ExpressVPN Review

Editor's Rating
Visitor Rating
[Total: 18 Average: 3.4]
  • Simultaneous Connections: 3
  • Number of Countries: 87+
  • Number of Cities: 136+
  • Monthly Cost – High/Low: $12.95/$8.32 USD
  • Zero-Log Policy: Yes
  • Review Last Updated: 2016-09-13

ExpressVPNExpressVPN has a simple, but fully featured premium service. From all the different VPN providers available, only some have met every important factor with great results, and ExpressVPN is one of them. With easy to use, straight forward software on all popular platforms, fast servers and a large sized network, it did not take them much time to grow a loyal user base. Although more expensive than most, ExpressVPN is one of the only providers to offer a 30-day money back guarantee. After testing the provided software across PC, Mac, iOS and Android, I was very happy to see it function the same across. Reliable, fast, and flexible for any type of usage.

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Pricing:

Like so many other providers we see 1 tier of service but with 3 pricing models.  Basically, locking in to a longer term will get you a cheaper deal on a per month basis.  Prices range from 12.95 when going the monthly route, 9.99 per month for those who purchase the 6 month subscription, and finally an 8.32 price point for those opting to go with the annual. It’s not the cheapest service, but certainly not the most expensive or overpriced either. Paying a bit more guarantees a premium quality VPN service. Stellar software with no fluff, just the speed test and protocol options needed and wanted. The value is there, and if you still have any doubts, ExpressVPN offers a full 30-day money back guarantee.

expressvpn-price-plans

Features:

The network covers 87+ countries and counting, and although they do not provide hundreds upon hundreds of servers, there are plenty to cover many US locations, and all other key streaming points, while most other countries will have one or two servers at most. No complaints here, I was able to find reliable servers for all applicable VPN needs. But the really big thing I loved about ExpressVPN was the software.

First, its available across Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Android, and thankfully, I get to test on all platforms. I usually end up being disappointed with either Windows or Mac OSX software not having the same capabilities, or simply buggy software that tends to crash, not always, but sometimes. In this case, after now almost three years of usage, I have yet to experience any frustrating moments using it, be it on my Android, Macbook, PC, and more recently, my OpenWRT router. More about that further below.

expressvpn-software-all-devices

All versions have been fully developed to allow all protocols from OpenVPN on UDP/TCP down to L2TP-IPSec, SSTP, and PPTP. The program was designed to be very easy to use, and it really is. Beyond the official software, ExpressVPN has probably the best member’s portal I have used. Every device, from older Android phones, or Kindle readers, Playstation, Xbox, AppleTV, all have full visual step-by-step guides with high quality screenshots in order to configure SmartDNS or OpenVPN where applicable. Linux & OpenVPN network router users have pre-set config files for various server locations ready to download, what more can you ask for?

expressvpn-config

Well how about some custom OpenWRT router firmware  with a built-in ExpressVPN client? They now offer just that. I recently installed the firmware on my OpenWRT compatible Linksys router to test it out, and was pleased at how easy it was to configure and connect with. Usually, manual configuration on routers, be it DD-WRT or any othe firmware, is very limited and time consuming. You have a few fields to fill up to get  connected to a server, and have to repeat the process each time you would need to change location. Now with ExpressVPN’s custom firmware, you can simply select a server from the list just like you would with the client, and connect or disconnect at the click of your mouse. This is great if you need to pass a whole network through a VPN, removing the need for multiple accounts, or installing the client on multiple devices. Once installed, you can simply visit expressvpnrouter.com without even having to record your gateway IP, or bookmarking anything.

expressvpn-router-app-02

The best ping timed servers available to your location are listed in order on the splash screen, or you can switch to all servers, but you can also easily run an automatic speed test with one click or tap on the app’s home screen, to automatically tests ALL the servers for ping time first, and download speed second, to easily test and determine if the service is adequate in your part of the world. Torrent traffic is supported, and their solid no-log policy ensures that P2P traffic is not monitored.

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Security:

Express includes all the standard protocols you would expect to see with any premium service such as Open VPN, L2TP/IPSec, SSTP, and the less secure PPTP.  Most of the aforementioned use the near military grade 256-bit encryption with the notable exception being PPTP. The Android app uses OpenVPN by default, while iOS is primarily configured to use L2TP/IPSec due to Apple’s iOS architecture limiting it’s capability. After testing the service on 3 different servers simultaneously, we had one drop over a period of 72 constant connected hours and with random interval speed tests including what would be rush time in those countries and found no issues with any DNS leaks or drops. Years later, the service has shown no sign of bad reliability and my daily usage of this VPN has been smooth sailing.

Speed & Stability:

The bread and butter of any VPN service obviously comes down to speed and stability and this is one area where express did not disappoint. For the purposes of the review, I tested several connections ranging from close locations to the opposite side of the world. The speed hovered around 90% of my maximum bandwidth rates. There is a noticeable dip in speeds when connecting to the furthest networks, and that is to be expected with any VPN service. But comparably to many competitors, the drops are often negligeable, giving the impression that the service has a better overall network than most. The service is suitable for high bandwidth usage including high definition video streaming, and low latency gaming on distant servers.

expressvpn-speedtest

Another very cool feature built in to express is the ability for the client to notice connection problems as they arise and to automatically switch to a more suitable protocol.  The transition is near seamless and allows you to get on with whatever it is you’re doing.

Customer Service:

expressvpn-supportThus far we’ve heard nothing but good things in regards to Express’s customer service.  Quick 24/7 chat support is available, and it works; what I mean is the support is great. I spoke to a few agents across a few months and successfully fixed an iOS setup snag in 3-4 minutes, while general questions get answered in seconds! Tickets are usually handled within 24 hours or less via their e-mail ticket system. In my experience, you’ll have little use for their support, as they have a very well designed tutorial guide for a majority of popular applications that need manual setup, and the software is probably the best I have tested around.

Conclusion:

Overall, the service is truly just well rounded. From having extended global coverage, easy to use apps, and great speeds that have remained fast across years of use, it’s hard to knock their service. However, this does not mean that you are guaranteed to have the same experience. Where you are located, the quality of your internet, and the servers you plan to use are all going to have an effect on end-result performance. With this in mind, ExpressVPN offers a true no-fuss 30-day refund policy, so regardless if you choose a monthly or yearly package, if it doesn’t do as well as I suggested, you can get your money back no questions asked. I have suggested their service to my personal friend and family, and feedback has always been positive. Please do share your personal experiences, good or bad, by leaving a comment below.

Pros:

  • Consistently fast speeds.
  • Large global network coverage.
  • Supports P2P torrents.
  • Custom OpenWRT router firmware.
  • 30-day money back trial.

Cons:

  • Higher cost – arguably not a con due to value per dollar spent.
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