ExpressVPN Review 2017: Discover the truth

ExpressVPN Review 2017
  • Price
  • Reliability
  • Speed
  • Policy
  • Support

Summary

ExpressVPN offer a big and reliable VPN service.

Pros

  •  Windows, Mac, Android & iOS clients.
  •  Linux software and router support.
  • More than 80 countries with VPN servers.
  •  30-day money back guarantee.
  •  Private DNS servers.
  •  Live Chat help.

Cons

  •  Not as fast as some others.
  •  A bit pricey.
4.1

ExpressVPN is one of the most well-known VPN services available and over the past few years they’ve gained a reputation for offering a good service.

However, good services can easily slip so we’ve been testing them in our ExpressVPN Review 2017 to find out if they’re still as good as they were previously and to see if you should part with your hard-earned cash to sign up for their service.

If you’re interested in knowing how their service performs then read our full review below.

The Packages:

ExpressVPN packages are sold in the same way as most other VPN providers. There is one main package available to subscribe to that differs in price only based on the length you wish to sign up for.

The longer you subscribe to the service the cheaper the price becomes. It’s worth considering how long you’re likely to need the service because there are some big savings between paying on a monthly basis and paying on a yearly basis.

The package prices are as follows:

  • 1-Month $12.95 p/m (approx £10.39)
  • 6-Months $9.99 p/m (approx £8.01)
  • 12-Months $8.32 p/m (approx £6.67)

Regardless of which package you end up signing up for all have a 30-day money back guarantee that will allow you to get a full refund if you’re unhappy with the service.

The Service:

ExpressVPN offers the standard VPN protocols which include PPTP, L2TP and OpenVPN in both UDP and TCP modes. ExpressVPN goes one step further than many providers and also offer access to the SSTP VPN protocol.

Not all protocols are available on all server locations so you might be limited to a smaller selection of servers depending on what VPN protocol you opt to use.

Custom Software & Apps

Software is available for Windows PC and Mac and apps for Android and iOS. This alone is standard across the industry but one area where ExpressVPN excel is that they offer a Linux client for Ubuntu.

If you’re a Linux user then you’re probably used to being the none supported user and having the Ubuntu client is a real bonus of the service.

ExpressVPN also has extensive set-up instructions for other devices including a large help section on routers. It’s also possible to purchase routers directly via their website which comes pre-setup for use with the service. If you have a large household or you just want to protect all the gadgets in your life in the simplest way possible then it’s well worth considering.

As part of this review I’ve been testing both the Windows software and the Android app but the Mac and iOS clients are similar too.

The Windows software has recently been redesigned to make connection quicker. If you want to connect quick simply hit the large power button and you’ll be connected to the most appropriate server. You really don’t need to do anything else.

If you want a bit of customisation then you can hit the Choose Location button which will open a new window allowing you to select from country and city.

ExpressVPN Windows Jan 17

Further options available in the settings area include a Kill Switch, the ability to choose the VPN protocol type from those supported, the option to use ExpressVPN’s own DNS servers and a host of other options related to how the software functions on boot etc.

You can Speed Test all the available servers from within the software and while this may take a little time due to the sheer number of servers available it is relatively fast in comparison to what I’ve seen on software from other providers.

Overall the Windows software is quick and easy to use, it may not be visually the best in the industry but it does the job it needs to and it does it well.

The ExpressVPN Android app has also been redesigned since my review last year and now looks and acts the same as the big brother desktop client.

This makes moving between both desktop and mobile device a seamless affair because once you’ve grasped how one works the other functions just the same.

ExpressVPN Android App

One feature that the app does include that isn’t available from the desktop client is the ability to sign up for a free trial so if you want to give the service a try then you can do so directly from within the app.

One thing I’m not so keen on is the app “automatically selects the most appropriate protocol for your location” and while this is great for new users, for those of us who like a little more customisation it removes that ability.

Connection is really simple, just tap the big power button to connect and nothing more, simply do the same to disconnect.

There is nothing much more to say about both the desktop software and the mobile app, they’re both functional, easy to use and do the job as intended.

Server Locations

ExpressVPN is one of the largest VPN providers in the industry in terms of server locations available. A total of 87 countries are available to connect to in 136 different cities.

If you have the need to connect to many different locations then you can’t really go wrong with ExpressVPN and they’re aren’t many providers who are bigger in terms of the available locations to connect to.

The United States with 15 locations, the United Kingdom with 5 and Canada with 3 locations are the most well covered so if you have a need for multiple cities in those countries then you’re well resourced.

From a price perspective when you consider how many locations ExpressVPN offer they are one of the cheapest providers around.

General Observations

ExpressVPN allows you to connect on up to three devices which should be more than enough but many other providers are moving to offer five which leaves ExpressVPN behind a little in the past.

Three concurrent connections should be more than enough as you can connect your computer, tablet and mobile all from the one account but if you need more then you’ll either have to sign up for a second package or look for a provider that offers more.

ExpressVPN state there is zero logging of your traffic on their service which is great news because it means what you do online remains private and there is no history of it stored.

Accessing TV and other services when you’re outside your country is possible. For example, BBC iPlayer, BT Sport, Sky Go and many other services from around the world are accessible when connecting to a server in the country of the service.

P2P and torrent use is acceptable across the ExpressVPN network and you have access to unlimited bandwidth, unlimited server switching and no restrictions on your speeds.

The Speeds:

Speeds on the ExpressVPN service are generally fair.

They definitely aren’t the fastest provider I’ve tested but nor are they the slowest. They sit somewhere in the middle.

When doing general web browsing, streaming video and downloading you won’t really notice any speed loss and if you want to leave the VPN connected in the background protecting your privacy then you’ll certainly be able to do that.

If you’re a heavy downloader or you require ultra fast speeds then they’re unlikely to be the service for you but for the everyday man or woman the speeds achievable are more than acceptable.

Using my local Wi-Fi connection I achieved 42.45Mpbs and while connected to the closest ExpressVPN server I achieved 31.75Mbps so not a huge loss and one that would be expected when connected to most VPN services.

There are faster VPN providers out there but there are also slower ones. ExpressVPN offers a good mix of speeds and service.

The Encryption, Policies & Support:

Encryption

ExpressVPN offers OpenVPN via both UDP and TCP protocols allowing you to choose the best for your situation.

They use AES-256-CBC encryption which is one of the highest standards and used widely by good VPN providers.

A 2046-bit RSA key is used for handshaking which is average across the industry with some providers offering the higher 4096-bit now. Although the ExpressVPN website states they use this the server logs show only 2046-bit is in use and it would be nice to see this upgraded in the near future.

L2TP/IPSec uses AES256.

SSTP uses the standard SSL/TLS.

Policies

ExpressVPN lists their policies in a Terms of Service section which is a mix of both general standard terms that you would expect to see at any service provider and more importantly how they treat your private data.

It would be nice for ExpressVPN to separate these out because essentially most people are interested only in the privacy specifics and the general everyday terms of service slightly bog down this information.

That said ExpressVPN does make it clear that they do not store or log any traffic data or browsing activity.

From this I can only assume that they store connection logs which include information such as when you connected and disconnected and what IP was assigned to you. They don’t specifically state they do collect this but they also don’t say they don’t so it would be safe to assume they do.

Most importantly they don’t log what you do while connected to the service and this kind of wording is common across many providers so there is nothing much to worry about in terms of their policies.

Support

ExpressVPN has three methods of contact if you need to ask a question or get stuck.

Live Chat, Contact Form and Email are the main forms of contact. It’s great to see Live Chat because not all VPN providers offer this, even some of the bigger and better ones.

Live Chat is available 24 hours a day and allows you to get a response to your query quickly without the need to wait but if you’re not in any big rush then you can also use their contact form or email as the wait wasn’t too long when I used these contact methods.

The Verdict:

ExpressVPN is certainly a contender as one of the better VPN services on the market today.

While they aren’t my top choice provider they are doing a lot right and if their speeds were slightly faster then they would be serious competition for my highest rated choice.

ExpressVPN offers plenty of servers, more than most in fact which will allow you to protect your privacy almost anywhere in the world and unblock services that are blocked in your country.

Software is available for every major computer, tablet and mobile and with Linux and Router support too there aren’t many devices that you won’t be able to use the service on.

Pricing is competitive although slightly higher than other options available but the greater number of server locations, live chat support and a few other options easily negate this higher price tag.

ExpressVPN offers a 30-day money back guarantee so there is really no reason why you shouldn’t give them a go. It’s one of the longest guarantees in the industry and the fact they have such a large customer base shows that they’re definitely doing something right.

While they haven’t taken my top spot this time a few areas of polish and they would be a serious contender.

My suggestion? Check them out, they offer a good service and if you’re unhappy you can simply get your money back.