We found it extremely easy to get started with ExpressVPN. Simply choose 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 intuitive even for complete beginners. You’ll find a large on/off button and a list of VPN servers for you to choose from.
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 more detailed look at each application and the key differences between them:
ExpressVPN’s Windows Client
ExpressVPN’s Windows client home screen.
ExpressVPN’s Windows application is its flagship client, with a full suite of features. In fact, its the best VPN for Windows.
It’s easy to find the full selection of VPN servers – just 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 macOS Client
ExpressVPN’s macOS app is practically identical to the Windows version. Many VPN providers 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 macOS application home screen.
ExpressVPN’s iOS Application
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.
The ExpressVPN settings menu in the iOS application.
You can choose between the Lightway (UDP and TCP) 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.
ExpressVPN has decided to make its iOS app more streamlined and lightweight for mobile. The kill switch is automatically enabled for all connections made using Lightway. It can’t be turned on or off.
ExpressVPN’s latest extra feature, its Threat Manager tracker blocker, is only available on iOS and macOS.
ExpressVPN’s Android Application
The Android app has a similar design to the iOS app, but there are a few differences between the two applications.
ExpressVPN’s Android application home screen.
The main difference with the iOS app is the Protection Summary in the bottom-half of the home screen. This lets you know how long you’ve been connected to an ExpressVPN server over the past week, as well as the IP address of the VPN server.
The other useful feature on Android that’s missing on iOS is split tunneling. This is because the iOS platform doesn’t support split tunneling on consumer VPNs.
ExpressVPN 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 application for Linux machines. There’s no GUI (graphical user interface), meaning that the VPN runs straight from the console.
ExpressVPN running on Linux.
Linux users are likely used to this, but it’s still an oversight. We much prefer VPNs with native Linux clients.
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.
ExpressVPN Router App
You control ExpressVPN’s router app via your browser.
Perhaps the most impressive ExpressVPN app of all is the one it made specifically for routers.
While plenty of VPNs are router-compatible, very few have a full custom app like ExpressVPN’s. It requires surprisingly little technical knowledge to set up, and is super intuitive once installed.
You can connect to the full range of ExpressVPN servers using it, port forward, and even connect different devices to different server locations simultaneously.
The only catch is that the app is only compatible with a small number of wireless routers, and those that are can be expensive. You can see a list of suitable models here. We test using a Linksys WRT-3200ACM.