ExpressVPN Review: The Best VPN for 2020

ExpressVPN logo with ExpressVPN Review text
ExpressVPN

Overall
4.8









  • Price









  • Service









  • Apps









  • Speed









  • Policy









Summary

ExpressVPN offers the best VPN service for 2020 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.
  • Lesser RSA-key than claimed.


ExpressVPN is a massive 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 outstanding VPN service in recent years but do they still deserve their reputation in 2020?

We’ve tested them to find out.

Service

Speeds

Download speed

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 speed testing over the past few months, it’s evident that the service offers some of the fastest download 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 the following 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 back to us in the UK and we had no trouble streaming HD quality video.

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Logging

ExpressVPN claims they are a no-log VPN service. This means they don’t retain 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.

Last year ExpressVPN carried out a full audit of their service with PricewaterhouseCoopers which confirmed their no-logging claims. This backs up their claims which were tested some years ago in a high profile assassination case in Turkey.

The audit plus the high-profile case should reassure you that ExpressVPN is keeping to their word.

Server Locations

ExpressVPN Server locations information

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 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 the 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.

Protocols & Encryption

ExpressVPN encryption header

ExpressVPN offers access to the OpenVPN (UDP/TCP) and L2TP/IPSec protocols giving you a secure internet connection.

They’ve mainly dropped SSTP support in favour of IKEv2 which you’ll find available across most of their apps.

While they’ve removed SSTP and PPTP in most of their apps, there are a few servers that will still support the latter, although these are very limited.

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

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 have continued to claim for many years 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 well over two years ago.

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Simultaneous Connections

Express VPN increased their offering from 3 concurrent connections to a reasonable 5 simultaneous connections.

The service has been screaming out for an increase as they were in danger of being left behind.

This now means you can connect multiple devices at the same time with just one account making it an even more cost-effective service.

While it’s still at the lowest end of the scale, for the majority of users, it will be enough.

Jurisdiction

ExpressVPN is registered in the British Virgin Islands. This means they have no requirements to store any of your details.

While their no-log claims have been audited, it also means there are no local government requirements for them to record or store any such logs.

Apps

ExpressVPN apps head

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 design of the apps changed a few years back and while functionality has improved over the past year, the redesign has remained.

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 a new user 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 connect quickly 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, both of which are self-explanatory.

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

Behind the scenes, there was always very little to get excited about.

While this is still much the case in the protocol area which only allows you to switch between UDP and TCP, there have been some new additions.

Namely, the ‘Split Tunneling’ feature that allows you to set specific apps to fall outside the VPN connection (when connected) and a new ‘Network Protection’ feature that acts as a Kill Switch and allows you to remain connected to your local networks.

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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.

Both Windows and Mac apps also sport the new interface from a couple of years back and like the mobile apps, nothing in the visual sense has changed since our review last year.

ExpressVPN Windows app

ExpressVPN’s Windows App

Just like the mobile apps, a 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 feature rich and include 4 VPN protocols, a Kill Switch, DNS Leak Protection, and IPv6 Leak Protection.

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

Overall the desktop apps are straightforward 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.

We found the ExpressVPN app for Fire TV to be one of the best.

A standout feature is the app launch bar which is displayed after connection.

Here you can configure a couple of your most commonly used apps to be available within one-click, a blessing on the Fire TV interface.

ExpressVPN app on Fire TV

ExpressVPN’s Amazon app.

ExpressVPN’s range of apps all come with the ability to protect your DNS requests through their 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 a significant feature to ensure your privacy is retained.

30-day money back guarantee

Streaming

Goose VPN streaming header

Netflix

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.

Netflix is no exception to this and for the past few years there have been no issues watching different regions of Netflix.

It works best with the American Netflix service but also works well with others like the UK and Canadian versions.

It may work with some other regions too but your mileage may vary for these.

BBC iPlayer

As with Netflix, there are no issues watching BBC iPlayer using the ExpressVPN service.

Connect to one of their UK based servers and enjoy streaming either live or catch up content on the UK’s biggest streaming service.

Other services

In our continual tests, ExpressVPN outperforms most providers when it comes to unblocking content from across the world.

They work best with services from North America, Europe and Australia.

Our tests saw them work with Disney+, Hulu, YouTube TV, NBC Sports, Sky Go, BT Sport, ITV Hub, TenPlay, 7Plus and more.

Price

ExpressVPN Prices head

ExpressVPN follows the industry standard when it comes to the packages they offer. 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.

Current prices on the ExpressVPN website at the time of writing are:

  • 1-month  – $12.95 p/m (~£9.85)
  • 6-months – $9.99 p/m (~£7.60)
  • 12-months – $6.67 p/m (~£5.07)

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

It’s also marginally more expensive than other providers.

You should 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.

However, like many VPN services, Express VPN is offering huge discounts on a year’s worth of privacy protection. It’s where you’ll find the highest value.

There’s a full 30-day money back guarantee available 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.

30-day money back guarantee

Verdict

ExpressVPN Verdict head

ExpressVPN is the best VPN this year and stands out amongst the competition.

They offer one of the best all-round VPN services we’ve seen and are excellent for a variety of uses.

Their tested and audited 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 massive range of apps that cover all the most popular devices and a massive range of servers and you’ve got plenty of choices.

Download speeds are above average and apart from the minor speed loss which is to be expected by any VPN due to encryption, there is little else to complain about here.

We like 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 expensive and we wouldn’t recommend paying monthly.

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 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.

Exclusive Offer: Save 49% off today

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Christopher Seward

Author: Christopher Seward

After 25 years of using the internet, Christopher launched one of the very first VPN comparison websites in 2013. An expert in the field his reviews, testing and knowledge have helped thousands of users get the correct VPN for their needs.

Comments

  1. Avatar james smith

    do you have money back gurantee

    *address removed for privacy*

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