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 have been around since 2009 and truly know what they’re doing. ExpressVPN is currently dominating the VPN market along with NordVPN and a few other services. When you have an ExpressVPN subscription, you get access to a vast server network of 3000+ servers in 160 different locations distributed over 94 countries. The quality of the connection is top-notch and allows you to browse, stream, and download freely. Furthermore, the security and encryption of the software are up to the highest international standards and will protect you from any third-party interference.
The company is situated on the British Virgin Islands, which means it isn’t legally obliged to keep logs. Consequently, ExpressVPN does not 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 need to be tech-savvy to use the ExpressVPN apps. Moreover, their 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 if you want to do more than just browse web pages. If your internet connection isn’t fast enough, you could experience lag during downloading, streaming, and gaming. For this reason, we test all VPNs we review on their speed, to see whether they slow down your connection. First, we’ll show you some speed tests we did with and without ExpressVPN to see if there were any significant differences between servers. 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, so your results might vary depending on where in the world you are. Moreover, factors like your internet provider and data limit can also affect your connection speed. Therefore, the results show here only give an indication of possible results.
Speed without a VPN (Speedtest.net):
These are the speeds of our internet connection without a VPN. We’ll use these results as a blank test to compare the other results to.
Speed with a local server (Speedtest.net):
These were the speed test results when we connected to an ExpressVPN server that was closest to the place we tested from. As you can see, the ping has increased slightly but is still great. The download and upload speeds have decreased, but are also still quite good.
Speed with a USA server (Speedtest.net):
When we connected to the fastest ExpressVPN server available in the US, we got the results shown above. It’s clear that the ping has increased massively, which could become 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. The upload speed has decreased but is still very much workable.
Speed during daily use
The speeds of ExpressVPN’s servers in practice are very good. 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 troubles. Furthermore, we could easily download files of any kind.
When using the recommended servers, we didn’t experience any lag during gaming either. However, it’s important to connect to a server that isn’t too far away from your physical location, because that’ll cause your ping to increase. Overall, ExpressVPN is a great VPN for gaming. Though in all honesty, we don’t recommend using a VPN when playing online shooters or other games where the connection has to be affected as little as possible.
Our experiences with the speed of our internet connection, using ExpressVPN, did not change all that much. The service manages to keep up the speed of our connection, which is great if you stream, download, or game a lot.
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, but then you have a clear list of servers and their performance with your internet connection. This is perfect if you want to find the optimal server for your location.
The test will show the latency, which is also known as ping in gaming. They also show you the downloading speeds and a general speed index. On their website you’ll find an easy guide that explains the tool further and helps you make the best choice in servers.
This tool is ideal if you are looking for the fastest server near you.
Conclusion speed ExpressVPN
- ExpressVPN attains high speeds
- 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 online. It encrypts all your data traffic and anonymizes your online actions. 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, the 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
- OpenVPN TCP
We would recommend you keep their 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 protocols.
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. For this reason, ExpressVPN does not have to retain any data. This means they are not obligated to keep logs.
ExpressVPN does not keep any traffic or IP logs. So they do not have any information on what your online activities are. 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. The advantage of ExpressVPN is that the app will quickly connect again, so you usually won’t notice anything.
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 good 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 can find a quick summary about using ExpressVPN on a Linux distribution.
The vast server network of ExpressVPN is also available to its Linux users. Not only that, the servers are also top-notch, receiving top marks for speed and reliability. 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. All in all, 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. Even though, you have to pay slightly more than with other VPN services, 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. 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 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:
- 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 method for you. If you want to remain completely anonymous, even for 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.
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
- 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 indefinitely 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; NordVPN.
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. Since not all VPN services work with Netflix this is important for lovers of streaming to test. Moreover, to some the option of downloading through p2p networks is important. 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 browser extension, which makes using a VPN extremely easy.
ExpressVPN and Netflix
It has proven difficult for VPN providers to stay ahead of Netflix. The streaming services has started blocking IP addresses that are used by many people at the same time. 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 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 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 works with ExpressVPN
- ExpressVPN allows you to download torrents
- You can find the right routers on the ExpressVPN website
- ExpressVPN has a great browser extension
- ExpressVPN works very well on Linux
Conclusion – Our experience with ExpressVPN
|All-round great VPN in terms of speed and safety||No dedicated IP addresses|
|User-friendly interface and easy to use software||Quite expensive|
|Easy to install|
|Lots of choice in servers|
|Possible to watch U.S. Netflix|
|Download via torrents possible|
|30-days money-back guarantee|
It is no wonder that ExpressVPN had 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.
The ExpressVPN server offer is great with over 3000 servers in 94 different countries. This way you can always find the right server for your online endeavor.
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.