ExpressVPN Full Review
ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands (not to be confused with the United Kingdom) and is therefore not established in a 5,9 and 14 eyes country (see article).
In a very competitive market where competition is fierce, ExpressVPN knows how to stand out by offering very high performance and innovative features.
ExpressVPN offers an extensive network of over 3,000 servers in 94 countries and 160 cities around the world. While Europe and the United States have the best coverage, ExpressVPN also has many servers in Asia and in several countries that are often absent from its competitors (in South America, the Middle East, Africa, etc.).
It is ranked in our top 3 of the best vpn on the market with NordVPN and Surfshark.
Unblocking streaming platforms
ExpressVPN Speed and perfomances
We have checked a large number of servers around the world (see how we perform our tests).
We tested the connection times to ExpressVPN servers and performed ping tests to check for latency issues.
Our tests revealed no connection failures and each server connected within two to five seconds, which is a very good score.
Latencies have been extremely low. The connections on the servers based in the USA, UK, France and globally throughout Europe were very fast.
Places furthest from europe (Australia, New Zealand) or locations with limited infrastructure (parts of South America) saw latency increase and become much more variable, but this was no surprise and was never enough to prevent us from browsing comfortably.
Checking download speeds requires a little more work. We did our speed tests using Fast.com, Open Speed Test and the Ookla speed test.
Our tests revealed, excellent performance in Europe and neighboring countries and in the United States with download speeds out of the ordinary.
Tests over longer distances such as Oceania or Asia (Japan, South Korea, etc.) also proved to be very efficient even if they do not reach European or American speeds (because of the distance, we carry out our tests from Europe).
Only a few tests on Indonesian or Cambodian servers and a few isolated servers in countries with sometimes more limited structures have been disappointing, but this is the case for all vpns which has servers in those parts of the world.
ExpressVPN: unblocking Netflix and other streaming platforms
One of the major advantages of a VPN is to unblock geographical restrictions. if you want to access BBC from abroad you know that the service is only available to people in UK.
By connecting to a VPN server in UK you can bypass the geo-blocking to access all available content.
Unfortunately, it is not always that simple. Providers such as Netflix know what users are doing to bypass their rules and are frequently updating their systems to detect and block VPNs.
To get an idea of ExpressVPN’s unblocking capabilities, we conducted a few tests on major U.S., French, UK and Canadian websites.
The results from Netflix US, UK and French sites were excellent with 9 out of 10 servers unblocking the service and ExpressVPN’s commitment to unblocking Netflix suggests that the company will work hard to keep the unblocking available.
The unlocking of hulu (us server) or Amazon prime (server depending on the chosen location) have been successful on all the servers we tested, the same for BBC iplayer with a UK server.
For the French channels mycanal, rmc sport, beinsport and all TNT channels, the unlocking also reached 100%.
As for Nordvpn or cyberghost, ExpressVPN’s streaming performance was up to the task. The viewing in HD quality of all our programs, both replay and live, was perfect, fast and without disconnection or permanent slowdown.
ExpressVPN with Torrent
Not only ExpressVPN support torrents, but it also avoids the hassle and trouble you often encounter with some VPN provider.
For example, ExpressVPN does not force torrent users to choose between a limited number of servers dedicated to P2P, which are often overloaded and have low performance. Indeed, all ExpressVPN’s servers allow torrent downloading.
Also, there are no bandwidth restrictions or data transfer. Expressvpn has no data limit and will never limit your connection.
In terms of performance, the download speeds have been incredibly fast and we’ve had no disconnections.
The main features of ExpressVPN
Network Lock is ExpressVPN’s emergency shutdown function for Windows, Mac, Linux and for the router app.
If the VPN disconnects unexpectedly, Network Lock prevents your computer from accessing the Internet. Once you are reconnected to a VPN server, Network Lock automatically restores your Internet traffic.
If you disable Network Lock, you will be protected as long as you remain connected to the VPN. But if your connection fails, your traffic will be redirected to your Internet service provider and may be exposed to third parties.
The Lightway protocol of ExpressVPN
Lightway is the new protocol created and used exclusively by ExpressVPN. The protocol is the core of the service, it is the one that manages the client-server communications.
Lightway is an extremly light protocol based on the Wireguard protocol. it is composed of of less than 2000 lines of code, which facilitates its maintenance and its future evolutions. The Lightway code base has been audited by Cure 53, which has certified that the protocol is completely satisfying in terms of security. In addition, for the sake of transparency, ExpressVPN has made the Lightway code base available as open source.
Lightway allows to decrease the time of connection to a server in a drastic way, everything happens almost instantanously.
Lightway offers both very fast speeds and increased server stability, perfect for anyone who wants to use a VPN server for video streaming, torrenting or online gaming.
On each VPN provider’s website, you will usually find the “no logging” notice prominently displayed in large print on the home page.
If a provider has a limited sense of morality, it can monetize your personal information as an ISP.
Don’t worry, we’ve read it all for you.
We have concluded that expressvpn only records information on the total amount of data transferred, the day the connection was established, and data on speed, connection failures or incident reports.
The provider explains that these data are completely anonymous. So there is no way of knowing from which customer a speed test result comes from. In addition, you have the possibility to select an option specifying that no telemetry data should be sent to expressvpn either at the time of installation of the application or even afterwards in the settings.
The recorded data never includes what the user does when connected to the server:
– No data on the content or destinations of VPN traffic.
– No DNS Queries
– No IP addresses.
The policy goes on to explain that it cannot associate a user with an IP address or other activity. That’s what we wanted to hear from a VPN provider.
ExpressVPN’s location is a positive point, as its headquarters in the British Virgin Islands offers enormous advantages in terms of privacy.
The country is not part of the 14 Eyes alliance (see article) and has signed no agreements on intelligence sharing.
Despite its small size, the British Virgin Islands regulates its own affairs and the United Kingdom or the United States has no jurisdiction to compel ExpressVPN to disclose data.
In order for ExpressVPN to compel the disclosure of a customer’s data, a plaintiff would have to apply to the High Court of the British Virgin Islands. In addition, the plaintiff would have to demonstrate that the records relate to a serious crime and explain how the data may provide relevant evidence. It is difficult to see how ExpressVPN’s minimal recordings could provide useful evidence.
We would still like to see ExpressVPN allow a specialized agency to audit and report on their systems and procedures as nordvpn has done.
Rapport PwC’s security audit
ExpressVPN : Ease of use
Installing, configuring or connecting to ExpressVPN’s servers on any supported device is a breeze.
The pleasant and well-organized interface is easy to use.
Just choose the desired location and click “Connect“, it couldn’t be easier.
There are different ways to choose a server.
The option Smart Location selects the nearest server. A simple double-click on a country will autoselect the best server for you, but of course you still have the possibility to choose a server manually.
A search box allows you to search locations by keyword. You can also add servers to a list of favorites.
The application even displays recent locations in the main window, for faster reconnection.
To change servers, you no longer need to close the current connection, just double-click on a server and the application will disconnect and switch to the new server.
There is also the Kill Switch function which blocks all Internet traffic in case of VPN connection failure, reducing the risk of data leakage. This requires no configuration, the option is enabled by default and will protect your privacy.
The Split Tunneling option allows you to force some applications to use the VPN, while others will use your regular Internet connection.
The mobile applications work in the same way as the Windows, macOS or linux edition. A location selector makes finding and reconnecting to particular servers quick and easy. You can connect and disconnect in one click. The simple interface allows you to view your current location and VPN status at a glance.
ExpressVPN Compatible Devices
Once again, expressvpn also excels in this field by offering us an impressive number of compatible devices or operating systems.
Expressvpn : technical support
You will find many tutorialson the ExpressVPN website.
In case of necessity, ExpressVPN offers an impeccable technical service, available 24/7 by chat (our preferred solution) or by e-mail. Waiting times by instant messenger to get access to a technician are extremely short, a few seconds at most.
ExpressVPN: Prices and Payment Methods
3 different choices available, all of which offer a 30-day money back guarantee.
For payments, ExpressVPN offers multiple possibilities including bitcoins.
Final verdict on ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN is clearly the best VPN provider on the market, only NordVPN or Cyberghost can keep up with it.
In our tests, ExpressVPN met our expectations on all levels.
First, it broke all speed records and remains our first choice for streaming.
Expressvpn offers a very large choice of different servers and locations and interesting options such as split tunneling or speed controller directly integrated into the application.
In terms of confidentiality, its reputation speaks for itself and its location outside of North American or European jurisdictions should delight torrent enthusiasts.
In addition to the many allowed payment methods, it is worth recalling the possibility of paying in bitcoins to ensure total anonymity at the time of payment.
- Ease of use
- No data collection
- Split tunneling
- Network Lock functions
- Integrated speed test
- Accepts Bitcoin payments
- Works perfectly with Netflix
- Ultra-fast and stable speed
- Monthly subscription price