ExpressVPN is a VPN with a lot going for it. It’s a well-established company in the VPN space with a huge array of servers to choose from, multi-platform support, and an impressive number of advanced features for the privacy-minded.
The goal of this review is to give you a better idea of ExpressVPN’s security and privacy features, as well as its pricing and company history.
|Company Location||United Kingdom|
There are several factors to consider when evaluating a VPNs security and privacy capabilities.
These factors essentially boil down to understanding the physical and technical layout of a given VPN, as well as being aware of the parent company operating it. Below, we’ll take an extended look at the security capabilities and features found within ExpressVPN to answer a deceptively difficult question – is ExpressVPN secure?
Choosing a VPN requires a certain degree of trust, as the company you opt for will be in charge of shepherding your online activity and data. After careful consideration of ExpressVPN’s fine print, as well as speaking to the company directly, we found no obvious security issues to be mindful of.
For starters, ExpressVPN includes a robust no-log policy. Although understanding it is a bit more challenging thanks to the language in use, the policy spells out that no user-identifying data is collected or sold, ever. That said, some data is still collected by using the service.
For instance, the total amount of data transferred by each user in a session is saved, alongside the most recent date (but not time) that a connection was established. Additionally, they log which server location is chosen. This doesn’t extend to including any IP addresses or anything that would be enough to compromise your privacy outright.
Having said that, it’s always ideal to have no information logged away at all. There have been instances in the past of anonymous data being used to identify people, so nothing is foolproof.
The service also uses what it calls TrustedServer technology, which is essentially a diskless, RAM-based server architecture. This ensures that no customer information is ever recorded by the server.
VPN technology is constantly changing in response to new challenges and security threats. Over time, a few industry standards have arisen when it comes to keeping users secure. These are called encryption protocols, and make up the backbone of every VPN.
WireGuard is one of the latest protocols in use across the industry, and many VPNs have adopted it over the past year. ExpressVPN is not one of them, however.
Instead, the service actually uses its own security protocol, called Lightway. The protocol is very similar to WireGuard overall, but has a few differences that the company claims allows it to perform better in terms of speeds and privacy for its users.
Other standards are also available within ExpressVPNs settings. These include the following:
Each of these have certain strengths and weaknesses depending on your network setup, and ExpressVPN makes it fairly straightforward which one to choose in the settings. Of course, you can always simply set it to automatically choose the optimal standard for you as well.
ExpressVPN has more server locations than just about any other VPN on the market today. You can choose from an impressive 94 different countries, making it very likely that there will be one conveniently located near you. In total, there are over 3,000 servers to take advantage of.
ExpressVPN separates itself from many competitors by offering several servers in Africa and South America, among many other regions. The geographic distribution of servers is genuinely impressive, and for those looking for variety, this alone might seal the deal.
ExpressVPN also makes extensive use of virtual server locations. These are essentially servers that are configured to originate from somewhere other than where they are physically located. While there is nothing inherently wrong with these types of server setups, we tend to prefer physicalised hardware that is located where it says it is.
A look back into ExpressVPN’s company history paints a picture of a company that has done a reasonably good job at keeping its users safe and secure from outside sources. The company was a founding member of the VPN Trust Initiative, an organisation dedicated to bringing transparency to the VPN industry.
Being based in the United Kingdom does bring up a few potential issues thanks to the country’s more stringent surveillance practises. All the same, no major breach of customer trust has come to light, and the fact that ExpressVPN doesn’t store any identifying information makes this unlikely to be a major issue.
ExpressVPN doesn’t offer a specific free trial period on desktop. That said, you can get a 7-day trial by downloading the iPhone or Android app. This will allow you to download and the take the desktop version for a test drive as well.
That said, if you choose to go straight in with a paid plan, you do have a 30-day money-back guarantee that you can take advantage of should you find that the service isn’t for you.
ExpressVPN has three plans you can choose from when signing up for the premium service. These plans come down to how much of the service you want to purchase upfront. The three options include a one month, six months, and one year commitment.
The pricing for each is as follows:
Overall, this pricing is fairly competitive, although there are several services that offer a lower rate for similar features, such as NordVPN and Proton VPN. If the blazing speeds and wide server variety are important aspects for you, ExpressVPN might be ideal. That said, it’s worth checking out the competition if only to better understand what is out there.
ExpressVPN has an entire ecosystem of apps available to users. From Mac and Windows desktops to mobile devices and even gaming consoles, ExpressVPN has ported its service to just about everything except for your toaster (maybe soon?).
A full list of supported platforms is below:
For those who have a wide range of different tech brands in their home setup, this might be very appealing. Of course, you are limited to just five simultaneous device connections, so bear this in mind.
Our primary ExpressVPN tests were carried out on a 2020 MacBook Pro. Immediately upon startup, you’ll noticed how compact and streamlined the app is meant to be. Those who express lots of options might be put off by this initial view, though there are plenty of options tied up in the settings menu.
If you live in the UK, you’re probably looking for a fast, secure VPN that offers server locations near you. ExpressVPN doesn’t offer the most UK locations of any VPN, but it still has four to choose from, covering a good majority of the country with reasonable speeds.
ExpressVPN has four different server locations in the UK – London, East London, Wembley, and Docklands. This is relatively average for the VPN space, and covers a decent amount of geographic space within the nation.
As of July 2022, ExpressVPN is not owned by a Chinese company. Instead, it is owned by Kape Technologies, an advertising company based in the United Kingdom.