Updated: January 1st, 2018
This is the most comprehensive ExpressVPN review you will find online. Here you will find everything you need to know about ExpressVPN from pricing and performance to customer support and compatibility. Detailed setup guide included to help you get ExpressVPN setup quickly on your device. Let's get started...
ExpressVPN is the top rated VPN company on Fried.com and for good reason. ExpressVPN is an easy-to-use software that features clean and intuitive user interfaces for all of its applications (both desktop and mobile). Their services has impressive speeds and servers located all over the world. This British Virgin Isles based VPN company "just gets it right." For these reasons and more ExpressVPN is our #1 pick and top rated VPN service.
Operating System Compatibility
$12.95 for one month acccount
$9.99 p/month for 6 month account
$8.32 p/month for 12 month account
VPN Protocols Offered
- 30 Day Money Back Guarantee
- Dedicated iOS and Android Applications
- Ability to pay in multiple currencies and through many payment options
- Simple registration and easy setup
- Pricing isn't the cheapest BUT you get what you pay for and Express certainly deliver top value.
- You have to use different login codes/ids when using multiple devices
ExpressVPN is the best and most reliable VPN provider we've reviewed here at Fried.com. They're ranked #1 on our site for a reason. They deliver great value, offer great speeds, they are easy to use on mobile or desktop, and they're a company we trust. The 30 day money back guarantee makes trying ExpressVPN just that much easier. Read on below for the full ExpressVPN review.
Full ExpressVPN Review
Pricing, Plans, & Payment Options
ExpressVPN is not the most budget-friendly VPN service out there today, but it is by no means unaffordable. They, as with 99% of VPN providers nowadays, offer three price plans:
As you can see, they offer very competitive pricing plans that are in the 'higher-end' range. We feel their prices, although a bit higher than their main competitors, are definitely justified, though. Since the level of service and quality of this VPN make any of their pricing plans a worthwhile investment.
If you are really on a very tight budget, then you should be aware of some of the other VPNs that are cheaper. You can purchase a one-month subscription to KeepSolid VPN Unlimited for $8.99 a month or NordVPN for $10 a month. While the cost savings with these services isn’t substantial with the one-month package, you will save a lot more with the one-year plan. They work out to just over $3 a month, which is less than half the cost of ExpressVPN.
Of course, cost isn’t the main consideration for most VPN users. If you are very concerned about protecting your online privacy, then you can’t put a price on the extra protection that ExpressVPN offers. On the other hand, if you are just interested in getting a more basic service and don’t mind it logging your data, then these alternatives may be worth looking into.
The three plans offered by ExpressVPN are as you'd expect, with the longest subscription (12 months) giving you the highest discount, and the two lesser lengthy plans costing you more respectively. This is standard across practically all VPN service providers plans, and is always a fair approach.
ExpressVPN offer every pricing option you would want. The usual suspects are accounted for (PayPal, Credit card, etc.) as well as the all important and not-too-common BitCoin:
BitCoin is an important payment option to offer, since users that care about absolutely 100% anonymity of their online activity that have BitCoin to spend, will be happy to use this method of payment. Paying in BitCoin gives the payer piece of mind that their transaction cannot be traced back to them.
All in all, ExpressVPN pricing, plans and payment options offer someone for every type of user. We're impressed.
Money back Guarantee
30-day money back guarantee is given with ExpressVPN when you signup. This is also quite standard now among the best VPN providers out there. We say the best because we have learned that in most cases, the longer a VPN provider's money back guarantee is; the more confident they clearer are in their service; thus the higher quality and level of service the offer.
Why is a 30-day money back guarantee better than free trials that companies like CactusVPN and SaferVPN offer? There are a couple of benefits to keep in mind:
- The free trials are usually for a shorter period of time. CactusVPN and SaferVPN only offer trials for 24 hours, which doesn’t give you much time to test them out.
- VPN providers that offer free trials usually don’t offer as much functionality. You don’t get to experience the real benefits of their VPN.
The only reason a free trial would be better than ExpressVPN’s 30 day money back guarantee is that you don’t need a credit card to sign up. However, this isn’t a big deal if you aren’t satisfied with the service. As long as you cancel your account within the 30 day window, you will get your money back in full, no questions asked!
ExpressVPN certainly ring this belief true. The reason they can offer such a long money back guarantee is definitely because they are confident in their service.
From conducting this detailed Express VPN review, I determined that this service brings a lot of features to the table. Let's go through them now:
You can use the following protocols with ExpressVPN: OpenVPN (TCP, UDP), L2TP-IPsec, SSTP, and PPTP. This is a more extensive array of protocols than many other VPNs. Almost all VPNs have L2TP-IPsec support, but it loads slowly and may be compromised by the NSA.
We give a higher rating to ExpressVPN, because it has SSTP support. Even other big VPN providers like NordVPN and VyprVPN don’t handle. VyprVPN and some other major VPNs still lack OpenVPN. This means that ExpressVPN has a wider range of supported protocols than almost all VPN providers on the market.
ExpressVPN has one of the laxest logging policies of any VPN on the market. They promise never to log:
- Either your source or VPN IP addresses
- Your browsing history
- Traffic destination or metadata
- DNS queries
If privacy is one of your top concerns, then you won’t find a better option than ExpressVPN. Many VPNs (such as HideMyAss) don’t have a no logging policy, which created a lot of controversy after the alleged Lulzsec hacking scandal.
“ExpressVPN is committed to protecting your privacy. We want you to understand what information we collect, what we don’t collect, and how we collect, use, and store information. We do not collect logs of your activity, including no logging of browsing history, traffic destination, data content, or DNS queries. We also never store connection logs, meaning no logs of your IP address, your outgoing VPN IP address, connection timestamp, or session duration.”
Our guiding principle towards data collection is to only collect the minimal data required to operate a world-class VPN service at scale. We designed our systems to not have sensitive data about our customers; even when compelled we cannot provide data that we do not possess.
Why can you depend on ExpressVPN to protect your anonymity? There are two reasons:
- The company is based in the British Virgin Islands. This country has no data retention policies and very strict laws on protecting customer privacy. Since they are legally obligated to protect their customers, you can expect that they won’t change their policy anytime soon. Nothing short of a military coup that leads to a more authoritarian regime is likely to have them reverse the privacy promise to their users.
- They don’t have any information to share. Even if a foreign government was able to get the British Virgin Islands High Court to comply with their subpoena, they wouldn’t have any information to share. Since they aren’t required to collect any data on their users, they wouldn’t have anything to relay to the requesting authorities.
Our review team has heard of at least 100 different VPN service providers and rates ExpressVPN as one of the five best for online privacy.
One of the main benefits of ExpressVPN is the diverse distribution of the servers. It has servers located in 145 locations in 94 different countries. They have setup servers in 16 new countries since many users first started using their service a couple of years ago.
Compare this to some of the other VPNs with strict online privacy protection policies:
- NordVPN has a presence in only 58 countries.
- Private Internet Access has a presence in 25 countries
- Torguard operates in 53 countries
- Anonymizer only servers in the United States and the Netherlands
- iPredator only has a server in Sweden
This makes ExpressVPN one of the most versatile services for users that are traveling frequently or need to mirror the traffic of different regions they operate in.
MULTIPLE DEVICE USAGE
ExpressVPN currently allows you to connect to three different devices at one time. This is one of the areas where they are lacking. The HostWinds VPN allows users to connect to up to 6 devices at a time, even though it is cheaper than ExpressVPN. Torguard allows users to connect to an unlimited number of devices for under $10 a month.
To their credit, they are making progress on supporting more devices. A while ago, they only allowed users to connect one laptop, one phone and one router. They now allow users more flexibility and they can connect up to three laptops on their devices. Making progress has encouraged some other VPN review companies to increase their ratings of ExpressVPN from eight to nine stars, which shows a remarkable improvement.
Nevertheless, they are still lagging some of their competitors in supporting devices, especially since some of them don’t limit the number of devices that can be connected at any given time.
Security is obviously one of the biggest concerns for most VPN users. One of the primary security benefits of ExpressVPN is that it has a network lock. This means that all traffic will be severed if the VPN drops, which prevents DNS leaking.
Network locking is a great feature for users that are trying to protect their privacy if the connection goes down, but some users don’t prefer it. They would rather maintain their connection to host servers, even if it risked DNS leaking. Some users complain that there isn’t an option to disable the network locking feature, but this is a minor concern for most other users, especially those that are more concerned about their privacy than accessing their content.
If you plan to be a serious user of a VPN, you will want to make sure that the support team is ready when you need them. Even the most reliable VPN can go down without notice.
ExpressVPN offers 24/7 live chat and email support. Their support team is highly rated for being professional, expedient and knowledgeable. This is one of the areas they excel over their competitors. They don’t have phone support, but they tend to offer great support through the other mediums. Unlike most competitors, their support team is willing to help non-customers as well.
While I have never needed to contact the support team at Hide.me or Private Internet Access, their customers have left rather subpar reviews of their support team on their respective forums.
ExpressVPN is one of the higher priced VPN providers on the market. However, they somewhat make up for it by offering a very generous referral incentive. Under their referral program, you will receive 30 days of free service for every user that you refer. This is a much bigger incentive than most other VPN providers. The last I checked, NordVPN offers a 20% discount for each referral for one month. This means that if you refer a lot of friends, you will get a much better deal with ExpressVPN than most other providers.
The software itself is incredibly clean, simple and intuitive. The process of downloading the software, getting it setup and launched on your device takes just minutes.
Once you select your payment method and process it, you are sent an email confirmation. This email contains a link that takes you to the setup page, where you are presented with your unique activation code and can then download the software.
Here's what this page looks like:
I use a Macbook, so ExpressVPN automatically presented me with the OS X download link. To see the many more device download links, simply scroll down the page and you're presented with them, like so:
Once you have the software downloaded (took just a few seconds for me) then it will automatically walk you through the very simple installation process. This also just takes a few seconds.
ExpressVPN will then automatically launch to give you an immediate taste of the main interface, which looks like this:
Then it's a simple case of you choosing a server from the huge list of servers that ExpressVPN offer, connecting to it, and you're on the VPN. Very straight forward.
If you want, you can access 'preferences' (for Mac, you access this by clicking the three small vertical dots in the top left of the main window shown above) and select a different protocol to run the VPN on. This gives you the opportunity for faster speeds, but comes at the price of compromising security of connection:
Setup on an Android device is equally as painless and quick. You simply click on the activation link in the email you received as mentioned earlier, and the you are automatically directed to the Google Play store where you're prompted to download and install the ExpressVPN Android app.
Once it is downloaded and installed, it will automatically open up and you will be asked to login with your email address and password (your password will have been automatically created and is in the original authentication email.)
After you've logged in, you're presented with a very intuitive list of which server you would like to join. It looks like this:
Simply select the server you want to join and the app will let you know that you are attempting a connection request via a pop up window:
Click "OK" and the app immediately begins connecting you swiftly to that server. It just takes a few seconds before you are connected and ready to surf the net anonymously and freely:
And that's it. You've got your ExpressVPN setup and running. This is a very quick glance at setting up ExpressVPN for Mac and Android devices.
ExpressVPN is compatible with all devices across the following operating systems:
- Windows, Mac, Android and iOS
... as well as the devices that you are presented with on the download page, as previously shown in this Express VPN review here.
Speed & Performance
I ran a speed test on my Macbook both without the VPN running and then with it switched on to check that the IP address switched correctly, and of course to check the speeds. As you can see from the results, the speed was great and the IP address did indeed change accordingly (I selected a London-based server from the VPN):
As part of this Express VPN review, I went to the website and when confirming with the live chat support whether their live chat is, as they state on their website, "round-the-clock" (24/7), they actually corrected this statement as follows:
This was momentarily disappointing, as it somewhat contradicted what they state on the website. However, I did really appreciated their honesty and thoroughness with answering my question. They also do have email support that is very fast, which you can obviously reach out to anytime.
All in all, I was impressed with their support. I will take honesty, under-promising and over-delivering over making bold claims and not living up to them any day.
ExpressVPN's website is well designed, intuitive and clean. The main information you want to find out most as soon as you arrive on the site (pricing, features, specifications, etc) are clearly visible and the whole site is quite a pleasure to browse around. It loads very fast and is designed in a way that really instills confidence in the product as being legitimate, trustworthy and a top-quality service provider:
As you can see from this snapshot of the homepage -- that gives a great overview of what browsing the entire site looks like -- there is no pointless information being thrown at you; only a clean, clear, user-friendly interface. The site really sets the tone of what to expect from the actual software interface, which as demonstrated earlier in this review, is equally as aesthetically and navigationally pleasing to the user.
Security & Privacy
ExpressVPN security is top-of-the-range. It incorporates 256-bit security while also using OpenVPN as the default protocol when launching the software.
You also have the option, as mentioned earlier, to select other protocols with the VPN servers you choose as a way of getting improved speeds on the already very impressive bandwidth ExpressVPN provide.
Having now officially become a British Virgin Islands (BVI) company, ExpressVPN does not sit under the US Data Retention or EU DRD laws. This is fantastic, and a big benefit to users that few competing VPN service providers can claim. In addition to this big plus, ExpressVPN also financially support the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) - an organisation that works to protect and educate our fundamental rights.
The fact that ExpressVPN accept BitCoin as a payment option really demonstrates their top-level effort to give users as much privacy and anonymity as a VPN service provider possibly can. Couple this with their "zero logs" policy and that the software functions completely on a shared IP basis, we really highly rate the level of effort and clear detail that ExpressVPN put into protecting each and every one of their user's data.
All in all, ExpressVPN clearly has a reputation as one of the best VPN service providers for good and well-deserved reasons. From the moment you interact with the website, the entire information-gathering, paying, downloading, installing and launching process is one of the smoothest and fastest we have experienced with the many VPN service providers we've reviewed.
As stated at the beginning of this review ExpressVPN is not cheap and when using multiple devices that different logins are required. However, we 100% believe the pricing of this VPN to be justified many times over. "You get what you pay for" could not be more appropriate than with ExpressVPN.
We highly recommend trying ExpressVPN out, especially considering that you have 30 days to decide if you like it or not - or your money back.
Have your own experience with ExpressVPN?
Do you have your own firsthand experience with your own VPN Express review? Even if you have only tried it for a short time, I would absolutely love to hear your thoughts and opinions on how it performed for you.
Did you find the software easy to use? What about the pricing - was it fair for what you got out of the VPN? How about the actual setup process - did you see any step of it as unnecessary or overly-technical?
Whether you had a positive or negative interaction with this VPN, please do not hesitate to let me know by popping a quick comment down below in the commenting section. You can simply leave a star-rating, a one sentence summary, or if you feel particularly opinionated then dive in and write up your own comprehensive ExpressVPN review for other readers of this review to view.
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