In a nutshell: ExpressVPN justifies its high prices with sophisticated technology and a worldwide server network. Especially the streaming capability is impressive. If the costs don’t scare you off, you’ll get an excellent VPN all-rounder here. Read more in the detailed review of VPN Comparison.
- Very mature apps
- Top for streaming services
- High surfing speed
- Extensive server network in many countries
- Split tunneling function
- Pay via Bitcoin (read more)
- High price
- Apps without ad blocker
- Linux app for command line only
ExpressVPN is an industry veteran among commercial VPN providers and is one of the largest services on the market. In terms of price, the provider is on the upper shelf, but wants to convince with stable apps and VPN servers in many countries in return. Our review of ExpressVPN shows whether it succeeds in this.
ExpressVPN operates around 3,000 VPN servers at 160 VPN server locations in 94 countries. In our comparison field, ExpressVPN thus offers the most country locations.
ExpressVPN does not designate special servers for certain applications such as file sharing or streaming; the provider allows the use of Bittrorrent and Co. on all servers.
A special feature of ExpressVPN’s server structure is that the servers load their software completely into RAM, hard disks are not used. This means that the servers cannot persistently record data, which is supposed to increase data protection. ExpressVPN calls this solution TrustedServer. A video explains the security approach.
Speed and streaming capability
No other provider impressed us as much as ExpressVPN when we tested it with German and international streaming providers. Whether US Netflix, the British BBC or even the German Sky program, all streaming offers can be unblocked with ExpressVPN without any problems.
Even the VPN hard case Amazon Prime Video works with ExpressVPN. As the only provider in the comparison, we can access not only the German, but also the US program of Amazon.
Bypassing geo-blocks is not welcomed by streaming providers and is done at your own responsibility. Even if we are not aware of any corresponding cases, Netflix and Co. could block corresponding customer accounts. Regardless of this, it can happen that the connection does not work, at least temporarily. Many content providers try to block VPN servers, but the VPN providers usually respond with new servers and IP addresses.
When it comes to browsing speed, ExpressVPN lives up to its name. If we connect to a nearby server, the download rates drop by less than five percent. The performance is truly impressive for connections to the USA. A detour of several thousand kilometers takes less than 50 percent of the bandwidth – other providers cost considerably more speed.
Apps and technology
Express VPN fully lives up to its premium claim when it comes to the app selection. The programs for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS function stably and reliably, and they are easy to use. Linux users, however, have to resort to the command line, just like the competition.
There are also native ExpressVPN apps for Android TV and Amazon’s Fire TV, which, for example, bring US Netflix directly to the TV. The provider also provides good instructions for bringing the service to routers or via DNS switching to devices like Apple TV.
We like the speed test integrated into the desktop apps, which determines the current bandwidth to the respective servers. The results of the test coincided with our own measurements.
ExpressVPN speed test
A very useful feature is the optional split tunneling of the Windows and Mac version. The function makes it possible to automatically disable the VPN connection for certain programs. This allows you to work with a separate browser under your real IP address, for example. However, there is no system-wide ad blocker.
In terms of encryption and protocols, ExpressVPN is up to date. The VPN connections run via the OpenVPN protocol with high encryption by default. Internally, tests for the introduction of Wireguard are already running, but the modern protocol was not yet available at the time of testing. The ExpressVPN apps pass the various browser leak tests, which allow drawing conclusions about the real IP address of the users, with flying colors across all platforms.
Privacy and data protection
Like competitor Surfshark, ExpressVPN is headquartered in the privacy-friendly jurisdiction of the British Virgin Islands. In terms of privacy, Express VPN is exemplary. Although the company keeps records of some points, such as the connection duration and the traffic generated, it communicates this transparently.
Similar to NordVPN, ExpressVPN regularly has its security statements verified by external companies. The last such security audit took place in February 2020.
Express VPN is the most expensive provider in our test field. Even the monthly subscription is quite expensive at around 13 Euros. Even with a longer commitment, the price only drops slightly to around 10 Euros (6 months) or approx. 8.30 Euros (12 months) per month. The industry-standard high discounts for a long commitment are therefore not applicable for Express VPN. The subscriptions allow five parallel connections, there is no device or traffic limit.
The provider allows a 30-day money-back guarantee for all subscriptions. If you subscribe to the provider via an iPhone or iPad, you can try it for free for 7 days. Unfortunately, this option is not available on the other platforms.
In everyday surfing, the good technical impression of ExpressVPN continues. Regardless of the server location used, we only very rarely encountered annoying captcha requests or even completely blocked websites when the VPN was activated.
ExpressVPN provides a few tools on its homepage to check the VPN’s function, such as a WebRTC leaktest, the determination of the own IP address. There is also a password generator that is supposed to generate more secure passwords. ExpressVPN focuses on its core business. There are currently no add-on features like a password manager or similar.
Overall, ExpressVPN leaves an excellent impression in the test despite the comparatively high monthly costs. Of the tested VPN services, ExpressVPN made the most stable impression in practice, and the almost optimal streaming coverage is also convincing. Have you already tried ExpressVPN or do you rely on another VPN provider? Tell us about your experiences in the comments.