While not the most affordable nor the swiftest VPN available, ExpressVPN offers unbeatable security, a user-friendly interface, and unparalleled performance when it comes to video streaming.
|High level of security and privacy||Relatively expensive compared to some VPNs|
|Fast and reliable connections||Limited options for advanced customization|
|User-friendly interface||May experience occasional speed drops|
|Wide range of server locations||No free trial available|
|Excellent for streaming and torrenting||Customer support response times can vary|
|ExpressVPN is currently running an exceptional offer|
|When you sign up for its 12-month plan at £5.67/mth, you’ll receive an impressive three free months of service. But that’s not all – the company is also providing a full year of unlimited cloud backup from Backblaze, completely free of charge. It’s an unbeatable deal that combines the privacy and security of a top-tier VPN service with the convenience and protection of cloud storage.|
ExpressVPN is a top-tier virtual private networking service that employs advanced encryption to safeguard your online activities. By routing your traffic through a private server in any country of your choosing, it ensures that your internet service provider cannot monitor your online activities, and that your online identity and location are completely anonymous while connected to the VPN.
While the service offers monthly, six-monthly, and annual subscription options, it is considered one of the more expensive options available in the market. Rival VPN providers like HMA, IPVanish, and NordVPN offer cheaper options for the first year, although their prices increase after the initial period.
With ExpressVPN, you can simultaneously use the VPN on up to five different devices, which should be adequate for most users. However, other VPN services like Hide.me, Private Internet Access, and PureVPN offer up to ten simultaneous connections, while Surfshark and IPVanish do not limit the number of devices that can be used.
One of the main advantages of using ExpressVPN is its availability on a wide range of platforms, including laptops, mobiles, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, and games consoles. The service also offers router configurations, which allows you to protect all the devices on your home network using just one connection.
Once you’re set up, you can access more than 3,000 servers in 94 countries worldwide, giving you the freedom to change or conceal your location as required. Additionally, ExpressVPN provides robust protection when using BitTorrent, with file-sharing working seamlessly on all servers worldwide. While the company does not explicitly promise that this service will always be available, it does offer comprehensive and detailed support for users looking to use BitTorrent with their VPN.
ExpressVPN review: What’s it like to use?
ExpressVPN offers clients for a wide range of platforms, including Windows and Android. Our experience with both of these apps was positive, with a consistent cross-platform design that makes it easy to navigate and find the features you need.
The main interface for both the Windows and Android apps is straightforward, displaying only your selected server and a large round button to connect or disconnect from the VPN. The location browser is accessible through an ellipsis icon, while the rest of the features can be accessed through the hamburger menu.
Additional tools include a built-in speed tester that allows you to run ping and download speed tests across multiple servers to help identify the fastest connection in a given region. You can also check your remote IP address and search for DNS and WebRTC leaks.
The Options window allows you to enable or disable the kill switch and set up split tunnelling, while advanced users can choose from six different VPN protocols, including ExpressVPN’s own Lightway technology. The use of IPv6 and ExpressVPN’s DNS servers can also be enabled or disabled from this window.
If you prefer not to have the main ExpressVPN window open while you’re browsing, you can minimise or close it. A system tray icon lets you bring it back or connect directly to recent servers. Additionally, browser extensions are available for Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Brave, and Vivaldi, allowing you to control the VPN directly from within your browser.
ExpressVPN review: How fast is it?
To evaluate the impact of ExpressVPN on our browsing speeds, we used Google’s speed testing tool. First, we set up ExpressVPN on a Windows 11 laptop connected to a domestic 200Mbits/sec Virgin fibre line, which delivered raw download speeds of 219Mbits/sec when the VPN was disconnected.
Next, we connected to an ExpressVPN server in London and repeated the test. The download speed dropped to 200Mbits/sec, an 8.4% decrease, which is quite impressive by VPN standards and barely noticeable during everyday use.
Even switching to a server in New York had minimal impact on our connection speed. Although the performance dropped by a bigger margin of 14.7%, we still enjoyed a massive downstream bandwidth of 187Mbits/sec, which is more than sufficient for video streaming and other online activities.
The Android client also performed admirably during our testing. We used a Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 tablet connected to the router over Wi-Fi 6 and obtained download speeds of 209Mbits/sec when the VPN was disconnected. Connecting to a London server reduced this to 195Mbits/sec, resulting in a negligible impact of just 6.8%.
When we connected to the New York server from our tablet, the download rate slowed down further, dropping to 123.9Mbits/sec, which represented a performance penalty of 40.7%. Nevertheless, this is still better than what we observed from most other VPN apps in the same test, with only Hotspot Shield providing a slightly faster connection from the US, with an almost identical impact of 40%.
Overall, ExpressVPN is fast enough for most online activities, and it even supports split tunnelling to allow specific programs to bypass the VPN connection for faster speeds. If you have ExpressVPN set up on your router, you can also select which devices should use the VPN and which ones should not. However, this feature requires the custom ExpressVPN app/firmware, which may not be supported by all router models.
ExpressVPN review: Is it good for video streaming?
The ExpressVPN Windows client is fast enough to stream 4K video content from anywhere in the world. Although the Android app is slightly slower, it still offers sufficient bandwidth to stream rock-solid HD content.
In addition, ExpressVPN is among the best VPN services for accessing geo-blocked content. After testing the software for over a year, we can confirm that it provides flawless access to the US libraries of Disney Plus and Netflix from a laptop browser. It even bypasses Hulu’s region restrictions, allowing users with a US-only subscription to access the service.
Selecting a UK server enables users to watch programmes from BBC iPlayer, Now TV, and BritBox without any issues. This means that you can use ExpressVPN to keep up with your favourite British shows or sports events while travelling.
However, we did experience a few minor hiccups. Although ExpressVPN allowed us to access US content from the Netflix Android app, the Disney Plus app refused to open with the VPN active. We were also unable to download or log into the Hulu app. As usual, it’s not possible to watch Amazon Prime Video content from another country, as Amazon uses your billing address instead of your IP address to determine your location.
ExpressVPN review: Is it secure?
ExpressVPN is headquartered in the British Virgin Islands, which means it operates outside the jurisdiction of the UK, the EU, the US, and any other entity that might want to monitor your online activity. Like most VPNs, it has a zero-log policy, and it even stores session information solely in RAM to avoid any record of your past online activity if its servers are seized or breached. Furthermore, you can pay for the service using Bitcoin to ensure that your VPN subscription isn’t linked to your bank account.
At the client end, the VPN provides a kill-switch feature that automatically cuts off all internet access if the connection to the VPN is lost, ensuring that no traffic is mistakenly routed via your ISP. It also offers an auto-connect option that activates the VPN as soon as you connect to an untrusted network. Unfortunately, this feature is only available on Android and is not supported by the Windows client. The closest alternative on Windows is the option to start the VPN automatically when you log in.
Despite these features, we do have a few reservations. ExpressVPN lacks a double-VPN feature that would provide an additional degree of anonymisation between you and the content you want to access. Additionally, auto-activation features are limited on Windows, so you’ll need to remember to turn the VPN on as needed or keep it permanently enabled.
ExpressVPN review: Should you buy it?
While ExpressVPN may not be the perfect VPN solution for every use case due to the fact that there are faster and cheaper alternatives that allow for more simultaneous device connections, it is still more than capable of meeting the demands of most users. In fact, the majority of customers should have no issues with the five-device limit.
Furthermore, ExpressVPN provides an enjoyable user experience. Its software effectively unblocks streaming services on desktop browsers and supports a vast array of devices. Most importantly, the VPN service boasts excellent security features.
Although customers focused on price may prefer other options, those willing to pay a few extra pounds per month will find that ExpressVPN is an outstanding VPN service that deserves serious consideration.
ExpressVPN review: Quick facts
|Based in||British Virgin Islands (safe)|
|Cheapest price||£4.94 per month|
|Money-back guarantee||Yes, 30 days no-questions-asked|
|Devices (simultaneous)||Unlimited (5)|
|Locations||3000+ in 90+ countries|
|24/7 customer support||Yes|
|Netflix and Disney+||Yes|
|BBC iPlayer allowed||Yes|