Anonymous surfing, no network blocks, streaming of country-specific content – anyone who wants to enjoy the full bandwidth of VPN benefits should not make a hasty decision when choosing a VPN provider. Looking at the current VPN rankings, one provider in particular seems to stand out: ExpressVPN.
The service is considered one of the fastest and most secure VPNs currently available on the market. It was founded in 2009, is based in the British Virgin Islands and has multiple audit certifications. It consistently comes out on top in speed tests, and it also works with a special security technology that promises even more privacy and protection. We’ll give you an overview of the most important points you should know about ExpressVPN.
Setup and device configuration
Even complete VPN laymen won’t have any problems with the setup of ExpressVPN. Essentially, the process goes as follows:
- Tariff order: You select one and set up your customer account.
- Client installation: In your customer account you will find all setup files for download as well as practical instructions for device configuration.
- Client activation: During the initial setup, an activation code must be entered, which is stored in your customer account.
- VPN connection: Now you can choose any server location and connect.
A big plus of ExpressVPN is the choice of devices you can equip with the VPN:
- Operating Systems/Devices: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Windows Phone, Amazon Kindle Fire, Chromebook
- Routers: Asus, D-Link, DD-WRT, Linksys, Netduma, Sabai, Tomato, TP-LINK
- Network Storage: ASUSTOR, QNAP, Synology
- Streaming consoles: Smart TV, Amazon Fire TV and Fire Stick, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, PlayStation 4 + 5, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and many more
With an ExpressVPN license, you can install the client on an unlimited number of devices, but you are only allowed to use five devices at a time. It may be easier to install the VPN on a router so that all devices connected to the router are automatically protected. To learn about the benefits of using a VPN for your home network, visit the ExpressVPN website.
If you like minimalist applications, you’ll love ExpressVPN. The client’s interface looks simple but professional, and the operation is almost self-explanatory. Options and settings are clearly presented. The desktop software and the apps are visually relatively similar and, with a few exceptions, in German.
However, it looks different for instructions and the like. Often, only English texts or videos are available, which can be difficult, especially for configurations and technical details. In case of doubt, however, a German-speaking 24/7 support is available to you (live chat).
Data protection is the top priority when using VPNs. A professional VPN service is expected to provide protection against leaks and grant you absolute anonymity. How does ExpressVPN fare with that? The short answer: very good.
An overview of ExpressVPN’s security standards:.
- No activity or connection logs
- Own DNS servers for name resolution
- Industry-leading AES encryption (256-bit)
- Strong VPN protocols, including OpenVPN, IKEv2, and Lightway
- DNS leak protection, WLAN protection
- TrustedServer technology
“TrustedServer” is a fancy term for VPN servers that operate in RAM disk modus. This means that the complete data traffic is not as usual on hard disks, but in memory. The advantage: After each server restart, the data is automatically deleted. ExpressVPN was the first VPN provider to switch to this innovative technology. Anyone who wants to take a closer look can find a extensive explanatory video (English-language) on the ExpressVPN website or on YouTube.
ExpressVPN’s feature set is reasonable. Important VPN features like an emergency switch (kill switch) or bypassing geo-blocking are of course included, which means streaming fans will get their money’s worth. US Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max or even BBC iPlayer can be used without any problems, and no, even if you are “discovered” once, you won’t be threatened with any penalties – just try another server then.
The core functions of ExpressVPN in the overview:
- Network Lock (“Kill Switch”): Emergency switch that blocks all web activity in case the VPN connection drops.
- Split Tunneling: Selectively choose which programs should use a VPN connection and which should not.
- P2P/Torrenting on all servers: File sharing via peer-to-peer connections; as a bittorrent program ExpressVPN recommends uTorrent.
- Anti-geoblocking: Removal of network and country blocking, giving you access to foreign media libraries and live TV.
However, ExpressVPN does not offer additional features such as multi-hop (sending data through multiple VPN servers), dedicated IPs or ad blockers. In addition, it is noticeable that the mobile apps are limited to only the most necessary functions and do not feature a kill switch, for example.
One of the most important points with VPNs is, of course, the choice of servers. At ExpressVPN, you currently get over 160 VPN server locations in 94 countries, including 24 for the US alone. In total, there are more than 3000 servers at your disposal, which makes ExpressVPN one of the largest providers in the VPN market.
Connecting to the server locations is fast and hassle-free. To do so, either select any location from the list or use the automatic connection, which connects you to a preset location (which can of course also be changed).
Bonus: ExpressVPN has a speed test integrated, which measures the latency/ping and average speed of selected servers. By double-clicking, for example, you can connect directly to the fastest server, which is especially handy for online gaming.
ExpressVPN is not the cheapest candidate on the market, but considering the high level of functionality, we think the prices are justified. Three tariffs are offered on the website*:
- 1-month subscription for 12.30 euros/month ($12.95 US)
- 6-month subscription for 9.49 euros/mth. (9.99 US dollars)
- 12-month subscription for 6.34 euros/mth. (6.67 US dollars)
*Stand exchange rate: end of April 2022
Tip: For long-term users, the yearly subscription is particularly attractive: With this you get three months for free, that is, 15 months of VPN protection for the price of 12.
Is there also a trial version?
While ExpressVPN does not offer a free trial, it does offer a 30-day money-back guarantee if you are not satisfied with the service.
Which payment methods are available?
With the offered payment methods you are almost spoiled for choice. In addition to credit card, Paypal and Giropay, you can even pay anonymously with Bitcoin, use the classic SEPA transfer or select one of the many other options.
Advantages and disadvantages at a glance
Advantages of ExpressVPN.
- Premium security
- High speed
- TrustedServer technology
- Large choice of countries and servers
- Comprehensive device support
- Own DNS servers
- Easy to use
- Very good performance
- P2P/Torrent feature
- Split tunneling, kill switch
Disadvantages of ExpressVPN
- More costly than other VPN providers
- Software and instructions only partly available in German
- No dedicated IPs
- No tracking/malware protection function
- Only usable on five devices simultaneously
Summary: How good is ExpressVPN?
ExpressVPN is an ideal VPN service for HD streaming and anonymity on the World Wide Web. It reliably lifts country blocks, offers a huge selection of servers, and protects your privacy with excellent security standards (“TrustedServer”). The setup on the devices is usually very fast, the operation is intuitive and beginner-friendly. We would like to see a few more features, although the scope offered covers all important services. A particularly practical feature: the speed test for servers. However, the top performance of the premium service has its price. ExpressVPN is not the cheapest candidate, but it is one of the best.