I'd heard a lot of positive things about ExpressVPN, so I decided to sign up to their services to test the waters. Not to give too much away, but I absolutely loved them! Read on to find out exactly why.
Last Updated on
ExpressVPN is confident enough to offer this guarantee, largely based on its services and support which we’ll go into more detail about later on.
With servers in 94 countries, excellent encryption, and an enticing pricing plan, we thought we’d check out what ExpressVPN has to offer and whether it’s deserving of a top spot in our VPN reviews.
In this ExpressVPN review, I’ll explain in detail about why it’s one of my favourite VPN’s…
$12.95 may seem a little steep to pay for a VPN, but if you opt to pay annually, the monthly premium is dropped to $8.32 which is much more affordable.
Remember, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee included, so if ExpressVPN isn’t for you, you’ll receive your money back without any explanation.
If you opt for the mobile package, which is available for iOS and Android, there is a free trial; 7 days for Apple Store users and 1 day for Google Play users.
If you like what you see and you want to continue using ExpressVPN, or even share the wealth of knowledge with a friend, you’ll both get 30 days free whenever you refer a friend – that’s pretty nice!
Like many VPNs, ExpressVPN offers a multitude of payment methods, including, Bitcoin.
ExpressVPN offers many features; we signed up to a plan so that we could fully explore these features for you, and feedback what we found! Features include: 24/7 customer support, Smart DNS, Stealth Servers, and a dark web website.
Smart DNS is used for geo-spoofing; this allows you to mask your location, so can be very handy for web developers and testers, as well as for personal use.
Personal use can include the ability for U.K. Netflix users to access the U.S. Netflix, gaining you access to all the best shows. I tested this out and can confirm that YES it does work!
Similarly, it allows U.S. users to access BBC iPlayer. Smart DNS has more advanced features over a regular VPN, including:
- Speed: Smart DNS is a lot faster as it doesn’t need to use encryption/decryption
- Accessibility: It can be used on a variety of internet-capable devices, including Smart TVs
However, be mindful; Smart DNS will not improve your privacy or security. If you’re an ExpressVPN customer, you can gain access to VPN and Smart DNS services.
Stealth Servers are designed to remove the censorship that’s in place in Hong Kong and Mainland China. It’s best not to ask any questions about how this works as ExpressVPN won’t dish the dirt on their top secret features.
Again, we must be mindful and understand that counties with censored material will do everything in their power to block us from getting in, so Stealth Servers may not always be a guarantee.
Dark Web Website
Once you’ve got past the censored material, you’ll want to be able to fully access the website you’re visiting and sign up to it (if this is required).
ExpressVPN have implemented a dark web mirror of their services which can be entered as a URL into a Tor Browser.
ExpressVPN Speed & Performance
When I signed up to ExpressVPN, I started monitoring it’s speed and performance. Naturally, VPNs can sometimes slow your internet connection speed down, so I wanted to see how detrimental this was.
The above results show my connection to a U.S. server which resulted in a ping of 80 ms, a download speed of 37.72 Mbps and upload speed of 16.20 Mbps.
Next up I monitored my internet speed without a VPN to give me a baseline to work with. I received a ping of 15 ms, download speed of 23.80 Mbps and upload of 17.27 Mbps.
Finally, I connected to ExpressVPN via a U.K. server. This results in a ping of 12 ms which was much better than without a VPN, and tonnes better than the U.S. server (as expected).
My download speed was 43.69 Mbps and my upload speed was 16.02 Mbps.
In conclusion, connecting to a VPN in my own country was FAR better than not using a VPN, or connecting to the U.S. However, in comparison, all 3 were quite close together which is actually a GREAT result.
ExpressVPN Ease of Use
I found ExpressVPN really easy to use. Similar to NordVPN, the signup and installation process was very simple.
Once signed up, ExpressVPN will provide you with an activation code. This code is used to install the software itself, on either a desktop PC, router, or mobile app.
Once the application has downloaded, it will ask you to sign in. Simply enter your details here along with your activation code and viola!
The app will detect your current location, offering you to connect to the BEST server available. This again is very simple and runs with a click of a button.
Once connected, the power icon will turn green and display as connected. You can change your location by clicking on the location button to display a list of other locations.
You can either scroll through the recommended locations or type your desired location into the search box. It couldn’t be any simpler, even for beginners.
As expected, ExpressVPN present a wealth of options for you to use. The tabs are easy to navigate and each option has a small description to describe it’s purpose – very useful!
Privacy is one of the key areas that a VPN user would be concerned about. ExpressVPN have made some pretty strong statements regarding privacy:
No Usage Logs: ExpressVPN do not retain any traffic or usage logs, so a single IP would not track back to an individual
Generic Data: ExpressVPN have made it clear that if their apps encounter any issues, they’ll send diagnostics data to their analytics provider, but this information is generic, not personally identifying information.
Another high priority for VPN users, ExpressVPN uses the following OpenVPN encryption:
AES-256 cipher with RSA-4096 handshake and SHA-512 HMAC hash authentication
That’s a lot of jargon for most users to understand. Simply speaking, OpenVPN encryption is the best it can get. Due to this level of security, users may be impacted by performance, very marginally.
And for the sake of a small increase in performance, we’d certainly opt for tighter security offered by ExpressVPN.
As we mentioned earlier, ExpressVPN are widely known for their customer support. They offer 24/7/365 support via live chat or through support tickets.
Many of their staff members are experts in technology, and those that aren’t are extremely quick to point you in the right direction to obtain the information you require.
Their website offers setup tutorials to walk you through the process, and plenty of troubleshooting guides if you run into any problems.
At 7PM (GMT) I started a live chat. Within 30 seconds I was connected to an agent who was keen to help.
The live chat agent gave me the information I needed. I tested their response to see if it worked and I can confirm that connecting to a U.S. VPN worked with Netflix – awesome!
|Customer support||24/7 live chat||24/7 live chat||24/7 live chat|
|Price||$12.95/mo (£10.04)||$9.99/mo (£7.74)||$8.32/mo (£6.45)|
ExpressVPN offer 3 pricing plans. They all offer the same features but differ in price and length of subscription.
If you sign up on a monthly basis (where you can cancel the automatic renewal each month), it will cost you around £10.04 per month.
But if you’re willing to commit to a 12-month plan the cost comes down to around £6.45 per month which is a LOT cheaper (almost by half).
ExpressVPN Pros & Cons
Straight forward pricing (3 plans which offer the same features)
Multiple devices (easy setup on desktop, mobile, routers and more)
Server locations (over 1000+ servers in multiple global locations)
Great security (OpenVPN AES-256 bit encryption)
Easy to use (all of the apps are really simple even for beginners)
Brilliant speed and performance (actually faster than without a VPN)
OpenVPN may not be the best for advanced users (can negatively impact speed)
Quite expensive compared to other VPNs (but worth it for their features)
ExpressVPN are a really great affordable option for VPN services. If you’re dedicated to using a VPN service, you can opt for ExpressVPN’s annual plan which will reduce your monthly payments.
If things go wrong or it turns out you’re not too keen on the product, there is a generous 30-day money-back guarantee, so you won’t feel tied in. This for me is a really BIG positive!
ExpressVPN’s features are really top notch; they may go a little overboard with their security which can cause marginal performance differences, but we wouldn’t say this is a game changer as we’d much prefer to have better security to protect us.
With mobile apps and compatibility, ExpressVPN is a good choice if you have multiple devices; you can make three simultaneous connections at one time.
We tested features, such as, Smart DNS to see if we could access the wider variety of TV shows on the U.S. Netflix, and it worked! Again, this is a big tick in the box because I love being able to access new shows and films.
We also referred a couple of friends to see if the referral program truly was as good as it sounds, and it was! Express VPN is very easy to use and super reliable; their customer support system is unbeaten, and rightly so.
ExpressVPN offer server locations in 94 countries, with unlimited speed and bandwidth, we are proud to announce that ExpressVPN’s bold claims really do hit the mark and do what they say on the tin. I would HIGHLY recommend signing up to ExpessVPN today.