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ExpressVPN Review: The Best All-Around VPN Service

Jonas DeMuro

A VPN continues to be an excellent choice to gain back some anonymity online, whether that’s from your ISP looking to track your every move to send you more ads, hackers looking to intercept banking and credit card information, or an overreaching government that thinks they are entitled to all your data without bothering to get a warrant. Whatever the reason, the reality is that many users will benefit from the safety and security that a VPN provides.

When choosing a VPN provider, there are many factors to consider, including the cost of the subscription with the possibility of an annual discount, the availability of a free trial, and the platforms supported. Also look at the number of VPN servers and where they are located, and whether there is a monthly data cap, plus consider the bandwidth and the privacy policy of the service. Against that background, let’s take a closer look at ExpressVPN.

Pricing

ExpressVPN’s offerings start off right with a 30-day trial. While unfortunately it is not free, the firm claims a “no-hassle 100% money-back guarantee,” making it simple to try this VPN, and providing a way out if it is not right for your needs.

There is a choice of three plans from ExpressVPN. All plans include unlimited bandwidth, which is preferred, especially for users who want to stream audio or video. Also included is the useful offering of 24/7 customer support.

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The plans start with a basic month-to-month subscription giving 30 days of service for $12.95 (about £10) per month, which also includes the 30-day money-back guarantee. For those willing to commit to ExpressVPN for the longer term, there are discounts to be had.

This includes the 6 month plan that costs $59.95 (about £46) every half year, which works out to $9.99 (about £8) per month. The even better deal is to go for the annual plan, which costs $99.95 (about £76) paid every 12 months, and works out to an even more affordable $8.32 (about £6) per month for this longer term deal.

ExpressVPN offers many methods for payment, with just about everything catered for. This includes all major credit cards (who knew that people buy things with Diner’s Club International these days, but it’s accepted), PayPal, Bitcoin for the internet savvy, and more obscure choices such as AliPay, GiroPay and WebMoney.

Features

ExpressVPN offers access to more than 3,000 servers in 160 locations across 94 countries, alongside maybe the widest platform support you’ll find anywhere.

We’re not just talking about native clients for desktop Windows, Mac, and Linux, plus the mobile platforms iOS and Android. There’s also custom firmware (last updated in May 2019) for some routers – including models from Asus, Linksys and Netgear – for whole network VPN, and DNS content unblocking for a host of streaming media devices and smart TVs, including the Apple TV, PlayStation and Fire TV. There are also surprisingly capable extensions for the Chrome and Firefox browsers to enable the VPN service at the browser level, as well.

All that functionality could sound intimidating to VPN newbies, but ExpressVPN does more than most to help. An excellent support website is stuffed with detailed guides and tutorials to get you up and running. And if you do encounter any trouble, 24/7 live chat support is on hand to answer your questions. It really works, too – we got a helpful response from a knowledgeable support agent within a couple of minutes of posing our question.




The good news continues elsewhere, with ExpressVPN delivering in almost every area. 256-bit tunneling with industrial-strength encryption? Check. P2P support? Yep. Netflix unblocking? Naturally. Split tunneling? No problem! Kill switch, DNS/IPv6 leak protection, solid and reliable performance and a clear no-logging policy? You’ve got it.

(ed: As of May 2019, ExpressVPN has an integrated kill switch in its Android and iOS app)

The ExpressVPN service is hosted in the British Virgin Islands, which is notable for its lack of data retention laws. This VPN provider takes privacy seriously with the promise of “no activity logs” and “no connection logs,” which is a hard to beat policy for its VPN rivals.

There are also useful VPN tools on the ExpressVPN website. These make it easy to check what your IP is, perform a DNS leak test, or a WebRTC leak test. Doing these before installing the VPN, and then repeating them with ExpressVPN running, can verify that the VPN is installed, working properly, and providing the full benefit of its protection. That ExpressVPN provides these tools shows that the company is willing to show users exactly how well its VPN service really works.

Downsides? There aren’t many to speak of, but of course, caveat emptor applies, and there are a few flies in the ointment to bear in mind. One of them is that ExpressVPN only supports 3 simultaneous connections per user (the industry standard is around 5), which is limiting for families with loads of devices.





(ed: Note that as of June 2019, ExpressVPN supports five simultaneous connections. You can use a router to get even more simultaneous connections for free). 

Also, it commands a premium price tag for the monthly subscription, which is partially offset by the discounts provided for longer subscriptions. That said, for those who want a speedy service, crammed with top-notch features that support just about every device out there, with all the 24/7 support you need to help you use them, and with almost too many options for payment, ExpressVPN will be a great fit.

Performance

ExpressVPN’s performance got off to a great start with a very fast initial connection time. However, it was overall lackluster with slower download speeds, and a higher latency than some other services. In addition, it has frequent reconnects in some locations, and not the fastest upload speed.

Verdict and Conclusion

Overall, ExpressVPN is a strong entry into the crowded VPN space. For those willing to pay the price, this full-featured VPN provides a speedy connection, at the highest level of security, with support for just about any device that a user would need a VPN for. For these reasons, ExpressVPN should easily make it onto the shortlist of top VPN providers to consider.

Specs

Client software platforms: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, BlackBerry, Kindle Fire, Nook, routers, Playstation
Native supported platforms: All of the above, plus Chromebook, Windows Phone, Proxy service (not VPN) available for game consoles, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire Stick, Boxee
Supported protocols: OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, PPTP, SSTP
No. of servers: 3000+
No. of countries: 94
Country of registration: British Virgin Islands
Payment options: Credit card, PayPal, Bitcoin, AliPay, GiroPay, WebMoney
Real name necessary? No
Encryption protocol: AES-256
Data usage: Unlimited
Bandwidth usage: Unlimited
Max. no. of simultaneously connected devices: Five
Customer support: 24/7 chat and email
Privacy policy: No logging