Is ExpressVPN really the fastest vpn?
A lot of ExpressVPN reviews in 2021 loud ExpressVPN as the fastest and most secure vpn for every kind of internet use…
But is it really true?
As an avid vpn user, I wanted to try it out for myself and verify these claims.
If anything, if there is a vpn service out there that is faster and more secure than what I use, why wouldn’t I jump ship?
So I signed up for a one month plan to see, not only what ExpressVPN has to offer, but also the user experience that comes along with their apps.
In this ExpressVPN review, I am going to outline what I found out about ExpressVPN.
Before we go into a more detailed look, though, here is a quick summary of what I found out.
ExpressVPN is a premium vpn service provider, based in the British Virgin Islands, that offers very fast vpn connection speeds… actually the fastest I have reviewed so far.
It is able to unblock Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, HBO GO among other popular streaming platforms.
It has a strict no logs policy with tamper proof encryption protocols that guarantees your privacy and safety online.
|Jurisdiction||British Virgin Islands|
|Streaming||Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, iPlayer|
Let’s now dive into a more detailed review of ExpressVPN.
- Server Collection: How many servers does ExpressVPN Have?
- Streaming: Does ExpressVPN support Netflix?
- Speed: How fast is ExpressVPN?
- Torrenting: Can you download torrents with ExpressVPN?
- No Logs Policy: Does ExpressVPN keep logs?
- Encryption & Data Protection
- Security Features
- Payment Options
- Refund Policy
- Free Trial
- Compatible Devices
- Customer Support
- In Conclusion
Server Collection: How many servers does ExpressVPN Have?
As of the time of writing this ExpressVPN review in 2021, ExpressVPN has a collection of 3,000 vpn servers based in 91 different countries.
That’s a great server count, considering most premium vpn companies number below that.
From their servers count it’s clear that ExpressVPN is a large sized vpn service provider and should therefore be able to deliver great services.
Not all of these are physical servers though, a good number are virtual servers.
Let’s find out how these servers actually perform.
Streaming: Does ExpressVPN support Netflix?
Does ExpressVPN unblock Netflix?
Netflix is a great video streaming platform but unfortunately, they only show you content based on where you are.
They are also the smartest when it comes to detecting and blocking vpn IPs that try to circumvent the georestriction they put in place.
It is for this reason that most vpns struggle to consistently unblock Netflix, especially in the US.
There are also other great streaming platforms that might be of interest to you like Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime TV, HBO GO, ABC etc.
Here is what I found out while trying to watch content from these platforms.
I was able to unblock and watch Netflix videos in the US, UK, Germany and Brazil.
As if that is not enough, ExpressVPN was also able to let me watch Hulu and Amazon Prime Video using the US based servers.
Using their UK based servers also unblocked iPlayer.
Clearly, ExpressVPN is the best vpn for streaming all of the most popular streaming platforms.
Another interesting thing is that, while other vpn apps label the Netflix specific servers, all the US based servers that I tested were able to unblock Netflix.
You don’t need to connect to specific servers to stream Netflix.
I didn’t need to scroll through the entire server list looking for the Netflix labelled servers to connect to.
Speed: How fast is ExpressVPN?
What about the speed…
Is ExpressVPN fast enough?
Expect that when you connect to a vpn your speeds will drop to an extent depending on your vpn service provider.
So first check your local connection speed without a vpn before connecting to a vpn.
There are online reviews mentioning that ExpressVPN is the fastest vpn… is this any true?
Let’s find out.
I tested ExpressVPN using speedtest.net by connecting to three of its servers based in the USA, UK and Hong Kong.
Before connecting to ExpressVPN, my download speed was 31.50Mbps while my upload speed was 5.95Mbps.
On connecting to the US based server, my speeds dropped to 27.32Mbps download and 5.39Mbps upload.
As for the UK my download speed even dropped further to 25.08Mbps while my upload also dropped further to 5.23Mbps.
It was the Hong Kong server that impressed me the most.
My download speed only dropped to 30.59Mbps while my upload only dropped to 5.81Mbps… almost no drop at all.
While the UK server dropped download speeds to 80% of my original, it could still learn a ton from both the USA and Hong Kong servers.
When a vpn can maintain high speeds both for nearby and distant servers, it becomes one of the fastest vpns in 2021.
If you are looking for a vpn service that truly delivers on its connection speed promises, I strongly recommend ExpressVPN.
Torrenting: Can you download torrents with ExpressVPN?
Will you be able to download torrents over an ExpressVPN connection?
Because copyright infringement laws are becoming tighter and tighter by the day, most vpn services have been forced to block torrent traffic altogether.
This is especially the case in countries like Australia.
On the contrary though, I was able to download torrent files at amazing speeds with the ExpressVPN apps connected.
And this is the most surprising…
All ExpressVPN servers are P2P optimized… so you don’t need to select speciality servers from a list to connect to when you want to torrent.
How cool is that?
Most vpns only allow you to torrent when you connect to certain servers and will block your P2P connections when you try to torrent from a normal server.
This is not the case at all with ExpressVPN.
You can torrent from any location, just select any server from the server list.
Another thing about torrenting…
Is your torrenting anonymous?
If the vpn keeps logs about your usage, your torrenting history could easily be used to sue you for copyright infringement.
Since ExpressVPN does not keep any logs about your torrents, unlike HMA, your sessions are completely anonymous.
You shouldn’t worry about getting into trouble for downloading copyrighted materials.
From my experience, ExpressVPN is the best vpn for torrenting…
I’m putting together a list of the best vpns for torrenting and I will come back and update the links once the article is ready.
No Logs Policy: Does ExpressVPN keep logs?
Does ExpressVPN keep your user logs?
This is usually a grey area because a number of vpn companies that have claimed to not keep logs in the past have been caught handing over logs to the authorities.
First, let’s begin by analyzing the physical location of this vpn company.
ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands.
Being a country outside the territory of the 5/9/14 eyes countries, it’s a pretty much privacy friendly location.
There are no data retention laws that obligate ExpressVPN to keep logs of their customers’ internet usage.
It seems like the British Virgin Islands is a great place to base a vpn company because even Surfshark, one of the fastest vpns, is also based in the British Virgin Islands.
ExpressVPN makes it clear that when you sign up for an account, they keep your email address and payment data.
Though your billing address with not be needed if you pay with Bitcoin.
In fact, as we’ll prove later on, there is no personal identifiable information on the ExpressVPN servers that can be used to identify you.
This has been proved both by PWC auditors and the Turkish government.
So if you are looking for a vpn that guarantees your privacy online and that will not keep any user logs, I strongly recommend ExpressVPN.
However, did you realize that bandwidth usage is conspicuosly missing from the list of logs they don’t keep…?
It’s because they log your bandwidth usage… and much more.
As if that is not enough, ExpressVPN also logs other connection information like the location of the server you connect to, the date (not time) you connected to that server, your country and ISP… as well as data transmitted during that connection.
This is a lot of data to keep.
Surprising, ExpressVPN has lately become very log happy.
While they claim this data cannot be used to identify you, I would not classify ExpressVPN as a zero logs vpn… no, not by a long shot.
Most reviews won’t mention this.
They just want you to buy ExpressVPN because it gives them greater commissions that other vpns… but these same reviewers don’t mind saying that PureVPN keeps logs.
PureVPN keeps the same logs as ExpressVPN... bandwidth usage, server location and ISP. If those are logs then ExpressVPN keeps logs too.
Encryption & Data Protection
Is your data safely transmitted when on an ExpressVPN connection?
ExpressVPN implements an NSA recommended 256-bit encryption algorithm that is tamper proof and cannot be hacked.
This is the same encryption algorithm that is used by governments and militaries to encrypt sensitive classified information.
So even if a hacker was to hijack your internet traffic while connected to ExpressVPN they’ll never be able to decrypt this information.
It’ll basically be useless to them.
In addition to this strong encryption algorithm, ExpressVPN offers you two of the strongest vpn connection protocols for even more security.
ExpressVPN supports both OpenVPN, the safest protocol, and IKEv2 protocol, the fastest protocol.
IKEv2/IPsec is especially great for mobile devices… in fact from my experience, browsing speeds were faster on mobile devices than on desktop when I connected to ExpressVPN.
You also have the option to select the kind of connection protocol you want to use in the Android and Windows apps.
Along OpenVPN and IKEv2, ExpressVPN also still supports the L2PP protocol.
So if you are looking for the best vpn for security and data protection while browsing, ExpressVPN is the best vpn for you.
I strongly recommend it in 2021.
Zero logs policy and military grade encryption are great, but what else does ExpressVPN have to offer to guarantee your safety online?
Here are a few more additional features that will beef up your security online.
Adware & Malware Blockers
Remember those annoying video ads that usually start playing in the background… often without audio?
Well, can you be able to block those ads with ExpressVPN?
The answer is NO.
All ExpressVPN apps lack ad blockers that could stop these ads from playing… so you won’t have an ad free browsing experience.
Good for these ad companies as that’s how these websites make money anyway.
What about sites that are known to be malware infected that will infect your machine or trick you with phishing scams?
Is ExpressVPN able to block these sites before they do you damage?
So if you are looking for a vpn that has great ad and malware blocking functionality, then think about NordVPN… ExpressVPN does not have that functionality.
Some countries not only block access to certain websites, but also the use of vpns to access anything online.
These countries have tough firewalls that will detect your vpn fingerprint and block your internet access altogether.
Obfuscated servers are the kinds of servers that are able to fly under the radar without being detected as vpns… so you’ll not only be able to unblock censored content, but you’ll also be able to do so without being discovered.
ExpressVPN has some of the best obfuscated servers I have seen.
Using ExpressVPN obfuscated servers, you’ll be able to access censored internet in UAE, China and Iran without a problem.
Its obfuscation is only rival to NordVPN.
So if you are looking for a vpn that will enable you access the internet anywhere you are in 2021, then I strongly recommend ExpressVPN.
Even though ExpressVPN will keep you safe online, this is the case only when you are connected to their vpn servers.
What happens when there is a connection drop and your ExpressVPN app disconnects from the vpn server?
Your real IP address is revealed and your ISP can see what content you are accessing.
In order to remedy this, ExpressVPN has a very amazing feature in its apps called a kill switch.
A kill switch will ensure that all your access to the internet is blocked anytime the vpn disconnects from the server.
You’ll remain without internet access until the vpn reconnects.
The Windows, Mac and Linux apps have a kill switch inbuilt into their apps.
Android, iOS and routers also have a simpler version of this kill switch that cuts off internet access whenever your internet connection drops.
What if you don’t want to use a vpn connection for other apps?
For example you might not want to connect to a vpn when running your backups because of the connection drop that occurs when you are connected to a vpn.
Because a vpn with always assign you a new IP address when connecting to different servers, some services like online banking might require additional authentication whenever a new IP address is used to login to your account.
This is to protect you from your account being hacked.
For such you might want to connect without a vpn so that you just use your real IP address.
ExpressVPN has a split tunnelling feature that will let you specify which apps are exempted from using a vpn connection.
Combine a kill switch with split tunneling and you have the most secure connection.
When an operating system runs on a hard drive, it might sometimes store some data albeit by mistake… even in some temporary files that end up not being cleaned.
In some instances, this might be sensitive user data that might compromise your identity.
In order to ensure this never happens, in 2021 ExpressVPN runs their vpn servers based on a technology called TrusterServers.
It works in such a way that the operating system and all necessary files are loaded into the RAM and not the hard drive.
So the servers boot from a disc image and loads all the necessary files into RAM.
If you don’t already know, RAM which stands for random access memory is a static type of memory that only stores information when it remains powered.
As soon as your switch off the machine or reboot, all the data written on the ram is erased and it starts on a clean slate.
Even if the server was to be hacked, there is literally no data stored on the hard drives.
Talk about taking their no logs policy to the next level?
ExpressVPN is the best vpn for you if you are serious about your privacy online.
IPv6 leaks, DNS leaks and WebRTC leaks tests
In order to ensure that your ISP does not see the sites that you are visiting, your vpn needs to ensure DNS queries are not done on your ISP DNS servers.
Let’s test ExpressVPN and see if there are any IPV6, DNS or WebRTC leaks.
I used ipleak.net to run this test and as you can see from the screenshot above there are no IPv6, DNS or WebRTC leaks while using ExpressVPN.
Talk is cheap… right?
Any vpn service provider can make any claims on their websites, just like they do, about their connections speeds, security and privacy.
But there is literally no way for us to verify these claims.
Not unless a third independent party was allowed full access to these servers and software to unveil what’s under the hood.
ExpressVPN makes it clear that they have nothing fishy going on about their privacy policies.
They invited PWC to carry out an independent audit of the security and safety of their vpn services and software.
You know what they found out?
No logs, IP addresses, connection timestamps, bandwidth usage or any kind of data that could be used to identify a person.
This was even confirmed when the Turkish government confisticated one of their servers based in Turkey, looking for user logs.
Did they find the logs…?
Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, they found nothing.
ExpressVPN really means it when they say they keep no logs.
If you are looking for a vpn service that really delivers on their promise of privacy, I 100% recommend ExpressVPN.
Tor over VPN
The Onion Router “tor” is a very popular browser for anonymous internet browsing.
What most people don’t know is that the entry node to the Tor network always sees your real IP address.
If you want your browsing sessions with Tor to be completely anonymous and untraceable… you need to add a vpn to the mix.
Luckily, while other vpns don’t support Tor over VPN connections, I can confirm in this ExpressVPN review in 2021 that ExpressVPN supports the Tor browser.
In fact, there are articles on the ExpressVPN support website that will take you through setting you ExpressVPN with Tor.
So if you are a Tor user and would like to purchase a vpn that’ll be compatible with Tor, I recommend ExpressVPN.
In countries like Uganda, UAE, Iran China, internet access is heavily censored.
However, most people often want to know whether a vpn can bypass China’s great firewall.
Because China is a popular travel destination and most people want to be able to still access Google.com and social media while in China.
Others also want to be able to access tv channels in China while out of the country.
This is an area that most vpn services struggle at.
Even though ExpressVPN doesn’t have any servers based in China, its Hong Kong based servers are able to unblock tv content and other censored websites in China.
So if you are looking for a vpn service that you can carry with you to China, ExpressVPN is the best vpn for you.
All those features are great… but what do I pay for all of this?
It’s not uncommon for companies to whet your appetite with very great services, only to charge you an arm and a leg once you are sold onto their marketing gimmicks.
And that’s no different from ExpressVPN.
While these are not marketing gimmicks as such because they actually deliver, ExpressVPN is NOT a cheap vpn.
So if you are looking for a vpn that offers most of these great features at a budget friendly price, I recommend NordVPN.
However, just like other vpn services, the longer your subscription plan the more discount you get.
1-month plan costs $12.95
6-month plan costs $9.99/month, billed as $59.95
12-month plan costs $8.32/month, billed as $99.95
But for the fast and steady speeds they provide, coupled with Netflix unblocking and a no nonsense zero logs policy, $99.95 is not expensive at all for a 12 month plan.
Once you decide you want to purchase an ExpressVPN subscription, what payment options do you have?
Are there payment options that will collect less identifiable information about you?
Here is one of the majors pros of ExpressVPN.
ExpressVPN allows for the major payment options and methods that you can imagine.
Apart from the major credit cards, you can pay for your ExpressVPN subscription using PayPal, Yandex Money, UnionPay, WebMoney, Klarna, AliPay, GiroPay, iDeal and Bitcoin.
So if you want to be unidentifiable, you can use a disposable email address and pay with Bitcoin and nobody gets to know who you are.
Remember if you pay with normal credit cards, your payment information will be kept… just in case you need a refund.
This shouldn’t be a problem, though, as ExpressVPN won’t log your usage or anything that can be used to identify you.
If you are looking for a vpn service that allows Bitcoin as a payment method in 2021, I recommend ExpressVPN.
What if you purchase ExpressVPN and for whatever reason you don’t like your purchase…
Can you get your money back… and what amount of talking do you need to do to convince their support to let go of your money?
For every ExpressVPN plan, you’ll get a 30 day, no questions asked money back guarantee.
This means that, unlike other vpns that would try to convince you to stay or to first explain what exactly you didn’t like about their vpn services, ExpressVPN will simply give you your money back… as long as you ask within 30 days of purchase.
I consider 30 days to be the industry standard in the vpn industry.
Other vpn services would only allow you 7 or 14 day money back guarantee while some take it all the way to 45 days.
Either way, I think 30 days is still great.
Does ExpressVPN offer a free trial?
Free trials are great for people who want to be able to test ExpressVPN without spending anything… before they buy of course.
The answer is NO.
ExpressVPN does not offer any free trials… However, like I already said, you get a 30 day money back guarantee for any plan you choose.
This way, you still get 30 days to try this service before you decide to continue with your plan or cancel and ask for a refund.
How many devices can you connect at the same time with an ExpressVPN plan?
Most people purchase vpn plans to be able to share them across different devices or with family.
This is another great ExpressVPN pro.
While writing this 2021 ExpressVPN review, I confirmed that ExpressVPN supports the most collection of devices than any other vpn.
It comes with dedicated apps for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android.
There are also great guides for setting up ExpressVPN with Linux and routers.
More interesting though is that most of the functionalities are carried across the platforms… for example, contrary to what other vpns provide, ExpressVPN provides a kill switch for both Linux and routers as well.
Still on the routers, ExpressVPN even provides pre configured routers that you can order from their website.
With these routers, you get all the functionality from other apps without having to tinkle with configurations here and there.
Beside the apps, ExpressVPN also has Safari, Chrome and Firefox extensions to bump the security within your web browsers.
Again, how many devices can you connect at the same time using a subscription.
I consider this one of the major cons of ExpressVPN.
At the price at which it comes, I expect ExpressVPN to be able to support at least 10 devices… if not unlimited connections.
In fact, while the standard of most premium vpns is to allow up to 10 connections, ExpressVPN only allows upto 5 simultaneous connections.
While you might consider this an improvement because recently they only supported up to 3 devices… I still think it’s low.
However, for most people 5 devices should be pretty enough for most uses.
Let’s finish this review of ExpressVPN in 2021 by looking at their customer support.
What should you expect in case you need help setting up ExpressVPN?
First of all, there are very detailed articles on the ExpressVPN support website for DIY’ing most tasks like setting up and troubleshooting your apps.
ExpressVPN also offers other customer support channels including a ticketing system, a FAQ and live support.
Most people, though, are usually interested in the live support.
The live chat support launch button is very prominent on the ExpressVPN website and I was able to get someone to chat with me in under five minutes.
So if you are looking for a vpn service that offers fast live chat, then I’d recommend ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN is clearly the fastest vpn service provider in 2021.
So far, it is the only vpn service that has been able to substantiate their claims of being the fastest vpn through the tests I conducted.
- 3,000 servers
- Netfilx, Hulu, Amazon
- Fast speeds
- Torrenting allowed
- Kill Switch
- Works in China
- Accepts Bitcoins
- Only 5 devices
- Keep logs
- No dedicated IPs
- No ad blocker
- No free trial
In this crowded vpn industry, it can sometimes get really annoying how a lot of vpns make a ton of promises that they can’t even remotely deliver on… like speed.
Besides their fast speeds, I also mentioned in this ExpressVPN review in 2021 that their no logs policy is simply that… no logs.
When the Turkish government seized their servers looking for logs, they found exactly that… no logs.
ExpressVPN is definitely a vpn service provider that excels in all areas.
No vpn services are perfect though, so it’s still possible that certain features that are key to you still miss in ExpressVPN.
For example, if you want a proper kill switch for your mobile apps, ExpressVPN fails at this as it doesn’t have that.
It’s still possible to implement a kill switch on Android if you are on Android 8+ using its native kill switch feature.
Also, it’s quite surprising that a feature like adware and malware blocking, that I find pretty mandatory for any vpn in 2021 quite lacking in ExpressVPN apps.
Even though it lacks a double encryption feature like that in Surfshark and NordVPN, I still find its combination of encryption mechanisms good enough.
So, if you are looking for a vpn that is great for streaming, torrenting and complete privacy and anonymity online… I recommend ExpressVPN.
It will cost you more than your typical vpn service though.
Even with their heavy discounts on the 1-year plan, you’ll still end up paying more than you’d pay for other vpns.
That’s not to say it’s the most expensive though, because other vpns like HMA still charge you more and deliver less.
|NordVPN||Netflix, Hulu, iPlayer||P2P servers||6||$ 3.49/m|
|Surfshark||Netflix, Hulu, iPlayer||P2P servers||Unlimited||$ 1.99/m|
|ExpressVPN||Netflix, Hulu, iPlayer||All servers||5||$ 8.32/m|
Have you used ExpressVPN before?
Please share your experience in the comments below.