ExpressVPN Review: A fast and furious solution to your internet privacy
As security breaches and online tracking is on the rise, using a VPN is now much more essential than ever before. This holds true not only for individual internet users but also for organizations.
However, finding a reliable and trusted VPN service from the plethora of inferior quality VPNs is a chore.
Yet, a quick online search about the best VPNs will always bring one name to you as the best of the best – the ExpressVPN.
From corporate to personal use, everyone recommends ExpressVPN for everything.
But is it really that worthy? How about the other good VPNs that are cheaper?
We know these are just a couple of questions from the bunch of other queries that strike your mind every time you read about ExpressVPN.
And you’re not alone in this – as we’re also equally curious to know the facts.
So, we got our hands on this VPN and tested it ourselves to come up with this honest ExpressVPN review for you.
|Pricing||$8.32-$12.95 per month, depending on your subscription length|
|Country Locations||Available in 94 countries|
|Number of Servers||Over 3,000 servers globally|
|Usability||Very user-friendly and supports all devices|
|Logging||Has no existing logging policy|
|Support||Ticketing system, 24/7 live chat support, FAQs, troubleshooting guides, and email|
|Works with Netflix||Yes|
|Other Streaming Sites (I tested and unblocked using it)||Amazon Prime, BBC iPlyar, Hulu, HBO, ABC iView, 7Plus, SBS On Demand|
|Refund||30-day money-back guarantee|
|VPN Protocols||256-bit AES/SSTP, OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP, IPSec|
ExpressVPN isn’t a new name in the realm of virtual private networks. Instead, it is one of the key players of this industry, having endured all ups and downs for over a decade.
The service started off in 2009 by an independent firm Express VPN International Ltd. The company is located in the neutral zone of the British Virgin Islands (BVI) – an autonomous British overseas territory with no strict data retention laws.
However, recently, it has been acquired by the Israeli-based giant Kape Technologies, the parent company behind the popular Private Internet Access (PIA) and CyberGhost. Nonetheless, this acquisition seemingly has no significant effect on ExpressVPN’s policies (we’ll talk about it in detail later in this review).
ExpressVPN has clearly stated on its website that the firm is merely obliged to respect any court orders or subpoenas from the BVI government, which has its own criteria of ‘dual criminality’ for attending requests from any other government.
Hence, the most attractive thing with ExpressVPN is its privacy-oriented jurisdiction that isn’t a part of or obliged to follow 5, 9, and 14 Eyes countries. This makes the VPN freely implement a no-logs policy for all users.
(The other good VPN that resides in the same jurisdiction is Surfshark.)
Apart from the data security practices, ExpressVPN also tops the list owing to its attractive features and user-friendly apps.
Servers and network coverage
However, the number of servers and coverage area of ExpressVPN show how quality weighs more than quantity.
ExpressVPN has a modest network of 3000+ servers.
Even with this seemingly smaller number (compared to PIA, CyberGhost, or NordVPN), ExpressVPN has succeeded in setting up the largest global network.
Precisely, it offers servers from 160 different locations across 94 countries.
But how does it manage so many countries with so few servers, we hear you ask?
Well, because of its underlying security and stealth functionality, it can bypass all types of VPN blocking attempts.
Thus, ExpressVPN does not need to have backup servers ready at hand to deal with server blocking.
Moreover, these guys have maintained physical servers in most of the countries.
It enables them to also focus on setting up virtual locations for the repressive and distant regions like Belarus, Kazakhstan, India, Pakistan, Turkey, and Vietnam.
Amazed to read these names?
You can now imagine their competence in the field as they even offer server locations uncommon with most VPNs.
A VPN is all about encrypting your data. The stronger the encryption is, the better will be your privacy – simple as that.
Hence, ExpressVPN defiantly employs a robust encryption strategy that relies on AES 256-bit encryption with 4096-bit DHE-RSA keys and SHA512 HMAC authentication.
In simple words, it means that your data remains highly secured with this encryption strategy. No one can intercept the traffic passing through the encrypted VPN tunnel. Nor can anyone alter your messages during transit.
Besides, ExpressVPN offers Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS) that regenerates encryption keys frequently. This rapid change of keys is to protect your privacy in the unlikely event of key compromise.
It means that if ever an attacker gets your encryption keys and decipher your message, the attacker won’t be able to see your past and future communications because the key would not apply to them.
Doesn’t it sound interesting?
After encryption, the next thing that makes a VPN what it should be is the connection protocol.
Today, various VPN protocols exist. However, not all VPNs offer all types of them. Whereas some non-credible VPNs also offer insecure protocols like PPTP. Such VPNs make false claims of providing speed with anonymity. Whereas, in reality, they just provide fast connectivity with substandard privacy.
Although, we highly anticipated ExpressVPN to support the robust protocols only. But we were even more impressed while looking for these details when writing this review.
To ensure thorough privacy to all users, even the non-technical ones, ExpressVPN simply does not support insecure protocols SSTP or PPTP.
(Although, they recently integrated the ability to run PPTP within their apps following manual configuration. Yet, they don’t advise using this protocol.)
By default, ExpressVPN supports OpenVPN, IKEv2 (with IPSec), IPSec, and L2TP/IPSec combination.
Moreover, ExpressVPN has also stepped ahead and developed its own VPN protocol with unique features.
Named “Lightway,” it’s a lightweight protocol that ensures fast speed, thorough security, less power consumption, and sustainable connectivity that doesn’t disconnect even when you switch your internet connection.
ExpressVPN plans to open-source the code of this protocol soon for transparency and security assessment.
Anyhow, here’s how you can find these protocols available across various apps.
Lightway: Android, Windows, Linux, Mac, routers
OpenVPN: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS
IKEv2: Windows, Mac, iOS
L2TP/IPSec: Windows and Mac
PPTP: Windows 10, Linux, iOS, and routers (manual configuration required in all cases)
Wondering why did we miss mentioning WireGuard here?
Well, ExpressVPN, at present, doesn’t support Wireguard.
It doesn’t mean they are against this protocol. Rather, as ExpressVPN explained, they have simply refrained from adapting WireGuard temporarily until the protocol is thoroughly audited to be secure enough.
So, you may not presently find WireGuard with ExpressVPN. Yet, you can get alternate VPNs that support WireGuard, such as NordVPN, Surfshark, and Private Internet Access.
Our next assessment parameter to grade any VPN is the presence of a vigilant kill switch. So, for this ExpressVPN’s comprehensive review as well, we searched for the kill-switch with this VPN.
And, again, ExpressVPN didn’t disappoint us!
The service comes with a robust kill switch that it has named “Network Lock.”
As expected, it locks your network whenever the VPN experiences a connection drop.
Yet, it also takes over your network in many other situations where the VPN suspects a potential IP exposure.
For example, if your internet connection is poor or flickering, you change your network, put your device to sleep mode, or your ISP suffers an outage, Network Lock will be activated to protect your real online details.
This feature is available across ExpressVPN clients for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and router VPN apps.
For iOS users, sorry, you may not get a kill switch with your VPN client. Nonetheless, you can still avail yourself of this feature by enabling the kill switch on your VPN router.
Also, the feature is enabled by default. Hence you don’t have to fiddle around your VPN settings just to configure this feature. However, if you wish to close this option, you can easily do so via the settings menu.
IP and DNS leak protection
IP protection is what the VPNs are responsible for. However, the same tools often become the most significant source of IP leaks.
Of course, a kill switch plays a key role in preventing your IP’s accidental exposure to the internet. But, it only works when the VPN connection drops.
Whereas IP leaks happen during an active VPN connection. Such leaks occur via IPv6 exposure and DNS.
So, while many low-reputation VPNs do not even offer kill switch, those who do also fail to prevent IP leaks.
ExpressVPN, however, ensures superior IP and DNS leak protection to all customers.
At first, they prevent IPv6 leaks and WebRTC leaks by simply blocking IPv6. This feature is enabled by default, so you don’t have to worry about configuring this setting.
Nonetheless, you can still find this setting whenever you want under the “Advanced” tab in “Options.”
Secondly, ExpressVPN prevents DNS leaks by employing its own DNS servers with a VPN connection. In this way, the service not only reroutes your regular internet traffic but also does the same to all your DNS queries.
Data-logging policy (no logs)
Perhaps, you might have been looking for this until now.
And you won’t be wrong in doing so because data privacy is the sole purpose of using a VPN. If a VPN itself logs your data, your privacy faces the same risk when you use no VPN at all.
Thankfully, ExpressVPN is one of those few VPN services that maintain a strict and bold no-logging policy.
To ensure that they remain free of any external pressure or threat to log customers’ data, they have set up their structure in a way that does not support data storage.
We’ve engineered our systems to categorically eliminate storage of sensitive data. We may know THAT a customer has used ExpressVPN, but we never know HOW they have utilized our Service. We stand by our firm commitment to our customers’ privacy by not possessing any data related to a user’s online activities.”
And they even proved the same when asked to provide logs during the investigation of Andrey Karlov’s assassination. As per their statement,
While it’s unfortunate that security tools like VPNs can be abused for illicit purposes, they are critical for our safety and the preservation of our right to privacy online. ExpressVPN is fundamentally opposed to any efforts to install “backdoors” or attempts by governments to otherwise undermine such technologies.”
Also, ExpressVPN has gone through independent audits by PricewaterhouseCoopers and Cure53 involving their structure and browser extensions. These audits have acknowledged the privacy and security claims of ExpressVPN.
Any changes after Kape Tech deal?
Now you might wonder whether privacy things will continue at ExpressVPN’s end even after being acquired by Kape Technologies.
Certainly, Israel is one of those countries that somehow collaborate with the 14 Eyes alliance, despite not being a member. This makes it questionable for a VPN service to join a firm with this background.
After being caught, Crossrider rebranded as Kape to detach its checkered history. Moreover, the firm now also boasts itself as a digital privacy-focused service.
To add weightage to this claim, Kape Technologies started acquiring privacy-centric services, like antivirus and VPNs. Consequently, it spent a fortune in acquiring Cyberghost in 2017, Intego in 2018, ZenGuard GmbH (makers of ZenMate VPN) in late 2018, and Private Internet Access (PIA) in 2019.
Continuing this practice, Kape Technologies acquired ExpressVPN in one of the largest deals in its history for a whopping $936 million.
Indeed, this big acquisition raises questions about whether ExpressVPN would compromise its policies to comply with the parent firm. Nonetheless, both Kape Technologies and ExpressVPN have confirmed that the latter will continue to operate independently.
Elaborating on this in a blog post, ExpressVPN stated,
ExpressVPN will remain a separate service from other Kape brands, and everything you’ve come to know and love about ExpressVPN will only continue to improve: our award-winning speed and reliability, premium global server network and bandwidth, 24/7 live chat, BVI jurisdiction, policy of not collecting activity or connection logs, independent third-party audits, and more.
So, it seems ExpressVPN will have no effect of this deal besides a jazz-up in resources (at least, for now).
Therefore, you can trust that your data privacy and security remain conserved when using ExpressVPN. No need to fear for your data to land at the hands of your government.
Nonetheless, as a responsible internet user, you’re obliged to ensure legitimate use of ExpressVPN and its likes so that these services continue to exist without hassle for millions of privacy-savvy customers globally.
ExpressVPN key features
Since we aimed to come up with a dead-honest review of ExpressVPN, we couldn’t limit our research to the general features only.
Hence, our team scratched the surface to see if ExpressVPN has anything special for its users.
Unexpectedly, we found ExpressVPN missing out on numerous special features, such as a double-VPN. It was a strange finding since many other good VPNs frequently offer such features for no extra cost.
So, if you’re looking for a VPN with lots of fancy features, NordVPN or Surfshark may suit you better.
Nevertheless, if you aren’t concerned about getting lots of features and merely focusing on VPN performance, ExpressVPN would be a better option. With fewer features, ExpressVPN warrants superior computer and internet security to top the list of all VPNs.
Below we quickly review what ExpressVPN has for you.
While VPNs are a necessity for your internet security, of course, you can’t keep them connected 24/7 for all purposes.
No, we aren’t referring to VPN data limitations here. Especially in the case of ExpressVPN, you don’t have to worry about it since ExpressVPN never limits your data.
But, having a VPN turned on might hinder your IP-specific activities.
For example, you may face trouble signing in to your Facebook profile. This is because the service might detect your sign-in request from a different location as a malicious login attempt.
Similarly, you may lose access to other essential platforms typically available to your actual IP location if you try to access them via a VPN.
You might think of turning off your VPN in such situations. However, while this is possible, it indirectly means putting your data at the risk of cyberattacks.
So, what should you do?
ExpressVPN has got you covered by offering split-tunneling.
With this feature, you can mark the IP-specific websites and apps to run outside the VPN without turning off the VPN. In this way, you divide your traffic into two paths – an encrypted VPN tunnel and the traffic outside this tunnel.
Similarly, you can also mark certain apps to run only with the VPN while performing the rest of the activities with your regular internet connection.
For example, you can use this feature when torrenting, hiding your torrenting activity with the VPN while continuing your work outside the VPN.
It isn’t a separate feature offered with ExpressVPN. Rather it is the underlying technology that drives the privacy-oriented infrastructure of this VPN.
Nonetheless, we deemed it essential to include something about it here to complete this review.
Basically, TrustedServer technology refers to the temporary servers ExpressVPN uses to power its services.
These servers aren’t meant to store data. Rather, their functionality is more like a temporary memory. The data keeps wiping off after every reboot because these servers run only on RAM. They never write anything on the hard drive.
In this way, the service providers ensure that they store no data – not even incidentally or unintentionally.
Therefore, they warrant top-notch security to the users not only from the governments but also from the hackers. When ExpressVPN possesses no user data, it can’t share it with the governments. Nor can any intrusive hackers get their hands on your data.
Moreover, they also frequently shut off and restart their servers to disconnect the power supply to the RAM, thereby assuring no data retention for long.
Besides, these VPN service providers also ensure that all of their servers run in the same way. Hence, every time a server restarts, it loads the entire software stack and operating system from a read-only image.
Through this, ExpressVPN guarantees that all of its servers are running the same technology. And that none of them is specifically misconfigured or vulnerable to hackers.
Private DNS with every server
Another important technology that enables ExpressVPN to provide fool-proof privacy to you is Private DNS.
While most VPNs either lack separate DNS or offer DNS as an add-on, ExpressVPN’s Private DNS feature is available to all by default.
Precisely, ExpressVPN runs a separate private DNS for every server. Thus, when you enable ExpressVPN on your device, all your DNS queries automatically pass through the encrypted VPN channels.
Since every server has its own DNS, the whole process gets super fast, and your DNS queries return responses within the blink of an eye. That’s what jazzes up the VPN speed here.
Plus, as your DNS queries remain encrypted, neither your ISP can track you via DNS leaks. Nor can any cybercriminal spy on you or store your data.
Moreover, this DNS encryption also saves the service from DNS hijacking attacks and censorship by DNS blocking.
Of course, you get all these benefits without worrying about the VPN to log your data.
While all of the servers that ExpressVPN has for you are super fast, you might wonder which of them would work best for you.
Addressing this confusing situation for their customers, ExpressVPN offers the “Smart Location” feature.
Again, it isn’t an optional add-on, rather a primary technology that runs on the VPN client by default.
With this feature, ExpressVPN automatically chooses the best VPN server for you.
Although this feature may sound common among the VPNs, such as CyberGhost and PIA, ExpressVPN has something different to offer.
Unlike other VPNs that auto-detect the best server by choosing a server nearest to your physical location, ExpressVPN walks an extra mile to assess servers’ performance too.
It means they do not typically recommend a server based on distance. Instead, they also evaluate other parameters like latency and download speed, together with the distance.
Only after assessing the servers against all these parameters does the service brings the best server to you.
If your activities aren’t location-specific, then this automatic server selection can benefit you greatly.
Yet, at any time, you can simply select a desired server from the list to connect to. It will automatically push the Smart Location feature aside, allowing you to use your desired location server.
Don’t worry about getting the Smart location settings back. Since you can’t disable this feature, it will automatically be back in action the moment you start your VPN connection.
ExpressVPN security add-ons (if any?)
After checking out the robust security measures and protocols ExpressVPN has in place, we anticipated this VPN to offer a bunch of dedicated security tools.
Of course, most VPNs do that.
For example, NordVPN, Private Internet Access, and Surfshark VPN offer features like adblocking, malware protection, email breach alert, and more. CyberGhost even provides malware protection and system update scan.
These features simply save the users from the hassle of arranging separate security tools to protect their privacy. They instead buy themselves thorough protection when they subscribe to one such VPN.
ExpressVPN, however, lags here – we should necessarily mention it in this ExpressVPN unbiased review.
From their apps to the website, we strived to find information about whether ExpresVPN offers any such add-ons.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t find any of these features with ExpressVPN.
To be sure about it, we even got in touch with their support team. (Undoubtedly, they have the best customer support; more on this later.) But, unfortunately, they also confirmed that the VPN presently doesn’t offer things like adblocker, malware protection, double VPN, or email breach alerts.
It means when you subscribe to ExpressVPN, you typically avail yourself of the best VPN services only.
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly alternative with lots of security boosters, Surfshark would be a nice option.
But be ready to face a slight speed lag with those guys. As regards speed and consistency, ExpressVPN is the best.
ExpressVPN user experience
After evaluating ExpressVPN against all the features, it appears to be a remarkable service with utmost security. Though it misses out on some add-ons, it isn’t a big deal as far as the VPN itself works the way it should.
And, no doubt, ExpressVPN has everything in place to keep you secure and anonymous online.
But, just as for any other app, we also assessed ExpressVPN for its user experience.
Certainly, not all of the ExpressVPN users are tech-freaks. Many of them would have simply opted for this service after reading ExpressVPN users’ reviews.
So, is this app really easy to use for all users? Let’s check it out.
Web and app interface
Right after landing at the website, you’ll notice the fantastic layout of it. From an attractive theme to easy-to-navigate sections, you won’t face trouble finding your desired information on the site.
Besides, after you complete the ExpressVPN download and installation, you’ll be amazed by an intuitive app bearing a user-friendly interface.
The main screen contains minimal information. It only displays the connection button and the current server location chosen by the Smart Location feature with a neat layout.
You can then further scroll through the list of all server locations to choose the one you need.
Whereas digging up the main menu will let you adjust the app settings with regards to Network Lock, VPN protocols, and more. Nonetheless, you don’t have to worry much about these settings as the VPN has most of the necessary features, such as the kill switch and private DNS, activated by default.
Likewise, it also automatically chooses the most appropriate VPN protocol for you.
Download and setup
At this point again, ExpressVPN excels as it ensures that its customers don’t face any issues in using the VPN. It is straightforward to download and install across all devices.
All it takes is to simply visit their website and click on the “Get Started” button. You will then land on the subscriptions page. Here, you can enter your details to subscribe to ExpressVPN, choose a subscription plan, and select the payment method.
If you’re wondering how to proceed with ExpressVPN free download, let us clarify that ExpressVPN isn’t a free tool. But you can certainly get your money back if you aren’t satisfied with its performance (more in this below).
After completing the account registration, you can safely download the VPN app on your device.
Once the setup executable downloads, click (or tap) on it to start the installation process.
Again, you don’t have to stick your eyes to your device because the VPN will self-install without direct input from you. Nor does it take forever to complete the setup.
When you initiate the installation, you just have to give a few commands, such as sign-in to your account, to complete the process. Once done, you can open your VPN app to start a secure online journey.
While working on this extensive review, our team tested the different ExpressVPN servers for speed and performance.
Impressively, this VPN worked pretty well even when connected to distant servers, unlike most other services.
With our base speed of 100Mbps, we observed around a 10% drop on local servers. Certainly, we can attribute this drop to the underlying encryption. And this is what we observed via speed test tools. Otherwise, we didn’t notice any speed lags while browsing.
Then, we connect to nearby servers from other countries. Again, there was a 15-25% drop that didn’t hinder our browsing experience. We could even stream HD videos on it.
Then, we connected to the farthest servers, and still, we only noticed a maximal speed drop of 49%.
Since we had a good base speed, these percentages didn’t cause any problems for us.
So, if your base speed isn’t good, avoid connecting to any distant servers to ruin your connectivity. But if you connect to local servers or servers from locations nearest to your physical location, you won’t notice any significant speed lags.
Can you name a VPN that has a dedicated VPN client for every device in your home?
Even if you’re an avid VPN user, you will often get stuck at one or more devices regarding how to install your subscribed VPN on a specific unsupported device.
For instance, you often face trouble finding a VPN for your gaming console or your Firestick. Or, you wonder how to protect your router with a VPN as your existing subscription doesn’t support routers.
To address all these situations once for all, you’ve got one comprehensive solution – ExpressVPN.
Certainly, it has one of the widest range of VPN apps supporting almost all major devices and platforms of today. From your smartphones to your routers and other smart devices, you can protect everything from cyber threats with this single VPN subscription.
Wondering if we are making any boastful claims here? Well, check out the following list of apps it offers.
- Smartphones: Android, iOS
- Computers: Windows, macOS, Linux, Chromebook
- Streaming: Amazon Fire TV/Firestick, Android TV, Chromecast with Google TV, Apple TV, Roku, Samsung Smart TV, NVIDIA Shield
- Gaming consoles: PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, Xbox
- Other devices: Routers, Blackberry
- Browser extensions: Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox
Still wondering if ExpressVPN has missed out on any device you own? We doubt!
Yet, if you can come up with one, still, you won’t face trouble protecting it with ExpressVPN as you can connect it to your VPN router. Simple as that!
Simultaneous device connections
Now that you know ExpressVPN supports so many platforms, you may ask how to connect them all with a single account.
The good news is, ExpressVPN offers up to 5 simultaneous connections with a single account.
And, no, this number isn’t about the total devices on which you can run this VPN. Instead, this limitation applies to “simultaneous connections”. That is, the number of devices running ExpressVPN (subscribed to your account) at the same time.
For example, if you have connected your Windows PC, MacBook, Android Phone, an Xbox, and your iPhone at a time, you may not run other devices on VPN. But the moment you disconnect any of these active connections, such as if you turn off your Xbox, you can run the VPN on any other device you own.
Although, with regards to simultaneous connections supported, ExpressVPN lags behind Surfshark (unlimited connections), PIA (10 connections), and CyberGhost VPN (10 connections).
Even NordVPN also offers 6 simultaneous connections on a single account – 1 more than ExpressVPN.
However, given the fast speed, ease of use, and excellent platform compatibility, you don’t want to miss this VPN only because of fewer simultaneous connections.
Of course, you can’t run every gadget in your house on a VPN simultaneously. But, if you want to do that ever, ExpressVPN’s router support will let you protect your entire network.
Therefore, this support for 5 simultaneous connections still looks great and feasible.
For every good software, active and helpful customer support is a must-have – at least, this is what we believe.
And when it comes to VPNs, this is even more important since VPNs constitute a critical privacy tool. If the customers face any issues while using the tool, they can either lose access to their network or leave themselves exposed online due to misconfigured settings.
Active customer support, however, serves the best to save their customers from such issues.
Still, many VPNs fail to provide a continuous support portal for the users adequately.
Nonetheless, ExpressVPN has excelled at this point as well. They claim to have 24/7 customer support, and we are compelled to say their claim is nothing but the truth!
Since we’re to come up with an honest review of ExpressVPN, we tested their live chat support feature ourselves. Our team contacted them at various times and asked different questions. Each time, they didn’t disappoint us.
In fact, we found them much more vigilant than many other tech firms (including the non-VPN ones).
The moment we posted a query to them, we could get a response within a few seconds. Even the longest waiting time for us didn’t last more than 30 seconds.
Here we share brief screengrabs of our chat with them.
This is what makes this incredibly easy for the users to use. From download to setup and subsequent settings, you can get in touch with them for a resolution.
If you doubt, you can head on to their website yourself (right now when you’re reading this review). Drop them a message via the chat feature and start your stopwatch. You’ll be amazed to see their response time.
Apart from the live chat option, ExpressVPN also offers email support. So, if you have a more detailed query, want a detailed response, or simply running short on time to chat, drop them an email. You will surely get a swift response.
Although, in most cases, you won’t need to contact them since you’ll find every detail you wish to know in their support articles. You can find a comprehensive answer to all your queries, from application setup tutorials to compatible devices and configuration recommendations.
If you don’t find what you yearn to know, again, the chat feature is all yours.
Can I use ExpressVPN for Netflix unblocking?
After knowing all that ExpressVPN has for you, you might wonder if it can solve that Netflix block for you.
If that’s so, then we have good news for you. ExpressVPN works incredibly well for unblocking Netflix.
And we can confidently say this since our team tested this VPN with multiple Netflix libraries. As expected, we faced no trouble in getting access to any Netflix location.
At first, we connected to a US server to unblock Netflix USA. Then, we accessed Netflix and could easily view the content exclusive to USA users only. Throughout, we observed no speed lags or prolonged buffering during streaming. Nor did we ever get a proxy error while connecting.
We then connected to some local servers, and the experience went excellent as expected.
After going through these two, we changed locations, changed devices, and seamlessly unblocked other Netflix libraries.
Besides, we also tested this VPN for accessing other streaming services, including:
In brief, ExpressVPN never hindered our streaming experience.
Apart from these streaming platforms, we also assessed this VPN for working with Kodi. In addition to online protection, using VPNs with Kodi will also let you get more add-ons and access more content on your device.
Thankfully, ExpressVPN offers dedicated support for Kodi across major platforms, including Android, Windows, iOS, Mac, and Chromebook.
Hence, if your sole purpose of buying a VPN is streaming, you can easily go for ExpressVPN.
This is one of the most resilient VPNs that remain difficult to detect by most platforms. Hence, you will likely not get any proxy errors during streaming. If it happens at any time, you can connect to any other server from the same location and continue streaming.
Is ExpressVPN safe for torrents?
In the case of streaming, a VPN works more like a workaround to bypass geo-restrictions.
But, for torrenting, a VPN is a must-have given the grey nature of this activity.
Especially if you’re living in a country where torrenting is illegal or surveilled, you’ll land in hot water for torrenting. Hence, you essentially need a robust VPN for torrents to anonymize yourself online.
So, we tested ExpressVPN to see if it really is as secure as it claims.
Indeed, it is because we observed no IP leak during the process.
Besides, we got superfast speeds with nearby servers and could download torrents quickly. Though, the distant servers were also good. But since torrenting usually doesn’t require a specific location, we were happy to proceed with secure and fast torrenting via nearby servers.
Since our experience was great, we recommend ExpressVPN to all those who frequently torrent. This VPN is better than any other torrent proxy as it not only hides your real IP but also encrypts your data.
On top of that, ExpressVPN has a demonstrated no-logs policy. So, you don’t have to worry about your government getting the slightest hint of your torrenting or P2P activities with this VPN.
Responsible use of every privacy tool is your obligation. PrivacySavvy never encourages misuse of these fair privacy tools like VPNs for any unethical practices. Therefore, make sure not to indulge yourself in any grey activity (such as copyright violation) while using ExpressVPN for torrenting.
Does ExpressVPN support gaming?
After evaluating ExpressVPN for streaming and torrenting, we moved on to our next VPN testing parameter – gaming.
And, no, we didn’t specifically test it for routine online games, like Candy Crush or the ones for kids. (Though we did, for a security purpose, not to check its feasibility regarding the speed and all.)
While ExpressVPN performed well with those lighter games, we aimed for more aggressive testing. Of course, the high claims by this service provider regarding fast speed and top-notch security compelled us to do more with this VPN.
So, our team connected to a local server and started Red Dead Redemption 2. After a while, we switched servers, and our gaming experience remained unchanged.
After that, we started Fortnite on local as well as nearby servers.
And the results, in all cases, were incredible. No IP leaks, no speed lags, no buffering, no glitches, no bandwidth issue – all in all, ExpressVPN made our gaming experience even better than what we did without VPN.
While this sufficed to impress us, we had decided to come up with all possible ExpressVPN details with this extensive review. So, we also tested the distant servers with all of these heavy online games. While our experience wasn’t as seamless as we had with nearby servers; still, it sufficed to let us play without lags.
Thus, if you want a secure gaming experience without being left out due to ISP throttling, you can trust ExpressVPN.
If you’re wondering whether this VPN would let you access and play PUBG or not, then we can tell you that it will. You won’t face any problems accessing the game in case it’s banned in your locality. Nonetheless, we still advise you to respect your local laws and not attempt playing PUBG if the authorities in your region deem it an offense.
ExpressVPN and The Great Firewall of China
Until now, we have analyzed ExpressVPN in detail for its performance, speed, ability to bypass geo-restrictions, and support heavy browsing activities such as streaming, torrenting, and gaming.
Indeed, ExpressVPN seamlessly passed all our tests for this review.
Yet, we’re left with one thing – how does this VPN serve in repressive regions? Is it robust enough to bypass the Great Firewall of China?
You must be knowing that China is a classic example of countries that typically discourage the public from using VPNs. These countries often employ harsh surveillance laws, including aggressive online traffic monitoring. Because VPNs create a hurdle in such surveillance activities, these countries either monitor the use of VPNs by their public or simply label this practice a criminal offense by marking VPNs as illegal.
While most VPNs, respecting local laws, have exited the regions where VPNs are illegal, countries like China remain under discussion as they haven’t explicitly marked VPNs as unlawful.
Yet, many popular VPNs, like Private Internet Access, McAfee Safe Connect, and CyberGhost, have failed to serve customers in such regions, especially in China.
So, our final test involved the use of ExpressVPN in China.
And the results were as expected – ExpressVPN smoothly evaded China’s Great Firewall!
Not only did the connection work well with considerable speeds, but it also prevented any IP leaks. At the same time, our team didn’t get a hint of traffic monitoring with this VPN.
ExpressVPN employs obfuscation server technology to facilitate users in China. This technology masks the VPN data packets in a way that they appear like regular internet traffic. In this way, the VPN prevents any surveilling authority from tracking your data and detects VPN use.
What’s good with ExpressVPN is that you don’t have to do anything to activate this feature. Instead, it automatically kicks in the moment the VPN client detects that you’re connecting from a repressive region.
So, together with the kill switch (Network Lock feature in ExpressVPN), you can easily use this VPN to bypass China’s Great Firewall without the fear of getting caught.
Does ExpressVPN work with Tor?
The Onion Router or Tor is another privacy-oriented tool. However, it often faces backlash from authorities as it’s a gateway to access the dark web as well.
Nonetheless, Tor itself isn’t grey, and you should still use it for privacy with your regular searches as well.
However, to avoid facing any issues due to your use of Tor, you should ideally couple it with a VPN.
But, another problem here is that Tor isn’t fast enough as it reroutes your traffic through multiple nodes before releasing it to the internet. When coupled with a VPN, the overall speed may drop even lower as your data will now be treated twice before reaching the online world.
Nonetheless, you cannot simply drop the idea of using a VPN with Tor due to speed, as it will risk your privacy.
Thus, you need a robust VPN that offers thorough security without lagging speed – just the way ExpressVPN claims.
So, we tested this VPN with Tor as well.
Again, ExpressVPN performed exceptionally well during our review. We not only tested local and nearby servers but also connected to the farthest server locations as well. Even the latter succeeded in delivering satisfactory connection speed, just enough to let us browse through. In comparison, the nearby servers worked faster.
With a kill switch in place, ExpressVPN also protects you against accidental tracking by your ISP in case of connection drops. So, regardless of the consistency of your base connectivity, with ExpressVPN, your TOR activities will remain veiled.
ExpressVPN pricing plans
After reading all about this service in this review, you might wonder if subscribing to this VPN costs you a fortune.
Indeed, if a service works incredibly well, it shouldn’t be available for free. Nor could it manage to maintain premium service quality while asking for peanuts only.
Hence, ExpressVPN does place itself on the expensive side.
Although, its subscription fees won’t disrupt your budget. But you may not find it as cheap as Surfshark VPN.
Precisely, ExpressVPN offers three different pricing plans to the subscribers. First is the monthly plan, the priciest of all, costing around $13 per month. Then, you have a half-yearly plan costing approximately $10 per month, and a yearly plan, which is the cheapest of all, as you can subscribe to it for roughly $7 per month.
Compared with other VPNs like NordVPN and Surfshark that offer services akin to ExpressVPN alongside additional privacy tools, ExpressVPN costs relatively more. Perhaps, they can justify this higher price if they also introduce more features such as adblocker, malware protection, and email breach alert service.
Nonetheless, given how incredibly well they protect your privacy and warrant top-notch security, it’s still affordable to subscribe to ExpressVPN instead of subscribing to VPNs that lag behind in performance or compromising your privacy with free VPNs.
Although, you won’t find any offer regarding ExpressVPN’s free trial. Yet, they do offer a 30-day paid trial with a risk-free money-back guarantee.
It means you can test their VPN with full confidence without worrying about your money. If they fail to satisfy you (which is quite unlikely), you can simply contact them via chat or email and ask for a refund. Most certainly, you’ll have your money back in your account within a few business days.
“I have decided to choose ExpressVPN, but how would I pay to them?” We hear you ask.
Well, with ExpressVPN, you don’t have to ponder over an appropriate payment method. That’s because these service providers offer support for various payment modes, thus facilitating their customers.
Indeed, a VPN with such a huge global footprint must support more payment options to let the customers join them from around the world.
In short, you can pay the subscription fee to them via PayPal, credit card, or any other online money transfer service such as UnionPay, AliPay, WebMoney, and more.
Whereas, if you prefer not to share your billing details with them, you can go for anonymous payments via Bitcoin.
We now reach the end of this comprehensive ExpressVPN review.
While we don’t think you need a precise answer after reaching this far, still, if you wonder whether you should trust ExpressVPN or not, then the answer is, “yes.”
We have tested dozens of VPNs while working, as we keep doing that as part of our regular activities. The only VPN that has consistently managed to deliver services par excellence is ExpressVPN.
From unblocking restricted websites to delivering fast-speed connectivity for heavier tasks such as gaming and torrenting, ExpressVPN never fails at any point.
Plus, it warrants a 24/7/365 online security to all its subscribers as far as they keep their VPN connections active.
It has a robust kill switch, unbreakable encryption, strong abilities to resist VPN bans and bypass firewalls even in repressive countries.
The only issue (though a minor one) with ExpressVPN is the lack of fancy security features. It becomes notable while considering its relatively higher subscription fees.
Perhaps, you may find NordVPN, Surfshark, and Private Internet Access as cheaper alternatives to ExpressVPN.
But this substitution is more about the price. If you compare the online security of today’s top VPNs, then ExpressVPN surpasses them all.