ExpressVPN review

ExpressVPN is a British Virgin Island-based VPN provider offering comprehensive as well as the privacy-focused VPN service. The company has all the key features to keep you off the radar and help you stay anonymous. However, in our early review, it also performed inferior when compared to its competitors. Now, it is time to give you a refreshed ExpressVPN review and update you with the latest innovations of the company.

This updated ExpressVPN review will walk you through service purchase; app installation; encryption technologies and privacy features both by the company and the software end; server coverage and speed performance; customer support and worth mentioning personal notes every ExpressVPN user should know about.

Let’s get started…

Pricing and refund policy

If you ask me the biggest con of ExpressVPN, I would definitely tell you that it was a pricing policy. ExpressVPN is one of the most expensive VPN providers in the market. Especially, when compared to its competitors, you have to pay double for ExpressVPN.

As you have seen the pricing policy above, ExpressVPN is a way more expensive VPN service. However, our unique affiliate link will help you get a sweet 3-month free deal when you choose the annual plan.

The choice is yours. When you make your mind up with the preferred plan, it is time to make a payment now.

Luckily, ExpressVPN offers a variety of payment gateways for its visitors. These are:

  • Credit Card: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, JCB, Visa Electron, Diners Club
  • PayPal
  • BitCoin
  • AliPay, Yandex, iDeal, WebMoney, Mint, Klarna, etc…

No matter where you are living, you will find a suitable payment option for you. Unlike other VPN providers, ExpressVPN only accepts USD payments and you are not bound to pay additional rates for the taxes.

Lastly, ExpressVPN offers a no question asked, 30-day moneyback guarantee. If you experience any problems, all you need to do is just contact customer service via live chat and ask for a refund. They will issue a refund right after your request.

Bear this in mind, ExpressVPN might want to connect your device to fix the issues!

ExpressVPN compatible apps

If you have completed your purchase, it is time to download the compatible apps for your devices. As a Macbook pro and RealMe user, I will be giving the details through these apps.

Before moving forward to my experience, let’s take a look at what ExpressVPN offers in terms of compatibility.

  • PCs: Windows, macOS, Linux, Chromebooks
  • Smart devices: Android, iOS, iPad; Android TV; Xbox, Playstation; Amazon FireSticks;
  • Browsers: Google Chrome, Firefox, Windows Edge
  • Others: Routers, Chromecast, Roku, Nvidia Shield (Requires manual set up)

Besides these apps, you can either choose automatic or manual installation apps. For an easier process and stress-free future updates, I strongly suggest you use automatic installation apps.

Below I am sharing my experience with Macbook pro and Android device apps.

ExpressVPN has an PC app with a minimal design. It is userfriendly.

ExpressVPN is the most minimalist VPN provider in the market. After the late 2019 updates, it removed all unnecessary features and brought us about an easy to use VPN apps.

The minimal design offers a single click VPN connection. You may also check all locations by clicking the “Select Location” menu.

In case you need to look for other locations, there is a neat line up of the servers by continents. Furthermore, you can also search for a specific server or add the locations to your favorites.

As for the ExpressVPN settings, there are not many options you can adjust:

  • IPLeak protection: It prevents IPv6 address detection while connected to the VPN.
  • ExpressVPN DNS: You will be using the ExpressVPN private DNS.
  • Protocol section: You can choose between 4 different protocols. Each has its own warning on privacy and speed performance.
  • Network lock: This feature will stop all internet connection if your device loses connection to the VPN server.
  • Split Tunneling: You can decide the apps that will be using the VPN tunnel.

Having a minimal design may deprive users of having some other features such as ad-blocking, or JS/cookie prevention. Unfortunately, if you are seeking such completing features, you might not find ExpressVPN sufficient enough. Yet, as we are reviewing the service as “VPN”, ExpressVPN will get you any of your needs in terms of privacy and security.

Finally, the connection limits! ExpressVPN used to offer 3 simultaneous connections per accoıunt. Yet, after getting so much criticism, they increased the cap from 3 to 5. Still, 5 simultaneous connection is not enough when compared to CyberGhost with 7 and SurfShark with the unlimited simultaneous connections.

Note on ExpressVPN for restricted countries:

Depending on your location, VPN connection time may vary. If you are in a restricted country that blocks VPN connections, ExpressVPN will try to establish a connection with all protocols possible. However, it may take up to a minute.

Just be patient, and let the software do the rest.

Privacy policy and encryption technologies

There are so many VPN providers in the market with claims. However, with ExpressVPN we see facts. Still, can we trust them?

The answer to this question is to analyze the service with three sub privacy categories.

First of all, we will take a close look at the privacy policy of the company, then we will check the server infrastructure and encryption technologies of the software. Lastly, we will try to find out if any independent audit approves ExpressVPN’s privacy statements.

Privacy on the company end

In order to have peace of mind in terms of our online privacy, we got to analyze who is handling our traffic and how.

Each VPN user should work with a reliable VPN provider. Otherwise, your personal data, online activities, or any identifiable info might be exposed to third parties. In this respect, the trustability of the company, its no-log policy, and where the company jurisdiction is located play significant roles.

  • British Virgin Island jurisdiction: British Virgin Island does not have any law on regulating data retention. Such an opportunity gives ExpressVPN not to keep any logs both on the user and activity end.
  • Privacy policy: By taking the offshore support, ExpressVPN clearly depicts its no-log policy in its “Privacy Policy” page with the following words:

    “We do not collect logs of your activity, including no logging of browsing history, traffic destination, data content, or DNS queries. We also never store connection logs, meaning no logs of your IP address, your outgoing VPN IP address, connection timestamp, or session duration.”

Privacy on the service end

Looking at the privacy policy, all details look promising. Yet, we need to know how privacy measures are implemented in the VPN service as well. Hence, we should look for security features offered by the VPN software and the server infrastructure.

  • Encryption: ExpressVPN offers 4 different protocols: OpenVPN, IKev2, L2TP, and Lightway. The latest is a brand new protocol developed by the ExpressVPN team. The company claims that it is light and fast. However, the Lightway is still in the beta and needs improvement as our tests tell the opposite. Besides, each protocol comes with 256-bit standard encryption offering us security, stability, and speed together.
  • Private DNS: In order to keep your connection secure, ExpressVPN offers its own private DNS server. ExpressVPN will not only encrypt your data but also route it through its secure DNS servers.
  • Server infrastructure: ExpressVPN is one of the first VPN providers that implemented RAMDisk only servers (Trusted Servers) into their infrastructure. The company also adds up: Since RAM requires power to store data, this guarantees that all information on a server is wiped every time it is powered off and on again.” 

Third-party audit

ExpressVPN would earn our full trust when we check its policy and security technologies. Yet, as an ordinary user, we might miss some critical points during VPN usage. Therefore, an independent, and professional audit would fill the gaps and terminate our privacy concerns.

Bearing the necessity of third party audit, ExpressVPN got it’s checked by an independent cybersecurity team Cure53.

The First Cure53 audit was on  ExpressVPN’s browser extension to test the leaks.

The outcome of the audit brought about some bugs in the extension. ExpressVPN team immediately fixed the bugs and got approval from the Cure53 audit team.

independent audit firm cure53 approves ExpressVPN's no log policy

Server coverage and speed performance

If there is something I really do not want in the online world, it would be a slow internet connection. We are living in an online environment that requires decent internet speed for daily activities. In this sense, server coverage and speed performance of VPN service plays a crucial role.

First of all, VPNs do slow down our internet speed as they encrypt our data by certain bits and route it through a tunnel. That means further travel and a slower speed for our connection. That is why we should demand worldwide server coverage and optimized servers from a VPN service. Only that way, we can have both decent internet speed and less latency.

Server coverage

ExpressVPN is one of the top VPN providers offering extensive country coverage for its users. Currently, the company has more than 3000 servers in 94 different countries and growing.

At first glance, it might seem that ExpressVPN has its own dedicated server in all these countries. However, there is all another case: Virtual servers!

ExpressVPN has 42 Virtual servers in total. It means that the company routes your traffic through another server location. Furthermore, it depends on the situation with these words:

  • “In some countries, it can be difficult to find servers that meet these qualifications. Virtual server locations make it possible for you to connect to such countries, while still providing the connection quality you expect from ExpressVPN.”

So! Can ExpressVPN offer a spectacular speed performance?

Speed performance

ExpressVPN used to have poor download/upload speed performance. The continuous investment on the serverside moved the company to another level.

As of now, the company is the third-fastest VPN provider on our list.

RegionDownload / MbpsUpload / Mbps
USA - New York70.34.46
USA - Los Angeles62.833.84
USA - Dallas63.993.46
Canada - Toronto70.72.06
Brazil56.844.05
UK - London91.094.78
Germany92.264.48
France904.48
Hong Kong58.593.85
Japan22.773.81

With the speed given, you can enjoy a smooth browsing experience with any server of your choice; stream videos up to 8k without buffering and download huge files.

Torrenting

Speaking of huge files, ExpressVPN had a notorious background with the P2P files. In our 2019 test, the download speed was idling around 700 KB/second. For torrent lovers, it was unacceptable, for sure.

However, the latest improvements and investments seem to pay off and now ExpressVPN can reach up to the download speed of your non-encrypted, plain connection.

Latest P2P experience shows the download speed of ExpressVPN.

Dedicated servers and streaming

A great percentage of people use VPN service to stream some popular platforms like Netflix USA and BBC iPlayer. The need for usage comes from your current geo-location. Taking these two streaming services as an example, you cannot watch Netflix USA when you are outside of the USA or BBC iPlayer only let you stream and access BBC.co.uk when you are in UK territory.

Bearing the issue in mind, a reliable VPN service comes in handy to change your IP address and access the streaming services in a restricted country. In this sense, can ExpressVPN help us overcome these challenges?

ExpressVPN Netflix the USA library  ✔

ExpressVPN is one of a rare VPN provider to unblock different Netflix libraries outside the US. As per our example, I have tested the provider if it could bypass the Netflix filter or not.

ExpressVPN can help you watch Netflix US shows outside USA.

Luckily, by using ExpressVPN, I was able to watch Netflix US shows in Europe without getting caught. However, the speed was not decent. You have to just let the video stream for a few minutes to get Ultra HD quality.

Besides that, ExpressVPN can unblock Australia, Canada, France, and Germany library along with the US. Still, the library range stays short when compared to SurfShark’s capabilities.

ExpressVPN BBC iPlayer  ✔

Speaking of streaming, BBC is another streaming service that banned plenty of VPN providers in the market. Only a few of them are left and luckily, ExpressVPN is one of them.

ExpressVPN is one of a rare VPN providers that can bypass BBC iPlayer ban

According to my recent experience with BBC iPlayer, ExpressVPN was able to get around the BBC embargo easily. Yet, the speed performance was similar to Netflix and I could not get decent video quality as seen above. You may try your chances with several other, less crowded servers.

Gaming

I met ExpressVPN when I needed a VPN service to access to a specific server blocked in my country. At that time, I was sick and tired of the stability problems of HideMyAss. That was why I switched to ExpressVPN. Glad, I did.

Stability is the key. With ExpressVPN, you can get uninterrupted gaming experience. Furthermore, according to the test I run with Dota 2, ExpressVPN offers quite amazing ping results.

Below, you can see the Dota 2 server ping values without a VPN connection.

Dota 2 online game experience. This is a value without a VPN connection.

And here is the ping values after I connected to the ExpressVPN servers.

ExpressVPN online gaming experience. As one of the fastest VPN in the market, ExpressVPN will help you have a low ping rates while playing online games.

As seen in the example above, ExpressVPN adds up around 15 MS more to the ping values. While this value might seem higher than an unencrypted connection, you can still have a smooth and stable gaming experience without any disconnections as the green bar is the indication of the best latency values.

Customer support

Things might not go as expected. In that case, surely, we do need further assistance. Luckily, ExpressVPN offers an amazing knowledge base in several languages. By following their account, connection, and platform related tutorials, you can simply find answers to most of your questions.

Still, in a situation that you are stuck, ExpressVPN has a live chat button on its website. No chatbot, or no auto answers! You will be talking to a real person.

In order to test it out, I contacted customer support and asked them:

  • How many different libraries can ExpressVPN unblock?

ExpressVPN customer support is quite impressive and fast. You will get answers to your questions within seconds.

It took around 20 seconds for the customer representative to join the chat. Getting the answer to the question took a little more time as customer support asked and wanted to approve your account with them. Only after that, they granted me the proper answer.

I certainly believe that such an unnecessary bureaucracy both waste representative and the customer’s time.

Worth mentioning

When it comes to online privacy, ExpressVPN is unique. Contrary to many other VPN providers, ExpressVPN had experienced a case that actually proved its no-log policy.

Turkey experienced an unfortunate incident: The assassination of Andrei Karlov.

According to the Hurriyet Daily News:

  • The IP address that was used during the deletion had been leased from the U.S.-based Express VPN, which does not store activity or connection logs. The prosecution’s contact with the company did not yield results as Express VPN stated that it is not subject to the rules of U.S. and EU laws.

Related to the situation above, ExpressVPN added up:

  • As we stated to Turkish authorities in January 2017, ExpressVPN does not and has never possessed any customer connection logs that would enable us to know which customer was using the specific IPs cited by the investigators. Furthermore, we were unable to see which customers accessed Gmail or Facebook during the time in question, as we do not keep activity logs.

In short, ExpressVPN has the utmost privacy measurements to keep its customers off the radar.

Summing up ExpressVPN review

In this article, I have analyzed the British Virgin Island-based VPN service, ExpressVPN.

First of all, ExpressVPN is one of the most expensive VPN providers in the market. With a price tag of starting 6.67$/month, the company does not seem to be friendly with low budget customers. Still, when you prefer to this provider, you will be under 30 days moneyback guarantee. Furthermore, you can use a single account on six different platforms simultaneously.

Secondly, ExpressVPN has a proven no-log policy. As seen on the Karlov assassination, ExpressVPN did not give way personal data to the authorities. The jurisdiction of the company also helps ExpressVPN keep up with its no-log VPN promises.

While ExpressVPN offers the utmost privacy on the privacy terms and server end, unfortunately, it falls behind its competitors as it cannot block ads, cookies, or any other data thirsty trackers.

Furthermore, ExpressVPN backs up its privacy policy with its RAMDisk only (TrustedNetwork) servers, and independent third party audits.

As for the speed performance, the company invested a lot on the server-side. Earlier, it was unbearable to browse or download huge files with ExpressVPN. Yet, now, you can get up to 60+ Mbps download speed. The previous low P2P performance also diminished and now you can start downloading torrent files with an average of 90+ Mbps.

Last but not least, ExpressVPN can also unblock streaming services such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, etc. However, it does not have a dedicated streaming service categorization for specific streaming services. In case the selected server does not work, either you need to try one by one or contact customer support to find the working one.

Overall, ExpressVPN is an all in one VPN provider in terms of privacy. It is fast, reliable, and secure. However, you might not like the service if you have other expectations such as ad/tracker blockers,

7.6 Total Score
Privacy at its finest

ExpressVPN users will enjoy ultimate speed up to 60+ Mbps; off-shore privacy, proven no-log policy, 4 different types of protocols; dedicated streaming servers for Netflix USA and BBC iPlayer. Starts from 6.67$/month...

Performance
9
Software
8
Price
5
Customer support
8.5
PROS
  • 90+ countries with 3000+ servers
  • Accepts BTC
  • Proven no-log policy
  • 4 protocols and RAMDisk only server infrastructure
  • Minimal, easy to use software
  • Streaming servers for Netflix and BBC iPlayer
CONS
  • Expensive service
  • 5 simultaneous connections
  • Streaming servers are not categorized
  • No standalone extensions
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