Whenever I review reputable VPNs that have amazing 5-star ratings online, I’m always curious to find out what makes them so good. Because to me, Trustpilot ratings don’t matter.
When I purchased a testing account for ExpressVPN, which by the way was somewhat expensive, I made sure to stress test it in the exact same manner as I tested other less renowned VPNs on TheVPNExperts.com.
After testing each and every feature that ExpressVPN offers for around a week, I came to the conclusion that all the positive reviews you see online related to ExpressVPN are actually true. It is truly a reputable and dependable VPN service.
I say this because ExpressVPN offers a pretty massive server network (3000+) that works with Netflix and with any other streaming service you can imagine. It is also quite fast and works great with torrenting too.
Key Findings from the ExpressVPN Review
|3000+ servers in 94 countries
|Secure protocols (OpenVPN (UDP/TCP), IKEv2, PPTP, L2TP/IPsec, Lightway)
|Does ExpressVPN work with Netflix?
|Yes, and it also works great with Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney Plus & other services
|Is ExpressVPN good for Torrenting?
|Torrenting supported on all servers without any bandwidth limitations
|24/7 Live Chat support
|30-day money-back guarantee
|$6.67/mo (Save 49% and get 3 extra months FREE with 12-month plan)
|Zero Logs, Automatic Kill Switch, Private DNS, Split tunneling
I’m sure you agree that VPN speeds matter a lot. Whenever I review any VPN service, I make sure to run extensive speed tests using multiple server locations to find out how well a VPN service can perform.
ExpressVPN Speed Test Analysis
When I tested out the speeds of ExpressVPN with my 100 Mbps connection, I was quite impressed with the test results. Over both long and short distances, ExpressVPN managed to output equally good speeds.
If you don’t have time to read through my full in-depth speed test, then here’s a short table with all the test results:
While testing speeds and picking servers, the only thing that I found missing in the app was any labels indicating optimized servers for streaming and torrenting.
That is something that CyberGhost offers and I love it. As you can probably tell from the table, ExpressVPN performed quite well. I used its Smart Location feature which automatically connected me to the best server and I also picked servers manually from the recommended locations list.
ExpressVPN offers blazing-fast speed over both short and long-distance servers. At a 100Mbps connection, the best we achieved was a download speed of 80.5 Mbps at a short-distance server in the UK.
And a download speed of 83.5 Mbps at a long-distance server in Australia.
Anyways, let’s look at how ExpressVPN performed over short and long-distance server locations in detail, shall we?
Short Distance Servers
As I’ve already talked about in other reviews, I’m actually physically located in the Netherlands. Without turning on ExpressVPN, the speeds that I got through T-Mobile in the Netherlands was around 96.47 Mbps download, 95.11 Mbps upload, and 12 ms ping with my 100 Mbps connection.
Here’s a screenshot of that:
When I tried connecting to a server through the Smart Location list, I automatically got connected to a UK – London server which was around 677.04 km away from my actual location in the Netherlands.
When I ran a quick speed test, I managed to get a download speed of 80.5 Mbps, an upload speed of 86.09 Mbps, and a ping of 139 ms. If you calculate the change in speed, you’ll see that my download speed dropped by 16.55% and my upload speed dropped by 94.08%.
As you can tell, that’s a pretty minor fluctuation. in real-world performance. During testing, I played multiple 1080P videos on Youtube and didn’t face any buffering issues.
I also played PUBG while connected to the same server just to see how good or bad the latency would be. After playing multiple matches with the European server, I noticed that my pings never exceeded 200 ms which was quite good. Overall, I was quite impressed by ExpressVPN’s performance.
Aside from the SMART LOCATION list which connected me to the UK server, I also manually connected to a couple of other close-distance servers as well.
For instance, while connected to the Italian server, I got a download speed of 80.4 Mbps. With the Swiss server, I managed to get a download speed of 64.34 Mbps, and with the German server, I got a download speed of 79.11 Mbps.
To sum up, ExpressVPN managed to offer great speeds over short-distance servers. With the UK server, I was able to get a download speed of 80.5 Mbps and an upload speed of 86.09 Mbps.
After I was done testing close-distance servers, I decided to test out four long-distance servers. To test out how ExpressVPN would perform over long-distance servers, I first connected to a US server (USA – New York). This server location was roughly 7505.72 km away from my actual location in the Netherlands.
When I ran the test, I managed to get a download speed of 88.97 Mbps, an upload speed of 46.75 Mbps, and a ping of 263 ms. The upload speed was a bit low this time, however, it was still fast enough for HD streaming, torrenting, and everything in between.
With the Canadian server (Australia – Toronto), which was around 6453.43 km away from where I’m located, I managed to get a download speed of 73.42 Mbps, an upload speed of 47 Mbps, and a ping of 275 ms.
With the Australian and Singaporean servers, I managed to get a download speed of 82.42 Mbps and 83.5 Mbps respectively.
To sum up, ExpressVPN offered equally good speeds over both long and short-distance servers. Though upload speeds could have been a bit better in my case.
With that being said, do keep in mind that VPN speeds greatly vary depending on your internet connection speed and your actual location. So, your speed results might vary from mine.
ExpressVPN Passed DNS Leak tests
Before testing ExpressVPN, I read tons of user reviews claiming that it is leak-proof. But I wanted to see for myself if that was true.
The good thing about ExpressVPN is that it comes with a built-in IPv6 leak protection feature. Another thing I like about ExpressVPN is that it lets you decide if you want to use ExpressVPN’s own DNS server or not.
To test out if ExpressVPN’s leak protection feature worked properly, I connected to a US server (USA – Washington DC) and ran the leak test. As anticipated, ExpressVPN didn’t leak.
Here’s a screenshot of the test result:
Since I was connected to a US server, the screenshot above is only showing a United States IP address and not my original IP address from the Netherlands. As for the DNS addresses visible in the screenshot, all of them belonged to ExpressVPN and not to my ISP.
I also conducted multiple leak tests with different server locations just to diversify the test results. You can check out the table below for all the test results:
ExpressVPN Can Unblock Netflix, Hulu, and Other Streaming Services
While some VPNs can only unblock only a handful of streaming services, ExpressVPN can unblock whatever you throw at it. I was seriously blown away by its performance during testing.
I tried accessing a total of five (5) major streaming services and ExpressVPN had no trouble unblocking all of them.
When picking servers to connect to, the only thing I would have loved to see would be some sort of label that mentioned optimized servers for Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming services.
But considering I had no trouble unlocking any streaming service, I guess I can’t complain much.
During my streaming test, ExpressVPN managed to unblock Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, Amazon Prime, and more. As for video playback performance, ExpressVPN managed to play everything in HD quality.
Before I talk about how my streaming test went and share screenshots with you, I want to show you a screenshot of my actual location:
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, I first tried unlocking Netflix US with ExpressVPN. I connected to the USA – San Francisco server and tried streaming “The Bachelor” which is only available on Netflix US. Impressively, the show started streaming within seconds.
Here’s a screenshot of that:
After Netflix, I decided to unblock Hulu with the same U.S server. I searched for the timeless classic movie “Superbad” and it started streaming right away without any issues.
Here’s a screenshot of that:
Next, I wanted to check if ExpressVPN can unblock Disney Plus too since it tends to not work with most VPN services. To my surprise, when I played “The Mandalorian” it started streaming instantly.
Next, I switched to a UK – London server and accessed BBC iPlayer. When I played a show called “Love Life”, it started streaming right away in HD quality.
After that, I visited Amazon Prime with a random US server and searched for a movie called “Jeff, Who Lives at Home”. As you might have guessed, it too started playing instantly.
Lastly, I also tried using Kodi with ExpressVPN. However, I couldn’t find an add-on for it. I contacted ExpressVPN’s live chat support agent, and he told me that ExpressVPN doesn’t offer an app for Kodi. So, I just ran ExpressVPN in the background and used Kodi with it, and it worked.
ExpressVPN is a Good Choice For Torrenting
Unlike other VPNs where you have to pick specific servers for torrenting, ExpressVPN lets you use any of its servers for P2P file sharing. That’s something I find quite impressive. StrongVPN also does the same.
To test out the torrenting performance of ExpressVPN, I connected to a US server first. When I started downloading a small 201 MB file, I got a downloading speed of around 1.5 MB/s, which is quite good. My file was downloaded in just under 5 minutes.
After that, I connected to a Swiss server and downloaded another file to see how ExpressVPN would perform. As expected, I was able to download a large torrent file without facing any interruptions or speed drops.
Overall, ExpressVPN is a solid choice for torrenting. It is fast, and it doesn’t throttle down your speeds, either.
ExpressVPN Offers Great Apps
Just like most VPNs nowadays, ExpressVPN offers apps for pretty much any device and operating system out there. Unlike OVPN. ExpressVPN’s apps are really easy to use and intuitive. You’ll find the user interface to be simple yet modern-looking.
Their apps are also lightweight and don’t take much space on your device. For instance, the setup file for ExpressVPN’s Windows app takes up only 33.9 MB of space. Because of its small file size, the installation process takes literally just minutes, which is always good.
As far as ease of use is concerned, what I love about ExpressVPN is that it hides all of its advanced features in different tabs. So, when you launch the app, you just see a big connect button in the middle and a button with three dots that pops open the server selection window.
But when you want to access advanced features, you can just hop into the settings menu, and then you customize a whole bunch of settings.
As for ExpressVPN’s mobile apps, they’re also very well designed and updated frequently. The iOS VPN app has a 4.6-star rating on the Apple app store and a 3.8-star rating on Google Playstore.
Though, do keep in mind that some of the features that are available in the desktop version of ExpressVPN are not going to be available in the mobile versions. But nonetheless, ExpressVPN made it to the top of our selected list of iOS VPN services.
ExpressVPN Comes With a Legit No-Logging Policy
ExpressVPN claims that it doesn’t keep any logs, but I wanted to see if that was even true. First up, I wanted to see where ExpressVPN was headquartered. It turns out, ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands, where there are no mandatory data retention laws.
“We do not collect logs of your activity, including no logging of browsing history, traffic destination, data content, or DNS queries. We also never store connection logs, meaning no logs of your IP address, your outgoing VPN IP address, connection timestamp, or session duration.”
The good thing about ExpressVPN’s logging policy is that it has been actually tested on multiple occasions. In one case, ExpressVPN’s server got seized in Turkey when it was suspected of hiding details related to the assassination of a Russian Ambassador. But the authorities couldn’t find anything.
The reason why no logs are stored on ExpressVPN’s servers is that they run on the TrustedServer technology. This technology uses rams instead of hard drives, so whenever any of ExpressVPN’s servers restart, everything gets wiped out.
Their servers have also been audited by PwC, which is a major auditing firm. No other VPN that I know of uses this technology. It really shows their commitment to user privacy and anonymity.
ExpressVPN offers a 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee – Proven
Like most VPNs, ExpressVPN advertises 30-day money-back guarantee. But as I’ve experienced in the past, some VPNs don’t want you to get your money back. They’ll try everything just to make you stay. I’ve actually covered a separate research article exposing the refund policy of popular VPN providers.
That’s not the case with ExpressVPN. In fact, their refund process is pretty straightforward. I just visited their website and asked their live chat support agent for a refund. The support agent only asked me for my registered email and then proceeded to process my refund request.
By the way, I purchased my subscription via a credit card just to let you know. Anyways, after waiting for around 5-7 days, I got my full refund back in my account.
Key Features of ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN offers a ton of features from basic to advance. Here are some of the highlighted features of ExpressVPN:
- AES 256-bit encryption
- Speed test
- Secure VPN protocols
- Kill switch
- Leak protection
- Split Tunneling
- Private DNS servers
1. AES 256-bit Encryption
Like other trustworthy VPNs, ExpressVPN uses 256-bit AES encryption. If you don’t know, 256-bit encryption is impossible to break due to the fact that it is super secure. Even a supercomputer is no match for it.
The reason why 256-bit encryption is so secure is that it combines AES 256-bit cipher with SHA-512 HMAC authentication and 4096-bit RSA key. If none of this makes sense, just know that your sensitive data can’t be comprised when protected with AES 256-bit encryption.
2. Speed Test
One feature, not many VPN providers offer is a built-in speed test tool. But with ExpressVPN, if you go into the main menu, you can use the speed test tool to quickly run a comprehensive speed test, which shows you the download speeds and pings across different server locations.
Here’s how this feature looks in action:
3. Secure VPN Protocols
ExpressVPN offers (4) industry-standard VPN protocols, along with its own proprietary protocol by the name of Lightway. But depending on which device you have and its operating system, protocol selection will vary.
For instance, the Windows app of ExpressVPN supports OpenVPN (UDP/TCP), IKEv2, PPTP, L2TP/IPsec, and Lightway. In contrast, the iOS app, on the other hand, supports OpenVPN, IPSec, and IKEv2.
Since I mentioned Lightway, let me briefly explain what it is. Lightway is a VPN protocol developed by ExpressVPN itself. It uses wolfSSL, which is extensively vetted by third parties. It is supposedly secure, fast, and uses less battery on different devices. That being said, the Lightway protocol is currently in the beta testing phase.
The auto-connect option is pretty self-explanatory. If you enable this option, it’ll automatically launch the ExpressVPN app every time you boot up Windows. It can be helpful for people who don’t always remember to turn on their VPN app before browsing the web.
5. Kill Switch
ExpressVPN comes with a built-in Kill switch but prefers to call it “Network lock”. If you turn on this feature, it will stop all your internet traffic if ExpressVPN unexpectedly disconnects. I tested out this feature just to see it in action, and it works as expected.
6. Leak Protection
One advanced feature that ExpressVPN offers is leak protection. We’ve already checked out this feature in action in the leak test section of this review. But for a quick refresher, this feature prevents your IP, DNS, and webRTC from leaking unexpectedly.
7. Split Tunneling
Split tunneling is a very cool feature that basically lets you choose which websites or apps you want to pass through the VPN tunnel and which websites or apps you want to exclude from the tunnel.
You can just click on the plus icon to include apps you want to protect. I personally add all my streaming apps to the split tunneling list while excluding all my social media and banking apps.
This allows me to bypass geo-blocks while at the same time, it also allows me to use other apps without burdening them with encryption.
8. Private DNS Servers
ExpressVPN has its own DNS servers. If you enable this feature, all of your DNS requests will be handled by ExpressVPN’s private DNS servers. This would protect your DNS address from leaking and also prevent your ISP from knowing what you do online. If you don’t want to use public DNS servers, this feature can come really handy.
Analysis of Servers
If we talk about VPN servers, ExpressVPN’s network is quite diverse. In total, ExpressVPN offers 3,000+ VPN servers in 160 VPN server locations in 94 countries.
If you go through the server location page on their website, you’ll see that they offer servers in the Americas, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa. Though, you’re not going to find a server in China. Well, talk about ExpressVPN’s performance in China in just a little bit, so stick around.
ExpressVPN will no longer operate its physical servers in India. The recent orders from the Indian government have mandated VPN service providers to collect and store customer data. Since ExpressVPN strictly abides no-log policy and will continue to follow its no-log practice, the trusted and reliable VPN provider will cease operations of its physical VPN servers in India without compromising its user’s privacy.
ExpressVPN Apps Compatibility
One of the coolest things about ExpressVPN is that it is compatible with a massive list of devices and operating systems. Needless to say, compatibility isn’t a big issue for ExpressVPN.
Here are all the devices that ExpressVPN is compatible with:
|Amazon Fire TV Stick
|Samsung Smart TV
As I briefly mentioned earlier, the macOS and Windows apps of ExpressVPN are quite easy to use and modern-looking. The Windows app of ExpressVPN is compatible with Windows 7+, and the macOS app is compatible with Catalina, Mojave, High Sierra, and Yosemite.
ExpressVPN for macOS & Windows
Both desktop apps come with tons of features that we’ve already talked about, so you’re not going to feel like you’re missing out on anything.
If we talk about the user experience, it is spotless. You are not going to face any crashes or bugs. I also love how easy ExpressVPN makes it to connect to their servers. You can browse through the server list and connect to any server from the Smart Location list, recent locations list, and recommended locations list.
Finding and enabling advanced features is effortless too. You can find different tabs through which you can select protocols, enable or disable Kill switch and leak protection, and also control how the app behaves when you boot up your computer or launch the ExpressVPN app.
ExpressVPN for Android & iOS
The mobile apps of ExpressVPN are also very well designed. However, you are going to find some features and protocols missing from the mobile versions of ExpressVPN. But that’s nothing to complain about.
For example, the iOS app of ExpressVPN only allows you to enable or disable the auto-connect feature and choose between two protocols.
The Android VPN app, on the other hand, comes with a few more features like Split Tunneling, Network protection, and App and Website Shortcuts.
As far as user experience is concerned, both mobile apps are super easy to use. ExpressVPN has made searching and connecting to different servers hassle-free with a simple, organized list and a quick-connect button.
ExpressVPN Browser Extensions
While most VPNs only offer browser extensions for Chrome, ExpressVPN also offers browser extensions for Firefox and Edge.
In terms of usability, while the browser extensions work great, you’ll have to have ExpressVPN’s desktop app installed on your computer otherwise the browser extension will not work. That’s something I found to be quite weird.
ExpressVPN Router App
ExpressVPN offers excellent support for routers. Similar to IPVanish, ExpressVPN supports a ton of different router brands. Here’s are all the router brands that are compatible with ExpressVPN:
ExpressVPN router apps (Easy)
|Manual set up (Hard)
|Asus (other models)
|Netgear Nighthawk R7000
|Netgear Nighthawk R7000P
But if you don’ think you can install ExpressVPN on your router yourself, then you can also purchase preconfigured routers with ExpressVPN already installed from FlashRouters. If you head over to the router setup page of ExpressVPN, you can find easy setup guides to help you configure ExpressVPN on your router. I installed the ExpressVPN on my Asus RT-AC68U router by following the guide and it took me around 15 minutes to get everything set up.
Does it work in China?
Yes, ExpressVPN works in China. That’s something both my foreign colleague in China and ExpressVPN’s chat support representative has confirmed. This is super impressive considering that most VPNs don’t tend to work in China because of the Great Firewall.
Best Alternative to ExpressVPN
To be honest with you ExpressVPN is perfect in every way. I can’t find anything to complain about. I mean, after all, it performed great in my streaming test, speed test, and in all the other tests that I performed in this ExpressVPN review.
The only issue some people might have with ExpressVPN would be with its price. I mean, $6.67/mo price is not necessarily cheap. But considering its performance I think ExpressVPN is totally worth it.
Do I Recommend ExpressVPN?
Yes! After extensively playing around with ExpressVPN, I 100% recommend ExpressVPN. Although ExpressVPN is no doubt expensive, its performance is unlike any other. It likes paying a premium for Apple products when there are cheaper options available. You can’t compromise on performance.
A quick reminder of why you should spend $6.67/mo and get ExpressVPN over other VPNs:
- Unblocks Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney Plus & Amazon Prime
- Offers 3000+ servers in 94 countries
- Supports torrenting on all servers
- Offers Kill switch, leak protection, Split Tunneling & more
- Offers a 30-day refund policy
- Offers 5-multi logins
- Offers apps for a wide range of operating systems and devices