Express VPN Review
Billing itself as the “Fastest VPN on Earth” and boasting a strong web presence, Express VPN has garnered mainstream attention from PC Mag and other publications for its high-end performance. While it isn’t the cheapest VPN on the block, the service is reliable and sports SSL secured 256-bit encryption.
About Express VPN
Expressvpn.com is one of the major VPN Providers in the VPN industry, having been in business for several years. They have server locations in 87 countries and continents which include China, Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. Among the brand’s 136 servers you are sure to find one that suits your needs.
The sheer length of time that Express VPN has been in business gives them a certain amount of credibility, but that doesn’t mean that they are immune from the challenges all VPN providers face as some countries like the UAE take a more proactive stance against the use of a VPN. If you are thinking about using Express VPN for the purpose of unblocking restricted content, it pays to contact them first to see if they are still offering server options in a specific region and how those servers are impacted by existing regulations.
Express VPN Speed
The claims made by Express VPN about being the fastest VPN available are hyped. A standard speed test conducted by PC Mag revealed that Express VPN slowed download and upload speeds by a little over 19 percent. That may not seem like a lot but it matters if you use your VPN to stream movies and other media.
It is also worth noting that Express VPN permits the use of P2P and torrents for downloading, so speed will also play a factor there. It’s a tradeoff, really. You’ll get to browse these sites but your downloads will be significantly slower.
It has also been noted by many users that the speed of Express VPN can vary wildly from moment to moment. While this is not uncommon with VPN servers, it is more pronounced with Express VPN.
In short, Express VPN is far from the Fastest VPN on Earth, but if you are simply wanting an added measure of privacy when you browse the service does just fine.
Express VPN Features and Price
There are three options when it comes to purchasing service from Express VPN. You can go month-to-month for $12.95 or purchase six-month and yearly subscriptions. The six-month subscription will cost you $59.95 and the yearly will cost you $99.95. All of the subscription plans are offered with a 30-day money back guarantee.
Something that’s missing is a free trial run. Many VPN providers offer either a 7-day or 14-day free trial to allow you to see if the service will fit your needs. This company could perhaps benefit from doing that, but perhaps they aren’t too keen on new users getting a glimpse of that speed issue we discussed.
You are permitted to have three simultaneous connections, and that is also below the industry standard. Most providers will permit as many as six simultaneous connections and some will even allow you to have as many as you like. This is an important consideration for those who use a lot of mobile connections like smartphones and tablets. Three seems like a lot of devices, but when you add in a laptop and desktop computer that only leaves room for one mobile device.
As mentioned above, Express VPN won’t limit your usage of P2P or torrent sites, but that doesn’t mean your ISP won’t if they know you are using them. The good news is that Express VPN doesn’t keep logs of your browsing activity, so even if there were anything to report it would be impossible for your ISP or others to get the information.
The server locations you will receive are vast, more than enough to handle any geographic restrictions that you are trying to avoid. You may note that Russia is listed as a server location, but be sure to check with Express VPN regarding the latest developments. The current situation in Russia prohibits zero-logging. As with any VPN service, it always pays to check with the provide first before you travel to a specific region to ensure that you will have service when you arrive.
Connecting to Express VPN
No additional software is required to configure Express VPN account to work with Microsoft, Apple, and Linux operating systems. Simply input the credentials into your built-in VPN client and you are good to go. If you require it, the company will provide client software that can be downloaded from its website.
Once you have the VPN configured, connecting is elegant and easy with the Express VPN interface. This is one area where Express VPN scores high marks. Their interface is exceptionally clean and use friendly.
Another thing that we like is the implementation of a Kill Switch. This feature will prohibit apps from connecting to the Internet if your VPN connection is lost. That’s important because many VPN’s won’t even alert you if this happens. You can simply be browsing securely one moment and fully exposed the next.
Express VPN will also allow communication with local devices like printers when the VPN isn’t connected, something that is not always an option with other providers. Four different protocols are supported by this VPN: OpenVPN (TCP, UDP), L2TP-IPsec, SSTP, and PPTP. Some users will like the fact that they can choose the protocol which is offering them the best overall speed. By default, this is also the protocol that the VPN will select if you do not choose.
Express VPN Verdict
On the positive side, there are a few attractive things about Express VPN:
- Among paid providers, this VPN is competitively priced.
- Vast server options offer versatility, especially for the traveler and expat.
A beautiful, user-friendly interface that takes only a second or two to become familiar with.
- P2P and torrent usage is unlimited.
As far as the negatives go, some of them are significant:
- The speed varies
- There is no free trial so that you can give the VPN a test drive, but there is a 30-day money-back guarantee.