- Buyer’s Guide
ExpressVPN Review (March 2023)
An impressive offering by ExpressVPN makes it a candidate for 'Best VPN'
Fees: $6.67 - $12.95/mth
Best For: Privacy-Oriented Users, Streaming
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For over a decade now, ExpressVPN has been building out and perfecting its product. Over this time, it has managed to cultivate a robust feature-set, making it one of the most well-rounded offerings of its kind. As such, ExpressVPN remains a solid choice for those prioritize privacy and flexibility – be it power-users, gamers, and everything in between.
- Robust Feature-Set
- Top-Tier Performance
- Premium Pricing
- Daunting Array of Features for First-Time VPN Users
As it stands, our interactions online typically take place exclusively on the following operating systems.
Thankfully for users of ExpressVPN, the product and its various features can be used on each of these operating systems.
Those that opt to utilize ExpressVPN will benefit from an extremely robust network comprised of over 3000 servers, which span across an impressive 94 countries – meaning regardless of where you reside in the world, access to a fast and trustworthy server should never be an issue.
Despite the ability for a VPN to provide safety and privacy online, streaming services have done their best to block the use of such products, as they may allow for users to bypass geographical restrictions placed on content. By providing access to such a deep pool of servers, users can rest assured however that ExpressVPN will work with most streaming services, allowing for users to maintain their privacy, while still enjoying costly streaming subscriptions. ExpressVPN indicates that it supports the following, and more.
- BBC iPlayer
- Disney Plus
Other forms of file-sharing, such as Peer-2-Peer torrenting, are also supported through ExpressVPN, with no sheparding of traffic on to dedicated servers. Torrenting can be carried out on any server, at any time.
Power-users and busy households will also benefit from ExpressVPN, as the service allows for it to be used simultaneously on 5 devices per account. Meaning you do not need to choose between protecting your phone or your laptop – simply protect them all. While this is less than a few of its competitors, it should still suffice for the vast majority of users.
With such a broad range of implementations and features, ExpressVPN can no doubt come across as daunting for first-time VPN users. To this end, the service offers customer support 24/7 through both email and live-chat.
Beyond accessibility, ExpressVPN boasts various security features that help it stand out as a premium offering. Not only does the service support various protocols (OpenVPN, Lightway, etc.), it does so while maintaining & ensuring both its servers and data running through them are encrypted through use of AES-256 (a trusted industry standard). One of the most important features of any VPN is some form of ‘kill-switch’. Such a feature ensures that in the event your VPN loses connection for whatever reason, it will halt data transfer, ensuring there are no lapses in protection and privacy.
In addition to these core security measures, ExpressVPN supports,
- Targeted Ad-Blocking
- DNS Leak Testing
- Private DNS Servers
Some notable omissions often found on offer by competitors include,
- TOR over VPN
- Double ‘Hop’ Protection
Accessibility and security are each important traits of a VPN. However, without a strong policy surrounding data collection, a service can fall flat.
Thankfully, users can benefit from ExpressVPN and its fairly benign collection practices. The service most importantly does not collect activity or detailed connection logs. Meaning that users can not be identified in any way from the information that is collected.
An important distinction when deciding between VPN services is where its operations are located. Do they occur in a region where privacy laws exist? Or is the service based in a region where authorities have the power to demand client information.
For ExpressVPN, its home base of the British Virgin Islands, provides it with shelter in such an instance due to a lack of data retention laws and thorough burden-of-proof requirements on any foreign governments. This, combined with sparse data collection by ExpressVPN itself, means that even if regulators or law enforcement were to request identifying information, not only would most likely not be required to comply, the data simply wouldn’t exist.
To date, there have not been any known instances of ExpressVPN handing over/sharing client data.
In an attempt to offer further transparency for its clients, ExpressVPN has also undergone independent audits of its practices by PwC, providing proof of its privacy claims.
Much like privacy policies, for a VPN service to thrive it must boast impressive performance levels, or risk becoming white-noise in a competitive industry.
ExpressVPN does well here, with no caps on bandwidth or speed. Further to this point, while VPNs of the past were notorious for slowing down a connection (a common side-effect of routing traffic through distant servers), ExpressVPN has the potential to make your internet even faster. This is achieved through circumvention of ISP throttling.
Although ISP throttling is often used as a tool by service providers to manage network congestion during peak hours, it can also be used in more discreet and nefarious ways. Mainly this is seen when ISP providers attempt to discourage the use of specific services/website through targeted throttling.
While circumvention resulting in increased speeds is a possibility, it is not something that should be expected. ISP throttling does not occur everywhere, and only with select providers. What you can expect is a minimal impact on internet speeds overall.
High network speeds on ExpressVPN are made possible through use of its very own ‘Lightway‘ protocol.
For those looking to purchase a subscription of ExpressVPN, the company accepts the following methods of payment.
- Credit Cards
- Bitcoin (BTC)
Plans range from $12.95USD/mth, to $6.67USD/mth when purchasing a yearly plan. All plans comes with a 30 day money-back guarantee.
As it stands, ExpressVPN is hosting a promotional offer that will give new subscribers and additional 3mths of service for free when purchasing a 12mth plan.
By this point, we have established that ExpressVPN boasts an impressive feature-set that should satisfy occasional and power-users alike. Furthermore, it boasts decent privacy policies, while being based in a country with strong laws surrounding the matter.
Overall, ExpressVPN is a strong offering that presents very few downfalls.