If you’re anyone who’s stuck at home currently (which is about everyone due to the pandemic), then the internet is your only window to the world.
Trouble is, even on the world wide web, there are roadblocks and restrictions, such as geo-tagged content, that don’t allow you to access every service.
However, ExpressVPN provides you a way out. And even though it’s a bit costly, the features it provides are stunning, to say the least.
At least, that’s what I’d heard.
But being the diligent person that I am, I decided to test out ExpressVPN for myself.
After all, the only thing you can truly trust these days are your own eyes and ears.
And even though ExpressVPN does get a lot of praise, I wanted to see things for myself before going on for a subscription.
I go through the ExpressVPN review by inspecting 28 elements that mostly covering security features and privacy concerns.
Because when everything is said and done, all VPNs use the same underlying technologies.
So naturally, I wondered: how much better can ExpressVPN be?
What does it have to offer that its competitors don’t?
With this end in mind, I set out on my quest to test ExpressVPN to a T.
There were many questions that I needed to answer, and I sought to satisfy myself before presenting the results.
And the score is out, 92 over 100! From my rigorous testing here.
And today, I’m ready to give you the complete lowdown on the service!
Some of the important questions that I sought answers to are summarized below:
- Will ExpressVPN slow down my browsing experience?
- Does it allow access to services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime from anywhere across the globe?
- What’re the safety and privacy features that ExpressVPN can boast of?
- Is it worth the money?
I’ll answer all these questions, and more, in today’s comprehensive and unbiased review of ExpressVPN.
Spoiler alert: It’s the best there is, with a few caveats.
ExpressVPN: The Fastest VPN Alive
By a large margin, ExpressVPN is the fastest VPN on the block, and I don’t say this lightly.
Undoubtedly the fastest VPN service I’ve ever laid hands upon, ExpressVPN topped other competitors (not taking any names! ) by a large margin.
I tested the service across multiple locations, and the average download speed that I clocked was always without any reduction in speed.
When it comes to connection protocols, ExpressVPN uses OpenVPN by default.
However, I found that it also has the option to connect over TCP, UDP, L2TP, and PPTP. I personally don’t recommend the latter due to security holes.
When it comes to video chat, ExpressVPN performed admirably.
It even allowed me to stream 4K content without hitches.
The same level of performance was extended to online gaming (big addict, by the way!).
How do you find out the speeds that you’re currently clocking?
Well, the ExpressVPN desktop application comes with an integrated speed monitor that allows you to test the connection speeds with top-notch accuracy.
This comes in handy when trying to find the fastest server for your needs. I usually make it a point to choose servers nearest to the service providers that I have to access. This gives me marginally better speeds.
However, I’d urge you not to take the speed levels recorded by the app at face value. I tested the connections out using other speed analyzers, and the results were much faster.
This goes to show that ExpressVPN is actually speedier than it gives itself credit for.
And if you’re not into so much technicality, then ExpressVPN has made things simpler for you as well!
The service incorporates a Smart Location Feature that does all the calculations for you and connects to the fastest server each time.
If you have faster internet connections, then you’re likely to notice much better speeds and lower latency.
Be advised, however: internet speeds change with unmatched volatility, and you might not get the same speed using the same server at different times.
Jack Of All Devices
Be it a VPN service or any other application, one of the prime features that I always look for is cross-device compatibility.
And ExpressVPN scores high on that account. The service is available for a wide number of devices and operating systems.
I personally tested the service on the following platforms:
This basically covers the major operating systems that are currently used across the world.
The app interface across platforms is uniform.
So if you’re acquainted with the service on any one platform, you shouldn’t have a problem using it on the others.
For those of you who don’t appreciate the task of login in every time, ExpressVPN has a code-based verification service that can be accessed from the system dashboard.
This allows you to access the service quickly without the need to provide usernames and passwords every time you log in.
At this point, I’d like to mention what I consider to be one of the limitations of ExpressVPN, though not a major one.
Most VPN services allow the user to connect at least five devices at a time. Many go up to ten devices, and some don’t put any cap on the number of devices that can be connected at all.
ExpressVPN, however, doesn’t allow me (or anyone else, for that matter) to connect to more than five devices at a time.
This limits the usability of the app somewhat, though actually, it’s an upgrade since till recently, it only allowed a max connection of three devices.
However, the service more than makes up for this with its other nifty features, as I explain below.
Extensions, Proxies, and Firmware: A Heady Mix
ExpressVPN comes with a range of browser extensions for the likes of Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, to name the top contenders.
However, it’s important to point out that when I say this, I don’t mean that these plugins provide independent proxies.
Instead, they act as interfaces to access the actual app, which needs to be separately installed on your device.
But then, if the plugins don’t really work without that main app, why on earth would you use them?
Simply because they come with a slew of features such as WebRTC leak protection and HTML5 geolocation spoofing. These are what make them worth the install.
ExpressVPN also comes equipped with the MediaStreamer Smart DNS Proxy service, and completely free router firmware that you can use.
But enough about speed and features and all things in between; what about the primary purpose for which VPNs are used all over the world? How does ExpressVPN measure up in that department?
Wondering what I’m talking about, eh?
Then scroll below quickly and find out.
ExpressVPN Streaming Capabilities
If there’s one thing that VPN users the world over swear by, it’s streaming capabilities. And ExpressVPN is a regular paragon in this department.
Take Netflix as an example.
It has separate content libraries for different geographic locations, which, often, can’t be accessed across boundaries.
This is easily circumvented using ExpressVPN. I used the service to access the UK, US, Japan, and Canada versions of Netflix without any hitches.
Unblocking the Netflix VPN ban was at ease.
With all the testing that I’ve done, I can say that Expressvpn has the best US server for Netflix.
There is one point to note here: streaming services are putting in newer safeguards every day.
This simply means that the ExpressVPN server that you used yesterday to catch your favorite show might just not work today.
So, in order to know the best server for a particular service, it’s best you hit up ExpressVPN customer support.
What About Torrenting?
Yes! ExpressVPN has all the peer-to-peer file sharing support that you can dream of.
Any server on the platform is torrent compatible and promises impeccable performance.
One of the unique ExpressVPN features that I’d like to share with you is the Network Lock, popularly known as the kill switch.
This feature provides for the stoppage of all Network activity in case of a VPN disconnection.
That means your P2P traffic remains encrypted at all times. The feature is available on both PC and mobile.
Another cool feature that I dig in ExpressVPN is Split Tunneling.
This feature allows me to select which apps use the VPN for operation, and which operate without its protection.
This allows you to simultaneously run apps both with and without the service.
Is It Secure?
And finally, we come to the heart of the matter: VPN security. We can talk about all the fancy features in the world, but the one thing that remains the reason why someone would consider a VPN service is the ‘security‘.
And ExpressVPN boasts of solid security features that protect user data. Let’s see what these are then.
First off, let’s talk about company policy. I did some digging and found that ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands. This means the company is not subject to any mandatory data retention laws.
Too much legal jargon?
Well, think of it this way: the company doesn’t store or keep tabs on what you do online.
It doesn’t log your web activity, source IP, or destination IP. In short, nothing you do on the service can affect your privacy.
Not only ExpressVPN is a zero-log VPN, but what has me impressed is the superb levels of encryption that this service provides.
The VPN uses a 256-bit AES channel encryption technology and SHA512 hash authentication.
Plus, the presence of 4096-bit DHE-RSA keys makes the system virtually uncrackable. And upon the very unlikely event that your encryption key is leaked, the protection measures ensure that it cannot be used to decrypt past session activity.
I was really amazed to find that ExpressVPN even has its own private DNS servers. This ensures that users don’t suffer from dangers such as DNS leaks and IP spoofing.
But how does ExpressVPN achieve this, you might wonder?
And the answer is so simple yet ingenious that it will surprise you.
When you use ExpressVPN, your personal IP is not visible to the internet at all. Rather, you share the IP of the server you’re connected to with other users.
This keeps your own IP hidden, and thus there’s no chance of a hacker getting into your information.
Plus, ExpressVPN has recently introduced a new feature called TrustedServer.
This technology makes it so that the VPN software runs only in the RAM of the server.
As RAM is in nature volatile, this means that all connection data is wiped every time the servers are rebooted.
This, there’s no chance of any unintentional data storage even by accident.
And if that’s not enough for you, then ExpressVPN even uses Onion servers on the dark web to accept payment.
So, you’re sure that your identity is protected at all costs.
Pricing and Customer Service
Finally, I’d like to take the time to speak a bit about the pricing of this platform.
If you ask me, I think ExpressVPN is costlier than other comparable VPN service providers.
Here’s a great alternative that scores as high as 90 / 100 from our 28 inspect elements, Surfshark.
Even though ExpressVPN subscription cost may be on the higher side, however, the plans are flexible.
And you can avail of better discounts on opting for the multi-month plans.
What’s more, the platform even provides 24/7 customer service in multiple languages.
Now, considering the services you’re getting, I think this one is a steal deal.
You got nothing to lose with ExpressVPN’s money-back policy as well as long as you cancel the subscription within the first 30 days.
So, is ExpressVPN a good VPN or service?
If you ask me it definitely is.
It’s a smart, futuristic VPN service that doesn’t compromise on security, speed, or features.
Yet at the same time, it also takes care of customer privacy and unlocks content from all over the world.
Add to that flexible pricing options and around-the-clock customer support, and you’ve got a real king in the VPN realm.
What’s more, the service is simple to set up and use and can be accessed on any device.
The interface is intuitive and ensures that you don’t have to be a tech wiz to use it.
Finally, all I can say is this: if you value your online privacy, you won’t think twice before going with ExpressVPN.