With the current hype around ‘Express VPN’, I’ve been looking forward to reviewing their VPN service for a long time. It is one of the most reviewed VPN providers on the internet averaging a 95% critic rating and is consistently recommended by many security professionals as their ‘go-to’ VPN provider.
There is little public company information available from ‘Express VPN’; nothing about their founder, team size, support team, location etc can be found. Even with the help of my colleagues, the only information we obtained was that ‘Express VPN’ is a small private US company, legally registered in the State of Delaware in 2011, thus making it one of younger VPN providers in the industry.
The company maintains a high level of anonymity about its company offices and internal team workings. Whether this is a positive or a negative is difficult to tell, but this level of secrecy may prove useful if it ever came under scrutiny from authorities.
‘Express VPN’s relatively new entry to the industry means that they haven’t been around long enough to build a large list of VPN locations. However we have noticed that they are adding new locations at a very speedy rate. During the writing of this review their service have already added two new locations and I bet by the time this review is published they would have added a ton more. At the time of this writing they currently offer over 40 countries and support everything from the popular locations for TV streaming (NetFlix, Hulu, iPlayer etc..) to locations safe for torrenting, ( e.g. South Korea and Romania). ‘Express VPN’ offers the same straight forward approach as ‘Hide My Ass’!; you pay one price and get access to all locations.
Upon a careful investigation into their server network, I found that ‘Express VPN’ are carefully selecting server ISPs who are known to be very customer privacy oriented. You will find that none of these server ISPs will reveal any information about their clients, nor would they hand over information to authorities. I haven’t seen this extra attention to detail amongst any other VPN provider and, needless to say, it was very reassuring.
All ‘Express VPN’ servers support an impressive range of encryption protocols; OpenVPN UDP, OpenVPN TCP, L2TP/IPSec, SSTP and PPTP. Check out this guide If you would like to know the differences between different encryption protocols and find which one would best suit you and your needs.
Reviewing the VPN server speeds has never been a straightforward procedure. Those who are experienced with VPN providers know the speed is always dependent on the physical distance between the user and the selected VPN server location. Essentially, the further away a VPN server is from you, the slower you may find your connection speed.
I tested a range of locations, consisting of the most popular (UK and US) to the more obscure (South Korea and Egypt). Their popular locations are heavily supported, meaning they have, on hand, many servers to support the demands.
With lots of people using VPN to stream media this is very important; I tested Netflix HD and iPlayer HD streaming using ‘ExpressVPN’ from a range of connections and never experienced any buffering or lag. When connected to the distanced countries like Egypt, I did experience a reduction in speed. I expect a lot of people would see this as a disadvantage, however you need to reevaluate the main reasons why someone would connect to the lesser known online countries. You would want to connect to these countries to be protected by their laws which have greater protection for their user privacies. This means that you don’t have to worry about government spying or DMCA abuse complaints. This is a benefit that I would happily take over a slight reduction in speed; it is a very small compromise to make for complete VPN anonymity .
Installation & Configuration
I won’t go into detail on installing ‘Express VPN’ as it is as straight forward as installing any other windows application. What will be highlighted is the use and interface of the application.
Hands down, this is one of my favourite VPN clients. The UI is very minimal and allows you to get connected to any country as quickly as possible. A great design feature is the listing of VPN locations by country and not by individual servers- which can be in the thousands. If I wanted to connect to the United Kingdom, I’d want the application to just connect me to the least loaded server and present with any other options. ‘Express VPN’ has executed this task flawlessly: quick VPN connections. Power users who like the additional extras and advanced features may feel a bit underwhelmed here, compared to plethora of extras offered by’ Hide My Ass!’. Luckily, as a consumer you have the choice to decide what is more important to you.
‘Express VPN’ has positioned themselves as a premium VPN provider and are priced higher than most other providers. Even so, you are paying for a product that is all round polished to a high standard. Speed, security and ease of use are core areas of a VPN service, which many providers struggle to maintain. Paying a few dollars more to have a peace of mind with a privacy tool is something I wouldn’t compromise on and why I see ‘Express VPN’ as very good value for money.
The 12 month package with ‘Express VPN’ is the best value for money, pricing the service at $9.99 monthly. If you feel this is maybe too expensive then your other best alternative is ‘Hide My Ass!’ which offers a comparable service but is much cheaper.
As an added selling point, ‘Express VPN’ also offers a 30 day money back guarantee (free trial), which is great if you sign up for their 12 month package and then change your mind. It allows customers a little leeway if they regret their decision, though it is doubtful you will.
‘Express VPN’ have a good customer support team. As mentioned earlier I don’t have numbers on the size of the their support team or even where their support offices are based, but I found my support tickets were responded to, on average, in around an hour, which isn’t bad at all.
They also have a telephone number that seems to push for a call back rather than answer any calls, but that didn’t seem like too major of a issue. Who uses phone support nowadays anyways?
Logging is currently a major concern for many users when picking a VPN provider. I suggest that readers read our article on what logging means in the VPN industry; there is a huge misconception on this and it is important you understand the differences before you pick a provider. Based on our analysis ‘Express VPN’ does not log user activity that could be detrimental to your privacy.
‘Express VPN’ is a great and refreshing experience that provides an all round professional VPN service, setting a very high standard for the VPN industry. The simplicity of their VPN client and high speeds makes ‘Express VPN’ an already strong core product. My personal opinion with the slightly high price is that it justifies the quality of service. You’re unlikely to experience slow speeds and everything is built with attention to detail, meaning that you waste less time trying to get things to work and spend more time doing the things you want behind a VPN.
Express VPN Rating : 4.7 out of 5
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