ExpressVPN Review: Quick Expert Summary
ExpressVPN is one of the safest, fastest, and most intuitive VPNs on the market, and it comes with more features than most competitors. But it’s also somewhat pricier than other top brands with similar functionality. So, is ExpressVPN really worth the money in 2023? I think it is — and here’s why.
ExpressVPN comes with:
- Standard security features — 256-bit AES encryption, a kill switch, and a no-logs policy.
- Split-tunneling — Increases your VPN speeds by allowing you to choose which apps use ExpressVPN and which apps use your local network.
- Lightway — This is ExpressVPN’s proprietary protocol, which is built to provide lightning-fast speeds and excellent security.
- Full leak protection — All of ExpressVPN’s apps have built-in protection against DNS, IPv6, and WebRTC leaks.
- Perfect forward secrecy — Changes the encryption key for each VPN connection to better protect your data.
- RAM-only servers — Only saves data to the RAM, providing better privacy because every server reboot wipes all data.
- Threat Manager — Stops ad trackers from spying on your browsing and blocks connections to malicious sites.
- ExpressVPN Keys — A secure password manager that’s included in each ExpressVPN subscription.
- And more…
In addition, ExpressVPN offers the best streaming, gaming, and torrenting experience out of all the VPNs we tested. It works with all streaming sites, including Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and 100+ streaming services, provides stable connections while gaming, anti-DDoS protection, and support for cloud gaming services, and allows torrenting on all servers. What’s more, it maintains blazing-fast speeds on both nearby and distant servers.
It also has 3,000+ servers in 160 locations in 94 countries, so you can get an IP address from pretty much any country you want. Plus, it works in restrictive countries like China and Iran by obfuscating (hiding) your VPN traffic, allowing you to circumvent internet censorship while traveling through those places.
ExpressVPN is also extremely easy to use, and it has the best apps for major platforms like iOS, Android, Windows, and macOS. It’s one of the only VPNs with a router app, and you can purchase Aircove, a Wi-Fi router with built-in protection from ExpressVPN.
The only thing I don’t like about ExpressVPN is that it only allows 5 simultaneous connections — however, that’s not a huge inconvenience, as you can use ExpressVPN on unlimited devices if you use the router app (which is very user-friendly). Another minor complaint is that ExpressVPN doesn’t have a feature that blocks ads, which is something that many top VPN competitors offer.
ExpressVPN has a 1-month, 6-month, and 12-month plan. The best-value plan is the 12-month plan, as it includes an excellent first-year discount as well as an additional 3 months for free. And all subscriptions are covered by a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.
|🏅 Overall Rank||#1 out of 81 VPNs|
|🌍 Number of Servers||3,000+|
|📱 Number of Devices||5|
|💸 Starting Price||$6.67 / month|
|🎁 Free Plan||❌|
|💰 Money-Back Guarantee||30 days|
30 Days Risk Free — Try ExpressVPN Now
ExpressVPN Full Review
I spent a few weeks testing, researching, and getting to know ExpressVPN, and I can safely say that it’s the best VPN on the market. It comes packaged with a lot of really useful features, high security, a strict no-logs policy, and some of the fastest speeds in the entire VPN industry.
And while it’s not the cheapest VPN around, it provides a really good value — plus, you can save on your subscription with our exclusive 49% discount. ExpressVPN is also currently giving away 3 months for free, and it’s backed by a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.
ExpressVPN has the following security features:
- 256-bit AES encryption. End-to-end military-grade encryption to make internet traffic 100% unreadable.
- No-logs policy. ExpressVPN doesn’t log personal information, internet traffic, or what files you download. ExpressVPN has undergone a third-party audit to verify this no-logs policy.
- Kill switch (Network Lock). This feature shuts down your internet traffic if you’re disconnected from the VPN server, protecting you from accidental data leaks.
One thing I really like about ExpressVPN is that its servers run on RAM memory, which means nothing is stored on a physical hard drive. All of the data on the server is wiped clean each time the server gets rebooted.
I also like that ExpressVPN provides its own DNS on every server, encrypting all DNS requests automatically, meaning that DNS queries won’t be visible to third parties and the server’s response times will be quicker.
In addition, ExpressVPN also offers built-in protection against WebRTC and IPv6 leaks. It lets you completely disable WebRTC in its desktop apps and browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Edge. It also automatically blocks IPv6 traffic (this is way better than competitors like VyprVPN which require you to manually disable IPv6 on your device).
ExpressVPN has the following protocols:
- Lightway (TCP/UDP). This is ExpressVPN’s proprietary protocol, which is open-source, meaning anyone can inspect the code for security vulnerabilities (in fact, Lightway underwent and successfully passed a security audit by cybersecurity firm Cure53 in 2021). Lightway provides excellent security and very fast speeds (since it has a very lightweight codebase) — in my tests, I always had the fastest speeds while using Lightway. And I really like that Lightway resists network changes, meaning your VPN connection won’t drop if you switch from Wi-Fi to mobile data, for example. Lightway is available on all of ExpressVPN’s apps.
- OpenVPN (TCP/UDP). OpenVPN is a very popular protocol that’s open-source and provides excellent security, but it’s also prone to noticeable slowdowns — compared to Lightway, my speeds were 50–60% slower with OpenVPN. You can use OpenVPN on all of the ExpressVPN apps.
- IKEv2/IPSec. Provides good security, has fast speeds, and resists network changes just like Lightway. That said, IKEv2/IPSec was 40% slower than Lightway in my tests. Also, unlike Lightway, IKEv2/IPSec isn’t available on ExpressVPN’s Android and Linux apps, and it’s easier for governments to block it.
- L2TP/IPSec. Provides moderate security and good speeds, but it was still 30% slower than Lightway in my tests. Also, ExpressVPN doesn’t support L2TP/IPSec on all of its apps and servers, and it’s also easy for network admins and ISPs to block this protocol. I only recommend using this protocol if the other options don’t work for you.
You can choose which protocol you want to use, but there’s also an Automatic protocol setting, which automatically selects the best protocol for your location.
ExpressVPN also offers perfect forward secrecy, which changes the encryption keys used to encrypt and decrypt your internet traffic every 15 minutes or whenever you disconnect from the VPN. This ensures the security of your sensitive data even if the most recently generated encryption key gets hacked (the hacker would only be able to see the traffic encrypted with the hacked encryption key, but any past or future traffic wouldn’t be compromised).
Besides these standard security features, ExpressVPN also offers a few extra security features, including:
- ExpressVPN Keys.
- Threat Manager.
- Support for Tor traffic.
ExpressVPN’s split-tunneling tool is really good — and it’s available on Android, Windows, and macOS. While most premium VPNs offer split-tunneling for Windows and/or Android, there aren’t many competitors that support this feature on macOS — in fact, ExpressVPN is one of the rare VPNs to provide split-tunneling for Mac users. This feature is available for macOS 10.15 or below, and ExpressVPN is currently developing support for macOS 11.
Split-tunneling worked seamlessly in my tests. I tested it while downloading torrents, making VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) calls, and accessing websites that are geo-blocked in my country — and it functioned just as advertised. Plus, when I routed torrenting traffic through an ExpressVPN server and browsed the internet on my local network, I was able to get faster download speeds than when all of my traffic was routed through the VPN.
I also found ExpressVPN’s split-tunneling feature to be very easy to use on my Samsung Galaxy, Windows PC, and MacBook Pro. The only minor drawback is that ExpressVPN doesn’t let you exclude specific websites or IP addresses from the VPN tunnel — for example, competitors like Private Internet Access let you exclude apps and IP addresses.
Overall, ExpressVPN’s split-tunneling feature is really good. It’s a great way to send traffic through the VPN and your local network simultaneously. I’d like to see ExpressVPN’s split-tunneling tool offer more customization options, but including or excluding specific apps is good enough for most users. Plus, this feature works really well, is very easy to use, and is even available for Mac.
One of the most impressive things about ExpressVPN is that all of its servers have obfuscation, which is a high-tech evasive tool that hides your connection to the VPN and makes it appear as if you’re browsing the web as normal. ExpressVPN wraps all of your VPN traffic inside an extra layer of protection. This allows users in restrictive countries like China and Iran to bypass their country’s internet firewalls and have access to an uncensored internet.
ExpressVPN confirmed that a user in a restrictive country can connect to a server in any other country. However, it has a list of recommended locations for users in China. Restrictive countries use sophisticated methods to detect and block VPN traffic, and due to this reason, most VPNs don’t work in China, Iran, and other nations that censor the internet. However, ExpressVPN counters in a handful of different ways that allow users in any country to connect to a server. They include:
- Refreshing IP addresses — Government firewalls identify and block VPN IP addresses, but ExpressVPN constantly changes its IP addresses to stay one step ahead of these nations.
- Evading Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) — Countries use DPI to spot and block VPN protocols and traffic. ExpressVPN’s obfuscation tools bypass most DPI blocks.
- Using different ports — ExpressVPN recommends connecting to a server with its OpenVPN TCP protocol, which uses TCP port 443. This is the same port that routes all HTTPS traffic, which allows users to access any HTTPS site. It’s very unlikely that a restrictive country would block this port.
I’m really impressed that ExpressVPN supports traffic obfuscation across all of its protocols — most top VPNs only provide obfuscation via the OpenVPN protocol. Also, ExpressVPN told me that it generally recommends that you use the Automatic option as the primary protocol for obfuscating your traffic.
Private Internet Access and PrivateVPN also have very good obfuscation tools to bypass government firewalls. Private Internet Access uses the Shadowsocks protocol, which allows you to connect to a server in 7 different countries. PrivateVPN uses its own StealthVPN feature, which you enable under Settings and can use to connect to any location. Keep in mind that both Private Internet Access and PrivateVPN’s obfuscation features reduce your speeds due to the added layers of encryption.
However, I think ExpressVPN offers the best obfuscation feature because it’s much easier to use and provides the fastest speeds. It’s the best choice for bypassing government firewalls thanks to its high-level obfuscation tools, which make your VPN connection look normal to your government’s local network.
ExpressVPN Keys (Password Manager)
ExpressVPN Keys is a good password manager (currently in beta), which you can use to secure all of your passwords in a digital vault. ExpressVPN Keys also auto-fills your login details when you sign into your online accounts — I tested the auto-fill feature multiple times on 10+ sites, and it always worked well.
The password manager is included with each ExpressVPN subscription, and I love that you can continue using this password manager for free even after your ExpressVPN subscription expires. ExpressVPN Keys is available inside the ExpressVPN app on iOS and Android and as a Chrome extension on Windows, macOS, and Linux.
ExpressVPN Keys comes with the following essential features:
- 256-bit AES encryption — ExpressVPN Keys uses military-grade encryption to secure your passwords.
- Zero-knowledge architecture — ExpressVPN Keys doesn’t store your data, so only you have access to your logins.
- Multi-device sync — ExpressVPN Keys syncs your logins across all devices. The password manager is available in the ExpressVPN iOS and Android apps and as a browser extension for Chrome on Windows, macOS, and Linux.
- Unlimited passwords and devices — ExpressVPN Keys lets you store as many logins as you want, and you can also use this service on as many devices as you want.
ExpressVPN Keys also has a built-in password generator, but you can only use it when creating or editing a login — I find that a little inconvenient because I can’t use ExpressVPN Keys to create strong passwords for third-party apps on my device (like gaming clients and crypto wallets).
It uses a mix of numbers, letters, and symbols to generate passwords. It can generate passwords that are up to 55 characters long, which is more than enough for most people. That said, if you’re looking to create a super complex password and even more flexibility, 1Password lets you create passwords that are up to 100 characters long.
ExpressVPN Keys is also missing additional features that most top password managers like 1Password, Dashlane, and RoboForm have — it lacks password security auditing (analyzes all stored passwords and flags weak, reused, or compromised passwords), password sharing (lets you securely share logins with other users and set permission levels), and two-factor authentication (uses a second verification method in addition to the master password to verify your identity).
On the plus side, I like how ExpressVPN Keys has undergone an independent security audit — no security vulnerabilities were found.
Overall, ExpressVPN Keys does basic password management really well, despite missing many additional features that most top password managers have. It’s a good addition to a top-quality VPN, and it should be enough for ExpressVPN users who only want to securely store passwords and auto-fill logins.
MediaStreamer is ExpressVPN’s smart DNS service, which is included with every ExpressVPN subscription. It helps you access US streaming sites on devices that don’t support VPN apps, like Roku, PlayStation, and Xbox. Please keep in mind that MediaStreamer won’t change your IP address or encrypt your traffic, so it can’t protect your privacy or prevent bandwidth throttling (but it will provide you with much faster speeds than the VPN).
MediaStreamer requires a manual setup, but I like that ExpressVPN provides helpful step-by-step tutorials for tons of devices. My colleague in the US said it only took him about 5 minutes to set up MediaStreamer on his PlayStation 4. He also confirmed that MediaStreamer allowed him to access popular streaming apps like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime.
In addition to US sites, MediaStreamer can also access streaming services from other countries. ExpressVPN couldn’t provide me with a list, but its reps told me you can use ExpressVPN’s live chat to find out if MediaStreamer works with a specific streaming app. I asked a support rep if MediaStreamer works with BBC iPlayer, and the rep told me MediaStreamer can access BBC iPlayer (and my colleague in the UK confirmed it worked for him).
Overall, MediaStreamer is a smart DNS tool that’s easy to use and lets you access popular US sites on devices that don’t natively support VPNs. While it doesn’t provide security, it has significantly faster speeds than the VPN.
Threat Manager stops your device from communicating with servers that host malware or trackers. Basically, this feature blocks connections to malicious sites (so it protects you from phishing attacks) and limits how much browsing data ad trackers collect (for example, they won’t know which articles you read on a news site or app).
I tested this feature on my iPhone X and MacBook Pro by connecting to shady HTTP sites while connected to ExpressVPN — Threat Manager stopped me from accessing these websites every single time. Threat Manager is available on ExpressVPN’s iOS, macOS, and Linux apps.
The only thing I don’t like about Threat Manager is that it doesn’t block ads (like Private Internet Access’s PIA MACE feature, for example).
Support for Tor Traffic
All ExpressVPN servers support traffic from The Onion Router (Tor). You don’t need to turn on any option — you can start using the Tor browser after you connect to an ExpressVPN server. Also, I really like that ExpressVPN has an .onion version of its official site, which makes it much easier to stay anonymous while purchasing a subscription. This also enables users in countries with heavy internet censorship to purchase ExpressVPN.
Keep in mind that using a VPN with Tor may result in particularly slow speeds — the Tor network is already slow because it encrypts your traffic multiple times, and adding another layer of encryption through the VPN makes the connection even slower. When I tested this feature, sites took much longer to load (over 10-15 seconds), and I experienced a 70-80% slowdown when compared to my regular internet speed.
But if you use .onion sites and want to avoid leaks, I recommend ExpressVPN. That said, you’ll still need to download and use the Tor browser to access the Tor network — competitors like ProtonVPN let you browse .onion domains in browsers like Opera or Chrome, which could be more convenient for some users.
ExpressVPN Privacy & Security
It’s also great that you can choose whether or not to share your diagnostic information (crash reports and information about how a VPN connection attempt failed) with ExpressVPN once you download its apps (some VPNs don’t provide you with this option). And even if you choose to share any data, it doesn’t contain any personally identifiable information.
ExpressVPN’s no-logs policy was proven true when one of its servers in Turkey was seized in 2017 by Turkish authorities, who were investigating the assassination of the Russian ambassador to Turkey. The investigators suspected the ExpressVPN server included information (such as the IP address) of the person who allegedly removed the assassin’s Gmail and Facebook accounts, which may have contained critical evidence pertaining to the case. But the server didn’t contain any user data for the investigators to use, further verifying ExpressVPN’s no-logs policy.
What’s more, the provider’s apps and extensions have also undergone security audits. In 2018, cybersecurity firm Cure53’s review of ExpressVPN’s Chrome extension found that ExpressVPN complied with major security and privacy standards. ExpressVPN’s Windows app also underwent a security audit by cybersecurity firm F-Secure in 2021 and a retest by the same firm in 2022 — no serious security issues were found. F-Secure only found minor issues, which ExpressVPN quickly patched. In addition, Cure53 tested the provider’s Linux and macOS apps and confirmed they provide excellent security. Also, the provider’s iOS and Android apps were also audited in 2022 and no major security issues were found.
ExpressVPN is headquartered in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), which is not part of the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliances (a group of countries that share intelligence data). This is good because the BVI doesn’t have mandatory data retention laws and only the BVI High Court can order ExpressVPN to share user data — but because ExpressVPN doesn’t log data, there would be no information to turn over!
Overall, ExpressVPN has a transparent no-logs policy that was independently verified, and it’s headquartered in a privacy-friendly country that’s not part of the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliances.
ExpressVPN Speed & Performance
I ran dozens of speed tests while connected to ExpressVPN’s servers to find the average VPN speed. I had the fastest speeds while using a local VPN server (in Romania), but my VPN speeds were also great while using distant servers in the US and Australia.
One of the main reasons ExpressVPN has such fast speeds is because it uses top-of-the-line 10Gbps (10 Gigabits) servers. Gigabits refers to the amount of bandwidth a server can transmit per second. The more bandwidth a server can handle means there’s less congestion of data being transferred on it. This allows for the data to transmit even faster.
Even better, ExpressVPN recently replaced all of its existing 1Gbps servers with new 10Gbps servers. This means they will maintain even faster speeds and provide more reliable connections.
I started my speed tests without being connected to an ExpressVPN server so that I could get a baseline for my speeds:
Next, I used ExpressVPN’s Smart Location feature to connect to the fastest VPN server (I was connected to a server in Romania). My speed loss was minimal, and I was able to surf sites and watch content without any delays.
Then, I connected to a US server. I had a slower download speed, but I expected that to happen since the distance between me and the server was 4,786 miles (7,703 kilometers). However, the slowdown hardly impacted my online experience — Netflix TV shows and movies quickly loaded, and I played online video games without much lag (although websites took an extra 2-3 seconds to load).
Finally, I tested an Australian server. The download and upload speeds were faster than on the US server, which was surprising considering the Australian server was farther away than the US server. While I was able to stream HD content, it sometimes defaulted to SD quality for 4-5 seconds before switching back to HD. My 1080p videos loaded instantly on YouTube, but 4K videos took a few seconds to start. I also downloaded a 70 GB torrent file in around 2 hours, which is very fast.
I conducted my speed tests with both OpenVPN and Lightway to see which protocol offers the fastest speeds, and Lightway is no doubt the faster option. I tested the protocols on a Romanian and Australian server. On the Romanian server, the OpenVPN speeds were 53% slower than when I used Lightway. And on the Australian server, the OpenVPN speeds were 75% slower.
Romania has really fast internet speed, so I asked my colleague in the US to run some speed tests, too. First, he conducted a speed test while not connected to an ExpressVPN server.
Next, my colleague used Smart Location and was connected to a server located in New York. Just like my experience being connected to a local ExpressVPN server, he didn’t notice a difference when he browsed the internet or streamed content.
Then, he connected to a server in the UK. While his ping increased significantly, his download speed only dropped by 15%, which is really good. He reported fast download speeds when torrenting and didn’t experience any glitches during two different VoIP calls.
For his final speed test, my colleague connected to a server in Australia (one of the most distant servers from his location). He was surprised at how little his speed was affected when he browsed the internet (websites only took an extra 2-3 seconds to load) and streamed content (HD video loaded in less than 5 seconds and remained in HD).
Overall, ExpressVPN is one of the fastest VPNs around — during my tests, connection speeds were excellent on both local and distant servers, I was able to stream content on multiple sites in HD quality, I maintained fast speeds for torrenting, and it took only a few seconds for shows and movies to load while connected to distant servers.
ExpressVPN Servers & IP Addresses
ExpressVPN has more than 3,000 servers in 160 locations in 94 countries. This is a really large server network that will enable you to easily find a nearby server no matter where you live.
One thing I really like is that all ExpressVPN servers support P2P traffic, making it easier to find a nearby server to get faster downloads (many VPNs like ProtonVPN only allow P2P on dedicated servers). I’m also happy that all of ExpressVPN’s servers support obfuscation — this is definitely more convenient than having to pick one from a small list of supported servers.
I have seen a few reviews that claim ExpressVPN comes with “Stealth Servers,” which obfuscate your traffic, but that’s not accurate — it provides obfuscation via its Lightway protocol and the Automatic protocol setting across all servers. It doesn’t have an in-app “Stealth Servers” category you can use. I talked with 5 different ExpressVPN support reps over live chat and email about the “Stealth Servers” and all of them told me you won’t find that server category inside ExpressVPN’s apps.
Most of ExpressVPN’s servers are physical servers (they’re physically located in the country that you connect to and typically provide better speeds), but ExpressVPN also uses virtual servers (which are located in a different country than the one you connect to). I like that ExpressVPN discloses where its virtual servers are actually located — virtual servers are routed through the Netherlands, Brazil, Singapore, Hong Kong, and the UK.
ExpressVPN’s servers use shared IP addresses, meaning you share the same IP with multiple users. That’s good for your privacy because your traffic gets mixed in with a lot of other users’ data. Unfortunately, ExpressVPN doesn’t currently offer dedicated IP addresses. Private Internet Access, CyberGhost VPN and NordVPN have dedicated IPs for an additional cost, and PrivateVPN includes dedicated IPs with certain protocols.
Overall, ExpressVPN has many servers located all around the world, and they all support P2P traffic and have obfuscation. ExpressVPN uses physical servers in the majority of locations and assigns users one of many shared IP addresses.
ExpressVPN Streaming Support
I think ExpressVPN is the best VPN for streaming on the market because it works with 100+ streaming apps, including popular and smaller streaming services.
ExpressVPN is also my favorite Netflix VPN because it consistently works with this popular streaming service. I always use it when traveling abroad to access my home library, and I never experience any proxy errors. My colleagues in the US and the UK also confirmed ExpressVPN successfully accesses the US and UK Netflix libraries. I also reached out to customer support, and the rep confirmed ExpressVPN is compatible with 10+ Netflix libraries, so you get a really good variety. The rep also told me you can use ExpressVPN’s live chat to find out if the VPN works with a specific Netflix library, which is very convenient.
In addition to Netflix, ExpressVPN also works with other top streaming platforms, including Hulu, Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer, and Disney+. What’s more, it’s also compatible with many other streaming apps like Crunchyroll, VRV, HBO Max, DAZN, RaiPlay, Now TV, ESPN, TVNZ, Antena 3, Channel 4, Sling TV, Apple TV+, and Sky Go. I especially like that ExpressVPN lists all the streaming sites it works with on its site — it’s a much faster way to find out if this VPN works with the platforms you’re interested in than using live chat.
ExpressVPN is so good for streaming because it refreshes its servers’ IP addresses very often (a customer support rep confirmed this, but they couldn’t tell me how often because it’s confidential information). That makes it extremely difficult for streaming services to detect this provider’s IP addresses.
Overall, ExpressVPN is excellent for streaming — it works with 100+ streaming services (including top sites like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+) and regularly refreshes its IP addresses to provide consistent access to all streaming sites.
ExpressVPN Torrenting Support
ExpressVPN provides excellent torrenting support and is actually our #1 pick for the best VPNs for torrenting in 2023. It allows P2P traffic on all 3,000+ of its servers, which are located in 90+ countries. This is extremely convenient because some VPNs only allow torrenting on dedicated servers — for example, Proton VPN only allows P2P traffic on servers in 15+ countries, so it’s more difficult to use nearby servers for fast downloads.
I tested ExpressVPN with many popular P2P apps, and it always worked without any problems. I had the fastest speeds while using qBittorrent, but I also enjoyed fast downloads with clients such as Vuze, Deluge, uTorrent, BitTorrent, and Transmission.
ExpressVPN also comes with port forwarding (lets you connect to more peers to get faster downloads), but it’s only available on its router app. That said, its router app is incredibly easy to install and use, so it only took me about 6–7 minutes to configure the app on my router and enable port forwarding — doing that successfully increased P2P speeds on my Windows PC by about 10%.
ExpressVPN provides secure torrenting because it has a kill switch and full leak protection, so you don’t risk experiencing traffic leaks while downloading torrents. I actually ran multiple leak tests on servers in 10+ countries using ExpressVPN’s built-in leak testing tools and a third-party service before I downloaded any torrents, and I never experienced any leaks. I also ran several torrent IP leak tests on 3 torrent clients to make sure the apps don’t share my real IP address with other peers — the results always displayed ExpressVPN’s IP addresses.
I also recommend using ExpressVPN’s Threat Manager feature while torrenting because it blocks connections to malicious sites, including fake P2P platforms that can infect your device with malware. I tested it by connecting to 5 shady torrenting sites, and Threat Manager blocked my connections to all of them.
Overall, ExpressVPN is the best P2P VPN out there — all of its servers are P2P-friendly, it works with the most popular P2P apps, it has port forwarding on its router app, and it provides excellent leak protection.
ExpressVPN Gaming Support
ExpressVPN is excellent for gaming — I used it to play online games like Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive on Steam and had a smooth experience. First, I used a distant server in the US to download Dota 2 (around 35 GB of data) and it only took approximately 15 minutes, which is very fast. And when I played the game on the same US server, I had average ping (113-119 ms) but didn’t experience any lags, freezes, or random disconnects.
Because ExpressVPN changes your IP address, other online players can’t target you with DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks, which force you offline. But here’s what I really like — all of ExpressVPN’s servers include anti-DDoS protection. So even if another gamer tries to target you with a DDoS attack, it will (unsuccessfully) target ExpressVPN’s IP address instead (keeping your actual IP address safe).
ExpressVPN is also one of the few VPNs that provide support for cloud gaming services (platforms that stream video games to portable devices like tablets and smartphones). It works with tons of popular cloud gaming services, including Google Stadia, PlayStation Now, and GeForce Now. I tested servers in 10+ countries on my Google Stadia account by playing Risk of Rain 2 and Far Cry 6, and ExpressVPN always successfully reduced my ping and provided me with stable, secure connections.
And I love that ExpressVPN comes with an easy-to-install router app (most VPNs require complicated manual setups on your router) — so it’s really simple to use it on gaming devices that don’t support VPNs, like Xbox and PlayStation consoles. For example, it only took me about 7–8 minutes to set up ExpressVPN on my router so that I can use it to securely play Elden Ring on my PlayStation 4. ExpressVPN also offers users the option to purchase its own router, Aircove, which delivers up to 1,200 Mbps speeds and offers all of the benefits of the VPN.
Overall, ExpressVPN is excellent for gaming (and is our #1 pick for the best VPNs for gaming in 2023) — it provides fast gaming speeds on nearby and distant servers, comes with anti-DDoS protection on all servers, works with cloud gaming services, and even has an easy-to-install router app for secure gaming on devices that don’t support VPNs.
ExpressVPN Bypassing Censorship
ExpressVPN uses obfuscation to hide your VPN traffic and enable you to bypass firewalls and restrictions in countries that censor the internet like China, Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Indonesia. These types of countries control what websites its residents are able to visit, including news sites, social media, and Gmail. They also restrict users’ access to VPNs, and some countries have outright banned VPNs (China, for example).
I also think it’s great that ExpressVPN has servers all over the world — it allows users in restrictive countries to connect to nearby servers for fast speeds. For example, users in China can connect to servers in Singapore and Japan, and users in Saudi Arabia can use servers in Israel and Cyprus.
ExpressVPN Plans & Pricing
ExpressVPN is one of the more expensive VPN services on the market — but you can use our special 49% discount to get it for just $6.67 / month. It has a subscription-based model with a 1-month, 6-month, and 12-month plan (that comes with an additional 3 months free). The 12-month plan provides the best value, but it’s more expensive than other competitors’ 12-month plans, like Private Internet Access and Nord VPN. All ExpressVPN plans give you access to the same features.
ExpressVPN allows up to 5 simultaneous connections with 1 subscription, which is about the average for a top VPN. But this number of connections is still fewer than CyberGhost VPN (7 connections) and Surfshark (allows unlimited connections). ExpressVPN accepts credit cards, PayPal, Bitcoin, and Paymentwall (which supports 11 payment options like Mint, Giropay, and UnionPay). Every plan is covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Overall, ExpressVPN is more expensive than many other top VPNs, but it still offers great value due to its extremely fast speeds, strong security and privacy features, and near-perfect functionality.
ExpressVPN Ease of Use: Mobile & Desktop Apps
ExpressVPN has apps for Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux, Chromebook, Kindle Fire, and Wi-Fi routers. Installing ExpressVPN is very simple. It took me just 1-2 minutes to download and install ExpressVPN on my Samsung Galaxy, iPhone X, Windows 10 PC, and MacBook Pro.
How to Install ExpressVPN (Just 3 Simple Steps):
- Step 1: Sign up for ExpressVPN. Pick the plan that works for you and create an account.
- Step 2: Download and install its apps. Just follow the on-screen instructions provided in ExpressVPN’s installation wizards.
- Step 3: Open the VPN app. Connect to a server with just 1 click and start surfing the web securely.
ExpressVPN’s Android app is feature-rich and easy to use. I installed it on my Samsung Galaxy without any problems, and I instantly found the design of the app highly intuitive.
The app’s home screen lets you quickly connect to a VPN server using the Smart Location tool or you can choose to connect to your two most recent locations. Tap on Smart Location, and you’ll see a short list of recommended locations and the option to view the full list of servers.
If you tap the icon with 3 little lines in the top left corner, it will open up the menu. Under Settings, you can enable auto-connect, use split-tunneling, customize network settings, and manually choose your protocol — ExpressVPN’s Android app includes Lightway and OpenVPN (but I recommend sticking with whichever protocol ExpressVPN defaults to so you get the best connection speed and security).
Another convenient feature I like is Shortcuts, which allows you to create 1-click shortcuts to your favorite apps (like Netflix or Facebook) that appear on your screen immediately after you connect to ExpressVPN. This way, you don’t have to find the app on your device.
ExpressVPN’s Android app doesn’t include the Network Lock, but you can still enable “Block internet when unable to connect or reconnect to VPN”, which functions in a similar way. The Android app also comes with ExpressVPN Keys, but it doesn’t include Threat Manager.
I also like the App Screenshots feature, which lets you disable in-app screenshots and prevent app content from showing up on the multitasking pane — this way, nobody can compromise information displayed on the ExpressVPN screen by looking at your screen. I also think it’s great that this feature prevents apps with special permissions from seeing certain content on your screen when you use the VPN app.
Overall, ExpressVPN has one of the best Android apps on the market. It’s very user-friendly, has quick and easy connection options, great security features, and fast speeds.
ExpressVPN’s iOS app is very similar to the Android app. However, the iOS app doesn’t have split-tunneling (TunnelBear is the only VPN that has this) or the Shortcuts feature — but it does come with the Lightway and IKEv2/IPSec protocols, Threat Manager, and ExpressVPN Keys.
ExpressVPN’s iOS app also comes with Network Lock, but it’s only available if you use the Lightway protocol. I’m really happy to see this because many VPNs don’t include a kill switch on their iOS apps.
Overall, ExpressVPN has a well-designed iOS app. While it lacks split-tunneling (most iOS VPN apps do), it’s still packed with other great security features like a password manager and a kill switch.
ExpressVPN’s Windows and macOS apps are really good. I installed ExpressVPN’s app on my Windows 10 PC and MacBook Pro. Like with the mobile apps, you can connect to the Smart Location or your most recent servers. If you click on the menu icon, you can view all server locations, access the Options menu, and contact support.
The Options menu is where you’ll find security features (like the kill switch and split-tunneling), protocol options, and advanced settings. While you can customize the VPN to your needs, I really like that ExpressVPN sets all of the important functions to recommended default settings so you don’t have to manually enable or disable them.
ExpressVPN is one of the few VPNs that has split-tunneling for macOS, but it’s only on macOS 10.15 or below (the feature is not yet available on macOS 11.0 or higher). The macOS app also comes with Threat Manager. And both apps provide access to the same protocols, but L2TP/IPSec is missing on macOS (which is not a problem since it’s not a very secure protocol).
Overall, ExpressVPN has great desktop apps. The Windows and macOS apps are mostly the same, and ExpressVPN even has split-tunneling for macOS 10.15 and below (unlike most of its competitors).
Browser Extensions (Chrome/Firefox/Edge)
The browser extensions let you remotely control the VPN app installed on your device, so they can encrypt your data. That way, ExpressVPN’s browser extensions secure your device’s entire traffic (not just the browser’s traffic), so they provide better security. This is also in contrast with most competitors whose extensions are simple proxies (tools that change your IP address but don’t encrypt your traffic).
I think ExpressVPN’s browser extensions are very user-friendly — they share the same design across all browsers (so it’s very easy to switch between the extensions), there’s a quick-connect feature, the interface is simple to navigate (on average, it only took me about 5 seconds to connect to a server), and all settings and features have helpful explanations.
I also like how feature-rich the extensions are — you don’t get split-tunneling, but there are other useful security features. For example, HTTPS Everywhere automatically connects you to a website’s HTTPS version if it’s available instead of the HTTP version. All HTTPS websites use encryption to protect your data and are more secure than HTTP websites, which aren’t safe. I tested this feature by accessing 10 HTTP sites, and I was always connected to their HTTPS versions.
There’s also a feature that prevents HTML5 geolocation from identifying your device’s location (HTML5 geolocation can do that by using GPS data, Wi-Fi networks, and cell tower triangulation). Basically, ExpressVPN’s extensions make your browser geolocation data match the IP address of the VPN server location you’re connected to, so that streaming sites and other geo-restricted sites can’t see your real location.
And I also like that ExpressVPN’s extensions allow you to block WebRTC, a browser-related issue that can leak your IP address while you’re connected to a VPN. I ran 10+ WebRTC leak tests while connected to servers in 5 countries and I never experienced an IP leak.
My only complaint is that you need to install the desktop apps to use the browser extensions, which might be a little inconvenient for some users. But, overall, I think ExpressVPN has some of the best browser extensions out there — they’re secure, easy to use, and feature-rich.
ExpressVPN is one of the rare VPNs that come with its own dedicated router app (VyprVPN also has a router app, but it’s less user-friendly than ExpressVPN’s app). ExpressVPN’s router app is available on popular router brands like Netgear, Asus, and Linksys.
Another option is to purchase Aircove, which is ExpressVPN’s built-in router. It has competitive prices (compared to other top routers on the market), it’s very easy to set up and use, and it provides excellent speeds. ExpressVPN claims that Aircove can support dozens of devices. In addition, the provider’s router has also passed an independent security audit.
Setting up the router app is really simple — it only took me about 8 minutes to complete. All you need to do is:
- Download ExpressVPN’s router app.
- Upload the router app to your router.
- Wait for the router to restart.
- Configure the app.
I’m also a big fan of how user-friendly ExpressVPN’s router app is — the dashboard is really similar to the mobile and desktop apps (so it’s easy to get used to it), the quick-connect feature (Smart Location) is available, and it’s really easy to find and connect to different servers.
I also love the Device Groups feature, which lets you set up a maximum of 5 separate groups for each of your devices — for example, you can create one group for your desktop devices, one group for your mobile devices, and one group for your smart TVs and gaming consoles. Also, it lets you connect your devices up to 5 different locations (most VPNs normally only allow you to connect your devices to just 1 location).
You can even create a device group that doesn’t use the VPN and a group that uses MediaStreamer (ExpressVPN’s smart DNS, which is good for accessing US streaming services). Creating a device group is extremely simple, and you move devices from one group to the other by dragging and dropping them, which is very convenient. I used the Device Groups feature when my friend from the US visited my country (Romania) and stayed over for a few weeks — I created a device group that connected to a US server so that he could watch his favorite Hulu shows, while my devices (which I mostly use for gaming and torrenting) remained connected to my “home” group, which used a VPN server in Romania.
And I also like that ExpressVPN’s router app comes with the Lightway protocol to ensure you get very fast speeds across all devices. When I used the router app, I was able to maintain fast streaming, browsing, and torrenting speeds on my Windows 10 PC, Android smartphones, laptop, smart TV, and PlayStation 4 on both nearby and distant servers. What’s more, the router app lets you enable port forwarding, so you can speed up torrenting speeds across all your devices.
Overall, ExpressVPN is one of the only VPNs with a router app (and it’s also very simple to install and use). The router app works on tons of router models and also lets you connect your devices to up to 5 different locations.
ExpressVPN Apps: Is ExpressVPN Easy to Use?
All ExpressVPN apps are really easy to use and feature-rich.
The apps include most of the same features with only a few exceptions. The iOS app is missing Shortcuts and split-tunneling, the macOS app only supports split-tunneling for version 10.15 and below, the Android and Windows apps don’t have Threat Manager, and the desktop apps are missing ExpressVPN Keys.
But other than that, the apps are nearly identical, and they all work exactly as promised. Plus, I love that ExpressVPN is one of the only VPNs that comes with a router app (which is very user-friendly). Also, the browser extensions are very secure and let you remotely control the desktop apps, which is really convenient.
|Graphical User Interface (GUI)||✅||✅||✅||✅||✅ (only by using the browser extensions)||✅|
|Split-Tunneling||✅||❌||✅||✅ (macOS 10.15 and lower)||❌||✅|
ExpressVPN Customer Support
ExpressVPN has extensive troubleshooting guides, video tutorials, 24/7 live chat, and email support. There’s no phone support, but I don’t think this is a problem since ExpressVPN provides a wide range of really good customer service channels.
The troubleshooting guides and tutorials are very well-structured and informative. I especially like that ExpressVPN offers video tutorials that cover how to install ExpressVPN’s apps and how to sign in and set up ExpressVPN on your device. They are great tools, especially for users who are new to VPNs (competitors like IPVanish also provide video tutorials).
The live chat is also really good. I tested ExpressVPN’s live chat feature twice — once on the weekend and once during the week. Each time, I was connected to a support rep in less than 15 seconds, and the customer support representative provided me with very helpful information. ExpressVPN only offers support in English, but it offers a translation tool to communicate with you in different languages. I tested the tool by speaking in Romanian, and the support rep was able to understand me (and solve my issue).
I was also happy with the email support. I sent ExpressVPN 3 emails to see how fast it would take to get a response. I got a response within 6-7 hours, which is pretty good, and the answers were very detailed. And, if asked, ExpressVPN’s support reps will email you a transcript of the conversation you had with them. It’s a minor thing, but I like it because it helps me keep track of all the questions I ask (so that I don’t need to contact customer support and ask again later).
Overall, ExpressVPN has excellent customer support. I really like the helpful support guides and 24/7 live chat. Email support is available too, but I recommend using live chat because it’s much faster.
Is ExpressVPN Really the Best VPN in 2023?
ExpressVPN is the best VPN on the market because it has excellent security features, the fastest speeds out there, outstanding streaming, gaming, and torrenting support, and extremely user-friendly apps for all of the most popular devices.
It has unmatched security features, plus a wide range of additional tools. It keeps user data safe with 256-bit AES encryption, a no-logs policy that has been audited and confirmed, a kill switch, and full leak protection. Its servers only run on RAM memory, so all data is wiped with every reboot. It also provides access to Threat Manager, which blocks trackers and prevents you from accessing malicious websites, and ExpressVPN Keys, which is a basic but secure password manager.
I always had fast speeds while using ExpressVPN — even while I was connected to servers that were far from my location — this allowed me to browse the internet, stream content (in HD quality), and download large files without any issues. In fact, ExpressVPN’s Lightway protocol outperformed other popular VPN protocols like OpenVPN and WireGuard in all of my tests.
ExpressVPN is also excellent for streaming, torrenting, and gaming. It works with 100+ streaming apps, allows torrenting on all of its servers (3,000+ servers in 160 locations in 94 countries), provides stable connections while gaming and support for cloud gaming platforms, and works in restrictive countries like China and Iran.
Overall, ExpressVPN is my #1 VPN in 2023. It’s super secure, blazing fast, and very easy to use. ExpressVPN is more expensive than most top VPNs, but it provides a really good value, and it covers each plan with a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is ExpressVPN free?
No, ExpressVPN doesn’t have a free plan. However, it has a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can test the product risk-free for a month (and I got my refund back into my account 4 days after requesting it).
There are free VPNs out there, but I don’t recommend using most of them — the majority of free VPNs lack basic security features, have slow speeds, place a limit on your data, spam you with ads, and/or monitor your traffic. On the other hand, using a premium VPN gives you excellent security, top-notch privacy, and ultra-fast connection speeds for all of your online activity (ExpressVPN can do all of this and more).
Does ExpressVPN work in China?
Yes, ExpressVPN works in China and other countries with heavy internet censorship. If you live or are traveling to a country that censors the internet, ExpressVPN can help you get around firewalls and internet restrictions. And ExpressVPN is secure, fast, intuitive, and it supports all major operating systems.
Does ExpressVPN work With Netflix?
Yes, ExpressVPN works with Netflix. Even better, the provider can access 10+ Netflix libraries, so you get tons of variety. I really like how ExpressVPN supports streaming on all of its servers — unlike some competitors that only have dedicated streaming servers.
ExpressVPN also supports other popular streaming apps, including BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, Disney+, and FuboTV.
Is ExpressVPN safe?
Yes, ExpressVPN is one of the safest VPNs on the market. It uses 256-bit AES encryption, has a kill switch, and maintains a strict no-logs policy that has also been independently audited and confirmed). ExpressVPN’s servers only run on RAM, meaning all data is wiped each time the server is rebooted, and ExpressVPN also offers complete leak protection for WebRTC, DNS, and IPv6 (I ran several leak tests and had 0 leaks). In addition, you also get access to Threat Manager, which protects you from malicious trackers and fake sites, and ExpressVPN Keys, which is a decent password manager that protects your logins.
Does ExpressVPN slow down internet speeds?
All VPNs slow down your internet speeds because the encryption-decryption process increases the time it takes for your data to travel over the web. But ExpressVPN significantly minimizes the speed loss with its extremely fast proprietary Lightway protocol and its large server network of 3,000+ servers in 90+ countries (so it’s easy to avoid overcrowded servers and connect to nearby servers to get fast speeds).
In my speed tests, I always had very fast speeds for all online activities, including gaming, torrenting, streaming, and browsing. I even had fast speeds on 5+ devices when I used ExpressVPN’s router app. This is not surprising, considering that ExpressVPN is the fastest VPN on the market.
Is ExpressVPN worth the money?
Yes — while ExpressVPN’s plans are a little pricey (they start at $6.67 / month), they’re worth it because ExpressVPN is hands-down the best VPN on the market in 2023. ExpressVPN has top-tier streaming support since it works with 100+ streaming apps including top sites like Netflix and Hulu, the fastest speeds on the market, high-end security features (including advanced security features like RAM-only servers, full leak protection, and perfect forward secrecy), and very user-friendly apps for all major platforms, including a router app that’s very easy to set up and use.
Does ExpressVPN have stealth servers?
ExpressVPN provides obfuscation (which makes your VPN traffic look like regular internet traffic), but it doesn’t have in-app access to dedicated stealth servers. It doesn’t need to provide stealth servers since you can use obfuscation across most servers via the Automatic protocol setting or Lightway (ExpressVPN’s proprietary protocol), which I think is much more convenient than finding and connecting to obfuscated servers.
Which devices does ExpressVPN support?
You can pretty much use ExpressVPN on any web-connected device. It provides dedicated apps for:
- Android smartphones and tablets running Android 5.0 and above.
- iPhones, iPads, and iPods running iOS 12 and above.
- PCs (personal computers) running Windows 7 and above.
- PCs running macOS X 10.11 and above.
- PCs running Linux distros (Ubuntu, Debian 9 and 10, Fedora 34, Mint 20.1 and LMDE4, and the latest Arch release). You can also use ExpressVPN’s apps on distros that are not officially supported by the provider, but are based on the distros I listed. However, ExpressVPN won’t provide fixes for issues on unsupported distros.
- Android TV devices running Android 5.0 and above.
- Amazon Fire devices (Fire TV and 2nd generation Fire Stick and above).
- Amazon Fire tablets running Fire OS 5 and above.
- Chromebook devices running that support Android apps.
- Raspberry Pi devices running Raspbian 9 and 10.
- Routers from Netgear, Linksys, and Asus.
- Chrome, Firefox, and Edge browsers.
With ExpressVPN’s router app, you can use its VPN connection on devices that don’t natively support VPN apps, like Apple TV, Roku, and PlayStation consoles. ExpressVPN also has its own router (called Aircove), which has all of the functionality of a VPN, is reasonably priced, and has also been independently audited and proven to be secure.
You can also configure ExpressVPN’s MediaStreamer (its smart DNS service) on the following devices:
- Smart TVs and streaming devices like Apple TV (1st, 2nd, and 3rd gen and tvOS 4th gen and above), LG Smart TV, Samsung Smart TV, and Amazon Fire TV.
- PCs running macOS and Windows.
- Gaming consoles like Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 3, 4, and 5, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.
- Routers from brands like Netgear and Linksys or routers running DD-WRT firmware.
Is ExpressVPN legal?
Yes, using ExpressVPN is perfectly legal in most countries. That said, there are restrictive countries like China, Iran, and Indonesia that block, discourage, or punish VPN usage. If you plan on traveling to one of those places, I strongly recommend checking the local laws to make sure you won’t face prosecution or huge fines if you’re caught using ExpressVPN.
Is ExpressVPN Keys as good as a standalone password manager?
No. While it’s a very secure password manager that’s good for basic functions, it lacks many of the features that top password managers offer.
ExpressVPN Keys has tons of essential features — it secures your passwords with bank-grade encryption, uses zero-knowledge architecture (only you have access to your logins), and auto-fills your passwords. It also has a good password generator, supports multi-sync and unlimited logins and devices, has been independently audited, and is included for free with each ExpressVPN subscription — best of all, you can continue using ExpressVPN Keys for free even after your ExpressVPN subscription expires.
But if you want a feature-rich password manager, I don’t recommend ExpressVPN Keys because it’s missing many extras. For example, it doesn’t have two-factor authentication (adds a second verification method on top of the master password to verify your identity), password security auditing, which checks your logins and flags weak, reused, or compromised passwords, and data breach monitoring, which checks the dark web to see if your passwords were compromised in a data breach, that top password managers like 1Password and Dashlane provide offer.