Fast but is it still worth the price?
ExpressVPN gets a lot of praise, but it costs more than most of its competitors (even with the discount offer that’s currently in play).
Is it really worth it?
What does ExpressVPN offer that others don’t?
Most VPNs use the same basic technology, so how much can it be improved?
Is it better than NordVPN, PIA, CyberGhost, IPVanish, and other highly rated services?
In my recent ExpressVPN review, I sought to see if the benefits really outweighed the cost. I tested the VPN service on both desktop and mobile devices to answer these questions:
- Is ExpressVPN Still the Fastest?
- Does ExpressVPN work with region-locked websites (Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu)?
- Is ExpressVPN Safe and Private?
- Does ExpressVPN work in China?
- Are they really better than the cheaper alternatives?
I will cover all of that and more in this review.
During my time with ExpressVPN, I used it to secure my connection while traveling in China and to unblock video streams that I normally can’t access from my home in Canada. It has also undergone a range of tests to gauge its speed and safety.
Although ExpressVPN is on the pricier side, it is comforting to know that I cut no corners when it comes to cybersecurity. App stores are filled with cheap and free VPNs that I don’t trust to keep my data safe and private. ExpressVPN has always been at the forefront of VPN security and continues to innovate in this regard. It is not necessary to compromise on features, speed, or user experience to do so.
I’ve summarized my thoughts on ExpressVPN below, but read the full review to get a comprehensive look at this premium VPN service.
ExpressVPN It is a true socket for all deals, capable of unblocking all types of region-locked content, bypassing the Great Chinese Firewall, and downloading files quickly. It has better performance than most when it comes to streaming. I challenge anyone to find a VPN with more advanced security while keeping the experience simple and easy to use.
ExpressVPN Key Data
|Overall rating: #3 out of 49 VPNs|
|Average speed*:||135 Mbps|
|Video streaming support:||4K UHD Resolution|
|Other broadcast services:||Amazon Prime, Disney+, HBO, Hulu|
|Encoder type:||256-bit AES with perfect forward secrecy|
|Log policy:||No profile records|
|Protocols:||OpenVPN, L2TP, PPTP, Lightway|
|Lowest monthly cost:||6.67 US dollars|
|Money Back Guarantee:||30 days|
How does ExpressVPN compare to other popular VPNs?
Here’s how ExpressVPN compares to two of the most popular and highly rated VPNs, NordVPN and Private Internet Access. You can see more in-depth details here about ExpressVPN and NordVPN.
|Valueless||ExpressVPN||NordVPN||Private Internet Access|
|average speed||135 Mbps||369 Mbps||68 Mbps|
|Encryption type, encryption type, eg 256 AES||256 bit AES||256 bit AES||128 bit AES|
|Kill SwitchWindows only||desktop only|
|Torrenting is allowed|
|records define records|
|Netflix opens US|
|amazon prime unlocks|
|Hulu . unlocks|
|Open BBC iPlayer|
|Lowest cost per month||$8.32 per month||$3.30 a month||$2.03 per month|
|Money Back Guarantee||30 days||30 days||30 days|
ExpressVPN Pros and Cons
Here is a summary of what I liked and disliked during my time with ExpressVPN.
- Very fast speeds across all server locations
- Advanced security on both applications and servers
- Works with most overseas streaming sites, including US Netflix
- Works in China and the UAE
- No-logs policy
- 24/7 live chat support
- A little more expensive than competitors
- Streaming servers are not rated
- Occasional disconnection
I’ll go into more detail on each of these points below.
Speed: Is ExpressVPN fast?
ExpressVPN is among the fastest VPNs we’ve tested, thanks in part to its Lightway protocol. While many other VPNs have jumped on the Wireguard bandwagon, ExpressVPN has decided to go its own way and create an entirely new VPN protocol. Lightway is open source and promises not only faster speeds, but also fast switching between wi-fi and mobile networks, as well as strong security.
Using a 5Gbps connection, we ran three sets of speed tests at different times of the day. These tests were performed on servers in North America, Europe, and Asia. ExpressVPN Download Speed All Sites and Times Tested Averaged 135 Mbps. It’s a fast VPN, but slower than NordVPN, Surfshark, and IPVanish, which all averaged over 300Mbps.
You won’t notice much slowdown while connected to ExpressVPN unless your home internet speed is over 100Mbps. Here are the average speeds for the servers in each region:
- North America: 136 Mbps
- Asia: 136 Mbps
- Europe (closest): 134Mbps
We highly recommend the Lightway protocol if you want to increase the speed. It’s available on all devices that support ExpressVPN apps, including routers. OpenVPN is also available on all ExpressVPN connections, with the option to connect via UDP (faster) or TCP (more stable). IKEv2 and L2TP/IPSec are also available, although these locations, features, and network compatibility are limited.
ExpressVPN supports a lot of different protocols
In addition to streaming video, ExpressVPN also performed great while gaming online. I didn’t notice much lag or high ping times when playing fast paced games like Rocket League And quarrel. Just be sure to choose a server location either near you or from the game’s servers.
ExpressVPN has a built-in speed test tool
The desktop app comes with a file Built-in speed test Measures ping time and download speed for all server locations.
The ping time is useful if I’m trying to find a server with the lowest possible delay. The download speed test takes a little longer to run than the ping time test, and the results are questionable – our internal tests show speeds much faster than the app indicates.
Note that these tests can serve as a general indication of the performance you may see and cannot be considered definitive. The Internet’s inherent volatility adds an important randomness factor. Users with faster connections are likely to see larger differences in speed.
Applications: What devices work with ExpressVPN?
ExpressVPN makes more apps for devices than any other VPN provider I know:
- Android TV and Nvidia Shield
- Amazon Fire TV
I can Connect five devices simultaneously. Most VPNs allow at least five networks and some have up to 10 or don’t limit simultaneous connections at all. ExpressVPN recently switched from three to five, so I don’t expect the cap to go up again anytime soon.
ExpressVPN for Windows
The design of the app is fairly consistent across all platforms, so if you know how to use one app, using another should be familiar. ExpressVPN apps are easy to set up and use.
ExpressVPN’s Android App
When I first install ExpressVPN, I have to verify my device with an icon displayed on my account dashboard on the ExpressVPN website. Although this takes a little extra hassle to set up new devices, it means that I don’t have to type in my username and password repeatedly for subsequent logins.
Once the setup is done, you have access to thousands of server locations 94 countries.
ExpressVPN Browser Extensions
Desktop Browser Extensions Available for Chrome, Safari, and Firefox. Unlike most VPN browser extensions, ExpressVPN extensions are not independent proxies. They simply control the main VPN app, which must also be installed on my device. This is useful for Chromebook users, for example, but less useful for Mac and PC users.
ExpressVPN browser extension includes WebRTC leak and geospoofing protection
ExpressVPN browser extensions come with a few extra bonuses, including WebRTC leak protection and HTML5 geolocation spoofing, which makes it worth installing.
Geolocation spoofing hides your true location by doing more than just masking your IP address. Websites can still determine your location through the HTML5 geolocation API, which uses wi-fi signals, mobile phone, GPS, and other GPS devices to determine your location. The ExpressVPN browser extension “spoofs” the location that the API has retrieved to a pseudo-random point near the location of the VPN server you’re connecting to.
Every ExpressVPN subscription comes with an extension MediaStreamer Smart DNS Proxy Service. VPN apps are not supported by many devices, but they do allow you to change the default DNS servers. For devices like Apple TV, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, you can go to Internet settings and replace the default DNS server IP addresses with the MediaStreamer IP addresses.
Configure DNS for Samsung Smart TV
MediaStreamer works with all types of region closed platforms from abroad. This includes Netflix and most other major streaming services, which I’ll cover in more detail later. MediaStreamer doesn’t offer the same online security and privacy benefits as a regular VPN, though.
Unfortunately, devices connected via MediaStreamer also count towards the five device limit.
If your device does not support VPN apps And It doesn’t allow you to change DNS servers (Roku, Chromecast), you can still connect it to VPN via wi-fi router. If your router firmware supports it, you can set up a VPN on it manually. However, ExpressVPN has a better option.
ExpressVPN router firmware is free and completely replaces existing router firmware. It comes pre-configured with all ExpressVPN servers, as well as plenty of other features that let you control which devices in your home use a VPN, use MediaStreamer, and use a standard, direct connection.
You can manage devices with ExpressVPN router
You can buy a router with ExpressVPN firmware already on it, or install it yourself. If you go the latter route, double-check that your wi-fi router is compatible and that you are taking the appropriate precautions. If you make a mistake when flashing a new firmware, it can permanently damage your router.
A router is only one device, no matter how many other devices connect to the VPN through it. So if the five-device connection allowance isn’t enough, this is a good option.
The latest ExpressVPN router firmware version, released in mid-2021, comes with a new redesign and several performance improvements. This includes upgraded SSL security, better stability, and support for the new Lightway protocol. The setup process is now even easier thanks to the interactive setup guide.
Streaming, Netflix and Kodi
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