Let us begin our ExpressVPN review by observing that they have always had one goal and that is to enable users worldwide to browse the Internet safely, securely, and anonymously. To this end they have been providing VPN services since 2009 and are located in the British Virgin Islands where they are not influenced by the NSA, GCHQ, or the data retention directives found in other countries. Over the past six years, ExpressVPN has steadily grown into one of the largest premium VPN networks available. Their zero-logging network currently consists of 1500+ servers in over 145 cities spread among 94 countries across the world.
ExpressVPN supports most VPN protocols including OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, SSTP, and PPTP. What is more, they have custom apps for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, iOS, and Android. This makes it easy to connect to their network of servers from a variety of platforms and devices from almost anywhere in the world. They also employ some of the most secure ciphers using 256 bit strength encryption with client-server security settings to ensure that you are always protected while using their service.
Pricing and Special Offers
The ExpressVPN service is sold using three plans (shown below) whose prices are discounted according to the term length. These terms include one month, six months, and 12 months. Their basic rate is $12.95 per month. Signing up for a six month plan will bring the cost down to $9.99 and save you about 23% off the monthly price. The best deal is the 12 month plan at just $8.32 per month which will save you about 35% off the monthly price which is like getting four months of their VPN for free.
ExpressVPN offers their service in one package which includes the following benefits:
- All of their plans include a 30-day money back guarantee.
- You will have full access to the entire network of servers in 94 countries.
- This includes unlimited speed, bandwidth, and server switches.
- You can simultaneously connect one computer, and one handheld device, one wireless router, and a streaming media console with DNS from a single account.
- You will have access to their MediaStreamer Smart DNS service but you must first register the IP address of your device on your account page of their website before streaming from your favorite providers.
- You have access to their 24/7, round-the-clock online chat and email support services.
- You will have access to the full suite of ExpressVPN’s easy-to-use software for all of your Operating Systems: Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, Android, and Linux.
- You can use any of the protocols they support including OpenVPN(UDP/TCP), L2TP/IPSec, SSTP, and PPTP.
As you can see above, ExpressVPN offers a generous number of ways to pay for their service. You can pay by credit cards which include VISA, Mastercard, American Express, Discovery, JCB, and Diners Club International. They also accept VISA debit cards, Electron and Delta. You can pay using PayPal and Bitcoin which will only require you to enter an email address. Finally, you can pay using Paymentwall which includes WebMoney, Alipay, UnionPay, Yandex Money, Giropay, iDEAL, SOFORT, Carte Bleue, Maestro, Interac Online, MINT, FanaPay, and OneCard.
Risk Free Trial Period
Although they do not have a free trial, ExpressVPN is so confident that you will enjoy the speed and reliability of their VPN network that they offer all new users a full 30-day money back guarantee. This is more than enough time to test out their VPN for yourself. If for any reason, you are not completely satisfied with their service, they will refund the full purchase price of your chosen plan. This reimbursement will be in US dollars and therefore the refund amount could differ from the amount originally paid in local currency or Bitcoin. You must request a refund within 30 days of initial purchase. Refunds after this period are at the sole discretion of ExpressVPN.
ExpressVPN Network and Server Locations
ExpressVPN has built a large network by providing a premium VPN that will keep you secure and anonymous while surfing the Internet. They have multiple locations in popular countries like the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, and the Netherlands. The ExpressVPN network offers a good balance of server availability and fast, reliable performance.
|94||145||1500||OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP, SSTP|
Their network is comprised of over 1500 servers in 145 cities spread cross 94 countries worldwide. Let us review their full list of server locations:
- United States: Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New Jersey, New York, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Clara, Seattle, Tampa, Washington DC
- Canada: Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver
- Argentina, Bahamas, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela
- Asia Pacific
- Australia: Sydney, Melbourne
- Brunei, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam
- United Kingdom: Berkshire, Chessington, Kent, London, Maidenhead
- Germany: Darmstadt, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt
- Netherlands: Amsterdam, Rotterdam
- Albania, Andora, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine
- Africa, Middle East, and India
- India: Chennai, Mumbai
- Algeria, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Egypt, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, South Africa, Turkey, Uzbekistan
Their network supports the OpenVPN (TCP, UDP), L2TP-IPsec, SSTP, and PPTP protocols. ExpressVPN has custom apps for a variety of OS including Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, iOS, and Android to make it easy to connect to their network from almost any device.
Privacy and Security
We do not collect or log browsing history, the destination or contents of your traffic, IP addresses used to connect to the VPN, or DNS queries.
ExpressVPN does not collect any IP addresses, browsing history, traffic data, or DNS queries that could be used to identify any specific user.
ExpressVPN protects your anonymity while using there service as well. They provide more anonymous ways to pay for their VPN such as Bitcoin. They share IP addresses between subscribers to help make your traffic more homogeneous. In addition, they mask your true IP, and assign you a virtual one which makes it harder for advertisers, governments, or anyone else to track your movements while surfing the Internet.
Their entire site is SSL secured using a 4096 bit CA and all of your data while connected to their VPN is securely encrypted using some of the best encryption protocols and ciphers in the industry like AES 256 bit CBC. They support a variety of protocols including OpenVPN which is their default protocol in all of their custom apps except iOS which defaults to the L2TP/IPSec protocol suite.
ExpresVPN provides 24/7 email ticket support for any problems you may have with most support tickets answered in just a few hours but they say no more that a day. They also have interactive chat support on their website which can help you with many questions. Their website has an excellent support area where you can see common questions and support issues. The support area also has well written manual installation and configuration guides for all the protocols that they support if you decide not to use their custom apps.
Members can download the latest ExpressVPN apps for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, iOS and Android. Once you sign up for an account, they will send you a welcoming email with a password so that you can log into your account page on their website. From there you can choose your OS and download the appropriate app.
We have developed a full set of guides for the ExpressVPN clients. They detail the setup for each operating system along with how to configure some of the more advanced options. I encourage you to read over the guide that applies to your device after you sign up for ExpressVPN. You will find a link to each guide in the seections that follow.
We’ll start with a review of ExpressVPN for Windows:
The software is very easy to navigate. You can select any server location from a list. You will notice a yellow star next to Atlanta which signifies that it is marked as a favorite. We recommend you set some favorites for easy access. It makes connecting to the ExpressVPN network even faster. Speaking of performance, the client includes a speed test. The test will produce a list with values including a speed index, latency (ping), and download speed. The speed index score will point you to the fastest servers.
As with other VPN providers, ExpressVPN will determine the best servers based on your current location. We mention this because we know that some users travel a lot. If you fall into that category then I suggest you run the speed test anytime you travel t another region. This will help you maximize performance. You will quickly notice that the ExpressVPN network does quite well when it comes to speed.
Our guide has a lot more details but we want to quickly review a few of the settings. You can set the client to connect using OpenVPN (UDP or TCP), L2TP/IPSec, PPTP, or SSTP. There is also the default option of letting the software choose your protocol automatically. I recommend leaving the default unless you run into problems. The other feature that you will want to consider is called network lock. It is an Internet kill switch. You will also commonly hear it referred to as a VPN kill switch. Enabling the network lock will protect your privacy by stopping communication if the VPN drops, until it reconnects.
Next in the line up is ExpressVPN for Mac:
Mac fans will notice a common theme between the clients. Once again you will be able to select any server location and connect to the ExpressVPN network. The biggest difference is that the Mac client does not offer a VPN kill switch feature. We’re hopeful that it will be added in a future update. Until then you could consider using Viscosity but it requires more technical knowledge.
We included a screenshot of the speed test. It is part of both the Mac and Windows apps. You can set the client to automatically connect to a server of your choosing at startup. It will select the protocol automatically. Alternatively you can choose between OpenVPN (TCP or UDP), or L2TP. We were happy to see ExpressVPN dump PPTP as an option since it is not as secure. In addition to a VPN kill switch, the latest version of the ExpressVPN client for Mac supports split tunneling. This allows you to choose whether or not any app goes through the VPN. This can be quite helpful for sites that do not work well with VPN. You can stay connected and route those apps through your ISP connection rather than the VPN. If your only goal is to unblock geo restrictions then take a look at their MediaStreamer SmartDNS service which is included with your subscription.
Now for the mobile apps, we’ll examine ExpressVPN for iOS:
ExpressVPN is one of our favorite apps for iPhone. You can also run it on iPad. You will immediately notice the map view. This makes it easy to find and select a server location near you. Of course you can also pick a server in another country to unblock sites. The app will recommend server locations for you. You can set favorites for easy access in the future. You can also see the time left before your next account renewal.
There isn’t too much to share on the iOS app. It works exactly as you would expect. Those who prefer can view a list of servers rather than selecting one from the map. The app divides the list into recommended servers, favorites, and all servers broken down by region – Americas, Europe, Africa, Middle East & Asia, and Asia Pacific. Choose between UDP, TCP, or IPSec, or let the app take care of it for you. You can also set the app to auto-reconnect in case your connection drops. This will help protect your privacy.
The final app we’ll review is ExpressVPN for Android:
While the iOS app is nicer to look at, the Android app works alright. The map view is missing for Android users but you can select a server from the list view. You can see ping times to help select the fastest location. The app uses OpenVPN and will let you pick automatic, UDP, or TCP. You can set the auto connect feature to help protect your privacy. It’s easy to forget to connect to your VPN until it’s too late. This will help take care of that for you.
We hope to see the network lock (VPN kill switch) or equivalent feature added to the Mac and mobile apps in the future. There are some other features that would also be nice like port forwarding and the ability to connect to VPN when it recognizes customer preset networks or sites. For now we use IPVanish when these additional features are desired. Otherwise I think you’ll be quite happy with the ExpressVPN client software. It’s well designed and easy to use across both desktop and mobile.
ExpressVPN Speed Test
We were very pleased with the overall performance of ExpressVPN. You can see from the speed test below that their service performed well in our speed test. As expected, there was some speed loss while connected to their network due to the encryption used by the connection. However, this was very minimal in the case of ExpressVPN.
As you can see from the images above, the ExpressVPN encrypted connection lowered my base ISP download speed from 65.92 Mb/s to 62.45 Mb/s. This is a drop of just over 5% to a server in Chicago, IL which is among the best we have observed. Similar results were found when we connected to other locations with most between 5% and 10% loss which is an excellent trade-off for the extra security provided by encrypting your connection.
ExpressVPN Review Final Thoughts
ExpressVPN is a veteran in the VPN industry. They have been providing VPN services since 2009. We expected and received nothing but professionalism from the design of their website, the service offered by their support staff, and the extensive offering of custom software for all the major operating systems including Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, iOS, and Android. They provide guides to connect to their service with everything from routers to streaming media and game consoles. These can be accessed from your license page on their website along with any pre-shared keys, usernames, and passwords that may be necessary to manually set them up.
In addition to the VPN service, ExpressVPN also has a MediaStreamer SmartDNS service for accessing streaming media providers and bypassing annoying geo-restrictions. All members have access to the service. To take advantage of the feature simply register the IP of the device you want to stream through on the DNS tab of your account screen on their website. You will be given the IP addresses of their DNS servers to add them to your device. These can be found on the licenses page of your account on their website. This is the same page where you download their client software.
Their custom apps are easy to install and use, regardless of the device you use them on. The graphical interface is consistent across devices with virtually the same functionality with the exception of different supported protocols. Their Windows app has a kill switch not found in the other apps.
What we liked most about the service:
- They have clients for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.
- They have mobile apps for iOS and Android.
- Browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox.
- They offer very fast server connections.
- The have a 30-day money back guarantee with no limitations.
- They offer discounts for longer term packages and include SmartDNS.
Ideas to improve the service:
- Allow more simultaneous connections.
- Consider lowering the monthly price of the service.
ExpressVPN has one of the largest VPN networks and it performs very well. This is a testament to their goal of providing a fast VPN service that you can connect to from anywhere. They have online chat support, as well as, an email ticketing support. They are not the least expensive VPN on the market but offer extra value through their support and value-added features like MediaStreamer. To get the best bang for your buck we suggest that you sign up for a year of service. They offer a 30-day money back guarantee without limitations so you will have plenty of time to see it their service is the one you are looking for. Give ExpressVPN a try and see what you think. If you like their VPN performance and enjoy using their service, you can sign up for unlimited access from just $8.32 per month.