In a world filled with VPN providers, it’s not that easy to make the right choice. We took ExpressVPN to the test to see if it lives up to its reputation, which has been built for over 10 years. Is it really efficient? Is it really the fastest VPN provider on the market? Will you be able to take advantage of all its features? Answers in our review on ExpressVPN.
Who is ExpressVPN? How to install it?
ExpressVPN is a VPN provider based in the British Virgin Islands, which was founded in 2009. With more than 10 years of experience, it is today positioned as the true benchmark in the market. Many users present it as the best VPN on the market in 2021 , especially in terms of its speed and security.
We therefore wanted to verify all this and evaluated its application on many criteria. Below in our ExpressVPN review, you will discover its advantages and disadvantages, in complete transparency. Does he deserve his leadership position? This is what we are going to study now.
ExpressVPN Strengths :
- Excellent speed
- Ease of use
- Unblock the Netflix platform
- 24/7/365 customer support
- Wide global coverage (94 countries)
- Many compatible devices
- TrustedServers technology
- Split Tunneling
- Works in all countries of the world
- Only 5 connections at the same time
- Higher pricing than its competitors
How to install your application?
The ExpressVPN app is compatible on a large number of devices. It can not only be installed on computer, tablet and mobile, but also on a router, a game console, or even a Smart TV or an Apple TV. You just have to download the file corresponding to your device from the supplier’s website.
The installation is very intuitive on Mac computers, Windows PCs, iPhone, iPad or other Android mobiles and tablets and it is done in just a few seconds (or minutes). In general, you won’t even need to refer to the installation guide as the various steps are easy to follow.
And when it comes to configuring the software on less traditional devices such as televisions and connected boxes or Wi-Fi routers, simplicity is also at the rendezvous. Even people less comfortable with computers will know how to install it in no time. But just in case, ExpressVPN has full installation tutorials in both video and text format available in its help topic. At this level, our review of ExpressVPN is therefore excellent.
How to use the VPN?
The great strength of the ExpressVPN application is its clean side. Only essential information and commands appear on the interface, which makes it very easy to use. In summary, you will only have to choose a country in its list of locations and then click on the activation button in the middle to establish the connection. The ExpressVPN algorithm will take care of selecting the most suitable server according to their load and your geographic location.
Then wait 2 to 5 seconds before everything turns green. Once it’s done, it’s good, you’re connected and your IP is masked. From then on, you can start browsing completely anonymously.
Once the VPN was installed on our computer, we wanted to test its speed in order to have a really complete opinion on ExpressVPN. A good connection speed is extremely important for smooth daily browsing, but also for streaming, downloading and sharing torrents in P2P.
First of all, it is very important to understand that any VPN will influence your speed, it is inevitable. And for good reason, it adds an extra step between you and the site you want to visit since your traffic is redirected to a remote server. Who says more stages, also says a longer journey, and therefore an increase in response time.
Also, the speed of ExpressVPN will depend very much on your base speed without a VPN. It doesn’t make sense to compare the speed performance of a VPN if it’s not done on the same basic connection. For the performance of our speed test and to get an opinion on ExpressVPN, our basic connection was as follows:
Another essential information to fully understand our speed test, we were based in Dubai during the test. Consequently, the posted speeds for the connection in France and the United States will vary considerably (upwards) if you are in France.
Here are the results we obtained for France:
Unsurprisingly, we see a fairly strong increase in ping or latency, but the download and upload speeds remain very satisfactory. Remember that we are more than 5000 km from Paris. Our opinion on ExpressVPN and its connection speed is therefore very positive.
Since you might be using your VPN to get a US IP address, we also wanted to test the speed when connecting to a server in the US. There, the geographical distance is even more important, and, obviously, this is felt on the performances.
Here are the results of the speed test by repeating the operation with a connection to a server across the Atlantic:
The response time increases even more, which is logical, and we also notice a slight decrease in the speed of download (in upload) and upload (in transfer). Nothing to worry about given that the playback of a video in Ultra HD requires a bitrate of 25 Mb / s and 5Mb / s for a video in HD. You will therefore have no problem viewing videos hosted in the United States.
Overall speed wise ExpressVPN is doing very well and we can recommend it to you. So that’s one more positive point in our ExpressVPN review. Now let’s move on to a second part: streaming. Is it up to the task of unlocking international bookstores? Can I use ExpressVPN to virtually convert my Netflix France subscription to a Netflix USA subscription?
Testing ExpressVPN for Streaming
Let’s continue our review of ExpressVPN with its streaming skills. Whether it’s to change country on the Netflix platform or access French channels when you travel abroad , ExpressVPN provides.
Indeed, we did not encounter the slightest problem during our tests – foreign and national channels combined. The error message that can be seen due to geo-blocking disappears once the connection to ExpressVPN is established and the page refreshed.
Besides TV programs, we also looked at what happened with streaming services. Many users use these tools to unblock platforms not available in their geographic area. Let’s start with the most used SVoD platform: Netflix. You should know that recently, Netflix has developed a very powerful proxy detection system making the task much more difficult for VPNs. This test was therefore eagerly awaited.
The first test consisted of checking whether we were accessing Netflix’s French bookstore (therefore with a French IP) from abroad with ExpressVPN. As you can see in the image below, everything worked perfectly and the video launches quickly and without a hitch.
As you may know, Netflix’s American catalog is much larger than in France. Whether for movies or series, there is no photo. So we also looked to see if ExpressVPN was successful in unblocking Netflix US. Without making the suspense last longer, the result was positive the first time. Library change is instantaneous. It is a certainty, the provider manages to bypass the blocking put in place by Netflix. Another good point that will leave you, too, with a very good opinion on ExpressVPN.
Good news, ExpressVPN has also worked great for Disney +, DAZN, OCS, Hulu, and even Amazon Prime Video, which is excellent for VPN blocking.
For a VPN provider to protect you effectively, it is first and foremost that the latter properly encrypts your data. For this, ExpressVPN provides you with a wide range of VPN protocols such as OpenVPN (UDP and TCP) IKEv2 or L2TP-IPsec. The choice of protocol depends on the speed / safety balance you are looking for. Often the best compromise will be OpenVPN, but in some cases you may need to choose a different one.
However, we advise you to check the “Automatic” option which will immediately find the most appropriate protocol for your network and your country. It is ideal for beginners who want maximum safety without going into the technical aspect. By default, this interface is not visible when you open the ExpressVPN window, you will have to go to the application settings.
Once the VPN was activated, we made sure that no IP and DNS leaks occurred. It is extremely important to check this in order to avoid any unpleasant surprises. To analyze the effectiveness of ExpressVPN, we used the site https://ipleak.net/ . The latter informs us in particular of the IP address, the location, as well as the DNS used or WebRTC leaks.
You can see in the image above that ExpressVPN effectively hid our IP address, locating us in New York State. Also, the DNS have the IP of the VPN server and not yours, which proves that no DNS leak is detected (very dangerous for your anonymity). Finally, there is no WebRTC leak. This is essential to ensure that your browser will not disclose your IP address to the websites visited.
The security of ExpressVPN is all the better when the provider has its own DNS servers. Thus, any risk of leakage is considerably reduced. As a reliable VPN provider, ExpressVPN obviously has the Kill Switch feature which it calls Network Lock. It is the latter which will cut all exchanges with the internet if your VPN protection were to abandon you for a few seconds.
To confirm this, the provider did an external audit of its servers by PwC in 2019. This audit confirmed that ExpressVPN’s claims were legitimate. No information about you (your original IP address for example) and your browsing with the VPN (sites consulted, DNS requests, the destination of your traffic, etc.) is recorded.
Remember that the location of a VPN company is extremely important. Indeed, some countries are obliged to keep logs (connection logs). Others, like the British Virgin Islands, have no data retention laws. Also, they do not belong to a coalition like the 5, 9 or 14 Eyes. It’s not for nothing that ExpressVPN’s headquarters are there. Thanks to its strict no-log policy, your data is genuinely safe with ExpressVPN and that is perhaps the most important point of this review.
ExpressVPN anonymity © ExpressVPN
However, it should be noted that very rare information relating to your account is kept. This is the case of the e-mail address entered when registering for the service or the means of payment, for example. This allows you to keep you informed by sending you emails but also to manage invoicing and, possibly, to proceed to a refund. In any case, this data will not threaten your confidentiality since it has no connection with your online activities.
Does censorship circumvention work?
If you are used to traveling or going on a business trip abroad, you probably know that one of the uses of VPN is to bypass censorship. What about ExpressVPN? Does he manage to circumvent it effectively in the most censored countries?
As we told you at the time of the ExpressVPN speed tests, we were located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. This country is one of the few countries in the world that block VPNs. Obviously, we were able to use our VPN without a hitch, proving that it works perfectly in this country.
Also, many users that we contacted confirmed that it worked very well in other countries in the Middle East, but also in China and Russia. ExpressVPN’s servers are very powerful and they are constantly updated to be able to thwart blocks.
Our review on ExpressVPN can therefore only be very good when it comes to censorship circumvention. You only need one click to find freedom on the internet and not be deprived of your usual sites and applications.
Focus on the country and server network
The quality of the network is essential in your choice of a VPN. You need both a lot of countries to be available, but also a lot of servers in the countries. Indeed, if you have 100 countries available, but only 1 server per country, you can be sure that the performance will not be up to par. The servers will be constantly overloaded and this will affect your speed which will be very slow.
Users generally have a positive review of ExpressVPN because it has one of the best networks out there. And for good reason, it has more than 3,000 servers in 94 countries. In other words, you will always find what you are looking for. It’s a good way to connect in as many countries as possible around the world.
Among the countries covered, we can notably mention France, Switzerland, Germany, the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, South Africa, and many more! It will really take a lot of research to find a country that is not covered by ExpressVPN.
In our test of ExpressVPN, this large infrastructure resulted in very good performance in terms of speed, as you saw earlier in this review. We will also add that the supplier’s servers are of very good quality. Granted, they don’t have as many as NordVPN or CyberGhost, but based on our extensive testing, we actually think they perform better. Speaking of which, don’t be overwhelmed by the sheer number of servers. Quantity is not everything and quality is just as important.
What is ExpressVPN customer support worth?
Who says online service automatically means customer support. How to join the ExpressVPN one? Is he responsive? We have tested all of this for you to reassure you before your purchase.
If you need help, there are three options available to you at ExpressVPN:
- The FAQ (Find a solution)
- Instant messaging
- Instructions for use (very detailed guides)
Our preferred option is the use of online chat which is accessible from the official ExpressVPN site. During our test, we were impressed by their responsiveness. We contacted them twice and never waited more than 30 seconds for a response.
The advisers can be reached 7 days a week and 24 hours a day from instant messaging, which gives you the opportunity to contact them at any time and without any limit. So don’t hesitate to send them a message if you have any questions.
Offers and pricing
We come to the point that ExpressVPN is often criticized for: its price. It is true that it is not the cheapest VPN on the market, but we believe that its pricing is totally justified.
And for good reason, if we compare it to its competitors which sometimes cost less than 3 € per month, it is necessary to commit to 2 or 3 years to arrive at such a monthly cost. With ExpressVPN, you won’t have a subscription longer than its 12 month offer.
In this case, three offers are proposed in 2021:
- 1 month at $ 12.95
- 6 months at $ 59.95 ($ 9.99 / month)
- 12 months + 3 months free at $ 99.95 ($ 6.67 / month)
The long-term offer is therefore very clearly the most interesting since it allows you to benefit from a 49% reduction and 3 months free! The only “constraint” is that you will have to pay the invoice in one go and not via monthly withdrawals.
We will also add that ExpressVPN has a 30-day money-back guarantee. No justification is to be given if you ever want to get your refund. All you need to do is contact support for a full refund for your purchase. It’s hard to have a negative opinion on ExpressVPN when you know that. Either you are convinced or you get your 100% money back!
In terms of payment methods, you will not lack choice either. The solutions are as follows:
- Payment cards (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, etc.)
Regardless of the payment method you choose, you will always be able to take advantage of the 30-day money-back guarantee.
We are coming to the end of this article soon. Having said that, there are still some points we still want to cover. These few additional pieces of information could help you refine your opinion on ExpressVPN.
The number of parallel connections
With an ExpressVPN subscription, you will be able to use the application on 5 devices simultaneously. This means that you will be able to use it at the same time on a computer, a tablet, and 3 phones for example. You can, however, install it on an unlimited number of devices. However, only 5 can be activated at the same time. This is good news since today we all have several computer equipment.
Note that you have the possibility to increase the number of simultaneous connections if ever 5 is not enough for you by configuring the VPN directly on your Wi-Fi router. Thus, all connected devices will benefit from the protection.
Another cool feature that we liked during our ExpressVPN test was the Split Tunneling. The latter allows you to manually select which applications do or do not require a VPN connection.
For example, if you are watching Youtube videos on Google Chrome and at the same time doing P2P on uTorrent, you can enable VPN only on uTorrent and leave your browser running without VPN. Thus, you will optimize the speed as well as possible and considerably improve your user experience. You can do the same with your email app if you feel it doesn’t need VPN protection.
Since 2019, ExpressVPN has implemented the new TrustedServer technology across its entire infrastructure. The principle is simple: the servers operate only on RAM so that no trace of user data is kept. As soon as the server restarts, everything is gone. This sets it apart considerably from its competitors whose servers run on hard drives.
This is an additional layer of security, showing, once again, that ExpressVPN is at the forefront of security technology.
Browser extensions (Chrome and Firefox)
Last point before our final ExpressVPN review: extensions on your browsers. If you don’t want to bother with setting up Split Tunneling, you can take advantage of the excellent ExpressVPN extensions for Chrome and Firefox. The installation is done in one click and you will then have the ExpressVPN icon at the top right of your screen on the browser.
We particularly liked this feature during our ExpressVPN test since it very easily allows you to activate and deactivate the VPN only on the browser. The extension comes in addition to the desktop application since it allows, in particular, to protect you even more effectively against WebRTC leaks.
Conclusion: our opinion on ExpressVPN
Following this comprehensive review on ExpressVPN and testing many criteria, we can therefore confirm that it is probably the best provider in 2021. Aside from its slightly above average pricing and limited number of simultaneous connections, we have nothing to criticize him for.
Its performance lives up to its reputation and the user experience has been taken care of from A to Z to offer a simple and efficient service. We can only advise you to test it now and take advantage of its satisfaction or refund period to get your refund if it does not suit you.
To take advantage of its 49% reduction and get 3 months free, consider taking the 12 month subscription. To find out more, we invite you to go directly to the technology publisher’s website here: