We'll meticulously evaluate this British Virgin Islands registered company and break apart common myths.
For instance, it has a reputation as expensive. In truth, you'd only spend one or two pounds more monthly than the other best VPNs (or less).
TL;DR Perhaps the most professional VPN ever: it’s highly integrated with different platforms and devices - even down to Apple / Fire TVs.
And it beats NordVPN and Surfshark for surfing censored countries. Even for torrenting, it’s optimal (see the Torrenting section of this Express VPN review).
ExpressVPN Review 2021
In this ExpressVPN review UK, we’ve perused the best data around - it’s what we do: pricing, speed, privacy, security, features, torrents, server locations, and more.
At a glance:
ExpressVPN Price 💰
As with most VPNs, the longer the contract you choose, the cheaper the monthly charge. ExpressVPN offers a one-year contract, which is its max length - the cheapest deal, at £6.42 (a 35% discount).
The one-month plan charges you £9.99 on a rolling cycle. On a 6-month contract, this falls to £7.71 per month.
There's no restriction on any plan.
With each, you’re able to unlock citizenship restrictions, geo-blocking restrictions, and the official website advertises unlimited data for social media, music, video, and more - regardless of where you are in the world.
ExpressVPN encrypts your data so that network administrators - or any other third-party person - cannot see what you are up to.
With just one click, your IP address is hidden. And a single subscription lets you run simultaneous connections (up to five devices at once, though you can store your registered account on an unlimited number for your convenience).
Run ExpressVPN on an immense number of operating systems and devices, which includes Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, routers, and much more.
ExpressVPN Speeds 💨
How fast is ExpressVPN / how does ExpressVPN work? Pretty, especially if you use this incredibly time-saving feature: the Smart Location tool:
This automatically connects you to the server closest to you with a single click - or a server in a specific location.
Theoretically, the Smart Location feature automatically selects the fastest possible server each time.
The decision algorithm is based on the user loads on each available server (how many other people are using it at that particular time of day) and other affecting dimensions, which includes speed, latency, and distance.
If you want a fast and reliable connection, this can save you a lot of time.
Tests carried out for London servers showed minimum speed decreases of under 25%, on which is ideal for being able to stream media with crisp quality. If you use the ‘Quick Connect’ feature, you may be able to halve this.
But What Is the Fastest VPN in the World?
HostingData’s answer is pretty much always the same: TEST this, taking advantage of the money-back or free trial options. Your aim should be to get a good enough experience without sacrificing privacy and security.
While you can find plenty of fast free VPNs, it's much harder to find one that isn't compromised in some hidden way (malware, privacy issues, poor security protocols like ‘PPTP’, bandwidth restrictions, etc).
Try out the top 3 around, which are arguably ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and Surfshark.
Keep in mind that the speeds you experience may be different from what somebody else does, as it all depends on the time of day you typically surf - and your location, user loads and the kind of surfing you need (Netflix, gaming, so on).
Your Privacy With ExpressVPN 🔒
Many VPNs make claims about their great privacy standards but in fact, there are all sorts of loopholes (such as tracking your IP for marketing purposes) that make them compromised.
ExpressVPN privacy review
This ExpressVPN review would be incomplete without discussing privacy.
The company is located in the British Virgin Isles, which is outside of the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance.
This means it’s not subject to data retention laws. Governments cannot request information about your internet activities, even in relation to a suspected crime or state of emergency (even if they did, there would be nothing to hand over).
Their policy officially states that they don’t store or track any of your connection or traffic activities. There'll be no record of websites visited, DNS queries, online traffic, or data content.
A stunning example of this occurred in 2017 when ExpressVPN’s servers were taken control of by the Turkish government!
The Turkish government wanted information about an assassination case, but there was no information to glean - as none existed. There was zero data stored on servers.
And for extra tips on how to stay anonymous online read our Online privacy guide.
ExpressVPN uses Trusted Server Technology. This restricts every server to only running using RAM.
Because RAM cannot store data, as soon as it turns off, any data from your session is instantly deleted. Once it's rebooted, there’s nothing remaining.
Even the operating system loads anew, with each restart, reducing your vulnerability to attacks, especially from hackers who might try to sniff out threat-points after the event of your login session.
Android apps can choose the OpenVPN security protocol (which isn't really a problem as it's the highest standard of security). iOS users can also choose IPSec/IKEv2.
ExpressVPN Netflix Review 🎥
A huge perk of using a VPN is that you can gain access to geo-restricted content and websites. For instance, if your favorite streaming platform only allows US visitors to view certain content, you can log in to that website using a US-located VPN server.
Not all VPNs work that simply: many are not effective at unblocking media sites like Netflix, as these companies know what users are trying to do and they update their systems to identify and block these attempts.
ExpressVPN Review Netflix
Fortunately, ExpressVPN is adept at getting around the most popular stream detections: BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, Netflix, Disney+, Google, Wikipedia, YouTube, and others (they officially list 25 popular services they can unblock).
One caveat is that Amazon Prime Video may only be effectively unblocked if you also create an account with a billing address in the country you are trying to view the library content in.
And Amazon Prime actually states it’s against their rules to use any technology to obscure your actual location.
Is ExpressVPN Good for Torrenting? 📡
If you want a VPN for torrenting, we recommend you check out our NordVPN review.
As it has optimized torrenting servers that specialize in helping you get great performance for ‘P2P’ (peer-to-peer) downloading, which is how torrenting works.
But it’s a myth that ExpressVPN doesn’t support torrenting (it’s the exact opposite). Select from a full range of server locations, without any bandwidth or transfer restrictions.
There's no data caps, so you won't have to worry about your download speeds being throttled.
There's no activity-logging and it even has integrations with one of the most popular torrenting clients, uTorrent.
You won't need to configure your uTorrent settings in order to work optimally with this VPN. Simply open up ExpressVPN, then startup uTorrent.
Servers and Server Locations 📍
When you pay for a VPN subscription, you gain access to a fleet of their servers.
This network is what will process your web traffic, encrypting your data transfer inside of a tunnel.
The greater the diversity and geographical distribution, the more options you have.
ExpressVPN does very well in this dimension, providing 167 server locations in 94 countries. This is the highest number of countries you'll find anywhere, although NordVPN has the highest number of overall servers.
Cyberghost is a little bit behind in terms of countries, with 90 in total.
Like Surfshark, ExpressVPN also offers lots of good-quality servers for South America & Africa.
Stealth VPN: Bypassing Censorship Countries
ExpressVPN uses stealth servers, which is why it is considered a ‘Stealth VPN’. Not only can you use it to disguise yourself from your ISP, it also works for highly censored countries.
Use this to bypass China’s “Great Firewall”. Even under close scrutiny by network admins and firewalls, your activities will appear regular. This can be useful when trying to access the internet in countries that censor, including:
- United Arab Emirates
Express VPN Reviews - FAQ 💡
Is ExpressVPN Good for Gaming?
Perhaps you need to spoof your location in order to access geo-blocked games or certain gaming features.
Geo-blocked servers are also a thing, using a VPN is the easiest option, however consider starting your own server, for example learning how to host a Minecraft server could come in handy.
Even more than streaming HD video media like Netflix, using your VPN for gaming purposes is one of the truest tests to see how well a VPN can perform when under pressure.
Assuming you’re doing online gaming, how much bandwidth can the VPN retain without lagging?
There are many good ExpressVPN reviews suggesting it has stellar performance when HD gaming.
Again, we suggest that you test this out, taking advantage of the money-back guarantee. Try this out with your favorite games and see how it works for your specific location and devices.
Does ExpressVPN Have an Adblocker?
They’re aware of the general usefulness of ad blockers but point customers to free browser extensions available on the various browser stores (Chrome, Firefox, Opera) - from uBlock Origin to Adblock Plus. They don't seem to see a need to add this feature to their VPN.
If you want an ad blocker that’s integrated with your VPN, NordVPN may be a superior choice (the Cyber Sec feature) or Surfshark (the CleanWeb feature). NordVPN’s ad blocker can even block YouTube ads!
It’s harder than you might think to find a good YouTube ad blocker from a free extension, as many of these don’t keep up-to-date with YouTube’s updates.
Instead, you may find videos refusing to load or advertisements running despite the extension being active.
Will anyone know if I use ExpressVPN?
Yes. Generally, a VPN secures your traffic while your ISP still acts as the access point to the internet. It may or may not have any idea that there’s an intermediate (your VPN) between you and the data (more on this down below).
Your ISP may not even be aware that you’re accessing traffic through it. The loophole: it can identify whether somebody is encrypting traffic passing through it.
The very fact that the traffic is being encrypted lets them know that a VPN is being used (this is the same for a Wi-Fi network admin).
Is this a problem? Not really. Even if the ISP detects a VPN, it would take a long time for them to try to manually block ports and IPs associated with it. Also, ExpressVPN has the option for something called Stealth Servers, which mimics ordinary traffic.
These are particularly useful for censored countries, who should be unaware that VPN is accessing data.
This is the simplest way to hide the fact that you're using a VPN. (If using NordVPN, they have something called Obfuscated Servers. And Surfshark uses Camouflage Mode. There’s a question mark as to whether these are as good as ExpressVPN’s).
Related Read: Best Cheap VPN (UK) in 2021
Express VPN Review - Conclusion 🏁
Could ExpressVPN be the best VPN service? Honestly, there really isn't anything ExpressVPN can’t do.
Quick NordVPN vs ExpressVPN Review - While it has a reputation as very expensive, this is somewhat of a myth.
It's only a few pounds more expensive than NordVPN, which is the most popular provider around.
And it's ability to camouflage your activities is arguably superior.
You find an immense amount of integration with the various OS platforms and device types, from your Fire TV to your PlayStation. Any world-class VPN should offer a money-back guarantee.
We recommend trying out your VPN-of-choice’s performance for yourself and specific location, before committing.