With many potential threats to your security in the internet-age, it’s never been more important to have a virtual private network (VPN), masking your online activity from the prying eyes of criminals, ISPs and government officials.
If you’re not experienced in this field, it may be difficult to know which VPN to choose – each service makes bold claims about the best or most secure product on the market, and they all offer different features.
With that in mind, we’ve taken a look at ExpressVPN, one of the most well-known VPNs around and consistently voted one of the best available, to see if it lives up to its reputation.
ExpressVPN - Full Review
While VPNs offer privacy and security, the process used to protect your details can slow down your internet speed considerably. This loss of speed varies depending on the VPN you use, with some services reducing your speed by up to 95% – making streaming high-quality video almost impossible.
As you might have guessed from the name, ExpressVPN prides itself on providing excellent internet speeds, and during testing the product certainly lived up to this billing. We started from a base speed of 95mbps without a VPN connected, and this dropped to 85mbps when we connected via ExpressVPN – meaning a loss of around 10%. This small drop in speed should allow you to stream or play online games without experiencing any issues.
Boasting over 3,000 servers in 94 countries around the world, ExpressVPN has one of the largest server bases on the market – ensuring you should always find it easy to find a quick and stable connection. The wide range of countries available also allows you to unblock geo-restricted content libraries in those areas, giving you easy access to a vast array of TV shows that may not be available in your country.
As well as using AES-256-bit encryption as standard to protect your data, ExpressVPN offers a number of excellent additional features that allow you to set up the service according to your needs.
The service offers a kill switch function that will automatically disconnect you from the internet if your connection to the VPN fails – although this feature is not available on iOS, which is a strange oversight – and also provides a split tunnelling option that allows you to choose which applications connect to the internet via the VPN, and which do not.
One feature provided by ExpressVPN that most services do not offer is the use of private DNS servers, which means the details of the websites you visit are encrypted by the VPN itself rather than your ISP, giving you a further level of protection.
One of the major plus points of a VPN is that it can allow you to stream content libraries from around the world that otherwise might be ‘geo-blocked’ i.e. restricted to a specific region. Popular streaming apps including Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney Plus all have region-specific content, which can be frustrating if you’re away from home and want to catch up on your favourite shows or you like to watch foreign television.
ExpressVPN is one of the best VPNs we have tested when it comes to accessing geo-blocked content. By connecting to the internet via a server in another location, we were able to access Netflix content libraries from 18 different regions, as well as other streaming services including Hulu, HBO and Kodi.
ExpressVPN might just be the best virtual private network on the market if you’re a regular user of torrenting software. P2P file-sharing is subject to an ongoing legal battle as the software is often used to transfer copyrighted material, and many VPNs automatically block file-sharing programs.
This product places no restrictions on any of its servers and operates a no-logging policy that ensures your data remains safe from the attention of your ISP – ensuring you can access high-speed downloads securely.
As mentioned earlier, VPNs have a habit of limiting your download speed significantly – and this can be a problem if you play online games that require high bandwidth. An unstable or slow connection can lead to lag that came make games unplayable, but when we tested ExpressVPN the speeds were high enough that we never experienced any problems.
ExpressVPN’s ability to bypass geo-restrictions also makes it an excellent choice for gamers. Many production companies stagger their release dates, putting out games earlier in some countries than other, but ExpressVPN can access games upon release date simply by connecting via a server based in the country where the game has been released.
ExpressVPN is available as a monthly plan, a six-monthly plan, or a yearly plan. The monthly plan costs $12.95 per month, the six-monthly plan costs $59.95 ($9.99 per month) and the yearly plan costs $99.95 ($8.32 per month).
These prices put ExpressVPN towards the more expensive end of the market, but the excellent service means it still represents good value for money.
ExpressVPN does not offer a free trial, but it does provide a 30-day money back guarantee – so you can enjoy a month of seeing what it has to offer, and if you’re not satisfied you can get a refund quickly and easily.
Who owns ExpressVPN?
ExpressVPN is privately owned by Express VPN International Ltd., with no external investors that may have their own agendas.
Where is ExpressVPN located?
ExpressVPN is located in the British Virgin Islands due to the region’s robust privacy laws and lack of any legal requirement to retain user data.
How many devices can I connect to ExpressVPN?
This product can be used by up to five devices simultaneously on one subscription and can be installed on as many as you wish. If you require the ability to connect more than five devices at once, you will need to pay for an additional subscription.
How do I cancel my ExpressVPN subscription?
Cancelling your ExpressVPN subscription is easy – you just need to sign into your account on the company website, click on ‘subscription’ and then ‘manage settings’, then click ‘turn off automatic renewal’ and confirm your choice. You will receive an e-mail acknowledging your cancellation.
ExpressVPN is one of the more expensive VPNs on the market, but we think it’s worth every penny. With excellent security features, high speeds, a large server base and the ability to unlock region-specific content across a huge number of countries, ExpressVPN is highly recommended whether you’re a novice or an experienced user.
If there’s one minor criticism, it’s that ExpressVPN limits you to five devices connected simultaneously, which should be plenty for most users, but with some rival services offering unlimited simultaneous connections, this may be something to consider if you wish to connect a large number of devices to the VPN.