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ExpressVPN Review

Verdict

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ExpressVPN is quick, but it’s also expensive and changes of ownership mean that it will have to re-establish its long-standing reputation for security.

Pros

  • Good HTTP transfer speeds
  • Wide range of endpoint countries

Cons

  • Expensive
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Key Features

  • Endpoints for 94 countires:Express VPN has endpoints in 94 different countries, so you’ll have a lot of choice beyond the conventional.
  • Supports a wide range of platforms and operating systems:Clients for Windows, macOS, Linux (command line), Android, iOS, Chrome, Kindle Fire and FireTV

Introduction

ExpressVPN has always traded on its strong reputation for privacy and security. Since 2019, all ExpressVPN servers have used RAM disks – rather than hard disks – that are automatically wiped on reboot.

Under previous ownership, it had audits carried out to provide its no-logging and security credentials. It remains unclear whether this will continue under the auspices of new parent company Kape Technologies, which also has a number of rival VPN firms including CyberGhost and Private Internet Access.

At the end the of last year, the service started to put in unexpectedly variable results in my speed tests. The performance has now stabilised, although streaming support remains patchy for those who’d like to remain connected to their VPN while watching TV.

Despite this, its strong performance and established infrastructure mean that ExpressVPN remains one of the best VPN services you’re likely to see. It provides a stable, versatile and feature-packed VPN service, with clients and documentation for a wide range of devices and operating systems.

Pricing and subscriptions

ExpressVPN costs £10.24/$12.95 a month, £47.40/$59.94 for six months, and £78.96/$99.84 per year. The falling value of the dollar – which is the currency in which you’ll actually be billed – has reduced the cost of the service for users in the UK and Europe.

If you’re after anonymous payment options, you can buy your subscription with Bitcoin.

Features and Usability

  • Unproven no-logging policy with new ownership
  • Features an internet kill switch
  • Simple interface

ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands, which doesn’t share the UK’s strict data retention laws. However, its parent company, Kape Technologies, is based in the UK. ExpressVPN continues to have a clearly stated no-logging policy under its new ownership. The policy was proven in 2017, when ExpressVPN’s Turkish endpoint servers were seized and no logs were found on the systems.

However, until a seizure or court order re-proves the point under new ownership, I’ll regard the current incarnation of ExpressVPN as having an unproven no-logging policy, despite Kape’s stated hands-off management style.

In July 2019, it had an independent audit carried out to confirm the accuracy of its no-logging claims and to confirm that its new TrustedServer system fully wipes all servers every time they’re rebooted. A 2020 audit verified the security of its open-source browser extensions.

The Windows version of ExpressVPN has a pleasingly simple interface, with a cheery-looking button that you can click on to automatically connect to either an optimised endpoint or the last one you selected.

An options menu allows you to configure ExpressVPN to start and connect on Windows start-up, enable an internet kill switch that stops all internet traffic if you lose your VPN connection, enable split tunnelling, and switch from automatic protocol selection to your choice of OpenVPN, ExpressVPN’s proprietary Lightway protocol, or IPSec. ExpressVPN doesn’t currently support the WireGuard protocol.

Extensions for Chrome, Firefox and Safari allow you to start the VPN directly from your browser, block potential data leaks from the WebRTC protocol, and automatically connect to the last-used location when you open your browser.

Clients are also available for macOS, Linux and the usual mobile platforms, plus Amazon’s Kindle Fire and FireTV, with instructions available on using ExpressVPN with routers and other appliances.

Performance

  • Achieved above-average speeds with UK and US endpoints
  • Isn’t as good as it used to be for streaming TV
Endpoints/VPNUKNetherlandsUnited States
ExpressVPN328.80 Mbps226.40 Mbps263.20 Mbps
Reference HTTP without VPN489.60 Mbps532.80 Mbps490.40 Mbps
Reference Group Average HTTP310.77 Mbps306.83 Mbps194.52 Mbps
VPN’s HTTP speed test results compared against group average and connection speed without a VPN

All of my testing was carried out on a virtual desktop physically located at a data centre with a high-speed internet connection in London. This testing setup produces results under optimal connection conditions. VPN clients are tested on their default settings.

During my latest performance tests, ExpressVPN achieved good HTTP speed-test results, coming in at or above average in all cases. It isn’t as good as it used to be when it comes to support for streaming TV, but it does support split-tunnelling, so that you exclude the browser you use for streaming from the VPN, sending traffic to and from that app via your ISP as usual.

Latest deals

Buy ExpressVPN from £6.70 per month

Should you buy it?

You want a reliable and speedy connection:
ExpressVPN achieved above-average speeds in our performance tests, while also supporting a wide range of devices.

You want a cheap VPN:
ExpressVPN is not the cheapest VPN currently available, with the likes of Private Internet Access proving more affordable.

Final Thoughts

ExpressVPN is far from being a budget choice, with a best-value monthly cost that works out at £6.58. However, quick speed-test results and features such as RAM-disk servers remain solid credentials; but if security is more important than speed, check out Perfect Privacy instead.

ProtonVPN costs the same as ExpressVPN but outperforms it on all fronts, as well as having a free tier with unlimited data. If you’d prefer to spend quite a lot less, Private Internet Access (also owned by Kape) is a lot cheaper and put in a decent performance in my speed tests, while Surfshark and NordVPN are fast, cost-effective, streaming-friendly alternatives worth checking out.

Trusted Score
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How we test

We run tests from a London-based connection that typically sees speeds between 500Mbps and 700Mbps, which means that we’re able to get a good idea of what each VPN’s maximum speeds currently are.

We test multiple endpoints from each provider in three locations: the UK, the Netherlands and the U.S.

Tested speeds with three endpoints: UK, USA and the Netherlands.

Researched security and no-logging claims

Tested all available features

FAQs

Is ExpressVPN free?

No, you need to pay a subscription fee in order to use ExpressVPN, although you can make use of a free trial with select mobile devices.

How much does ExpressVPN cost?

ExpressVPN costs £10.24/$12.95 a month, £47.40/$59.94 for six months, and £78.96/$99.84 per year.

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