ExpressVPN is featured on many lists and overviews of the best VPN services available right now. Thanks to a clever combination of innovative marketing and raving reviews (from both cyber-sec experts and regular users), this VPN has positioned itself as one of the leading VPNs on today's market.
With that said, we will test this hugely popular VPN for ourselves and check all those marketing messages and claims. We'll see whether ExpressVPN can truly unblock websites, stream the American version of Netflix, and access other streaming platforms, as well as whether it really brings such incredible speeds and security-related features as advertised. With that said, welcome to our hands-on ExpressVPN review!
First and foremost, let's take a look at the basic set of information regarding this VPN. The following table gives you a glimpse of what to expect, so take a look.
|Jurisdiction||The British Virgin Islands.|
|Logs||No logs - independently audited.|
|Number of Servers||94 countries, 3,000+ servers.|
|Encryption Standards||AES-256; OpenVPN, Lightway, L2TP/IPSec, IKEv2.|
|Speed Reduction||12.4%, on average.|
|Live Chat Support||YES|
|Supported Platforms||Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, Web browsers, routers, and media streaming devices.|
|Price||Starting at $6.67 per month.|
One of the biggest reasons why many use VPNs is to unblock media streaming websites. If that's why you're interested in ExpressVPN, take a look at the following table.
|Amazon Prime Video||YES|
Also, we're sure that some of you don't have the time to read this entire article (we admit it - it's pretty in-depth). So, we're going to present our findings in a convenient matter.
|Pros||Incredibly simple to set up; Strong security-related features; Great for media streaming; Plenty of servers worldwide; Fast performance; Great customer support.|
|Cons||Not the most affordable option (but still worth its price); No longer an independent company (still trustworthy, though).|
|The Final Verdict||ExpressVPN remains one of the best VPNs (if not the best one), providing an answer to your every VPN-related need. On top of that, it's private, fast, and suitable even for complete beginners!|
Finally, we are ready to dive into our hands-on review, taking a deep look at each aspect of this VPN. With that said, keep on reading to learn all you need to know about ExpressVPN.
Before diving into our in-depth review, it's worth checking what's new in ExpressVPN. Use the provided link, and you'll get to our always up-to-date guide on ExpressVPN's latest updates, new features, and other types of developments.
What follows is our hands-on review of this popular VPN service, based on our extensive testing and benchmarking, as per our uniform set of criteria. To learn more about how we review VPNs, please use the provided link.
Background, Jurisdiction & Reputation
Despite the recent shift in ExpressVPN's ownership, our team believes ExpressVPN still deserves your trust due to its years-long commitment to privacy, no-logs policy, numerous audits, open-source software, and its involvement with cyber-sec alliances. Our Score: 9/10
The primary purpose of any VPN is to hide your real location and help you preserve your online anonymity. However, this also means not every VPN will do its job in the best way possible. With that said, here's what to expect from ExpressVPN.
Where Does ExpressVPN Come From? Is It Part of the 5/9/14-Eyes Alliance?
Every company needs to regulate its operations as per its home country's laws. This is where the story about the '5/9/14 Eyes Alliance' comes into play.
It's said that '5/9/14 Eyes Alliance' countries have aggressive data logging laws, as they work together on exchanging data and information. This automatically puts VPNs from the USA, UK, and Australia (among other countries) in a problematic position.
With that said, know that ExpressVPN comes from the British Virgin Islands. This exotic location seems to be an excellent choice since this United Kingdom territory has self-governing laws. However, it's crucial to note that ExpressVPN is no longer an independent company (as of September 2021), as Kape Technologies has acquired it.
Kape Technologies is a massive company that runs a wide range of businesses. However, it's interesting to note that Kape also owns CyberGhost VPN, ZenMate VPN, and Private Internet Access (PIA). All of those are popular and capable VPNs, staying loyal to their no-logs policies.
Furthermore, know that Kape's most prominent shareholder (~60%) is Unikmind Holdings, owned by the same people as Kape Technologies. Both Unikmind and Kape come from the Isle of Man, part of the United Kingdom. However, when it comes to any potential legal requests, they're based on the jurisdiction of the VPN service (the British Virgin Islands).
To clear any confusion about ExpressVPN's upcoming acquisition, TechNadu's team approached the VPN with a series of questions. We were reassured that ExpressVPN would remain loyal to its no-logs policy. Also, it will prove its commitment to privacy and security with regular audits.
Lastly, ExpressVPN remains a part of the 'VPN Trust Initiative' and' ioXt Alliance' alongside pioneering several transparency initiatives. With that all that said, we believe that ExpressVPN's recent merger with Kape should not be a reason for concern. Of course, we'll make sure to update this article in case anything of interest comes up.
Did ExpressVPN Leak Private Data in the Past?
ExpressVPN came under the spotlight in January 2017, when its Turkey-based servers were seized by the country's authorities. That was an opportunity for the VPN to prove its claims of not collecting any data, and that's precisely what happened.
As it turned out, those (no-logs) claims were proven to be true. The authorities were not able to extract any information from the seized servers. That has also demonstrated the fact that the VPN doesn't have any backdoors built into their applications.
Speaking of backdoors, this is where we should mention ExpressVPN's CIO, Daniel Gericke, who turned out to also be a mercenary hacker for the United Arab Emirates. As reported by Reuters, Gericke worked on 'Project Raven' in the past, a surveillance operation focusing on exploiting zero-day flaws and taking over devices without any user interaction.
Everything said above about Gericke might seem in contrast to ExpressVPN's mission. However, the VPN defended its decision to hire Gericke, saying that his extensive knowledge has helped ExpressVPN create a bulletproof security and privacy-protecting system. More precisely, Gericke helped develop a 'Security Operations Center' while working on improving risk assessments and mitigation through red teaming.
Gericke continues to be employed by ExpressVPN, as he's seen as a highly valuable asset. And considering that ExpressVPN is one of the rare VPNs that have never had a data leak, we believe that their systems are more than well-equipped to preserve your digital privacy.
Lastly, in December 2017, ExpressVPN launched a project called 'Digital Research Lab.' The main goal of that action was to provide online tools for checking VPN data leaks. In the latest version of the VPN's software, you can find a set of useful tools that are the result of this initiative (once you dive into ExpressVPN's main menu).
Is ExpressVPN Legal & Safe to Use?
Yes, ExpressVPN is legal and safe to use, but keep your country's laws in mind.
Across the world, VPNs are allowed as they protect your right to privacy. However, there's a group of countries that either actively discourages the use of VPNs or that have banned VPNs altogether. We're talking about countries such as Belarus, Iraq, Oman, Russia, and China.
We also need to add that using a VPN doesn't give you the right to go against your country's laws. Online actions that are prohibited in your country are still forbidden even if you 'hide' behind a VPN.
Supported Platforms & Devices
ExpressVPN has done a fantastic job of offering apps for desktop and mobile platforms. Furthermore, you can use it on up to five devices at the same time. Our Score: 10/10
The following table gives you an overview of ExpressVPN's presence on desktop and mobile platforms. Take a quick look below, and then we'll expand this topic with helpful information.
|Desktop Platforms||Windows, macOS, Linux, Chrome OS.|
|Mobile Platforms||Android, iOS, Amazon Kindle, Blackberry, NOOK eReaders.|
|Web Browsers||Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Safari.|
|Routers||Aircove, DD-WRT, Tomato, TP-Link, D-Link, ASUS, Linksys, NETGEAR, Huawei.|
|Other Devices||Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, PlayStation, Roku, Xbox, Nintendo Switch.|
What needs to be highlighted is that ExpressVPN doesn't require manual configuration. Still, if you decide to go the manual route, the VPN is there to support you.
Some devices, such as game consoles, support ExpressVPN via different workarounds. In that case, your best bet is to install ExpressVPN on a router and keep all your Web-connected devices protected at once. That doesn't apply only to ExpressVPN but to all VPNs out there, as devices such as game consoles don't support VPN apps natively.
Just recently, this VPN introduced its very own hardware product, called "Aircove." It's a high-end Wi-Fi 6 router that comes with built-in VPN support. You can order Aircove from Amazon for $189.90, and it's available in the US for now. For more info, head over to our central ExpressVPN Aircove guide.
We'll also add that ExpressVPN is quick to adopt the latest technologies. Just recently, this VPN provider overhauled its macOS application and now supports Apple's M1 and M2 chips natively. That transition brought a noticeable improvement in performance while lowering the application's power consumption.
Also, know that TechNadu's team has been busy producing a wide range of guides, teaching you how to get started with this VPN. So, if you decide to subscribe, here's how to download, install, and use ExpressVPN on ALL of its supported devices. You'll also find our guide on how to install ExpressVPN on multiple devices to be helpful.
Installation & Initial Configuration
This VPN service has come up with an effortless installation method. Even complete beginners won't have a problem installing and configuring ExpressVPN. Our Score: 10/10
You can get started with using this VPN by visiting its official site. First and foremost, you need to get your ExpressVPN subscription before you do anything else. Then, pick a subscription plan, and you'll get your username and password afterward.
Once you log in using your new credentials (ExpressVPN's website > My Account), the VPN will offer assistance by detecting your system and offering a suitable application. All it takes to get started is to click on the 'Download' button.
Of course, you can also go with 'Set Up Your Devices' (found once you log in to your account on the ExpressVPN website), from where you can download different versions of this VPN. When it comes to mobile apps, all you need to do is download them from their respective app stores.
The actual process of installing this VPN is very simple. There aren't any unusual offers or bundled software. After a few steps, ExpressVPN will install and launch.
At this moment, you will see a handy trick. Instead of using your username and password, you can copy an ExpressVPN activation code from your ExpressVPN account dashboard. That makes logging into the VPN as easy as possible - but this option is available on computers only. In other words, you'll need to input your email address and password on other devices.
Before you can start using the software, you will be asked to allow ExpressVPN to be launched during startup, and you can decide whether to send anonymous analytic data. It's up to you to enable or disable these options (and the same can be done later as well).
ExpressVPN is managing to bring an excellent selection of basic/standard tools (all of which work great). It also caters to more advanced users via more complex features, which means that every potential user of this VPN should be covered well. Our Score: 9/10
To make it easy for you to compare different VPNs, we've created a checklist of features that any powerful VPN should bring. So, let's see if ExpressVPN meets our requirements.
|DNS Leak Protection||YES|
|IPv6 Leak Protection||YES|
|Kill-Switch||YES (Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, routers).|
|Split-Tunneling||YES (Windows, macOS, Android, routers).|
|Unlimited Server Switches||YES|
As you can see, ExpressVPN covers the basics quite well. You get a complete set of features aimed at securing your data and protecting your privacy. In other words, you can be sure that ExpressVPN will create an incredibly safe and leak-free tunnel for your data (also, we made sure to test ExpressVPN's tunnel, which you can read about later on in this review).
In terms of more advanced features, know that ExpressVPN offers a kill switch (called 'Network Lock'), available on select platforms. The same applies to split tunneling. With that said, you can see why we believe that ExpressVPN is suitable for both beginners and advanced users.
We should also mention that ExpressVPN has been busy adding new features. For example, its Threat Manager is an advanced built-in DNS blocker that fights against trackers utilized by sites and apps. Also, thanks to its Parallel Connections feature, ExpressVPN now connects to servers much faster than before.
In addition to everything mentioned above, ExpressVPN now includes a premium-level password manager, at no extra cost to its subscribers. Called 'ExpressVPN Keys,' the new feature lets you store, generate, and auto-fill passwords. You can use it via Chrome and across the VPN's mobile apps. At the moment, it's available in beta and slated to be publicly available later this year.
So, what's missing here? ExpressVPN doesn't offer static/dedicated IPs. And also, it doesn't come with a built-in ad-blocker. However, we don't think of those as major drawbacks.
How Many Simultaneous Connections Do You Get With ExpressVPN?
ExpressVPN currently offers up to 5 simultaneous connections. Previously, this limit was set to three devices. Needless to say, we're happy to see this improvement.
More precisely, ExpressVPN can be installed on as many devices as you want. However, you can have up to five simultaneous connections active at any given moment. Also, know that installing and using this VPN on a router counts as a single device, no matter how many devices are connected to that router.
Does ExpressVPN Have a Kill Switch?
Yes, ExpressVPN comes with a kill switch included. This feature is available on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and routers.
Keep in mind that ExpressVPN's kill switch is called 'Network Lock.' Aside from its name, this feature works as you'd normally expect. It provides total security and a leak-free environment in case your VPN connection drops.
More precisely, ExpressVPN's kill switch shuts down your device's Internet connectivity if something unexpected happens. By doing so, your private information won't leak at any moment. Once your connection gets re-established, ExpressVPN will continue pushing your Web traffic through its tunnel in a continuous manner.
- Activate ExpressVPN’s kill switch on Windows/macOS in this way: Click the hamburger button > Select “Settings/Preferences” > Select “General” > Tick the box next to “Stop all Internet traffic if the VPN disconnects unexpectedly.”
- Activate ExpressVPN’s kill switch on Android by navigating to: Hamburger button > Settings > Network Protection > Enable the option labeled “Block Internet when unable to connect or reconnect to VPN.”
Does ExpressVPN Offer Split Tunneling?
Yes, ExpressVPN offers two types of split tunneling. This feature is available on Windows, macOS (macOS Big Sur is not supported), Android, and routers. Here's more info.
- 'Regular' Split-Tunneling: By using this type of split-tunneling, you select devices that don't need VPN protection. Everything else will be within ExpressVPN's tunnel.
- Inverse Split-Tunneling: This type of split-tunneling allows you to select devices or applications that you want to protect. Everything else will be outside of ExpressVPN's tunnel.
Activate split tunneling in ExpressVPN on Android in the following way: Click the hamburger button > Select “Settings/Preferences” > Select “General” > Select “Split Tunneling” > Enable split tunneling > Select “Settings” to adjust this feature. Lastly, specify the apps that require VPN protection.
Using ExpressVPN's app for routers, you can also take advantage of split tunneling - on a higher level. This application allows you to pick from several ways how VPN tunneling is used, where you can choose from three options: 'Router VPN,' 'No VPN,' and 'MediaStreamer.'
Does ExpressVPN Offer a Static/Dedicated IP Address?
No, ExpressVPN doesn't offer static/dedicated IP addresses.
The reason for this is due to ExpressVPN's core structure. To preserve your privacy, this VPN rotates IP addresses. So each time you connect, you'll get a new IP address. This is a way for the VPN to guarantee the anonymity of its users.
If having a dedicated IP is something you absolutely need, check our guide on the best VPNs for dedicated (static) IPs. We made sure to highlight the best option you have right now.
Does ExpressVPN Have an Ad-Blocker?
No, ExpressVPN doesn't not block ads as it doesn't offer a built-in ad-blocker.
As per this VPN's explanation, you have every right to pick an ad blocker that suits your individual needs, priorities, and budget. Therefore, combining a third-party ad-blocker with ExpressVPN is always a possibility. However, the VPN itself doesn't offer a way to block ads.
What Features Are Missing on Android & iOS (Compared to Desktop Apps)?
In general, VPNs don't bring the same set of features across all of their apps. Due to specific limitations of Android and iOS, mobile features are typically a couple of steps behind their desktop counterparts.
In the case of ExpressVPN, there are some differences even between its iOS and Android apps. For example, you won't find a kill switch or split tunneling on iOS. However, both of those features are present on Android.
Besides, ExpressVPN's desktop apps allow you to run a speed test prior to connecting to servers. This is a hugely helpful feature - but it's not present on mobile versions of the VPN.
Server Count & Infrastructure
With 3,000+ servers available, you can connect to any part of the world. ExpressVPN's server network isn't the biggest out there - but it's more than what you'll need. Our Score: 8.5/10
In general, you'll want a VPN with plenty of servers. On the one hand, that lets you connect to a large number of countries and gets you a wide range of IP addresses. On the other hand, VPNs can achieve fast performance by offering plenty of servers for all their customers.
|Number of Servers||3,000+|
|Number of Locations||160|
|Number of Countries||94|
|Specific Cities Selection||YES|
You should know that this VPN is on our list of VPNs with the highest server count. However, some of its direct competitors offer 7,500+ servers. That sounds amazing in theory, but that doesn't mean you'll get faster performance by choosing a VPN with a larger number of servers.
By default, ExpressVPN presents you with an 'optimal' server bringing the best possible performance. In general, this is a nearby server that might even be located in your country.
However, you also have full freedom to connect to any of the 3,000 servers offered by this VPN. There's a search option letting you find a specific country or even a city.
Just recently, ExpressVPN started upgrading its server network by replacing 1Gbps servers with 10Gbps servers. That means you can now expect faster speeds, more reliable connections, and more frequent updates to the VPN's server network.
ExpressVPN's all-new servers are available in 20+ in-demand countries (check the full list below), which means that 70% of its global bandwidth now goes through the new servers.
|Australia – Sydney – 2||Italy – Cosenza||Taiwan – 3||USA – Miami – 2|
|Austria||Japan – Shibuya||Thailand||USA – New Jersey – 1|
|Canada - Toronto||Japan – Tokyo||Turkey||USA – New Jersey – 3|
|Czech Republic||Malaysia||UK – Docklands||USA – New York|
|France - Marseille||Netherlands – Amsterdam||UK – East London||USA – Phoenix|
|France - Paris - 2||Netherlands – Rotterdam||UK – London||USA – San Francisco|
|Germany - Frankfurt – 1||Netherlands – The Hague||Ukraine||USA – Seattle|
|Germany – Frankfurt – 3||Poland||USA – Atlanta||USA – Washington DC|
|Germany – Nuremberg||Singapore – CBD||USA – Dallas|
|Hong Kong – 1||Singapore – Jurong||USA – Los Angeles – 1|
|Hong Kong – 2||Spain – Madrid||USA – Los Angeles – 2|
|India (via UK)||Sweden||USA – Los Angeles – 3|
|Indonesia||Switzerland||USA – Miami|
As noted earlier, ExpressVPN doesn't impose any restrictions, so you're free to switch between servers as many times as you like. Disconnecting and connecting to another server takes only a few seconds, and the overall experience is quite fluid.
We'll also mention that, just like other VPNs, ExpressVPN implements modifications to its server network from time to time. For example, the VPN recently removed India-based servers as a way to protect the privacy of its users before India's privacy-invading data law had come into effect.
However, the VPN didn't just remove its India-based servers. It removed those previously found physically in India. Instead of those, it now offers two virtual locations (learn more about that just below) in the UK and Singapore, letting its users obtain Indian IP addresses.
Does ExpressVPN Use Virtual Server Locations?
Yes, ExpressVPN uses a small number of virtual server locations. More precisely, less than 3% of ExpressVPN's servers aren't physically located in their "end country."
To understand how ExpressVPN's virtual servers work, we'll give you an example. Let's say that you want to connect to a server in Argentina. For this country, the VPN uses servers located in Brazil. That means your Internet traffic will be routed through servers in Brazil, while you'll be assigned an Argentian IP so that your Web traffic appears to originate from that country.
In terms of virtual servers, ExpressVPN is front of its competitors. With only 3% of its servers being virtual, 97% of its servers are bare-metal servers owned by ExpressVPN.
|Algeria (via the Netherlands)||Colombia (via Brazil)||Macau (via Singapore)||Sri Lanka (via Singapore)|
|Andorra (via the Netherlands)||Ecuador (via Brazil)||Malta (via the Netherlands)||Taiwan (via Hong Kong)|
|Argentina (via Brazil)||Egypt (via the Netherlands)||Monaco (via the Netherlands)||Thailand (via Singapore)|
|Armenia (via the Netherlands)||Guatemala (via Brazil)||Mongolia (via Singapore)||Turkey (via the Netherlands)|
|Bahamas (via the U.S.)||India (via the UK)||Montenegro (via the Netherlands)||Ukraine (via Poland)|
|Bangladesh (via Singapore)||India (via Singapore)||Myanmar (via Singapore)||Uruguay (via Brazil)|
|Belarus (via the Netherlands)||Indonesia (via Singapore)||Nepal (via Singapore)||Uzbekistan (via the Netherlands)|
|Bhutan (via Singapore)||Isle of Man (via the Netherlands)||North Macedonia (via the Netherlands)||Venezuela (via Brazil)|
|Bolivia (via Brazil)||Jersey (via the Netherlands)||Pakistan (via Singapore)||Vietnam (via Singapore)|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina (via the Netherlands)||Kazakhstan (via Singapore)||Panama (via Brazil)|
|Brunei (via Singapore)||Laos (via Singapore)||Peru (via Brazil)|
|Cambodia (via Singapore)||Liechtenstein (via the Netherlands)||Philippines (via Singapore)|
|Chile (via Brazil)||Malaysia (via Singapore)||Slovenia (via the Netherlands)|
UI/UX Design & Ease of Use
ExpressVPN comes with a simple UI. Even if this is your first time encountering a VPN application, you shouldn't have a problem using it. Our Score: 10/10
In this segment, we'll explore ExpressVPN's applications for both desktop and mobile platforms. And considering that this VPN offers a Web browser extension, why not check that as well? With that said, keep on reading our hands-on ExpressVPN review.
How Well Does ExpressVPN Work on Desktop Platforms?
We’ll start with the main screen, whose biggest portion is reserved for a prominent ON/OFF button. When you connect to a server, it will go green (along with its colorful background) – indicating that the VPN is active. Otherwise, the button stays red.
Underneath this button, you'll see your currently selected server. To pick another server, click on 'Selected Location.' Then, you will also see two additional suggestions, a recommended server ('Smart Location'), as well as your previously used server ('Recent location').
In the top-left corner, there’s a hamburger button (three vertical lines). The first option here is called 'VPN Locations,' and as you can expect, this is where you can check out the available servers (as you can see in the image above). ExpressVPN presents a list of recommended servers, but you're also free to review its entire server network and more.
The next item in the hamburger menu is called 'Speed Test.' Using this tool, you can instruct ExpressVPN to test its servers (based on your physical location). This way, you will get three pieces of information: speed index, latency, and download speed. Once you do a speed test, you can double-click on any server's name, and ExpressVPN will connect you immediately.
Now, we'll check another item from this menu, called 'Preferences.' This is where you'll find six tabs, each bringing a distinct set of options. Here’s a quick overview:
- General: This tab lets you set the VPN to launch every time you power on your computer, and you can let the app connect to a specific server automatically. You can also decide if you’d like to use the 'Network Lock' feature, which acts as a kill switch. Lastly, you can fine-tune your split-tunneling options (if available on your system).
- Protocol: ExpressVPN supports an extensive range of protocols, where each comes with its own set of benefits and downsides. So, this is where you can easily choose which one to use. You can choose from OpenVPN (UDP/TCP), Lightway, IKEv2, and L2TP/IPsec on macOS and Windows.
- Account: This tab lets you check the status of your account. You can see when it's due to expire, and you can refer friends to get another free 30 days of use.
- Shortcuts: Once you connect to a secure server, ExpressVPN provides a series of shortcuts to various apps on your computer/smartphone. So, let's say that you use Netflix often. This means you can set a shortcut to Netflix here, so you can easily access this streaming platform right from ExpressVPN's UI.
- Browsers: In case you'd like to find out how to install Web browser extensions, this is where you can take a look. However, using a native app will protect all incoming and outgoing traffic using the highest possible encryption, which beats any Web browser extension with ease.
- Threat Manager: ExpressVPN comes with a DNS-based blocker that works against trackers used by websites and apps. As such, 'Threat Manager' works only while you're connected to a VPN server. This tab allows you to enable that feature.
- Advanced: The final tab lets you fine-tune advanced options that seem to be optimized by default. You can prevent IPv6 detection, enroll in sending anonymous usage data back to ExpressVPN, and more.
The rest of the options in the hamburger menu are pretty self-explanatory. You can find support documentation, check how to install ExpressVPN on other devices, refer friends, and more. All of these options are actually links to the VPN's official website.
How Well Does ExpressVPN Work on Mobile Platforms?
ExpressVPN looks and feels the same across all of its supported platforms. With that said, know that this VPN's Android and iOS apps are incredibly simple to use, and they come highly polished. So, let's take a closer look at those.
For the most part, ExpressVPN's Android and iOS apps look the same. On their home screens, you'll find a prominent ON/OFF button used to connect to a server (and later on, disconnect). You can tap on the 'three dots' icon (next to the name of your previously used server) to reveal all of ExpressVPN's locations, where you'll get to see recommended locations, the entire list of the VPN's servers, or your favorites.
To dive deeper, you can tap on the 'Options' tab, found at the bottom of ExpressVPN's UI. This is where you can access the app's settings, letting you switch between different VPN protocols. You can also access your account information, as well as use ExpressVPN's digital tools for checking for any IP, DNS, and WebRTC leaks.
Speaking of ExpressVPN's settings on mobile devices, here's what you can expect to tweak.
- Auto-Connect (Android & iOS): Don't confuse this option with a kill switch. ExpressVPN's 'auto-connect' reconnects you to the previously chosen server if something unexpected happens. On Android, you can also decide to start ExpressVPN once Android starts up.
- Network Protection (Android): This is where you'll find ExpressVPN's kill switch. It can be auto-activated when ExpressVPN is unable to connect (or switch) to a server.
- Split Tunneling (Android): Then, another Android-only feature. Using split tunneling, you get to decide which apps can use the VPN's secure tunnel (and vice versa).
- VPN Protocol (Android & iOS): This is where you can switch to a different protocol.
All in all, ExpressVPN is a joy to use - no matter if you have an Android or iOS device. In terms of the VPN's performance, both of those apps are doing an excellent job. ExpressVPN feels smooth, even when used on older Android/iOS phones.
How Well Do ExpressVPN's Web Browser Extensions Work?
ExpressVPN brings extensions for Google's Chrome, Microsoft's Edge, and Mozilla's Firefox. You can also use those on Brave and Vivaldi browsers. All of those are basically the same, in the sense that they bring the same set of features.
ExpressVPN's Web browser extensions are unique when compared to what other VPNs offer. To use them, you also need to install ExpressVPN's desktop app. Therefore, these extensions act as a remote control for the app, giving you access to all 3,000+ of ExpressVPN's servers.
As soon as you download and install one of ExpressVPN's extensions, you'll be greeted by a familiar UI. Using the home screen, you can connect to a 'smart location' or pick from a recently used server. You can also connect to any server manually.
If you click on the hamburger button in the top-left corner, this will reveal additional options, as explained below.
- Settings: You can set ExpressVPN's extensions to connect at launch, show desktop notifications, and send anonymous reports to the VPN (for diagnostic purposes).
- Privacy & Security: This is where you can enable WebRTC leak protection, hide your location by stopping HTML5 geolocation services, and automatically switch to HTTPS addresses.
- Account: Using this tab, you can review the status of your account, when it's due to expire, and manage your account's details.
All in all, we really like ExpressVPN's approach to Web browser extensions. Instead of offering a half-baked solution, you get the best possible protection for your data, in addition to ExpressVPN's entire army of servers.
Media Streaming, Torrenting, and Gaming Support
ExpressVPN can easily unblock a huge number of media streaming services, with Netflix US included. Plus, it fully supports P2P traffic, with no limitations involved. Our Score: 10/10
We've checked whether ExpressVPN unblocks popular media streaming platforms, and you'll find the results of our tests in the following table.
|Amazon Prime Video||YES|
|Torrenting (P2P) Support||YES|
As you can see, ExpressVPN is one of the best VPNs in terms of media streaming. It's capable of accessing just about any popular OTT platform. However, it works equally well with regional and less popular platforms as well. With that said, we're 100% sure that you'll get to unblock any streaming platform you want - from anywhere in the world.
Also, let’s not forget about fans of torrenting. ExpressVPN fully supports torrenting, and it doesn’t come with any bandwidth limitations or data caps. What's even better is that you can use any of ExpressVPN's 3,000+ servers for torrenting, giving you plenty of options.
However, keep in mind that connecting to a server near you should get you the best possible download speeds. This means you can anonymously download torrents and even fight against ISP-imposed throttling.
Does ExpressVPN Work With Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Prime Video & Disney Plus?
It's also worth noting that you can unblock a number of country-specific versions of Netflix (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom). The same could be said about Amazon Prime Video.
When it comes to other websites that work with ExpressVPN, you can count on ITV, ESPN, HBO GO, and more. Then, ExpressVPN also unblocks Facebook, Spotify, Twitter, Instagram, Wikipedia, Google, and Skype - in countries where these Web apps aren't available.
Which ExpressVPN Server Works Best for Netflix?
Based on our experience, any of the 'USA - New Jersey 1/2/3' group of servers will let you unblock Netflix. Moreover, the 'USA - New York' server should work great as well. We've had plenty of luck unblocking other streaming services using those servers as well.
Of course, the above-mentioned servers are used to unblock the US version of Netflix. In addition to that, this VPN unblocks Netflix in the following countries: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom. Feel free to try other countries as well, as ExpressVPN is improving its services continuously.
To find the best Netflix-friendly servers for those individual countries, we recommend talking to ExpressVPN's customer support team (you can do that via the VPN's website).
Can You Use ExpressVPN With Kodi?
Yes, you can use ExpressVPN with Kodi. In fact, we highly recommend using ExpressVPN no matter what type of Kodi addons you use.
Kodi and ExpressVPN run side-by-side. This won't add any complexity to your usual workflow, as ExpressVPN has apps for pretty much all of the currently popular platforms. Simply launch the VPN, connect to a server, and then use Kodi like you normally would.
Is ExpressVPN Good Enough for Torrenting (P2P)?
Yes, ExpressVPN is an excellent choice for torrenting.
This VPN doesn't impose any limitations on P2P traffic. Therefore, this type of traffic is supported on all of its servers. To secure your privacy while downloading torrents, simply connect to the nearest server, which should get you the fastest possible speed.
Is ExpressVPN Good Enough for Online Gaming?
Yes, ExpressVPN can also be used for online gaming.
Considering it has more than 3,000 servers, ExpressVPN gives you plenty of freedom when choosing an optimal server based on your gaming needs. Still, keep in mind that ExpressVPN will slow you down a bit, so it's crucial to have a fast Web connection.
ExpressVPN doesn't really have gaming-optimized servers. Instead, you can use any of its servers. In addition to that, you can choose from a wide range of protocols. This allows you to reduce lag and increase performance in terms of online gaming - on both local and long-distance connections.
Security & Privacy
ExpressVPN won't leak your data. Also, it won't track what you do online. With that said, we believe that ExpressVPN is a great tool for preserving your privacy. Our Score: 9.5/10
To find out if we should really trust ExpressVPN with your data, we will take a look at three aspects: VPN protocols, logging policy, and IP/DNS leaks. This should give us plenty of information about the way our personal data is used.
ExpressVPN offers a range of VPN protocols. However, some of those are available on specific devices only. First, let's give you an overview of what VPN protocols to expect.
In case you'd like to take a deeper dive into VPN protocols, TechNadu offers an in-depth guide explaining everything you need to know. So, if you've been wondering which VPN protocol to use, make sure to click on the provided link, and you'll get your answer.
By default, ExpressVPN uses OpenVPN across all of its apps (except iOS). This is a highly secure and trusted VPN protocol, in use for many years now. This is the protocol of choice for many VPN providers, as it brings fast Internet speeds - even when combined with high-end encryption.
ExpressVPN offers two variants of the OpenVPN protocol - UDP and TCP. The UDP variant comes optimized for speed, while the TCP variant is optimized for connection reliability. You can jump between those by opening the VPN's settings panel (hiding behind the hamburger button on the VPN's home screen).
As per the VPN's explanation, Lightway is incredibly lightweight and incredibly powerful at the same time. This means you can count on instantaneous VPN connectivity and high-end protection. On top of that, Lightway is open-sourced, which means anyone can inspect its integrity and the way it functions.
One of the best things about Lightway is that it's built for mobile connectivity. As you switch between Wi-Fi, 4G, and 5G, your connection won't drop. Instead, ExpressVPN will easily switch on its own without requiring any user input.
This is a relatively new protocol known for its performance and speed. In general, it's best used on mobile devices, especially if you want to stream online media. However, this protocol isn't available on Linux, and you can't really customize it. ExpressVPN offers IKEv2 on Windows, macOS, and iOS.
L2TP has also been used for many years now. However, due to its age, it's not as secure as other protocols. You can think of it as a step-up in comparison to PPTP. However, OpenVPN is still many steps beyond L2TP.
ExpressVPN offers this protocol on Windows, paired with AES-256 encryption. As such, it could be a viable alternative to OpenVPN in certain cases.
Does ExpressVPN Log Private Data?
After taking a very close look at ExpressVPN’s logging policy, we can say that this VPN provider doesn’t collect your personally identifiable information. However, know that ExpressVPN does collect some information nonetheless.
ExpressVPN collects app diagnostic information, including crash reports, usability diagnostics, and VPN connection diagnostics. Also, information regarding the total sum of data transferred is collected with the purpose of improving ExpressVPN's performance. None of the previously mentioned data types is connected to your username.
Then, we already told you about ExpressVPN's TrustedServer technology. By having data centers not relying on hard drives - the VPN avoids logging any information. We're talking about RAM in this case, which means that even anonymized data is perfectly safe.
Lastly, we should mention ExpressVPN's numerous audits, the last of which was focused on the VPN's Windows app (conducted by F-Secure). Prior to that, ExpressVPN has been audited several times during the last couple of years, revealing very few vulnerabilities.
Will ExpressVPN Leak/Expose Your Private Data?
As you can see from the screenshot below, ExpressVPN has managed to hide our IP address. Besides, DNS addresses point to ExpressVPN's servers only. Once we checked our geolocation data, it pointed to a location in the USA - which is great since we've used a US-located server.
As you can see, our real identity remained hidden. The VPN didn't allow websites to see our real IP address, as it instead showed our virtual IP address. With this said, we conclude that ExpressVPN is airtight when it comes to keeping private data from leaking.
Speed & Performance
ExpressVPN is an excellent choice for media streaming and downloading files. It comes with extra-fast performance, even when using highly remote servers. Our Score: 10/10
Finally, it's time to check this VPN's performance. First, we are going to check the speed of our 'naked' connection - so, without using the VPN. Then, we'll proceed to connect to the nearest server, then to a nearby location, and finally to a remote (long-distance) server.
ExpressVPN Speed Test
To truly get to know ExpressVPN's performance, we've tested a wide range of its servers. First, we started with local speed tests. Then, we expanded to distant countries to check how long-distance VPN connections work (in relation to our physical location).
The image above shows our Web connection's stats - without using a VPN. We checked our 'naked' Web connection to establish baseline stats in terms of download and upload speeds.
Local Speed Tests
In this round of tests, we connected to servers in Italy and the United Kingdom, checking how ExpressVPN's nearby connections work. So, let's talk about the results.
By letting ExpressVPN connect us to the 'fastest' server, the VPN connected us to a server in Italy (Cosenza). We received 536.88 Mbps for downloads and 30.48 Mbps for uploads.
As you can see, there's very little throttling involved. ExpressVPN's "Cosenza" server is a brand-new 10Gbps server, which proves that ExpressVPN has done a magnificent job of upgrading its infrastructure lately.
Then, we also tested a server in the United Kingdom (Docklands). We managed to get 523.20 Mbps for downloads and 22.89 Mbps for uploads during this round of speed tests. Once again, absolutely astonishing results.
Long-Distance Speed Tests
Now, it's time to check how long-distance VPN connections work. For this round of tests, we connected to servers all around the world, from the USA to Australia.
A server in the United States (New Jersey) performed exceptionally well. We got 517.91 Mbps for downloads and 7.49 Mbps for uploads. You can see that our upload speed went down quite a bit, but our download speed remained steady and fast.
Unsurprisingly, a server in Canada (Toronto) performed admirably as well. We got 491.91 Mbps for downloads and 6.96 Mbps for uploads. Both the USA and Canada are popular 'destinations' for VPN users, so it's good to know that ExpressVPN provides a pleasurable experience overall.
We certainly didn't want to leave India out of our testing. A server in India (a virtual location routed through the UK) managed to get us 517.69 Mbps for downloads and 3.99 Mbps for uploads.
And lastly, we also checked a server in Australia (Melbourne). We managed to get 421.92 Mbps for downloads and 3.53 Mbps for uploads.
So, How Well Does ExpressVPN Perform?
Finally, let's make sense of all those numbers. To see how ExpressVPN performed in our tests, check out the following table. And then, we'll discuss the following results.
|Download Speed||Upload Speed||Speed Reduction|
|Baseline Speed||572.98 Mbps||57.56 Mbps||0%|
|Italy (Cosenza)||536.88 Mbps||30.48 Mbps||6.3%|
|UK (Docklands)||523.20 Mbps||22.89 Mbps||8.6%|
|USA (New Jersey)||517.91 Mbps||7.49 Mbps||9.6%|
|Canada (Toronto)||491.91 Mbps||6.96 Mbps||14.1%|
|India (via the UK)||517.69 Mbps||3.99 Mbps||9.6%|
|Australia (Melbourne)||421.92 Mbps||3.53 Mbps||26.3%|
If you want us to give you a concrete number - we could say that ExpressVPN slowed us down by 12.4% on average. This is an absolutely astonishing result, showing that ExpressVPN is indeed one of the fastest VPNs you'll find right now (while still letting you use incredibly strong protocols).
We were impressed with how ExpressVPN worked in terms of long-distance connections. So, if you're somewhere far from the USA and if you want to unblock services available in this country only, know that this VPN is an excellent choice.
What Kind of Performance Can You Expect? When it comes to any VPN, it's good to have a fast Web connection to begin with. With that said, ExpressVPN will impact the speed of your Web connection up to a degree - but not by much.
However, speaking in general, ExpressVPN is a fast-performing VPN that works equally well with local and long-distance connections. It's actually among the fastest VPN services we ever tested (and we tested 65+ VPNs so far).
There are many variables in this equation, so it's hard to predict what kind of performance you will receive based on your physical location. However, also know that there's plenty you can do to speed up your VPN connection.
ExpressVPN offers a comprehensive customer support section with plenty of useful material. At any moment, you'll find someone from the company to assist you. Our Score: 10/10
There really are numerous ways to get help with ExpressVPN. So, let's give you an overview of what to expect if you decide to become a subscriber:
- Live Chat Support: First and foremost, there's a live chat option on the ExpressVPN site, available for anyone (not just subscribers). You won't find long queues, and ExpressVPN's team will assist you in a very friendly manner. Also, this option is available 24/7.
- Setup Instructions: ExpressVPN offers comprehensive set-up instructions for each of the devices that it supports. There are also in-depth guides on how to get the most out of this VPN for watching videos, using it with NAS devices, and more.
- Troubleshooting Guides: If you have technical questions, you can find guides related to your account and payments, connectivity problems, log file errors, and more.
- Email & Support Ticket: If you'd like to ask for help directly from ExpressVPN, there's a convenient way to open a support ticket or send an email. However, we suggest you go with the live chat option first, as that's definitely the quickest way to resolve any issues.
We'll also mention that ExpressVPN has an often-updated blog filled with highly interesting and useful information. You can follow it to learn about the latest ExpressVPN features and global events that affect your privacy.
Lastly, ExpressVPN also offers a Udemy course, teaching you how to protect your online security and privacy. It's available free of charge, has 28 lectures, and lasts about 1 hour. You don't have to be an ExpressVPN subscriber to enroll.
ExpressVPN is a high-priced VPN. However, considering its overall value and especially if you want to invest in a long-term plan, this VPN's price seems like a great deal. Our Score: 9/10
ExpressVPN currently offers three subscription plans. As you can expect, you can save some money if you go for one of its long-term plans. Here's what you need to know.
How Much Do You Need to Pay for ExpressVPN?
As you can see, the biggest savings can be found in ExpressVPN's annual plan (where you also get three additional months of use). This is where you can find the price of $6.67 per month, which seems like an amazing deal considering the value this VPN brings.
There are also two more options. You can choose ExpressVPN's six-month plan, which comes priced at $9.99 per month (which means you'll be billed $59.95 every six months). And if you decide to pay monthly, you will be billed $12.95 every month.
You can find more details regarding how much is ExpressVPN if you click on the provided link. You'll land on our dedicated guide that dives deeper into ExpressVPN's pricing.
Next, you also need to know that ExpressVPN supports the following payment options: various credit cards (including Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, and more), PayPal, Bitcoin, as well as other payment methods, including Alipay, UnionPay, Yandex Money, and more.
ExpressVPN 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee - Will You Get Your Money Back?
Yes, ExpressVPN offers a no-questions-asked money-back guarantee. As long as you initiate this procedure within the first 30 days of your subscription, you won't encounter any problems.
It's also important to mention that you won't find any fine print in ExpressVPN's money-back guarantees. It is your right to change your mind, and this VPN will return the full amount you paid. This is good news, as choosing a more comprehensive plan comes without any risks.
For additional info, we recommend turning to our guide on how to cancel your ExpressVPN subscription, especially if you're after getting a refund.
Can ExpressVPN Be Used Free-of-Charge?
No, ExpressVPN doesn't offer a free-of-charge plan.
Technically speaking, you can try it for free. As explained above, ExpressVPN comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. There won't be any questions asked if you decide to have your money returned. However, you'll still need to pay for a subscription.
In general, there are no reputable VPN services that offer their services for free. Running a VPN network is a significant investment, so companies that offer their services for free need to turn to other revenue paths. This typically happens at the expense of your privacy.
ExpressVPN Free Trial - Here's What You Need to Know!
ExpressVPN offers a free trial - but only on Android and iOS. That's where you'll find a 7-day free trial, which can be activated on your smartphone or tablet. When it comes to desktop apps, you won't find a trial there. However, you'll find the next best thing.
As a way to prevent potential misuse of their services, top-rated VPNs no longer offer free trials on desktop platforms. Instead, they come with money-back guarantees, with no questions asked (more on that in the following segment).
In other words, you'll need to supply your payment information when signing up for ExpressVPN, and you'll be charged immediately. However, if you change your mind during the first 30 days of use, you'll have your money back.
Our ExpressVPN free trial vs. paid comparison will tell you more about how ExpressVPN's trial is different from paying for its subscription from the get-go.
ExpressVPN Additional Findings
We're sure you want to spend your money wisely. With that said, let's see how ExpressVPN compares to other VPNs, does it work in restricted countries, and more. Keep on reading.
ExpressVPN vs. CyberGhost VPN vs. NordVPN
ExpressVPN, CyberGhost VPN, and NordVPN are among the most popular VPNs right now. They offer a similar set of features while promising to protect your data in the best possible way. With that said, you can already guess that subtle differences are what matters here.
|Number of Servers||3,000+||7,800+||5,400+|
|Number of Countries||94||90+||60|
|Number of Connections||5||7||6|
|Prime Video Support||YES||YES||YES|
As you can see, there aren't that many differences between ExpressVPN, CyberGhost VPN, and NordVPN. All three of those have the means to protect your personal data. Also, all of them are suitable for streaming, unblocking websites, downloading files, and torrenting.
Keep in mind that ExpressVPN and CyberGhost VPN are now owned by the same company, but they continue to exist as separate services. NordVPN isn't owned by a corporation, which might look better from a privacy-focused perspective. However, all three of those are no-logs VPN services with previous audits to prove their claims.
The bottom line is that ExpressVPN comes out on top as it's a complete package. NordVPN is great for more advanced users who want to chain multiple servers or bypass extremely limited networks. CyberGhost is great for media streaming. However, ExpressVPN does all of that without overcomplicating the overall user experience.
Does ExpressVPN Work in China?
Yes, ExpressVPN works in China. In fact, this has been one of the most popular VPNs for Internet users in China for many years now.
By offering servers outside of China (in neighboring countries), ExpressVPN allows you to unblock just about any website. This includes media streaming sites (like Netflix), Microsoft's services (like Skype), Google's services (like Gmail), and more.
ExpressVPN also offers mirror websites, allowing you to download its apps. And in case of any issues, you can always rely on ExpressVPN's excellent customer support. They'll be more than willing to send you any files or instructions at any moment.
What's ExpressVPN Missing?
ExpressVPN is a complete VPN service. It gives you pretty much every single tool you'll ever need to protect your digital privacy. Unblocking online content with ExpressVPN is also a possibility, as well as downloading torrent files.
In terms of what's missing - well, not much. ExpressVPN doesn't offer support via telephone, but that could hardly be considered a downside. In addition, you're limited to 5 simultaneous connections, which could be a limiting factor for certain individuals.
ExpressVPN Pros and Cons
Finally, let's take a close look at the pros and cons of using ExpressVPN. Here are our conclusions after having tested and used ExpressVPN extensively.
- Doesn't log personally identifiable data in any way or via any of its apps.
- Incredibly polished interface, across the board.
- High-end encryption; Numerous capable VPN protocols available.
- Frequent updates containing new features and refinements.
- A sizable network of servers spread evenly across the world.
- Works in China and the United Arab Emirates.
- Great for media streaming (unblocks Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, Disney+, and more).
- Incredibly helpful customer support team (available 24/7).
- On the expensive side (if you want to pay monthly).
- Not the biggest server network out there (still big enough for most users).
- No longer an independent company (but still trustworthy, nonetheless).
So, Do We Recommend ExpressVPN?
Yes, we recommend ExpressVPN for just about any purpose out there. It's still a great option if you want to protect your privacy, block online trackers from collecting information, unblock websites, download torrents, or stream online media. It's a complete package that's on the more expensive side, but it's definitely worth its price.
In the end, we're sure that you'll be more than happy if you pick this VPN. With that said, feel free to check ExpressVPN's site for additional information.