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ExpressVPN review: A great, user-friendly VPN for privacy and location spoofing

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £5.61
/mth, 15-month subscription

ExpressVPN isn’t the cheapest nor the fastest, but it’s secure, easy to use and excellent for video streaming


  • Worked with every streaming service we tried
  • Impeccable security
  • Supports wide range of platforms


  • Expensive
  • Only five simultaneous connections
  • Limited auto-activate on Windows

ExpressVPN is a virtual private networking service that encrypts your online activity and routes it through a secure server which could be based in any country around the world. This prevents your ISP from monitoring what you do online, and it means that both your online activity and your location are completely anonymous while you’re connected to the VPN.

The service is available as a monthly, six-monthly, or annual subscription. If you choose to pay month-by-month it costs £11, while six months will cost you £50 – equivalent to £8.41/mth. A year of service costs £84 and you get an extra three months for free, giving you 15 months of service for the equivalent of £5.61/mth.

Whichever subscription term you choose, ExpressVPN is a relatively pricey option since rival VPNs, such as Atlas VPN, charge as little as £1.50/mth – though a lot depends on how long you sign up for, and what deals are on offer at the time.

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You can use ExpressVPN on up to five different devices at the same time, which should be more than enough for most customers. However, other VPN services like, Private Internet Access and PureVPN all allow ten simultaneous connections, while Surfshark and IPVanish don’t apply any limits at all.

Still, ExpressVPN provides handy apps, not just for laptops and mobiles but also for Chromecast and Amazon Fire TV devices, with manual setup instructions provided for plenty of other platforms, including games consoles. Router configurations are supported too, so if you have a VPN-compatible router, you can use it to protect all the devices on your home network using just one connection.

Once you’re set up, you can route your connection through more than 3,000 servers in 94 countries around the world. As well as concealing or changing your location, ExpressVPN can protect your anonymity when using BitTorrent. File sharing works on all servers worldwide – though the company doesn’t explicitly promise that this service will always be available, and its website scrupulously avoids mentioning the file-sharing platform.

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ExpressVPN review: What’s it like to use?

As we’ve mentioned, ExpressVPN provides clients for numerous platforms. We tried the Windows and Android apps and found them both quite logically laid out, with a consistent cross-platform design that makes it easy to navigate, no matter what device you use it on.

expressvpn review 2024

In both cases, the main interface is simple, showing little more than your chosen server and a big round button that activates, or ends, the VPN connection. An ellipsis icon brings up the location browser in an adjacent window, while a hamburger menu accesses the rest of ExpressVPN’s features.

These include a built-in speed tester, which runs ping and download speed tests across a selection of servers, to help you find the fastest connection in a given region, while other tools show your remote IP address and check for DNS and WebRTC leaks.

You can also open the Options window to enable or disable the kill switch and set up split tunnelling. Unusually, advanced users can select from six different VPN protocols – including ExpressVPN’s own Lightway technology – and enable or disable the use of IPv6 and ExpressVPN’s DNS servers.

expressvpn review 2024

If you don’t want the main ExpressVPN window hanging around while you surf, you can minimise or close it – a system tray icon lets you bring it back, or connect directly to recent servers. You can also use browser extensions to control the VPN from within your browser: Chrome, Edge and Firefox are all supported, as well as Brave and Vivaldi, for those who eschew the mainstream.


ExpressVPN review: How fast is it?

We used Google’s speed testing tool to measure how much impact the VPN had on our browsing speeds. First, we set up ExpressVPN on a Windows 11 laptop, connected to a domestic Virgin fibre line that gave us raw download speeds of 381Mbits/sec with the VPN disconnected.

We then connected to an ExpressVPN server in London and repeated the test to see the download speed fall to 228Mbits/sec. In absolute terms that’s a big 40% drop, but it’s still a very fast connection. There’s more than enough bandwidth here for almost anything you might conceivably want to do, and we’ve not seen many VPNs that can go faster.

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Switching to a server in New York had a bigger impact on our connection: this time the download speed fell to 128Mbits/sec. That’s still not bad by VPN standards though, and again it’s perfectly sufficient for video streaming and other activities.

Things were even better on Android. For this test, we used a Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 tablet connected to the router over Wi-Fi 6. With the VPN disconnected, we saw download speeds of 370Mbits/sec, and connecting to a London server barely reduced this at all: the Google speed test reported 347Mbits/sec, representing a tiny impact of just 6.3%. And while the New York server was predictably slower, we still got a very usable 122Mbits/sec.

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In short, ExpressVPN is fast enough for almost anything you’re likely to want to do online. It also supports split tunnelling, so that any programs that don’t need to be protected by the VPN can go at full speed through your regular connection instead. If you have ExpressVPN set up on your router then you can also nominate which devices should go through the VPN and which shouldn’t – though this requires the custom ExpressVPN app/firmware, which not all router models support.

READ NEXT: Best VPN for Android

ExpressVPN review: Is it good for video streaming?

ExpressVPN is more than fast enough to stream 4K video from anywhere in the world, and it’s one of the best services around for accessing geo-blocked content. We’ve been testing the software for several years now and, in all that time, it’s consistently provided flawless access to the US libraries of Disney+ and Netflix from a laptop browser. It will even get you into Hulu, should you happen to have a subscription to the US-only service.

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Meanwhile, picking a UK server enabled us to watch programmes from BBC iPlayer, ITVX, Channel 4 and Now TV – which means you can use ExpressVPN to keep up with your favourite British shows or sports events when you’re travelling abroad.

All of these services work perfectly on both Windows and Android, so you can watch your shows however you like. The only catch is that, as usual, there’s no way to watch Amazon Prime Video content from a different country since Amazon uses your billing address rather than your IP address to detect your region.

READ NEXT: How do VPNs work?

ExpressVPN review: Is it secure?

ExpressVPN is headquartered in the British Virgin Islands, so it’s outside of the jurisdiction of the UK, the EU, the US and anyone else who might want to spy on your activity. Like most VPNs, it maintains a zero-log policy, and even goes so far as to store session information in RAM, so it’s never written to a hard disk. That means that if someone were to seize or break into its servers, there should be no record of your past online activity. It’s also possible to pay for the service with Bitcoin, so your VPN subscription can’t even be linked back to your bank account.

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If that’s not reassuring enough, ExpressVPN was independently audited by PwC in 2019, providing independent confirmation that its privacy policy is effective and is implemented in practice.

At the client end, your privacy is protected by a kill switch feature that automatically cuts all internet access if the connection to the VPN is lost, ensuring not one bit of traffic gets accidentally routed via your ISP. There’s also an auto-connect option, which activates the VPN as soon as you connect to an untrusted network – though sadly this is only available on Android and isn’t supported in the Windows client. The closest you get is the option to start the VPN as soon as you log in.

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We do have a few reservations. There’s no double-VPN feature to provide an additional degree of anonymisation between you and the content you want to access and, as we’ve mentioned, auto-activation features are limited on Windows, so you’ll need to remember to turn the VPN on as needed, or keep it permanently enabled.

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ExpressVPN review: Verdict

ExpressVPN might not be the ideal VPN for every scenario. Rival services are cheaper, they let you connect more devices at once, and some of them offer faster connection speeds too. Realistically, though, the five-device limit will only affect the largest of households, and Express VPN is fast enough to make performance a non-issue for most people.

Meanwhile, the software is a pleasure to use, it does an excellent job of unblocking streaming services, and it supports an impressively wide range of devices. Perhaps most importantly though, it comes with excellent security credentials. While those who are focused on price will want to look elsewhere, ExpressVPN is a brilliant VPN service that does plenty to justify the slightly higher cost.

ExpressVPN review: Quick facts

Based in:British Virgin Islands (safe)
Cheapest price:£5.61/mth
Money-back guarantee:30 days no-questions-asked
Devices (simultaneous):Unlimited (5)
Locations:3000+ in 94 countries
24/7 customer support:Yes
Netflix and Disney+ allowed:Yes
BBC iPlayer allowed:Yes
Torrenting allowed:Yes
DNS leaks:No
Activity logging:No

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