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Express VPN Review – Our Top Choice for Speed and Security
ExpressVPN has a lofty reputation and we wanted to establish whether or not it was deserved. Specifically:
- How fast this VPN really is
- If it lived up to the hype when it comes to unblocking streaming services
- If it is really as secure as everyone says it is
- If it is truly worth the money
There are lots of speed tests on the Internet that said ExpressVPN has consistently fast speeds. There are a number of people who swear by ExpressVPN as a surefire way to get access to Geo restricted streaming content. Sounds great. But we had to see it for ourselves. We tried it out. Here’s what we found.
When you visit the ExpressVPN site, you immediately see what they are offering. They promise fast VPN servers in more than 90 countries. They promise to unblock the apps and sites you love instantaneously. They say they provide secure, anonymous browsing and customer service–available 24 hours a day, seven days a week through live chat support.
- Easy to use app
- Fast speeds
- 30 day money back guarantee
- Split tunneling feature
- Works with streaming services
- 24 hours a day seven days a week live chat support
- More expensive than the competition
- Unlocks content from around the globe
- 148 server locations
- Built-in speed test feature
- Applications for every device
- 256 bit AES encryption
- No activity logs or connection logs
- IP address masking
- Anonymous browsing
- OpenVPN and other protocols
- Zero knowledge DNS
Can You Trust ExpressVPN?
ExpressVPN is a business that is based in the Virgin Islands. You can find information about the company’s vice president, their communications manager, and a few other team members. However, much of their team prefers to work in anonymity. We will talk a little bit more about that later.
To be clear, they’re not storing your IP address. They store the location you connect to, and the amount of data you use on their VPN.
ExpressVPN does require you to use a name and an email address when subscribing to the service. However, both of them can be fake if that’s what you want.
While they do except traditional forms of payment, like credit cards and PayPal, you also have the option to use anonymous forms of payment, including Bitcoin. This means that you have the ability to purchase ExpressVPN in a completely anonymous way. This is not a privacy feature that is offered on many high-end VPN services.
So who runs ExpressVPN? There’s not enough information out there. In fact, when you Google the mailing address for ExpressVPN, you learn that the company is located somewhere on the British Virgin Island of Tortola
The company vice president, Harold Li, was quoted as saying that their company’s founders opted not to disclose their personal identities for operational security reasons. They believe that running the company without publicly facing owners gives an extra level of security and protection to users.
Quite honestly, we are on the fence as to whether or not it is in the user’s best interest for the individuals who run ExpressVPN to put their face out there and stand up and be accountable for the product or if through their anonymity they are providing greater protection for their clients.
How Fast Is ExpressVPN? We Tested and It’s… Fast
On the ExpressVPN website, you constantly see statements like “ultra–fast” and “high–speed” and it’s easy to wonder if they are exaggerating. As an established VPN provider, it is only natural for us to expect them to provide fast speeds. Anything less than that would be disappointing.
Multiple speed tests prove that ExpressVPN lives up to the hype. They have fast download and upload speeds. And the speeds were consistent in a number of tests.
Ease of Use
ExpressVPN has done a great job of making their product easy to use. It has a logical layout and is intuitive.
It just takes a few seconds to get your bearings and you are able to use the VPN like a professional. Unlike other VPNs that have a map and other information that you can click on, ExpressVPN has a very simple single panel interface. There is a large on and off button that allows you to connect and disconnect from the VPN.
The collapsible menu on the left-hand side gives you access to all of the application features. Everything is exactly where you would expect it to be when using this product.
You can decide if you want ExpressVPN to launch when you start up Windows, you can enable or disable the Internet kill switch, and you can select the VPN protocol you would like to use. Unless you are very familiar with different VPN protocols, it’s usually best to leave that option automatic.
ExpressVPN will automatically select a smart location based on your physical location. However, the Choose Location button brings up a series of cities and countries for you to choose from. If there is an arrow next to the country, you can click on the arrow to produce a drop-down menu. This drop-down menu will provide you with specific cities within the country, giving you greater control over the VPN servers you connect to.
This is another area where ExpressVPN really shines. They offer compatibility with most standard platforms, including iOS, Windows, and Android devices. ExpressVPN also supports your PlayStation, your Xbox, your Apple TV, and even works on your Amazon Fire TV. If you want to install a browser extension, be it on Safari, Firefox, or Chrome, ExpressVPN allows you to do that. There’s even a router install option.
With just one ExpressVPN subscription, you can connect simultaneously on three devices. This includes connecting via virtual machines and routers. So you could have ExpressVPN on your router at home, protecting your entire family when they are at home, and still have two other connections that you can use if you are at work or traveling.
Where Are ExpressVPN Servers Located?
ExpressVPN has more than 1,500 servers in 94 countries around the world. Full list of servers here.
When you visit their server information page, you are able to get exact information on which protocols different servers can handle as well as the cities that the servers are set up in. ExpressVPN can boast servers on almost every continent.
There are a number of servers in the United Kingdom as well as a score of servers in the United States. Privacy neutral locations, such as Panama, the Bahamas, and the Isles of Man, are all home to ExpressVPN servers.
Does ExpressVPN Support Torrenting?
One of the standout things about ExpressVPN is that it is a great VPN for customers who are looking for fast speeds while file-sharing and torrent downloading. Many individuals who want to use file sharing programs with a VPN find that their speeds are drastically affected. Internet service providers can throttle the connection, making it slow. Using a VPN like ExpressVPN will solve the problem by giving you a securely encrypted tunnel for Internet use.
How Secure Is ExpressVPN?
In addition to hiding your IP address, as well as mixing your traffic with other users, ExpressVPN encrypts your Internet traffic. This means that it will not be read by third parties, including your ISP or your local Wi-Fi operator.
ExpressVPN is able to accomplish this by using AES with 256 bit keys. This is the same encryption standard the US government uses. It is also the encryption standard used by security experts around the world.
To put it another way, your data is encrypted using an encryption key that has a very, very large number of possible combinations.
Here’s how large that number is:
Even if all of the most powerful computers on the planet dedicated all of their time to trying to decrypt your data, it would take them billions of years. That is how secure ExpressVPN is.
ExpressVPN offers a number of VPN protocols, providing a layer of security between your computer and the VPN server you choose to use. ExpressVPN allows you to easily select the VPN protocol you will use. However, since the majority of people do not understand the difference between VPN protocol options, it’s usually best to select automatic, which will allow ExpressVPN to pick the protocol that is appropriate for the network you are using.
ExpressVPN offers three primary ways to get support. You can take advantage of troubleshooting guides, you can get instructions, or you can talk to a human via real-time live chat.
The 24/7 live chat option is where ExpressVPN really shines. Regardless of the question you pose, as long as it pertains to their product, their team of experts stands ready to give you an exact answer. We had a problem connecting to Netflix. We asked a question about on the chat and we were directed to the servers that were granting access to Netflix.
We had a question about installing ExpressVPN on a router. We were given information about installing the ExpressVPN firmware on our existing router an were given information on where we could go to buy a router that already had the firmware installed.
There are a number of instructional videos that show you step-by-step how to troubleshoot or install the VPN on different devices. ExpressVPN offers stellar support that we have not seen with any of the other VPNs we have reviewed.
Does ExpressVPN Work with US Netflix?
The direct answer is yes. However, it does not work with Netflix out-of-the-box. When we first tried to access US content on Netflix using ExpressVPN, we got the dreaded error code.
At first, we were taken aback because ExpressVPN has a phenomenal reputation for being able to get past the Geo restrictions that Netflix uses. So we contacted customer support and they quickly walked us through the steps we needed to follow. Come to find out, there are certain servers ExpressVPN uses to allow access to Netflix in the United States. Once we were told what server to select, we were enjoying US Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and even YouTube without Geo restrictions.
As we mentioned at the outset, ExpressVPN is more expensive than many of the other popular VPNs on the market today.
A one-month plan will cost $12.95. A six-month plan will cost $9.99 a month. A 15 month plan will cost $6.67 a month. The longer you purchase a subscription for, the lower your monthly fee will be. The additional cost of ExpressVPN is because the company focuses on providing the most reliable platform on the market. They want their clients to have a superior and secure experience. They are not fighting to compete with the cheapest no name VPN out there.
That being said, ExpressVPN does offer ways for clients to earn free VPN service. For example, there is a referral program. For every client you refer to ExpressVPN who actually signs up, you earn 30 days of free service.
You can pay for ExpressVPN using major credit cards, PayPal, Bitcoin, and a number of internationally accepted forms of payment.
ExpressVPN offers a 30 day money back guarantee if you are unhappy with the service for any reason.
ExpressVPN is an amazing product that is well-designed. It offers stellar security, unbelievable performance, and fantastic customer service. It works perfectly with streaming services such as Netflix and Prime Video and uses state-of-the-art security and privacy.
ExpressVPN is able to avoid censorship in countries like China and Turkey. ExpressVPN does not keep access logs, so you know that your connection is private, even when you are torrenting and downloading.
ExpressVPN is not the cheapest service you will find. However, you get what you pay for. There are more than 140 servers locations in more than 90 countries. This means that you have reliable, fast connections regardless of where you are located.
We give ExpressVPN 4.8 out of 5 stars.
(This is the highest rating we’ve given any VPN provider. So, yes—this is the creme de la creme)
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