ExpressVPN review

ExpressVPN is a simple but speedy VPN solution that offers anonymous web browsing and access to blocked content. Read on for our ExpressVPN review, and visit our VPN explainer to find out more about why you might want a VPN.

The idea behind ExpressVPN is to grant anonymous internet access regardless of technical ability. Basically, you click the big button in the middle of the interface and within seconds you're protected from ISPs, governments and any other interlopers sniffing your computer's traffic.

At $12.95 (about £10.50) per month or $8.32 (£6.70)/month when you pay by the year, ExpressVPN is one of the more expensive VPNs reviewed here, but for ease of use it does present value for money.  

The company also offers a free 30 days of use if you introduce a friend to the service. Payment is by all the usual credit cards, PayPal, Bitcoin, and a wide range of other options including GiroPay and YandexMoney.

The connection list currently runs to 145 cities in 94 countries, ranging from Monaco to Mongolia. The servers tested all seem rock steady and throughput was good.

To help you decide on a country and city, there's a built-in speed test facility. This takes around four minutes to complete because it contacts servers in all the listed countries. Unsurprisingly, the UK comes out on top for UK users, but there are also some surprisingly good speeds from unexpected places such as Armenia and Montenegro.

Unfortunately, the speed test is not available in the Android version, but with a licence that allows 3 devices to connect simultaneously, this isn't much of a problem.

In the help pages is a section about selecting the most appropriate server for online streaming. European users are advised to try East coast ones for Netflix.

At the time of writing, a server we tried did indeed allow access to Netflix US-only shows. This mirrors the advice given by Support, which was quick and efficient.

The website states that no logs are kept that can be used by the authorities to identify end users, including DNS queries and browsing histories. ExpressVPN also runs its own DNS servers to prevent leakages to less secure servers.

ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands, which is a bit of a grey area when it comes to the "14-eyes" group of countries that share cyber-intelligence, but with zero logging this shouldn't be a concern. (You can find out more about why some users prefer their VPN service to be based outside of the 14-eyes here).

ExpressVPN clients are available for Windows, Mac, iPhone, Android, iPad and even Linux.

ExpressVPN provides software for domestic routers, too. This involves downloading specially modified firmware for the device and installing it, which some users may find a bit tricky.

ExpressVPN has a video that'll give you an idea of the process required, so you can decide whether you think it'll work for you. Additionally, you can purchase a router with ExpressVPN already installed.

Like many other solutions, ExpressVPN also has a kill switch facility, called Network Lock, which focuses on traffic rather than applications. If the VPN tunnel collapses, all traffic stops, rather than applications being killed. You can also tune this feature to still allow local traffic while dropping all remote traffic, to prevent other devices such as printers from losing connectivity when the killswitch is activated.

OUR VERDICT

A simple and reliable VPN that is ideal for lovers of streaming media who want to explore farther afield, and with a range of locations that should also keep privacy advocates happy.