Is ExpressVPN right for you?

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When we tested more than a dozen virtual private network (VPN) providers, ExpressVPN rose to the top due to its excellent security and privacy features. Even though it’s not the fastest VPN we tried and competitors have specific plans for business users while ExpressVPN does not, ExpressVPN is a good fit for those looking for a safe and reliable VPN that is also capable of streaming television shows, movies or sports on a variety of devices. This customer-friendly VPN is worth the monthly subscription. In this ExpressVPN review, we’ll break down the details on the company’s reputation, pricing, features, functionality and security.

In this article:

How we evaluated ExpressVPN
What is a VPN
ExpressVPN reputation
ExpressVPN stability and privacy
ExpressVPN features and functionality
ExpressVPN cost
ExpressVPN customer experience
ExpressVPN review: Is it right for you?

How we evaluated ExpressVPN
What we graded for

Our scoring

Reputation

9.2/10

Stability and privacy

8.4/10

Features and functionality

8.7/10

Plans and pricing

6/10

Customer experience

10/10

Final overall score

8.6/10

More about our methodology

In the VPN tests we ran over several weeks, we conducted speed checks using ExpressVPN’s proprietary Lightway protocol. We tested: latency, download and upload speeds and streaming quality with such services as Netflix for MacOS and Windows 10. Speed is important because VPNs often slow down operating systems, but it’s not the only thing we evaluate. We also tested ExpressVPN’s security features, sign-up process and pricing plans. 

What is a VPN?

A virtual private network (VPN) is software that provides you with a high level of security and anonymity when connecting to the internet via public Wi-Fi and at home or work. When you directly connect to a public Wi-Fi  without using a VPN, other users and administrators on the network are able to connect your Internet Protocol (IP) address with your browsing activity. This can leave you vulnerable to security breaches. Hackers on the network can often access your passwords, account names and more, simply by viewing your IP address and your traffic.

A VPN provides you with a personal data “tunnel” that connects you to the internet without sacrificing your information. That tunnel scrambles your IP address and becomes illegible to other users on the network. The best VPNs can also provide access to thousands of servers around the world, which can be used to access region-specific content that’s not available where you live.

ExpressVPN reputation

We gave ExpressVPN a 9.2 rating out of 10 for its company reputation. Customers on the consumer review website Trustpilot have awarded ExpressVPN an average score of 4.6 out of 5 stars, which was aggregated from nearly 7,000 individual reviews. About 86% of users who tested ExpressVPN gave the service the maximum score of 5 out of 5 stars.

The following are some of the most frequently mentioned features users notated in their Trustpilot reviews of ExpressVPN:

  • Speed: When connecting to the internet via VPN, your traffic must travel through a tunnel generated by the VPN service to obfuscate your IP address and personal information. Though this process can often slow a VPN’s speed and hamper its functionality, Trustpilot users frequently praised ExpressVPN’s unique combination of speed and strength. Connectivity issues were rarely mentioned, even by users who ultimately chose a different VPN provider.

  • Smooth access: If you’ve never used a VPN, you might be worried about choosing an option that’s designed for more experienced users. After all, even the best VPN is useless if you can’t figure out how to connect to it. Trustpilot users praised ExpressVPN for its one-click compatibility, which allowed them to get started and begin using the software without any technical knowledge.

  • Streaming access: Streaming services use a large amount of bandwidth, which can sometimes be too much for a VPN to handle if it doesn’t have sufficient servers in place to manage the traffic. Users praised ExpressVPN’s streaming capabilities, which were buffer-free even during periods of heavy usage.

Though some users complained about a surprise charge when they canceled their ExpressVPN subscription, only 7% of users rated the service 3 stars or below. With an established history, a responsive customer service team and plenty of customer testimonials for potential users to browse, ExpressVPN earned the highest reputation score of any VPN service provider we reviewed. 

ExpressVPN stability and privacy

We gave ExpressVPN an 8.4 rating out of 10 for stability and privacy. ExpressVPN features a number of safety and privacy features that ensure your data remains secure. These privacy features include:

  • Automatic kill switch: This is a mechanism that immediately shuts down your internet connection to a device if your VPN lapses in coverage. ExpressVPN includes a native kill switch, which aims to ensure your data does not get compromised, even if your VPN lapses for a few seconds.  

  • High-grade encryption: Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)-256 helps keep your data out of the hands of hackers, the company says. This level of encryption is the same level used by the military and government entities to protect Top Secret information and files. There is currently no feasible way to decrypt information protected by AES-256, which means that ExpressVPN offers you the highest possible level of protection for your data.

  • TrustedServer security: The innovative TrustedServer technology ensures that no data can persist on its system hard drive, even by accident, the company says. This is possible because ExpressVPN’s servers run strictly on RAM, which doesn’t have the ability to log data. TrustedServer technology also ensures that all servers on the VPN network load the same up-to-date software upon startup. Working together, these two features provide you the peace of mind that comes with knowing your data is never being logged or sold to third parties, the company notes.

  • Private DNS access: A domain name system (DNS) is a directory of all websites and services. If you know a website’s URL, you can use your DNS of choice to look up its corresponding IP address. Most internet users utilize a free DNS, which is provided most commonly by internet service providers (ISPs). ExpressVPN offers its own private DNS on every VPN server in its network. This policy ensures that no third party has access to your data and that your ISP or network operator cannot sell your personal data , the company notes.

Overall, we gave ExpressVPN high marks for security and stability. While the VPN has fewer servers than some competitors (3,000), compared with top competitor NordVPN’s nearly 5,500), its high-level security and privacy features make it worthy of a high score. In the future, we’d love to see ExpressVPN continue to expand its server network, adding more servers to effectively handle traffic and provide more geo-spoofing features. 

ExpressVPN features and functionality

For features and functionality, we gave ExpressVPN an 8.7 out of 10. Some noteworthy functions offered by ExpressVPN include:

  • Split tunneling services: If you’ve ever tried, and failed, to log in to your banking or credit card app while on vacation, you already know just how quick financial institutions are to lock you out of your account if they sense unusual activity from your IP address. Split tunneling allows you to whitelist select applications and websites from funneling traffic through the VPN, ensuring that you can always access your accounts.

  • Access to 94 countries via tunneling: If you primarily want to use your VPN to tunnel to different countries and view region-specific content, it’s important to choose a VPN that provides you with servers in the countries that you want to connect to. ExpressVPN offers access to 94 countries, including the U.S., Brazil, Germany, Japan and more. Unfortunately, ExpressVPN only offers a total of 160 server locations within those 94 countries. We would like to see more server locations offered.

  • VPN speed tests: One major concern that many users have when they tunnel in through a VPN is speed throttling. This can cause your internet to seem slower than it is when you directly connect online. The ExpressVPN Speed Test feature allows you to put your VPN and internet connection to the test, so you can connect to the server that will provide you with the fastest download speeds.

  • No logging policies: Some VPNs keep logs of your data and browsing history, and they may even sell it to third parties, especially if you’re connecting through a free VPN. ExpressVPN says it has a no-logging policy to ensure that you can browse the internet while knowing that your private data is not being offered to the highest bidder.

These features, when combined with ExpressVPN’s strong privacy policies and best-in-class encryption, make the VPN a strong choice for everyone from traveling business professionals to casual users concerned about privacy.

ExpressVPN cost

We gave a 6 out of 10 rating for ExpressVPN’s plans and pricing structure. Like most VPN services, ExpressVPN offers users a variety of package plans to incentivize them to invest in a year or more subscription upfront. ExpressVPN currently offers the following packages:

Service lengths

Price

Money-back guarantee

Renewal

One month

$12.95 

30-day guarantee

Rebills at $12.95 every month

Six months

$59.95 

30-day guarantee

Rebills at $59.95 every six months

12-15 months

$99.95 

30-day guarantee

Rebills at $99.95 annually after initial 15-month subscription

When compared with other VPN providers, ExpressVPN pricing is higher than average. Its 12-month offer in particular doesn’t offer much value beyond the initial 15-month introductory period. While some users might be willing to pay more to access all of the features and security safeguards that ExpressVPN has put in place, users who are searching for the most affordable way to protect their online activity should consider other options. 

An ExpressVPN spokesperson acknowledged the company’s higher prices but said it offers tremendous value in the form of features rivals do not offer including its proprietary Lightway protocol. Unlike some competitors, ExpressVPN offers the same price to new customers as well as existing customers renewing their plans. 

One payment benefit ExpressVPN offers its users is the ability to pay with bitcoin or PayPal in addition to the typical credit and debit card options.

ExpressVPN customer experience

For customer service, we rated ExpressVPN a 10 out of 10. We were impressed with ExpressVPN’s customer service options, which include both 24/7 customer service and live chat options. ExpressVPN’s brand website is also exceptionally helpful, providing users with plenty of information about the benefits that come with using a VPN and how to access some of ExpressVPN’s most popular features and tools.  

ExpressVPN review: Is it right for you?

Our overall rating for ExpressVPN is an 8.6 out of 10. With so many VPN choices available, it can be tough to decide which service is best for your needs. If you’re the type of user looking for the maximum level of customer service, security and functionality possible from your VPN, ExpressVPN’s comprehensive packages and responsive team might be an excellent choice for you. On the other hand, if you value affordability and convenience in payment above all else, you’ll likely be dissatisfied with ExpressVPN’s more expensive packages when compared with other VPN providers. 

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