ExpressVPN Review: The High Price of Excellence

You’ve seen it mentioned all over the web, brought up practically every time VPNs are discussed: ExpressVPN, the self-proclaimed “#1 Trusted Leader” in the VPN industry. With a massive user base and ever-extending lists of features, ExpressVPN has certainly made a name for itself, but does it live up to those lofty claims that pepper its website and ads?

Our ExpressVPN review is here to reveal the answer to that burning question. We’ll don our detective caps and investigate every nook and cranny of this VPN provider, uncovering the truth about its performance, security, privacy and usability.

Ready to get started? So are we – let’s do so expressly (sorry, couldn’t resist!).

About ExpressVPN

It should come as no surprise that VPN providers tend to be a secretive bunch; their businesses operate on the premise that everyone has the right to as much personal privacy as they desire. ExpressVPN is one of the most mysterious of them all, without so much as an “About Us” page on its website and very little information available from any other source.

Here’s what we do know: ExpressVPN was founded in 2009 and is based in the British Virgin Islands, a Caribbean territory of the United Kingdom that declares and enforces its own domestic laws (see the “Jurisdiction” section later in the review for more information). The company’s staff work from all over the world, including Canada, France, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Perth – a worldly talent pool if ever there was one.

Beyond that, ExpressVPN has revealed next to nothing about its leadership or origins; its domain name is registered to a UK-based domain anonymization company and while executives have given interviews to media outlets, they’ve refused to identify themselves or their locations. If ExpressVPN protects its customers the same way it protects its leaders, its big promises may not be as far-fetched as they seem.

ExpressVPN Usability

Website

ExpressVPN’s website, though similarly laid-out to many other VPN websites, catches the eye with its red and white color scheme and modern minimalist graphics.

Drop-down menus at the top direct you to detailed pages about ExpressVPN’s features and products as well as VPNs in general. We were very impressed with these pages; while many providers simply throw together a couple of generic paragraphs about encryption and call it a day, ExpressVPN takes the time to break down even the more complex elements of its service in a way that’s accessible and informative.

ExpressVPN also provides several security tools that are free and useful for customers and non-customers alike. A password generator creates secure passwords based on customizable criteria (length, character types and cases), an IP address checker shows you what you look like to the web at large and leak testers check your VPN connection for DNS and WebRTC leaks.

Supported Devices

If you use Windows, MacOS, iOS or Android, you’re probably used to having an app for everything. That won’t change with ExpressVPN, which provides full-featured apps for these four OSes.

While other providers stop there, ExpressVPN keeps going – its app can be used on Chromebooks, the Kindle Fire, the Nook HD and select routers from Asus, Linksys and Netgear. A command line “app” is available for six Linux distros: Ubuntu, CentOS, Debian, Fedora, Arch and 32-bit Raspbian.

Browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox round out ExpressVPN’s app offerings, but a few other devices get some special treatment as well. The company offers its MediaStreamer DNS service for PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Samsung Smart TV; though it’s not a full VPN, it does enable these devices to access previously blocked streaming content.

ExpressVPN provides manual setup guides for many devices and OSes that don’t have their own apps, including Roku, Chromecast, Nvidia Shield, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, NAS systems and Linux distros like Linux Mint and Kali. Though you won’t be able to utilize all of ExpressVPN’s features on these devices, you’ll still get the benefits of encryption and location masking.

Apps

VPN apps can make or break the experience in so many ways. Easy setups and intuitive designs can increase accessibility for less advanced users, while bugs and sluggishness can turn away even the savviest techies.

ExpressVPN falls squarely in the former camp. Its apps share a unified design across all devices that makes it totally painless to move from phone to computer – no thumbing through disparate menus looking for settings in different places.

When you download the app, you’re given an access code to enter once you start it up for the first time (mobile apps get a QR code that you can scan). The code eliminates the need for you to enter your username and password, simplifying the installation process in a way we haven’t seen from other providers.

Once you’re logged in, you have a few connection options to choose from. A Smart Location algorithm lets you connect to your closest server with one click or tap, while a country list allows you to manually select your country, city or individual server of choice.

After you’ve connected for the first time, the app’s home screen will display your most recent servers for speedy selection next time. If you find yourself preferring a few locations over others, you can add them to your Favorites list and keep them within reach at all times – an excellent feature for streamers who “travel” to many different media sites in different countries.

While the server list doesn’t show any speed or latency information off the bat, you can run a speed test through the ExpressVPN desktop apps (it’s not available on the mobile apps). The test can be run on every server or only on servers in certain regions; when it’s complete, you’ll be able to see the results and pick the fastest server with the lowest load.

A curious inclusion is an automatic protocol selection mode, which is turned on by default and lets the ExpressVPN app analyze your network and select the protocol it thinks is best for your current circumstances. This is clearly geared towards those who are less tech-literate, but could prove troublesome for just about anyone; the app doesn’t tell you which protocol it’s chosen, so you may end up inadvertently using a protocol that’s less secure than necessary.

Usability Score: 9.5/10

At first glance, ExpressVPN looks like any other VPN provider, but it doesn’t take long to notice the differences.

The website is attractive, sure, but its real advantage is in the breadth and depth of the information it provides. We were pleasantly surprised, for instance, to see all the various aspects of encryption – algorithms, hashes, perfect-forward secrecy – broken down descriptively yet succinctly on the “VPN Encryption” page.

ExpressVPN supports all the most popular OSes and then some, including many Linux distros and streaming boxes that are often ignored by VPN providers. The installation and login processes are as simple as can be thanks to the unique access code authentication, and the apps themselves are easy on the eyes and intuitive.

There are only a few usability pitfalls here, and even so they’re fairly minor. The Smart Location picker doesn’t always live up to its name, occasionally selecting distant servers by mistake, and the automatic protocol selection seems unnecessary and could use more transparency, but neither of these features are mandatory to use.

ExpressVPN Performance

Servers and Locations

With over 3,000 servers in 94 different countries, ExpressVPN has one of the most expansive server repertoires in the industry. While other providers have higher overall server counts, they don’t necessarily distribute them so widely, making ExpressVPN a great choice if you’re in (or want to appear as if you’re in) a country that’s typically ignored by VPN providers.

Around 3% of ExpressVPN’s servers are virtual servers. A single physical server can be divided into multiple virtual ones to manage load; they can also be made to appear as if they’re in a different country than they actually are.

Some providers take advantage of this to boost their server numbers and make their locations look more diverse, but ExpressVPN is transparent about its virtual servers – it uses them to provide stronger and more secure connections to countries with weaker infrastructures or more restrictive internet laws. On the website, you can find a complete list of the provider’s virtual servers along with the actual server locations.

By using virtual servers, ExpressVPN is able to offer local IP addresses to users in countries like Belarus, Turkey and Venezuela, which censor the internet heavily. It would be difficult or impossible to procure physical servers in these countries, and even if it did happen, the servers would be susceptible to search and seizure by authorities; virtual servers are the best solution and we’re glad that ExpressVPN offers them so transparently.

The remaining 97% of servers are physically located all over the world. North America and Europe have the highest server counts, as expected, but coverage isn’t shabby in Asia and Oceania, either – South and Central Asia in particular are very well-represented compared to the competition.

South America is surprisingly well-covered, with IP addresses available from nine countries rather than the typical one or two; four African countries are available, a high number considering that the continent is usually all but ignored by VPN providers. The only truly underrepresented region is the Middle East, where servers are only available in Israel.

Speeds

VPN speeds are a bit like car fuel efficiency. Just as your particular driving style, road conditions and vehicle maintenance impact your MPG, so too do your computer specs, base connection speeds and servers of choice impact your Mbps.

It’s impossible to say exactly what speeds you’ll get with ExpressVPN or any other VPN without trying it out for yourself. With that said, most of the top VPNs deliver speeds with certain commonalities: speeds on local servers should approach or meet your base connection speed, while speeds on distant servers in developed countries should decrease your download speeds by no more than 50%.

ExpressVPN meets these standards with ease. If you’re in North America or western Europe, you probably won’t even know you’re using a VPN if you connect to a nearby server – speeds drop no more than 10% and are generally within just a few Mbps of base speeds.

Long-distance connections are always more resource-intensive than their localized counterparts, but even so, ExpressVPN performs very well: a 65Mbps base connection on the east coast of the USA dropped to 58Mbps on a UK server, a difference that would barely be noticeable except during very hefty downloads.

Even greater distances posed no problem to ExpressVPN’s servers. A 75Mbps base connection in the UK dropped to 50Mbps when routed through a server on the west coast of the USA; a 30% drop is incredible given that the connection has to travel halfway around the world and back again, and the final speed is more than adequate for multiple HD video streams.

Service gets a bit shakier in the more far-flung regions of the world, but not as much as you would expect. Servers in countries like Japan, Hong Kong and Australia deliver speeds that are 15-30% lower than baseline speeds, while Cambodia and Malaysia – countries with overall weaker infrastructures and slower internet connections – clocked in at 40-75% slower than normal.

There’s always going to be some speed loss when you use a VPN, but it’s as minimal as it gets with ExpressVPN. Connections that would be nearly unusable with other providers are good enough to handle all but the most intensive tasks, and speed loss with closer connections is so negligible it’s barely worth mentioning.

Streaming

It’s getting tougher and tougher for VPN providers to get around the IP blocks and deep packet inspection used by Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer and other streaming sites to stop users from thwarting geo-blocks. Ever since it became common knowledge that VPNs allow you to change your location and access international content, these sites have been cracking down hard on these connections, leaving many users with nothing but the dreaded “you’re using a proxy” error message.

Though many VPNs have stopped advertising themselves as being able to unlock streaming sites, ExpressVPN hasn’t; in fact, it’s got several pages devoted to streaming, complete with instructions for accessing specific sites. If you’re having trouble finding a server that works with a particular site, ExpressVPN offers individual assistance via its live chat – a streaming content concierge, if you will.

As expected, it can take a couple of tries before you find a server that works with Netflix; the streaming giant uses some of the most sophisticated VPN blocking technologies to protect its content. But USA servers work consistently well, and at least some of the servers in Canada, the UK, Japan, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Mexico are able to trick Netflix.

This performance is impressive, indeed – many of the top VPNs only work on American Netflix – and it doesn’t stop there: American servers were able to unblock Hulu, HBO GO and Amazon Prime Video, while UK servers will get you into BBC iPlayer reliably.

ExpressVPN’s site discusses many other streaming services that can be unblocked, including DAZN, ESPN, Sling TV, Sky Go and Vudu. Devices like gaming consoles and smart TVs that don’t have their own ExpressVPN apps can be configured to use the provider’s MediaStreamer DNS service, which isn’t secure and private like a full VPN but does enable you to access streaming libraries that were previously blocked.

Split Tunneling

VPNs are wonderful, but if you use a wide variety of apps, they can sometimes be inconvenient. Multi-tasking gamers may want a speedier connection for their MMO and a more secure one for their web browser, while frequent torrenters may require a VPN for their torrent client but not for their email client.

Other times, VPNs can cause issues when attempting to interact with other devices on the network, such as printers and local servers. Certain websites, particularly those associated with banking and business, may be limited in functionality or totally inaccessible if they detect that you’re using a VPN, forcing you to choose between security and usability.

ExpressVPN attempts to solve this problem with its split tunneling feature. When enabled, it allows you to select which apps you want (or don’t want) to use the VPN connection; the ones that don’t use it will be able to take advantage of your full unsecured internet connection.

Split tunneling is available for Windows, MacOS, Android and routers. Unfortunately, Apple’s developer restrictions preclude ExpressVPN from including the feature in the iOS app.

Performance Score: 10/10

While other providers have tons of servers with lackluster speeds, or solid connections that are blocked by Netflix, ExpressVPN excels in every aspect of its performance.

Its servers may not be the most plentiful, but they’re well-distributed and cover some of the most neglected regions, including those where government oppression is high and VPNs are most urgently needed. ExpressVPN also sets a great precedent with its transparency regarding its virtual servers, one that we hope other providers will follow as well.

Speeds are excellent across the globe, a rarity with VPNs. We expected the North American and European servers to perform well, which they did, but we didn’t expect such high speeds from remote regions like Southeast Asia; it seems safe to say that you’ll be able to find a usable connection wherever you need it.

ExpressVPN’s streaming performance is perhaps the best in the industry, with an admirable roster of international content and a promise to help you find a working server for whichever site you desire. Foreign film lovers and globetrotters will be able to access a whole new world of content on Netflix, BBC iPlayer and many other sites.

The split tunneling feature lets you fine-tune your performance for maximum speeds where you need them most, making ExpressVPN a fantastic option for power users. We wish it was available on iOS, but that’s not ExpressVPN’s fault – and it’s perhaps the only fault in the provider’s stellar performance.

ExpressVPN Security

VPN Protocols

VPN protocols dictate the inner workings of your VPN connection – the ports they use for communication, the types of encryption they use to secure your data and the reliability of the connection. ExpressVPN supports three protocols: OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec and PPTP.

As discussed earlier, the ExpressVPN apps also include an automatic protocol selection option, which analyzes your network and device to determine the best protocol to use. However, your chosen protocol has such a big impact on your security that we recommend making the choice manually rather than entrusting it to an algorithm.

OpenVPN

OpenVPN is ExpressVPN’s default protocol and the one it recommends for most purposes. It’s an open source protocol, which means that the wider programming community can (and does) contribute bug fixes and improvements; it also means that anyone can view the source code and confirm that it’s highly secure, with no shady business taking place behind the scenes.

ExpressVPN’s OpenVPN implementation uses AES-256 encryption, the algorithm that’s recommended by most security experts and used by government agencies to secure top-secret data. It would take billions upon billions of years to crack an AES-256 key by brute force; even if someone did intercept and crack your data, the perfect-forward secrecy used by ExpressVPN means that your key changes every 60 minutes, so only a tiny portion of your data would be compromised.

You can choose whether to use OpenVPN over TCP or UDP ports. Each has its benefits and drawbacks; ExpressVPN uses UDP by default, but the choice is ultimately yours.

UDP connections are fast, but they’re easier for network administrators to detect and block, and there may be some dropped packets since there’s no error checking. TCP connections can be slightly slower due to the error checking processes they deploy, but these processes also ensure that there’s no data loss or corruption, and they’re far less detectable since they look just like regular HTTPS traffic.

OpenVPN isn’t usually available on iOS VPN apps due to Apple’s developer restrictions, but ExpressVPN has jumped through all the necessary hoops to include the protocol in its iOS app. If you use an iPhone or iPad, ExpressVPN is one of just a handful of providers that will give you access to this secure and speedy protocol.

L2TP/IPsec

OpenVPN is a great protocol, but many older devices don’t support it. In these cases, the next best choice is L2TP/IPsec – it’s supported by just about every device out there and doesn’t require any extra drivers or programs to use.

There are two major downsides to this protocol, though: it’s slower than OpenVPN and it’s far less secure. ExpressVPN recommends using L2TP/IPsec only if your device doesn’t support OpenVPN, and even then only if you’re not doing anything that requires high security; it’s best used for changing your location and anonymizing your IP address when you’re not transmitting any sensitive information.

PPTP

PPTP is the oldest VPN protocol, and it’s also the least secure. It’s been cracked so many times that most security experts agree that it’s barely better than an unsecured connection – so why use it at all?

Well, it’s fast and it can be used on pretty much any computer made since 1991. ExpressVPN allows Windows users to use PPTP if they desire, but cautions that it should only be used for location changing purposes when maximum speeds are necessary, such as for streaming HD videos from international sites or seeding large torrents.

Encrypted DNS

Every website URL is tied to an IP address that your computer needs to know in order to access the site. The translation between URL and IP address is performed by a DNS server, which is usually run by your ISP or by a company like Google.

The problem is that these DNS servers can monitor and store your browsing activity – since every URL you visit must be translated by the DNS server, there’s a complete log of your internet history available to anyone with access to that server. This log contains not just URLs but timestamps and your IP address as well; if you’re not using a VPN or it’s not configured properly, this IP address is your real one, tying you to your activity inextricably.

ExpressVPN solves this problem by using its own DNS. The zero-knowledge DNS keeps no logs and doesn’t engage in any kind of filtering or blocking, unlike other DNS services that censor or limit access to certain websites.

Additionally, all ExpressVPN DNS requests are fully encrypted with AES-256, so even if they’re intercepted by network administrators or hackers, they’ll be indecipherable and virtually useless. Requests can also be resolved more quickly since they don’t need to pass through a third party – all the translation happens on ExpressVPN’s servers, reducing loading times as well as protecting your privacy.

TrustedServer

Typically, servers store data on hard drives, which also hold the OS and software used for processing your requests. Hard drives can hold a lot of data, but that data is stored on them permanently until the drive is overwritten or erased, so should anyone get their hands on that drive, they’d also possess all the data on it.

Additionally, a hacker or government agency could install malicious software on the hard drive in order to steal data, conduct surveillance or render the server inoperable by corrupting the OS. As a result, the server’s hard drive is perhaps the most vulnerable part of a VPN; anyone with access to it could do a lot of damage in very little time.

ExpressVPN’s TrustedServer technology takes hard drives out of the equation. All of its servers run entirely on RAM, which doesn’t store any data permanently – as soon as the server is powered off, the RAM is erased, wiping out not just VPN data but also the software used to process it.

As a result, every ExpressVPN server is always up to date. Since the server needs to fetch its OS and software every time it’s booted up, it grabs updated versions of each frequently; these software packages are read-only, so they can’t be modified by attackers.

Kill Switch

When your internet connection gets interrupted – during a power surge, when switching between WiFi networks or when your computer goes to sleep – your VPN connection drops, too. Once your base connection is back, it can take a while before your VPN reconnects; during that time, any data you send or receive is transferred over your unsecured connection.

This is bad news if, for example, you’re torrenting or uploading a file that contains sensitive information. To prevent this unintentional security vulnerability, ExpressVPN offers its Network Lock kill switch to users of its Windows, MacOS, Linux and router apps.

The kill switch, when enabled, does exactly what its name implies: it kills all incoming and outgoing internet traffic as soon as the VPN is no longer connected. This stops accidental data leaks and ensures that you never transmit anything without the protection of the VPN.

Unfortunately, Apple’s developer restrictions have struck again, and Network Lock is not available on iOS devices. It’s also not present in the Android app, though ExpressVPN recommends that users of Android 8 or higher activate the kill switch that’s included in the system settings.

Security Score: 9/10

ExpressVPN has taken big initiatives in the security department, targeting two of the biggest security vulnerabilities that are often ignored by VPN providers: DNS and physical server attacks.

Rather than relying on a third party to manage its DNS, ExpressVPN has created its own and, in doing so, solved a major problem that’s plagued VPNs for years. DNS has long been a weak link in the VPN chain, so it’s a relief to see a provider implement an encrypted DNS that follows the no-logs ethos of the VPN itself.

Though ExpressVPN doesn’t store any VPN data longer than necessary for processing, the TrustedServer architecture prevents even that split-second worth of data from being intercepted. It also allows for speedy server maintenance, which means better uptimes and the most up-to-date server-side security.

One of the most notable features of ExpressVPN is its iOS OpenVPN compatibility – most providers choose to omit the protocol from their iOS apps rather than comply with Apple’s stringent requirements. But OpenVPN is by far the most secure protocol, and we’re glad to see that ExpressVPN has taken the time and energy to provide it to all users, including those on iOS.

We wish the same could be said for the Network Lock kill switch, which is absent from both iOS and Android. While a system-level kill switch is available in Android 8 and above, over 60% of Android users run older versions of the OS; we’d like to see an in-app kill switch made available to them as well.

ExpressVPN Privacy and Policies

Jurisdiction

ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands, a territory of the UK – a country that’s not exactly known for its positive attitudes towards internet privacy. But the nation that inspired George Orwell’s Big Brother doesn’t have as much control over these Caribbean islands as you might think.

While the British Virgin Islands are still under the ultimate rule of the British monarchy and allow their international dealings to be managed by the UK, their domestic policies are entirely their own and are enforced without interference from overseas. These policies are strongly in favor of both personal and corporate privacy; there are no mandatory data retention laws and no mass surveillance programs in place.

In its privacy policy, ExpressVPN states that any legal requests for user data, whether domestic or international, must be approved by the Supreme Court of the British Virgin Islands before the company is required to comply with them. Approval will only occur if the crime being investigated is also a crime in the British Virgin Islands; the crime must also be punishable by a year or more in prison under BVI law for the request to be approved.

The British Virgin Islands are not known to cooperate with any other countries in surveillance or data-sharing activities. Extensive leaks over the past several years have revealed that many countries have secret ties to surveillance alliances like Five Eyes, but the British Virgin Islands are not among them.

Logging Policy

Even if ExpressVPN did receive a lawful request for user data, there would be nothing of consequence to turn over. The company doesn’t log any IP addresses, browsing data, timestamps, DNS queries or traffic metadata – in other words, anything that could be used to associate you with any of your internet activity.

Some information is logged for technical support purposes: your app version, your total bandwidth usage, the server locations you connect to and the dates (not times) you connect to them. This minimal information is collected by most VPN providers, so ExpressVPN isn’t an anomaly here; the most that could be gleaned from this data is that you connected to a certain server on a certain date and transferred a certain amount of data.

ExpressVPN also collects your email address and payment information for registration and payment purposes. You’re free to use an anonymous email address if you wish, and anonymous payment options are available (see the “Pricing and Payment” section for more) if you don’t want your identity associated with your account at all.

In 2017, Turkish authorities seized an ExpressVPN server, claiming that a VPN user deleted important data pertaining to the assassination of Russian Ambassador Andrey Karlov. This action had the unintended side effect of proving ExpressVPN’s no-logs claim, as nothing was found on the server.

The company claims to undergo regular third-party audits to ensure its security; the result of one such audit, conducted by cybersecurity firm Cure53 on the ExpressVPN Chrome extension, are favorable and publicly available here (PDF link). ExpressVPN also collaborated with other VPN providers and the Center for Democracy and Technology to create the Signals of Trustworthy VPNs questionnaire, which is intended to improve accountability and transparency in the VPN industry.

Torrent Policy

ExpressVPN doesn’t make a big scene about its torrenting capabilities, but it doesn’t have a problem with it or with other P2P filesharing. Its website does feature a page about using ExpressVPN with uTorrent which, though it contains the standard disclaimers regarding the illegality of downloading copyrighted materials, appears to be staunchly in favor of torrenting.

Privacy and Policies Score: 8.5/10

Again, there’s a lot of initiative shown by ExpressVPN in this category. It’s one of the first VPNs to undergo an audit with publicly-available results (a trend we hope continues to grow) and its cooperation with the CDT in creating the Signals of Trustworthy VPNs brings a ray of hope to the widely-maligned VPN industry.

A favorable jurisdiction and some inadvertently-gathered proof of its no-logs policy also contribute to ExpressVPN’s score here.

With that said, we can’t help but notice a bit of hypocrisy with regards to transparency; though the intention of the CDT questionnaire is ostensibly to increase transparency, there’s still very little information about ExpressVPN both on and off its website. We’d like to see more information about the company and its leadership made public, keeping with the questionnaire’s goal of lending credibility and trustworthiness to VPN providers.

ExpressVPN Service and Value

Customer Support

If its extensive support base and thorough tutorials don’t have what you need, ExpressVPN offers a 24/7 live chat support line, which allows you to get a response to your query within minutes. The chat agents can assist with finding a server for streaming, resolving account or payment issues and configuring your devices, among other things.

More in-depth technical questions can be sent via email or through the website’s support ticket system. Responses to these queries take longer – between several hours and a couple of days – but can contain more information for resolving complex issues.

Pricing and Payment

ExpressVPN offers one service tier at three different price points: $12.95 per month, $59.95 per six months and $99.95 per year. The six-month plan works out to $9.99 per month, while the one-year plan cuts the monthly price to $8.32; discounts are regularly available that extend the one-year plan by three months for the same price, reducing the monthly cost to $6.67.

The single service tier includes unlimited bandwidth and three simultaneous connections. This limit is a bit disappointing, as most providers offer at least five simultaneous connections, with some offering ten or more; you’d be wise to set up ExpressVPN on your router as that only counts as one connection regardless of how many devices are using it.

There is no free trial, but every pricing tier comes with a 30-day money back guarantee.

ExpressVPN accepts credit cards, PayPal, AliPay, UnionPay, Mint and many other payment processors. You can also pay with Bitcoin if you want to remain anonymous – by using Bitcoin and a throwaway email address, you can completely disassociate your real identity from your account.

Service and Value Score: 7.5/10

Its numerous payment options (including Bitcoin) and its excellent customer support may work in its favor, but ExpressVPN’s hefty price tag and restrictive connection limits cost it a few points here. The average monthly price for a VPN is $10, so $12.95 is quite steep by comparison, especially considering that you only get three simultaneous connections with no way to increase that number.

Prices become more reasonable when you prepay, but even then they’re a fair bit higher than those of similar plans from competitors. The 30-day refund period is nice compared to the seven days offered by other providers, but we’d still like to see some kind of free trial offered – even a three-day one with a bandwidth cap would be better than nothing.

Final Score: 8.8/10

So let’s return to the question we posed at the beginning of the review: does ExpressVPN live up to its claims? The answer is yes, with a couple of caveats.

Usability and security are ExpressVPN’s strongest suits, with some of the best-looking apps and highest speeds we’ve seen, plus a number of unique security features like OpenVPN on iOS, TrustedServer and encrypted DNS. Streaming capabilities are excellent as well; binge watchers will revel in the new international content libraries available to them.

Privacy is also an area of excellence. Even a physical seizure of a server by the Turkish government didn’t betray any amount of user data.

But more transparency regarding the company’s origins and leadership would go a long way towards building trust and furthering its stated mission of increasing accountability in the VPN industry. And while ExpressVPN never claimed to be the cheapest VPN, pricing could stand to be a little more competitive.

Despite these criticisms, ExpressVPN is one of the best VPNs out there. The term “leader” in its homepage claim certainly seems to fit – there’s a lot of initiative being shown here and most (if not all) of it seems to be leading not just ExpressVPN but VPNs as a whole towards a better future.

Related Questions

So many concepts and technologies are used in VPNs that we couldn’t possibly cover them all in one article. Perhaps these topics will interest you next!

How Can You Use OpenVPN on iOS?

Apple is notorious for placing restrictions on app developers, especially VPNs, and as a result, very few iOS VPN apps offer OpenVPN as a protocol option. Though there isn’t any native OpenVPN support on iOS, there is an OpenVPN app available for manual configuration, and a few providers, such as ExpressVPN, do include OpenVPN in their iOS apps.

Which VPNs Use Secure DNS?

DNS is a necessary part of the internet, but it’s also a huge source of IP leaks and other security risks. To fix this problem, some VPN providers have implemented their own private DNS servers that encrypt all queries and don’t keep logs; these VPNs include VyprVPN, ExpressVPN, and Private Internet Access.

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