ExpressVPN Review: Fast, Reliable, and Secure Connections

It's one of the most popular virtual private network services on the market, but how does it stack up to the rest?


Gemma Davison
Updated 24 August 2021
ExpressVPN Review: Fast, Reliable, and Secure Connections
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Sections on this page
  1. Our Take
  2. All-Around Online Protection
  3. ExpressVPN Review: Pros and Cons
  4. How Does ExpressVPN Measure Up to the Competition?
  5. ExpressVPN Review: Features In-Depth
  6. Who Is ExpressVPN For?
  7. ExpressVPN Pricing
  8. Why Use a VPN?

ExpressVPN is one of the most popular VPNs on the market. So, how can it improve your online experience, and does it offer more than enhanced security? Our ExpressVPN review 

Express VPN
Express VPN
  • Find the fastest server in your location.
  • Use on up to 5 devices.
  • Robust data encryption.

Best for streaming.
Unlock all major streaming services.
30-Day Free Trial

Our Take

ExpressVPN is a premium service that provides all-around protection for your sensitive data and privacy every time you go online. Military-grade encryption makes it impossible for scammers to hijack your internet connection and steal your valuable data.

The security doesn’t end there. You’ll also benefit from additional top-shelf features, including:

  • Robust VPN protocols
  • DNS leak protection
  • An automatic kill switch
  • A strict no-logging policy

ExpressVPN allows you to browse, shop online, check email, do some internet banking, and stream with peace of mind that you’re safe from scammers, trackers, and dangerous malware.

We were impressed with the security, but there is more that ExpressVPN can do for you. 

All-Around Online Protection

While ExpressVPN is a little more expensive than some of its competitors, you certainly get a lot for your money. Security is a top priority for ExpressVPN, with an unbreakable wall of military-grade encryption putting your sought-after personal information far out of reach of scammers and cybercriminals. Additional protection from ExpressVPN comes from:

  • IP address masking when you connect to one of ExpressVPN’s secure servers. Your IP address is replaced with that of the VPN server, therefore keeping your internet activity private and anonymous.
  • An automatic kill switch and leak protection to prevent your internet traffic from appearing on the open web.
  • Strict no-logs policy, meaning that none of your activity logs or personal information is stored on ExpressVPN’s servers.

You don’t sacrifice speed for security. ExpressVPN operates a widespread network of over 3,000 high-speed servers across 94 countries. The robust network not only allows you to browse securely wherever you are but also to access restricted content, such as global streaming services like Netflix.

Device compatibility is excellent, with easy-to-use apps available for every major platform and computers, phones, tablets, smart TVs, browsers, and more. You can protect five devices simultaneously with ExpressVPN, or you can install it on your router to safeguard all devices connected to your home network.

ExpressVPN Review: Pros and Cons

It’s clear that ExpressVPN is one of the leading VPNs out there, but it does come with a couple of drawbacks, although the benefits still outweigh the cons.

Pros

  •  Over 3,000 servers across 94 countries.
  •  Consistently fast speeds across all server locations.
  •  Military-grade encryption and lots of additional top-shelf security features.
  •  Ability to access dozens of restricted streaming services.
  •  Works in countries with limited online freedom, including China and the UAE.
  •  Excellent device compatibility.
  •  24/7 live chat support.

Cons

  •  More expensive than other premium VPNs.
  •  No built-in malware blocker.

How Does ExpressVPN Measure Up to the Competition?

ExpressVPN is just one of dozen of premium VPNs available. While it’s an excellent choice for protecting your sensitive data online, there are comparable VPNs that may suit your needs just as well, if not better.

NordVPN: Excellent All-Around VPN

NordVPN
NordVPN
  • Malware and adware blockers.
  • Secure 6 devices at once.
  • 30-day money-back guarantee.

Advanced security features.
Protects against phishing and malware attacks.

Like ExpressVPN, NordVPN offers plenty of advanced security features to protect your sensitive data from the prying eyes of scammers every time you go online. Solid encryption prevents your credentials from being intercepted, and the CyberSec feature blocks viruses and other malware. 

Extra security features include an automatic kill switch, leak protection, and a no-logs policy. Plus, there is Double VPN to send your traffic through two VPN servers. This changes your IP address twice, giving you an extra layer of security.

While NordVPN’s server network is not as widespread as ExpressVPN’s, with over 5,200 servers in 60 countries, you can still access dozens of geo-restricted streaming services. In addition, device compatibility is excellent with apps for all major operating systems and routers and some smart TVs.

  •  What we like: NordVPN is an excellent all-around VPN, offering high-speeds, top-class security, the ability to access blocked content with ease, and valuable extra features, including split-tunneling.
  •  What we don’t like: NordVPN excels in all areas of online security. The only problem we found was that the automatic kill switch needs to be manually enabled on Android devices and is only compatible with Android 7 or later. For most, this will be no major inconvenience.

Surfshark: Great VPN for Streaming

Surfshark
Surfshark
  • Military-grade encryption.
  • Protection for unlimited devices.
  • Allow specific sites to bypass VPN.

Great for families.
Connect unlimited devices simultaneously.

Surfshark is one of the best VPNs for streaming on the market. The widespread network of 3,200+ servers in more than 65 countries can unblock dozens of global streaming services and 15 different regional Netflix libraries.

Server speeds are consistent, and thanks to unlimited data and bandwidth, you can stream as much as you like without lag, buffering, or frozen pixels. We love that you can test out the streaming capabilities of Surfshark before committing with a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.

You can stream with Surfshark safe in the knowledge that you’re protected courtesy of robust security features, including:

  • Military-grade encryption
  • Automatic kill switch
  • Leak protection
  • Zero logging policy
  • CleanWeb to block malware, trackers, and phishing attempts
  • Camouflage Mode to prevent your Internet Service Provider from knowing you using a VPN
  •  What we like: You can connect unlimited devices to Surfshark at once, and with great device compatibility, the whole family can be protected on your home network and public WiFi.
  •  What we don’t like: Surfshark is another VPN that offers users all-around protection and the ability to access restricted content. The only minor problem we encountered was a slight slowing of speeds with long-distance connections, but it didn’t cause any significant lag or buffering.

CyberGhost: Best VPN for Beginners

CyberGhost VPN
CyberGhost VPN
  • Use on up to 7 devices at one time.
  • Simple setup across all devices.
  • Extensive coverage with 7,200 servers globally.

Global server coverage.
Great for travelers with servers in over 90 countries.

CyberGhost has a user-friendly interface, making it a great choice if you’ve never used a VPN before. It’s simple to set up across all your gadgets, and you can connect seven of your devices at once to the VPN. Regarding devices, compatibility is excellent, with apps for all major operating systems, smart TVs, routers, and more.

Your sensitive information is protected with CyberGhost’s solid encryption and robust VPN protocols with just a single click. Extra security features include leak protection, an automatic kill switch, no-logs policy, and built-in malware protection.

Enjoy a safe and unrestricted internet wherever you are, thanks to extensive global coverage with over 7,200 servers spanning 90+ countries. An extensive server network means you can expect consistently fast speeds and a reliable connection.

  •  What we like: Dedicated streaming servers make it easy to find the best connection for the platform of your choice, whether it be HBO Max, Amazon Prime, Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and many more.
  •  What we don’t like: CyberGhost doesn’t currently work in China, nor can it beat the infamous Great Firewall of China. So, if you live in or are traveling to the country, ExpressVPN is a better choice.

ExpressVPN Review: Features In-Depth

With ExpressVPN offering the perfect balance between performance and privacy, it’s definitely worth the money. However, you can try out all the VPN’s features (before committing) on up to five devices, courtesy of a 30-day money-back guarantee. Let’s take a look at these features in more detail.

Military-Grade Encryption and Robust VPN Protocols

ExpressVPN encrypts your internet traffic between secure servers and your devices. This means that it’s far out of reach of prying eyes, including scammers, trackers, and even your internet service provider.

Your data is safeguarded with AES-256 bit encryption, which is also the same level used by security experts worldwide and the U.S. government. 

AES-256 Bit Encryption Explained

256-bit means that there are 2 to the power of 256 possible combinations, which equates to a number with over 75 digits!

It’s essentially impossible to crack, even by the world’s most powerful supercomputers, if they had been running from the beginning of time, billions of times over.

Along with unbreakable encryption, ExpressVPN offers multiple security protocols—rules used to determine how your information is encrypted. They include the industry-standard protocol OpenVPN and Lightway, a protocol developed by ExpressVPN, which is ideal for mobile devices as it drains less battery and smoothly switches between networks.

Fast Server Network for Accessing Restricted Content

ExpressVPN has one of the most widespread networks of any VPN, with 3,000+ servers in over 160 VPN server locations in 94 countries. As a result, you’ll find that your speeds are consistent even with long-distance connections. Every server we tested provided way more than the 25Mbps that’s needed for smooth HD-streaming.

Better yet, ExpressVPN has a few tricks up its sleeve to ensure you’re connected to the fastest server possible:

  • Speed test: Find the fastest servers in your chosen location with ExpressVPN’s built-in speed test.
  • Smart location: Automatically picks the best server location—based on distance, download speed, and latency—so you can browse, stream, download, and game, with super-fast speeds.
  • No throttling: Connecting to an ExpressVPN server bypasses intentional throttling by your ISP to provide a smooth browsing experience. Unlimited bandwidth and data mean you can browse, shop, and stream as much as you like without worrying about losing your VPN connection.

Not only is ExpressVPN’s server network fast, but it can open up a world of restricted content. Thanks to excellent unblocking abilities, you’ll be able to access dozens of geographically restricted streaming services—like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, and more—from anywhere in the world. 

Plus, you can bypass government censorship (including the Great Firewall of China), content-based throttling, and school or office firewalls. 

Split-Tunneling

Split-tunneling allows you to route some of your traffic or apps through the VPN while the rest directly access the internet. This will enable you to protect the internet activity you choose without losing your access to local network devices and services. With ExpressVPN’s split-tunneling, you can:

  • Stream from global streaming services while using web services and apps from local IP addresses.
  • Access your network printer and other devices while browsing online safely.
  • Download securely without using up your bandwidth and slowing down your other internet activity.

Additional Notable Features

  • MediaStreamer allows you to stream your favorite blocked content on devices that don’t usually support VPNs, such as some smart TVs and games consoles. However, you should be aware that MediaStreamer doesn’t offer the privacy and security benefits of ExpressVPN.
  • Network Lock Kill Switch keeps your data safe if your connection to ExpressVPN suddenly drops by blocking all online traffic until your protection is restored. This stops any of your data from appearing on the unencrypted web.
  • TrustedServer Technology guarantees that every server is updated with the latest security software, so you’re always getting the best protection. Plus, the tech ensures ExpressVPN’s servers never write to the hard drive, further minimizing the risk to your data.

Who Is ExpressVPN For?

ExpressVPN is an excellent all-around VPN, making it a great option if you’re looking to secure all your online activities, download files safely, and stream content from around the world. 

If you regularly use public WiFi networks, which are easy for scammers to infiltrate, ExpressVPN is a handy security tool. It’s compatible with a wide range of mobile devices and all operating systems, so you’ll be protected when using the internet on the go.

As we’ve previously mentioned, ExpressVPN is one of the higher-priced VPNs, but you’re paying for a premium product with features you don’t get elsewhere, such as their unique Lightway security protocol that has minimal impact on speeds. 

While we’re on the subject of speeds, ExpressVPN has some of the fastest connection speeds of any VPN. This is great if you’re a fan of torrenting and online gaming, as you’ll experience only minimal or no lag or buffering.

ExpressVPN Pricing

  • Monthly plan: $12.95
  • 6-month plan: $59.95
  • 12-month plan: $99.95

All ExpressVPN plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Why Use a VPN?

Scammers are becoming increasingly sophisticated when it comes to stealing your sensitive data or infiltrating your devices. 

A trustworthy VPN is one of the best ways to protect yourself against online scammers. They protect your sensitive information with an impenetrable wall of encryption that would take billions and billions of years to crack. Additionally, they provide extra layers of protection, including the invaluable kill switch, which stops your traffic from appearing on the open web if you lose your VPN connection.

VPNs can also help you maintain your online privacy by masking your actual IP address with a VPN server IP address. This makes it impossible for websites, apps, services, and cybercriminals to track you online.

Another significant benefit of VPNs is the ability to change your digital location. This enables you to unblock restricted websites and content, as well as access local content when traveling.

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