every 60 minutes. In very simple terms, this means that even if someone was able to intercept and decrypt your VPN connection, the most they would be able to get is 60 minutes of data.
ExpressVPN doesn’t have the widest selection of protocols we’ve seen. Instead, it trims the selection down to just the protocols you need.
We’ve already mentioned how the app automatically chooses the best protocol for you, but you can choose manually between the following connection protocols, too:
|UDP – OpenVPN||UDP is the fastest OpenVPN protocol. It has all of the security benefits of TCP, but is more reliable if you’re connecting to a server a long way away.|
|TCP – OpenVPN||TCP is the other OpenVPN protocol. It prioritizes consistency over speed. It’s still fast, but it’s less likely to experience errors or lose data.|
|IKEv2||IKEv2 is secure and sometimes faster than OpenVPN, so it’s worth trying if you’re looking for the best performance possible.|
|L2TP – IPSec||L2TP/IPSec is an outdated and insecure protocol, and the only one ExpressVPN offers that we recommend you avoid.|
Advanced Security Features
ExpressVPN doesn’t have the highest number of advanced security features on the market, but those it does have are extremely effective.
Split tunneling is a powerful feature that you won’t find on all of its rivals. It lets you decide which apps are protected via the VPN connection and which travel outside of it.
While we of course always recommend you keep as many programs and devices as secure as possible, split tunneling can have practical uses – like with your wireless printer, for example. It can keep its connection to your network separate from the VPN, preventing connection issues.
In 2019 ExpressVPN also launched TrustedServer, a proprietary technology that removes the need for local storage such as hard disks or solid state drives. According to ExpressVPN, 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
If you’re a Tor user, ExpressVPN also supports Tor over VPN. This means you can use the VPN in combination with the Tor Network, but only your connection to the first node in the network is encrypted. If you’re interested in learning more you can find all you need to know in our guide to Tor vs VPN.
Overall, ExpressVPN is one of the most technically secure personal VPN services available, offering strong encryption and a wide suite of market-leading features perfect for both beginners and advanced users. If you’re looking for a VPN to hide your IP address and encrypt your data on public WiFi networks, ExpressVPN is a fantastic choice.
Does ExpressVPN Leak Your Data?
A leaking VPN will leave your online activity and identity visible to your ISP and other third-parties.
We ran ExpressVPN through an IP, DNS, and WebRTC leak test. It passed all three tests with no leaks whatsoever. As you can see above, all of our personal information was concealed by ExpressVPN and our real UK IP address was protected and replaced by a Swedish one.
For this review, we also uploaded ExpressVPN.exe to VirusTotal.com, a website designed to analyze suspicious applications for known malware. ExpressVPN’s results were totally clean – no viruses here.
As one final precaution, we also checked ExpressVPN with the εxodus tool. It’s a specialist privacy auditing platform that checks for dangerous device permissions in Android apps.
We found that ExpressVPN’s trackers and permissions are all totally normal – there’s nothing intrusive or excessive here that you need to worry about. The Android app has two trackers: Google CrashLytics and Google Firebase Analytics. Both of these are event-based data collection trackers which help ExpressVPN understand how users interact with the app in order to respond to crashes.
The following table shows all of ExpressVPN’s device permissions and what they mean:
|ACCESS_NETWORK_STATE||Allows ExpressVPN to view your device’s network connections|
|ACCESS_WIFI_STATE||Allows ExpressVPN to view your device’s WiFi connections|
|FOREGROUND_SERVICE||Allows ExpressVPN to run as a foreground service|
|INTERNET||Grants ExpressVPN full network access (necessary for any VPN)|
|RECEIVE_BOOT_COMPLETED||Allows ExpressVPN to run at startup (if you decide to enable that option)|
|VIBRATE||Allows ExpressVPN to control vibration (the app will sometimes vibrate for notifications)|
|WAKE_LOCK||Prevents the device from sleeping|
|BILLING||Permits in-app purchases|
|RECEIVE||Allows ExpressVPN to receive messages from the Cloud|
|BIND_GET_INSTALL_REFERRER_SERVICE||Tells ExpressVPN where and when the app was downloaded from if you discovered it via an advertising link|
ExpressVPN works in China
ExpressVPN is one of the only VPN services that still works in China regardless of the country’s blocks on VPN traffic. The VPN works to bypass Chinese censorship with ease thanks to the company’s investment of significant resources into outsmarting the censors.
Getting around the Great Firewall of China is incredibly difficult, and very few VPNs can do it reliably (or at all). ExpressVPN has been able to do it consistently over the years that we’ve been testing it. That’s why it’s our highest-rated VPN for China.
The service’s Hong Kong servers allow you to access Chinese TV and websites while outside of China, while servers in the rest of the world help users in China access digitally censored websites using obfuscation.
Obfuscation disguises your VPN traffic so that it looks like normal browsing data. This means the Great Firewall won’t identify your VPN traffic and block it, so you can browse without restriction and unblock websites like Google, Facebook, WhatsApp, Netflix, and more.
If you have protocol selection switched to Automatic, ExpressVPN’s proprietary obfuscation technology is activated by default. This means it’s able to beat aggressive state censors not just in China but also in countries like UAE, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia, too.
As you can see from the graph above, ExpressVPN is very consistent in China. The numbers are based on dozens of tests a day over a number of different platforms. For this reason, we’re confident ExpressVPN will work well for you in China.
However, as the main website is currently blocked by Chinese censors, you’ll need to find a working mirror site in order to sign up to the service if you’re already overseas.
If you’re already inside China and find that the company’s standard URL is blocked, ExpressVPN is one of the few services to also host its website on the Deep Web. Just download Tor Browser and you can access ExpressVPN at http://expressobutiolem.onion/
ExpressVPN also recommends specific servers for users in China – just get in touch with its customer support (available 24/7) for updated information.
3,000+ servers across 160 locations
ExpressVPN operates more than 3,000 VPN servers spread across 160 cities in 94 countries around the world. This is one of the largest VPN server networks available, which means that no matter where you’re located you should have no trouble finding a VPN server near you.
You can access 51 specific city-level servers in the following locations:
- Australia (4 different locations)
- 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)
ExpressVPN’s 14 different city-level locations in the US and four in Australia are some of the highest we’ve seen. There are plenty of servers available in Asia as well as several countries that aren’t typically available elsewhere. You can find the full list of servers along with the protocols they support on the ExpressVPN website.
Even if you only intend to connect to one specific server, this quantity and variety is still important. The more servers there are, the less likely they are to suffer from congestion. The fewer users there are on each server, the faster the speeds.
Servers on opposing ends of massive countries like the US, Canada, and Australia means that no citizen is left behind, either.
Every single ExpressVPN server supports OpenVPN, IPSec, and IKEv2 protocols. A handful support L2TP, although we would recommend you don’t use it even if you have the option. The same goes for PPTP, which is available on about 30% of ExpressVPN servers – it’s potentially unsafe.
Overall, ExpressVPN has a diverse global server network that gives users access to a wide variety of locations and IP addresses. While there are no servers specifically optimized for streaming or torrenting, we’ve found the vast majority of server locations work perfectly well and without congestion.
Does ExpressVPN Use Virtual Servers?
40 of ExpressVPN’s 160 server locations are virtual server locations.
A physical or ‘bare metal’ VPN server is a real, physical piece of equipment located in the country or city you wish to connect to. ExpressVPN’s server in Denver, Colorado for example, is really located somewhere within that city.
The vast majority of ExpressVPN’s servers are physical servers – that is, the server and the IP address it assigns are located in the same country.
Virtual server locations work differently, though. They still exist physically in one country, but they provide you with with an IP address from another country. They help to ensure that you can connect to countries where it is difficult to install physical equipment. You can see the full list of them here.
The example ExpressVPN gives on its website is Indonesia. When you connect to the server labelled Indonesia, you’re actually connecting to a server based in neighboring Singapore, which assigns you an Indonesian IP address.
Virtual server locations have no effect on unblocking content or bypassing geo-restrictions, as your IP address is still registered in the country you’ve chosen to connect to. However, if the physical location of the server is further from you than expected, it can have an impact on your connection speeds.
ExpressVPN is one of the few VPN services that is open and transparent about its use of virtual server locations to improve the diversity and accessibility of its network.
Custom VPN apps for all popular devices
Platforms & Devices
ExpressVPN is available on all major operating systems and devices including Microsoft Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, and Linux. Custom firmware is also available for routers as well as manual setup guides for Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, PlayStation, and more.
On ExpressVPN’s website you will find detailed setup instructions for all of these platforms as well as workarounds for devices where a custom VPN app isn’t available. The instructions are simple and clear, which means you’re unlikely to have any issues even if you’re a complete beginner.
You can use ExpressVPN on five different devices simultaneously with one subscription. It’s commonplace among VPN providers to set a limit, and five is a good number.
If you need more to use it on more devices at the same time then you’ll need to install the VPN on your home router. Once you’ve done this, the number of devices you can use with one VPN subscription is unlimited.
The ExpressVPN app 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
There aren’t many VPNs out there that offer apps for so many different platforms, and to have ExpressVPN spell out its router compatibility so clearly is a really welcome help.
Games Consoles & Streaming Devices
There’s not a single VPN available that can be installed directly onto Apple TV or games consoles, but ExpressVPN does the next best thing and provides detailed instructions and workarounds for setup on devices like your Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Chromecast.
ExpressVPN’s excellent router app and support means that it’s also the best choice for console gamers and streaming device fanatics looking to protect their devices as best they can.
ExpressVPN is also one of the increasing number of VPNs to offer a VPN app for Amazon Fire TV Stick.
It was one of the first VPN apps available for Amazon Fire TV Stick, but it’s now looking somewhat dated and lacks some of the features that we enjoy in more recent Fire TV Stick VPN apps.
It’s essentially a repurposed version of the Android app, which doesn’t look amazing on a large screen. The UI also hasn’t been adapted for the use of a remote, rather than touch, so it’s not as smooth as some of the VPN apps for Firestick.
Having said this, it’s still a great VPN for Fire Stick TV that will hide your IP address and unblock your favorite streaming services. In fact, ExpressVPN is our favorite VPN for other streaming devices, as well as gaming consoles like Xbox and PlayStation.
For devices like that which don’t support dedicated VPN apps you can use ExpressVPN MediaStreamer, which is included in every subscription plan.
MediaStreamer makes unblocking streaming services like Hulu and HBO as easy as possible, but it doesn’t encrypt traffic on that device. That’s because it works by changing your device’s default DNS servers to ones run by ExpressVPN. This tricks streaming sites and apps into thinking that they’re communicating with a server in the country whose content you wish to unblock.
If you want to secure all (or most) connections in your home, you should instead install ExpressVPN on your router. Otherwise, you can always tether the device in question to one which has the VPN is already running (for example, your computer or smartphone).
ExpressVPN provides full VPN browser extensions for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Edge. Currently, there is no browser add-on available for neither Safari nor Opera.
Most of the VPN browser add-ons we review are proxies and not full VPNs, but ExpressVPN’s extensions are the real deal. The only drawback is that the desktop application needs to be running at the same time – they act more like a remote control for the full app than a substitute for it.
This means you can easily switch between server locations and fully mask your web activity without having to leave your browser window, but you need to have the full program installed in order to use it.
Additionally, ExpressVPN’s extensions all use HTTPS Everywhere – a collaborative technology made by The Tor Project and the Electronic Frontier Foundation – which encrypts your browser’s communication with websites that still use unencrypted HTTP connections.
ExpressVPN has recently added ‘dark mode’ to its browser extensions, which is a nice touch if you want it to match the rest of your OS, and you can also set it to automatically activate when you open your browser.
ExpressVPN is not the cheapest, but well worth the price
ExpressVPN Pricing Plan
ExpressVPN offers three main subscription plans, all of which include the same features. As usual, 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, which is quite expensive compared to most competitors. An annual subscription costs $8.48 per month, while a six-month plan is priced at $10.18 per month. These prices are above average, but very reasonable considering the quality of the service.
ExpressVPN provides the same features on all of its price plans, so the only decision to make is how much you want to pay upfront and how much your subscription costs you per month.
We recommend you opt for a longer-term contract if you can afford to. A 15-month subscription plan gives you a 49% price reduction to the equivalent of $6.67 per month, which is the best subscription plan available.
While ExpressVPN is more expensive than rivals like NordVPN and CyberGhost, you get what you pay for – it’s fantastic value for the best all-round VPN service on the market.
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
ExpressVPN doesn’t have a free trial, but all subscriptions come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. This means you can try the service for a month with zero risk if you decide it isn’t for you – perfect for beginners.
To claim your refund simply contact the ExpressVPN support team. We found this process to be quick and easy with no questions asked.
There’s also a ‘Refer a Friend’ program which earns you a 30-day free ExpressVPN subscription for both you and the friend you convince to sign up – and there’s no limit to the number of friends you can refer.
When it comes to payment methods, ExpressVPN accepts just about everything. You can pay using conventional bank cards, such as:
- Visa Electron
- American Express
- Diners Club
More modern payment methods, such as:
And international payment methods (via Paymentwall) which include:
The only thing we feel is missing is a few more cryptocurrency options –it would be nice to see coins like Ethereum or Bitcoin Cash accepted in the future. There are also a few VPN providers that accept postal cash payments, for ultra-private transactions – that would be a fantastic addition.
User-friendly VPN apps & easy installation
Ease of Use
How to Connect to a Server with ExpressVPN
How to Change Settings in ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN is so easy to use that it’s hard to go wrong – not just with the main desktop client, but also with its mobile apps and browser extensions. Its VPN apps are among the best on the market – they’re easy to use, visually appealing, and they make protecting your privacy simple.
It took us less than five minutes to install the VPN application for our tests. Once you’ve chosen your subscription plan, simply create an account and enter your payment details. You’ll receive a confirmation email with a link and an activation code, which takes you straight 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. If you want to customize your experience you can also find advanced settings behind a separate menu.
Even the advanced security options are explained in plain and easily-understood language, so you’ll never make changes without knowing exactly what you’re doing.
There are some small differences between the ExpressVPN apps on different platforms, though, so we have reviewed each one in the section below.
If you want a quick summary of the differences between ExpressVPN clients on different devices, just see the table below:
Here’s what ExpressVPN looks like on the each of the major desktop and mobile operating systems, and what the differences are between them:
As is often the case with VPNs, the Windows app is the most complete ExpressVPN experience. It has all the tools and features an advanced VPN user could need while still being a very straightforward and easy-to-use app.
When you click on the server you currently have selected, a second window with a server list will pop up alongside it. Be sure not to miss the two tabs at the top: ‘Recommended’ is selected by default, but it doesn’t reveal the whole list to you. Be sure to click ‘All Locations’ to see the full list (or use the search bar to find a specific choice).
Other features not to be missed are the kill switch (look for ‘Network Lock’ under the General settings tab) and the protocol selection tab, which lets you experiment with different options – just make sure you don’t use L2TP (it even says within the app that it has weak security).
If you’re a Mac user then you’re in luck – ExpressVPN’s MacOS app is practically identical to the Windows version. We’ve found that lots of VPN providers tend to put out a sub-par Mac app when compared to the flagship Windows app, but that’s not the case here.
The browser extensions (see below) work exactly as they would do if you were using the browser on Windows – the only issue for Mac users is that there’s no extension for Safari yet, which is something we want to see ExpressVPN remedy in the future.
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 that there’s not really anything there.
You have the option to choose between OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols, a toggle for whether or not the VPN automatically reconnects if it loses connection, and a button to reinstall the VPN configuration if the app should stop working for any reason.
It’s obvious that ExpressVPN has decided to make its app a more streamlined and lightweight experience on mobile, but it would be nice for some of the extra features present on desktop to have made the leap across to iPhone.
The kill switch is the most notable absence of all, and it’s something we strongly believe is vital no matter what platform you’re on.
The ExpressVPN Android app has the exact same home screen as you’ll see on all its other apps, but when compared to its iOS cousin there’s a couple of differences that lie beyond it.
As we alluded to above, 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 protected if your VPN connection drops.
You’ll find the kill switch at 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. Thanks to Android’s more customizable and open nature, you can choose which of your apps (if any) are routed outside of the VPN tunnel.
Its strong performance on just about every other platform makes ExpressVPN’s Linux app especially 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.
If you’re a Linux user you’re likely used to this, and a bit more tech-savvy than most ExpressVPN users will be, but it’s still a big oversight. For the money you’re paying, you really should be receiving a fully-featured app.
Once you’ve installed ExpressVPN using standard Linux console commands, you can then choose to 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 Network Lock (the kill switch), change protocol, and instruct it to auto-connect at Linux startup.
As we mentioned above, ExpressVPN’s browser extensions are available for Chrome and Firefox web browsers.
They give you full protection that fully masks your web activity without you having to leave your browser window.
ExpressVPN has recently added dark mode to its browser extensions, which is a nice plus for customization.
Excellent customer support & responsive live chat
|24/7 Live chat support||Yes|
ExpressVPN’s helpful 24/7 live chat is the best in class. It means that if you ever have a problem, you’ll be back up and running as quickly as possible. There’s also a huge range of support guides, FAQs, video tutorials, and troubleshooting options available on the website.
ExpressVPN really is one of the most customer-focused VPN services we’ve reviewed, and the support team makes sure to keep you happy both before and after you’ve become a customer.
You can also reach out to customer support via email, with equally responsive, helpful and enthusiastic responses. The online help center is available in over 16 languages, too, which is an impressive commitment to support compared to other VPN services.
When experiencing a specific technical issue, it makes a big difference to receive a response that’s actually tailored to your message – so many VPN companies outsource their support to massive support centers packed full of agents who don’t actually know the product. That’s not the case with ExpressVPN.
Do We Recommend ExpressVPN?
The Bottom Line
ExpressVPN is a fantastic VPN service. Its speeds are fast and reliable, its security offering is unmatched, and its list of server locations is vast. From the results of our testing, there is no question that it is absolutely worth the cost.
It passed our testing with flying colors, proving itself to be one of the fastest and safest VPNs you can buy right now. That’s why we rank it number one on our website, of all 69 VPNs we’ve tested.
If you need to connect over long distances then you won’t find a faster VPN. Once you’ve made that connection, you’ll then be able to unblock streaming content on sites like Netflix with extreme consistency, wherever you are in the world. Low ping times make it a top choice for gamers, too.
ExpressVPN also serves a purpose beyond entertainment as a valuable privacy tool. It’s one of few VPNs to reliably work in China and other high-censorship nations, granting you access to the wider internet beyond.
Whatever device you’re using you get the same smooth, simple user experience, too. ExpressVPN isn’t perfect – the price may put you off and there is still no kill switch for iOS – but you simply won’t find a better all-round VPN right now. With a 30-day money-back guarantee included, there’s really nothing to lose.
Whether you’re looking for a VPN to secure your connection on public WiFi, unblock Netflix and other streaming services, or simply to protect your online privacy, we fully recommend ExpressVPN to both beginners and advanced users.