ExpressVPN is highly regarded as one of the top VPNs and offers everything you could want from a virtual private network. It supports torrenting and media streaming, protects your online privacy, works on multiple devices, and features a clear logging policy.
Should you use ExpressVPN? Let’s look at what it has to offer as a VPN.
Why Choose ExpressVPN?
It’s common for VPNs to offer a wealth of features and options for their subscribers. However, ExpressVPN is absolutely packed with features, offering perhaps the widest selection of key selling points in the VPN sector.
Here are some of the highlights:
- 3,000+ VPN servers in 160 server locations, across 94 countries
- AES-256 data encryption for your internet activity
- Anonymous browsing
- Unlimited streaming—no limits to interrupt streaming or downloading
- Unblock websites, circumvent region blocking, avoid censorship, etc.
- IP hiding to enhance online privacy
- Kill switch for secure connections if the server is unreachable
- Support for five simultaneous connections using one subscription
- Apps for most desktop and mobile platforms
- Manual setup as an alternative
- MediaStreamer DNS
- No logging: no activity logs, no connection logs, no sensitive information.
- 24/7 customer support
ExpressVPN also offers features that are more interesting to advanced VPN users, including:
- Support for OpenVPN
- Support for L2TP/IPSec, as well as PPTP on some servers
- Split tunneling to specify apps that can access the internet without encryption
- DNS Leak protection
TrustedServer Technology Running on RAM
DDoS attacks are one of the biggest threats to VPN services. Distributed Denial of Service incidents can knock a server offline, making it vulnerable to attack. ExpressVPN has tackled this and other threats by making its servers disk-only.
Dubbed TrustedServer Technology, this means that the company’s servers run without any form of local disk. Instead, servers run on RAM only. This limits the opportunities for hackers—when the server powers off, data on the machine is deleted.
ExpressVPN knows what software is running on each server; this minimizes the risk of a misconfigured server, avoids vulnerabilities, and improves VPN security.
Its servers have been independently audited by PwC—its audit report of ExpressVPN is available online.
How Much Is an ExpressVPN Subscription?
ExpressVPN is available with a monthly subscription. This differs based on how much you pay up front.
For example, a $12.95 monthly subscription will set you back $155.40 over the course of a year, whereas paying in advance is just $99.95, a 35 percent savings (working out at $8.32 a month). ExpressVPN also offers a six-monthly billing option at $59.95. This works out to $9.99 a month.
But you have a better opportunity: when you use our special ExpressVPN link for MakeUseOf readers, you can sign up for the one-year package, plus three free months, at just $6.67 per month. This is a 49 percent savings over the regular price!
To pay for ExpressVPN, you can use traditional credit cards, PayPal, AliPay, Yandex, and others. For added privacy, ExpressVPN also accepts Bitcoin as a payment type. All plans are fully refundable for 30 days.
Different Ways to Use ExpressVPN
Like any VPN, ExpressVPN encrypts the data leaving your computer, allowing you to access the internet via a remote server. So long as you’re not signed into an account (like Google or Facebook) then your activity remains private.
ExpressVPN offers a flexible, versatile VPN service. As well as unlocking region-blocked video streams and encrypting your data (perfect for open Wi-Fi), it supports torrenting and online gaming.
You can also overcome government censorship using a VPN to access websites restricted by oppressive regimes. ExpressVPN also supports Tor, enabling the most secure internet access available. Simply connect with a VPN, then launch the Tor browser; ExpressVPN has a specific .onion page that you can open in Tor.
Meanwhile, anonymous shopping could help you save money, defeating price differences when shopping online. Check out our list of the reasons to use a VPN —all of these are achievable using ExpressVPN.
Is ExpressVPN Fast?
Speed is a key requirement for VPNs. No one wants to wait around for data to arrive, streaming to buffer, or webpages to open. We checked how fast ExpressVPN is with an independent speed testing website.
First is the baseline. We recorded this at 9:32am on March 30, 2020, using Speedtest.net. The connection was to a Vox Telecom server in London.
- Ping: 14ms
- Download: 30.12Mbps
- Upload: 11.62Mbps
This target server was around 60 miles away.
With ExpressVPN enabled and connected to a server in East London, we then re-ran Speedtest on the same server:
- Ping: 15ms
- Download: 27.93Mbps
- Upload: 10.77Mbps
As you can see, the results are close. Note that the speed test took place during the UK’s COVID-19 shutdown, which was likely a factor.
ExpressVPN does not seem to have any considerable slowing effect on internet traffic. A decrease of 5Mbps or more would be concerning; in high internet traffic, however, these results are good.
Get ExpressVPN on Your Device
Whatever devices you use at home or carry with you, they likely have an app available for ExpressVPN. These apps and browser extensions are available in over 17 languages on the following platforms:
- Linux (this is a command line app)
- Android (and Amazon Fire tablets)
The desktop and mobile apps feature settings menus for altering how the VPN software works. For example, you can switch protocols (this happens automatically when required, however) and enable split tunneling in the apps.
ExpressVPN also provides browser plugins for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. Note that these will only encrypt browser traffic, however.
Additionally, ExpressVPN offers apps for these media devices:
- Apple TV
- Amazon Fire TV
There’s also the MediaStreamer option, which provides fast DNS servers for streaming media. Note that this option doesn’t encrypt data, however.
ExpressVPN also supports installation on routers (typically with DD-WRT or Tomato router firmware installed). See how to set up a VPN on your router for info on this. To go even further, you can also configure smart home devices to access the internet securely via ExpressVPN.
Is ExpressVPN Private? Does It Keep Logs?
One of the most important challenges for VPN services is to ensure high levels of privacy. ExpressVPN explicitly states its logging policy:
No logging: no activity logs, no connection logs, no sensitive information
At face value, this suggests it retains no activity data. Further investigation of ExpressVPN reveals that it does not log IP addresses of the source user, browsing history, traffic destination or associated metadata, or DNS queries.
However, ExpressVPN does collect:
- Installed apps and versions
- Dates of VPN connections
- Server location choice
- Total data transferred daily
This data is non-identifiable, however. It’s collected to troubleshoot app problems, provide tech support, and identify issues.
ExpressVPN supports digital rights, declaring itself an advocate of digital freedom. To this end, it supports the Electronic Frontier Foundation and other digital privacy advocacy groups.
Perhaps most importantly, ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands. This region has no data retention laws to comply with. While other VPNs are under the auspices of the Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes international security service observation networks, ExpressVPN is not.
ExpressVPN: The Best VPN Around
With a focus on privacy, support for every device, and unlimited data, ExpressVPN is a number-one VPN choice.
It’s fast, supports torrenting, averts geoblocking, beats censorship, collects almost no data, anonymizes your internet activity, and provides over 3,000 VPN servers in 160 locations across in 94 countries. And if you ever have questions, you can rely on its best-in-class 24/7 live chat support.
While not the cheapest VPN, ExpressVPN offers the best value and is packed with superior features, making it our top choice for a VPN. Remember: MakeUseOf readers can save on an ExpressVPN subscription with 49 percent off the usual price!
ExpressVPN tops our list of the best VPNs —and deservedly so.
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