ExpressVPN Review (2020) – The Best Premium All-round VPN
ExpressVPN has been at the top of the VPN game for a while now – and rightly so. They’ve been around since 2009 and truly know what they’re doing. ExpressVPN is currently dominating the VPN market along with a couple of other services. With an ExpressVPN subscription, you’ll get access to a vast server network of 3000+ servers in 160 different locations distributed over 94 countries. Moreover, you can use this subscription on up to five devices at the same time. The quality of the connections is top-notch and allows you to browse, stream, and download freely with impressive speeds. Furthermore, the security and encryption of the software are up to par with the highest international standards and will protect you from any third-party interference and spying.
The company is officially registered on the British Virgin Islands, which means it isn’t legally obliged to keep user logs. Consequently, ExpressVPN doesn’t keep any logs that breach the privacy of its users. ExpressVPN is extremely user-friendly: it makes using a VPN easy for the general public. You don’t have to be tech-savvy to use the ExpressVPN apps. Moreover, the website and customer service are very helpful, and the applications work intuitively.
- Simultaneous connections: 5
- Operating systems: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux
- Protocols: OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec and IKEv2
- Logging policy: No logs
- Servers: 3000+ servers in 94 countries
- Price: From $6,67 a month
- Money-back guarantee: 30 days
Speed – How fast is ExpressVPN?
The speed of any VPN connection is important, especially if you want to do more than just browse web pages. If your internet connection isn’t fast enough, you could experience lag while downloading, streaming, or gaming. For this reason, we test all VPNs on their speed to see whether and to what degree they slow down your connection.
First, we’ll show you some speed tests we did to see if there were any significant differences between our speeds with or without ExpressVPN. Subsequently, we’ll share our own experiences with ExpressVPN’s speed during daily use. Finally, we’ll tell you about ExpressVPN’s own speed test, which is built into their app.
Speed test results ExpressVPN
Below you’ll see the results of a couple of speed tests we executed using speedtest.net. We tested the speed from our own location (in the Netherlands), so your results might vary depending on where in the world you are. Moreover, factors like your internet provider and data limit also affect your connection speed. Therefore, the results shown here only give an indication of possible results. Nevertheless, they can tell us something about the effect ExpressVPN servers will generally have on your internet speed.
Speed without a VPN (Speedtest.net):
These are the speeds of our internet connection without a VPN. We’ll use these results as a benchmark to compare the other results to.
Speed with a local server (Speedtest.net):
The numbers above are the speed test results we measured when connected to the ExpressVPN server that was closest to the place we tested from. A nearby server will likely give you the best results, as a big distance between you and the server can cause lags. As you can see, the ping has increased slightly but is still great. The download and upload speeds have decreased, but are also still decent.
Speed with a server that’s far away (Speedtest.net):
When we connected to the fastest ExpressVPN server available in the US (a server far away from our home country of The Netherlands), we got the results shown above. It’s clear that the ping has increased quite a bit. This, in theory, is a problem if you want to play online multiplayer games. The download speed isn’t that different from the download speed we had with our local server (which is very good news). The upload speed has decreased, but is still very much workable.
That being said, this result doesn’t mean that ExpressVPN’s US servers are of poorer quality than our local ones. On the contrary, they are actually great. When you connect to a server that’s far away, you always lose some speed and have a significant increase in ping. These results show that ExpressVPN’s servers, even those that are far from where you might be, are still very good. If you live in the US and try out an American server, your results will likely be better than ours.
Speed during daily use
When we tested ExpressVPN in practice, its speeds were excellent. We didn’t experience any lag during regular browsing, visiting websites and working on our own website. Streaming and downloading were no problem either. We could watch videos on YouTube and use Netflix without any trouble. Furthermore, we could easily download files of any kind and size.
When using the recommended servers, we didn’t experience lag while gaming either. However, in this case it’s important to connect to a server that isn’t too far away from your physical location, because otherwise your ping might increase. Overall, ExpressVPN is a great VPN for gaming. In general, we’ve been able to maintain great internet speeds when using ExpressVPN, without a significant speed drop.
ExpressVPN speed test
ExpressVPN has a speed test built into their application. When you open the program, you can find it in the menu in the upper left corner. If you click the option “Speed Test”, you’ll be able to start a speed test from your computer across all the ExpressVPN servers. This takes a couple of seconds and will only work when the VPN isn’t activated, but then you’ll have a clear list of servers and their performance with your internet connection. This is perfect if you’re looking for the optimal server for your location.
The test will show the latency, which is also known as ping in gaming. It’ll also show you the downloading speeds and a general speed index. On the ExpressVPN website you’ll find an easy guide that explains the tool further and helps you make the best choice in servers.
Conclusion speed ExpressVPN
- You maintain a decent portion of your internet’s speed when using ExpressVPN
- There was no noticeable change in speed during daily use
- ExpressVPN offers their own, built-in, speed test
Safety – How secure is ExpressVPN?
Perhaps the most important feature of a VPN is that it keeps you safe and anonymous online. It encrypts all your data traffic and anonymizes your online actions to an extent. ExpressVPN adheres to the highest international standards and has great options for the security settings. Below you can read all about the protocols they support, their logging and privacy policies, their kill switch, and the personal data ExpressVPN needs from you to set up your account.
ExpressVPN uses 256-bit encryption and recommends the OpenVPN UDP protocol, which is also set as their default protocol. These are the highest international standards for encryption, so you won’t have to worry about your privacy. ExpressVPN supports the following protocols:
- OpenVPN UDP: Best combination of speed and security, but may not work on all networks.
- OpenVPN TCP: Likely to function on all types of networks and arguably the safest VPN protocol around, but might be slower than UDP.
- L2TP/IPSec: Weaker security – useful for anonymization and changing locations when other protocols do not work.
- IKEv2: Generally very fast, but may not work on every type of network and offers fewer configuration options than OpenVPN.
We would recommend you keep ExpressVPN’s default settings, since they offer the best protection you can get from any VPN. If you would like to know more about this topic you can check out our article that compares all the different VPN protocols.
In addition to these protocols, ExpressVPN is also developing its own protocol: Lightway. With this protocol they hope to be able to promise clients a faster, safer and more reliable and stable VPN experience. For instance, ExpressVPN claims connection speeds will improve thanks to Lightway. Furthermore, ExpressVPN indicates they will soon open-source the core of Lightway’s code, which will of course contribute to the safety of the protocol. After all, this way anyone can inspect the code which should also be relatively easy, since the code base will be relatively small according to ExpressVPN.
Although little is known about this protocol, the development of such a protocol does indicate that they are constantly innovating their core business. It is not yet known when this new protocol will be available for widespread use. Currently, Lightway is only available for all beta testers of ExpressVPN.
Logging and privacy
ExpressVPN is officially located on the British Virgin Islands. That name might make you think they are a part of Britain, but these islands are an independent nation with strict privacy regulations (which benefit consumers). For this reason, ExpressVPN does not have to retain any data. This means they are not obligated to keep user logs.
Because of the above, ExpressVPN does not keep any traffic or IP logs. So they do not have any information on what you do online. The only type of logs they keep are connection logs. This type of logs only tells them on what dates the service was used and what server you connected to. This information is not linked to your IP but to your user account. This means that you can stay completely anonymous, using a special email address and by paying in bitcoin. In their own terms:
“We may know THAT a customer has used ExpressVPN, but we never know HOW they have utilized our Service…ExpressVPN does not collect any IP addresses, browsing history, traffic data, or DNS queries that could be used to identify any specific user.”
In truth, ExpressVPN isn’t even capable of saving any logs. This is due to the new TrustedServer-technology that the company introduced in 2019. All data on the ExpressVPN servers is now sent through RAM-memory, which is a form of volatile memory. This means all data is regularly deleted, because the RAM-memory needs electric power in order to function. Whenever the power drops, all collected data automatically disappears. This is a great solution for everyone who takes their privacy seriously.
Once you’re connected through the secure tunnels by ExpressVPN it can happen that the connection falters, for whatever reason. This would mean that your data is unprotected until you can connect to the ExpressVPN server again. You probably want to prevent this from happening.
ExpressVPN offers an extra security element for Windows and Mac; the kill switch. Once you enable the kill switch you will never be unprotected again. If you do happen to lose your VPN connection, the kill switch will block all internet access. This way there are no weak spots in your online activity.
Something to look out for is that the kill switch sometimes triggers when you switch between networks. For example when you’re automatically connecting to a new network or when you’re switching between data and wifi. You don’t get a clear message about this, so you sometimes have to manually unblock the internet by pressing a ‘deblock the internet’ button in the ExpressVPN software. Very safe, but also impractical.
What information does ExpressVPN need?
To create an account with ExpressVPN you only need an email address and a method of payment. This means that you can stay completely anonymous if you use an anonymized email address and pay with Bitcoin. If you make sure the email address does not link back to you in any way, nobody will know who you are.
Conclusion safety ExpressVPN
- ExpressVPN uses 256-bit encryption
- You can choose between OpenVPN UDP, OpenVPN TCP, L2TP/IPSec and IKEv2 protocols
- ExpressVPN has a kill switch option
- ExpressVPN uses TrustedServer-technology which uses RAM-memory
- To create an account, you only need an email address and payment method
Usability – How user-friendly is ExpressVPN?
Since the internet can be quite a complex place it is essential for a VPN service to have great customer support. Figuring out what settings to use or what server to connect to can be quite difficult if your VPN provider does not have a clear website or easy-to-use software. Below you will be able to read everything about the user-friendliness of ExpressVPN. We will take a look at their website, installation process, software, prices, and customer support.
The ExpressVPN website
ExpressVPN has a very clear and user-friendly website. They provide you with a lot of information on how a VPN works.
Under the tab “What is VPN” you can find a lot of information on what a VPN is exactly and how different elements of a VPN work.
Under the tab “Products” you can find elaborate installation guides for different devices and operating systems. Moreover, you will see different browser extensions and privacy tools there.
The “Support” tab will take you to a menu where you can click through to their troubleshooting guides or set up instructions. As you can see below, you can also talk to their customer service here.
Thus, it is easy to find all the information you need. If you cannot find something, you can chat with their customer support 24/7.
The installation process for ExpressVPN is extremely easy and quick. With their easy installation wizard, it takes no time at all before you can access the internet anonymously.
The ExpressVPN software is available for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Linux. You can also install their software on your DD-WRT router.
ExpressVPN offers the following three-step guide on their website:
This might look over-simplified, but it really is this easy. Once you buy a subscription you visit the setup page on the website. You select the software for your device and operating system and install it. The app will open and you will be able to see how it works intuitively. You can also find their app for mobile devices in any app store. The downloading process is the same for all devices.
ExpressVPN’s appearance and ease of use
The look and feel of ExpressVPN’s software are very professional and appealing. It’s also works intuitively and using it is extremely clear and self-explanatory. Most users will only need a clear on and off button and an easy way to change server location. The ExpressVPN app shows you just that. Moreover, it isn’t cluttered with information you don’t understand or need. For this reason ExpressVPN is ideal for people that haven’t used a VPN before.
In the menu in the upper left corner you can find options that allow you to tweak the settings of your VPN connection if you wish to do so. Moreover, you can run a speed test and select the help menu if you have any questions.
ExpressVPN and Linux
Just like all the other top VPN providers, ExpressVPN allows you to use its service on Linux distributions. In fact, ExpressVPN can be used on Ubuntu, Debian, CentOS, Fedora, Raspbian and Arch. In other words, there are very few operating systems on which ExpressVPN doesn’t run. Below you’ll find a quick summary about using ExpressVPN on a Linux distribution.
The entire network of servers of ExpressVPN is also available to its Linux users. Not only that, the servers are also top-notch in terms of speed and stability. While testing, we did not encounter a single instance of DNS or WebRTC leaks.
Because everything is done through the terminal, it is important to find the right page to download the repository and learn the basic commands. That’s all there is to it. Apart from the Firefox extension and the kill switch, there are no extra features to the ExpressVPN app for Linux. You simply request the list of servers and connect to the one you want. The only problem we had during testing was the lack of Linux expertise among the customer service employees. This may cause a problem to take a bit longer to solve, should you encounter one. Be that as it may, ExpressVPN is at the top of our list for the best VPN’s for Linux.
Pricing and methods of payment
Possibly the only downside to ExpressVPN is their pricing. However, even if this VPN is on the pricier side, ExpressVPN is definitely worth the money.
ExpressVPN offers three different subscription plans. All three plans offer the same supreme service, the only difference is the duration of the plan and the cost per month. They offer a one-month plan for $12,95, a 6 month plan for $9,99 a month and with our special deal you can get ExpressVPN for 15 months for only 6,67 a month.
The last option especially is a good deal for the quality you get in return. Moreover, ExpressVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. This means you can test out their services for 30 days and get your money back if it isn’t to your liking.
ExpressVPN accepts the following methods of payment:
- Credit Card (VISA, MasterCard, American Express, Discover Card, JCB, Diners Club International)
- Many other regional payment methods.
With these options you will, no doubt, be able to find a suitable payment method for you. If you want to remain completely anonymous, even to your VPN provider, you can use Bitcoin to pay for your subscription.
As opposed to some other providers, ExpressVPN has a good FAQ page that will answer almost all your questions instantly.
However, the layout of the menus is not very clear and it took us a while to find information about the supporting protocols, for example. This information could not be found via the search bar either.
If the FAQ page does not provide enough information, ExpressVPN also offers excellent customer service.
They offer 24/7 customer support to both customers and people just visiting their site. They will reply swiftly and pleasantly to all your inquiries.
If you encounter any problems with their service, they will help you figure out what is wrong and how to resolve it.
Conclusion usability ExpressVPN
- The ExpressVPN website is clear and helpful
- The installation process for ExpressVPN is extremely easy for all devices and operating systems
- The ExpressVPN software works intuitively
- ExpressVPN is slightly more expensive than other VPN services
- They offer a fair amount of payment methods
- ExpressVPN works well in combination with Linux, but their support agents don’t know a lot about Linux-specific problems
- ExpressVPN has an excellent 24/7 customer support with a live chatbox
Server network ExpressVPN
The server network of a VPN is important if you want to bypass geographical restrictions by connecting to servers in other countries. For instance, you can connect to a server in the U.S. to watch a show on the American version of Netflix. Moreover, if your government censors what you can do and see online you can reroute your connection through a server in a different country to have free access to the internet. Here you can find out more about the ExpressVPN servers and whether or not ExpressVPN offers dedicated IP addresses.
Number of servers and locations
ExpressVPN has over 3000 servers in 94 countries all over the world. Thanks to this immense server network you can always find a server that meets your needs. Furthermore, you can change servers whenever and as much as you want when using ExpressVPN.
In the ExpressVPN applications it is very easy to select a server and you can also save your favorite servers to make it even easier.
Moreover, ExpressVPN will show you a recommended server for your location. This server will probably be the fastest connection for you.
Dedicated IP address
ExpressVPN doesn’t offer a dedicated IP address service. One reason that people need dedicated IP addresses is to gain access to Netflix. With ExpressVPN you do not need a dedicated IP to gain access to Netflix because you can already do that with their regular services.
Another reason for using a dedicated IP address is that some websites will ask for extra identification if you access their website from different IP address all the time. If you want to prevent these extra measures from your bank or government you can take a look at a VPN provider that offers dedicated IP addresses, such as NordVPN or CyberGhost.
Conclusion server network ExpressVPN
- ExpressVPN has over 3000 servers in 94 different countries
- ExpressVPN doesn’t offer dedicated IP addresses
There are some features that not all VPN providers offer but can be very important to users. For instance, you can’t just use any VPN to unblock Netflix content from other countries. In fact, some VPNs don’t work with Netflix at all. Moreover, to some the option of downloading torrents through P2P networks is important. Another option that not all VPNs offer. We tested these features for ExpressVPN. You can also find information here about two extra features that ExpressVPN offers. First, we will look into the provider’s offer of routers. Finally, you can read about their easy to use browser extension, which makes using ExpressVPN extremely easy.
ExpressVPN and Netflix
It has proven difficult for VPN providers to stay ahead of Netflix’s efforts to block VPN users. The streaming service has started blocking IP addresses that are used by many people at the same time (such as those used by many VPN servers). Netflix does not want people to use a VPN with their service.
Most VPN providers have given up the fight, which means you can only watch Netflix with a dedicated IP. However, ExpressVPN is putting up a good fight and always has servers that will allow you to use Netflix without any problems. Because it is a constant struggle, not all their servers work with Netflix. But if you call in the help of the ExpressVPN customer services, they will guide you to the right server that will allow you to stream your favorite show on Netflix without a problem. For this reason ExpressVPN is at the top of our list of the best VPN-providers for Netflix.
ExpressVPN and US Streaming Services (Disney+, Hulu)
ExpressVPN also works perfectly well when you want to watch other popular streaming services. With an American server from ExpressVPN, we were able to easily and quickly access both Disney Plus and Hulu. Other non-USA servers (such as one in The Netherlands) also work with Disney Plus. Disney Plus isn’t yet available in many places, so keep in mind that you likely won’t be able to access the platform with a server in one of those countries. Since Hulu doesn’t work outside the United States, you will always have to use an American server for this service. In short, if you use the right ExpressVPN servers, you can be sure to safely access and enjoy your favorite streaming service without restrictions.
ExpressVPN and torrents
ExpressVPN allows you to download torrents anonymously. The speeds of the connection with ExpressVPN will be high enough to download files without much delay. Moreover, with their complete online protection you will stay completely anonymous.
ExpressVPN recently introduced a new feature: TrustedServer. This technology ensures your data – along with the online information of all ExpressVPN customers – is 100% secure. No data is saved on a company hard drive, so it cannot be stolen, either. On top of that, TrustedServer helps the entire ExpressVPN system keep up with the newest updates. This tremendously reduces the chance of weaknesses within the system.
All data on ExpressVPN servers is sent through RAM-memory. The great advantage of working with this technique is that any data is automatically deleted each time the connection or the power drops. This is different from working with hard drives, where data remains even after your session has ended. With TrustedServer, ExpressVPN simply can’t save any logs on your internet usage. Similarly, hackers, governments, and other institutions won’t be able to reach your data, because there won’t be any data to reach.
ExpressVPN offers a split tunneling function. This is a useful VPN featurue that allows you to pick and choose which services are routed through the VPN, and which can connect directly to the internet. You can find this option under the settings of ExpressVPN.
You can set up split tunneling in two ways:
- Exclude Programs: do you want all your apps except Firefox to use the VPN, for example? Then you can set up ExpressVPN so that only Firefox doesn’t pass through the encrypted VPN tunnel.
- Allow only a few programs: this can be useful when you only want your VPN for things link downloading torrents. You can add the torrent software to ExpressVPN’s split tunnel settings.
Split tunneling is ideal for bypassing online restrictions and accessing more online content without interfering with usual services. It also speeds up apps that aren’t routed through the VPN tunnel.
ExpressVPN on your router
Installing a VPN on your router is the ideal way to protect all your devices at home in one go. However, it can be quite a hassle because you need to have the right type of router. Moreover, you need to change the firmware on the router (flashing) to prepare it for a VPN.
ExpressVPN helps you make this process a lot easier. On their website they link to the best pre-flashed routers. With these routers you can be sure that the VPN software can be installed on it. To make the process even easier, ExpressVPN has installation instructions for all the popular routers on their website.
Once you have signed up for an ExpressVPN subscription you can install their browser extension. They offer this extension for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. The advantage of the browser extension is that you won’t have to open your ExpressVPN application, but you can go to your browser straight away. You will see a little ExpressVPN logo in your browser that shows you whether the service is turned on. By clicking on the icon you will get to see an interface that is very similar to the application. Here you can turn the VPN on and off and change your server location.
With the extension ExpressVPN has tried to make using a VPN even easier. Laziness is no longer an excuse for being unprotected on the internet!
Conclusion options ExpressVPN
- Netflix, Disney Plus, and Hulu all work with ExpressVPN
- ExpressVPN allows you to download torrents
- You can find the right routers on the ExpressVPN website
- ExpressVPN has a browser extension
Conclusion – Our experience with ExpressVPN
|All-round great VPN in terms of innovation and safety||No dedicated IP addresses|
|User-friendly interface and easy to use software||On the pricier side|
|Easy to install|
|Lots of choice in servers|
|Possible to watch U.S. Netflix|
|Downloading torrents is possible|
|30-days money-back guarantee|
It is no wonder that ExpressVPN has been at the top of our list for a while now. ExpressVPN performs well on all the important aspects of a VPN service. They offer great speeds and stable connections. Whether you are merely browsing the web or gaming intensely, ExpressVPN will encrypt your data without you having any problems with lag or loading.
ExpressVPN has the highest international standards of encryption in place. Their privacy and logging policies make sure you will not need to worry about your anonymity. Moreover, with their kill switch enabled, there won’t be room for data leaks.
What makes ExpressVPN a desirable VPN provider is their user-friendliness. Their website and software work intuitively and look clean. This makes their services accessible to everybody, whether you are a tech-savvy gamer or a casual browser.
Even though ExpressVPN is on the expensive side, they are at the top of most lists for best VPN, and rightfully so. For the service they provide they should be allowed to ask a little bit more. When we are not testing other VPN-providers we often use ExpressVPN, simply because of the good quality.
Do you have a quick question about ExpressVPN? We’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions about ExpressVPN down below. Simply click on a question to view the answer.
ExpressVPN is a very secure provider. ExpressVPN will secure your online traffic with AES 256-bit encryption and the safest VPN protocols. Moreover, this provider has a kill switch, which makes sure you’ll never have to go unprotected. ExpressVPN also can’t log any information because of their Trusted Server technology. Everything is instantly deleted, so nobody can see what you’re doing online. In other words, ExpressVPN’s no log policy can be relied upon.
Yes, you can watch Netflix with ExpressVPN and access the Netflix offer of, for example, the United States. ExpressVPN has plenty of super fast servers all over the world, which makes it easy to stream Netflix content wherever you are.
You can easily download torrents with ExpressVPN. Because of the incredible speed of their servers, this will also go very quickly. When using ExpressVPN, you’ll also be able to enjoy the protection of ExpressVPN while downloading, which ensures you’ll be almost completely anonymous.
ExpressVPN does not offer dedicated IP addresses. Many people use a dedicated IP to watch Netflix with their VPN. With ExpressVPN you won’t need a dedicated IP address to do that.
If you want a dedicated IP address to avoid captchas and other forms of extra verification, you can look for a VPN that does offer dedicated IP addresses, such as NordVPN.
ExpressVPN is a bit more expensive than most other VPN providers. However, it does give you the best of the best in terms of quality. An ExpressVPN subscription costs $ 6.67 per month.