The Internet of Things is teeming with rave reviews of ExpressVPN. Are they true? Is ExpressVPN that good as people say? I am the type of person who needs hands-on experience to believe anything that I find on the Internet.
Unfortunately, I cannot have hands-on experience with everything, but ExpressVPN is something I can work quickly buy and test. The fact of the matter is that I am writing this ExpressVPN review after thoroughly checking it for seven days.
It is needless to say; I have some exciting findings to present to you. So, if you don't have time, here is what I can say about this VPN provider:
- ExpressVPN is fast, but NordVPN is faster. ExpressVPN is still an excellent choice for gamers.
- It is capable of bypassing the geo-restrictions put forward by leading streaming services in the world.
- It offers advanced security features that will keep your privacy intact while you merrily roam the far reaches of the Internet.
- It bypasses the Great Firewall of China.
- It has native apps for almost every device out there. Be it Windows or macOS; iOS or Android; Fire TV or gaming consoles, ExpressVPN has apps for all.
Okay, now that you have an idea, let me walk you through the detailed ExpressVPN review. Rest assured that this will be an honest review. If there is something terrible, something that I don't like, I will tell you that.
Let's get started.
Here are my ratings for ExpressVPN | Overall: 9.90
As in the case of NordVPN review, I have rated ExpressVPN on the same parameters that I consider are the most important ones. So, the overall report that follows will have eight broad segments.
|Parameters on Which I Rated||My Ratings|
|UI and User Experience||10|
ExpressVPN Pros and Cons at a Glance
Any VPN has its strengths and weakness, and ExpressVPN is no different. Here is a quick snapshot of the strengths and weaknesses of ExpressVPN:
- ExpressVPN has extensive coverage with 3000+ servers spread across 160+ locations spread over 94 countries.
- All servers have RAM storage instead of hard drive storage.
- The VPN provides high-speed connections for all its servers that are great for gaming.
- It uses military-grade AES encryption.
- It has Perfect Forward Secrecy to increase privacy and security.
- ExpressVPN offers split tunneling.
- It is capable of bypassing geo-restrictions of almost all popular streaming services.
- It can bypass the Great Firewall of China.
- The VPN comes with an integrated Kill Switch.
- There are no IP/DNS leaks for any server.
- ExpressVPN adheres to a strict no-logs policy.
- The company offers dedicated browser extensions. These extensions are available only for Firefox and Chrome browsers.
- It has a separate app for VPN-enabled routers.
- ExpressVPN supports torrenting.
- The user interface is straightforward and easy to use.
- The customer support is fantastic and helpful.
- The website is available in 16 different languages.
- While ExpressVPN has actual VPN servers, it also uses various virtual servers.
- The Kill Switch is not available for its iOS application.
- ExpressVPN is very pricy. It is one of the priciest VPN services available.
- It offers only five simultaneous connections against a single license.
- ExpressVPN has no support for dedicated or static IP.
- It has no free trial available.
ExpressVPN at a Glance
If you are looking for some elementary information about ExpressVPN, here is what you need to know:
|Where is ExpressVPN located?||The British Virgin Islands|
|Logging Policy||Strictly, No Logs|
|5 Eyes, 9 Eyes, 14 Eyes Alliance||No|
|Number of Simultaneous connection against a single license||5|
|Supported Platforms||It supports Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Fire TV, Router, etc.|
|Refund Policy||30-day money-back guarantee|
Now that you have the elementary information on ExpressVPN, it is about time to move on to the actual review.
ExpressVPN Security – Best-in-Class Military-Grade Encryption | Rating: 10
Whenever I select a VPN, I always look at the security features first. After all, that is the core reason why VPNs exist in the first place. The whole idea is to maintain privacy and secrecy from the myriads of online threats and rampant government surveillance.
No wonder, I took a close look at the security features of ExpressVPN. I must say that they did an exceptional job in this segment. They deserve a rating of 10 out of 10 in this section. Here are the security features that ExpressVPN offers:
256-bit AES Encryption
256-bit AES encryption is an algorithm that is used across the world by security agencies and even governments to encrypt the most sensitive information.
This algorithm uses a key for encrypting any information. The length of the key is 256 bits. The sheer size of the key means that the key can have 1.1 x 1077 different possible combinations. Even the most powerful computers in the world cannot crack the key using brute force attacks. It will take at least a billion years to do so.
In case you are not aware, the 256-bit AES encryption is available publicly, and security agencies like the NSA use this encryption technology to secure confidential files.
The encryption method that ExpressVPN uses has a combination of two components. They are:
- 256-bit AES cipher along with a 4096-bit RSA key.
- SHA-512 HMAC authentication.
The 256-bit encryption that ExpressVPN offers uses a key for data encryption. At the endpoint, the same key decrypts the data.
Again, the SHA-512 HMAC authentication is a very secure technology for file transfers. This authentication is of particular help when you engage in torrenting activities. This authentication system uses a shared key, which is secret. Both the sender and the receiver involved in P2P file-sharing use the secret key for verifying the authenticity of the file in question.
Perfect Forward Secrecy
What if someone manages to steal a secret key. Anyone with that key can quickly decrypt the data. It is a possible scenario because hackers are getting smart. They know that they cannot break the 256-bit AES encryption.
Even if they try, they will require billions of years to get hold of a mere 0.1% of the total encrypted data. So, instead of trying a brute force attack, they try to get hold of the secret key.
ExpressVPN developers are aware of this, and hence, they have placed another security measure in place. It is called the Perfect Forward Secrecy.
This feature ensures that every time you log into your VPN account and start a new session, the encryption key will change. Thus, even if a hacker gets access to a key for one session, he or she will not be able to use the same key the next time.
ExpressVPN offers four different VPN protocols. They are UDP, TCP, IKEv2, and L2TP/IPsec. These may sound confusing, but there is no need to worry.
My experience with different VPN protocols says that you should stay away from PPTP because it is comparatively less secure. Good thing, ExpressVPN doesn't have this option.
IKEv2 is natively available only on a few platforms. It is incredibly secure, but you must always opt for open source versions only.
L2TP, on the other hand, is entirely secure, but the problem is that it is not good when it comes to dealing with firewalls.
OpenVPN TCP is just as secure as OpenVPN UDP, but UDP is faster. So, try to use UDP whenever possible. OpenVPN UDP is extremely popular. Almost every popular VPN provider provides this option.
The Revered Kill Switch
I won't lie. I am a big fan of the Kill Switch feature. No one can ever guarantee that there won't be a drop in the Internet connection or the VPN connection. The chances of a drop in VPN connection are often higher.
What if you lose the VPN connection suddenly? All your online activities will instantly become visible to the outer world.
Hackers can get access to your data. They can steal your financial information, your identity, and all things that make you who you are!
The government can get unrestricted access to all your data through your ISP. The ISP can see all your activities and can sell the data to advertisers, and more.
The Kill Switch is a layer of security that prevents that from happening. If you lose the VPN connection suddenly, the Kill Switch feature will cut off the Internet connection immediately.
When the Kill Switch terminates both the incoming and outgoing traffic in the event of a drop in your VPN connection, your IP address, your location, your activities – nothing is exposed.
ExpressVPN keeps this feature active by default. You don't need to tinker around with the settings. I will suggest that you leave the default settings on all the time.
I did find a problem with the Kill Switch, but I will discuss it later in this ExpressVPN review in the drawbacks segment.
IP/DNS Leak Protection
You know what? Not all VPNs are secure. When you use a VPN, the traffic originating from your computer or device passes through an encrypted tunnel. It doesn't mean that the encrypted tunnel will not leak anything.
There are incorrect VPN codes that can leak vital information right from inside the encrypted tunnel. In the VPN world, this problem goes by the name ‘DNS Leak.'
When a DNS leak happens, your ISP can instantly see what you are doing online. Hackers can get access to your data. Any third party with the right tools can see your online activities.
A proper VPN should be able to prevent such data leaks. ExpressVPN does that quite brilliantly.
I went ahead and checked over 80 servers in 20 different locations. There was no evidence of DNS leaks. You can test it if you want. Head over to IPLeak.net. That's all you need to do after you connect to one of the ExpressVPN servers.
The website will quickly run background checks and show you the results. If you see the following, you should know that there is no DNS leak happening:
- IPv6 test not reachable.
- No forwarded IP detected. If you are using a proxy server, it's a transparent proxy.
If you see these two messages, your VPN provider has a robust DNS leak protection feature in place.
Are you wondering what IPv6 means? It is a request that your ISP sends to your device. The device provides an IP address.
So, if the IPv6 test is not reachable, it means that your ISP is not able to see your IP address and that none of your online activities are visible to your ISP or any third party.
When it comes to security and privacy matters, I always check the jurisdiction of the VPN provider. If the VPN provider is in a country that is a member of 5 Eyes, 9 Eyes, or 14 Eyes alliance, I am out!
VPN providers from any country belonging to those alliances will not have clear privacy policies. They will use complex language to tell you that your privacy is protected. But, there are loopholes. They can and are bound to hand over your data when the government asks for the same.
They never wipe out your online activity logs and keep track of everything you do online.
ExpressVPN is in the British Virgin Islands. Though the British Virgin Islands is an Overseas Territory of Britain, it does not come under the hood of the 5/9/14 Eyes alliance.
Your privacy is safe from rampant government surveillance.
ExpressVPN Speed | Rating: 9.8
How fast is ExpressVPN? It is fast, very fast! However, it fails to beat NordVPN in terms of speed. NordVPN is the fastest VPN I have tested so far, but I do feel that it is pretty unfair to compare NordVPN and ExpressVPN head-on in terms of speed.
Why do I say that?
There are several reasons for what I said. Here are the reasons:
- The servers of ExpressVPN and NordVPN are not present in the same place. They don't sit side-by-side. Maybe they do, but no one knows.
- I did not replicate the timings. I tested NordVPN first and that too, over a week. ExpressVPN was not there on my computer during that timeframe. Moreover, I did not check them during the same hours of the day. In short, I did not test them simultaneously.
- They may have different server settings.
No one takes care of these factors while comparing the speeds. An accurate comparison can take place only when someone tests the two VPNs at once on two different computers from the same location during the same time of the day.
But again, there is another problem. The servers of the two VPN providers will be at different places, and they may have different server settings. Variations in these parameters will not give accurate results.
Nonetheless, if I do not consider those conditions and go by the results I see, ExpressVPN is slightly slower than NordVPN. The average drop in ExpressVPN server speeds against NordVPN is about 2.97 Mbps for download and 7.12 Mbps for upload.
The table below will give you a clear idea:
|Server Location||Download Speed with ExpressVPN||Download Speed with NordVPN||Speed Drop for ExpressVPN|
|No VPN (84 Mbps Baseline download speed)||0||0||0|
|Recommended Server in the USA||70.2 Mbps||72.4 Mbps||– 2.2 Mbps|
|Server in New York||76.8 Mbps||79.0 Mbps||– 2.2 Mbps|
|Server in San Francisco||79.2 Mbps||76.7 Mbps||+ 2.5 Mbps|
|Server in the UK||62.4 Mbps||66.8 Mbps||– 4.4 Mbps|
|Server in Germany||62.8 Mbps||69.0 Mbps||– 6.2 Mbps|
|Server in Australia||50.3 Mbps||54.1 Mbps||– 3.8 Mbps|
|Server in India||32.2 Mbps||36.7 Mbps||– 4.5 Mbps|
The average drop in download speed that I registered for ExpressVPN against NordVPN is a mere 2.97 Mbps.
In case you read my review on NordVPN, you will know that I selected the servers in the same locations for Nord and ExpressVPN to ensure that I choose the servers that are as close to each other as possible.
I tested NordVPN starting at 11 AM. In the case of ExpressVPN, I started testing at around 8 PM. It wasn't intentional. It just happened.
What I did keep constant for both the tests are:
- Baseline Internet speed of 85 Mbps that my ISP gives.
- The broadband connection I have uses fiber optics.
- I did not use any router.
- I ran the tests on my Windows 10 PC (a desktop).
- I used OpenVPN UDP for both the VPNs.
The download speed for ExpressVPN is very close to that of NordVPN.
In case you want to check out the differences in upload speed, see the table below:
|Server Location||Upload Speed with ExpressVPN||Upload Speed with NordVPN||Speed Drop for ExpressVPN|
|No VPN (76.8 Mbps Baseline upload speed)||0||0||0|
|Recommended Server in the USA||58.4 Mbps||66.6 Mbps||– 8.2 Mbps|
|Server in New York||59.1 Mbps||65.4 Mbps||– 6.3 Mbps|
|Server in San Francisco||60.1 Mbps||68.2 Mbps||– 8.1 Mbps|
|Server in the UK||44.7 Mbps||52.3 Mbps||– 7.6 Mbps|
|Server in Germany||48.3 Mbps||59.6 Mbps||– 11.3 Mbps|
|Server in Australia||19.8 Mbps||24.8 Mbps||– 5.0 Mbps|
|Server in India||17.6 Mbps||21.0 Mbps||– 3.4 Mbps|
The average drop in upload speed for ExpressVPN compared to NordVPN was 7.12 Mbps.
Again, that is not at all a significant drop.
ExpressVPN is pretty fast. It is fast enough to allow HD streaming without buffering and lag-free gaming.
But what about the drop in speed as compared to no VPN at all? Well, that will happen. There are multiple reasons for that. Here is what you need to know:
- VPN servers will encrypt your traffic and then decrypt the same. This process of encryption and decryption takes time and slows down the speed to some extent.
- Your traffic will pass through a different server before reaching the endpoint. So, it takes a longer route to reach the destination. No wonder, you will experience a speed drop.
- The speed drop also depends on the server you are choosing. If the server of your choice has a large number of users at the time when you are using, the server load increases, and in turn, reduces the speed.
- The VPN protocol that you choose will also play a vital role. OpenVPN UDP is the fastest VPN protocol. If you are using a different protocol like OpenVPN TCP or IPSec/IKEv2, you will experience slow speeds.
- The VPN server location will also come into play. The farther the server location from you, the slower the speed because your traffic will travel a longer distance. The proof of this point is in the table above. Look at the server speed in India as opposed to what I usually experience in the US.
Finally, the question. If ExpressVPN has excellent speeds, why did I rate it low? The answer is short and straightforward. ExpressVPN is very expensive. A slower speed compared to NordVPN doesn't justify such a pricing structure.
Streaming with ExpressVPN | Rating: 10
In my tests, I tried to stream content from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO Go, BBC iPlayer, DZAN, ITV Hub, ESPN Live, HotStar, France2, SBS Australia, and a few other services.
ExpressVPN did an excellent job in this segment. If you have read my NordVPN review earlier, you will know that NordVPN fails to unblock DZAN, which is not available in the USA.
DZAN is available only in Switzerland, Japan, Austria, Germany, and Canada. It is a sport-streaming service, and it uses a robust VPN detection system. Nord failed to bypass that system, but ExpressVPN managed to circumvent the system.
That was a pleasant surprise!
What more? ExpressVPN managed to stream HD content without any buffering or quality loss. I understand that it was possible because of the high-speed servers.
Cherry-on-top, ExpressVPN bypassed the geo-restrictions for every streaming service I tried. I could access HotStar in India and even local streaming services in Australia and France.
I asked one of my friends in Australia to go ahead and check whether he could access Netflix USA and Amazon Prime (USA) or not. He could do that with ease (albeit, using my license, miser!).
Here is the list of all services that I tested and their corresponding results:
The Great Firewall of China
I don't know Chinese, so; I don't see the reason why I should worry about the Great Firewall of China. It is one of the parameters of testing the capabilities of any VPN.
So, I asked one of my ex-office associates now staying in Hong Kong to test whether ExpressVPN can break the Great Firewall of China or not.
He took me on a Skype call and showed me live. He accessed Chinese TV that works only inside China. He used ExpressVPN (luckily; I didn't have to share my license with him as he already has a license).
He also said that anyone from inside China could use ExpressVPN to access content outside China. I will take his words for it.
You already know that China has heavy Internet censorship. China isn't the only country to do so. There are many countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Myanmar, Tunisia, etc. that have heavy Internet censorship in place.
China's name shines bright because it has blocked Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc. If you ever want to visit China and want to access content outside China, you can happily use ExpressVPN.
The only thing you need to remember that you should install ExpressVPN on your laptop before you reach China. You cannot access the ExpressVPN site from inside China. That means you cannot download the app.
ExpressVPN manages to bypass the Great Firewall of China using what we know as obfuscation. NordVPN has specialized obfuscated servers, but unlike Nord, ExpressVPN has applied obfuscation across all its servers.
Obfuscation is a technique that disguises the code of a VPN server and makes it look like regular Internet traffic. The Great Firewall of China blocks any VPN traffic but allows usual Internet traffic. That's tricky!
Features of ExpressVPN | Rating: 9.8
ExpressVPN has many premium features that make it a top contender for the best VPN in the world. Still, I fell something was missing. There isn't enough! I am saying this because, for the price they charge, they should give more.
What more did I expect? I will tell you that later in this ExpressVPN review.
For now, here is the list of features that ExpressVPN offers:
I love this feature.
Are you wondering what does split tunneling mean?
Allow me the opportunity to explain the concept to you.
There may be times when you want to protect and encrypt the online traffic for specific applications on your device while leaving the rest of the applications unprotected. For instance, if you are using the mobile app of your bank to perform banking tasks, you may want to keep that information secret from the prying eyes of hackers.
However, for something as simple as creating a text document using Microsoft Word doesn't need any protection unless it is a confidential file.
Split tunneling helps you to achieve that with ease. You can tell the ExpressVPN app to encrypt data for specific apps selectively.
I ran a very selective test. I went to the settings panel of ExpressVPN and added Amazon Prime and BBC iPlayer so that when I connect to a server of ExpressVPN, the traffic to and from those apps become encrypted.
I left Netflix (I live in the USA) out of the list.
I then went on to connect to a server located in the USA. I could access both Amazon Prime and BBC iPlayer.
Leaving them in a running state, I switched to Netflix. I could see all my favorite content on Netflix even though Amazon Prime and BBC iPlayer were playing content via the VPN.
It is incredible!
Perfect Torrenting Experience
I will not deny the fact that despite knowing that downloading files from torrent websites is illegal, I still do that. Almost every one of us does that.
There are times when I download various videos (the names of which I should not say) from different proxy sites of various famous torrenting websites.
I know I do illegal stuff, and this is why I need a VPN.
I decided to take ExpressVPN for a ride, and to my pleasant surprise, torrenting worked like a charm irrespective of the sever selection.
I tried downloading various videos by randomly selecting servers in multiple locations. All of them happen to deliver excellent download speeds.
Here are my takeaway points from my torrenting experience with ExpressVPN:
- This crooked VPN works with every known torrenting client like Vuze, Transmission, qBittorrent, µTorrent, etc.
- There are no specialized P2P servers for torrenting (like NordVPN). All servers of ExpressVPN support torrenting.
- ExpressVPN never throttles bandwidth, and there is no download limit. Over seven days of testing, I downloaded 287 GB.
- SHA-512 HMAC authentication and 256-bit AES encryption keep all my torrenting activities hidden from my ISP and other legal entities.
Do you know what Tor is? It is nothing but the Onion Router. Someone somewhere was worried about privacy and gave birth to Tor. You can use the Tor network to access the web securely.
Unfortunately, the Tor network has an Achilles Heel. The entry node is always visible. Anyone who can gain access to the entry node can know your location and your IP address.
Because Tor is a volunteer-run thing, it always has a risk of coming under DDOS attacks and other forms of aggression. This risk makes Tor quite vulnerable. However, if you first connect to a VPN and then to the Onion Router, your entry node no longer remains visible.
Unlike NordVPN that provides specialized Onion Over VPN servers, ExpressVPN provides Tor compatibility across all its servers.
ExpressVPN takes privacy very seriously. It is because of this seriousness, they have come up with what they call TrustedServer Technology.
What on Earth is that?
Nothing that you cannot understand! It merely refers to two things:
- Their servers have RAM storage.
- Their servers load even the operating system from a secure read-only image every time they reboot.
RAM storage is temporary. So, if the servers reboot, all the temporary memory they hold wipes out. No data is stored anywhere. RAM storage is one feature that I go gaga over.
About the operating system, they keep a read-only image of the operating system in a secure location on a hard drive. Every time the folks at ExpressVPN restart the servers, even the operating system loads from scratch from that secure read-only image.
TrustedServer Technology helps to maintain the privacy of every single user.
No Logs Policy
ExpressVPN has a very strict ‘no-logs' policy. It means that they do not store any data whatsoever. No matter what you do on the web, they will never store any data. It is a great feature.
Here is a short story:
In the year 2017, the Turkish government seized the servers of ExpressVPN located in Turkey. The government was investigating an assassination case. Unfortunately, the government failed to get any information before the servers did not have anything stored in them.
The only two pieces of information that ExpressVPN keeps are:
- Email ID.
- Payment Details.
They do need to keep both because they need them to charge you for their services and to provide you with technical support.
They respect privacy so much that you can buy a subscription using just your email address. ExpressVPN will never ask for your name!
ExpressVPN has mobile apps for both Android and iOS devices. They are easy to download from their respective stores, and the installation process and configuration steps are simple!
Both the mobile apps have an auto-connect feature so that you don't have to go through a manual server selection process. ExpressVPN will suggest the best server depending on the location you select.
However, mobile apps are not consistent. There are inconsistencies in the two formats. I didn't like such discrepancies. You can read about them in the segment where I talk about the drawbacks of ExpressVPN.
There are two browser extensions that ExpressVPN offers. One is for the Google Chrome browser, and the other one is for Mozilla Firefox. These are the two most popular browsers.
They will encrypt only the browser traffic. All other apps will remain outside the protection that the browser extensions offer.
There are certain types of routers that allow installing VPN apps on them. If you have one of those routers, you can use the ExpressVPN router app and protect the router itself.
Once you install the router app, any device that you connect to the router will get protection from ExpressVPN even if some of those devices themselves do not support VPN.
For instance, there can be gaming consoles or smart TVs that will not allow installing VPN. But, if you connect those devices to the VPN-enabled router, they will get a VPN connection.
I love this feature.
UI and User Experience with ExpressVPN | Rating: 10
My overall experience with the user interface and user experience with ExpressVPN is pleasant.
Signing up for ExpressVPN was quick and straightforward. I had to give only my email ID, select a plan, and pay using my credit card. Of course, you can use other payment methods, but I like using credit cards!
Immediately after subscription, I saw an email in my inbox. It had a code for activation and a link that gives you detailed installation guides.
I downloaded the app, installed it, and used the activation code. Voila! ExpressVPN was up and running in merely 240 seconds!
The UI was surprisingly neat and clean. Navigating around the app was like walking in a park. The app has a Smart Location feature. Click on it once, and the app will automatically connect you to the server that is fastest and closest to your location.
The Smart Location feature worked like a charm! I also manually selected servers and different locations. I could connect without a glitch.
The app also showed me all the locations that I used recently. It allowed me to quickly connect to a location of choice that I had previously used.
There is a hamburger menu in the app. I clicked on it to find a host of features. From the menu list, I could select split tunneling or security protocol, speed tests, and more.
I also tested the iOS and Android mobile apps. They are also soothing to use. They are clutter-free and stable and worked out of the box. Even they had the Smart Location feature.
Overall, I am very impressed with the UI and user experience of ExpressVPN.
What about Linux?
I tried ExpressVPN on a Ubuntu Laptop. It works like a charm. The only problem is that you have to use the command-line interface. There is no UI available.
I consider myself a semi-pro when it comes to Ubuntu distribution. I was comfortable doing stuff. From installation to activation to establishing a connection – everything happens over the command-line interface, and I loved it!
If you are a noob in the Linux world, you still should not face any problem because ExpressVPN has ample tutorials that list all the commands you need to use ExpressVPN on various Linux distributions.
ExpressVPN supports Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, CentOS, and Arch distributions. You will get tutorials for all of them.
Gaming with ExpressVPN
I guess you already know that I am not a big fan of gaming. However, I am surprised to see that I am enjoying a few games ever since I started testing them for VPN reviews.
In particular, I have developed a special liking for high-octane games like Valorant. I must say that I have also developed some bonding with LoL or League of Legends.
So, I tried playing both. For testing, I decided to keep Amazon Prime running in the background while using ExpressVPN connected to a server in Australia.
Then I fired up LoL, which is a pretty resource-intensive game and requires high bandwidth, low ping, and low latency.
I was surprised!
There was no lag, no buffering, and the gameplay was just as smooth as it can be without a VPN!
I tried Valorant next, but this time I used a server in New Zealand. Again, I had no issues at all.
Using ExpressVPN did increase my ping time from 28 ms to 39 ms, but that is still a low ping. As long as the ping time is below 55 ms, it is low ping, and it is perfect for gaming.
In the case of both New Zealand and Australia, I did not experience any jitter that could tamper with the audio quality. Download speed for Australia server was 50.3 Mbps, and for New Zealand, it was 51.2 Mbps.
That's good enough (rather excellent) for playing games using ExpressVPN. Honestly, online gaming doesn't require you to have a download speed of more than 15 Mbps.
I did experience a packet loss of 0.5% and 0.6% for Australia and New Zealand, respectively, but that was too little even to consider. That did not hamper my gameplay experience at all.
ExpressVPN Customer Support is Excellent | Rating: 10
You and I both know how vital customer support is. I bet you have experienced awful customer service with your phone's carrier. Almost all of us have experienced that at least once.
I even went to the extent of thinking that I will change my carrier the very next morning. That never happened! I was too lazy and thick-skinned.
The baseline here is that customer service can make or break a business. ExpressVPN is a business, but it excels in its customer support segment.
ExpressVPN offers support via three channels.
- Live Chat
If you were expecting phone support, I am sorry to say, that's not going to happen. What impressed me is the responsiveness.
The support guys in Live Chat are quick to give resolutions, but they are not very technically robust. If you have something very technical to ask, you can always send an email to them.
They have a fantastic response time of 30 minutes. That's way better than Nord's 3 hours! The guys responding to emails are technically sound fellows. They are nerds! They can resolve any technical issue you face.
The knowledgebase is outstanding. ExpressVPN has worked hard to create detailed guides for prevalent and even uncommon issues that you may face while using their VPN service.
The knowledgebase is so robust that you can find a solution to most of your problems there.
Pricing of ExpressVPN | Rating: 9.6
Okay, I am not happy about the pricing! ExpressVPN is very expensive. The lowest price that you can get is $6.67 a month. That's nearly double of what NordVPN charges! The worst part is that the price of $6.67 is available only if you buy a subscription for 15 months (that is 12 months with three months free)!
The pricing plans for ExpressVPN are in the table below:
|Subscription Plan||Price for the plan|
|Monthly subscription||12.95 USD per month.|
|Half-yearly subscription||9.99 USD per month. You pay $59.95 once every six months.|
|Yearly subscription||6.67 USD per month. You pay $99.95 every 12 months. However, when you subscribe, you will pay $99.95 for 15 months and then once every 12 months.|
New subscribers will get three months free if they go for a yearly subscription. That's only one-time. Once the first 15 months are over, the subscriber needs to pay once every 12 months.
Drawbacks of ExpressVPN – Things I Didn't Like
ExpressVPN has some great features, and it has rock-solid security. Does that mean it is free of any drawbacks?
No, absolutely not!
There are many haunting drawbacks that ExpressVPN needs to address (or may, they cannot remove those drawbacks because of technical restrictions).
Here is a list of things that I did not like about ExpressVPN:
Inconsistencies in Mobile Apps
Both Android and iOS apps are super easy to use, but when it comes to selecting the VPN protocol, they differ.
In iOS, you can select from IPSec/IKEv2 and OpenVPN protocols. OpenVPN protocols include both UDP and TCP.
If you are an Android user, you will be limited to only OpenVPN protocols. You can get either UDP or TCP. There is no IPSec/IKEv2 protocol available.
But, as I said earlier, IKEv2 is a VPN protocol that is available only for specific platforms.
Furthermore, the iOS app of ExpressVPN doesn't have a Kill Switch. Android users have something similar to Kill Switch. The feature is called Network Protection Feature. This feature will block the Internet connection when the VPN app cannot connect to a server or cannot reconnect to a server once the connection drops.
You Can't Do a Few Things with Mobile Apps
If you are using the mobile apps of ExpressVPN, you cannot do the following things:
- Speed tests will not work on mobile devices. So, there is no way you can know the download speed and latency of the servers. However, you need not worry because I didn't experience any buffering or lag even when I switched multiple servers.
- DNS leak test will not return any result on your mobile device. You cannot see whether ExpressVPN blocks your IPv6 on mobile or not.
- You cannot use Tor. Mobile apps do not offer Tor compatibility. If you want to use Tor, the only option is to stick with the desktop app.
They Use Some Virtual Servers
ExpressVPN agrees to the fact that there are locations where the company does not have a physical server. They use virtual servers. The logic they provide is that there are times when they cannot find a suitable physical server in the endpoint location where the customers want to connect.
A suitable server needs to pass their rigorous security measures, and it also needs to provide acceptable speeds. They use a virtual server only when they don't have a suitable physical sever.
ExpressVPN Lacks Features – There's No Ad-Blocking Feature
I said earlier that for the price they charge, ExpressVPN needs to provide more features. I feel that ExpressVPN should have given an ad-blocking function. NordVPN provides that feature through the bundled CyberSec suite.
ExpressVPN should provide something similar. Ads are annoying, and they can significantly slow down the webpage you are trying to visit. I block ads for some websites that put more focus on earning more compared to user experience.
Browser Extensions Do Not Make Sense
I don't understand why the browser extensions exist in the first place! For these extensions to work, you will need the ExpressVPN app running in the background.
If the app is running in the background, it can protect the browser traffic anyway. The extensions don't make any sense. Not just the browser traffic for Chrome and Firefox, the ExpressVPN app will encrypt the browser traffic from any browser you install. It can be Opera or Microsoft Edge, or any browser of your choice!
Someone, please explain to me how these dedicated Chrome and Firefox browser extensions make any sense.
No Support for Dedicated IP
I love dedicated IP addresses. They are expensive, but they never get flagged, and they do not have the bad-neighbor effect.
Neither does ExpressVPN support dedicated IP addresses on its servers nor does it sell dedicated IP addresses. That's disappointing!
To make up for this, ExpressVPN regularly rotates its public IP addresses between servers to enhance the user experience and provide faster speeds.
Well, I will believe them because I have never heard of any complaints about any service blocking their IP addresses. In case you did not know, ExpressVPN has 25,000 public IP addresses under its hood.
Fewer Number of Simultaneous Connections
You can get only five simultaneous connections against a single license. That's sad!
They should give more. NordVPN gives six.CyberGhost gives seven, and SurfShark offers unlimited simultaneous connections. All of them are fierce competitors of ExpressVPN, and NordVPN is the most brutal competitor but at a fraction of a cost.
Yes, you can indeed get unlimited simultaneous connections if you install the router app of ExpressVPN on a compatible router, but buying a router is not always a possibility.
No Free Trials
I don't like this at all! Most of the VPN providers do not offer free trials. They should! After all, there should be a way to figure out whether a particular VPN suits my needs or not before I make financial commitments.
ExpressVPN argues that they do have a 30-day money-back guarantee, but trust me, it is not that simple! If you ask your money back, instead of paying you back without any questions, they will first try to resolve the technical issues you are facing.
If there are no technical issues, they will come up with a sales pitch telling why they are great and why you should stick with them and so on!
Someone may not want to stick around!
Someone may not need a sales pitch!
Someone may just want their money back!
They should give free trials. That's my belief. But, does that mean ExpressVPN is terrible? Not at all! They are one of the best you can lay your hands on and trust me; you will not be disappointed unless you cherry-pick on some of the technical drawbacks that I don't consider to be serious.
ExpressVPN is Costly
I can vouch for the competitors of ExpressVPN in this matter. NordVPN, for instance, has nearly identical features and yet they offer a price that is almost half that of ExpressVPN.
ExpressVPN is pricy, and they don't have a reason to keep such a high price! That's my opinion. You may have a different one. Feel free to tell your side of the story in the comments section.
ExpressVPN indeed has some exceptional features that can safeguard your identity and privacy. It is, in my opinion, one of the most potent VPNs available today.
It has military-grade encryption and a Kill Switch. It gives DNS leak protection and has a Perfect Forward Secrecy feature to safeguard your online activities.
It uses RAM storage, offers split tunneling, and has a no-logs policy. These are all you need to stay safe.
It also has high-speed servers that allow you to play games online and watch streaming videos with HD quality without any lag or buffering, and it can bypass geo-restrictions, including the Great Firewall of China.
Not every VPN provider out there can do that!
The only problem is the price. Saying that it doesn't offer an ad-blocker is what I will call cherry-picking because your antivirus program will usually have that feature. In my opinion, ExpressVPN stands up to its reputation.
Yes, it is on the pricier side of the spectrum, but consider this – it has passed all security audits, and it never experienced any security breach in all these years of existence.
You can go for it without an iota of doubt that unwanted third parties will not invade your privacy. The government will never know what you are doing online, and you can download files from torrenting sites!