There is a lot of hype surrounding ExpressVPN. When you look at most VPN reviews, ExpressVPN often ranks as one of the best VPN services today, in Canada and globally. But how well-substantiated are these claims?
A number of reviews talk about how fast ExpressVPN is, others say that it is a surefire way to get around geo restricted streaming content, and you constantly hear about how good of a job they do at protecting the privacy of their clients.
We wanted to cut through all the hype and put the service to the test ourselves. We focused on four things:
- Server location
- Server speed
- Logging policies
Overview of ExpressVPN
|Usability:||Easy to use|
|Logging Policy:||No Logs policy|
|Server Size:||3000+ servers|
|Server Distribution:||94 Countries|
|Support:||24/7 live chat support|
|VPN protocol and encryption:||256-bit AES/SSTP, PPTP, OpenVPN, IPSec & L2TP|
|Headquarters:||British Virgin Islands|
ExpressVPN is able to deliver more features than just about any of the other VPNs we’ve reviewed. One of the major highlights of this VPN is that they support a number of platforms, including Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Windows, and others. ExpressVPN offers support for routers, Apple TV, PlayStation, Kindle Fire, and Fire TV.
With one subscription, you are able to connect up to three different devices. While this does not stand up to what others such as NordVPN allow, one of the major pluses for ExpressVPN is that you can use it on your router. So you install the VPN on your router and all the devices in your home are protected. ExpressVPN offers a number of technical extras.
As an example, they have their own DNS servers to give you an extra level of Internet protection. Their high-end encryption technologies make it all but impossible for even the most experienced hackers and attackers to monitor your activities.
Something that we have not seen in other VPNs is a feature known as “split tunneling“. This means that if you install the VPN on your router, you are able to select which devices connect through the VPN and which ones go through your normal connection. You are also able to determine which apps will go through the VPN and which will use a normal connection.
- Fast download speed
- Unblocks Netflix
- More than 2,000 servers
- Easy to use app
- Secure encryption and VPN protocols
- Allows torrents
- A strict no logs policy
- Slightly more expensive, especially for month-to-month users
- Unblocks content from around the globe
- 148 server locations
- Built-in speed test feature
- Applications for every device
- 256 bit AES encryption
- No activity logs or connection logs
- IP address masking
- Anonymous browsing
- OpenVPN and other protocols
- Zero-knowledge DNS
Where Are the Servers Located?
Server locations is another area where ExpressVPN really shows its worth. Their large number of servers means that it’s easy for you to change and hide your IP.
As of the writing of this review, ExpressVPN has servers in more than 94 countries. They have more than 3,000 different servers in over 148 cities. This puts them right at the top when it comes to the most servers offered by a VPN. If there is a server that you need in a particular city, chances are that you going to find it with ExpressVPN. And, if you have any questions about whether or not servers up or down, you can check their servers in real time.
On the same page, you can check your IP address as well as check the speed of your connection. The kill switch option is perfect for individuals performing location-specific activities. For example, some work from home sites requires that you be in a certain country. The kill switch will automatically kill whatever websites or software you’re using if your network connection gets lost.
Even if you don’t have a connection, you still have protection.
How Secure Is ExpressVPN?
Furthermore, ExpressVPN regularly hires independent experts to test the limits of their security. In an industry where false promises bordering fraud influence many potential buyers, self-imposed checks are an exceptional proof of trust.
ExpressVPN uses AES with 256-bit keys. This is the same level of encryption that the United States government uses. It is the same level of encryption that the majority of security experts around the world use.
The fact that governments and security firms use it might seem a little abstract. But think of it like this- ExpressVPN is using an encryption key that has 115,792,089,237,316,195,423,570,985,008,687,907,853,269,984,665,640,560×10(e24) possible combinations. Even if all of the most powerful supercomputers on the planet dedicated all of their time to trying to decrypt the information you are sending online using ExpressVPN, it would take them billions of years.
That’s about as secure as you can get today. In order to keep your online traffic safe, ExpressVPN hides your IP address and then mixes your traffic with the traffic of others.
This makes it all but impossible for third parties to read your information. This includes your Internet service provider and your local Wi-Fi operator. ExpressVPN gives you the option of selecting from a variety of VPN protocols. This adds another layer of security between your computer and the VPN server you are using.
Most people using a VPN do not know the difference between the VPN protocol options provided. For this reason, ExpressVPN has the option of automatically choosing the protocol that is going to be best for the network you are using.
What is Their Logging Policy?
When you look at ExpressVPN as a business, it becomes very clear that privacy is the name of the game for them. The company is based in the British Virgin Islands. As such, they are under no obligation to release any information about their clients to the intelligence agencies of governments.
When you research executives of the company, you may find a little bit of information about the vice president and their communication manager as well as a few other team members. However, the majority of the team works anonymously. The company does not disclose the personal identities of the owners for security reasons.
They believe that running their company without having the owners publicly known gives an additional level of security and protection to those who use ExpressVPN. Whether you buy that explanation or not, you have to agree that a group of people who want to maintain their anonymity will go out of their way to make sure that their customer’s privacy is protected.
What Data Will ExpressVPN Collect?
There are some things that ExpressVPN does collect. However, none of this information allows ExpressVPN or anyone else to match an individual to a network, an activity, or a behavior. ExpressVPN has not built their system around knowing how their customers use their service. If they were ever asked, they would have no idea as to which users were connected to a particular IP address at a particular time.
Does ExpressVPN work with Netflix?
When you connect to their service, you can choose a server in the United States. When you do that, ExpressVPN will automatically connect you to the best VPN server for your location. This is what we did.
Then we hopped on Netflix only to be greeted by the dreaded Netflix VPN error. We thought we had found the first chink in the ExpressVPN armor. We contacted customer support via their live chat and asked them why we could not connect to Netflix. They explained that ExpressVPN has special servers for streaming. Obviously, they don’t broadcast where their servers are to the world, but they will gladly tell their clients. They told us what server to connect to and we were able to stream Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube videos, and Hulu with no restrictions whatsoever.
How Fast Is Their Service?
ExpressVPN constantly refers to themselves as ultrafast and high-speed. But so does every other VPN out there, so it’s easy to wonder if they were overstating the claim a little bit. Multiple speed tests later and it became clear that this is another area where ExpressVPN lives up to their reputation. They have fast download and upload speeds. And in each test, we saw the speed stay consistent.
ExpressVPN Pricing: Is it Worth the Extra Cost?
As we mentioned at the outset, on a month-to-month basis, ExpressVPN is going to be more expensive than some of the other VPN options available. A month-to-month plan will cost you $12.95. A six-month subscription will cost you $9.99 per month. A 12-month subscription will cost you $8.32 a month. As you can see, the longer you commit to a subscription, the lower your monthly fee will be.
ExpressVPN charges more for their service because they focus on providing their clients with top-notch protection. ExpressVPN is not interested in competing with cheap or free no name VPNs. That’s not their market. However, ExpressVPN does offer ways for clients to earn free VPN service.
For example, you can refer friends and family to ExpressVPN. Everyone who signs up will get 30 days of free service, and so will you. ExpressVPN accepts all major credit cards and PayPal.
Bitcoin is also accepted for individuals who want to add an extra level of anonymity to their service. ExpressVPN has one of the most transparent 30-day money-back guarantees we have seen to date. If there is any reason why you are unhappy with your service, they will give you a full refund within the first 30 days.
We would be remiss if we did not talk about the customer support offered by ExpressVPN. With ExpressVPN, there are three ways to get support. There are troubleshooting guides, instructions, and real-time chat. We used the 24/7 live chat option to ask questions about connecting to Netflix and about installing ExpressVPN on a router. Each time we were given immediate answers.
The support tech followed up with us until our problem was resolved. There are also some amazing instructional videos that show you step-by-step how to install APN on a number of devices.
We wanted to install ExpressVPN on our Amazon Fire Stick. There was an up-to-date video that walked us through the process and made it unbelievably easy. To date, we have not seen another VPN with the same level of customer service as what ExpressVPN offers.
Do We Recommend the Service?
Absolutely. Of all the best VPN services reviewed on Privacy Canada, Express sits near the top (if not #1). The only VPNs we saw that came anywhere close to what ExpressVPN offers are Sufshark and NordVPN.
NordVPN is extremely secure, and about as fast ExpressVPN when we compared the two services head to head, whereas Surfshark offers many of the same features for a fraction of the price. Both mobile clients are very well designed. There’s not a lot of clutter. Even a VPN novice will understand how to use it and how to connect to the server of their choice.
If you are looking for a VPN to get around geo-restrictions with Netflix and Prime Video, you have found the right service. ExpressVPN takes customer privacy very seriously. Even individuals in China and Turkey are able to get around censorship using this phenomenal service.
Since ExpressVPN does not keep any logs and since they are not in a country that requires them to turn over customer data to the government, you know your connection is private. This is true even if you are using torrents or downloading.
ExpressVPN is not the cheapest VPN out there, but you get so much more than what you pay for. This includes a fast and reliable connection regardless of where you are located on the planet. Try them out, and you won’t regret it.