ExpressVPN Review

In our opinion, ExpressVPN is the best VPN out there. It's a fast and secure service guaranteed to get you into Netflix as well as other streaming services while keeping your data away from prying eyes. For all the details, keep reading our fully updated ExpressVPN review.

Jacob RoachSamson Max
By Jacob Roach (Writer) & Samson Max (Writer)
— Last Updated: 2021-09-28T07:58:30+00:00 Facts checked by Elisabeth Ivey
(Editor)
Starts from $ 832 per month
Save 36 % (All Plans)
expressvpn homepage website
expressvpn pricing plans overview
expressvpn run a speed test
expressvpn split tunneling
expressvpn connected to kenya

ExpressVPN has consistently ranked at the top of our best VPN listings, and it’s easy to see why. Everything about the VPN service is rock solid, from the speed to the user experience to the security and privacy. It’s undoubtedly at the top of its game and keeps pulling off updates to stay ahead of top competitors like NordVPN and CyberGhost

In this ExpressVPN review, we’re taking ol’ faithful out for a spin again, testing its security, speed, user-friendliness and features, such as the recently released Lightway protocol

Key Takeaways:

  • ExpressVPN is the fastest VPN out there, which makes it one of the best options for speed-intensive activities like streaming, gaming and torrenting. 
  • The Lightway protocol significantly improves ExpressVPN’s speed and shows great promise in terms of security.
  • ExpressVPN has an unrivaled ability to unblock streaming services, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and BBC iPlayer.

Although from our standpoint, ExpressVPN is the undisputed number one virtual private network, we’re not cutting it any slack. We’ll put each of its aspects through the wringer, from speed to streaming performance. 

You can read the full details below, but if you’re more of a fan of hands-on testing rather than reading, you can try ExpressVPN with a 30-day money-back guarantee to put our claim to the test. If you sign up for a year from the get-go, you get an extra three months for free, as well.

We should point out, though, that ExpressVPN is in no way linked to the poorly ranked VPN.Express. That service has simply tried to cash in on ExpressVPN’s name. You can read our VPN.Express review to see just how bad it is.

On Sept. 14, 2021, Kape Technologies announced that it planned to buy ExpressVPN. We will update this review as we gain more information about the acquisition, but ExpressVPN claims the VPN will remain independent and continue third-party evaluations of the service.

  • 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

    Cloudwards.net added a note to the article alerting readers to Kape Technologies’ acquisition of ExpressVPN.

  • Yes, it’s safe to use ExpressVPN. This VPN uses OpenVPN with AES-256 encryption, making your connection virtually impossible to crack. Furthermore, ExpressVPN implements a no-logs privacy policy and perfect forward secrecy, so no one knows your browsing habits.

  • ExpressVPN costs $12.95 per month, but you can save by subscribing for a longer period. For example, the yearly plan costs $99.95. No matter which duration you choose, all of ExpressVPN’s plans come with up to five simultaneous connections and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

  • You can cancel ExpressVPN by going to “my account” on the homepage and clicking on “subscription settings.” From there, you can turn off auto-renew to avoid being charged for your next term. To take advantage of the VPN’s refund policy, you need to reach out to support via live chat.

  • Yes, ExpressVPN is a legitimate and reliable service that guarantees excellent speeds, security, performance and reliability. With over 3,000 servers and a nice array of security and privacy features, it breezes through any online task you throw at it, be it standard browsing, streaming, gaming or torrenting.

  • China doesn’t own ExpressVPN, nor does the company have any affiliation to a China-based company. Its parent company, Express VPN International Limited, is a privately owned firm incorporated in the British Virgin Islands, a country with favorable privacy law and no data retention laws.

ExpressVPN Video Review

Strengths & Weaknesses

Pros:

  • No-logs policy
  • Very fast
  • Solid security
  • Over 3,000 servers in 94 countries
  • Fast & secure Lightway protocol
  • Unrivaled streaming ability
  • Easy to use
  • In-app split tunneling
  • Excellent browser extension

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • No ad blocker
  • No dedicated IP addresses

Alternatives for ExpressVPN

  1. 1
    • : PayPal, Credit card, Bitcoin, regional payment systems, WebMoney
    • : 5
  2. 2
    • : Credit card, Google Pay, AmazonPay, ACH Transfer, UnionPay, Crypto Currencies, PayPal (via Paddle)
    • : 6
  3. 3
    • : PayPal, Credit card, bitcoin
    • : 7
  4. 4
    • : PayPal, Credit card, AmazonPay
    • : 10
  5. 5
    • : PayPal, Credit card, UnionPay, Alipay
    • : 8

Features

95 % – Excellent

ExpressVPN comes with all the features you’d look for in a VPN. First, there’s in-app split tunneling, which shockingly few VPNs support. ExpressVPN makes split tunneling easy, allowing you to specify directly in the app which programs use the VPN connection and which don’t. However, we’d like to see the VPN add an option to set the split tunneling for URLs and IP addresses. 

ExpressVPN split tunneling
With ExpressVPN split tunneling, it’s easy to set which apps to use the VPN tunnel and which to access the internet directly.

Additionally, there’s a network lock (ExpressVPN’s version of a kill switch) that blocks your internet traffic if the VPN connection drops. You can also set the kill switch to allow communication with local devices on your network — like printers or file servers — while the VPN is still running. 

Built-In Speed Test

ExpressVPN offers a built-in speed test that provides a download speed, latency and speed index for each server. It even stores your speed test results so that you can consult them later. This useful feature lets you quickly get a grasp on which servers are best for your location.

Although helpful as a point of comparison between servers, we wouldn’t recommend paying too much mind to the actual numbers. Based on our testing, the numbers are usually slower than the actual speed, in general, but relatively accurate when related to each other. If location A looks faster than location B, it usually is, even if the specific numbers aren’t fully reliable.

Routers, Browsers and Consoles, Oh My!

ExpressVPN offers installers for just about every device imaginable, allowing you to keep your data safe no matter where you are. That means the standards are accounted for, with applications for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux distros and routers. Beyond that, ExpressVPN natively supports Fire TV and Kindle Fire, Roku, Chromecast and other smart TV systems, as well as Chrome OS through the Google Play Store.

expressvpn-apps-devices-browser-extensions
ExpressVPN is available on almost every service or device available.

You can also use ExpressVPN’s MediaStreamer function on Apple TV, Xbox One (ExpressVPN is our top VPN for Xbox One), PS4, PS5, Xbox 360 and other game consoles. However, the MediaStreamer function won’t provide the same level of protection (more on that in the “streaming” section below). You can also install ExpressVPN manually on devices that allow it, though the process is a bit complicated.

expressvpn router app
Installing the ExpressVPN router app is the easiest way to secure all your devices.

ExpressVPN Simultaneous Connections

No matter which ExpressVPN plan you choose (more on that later), you’ll be able to set up five simultaneous connections on the VPN. That’s not an install limit, mind you; you can install ExpressVPN on as many devices as you want. However, you can only connect five of your devices to ExpressVPN’s service at any given time.

Having simultaneous connections is often touted as a key spec of VPNs. That’s why some VPN providers such as ProtonVPN raise the cap to support up to 10 simultaneous connections. However, other VPN providers like Avira Phantom VPN, IPVanish VPN, Surfshark and Windscribe have removed the restrictions entirely. We’d love to see ExpressVPN jump on that bandwagon.

In most cases, though, five simultaneous connections are more than enough. For example, in a personal-use case, you’re unlikely to have more than one or two devices connected to a network at any given time. If you’re running up against the device limit, you can always install ExpressVPN on your router (it’s our best VPN for routers), which will cover all devices connected to the network.

Missing Features

Although ExpressVPN comes with advanced features, it isn’t as fully decked out as CyberGhost or NordVPN. For example, it’s missing malware protection, dedicated IP addresses and an ad blocker that some other VPNs include.

However, given how poorly these extra unnecessary bells and whistles usually perform in VPNs, we’re not too upset with ExpressVPN’s omission. You should use a tool from our best antivirus software list, anyway. Aside from the minor misses, the VPN covers all the basics superbly. 

ExpressVPN Features Overview

  • General

    • : PayPal, Credit card, Bitcoin, regional payment systems, WebMoney
    • : 5
    • : No
    • : 3,000+ servers in 94 countries
    • : Windows, MacOS, Linux, ChromeOS, Kindle Fire, Smart TVs, Gaming Consoles
    • : Android, iOS, BlackBerry
    • : Chrome, Safari, Edge, Opera
  • Streaming

  • Security

    • : 256-AES
    • : IPSec, OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP, IKEv2, Lightway
    • : No
  • Support

    • : 24/7
    • : 24/7
    • : No
    • : No

Pricing

85 % – Very Good

Every VPN provider has a weakness, and for ExpressVPN, that’s the price. Although it’s traditionally been the most expensive service out of our VPN reviews, high-cost options like Hide.me VPN and Astrill VPN have made it look more reasonable. Still, ExpressVPN isn’t cheap, and there are plenty of less expensive options.

The base monthly price is $12.95. However, as is the case with nearly all VPNs, you’ll save a lot by subscribing long term. A year runs around $100, which isn’t a terrible rate, though we’ve seen better. For example, PureVPN, for all its faults, offers up to two years of service, which brings the monthly price to only a few dollars.

As for payment, ExpressVPN gives you many options, including PayPal, credit cards, WebMoney, regional payment systems and anonymous bitcoin payments. Although we would’ve liked to see cold, hard cash as a payment option — Mullvad VPN offers that — even so, ExpressVPN gives you plenty of ways to pay, some of which are anonymous.

Is There an ExpressVPN Free Trial?

You rarely get a good VPN gratis. However, like Surfshark, ExpressVPN offers a seven-day free trial on iOS and Android devices. There’s one quibble, though: the free trial applies where the mobile app is available in the Google Play or App Stores. 

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

For desktop users, there’s some bad news. ExpressVPN doesn’t offer a free trial, at least not in the traditional sense, and you’ll have to pay upfront if you want to use its features. That said, if you’re unsatisfied, you can get a refund quickly.

ExpressVPN’s Money-Back Guarantee

That’s why we recommend you use the 30-day money-back guarantee as a trial. We’ve never had any issues getting our money back when we’ve tested the guarantee.

You can try out ExpressVPN for a month for essentially free, but keep in mind that you can’t use the VPN service for free beyond that. It didn’t make the list of our best free VPNs, as options like Windscribe VPN had it beat.

Is ExpressVPN Worth the Money?

The short answer is yes. Quality VPN services don’t come cheap, and ExpressVPN is no exception. Despite ExpressVPN’s high monthly cost, its yearly plan actually presents a lot of value for each dollar, thanks to its well-rounded performance and an excellent array of features.

User-Friendliness

100 % – Excellent

ExpressVPN is the perfect example of how a VPN should function. The signup process is as straightforward as it can get, and the local application presents few hurdles. When comparing ExpressVPN to a service like AirVPN, it becomes very clear why we rank the former in a different league (read our AirVPN review).

Installing ExpressVPN

Getting started with ExpressVPN is a cinch. You access the checkout page when you click the large, green “get started” button on the ExpressVPN website. You’ll need to enter an email address and your payment information on the checkout page, but that’s it. There’s no account creation or any other nonsense to bog down the experience.

expressvpn price plans with discount signup steps
Make the most of the generous ExpressVPN discount and 30-day money-back guarantee by completing the simple signup process.  

Instead, ExpressVPN generates an activation key, which you’ll need to enter into the application once you download it. On nontraditional installs, where you’ll need to use the command line, ExpressVPN offers a randomly generated username and password.

The important thing here is that you don’t need to remember any credentials. Once ExpressVPN is registered to your device, it’ll stay that way as long as you have an account.

How to Use the ExpressVPN Desktop App

Anyone can use the local application (unless pressing an obvious “on” button is above your pay grade). ExpressVPN makes it easy by automatically assigning you a “smart location,” but you can squeeze more performance out of the service by choosing a location manually. 

Once you pick your preferred location, all you need to do is click the “on” button, and you’ll establish a connection in seconds.

expressvpn windows client
The Windows client offers an intuitive UI that’s also pleasing to the eye.

Once connected, ExpressVPN shows some links to popular websites — you can set your own, too — though we rarely used them. A VPN should operate in the background, and on that front, ExpressVPN is great.

Using the ExpressVPN Browser Extensions

ExpressVPN has massively improved its browser extensions since the last time we tested it. Essentially, the Chrome extension is ExpressVPN in your browser, but with a home in your address bar and a sleek, black finish. The same rules apply: click the “on” button to get connected, either with your chosen location or a “smart location.”

expressvpn browser extension
The ExpressVPN add-on allows you to connect to all ExpressVPN server locations.

ExpressVPN’s browser extension isn’t standalone, and that comes with its merits and pitfalls. On the flip side, you have to install the desktop client for the extension to work. However, considering how easy it is to install ExpressVPN, that should be an easy hurdle to overcome. 

On the bright side, the browser extension functions as a remote control for the desktop client, which means it’s much more capable than other standalone browser VPN extensions. Moreover, it encrypts all your internet traffic, rather than protecting your browser traffic only, a feature that sets it apart from other browser extensions. 

What’s more, with features like HTML geolocation spoofing, HTTPS Everywhere and WebRTC blocking, the browser extension offers better security and privacy than the VPN app can achieve alone. 

ExpressVPN Mobile Apps

Bringing the excellent capability of the Windows client to the Android and iOS apps, it’s no surprise that ExpressVPN ranks first on our best VPN for mobile and best VPN provider for Android lists. The mobile apps also mirror the intuitive interface and ease of use of the desktop clients. Furthermore, the setup process is equally easy, too. 

You can download the app through the Google Play Store or the App Store on iOS, but if it’s not available there, you can get the installation file from ExpressVPN’s website.

Using the Android app is a cinch. Simply choose your location, tap the big “on” button, rinse and repeat. The Android app comes with various commonplace features like split tunneling and auto-connect settings. Besides that, a network protection option (Android version of a kill switch) blocks all internet traffic when the VPN connection unexpectedly drops. 

ExpressVPN Android app
 The mobile apps have striking similarities with the desktop client in terms of design, ease of use and set of features.

Speed

100 % – Excellent

Blazing-fast speed is ExpressVPN’s real forte. Over the years, the service has made the top spot on our fastest VPN list its own, thanks to its unrivaled speeds and excellent consistency, to boot. We performed a series of tests using the Ookla speed test tool on a 3 Mbps internet connection, and as always, the VPN was impressive.  

To keep everything fair, we tested ExpressVPN’s speeds using OpenVPN UDP and Lightway UDP on a wired connection. We also did another batch of tests using the “automatic” protocol, which is ExpressVPN’s recommended protocol.  

As for the locations, we picked six countries on different continents but not the specific VPN server. Instead, we let ExpressVPN choose the specific server for us to emulate a normal-use scenario. However, we kept the six countries consistent across tests for comparison purposes. 

ExpressVPN Speed Test Using OpenVPN protocol 

LocationPing
ms
Download
Mbps
Upload
Mbps
Unprotected273.152.98
South Africa
131
2.92
2.61
United States
472
3.24
2.43
United Kingdom
343
2.97
2.33
Australia
589
3.03
2.33
Singapore
319
2.86
2.40
Brazil
722
3.00
2.54
Average
429
3
2.44

Using OpenVPN, ExpressVPN proved its excellent speed is no fluke. Although VPNs can cause a significant loss of internet speed, ExpressVPN keeps the impact to a bare minimum. To be precise, it caused a slight increase in latency and decreased the download and upload speeds by a negligible 4.8 percent and 18 percent, respectively.

That’s as fast a VPN can get when using the OpenVPN protocol, and that’s not all. The real benefit here is ExpressVPN’s consistency. 

In our previous testing, we noticed a severe drop when making the first connection (that’s a thing of the past now). The VPN delivers very consistent speed whether you’re making the initial connection, connecting to a server close to home or one that’s across continents. 

ExpressVPN Speed Test Using Lightway Protocol

Location:Ping (ms)Download (Mbps)Upload (Mbps)
Unprotected273.152.98
South Africa1353.132.46
United States4693.232.33
United Kingdom3472.832.24
Australia5853.092.71
Singapore4243.102.22
Brazil6913.062.43
Average:441 (16 times)3.07 (-2.5 percent)2.4 (-19 percent)

When ExpressVPN launched its proprietary Lightway protocol, the claim that the new protocol could improve speed by two times caught our attention. Improving the performance of an already superfast service is no easy feat. (We talk more about Lightway in the “security” section.)

Interestingly, though, our speed test results confirmed that the protocol lives up to the promise. It establishes a connection in less than five seconds, and in some cases, it connects in a snap, which is super impressive. 

Overall, the latency and upload speeds remained nearly identical to the results we saw using OpenVPN. However, the drop in download speeds improved significantly to 2.5 percent, nearly two times better than OpenVPN. 

Even better, most of the server locations reached nearly unprotected speeds, regardless of the distance. The U.S. server performed impressively well (exceeded our unprotected download speeds) despite being farther away from our test location.

ExpressVPN Speed Test Using Automatic Option

Location:Ping (ms)Download (Mbps)Upload (Mbps)
Unprotected273.152.98
South Africa1352.912.41
United States4703.062.74
United Kingdom3443.062.39
Australia5873.092.42
Singapore4293.232.54
Brazil6942.922.52
Average443 (16 times)3.05 (-3 percent)2.5 (-16 percent)

ExpressVPN recommends you set the protocol to “automatic.” That way, the VPN automatically picks the protocol that pairs appropriately with your network. If the results we got are anything to go by, this is a reliable option.

The “automatic” protocol has the best overall upload speeds and could be the most appropriate option if you’re uploading or sharing files online. Plus, some locations enjoy markedly improved upload speeds and download speeds, and this setting seems to be faster on average. 

Security

98 % – Excellent

Security with ExpressVPN is about as good as it comes and is getting better. The last time we reviewed ExpressVPN, OpenVPN with UDP was the default protocol. While the combination offers excellent speeds and security, it doesn’t deliver the same performance on all networks. 

To ensure you’re getting excellent performance on every network, ExpressVPN now uses the “automatic” protocol by default. This means that the VPN automatically selects the most appropriate protocol for you based on your device and the quality of your internet connection. 

ExpressVPN protocols
You can let ExpressVPN pick the protocol for you or set it manually to suit your needs. 

However, you can still manually configure the VPN protocol to suit your unique needs. Besides OpenVPN, you can choose IKEv2 for mobile connections or L2TP/IPsec for low-risk situations. PPTP is also available, though we wouldn’t recommend using it (read our VPN protocol breakdown to learn why). Lastly, there’s the Lightway protocol, which we’ll discuss more shortly. 

Regardless of the protocol you choose, ExpressVPN pairs it with AES-256 encryption (read our encryption guide for more on that) to guarantee top-grade security.  

Lightway Protocol

ExpressVPN hails Lightway as the protocol for the modern VPN user, as it delivers better speeds, security, performance and reliability. That’s quite a claim for such a new and largely untested VPN protocol, but as we discovered earlier in our speed tests, there are reasons to believe the provider’s words. 

The protocol is available to all users on various ExpressVPN apps, including Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux and routers. If you want to use it instead of the default setting, you can set it manually in the options menu.

Lightway protocol
The proprietary Lightway protocol has 2,000 lines of code, making it super lightweight than the WireGuard protocol.

Doing so gives you an option to use UDP or TCP transport protocols. As we found out earlier, Lightway combined with UDP ticks a critical box: better speeds. On the other hand, TCP connections are secure and reliable but can be slower than UDP (streaming and gaming fans take note). 

Lightway Performance vs Other VPN Protocols

In terms of performance, the protocol is built for always-on protection. For example, instead of terminating your VPN connection when switching networks, it keeps it on standby mode. Once your device reconnects, it picks up where it left off, connecting you to the same ExpressVPN server without exposing your internet traffic and data.

In addition, Lightway utilizes the open-source wolfSSL cryptography library, which is extensively tried and tested by third parties. Cure53 has also independently scrutinized the protocol and given its security levels the seal of approval, which is excellent for a protocol that has just left the beta stage. 

Is ExpressVPN Safe?

By and large, ExpressVPN is a secure VPN. In the app, you’ll find quick links to DNS, IP and WebRTC link tests, as well as IPv6 leak protection. During our tests of ExpressVPN’s tools and our own, we didn’t find any IP, WebRTC or DNS leaks.

ExpressVPN DNS leak test
You can use the leak test links to check whether your VPN connection has DNS or WebRTC leaks.

Torrenting With ExpressVPN

You can easily torrent with ExpressVPN, though we should remind you that torrenting copyrighted content is illegal in most countries. Still, if you don’t fear Davy Jones, ExpressVPN will keep you protected. It’s second on our best VPN for torrenting list, losing out to NordVPN due to a lack of peer-to-peer servers.

That lack of P2P servers is nothing to worry about because ExpressVPN delivers good performance while downloading torrents. It has high security and uncompromising speeds, making it an ideal choice for downloading torrent files quickly and securely.

If you fancy streaming movies and TV shows from, say, questionable websites, ExpressVPN is a good choice there too.

Torrenting with ExpressVPN
With ExpressVPN servers, you don’t require a dedicated IP address to download torrents. 

ExpressVPN Security in China and Other High-Risk Countries

One of the main reasons to use a VPN is to bypass censors in high-risk countries like China. Although internet censorship is a problem in one form or another in most countries around the world, some are worse than others, with countries like China, Russia, Egypt and Iran being particularly nasty offenders.

Thankfully, ExpressVPN is among our best VPNs for China, able to bypass any amount of censorship thrown at it. While it doesn’t support the multi-hop connections of NordVPN or the Camouflage mode of Surfshark, it’s far from insecure.  

There are two reasons for this, the first of which is Lightway and OpenVPN with TCP. Both VPN protocols appear as a normal internet connection. However, should a sensor capture the signal when using UDP, the protocols can monitor it without you knowing (although they’ll only see the signal as coming from the VPN server). 

On the other hand, TCP features a packet confirmation. It’s slower, but you’ll know if your packets go where you intend. If a sensor were to intercept your packets, it wouldn’t reach the destination, and you wouldn’t receive confirmation back. That means you have a protected connection.

Other Security Features

The VPN has other strings to its bow for high-risk situations, including its kill switch, IPv6 and DNS leak protection. For us, perfect forward secrecy (PFS) is the most important security feature for high-risk situations. In short, PFS protects a network snooper from using a single encryption key to decrypt all historic traffic.

ExpressVPN security features
Beyond the standard security features, ExpressVPN utilizes perfect forward secrecy to keep your traffic out of snoopers’ reach.

ExpressVPN generates a new key each time you connect, or in the event you connect for a long period, every 15 minutes. Even if someone intercepting your connection were able to crack it, the most they’d be able to see is an hour of history. Plus, with the TrustedServer technology (RAM-based servers), all your data is deleted every time the server reboots. 

As for VPN blocks — which China is notorious for — there’s little ExpressVPN can do to prevent them. However, ExpressVPN has a long history of solving blocks as the blocks come up. Read our guide on how to use ExpressVPN in China if you plan on visiting the country.

Privacy

100 % – Excellent

On Sept. 14, 2021, Kape Technologies announced plans to buy ExpressVPN. We will update this section when we gain more information about any changes to the terms of service and privacy policy.

ExpressVPN has a no-logs privacy policy. In short, this means it knows nothing about you, your browsing history or your VPN connection. Some basic collection takes place, but ExpressVPN is very clear about that in its privacy policy, rather than simply lying to achieve the “no logs” claim (looking at you, IPVanish).

ExpressVPN privacy policy
ExpressVPN’s privacy policy emphasizes the vendor’s commitment to protecting your online privacy. 

Let’s start with what isn’t collected. ExpressVPN knows nothing about the IP addresses that connect to its servers nor the DNS queries its users send. In short, ExpressVPN may know that a user connects to one of its servers, but it has no information about who that user is, what server they’re connected to or what they’re doing while connected.

As mentioned above, ExpressVPN also implements perfect forward secrecy, meaning that your browsing data refreshes every 15 minutes. Even if ExpressVPN were to log your browsing data, it could view only up to an hour of that data. 

Now for what ExpressVPN does collect. When connected to the service, ExpressVPN can see the app version, if the connection was successful or not and the amount of data transferred. However, the time of the connection, the original IP address, the destination IP address and the user’s browsing history aren’t logged or monitored.

Privacy Laws in the British Virgin Islands

The likelihood that ExpressVPN collects your browsing data is very low, too, considering it’s based in the British Virgin Islands.

The British Virgin Islands have some of the best privacy laws in the world, with no data retention laws. Furthermore, the British Virgin Islands courts can’t force companies to produce records, unlike the U.S. The only way the government could see your browsing data is if an order comes from the British Virgin Islands High Court, and even then, ExpressVPN has nothing to hand over.

How Safe Is Your Information With ExpressVPN?

With ExpressVPN, your digital privacy doesn’t get any better. Its array of features — from protocols and encryption to no-logs policy and jurisdiction — keep your online activities safe and private. Even better, this year, ExpressVPN received the ioXt alliance certification for security. That means that ExpressVPN apps comply with ioXt standards, which adds extra security and privacy reassurance. 

Streaming Performance

100 % – Excellent

ExpressVPN is a streaming monster. Although it lacks streaming-specific servers like CyberGhost offers, all the server locations will break into streaming sites like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and BBC iPlayer. We also gave ExpressVPN a spin with Kodi, and after trying it out, we crowned it as the best VPN for Kodi.

Hulu and Amazon Prime Video were a little touchy based on our testing, which shouldn’t come as a surprise (these services are generally hard on VPNs, as you can see in our best VPN for Hulu and best VPN for Amazon Prime Video guides). ExpressVPN also broke into Disney+, BBC iPlayer and Paramount+.

ExpressVPN for streaming
ExpressVPN is able to stream virtually any platform, thanks to its unparalleled speeds and ability to bypass content geoblocking.

Does ExpressVPN Work With Netflix?

ExpressVPN really comes into its own with Netflix. We tested across 10 server locations, and only two returned a proxy error. ExpressVPN has consistently beat out the competition in our best VPN for Netflix guide, and our testing in this ExpressVPN review only affirms that. 

If you’re looking for a Netflix VPN, it doesn’t get much better than ExpressVPN. Check out our guide on how to watch Netflix with ExpressVPN.

MediaStreamer

ExpressVPN ranks first in our best VPN for streaming guide, and that’s not just because it can easily access various platforms. If your connection is relatively secure or you have a device that normally doesn’t support a VPN, you can use MediaStreamer. This tool adds the geographical spoofing benefits of a VPN without the encryption overhead.

It’s a bit like a proxy in that it doesn’t offer any additional encryption to your connection (read our VPN vs proxy vs Tor guide for more on that). Although that means your connection is less secure, it also means it’s much faster. With MediaStreamer, you can break into just about any streaming platform in any location with any device.

Server Locations

95 % – Excellent
ExpressVPN has the best geographic distribution of servers on the market.

ExpressVPN is no NordVPN when it comes to server locations (see our NordVPN vs ExpressVPN article), but it beats just about every other VPN with more than 3,000 servers spanning 160 VPN server locations in 94 countries. No matter if you’re in New York or Kenya, you’ll have a VPN server close to you.

Furthermore, all server locations support OpenVPN with UDP, at a minimum, though many support all of ExpressVPN’s protocols.

There are plenty of VPN services with a lot of servers. Still, ExpressVPN’s geographical diversity is what’s most impressive. It covers the world’s media centers, including the U.S., UK and nearly all countries in Europe. However, unlike other VPNs, ExpressVPN also has a presence in South America, the Middle East and Africa.

Not all of these locations have bare-metal servers, though, a fact that ExpressVPN is very upfront about with users. More remote locations — like Monaco, Isle of Man and Sri Lanka — are obtainable through virtual servers, most of which run through the Netherlands. This is the same way the HideMyAss VPN achieves its massive server network.

Customer Service

95 % – Excellent

If you need help, you can contact customer support agents over live chat or email, though we much prefer the former. Throughout our review, we reached out to live chat a handful of times and received a response quickly each time. They weren’t the most technical of responses, but for surface-level questions, live chat does the trick.

Email is around for the heavy lifting, though you’ll need to wait a few hours before hearing back. Although this is much faster than most other VPNs, live chat is still the best option for most questions. Still, email is an option if you want to speak with a customer support rep on a deeper level.

expressvpn customer support
ExpressVPN mainly offers customer support via live chat, but you can also contact support agents via email.

The customer support options are fine, but we like the self-help resources much more. Support resources come in two categories: troubleshooting articles and instructions. In these, ExpressVPN touches on just about every topic possible, from setup instructions for your Kindle Fire to troubleshooting articles on specific error codes.

Out of the lot, the setup guides are most impressive. Even if ExpressVPN doesn’t have a dedicated app for the platform you want to install it on, it likely has a setup guide. That includes the browser extension, nontraditional Linux installs and even BlackBerry guides.

Overall, ExpressVPN’s support is exemplary. We’ve seen plenty of VPNs with decent direct support, and although ExpressVPN is slightly faster and a little more thorough, we’d love to see the phone support option. Despite that miss, ExpressVPN sets itself apart from the pack, thanks to quick live chat and self-help resources.

The Verdict

We’ve tested the limits of ExpressVPN time and again, and after each evaluation, we come to the same conclusion: ExpressVPN is simply the best VPN option.

Competitors like NordVPN and CyberGhost get very close in terms of speed, security and usability and even beat ExpressVPN in features. However, ExpressVPN is still the fastest, and although the competition has come a long way in terms of usability, it’s still the easiest to use.

We’ve sung its praises enough, though. We recommend giving ExpressVPN a shot with the 30-day money-back guarantee to see how you like it. Be sure to let us know about your experience in the comments below, and as always, thanks for reading.

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6 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
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