Is ExpressVPN Safe?
There is a huge range of VPNs available, many of which are known to be malicious and to exploit the users that they claim to protect. Thus, it is reasonable that you may wonder whether the ExpressVPN app is safe and trustworthy.
It is easy to become swamped by the endless number of VPN reviews, many of which are often biased or unreliable. Despite rumors about the legitimacy of ExpressVPN, it is a trustworthy provider that is passionately committed to customer privacy and safety.
Little is publicly known about the owners of the company. However, it is a valid and registered company that is based in the British Virgin Islands.
ExpressVPN states a commitment to transparency and honesty when it comes to their service. It is worth mentioning in this ExpressVPN review that the company has even worked alongside the independent organization, the Center for Democracy and Technology, to outline this promise to its customers.
Does ExpressVPN Store User Data?
If you are worried about your data privacy and anonymity online, it is a good idea to install a VPN (Virtual Private Network). If you often connect to unsecured WiFi hotspots in cafes or shopping centers, you are unprotected and at risk of exposure to cyber-threats such as hacking and identity theft.
Anyone that has access to the same public WiFi connection, could typically steal your personal data and information such as your bank details, home address, and private photos. However, you likely want to make sure that the VPN provider you choose lives up to its promise of user security and privacy. Thus, it is extremely important to consider a provider’s data storage policy in any VPN review.
Express VPN is committed to providing a secure service. Its extensive range of privacy features ensure that your data remains safe and anonymous online. The provider uses first-class encryption which ensures your internet activity cannot be accessed or decrypted by your ISP or hackers.
ExpressVPN’s profit comes from the sole source of consumer VPN subscriptions. Thus, it is necessary for them to work to keep customers’ trust and loyalty. They never sell customer data or use it for any other purpose outside providing the VPN service.
ExpressVPN’s service is designed to remove sensitive user data. The provider does, however, collect a limited amount of information for the purpose of troubleshooting and improving the service, including your device operating system, app version, connection date (not time), chosen server location (user IP addresses are never stored by an ExpressVPN server), as well as bandwidth per day.
None of the information that is kept by ExpressVPN could be used to identify a customer or connect a user to the service. The provider never stores logs of customer internet activity, IP addresses, or browsing history. They also utilize private DNS on each server to ensure information is always encrypted.
When setting up an account, it is necessary to provide your email address and payment information, however, this data cannot be used to link you to your internet activity.
It is important to note as part of this review that ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands, a country outside of the 14-Eyes Surveillance alliance, with strict privacy regulations and no data retention laws. Thus, it is not required to retain user data.
There is no user censorship of customer data and the company promises to never share customer information unless it is required by a court of law and in that case, it would only do so if the crime was punishable by at least one year in prison. Even in that case, it is unlikely that the data stored by an ExpressVPN server could link an individual to any internet activity.
Thus, it appears that ExpressVPN goes to significant lengths to ensure customer anonymity and privacy on their service.
Is My Data Secure with ExpressVPN?
ExpressVPN is a reliable and highly secure VPN service. It uses the highest levels of data encryption for completely private internet access, keeping your information and identity extremely secure.
ExpressVPN uses first-rate protocols including IKEv2/IPSec, L2TP/IPSec, OpenVPN (TCP/UDP), Lightway, and PPTP, as well as government standard AES-256 encryption with 4096-bit RSA key and SHA-512 HMAC authentication to ensure your data remains secure and private.
ExpressVPN’s additional security features include DNS leak blocking, first-party DNS, kill-switch, WebRTC leak blocking, IPV6 leak blocking, split tunneling, and its proprietary TrustedServer software which makes sure that your information never reaches the server hard drive.
The ExpressVPN TrustedServer technology overcomes the necessity of local storage, meaning that all information is rewritten upon each login as ExpressVPN runs solely on RAM. Data is also never written onto the hard drive, adding an additional layer of security.
Moreover, ExpressVPN utilizes its own secure zero-knowledge DNS server connections. Typically when you use a website, the DNS will request your IP location and will store your browsing activity. With ExpressVPN the DNS requests are automatically taken care of and are encrypted so that your ISP or any other third party cannot access or view related data. This is one of the best features to look for in a VPN provider, and will only be found among the best VPN servers.
ExpressVPN’s “Network Lock” feature works to block the transfer of data should your internet or server connection fail. Thus, unencrypted data or your real IP address will not be exposed. However, the kill-switch feature is only available with the ExpressVPN Windows, macOS, Linux, and Android clients, and is disappointingly not available on the iOS app.
The provider also utilizes Perfect Forward Secrecy technology which provides an additional layer of security, by generating a unique encryption key for each new session. The key is also changed every hour, meaning that should your connection be intercepted, only 60 minutes of information would be available.
While ExpressVPN does not possess the largest range of protocols, it does offer some of the best ones available including UDP-OpenVPN which is the fastest of the OpenVPN protocols and highly reliable for long-distance connections; TCP-OpenVPN is more reliable but somewhat slower than UDP; and IKEv2 which is both secure and fast.
ExpressVPN’s split tunneling feature allows you to choose which browser tabs run through the VPN and which connect through your usual ISP. It is a good idea to use a VPN connection for as many tasks as possible, but split tunneling can also be useful.
It is also worth mentioning in this ExpressVPN review that the company has passed a number of independent audits, which offers further evidence to back up ExpressVPN’s security claim. You do not have to worry about how secure your data will be when you use ExpressVPN, as it offers the highest levels of encryption as well as a range of advanced security features.
Does ExpressVPN Offer Split Tunneling?
Many users will look for a split tunneling feature when choosing a VPN, so it is important to consider this feature as part of our review of ExpressVPN. A VPN works by passing your private online data through an encrypted tunnel so that your ISP and others cannot view or access it. However, some users do not want to send all of their internet data through the encrypted tunnel, which is where split tunneling comes in.
If you want to have the option of encrypting some of your internet activity, such as internet banking or private business tasks, but you still want to have access to your usual network, split tunneling will enable you to do so. Using this feature will encrypt some of your activity, while the rest of your tasks run through your normal internet network. Many people choose to use split tunneling so that all of their internet data does not run through a foreign server.
Split tunneling is especially useful for torrenting, which can significantly reduce your connection speed. You may use the encrypted tunnel to download files, but continue to browse through your normal internet connection on another tab.
You can choose to use ExpressVPN on your router and then decide which devices are included in the protection. Dividing your internet activity in this way will allow you to continue your usual activities while protecting your more confidential tasks. ExpressVPN also provides inverse tunneling, which enables you to choose which devices you want to be encrypted. All of those that you do not choose will not be encrypted by the VPN.
You can also choose to use ExpressVPN split-tunneling to protect certain apps on your devices. This is useful if you have a single device and only want to encrypt certain apps, such as your online banking app.
Where are ExpressVPN’s Servers Located?
With a subscription to ExpressVPN, you will gain access to an impressive number of over 3,000 servers, in 94 countries worldwide, making it one of the biggest networks of servers of any VPN provider. This means that you will never have an issue finding a server in your desired location.
ExpressVPN has servers that are located in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, the UK, and the US. There are 14 ExpressVPN server locations in the United States alone.
Even if you only require a single server location, the vast quantity of servers will still benefit you, as no server will become congested or overwhelmed. This means that there will be fewer users on every server, ensuring faster connection speeds. All of the ExpressVPNs servers utilize secure OpenVPN, IPSec, Lightway, and IKEv2 protocols.
Unlike many VPN companies, ExpressVPN is transparent regarding its use of virtual servers. Out of its 4000 servers, 40 are virtual server locations. All other servers are physical or “bare metal” servers.
Physical servers are real pieces of physical equipment that are stored in the actual location that you want to connect to. Virtual servers are still physically existent, however, they are used to connect users to countries in which it is difficult to install a physical server. Virtual servers can still be used to unblock Netflix content and overcome location restrictions.
Is ExpressVPN Compatible with All of My Devices?
ExpressVPN is compatible with most leading operating systems including Microsoft, Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and Linux. ExpressVPN firmware is also provided for routers and there are also useful setup guides for use on SmartTVs, gaming consoles, and Kindles.
Its website features a range of comprehensive setup guides for all devices and platforms. The ExpressVPN installation guides are simple and easy to understand, making them great for those that are new to using a VPN.
ExpressVPN’s subscription plan gives users access to the protection of five simultaneous device connections, which is average among its VPN competitors.
If you require protection on an additional number of devices at the same time, it will be necessary to install the VPN on your router. As soon as the VPN is installed, all of your devices that are connected to the router’s internet will be protected, meaning that you can use the same subscription for an unlimited number of devices at the same time.
ExpressVPN is one of the best choices for compatibility. It is rare to see a VPN that has apps that are compatible with such a large range of devices and platforms.
While no VPN can be installed directly onto a gaming console or AppleTV, ExpressVPN provides a setup guide to enable users to set up the VPN on such devices. The ExpressVPN router application means that it is a great option if you are looking for a VPN that is supported by gaming consoles and streaming devices. If you want to ensure your privacy and security while gaming and streaming Netflix, ExpressVPN may be the one for you.
More VPNs are offering a VPN app for the Amazon Fire TV Stick, ExpressVPN among them. While it was one of the first apps available for the device, it is now largely outdated and without some of the features seen in newer Fire TV Stick apps.
The Firestick app is really a copy of its Android version, which is not overly compatible with a larger TV screen. It is also not as easy to use as other newer Firestick apps. However, it will work to mask your Firestick’s IP address and enable you to access geo-blocked streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.
If you own a device that is not compatible with a VPN app, ExpressVPN’s MediaStreamer comes in handy. The MediaStreamer is offered with every ExpressVPN subscription plan. This feature unblocks streaming services such as Netflix with ease, however, it does not work to encrypt activity on the device. It works by masking your device’s DNS server to one that is run by the VPN. Therefore, the streaming services believe that you are located in the same country as the content that you are trying to access.
It is important to note in this review, that if you are looking for the highest level of security on all of your devices, it is best to install the ExpressVPN software on your router. Or you may choose to tether to a device that is already using the VPN.
ExpressVPN also offers a range of extensions for browsers such as Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Mozilla Firefox. However, there is as of yet, no ExpressVPN browser extension for Safari or Opera.
Almost all VPN extensions for browsers are proxies, rather than complete VPNs. However, ExpressVPN’s extensions are different and do offer a full VPN service. The ExpressVPN desktop app does however need to run at the same time, as the extension works in conjunction with the app, rather than instead of it.
The ExpressVPN browser extension will enable you to choose between servers and hide your internet activity with ease, without needing to exit the browser. However, it is necessary to install the complete program in order for it to operate properly.
ExpressVPN’s extensions all utilize HTTPS Everywhere which is a technology created by the Tor Project with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. This technology works to encrypt your internet traffic information with sites that still operate on unencrypted HTTP connections.
Downloading and installing the ExpressVPN extensions on your browser is easy, and there are even comprehensive set-up guides on ExpressVPN’s website. The extensions also now feature a “dark mode” which is a great aesthetic feature.
Is ExpressVPN Easy to Use?
ExpressVPN’s desktop client, browser extensions, and mobile apps are simple and easy to use. Even a beginner VPN customer should have no issue successfully installing and using the apps.
Its apps are some of the best available, not only are they simple to use, but they are attractive and well-designed too. Ensuring your online security and privacy with ExpressVPN is simple.
Installing ExpressVPN is quick and should only take a few minutes. As soon as you have chosen your subscription plan, set up your account, and entered your payment information. You will then get a confirmation email containing a link as well as an activation code. The link will direct you to the installation guide for your chosen device.
After installing the application, the ExpressVPN client will open to reveal a simple connect button as well as a list of available server locations. In order to easily customize the app, select advanced settings in the menu.
The ExpressVPN app explains everything in simple language that is easy to understand. A beginner VPN customer should have no problem using even the advanced privacy features.
Each of ExpressVPN’s clients is slightly different depending on the platform you are using. As part of this ExpressVPN review, we explored its range of clients and mobile apps:
As with most VPNs, the ExpressVPN Windows offering is the most comprehensive experience. The ExpressVPN Windows app includes all of the features and additional tools that even an advanced VPN customer could require. However, despite the advanced features, the ExpressVPN Windows app remains simple and easy to use, even for beginners.
The ExpressVPN client opens to reveal a simply on/off button as well as a clear list of server locations. When you click on your chosen server, an additional window will open beside it. Choose “all locations” to view the complete list of servers. The recommended servers will be chosen by ExpressVPN by default. To find a specific server, use the search bar.
The ExpressVPN app also features important additions such as a kill switch (or “Network Lock”) as well as a list of protocols including its own Lightway protocol. We want to mention in this review that the L2TP protocol should be avoided as it offers only a weak level of security.
ExpressVPN’s app for Mac is great and almost exactly reflects that of Windows. It is often the case that VPNs offer a lower quality MacOS app, but ExpressVPN’s Apple offering is just as good as the Windows version.
All of the ExpressVPN browser extensions operate in the same way as on Windows. However, there is no Safari extension yet, which may cause issues for some Mac users.
The ExpressVPN iOS app is somewhat simpler than the macOS and Windows versions. The main interface will reveal a similar connect button and a list of servers. However, there is little to customize in the settings menu.
ExpressVPN gives the option to alternate between OpenVPN, IKEv2, and Lightway protocols, an option to choose whether the VPN automatically re-connects if the connection is lost and a re-configuration feature should the app stop working. The Express VPN app offers a simple mobile experience, however, it is lacking some of the great additional features that can be seen on the desktop versions.
The most glaring omission that we noticed during our ExpressVPN review is the lack of the kill-switch, which is arguably vital on every device or platform.
The ExpressVPN Android app’s client is similar to those of its other apps. However, the Android app offers more features compared to the iOS version. Notably, the ExpressVPN Android version features the all-important kill-switch, which ensures your smartphone is protected even if your network or VPN connection fails.
The kill-switch can be activated in the Network Protection section of the settings.
Another important addition is the inclusion of split-tunneling, which is also not available on the Express VPN iOS version. With this feature, you can choose to customize which of your apps are connected outside of the encrypted VPN tunnel.
ExpressVPN’s Linux app is disappointing, especially considering the great customer experience offered on every other platform. ExpressVPN does not even offer a complete Linux app and it operates without a GUI (graphical user interface). This means that the ExpressVPN app runs straight from your console and is difficult to use for beginners.
This is unfortunate if you have paid for a full ExpressVPN subscription, especially if you expected a full-app.
When you have set-up ExpressVPN on your Linux device using console commands, you will be able to choose between a range of servers, view the recommended servers, and select the Network Lock, protocols, and auto-connect feature.
ExpressVPN provides browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox. These extensions give you complete protection on your browser without it being necessary to leave the browser tab.
Downloading and installing the ExpressVPN extensions is simple and quick. The “dark mode” feature is also an attractive addition.
Does ExpressVPN Offer Good Customer Service?
ExpressVPN provides a 24/7 live chat customer support feature that is one of the best around. While its apps and clients are extremely to use and it is unlikely that you will run into a problem, their team is there if any issues do arise.
The ExpressVPN customer service team will work quickly to ensure your VPN is working again as soon as possible. The provider also offers some of the best VPN guides, FAQs, tutorials, and troubleshooting information on its website.
ExpressVPN truly offers one of the most customer-led experiences. The support team will be there for you no matter what you need. They are also available via email and are as quick to respond as on the live chat support option. The ExpressVPN online live chat and customer support center offers 16 languages, which is a lot more than most other VPN providers.
If you experience a problem, you understandably want to receive a response that is tailored to you. Many VPN providers utilize huge support centers full of customer support agents that do not understand VPNs. ExpressVPN is different. Their customer support team is made up of experts in the industry who will provide you with a helpful and unique response, every time.
We would recommend ExpressVPN if you are looking for a VPN with exceptional customer support.
How Much Does ExpressVPN Cost?
ExpressVPN is likely not the best choice if you are looking for a cheap VPN. However, it is important to keep in mind that free or extremely cheap VPNs are almost always of a lower quality than paid versions. We explored ExpressVPN’s pricing options as part of our review.
ExpressVPN provides a tiered subscription plan offering. Each of the plans offers the same number of features, the only thing that changes is the time period of the subscription. As with most other subscription plans of this kind, the longer you choose to subscribe, the lower price you will pay each month. However, it is necessary to pay the complete subscription sum at once.
The ExpressVPN monthly plan comes in at $12.95 a month, which is relatively pricey compared to many of its competitors. The 12-month plan costs $8.48, whereas the 6-month plan is $10.18 a month. All of the subscription prices are more than the average VPN provider, but it is worth it considering the state-of-the-art service that is offered by ExpressVPN.
Each level offers the same number of features, so the one you choose will depend on how much you can afford or want to pay upfront. It is more cost-effective to choose a longer plan, so choose the longest subscription plan that you can afford.
If you were to choose the 15-month version, you would receive a reduction of almost 50% in comparison to the monthly plan. So, we would recommend ExpressVPN’s 15-month plan for the most affordable option.
Despite that ExpressVPN may be one of the more costly VPNs, the higher cost is reflected in its first-rate features and excellent service.
- ExpressVPN Monthly Plan: $12.95 per month
- ExpressVPN 6 Month Plan: $59.95 every 6 months ($9.99 per month)
- ExpressVPN 15 Month Plan: $99.95 for the first 15 months, 12 months thereafter ($6.67 per month)
While ExpressVPN, unfortunately, does not offer a free trial, all of its plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Thus, you can test the VPN for a month with no risk, making it a great choice for beginners. The refund process is quick and simple, all you need to do is contact ExpressVPN’s customer support service.
ExpressVPN also operates a ‘Refer a Friend’ offer which gives a free 30-day subscription to you and a friend. There is also no limit on the number of friends you can refer to ExpressVPN.
While carrying out research for our review, we noticed that ExpressVPN allows for an extensive range of payment options. ExpressVPN accepts bank cards, PayPal, Bitcoin, as well as a range of international payment methods.
ExpressVPN vs NordVPN
ExpressVPN and NordVPN are two of the most popular VPN apps. NordVPN offers an impressive range of over 5500 servers and first-class privacy features at a relatively affordable price.
How does ExpressVPN compare to NordVPN? Both VPN services have an extensive range of great security features such as a kill switch, and high-quality data encryption. Both also offer access to restricted streaming sites such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney Plus. However, there are also differences, meaning that each VPN service will suit a different subscriber.
ExpressVPN is arguably better when it comes to servers as it utilizes RAM rather than a hard-drive. Whereas NordVPN continues to use more insecure hard-drives.
There is little difference between ExpressVPN and NordVPN when it comes to speeds and accessing streaming sites. Both VPNs enable access to blocked sites such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. NordVPN may offer marginally better speeds than ExpressVPN due to its larger quantity of servers. The higher the number of servers, the less likely one server will become overwhelmed and congested, resulting in higher speeds.
Regarding apps and clients, NordVPN has a more aesthetically pleasing design than ExpressVPN. However, ExpressVPN offers excellent apps for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS too. Notably, ExpressVPN provides a better option if you are looking for a VPN that is compatible with a router. ExpressVPN offers its own proprietary firmware which works on a range of routers.
Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN utilize a range of advanced protocols. Importantly, both offer OpenVPN which is considered to be the most secure protocol available. NordVPN is slightly more advantageous if you are looking for a greater choice of mobile protocols. With NordVPN you can use the fast IKEv2 protocol on your mobile device.
Neither ExpressVPN nor NordVPN is based in a country under the “5 Eyes” Surveillance alliance, so they are not required to disclose customer internet activity details. ExpressVPN is located in the British Virgin Islands, which is free of data retention laws. NordVPN is based in Panama, which does have a range of strict copyright laws. However, the company does not offer any servers in Panama, meaning that it does not need to disclose information to its government.
NordVPN is slightly more cost-effective than ExpressVPN since it offers 6 simultaneous connections for $11.95 per month. ExpressVPN’s plan comes in at $12.95 per month for just 5 simultaneous connections. Despite that it is only a marginal difference, it is something to keep in mind.
Both providers offer a 30-day money-back guarantee as well as 24/7 live chat and excellent customer support for additional peace of mind.
While it depends on your individual privacy requirements, NordVPN offers a slightly more cost-effective service when compared to ExpressVPN, while ExpressVPN operates on more secure RAM memory. However, the 30-day money-back guarantee that both providers offer will give you a chance to try NordVPN and ExpressVPN for yourself with no risk if you change your mind.
Is ExpressVPN Good for Streaming?
ExpressVPN is one of the best options if you are looking for a VPN for the purpose of unblocking streaming sites. It reliably unblocks location-restrictions on Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Youtube, with fast streaming speeds, high definition, and minimal buffering.
ExpressVPN unlocks an extensive selection of Netflix libraries including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, the US, and the UK.
Simply connect to your chosen server location that is located in the country whose Netflix library you want to view.
Is ExpressVPN Good for Torrenting?
ExpressVPN also allows torrenting and P2P sharing on all of its servers. There is no data usage limit or restriction on either activity. ExpressVPN is thus a great choice for torrenting or downloading files safely, without the risk of leaks, especially considering its strong levels of security and its no-logs policy.
The provider also offers a range of additional features that are useful for P2P such as unlimited bandwidth, meaning that you can download as much as you like without needing to worry about exceeding your data limit. Unlike ExpressVPN, other VPN providers limit the amount of data transferred, making them unsuitable for P2P or torrenting.
ExpressVPN utilizes high-speed servers that will also ensure that downloading large files will not interrupt your internet speeds. Often, torrenting can significantly slow down your internet speed. However, if you use ExpressVPN it will not take long to download even large files.
All of ExpressVPN’s servers are suitable for torrenting and can be used to secure your P2P sharing. The choice of an unlimited number of servers ensures that no one server becomes congested or overwhelmed, allowing for faster speeds.
The VPN will hide your IP address while torrenting without the need for manual setup so that you cannot be linked to your download activity. ExpressVPN utilizes secure leak protection which alongside its trustworthy “Network Lock” will ensure anonymity even if your connection fails.
ExpressVPN also uses extremely strong encryption software, leak protection, and split tunneling to ensure your files and data remain secure and anonymous.
However, one thing we noticed as part of this review is that ExpressVPN does not support port forwarding, meaning that you can still upload files but the speeds will be much slower, which may cause issues for some users.
It is also important to remember that a VPN cannot protect you from all of the risks that are associated with P2P. By torrenting and sharing P2P, you are exposing yourself to other internet users by making your files more accessible. There is also the potential for downloading illegal files or those fraught with malware, by accident. Thus, it is important to torrent cautiously and to combine a VPN with a good quality anti-virus program so that your device is protected from potential viruses.
Does ExpressVPN Offer Fast Connection Speeds?
It is known that a VPN may slow down your internet connection. A VPN works by bypassing your internet activity through an encrypted tunnel of multiple servers, meaning that it will take longer for your data to reach its endpoint, resulting in slower connection speeds. So, we thought it important to consider connection speeds as part of this review.
It is especially important to choose a VPN that offers excellent speeds if you intend to use it for streaming and gaming. Many VPNs can unblock streaming sites such as Netflix, but cannot support high definition. Therefore, it is important to look for a VPN that offers optimal download and upload speeds despite this.
When looking at a review for a VPN, it is important to consider the connection speeds that it offers, so that you can watch your favorite shows in high definition and without lagging or buffering.
ExpressVPN offers an extensive range of servers in worldwide locations, meaning that there is little chance that any of the servers will become congested. The more users on a given server, the more likely it is that the speed will drop. ExpressVPN’s range of over 3,000 worldwide servers will ensure good speeds for every customer.
If you are a beginner VPN customer, it is helpful to look to ExpressVPN’s Smart Location feature which is available on both desktop and mobile apps. The Smart Location feature will connect you to the optimal server with the fastest speeds. Our internet speed tests revealed that ExpressVPN’s American servers are usually the fastest and offer impressive speeds of over 60Mbps.
So, we would recommend ExpressVPN as a great option if you are looking for a fast internet speed. Its wide range of high-speed servers will allow you to watch your favorite Netflix or Amazon Prime shows in high definition. The fast speeds are also good if you are looking to use the VPN for P2P or torrenting purposes, as it will enable you to download large files without it affecting your overall connection speeds.