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ExpressVPN Review

Of all the VPNs fighting for your attention, ExpressVPN deserves it the most. It’s designed to be the easiest possible entry point for new VPN users, and its speed and security are up to scratch. Get all the details from our ExpressVPN review.

Samuel Chapman
By Samuel Chapman (Editor)
— Last Updated: 2022-09-19T23:27:33+00:00 Facts checked by Jasna Mishevska

ExpressVPN is our most recommended VPN provider of them all. It may be known for savvy marketing, but even with no influencers or sponsorships raising awareness, ExpressVPN would consistently top any best VPN list we put together. Why? Because, as our comprehensive ExpressVPN review will tell you, it really is that good.

Key Takeaways:

  • ExpressVPN is the best all-around VPN. While it’s not number one in every area, it has the best combination of good points.
  • The best thing about this VPN is the strong security and user-friendly interface, but consistent speeds, streaming performance and stellar customer support are close behind.
  • Some of ExpressVPN’s corporate decisions raise concerns, but there’s no evidence that they’ve had any impact on the VPN itself.

ExpressVPN is a top choice for new VPN users, for people who care about their online security and privacy, and for people who use their VPN primarily for accessing streaming platforms.

It’s not without competitors. Surfshark and NordVPN often give ExpressVPN a run for its money, but neither VPN provider has quite managed to dethrone the champion. In this review, we’ll rate ExpressVPN in nine different areas and see if it’s still the king of virtual private networks.

  • 08/27/2021

    Cloudwards completed a fresh review of ExpressVPN. Since our last review, the VPN hasn’t had any major revamp, and the official launch of the Lightway protocol is the only notable change. The new VPN has significantly improved ExpressVPN’s speed. 

  • 09/14/2021

    Kape Technologies announced that it planned to buy ExpressVPN, which claims the VPN will remain independent and continue third-party evaluations of the service.

  • 11/03/2021

    Updated ExpressVPN’s privacy and security scores following the evaluation of the privacy policy after Kape Technologies’ acquisition of ExpressVPN and the news of ExpressVPN’s new chief technical officer, Dan Gericke, being a former spy for the United Arab Emirates.

  • 03/22/2022

    Updated the review to reflect ExpressVPN’s most recent independent security audit by F-Secure of the Windows app (V10).

  • 05/21/2022

    Clarified how ExpressVPN’s obfuscation feature works.

  • 06/24/2022

    Updated the review to include the Cloudwards auto speed tests and comparisons.

  • 09/05/2022

    This review has been updated for 2022 with new speed tests, features and security and privacy information.

  • In our ExpressVPN vs NordVPN comparison, ExpressVPN was the winner. NordVPN is slightly cheaper than ExpressVPN, and faster on some servers. However, NordVPN is not as user-friendly, and it doesn’t have as broad a server network. We’ve also found that streaming services block NordVPN more often.

  • No. ExpressVPN is owned by Kape Technologies, a company headquartered in the United Kingdom — though ExpressVPN is registered in the British Virgin Islands.

  • No, but you can try it for free using the 30-day money-back guarantee on every subscription tier.

  • Five devices can be connected to ExpressVPN for any one subscription.

ExpressVPN Review Video

Download
90 Mbps
Very Fast
Upload
9 Mbps
Very Fast
Latency
8 ms
Very Fast
Source: Cloudwards VPN Speed Test. We test daily. Data from 08/26/22 to 09/25/22
Data for region:

Alternatives for ExpressVPN

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ExpressVPN Review: Strengths & Weaknesses

Pros:

  • Extensive server network
  • Very fast speeds
  • Unblocks all streaming services
  • Very user-friendly interface
  • Split tunneling for all users
  • Lightway protocol
  • Audit tested security & privacy

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • No anonymous payment methods
  • Owned by Kape Technologies

Features

95 % – Excellent

ExpressVPN has all the features we look for in VPN services, and very few unnecessary extras. If you’re looking for fine-grained control and total customization, you won’t find it here — but you will find a sleek VPN that keeps you safe without making you work for it. You’ll get a kill switch, split tunneling and all the basics.

ExpressVPN’s features start simple, with the ability to launch the VPN app as soon as your device starts, and to automatically connect the moment it launches. If you check both of these options, you’ll be protected by a VPN the instant you start using any device it’s installed on.

expressvpn general features
Programming ExpressVPN isn’t as complex as CyberGhost, but it’s aiming to be user-friendly.

Unfortunately, you can’t program behavior for specific types of networks the way you can with CyberGhost (see our CyberGhost review), so ExpressVPN may connect automatically even on trusted networks — but it’s great if you often forget to turn on your VPN before getting online.

Kill Switch & Split Tunneling

Next, there’s Network Lock, which is ExpressVPN’s version of a kill switch. A kill switch protects you from accidentally broadcasting your IP address by monitoring your connection to the VPN servers; if it drops, the kill switch cuts off your internet as well. 

ExpressVPN adds the option to exempt local network traffic from the kill switch, which is handy. There’s nothing more annoying than your VPN going down and having the kill switch take your printer with it.

ExpressVPN also supports split tunneling on all its apps. Since a VPN connection makes online apps run slower, split tunneling allows you to apply the VPN only to apps that need protecting. You can play games or watch movies on the unprotected tunnel, while torrenting safely with VPN protection.

You can choose to manage split tunneling through a blocklist or an allowlist. With the blocklist selected, apps on the blocklist (pictured below) will not use the VPN. With the allowlist selected, only apps on the allowlist will use the VPN. Note that split tunneling is not currently available for macOS 11 and above.

expressvpn split tunneling
Choose whether to use a blocklist or allowlist for ExpressVPN split tunneling.

Shortcuts are another quality-of-life feature that reminds us of NordVPN’s presets (learn more in our NordVPN review), though it’s not quite as flexible. When you add a website to your shortcuts, its icon will appear on the VPN app home screen whenever the VPN is connected. You can have up to five shortcuts.

expressvpn shortcuts
Use shortcuts to reach your most used sites whenever you’re connected to ExpressVPN.

ExpressVPN’s Threat Manager

Threat Manager is a feature designed to enhance your privacy while browsing with ExpressVPN connected. ExpressVPN maintains a list of servers that receive information from third-party trackers, and blocks any exchanges with those servers while you browse. 

This bolsters the protection you already get from the VPN, making it even harder for advertisers to connect data with your IP address.

expressvpn threat manager
Threat Manager blocks trackers and third-party cookies, but isn’t designed to stop ads or malware.

The features grouped under the “advanced” tab are not especially advanced. You can check a box to send performance reports to ExpressVPN — we were pleased to see that it’s unchecked by default.

Leak Protection

IPv6 leak protection requires some explaining. The short version: Websites have begun migrating their IP addresses from the old IPv4 protocol to the new IPv6.

However, it’ll be a long process, and most ISPs don’t even connect to IPv6 addresses yet. Almost no websites at this point have only an IPv6 address, so without IPv6 connectivity, you can still browse freely.

expressvpn advanced features
The “advanced” tab is more like a “miscellaneous” tab.

However, VPNs (including ExpressVPN) are designed to protect IPv4 traffic. On the off chance your network does connect to IPv6 IP addresses, you might forfeit some protection. 

With this box checked (which it is by default), ExpressVPN will block traffic from v6 IP addresses altogether, keeping you safely within the bounds of IPv4 traffic. Once more of the internet has migrated to IPv6, VPNs will catch up, but for now, blocking IPv6 is the safest thing to do.

The final “advanced” ExpressVPN feature is the ability to customize where the VPN app appears on your desktop.

Built-In Speed Test

One of ExpressVPN’s standout features is the most information-rich speed test we’ve seen on a VPN in some time. A single test takes a long time to run, but tests every server for latency and download speed, then compiles both numbers into a “speed index” that rates the overall speed of each server.

expressvpn speed test
A higher speed index is better, as it indicates a low latency and fast download speeds.

We wouldn’t necessarily trust this over an independent speed test, but it offers visibility into how ExpressVPN thinks when it chooses the fastest servers for you (that’s the “smart location” you’ll see on the home screen).

ExpressVPN Keys

One of ExpressVPN’s most recent feature rollouts is ExpressVPN Keys, its password manager. ExpressVPN Keys is automatically integrated into the iOS and Android apps, while desktop users can download it as a Chrome extension.

expressvpn keys extension
The ExpressVPN Keys browser extension is convenient for those who don’t want to add a separate password manager.

Being a VPN add-on rather than a password manager in its own right, ExpressVPN Keys isn’t the most robust, but it’s nice to bundle your security apps together instead of building a piecemeal stack. You can visit our ExpressVPN Keys review to learn more.

ExpressVPN Supported Platforms

If your device connects to the internet, ExpressVPN has an app for your operating system. Plus, if you install it on a router, you can protect everything from a game console to an internet-capable toaster.

expressvpn apps
If ExpressVPN doesn’t have a dedicated app for any device, you can still protect that device by installing ExpressVPN on your router.

On desktop, ExpressVPN offers apps for Windows, macOS and Linux. ExpressVPN’s mobile apps are available for iOS and Android. There are also native apps for Chromebook and Kindle Fire; browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox and Edge; and apps for a host of smart TV systems: Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Android TV, Nvidia Shield and Chromecast.

The only smart TV missing is Samsung TV, where you can only set up MediaStreamer, a smart DNS streaming feature that doesn’t offer the same protection as a VPN.

You can also protect every device in your home by installing ExpressVPN on a router. Several routers from Asus, Linksys and Netgear are supported, but you can set up the VPN manually on practically any other model. Small wonder we found ExpressVPN to be our best VPN for routers.

ExpressVPN Simultaneous Connections

Every ExpressVPN subscription permits up to five devices to be connected at once. That’s connected, not installed — you can install ExpressVPN on everything you’ve got, and as long as you never connect more than five at a time, you won’t need a second subscription.

Admittedly, five simultaneous connections isn’t a lot, especially when compared to Surfshark’s unlimited simultaneous connections (which we talk about in our Surfshark review). 

However, if you do need more than five connections at once, you can just install ExpressVPN on your home router. A router VPN protects every device on your home WiFi while only counting as one connection against your simultaneous limit.

Missing Features

ExpressVPN has all the requisite features, but not many beyond. The feature set isn’t what puts it over the top as the best VPN. Some ExpressVPN alternatives, including NordVPN and CyberGhost, have bigger feature sets and more complex options to play with.

This isn’t entirely a count against ExpressVPN, though. Many of the missing features, such as dedicated IPs, aren’t helpful for most users. Other features, especially antivirus software, are far better handled by apps built for that purpose.

There are also plenty of features that are less visible because they’re built directly into ExpressVPN’s servers. For example, all ExpressVPN servers are optimized for torrenting, while NordVPN requires you to use specialty P2P servers. Another example is obfuscation; rather than having obfuscated servers, the technology is built into every server option.

You can’t expect a VPN to do everything, and those that try tend to fall short. ExpressVPN is committed to streamlining the security experience — leaving a few features on the table is the right choice for that objective.

ExpressVPN Features Overview

General
Payment methodsPayPal, Credit card, Bitcoin, PaymentWall
Accepts cryptocurrency
Simultaneous connections 5
Supports split tunneling
Unlimited bandwidth
Free trial available7 days (mobile only)
Refund period
Worldwide server amount3,000+ servers in 94 countries
Desktop OSesWindows, MacOS, Linux
Mobile OSesAndroid, iOS
Browser extensionsChrome, Firefox, Edge
Can be installed on routers
Streaming
Can access Netflix US
Can access BBC iPlayer
Can access Hulu
Can access Amazon Prime Video
Security
Encryption types256-AES, ChaCha20
VPN protocols availableOpenVPN, IKEv2, Lightway
Enabled at device startup
Allows torrenting
No-logging policy
Passed DNS leak test
Killswitch available
Malware/ad blocker included
Support
Live Chat24/7
Email support24/7
Phone support
User forum
Knowledgebase

Pricing

85 % – Very Good

Pricing is the main problem area for ExpressVPN. It’s expensive, even when compared to similar VPNs. Among its competitors, only VyprVPN and Astrill cost more per month (see our VyprVPN review and our Astrill review to learn more).

expressvpn price plans new customer discount
We won’t lie: ExpressVPN is expensive, but it’s in first class, while most other VPNs are riding in coach.

That said, you’ll rarely hear anyone complain that filet mignon costs more than a Big Mac. The question isn’t how much the item costs, but whether it earns the right to cost that much. The one thing softening the sting of ExpressVPN’s pricing is that it is worth every dollar.

ExpressVPN offers three payment options: monthly, every six months and every year. Each plan comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee; if you don’t like it, you can get all your money back with no questions asked. 

How Do I Get ExpressVPN Free?

ExpressVPN has no “forever free” plan like you’ll see on our best free VPN list. For true freedom, you’re better off checking out our Windscribe review or ProtonVPN review. However, there are a couple of temporary ways to try ExpressVPN without paying.

Only Android and iOS users can get a true free trial of ExpressVPN. When you download either mobile app, you’ll see a button offering a seven-day free trial. Just tap it to get started.

On any other device, you can use the 30-day money-back guarantee as a free trial with an extra step. As long as you remember to ask for your refund, you won’t have paid a cent.

How to Pay for ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN has a good-but-not-great selection of payment methods. There’s nothing truly anonymous; everything carries a slight risk of exposure.

expressvpn payment methods
You only need to provide your email address to make the most of the free trial on mobile. 

You can pay with a wide range of credit or debit cards or use PayPal. Bitcoin is your only option for cryptocurrency. You can also use several international payment platforms, aggregated via Paymentwall.

With VPNs like Mullvad pioneering totally anonymous purchase and checkout (see our Mullvad review), it’s disappointing that ExpressVPN hasn’t caught up yet.

User-Friendliness

100 % – Excellent

Now we’re getting into what really sets ExpressVPN apart. It not only works well, but it is also so easy to use. ExpressVPN chose to focus on user-friendliness instead of having the ability to tweak the features to your preferences.

Installing ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN’s user-focused design starts before you’re even using the app. To sign up for your account, all you have to do is provide an email address — you don’t even have to come up with or remember a username and password. Once you pay, you’ll get an activation code.

Next, download the VPN from the ExpressVPN website by finding the page for your device and clicking “download app.”

expressvpn download
You can also do this step first if you’d prefer.

Just open the app you’ve downloaded, enter your activation key and you’re done. You can set up account credentials when you’re ready. Once you’ve registered ExpressVPN on a device, you’ll never need to activate it again.

The ExpressVPN Desktop App

ExpressVPN’s desktop interface consists of exactly three buttons. One connects to the VPN, or disconnects if you’re already connected. Another one lets you change the VPN server. Finally, a hamburger menu leads to all the other features.

expressvpn desktop ui
Click once to turn it on, and again to turn it off. That’s it.

ExpressVPN connects you by default to a “smart location,” the one its internal speed test determined was fastest. After you’ve connected a few times, ExpressVPN will show you locations you’ve recently chosen so you can find them again quickly.

expressvpn server selection
Scroll through the full list of server locations, stick to ExpressVPN’s recommendations, or find your favorites in the “recent” tab.

The menu for manually selecting a server is sensibly organized. The “recommended” tab lists the fastest available servers by country. “All” is broken down by continent; on “recent,” you’ll find the most recent servers you’ve used, plus any you’ve favorited by clicking the star icon.

The ExpressVPN Mobile App

The ExpressVPN experience on mobile devices isn’t that different from what you get on a desktop computer. The mobile app is extremely simple, controlled through a few buttons, and the preferences and server location menus are a breeze to navigate.

ExpressVPN Android app
The Android and iOS apps look a lot like the desktop app.

Setup is also the same. The only difference is that you’ll go through the app store (iOS) or the Google Play Store (Android) instead of the ExpressVPN website. It’s clear that ExpressVPN doesn’t consider mobile an afterthought — the main reason we chose it as our best VPN for mobile and best VPN for Android.

Speed

94 % – Excellent

ExpressVPN is among the best fast VPNs we’ve used since we began running rigorous automated speed tests. It’s not the fastest overall — NordVPN edged it out slightly in our VPN speed comparison — but its download speeds, upload speeds and latency were consistently excellent across the globe.

We test VPN speeds by checking our unprotected speeds, then testing VPN servers on six continents. We’re looking for a low latency (communication time between servers, measured in ms), and fast download and upload speeds (amount of data that can transfer per second). See our latency vs speed breakdown for more details.

LocationPing
ms
Download
Mbps
Upload
Mbps
Unprotected510010
United States
6
91
9
United Kingdom
74
91
9
Australia
197
66
9
Brazil
134
86
9
South Africa
238
58
9
Singapore
225
62
9
Average
146
75.67
9

We used Lightway over TCP, ExpressVPN’s fastest protocol. You can see our results in the table above, or in the customizable line graphs below.

ExpressVPN Speed Test Results

The following graphs are set to show our United States server tests by default. Click the buttons under the graph to get information for each region or see worldwide averages.

Download Speed (Higher is better)
Upload Speed (Higher is better)
Latency (Lower is better)
Source: Cloudwards VPN Speed Test. We test daily. Data from 08/25/22 to 09/23/22
Data for region:

Most VPNs are fastest when the signal has the shortest distance to travel to the server. ExpressVPN is no different. We’re based in the United States, so ExpressVPN’s U.S. servers were the fastest. Across a month of tests, they lost less than 10% of our unprotected download speed on average.

This should hold true no matter which servers you’re closest to. We got our worst speeds in South Africa, but if you live in South Africa, you’re likely to get much better results.

Here’s what sets ExpressVPN apart: the United Kingdom server, on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean from us, had just as negligible an impact on download and upload speeds. Latency increased, but not nearly as much as you might expect from such a long journey.

ExpressVPN’s worldwide average speeds and latencies put it slightly behind NordVPN and Surfshark, but that consistency over medium distances makes it nevertheless a strong speed contender.

Download Speed (Higher is better)
Upload Speed (Higher is better)
Latency (Lower is better)
Source: Cloudwards VPN Speed Test. We test daily. Data averaged from 08/26/22 to 09/25/22
Data for region:

Security

95 % – Excellent

A VPN that can’t keep you safe and anonymous online is as useful as a bathtub with no sides. VPN security is the one category every service has to get right. Luckily, ExpressVPN nails it. Its most recent third-party audit, completed in March 2022, confirmed that ExpressVPN was as close to leak-proof as any VPN can be.

Security starts with the VPN protocols. ExpressVPN offers five VPN protocols: OpenVPN over TCP and UDP, Lightway over TCP and UDP, and IKEv2. All of them hold up to the highest encryption standards, using the extremely strong AES-256 or ChaCha20 ciphers by default.

You can also manually set up L2TP/IPSec, but that protocol is much weaker and should only be used when security is not a top concern.

expressvpn protocols
With five strong VPN protocols, you’re free to swap between them for the best speeds without worrying about compromising your security.

OpenVPN has the most field experience of any VPN protocol, with an army of volunteers and a thoroughly vetted open-source codebase. IKEv2 is recommended for mobile networks, since it’s very fast at catching up as you move between cell towers and WiFi sources.

TCP and UDP are two transport protocols that work with OpenVPN and Lightway. In general, UDP is faster, while TCP is more stable. If your VPN connection is too slow, try UDP, and if it’s cutting in and out, try TCP.

What Is the Lightway Protocol?

Lightway is ExpressVPN’s proprietary protocol. Unlike most other exclusive options, ExpressVPN Lightway isn’t a reskin of WireGuard, but an entirely new protocol built from scratch. It uses the WolfSSL cryptographic library, which relies on the as-yet-uncrackable ChaCha20 by default.

ExpressVPN recommends you always try Lightway as your first protocol. Having used it for our speed and leak tests, we can confirm it’s fast, reliable and secure. A full audit by Cure53 confirmed our impressions. The codebase is also open source, though only the “core” code.

Our one complaint about ExpressVPN’s security is that it introduced Lightway instead of WireGuard, rather than alongside it. WireGuard is quickly taking over as the most broadly useful VPN protocol, and it couldn’t hurt to give users another option on the remote chance none of ExpressVPN’s offered protocols are working.

Is ExpressVPN Safe?

Yes — it’s a tested, reliably secure VPN with a nearly perfect track record. ExpressVPN has never been hacked, and the team appears to take even low-risk vulnerabilities seriously. Then there’s security features like the Network Lock kill switch, which make this VPN service more than able to keep your internet connection safe.

The best way to verify a VPN’s safety is to run a VPN test to look for DNS leaks, IP address leaks and WebRTC leaks. These leaks stem from different sources, but result in the same thing: IP addresses being exposed online despite VPN protection.

ExpressVPN lets you run leak tests from within the app, but we don’t recommend using these. They only check to see whether you’re using one of ExpressVPN’s servers, and return a result of “exposed” if you’re protected by any other VPN services.

expressvpn leak test
ExpressVPN’s built-in leak tests can only recognize its own servers.

We don’t need to rely on that, though. The tests on ipleak.net are independent and trustworthy, and never turned up our real IP address while we were connected to a server.

Privacy

90 % – Excellent

While “security” refers to how well a VPN protects you from others, “privacy” evaluates how well it protects you from the VPN company itself. Even if nobody else can see your online activity, the VPN can, so a strong privacy policy is vital.

ExpressVPN turned to its favorite tool to authenticate its no-logs policy: third-party audits. This time, it had PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) audit and verify its claims to not log any user data. 

It’s a smart move, only slightly hampered by the fact that PwC allegedly forbade ExpressVPN from sharing excerpts of the audit results — you can only review the entire report at once, and only with an ExpressVPN account.

Fortunately, we’ve got other reasons to trust ExpressVPN’s privacy policy. There’s the privacy policy itself, for one thing. ExpressVPN only requires an email address and payment method to sign up, and it’s clear about what it does with that address.

expressvpn email privacy
ExpressVPN does use your email address for marketing, but only between itself and its customers — and you can opt out at any time.

In the next paragraph, ExpressVPN clarifies that its privacy policy prevents it from handing a user’s data or IP address off to “any other related entities,” including its parent company Kape Technologies (see below).

RAM-Only Servers

Other reasons for hope come from ExpressVPN’s infrastructure. Its TrustedServer technology stores all user activity on RAM-only servers rather than hard drives, wiping any logs clean with every hourly reboot. TrustedServer goes so far as to reinstall each server’s software stack every time it boots up.

While we’re skeptical of ExpressVPN’s claim that it invented the practice of storing user activity on RAM, it’s a great thing to hear. ExpressVPN might be compelled to hand logs to law enforcement one day, as IPVanish was, but it wouldn’t have any evidence to provide.

Finally, there’s the simple fact of ExpressVPN’s strong track record. In over 10 years of operations, it hasn’t once been caught selling or handing out its users’ personal data. The longer that lasts, the safer we’ll feel.

The ExpressVPN Kape Technologies Acquisition

ExpressVPN seems to do everything right, so why did we only give it a 90/100 for privacy? The answer has everything to do with its parent company, Kape Technologies.

Kape Technologies was formerly known as Crossrider, a company that built and managed a platform for browser extensions. Depending on your opinion of an investigation by Restore Privacy, Crossrider’s SDK either installed malware directly or didn’t do enough to keep itself from becoming a malware vector.

Those accusations resurfaced after Crossrider rebranded itself as Kape and set about acquiring VPNs. In addition to ExpressVPN, Kape Technologies also owns CyberGhost, Private Internet Access and Zenmate. This consolidation is enough of a problem on its own, and Kape’s history only makes it more concerning.

Taking all this into account, it’s hard to be certain how much to worry about Kape. If it’s true that Kape didn’t intentionally build Crossrider to spread malware, the worst it’s guilty of is negligence — and there’s no reason to believe any negligent attitudes would impact ExpressVPN.

ExpressVPN didn’t change noticeably after the Kape acquisition, so we’re tentatively assuming it’s not making much difference. Still, we consider it our duty to let you know about all of this.

Is ExpressVPN CTO Daniel Gericke a Privacy Risk?

ExpressVPN suffered more bad press in late 2021 when it was discovered that Chief Technical Officer Daniel Gericke had worked in the United Arab Emirates on a shady spying program called Project Raven. As Vice reported, ExpressVPN’s own employees raised objections to Gericke joining the team.

ExpressVPN countered with a blog post defending the Gericke hire, arguing that his experience as a hacker prepared him to fight hackers on ExpressVPN’s behalf. It’s not the worst reasoning — send a thief to catch a thief. More importantly, as with Kape, there’s no hard evidence or charges against Gericke. 

Streaming Performance

100 % – Excellent

ExpressVPN is the best VPN for streaming. Two important factors lift it over the top: it’s fast, and it reliably gets into everywhere. As our speed tests showed, ExpressVPN isn’t always the fastest VPN (though it’s in the top three) — but combined with its ability to bypass firewalls and geo-restrictions, you’ve got a streaming beast on your hands.

Streaming services try to block VPNs because of international copyright issues, leading to disappointments like the Netflix proxy error. However, ExpressVPN is a master at obfuscating its own traffic, and it gets around firewalls by not outing itself as a VPN. 

This approach allows it to unblock streaming sites, including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max and Disney+.

Whether you just want to watch TV with your VPN active, or want to spoof another country and dip into its streaming library, you’ll have a good experience with ExpressVPN. Along with our general streaming list, it also tops our choices for the best VPN for Amazon Prime Video and best VPN for Hulu.

If you’re outside the United States and want to check out what’s streaming on Hulu, sign up for ExpressVPN and follow the directions in our how to watch Hulu with ExpressVPN guide.

Is ExpressVPN Blocked by Netflix?

If it is, it’s not for very long. ExpressVPN is our best VPN for Netflix for a reason: not because it unblocks Netflix 10 times out of 10, but because we’ve never gotten a proxy error on more than one server in a row. If you can’t get into Netflix on one server, switch to another and try again. Even one in the same city works — the key is to get a new IP address.

Our article on how to watch Netflix with ExpressVPN walks you through all the steps of getting around the Netflix firewall.

ExpressVPN MediaStreamer

MediaStreamer is an ExpressVPN feature that lets you watch another country’s streaming library without suffering any loss of performance from VPN encryption. 

It doesn’t protect you at all — it’s more like a proxy server than a VPN — but streaming is a low-risk activity. MediaStreamer is useful on certain devices like smart TVs that don’t have their own ExpressVPN apps.

NetflixYes
Amazon Prime VideoYes
HBO MaxYes
Disney+Yes
Hulu/ESPNYes
BBC iPlayerYes

Server Locations

95 % – Excellent

ExpressVPN has VPN servers in 149 locations across 94 countries. Only Surfshark beats it for number of countries covered (by just one), but even then, ExpressVPN still has more locations you can connect to. Plus, it has multiple locations in places that other VPNs often miss.

expressvpn locations
ExpressVPN has four server locations in Africa; most VPNs have one at most.

An even distribution of locations matters. The closer you are to a VPN server location, the better speeds you’ll see, as our speed test data demonstrate. Remember that those tests also demonstrated the strength of ExpressVPN’s servers at medium distances: As long as you’re within about 4,000 miles, you’re likely to retain most of your unprotected speed.

Region:CountriesLocations
North America732
South America910
Europe4662
Asia2431
Africa44
Oceania28
Middle East22

With four locations in Africa and 13 in Latin America, ExpressVPN effectively reaches every corner of those often underserved continents. Even better, fewer than 3% are virtual servers, meaning 97 times out of 100 your server is physically located where it claims to be located. 

These virtual servers route the connection through a different country to allow users to obtain an IP address in virtual locations where the VPN doesn’t want to have a server. For example, in some countries the server could be compromised or the VPN could face legal issues for not allowing surveillance; some examples include India, Russia and more.

ExpressVPN doesn’t have specialty servers for torrenting (see our guide on torrenting with ExpressVPN for details), but P2P file sharing is allowed on every server. Despite not having specialized P2P servers, ExpressVPN is our second favorite VPN for torrenting.

Customer Support

95 % – Excellent

If you have trouble using ExpressVPN, it offers three ways to get help: ExpressVPN’s live chat, email and the knowledgebase. All three are helpful, though the best solution varies depending on the nature of your problem.

You can access any of the three from the VPN app itself by going to “help & support” in the preferences menu. Choosing “support website” takes you to the knowledgebase in your default web browser, where you can also access live chat. Choosing “contact support” opens a ticket submission box.

expressvpn help and support
All three methods of getting help are easy to access from the ExpressVPN app.

The knowledgebase should be your first stop for routine help requests. ExpressVPN is refreshingly aware of why people visit help centers, and targets all its articles at the most common problems that arise. With a few clicks, you’ll find guides to canceling your subscription, speeding up your internet, reconnecting after a failure and more.

We checked a random article on a frustrating topic — “VPN app keeps disconnecting” — and found it to be a useful distillation of a rather general (but common) complaint. The article immediately explains what’s happening, how to fix it, and what to do if the fix doesn’t work. Interspersed throughout are helpful links to other relevant articles.

ExpressVPN’s Live Chat

If you ever feel you need more specific help while browsing the knowledgebase, the live chat button is available in the bottom-right corner of every page, making it easy to contact ExpressVPN support.

expressvpn start live chat
You can initiate a help chat from anywhere on the ExpressVPN website; just click the green tab in the bottom-right corner.

Chat is entirely live — ExpressVPN has a longstanding distaste for chatbots. Amazingly, this doesn’t seem to slow down help times much, as we always got help within a minute. Live chat is best for answering relatively simple questions for which you can’t find answers in the knowledgebase.

Finally, for the more detailed problems, you can submit an email ticket. This will take a bit longer, but if there’s an answer to your problem, you’ll get it.

Much like its user interface, ExpressVPN’s customer support impressed us as truly humanist. You’ll never feel ashamed of seeking help, and you’ll get in and out of the help center as quickly as possible. That’s a rare thing, even in this age of proliferating VPN providers.

The Verdict

At the start of this article, we announced our intention to see if ExpressVPN still deserves all the praise it gets. Our conclusion is a resounding “yes.” 

Out of all the VPN providers we’ve examined, it’s still the most user-friendly, consistently fast, secure and privacy-conscious option. It’s fantastic to see security features like the kill switch, split tunneling feature and Lightway available on every version.

ExpressVPN has its flaws. The price will be a barrier for some people. While fast, it’s not quite as fast as NordVPN or Surfshark. If you want a dedicated IP address, it’s not for you. Additionally, we wouldn’t blame you for being turned off by the Kape Technologies connection.

However, this is a VPN service built for absolutely everyone. In our judgment, ExpressVPN’s flaws are dwarfed by the areas in which it succeeds. Plus, the 30-day money-back guarantee means you can try the VPN out risk-free to make sure it’s the right fit for your needs.

Will you sign up for an ExpressVPN subscription? We’d love to hear your opinion in the comments, and feel free to check out our other reviews. Thanks for reading!

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7 thoughts on “ExpressVPN”

  1. I have had VPN express over a year now, and it´s fantastic, I have no issues whatsoever, it´s fast, reliable, I´m really happy with it, really recommend it.

    Reply
  2. I am using expressvpn in northern China with China Mobile 4G. Suffice it to say but contrary to its high ranking I have zero success in connecting to expressvpn. Standing adjacent to me are users using the same China Mobile but with a different VPN and they have no problem connecting. I am using and iphone and the latest version of expressvpn. Have contacted them countless times without success.

    Reply
    1. Okay, that’s odd. Have you tried reinstalling it? And are you sure there are no other VPNs on the device it could conflict with? I have never had that problem, myself….

      Reply
  3. Just signed up to see how this works out..
    no ExVPN ping 3ms Down567 Up493
    with ExVPN ping 5ms down 399 up 302

    Just a slight hit on the speed.. Guess there’s a limit.
    Will see how my wife does connecting to her websites in Asia later… (So far So good)

    Reply
  4. Nice review. Another thing that might be interesting to some: this is the only VPN so far for which I was able to use a VISA gift card (sold in many U.S. retail locations) as payment method (the cards are designated as for use in the U.S. only).

    Reply
  5. ExpressVPN is great. I use it and have no complaints. It’s worth the money. BUT, it does NOT unblock Amazon Prime Video. I summer in France, and have for many years. Express VPN used to unblock Amazon Prime but not anymore. Despite multiple calls and chats with the support folks at ExpressVPN, who are normally great at solving problems, I can’t get past the “sorry but you’re using a VPN” that comes up when you try to watch a movie or TV show. So if you’re going to use it for access to Amazon Prime outside the USA, choose another VPN service or accept the fact that you won’t get to watch Prime until you get back home. I’d give ExpressVPN five stars except for them misleading me into thinking it would unblock Amazon Prime. Really surprised this site also thinks ExpressVPN unblocks Amazon Prime. Perhaps the reviewers have never really left the USA? 8/8/2022

    Reply
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