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ExpressVPN Review (2023 Update): 11 Pros & 4 Cons

By Tibor Moes / January 2023 / Rating 4 of 5

ExpressVPN Review (2023 Update): 11 Pros & 4 Cons

ExpressVPN Review (2023)

ExpressVPN is an excellent VPN. But very expensive.

ExpressVPN uses exceptional privacy technology. On the hardware side, it has RAM-only servers with 32 cores and a 10 Gbps connection. On the software side, it has developed the custom Lightway VPN protocol, which connects instantly. The combination of both makes it a formidable VPN.

Yet its price is confusing. At double the cost of most competitors, it must be twice as good, right? Well, that’s not the case. In fact, NordVPN’s design is more beautiful, and its bonus features (like Double VPN) are more advanced. And CyberGhost will hide your IP address too, for a lot less.

So why pay the big bucks for ExpressVPN? Well, the technology is world-class and frequently audited by external security experts. So if you have the money, go for it. But keep in mind: For the price of a one-year contract at ExpressVPN, you can get a two-year contract at NordVPN or CyberGhost.

We recommend ExpressVPN, but NordVPN offers more value for money.

ExpressVPN Pros:

  • RAM Servers. ExpressVPN’s server network consists exclusively of RAM servers, which automatically delete all data when rebooted.
  • Lightway Protocol. ExpressVPN’s Lightway protocol connects much faster than WireGuard, OpenVPN, or IKEv2. Connections feel instant.
  • Intuitive Design. ExpressVPN is both technologically advanced and easy to use. Even complete beginners will protect their data in seconds.
  • No-Log Policy. ExpressVPN does not track your online activities, IP address, DNS queries, or anything else that matters.
  • Independent Audits. No other VPN has gone through as many external security audits as ExpressVPN, making it highly trustworthy.
  • Works with all Streaming Services. ExpressVPN works with Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Hulu, HBO Max, Apply TV, and more.
  • Allows Torrenting. ExpressVPN allows high-speed torrenting on all of its servers. And its no-logs policy and kill switch will keep you undetected.
  • 5 Simultaneous Connections. You can install ExpressVPN on 5 devices at the same time. Or install it on your router to protect your entire home.
  • Constant Innovation. ExpressVPN is constantly improving its VPN servers and security features like Threat Protection.
  • Free Password Manager. ExpressVPN Keys, its password manager, is integrated into the Android and iOS apps and available on Chrome.
  • Works in China. ExpressVPN is one of the few VPN providers that work in China.

ExpressVPN Cons:

  • Price. For a one-year contract at ExpressVPN, you can get a two-year contract at NordVPN, CyberGhost, or Surfshark.
  • Design. ExpressVPN’s design is functional. But in terms of beauty, it can’t match the world map design of NordVPN (especially in dark mode).
  • 3,000 Servers in 94 Countries. That sounds like a lot, but only 46 countries have physical servers. The other 48 have virtual servers.
  • No app on Linux. ExpressVPN does not have an app for Linux. Instead, you need to use the terminal. However, some might like it that way.

ExpressVPN price varies by region. Click the button to see it in yours.

ExpressVPN Review (2023): Table of Contents

Click the links below to navigate this review.

Alternatively, you can skip this ExpressVPN review and head straight to our comparison of the best VPN of 2023.

ExpressVPN Specifications
Rating
4.0 ★★★★
Streaming
Netflix, Amazon, Disney, Hulu, HBO, Apple, BBC, and more
Torrenting (P2P)
Torrenting Allowed
Logging
No Logs
Operating Systems
Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux
Servers & Countries
3,000+ Servers in 94 countries
Simultaneous Connections
5
Price for 1 Month
$ 12.95
Price for 1 Year
$ 99.84
Payment Method
Credit Card, Bitcoin, PayPal, Sofort, iDeal, GiroPay, and more
Money-Back Guarantee
30 Days
Logging policy: Does ExpressVPN keep logs?

Logging policy: Does ExpressVPN keep logs?

No, ExpressVPN does not keep logs of your online activities. To prove it, ExpressVPN subjected its source code and server technology to an inspection by PwC, one of the largest auditing firms in the world. They confirmed that ExpressVPN does not track what you do online.

Why is logging important?

When you surf the web, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) can track your online activities and sell that data. When you use a VPN, your ISP can’t do that anymore.

But when your data flows through the VPN servers, your VPN provider could spy on you as your ISP did. And some free VPN services do. 

That’s why reading your VPN service’s log and privacy policies is essential. ExpressVPN’s privacy policy clearly states what it tracks:

What does ExpressVPN log?

  • The apps and app versions that you’ve activated.
  • The dates you connected to the VPN service (but not the times).
  • The server location you used, but not the server’s IP address.
  • The amount of data that you transferred per day (in MB).

What does ExpressVPN not log?

  • Your IP address and the IP address of the VPN server you used.
  • Your browsing history.
  • Your traffic destination and data content.
  • Your metadata (connection time stamps and session duration).
  • Your DNS queries.

The information it collects allows it to solve issues in its apps and network, and to provide you with customer support.

You can choose to help ExpressVPN by providing anonymous data on crashes, connection errors, and speed tests. ExpressVPN will ask your permission for this when you install the service, and you can click “no” if you don’t want to. It is all very transparent and straightforward.

Simply put: ExpressVPN has a strict no-logs policy regarding your online activity. As a result, you are anonymous when using ExpressVPN.

Is ExpressVPN trustworthy?

Yes, ExpressVPN is trustworthy.

Many VPN providers claim that their technology is secure and that they don’t log the online activities of their users. But how can we be sure? Only through independent verification by security experts who have access to the VPN servers and source code. This is called an independent audit.

ExpressVPN has a long history of security audits and penetration tests performed by independent third parties. Initially, the company used these to strengthen its security. But these days, the audits are also there to establish trust and transparency with its customers.

These are the audits that ExpressVPN has engaged in over the years:

  • November 2018: Cure53 audited the browser extension.
  • June 2019: PwC audited whether the code was in line with the privacy policy and whether the TrustedServer technology works as advertised.
  • June 2020: PwC audited the security policies against the unauthorized modifications of the apps to keep them malware free.
  • August 2021: Cure53 audited the Lightway protocol. Note that the protocol itself is open-source and available on Github.
  • March 2022: F-Secure audited the security of the Windows 10 app (v10) through a penetration test.
  • April 2022: F-Secure repeated its penetration test of the Windows 10 app, but this time for version 12 (v12) of the app.
  • September 2022: Cure53 audited the Aircove VPN router through a penetration test and source code inspection.
  • October 2022: KPMG audited whether the TrustedServer Technology was in line with the privacy policy.
  • October 2022: Cure53 audited the security of the TrustedServer Technology through a penetration test.

We don’t know any other VPN provider that underwent a similar number of independent audits. Therefore, we believe that ExpressVPN is trustworthy.

Ownership: Who owns ExpressVPN?

Ownership: Who owns ExpressVPN?

Kape Technologies owns ExpressVPN. Kape is a security software provider from London that also owns CyberGhost VPN, Private Internet Access, ZenMate, and Intego Antivirus. It is a publicly-traded company with more than 6.5 million subscribers across its products.

Why is ownership important?

Companies are registered in countries. And countries can have data retention laws or be part of surveillance alliances like the 5, 9, and 14 Eyes.

For instance, if a company is registered in the USA, it can get subpoenas by law enforcement agencies that order it to hand over its traffic data.

This is less likely to happen when a VPN provider is registered in a less scrutinizing country, like the BVI. But it’s not a bulletproof solution.

Where is ExpressVPN based?

ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), a group of islands in the Caribbean. Although it shares its name with Great Britain (the UK), it is a self-governing country with its own legislature, judiciary, and police force. That means that it is not part of the 14 Eyes Surveillance Alliance.

Officially, the founders of ExpressVPN chose the BVI because it has no data retention laws. And because it is too complicated for a foreign government to convince the BVI High Court to release your data via a subpoena.

There is some truth to that. But ExpressVPN is not above the law. It has a global user base, with a large portion in the USA and EU. And its parent company, Kape, is listed on the London Stock Exchange. So its ties to the western world, and its governmental agencies, are strong.

So take the BVI registration with a grain of salt. It’s not a guarantee that ExpressVPN is untouchable. Instead, focus on ExpressVPN’s strict no-logs policy and RAM servers (which don’t have hard drives and can’t store data). Those are the elements that will keep your data anonymous.

Who owns ExpressVPN?

Peter Burchhardt and Dan Pomerantz founded Express VPN International Ltd in 2009. They sold the company to Kape Technologies in 2021.

Kape is a software provider that also owns CyberGhost VPN, Private Internet Access, ZenMate, and Intego Antivirus. It’s a publicly traded company on the London Stock Exchange (ticker KAPE).

The company has a colorful history:

  • In 2012, Teddy Sagi, an Israeli businessman, acquired Crossrider. The company developed software development kits for browser extensions. Sadly, these were misused for ad injection by adware developers.
  • In 2014, the company was listed on the London Stock Exchange.
  • In 2016, a new management team was appointed. The company stopped working on the software development kits to focus exclusively on digital privacy and security.
  • In 2017, the company acquired CyberGhost VPN.
  • In 2018, the company rebranded to Kape Technologies and acquired Intego, a famous antivirus program for Mac, and ZenMate, another VPN.
  • In 2019, the company acquired Private Internet Access, another VPN.
  • In 2021, the company acquired ExpressVPN, and Webselenese, a company operating several large VPN review websites.

This consolidation is not uncommon:

The consolidation means that the privacy industry is growing up. That more money is involved, and the VPN services will continue to compete, innovate and improve. It’s good news for consumers.

And as a publicly-traded company with responsibilities to its shareholder, Kape must deliver on its privacy and security promises. So you can rest assured that they will do everything they can to defend your digital privacy. After all, their share price depends on it.

Security Features: Is ExpressVPN secure?

Security Features: Is ExpressVPN secure?

ExpressVPN is one of the most secure VPN services out there. Very few other VPN providers have invested as much in their security technology. Both at the hardware and software levels, ExpressVPN is outstanding.

The entire server network consists of RAM-only servers, which are being upgraded to 32-core servers with a 10 Gbps connection, from 20-core servers with a 1 Gbps connection.

And each of these runs ExpressVPN’s Lightway protocol, the quickest connecting VPN protocol we have tested. Connecting to a VPN server feels instant on Lightway.

Even though ExpressVPN only has physical servers in 46 countries (the other 48 countries have virtual servers), the quality of those servers and software is exceptional. And that’s what matters.

Servers – Where are ExpressVPN’s servers located?

ExpressVPN has servers in 94 countries, spanning every continent except Antarctica. That’s a lot. Of these 94 countries, 46 have physical servers, and 48 have virtual servers. That sounds confusing. What’s the difference, and why does it matter? We’ll explain below.

Physical vs Virtual Servers Locations

When a VPN provider has physical servers in a country, the server and registered IP address are both located within the country’s borders. With a virtual server, the IP address is registered in the country, but the server is actually located in a different country.

The advantage of a virtual server is that you’ll get a local IP address, which allows you to surf the web as if you were in the country of choice. The disadvantage is that the actual server can be quite far away, lowering your download speed and increasing your latency (ping).

For instance, the virtual servers in Chile and Guatemala give you a local IP address, but the traffic is routed via a server in Brazil. The same is true for Pakistan and Sri Lanka, where the server is actually located in Singapore.

Virtual servers exist because not every country has a secure server infrastructure. So to give you a local IP, it’s better to host the physical server somewhere else where the data centers are reliable.

Some VPN providers, like ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Surfshark, want to offer as many local IP addresses as possible. Probably for a mix of marketing and usability purposes.

Other VPN providers, like NordVPN and IPVanish, don’t use virtual servers. This lowers the total number of local IP addresses they can offer. But you can be sure that every server is located where it says it is.

Each strategy has its pros and cons. Just keep in mind that comparing the total country count isn’t apples-to-apples. For instance, ExpressVPN has physical servers in 46 countries (out of 94), whereas NordVPN has physical servers in 59 countries (out of 59).

TrustedServer Technology

Traditional servers, like your PC, use hard drives to store your operating system, software, and data. In your laptop, this is fine. But in a VPN server, this poses a risk. Because if a server is hacked or seized by the authorities, all the data will be stored on it.

This is why ExpressVPN uses TrustedServer Technology on all its servers globally. These are also known as RAM servers because they don’t have hard drives. Instead, they run on volatile memory, called RAM.

As RAM requires power to retain data, all the information is automatically deleted when the server is turned off or rebooted. So when a server is seized and disconnected from its power source, it is automatically wiped clean.

A second advantage is that the server’s software stack, consisting of the operating system and additional software, is re-installed on every reboot. This means that all the software is up-to-date and uniform across all servers, which reduces the chance of security vulnerabilities.

In contrast to other VPN providers that claim to use RAM servers (like NordVPN), ExpressVPN has already rolled out this technology across all of its servers. The other VPN providers are still in the transition process.

Lightway VPN Protocol

A VPN protocol determines how a device connects to a VPN server, and how the data will be transferred. This matters because it influences how fast your connection is established and your data is transferred.

Many VPN providers have adopted WireGuard, the next-generation open-source VPN protocol. However, ExpressVPN decided to build its own VPN protocol called Lightway.

It is a lightweight protocol with only 2000 lines of code designed to connect in seconds, offer fast download speeds, and make the connection more reliable and secure.

In our experience, Lightway connects faster than other protocols, including OpenVPN and WireGuard. The impact of this should not be understated. With Lightway, it feels like your connection is instantaneous. Which gives ExpressVPN a premium feel and a genuine competitive advantage.

The smaller codebase also requires fewer resources from your CPU, which increases your battery life. And it allows the protocol to be audited quickly, which Cure53 has already done. If you want to do so, too, you can look up the source code on GitHub.

But you don’t have to use Lightway. ExpressVPN gives you access to 6 VPN protocols (although this varies between operating systems):

  • Lightway (UDP): ExpressVPN’s proprietary protocol, explained below.
  • Lightway (TCP): Slower than UDP but connects better on some networks.
  • OpenVPN (UDP): The most widely adopted open-source VPN protocol. Praised for its speed, security, and reliability.
  • OpenVPN (TCP): Slower than UDP but connects better on some networks.
  • IKEv2: A fast VPN protocol that switches quickly and easily between Wi-Fi and mobile networks. But it doesn’t work on all networks.
  • L2TP/IPsec: The least secure VPN protocol and preferably avoided.

10 Gbps Servers with 32 cores

Most of us have an internet connection of 10 to 100 Mbps (0.01 or 0.1 Gbps). Servers, however, have internet connections of 1.0 Gbps. After all, they must handle far more data, as more than one user is connected to a single server. The servers, therefore, require more bandwidth.

ExpressVPN is upgrading all its servers from 1.0 to 10.0 Gbps and from 20 to 32 processing cores per server. This means that there will be less congestion, as users will share fewer cores and have more bandwidth per user. This will result in higher download speeds and less lag.

Private DNS

Like a house has geographical coordinates that we simplify with an address, a website has an IP address that we simplify with a domain name. For instance, when you type in “softwarelab.org,” you’re taken to 165.227.148.211.

This translation from domain to IP is done by DNS servers. And the owner of the DNS server, usually your ISP, can see every website the DNS servers look up. So it has a very accurate version of your browser history.

Luckily, ExpressVPN uses its own private and encrypted DNS on every VPN server. This allows all your DNS requests to stay in the encrypted VPN tunnel and hidden from your ISP.

Stealth Servers

When you use a VPN service, your ISP can’t see what you are up to online. However, by inspecting how your data looks, they can see that you are using a VPN. In highly censored countries like China, this can lead them to block your internet traffic.

Some VPN providers apply “obfuscation technology” to hide your VPN usage. This is a fancy way of saying that they change how your data looks, so the ISP can’t know that you’re using a VPN.

Most VPN providers are upfront about using technology that lets you bypass VPN-blocking firewalls. NordVPN has Obfuscated Servers and Surfshark uses Camouflage mode. However, ExpressVPN remains silent on the topic.

From what we can gather across the web, when you leave protocol selection in “automatic,” ExpressVPN detects it when someone inspects the data. At that point, it activates the obfuscation technology to hide the VPN usage.

According to some, this system can even trick the great firewall of China. Whether it works on all servers is uncertain. So before heading to China, connect with support, and ask them for a server recommendation.

Smart Location and Speed Test

When you click “connect,” ExpressVPN will automatically select the best server for you, based on your distance to the server, download speed, and latency (ping).

But if you want, you can also run a quick test and discover the optimal server: Simply disconnect, open the menu, and click “speed test.”

ExpressVPN will run a quick test to calculate your latency and download speed on a wide range of servers worldwide. The ones with the lowest latency and highest download speed will have the best speed index score. You can then select the optimal server for you.

It’s a unique feature we haven’t seen on any other VPN provider and a quick way to learn the relationship between distance, latency, and speed.

VPN Split Tunneling

Split tunneling allows you to select which apps access the internet through the VPN tunnel and which connect directly without encryption.

This can come in handy when you want your browser traffic to be encrypted while allowing other apps (e.g., computer games) to connect to the internet directly to avoid lag or use your real IP address.

ExpressVPN’s split tunneling feature has three settings:

  • All apps use the VPN.
  • Select apps that do not use the VPN.
  • Select apps that exclusively use the VPN (all other apps won’t).

Network Lock Kill Switch

ExpressVPN’s kill switch stops all internet traffic when the VPN suddenly disconnects. This protects your data and IP address from leaking onto the web outside of the encrypted VPN tunnel.

ExpressVPN allows you to exclude local area network (LAN) devices, like printers and file servers, from the kill switch.

Threat Manager

Some apps and websites secretly send data to third-party trackers. These trackers use that information to create a profile on you and send you targeted ads.

ExpressVPN’s threat manager stops all apps and websites on your device from communicating with these third-party trackers. It does this by scanning the outgoing connections at the DNS level and blocking any connection that attempts to reach a server on ExpressVPN’s blocklist.

Password Manager

ExpressVPN Keys is the company’s password manager. Like NordPass, it helps you create and store highly secure passwords for all your accounts. These passwords are stored in the vault and automatically filled out when you attempt to log in to a website or app.

ExpressVPN’s password manager is integrated into the iOS and Android apps and comes in the form of a browser extension for Google Chrome on PC and Mac. In contrast to NordPass, the password manager by NordVPN, ExpressVPN Keys is freely included with the VPN subscription.

AES-256 Encryption

VPN services perform three core tasks:

  • Hiding your IP address.
  • Mixing your data with that of other users.
  • Encrypting your data.

The encryption of your data is an essential part. It keeps it safe and unreadable to third parties, such as hackers on a public Wi-Fi network.

By default, ExpressVPN uses AES-256-GCM encryption, which stands for the Advanced Encryption Standard with a 256-bit key.

Even modern supercomputers can’t crack AES-256 encryption via brute force attacks. There are simply too many combinations possible.

However, the encryption and decryption of data cost computing power. So if you use the Lightway protocol on routers or phones with a limited CPU, ExpressVPN can switch to the less-demanding ChaCha20/Poly1305 cipher.

Auto-Launch and Auto-Connect

These features are as simple as they are essential. Because we are all human, and sometimes we simply forget to switch on our VPN connection.

Auto-Launch tells ExpressVPN to start when you launch your device. And Auto-Connect tells it to connect to the last used VPN server when ExpressVPN starts.

IPv6 Leak Protection

IPv4, Internet Protocol Version 4, is our current internet protocol (IP). It is used by computers, phones, tablets, servers, and other IoT devices to communicate via the internet.

Because IPv4 addresses are 32 bits, about 4.3 billion addresses are available. And due to the ever-expanding internet, we are quickly running out of these addresses.

That’s why IPv6 was invented by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). As IPv6 addresses are 128 bits long, there are 3.4*100^38 addresses available. So we might never run out of those.

So, in time, IPv4 will be replaced by IPv6. Currently, we are in that awkward middle point where most addresses are IPv4, and some are IPv6. And that can create a security vulnerability. We’ll explain:

Most VPN providers, ExpressVPN included, use IPv4. This could lead to IPv6 traffic running outside the VPN tunnel on certain networks. Which means that someone could spot your real IPv6 address.

Luckily, ExpressVPN has a feature called IPv6 leak protection, which prevents any IPv6 address detection. This feature is turned on by default, and you should only turn it off if you need IPv6 connectivity.

Optimize Windows Speed

When you use ExpressVPN on Windows, you can find a feature called “optimize Windows networking to maximize VPN speed.” This optimizes the default network settings on Windows 7 and 8 for modern download speeds.

Streaming Servers

In contrast to other VPN services, ExpressVPN doesn’t use dedicated streaming servers. Instead, streaming simply works on all VPN servers.

P2P Servers

In contrast to other VPN services, ExpressVPN doesn’t use dedicated P2P servers. Instead, torrenting simply works on all VPN servers.

Dedicated IP Servers

ExpressVPN doesn’t have servers with a dedicated IP address, also known as a static IP address. By contrast, NordVPN does offer dedicated IP servers. And CyberGhost even offers you the option to buy a unique IP address that only you will use.

Tor Compatibility

ExpressVPN works with Tor (The Onion Router). So simply connect to the VPN server first and open the Tor browser afterward.

For those who don’t know, Tor is a unique browser that allows you to access the dark web via the Onion Network. Whistleblowers and activists frequently use it to add an extra layer of anonymity to their digital world.

Streaming Test: Is ExpressVPN good for streaming?

Streaming: Is ExpressVPN good for streaming?

ExpressVPN is a perfect VPN for streaming. It works will all major streaming platforms, including Netflix (in many countries), Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Hulu, HBO Max, and Apple TV.

Does ExpressVPN work with Netflix?

Yes, ExpressVPN works with Netflix. We were able to unblock local Netflix shows on a wide range of VPN servers, including those in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, the UK, and the US.

In contrast to CyberGhost, ExpressVPN does not use dedicated streaming servers. Instead, you can access the streaming services on the VPN servers. ExpressVPN actively monitors its IP addresses; if Netflix blocks one, it replaces it.

So if you encounter a Netflix proxy error, switch the server. In most cases, this solves the problem instantly.

Does ExpressVPN work with Amazon Prime Video?

Yes, ExpressVPN works with Amazon Prime Video.

Does ExpressVPN work with Disney+?

Yes, ExpressVPN works with Disney+.

Does ExpressVPN work with Hulu?

Yes, ExpressVPN works with Hulu.

Does ExpressVPN work with HBO Max?

Yes, ExpressVPN works with HBO Max.

Does ExpressVPN work with Apple TV?

Yes, ExpressVPN works with Apple TV.

Speed test: How fast is ExpressVPN?

Speed test: How fast is ExpressVPN?

ExpressVPN is lightning-fast. Both on the OpenVPN and Lightway protocols, it causes a download speed slowdown of less than 5%. That is in line with the absolute fastest VPNs.

But what impressed us most, is the time it takes to connect to a VPN server. Via ExpressVPN’s Lightway protocol, the connection feels instant. That might sound trivial, but it’s actually really impressive.

No other VPN service connects as quickly as ExpressVPN. It’s what gives ExpressVPN its premium feel.

How do we run a speed test?

Unless you have a 1 Gbps (Gigabyte per second) internet connection, you’ll never be able to test the speed limits of a VPN service. This is because the connections to their server parks allow for far higher download speeds than the Wi-Fi network at your office or home does.

Instead, you can test the slowdown caused by routing your data through the encrypted VPN tunnel. And depending on the VPN technology and protocol used, this slowdown can be limited or severe. We have done exactly that from a WeWork in Cologne, Germany.

  • We tested our internet download speed 3 times on SpeedTest.net. Then averaged the results to get our base speed. We usually also test on Fast.com, but ExpressVPN seems to block this website.
  • We then connected to a local VPN server and repeated the test on every protocol: OpenVPN (UDP), OpenVPN (TCP), NordLynx, and IKEv2.

These are the results, ordered by download speed:

Lightway (UDP)

  • Download speed without a VPN connection: 158.7 Mbps
  • Download speed on a local VPN connection: 152.3 Mbps
  • Slowdown: 4.0%

OpenVPN (UDP)

  • Download speed without a VPN connection: 158.7 Mbps
  • Download speed on a local VPN connection: 151.3 Mbps
  • Slowdown: 4.6%

Lightway (TCP)

  • Download speed without a VPN connection: 158.7 Mbps
  • Download speed on a local VPN connection: 140.0 Mbps
  • Slowdown: 11.8%

OpenVPN (TCP)

  • Download speed without a VPN connection: 158.7 Mbps
  • Download speed on a local VPN connection: 138.3 Mbps
  • Slowdown: 12.8%

IKEv2

  • Download speed without a VPN connection: 158.7 Mbps
  • Download speed on a local VPN connection: 134.7 Mbps
  • Slowdown: 15.1%

Conclusions of the ExpressVPN speed test

ExpressVPN is ultra-fast VPN. Just like NordVPN, it causes less than a 5% slowdown in the download speed, which we consider the gold standard.

But the download speed doesn’t tell the whole story. Thanks to the Lightway protocol, ExpressVPN’s connection time to the server feels instant. You click connect and it simply works.

That might sound trivial. But we haven’t experienced that at any other VPN service. The WireGuard, OpenVPN, and IKEv2 protocols aren’t optimized similarly. So they take longer to connect.

This gives ExpressVPN a premium and trustworthy feel. Is it worth paying double for, compared to the other VPN services? Only you can decide. But it certainly works beautifully.

Leak test: How secure is ExpressVPN?

Leak test: How secure is ExpressVPN?

ExpressVPN is perfectly secure. It did not leak any data in our IP, DNS, and WebRTC leak test. And it even has an IPv6 leak protection feature built into its Windows app.

What is an IP leak?

When you surf the web via a secure VPN connection, the websites and apps you visit should see the VPN server’s IP address rather than your own. This is what makes you anonymous online. However, sometimes your originating IP address can be leaked.

This could happen because the VPN provider doesn’t use its own DNS servers or because of a WebRTC leak in your browser.

We tested for potential IP, DNS, and WebRTC leaks via browserleaks.com. Our originating IP was from Cologne, Germany. And our VPN server was located in the Netherlands. So whenever the test results showed a Dutch IP address (see the image above), ExpressVPN had no leaks.

These were the results:

IP leak test

ExpressVPN did not leak our IP address in the IP leak test.

DNS leak test

ExpressVPN did not leak our IP address in the DNS leak test.

WebRTC leak test

ExpressVPN did not leak our IP address in the WebRTC leak test.

Price comparison: How much is ExpressVPN?

Price comparison: How much is ExpressVPN?

ExpressVPN costs $ 8.32 per month in a one-year contract. Which makes it the most expensive VPN. It costs twice as much as its core competitors, including CyberGhost, Surfshark, and NordVPN

To be fair, ExpressVPN uses premium privacy technology, both on the hardware and software side. It has RAM servers across its entire network, and its Lightway protocol connects much faster than other VPN protocols.

But is an ExpressVPN subscription worth the price? Only you can decide. If you’re not sure, we recommend checking out NordVPN. It is equally advanced, looks even better, and is significantly more affordable.

Price comparison

In the table below, you can compare ExpressVPN’s prices to its most important competitors in USD. We chose to show the yearly price rather than the monthly price, which we believe is more helpful to most people. We ranked the VPN on the lower 1-year price.

These prices change over time and sometimes vary from country to country. So we always recommend visiting NordVPN to see the latest price in your region.

Payment methods

ExpressVPN accepts a wide range of payment methods, including Credit Card, Bitcoin, PayPal, AliPay, Sofort, iDeal, Klarna, GiroPay, and more.

CyberGhost
Surfshark
IPVanish
NordVPN
Hotspot Shield
ExpressVPN
For 1 Year
$47.64
$47.88
$47.89
$59.88
$95.88
$99.84
ExpressVPN for Windows review (2023)

ExpressVPN for Windows review (2023)

ExpressVPN is one of the very best VPNs for Windows. Thanks to its hardware (RAM servers) and software (Lightway), it’s exceptionally secure. But in terms of design and bonus features, it falls behind its main competitor, NordVPN.

Design

ExpressVPN looks good. It’s a very functional VPN that centers around the connect button. Especially when using its custom Lightway VPN protocol, connection times are nearly instant, which gives ExpressVPN its signature premium feel.

That said, it can’t compete with the design of NordVPN. Especially in dark mode, NordVPN looks much cooler. Of course, one could argue that the design of a VPN matter less than the functionality. But at ExpressVPN’s price, it could look a bit sexier.

Features

ExpressVPN uses very impressive technology. Thanks to its RAM-only servers and custom VPN protocol, it is a privacy fortress. On top of that, it includes critical security features, including a kill switch and split tunneling.

However, it is less feature-rich than its main competitor, NordVPN, which offers lots of extras like Double VPN Servers, Onion over VPN Servers, Dedicated IP Servers, Meshnet, and a Dark Web Monitor.

ExpressVPN is starting to catch up a little bit, thanks to the introduction of the password manager for Google Chrome. But NordVPN is still miles ahead when it comes to bonus features.

Below, we’ll list the various features available on Windows, with a short description. For more details, visit the “features” section of this review.

  • Servers in 94 countries: 46 have physical servers. 48 have virtual servers.
  • TrustedServer technology: RAM servers that delete all data upon reboot.
  • Lightway VPN protocol: A custom protocol that connects instantly.
  • Auto-launch: Automatically start ExpressVPN when Windows starts.
  • Auto-connect: Automatically connect ExpressVPN when it starts.
  • Network lock kill switch: Stop all traffic when the VPN disconnects.
  • Split tunneling: Choose which apps go through the VPN tunnel.
  • Protocol selection: Select Lightway, OpenVPN, IKEv2, or L2TP/IPsec.
  • IPv6 leak protection: Prevent your IPv6 address from detection.
  • Optimize Windows speed: Set optimal settings on Windows 7 and 8.

We believe that ExpressVPN is one of the best VPNs for Windows.

ExpressVPN for Mac review (2023)

ExpressVPN for Mac review (2023)

ExpressVPN is an excellent VPN for Mac. It applies the best security technology, including RAM servers, the custom Lightway protocol, and various bonus features like auto-connect and a kill switch. But in terms of design and extras, it has started to fall behind NordVPN.

Design

ExpressVPN looks good. It’s a functional VPN that centers around the connect button. Thanks to its custom Lightway VPN protocol, connection times are nearly instant, which gives ExpressVPN its signature premium feel.

But as on Windows, it can’t compete with the design of NordVPN. Especially in dark mode, NordVPN looks much cooler.

Features

ExpressVPN uses impressive technology. Thanks to its RAM servers and Lightway protocol, it is highly secure. It also includes a kill switch on Mac but not the split tunneling feature available on Windows.

However, it is less feature-rich than its main competitor, NordVPN, which offers lots of extras like Double VPN Servers, Onion over VPN Servers, Dedicated IP Servers, Meshnet, and a Dark Web Monitor.

ExpressVPN is starting to catch up a little, thanks to the introduction of Threat Protection on Mac and the password manager for Google Chrome. But NordVPN is still miles ahead when it comes to bonus features.

Below, we’ll list the various features available on Mac, with a short description. For more details, visit the “features” section of this review.

  • Servers in 94 countries: 46 have physical servers. 48 have virtual servers.
  • TrustedServer technology: RAM servers that delete all data upon reboot.
  • Lightway VPN protocol: A custom protocol that connects instantly.
  • Auto-launch: Automatically start ExpressVPN when Windows starts.
  • Auto-connect: Automatically connect ExpressVPN when it starts.
  • Network lock kill switch: Stop all traffic when the VPN disconnects.
  • Protocol selection: Select Lightway, OpenVPN, or IKEv2.
  • Threat protection: Block trackers and malicious websites at the DNS level.
  • IPv6 leak protection: Prevent your IPv6 address from detection.

We believe that ExpressVPN is one of the best VPNs for Mac.

ExpressVPN for Android review (2023)

ExpressVPN for Android review (2023)

ExpressVPN for Android is excellent. The design is functional and elegant, and it includes a fully-integrated password manager, a kill switch, and split tunneling. It’s an outstanding VPN service for your smartphone.

Design

ExpressVPN’s android app looks good. It’s functional and centers around the connect button. Thanks to its custom Lightway VPN protocol, connection times are nearly instant, which gives ExpressVPN its signature premium feel.

Although we prefer NordVPN’s design on Windows and Mac, the world map view offers fewer benefits on Android devices due to the smaller screen size. So on smartphones, we consider the two premium VPNs equal.

Features

ExpressVPN uses impressive technology. Thanks to its RAM servers and Lightway protocol, it is highly secure.

However, it is less feature-rich than its main competitor, NordVPN, which offers many extras on Android, like Double VPN Servers, P2P Servers, Threat Protection, Meshnet, and a Dark Web Monitor.

However, one advantage of ExpressVPN is the fully-integrated password manager called ExpressVPN Keys. At NordVPN, you can opt to buy its password manager NordPass, but it will come as a stand-alone app.

If you aren’t already using a password manager, we highly recommend doing so. We consider antivirus software, a VPN service, and a password manager the three building blocks of consumer cybersecurity.

Below, we’ll list the various features available on Android, with a short description. For more details, visit the “features” section of this review.

  • Servers in 94 countries: 46 have physical servers. 48 have virtual servers.
  • TrustedServer technology: RAM servers that delete all data upon reboot.
  • Lightway VPN protocol: A custom protocol that connects instantly.
  • ExpressVPN Keys: The password manager is fully integrated into the app.
  • Auto-connect: Automatically connect on untrusted Wi-Fi networks.
  • Network protection kill switch: Stop all traffic when the VPN disconnects.
  • Split tunneling: Choose which apps go through the VPN tunnel.
  • Protocol selection: Select Lightway or OpenVPN.

We believe that ExpressVPN is one of the best VPNs for Android.

ExpressVPN for iOS review (2023)

ExpressVPN for iOS review (2023)

ExpressVPN for iOS is excellent. The functional design is elegant, and it includes a fully-integrated password manager, a kill switch, and threat protection. It’s a really great VPN service for your iPhone or iPad.

Design

ExpressVPN’s iOS app looks good. It’s functional and centers around the connect button. Thanks to its custom Lightway VPN protocol, connection times are nearly instant, which gives ExpressVPN its signature premium feel.

Although we prefer NordVPN’s design on Windows and Mac, the world map view offers fewer benefits on iOS devices due to the smaller screen size. So on smartphones, we consider the two equals.

Features

A similar story can be told concerning the features available on iOS. Apple is quite restrictive regarding security features on its mobile operating system, so both NordVPN and ExpressVPN aren’t as feature-rich on iOS as on other operating systems.

However, one advantage of ExpressVPN is the fully-integrated password manager, called ExpressVPN Keys. At NordVPN, you can opt to buy its password manager NordPass, but it will come as a stand-alone app.

If you aren’t already using a password manager, we highly recommend doing so. We consider antivirus software, a VPN service, and a password manager the three building blocks of consumer cybersecurity.

Below, we’ll list the various features available on iOS, with a short description. For more details, visit the “features” section of this review.

  • Servers in 94 countries: 46 have physical servers. 48 have virtual servers.
  • TrustedServer technology: RAM servers that delete all data upon reboot.
  • Lightway VPN protocol: A custom protocol that connects instantly.
  • ExpressVPN Keys: The password manager is fully integrated into the app.
  • Network lock kill switch: Stop all traffic when the VPN disconnects.
  • Protocol selection: Select Lightway or IKEv2.
  • Threat protection: Block trackers and malicious websites at the DNS level.

We believe that ExpressVPN is one of the best VPNs for iOS.

ExpressVPN on other devices

ExpressVPN works with just about every device. You can download it for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Fire TV, Android TV, and Chromebook. Just keep in mind that on Linux, there is no app. Instead, you’ll have to work through the terminal.

And if you want to protect all devices in your home or business, you can consider installing ExpressVPN on your router. The company recently released its very own router, called ExpressVPN AirCove.

ExpressVPN for Linux

ExpressVPN doesn’t have an app for Linux. Instead, you will have to work through the terminal. From there, you can also choose the server, activate the kill switch, and apply auto-connect. You can download ExpressVPN for:

  • Ubuntu 64-bit
  • Ubuntu 32-bit
  • Fedora 64-bit
  • Fedora 32-bit
  • Arch 64-bit
  • Raspberry Pi OS

ExpressVPN’s browser extensions

The browser extensions for Brave, Chrome, Firefox, and Vivaldi are remote controls for the main ExpressVPN app. So when you choose a different ExpressVPN server in the browser extension, it is also adjusted in the app.

This differs from other VPN providers, like NordVPN and CyberGhost, which use VPN proxies in the browsers. These standalone VPNs encrypt the traffic flowing through your browser but nothing else.

Each method has advantages, and one isn’t better than the other. However, what is special about ExpressVPN’s extensions is that they spoof the HTML5 location and force websites to use the secure HTTPS version.

Note: There is no ExpressVPN extension for Microsoft Edge. Instead, you can download the Chrome extension from the Chrome Web Store.

ExpressVPN for Routers

The easiest way to protect all the IoT devices in your home or business is to install ExpressVPN on your router. Then, you’ll never have to think about connecting to the VPN; all your devices are automatically protected.

With ExpressVPN’s Device Groups feature, you can group your devices into up to 5 groups and select a separate VPN server for each group. For instance, your gaming devices can connect to a local server, but your entertainment devices connect to a US server for Netflix content.

All of this is manageable from ExpressVPN’s dedicated router website. It might sound tricky, but once your router is set up, it is very straightforward.

For US customers, ExpressVPN has recently launched its own router, ExpressVPN AirCove. You can buy it at Amazon.

But if you already have a router, you can also install ExpressVPN on it. The following routers can be controlled by ExpressVPN’s app:

  • ExpressVPN AirCove AX1800
  • Linksys WRT1200AC
  • Linksys WRT1900ACS
  • Linksys WRT1900AC 13J1
  • Linksys WRT1900AC 13J2
  • Linksys WRT3200ACM
  • Linksys WRT32X
  • Linksys EA6200
  • Asus RT-AC56R
  • Asus RT-AC56S
  • Asus RT-AC56U
  • Asus RT-AC68Uv3
  • Asus RT-AC87U
  • Netgear Nighthawk R7000
  • Netgear R6300v2
  • Netgear R6400v2
  • Netgear Nighthawk R6700v3
  • Netgear Nighthawk R7000P

But you can also download firmware for various Asus, Merlin, D-Link, Netduma, Sabai, and TP-Link routers from ExpressVPN’s website.

ExpressVPN for everything else

ExpressVPN works with many more devices:

  • Fire TV and Kindle Fire with an app.
  • Android TV and Android TV boxes with an app.
  • Chromebook with an app.
  • Playstation with MediaStreamer (configure the DNS IP address).
  • Xbox with MediaStreamer (configure the DNS IP address).
  • Apple TV via iTunes location and the DNS settings.

You can find easy setup instructions for each in your ExpressVPN account.

ExpressVPN customer support

ExpressVPN has a very extensive online library of tutorials and videos for just about any question you could have. Alternatively, you can also connect with their 24/7 LiveChat support, which is polite and knowledgeable.

ExpressVPN TrustPilot reviews

There are more than 12.000 user reviews about ExpressVPN on TrustPilot. The average rating of these reviews is an impressive 4.7 out of 5.0.

Among the positive ExpressVPN reviews on TrustPilot, you’ll read about:

  • The fact that ExpressVPN “simply works.”
  • The fast and reliable download speeds.
  • The friendly and effective customer support team.

Among the negative ExpressVPN reviews on TrustPilot, you’ll read about:

  • The price, which is twice as high as the competition.
  • The complex cancelation and 30-day refund process.

Overall, most ExpressVPN users seem to have had a great experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are the most frequently asked questions about ExpressVPN.

What is ExpressVPN?

ExpressVPN is one of the leading VPN providers. It helps users restore their online privacy and security with easy-to-use and beautifully-designed apps.

Is ExpressVPN free?

ExpressVPN is not for free. It is a paid VPN service that starts at $ 8.32 per month if you sign-up for a one-year contract.

Is ExpressVPN safe?

ExpressVPN is incredibly safe. It uses excellent privacy technology, like AES-256 encryption and the Lightway protocol, and regularly goes through independent security audits.

Is ExpressVPN worth it?

We’re not sure. ExpressVPN is a great VPN, but also much more expensive than its competition. We believe that NordVPN offers better value for money.

How to use ExpressVPN?

ExpressVPN is very simple to use. Pay for the service, download the app, and click connect. That is all it takes to restore your privacy online.

How does ExpressVPN work?

ExpressVPN encrypts your internet connection and hides your IP address, which makes you anonymous online. It does this by routing your data through a VPN server before it reaches the web.

On how many devices can you install ExpressVPN?

You can install ExpressVPN on 5 devices at the same time. And if you install ExpressVPN on your router, you can protect an unlimited number of devices as long as they access the internet via the router.

How much is ExpressVPN per month?

ExpressVPN costs $ 8.32 per month in a one-year contract, $ 9.99 per month in a 6-months contract, and $ 12.95 per month in a one-month contract.

Does ExpressVPN slow down internet speed?

Yes. Like every VPN, ExpressVPN slows down your internet speed. However, when we connected to a local server via the Lightway (UDP) protocol, that slowdown was only a few percent.

Does ExpressVPN sell your data?

No, ExpressVPN does not track what you do online. Therefore, it also has no data to sell.

Author: Tibor Moes

Author: Tibor Moes

Founder & Chief Editor at SoftwareLab

Tibor is a Dutch engineer and entrepreneur. He has tested security software since 2014.

Over the years, he has tested most leading antivirus software for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS, as well as many VPN providers.

He uses Norton to protect his devices, CyberGhost for his privacy, and Dashlane for his passwords.

This website is hosted on a Digital Ocean server via Cloudways and is built with DIVI on WordPress.

You can find him on LinkedIn or contact him here.