Express VPN International Ltd. is a British Virgin Islands-based company and comparatively an old VPN, but it can stand on its own and hold the fort down. It is currently topping the list of VPN providers and has many features than the other VPNs.
It consists of more than 3000 servers spread across 160 cities in 90 countries and is one of the trusted leaders of VPN providers.
ExpressVPN has a right mix of servers located across the globe covering Europe, US, Asia, South America, Australia, and also Africa. Though many countries have their servers, Europe and the US get the best coverage.
You can access different platforms with a single subscription. It is one of the most desirable features of ExpressVPN.
With just one subscription, you can protect all the devices you may own. From Mac to Windows, from Android to iOS, Linux, routers, and many more are supported.
Initially, ExpressVPN could support only three simultaneous connections, but as of June 2019, it can support five simultaneous connections. A router can be used to increase these connections further.
5 simultaneous connections would likely be enough for most of the users. Especially with the router which enables the user to connect to as many devices as they want.
It is vital to know all the facts before choosing any VPN. Continue reading to know more about ExpressVPN.
So, Why ExpressVPN?
ExpressVPN is one of the leading choices when it comes to VPN. They have many features which differentiate it from the rest and stand out in a crowd.
- Uses SHA-256 encryption.
- Has the fastest upload/download speed.
- Provides support for OpenVPN, an open-source software for VPN.
- A strict no-logs policy.
- Supports five simultaneous connections.
- Protect all your devices with one subscription.
- A 30-day guaranteed-money back policy.
- 3000+ servers located in 90 countries and growing.
- Excellent 24/7 support system for all your queries and problems (live chat, email, ticket system).
- Works in countries like China and other Middle Eastern countries where internet access is restricted, and strong censorship is in place.
Our Research – 8 Most important facts
Features listed above are enough to convince you that ExpressVPN is an excellent VPN. The research team at Stemjar evaluated ExpressVPN on the eight most important factors for choosing a VPN service to provide an honest review.
One of the crucial strengths of ExpressVPN is its speed. It has the fastest upload and download speed of all the other VPN out there.
For a test case, without a VPN and using a server that is far away from our current location, our research team found a download speed of 99.80Mbps and an upload speed of 51.23Mbps.
In the same environment, with the ExpressVPN in place, we were able to get a download speed of 84.52Mbps and an upload speed of 50.67Mbps, which makes it one of the fastest VPN.
And we got that high speed while we used a server that was farther away from us, Europe to be more specific.
It was then tested with a 160Mbps wired connection with a 256-bit OpenVPN on many of the up-to-date ExpressVPN apps.
We used servers from different countries, and some of the download speeds are listed below.
The download speed in the USA was 140.05Mbps, in the United Kingdom; it was 139.02, and in Canada it was 141.86Mbps.
As we checked many of the servers, we realized the average download speed was between 118 and 140Mbps. This is one of the exciting results our research team ever saw.
ExpressVPN also has an additional feature called recommended server that lets you choose the fastest server based on the proximity to a server location and the bandwidth.
ExpressVPN consistently performed even when it was tested using many servers. If speed is a deciding factor for you, then ExpressVPN will suit you best.
- The number of servers: ★★★★☆
- Widespread presence across the globe: ★★★★★
2. Does ExpressVPN work well with Netflix and other Geo-restricted websites?
One of the main reasons one opts to use a VPN is to use streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, BBC, Kodi, Hulu, etc. As VPN works to ways to access content that is location-based on these sites, they continue to build firewalls.
ExpressVPN continues to support and work on providing access to geo-restricted sites, no matter where you are in the world.
Not all of the servers are compatible with Netflix, and there is a chance that you may get proxy errors when you try to stream.
In that situation, all you have to do is to try using another server or contact ExpressVPN chat support, and they’ll redirect you to a server that bypasses Netflix’s firewalls.
3. VPN Servers
When it comes to networks, distance matters. It is a common understanding that one would have a greater connection and speed if the server closer to the individual is used.
To achieve this, ExpressVPN should have servers in many places to cater to the needs of the whole world.
With over 3000 servers spanning across 160 cities in 90 countries, ExpressVPN presence is felt all around the globe without any latency or network slowness. ExpressVPN is excellent in this area.
With servers in Asia, Europe, Australia, America, Africa and even in the smaller countries like Turkey and others, ExpressVPN has made sure to reach every individual on Earth.
The support group can be used to identify the best ExpressVPN server for you to access according to your location. You can also choose the VPN server that would suit your needs.
This feature becomes handy when you want to use a US server to access streaming sites like Netflix.
4. Security and Privacy
While some VPNs have high speed it falls short on protection, ExpressVPN is thankfully not in that list. It doesn’t compromise on security.
ExpressVPN uses an AES 256-bit cipher with a 4096-bit RSA key and uses SHA-512 HMAC for authentication. This type of encryption is the highest level of security available and is considered unbreakable.
It also supports “Perfect Forward Secrecy,” an agreement protocol that assures that even if the private key of the server is compromised, the session keys would not be.
ExpressVPN also lets the user choose the VPN Protocol to use in their apps. OpenVPN UDP, OpenVPN TCP, IPSec/L2TP, PPTP are the available VPN Protocols with the ExpressVPN
If “Automatic” is enabled, then ExpressVPN choosing the best protocol for us based on the network settings. OpenVPN UDP is the protocol that is automatically enabled in most cases because this provides the best security and speed.
If you have connection problems with your network, then OpenVPN TCP would suit you better. But it is not as fast as OpenVPN UDP. L2TP and PPTP offer good speed, but they are not as secure as OpenVPN.
The kill switch in ExpressVPN, called Network Lock, protects the data by blocking all the traffic if the VPN connection drops.
Network Lock ensures every data packet is encrypted, secure and that the real IP address of the user is kept hidden at all times. Currently, this feature is available with Windows, macOS, Linux, and routers.
The network lock feature is available under the General settings. This feature worked extraordinarily well when we interrupted the VPN manually.
Several VPN providers do also provide this feature, but it often doesn’t work as well as for ExpressVPN.
Leak Test results
We put the Windows and iOS ExpressVPN apps through some VPN leak tests to identify any issues. Ipleak.net was used to check the app. We are happy to report that there weren’t any problems with any of the ExpressVPN apps.
ExpressVPN secured all the traffic by providing us with an IPv4 address, it blocks IPv6, and their secure DNS resolvers handle all the DNS requests.
Our rating – Top security features
- Encryption – ★★★★★
- Strict No logs policy – ★★★★★
- Automatic kill switch – ★★★★★
- DNS leak protection – ★★★★★
5. User-friendliness – Works flawlessly on Android/ iOS/ Mac/Windows
ExpressVPN supports lots of devices like
- Different web browsers
- Smart TV
Installing ExpressVPN as an android app is very easy. Download and install it like you would install any other app.
After installation, if you don’t have an account, create one. But if you do, then the process becomes even more accessible.
In the web console of your windows system choose Setup > Android Page. Scan the QR code, and the app gets automatically installed provided that your phone has permissions to install from outside the Store.
The interface of the app is the same as the Windows version. But it has an additional new feature called Location Picker which makes it easier to find and connect to a server.
The app also leaves out some of the best features from the Windows version. There’s no Speed test feature so you won’t be able to see how fast or how overloaded the server is before connecting to it, you’ll see the names of the server.
The installation process takes a few more steps than the Android version probably because of the added security measures of Apple products. But once installed it works in the same way as any other counterparts.
The iOS version has two important settings. The choice of protocol is usually OpenVPN UDP, OpenVPN TCP, IPSec, and PPTP but with the iOS version, you also have IKEv2, which is not available to access for Android and Windows users.
The ExpressVPN app doesn’t have a kill switch, but it has an auto-reconnect switch that will try to reconnect to the VPN if the connection drops.
Apps aren’t the only way you can access ExpressVPN. The company has provided Chrome and Firefox extensions that let the user access the VPN from the browser.
ExpressVPN isn’t simple proxies for the web they are browser-based interfaces for Mac, Windows or Linux client. That is they won’t work unless you install it.
The interface is the same as the apps. But the limitation is that there is no support for client’s favorites, which could be a problem if one has built up a custom list.
But there are some advantages too particularly with the Chrome extension. It has features like HTTPS Everywhere that forces the website to open with HTTPS whenever available.
It provides settings to prevent HTML5 geo-location from leaking out the original location when using a VPN. It also blocks WebRTC leaks at the browser level.
ExpressVPN supports almost all of the devices, and if there is one device out there that doesn’t support ExpressVPN, feel free to reach out to us, and we can take it with ExpressVPN.
Our rating – Top flexibility features
- Availability on Windows/ Mac/ Linux – ★★★★★
- Available as apps on Apple, Android – ★★★★☆
- VPN support for the router- ★★★★★
- Support for Kindle, Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, BBC, Kodi – ★★★★★
- Extension for browsers like Chrome and Firefox – ★★★★☆
- Support for five devices with a single account –★★★★★
6. Customer Support
Like any other new technology, you can run into trouble with VPN too. A good support system is what makes or breaks a VPN service.
ExpressVPN offers you many options when it comes to supporting. You can go through their troubleshooting options, or you can use live chat to get help.
You can also ask for help by filing a support ticket or by writing an email to the support team. While ExpressVPN says it takes about a day to reply to emails, when our research team reached out through mail we got a reply in an hour.
- 24/7 support – ★★★★★
- Live chat support – ★★★★★
7. Pricing Options
The company offers various plans for different durations – one month, six months, and yearly.
- Monthly – $12.95 – billed monthly
- Six Months – $9.99/ month – billed every six months
- Yearly – $8.32/month – billed yearly
The pricing is probably one of the main disadvantages of ExpressVPN. It is costlier than all of its competitors
But then again, this shouldn’t surprise one as this company offers many features to protect our privacy.
ExpressVPN is not what one would call as a “budget service,” but each of these plans comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee so you should feel free to try it out without losing your hard-earned money.
- Pricing plans – ★★★★☆
- 30-day money-back guarantee – ★★★★★
- Payment methods – including cryptocurrencies – ★★★★★
8. What do others say about ExpressVPN
Instead of just believing our research let’s hear what others had to say about ExpressVPN.
- Trustpilot, a customer review website rated ExpressVPN at 9.6 out of 10.
- PcMag, an American computer magazine, rated the service a 4 out of 5 and said it protected the data from thieves and spies.
- An online publication focussed on Technology, TechRadar rated ExpressVPN at 4.5 out of 5, calling it “a premium service with well-crafted clients, an ample choice of locations and reliable performance.”
Cons of ExpressVPN
With several advantages, it might be hard to believe that this VPN has some flaws in it. But nothing is perfect. Here are the cons of ExpressVPN.
Costlier than many other VPNs
As it was previously mentioned, ExpressVPN is one of the costliest VPNs out there. That isn’t shocking as they are one of the best currently available VPNs with many cool features.
If you are looking for best in class vpn and want to be fully secure while still enjoying your most favorable channels including Netflix along with 24×7 available best in class customer support, you will not mind paying few extra bucks. Will you?
If you are cost-sensitive, look for longer-term plans which will be easy on your pocket. However, if you observe the website, you can find great deals from time to time.
As the old saying goes, “You get what you pay,” ExpressVPN sure gives you a lot for what you pay.
A quick recap
Before you decide on ExpressVPN, you should understand what is a VPN, the advantages of using a VPN is and why you need to use a VPN?
Now that we know the pros and cons of ExpressVPN let’s take a recap of why we need a VPN.
1. Security and Privacy
If you’ve ever used a free public wifi connection or an open hotspot, the chances are that your data had gotten stolen.
Free network connections are usually insecure, and there is a higher chance of data theft. There could be people looking into your data while you are on an insecure network.
VPN provides a solution to this data theft. It hides all data into a secure, encrypted tunnel that keeps all the dangerous people away from your data.
This type of security is so fierce that even the ISP that you are using can’t get a hold of your data.
2. Enjoy the internet with no restrictions
These messages get displayed because of certain geo-location restrictions on the website. Most common examples are Netflix and YouTube.
A VPN connection can get you past this restriction as you can use a server from a different country where the content is allowed.
In all our evaluations, ExpressVPN stands tall and proud at the top of its pack. When choosing a VPN, people usually check for privacy, speed, and security, and ExpressVPN provides all that and more to the user.
No other VPN has come close to the upload/ download speed of ExpressVPN. It is also available on many devices, and you can use one account across subsequent connections.
With more than 3000 servers spanning across 90 countries, it has well and truly covered most of the globe.
What brings more joy is the fact that it works perfectly well with geo-restricted websites like Netflix and Hulu.
The only problem with ExpressVPN seems to be its pricing, which is a little high. But in truth, for the features it offers, ExpressVPN is worth every cent that you pay.