ExpressVPN is one of two services to emerge as major players in the world of online privacy (the other being NordVPN). But is this popularity deserved? We take a look at the program and see if it’s worth the hype.
ExpressVPN is headquartered in the British Virgin Isles (BVI). This places them outside the jurisdiction of the “14 Eyes”. The BVI is defiantly pro-privacy, and companies based there enjoy remarkable freedom from government snooping.
Several versions of the program ship with something called “Network Lock”, which is basically just a fancily-named kill switch. When your connection to the VPN goes down, all traffic instantly stops. This prevents unsecured data packages from leaking. The feature is easy to set up and stands up well to testing – unlike similar functions built into rival VPNs.
Another feature some users will welcome is “split tunnelling”, which allows packets sent by certain pre-defined programs to bypass the VPN altogether. This comes in handy in situations where you’re accessing local and overseas services simultaneously – it’ll also free up some of your bandwidth in the process.
Consistently High Speeds
If you’re connecting to a server in a neighbouring country, you can expect to preserve 90% or more of your download speed. If you’re connecting to the other side of the planet, this might decline substantially – but given that the company offers servers in nearly 100 countries worldwide (and a few virtual ones to fill in the gaps), the chances are you’ll be able to maintain a high speed.
A similarly high standard is discovered when testing for leaks in both Mac and Windows clients: ExpressVPN is consistently watertight, standing up to rigorous testing.
Diverse Range of Protocols
ExpressVPN also offers a choice of several different protocols, including more obscure ones like PPTP. Power-users can select the one that best suits their needs; most of us can simply allow the VPN to choose on our behalf.
Trusted No-logging Policy
The company maintains a rigorous zero-data-retention policy, stating it does not log user activities for any reason. This high-minded talk was put to the test in 2017 when Turkish authorities seized an ExpressVPN server, but were unable to extract a single scrap of user-data. This incident coincided with a sharp upturn in the company’s fortunes; it allowed users the confidence that comes from real-world testing.
Range of Apps
ExpressVPN is available on a range of platforms and comes in the form of browser extensions.
The cost of ExpressVPN is slightly above average when compared to some of the more affordable products on the market. That said, it’s by no means overpriced.
Given its excellent performance and the range of options and features packed under the hood, the popularity of ExpressVPN is easy to appreciate. To be sure, all of this comes at a price: the 12-month plan works out at just over $8 a month, which is above average in this field. However, when you’re investing in a quality VPN, unreliable (or even partial) coverage simply doesn’t cut it. For this reason we’d recommend spending an extra dollar or two monthly and getting the peace of mind that comes with it.