ExpressVPN Review: Why Is It so Popular?
Taking all these into consideration, it was extremely gripping for me to test the service. Did I find any weak spots in the VPN? Let’s see.
In my review, I will try to answer the following questions:
- What are the main features of the VPN?
- What servers does ExpressVPN own?
- What platforms are compatible with the VPN?
- How to use ExpressVPN?
- Is it possible to get the VPN for free?
- How successful is IP test for ExpressVPN?
Features of ExpressVPN
Before covering numerous features of the provider, let’s have a look at ExpressVPN pricing. The service is expensive if you get the 1-month subscription. It costs $12.95. Even the 6-month plan is not wallet-friendly, it is $9.99 per month.
As you can see ExpressVPN is not cheap. If you are looking for the most profitable offer, I recommend you to try ExpressVPN’s 12-month plan. Its cost is $8.32.
However, is it possible to use the ExpressVPN for free? Keep reading to learn how to do that!
Does ExpressVPN keep logs?
It keeps some! However, the amount of data it stores is limited. Have a look at what ExpressVPN saves:
- Your email address;
- Your payment method;
- Transferred amount of MB per day;
- Connected servers on a particular day;
- Record of any correspondence, complaints, or questions you submit through their Site of Services;
- Apps and the version of the app you use.
What is crucial, the VPN doesn’t log your browsing history, data content, traffic destination, IP addresses, and DNS queries. All these mean that the service does not know which user accessed a particular website or was connected to the VPN at a specific time. The VPN also does not know what VPN server IP address was used by a user and the set of original IP addresses of his computer.
Sounds well, right?
What encryption methods are applied?
It goes without saying that being one of the leading and most secure VPN services, ExpressVPN uses AES with 256-bit keys. What does it mean?
The best way to crack any encryption key is a “brute-force attack”. Can it easily break this type of encryption? Not at all! So, as the key length of the encryption is 256-bit, a malefactor must use 2256 possible combinations in order to deal with the task. It is clear that neither a human being nor a computer can crack this encryption in any reasonable lifetime.
To encrypt your sensitive data and hide it from prying eyes, I recommend you to look for a VPN with this encryption method. Luckily, almost all modern VPNs use it.
What protocols are used?
The main and the most robust protocol which ExpressVPN supports is OpenVPN (TCP and UDP). It provides a good combination of speed and security. The application allows you choosing a protocol by yourself.
Protocols that are available in the ExpressVPN app for Windows
However, the app warns that L2TP/IPsec and PPTP provides with weak security in comparison with OpenVPN. These protocols have their own advantages, though.
L2TP/IPsec is widely available and easy to set up. Besides, it is more secure than PPTP. PPTP is a fast protocol and this is its main plus. However, it is the least secure one.
Taking this information into consideration, OpenVPN is the most recommended protocol to use. Besides its high reliability, the protocol is able to bypass firewalls.
What are the other useful features of ExpressVPN?
1. Network Lock or, in other words, Kill Switch that is able to keep your sensitive data safe in case your Internet connection drops. How does it work? Simple! It detects if a VPN connection drops and interrupts your Internet connection in this case. So, your private data remains protected against leakage.
2. VPN Split Tunneling. This feature is available on Windows, Mac, Android, and routers. It lets to route some of your traffic through the encrypted VPN tunnel while others maintain direct access to the Internet. Why does it important? Split Tunneling allows saving bandwidth. There are also situations when it’s difficult to access foreign and local services at the same time. Besides, LAN is not available with a VPN. So, the function can help to save you these problems.
You can set up the feature in the general settings of the ExpressVPN application. There you should find “Split tunneling”, click “Settings” and then “Only allow selected apps to use the VPN”. Click “+” and choose the apps you want to use the VPN with.
Manage your connection on a per-app basis with the ExpressVPN app
3. Private DNS. This function is also worth mentioning as it increases the level of security. ExpressVPN uses its own DNS on every VPN server. It means that ExpressVPN is a good service to use with Wi-Fi hotspots.
Servers and platforms
The VPN seems to be truly reliable. Now I understand why it’s so widely used. Let’s find out how wide is ExpressVPN server park and what operating systems are compatible with the provider.
What platforms are supported?
You will hardly face some problems with getting ExpressVPN on your device. It has apps for the following devices:
- Kindle Fire.
I was surprised to know that ExpressVPN software is compatible with such a large number of diverse devices. However, that’s not all. The VPN extension is available for Chrome and Firefox. The VPN works on consoles and smart TVs as well (PlayStation, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, Samsung Smart TV). ExpressVPN for Roku, Chromecast, and Nvidia Shield are also able if set up the VPN manually.
How many devices can you use with ExpressVPN at the same time? The service allows 5 multi-logins, still, other VPN services offer 7, 10, or even an unlimited number of simultaneous connections.
How many servers does ExpressVPN provide?
It is crucial to opt for a VPN with a wide and diverse server park. The more servers a VPN owns, the better. It influences a lot on connection speed. Besides, it allows getting a virtual location whenever in the world.
As for ExpressVPN, it has 3,000+ VPN servers in 160 locations or 94 countries. So, this is one of the widest server networks I have ever seen. There are numerous virtual locations in South America, Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa, not speaking about servers in Europe and North America. It is impossible to enumerate all locations here. That’s why I recommend you to visit expressvpn.com in order to get acquainted with the whole server list of the provider.
All ExpressVPN servers support the P2P connection. Actually, you can use ExpressVPN for torrenting as it is a torrent-friendly provider. There is even a guide on their official website on how to use uTorrent VPN for safe and fast downloading.
How to use ExpressVPN?
I would not be surprised to know that you have decided to get the VPN on your device. With such useful features and robust encryption, the service is undoubtedly the top VPN. However, is it easy to download and use the software on a device?
As for me, I installed it on my Windows 7. Everything is super easy and I do not think I need to describe the process step-by-step. To make a long story short, for getting ExpressVPN on your device, you have to click “Get ExpressVPN” on the main page of the official website and enter all the necessary information.
After paying for the service, you are to enter your ExpressVPN login and password in order to log in to your ExpressVPN account. The system will identify your operating system automatically and offer you the app for your software.
Setting up ExpressVPN on Windows
It took me nearly a minute to get the app for my Windows PC. As soon as I downloaded the app, I launched it. The first thing that I saw was a big connection button. In the main interface, you can also see the “Smart location” feature. It automatically chooses the fastest VPN location for you.
The application for Windows is convenient and compact. General settings and protocols can be set up in the “Options”. There you can also learn your account status or refer friends, etc. You can find the extra security features of ExpressVPN in the advanced settings.
In fact, I even can’t remember what I didn’t like in the application. As for me, it has all the necessary features for convenient and safe browsing.
How to get ExpressVPN for free?
Despite there is no VPN’s free trial, you can still get the service for free! How? To use their money-back guarantee! Of course, it implies that you have to pay for the service first and only then get your money back. However, it is still even better than getting a free trial. Why?
Paid VPNs often offer their customers free trials. The point is they are always limited in time, traffic, and features. However, with the 30-day money-back guarantee of ExpressVPN, there will be no limits. Their no-logging policy, military-grade encryption and all security features will be available for you! OK, how to get Express VPN free of charge?
- Go to their free trial page and click “Start today”.
- Now you have to choose a plan. Which of them is better to choose? So, as all of them offer the 30-day money-back guarantee, you can opt for one that will cost you less.
- Then select a payment method (PayPal and Bitcoin are refundable as well) and enter your email address.
- Sign in to your account, download the app and enter your activation code, which can be found in your account.
- The last step is to request a refund during those 30 days. For this, you have to contact ExpressVPN customer support. You will get your money back within seven days without any questions.
Bear in mind that if you purchase the VPN via the Apple App store, you will not have access to the money-back guarantee.
Do I recommend to use the ExpressVPN money-back guarantee? – Yes! The service is highly reliable and does not limit you in useful features even if using their money-back guarantee. If you need a VPN for a short period of time, this is, undoubtedly, one of the best free VPN offers.
VPN tests are the best ways to see how the service works in practice. For this reason, I decided to conduct 3 different tests for the VPN: IP leak, speed, and tests for Netflix. Keep reading to know their results.
IP Leak Test for a VPN?
As ExpressVPN owns too many servers, I chose several random locations for conducting IP leak tests. I will provide you with the test results for the server in Germany.
Here is what I got:
The result with ExpressVPN IP Address Checker
I also used the service on whatsmyip.com in order to check my virtual location:
The result is the same as with the ExpressVPN IP Address Checker
Actually, I wasn’t able to detect any IP or DNS leaks with ExpressVPN. That’s, of course, crucial. It means the service truly hides your real location from prying eyes on the Internet and guards your sensitive data. However, what about speed tests?
ExpressVPN speed test
Any VPN reduces Internet connection speeds, that’s a fact. It happens because of the encryption process. However, some VPN providers are better in this regard. Does ExpressVPN slow down your Internet speed? Let’s find out!
My speed test results without ExpressVPN
And here are my results with other ExpressVPN servers:
|Download||Upload||Download Speed reduction (in percentage)|
|Switzerland||37.29 Mbps||69.78 Mbps||50%|
|The USA||53.86 Mbps||64.20 Mbps||28%|
|Hong Kong||40.99 Mbps||12.21 Mbps||45%|
I used OpenVPN/UDP in order to get the fastest possible speeds. As you can see, the results are favorable. 53.86 Mbps download speed with the American server is awesome. It means you can unblock streaming services and enjoy your favorite TV shows without buffering and lags. Actually, what about ExpressVPN for Netflix? Is it able to unblock it?
ExpressVPN with Netflix
A lot of Internet users appreciate virtual private network for the possibility to unblock geo-restricted content. One of the most favorite streaming services of netizens is, undoubtedly, Netflix. It provides a huge amount of video content. However, the service is able to detect if one uses a proxy or a VPN. Let’s have a look if it is possible to unblock Netflix with ExpressVPN.
I chose several random servers and found out that not all of them can unblock the streaming service. For example, the server in New York failed to access it.
The ExpressVPN’s server in New York wasn’t able to unblock Netflix
ExpressVPN servers that worked with Netflix are:
- Canada - Vancouver;
- USA – Washington DC;
- UK – London;
- UK – Kent.
As you can see, ExpressVPN is a good choice for unblocking restricted content and popular services.
Conclusion: pros and cons
After examining the VPN features and testing the service, I have understood why ExpressVPN is one of the top VPN providers. If compare ExpressVPN vs NordVPN (another popular provider), the service is more expensive. Even so, a lot of Internet users prefer this VPN to others.
It is not a surprise that its zero logs policy, up-to-date protocols, and additional security features make the VPN extremely popular. ExpressVPN support is dedicated and helpful. Every time I contacted them, I got full and useful responses. You can get the provider for every operating system. The VPN works in China as well.
Besides, ExpressVPN offers a money refund. You can use ExpressVPN premium for free during 30 days! However, if you are going to get the VPN for several months or years, it will cost you a penny. Express VPN is one of the most expensive providers in the market.
+ No logs policy
+ Robust protocols
+ Diverse server park
+ Unblocks Netflix
+ Support P2P connection
+ Useful customer support
+ Fast speeds
+ Allows 5 simultaneous connections
Top 3 alternatives to ExpressVPN
If ExpressVPN is expensive for you, try other trustworthy options:
- NordVPN owns 5200 servers in 60 countries. Comparing NordVPN vs ExpressVPN, the service is cheaper. It will cost you only $3.49 per month if you get the 3-month plan.
- CyberGhost VPN has a pleasant and user-friendly interface. It provides customers with useful extra security features. The 3-year plan will cost you $2.75 per month. It is even cheaper than NordVPN.
- Surfshark is a robust and cheap newcomer. It has one of the cheapest plans. To get the VPN for only $1.99 per month, you have to subscribe to the 2-year plan. Read my review to learn how to get it for free!