ExpressVPN Review: The Best VPN

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ExpressVPN

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Product Name: ExpressVPN

Brand: ExpressVPN

Offer price: 6.67

Currency: $

Availability: OnlineOnly

Overall
4.8









  • Speed









  • Apps









  • Service









  • Policy









  • Price









Summary

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Pros

  • Blazing-fast speeds
  • Easy-to-use
  • Best-in-class encryption
  • Verified no-log policy

Cons

  • Slightly pricer than competition
  • Owns VPN ‘review’ sites

ExpressVPN has been at the pinnacle of VPN services for many years, but does it still deserve its reputation?

I’ve been delving into the service from its speeds to its logging policy, its servers to its apps and everything inbetween.

I was highly impressed with their download speeds and their audited logging policy shines amongst a sea of VPN providers.

Their apps cover a huge range of devices which I found useful across my entire household and the new limit covering up to eight devices came in handy.

The Amazon app was by far my favourite which was extremely useful for streaming on my TV.

The service is let down by the high price tag but what you get for your money I found to be worthwhile and even though it costs a little more than some the feature packed service appears to be good value.

There’s a lot to learn and I’ll cover all this in-depth and much more throughout the full review, so take a look.

Don’t have time to read the full review? Check out our ExpressVPN video review:

1. Service

Speeds

Download speed

Over the last year, I’ve noticed increases in both speed and the reliability of the ExpressVPN servers, which were already among the best around.

Through continued usage and research, I discovered that they offer some of the most reliable speeds with very few (if any) random drops or disconnects, even while using Wi-Fi.

I found this to be the case when using them continually throughout the day and in comparison to other providers the connection was more stable.

But how does that translate into speeds?

Through extensive speed tests over the past few months, it became evident that the service offers some of the fastest download speeds available.

I put ExpressVPN’s download speeds through their paces by downloading an internet speed test file on a UK residential connection. For this, I used a Windows system and ExpressVPN’s new VPN protocol, Lightway.

My regular connection speed was 480.2 Mbps.

I put a selection of ExpressVPN’s servers through a speed test with the following results:

  • UK – 361.4 Mbps
  • Netherlands – 368.3 Mbps
  • Switzerland – 362 Mbps
  • Sweden – 322.5 Mbps
  • France – 372.4 Mbps
  • New York, US – 204.7 Mbps
  • Australia – 75 Mbps

I was particularly impressed with how the speeds held up and on a Wi-Fi connection how Wi-Fi speeds performed in my speed tests even when I was using servers that were a long way away.

For example, in comparison to ZoogVPN which I also tested recently, ExpressVPN’s UK servers were 62.4 Mbps faster, 361.5 Mbps versus 299 Mbps, a massive 20% speed increase.

This isn’t just limited to the UK, the ExpressVPN Netherland server was 76 Mbps faster than ZoogVPN’s Netherlands server, 368.3 Mbps versus 292.3 Mbps.

More shockingly, ExpressVPN’s New York server was 129.8 Mbps faster, 204.7 Mbps versus 74.9 Mbps a whopping 129.8% faster!

Note

Speed results are a simple snapshot of achieved speeds at a moment in time. Your results will differ depending on many factors such as time of day, internet provider, using Wi-Fi or wired connection, and more.

Even unblocking overseas video from the US and Australia back to us in the UK worked like a charm with impressive speeds and I had no trouble with speeds when streaming HD quality video on platforms like Netflix while using the VPN.

I found that using the VPN service for a variety of purposes such as web browsing right through to video streaming caused no speed issues on the range of VPN servers within my location.

I also tested ExpressVPN’s speeds across various devices from a Windows desktop to my Google Pixel 8 Pro Android phone and even my Amazon Fire TV Stick.

Additionally I tested the OpenVPN and Lightway VPN protocol speeds and put them through their paces too, all with impressive speed results. However, Lightway really stood out in terms of speed and quick connection.

30-day money back guarantee

Smart Location

Speed when using VPNs can vary significantly between one user and another, especially when using different VPN protocols such as OpenVPN.

A lot depends on your location, the reliability and quality of your internet connection and hundreds of other minor factors that all collectively play a part in your achievable speed.

This is where ExpressVPN’s ‘Smart Location‘ feature comes into play and personally a feature I found useful when travelling.

Whether you’re a complete beginner or a seasoned pro, it can be difficult to know which server location is going to perform best for you.

Often this is down to metrics such as distance, latency, speed and individual server utilisation. So, if you’re like me then you’d do as well to look into a crystal ball to try and guess the best option.

ExpressVPN’s Smart Location checks all of these available factors for you and calculates which is the best server location for your speed and performance in your current location.

When I’m in the UK I tend to pick the same server, but when I was travelling, it’s where the Smart Location feature came most in use. When I was travelling in Asia it made choosing the most beneficial server a breeze, especially as internet can be hit and miss in some Asian countries.

ExpressVPN Smart location

In testing, I found that in more cases than not the recommended VPN server it connected me to performed much more reliably than merely choosing a server myself.

However, at home in the UK I do tend to have my favourites so made less use of this feature.

Logging

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

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’s. Many users utilise these at the same time.

I feel this is a good trade off and I’ve found over the years that providers who are upfront are more trusthworthy. In comparison to other providers this is at the upper levels of transparency.

I like the fact they use Shared IP’s because even minimal connection data could finger you for your actions, but Shared IP’s make this so much harder.

There was no activation on my end to make use of this feature, it just automatically “is” when you’re using the service.

In 2019 ExpressVPN carried out a full independent 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 this high-profile case should reassure you that ExpressVPN is keeping to its word and this is a VPN that keeps absolutely no user logs, metadata, or DNS requests.

ExpressVPN does keep maintenance-related information, such as the amount of data transferred, connection time, app version, etc.

When you compare this to other providers you’ll find most do the same, any provider that claims they don’t, I recommend you avoid.

Simultaneous Connections

ExpressVPN now allows users to connect on up to 8 devices at the same time. This is an increase from their previous limit of five and a welcomed change.

While it’s still not as many as some other providers, eight concurrent connections will be plenty for 99% of users.

It’s worth noting that this is only available to subscribers of their 6 and 12 month packages. The 1-month package retains the limit of 5 devices concurrently.

It’s worth remembering that this limit is concurrent connections.

There are no limits on the number of devices you can connect to the app or activate the service on as long as no more than eight are connected at the same time.

In Comparison:

Jurisdiction

ExpressVPN is registered in the British Virgin Islands (BVI). This means they have no requirements to store any of your details thanks to the local data retention laws.

While Express VPN has had their no-log claims fully audited already, being based in the British Virgin Islands, where there are no local government data laws for them to record or store any customer data, ensures your internet traffic will remain private.

Not only are you protected by Express VPN and their no-log policy, but also by the British Virgin Islands’ own laws.

BVI Registered

The BVI is also not part of either the 5-eyes surveillance network or the 14-eyes larger group of countries that share intelligence.

If you care about privacy, this is a massive advantage because it means ExpressVPN as a company can’t be obliged by local laws and regulations to share customer data.

ExpressVPN is now owned by Kape Technologies, a London Stock Exchange listed company that also owns Private Internet Access, CyberGhost VPN, Zenmate and publisher Webselenese which owns vpnMentor, Wizcase, Safetydetectives amongst other publishing sites.

However, this hasn’t changed the jurisdiction in which ExpressVPN is operating which means users still benefit from this VPN being located offshore in the British Virgin Islands.

In Comparison:

  • NordVPN – Panama
  • Surfshark – Netherlands
  • IPVanish – United States
  • VyprVPN – United States
  • CyberGhost VPN – Romania

Customer Support

ExpressVPN offers customer support via three main methods:

  • Live Chat
  • Support Ticket
  • Direct Email

When I needed a quick answer, then the ExpressVPN 24/7 live chat customer support option was the best route.

In my tests, I found their live chat customer support team to be knowledgeable and able to help with all the regular types of queries you may have.

For example, I had a problem accessing BBC iPlayer and they were able to point me in the direction of a server that worked without me needing to search around.

If you have a more in-depth question, I’ve found it’s usually better to send in a support ticket or use the ExpressVPN customer support direct email service.

This allows you to explain issues in long form and ensure they’re being answered by a member of the customer service team from the right customer support background with the right knowledge and experience to assist you.

Overall I found ExpressVPN’s customer service to be helpful and resolve all of the queries I’ve had quickly. Their live chat customer service was easy to use and knowledgeable.

A couple of emails did take an hour or so to get a reply but I wasn’t waiting overly long periods before hearing back from their customer support team.

100% satisfaction guaranteed

2. Server Locations

Server locations

ExpressVPN offers VPN connections in 105 countries across the world.

They have over 3000 servers worldwide in their high-speed server network.

You can connect to a server at the click of a button located in more than 160 VPN server locations around the world each one providing you with private internet access.

In Comparison:

  • NordVPN – 61 countries
  • Surfshark – 100 countries
  • IPVanish – 52 countries
  • VyprVPN – 64 countries
  • CyberGhost VPN – 100 countries

I’ve found after more than 10 years of testing that ExpressVPN boasts some of the fastest VPN servers in the world, for you this translates into excellent download speeds.

My continual speed tests show their claims to be correct. I’ve tested their service through daily use and by sending a set amount of data transferred from one location to another and measuring the time it takes.

Having fast download speeds is crucial if you intend to use the VPN for streaming services or downloading large files.

The number of servers offered by ExpressVPN hasn’t changed since my last review and there are other VPNs that offer more. But ExpressVPN still offers more server locations than most and they cover all the places most users need.

ExpressVPN’s servers covers North, Central and South America, Europe, Asia & Australasia and a small number in the Middle East and Africa.

They recently added servers in Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ghana, Guam, Honduras, Jamaica, Lebanon, Morocco, Puerto Rico and Trinidad and Tobago (these are all virtual locations, however, which is worth noting).

ExpressVPN is one of the few services that offer high-speed servers in almost all locations across their protocol range, including OpenVPN and Lightway.

Yes, ExpressVPN does use some Virtual server locations, also known as Virtual Servers.

However, this only represents a tiny percentage of the ExpressVPN network, just 5% in fact.

The ExpressVPN website is completely open about this fact and even lists the handful of locations that are ‘Virtual’.

Some countries such as India have both physical servers in the country and virtual locations. For example, they also have a server located in the UK which when connected to will make it appear like you’re in India.

You will find this useful if you want to access Indian streaming like the TV network, Hotstar for example and get the speed advantage of using an ExpressVPN server nearby.

There is nothing inherently wrong with Virtual Locations but it pays to take note of which are virtual versus physical. This enables you to get the best possible internet speeds and in certain circumstances, ensure you’re not connecting via a location you would want to avoid.

Yes, ExpressVPN works in China and also in Hong Kong too.

In fact, not only does it work well in China but it’s been one of the most reliable VPNs for several years.

While many VPNs have struggled to keep their service operating in China, apart from a minor issue here and there ExpressVPN has surpassed almost all the competition and their service continues to work well.

ExpressVPN China January

In our monthly Chinese speed tests on the ground, we found ExpressVPN to offer some of the fastest speeds of any VPN. OpenVPN works well and is the best VPN protocol to use. Lightway can be hit and miss but this is a new protocol so perhaps mixed speed is to be expected.

Not only that but ExpressVPN also offered one of the most reliable connections of all VPNs too.

When it comes to VPN use in China, and increasingly Hong Kong too, much depends on the network you’re using, the political landscape at the time and even which way the wind is blowing.

In recent months ExpressVPN has been a little problematic for access in China so I would recommend making use of their 30-day money back guarantee if you find they don’t work well for you.

Zero-hassle refund policy

No, ExpressVPN does not offer either a Dedicated IP Address or a Static IP Address service.

The service has a vast bank of VPN IP Address options that are rotated. You can on occasion be assigned the same ExpressVPN IP Address when connecting to the same location but this isn’t guaranteed and you’re likely to receive a different address each time.

There is also no way to purchase dedicated IP’s for yourself from ExpressVPN even though one or two other competitors like NordVPN do offer this feature.

ExpressVPN does make use of Shared IP’s which unlike dedicated IP’s means when you connect you’ll be assigned an IP Address that is likely in use by other users at the same time.

This is beneficial because it means access from that IP Address is mingled with other user’s activity making it extremely difficult if not impossible to tie any one activity to any user. So often it is better to use a shared IP rather than a dedicated IP address.

ExpressVPN also rotates IP Addresses regularly to increase user anonymity and safeguard your privacy. I have checked this with an IP address checker and it’s true. ExpressVPN also promises that you will always be given the best available IP Address for you.

No, ExpressVPN does not offer any kind of Double-Hop servers.

Some VPN companies like VPN.ac and NordVPN offer servers that push your connection through two locations by merely connecting to one.

This is thought to add an extra layer of security, although it will often have a drastic impact on internet speed. It usually isn’t suitable for streaming video or downloading at a fast speed.

Unfortunately, ExpressVPN doesn’t offer this feature so if it’s something you need then you’ll need to look elsewhere.

3. Security and Safety

Protocols & Encryption

Protocols and encryption

The ExpressVPN software offers access to the OpenVPN (UDP/TCP) and L2TP/IPSec protocols giving you a secure connection to the world wide web.

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

While ExpressVPN 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 and we would not recommend you use them.

ExpressVPN does 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 or Lightway is what you want to be using.

A few years ago ExpressVPN launched their own Lightway protocol which is designed to compete with OpenVPN and provide competition for the new WireGuard protocol which many other providers have adopted and has now become standard.

Lightway offers a combination of the fastest possible speed and high-security protection. According to ExpressVPN, Lightway uses less battery and is easier to audit/maintain due to the smaller amount of code Lightway uses.

I’ve found Lightway to connect ultra fast both on desktop and mobile, mostly pipping other apps using Wireguard on the connection speed stakes.

While it is a little odd ExpressVPN didn’t opt for the popular Wireguard protocol, their own Lightway protocol is certainly a high-performing alternative and time will tell which comes out on top.

Lightway became open source back in 2021 and was audited at the time. It was again audited in 2023. I’m extremely pleased that the protocol was made open source which allows others to look behind the scenes and check the protocol integrity.

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.

ExpressVPN have continued to claim for many years to use a 4096-bit key but through my testing, I’ve discovered this isn’t the case.

It also hasn’t been resolved since I noted this well over four years ago. This is disappointing and I have no idea why this was never resolved.

100% satisfaction guaranteed

DNS Leak Testing

I not only carried out extensive speed tests but also a DNS leak test to check for DNS leaks too.

In testing ExpressVPN for ‘DNS Leaks’, I found that there were no DNS leaks from ExpressVPN whatsoever.

Using the three most popular DNS leak testing sites, DNSLeakTest.com, DNSLeak.com and IPX.ac the results were unanimous from my DNS leak test, ExpressVPN does not leak DNS traffic outside the VPN tunnel.

ExpressVPN Leak testExpressVPN Leak testExpressVPN Leak test

DNS leaks are a serious issue because although it doesn’t allow anyone to discover what you’ve been doing at a particular site, it would allow someone (usually your ISP) to record the websites you visit.

This isn’t a huge issue if you’re just visiting Google.com, Facebook.com or Instagram.com, for instance.

It becomes more of a problem if you’re visiting sexual health sites, niche sexual interest sites or other websites by name, for example, that you wouldn’t want anyone else knowing.

ExpressVPN is one of the few VPN providers that hasn’t suffered any known security breaches, although one of its employees has been involved in a high-profile case in the US which I’ll cover soon.

Unlike most of the other popular VPNs such as NordVPN, IPVanish and PureVPN, ExpressVPN continues to wave the flag as a service that has no security incidents.

The nearest ExpressVPN came to a security issue that proved their credibility was back in 2017.

Russian Diplomat Incident

A Russian diplomat was assassinated in Turkey. It transpired that an unknown person had deleted evidence that could have helped with the investigation and had used the ExpressVPN service to cover their tracks.

While ExpressVPN clearly distanced themselves from the incident and did not condone the user’s actions they informed Turkish authorities that there was nothing they could provide to assist as they do not keep logs on their user activity.

This, coupled with a full-service audit in 2019 and again in 2022, reaffirms their stance of protecting their user’s privacy and not keeping any user logs. My recommendation is that if you use ExpressVPN, you can surf the internet using their VPN with peace of mind.

Although obviously, ExpressVPN does not condone using their service to cover up criminal activity.

Chief Information Officer Incident

In a knock to their reputation, in September 2021 it transpired that ExpressVPN’s Chief Information Officer was one of three people “fined more than US$1.6 million by the US Department of Justice for hacking undertaken on behalf of the government of the United Arab Emirates”.

In response to the situation, exiled former US-intelligence whistleblower, Edward Snowden tweeted “If you’re an ExpressVPN customer, you shouldn’t be.”

Depending on your usage, you should consider if this is an issue for yourself.

Staff Layoff Incident

In June 2023, Kape Technologies, owners of ExpressVPN laid off 30% of their staff which caused concern about how their operations would continue to function.

As of yet I have seen no reason that the service has declined in any way. However, it’s worth noting, ExpressVPN’s Chief Information Officer at the time, Dan Gericke also left the company at the same time.

ExpressVPN allows Torrenting across their entire network and in my opinion they are safe for torrenting.

There are no restrictions on which ExpressVPN servers you can use, which means there are no special ‘P2P’ servers that you need to stick to.

  • IP Address Masking

When using Torrents, your real IP Address is exposed.

An IP Address is a unique string of numbers linked to your connection to the internet. Anything you do while online can be attributed to you, including downloading files from Torrent services.

ExpressVPN alters your IP Address, replacing it with one of their secure ones. This means your actions aren’t linked to you, but instead to ExpressVPN’s secure servers.

Because ExpressVPN uses shared IP Addresses by default, this means that there is no way to trace your torrenting back to you.

ExpressVPN also rotates its VPN IP Addresses regularly too meaning its unlikely you will ever use the same IP Address twice with them.

Here’s what my internet connection reported before and after connecting to ExpressVPN, quite a stark difference:

Map of IP Location

  • No Logs of your Activity

You also have the added advantage that ExpressVPN keeps no logs of your activity which I touched upon earlier. This means there’s no record of what you download which is useful for torrenting.

  • Network Lock

VPNs like anything tech is not infallible and anything from an internet connection issue to a wrong button click could lead to disconnection.

When torrenting, this means your activity could end up leaking outside the secure VPN connection. That is why having a type of network lock is useful.

Thankfully ExpressVPN has the useful Kill Switch which cuts your connection to the internet if your VPN connection drops.

In my tests this worked well and on the odd occasion when my connection dropped, the ExpressVPN app cut the connection to the internet instantly until reconnection was established.

100% satisfaction guaranteed

Server Security

In light of recent incidents from multiple VPNs (ExpressVPN not included), it’s worth considering the security of your VPN service’s servers.

ExpressVPN operates what they call ‘TrustedServer‘.

Basically, this comes down to two main security features. All of their servers are run from RAM.

RAM is essentially memory and not a hard drive like you’re used to on a traditional computer. The difference between RAM and a hard drive is no user internet traffic data is retained when the system is rebooted.

ExpressVPN Trustedserver info box

The usage of RAM is as a memory that is wiped whereas a hard drive is meant to retain data.

While there are one or two other VPN companies operating RAM only servers this way, it’s not common and ExpressVPN is essentially the first big VPN service to offer this added security. This is something other VPN services will need to catch up on.

Even in the unlikely case that someone was able to breach an ExpressVPN server, the next time the server is rebooted, it would be like a completely fresh install and any back doors an intruder had placed would no longer exist.

Upon using the service I found this extra peace of mind gave me confidence that I was using the internet securely.

This function has also been audited to show it lives up to its claims.

4. Apps

Apps

ExpressVPN offers a selection of what I feel are easy to use VPN applications for Android devices, Apple iOS, Windows, Mac and other operating systems too.

So basically if you’ve got any kind of modern device, you’ll be able to make use of the service.

Over 10 years I’ve used them extensively over Android, Windows and Amazon Fire TV devices.

Android App

From the home screen of the Express VPN app, you can simply connect to fast speed servers without doing anything else.

If you’re a new user or just need quick one-click protection, you’ll love this feature as it takes away any of the thinking required.

I really like the new ‘Recent Location’ options that adorn the home screen and lets you connect quickly to your previous two used locations. If you switch around you’ll appreciate this functionality.

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

ExpressVPN on a Google Pixel 8 Pro

ExpressVPN on a Google Pixel 8 Pro.

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

I found this useful for quickly accessing my most-used apps without the need to navigate back to the homepage. So if you want to quickly access social media, your bank or any other type of app you can do so all within the ExpressVPN Android app.

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

While this is still much the case, the protocol area that allowed you to switch between OpenVPN UDP and OpenVPN TCP plus the Lightway protocol.

The ‘Split Tunneling’ feature allows you to set specific apps to fall outside the VPN connection (when connected) to prioritise speeds over security when needed. The new ‘Network Protection’ or ‘Network Lock’ feature that acts as a Kill Switch and allows you to remain connected to your local networks.

Split tunneling is very useful if you use the VPN client to access internet banking or gambling sites that would require you to be in your native country.

Split tunneling is an essential feature that any good VPN should offer, although this is not always the case.

1-month guarantee

iOS App

ExpressVPN works with all main mobile devices and if you’re a user of either the iPhone or iPad (iOS users), then you’re also catered for with a brilliant iOS app.

The ExpressVPN iOS app sports a much similar layout to its Android counterpart and also looks visually identical to their desktop apps.

I especially like this because it allows you to move seamlessly between devices. Some other providers have different designs for each device type which can become confusing.

Again, I found the connection was easy to make by clicking the large ‘Power Button’ which connects you to the nearest and most efficient ExpressVPN server.

iOS ExpressVPN

Selecting a different country is also straightforward and each country is split into various locations or you can use their ‘Recommended’ list.

A neat feature that stood out is you can take advantage of a 7-day free trial that isn’t available on other platforms. You’ll need to cancel before the 7-days elapses. Otherwise, you’ll be charged but it’s a great way to try the service without payment.

The ExpressVPN iOS apps make use of the IKEv2 protocol only so if you need access to another type of protocol, you’ll need to set it up manually. However, this is more a limitation of iOS rather than the ExpressVPN app and it does help with speeds.

Also, if you use the Virtual Private Network on iOS, you won’t have access to the built-in kill switch or split tunneling which is a downside since features like a kill switch and split tunneling are really useful for privacy and security.

The mobile app also lacks advanced features like being able to set your preferred DNS servers. However, it’s not a feature you’ll miss.

When I compare ExpressVPN’s mobile apps to the competition, they really are second to none.

Desktop Apps

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

Both the Mac and Windows app also sport a similar interface to the mobile apps so you’ll be able to work them easily.

ExpressVPN on a windows desktop.

ExpressVPN on our Windows desktop.

Just like the mobile VPN applications, 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.

ExpressVPN Windows app

The ExpressVPN desktop apps are feature-rich and include four VPN protocols, a Kill Switch (Network Lock Feature), Obfuscated Servers, DNS Leak Protection, Default DNS Servers, and IPv6 Leak Protection.

The ExpressVPN kill switch is automatically switched on once you install the app. A kill switch is important so that if you connect to a server and the connection is lost, the built-in kill switch will cut your connection to the internet, preventing you from leaking any data.

I like the ‘Split Tunneling’ option, which allows you to select individual apps to fall outside the VPN connection (VPN tunnel), something that all VPNs should have in my opinion. It can also help with speeds in certain circumstances.

One thing I like is that ExpressVPN lets you minimise and close the system tray icon. While it might not seem like a big deal, it helps with keeping your screen from looking so “busy” and hides the fact you’re using a VPN.

ExpressVPN windows app

Overall the desktop apps are straightforward to use and feature-rich.

In comparison to the competition, the ExpressVPN desktop apps are not only easier to use but in my tests, I found them to connect faster, especially when using the Lightway protocol. Definitely, one to add to your desktop security arsenal.

Other Apps

ExpressVPN also offers a huge range of VPN applications for other devices too.

This includes Linux, the Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Kindle, Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, certain types of routers (if your device doesn’t support a VPN app) plus browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox and Microsoft Edge. There are a wide range of router app options too.

ExpressVPN Amazon Fire TV app

ExpressVPN on our Fire TV Cube.

There are also apps for a wide range of Smart TV systems including Apple TV, Samsung Smart TV, Roku, Chromecast, Android TV, and Nvidia Shield too.

The Apple TV app is particularly nifty. There is also specific help for various games consoles including Sony PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, and Microsoft Xbox too.

As with their mobile and desktop counterparts, all of these VPN applications are simple to use and offer a quick connection.

I found in comparison to other VPN providers the ExpressVPN app for Fire TV is overall easier to use and more intuitive.

ExpressVPN Fire TV app server selection screen

The server selection screen of the ExpressVPN Amazon Fire TV app.

A standout feature is the ExpressVPN 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.

I found with the somewhat slow interface of the Fire TV, this option is a life-safer, allowing you to launch your favourite apps without navigating back to the home screen. If you’re a big streamer you’ll love this feature.

ExpressVPN’s range of VPN apps all come with the ability to protect your DNS requests and DNS queries 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 Internet Service Provider.

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.

100% satisfaction guaranteed

ExpressVPN supports Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge with browser extensions.

If you’re after lightweight protection, then a browser extension can come in useful and thankfully ExpressVPN offers support for three of the most commonly used browsers.

These browser extension options all allow you to disguise your location in your browser while the rest of your device uses your regular internet connection.

ExpressVPN Chrome

What I like specifically when using the ExpressVPN extensions is there are a host of additional features built-in.

  • WebRTC Blocking

WebRTC is a feature of most modern web-browsers but unfortunately, it has also been known to leak details of your real IP address (location) even when connected to a VPN service.

Both the Firefox and Chrome extensions have built-in support to block such leaks keeping you protected.

  • HTTPS Everywhere

HTTPS Everywhere is a browser extension that forces all websites to use the secure HTTPS protocol where possible.

The renowned Electronic Frontier Foundation produced it. Working with the EFF, ExpressVPN has incorporated it into their browser-extensions, making your web connections extra secure by pushing HTTPS when available.

  • Location Spoofing

Both the Firefox and Chrome extensions allow you to spoof your web-browsers location on top of changing your actual location via your IP.

This ensures that no outside location data leaks which can in some circumstances stop you from accessing geo-restricted websites, for example.

However, overall I’m not personally a fan of browser extensions but if it’s requirement for your usage you’re covered here.

If you’re after protecting your entire network such as home or small office, then you’ll be pleased to know ExpressVPN has a range of router app options that operate to a very high level.

ExpressVPN have set up guides for all popular models including Asus, Linksys, D-Link, Netgear, TP-Link, Sabai and a handful of others.

There’s also a dedicated ExpressVPN router app available for some other router types.

ExpressVPN router interface

ExpressVPN links through to their recommended routers available to purchase on Amazon and other third-party companies such as FlashRouters and Sabai Technology. They will all configure their products for you to work with ExpressVPN.

ExpressVPN have now introduced their own VPN router called Aircove.

With Aircove, there’s no need to install ExpressVPN applications on your devices, all you need to do is connect to the Aircove router to make a connection. It’s that simple.

By using the Aircove router, any device can be secured with a VPN even if it’s not supported by an ExpressVPN app.

I haven’t personally used the Aircove router but it is now available in more countries than when it was initially released.

ExpressVPN had one feature gap for the longest time, the absence of an integrated ad blocker. But that’s history now. The new additions to their offerings include the ability to Block Trackers, Block Malicious Websites, Block Adult Sites and Block adverts.

ExpressVPN block ads feature.

From my own experience, these new features have significantly elevated the browsing experience. Ads, particularly intrusive ones, have a way of disrupting our online experience. With ExpressVPN’s ad blocker, the web becomes much more streamlined.

The Block Trackers option, in my opinion, is a godsend in today’s data-driven world, where every click can mean a breadcrumb for some marketer. Blocking malicious sites adds another layer of security, which is always welcome.

Lastly, the Block Adult Sites option is particularly useful for shared devices or for those keen on filtering out explicit content.

You’ll find this final one useful if you have teenagers or children, however I wouldn’t recommend you rely on them solely.

It sure will. As I’ve said, not even your ISP (Internet Service Provider) will be able to see what you’re accessing, this means they can’t throttle your connection speeds.

In my tests, I found that ExpressVPN’s apps generally connect much faster than many rival VPN apps do.

While the design of the ExpressVPN apps is nothing to shout home about, the basic layout is user-friendly and allows connection without confusion.

I like how you can automatically launch other apps once connected which is uniform across every device from desktop to mobile and even the Amazon Fire TV which comes in useful.

The settings area of the ExpressVPN apps could use a little tidy up making it easier to enable/disable the options you require, as other VPN applications can, and I would love to see a few additional features on the mobile apps.

The addition of the ExpressVPN browser extensions is a nice touch that will help you secure your VPN traffic quickly on your web browsers, this is something not all VPNs include with their VPN subscription.

Overall the ExpressVPN apps are functional, user-friendly, have most of the features you’ll require and ultimately allow you to make a quick connection with minimal fuss.

They stand up well against all other VPN providers. But they have gone unchanged for some time now and it is getting to the point where they could benefit from being freshened up a little.

30-day money back guarantee

5. Streaming

Streaming

One of the standout features of ExpressVPN is their ability to unblock and allow you to access most of the popular streaming platforms 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 Netflix versions.

In my testing, I had no trouble connecting to any of the supported locations and streaming Netflix on devices like desktops, phones and tablets.

You may struggle a little to unblock different regions of Netflix on the Amazon Fire TV devices as Netflix requires a ‘reset’ before displaying the new country’s catalogue.

It may also work with some other Netflix regions but your mileage will vary for these.

The bottom line is, ExpressVPN does work with the Netflix streaming service, pretty well too and compared to the competition I have found them to be more reliable overall.

As with Netflix, I had no issues watching BBC iPlayer using the ExpressVPN service.

You can connect to any of their UK locations and stream iPlayer. It works well for both live streaming or using the catch-up service.

It’s also possible to watch BBC iPlayer via the TVPlayer site as this also works with ExpressVPN.

Yes in my tests I found ExpressVPN works well with Disney+.

ExpressVPN even claims they are the “best VPN for streaming Disney+” so you can be sure they support accessing the service.

Sometimes internet providers across the world slow down connections that are streaming high-quality video, especially at peak times.

While it wasn’t the case with my ISP, you may find you get improved streaming quality at peak times if your ISP does make use of traffic management.

Yes I tested ExpressVPN and it works with both the US and UK edition of Amazon Prime Video.

You will need to connect to either their United States or United Kingdom location to stream the relevant catalogue.

In testing, I found there to be no issues accessing Amazon Prime Video when using a desktop, but you may have more trouble when using a phone or tablet.

I wasn’t as successful when using the Amazon Fire TV Stick, so bear this in mind.

Other services

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

I found that they work best with online services from North America, Europe and Australia but I had trouble unblocking more obscure services.

In testing I found them to reliably work with Hulu, YouTube TV, Peacock, Paramount+, NBC Sports, Sky Go, BT Sport, ITV X, 10Play, 7Plus and more.

So adding all of those streaming platforms with BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Dinsey+, I am confident that you will be pleased with ExpressVPN and what they can unlock for you.

100% satisfaction guaranteed

6. Prices and Plans

Prices and Plans

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

While many VPN services have started to provide more extended subscription periods, ExpressVPN has stuck to the classic 1-month, 6-months and 12-months packages.

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

  • 1-month  – $12.95 p/m (~£10.26)
  • 6-months – $9.99 p/m (~£7.91)
  • 12-months + 3 free – $6.67 p/m (~£5.28)

I feel that the 1-month package from ExpressVPN is the least cost-effective and a little expensive.

It’s also marginally more expensive than other providers. The 6-month deal is not the cheapest on the market either.

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. And, you save 49%, which is an excellent deal.

Like many VPNs, ExpressVPN is offering huge discounts on a year’s worth of privacy protection. It’s where you’ll find the best value. But they haven’t yet chosen to offer multi-year deals which is unusual.

There’s a full money-back guarantee available allowing you to test the ExpressVPN service risk-free and see if it’s suitable for you. You can change your mind in the first 30-days and get all of your money back, no questions asked.

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

The ExpressVPN subscription allows you to pay with Bitcoin for additional anonymity.

100% satisfaction guaranteed

It goes without saying that ExpressVPN is an expensive VPN provider in comparison to others.

If you’re looking for cheap for ‘cheap’s sake’ then ExpressVPN is probably not the provider for you.

However, in my opinion, you get what you pay for and with the added features, quality of service and multitude of services that ExpressVPN works with, it’s well worth the money.

But how does that compare to the competition?

Well, the closest VPN competitor NordVPN is $2 more expensive for their top-level pacakge when paying monthly (ExpressVPN being $12.95 with NordVPN being $14.99).

ExpressVPN NordVPN prices

There is no six-month option from NordVPN, so ExpressVPN wins here if you only need a bi-yearly subscription.

ExpressVPN’s yearly price works out at $6.67 a month compared to NordVPN, which is $6.99, so there is not much advantage here.

After this, NordVPN has an even more cost-effective two package which works out at just $5.39 per month.

Subscription lengths of this type aren’t available from ExpressVPN which is a shame and something we would love to see them follow NordVPN’s lead on and add to their offering in the coming year.

In Comparison:

  • NordVPN – $6.99 / month (1-year)
  • Surfshark – $6.49 / month (1-year)
  • IPVanish – $4.33 / month (1-year)
  • VyprVPN – $5.00 / month (1-year)
  • CyberGhost VPN – $2.37 / month (1-year)

7. Verdict

Verdict

If you want the best premium VPN service, I found ExpressVPN is the top option in the market this year and stands out amongst the competition.

After 10 years of testing ExpressVPN I can confidently say they continue to lead the way, they’re without a doubt my go-to VPN service for the majority of uses.

As my exclusive 2024 ExpressVPN review shows, they offer one of the best all-around VPN services I’ve seen and are excellent for a variety of uses.

ExpressVPN has a tested and audited no-log policy, high encryption levels, excellent security features and is registered off-shore (British Virgin Islands). With no data retention laws, it will help you get private internet access with a service that provides robust privacy and security protection.

I found installing and using ExpressVPN is easy, couple this with their massive range of user-friendly VPN applications that are easy to use and cover all the most popular devices. There’s also an enormous range of servers so you’ve got plenty of choices for your needs.

The download speed and upload speed of ExpressVPN are above average and apart from the minor internet speed loss which is to be expected by any VPN, even a rival VPN like NordVPN, due to encryption, there is little else to complain about here.

When testing speeds specifically I found them to be above average and through daily use noticed no slowdowns or issues with speed.

I find the ability to connect to a VPN server with fast speed essential and overall I find ExpressVPN with their lightway protocol connects faster on both desktop and mobile compared to competitors.

I especially like that ExpressVPN works with and unblocks most of the popular streaming services from around the world and I found that ExpressVPN worked with more TV services/online streaming services such as Netflix than NordVPN and most of their other competitors.

Netflix libraries such as Netflix US, Netflix UK, and Netflix Canada can be accessed at the click of a button. All you need to do is connect to a server and you are good to go. If you’re a streamer then this option will be ideal for you.

I tested this by connecting to a Toronto server and accessing Netflix. ExpressVPN gave me full access to Netflix Canada without any restrictions.

The monthly price of the Express VPN is expensive when compared to other VPNs like NordVPN, and I wouldn’t recommend paying monthly.

It’s a better option to take the ExpressVPN 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 but I would love to see them adding some longer subscription packages too giving you some more flexibility.

Useful VPN features such as a built-in kill switch, split tunneling, and their Lightway protocol which is open source, will ensure that you are able to connect to a high-speed VPN server with full knowledge your privacy is safe.

I found their customer support to be knowledeable and fast with responses, this will be useful for you if you’re new to using VPNs and need help with any of the functions.

After extensive testing, my overall opinion is ExpressVPN exceeds what is available from the competition. They’re a little more expensive but you certainly get what you pay for here.

Add in their 30-day money-back guarantee and you can test the service risk-free for an entire month, although this is pretty common amongst VPN providers.

This is good for you because if you don’t receive the same experience as me you can get a full refund.

Exclusive Offer: Save 49% off today

30-day money back guarantee

What do users’ think?

After reading through my ExpressVPN review, you know what I think, but what do customers think about the VPN provider?

ExpressVPN has a TrustScore of 4.5 / 5 on the review site TrustPilot, down .2 since last year.

ExpressVPN Trustpilot score

Subscriber John Barrack said “I have been using ExpressVPN for several years with no problems. Updating is super easy.

I live in a city that does not have a server but find Chicago and Dallas work flawlessly.

Philip Heroux said “A+ Top notch. These guys are on the top of the game. Best VPN client I’ve used across all my devices: Windows, Linux, Mac, and routers. Highly recommend, can’t say enough good things about their latest features (keys, passwords, etc) and their support 24/7 tech support is top notch.

Jeffrey Simpson said “The VPN itself works great, however, I tried to cancel the subscription three times. Every time it told me that I would receive a notification that my cancel has gone through, just to look back later and it charging me another 19€.

Byron Lohman said, “Honestly, over the last several weeks I have downloaded and paid for several VPN. Some of the other “top” rated systems either had difficulty working and tech support basically provided “instructions” where you needed to be a software engineer to implement OR did not enable the websites I needed out of USA.

Did you agree with our ExpressVPN review? Let us know in the comments below if you’ve signed up.

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Author: Christopher Seward

Having used the internet since 1994, 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. james smith

    do you have money back gurantee

    *address removed for privacy*

  2. Stu Briggs

    Do you know if there’s any data limit in the 30 day money guarantee period? like can i only transfer a certain amount?

    • Christopher Seward

      Hi Stu,

      Good question – no there is no data limit. You’re free to use the service as normal as you wish, if it’s not for you then get a refund within their 30-day money back period.

  3. Barbara P

    i’ve been wondering about if i can use this for iplayer in france?

    • Christopher Seward

      Hi Barbara,

      That’s a great question. You’ll be happy to know that ExpressVPN works well for BBC iPlayer. They’ve actually been the most reliable in recent years.

  4. Ernest

    I tried this service and was EXTREMELY disappointed – the sign in didn’t work , it took ages to get help and they kept asking the same questions over and over again – made me want to give up on all vpn services! How the got top rated I’ll never know

    • Christopher Seward

      Hi Ernest,

      Sorry to hear your experience didn’t match ours. Have you taken advantage of their 30-day money back guarantee and at least got yourself a refund?

      You may find trying some of the other providers like NordVPN or Surfshark beneficial. They also offer a full month refund guarantee so you can try them out.

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