Pricing & Plans
ExpressVPN offers has three different subscription options. You get the same benefits with each plan, just at a different price. That said, paying yearly gives you the best value for your money. The provider offers a no-questions-asked 30-day money-back guarantee, so trying before you buy is possible (and strongly recommended). There’s also a referral plan in place where you get a free month for every friend of yours that signs up.
ExpressVPN accepts an astonishing 23 different payment options, including all major credit cards, PayPal, Bitcoin, gift cards, Union Pay, and more. You can view them all via the Plans and Pricing section of their website.
- Customer support
- Server network
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Not much
Here’s a quick video we made for this ExpressVPN review that shows how the service protects your online activities.
ExpressVPN has servers in 78 countries, which is one of the highest in the industry. ExpressVPN also actively builds their network infrastructure and test it thoroughly all the time, so that you get the best speeds and performance. Are you in Australia but need to access Europe? It matters which way you connect to the other side of the globe, via Asia or the US. ExpressVPN knows which is quickest.
As if the server choices aren’t enough, our ExpressVPN review showed that it has some of the most intuitive software on the VPN market (seemingly copied by other providers on some occasions, but with less effectiveness or style). Tablets and smartphones are also given the same care and attention, instead of being shortchanged on the software and encryption fronts.
Not a bad gig, all-said. The 30-day money-back guarantee only makes the choice more logical. Hit the link to poke around ExpressVPN’s website yourself, or keep reading for a review of their stellar security measures.
Security & Privacy
We were happy to discover during our ExpressVPN review that the provider opts for OpenVPN as its default encryption protocol, as it’s the most secure. That said, they also have PPTP and L2TP on offer. While these protocols do boast some improved speeds they are much less secure, so we wouldn’t personally recommend using them.
OpenVPN encryption takes place using upgraded and quite hefty 4096-bit and SHA 512 for authentication, with AES-256 bit CBC for stream encryption. The level of encryption is very strong and favorable when compared to the competition. Security is definitely just as highly prioritized as it was since the last time we’ve reviewed the service – from strength to strength (ExpressVPN’s post on the update can be found here).
Interestingly, ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), so it isn’t strictly under the jurisdiction of some pesky EU and US Data Retention laws. However, minimal connection logs are kept. The entire service is run using shared IP addresses, in effect cocooning any particular user from prying eyes (unless, of course, a sovereign state-backed adversary is after you).
ExpressVPN’s website excels from both a visual and functional perspective. Looking at the top banner head gives you clickable options: take an explanatory tour, browse support, sign up for the service (or head into the account area should you be subscribed).
The ExpressVPN blog is particularly noteworthy, ranking close to the best as far as VPN provider blogs are concerned. Posts range from the practical to the inquisitive, with journalism and application covered in equal measure.
The best part about ExpressVPN’s topic matter might be the minimal amount of salesmanship. If you want to, you can buy their services, but they don’t push you.
LiveChat windows are accessible during working hours, and were helpful at every turn while having the patience for some novice-level questions to test the team members. Another route is opening a support ticket and waiting for an email response back within 24 hours. We got a reply in 0-3 hours as shown above. Our user reviews also usually have very positive things to say about ExpressVPN’s customer support.
Should you have issues getting started or feel like going the DIY route, you may visit the Knowledgebase in Support, or take a look through troubleshooting. It helps that the manuals are illustrated and detailed without presenting information that is too technical for a newbie to get to grips with.
Signing up is as easy as entering your email address and paying using your method of choice as shown above and below.
Following that, you’ll then be prompted with instructions on how to download and install the software. The entire process took roughly 10 minutes.
The ExpressVPN Windows client
ExpressVPN have put a lot of work into updating their Windows desktop client and it shows in its functionality. You may choose to launch whenever you boot up your system and auto connect to the last location you tunneled from. They’ve also got a kill switch on offer, though it is only a feature of the Windows client, and is not yet included in ExpressVPN’s OS X software.
You may also choose which protocol to use depending on your speed needs, for example when gaming versus casually browsing the net. That said, OpenVPN should provide the ideal mix of security and speed.
The Advanced Options toolbar isn’t filled yet, but both commands are important to consider. First, using ExpressVPN’s DNS servers versus, say, Google’s, is an excellent idea for safeguarding your digital footprint.
Secondly, you have the option to share data the company says will remain anonymous. It’s entirely up to you, though, as the personal benefits are debatable.
Here you can see the kill switch in action (it checked out against DNS leaks, as well). Torrents were halted, which just goes to show the effectiveness of this critical feature.
A final notable point that can’t be illustrated in an image is how intuitive using the client feels to anyone who’s ever used a chat messenger, App, or any other dedicated piece of software.
Performance (Speed, DNS, WebRTC and IPv6 Tests)
Speed testing for this ExpressVPN review was conducted using OpenVPN, on a 30 Mbps connection. ExpressVPN performed well above average, with minimal speed hits.
Dutch servers averaged around 25 Mbps downstream, not bad considering the aforementioned torrents being downloaded at the time. Diary of a Mad Housewife (an underrated classic, if ever there was one), streamed from YouTube with no hiccups all the way through. I used multiple different servers, from each continent, but only experienced noteworthy speed loss in some of the more remote locations, relevant to where tests were run.
Interestingly enough, US server speeds averaged closer to 2 Mbps, however, there was absolutely no performance hit on the streaming or P2P files. It may have been more a function of the geographical distance coupled with heavy CPU usage – then again, if you’re concerned about speed, experience it for yourself – there is a 30-day money-back guarantee after all.
|Graphs show highest, lowest and average speeds for each server and location. See our full speed test explanation for more detail.|
It’s always a pleasure to find no IP leaks. Should there be one, they essentially invalidate using a VPN in the first place, as they leave your connection vulnerable to intruders. Both IPv6 leakage and the WebRTC Bug came up patched while using the ExpressVPN Windows client. While we find ExpressVPN incredibly reliable, it’s good practice to run tests on both from time to time. You can do so using IPleak.net and test-ipv6.com.
It’s worth briefly revisiting ExpressVPN’s exceptional cross-functionality with no performance loss. Many providers don’t have the same strength of software across all supported devices. ExpressVPN is worthy of recognition in this regard.
ExpressVPN Review Conclusion
- Website & software accessibility
- Excellent cross-platform standards
- 30-day money-back guarantee
I wasn’t so sure about
ExpressVPN cooks up a great VPN service that doesn’t bother with extra frills, as it doesn’t need them. It focuses instead on being the best in software, support, and performance on the market. With a month-long trial on tap, now might be the right time to take advantage of the offer and give ExpressVPN a go for yourself.