ExpressVPN Review

ExpressVPN boasts good speeds, a kill switch and, perhaps most importantly, a no-logging policy that's been tested in court. At just under a tenner a month (unless you buy annually), it isn't cheap. So what do you get for your money?

Verdict

ExpressVPN is good, but it's expensive. Private Internet Access, which is cheaper and has also a proven no-logging policy, BullGuard is better for streaming and KeepSolid VPN Unlimited is faster and cheaper.

Pros

  • Good transfer speeds
  • Wide range of endpoint countries
  • Clear no-logging policy, demonstrated in court

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Detected by Netflix US and BBC iPlayer

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £75.54
  • £9.79 per month
  • Supports OpenVPN, PPTP, SSTP, L2TP/IPSec
  • £45.31 per six months
  • Clients for Windows, macOS, Linux (command line), Android, iOS, Chrome, Kindle Fire, Fire TV
  • £75.54 per year
  • Clear information on connecting other devices without dedicated clients

What is ExpressVPN?

ExpressVPN provides a stable, versatile and feature-packed virtual private network service with clients and documentation for a wide range of devices and operating systems. While expensive, it’s one of the few VPN services that’s had its no-logging policy demonstrated in a court case, making it a good choice for the privacy-conscious.

Related: Best VPN

ExpressVPN – Features and usability

ExpressVPN is very good, with its no-logging claims having been put to the test – but it’s one of the most expensive VPN services around, with a high annual price of £75.54 (working out at £6.30 per month) and a month-to-month subscription price of £9.79.

On Windows, ExpressVPN has a particularly simple interface. It features a cheery-looking button, which, when pressed, will automatically connect you to either an optimised endpoint or the last one selected.

Additional features include a speed test on all available endpoints and a diagnostics output that lets you see your log files. The latter is a welcome feature for those who want to know exactly what’s going on in the background when they connect.

An options menu allows you to choose whether ExpressVPN starts and connects on Windows startup, enables an internet kill switch that stops all internet traffic if you lose your VPN connection, or you switch from automatic protocol selection to your choice of OpenVPN or a range of other supported protocols.

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.

Screenshot of ExpressVPN running on Windows 10.

ExpressVPN – Performance

During this round of performance testing, we had particular trouble with ExpressVPN’s UK endpoints – which, with transfer speeds from a UK server of just 4.83MB/sec (38.64Mbps) in our most successful HTTP test, were around half the speed we expected. By comparison, our FTP speed test using the same endpoints managed a massive 10.01MB/sec (80.08Mbps).

It’s worth noting that, as ever, these tests represent a single snapshot in time. Historically, ExpressVPN has had good UK connection speeds via HTTP.

Test results for endpoints in the Netherlands were as expected – 9.79MB/sec (78.32Mbps) for HTTP and 9.63MB/sec (77.04Mbps) for FTP, while US HTTP throughput was an extraordinary 9.45MB/sec (75.6Mbps), although our FTP file transfer achieved only a rather sluggish 3.85MB/sec (30.8Mbps).

Sadly, we didn’t have much luck with region-switching for video streaming: iPlayer, All 4 and Netflix US all detected our connection, although Shudder and Crunchyroll’s US services were available to us.

Related: What is a VPN?

Why buy ExpressVPN?

ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands, which – although a British Overseas Territory – doesn’t share the UK’s strict data retention laws. If you’re after anonymous payment options, you can buy your subscription with bitcoin, and the company has a clearly stated no-logging policy.

ExpressVPN’s no-logging policy has been put to the test in a court of law: when its Turkish endpoint servers were seized by local authorities in December 2017, no logs were found on the systems.

Get ExpressVPN here.

Verdict

While ExpressVPN’s service is good, it’s expensive and is up against tough competition from Private Internet Access, which is much cheaper and has also been shown not to keep logs in a court of law. BullGuard is better for video streaming and KeepSolid VPN Unlimited is fast and cheaper.

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