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The Best ExpressVPN Alternative for 2022: Premium VPN Services at a Lower Cost

ExpressVPN offers best-in-class VPN services, but it also comes with a premium price tag. If you’re looking for something more pocket-friendly, there are a few options out there. We did the legwork for you and found five of the best ExpressVPN alternatives. Read the guide to learn more.

Arjun Ruparelia
By Arjun Ruparelia (Writer)
— Last Updated: 2022-06-24T16:58:34+00:00 Facts checked by Jasna Mishevska

ExpressVPN is the best virtual private network available. It has an excellent feature portfolio, top-notch security and blazing-fast connection speeds. We’ve seen ExpressVPN perform consistently well during our tests. So, why would anyone want an ExpressVPN alternative? Well, ExpressVPN comes with a major downside — its premium price tag. 

Key Takeaways:

  • ExpressVPN is our favorite VPN. However, if you find it expensive, you could consider selecting one of the best alternatives to ExpressVPN. 
  • NordVPN is the best alternative to ExpressVPN because it offers a similar feature set and almost the same level of performance for less than half the price.
  • Consider Windscribe if you’re looking for a free alternative to ExpressVPN.

Note that if the higher cost of ExpressVPN doesn’t bother you, you stand to benefit significantly in terms of security, speed and overall performance. When you select an ExpressVPN alternative, you’re trading off a bit of that best-in-class performance for a lower price tag. However, some alternatives do offer features you won’t find on ExpressVPN.

  • Yes, Windscribe is a great free alternative to ExpressVPN. There are a few limitations, like a 10GB data cap and access to server locations in 10 countries; however, you’ll still have a secure connection, so you won’t need to worry about online safety. You’ll also have excellent speeds for streaming or other online activities.

  • No, there isn’t. Sure, internet users have differing opinions, but our tests reveal that ExpressVPN is the best VPN service out there. It has best-in-class features and consistently performs well on our tests.

  • ExpressVPN is not owned by China. The VPN service was acquired in 2021 by Kape Technologies, a U.K.-based adware company.

  • If your budget allows for it, you should certainly use ExpressVPN. It offers secure servers to protect online data, blazing-fast connection speeds and seamless access to geoblocked websites like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video by hiding your real IP address.

Top Alternatives to ExpressVPN

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What Makes the Best ExpressVPN Alternative?

The following VPN services make excellent ExpressVPN alternatives either because they offer similar performance or features that ExpressVPN lacks. Also, all virtual private networks listed below cost less than ExpressVPN.

  1. NordVPN — Four types of specialty servers
  2. Surfshark — Unlimited simultaneous connections
  3. CyberGhost — User-friendly interface
  4. Windscribe — Generous free plan
  5. Private Internet Access — More extra features than ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is a hard-to-beat VPN service. However, some of the top VPN services still manage to beat ExpressVPN in several aspects, like the number of simultaneous connections and options on the user interface.

All ExpressVPN alternatives listed here offer excellent security and have a strict no-logs policy. You can’t go wrong with any ExpressVPN alternative in this guide, but you should select a service based on your needs. For instance, if you need a VPN for online anonymity while torrenting, you might want to select a VPN like NordVPN or Private Internet Access.

We talk about how each of the ExpressVPN alternatives we’ve picked offers something better than ExpressVPN in addition to a lower price.

The 5 Best ExpressVPN Alternatives

Before you pick an alternative, you probably want to learn more about the VPN providers. Below, we discuss what problem you can solve by selecting a certain ExpressVPN alternative and a quick overview of what else the alternative offers.

1. NordVPN

how to watch full house nordvpn canada
NordVPN offers a larger server network and four types of specialty servers.

More details about NordVPN:

  • Pricing: cheapest plan costs $3.29 per month (two-year plan)
  • Provider website: www.nordvpn.com

Pros:

  • Fast connection speeds
  • Specialty servers
  • Large network of servers

Cons:

  • Expensive monthly plan

NordVPN is the best ExpressVPN alternative, with performance that’s almost as good as ExpressVPN — sometimes better. For instance, our recent speed tests show that NordVPN offers lightning-fast speeds that sometimes exceed ExpressVPN’s speeds.

You don’t need to worry about security or privacy either. NordVPN is one of the most secure VPNs out there, with a strict no-logs policy. You also get all the essential features on NordVPN like unlimited bandwidth and a kill switch. NordVPN also offers an assortment of other features as we discuss in our NordVPN review.

Specialty Servers

You also get four types of specialty servers, including double VPN, which splits traffic between two VPN tunnels; Onion over VPN, which combines the security of the Tor network with VPN (the reason NordVPN is the best VPN for Tor). P2P servers support high-speed P2P sharing and obfuscated servers help conceal VPN usage and bypass VPN-blocking firewalls. 

Additionally, you can access dedicated IP servers provided you pay for a dedicated IP address. Learn more about how the two services compare in our NordVPN vs ExpressVPN throw down.

NordVPN homepage
NordVPN offers a similar feature set at half the price of ExpressVPN.

You get a very similar feature set and performance with NordVPN even though it costs almost half the price of ExpressVPN. Of course, the best value plan (the two-year plan) is longer than ExpressVPN’s best value plan (the one-year plan). If you don’t mind the longer subscription period, NordVPN is one of the best ExpressVPN alternatives. You can also take it for a spin with its 30-day money-back guarantee if you’re not ready to commit.

2. Surfshark

surfshark US buffalo
Surfshark offers unlimited simultaneous connections compared to five on ExpressVPN.

More details about Surfshark:

  • Pricing: cheapest plan costs $2.49 per month (two-year plan)
  • Provider website: www.surfshark.com

Pros:

  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • URL-based split tunneling
  • Gets into most streaming apps

Cons:

  • Doesn’t have a user forum

Surfshark hasn’t been around for as long as other VPNs on the list. However, the VPN service has grown considerably in the recent past. It now includes a few features that give Surfshark a clear advantage over ExpressVPN.

For instance, while both Surfshark and ExpressVPN offer app-based split tunneling, Surfshark also offers URL-based split tunneling. If you like using the VPN only for select websites, URL-based split tunneling can come in handy. 

However, Surfshark’s split tunneling feature isn’t available on Mac, Linux or iOS, so this benefit is only applicable to Windows and Android users. Learn more about how the two services compare in our Surfshark vs ExpressVPN comparison.

Unlimited Simultaneous Connections

ExpressVPN allows up to five simultaneous connections, while Surfshark allows as many as you’d like. Combine that with the fact that Surfshark has no bandwidth limits and offers good connection speeds (though not as fast as ExpressVPN), and you’ve got a fairly cost-effective service provider. Need more information on Surfshark? Give our thorough Surfshark review a read.

surfshark cta
Surfshark offers a cost-effective VPN service, especially considering the unlimited simultaneous connections.

Surfshark is already a cheap service provider, and with all the essentials like excellent security features, unlimited bandwidth and unlimited simultaneous connections, it’s one of the best ExpressVPN alternatives if you’re looking to minimize the cost. You can also try Surfshark yourself risk-free with its 30-day money-back guarantee.

3. CyberGhost

CyberGhost homepage
CyberGhost offers an excellent interface on the desktop app and automation features.

More details about CyberGhost:

  • Pricing: cheapest plan costs $2.29 per month (three-year plan + three months)
  • Provider website: www.cyberghostvpn.com

Pros:

  • Excellent UI on desktop app
  • Automation features
  • Dedicated torrenting & streaming servers

Cons:

  • Doesn’t get past geoblocks on all streaming services

CyberGhost beats ExpressVPN on several fronts. For instance, CyberGhost offers seven simultaneous connections compared to five on ExpressVPN. Both VPNs offer similar security features like a kill switch and DNS leak protection, but they differ in one key feature — split tunneling.

ExpressVPN has app-based split tunneling. On the other hand, split tunneling on CyberGhost is called “smart rules.” You can set rules for a list of selected websites for which you don’t want to use VPN protection. 

For instance, you can continue gaming via your low-latency, unprotected internet connection, while using the CyberGhost VPN client to download a file from the internet. You can also set up automated actions using smart rules. Learn more about how it works in our CyberGhost review.

User-Friendly Interface

CyberGhost and ExpressVPN have a similar design on the surface. When you launch either VPN software, you’ll see a power button for activating the VPN connection. You’ll also see a list of servers you can choose from. This is where CyberGhost goes a step further.

On ExpressVPN, you get a separate window for selecting a server, which displays a few recommended server locations, a search bar and the option to view all servers. 

On the other hand, CyberGhost also shows you your distance from each server location and its server load, and allows you to sort the list based on both parameters too. Learn more about how the two services compare in our guide on CyberGhost vs ExpressVPN.

cyberghost cta
CyberGhost is a low-cost service with a great VPN app. 

CyberGhost’s best value is the three-year plan, and you usually get free months on top of that too. The subscription length is a little longer than others on the list, but you can always start with a trial and claim a full refund using the 30-day money-back guarantee if you’re not fully satisfied.

4. Windscribe

windscribe usa
Windscribe is a free alternative to ExpressVPN.

More details about Windscribe:

  • Pricing: Free; $2 per month minimum checkout value with the flexible build-a-plan option
  • Provider website: www.windscribe.com

Pros:

  • Generous free plan
  • Flexible build-a-plan option
  • Excellent security, privacy & speed

Cons:

  • 3-day money-back guarantee

If you’re looking for a free VPN service, Windscribe is the best you’ll find on the internet. Typically, free VPNs are unreliable, insecure and slow. Windscribe is none of those things. In fact, Windscribe’s logging policy is one of the most transparent VPN policies around.

Windscribe offers top-notch security that’s comparable to ExpressVPN with most standard security protocols (OpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuard, Stealth and Websocket Stealth) and AES-256 encryption. Speaking of connection speeds, our latest tests confirm that Windscribe is one of the fastest VPNs around. Windscribe also has an excellent browser extension that you can learn more about in our Windscribe review.

Generous Free Plan

The free version offers almost everything you’d expect from a paid VPN service, except that it puts a 10GB per month cap on data and offers server locations in 10 countries once you confirm your email address. Even with those limitations, Windscribe’s free plan is one of the most generous you’ll find among free VPNs.

windscribe home page
In addition to a free plan, Windscribe also offers flexible pricing with its build-a-plan option.

There’s also a flexible build-a-plan option that you can use to fill in these gaps. The option lets you remove the data cap for $1 per month and add server locations for $1 each, with a minimum checkout value of $2. You can also choose from one of its paid plans. The best value plan, the yearly plan, costs $4.08 per month — still cheaper than ExpressVPN.

5. Private Internet Access

pia usa
PIA offers an easy-to-use docked interface on desktop.

More details about Private Internet Access:

Pros:

  • Built-in ad & malware blocker
  • Pocket-friendly
  • Larger network of servers

Cons:

  • Doesn’t get into some popular streaming platforms

Private Internet Access (PIA) offers 10 simultaneous connections — twice as many as ExpressVPN. Considering it also costs a lot less, the price per user is reduced significantly. PIA also sports a sleeker interface that shows a lot more information than ExpressVPN in the expanded view, including the connection time and bandwidth usage.

PIA also adds an extra layer of security to the VPN tunnel by allowing you to use a SOCKS5 or Shadowsocks proxy. Using a proxy provides a secure connection without as significant an impact on the performance as a double VPN. Learn more about how PIA compares with ExpressVPN in our PIA vs ExpressVPN guide.

More Extra Features Than ExpressVPN

By “extra,” we’re referring to features that a VPN service could function without but are nice to have. In addition to a regular kill switch, PIA also offers an advanced kill switch that disallows any web traffic unless the VPN connection is active.

With PIA, you also get access to MACE. It’s an ad blocker, but it’s more efficient than most because it doesn’t need to look at your blocklist before denying a DNS request — learn how that works in our guide to DNS records. Plus, you don’t need to install any extensions on the browser when using the desktop or mobile app. Find out more about what PIA offers in our Private Internet Access review.

pia website
PIA is the cheapest service on the list, provided you opt for its best value plan.

PIA’s best value option, the two-year plan, is a great deal. Though there are several fronts where ExpressVPN beats PIA, the price and the added feature set might appeal to you if you’re looking for a good, low-cost VPN service. Of course, you can try PIA out with its 30-day money-back guarantee to see how it works before committing to a long-term plan.

Why Is ExpressVPN Good?

ExpressVPN isn’t just good, it’s the best VPN out there. It goes above and beyond the basic VPN features and performance in almost all aspects. For instance, it’s the most secure VPN and has the Lightway protocol, its proprietary security protocol that offers an excellent combination of speed and security.

Need a VPN for Netflix? ExpressVPN is your best bet for bypassing its geoblocks. It’s the best streaming VPN — not just for Netflix, but for all popular streaming services — with unlimited bandwidth, a broad server network and lightning-fast speeds. These are some of the many reasons why ExpressVPN is the best VPN, but we give you more reasons in our ExpressVPN review.

Final Thoughts

Since ExpressVPN is the best VPN, finding great ExpressVPN alternatives can be a bit of a challenge. Few VPN providers can match ExpressVPN in terms of security, online privacy and performance. However, we managed to find a few things that the best VPN services do better than ExpressVPN, though they may still fall behind on other fronts.

The best alternative depends on what you’re looking for in a VPN and the price you’re willing to pay for it. Hopefully, one of the VPNs listed here will be a perfect fit for you. 

Have you used ExpressVPN before and then switched to a different service? How was your experience? Let us know in the comments below, and as always, thanks for reading.

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