A virtual private network (VPN) is a private network that reaches over a public network. With a VPN, users can access data across public networks as if connected to the private network. VPNs use encryption and other security features to create a private and protected network. Companies use VPNs to connect over public networks and send sensitive data files. Consumers can use VPNs to keep their internet activity anonymous and to unblock websites.
With the increasing popularity of VPNs, there is one that stand out from the crowd. ExpressVPN calls themselves “the fastest VPN on Earth”, but speed is not all they offer. ExpressVPN boasts high security, speed, ease of use, and five-star customer support. And if you aren’t satisfied, ExpressVPN offers a one-month money back guarantee. So what makes this the best VPN service for consumers and companies alike? Let’s find everything about it in our ExpressVPN review below:
Features and Software
Have you had trouble finding a VPN service in your country in the past? Chances are ExpressVPN has got you covered! For one thing, ExpressVPN has servers in 136 VPN locations in 87 different countries.
Users can find servers in the Americas, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia Pacific. Take a look at their detailed server list for more information. Aside from that, subscribers can change their location at any time, free of charge.
Another perk is the software flexibility. With a subscription, users receive computer software, mobile device software, streaming and router software.
At any moment in time, three separate devices can connect to ExpressVPN. Software is compatible with the following operating systems and devices:
On top of this, each subscription to ExpressVPN comes with unlimited bandwidth. Users can download as much as they want, and do it with privacy. Your download activity isn’t logged, and there is no monthly cap to worry about. What’s more, the mobile apps are intuitive and user-friendly. Unblocking the internet takes a single tap!
Furthermore, ExpressVPN is the best VPN software for streaming Netflix. Not all VPNs support Netflix, and not with the same speed and reliability as ExpressVPN.
Security and Privacy
ExpressVPN uses an SSL secured network with AES-256 (Advanced Encryption Standard with 256 -bit keys). This is the same encryption standard used by the U.S. government to safeguard classified information. While ExpressVPN supports four server protocols – OpenVPN, SSTP, L2TP/IPsec, and PPTP – they recommend letting the app select the best settings.
Furthermore, ExpressVPN promises to never log browsing history, traffic data, and DNS queries. And they financially support non-profit digital privacy advocacy groups, including The Internet Defense League. In fact, ExpressVPN offers more privacy than U.S. or European law because they are in the British Virgin Islands.
ExpressVPN offers three methods of contact for customer support. Users can live chat a representative, fill out a contact form, or send a direct email. Forms and emails are answered within a few hours, making troubleshooting a breeze.
The website also features instructional guides on the Support page. The tutorials cover everything from Windows and Mac setup to Android, iOS and Chromebook. Their troubleshooting guides deal with connectivity issues, password help, disabling proxies, and more. And their staff blog often about internet security, technology, and other related topics.
Ease of Use
ExpressVPN’s website is visually appealing and easy to navigate. Everything important is in the top menu bar. Visitors can tour the site, view all VPN apps, search support topics and view the ExpressVPN blog. And while the “Get ExpressVPN Now” button is in several places on the web page, it isn’t too large or imposing.
Furthermore, signing up for ExpressVPN is just as simple. Upon clicking “Get ExpressVPN Now”, the website redirects users to the order page. There are three subscriptions – billed every month, every 6 months, or every 12 months. The page asks for an email address and payment – credit card, paypal, bitcoin, or others. Upon sale, subscribers receive instructions on how to download and install the VPN client. That’s it!
Pricing and Subscriptions
ExpressVPN offers three pricing plans: $12.95 a month, $9.99 every six months, and $8.32 every 12 months. Each subscription receives the same features, making the 12-month plan the best deal. And with the one month guarantee, there is no risk involved in trying it out. Furthermore, referring a friend to sign up earns a free month of the service.
It’s impressive how many methods of payment ExpressVPN will accept. Aside from the usual credit cards, ExpressVPN has the following payment services available:
These are not even all the payment services compatible with ExpressVPN. Having such a variety of payment methods helps the company appeal to any customer in most parts of the world. Not a lot of VPN services offer the same flexibility that ExpressVPN has, and of course, accepting Bitcoins makes ExpressVPN a privacy-focused VPN too.
Installing the VPN Client
Since my computer runs Windows 10, I installed this version of the client. The ExpressVPN download and installation only took a combined two minutes. The process was simple – launch the program and enter my personal activation code.
ExpressVPN can be set to launch on startup and to connect to the last network location in the options menu. Additionally, the Network Lock option makes sure all internet traffic funnels through ExpressVPN. If the VPN were to disconnect all the sudden, my internet traffic would stop. Below is a snapshot of how does the general options of ExpressVPN app looks:
There is also a list of protocols to choose from for more advanced users. Some protocols may only function on certain networks, or with certain locations. ExpressVPN recommends letting the program choose the protocol, but the option is still there. And in the Advanced tab, the VPN is set to only use ExpressVPN DNS servers by default. This is the safest option, but can be turned off if desired.
And installing the ExpressVPN app on my Android phone was just as quick. After launching the app, I entered my account email and the password provided on the install page. The app shows the top recommended server, as well as other recommendations. The top server will run the fastest, and likely be the closest in location. The entire list of servers is still available for selection, though!
Server and App Performance
ExpressVPN has a convenient speed test option located under the connection menu. With it, I ran a speed test via OpenVPN on a stable 30 Mbps internet connection. The results placed the closest servers (in the U.S.) with the lowest latency, while far away servers suffered more in the speed index. But I was still surprised with the following test runs. Maybe ExpressVPN is the fastest VPN service on Earth, after all!
In my case, Thailand had the worst latency at 313 milliseconds. Latency is the length of time it takes for a device’s request to receive a response from the internet. The lower latency, the better. For instance, servers on my side of the United States fell between 20 and 30 milliseconds. Despite the Thailand server’s high latency, I was able to load web pages with minimal wait time. Both short and long videos had no trouble streaming, and did not have to stop to buffer.
The speed test clocked the UK-East London server as having the lowest speed index and download speed. Download speed represents how fast a device loads websites, videos, and more. And despite the server’s low numbers, I noticed negligible difference in loading speeds. Videos didn’t lag, and web pages still loaded with impressive speed. I downloaded a few files and wasn’t dissatisfied with the results.
Still, there were some servers I could not connect to at all. Chile, Macau, and Uzbekistan all failed on the speed test. But with so many other servers available, the loss is minimal. And consistent tests with IPLeak.net showed zero IP leaks, which is good! The only IP viewable online should be the one used by the VPN service.
As for the ExpressVPN app, we were pleased with the performance. Not only is it easy to use, but web pages were responsive. YouTube videos loaded fast and did not need to buffer. My other apps loaded and connected to the internet without incident.
In the end, there isn’t much not to love about ExpressVPN. Their website made purchasing, downloading, and installing software simple. They have an app for almost every mobile device, including VPN-compatible routers. And the VPN service is fast, more than deserving of the title “the fastest VPN service on Earth”.
Compared to other VPN services, the price is a bit steep. But it goes toward a quality, secure VPN. If you are looking for the fastest secure VPN service on the market, ExpressVPN has you covered. And being able to try it out for the first month is better than most other services offer.