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ExpressVPN Review

By Simon Migliano | Updated November 13, 2019

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Ranked #1 out of 74 VPNs

ExpressVPN screenshot

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ExpressVPN is one of the most popular VPN services around, but so many reviews of it seem just too positive.

Even its website claims it to be the “#1 trusted leader in VPN,” which is too big of a statement to go unchecked.

We’d be fools to take a company at its word, so we put it through our own rigorous, independent VPN testing process to find out whether the hype is real.

This ExpressVPN review sets out to find the real answers to questions from our readers like:

  • Is ExpressVPN really that fast?
  • Is it legit and safe to use?
  • Does it work with Netflix and torrenting?
  • How much does ExpressVPN cost and is it worth it?
  • Is a free trial available?

We tested ExpressVPN extensively, trying out all of its VPN apps and making sure we didn’t miss a thing.

Curious to know what we discovered?

Read on to find out, starting with the most important takeaways from our tests.

Overview

ExpressVPN Pros & Cons

  1. Strong logging policy, no IP, DNS, or WebRTC leaks
  2. Exceptionally fast & reliable speeds
  3. Works with Netflix, BBC iPlayer & more
  4. Safe, fast & unrestricted torrenting/P2P
  5. User-friendly apps for PC, Mac, iOS, & Android
  6. Huge server network across 94 countries
  1. More expensive than many paid VPNs
  2. Fire TV Stick app needs a better interface
  3. No VPN kill switch for iOS

ExpressVPN Key Summary

Top Download Speed85Mbps
Logging PolicyAnonymous Server Usage Data
IP, DNS or WebRTC LeaksNo
JurisdictionBritish Virgin Islands (Privacy Haven)
Servers3,000+
IP Addresses3,000+
Countries94
US NetflixYes
TorrentingUnlimited
Works in ChinaYes
Support24/7 Live Chat
Cheapest Price$6.67/mo over 15 Months
Official WebsiteExpressVPN.com

That’s just a few highlights of what’s to come.

First off, lets find out more about ExpressVPN – plus a complete examination of its VPN logging policy.

About & Logging Policy

Who is ExpressVPN?

ExpressVPN was founded in 2009 and is operated by Express VPN International Ltd., which is based in the British Virgin Islands and far outside of the intrusive 14-eyes surveillance alliance.

That’s an excellent choice of location for a privacy-minded VPN company, as the British Virgin Islands has full sovereignty over its own data regulations.

Foreign governments can still make demands for information, but ExpressVPN makes it clear that it will never share data with them and, crucially, that it doesn’t have any personally identifiable information to share in the first place.

Logging Policy

ExpressVPN doesn’t collect any personally identifiable activity logs. 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 to be collected in order to keep the performance of its servers as strong as possible.

The most important thing of all is that this data 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 can get.

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 put to the test in December 2017 when one of ExpressVPN’s Turkish VPN servers was seized and inspected by Turkish authorities investigating the assassination of Russian ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov. The investigators couldn’t find any customer connection logs.

In case you’re still wondering, you’re safe with ExpressVPN.

Speed & Reliability

One of the fastest VPNs we've tested

ExpressVPN is one of the fastest VPN services we’ve tested – it’s extremely quick and responsive.

It’s also remarkably reliable and consistent, whether you’re connecting to a nearby server or one on the other side of the world.

It’s speed is also very impressive in high censorship countries like China, where most other VPN services struggle to even connect.

Speed results from our physical location in London (100Mbps fibre optic connection) to a London test server.

Before using ExpressVPN:

  1. DownloadMbps

    95.71

  2. UploadMbps

    98.71

  3. Pingms

    3

When connected to ExpressVPN:

  1. DownloadMbps

    85

  2. UploadMbps

    91.22

  3. Pingms

    8

Download speed without ExpressVPN: 95.71Mbps

Download speed with ExpressVPN: 85.00Mbps

Our download speed loss when ExpressVPN is running: 11%

On top of fast download and upload speeds, ExpressVPN’s low latency and low ping times make it a good VPN for gaming, not as good as other VPN services but a strong gaming contender nonetheless.

From our testing lab in the UK, we measured ExpressVPN’s average speeds connecting out to various locations worldwide. These were the results:

  • USA: 77Mbps (download) & 40Mbps (upload)
  • Germany: 79Mbps (download) & 66Mbps (upload)
  • Singapore: 73Mbps (download) & 22Mbps (upload)
  • Australia: 59Mbps (download) & 1Mbps (upload)

The numbers speak for themselves: ExpressVPN is by far the fastest VPN on long-distance connections, something most VPN services struggle with.

To get the fastest speeds, and you’re happy connecting to a nearby server, you can also use the Smart Location feature. It’s a clever tool that picks a close-by server optimised for high speed and low latency.

Server Locations

3,000+ servers across 160 locations

Globe with a blue flag94Countries
Image of a city landscape160Cities
Image of a pink marker3,000+IP Addresses

ExpressVPN operates more than 3,000 VPN servers across the world, spread evenly over every continent (excluding Antarctica).

Basically, no matter where you’re located you should have no trouble finding a VPN server near you.

3,000 servers is one of the widest ranges of servers we’ve seen from any VPN service, and the ExpressVPN website even lists which VPN security protocols are available in each location (either country or city).

You can access specific city-level servers in a number of locations, too:

  • US
  • UK
  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • India
  • Singapore
  • Netherlands
  • Germany
  • France
  • Italy
  • Spain

ExpressVPN’s 20 different city-level locations in the US and four in Australia are some of the highest we’ve seen.

Streaming & Torrenting

Works with Netflix, BBC iPlayer & torrenting

ExpressVPN easily unlocks US Netflix through almost all of its US-based VPN servers (apart from New York).

The following ExpressVPN servers worked for unblocking Netflix:

  • USA (New Jersey, Washington DC, San Francisco)
  • Canada (Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver)
  • UK (Isle of Man, Jersey)

ExpressVPN doesn’t have servers dedicated to streaming, like CyberGhost does, but this isn’t much of an issue since most ExpressVPN servers work with streaming sites.

The Isle of Man and Jersey servers still work well with UK Netflix, while most UK servers unlock BBC iPlayer (although customer support informed us it will only work if you’re located outside of the UK).

ExpressVPN also unlocks the Australian, Canadian, French, Italian, Japanese and German Netflix libraries.

What’s more, plenty of ExpressVPN subscribers enjoy using it to stream:

  • Disney+
  • Hulu
  • HBO
  • Amazon Prime Video
  • Sling TV
  • Sky
  • Now TV
  • PlayStation Vue

Torrenting

Unsurprisingly, ExpressVPN also stands out at torrenting and downloading files.

It allows any type of P2P traffic across all its servers, resulting in less server congestion and ultimately faster download and upload speeds. That’s exactly what we saw in our tests.

ExpressVPN is also great for streaming Kodi or similar media player apps.

Privacy and security-wise, ExpressVPN’s kill switch – which they’ve named Network Lock – works extremely well (should your VPN connection drop at any point) and when we tested for IP or DNS leaks, we found zero.

And, ExpressVPN doesn’t keep any user activity logs so your privacy and identity is safe (read more on this below).

Bypassing Censorship

Beats censorship in China, UAE & more

ExpressVPN works in China, bypassing Chinese censorship with ease, largely thanks to the company devoting significant resources into outsmarting the censors.  That’s why it’s our highest-rated VPN for China.

If you have protocol selection switched to Automatic, ExpressVPN’s proprietary obfuscation security protocols are activated, which are very effective in beating aggressive state-level censors.

These obfuscation protocols ensure that its VPN apps easily beat even the most aggressive of blocks in countries like Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran.

ExpressVPN recommends specific servers for users in China – just get in touch with customer support (available 24/7) for updated information.

Platforms & Devices

VPN apps for all popular devices

Apps

Windows LogoWindows
Mac LogoMac
iOS LogoiOS
Android LogoAndroid
Linux LogoLinux
Router LogoRouter

ExpressVPN supports just about any operating system or device out there:

  • Microsoft Windows
  • MacOS
  • iOS
  • Android
  • Linux

On ExpressVPN’s website, you’ll find setup instructions for the above platforms as well as workarounds for devices where a custom VPN app isn’t available.

For less common devices, ExpressVPN may not have a native dedicated VPN app, but on their website you’ll find walkthrough on their website to show you how to set up a workaround for your device.

Remember, you can use ExpressVPN on five different devices simultaneously. However, if you need more to use it on more devices at the same time, you’ll have to set the VPN on your home router.

In fact, you use ExpressVPN’s router app to enjoy unlimited simultaneous connections and use the VPN on as many devices as you want.

The ExpressVPN app is compatible with the following routers:

  • Asus RT-AC68U
  • Asus RT-AC87U
  • Asus RT-AC56(U/R/S)
  • Linksys EA6200
  • Linksys WRT1200AC
  • Linksys WRT1900AC(S or V2)
  • Linksys WRT3200ACM
  • Netgear R6300v2
  • Nighthawk R7000

But, you can also manually set up the VPN on these router manufacturers:

  • Other Asus models
  • D-Link
  • DD-WRT
  • Netduma
  • Sabai
  • Tomato
  • TP-Link
  • Xiaomi

Read our latest VPN router setup guide for easy step-by-step instructions. If you want to learn more about VPN routers in general, head over to our VPN routers guide instead.

Games Consoles & Streaming Devices

AppleTV LogoAppleTV
Amazon Fire TV LogoAmazon Fire TV
Chromecast LogoChromecast
Nintendo LogoNintendo
PlayStation LogoPlayStation
Roku LogoRoku
Xbox LogoXbox

ExpressVPN has a very good VPN app for Amazon’s Fire TV Stick, although it’s not our number one choice.

Why is not our top pick?

Well, ExpressVPN may have been one of the first VPN providers to roll out a Fire TV Stick app, and it works fine, but it’s now looking out-dated and lacks some of the features that we enjoy in more recent Firestick VPN apps.

If you own a Fire TV Stick and want to use a VPN app with it, take a look at our latest recommendations.

While it’s not our top pick for Firestick, ExpressVPN is our favorite VPN for other streaming devices as well as gaming consoles like Xbox and PlayStation.

In fact, you can use the MediaStreamer feature (included in every subscription plan), which makes it very easy to unblock web services with a whole range of devices.

MediaStreamer doesn’t encrypt your traffic, though.

If you want to secure all (or most) connections in your home, you should instead install ExpressVPN on your router (see above).

Don’t want to set up ExpressVPN on your router?

You can always connect the new device to a device where the VPN is already running (for example, your PC or your Mac).

Browser Extensions

Chrome LogoChrome
Firefox LogoFirefox

ExpressVPN provides full VPN browser extensions for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.

Most of the VPN browser add-ons we see are proxies and not full VPNs, but ExpressVPN’s extensions are the real deal. However, they are extensions of the ExpressVPN app so the desktop application will need to be running at the same time.

Some of our readers ask us: “why use the extensions when the VPN app is already running?”

The answer is simple: the VPN extension allows you to control the VPN app from your browser. You an easily switch between server locations without having to do so from the desktop VPN client.

Additionally, ExpressVPN’s extensions all use HTTPS Everywhere – a collaboration between The TOR Project and the Electronic Frontier Foundation – which encrypts communications and requests with websites that still use HTTP (unencrypted).

Encryption & Security

Extremely secure with features like Network Lock & TrustedServer

Protocol

IKEv2/IPSec

L2TP/IPSec

OpenVPN (TCP/UDP)

PPTP

Encryption

AES-256

Security

DNS Leak Blocking

First-party DNS

IPV6 Leak Blocking

VPN Kill Switch

WebRTC Leak Blocking

Advanced features

Split Tunneling

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. It uses a multitude of security standards and VPN protocols to keep your browsing data private and secure.

By default, the VPN protocol selection is set to ‘Automatic,’ which we recommend you leave as is. The ExpressVPN app will determine what is the best security protocol to use – a great feature that very few VPN services have.

ExpressVPN also uses AES-256 encryption, which is widely regarded as near-unbreakable. In combination with a 4096-bit RSA key and SHA-512 HMAC authentication, ExpressVPN will keep you protected online.

Unsurprisingly, ExpressVPN mainly uses OpenVPN as it’s primary VPN protocol. OpenVPN is currently the best security protocol, although from the VPN app you can choose other protocols – we don’t think you’ll need to, though.

By default, ExpressVPN also uses Perfect Forward Secrecy, which in very simple terms means that even if someone was able to intercept your VPN connection, they still wouldn’t be able to decrypt any of the traffic.

If you want to dig deeper on ExpressVPN’s high levels of encryption, read this simple yet useful guide.

ExpressVPN also has the always-essential VPN kill switch, which it calls Network Lock. This feature stops your internet connection altogether in the unlikely event your VPN connection drops. In so doing, your true IP address is never exposed.

However, this feature isn’t included in the iOS app – it’s only available on the Windows, Mac, Android (called Network Protection) and Linux apps.

Talking about IP addresses, we didn’t detect any IP or DNS leaks so you can count on ExpressVPN to successfully hide your real IP address.

Split tunneling is yet another powerful feature that’s not commonly found in other VPNs. This feature lets you select the apps or devices to put through the VPN connection, and the ones you may want to use your standard internet connection for, like your printer for example.

It doesn’t stop here, though.

ExpressVPN launched its TrustedServer feature, a proprietary technology that removes the need for local storage such as hard disks or solid state drives.

If you’re a Tor user, ExpressVPN also has its own website on the Tor network. However, make note that ExpressVPN only supports Tor over VPN.

We could go on but it’s clear that ExpressVPN is leading the pack when it comes to your security and privacy.

And the fact that ExpressVPN has passed several security audits in 2018 and in 2019 without a hitch is further evidence of how secure it is.

Ease of Use

Hassle-free setup and easy to get started

How to Install & Set Up 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 many device-specific apps and browser extensions.

The ExpressVPN home screen is simply a big on/off button and a list of VPN servers, but if you want to customize things you can also find advanced settings behind a separate menu.

Even the advanced options are explained in plain and easily-understood language, so you’ll never make changes without knowing exactly what you’re doing.

Browser Extensions

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.

Installing the VPN extensions is really easy. Read our step-by-step setup guides for either Chrome or Firefox.

Customer Support

Responsive & friendly live chat

24/7 Live chat supportYes
EmailYes
Online ResourcesYes

ExpressVPN’s helpful 24/7 live chat means if you ever have a problem, you’ll be back up and running as quickly as possible.

ExpressVPN really is one of the most customer-focused VPN services we’ve reviewed, and their support team makes sure to keep you happy before and well after you’ve become their customer.

You can also reach out to customer support via email, with equally responsive, helpful and enthusiastic responses.

Pricing & Deals

A little expensive, but well worth it

ExpressVPN Coupon

ExpressVPN Pricing Plan

ExpressVPN provides the same features on all 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.

The longer you subscribe for, the cheaper the monthly cost: a single month of ExpressVPN costs $12.95 (which is more costly than other 1-month plans offered by its rivals), but there’s a 49% reduction to $6.67 for a 15-month plan, which is great value for our current best all-round VPN service.

You’re entitled to a 30-day money-back guarantee when you first sign up to ExpressVPN. We found that they grant refunds quickly and with no questions asked, after we made a simple request to customer service.

In case you’re wondering, ExpressVPN doesn’t have a true free trial in place, but there is a way you can make the most of the 30-day refund guarantee.

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 – plus there’s no limit to the number of friends you can refer.

The Bottom Line

Do We Recommend ExpressVPN?

There’s no doubt about it – we 100% recommend using ExpressVPN.

It passed our testing with flying colors, proving itself to be one of the fastest and safest VPNs you can buy right now.

In fact, to say we recommend it is an understatement: ExpressVPN is the overall best VPN at the moment.

Alternatives to ExpressVPN

NordVPN Logo

NordVPN

There's no shame in deciding that ExpressVPN costs more than you'd like to spend on a VPN. NordVPN comes close to ExpressVPN in almost every aspect but it's a lot cheaper (if you subscribe for a multi-year plan) making it excellent value for money. Read NordVPN review

Private Internet Access

Private Internet Access

ExpressVPN is the fastest VPN for international connections, but if you just want to connect over short distances then PIA is currently unbeatable. It can't quite offer the same all-round package as ExpressVPN, but it's an incredibly fast VPN. Read Private Internet Access review

About the Author


  • Simon Migliano Head of Research at Top10VPN

    Simon Migliano

    Simon leads our investigations into VPN safety and internet freedom research. His work has been featured on the BBC, CNet, Wired and The Financial Times. Read full bio

Top10VPN

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When a review is marked "Verified Customer" it means we've verified that the reviewer has had a genuine experience with the company.

Best Positive Review
 100% 

Superb!

Verified Customer

ExpressVPN is far and away worth the price. I need it when I travel to tend to finances back in the US; in fact, even at home I use it when banking or anytime sensitive information is involved. It does not slow down traffic in the slightest. I've been using it for a couple of years and would not consider changing.

Best Critical Review
 60% 

One Small problem

Verified Customer

I have majority good feedback of express vpn. I have used it for several years in various different countries. However, last year in June I had an issue with connecting to Amazon Prime. I literally tried every location and I asked the online help for about 20 minutes. They were not helpful, suggesting I change my vpn locations that I had already tried. Then, they said that because I was located in the States at that time that I didn't have to use the VPN. That did not help because I wanted my online activities private and I was unable to use prime. Other than that, they are good for shopping online and other activities.

Showing 10 out of 1,673 reviews
  1.  80% 

    Great!

    Verified Customer

    Fast initial connection times and doesn’t slow my internet down that much. Only downside is that sometimes the connection to the server will drop randomly and the reconnect will fail until I go into the app and do it myself, but this rarely happens.

  2.  100% 

    A great VPN

    Verified Customer

    This VPN is great to use while out of the country. I have been able to get my local content while traveling abroad....

  3.  100% 

    Excellent VPN Service

    Verified Customer

    We have used ExpressVPN for the last 12 months. Runs seamlessly on the Windows desktop and Apple devices. Service is reliable with very little speed degradation. Signed up for another 12 months.

  4.  100% 

    After more than a year

    Verified Customer

    Very happy with the service overall. I have tried some other services but they have not been as stable. ExpressVpn will not disconnect randomly. Speed is adequate also.

  5.  80% 

    Quality online security product

    Verified Customer

    I have found ExpressVPN to be, for the most part, a quality online security product. I've been using it for over a year, and enjoy the high speed and easy UI. I initially had some difficulty setting it up in a way that works consistently, but since then have experienced only a few occasional issues: a couple updates failed initially, but worked later; rarely the service will claim to be online but not be functioning.

  6.  100% 

    Always fast and very stable

    Verified Customer

    By far my favorite VPN that I have used. Unlike with other VPNs, I've never had connection problems and the speeds have been great for work and non-work tasks alike. Use it every day, and I plan on continuing to use it for years to come

  7.  100% 

    Great service!

    Verified Customer

    ExpressVPN has been a great app and the service is unbeatable. Very easy to use with no configuration. Just install and go. I have been using expressVPN for over a year and have not had a single issue and knowing my private information is being protected at all times since expressVPN starts automatically when i turn on my PC so I dont have to worry about not being protected. Thanks ExpressVPN for making this superior product that is extremely affordable and efficient. Ill be using this app for years to come.

  8.  100% 

    Review Express VPN

    Verified Customer

    The first VPN I've tried that didn't slow the computer down. It works perfectly every time...loads fast and most importantly has no effect on computer speed or activity. The best!!!

  9.  100% 

    High Quality VPN

    Verified Customer

    ExpressVPN is a top notch VPN. I have no issues accessing Netflix on outside countries so I can easily watch foreign shows or shows not intended for a US market. Overall, I am very happy with ExpressVPN.

  10.  100% 

    Simple and reliable

    Verified Customer

    ExpressVPN is simple and easy to use. Most people are not too savvy about technical network stuff, I know I'm not. Thankfully there is a live chat option, quick and responsive, to help you with any questions you may have about the initial set up. Once you're done looking through the options, i.e. whether or not you want it to start up when your computer/phone starts up, and what location you want to use, it's just a matter of running the program and letting it do its thing. Also, internet speeds are hardly affected when you are using this VPN. I definitely recommend this VPN to anybody. Being headquartered in the British Virgin Islands is a plus.