ExpressVPN is a nice provider for getting past geo-blocking from China. It worked perfectly while logging to YouTube there. Despite the service is a little bit pricey, it is definitely worth using.
Getting down to ExpressVPN review, I had analyzed dozens of sources on the Internet but didn't found practical information collected in one place to be useful for both nooblets choosing the best VPN service and mature users willing to change a VPN provider.
Pretty much everybody state that ExpressVPN is the best VPN service, one of few providers which can be used for Netflix streaming. Its security level is supreme, and the reviews are generally the most positive.
For this reason, I have decided to carry out tests and check the information declared by the service itself and independent experts.
Well, what's the plan? First, I'll provide examples of ratings where ExpressVPN is rated number one, then I'll specify the important information I have found through the Internet (pros and cons), verify each item while describing installation and customisation step-by-step processes of ExpressVPN software for PC and smartphone. I'll carry out special checks, analyze all data, and finally draw a conclusion and make expert evaluation.
As you can see, the VPN service is well-liked. And based on my observations, it has been a leading player in online ratings.
Characteristics ⇒ Source
- Easy to set up and use ⇒ ExpressVPN
- Incredible speed ⇒ ExpressVPN
- Offshore privacy protection ⇒ ExpressVPN
- Strong security level ⇒ ExpressVPN
- 30-day money-back guarantee ⇒ ExpressVPN
- Large number of servers in many countries worldwide ⇒ ExpressVPN
- 24-hour live chat support ⇒ ExpressVPN
- No activity logs, no connection logs ⇒ ExpressVPN
- Apps for most platforms ⇒ ExpressVPN
- Works with Netflix ⇒ techradar.com
- Unblocks Hulu, Amazon Prime, iPlayer and other streaming services ⇒ comparitech.com
- Works with P2P (torrenting) ⇒ wizcase.com
Characteristics ⇒ Source
- A bit expensive ⇒ techradar.com
- Up to 3 simultaneous connections ⇒ techradar.com
- The power-users settings are a bit limited ⇒ comparitech.com
If you are not interested in the software installation, you could just jump to point 4.1 Check out the Internet claims.
Well, with this theory, I have restored to the practice. As usual, I'll use PC running on Windows 10 for my tests, as I reckon this system is the most relevant for the moment, and iPhone to check the work of a VPN on a smartphone. Software installation on Android is similar.
After passing the registration on the website ExpressVPN.com, I got an email with the offer to start the installation of the VPN.
I download and launch app for Windows:
When the app is installed, I continue with the settings:
Copy and paste the activation code:
Confirm you are to agree with “Launch on Startup” and “Help Improve ExpressVPN”, choose the necessary location (1) and launch the VPN (2). Ready!
To install the VPN on a phone or a tablet, it's required to download and install ExpressVPN app. You can do it on AppStore for iOS or on PlayMarket for Android. But the easiest way is to install the app following the instructions described in the letter from ExpressVPN.
When the app on iOS is installed, you will be asked for an email account and a password. Don't bother with this and click on “Tap Here”:
When ExpressVPN notifies ''Would Like to Add VPN Configurations'', tap ''Allow''.
If you did everything right, you would manage to choose a location and switch on the VPN as shown here:
I've been delighted to install ExpressVPN app on all interesting you gadgets so fast, easy, and fail-safe.
I was in tune for no end of trouble.
Due to the detailed hacks, highlighted in the email, it'll be dead easy for the people who will decide to make use of a VPN for the first time to cope with the software installation.
I was pleased to see that the app recommended the location upon the first start-up after installation, and all I needed to do was to tap on the power button of the VPN.
The list of countries is divided into groups in the most handy way. It allows choosing the country you need and the region inside it quickly.
The speed test of locations is conveniently integrated.
For as long as I was carrying out tests, which would be presented further, the app didn't hang up, didn't back off and didn't shut down itself.
It is especially great for iPhone, as the apps in standby mode are often force closed.
I have found a very beneficial function in the settings – the app can be configured so that not all programs use the VPN. It's useful for people who cannot browse sites for specific regions with a foreign IP, but along with this, the facility to bypass website restrictions should be retained.
One might make use of two different browsers. One of them is to be included in the exception, as indicated in the screenshot:
But there is a tiny inconvenience. When I chose another protocol in the settings, the location was always changing into ''Smart Location''. It doesn't imply any inconveniences as there is every likelihood you'll use the automatic configuration and the app will set optimal parameters.
Conclusion: Is it easy to install and use? – A definite YES!
Oh well, convenience, good interface, application stability – are not yet the software highest quality metric. One of VPN's main characteristics is its speed. Especially if you want to use the Internet securely without experiencing any troubles.
Don't simply connect to the VPN and make use of the service which measures the speed of the incoming and outgoing traffic. First, it's required to define what encryption method is the fastest and hereby secure.
Then you are to choose a protocol. ExpressVPN offers on default autoconfig which establishes a UDP connection in the first instance. This is the fastest connection however it is not always allowed by the internet service provider. In this case, a TCP connection can be used. TCP is as secure as UDP but more slowly (approximately by 40%).
ExpressVPN has simplified and combined the settings for the choice of encryption method and a tunneling protocol. It's impossible to choose the length of a ciphering key and cryptography algorithm. That is why I've set up OpenVPN (UDP) protocol manually. If everything is fine regarding the ExpressVPN servers, the speed shouldn't be much slower than without the VPN with such settings. First, I check the speed of fiber optic Internet without a VPN by dint of the speedtest.net service:
Now I check the speed when the VPN is switched on. The distance to a VPN server is 500 km.
The VPN is on again, but this time the service is located over a distance of about 20000 km.
Don't think the speed is slowed down because of the VPN provider and its network speed only. It is influenced by the remoteness from the VPN service. The closer it is, the faster the speed is. 16Mbps exceeds the minimum speed necessary for Streaming HD video (for example, Netflix) in 2-3 times.
To put that in context, I've carried out the same tests on a smartphone that supports the 3G connection. But the results depend on the network meltdown and signal intensity so that I haven't noticed ExpressVPN to influence inbound or outbound bandwidth.
Is the speed of ExpressVPN servers awesome? It is just very high. And that's fine. I've taken dozens of tests on different servers across the world but haven't found the ones the speed of which would be poor.
ExpressVPN.com states that the company is registered in an offshore zone. The advantage is that the commercial details of the company in non-public. In an offshore zone, there's the potential for hiding the company owners' personalities. It makes the works of the service less dependent on the law-enforcement authorities of the countries which would like to monitor online activity of their residents or to bar from the company work by dint of legal pressure.
I made use of a public service whois.com to find any information about the company which possesses the domain expressvpn.com, but the information concealed:
According to bloomberg.com as well as the information published on the official website of the service, ExpressVPN International Ltd company is registered on the British Virgin Islands.
There is no other information to be publicly available. In case it was a start-up company, it would be disturbing. But considering the fact that ExpressVPN has been in the market for 10 years already, it's obvious that the increased level of security is the mission of the company regarding sensitive data.
Turning to Wikipedia, I've also found some interesting facts that prove the company reliability. In December 2017, ExpressVPN was in the high light resulting from the murder investigation of the Russian ambassador to Turkey. Then the Turkish server of ExpressVPN was impounded because Facebook and Gmail member accounts of a murderer were deleted through it. However, no log files were found by the Turkish authorities. It proved the policy of ExpressVPN – '' No activity logs. No connection logs.''
Could I confirm that '' Offshore privacy protection'' works? A definite YES!
I've already mentioned that ExpressVPN application offers different server connection protocols, auto-config of connection type is active on default. But what does the service offer? How well does its auto-config cope with information and sensitive data interception?
The ExpressVPN website says it uses AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) with 256-bit keys — also known as AES-256, to encrypt traffic. I consult Wikipedia to get in-depth information:
- This encryption algorithm is accepted as a standard by the USA government. Furthermore, the National Security Agency (NSA) resolved that AES ciphering is reliable enough to protect highly classified information and AES-256 - TOP SECRET.
- The support of AES was introduced by the Intel company to the family of powerful processors.
However, it's not enough just to encrypt the data. One should be convinced that adversaries won't undertake any actions when a user is connected to a VPN server. To check it a man might make use of authentication by means of a unique CA certificate.
Historically, ExpressVPN used a 1024-bit CA key for OpenVPN standard. But in 2016 a blog, engaged in security, criticized ExpressVPN as it used a 1024-bit key.
There was no scrap of evidence that it could lead to the security level decrease of VPN connection. Nevertheless, ExpressVPN lengthened the key up to 2048-bit.
I open ExpressVPN configure file on my PC and check the settings. Indeed, it turns out to be the truth.
The tests on a PC were successfully passed. ExpressVPN prevented 3 leaks. My IP and country remained hidden. Thus, ExpressVPN gets with the times and uses a strong data encryption algorithm, has increased the certificate’s key length and developed its own software that prevents any leaks.
In view of my long experience of VPN use on a smartphone, it’s worth noting about the work stability of the software. I was changing 3G networks many times and often was in places with no 3G signal, but ExpressVPN software was reliable in its functions.
I confirm that security is at the highest possible level!
ExpressVPN claims not only about money refund if something goes wrong but also about a money-back guarantee if I cancel the subscription within 30 days after registration with no questions asked. Well, it seems that this VPN provider is confident. It’s been a few months since I subscribed for the service, that’s why I’ll try to find the proof of that statement on the Internet.
On the website of vpnmentor.com I found the article about that. Indeed, you need to contact ExpressVPN’s customer support and request a refund. A specialist will ask you about the reason, but accept the request and inform you that it will be processed for 5-7 days. The money was refunded to the author of the article in five days, and he could use the VPN for those 5 days.
Excellent! Another advantage of ExpressVPN has been confirmed!
In this ExpressVPN review I want to explain why the number of servers worldwide is important for a VPN service. Firstly, it’s choosing of an uncommon location. It seems that almost all VPN providers offer locations in the USA and Germany. But what if you need VPN of a small country for some reason? ExpressVPN offers the services of Virtual Private Network in 94 countries! And there are 195 countries in the world.
Secondly, the closer a VPN server is to your location, the higher the speed is. ExpressVPN will recommend you the most suitable server, taking into account your geo-location, even if it’s hard to decide to choose the best route of connection.
There’s another reason why a large number of servers is considered an advantage. Every day millions of people around the world use VPN. That’s why the larger number of locations a VPN service offers, the more evenly the users are distributed, and the server load is spread more evenly as well. Thus, the quality of a VPN service is improved.
ExpressVPN is not the best in the number of countries, but it is absolutely among the leaders!
It’s not easy to imagine the situation in which you would need ExpressVPN’ s customer support. All possible difficulties are covered and described in details when installing, configuring, or using of the software. I have been using the service for a long time and making notes for this review. But once I had a problem. When I was trying to stream on Netflix, I received the following message:
It was a weekend, moreover, night-time. But I kept in mind ExpressVPN’s claims about 24/7 customer support. I contacted customer support via online chat, and a specialist replied at once. He asked about the details of the problem and recommended to use another VPN server for watching Netflix. It took a few minutes, and I managed to stream.
I have already told you about an occasion in Turkey, when the authorities failed to find any information on the arrested server of ExpressVPN. What can be the best proof of ExpressVPN’s claims?
What they really may collect is possible errors of the software, activation date, subscription period, and traffic volume. This information doesn’t reveal your geo-location, data transferred, and websites visited, which can’t do harm.
Just have a look at this!
That’ why ExpressVPN is believed to be the best VPN in the world. Try to find an Internet device that is not included in the list above! If you do find it, «Manual Config» will help you to configure a secure and anonymous connection to the network.
It’s not a secret that many people look for the opportunity to use Netflix without regional restrictions. Netflix providers are aware of that and do everything to protect their policy. And VPN services compete for clients and try to find new tricks to unblock Netflix. You can find more information about VPN service vs Netflix confrontation and solutions in our dedicated article.
ExpressVPN is one of the few services that really solves this problem. Not all servers work with Netflix. I had to change locations many times to stream online. For the first time, a specialist from its customer support helped with it.
But, in my view, it’s easier to find the locations working with Netflix on ExpressVPN’ s list than on others’.
I tested US, GB, CA–locations and found the servers that work with Netflix and doesn’t pop an “Oops” error.
Everything I have told you about Netflix is relevant to other Video Streaming Services as well. Having set up ExpressVPN, I managed to stream any video with no difficulties.
Read further in our reviews:
- Best VPNs for Hulu
- How to watch Amazon Prime
- Best VPNs for BBC iPlayer
- Best VPNs for Spotify
- Best VPNs for HBO GO
- Best VPNs for Sports
- Best VPNs for Pandora
- Best VPNs for Freeform
- Best streaming services 2019: The unblocking algorithm
That’s why I confirm that ExpressVPN is good for Streaming Video.
Torrents. There has been such a fuss around it. Nevertheless, torrent trackers will help us for a long time. It’s worth noting that VPN services don’t promote P2P support for torrenting, some of them even ban it. That’s why not all services are suitable for that.
You can learn more details from our reviews dedicated to torrents, in this article I’ll tell you only about ExpressVPN.
What’s its policy as regards torrenting? It’s restrained. At first glance, one may think that it isn’t mentioned about torrents at expressvpn.com. But actually, there’s a dedicated web page for those who want to subscribe to use torrents securely and anonymously.
Offering its service for the users of torrent trackers, ExpressVPN points out:
As for me, one of my first tests for ExpressVPN was torrents support check. I tested several locations and confirm that using ExpressVPN with P2P is efficient and secure.
When I saw the price for the first time, I thought ‘’Really?’’
It’s sure that the company is trying to promote a 15-month subscription that lets you save almost 50% and costs $6.67 per month. Still, $12.95 is expensive for those who can’t afford to pay about one hundred dollars at once.
Let me point out that during the first month you can refund your money with no questions asked.
I have chosen a one-year subscription for $6.67 per month and pleased with the quality of ExpressVPN services and their “No Logs” policy that has been confirmed. That’s why I didn’t cancel the subscription and have been using this VPN for work and my personal needs so far.
I know that there are VPN services allowing 5 simultaneous connections. But in my experience, 3 simultaneous connections are quite enough. Usually I use only two connections: my PC and smartphone. That’s why it’s not a disadvantage for me.
But if you need to connect even an iron to VPN, I recommend not to look for another service with other cons, but set up VPN on a router (that thing in the corner that distributes Wi-Fi). In such a case, any device connected to that network will go through VPN. I can’t tell you how to do this in details as the configurations are different for any other router. Still, a specialist or ExpressVPN’s customer support will definitely help you.
In my opinion, the limits are minimal. In the course of my practice, I was configuring VPN servers many times. It was the time when VPN services were unreliable, and there were few of them. For my company, it was easier to configure its own VPN. That’s why I know everything about OpenVPN configurations and encrypting. What other features, that aren’t offered by ExpressVPN, can be useful for a power-user? To be honest, I don’t know.
I’ll be glad to hear from the one who needs more configurations in the comments.
I’d recommend to use automatic protocol configurations.
Well, I’ve checked the pros and cons of the service and apps. But I have another test that I developed on my own. It identifies if the app for a PC remains secure when reconnecting to the Internet, and for a smartphone app – with sleep mode on and when changing 3(4)G networks to Wi-Fi and vice versa.
I created a script for that. The core of it is that a browser once per second contacts the server where an IP address is identified and returned, and WebRTC leak check is done. Then the results are displayed, and one can see what was happening to the connection during the test.
I’ll start with the test for PC:
As you can see from the screenshot, at first, the connections to BestVPNRating were through an Australian VPN (126.96.36.199). Then I disconnected the Internet for 10 seconds and saw the following messages: ''connection error'' and ''off''. You can see that the connection was restored in about 20 seconds. Thus, ExpressVPN app was connected to the server in Australia and was blocking the connection of the browser for a certain period of time. Then the correct IP address was identified again, while my true IP was still hidden.
Now it’s time for doing the test on my iPhone. I chose a VPN server in Germany (188.8.131.52):
As it is seen from the screenshot, the IPhone reconnected to VPN correctly. Let me explain. Sleep mode on the smartphone was on for about an hour, but the iOS system stops the work of all pages opened in a browser while it is disabled. That’s why there are only 6 seconds without connecting to the Internet on the screenshot (1).
When changing Wi-Fi network to 3G or vice versa, the situation was the same – temporary disconnection and reconnect to VPN (2).
WebRTC is not available for iOS, that’s why leaks are impossible.
But there’s one thing to mention – when changing Wi-Fi network to 3G and vice versa via some countries, IPs were changed, though the country remained the same. It’s seen from the screenshot. It wasn’t observed during the PC test. Still, my real IP remained hidden, so I believe it is just a distinctive feature of work of the app for iPhones.
The test made me convinced even more in the opinion that ExpressVPN took into account all unexpected situations to provide the highest possible level of reliability and security.
Thus, ExpressVPN is one of the best VPN services. It’s time-tested, and it’s undoubtedly one of the leaders on the market. I’ve checked its pros and cons, conducted additional complicated tests, and I’m pleased with the results. As an expert, I believe, that the work stability of the apps, verified “No Logs” policy, and excellent customer support are worth paying the money asked for their services.
I consider that ExpressVPN fits all. It’s very good for home use, including web surfing, streaming video, and torrents; for using on a smartphone, including VOIP; for other devices and companies concerned about safety of their information, in particular, Top Secret.
So, is ExpressVPN worth choosing? YES, of course.
Want to compare the VPN with another one?
This is a great read, especially about VPN's being registered in an offshore zone. Even though an offshore-registered service may cost more than others, overall it is a good investment.
Hi! Why pay for a VPN if you can always use proxies? I have been using them for a long time. I don’t watch any TV shows. So, I’m completely satisfied with internet connection speed. I can easily communicate on the Internet using proxies. Besides, there are a lot of other reasons for viruses.
Hi, Ali. Being a cybersecurity expert, I cannot recommend you to use proxy servers. They do not encrypt traffic. Therefore, your messages can be easily intercepted. Moreover, your real location can be revealed as well. Beware!
I know nothing about technology. That’s why I couldn’t choose a reliable service for a long time. There’re so many reviews on the Internet and they all so complicated for me. But your review is clear. I have already installed ExpressVPN. Everything is fine. Thanks!
Whoo, I’ve finally lived to read an up-to-date review! Next week I’m going on a business trip where a reliable VPN is a must! I just need a provider for my smartphone. However, I worry that my IP won’t be so protected as on my PC. That’s why I have a question. I’ve heard that ExpressVPN may not be available in that country. What should I do?
Hi, Mike. It’s better to install the app before your trip. Then, you won’t have to visit the website of the service from the country you are going to. Have a nice trip!