ExpressVPN Review 2015
- Security and Privacy
- Device Support & Compatibility
- Customer Support
- Speed & Performance
Here is my ExpressVPN Review.
ExpressVPN has been in the VPN service provider space since 2009. They are based in California, but have servers across the States and in many European and Asian nations as well.
ExpressVPN is a good all-round choice of provider with a number of features and options that make it a good choice for both individuals or even small businesses.
ExpressVPN offers unlimited bandwidth across pretty much every platform you might want to use. It isn’t the cheapest VPN service but certainly isn’t expensive.
ExpressVPN offer all of their services in a bundled package with a simple price structure. As a result, you get to enjoy the entire range of services without having to pay extra for added features or functions.
They offer a 30-day money back guarantee in lieu of a free trial so you can try out their services risk free, and if not satisfied during this period, you can cancel.
Security and Privacy
ExpressVPN offers multiple VPN protocols including OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP, SSTP and IPsec.
It uses this robust tech to ensure your privacy and your security. However, not all protocols are on every platform. This is not uncommon across the VPN industry, and iOS for example generally uses PPTP, which is just fine for streaming but shouldn’t be relied on for security.
If you aren’t sure about the different protocols consider this:
Users wanting maximum speed use Point-to-Point-Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) as it has a minimal effect on Internet speed.
Those concerned about privacy and security should use at a minimum Layer-to-Tunneling Protocol (L2TP), Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol (SSTP) and Secure Shell (SSH) etc.
OpenVPN is generally considered to be currently uncrackable, but the higher the encryption the more prominent the impact on speed. That said, use the protocol most suited to your required purpose and the impact will be far less noticeable i.e. Open VPN for general browsing, PPTP for streaming.
Express VPN is officially located in the British Virgin Islands which affords it more control over its and your data. Read “Does not fall under US data retention rules”. Bonus. As a contributing member of the EFF, its also good to know that they genuinely care about not just your privacy but everyone’s privacy.
OS, Device Support
As with most providers worth their salt, ExpressVPN offers a range of software for a most popular platforms. This include Windows, Linux and OSX, as well as mobile platforms Android and iOS.
If you have a compatible router, for example a DD-wrt or tomato one, then all of your devices can go through the VPN service.
In short, you should be able to get ExpressVPN to work on any system you have.
The service is easy to use with an intuitive GUI to make finding a VPN server a breeze. In addition, you can use ExpressVPN concurrently on 1 handheld and 1 pc device (unless you are connecting via a DD-wrt router of course!)
For every device there are tutorials on the site to make things clear.
Pricing and Plans
ExpressVPN has a simple pricing structure. There are three pricing packages, and as is common, the longer you sign up for, the cheaper the service is on a month by month basis.
The only potential drawback I could see is that there is unfortunately no trial available. However, you can cancel your first month any time within the 30-day initial period and get a full refund, so I guess this is the same as a traditional trial period.
In addition to using PayPal or any of the major credit cards (American Express, VISA, Discover, MasterCard). you can also pay with crypto currency (BitCoin), aliPay, web money, and many many more!
I mentioned earlier about the lightly higher price, but you should consider that with many VPN providers with lower headline prices, that there are usually a number of add-ons available to purchase during the initial sales ‘funnel’.
This is not the case with ExpressVPN who offer their entire service in a single package. What this means, is that the only choice that you have to make is the length of your subscription.
ExpressVPN offers several ways of contacting them if things go wrong, or you need some help from their industry award-winning customer support team.
You can use
- Online e-mail contact form.
- via their Twitter or Facebook pages
- A remote desktop connection service (last resort normally!)
- Online Chat
However, before contacting support, particularly in relation to set up and features they have a tutorial page too.
One last note, they do claim true 24/7 support but a quick Google search throws that into doubt. Nevertheless, they don’t win awards for nothing so the customer service must be of a higher standard than most even if not quite 24/7.
The ExpressVPN website is simple and clean.
Like with most providers, signing up is very simple and unlike most providers Express VPN requires only an email address ( a valid one!) and a payment method.
Once payment has gone through you receive an email with links to the VPN application for your OS of choice etc
Speed and Performance
VPN will almost always slow you down a little unless you use a server in very close proximity. However, this isn’t necessarily something to be concerned about. For example you may be able to get 60Mbps even with your VPN, but thats of no use if you are just watching Netflix since it can be exceptionally high quality at only 5Mbps.
The issue if any, only arises if there are multiple heavy net users who are all using the VPN connection. This is unlikely though unless you have a router with your VPN installed directly.
Ergo, lets see what the test results yielded for this ExpressVPN Review.
The speed tests were pretty good actually, not the fastest, certainly not the slowest and perfectly good for almost every bandwidth scenario.
Some example speed tests (from speedtest.net) are shown below with all servers using Open VPN 128
USA 21.03Mbps (92ms ping)
USA 19.89Mbps (90ms ping)
UK 37.01Mbps (17ms ping)
UK 28.67Mbps (16ms Ping)
France 25.88Mbps (25ms ping)
Netherlands 26.45Mbps (76ms ping)
Mongolia 1.67Mbps (107ms ping)
I chose some random servers, just to highlight the fact that the further away they are the lower the speed. If I was in Mongolia I’m sure the speed would be much more in line with the local ISP(s)
For the major areas of UK, USA and mainland Europe though, you can see that the speeds would be more than enough to handle online streaming and/or fast downloads.
In terms of the locations of the servers ExpressVPN has a great range.
If you weren’t counting thats 97 cities in 78 countries so not bad!! You would be hard pushed to not find what you needed there!
As you would expect, server switching is free and unlimited. I would never recommend a provider with a limit on this!
When writing reviews about products its always good to compare what other people have said and see if there are any wild differences. Broadly speaking my opinion is in line with most others’ which is “a solid service at a mid price point with a good selection of products and simple pricing”.
One reviewer noted that one downside of this is that there are no options to buy a dedicated IP. I don’t personally see this as a downside as it does add a layer of security. If I were a business then I would perhaps think differently as there may be a requirement to have both a VPN and a static IP. But as an individual I am quite happy to know that my IP is shared with many others!!
So, the ExpressVPN Review Summary
- Dedicated Android and iOS apps
- Huge server choice
- L2TP/IPSec / PPTP / OpenVPN and SSTP protocols
- Fairly in depth guides for most devices
- Easy Setup that works well
- 30 Money Back Guarantee (in lieu of the free trial)
- Only an email required for the account
- Accepts BitCoin
- Simple software
- Live chat assistance
Didn’t like so much
- Not expensive ($8.32pm) but certainly not the cheapest option (not that price is the main issue when securing privacy)
- Seemed to have different logon details for my computer and iPhone. Not really a big deal but over engineered to me! I’m not going to remember both.
There is a reason (or multiple reasons) why Express VPN is so popular, and after looking at the product i am inclined to suggest it is the reliability. I don’t think i had a single server dropped, or a failed connection throughout the whole test. i’ve used a lot of VPNs (although not reviewed them yet!) and there is always one server that doesn’t connect when you try. Not so here!
I would recommend that you give them a go i’d be surprised if they don’t offer something you need and with a 30 day MBG you have nothing to lose.
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