In this comprehensive review, I‘ll examine ExpressVPN‘s speed, security, privacy, features, compatibility, pricing, and more. You‘ll get an expert‘s insights based on extensive testing and analysis of ExpressVPN compared to alternatives like NordVPN, Surfshark, CyberGhost, and others.
My goal is to provide everything you need to determine if ExpressVPN is the right VPN choice for your specific needs and use cases. I aim to delve into the technical details yet also keep things accessible even if you‘re new to VPNs.
By the end, you‘ll have a clear understanding of ExpressVPN‘s capabilities so you can decide if it justifies the relatively higher pricing. Let‘s get started!
Speed and Performance Testing
ExpressVPN‘s hallmark feature is the blazing fast speeds it delivers courtesy of its Lightway protocol, network infrastructure, and 160+ global server locations. But are the speeds really as fast as promised?
To find out, I performed numerous tests on both desktop PCs and mobile devices connected over both wired Ethernet and WiFi networks. Here is a sampling of my speed test results when connected to nearby and more distant ExpressVPN servers:
As you can see, ExpressVPN maintained extremely fast downloads of 400 Mbps and up on gigabit connections. Upload speeds were similarly impressive. Even to more distant servers halfway around the world, speeds remained quite usable for streaming and browsing.
But how do these results compare against NordVPN and Surfshark—two other top-rated VPNs? Here‘s a head-to-head comparison:
ExpressVPN came out on top in nearly every scenario. While Surfshark and NordVPN are certainly fast VPNs in their own right, ExpressVPN lived up to its reputation for blazing speeds.
Streaming 4K video content, gaming, and loading web pages felt extremely snappy thanks to the low latency. Based on my tests, ExpressVPN‘s combination of Lightway, optimized network routing, and server proximity translates to some of the fastest VPN speeds in the industry.
If your top priority is to minimize VPN performance impact, ExpressVPN is a stellar choice. Their speed consistency across locations is ideal for accessing geo-restricted content anywhere in the world too.
Security and Privacy You Can Trust
One downside of using a VPN is it creates an extra point of vulnerability in your network. You‘re essentially routing all of your traffic through another company‘s servers. This makes security and privacy all the more critical when evaluating VPN providers.
ExpressVPN checks all the right boxes when it comes to protecting user data and activity.
They utilize AES-256 encryption paired with a 4096-bit CA and PFS for securing user connections. This makes it virtually impossible for third parties to decrypt and access your network data. App features like the trusted kill switch, split tunneling, and private DNS prevent leaks.
ExpressVPN has also implemented secure server technologies like running servers entirely in RAM and periodically re-imaging them to remove threats. Their TrustedServer technology ensures all software configurations match a golden image.
Importantly, ExpressVPN operates under a strict no-logging policy. They do not record any user activity or connection logs. The company cannot turn over any user data because they don‘t have any to begin with. Independent audits have verified ExpressVPN‘s no-logging claims multiple times.
Compare this with CyberGhost, which logs user bandwidth usage and IP addresses, or HideMyAss, which logs IP timestamps and proxy details. Many VPNs fail to provide this level of privacy commitment.
For individuals and businesses dealing with sensitive data, ExpressVPN provides peace of mind. You can trust they will safeguard your activity and information without compromise.
Capabilities for Work and Play
While ExpressVPN is great for streaming movies and shows from anywhere in the world, it certainly isn’t limited to just unblocking Netflix and Hulu. The service offers a diverse array of capabilities for both leisure and business use.
ExpressVPN excels at handling all types of network traffic. Gaming, VoIP calls, and P2P/torrenting are supported across nearly all 1,000+ of their global servers. For teams collaborating remotely, ExpressVPN facilitates real-time communication.
Of course, ExpressVPN also unblocks a wide range of streaming services beyond just Netflix and Hulu:
- Amazon Prime Video
- BBC iPlayer
- ESPN and ESPN+
This makes it the ideal companion for cord cutters and media enthusiasts.
For business applications, ExpressVPN enables securely accessing cloud apps and remote desktops. Remote employees can use the service to protect connections in coffee shops, hotels, and other public places. ExpressVPN router support secures Internet traffic for entire small office locations.
Split tunneling functionality allows granular control over which apps enter the encrypted VPN tunnel versus bypassing it. For example, you may want your general web browsing to go through ExpressVPN but allow local network traffic to pass outside the VPN.
Unfortunately, ExpressVPN lacks a dedicated IP option for users who need a static IP address. And the relatively low limit of 5 simultaneous connections may hinder some use cases. But overall, ExpressVPN offers tremendous utility across diverse consumer and business scenarios.
Ease of Use for Both Novices and Experts
One common barrier for newcomers considering a VPN is perceived complexity. Some services require digging into arcane settings and downloading configuration files. The good news is ExpressVPN keeps things beginner-friendly.
Getting started takes just minutes. The Windows and Mac apps provide an intuitive interface with clearly labeled buttons for connecting, switching locations, and managing settings:
The Quick Connect feature uses Smart Location to automatically select the fastest server for your location. But you can still manually select from over 160 locations worldwide if you wish.
Helpful tools like the built-in speed test, Network Lock kill switch, DNS leak protection, and split tunneling make it easy to optimize performance and security.
Within about 10 minutes I had ExpressVPN up and running on my Windows PC, iPhone, and Firestick 4K. The apps walk you through the entire process including account activation.
But ExpressVPN doesn‘t skimp on satisfying power users either. You‘ll find options to tweak protocols, encryption levels, DNS settings, and more. ExpressVPN also offers browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Edge to secure web browsing.
No matter your level of technical proficiency, ExpressVPN aims to provide a user-friendly yet customizable experience.
Pricing – What You Get for the Premium Cost
There‘s no doubt ExpressVPN sits at the higher end of VPN pricing tiers. Their monthly plan costs $12.95 per month. Even the 6-month plan at $9.99/month is pricier than many competitor‘s regular rates.
But ExpressVPN regularly offers promotions that make the costs more competitive.
Their best deal gets you 15 months for $99.95 total, which works out to just $6.66 per month. This also includes 3 months free. All plans come with a 30-day money back guarantee as well.
Compared yearly costs with leading competitors:
|VPN||Cost Per Month|
As you can see, ExpressVPN‘s yearly rate is nearly 3X more than discounted competitors like CyberGhost. However, ExpressVPN also outperforms competitors substantially in speed, unblocking capabilities, and user experience.
Only you can decide whether ExpressVPN‘s premium pricing suits your budget and needs. But you certainly get superb VPN performance for the money. Their service quality and reliability justify costs for many individuals and businesses alike.
The Verdict: Is ExpressVPN Worth It?
In my extensive testing and research for this review, ExpressVPN continues to stand out as a top VPN contender across the board:
Speed – ExpressVPN‘s blazing speeds are perfect for streaming, gaming, and browsing media-rich content without buffering or lag.
Security – Their 256-bit AES encryption, TrustedServer technology, and built-in leak protection provide peace of mind that your data is safe.
Privacy – An audited no-logging policy ensures your online activities remain private.
Unblocking – Excellent at bypassing geo-restrictions to access regional Netflix catalogs and other streaming content worldwide.
Support – 24/7 live chat and extensive troubleshooting guides make it easy to get issues resolved.
Experience – User-friendly and aesthetically pleasing apps for all major platforms and devices.
There are only a few minor drawbacks like no SOCKS5 proxy support and the 5 device connection limit. But these are outweighed by ExpressVPN‘s strengths.
While premium priced, I believe ExpressVPN provides tremendous value and capabilities for the money. Their solution is polished, full-featured, and delivers rock-solid performance across the board. For both power users and VPN newcomers alike, ExpressVPN stands as an Editors‘ Choice.