It's quite possible that ExpressVPN is the fastest VPN out there. This, combined with its spectacular unblocking capabilities, definitely makes it my first choice when it comes to streaming.
But a VPN is more than just speed. Can it really provide decent encryption along with such high speeds? Is the company taking its users' privacy seriously? Can you really rely on their customer service? I decided it was time to find out, and I am happy to tell you I was not disappointed.
While ExpressVPN's pricing is a bit above average, I did find a nice little price hack which I'll tell you about below.
You Can Trust ExpressVPN
Sure, speed is an important factor to consider when shopping for a VPN, especially if you're planning on using it for streaming. And if that is indeed the case, you also want a VPN that can unblock your favorite streaming service, whether it's Netflix, Hulu, HBO, BBC, Amazon Prime, or all of the above.
It seems that there is almost no site or service on the web that ExpressVPN can't unblock – and that's more than can be said for most VPNs on the market.
Don’t let those high speeds fool you: ExpressVPN is much more than a good way to stay entertained. It takes your internet security very seriously, offering excellent features such as DNS leak protection and IPv6 leak protection, split tunneling and a built-in kill switch (unfortunately, the latter is still not available on the mobile apps).
The company provides AES 256-CBC military-grade encryption to support a range of protocols, including OpenVPN (UDP and TCP), L2TP/IPsec, SSTP, and PPTP. IKEv2 is not supported, but I usually prefer OpenVPN for a stronger connection anyway.
If you're new to the world of VPNs and you're not sure what any of this means, that's not a problem. The ExpressVPN apps will automatically detect and select the best protocol for you. That’s what I call user-friendly.
Is ExpressVPN Safe? What About Privacy?
ExpressVPN is registered in the British Virgin Islands, outside the jurisdiction of the 5/9/14-eyes alliance. The company has a strict no logs policy, which is clearly stated on their website: They do not log IP addresses, browsing history, traffic or DNS queries, and they do not collect activity logs.
However, they do collect some basic usage data and diagnostic reports, but these are completely anonymized, so your personal data is never revealed to the company. This is nothing to worry about: it's standard practice for VPN companies, allowing them to improve their technology and service while their users remain anonymous.
There is a bit of a transparency issue here, as you'll have a hard time trying to find any concrete information regarding the company's headquarters, founders or employees. It's understandable why this would make some users uncomfortable.
On the other hand, it’s important to remember that when an ExpressVPN server was subpoenaed during the investigation of the assassination of Andrei Karlov, the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, that server was of no use to the authorities: no user data had been logged. If that's not proof of ExpressVPN's commitment to their users' privacy, I don't know what is.
In fact, ExpressVPN advocates for digital freedom and privacy, stating on the company website that "Privacy isn’t a privilege; it’s a universal human right." And it's not all talk, either. The company goes on to state that it financially supports several non-profit digital privacy advocacy groups. As a firm believer in online privacy myself, I'm happy to support a company with that kind of philosophy.
And Now, Back to Those Speeds
While ExpressVPN definitely has more to offer than speed, those blazing-fast speeds are one of my favorite things about it.
Its superiority in this aspect is clearly evident, but just to be sure, I conducted speed tests on several different servers in different countries. It's official: ExpressVPN is fast. Really fast. (The Hong Kong and Australia servers still fall slightly below the others, but I have a feeling this won't be the case for long.)
This is partly due to ExpressVPN's immense global network, with 2,000+ severs in over 90 different countries (and almost 150 locations, meaning that you can connect to servers in different cities within many of those countries). However, while you can find a wide variety of servers in the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Australasia, the meager selection in the Middle East and Africa still leaves room for improvement.
While there are a couple of other VPNs that may be comparable to ExpressVPN in terms of speed, they can't offer anything close to the full feature package that ExpressVPN provides for its users, including a high level of encryption that doesn't slow it down one bit.
Other Noteworthy Features
While it can take some digging to find this information on the ExpressVPN website, it is a torrent-friendly VPN. One really nice perk is that if you want to torrent, you don't have to choose from a handful of overcrowded servers, as is the case with many other popular VPN providers. ALL ExpressVPN's servers support P2P.
Not only that, but all its servers support Tor as well, and there's even a hidden .onion site for users who are looking for an extra layer of anonymity.
ExpressVPN offers apps for practically every device and platform, including Amazon e-readers, BlackBerry, Smart TVs, various routers, Chromebook, and more. You can find clear and detailed step-by-step installation guides for everything on their website. There are also browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.
A single ExpressVPN account will allow you to connect up to three devices simultaneously. It should be noted that three is a rather small number compared to what other VPNs on the market are offering these days, and if you're looking for a VPN that can secure your entire family or several employees in your small business, this can be quite inconvenient.
Outstanding Customer Support
While you can easily find plenty of guides and tutorials on the ExpressVPN website and their FAQ section covers just about everything, the easiest way to get an answer to any question on your mind is through their live chat support, which is available 24/7.
I tried the live chat on several different occasions, and the support team was always highly attentive and responsive and even a couple of my more challenging questions were answered promptly and professionally.
If you're not a fan of instant messaging and you don't mind waiting a bit longer for a response, you can also contact support through email or a ticket system.
How to Pay Less for ExpressVPN
As previously mentioned, ExpressVPN's subscription plans are not the cheapest on the market, but as far as I'm concerned, its high performance and superior speed make it worth every penny.
That said, you can definitely save more than a few pennies if you take advantage of the awesome deal the company is offering right now: when you purchase a 12-month subscription, they throw in an extra 3 months for free.
There's also a 30-day money-back guarantee with a no-questions-asked policy, which could be an extension of ExpressVPN's privacy philosophy. Either way, it's a great way to take the fastest VPN in town out for a test drive, and if it doesn't meet your expectations, you can always just ask for a refund (we checked and it really works).
The company accepts a wide variety of payment methods – including bitcoin, which allows you to remain completely anonymous.
In short, if you want to experience first-hand all that ExpressVPN has to offer, now is the perfect time to do it.