ExpressVPN Review: Best VPN for Digital Nomads
Hackers nowadays can easily jump into your network and track everything you do online. That is exactly why VPN is important. VPN, or Virtual Private Network, gives your private network an added layer of security. This is especially helpful whenever you’re connecting to a public wi-fi and other networks whose security isn’t assuring. Another known use of a VPN is giving the user the ability to access region-restricted sites.
What is a VPN?
VPN works by rerouting your device’s internet connection through your chosen VPN server rather than your personal internet service provider (ISP) so no data will be traced back to you. When you use a VPN, your data traverses through an encrypted path to the VPN’s online server.
Besides, you never really know who might be virtually looking at your online movements and that is exactly why VPN is important.
In this blog, we’re going give you a 360° view of one of the best VPNs available - that is Express VPN.
What is ExpressVPN?
ExpressVPN is a powerful VPN service used by many people around the globe. While the VPN space is difficult to penetrate, ExpressVPN was able to solidify a space in the industry with over 160 server locations worldwide boasting unlimited speeds. ExpressVPN is definitely the best VPN available if not one of the bests, and we will dive into the details as we go on below.
While ExpressVPN does not offer a free VPN service, it delivers superb value for money in three different tiers.
- 1-month plan at $12.95 per month billed monthly
- 6-month plan at $9.99 per month billed at $59.95 every 6 months wherein you get 23% savings
- 12-month plan at $8.32 per month wherein you get a total of 35% savings
It’s evident that ExpressVPN’s price point is not part of the lower spectrum. However, it's comparable to many VPN service providers like GooseVPN, Hotspot Shield, VyprVPN, and CyberGhost which all cost around $13 for their monthly plans.
Like any other VPN service provider, you get a higher discount the longer you subscribe. You may also be one of the lucky ones who score awesome deals with ExpressVPN’s deals and coupons. There’s also a reward scheme wherein you get an additional one month free when you refer a friend. This has no limit so feel free to refer all your friends so you can get yourself free VPN for months!
Another good thing with ExpressVPN is its money-back guarantee model wherein you can opt-out anytime, with no hidden charges and misleading fine print. Try it and see for yourself!
Hassle-free subscription? They surely got it. ExpressVPN gives a hassle-free online payment scheme including all major cards, PayPal and even bitcoin so you can subscribe anytime, anywhere.
Is there a way to get free ExpressVPN?
While there is currently no offering for free VPN under ExpressVPN, you can take advantage of its 30-day free trial and 30-day money-back guarantee. How? For sneaky people who will do everything just to get free services – this means you can enjoy ExpressVPN for 30 days and request a full refund without explaining why. Remember, no hidden charges and misleading fine print.
This gap can definitely give you a risk-free assessment since ExpressVPN is so confident about their services, they give out a full refund with no questions asked. Talk about superiority and industry authority, right?
ExpressVPN automatically selects the best VPN protocol based on your network settings. For many, they have OpenVPN protocol by default which you can easily modify anytime.
Many users prefer to use the OpenVPN protocol because of its speed and security. Good thing is that ExpressVPN supports OpenVPN UDP/TCP on Android, iOS, Linux, macOS, and Windows. If you’re having connection problems with your network, OpenVPN TCP may be a better option. You may also check out the IKEv2 protocol which is also known to be secure and fast. Other protocols include PPTP and L2TP/IPsec. However, these do not guarantee the same level of security as the other protocols.
Worldwide servers and virtual servers
This is one of the major things you need to check in getting a VPN, the available server locations. A good-quality VPN service should have servers across the world. With numerous servers available, you’ll be sure that there’s always a nearby server no matter where you are.
ExpressVPN has 160 server locations in 94 countries. This is way bigger than NordVPN’s 62 and CyberGhost’s 80 countries. ExpressVPN is keen on increasing its servers worldwide even in countries with slump internet structure and strict internet policies including Africa, VietNam, Turkey and Russia. Just with this aspect, you’ll be sure you’re getting better service with ExpressVPN.
While some users raise concerns about virtual servers, they are not necessarily harmful. Virtual servers can be configured to show as if it’s located in a country other than where it’s physically stored. Virtual servers are created to meet the demand (as needed) and to get better performance, the only downside is knowing that your data is going to some country you don’t really know about. The good thing about ExpressVPN is that it provides transparency and discloses where the virtual servers are exactly located.
With a massive server fleet, you get a higher chance of having an uncrowded server for better performance. With over 3,000 servers available, ExpressVPN’s will surely give you the best VPN performance among its kind.
Nowadays, VPN companies are taking the extra mile to prove the authenticity of their security features. For ExpressVPN, they commissioned a third-party audit from PricewaterhouseCoopers which verified that TrustedServer feature, no logs policy, and the strict implementation of privacy protection. ExpressVPN also made an open-source leak-testing tool and answered the Center for Democracy and Technology's VPN questionnaire to prove its security features.
When you get a VPN, there’s no need to worry about your personal and professional data being decrypted or being accessed by black hat hackers.
ExpressVPN gives you the highest standard of encryption with 256-bit AES encryption, which is a combination of AES 256-bit cypher with a 4096-bit RSA key and SHA-512 HMAC authentication.
The first one, AES 256-bit encryption is symmetric which can only be accessed by using the same key used to encrypt your data. This essentially makes it nearly impossible to hack.
Next is SHA-512 HMAC authentication that is used to secure data transfers. This technology utilizes a shared secret key between the sender and receiver to be able to verify file authenticity.
Another advantage of ExpressVPN is they use an advanced feature called “perfect forward secrecy” which changes your encryption key every time you log on. This makes all your session independent and different from each other. Thus, should anyone intercept your current session, they wouldn’t be able to check your previous sessions.
At the end of the day, every VPN user only wants one thing, zero logs. ExpressVPN stays true to its word by keeping no logs of your activity and connection logs that shows everything about your online traffic, site visits, and DNS queries. If any, ExpressVPN only keeps your email address and payment details for customer records and email marketing purposes.
Many people are pleased and satisfied with ExpressVPN’s no-log policy and found no loopholes. It’s true, ExpressVPN does not store any online information about your activity. Look at the news below about the assassination of the Russian Ambassador to Turkey.
“In December 2017, ExpressVPN came into the spotlight in relation to the investigation of the assassination of the Russian ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov. Turkish investigators seized an ExpressVPN server which they say was used to delete relevant information from the assassin's Gmail and Facebook accounts.”
The Turkish authorities demanded ExpressVPN to provide logs from the server to find out who deleted the files. As expected, ExpressVPN wasn’t able to provide any information because of its zero-log policy.
While ExpressVPN condemns the use of its platform for illegal activities, it’s a highly positive outcome for ExpressVPN. This outcome only confirms that its zero-logging policy is true. That’s highly reassuring if you’re a VPN user looking for strict security.
VPN Speed and Performance
For many VPN users, one concern that’s always been present is its effect on your internet speed. Why? Simply because routing your traffic from one country to your device back and forth isn’t as simple as you think it is. It is true though, that using a VPN will reduce your internet’s upload and download speeds - however, it’s only going to be minimal.
ExpressVPN delivers fast and reliable speeds and does well in the performance category. It plays head-on with other premium VPNs in the market, as shown in the NordVPN vs ExpressVPN comparison.
If you’re still skeptical about getting good speeds, then here’s our tip. We recommend you to use the “recommended server” feature. This feature will help you select the best server that will give you the fastest internet speed based on server loads and your proximity to the server location.
ExpressVPN also has a Network lock, most commonly known as the kill switch. This feature keeps your IP address and traffic secure in case your VPN connection drops. This feature prevents your apps from connecting to the internet while your VPN isn’t secured.
ExpressVPN’s Network lock is designed to block traffic in case your network connection is compromised, keeping your IP address and online data secure. However, this feature is only available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. ExpressVPN has yet to roll this feature out on iOS and android.
One of ExpressVPN’s coolest features is split tunneling that lets you encrypt only a certain part of your traffic using specific browsers and leave others as is. Meaning, you get to choose apps you can browse locally and apps that need a VPN.
This feature ultimately lets you decide which of your apps will use VPN.
Leak Tests and Leak Protection
While a VPN sends your traffic in an encrypted tunnel, there are times when a potential leak that can happen. Normally, if your VPN isn’t configured perfectly, your real IP address, ISP, or DNS requests can leak and thus, defeating the purpose of getting a VPN. A good quality VPN will protect you against these leaks and will guarantee you full anonymity to avoid risks.
Good thing is that you can easily check yours through DNS Leak Test or ipleak.net for your ExpressVPN. As for us, we found that all our requests are leak-proof and are redirected to the correct locations.
Still not sold that ExpressVPN is the best VPN? Good cause we’re not yet done. ExpressVPN also offers Tor compatibility. This gives you an added layer of security on top of everything mentioned above. It is also good to know that only a few VPNs have this feature.
Unsurprisingly, ExpressVPN has its own Tor onion website. In fact, it’s the only vendor we know that has its own onion service. This gives users greater privacy which works pretty well if you’re located in countries with stricter online control. However, like its network lock, ExpressVPN doesn't offer Tor compatibility on mobile devices yet.
Truth is, the only thing you’ll ever know about a VPN’s security is through doing diligence checks. It’s easy thanks to Google and numerous forums online.
The good thing is we haven’t found any reports of a security breach for ExpressVPN. This only supports ExpressVPN’s claim to be the best VPN with ultimate security and military-grade encryption features.
One good thing about getting a VPN is gaining access to geo-blocked sites. For instance, if your streaming platform only gives access to US-based users for specific content, logging in to a US VPN server might do the trick.
ExpressVPN commits to improving its services by constantly adding sites it can unblock. These sites include Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, Disney+, YouTube and many others. Most VPNs don’t focus on this feature possibly because of any chances of under-delivering however it’s good to know that ExpressVPN can tell us exactly what they’re capable of doing.
While it’s not obvious that ExpressVPN is torrent-friendly in reality, it actually is. Torrent users with ExpressVPN will not be forced into a small number of overloaded servers and are redirected to any available VPN server locations for better performance and speed.
ExpressVPN also holds no bandwidth and has no data cap. Add this feature with the ultimate privacy features above, then you’re sure to get the best VPN support for your torrent needs.
Compatibility is definitely not an issue for ExpressVPN as it can perfectly work with most if not all devices. We recommend that you install ExpressVPN on your desktop to get the complete set of features of this VPN.
However, some minor features are not available on iOS and Android devices like network lock and Tor compatibility. But other than that, everything should perfectly work well.
ExpressVPN also offers an app for routers which if installed, will secure every device connected to it. Best thing? There’s no limit to the number of devices connected. This includes mobile devices, tablets, desktops, game consoles, and TVs. An easy step-by-step process on how to set things up is available on ExpressVPN’s website.
ExpressVPN offers a dedicated browser extension for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. This feature automatically encrypts all your browser traffic. You only need to install the add-on on your browser directly – this means you don’t need to switch on the full VPN to get it working. It basically works like any other plug-ins, just plug and play. This is extremely perfect if you’re only looking at encrypting your browser movement at an instant especially when you’re connected to public wi-fi.
With this plug-in, you can easily set it up in a manner that it opens up automatically with your browser so you won’t have the problem of forgetting to switch it on.
Even if it’s only a plug-in, ExpressVPN stays true to its word by giving you enhanced security and military-grade encryption. The browser extension gives you an extra layer of protection by hiding your HTML5 geo-location or basically your current location. It also has an HTTPS Everywhere feature that automatically links you to a more secured HTTPS version of a website. This feature further encrypts the traffic between your device and the site you’re visiting, avoiding man-in-the-middle attacks. However, this feature is only available for Chrome.
Customer Support And Reliability
When it comes to great customer support, ExpressVPN also leads the pack. For starters, they have live chat support available 24/7 which you can easily access through their website.
Other than its live chat support, ExpressVPN also provides straightforward troubleshooting guides. You can access a multitude of well-written articles that will help you navigate your way out of whatever issue you’re facing. Whether it’s about setting up, log file errors, compatibility issues, connection issues or even dealing with fake ExpressVPN apps, you’ll surely get an answer. ExpressVPN does not stop there, there are also video guides you can watch to make your life a lot easier.
Now let’s look at ExpressVPN’s reliability. ExpressVPN always stays true to its word that’s why you should always remember their 30-day money-back guarantee should you wish to cancel your one-month subscription.
Pros and Cons of ExpressVPN
To summarize, we have listed the top pros and cons of ExpressVPN.
Pros of ExpressVPN
- High-quality, secure and reliable VPN
- Proven zero-log policy (through an audit)
- ExpressVPN’s full transparency
- Leak-proof and military-grade encryption
- Excellent speeds and performance
- Massive server locations worldwide
- Headquartered in the British Virgin Islands, a privacy-friendly territory
- Great for streaming several apps
- Universal compatibility
- Split tunneling feature
- Good customer service with 24/7 live chat support
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Zero cases of a security breach
- Tor compatibility
- Browser extension with enhanced security features
- Router app with unlimited connections
Cons of ExpressVPN
- More expensive than other VPN players
- Some features are not available mobile
Definitely one of the best out there!
ExpressVPN is one of the best VPN players available and there is no doubt about it. With its massive servers worldwide, top-of-the-line security features, leak-proof encryption, and superb reliability and customer support, it delivers beyond 100% of what is expected out of it.
While the price point may be higher than many, its expert services, advanced security features, transparent policies, and 30-day money-back guarantee will convince you to take the jump and subscribe. Of course, anyone can offer low rates for starters – but at the end of the day it's the user experience that sets the difference, so make sure you choose the VPN service that will work best for your needs.
For us, ExpressVPN is definitely a must for your online universe.
However, if you'd like to check out other options, click on the links below and get started with your own VPN today!
AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of the links on this page may be affiliate referral links. I will get a commission from the vendor when you make a purchase after clicking them at no added cost to you. As a result, many of them also provide you with a special discount just for using my link. You can go directly to their support if you have any issues with their software or product.