Connect with us

VPN

ExpressVPN Review

Dominik

Published

on

ExpressVPN is a truly rare breed of a virtual private network provider; one that actually has something to back its numerous claims of offering an industry-leading service. It’s also one of the most aggressively advertised VPNs on the planet, which we suspect isn’t a coincidence, so it’s time to take a deep dive into this rather robust toolset for protecting one’s identity and browsing history from prying, AI-infused scrappers.


Express VPN Review Summary
4.77 BSN Score
Pros
Best-in-class performance. Detail-oriented (if a tad sluggish) support. Accepts anonymous crypto payments. Decent no-logs policy.
Cons
No warrant canary. No free trial.
Summary
ExpressVPN somehow manages to be both a top-performing digital tool and a remarkably accessible entry point into the world of digital privacy and security thanks to its huge volumes of educational support content. A solution suitable for beginners and technology veterans alike, ExpressVPN is one of the easiest recommendations to
Performance5
Privacy & Security5
Ease of Use4.5
Pricing4

ExpressVPN Performance

Starting with the basics, ExpressVPN consistently offers Internet speeds that truly few can match even on their best days. Every VPN will always take a toll on your throughput figures – they tend to do that by the very act of existing – whose exact severity will depend on how far the server you’re connecting is to your true, physical location. We explained it in detail in our “Does a VPN slow down Internet speeds” article just a few months ago.

In virtually every real-world scenario, a 10-15% drop-off ranges between decent to stellar performance, which is in the ballpark of what you can expect from ExpressVPN. Its servers are noticeably less consistent when it comes to upload speeds but those come secondary to most users’ Internet needs.

Industry-leading speeds don’t make ExpressVPN bulletproof to criticism, however. One not insignificant performance sore point we had was the lack of dedicated peer-to-peer servers for torrenting. Sure, the average ExpressVPN server is objectively better than your average provider parading around with a self-appointed “P2P-optimized” label, but we’ll never be fans of one-size-fits-all solutions because… well, it doesn’t.

In more straightforward terms, you can count on ExpressVPN to deliver torrenting performance that’s well above the industry average, yet still manages to leave a bittersweet impression due to a noticeable volume of unfulfilled potential. Or… I’m being an ungrateful brat, which is also a scenario with a high likelihood of occurring on any day ending with a “y”.

Don’t let that detract from the fact this is a truly impressive VPN when it comes to both crushing speed tests and putting those synthetic results into practice. Oh, and did we mention ExpressVPN has servers from 160 countries to choose from? Yeah, that should be enough to circumvent pretty much any sort of geographical content restrictions and censorship you can imagine.

ExpressVPN Privacy & Security

ExpressVPN doesn’t store any identifiable user logs, except connection logs which are automatically assigned to accounts (timestamps of which accounts accessed which servers at what times). While this isn’t ideal, it’s also much more of a nuisance than a massive privacy issue seeing how the company accepts cryptocurrency payments. Meaning it’s beyond simple to become an ExpressVPN subscriber without handing over any identifiable information, and even if someone was somehow able to link you to your account, they’d still be left with nothing but server access timestamps which aren’t exactly surveillance gold, unless they have something to cross-reference them to. And in that unlikely case, you’d have already been compromised ages ago, anyway.

Given all of the above, you may not be surprised to learn that ExpressVPN doesn’t call itself a VPN company, but a privacy one. On top of its flagship service, it also wants to help bolster your system defenses and educate you about the entire process. Speaking of education, ExpressVPN also offers vast volumes of tutorials on how to use its virtual private network solution to stream sports, detect sniffing attempts, and perform all other sorts of computer wizardry.

Support for your run-of-the-mill kill switches is also on board, as is VPN split tunneling. The latter deserves a special mention, being a technology that allows you to reroute only some of your traffic via ExpressVPN on the fly, leaving the rest with a direct line to the World Wide Web. There are plenty of reasons you’d want to do something like that, starting with the basics like OS upgrades which most likely don’t have to be performed in utmost secrecy (if you’re running Windows, no amount of patches will ever make you secure, anyway) that a VPN provides in exchange for sacrificing some of your download and upload speeds.

ExpressVPN Warrant Canary

ExpressVPN does not maintain a warrant canary and, surprisingly, remains reluctant to even comment on the very concept of such a solution to this day.

That isn’t to say ExpressVPN isn’t making any attempts at transparency given how it’s still among the rare few players in the segment that submit to independent third-party audits and similar inspections with any degree of regularity. Then again, that says more about the opaqueness of its competitors than the nature of its own practices but hey, the one-eyed guy is still the king among the blind, right?

ExpressVPN Ease of Use

For such a feature-packed piece of software, you’d expect ExpressVPN to be more intimidating than it is, but that’s not really the case. Sure, there are definitely more straightforward VPNs you can subscribe to, but why settle for barebones solutions when getting used to a much more versatile alternative will only take an afternoon at worst?

That’s not even accounting for the firm’s surprisingly detail-oriented customer support and the massive online knowledge base that accompanies it, being as easy on the eyes as it is to navigate. The only real complaint in this regard is that its service reps can sometimes be a bit sluggish to respond relative to competing platforms.

ExpressVPN Pricing

The type of person reading this exhaustive review will most likely already know that the old “you get what you pay for” mantra applies to VPNs as much as any other service segment. So no, don’t expect ExpressVPN to be the cheapest solution on the market; even a year-long commitment will set you back over $8 a month, which won’t be devastating to most budgets but is still about twice as much as the average VPN subscription is going for these days.

Of course, the whole point of ExpressVPN is that it’s anything but average, so keep that in mind when the time for prime comparisons arrives. The company is so confident in the quality of what it’s offering that it even did away with trial periods. Fortunately, it does attach 30-day money-back guarantees to all subscription tiers, which is the next best thing to getting an actual trial.

As already mentioned, you can also pay for ExpressVPN using cryptocurrency and keep your identity a secret even from your VPN provider itself, which is a recipe for bulletproof anonymity if we’ve ever seen one.

ExpressVPN Review Summary

ExpressVPN somehow manages to be both a top-performing digital tool and a remarkably accessible entry point into the world of digital privacy and security thanks to its huge volumes of educational support content. A solution suitable for beginners and technology veterans alike, ExpressVPN is one of the easiest recommendations to


Editor’s Note

BSN’s Express VPN Review has been written by Dominik Bosnjak, a long-time VPN-user-turned-advocate who spends more time scrutinizing VPN Providers on a daily basis than he’d like to admit. When he isn’t writing VPN Guides and covering general Tech News, he’s probably spending time with his dog, video games, or both. Fun fact: the Shih Tzu in question is the only remaining creature in Dominik’s life who hasn’t told him they’re sick of him talking about Best VPN practices and government-sponsored erosion of digital privacy which made using the Internet less convenient over the years. He occasionally dabbles in video editing, Wall Street memes, and demonstrating a remarkable lack of guitar-playing ability.

If you want more tidbit-sized rants about any of those things, you can find him on Twitter @dddominikk.

The overall score doesn’t represent an average of all individual ratings but a weighted average which values Performance as 33%, Privacy & Security as 33%, Ease of Use as 12%, and Pricing as 22% of the final figure. It’s meant to standardize our reviews by giving more weight to the attributes we value the most in VPNs (speed, privacy, and security) without completely disregarding the rest. Naturally, much like any other review out there, the starting points/ratings are still inherently subjective to a particular reviewer’s experience.

Continue Reading