ExpressVPN Review 2019

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ExpressVPN Overview

Joel Timothy

02 September 2018

ExpressVPN is one of the biggest names in the VPN industry. The VPN started its operations in 2009 and has grown to be highly respected in the industry. ExpressVPN is a great all-around VPN for those who are willing to invest a little more for its superb performance and word class customer support.

The VPN makes a bold claim in referring their service as the fastest VPN on earth. They back it up by offering a no fuss 30-day money back guarantee in case you are not pleased with their service.

Recently, they improved their policy to allow 3 devices of any type to be used simultaneously on one account. The VPN is popular for its superb speeds and the fact that it is a good option for gaining access to some of the most popular streaming services such as Netflix US.

In this ExpressVPN review, we’ll dive into the details of this popular VPN to help you decide if it’s the right VPN for you.

Pros

What we liked

  • Simple interface
  • Diverse geographic distribution of servers
  • Supports OpenVPN protocol
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • 24/7 live chat support
  • Based in the British Virgin Islands

Cons

What can be improved

  • Compared to other VPNs, the price is a bit high
  • Lacks advanced features like Adblocker

Security & Privacy

ExpressVPN uses the AES-256 Cipher with RSA-4096 handshake and SHA-512 HMAC hash authentication to secure all your data on OpenVPN traffic (which is the default protocol). This is the highest security standard a VPN can offer, and it’s the same standard used by the U.S. government and security experts worldwide.

Further, ExpressVPN offers perfect forward secrecy, which is a shared secret key that refreshes every 60 seconds. With this system, no hacker can infiltrate and open any of your encrypted sessions. This is possible as a result of Elliptic Curve Diffie–Hellman (ECDH) key exchange.

Most VPNs normally avoid such levels of security, as a lot of security and encryption significantly affects the speeds offered by a VPN. However, ExpressVPN somehow manages to combine these high levels of security with the best VPN speeds in the market. This will be discussed further in the Speed Test section.

The VPN also offers other protocols such as:

  • L2TP-IPSec
  • PPTP

However, OpenVPN is the industry standard protocol, and it’s recommended because of it’s great balance of security and speeds.

In terms of privacy, ExpressVPN comes out on top of all other VPNs. First, being based in the British Virgin Islands places it beyond the legal jurisdiction of law enforcement agencies like the NSA and GCHQ.

This means that unlike VPNs based in the US and UK, ExpressVPN isn’t forced by law to keep records of user activities in its servers.

ExpressVPN, therefore, practices a “no-log” policy, which means enhanced security and privacy for you.

“ExpressVPN is a privacy-focused company that does not store activity logs or connection logs of our users. ExpressVPN does collect minimal information about the usage of our services in order to identify and address technical issues, but this information cannot be used to identify you for any specific activity or behavior.”

The information that ExpressVPN collects is only for development purposes, and it can’t be used against you. They don’t collect:

  • IP addresses (source or VPN)
  •  Browsing history
  •  Traffic destination or metadata
  •  DNS queries

This means that if for some reason an authority orders an investigation into your activity – for example, there are suspicions of copyright infringement – you have nothing to worry about. Since ExpressVPN doesn’t have the records, there is nothing for an authority to find. After all, you can’t give what you don’t have. Better yet, if you paid for the service using bitcoin, there would be zero trace of your identity associated with your account.

Additionally, ExpressVPN uses shared static IPs, something that adds a significant level of anonymity. A shared IP is used by hundreds or even thousands of other users to access the internet, and therefore it’s not easy to track down a specific user. ExpressVPN does not offer dedicated/ private IPs.

To make sure that you do not get exposed in case your VPN connection drops, ExpressVPN has a kill switch feature. This is discussed in the features section below. Overall we’re happy to place Express as a secure VPN provider.

Update on Jan. 28, 2019: ExpressVPN put its security to the test using a third party cybersecurity firm, Cure53. The firm conducted a thorough security and privacy review of the VPN’s browser extension. According to Cure53’s independent report, “the results of the Chrome browser extension are positive…and there were only eight issues, none of which were at a severity level higher than ‘medium’. ExpressVPN also published their source code under an open-source license, so that any third party is able to perform their own security assessment. This shows Express’ continued commitment to its users’ security.

Pricing & Payment

If you have to find anything against ExpressVPN, then pricing might be it. In our ExpressVPN review, we found that the VPN is priced higher than most of the other top VPNs in the market, including IPVanish and NordVPN. However, the pricing is wholly justified due to the features,speeds, and overall performance that the VPN provides., The added Smart DNS feature alone basically makes up for the difference in price in comparison to other VPN clients.

ExpressVPN offers only one package, each for different periods of time.

1 Month

$12.95

Per month

30-day money-back guarantee

most popular
15 Months

Includes 3 Free Months Special Deal

Save
49%

$12.95

$6.67

Per month

Billed $99.95 every 15 months

30-day money-back guarantee

6 Months

$9.99

Per month

30-day money-back guarantee

*Although we make every effort to ensure all prices are accurate, we cannot guarantee thet they are always up to date

There are so many things to like about ExpressVPN, that their slightly higher than average prices hardly feel like a drawback. In our review of ExpressVPN, we found that the VPN is priced higher than most of the other top VPNs in the market, including IPVanish and NordVPN. However, as we mentioned, the pricing is justified due to the great features, speeds, and overall performance that Express offers. The added Smart DNS feature alone basically makes up for the difference in price in comparison to other VPN clients.

ExpressVPN offers only one package, each for different periods of time.

A monthly subscription starts at $12.95 per month. The 6-month plan is $9.99 per month. If you purchase the 15-month plan, the price is $6.67 per month. This plan saves you 49% as opposed to choosing the 1-month plan. If pricing is your no 1 criteria then you may want to refer to this list of cheaper VPNs.

Free Trial

ExpressVPN does not offer a free trial if you subscribe from their website. The only free trial provided is for iOS and Android platforms, just to comply with the standard Apple Store and Google Play Store policies. Both the Android and iOS apps have a 7-day free trial.

Money-Back Guarantee

ExpressVPN makes up for lack of a trial period with a no-questions-asked 30-day money back guarantee. Very few VPNs offer this generous option. Unlike most VPNs out there, ExpressVPN’s money-back clause does not have any catches. All you need to do is cancel your subscription for whatever reason, and you will get your money back.

This gives you ample time to test if ExpressVPN is what it says it is (including its claim of being the fastest VPN on earth!).

Payment Methods

ExpressVPN is quite flexible in terms of payment methods. They accept payments via diverse credit/debit cards and PayPal. They have also partnered with Paymentwall to accept a number of more obscure international payment options.

We were glad to find that ExpressVPN also offers bitcoin cryptocurrency as a payment option. This is a great way to pay if you want to remain completely anonymous, which is something we highly recommend.

Credit cards
Payment Service
Crypto Currency
Others
and more!

Performance

ExpressVPN claims to be the “fastest VPN on earth.” We  wanted to test whether that’s true, and so we conducted a speed test while using the VPN service. We weren’t disappointed in the fast speeds we found with Express.

Here is the first test with no VPN connected:

ExpressVPN Performance

Here is the second test with a nearby server connected:

ExpressVPN Performance

Here is the third test with a distant server connected:

ExpressVPN Performance

From these tests, you can see that ExpressVPN lives up to its promise of the best speeds. Based on a speed comparison done in January 2019 for a period of 7 days, the only VPN that can compete with ExpressVPN here is IPVanish.

ExpressVPN Performance

As a result of the  speed tests, we were quite satisfied with the performance of this VPN. We conclude, therefore, that you can rely on ExpressVPN to stream HD movies or torrent without lags (P2P is allowed.)

This speed test was recently conducted on April 16, 2019.

DNS Leak Test

To find out if the ExpressVPN DNS Leak protection worked, we carried out a DNS Test. We were impressed to note zero leaks.

ExpressVPN Leak Test

Servers & Location

ExpressVPN has a hefty list of servers and locations.

The VPN has 3,000+ VPN servers in 160 VPN server locations in 94 countries. This is an impressive figure, as having many servers avoids potential congestion when other users are accessing the same server.

With so many countries covered by VPN servers, you won’t have any trouble connecting to a particular geographic area. Noteworthy among these are China, Russia, and Turkey which are countries known for repressive internet regulations.

With such a wide range of geographical distribution of ExpressVPN servers, you’ll be sure to have good coverage whether you’re in Africa, Asia, Central America, Europe, the Middle East, North America, and South America. This means that wherever you travel, ExpressVPN will still work well since there will be nearby servers. All ExpressVPN servers are available no matter what what package you purchase, and server switches are unlimited.

Virtual Server Locations

ExpressVPN also has virtual server locations for a number of countries. These are servers that give you an IP address belonging to your country of choice, while the traffic is routed to a different country. This is done to ensure that your connection is fast, secure, and reliable. Such servers are generally only used for remote geographic regions, such as Bhutan or Sri Lanka.

Features

ExpressVPN is a feature-packed VPN, and here are some of their best attributes:

MediaStreamer

ExpressVPN offers SmartDNS service known as MediaStreamer as a part of each of their packages. SmartDNS is a technology that is very useful in geo-spoofing your location.

This is useful because some devices don’t support VPNs. These include Apple TV, Smart TV, PS4, Xbox, etc. These devices, however, let you configure Smart DNS via the VPN, which works great with geo-restricted services.

It should be noted that MediaStreamer does not offer security; it only allows you to access geo-restricted services. However, this means that the feature is much faster than a VPN. In cases where you just want to unblock a completely legal service, then you can use ExpressVPN’s Smart DNS to maintain good speeds for HD streaming.

Stealth Technology

Some countries like China and Iran have strong censorship laws that even regular VPN traffic is blocked. To use a VPN worldwide, the VPN has to have an obfuscation method that makes OpenVPN traffic appear like regular HTTPS traffic.

To accomplish that, ExpressVPN uses stealth technology in all of its servers to enable connections to countries around the world.

However, during this ExpressVPN review, we noticed that ExpressVPN hasn’t mentioned that anywhere on their website. We had to confirm with them about it, using their terrific 24/7 chat support.

Features
Smart DNS
Bypass Netflix
Onion Tow Web Address
Split Tunneling
Stealth Technology/Servers
Allow Torrenting
Automatic Kill Switch
ipv6
Open Ports

.onion Tor Web Address

In highly censored countries, most VPN websites are blocked. This means that even accessing the VPN client or registering is a problem. Thankfully, ExpressVPN has a solution for this!

ExpressVPN has a .onion version of their website. Tor is a free software that is also an open access network that allows websites to run on encrypted connections, ensuring safety, privacy, and anonymity. To access ExpressVPN on Tor, just type http://expressobutiolem.onion into your Tor browser address bar.

Websites on the dark web are quite secure, and using a .onion extension makes sure they can’t be blocked.

VPN Split Tunneling

VPN Split tunneling is another great ExpressVPN feature f. This feature lets you customize your VPN software by selecting which of your apps you want to protect with a VPN. If a particular app doesn’t need protection, then you can tell the software not to encrypt it. The ExpressVPN Split Tunneling feature is available for Windows, Mac OS, and compatible routers.

With a router, split tunneling allows you to select the devices that you want to secure with the VPN. If you want to stream Netflix US on your smart TV or laptop, for example, you don’t really need to simultaneously encrypt your smartphone.

ExpressVPN Setup & User Interface

Getting Started with ExpressVPN

Getting started with ExpressVPN is as easy as it gets:

ExpressVPN

  • Visit the ExpressVPN Official Website.
  • Click Get ExpressVPN
  • Sign up easily
  • Download the VPN client
  • Enter your activation code
  • Click Connect

 

Sign Up Process

Signing up with ExpressVPN is quite straightforward. All you need to have is a working email address and a payment method.

If you want to remain completely anonymous, you can use a disposable email address to sign up. After that, pay for your preferred plan using bitcoin.

If anonymity is not a top priority at this stage, you can pay using the variety of other payment methods that ExpressVPN offers. The emails you will receive after signing up contain various links that are important to your experience using the VPN.

The ExpressVPN Client

ExpressVPN Locations

 

ExpressVPN provides its users with one of the simplest clients in the market. Considering that they have quite a number of features included, this is very impressive.

To open the windows client features, you will need to input the activation code that is emailed to you after signing up.

After opening the client, all you need to do is hit the connect button, and you get connected. In such a case, you will have utilized the Smart Location feature. This is where ExpressVPN automatically checks the best connection from your location and connects you there.

If you want to connect to a specific country or server, just click the Choose Location button.

This brings you a small list of servers that ExpressVPN thinks you might be interested in. If your preferred country is not there, you can click All to see the complete list of servers.

Source: ExpressVPN

Registering with ExpressVPN and running the service will take less than 5 minutes.

Options for Customization

While the ExpressVPN client might be simple, there are a number of advanced features that you can utilize depending on your needs. To customize your VPN connection, click on the menu symbol in the upper corner. Select Options.

Among the options available is using the firewall-based kill switch and DNS leak protection. You can also choose a preferred protocol as well as test server speeds.

ExpressVPN Settings

Source: ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN Mobile Apps

ExpressVPN App

Source: ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN mobile apps are quite similar to the Windows and Mac apps. The interface is just as simple and smart. The Menu button on the top left lets you access the settings and check your account.

ExpressVPN App

The Choose Location button gives you access to choose from any of ExpressVPN’s servers, and you can still do a server speed test using the button on the top right side.

ExpressVPN Choose Location

The ExpressVPN client gives tips and hints on the bottom side of the VPN client. However, if you choose the trial available for Android and iOS, the tips will be replaced with advertisements to follow ExpressVPN on Facebook.

Compatibility

For a VPN to be top of the line, it has to have great flexibility for devices. A VPN that can support your computer but can’t support your smartphone leaves you exposed because it can’t guarantee you total internet security.

ExpressVPN handles device/OS compatibility better than any other VPN in the industry. You can configure the VPN on your Computer, iPad, Smartphone, Tablet and even compatible routers. The client supports Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Linux, which are the major platforms. It also offers an extension for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.

Source: ExpressVPN

To support all your devices, ExpressVPN gives up to 3 simultaneous connections for a single account. This lets you protect all your devices.

For all unsupported devices like PS4, Xbox, SmartTV, etc., one can install ExpressVPN on a compatible router and secure all the devices at home. Remember the router version lets you select the devices (if any) you don’t want to encrypt. This is an excellent option offered by ExpressVPN.

Does ExpressVPN work with Netflix?

For this ExpressVPN review, we also wanted to find out if ExpressVPN works with the various streaming sites, starting with Netflix. Since ExpressVPN and Netflix play a cat and mouse game, you have to clarify with the support team which servers are working at a particular time. Otherwise, you’ll have to find out via trial and error.

During our test, the New York server was not working. However, the other US servers worked great with US Netflix, something that is very impressive. Not many VPNs give you access to it.

ExpressVPN is also a great choice for various streaming sites including Hulu and BBC iPlayer. The VPN also works well with Kodi because of its super speeds.

Read and learn how to solve a Rubik’s Cube with the layer-by-layer method. It can be learned in an hour.

Customer support

Online chat, email, tutorials, FAQs, and guides

ExpressVPN has an excellent customer service with a 24/7 live chat. Support is also provided through troubleshooting guides, VPN setup instructions, and an advanced support system (Email) where you can include an attachment of a problem. There’s even a general FAQ.

Why Choose ExpressVPN

Support in practice, test on both email and live chat, response time and quality of response

Among the support service, live chat is the only option with a faster response time of about less than 10 seconds. They have a quality service as all my queries were answered correctly and to my satisfaction. On the email, ExpressVPN told me they’d be in touch within 24 hours, but I got a reply within 6 minutes.

Does ExpressVPN work with Netflix, Hulu, and Kodi?

ExpressVPN works perfectly with Netflix but since Netflix regularly blocks VPN IPs, one can try different servers for example if you are using a US server, you can try other IPs if you get an error when to access the service.

ExpressVPN also works with almost all websites and popular streaming services such as; Hulu, Kodi, Spotify, Facebook, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Twitter, Seeso, Wikipedia, Google, Amazon Instant Video, HBO Go, CBC, NBC and many more.

Any other content providers that block VPN servers?

It’s rare to find a content provider that blocks ExpressVPN due to the many IPs offered by the service.

Conclusion

If any VPN can live up to its promises, then ExpressVPN truly delivers. The VPN ticks all the boxes in design, solid security, strong performance, and fantastic customer service. It is a reliable service that efficiently protects your online privacy and perfectly covers online video streaming, by even supporting p2p. If the pricing is not a problem for you, then ExpressVPN is the real deal and a top choice.

Written by: Joel Timothy

Joel is a tech writer and editor with a special interest in cyber security and internet freedom. He likes helping readers tackle tricky tech and internet issues, as well as maximize the boundless power of the internet.

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User Reviews

0/5
ExpressVPN works great

I have this app and it works great. ExpressVPN has a kill switch, so if your VPN connection should drop, all apps are supposed to stop as well. This is important for file sharers.

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0/5
Adding more devices

It would be nice to have an option to increase the number of devices that can be active at the same time. This works well for families where family members may be online in public places and forget to turn off ExpressVPN after using. A nominal charge would be fine instead of having to buy another subscription.

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Speed:
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0/5
Best Service

Best service ever! Works easily, I haven’t had any problems.

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Speed:
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Support:
0/5
I have this app and it works great.

ExpressVPN also has a kill switch, so if your VPN connection should drop, all apps are supposed to stop as well. This is important for file sharers.

Overall:
Speed:
Functionality:
Support:
4.8/5
Fast and easy to use

As a US-based server, this VPN service is governed under US law and the service provider must follow any US-based requests for information.

Overall:
Speed:
Functionality:
Support:
Read more user reviews »
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Questions & Answers

S. Guha
Guest
S. Guha

Does ExpressVPN work on Fire Stick?

Answer
Yes, ExpressVPN will work on Fire Stick.
Stan Conlon
Guest
Stan Conlon

Hi, I am considering subscribing to Express VPN as I recently joined Sky services on there fast internet service with there new Sky Q2 box, but I am disappointed with the lack of recent movies, so I have purchased a TV box MXQ pro to use on Kodi “but” I find that Sky is blocking me. Would your service overcome this & allow me to stream movies. Also to make my online identity private.

Answer
ExpressVPN is a great VPN for hiding your identity. It should also work on your Android device when attempting to use Kodi. Download the ExpressVPN for Android app to get started.
Harry Draman
Guest
Harry Draman

Will an Express VPN subscription solve my problem with excessive buffering stalls experienced when streaming Free to Air television and Foxtel. The problem does NOT exist while streaming You Tube, Netflix, Mbox etc.

Answer
Typically a VPN won’t increase your Internet speed because VPNs work creating an encrypted tunnel between your computer and a VPN server. The only situation where your Internet speed might increase when using a VPN is when your ISP is throttling bandwidth. This could affect video streaming speed and cause buffering. You sign up for Express to try it out, and there is a 30-day money-back guarantee if it doesn’t help.
Ken Viney
Guest
Ken Viney

I have used Google Maps in Australia, USA and Japan. It is a fantastic app for helping me get around via the best route. As I understand it, Google Maps is blocked from use in China where I will be taking a holiday later this year. The best used map app in China is Baidu but it is only in Mandarin and not English. Can I legally use ExpressVPN to access Google Maps whilst travelling in China? Or can you recommend some way for me to use any useful map app in English? I have a Samsung S9 phone.

Answer
According to Chinese law it is illegal to use a VPN in China. This should be understood before deciding whether to use a VPN in China and proceeding at your own risk. In general, ExpressVPN does work with Google applications like Google Maps. Another option is to try Maps.me which is accessible in China without a VPN.
Sam Corace
Guest
Sam Corace

Does ExpressVPN protect all devices connected to my homes WiFi network? For example: Computers – Windows 7 and 10, Tablets – IOS and Android, Streaming TV – Roku and WebOs.

Answer
When ExpressVPN is installed on your router, it will cover all devices connected to that router. If you install ExpressVPN only on a specific device, it will only cover that device.
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