ExpressVPN Review 2019: The Best VPN this year

ExpressVPN Review 2019
  • Price
  • Service
  • Apps
  • Speed
  • Policy

Summary

ExpressVPN offers the best VPN service for 2019 suitable for a whole host of purposes with an extensive range of features.

Pros

  •  Tested no-log policy.

  •  Apps for all devices.

  •  High levels of encryption.

  •  Fast speeds across their network.

  •  Huge range of server locations.

  •  Unblocks most TV services.

Cons

  •  Expensive monthly price.
4.7
Review of: ExpressVPN
Version:
2019
Price:
$6.67

Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On January 7, 2019
Last modified:January 15, 2019

Summary:

ExpressVPN offers the best VPN service for 2019 suitable for a whole host of purposes with an extensive range of features.

ExpressVPN is a huge name in the VPN industry and they have cemented themselves into the public consciousness when it comes to online privacy protection.

They’ve offered up an extremely good VPN service in recent years but do they still deserve their reputation in 2019? We’ve put them through their paces to find out.

Packages:

ExpressVPN follows the industry standard when it comes to the packages they offer and while many VPN services have started to offer longer subscription periods, ExpressVPN has stuck to the classic 1-month, 6-months and 12-months packages.

Their current prices at the time of writing are:

  • 1-month  – $12.95 p/m (~£10.15)
  • 6-months – $9.99 p/m (~£7.83)
  • 12-months – $6.67 p/m (~£5.23)

The 1-month package from ExpressVPN is the least cost-effective and all honestly, a little expensive.

You should definitely opt for the 12-month package because it’s nearly half the price of paying monthly. They also throw in 3-months completely free which means you essentially get 15 months for the price of 12.

The 1-month package is a little higher than the industry average but like many VPN services, ExpressVPN are offering huge discounts on a year’s worth of privacy protection and it’s where you’ll find the greatest value.

There’s a full 30-day money back guarantee available which is more than generous in allowing you to test the service risk-free and see if it’s suitable for you.

Payment can be made using a huge range of payment types including Credit / Debit card, Paypal, Bitcoin, AliPay, UnionPay, iDeal, Klarna, WebMoney, GiroPay, Interac, Mint, Fantapay, OneCard and a few others.

Service:

Protocols

ExpressVPN haven’t altered their offering since our review last year and continue to offer access to the OpenVPN (UDP/TCP), SSTP, L2TP/IPSec and PPTP protocols.

They do note in some of their apps that using L2TP and PPTP are weaker security options which is a good reminder if you’re new to VPN use.

There are also fewer server locations available using those protocols so unless you have a specific reason to we recommend you stick with either OpenVPN where possible or SSTP as an alternative.

Logging

ExpressVPN claims they are a no-log VPN service. This means they don’t log any records of what you do while connected.

The service does log some minor connection details but ExpressVPN claim this can’t link you to your activity due to them using Shared IP Addresses. These are utilised by many users at the same time.

It’s a bonus that they use Shared IP Addresses because even minimal connection data could finger you for your actions.

Although ExpressVPN hasn’t been audited as such their no-log policy was tested in a high-profile case in which a Russian diplomat was assassinated in Turkey. The result was that they were unable to assist with the investigation because they don’t retain logs. You can read more about that here.

Such a high-profile case should reassure you that ExpressVPN is keeping to their word.

Server Locations

ExpressVPN offer VPN connection points in 94 countries across the world.

This number hasn’t changed since our last review but offering more server locations than most they really haven’t needed to expand on locations.

Servers are available in North, Central and South America, Europe, Asia & Australasia and a small number in the Middle East and Africa.

They’re one of few services that offer connection points in almost all locations.

Servers are made up of a mixture of physical servers and virtual locations. These are listed on their website if you’re interested to know the differences. There are however more physical servers than virtual ones.

Concurrent Connections

ExpressVPN allows you to use their service on up to 3 devices at the same time.

However, 3 devices is on the lower end of the scale with it being more common to see 5 – 6 concurrent connections these days with some offering as many as 10 or 12.

In all honesty, I’ve never actually needed to connect more than 3 devices concurrently so unless you’re heavily connected then it should be enough for your needs.

After all, you’re not limited to just 3 devices, but 3 connected at the same time.

Other notable features

ExpressVPN’s range of apps all come with the ability to protect your DNS requests through their own encrypted servers. What this means in layman’s terms is any web addresses you enter will be sent through ExpressVPN rather than your ISP.

This ensures that the names of the websites you visit do not leak outside the VPN connection. Depending on the names and types of websites you’re visiting this is an extremely important feature to ensure your privacy is retained.

One of the standout features of ExpressVPN is their ability to unblock and allow you to stream all the most popular services from across the world.

Everything from Netflix, BBC iPlayer, HBO to TenPlay and more works fine using the service. This allows you to stream them anywhere in the world and with apps for so many devices you can watch on almost all types of devices.

Apps:

Mobile Apps

ExpressVPN offers apps for both Android devices and Apple iOS too.

So basically if you’ve got any kind of modern tablet or phone you’ll be able to use their service.

The mobile apps have had a redesign since we last reviewed their service back at the start of 2018. Whilst they look similar, the functionality and layout has been greatly improved which really makes them much easier to use.

ExpressVPN Android app

ExpressVPN’s Android app.

From the home screen of the app, you can simply connect without doing anything else. If you’re new or just need quick one-click protection you’ll love this feature.

We really liked the new ‘Recent Location’ options that adorn the home screen and let you quickly connect to your previous two used locations.

If you need more server choice a quick click to a second menu reveals ExpressVPN’s ‘Recommended’ locations and their ‘All Locations’ list which are self-explanatory.

There’s a new ‘Shortcuts’ option which allows you to tag apps to the ExpressVPN screen allowing you to launch them quickly after connection without navigating around your phone.

Behind the scenes, there’s very little to get excited about, so if you’re a settings kind of person you’ll be left disappointed. Apart from changing protocol from TCP to UDP, setting the app to connect when you switch your device on and a couple of language options, there isn’t much else.

Desktop Apps

Desktop apps are available for Windows and Mac OS systems so just like mobile devices you’re covered with almost all traditional computers.

While the Mac app sports the new design found on mobile devices, the Windows one is still the same layout that we tested last year. At a guess we would expect at some point in the year you’ll see the Windows app updated to sport the new look too.

ExpressVPN Windows app

ExpressVPN Windows app.

Just like the mobile apps, connection can be made quickly from the main screen of the app. You can access all the locations simply by clicking a button which opens a new screen giving you a breakdown of continent and country.

The desktop apps are really feature rich and include 4 VPN protocols, a Kill Switch, DNS Leak Protection, and IPv6 Leak Protection.

We really liked the ‘Split Tunnelling’ option which allows you to select certain apps to fall outside the VPN connection.

Overall the desktop apps are really easy to use and feature rich. There’s little missing from them.

Other Apps

ExpressVPN also offers apps for Linux, the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, certain types of Routers plus browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox and Safari.

As with their mobile and desktop counterparts, they’re all simple to use and offer quick connection.

ExpressVPN Fire TV Stick app

ExpressVPN’s newly updated Amazon Fire TV app.

Speeds:

Over the last year there has been some noticeable increases in both speed and the reliability of the ExpressVPN servers.

Through continued usage we discovered that they are one of the most reliable with very few (if any) random drops or disconnects.

But how does that translate into speeds?

Through some extensive testing over the past month it’s evident that the service offers some of the best speeds available.

We put ExpressVPN through their paces by downloading a test file on a UK residential connection. Our regular connection speed was 63.42 Mbps.

We tested a selection of ExpressVPN’s servers with these results:

  • UK – 57.42 Mbps
  • Netherlands – 56.40 Mbps
  • Switzerland – 56.64 Mbps
  • Sweden – 56.07 Mbps
  • France – 57.04 Mbps
  • New York, US – 56.35 Mbps
  • Australia – 50.69 Mbps

Using the service for a variety of purposes such as web browsing right through to video streaming caused no issue on the range of servers within our location. We also tested this across various devices from a Windows desktop to an Android phone and even the Amazon Fire TV Stick.

Even unblocking overseas video from the US and Australia worked like a charm all the way back to us in the UK and we had no trouble streaming HD quality video.

Encryption & Policies:

Encryption

ExpressVPN offers a handful of VPN protocols. Everything from the useless (from an encryption point of view) PPTP all the way through to the industry standard OpenVPN.

For protecting your privacy, OpenVPN is what you want to be using. ExpressVPN uses AES 256-bit encryption here which is an industry standard and is about as high as you’re going to get.

To authenticate your connection (that’s the bit when you’re connecting) an RSA 2048-bit key is used. They claim to use a 4096-bit key but through our testing, we’ve discovered this isn’t the case. It also hasn’t been resolved since we noted this in our previous few reviews.

Policies

Since our last review the European GDPR requirements have come into force and ExpressVPN’s already good privacy policy has been updated to reflect this.

ExpressVPN claims to be a ‘no-log’ VPN service which means they don’t log any activity of what you do while connected to their service.

Their privacy policy does however state they do collect some minor details. They will know that you connected to a server and which server. They will also know how much data you transferred.

As ExpressVPN use shared IP Addresses it means they won’t know what you did, nor can pinpoint you to any of the activity because multiple users will be sharing the same IP Address at the same time.

ExpressVPN’s no-log claims were put to the test late in 2017 in an extremely high-profile news case and the outcome should be reassuring to most. You can read more about that here.

EU based users can request full access to any details stored on them under GDPR. We put this to the test in 2018 and you can see how ExpressVPM dealt with our GDPR request here.

Verdict:

ExpressVPN is definitely the best VPN for 2019 and stands out amongst the competition. They offer one of the best all-round VPN services we’ve seen and are great for a variety of uses.

Their tested no-log policy, high encryption levels and being registered off-shore will satisfy your needs if you’re privacy-conscious and looking for a service to keep you secure.

Coupled with their huge range of apps that covers all the most popular devices and a massive range of servers and you’ve got plenty of choices. Server speed is above average and apart from the minor speed loss which is to be expected by any VPN from encryption, there is little else to complain about here.

We really liked that the service works with and unblocks most popular streaming services from around the world and we found they worked with more TV services than most of the competitors.

The monthly price of the service is on the expensive side and we wouldn’t recommend paying on a monthly basis.

It’s a better option to take their yearly package which will keep the costs down as it works out nearly 50% cheaper. They’ve also got a promotion right now giving you three months absolutely free.

Add in their 30-day money back guarantee and you can test the service risk-free for an entire month. If you don’t agree with our assessment then just get yourself a refund question free.

30-day money back guarantee

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