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ExpressVPN is a well-known name among all the VPNs on the market. There are plenty of positive reviews on the internet that point to the speed, trustworthiness, security and stability of the connection even when used on blocked streaming services. What is really the deal with ExpressVPN? Is it worth the extra cost? That’s what we’ll look at in this review.
The number of Android app downloads on Google Play is a testament to ExpressVPN’s credibility. The number of installs has exceeded 50 million and the service has received over 280,000 reviews from users around the world with a final rating of 4.3 stars. That is a decent rating from a large sample of users. But this is not an expert assessment based on some data. For this reason, I decided to thoroughly test ExpressVPN and maybe even evaluate it in a NordVPN vs. ExpressVPN comparison. That’s what you’ll find in this review.
What can ExpressVPN offer?
First of all, I must praise the 94 server locations on all continents of the world, where it has over 3,000 servers. There are exotic regions such as Pakistan, Vietnam, the Philippines and others. I am glad that the servers are also in Slovakia. Slovakia is what I miss about a lot of VPN services. Even with the best VPN. You won’t find servers in countries where local government regulations make it impossible to monitor the security and privacy of user data, so ExpressVPN doesn’t have servers in China or Russia, for example. But that’s understandable. However, VPNs work well in these countries, as confirmed by many user reviews. This allows you to easily bypass the local state firewalls.
With one paid plan , you can connect up to 5 devices at the same time. On Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, Edge web browsers.
ExpressVPN uses PPTP, L2TP, SSTP, IKEv2, OpenVPN. Like most virtual private network companies, ExpressVPN adheres to a strict no-logs policy – that is, it keeps no records of user data such as IP addresses, browsing history, DNS data, or metadata. Other important security features include kill switch, split tunneling, 256 AES encryption, which is not missing in the application.
What about streaming servers, can ExpressVPN unblock them? Yes. I’ve tried it on BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Amazon Prime. I ran the content in HD, and there were no lags whatsoever, so the program ran smoothly the entire time I watched it.
Other interesting ExpressVPN features
I’ve used and tested many VPN services, and I’ve found some things about ExpressVPN that are quite interesting and more than useful to the user.
Test connection speed directly in the app
The ExpressVPN app has a built-in feature to test the speed of servers, from which you can then choose the fastest one. The best part is that you don’t have to test them one by one, but the app will test them all at once.
From the speed test, you can see latency, download speed and the speed index, which calculates the quality of the connection speed from the previous two indicators. The higher the speed index number, the better and faster the connection to the server is.
The use of the results is up to you, as it depends on what you want to do with the VPN. Either you want to browse the web in a specific country or on a specific continent. Accordingly, you simply choose the fastest server that suits your requirements.
Easily change the protocol used
In the application settings, you can choose the protocol you want to use. Of course you need to know what you are doing, otherwise leave the recommended auto-selection method selected. VPN protocols have two main functions – authentication and encryption.
Each protocol has different encryption standards and authentication methods. This results in different levels of speed and security for VPN users. In addition, the protocols also have different rules for handling potential errors. All of this can affect the reliability and stability of the connection.
The automatic protocol selection selects the protocol that matches your network, so is better left to the application to do this job.
I also want to mention that ExpressVPN has created its own protocol, Lightway, which is said to be groundbreaking and makes VPNs faster, more reliable, and more secure. Besides the technical specifications, the most important thing about this protocol for users is that it is less demanding resource-wise than other protocols. In practice, this means that it runs faster, doesn’t overload, consumes less power, so it has a positive effect on the battery life of the device.
Unblock streaming servers
ExpressVPN has optimized servers that can easily bypass blocked streaming services. You will search in vain for special servers in the app. With other VPNs, we sometimes see that they also have servers in their apps divided by use – for P2P, for streaming, for gaming, and so on. ExpressVPN has servers divided by location.
I can’t judge whether it’s good or bad. Personally, I like it this way because with other VPNs I was often confused about which server to choose and whether I was choosing the right one. Here, I just click on the state, connect to the VPN and watch the stream. Seems a lot easier to me.
Is ExpressVPN a fast VPN?
ExpressVPN is a fast VPN service. The company states on their website that according to their tests, it is the fastest VPN in the world. But that’s what every VPN says about itself. So how is it really?
My own measurements show that ExpressVPN has very fast servers in countries with advanced infrastructure. Of course, in areas such as some African or Asian countries, you cannot expect the speed and convenience of technologically developed countries.
What’s wrong with ExpressVPN?
There are a few things that annoy me about ExpressVPN. First, it is two-factor authentication. When you order and pay for the service, you must then expect to receive a confirmation code via email when you log into the installed app. It actually comes with every login to the web interface. I understand that it’s for some security of user data, but for logging into the app I find something like this at least annoying.
Another thing I don’t like about ExpressVPN is the need to have the app installed on Windows when you just want to use a browser plugin. For example, the VPN Private Internet Access or NordVPN plugins work on their own without the need to have the app installed.
Having the app installed is not such a problem, but the actual functioning is the problem. As soon as I start the VPN via the Firefox browser plugin, it turns on the VPN for the whole computer. What good is a browser plugin then? If I turn on a VPN via the ExpressVPN plugin in Firefox, for example, I expect that the VPN won’t be running in Chrome. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. There is probably a rule that can be set in the app, but why? It works elsewhere.
How much does ExpressVPN cost?
ExpressVPN is quite expensive compared to other VPN services. The 1-month plan costs almost $12.95, the 6-month plan costs $59.94 (that’s $9.99 per month), and the best value is the 12-month plan, which costs $99.84 (that’s $8.32 per month. You can see how much other VPNs cost in our VPN comparison. However, other arguments are used to defend the higher price.
ExpressVPN has passed a number of security tests, so it’s a proven and secure VPN that doesn’t share user data with government agencies. That’s such a common argument, but let’s assume you don’t want to use a VPN to break the law. Can ExpressVPN offer you anything more?
One defense for the high price is servers in areas where other VPN services don’t have servers. Here, for example, is Slovakia. Optimised servers for streaming services are also a major plus. But the main thing is that the streaming channels really work through the servers. Some services often have problems with this.
So, if you’re asking, is ExpressVPN worth the money? So the answer is that yes, it is worth it because it works.
ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN
What is the difference between ExpressVPN and NordVPN? This is a common question from many internet users. The main difference between the two is obvious at first glance. NordVPN is significantly cheaper than ExpressVPN. But user reviews in the Google Play Store speak in favour of ExpressVPN again. Both apps have over 50 million downloads, but ExpressVPN has a slightly better rating. A significant difference that speaks in ExpressVPN’s favor is the number of server locations. NordVPN offers 60 server locations (60 countries), but ExpressVPN can offer 90 server locations. That’s already a big difference where ExpressVPN wins. See the ExpressVPN vs NordVPN comparison table for more information.
Parameter comparison ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN
|Price per year (payment for 12 months)||$99.95|| |
|Number of devices||5||6|
|Number of servers||3000+||5300+|
|Number of countries||90||60|
|Money Back Guarantee||30 days||30 days|
|Available for most devices||✅||✅|
|Suitable for streaming (Netflix, YouTube, etc.)||✅||✅|
Pros and cons
|Pros (+)||Cons (-)|
|+ No Log policy.||- The browser plugin turns on the VPN throughout the PC.|
|+ 30 day money back guarantee|
|+ Split Tunneling - the option of choosing which data is transferred via VPN and which via a regular Internet connection.|
Evaluation and conclusion
In the review, I mainly focused on highlighting any issues that ExpressVPN may have compared to others. I would hate for the review of this app to sound bad. To be clear, ExpressVPN is a quality service that I’m not afraid to recommend to my friends. I’m not afraid to recommend it even to extremely demanding users, because I know they won’t go wrong with it.
When evaluating, I have to mention again the strange behaviour of browser plugins. I don’t find it normal to turn on a VPN connection for the whole system by extending it in my web browser. It’s the nonsensical behavior of the whole app that bothers me.
I have to praise the ExpressVPN app for Android. I haven’t found the slightest problem with it and I like its speed and the way it controls. It’s a simple app with no unnecessary features. Simply select a server and connect. That’s it. Of course, you can also change the protocol settings in the android app, set up split tunneling and so on.
In my review I have to confirm the positive ratings from other reviews and the ratings of the users themselves, whose feedback matters most to me. Yes, ExpressVPN is worthwhile and has more pros than cons.
Come read our regularly updated comparison of fast VPN.