ExpressVPN: Protect Your Security Online


  • Large, diversely distributed fleet of servers
  • Strong privacy and security practices
  • Split tunneling
  • Stylish interface


  • Expensive
  • No multi-hop connections


Free Version×
500+ Servers
Simultaneous VPN Connections5
Blocks Ads
Server Locations94 Countries
Geographically Diverse Servers
Free Version Data LimitNo Free Version

Add a VPN to your toolkit to assist in protecting your privacy from so-called surveillance capitalism. With a VPN, your identity is concealed and your personal information is protected by sending all of your web traffic over an encrypted connection to a remote server. A great example is ExpressVPN, which has a significant global presence and excellent privacy policies to safeguard your information. ExpressVPN’s apps have been given a visual makeover, but the service is expensive and lacks some features that similarly priced or even less expensive competitors offer. Due to its more reasonable, comprehensive offering, Proton VPN is our top pick overall.

Add a VPN to your toolkit to assist in protecting your privacy from so-called surveillance capitalism. With a VPN, your identity is concealed and your personal information is protected by sending all of your web traffic over an encrypted connection to a remote server. A great example is ExpressVPN, which has a significant global presence and excellent privacy policies to safeguard your information. ExpressVPN’s apps have been given a visual makeover, but the service is expensive and lacks some features that similarly priced or even less expensive competitors offer. Due to its more reasonable, comprehensive offering, Proton VPN is our top pick overall.


What Is the Price of ExpressVPN?

There are three subscription plans offered by ExpressVPN: $12.95 per month, $59.95 every six months, or $99.95 annually. The length of your commitment is the same as for the majority of VPN service plans.

All of the major credit cards, PayPal, and other services like WebMoney are accepted as forms of payment by the business. Additionally, bitcoin can be used to pay for an ExpressVPN subscription. Notably, Editors’ Choice winners Mullvad and IVPN accept payments in cash to maintain their anonymity.
The average monthly cost of the VPN services we tested is currently $9.78, which is considerably less than ExpressVPN’s $12.95 asking price. One of the most affordable VPNs available, Editors’ Choice winner Mullvad VPN charges just 5 euros ($5.32 at the time of writing) per month.

Although ExpressVPN offers discounted six-month and annual plans, the $99.95 annual plan is still significantly more expensive than the $65.82 average we’ve seen among the VPNs we’ve reviewed. With an annual cost of just $23.88, Opera VPN has the lowest annual cost of any VPN we’ve seen. Generally speaking, we advise against beginning with an annual or lengthy VPN subscription. In order to test the VPN with all the websites and services you require, use the shortest option—or a free subscription, if you can find one.
Free is the only option that is less expensive than free, but ExpressVPN does not provide this option. Since a truly free VPN subscription is extremely uncommon, this is not too surprising. Although TunnelBear VPN does provide a free version with access to its extensive server network, this version has a monthly data cap of 500MB (or 1.5GB with promotions). On the other hand, Proton VPN does not impose any data limitations on its free subscription.

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the VPN Protocols

Since VPNs are an established technology, there are numerous ways to set up a VPN connection. Since OpenVPN is open-source and has been thoroughly examined for potential flaws by anyone with an interest in doing so, it has long been our favorite. The open-source successor to OpenVPN is WireGuard, which boasts faster speeds and more modern encryption technology. However, because it is so new, not all VPN providers have fully embraced it.

ExpressVPN focuses on OpenVPN and its own protocol called Lightway rather than WireGuard (Opens in a new window). Because it is risky to attempt to create new cryptographic systems, this protocol makes smart use of the free and open-source wolfSSL cryptography library.

The Android, Linux, Mac, and Windows apps for ExpressVPN support Lightway and OpenVPN. Additionally, they are accessible for routers set up to use ExpressVPN. Only OpenVPN and IKEv1/2 are currently supported by the ExpressVPN iOS app. L2TP is still supported by the legacy macOS and Windows apps, but we don’t recommend using it. IKEv2 is supported by the ExpressVPN Windows app as well.

Server Locations and Servers

Access to the provider’s network of VPN servers is one of the things you get for a VPN subscription’s cost. These are the devices that will carry your website visitors. Anywhere you go, you can locate a server nearby, and you’ll probably get better service because of that proximity, so it’s typically a good idea to have a diverse distribution of servers. Additionally, it expands your possibilities for hiding your location.

In 94 different countries, ExpressVPN has 160 server locations, which is more than double the average of the VPN products we’ve reviewed. With many servers in Africa and great coverage throughout South America—two areas that are frequently under-funded or entirely overlooked by other VPN providers—the company also excels in geographic variety. Additionally, ExpressVPN keeps servers in Vietnam and Turkey, two nations with oppressive internet regulations. Additionally, the business keeps servers in Ukraine and Hong Kong.


It’s true that ExpressVPN doesn’t have the most servers available. hMA VPN, covered 190 countries 140 by PureVPN, and 100 by Surfshark VPN as of recent announcement. We’ll demonstrate how it has nevertheless constantly kept a high caliber collection.

VPN providers frequently use virtual servers and regions to support their huge fleets of servers. Since virtual servers are software-defined servers, more than one virtual server can be housed on a single piece of hardware. Servers that are set up to appear to be in a different place than where their physical hardware is situated are known as virtual locations. Both are not necessarily negative, but we prefer it when businesses reveal the precise destination of customer data.

ExpressVPN is open and honest about using virtual servers (Opens in a new window). Less than 3% of servers, according to an explanation page that lists their actual locations, are not where they claim to be. For instance, all of ExpressVPN’s servers in Turkey, Venezuela, and Vietnam are virtual. This seems reasonable to me. Customers of ExpressVPN can also choose particular servers, maximizing the company’s extensive location options.

ExpressVPN claims that it only uses RAM-only servers, which do not write any data to disk, to protect its servers located in data centers all over the world. In order to make it more difficult for an attacker to impersonate an ExpressVPN server, ExpressVPN claims to use a cryptographic key scheme(Opens in a new window) that assigns distinct keys for each server and does not store those keys on disk. According to ExpressVPN, those servers are located in external data centers with strict access policies.

Having said that, the majority of users—virtual or otherwise—probably do not require many server locations. They most likely require as many servers as possible, located as close as possible to their residences. The value proposition of ExpressVPN is seriously harmed by this. The business provides excellent services in all areas, but its best feature is really designed for frequent travelers, businesspeople, or people with very specific needs.

Most VPN providers will launch new servers as needed to meet demand, whether they are physical or virtual. As a result, the total number of servers depends on the company’s subscriber base. However, a large server fleet may increase your chances of finding an empty server, which could result in better performance. Over 3,000 servers are at ExpressVPN’s disposal. With over 9,200 servers, CyberGhost currently leads the competition.

ExpressVPN Protects Your Privacy

It’s crucial to read and comprehend a VPN’s privacy policy because, if a VPN provider lacked morals, it could easily monetize your personal information in a manner similar to how an ISP can. We reviewed the small print for you, so don’t worry.

ExpressVPN’s privacy policy(Opens in a new window) deserves praise for being comprehensive and comprehensible, though it could be made simpler to read. More businesses ought to follow in the footsteps of TunnelBear VPN, which does an excellent job of being transparent to customers in an understandable way.

The business claims it doesn’t keep records of user activity, connection timestamps, originating IP addresses, VPN IPs, or session length. You want to hear that from a VPN provider. Even better, ExpressVPN explicitly states in its policy—and has confirmed to us—that it does not sell user data.

However, the business does gather some data. It compiles the total amount of data that each user transfers. It records the most recent date that a successful connection has been made, but not the time. The business also records the VPN server you connected from, but not your precise public IP address. According to ExpressVPN, this information would be the same for many other users, making it insufficient to identify a specific person. Customers should nevertheless be wary of anonymized data because it isn’t always kept that way. Practice has also supported these policies. The business has bragged about how Turkish authorities were unable to obtain information from seized ExpressVPN servers .


The British Virgin Islands, where there are no regulations regarding data retention, are where ExpressVPN is based. The company emphasizes that any requests for user information must come from a local court and will only be complied with if the crime being investigated carries a minimum sentence of one year in jail in the British Virgin Islands. It is hoped that doing this will reduce the number of pointless or intrusive investigations that invade your privacy.

ExpressVPN announced in 2021 that it had been purchased by Kape Technologies, a privacy and security conglomerate that also owns Private Internet Access VPN and CyberGhost VPN. Kape was formerly an adware business known as Crossrider (Opens in a new window). ExpressVPN assured us that, while owned by Kape, it will continue to operate independently and not share its infrastructure with other Kape businesses.

In order to verify the security of their services, some VPN providers have started publishing the findings of independent audits. The audit of NordVPN’s no-logs policy was commissioned, and TunnelBear VPN has committed to publishing annual audits of its entire business. ExpressVPN released the findings of a PricewaterhouseCoopers audit in 2019 and two additional audits from KPMG and Cure53 in October 2022. (Opens in a new window). In December 2022, the company made available two more Cure53 penetration testing reviews of its mobile apps(Opens in a new window). We applaud the company for continuing to publish these results and hope that it will do so in the future.
You might feel differently than we do about ExpressVPN’s efforts to safeguard customer privacy. We firmly advise selecting a different service if, for any reason, you don’t feel that you can trust a VPN.

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Windows Hands-On With ExpressVPN

On a desktop running the most recent version of Windows 10 and the Intel NUC Kit NUC8i7BEH (Bean Canyon), we had no trouble downloading and installing the ExpressVPN client. ExpressVPN has the peculiarity of not requiring a username and password to access the app. You should instead use an activation code that you can find on the ExpressVPN user interface. Some people might find this confusing because they were expecting to be asked for their usual login information, but entering just one activation code is much simpler than entering a username and password.

Recently, ExpressVPN underwent a complete brand refresh, favoring serifs and a softer color scheme. The app now has a more retro airline feel to it, and we mean that in a good way. ExpressVPN is now much more approachable than the black-and-green hacker aesthetic found in too many VPNs. It’s still not as friendly as Editors’ Choice winner TunnelBear.

The app is designed around a sizable on/off button, which makes it simple to go online and check your VPN connection status. When not connected, the top third has the appearance of a purple-orange sunset that transforms into a striking green when it is. After the initial successful connection, ExpressVPN displays a list of shortcuts to various websites and apps. From the settings, you can change this list or disable it entirely.

ExpressVPN’s servers can be browsed and searched for in a separate window, but we wish the app provided more details about each server, such as average usage. It’s especially easy to find the best server for your needs with NordVPN and Proton VPN. However, ExpressVPN does come with a Speed Test tool to evaluate your connection.

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You can modify the settings for the app from the Options panel. Its Kill Switch, which is turned on by default, will stop internet activity if your VPN connection is lost. While the VPN is active, you can choose to enable communication with nearby devices like printers. Although the app generally picks the best VPN protocol for you, you can also manually choose your preferred protocol.

You have three options with a flexible Split-Tunneling tool: requiring all apps to use the VPN, excluding certain apps from the VPN connection, or only requiring certain apps to use the VPN connection. Although that’s helpful, some services also let you use split-tunneling for IP addresses or URLs.

Your real IP address, your ISP, or your DNS requests could potentially leak from a VPN if it is configured improperly. We verified that ExpressVPN had masked our ISP and concealed our IP address. With the help of the DNS Leak Test, we discovered that ExpressVPN had concealed our DNS data. One server was the only one we tested. Other servers might be misconfigured.

For consumers, streaming media is crucial, but some streaming services, like Netflix, will restrict your access if you use a VPN. This is probably done to safeguard streaming companies’ distribution contracts. Fortunately, while using ExpressVPN, we were able to stream content from Netflix. However, keep in mind that since Netflix and VPNs are constantly competing for access, you might get blocked.

Apps for Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows are available from ExpressVPN. We strongly advise people to use the apps offered by their preferred VPN because they are typically simple to use, don’t need manual configuration, and give access to extra features. Your operating system allows you to manually configure a connection to VPN servers you have paid for access to, but doing so is typically difficult and does not give you the extra features. ExpressVPN offers a command-line tool for Linux users as well. In addition to instructions for using the service on Apple TV, PlayStation, and Xbox platforms, ExpressVPN also offers Fire TV and Kindle Fire apps. Additionally, the business sells a MediaStreamer SmartDNS tool that enables you to disguise the location of devices that are unable to run the ExpressVPN client.

Speed and effectiveness

We run a series of tests with the Ookla Speedtest tool and look for a percent difference between the Speedtest results with and without the VPN running to get a sense of the effect a VPN has on your internet experience. If you want, you can read the specifics of our methodologies.

According to our research, ExpressVPN caused a 59.8% and a 74.4% drop in upload and download Speedtest results, respectively. It increased latency by 50.9%, which is marginally better than the category median.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, access to the PCMag Labs has been restricted. As a result, we’re posting the Speedtest results for recently tested products throughout the year in a rolling fashion. The graph below displays all of our most recent outcomes.

Difficult Competition

For people who travel frequently or who must have a server in a specific location, ExpressVPN is a great option. It differs from many other VPN services that boast large server distributions due to its minimal reliance on virtual servers and emphasis on secure hardware. The privacy and security of its customers are of the utmost importance to it. We also like the new retro design of the app.

Despite its successes, ExpressVPN is not selected as an Editors’ Choice. Competitors simply offer a lot for less, making them more appealing to the average consumer. This is not due to any failure on the part of ExpressVPN. ExpressVPN won’t let you down if you frequently travel, need VPN access to a specific nation, or are drawn in by its privacy features. Consider Proton VPN, our Editors’ Choice for VPNs, if all you’re looking for is an excellent service overall at a more reasonable cost.

  • Large, diversely distributed fleet of servers
  • Strong privacy and security practices
  • Split tunneling
  • Stylish interface
  • Expensive
  • No multi-hop connections

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