ExpressVPN Review 2023
ExpressVPN International Ltd was created in 2009 by two Wharton Business School alumni, Peter Burchhardt and Dan Pomerantz. The service is based in the British Virgin Islands. In 2019, ExpressVPN was one of the companies that founded the VPN Trust Initiative, a group that advocates for consumer safety on the internet. Two years later, ExpressVPN was acquired by Kape Technologies. As of 2022, the service is reported to have 3 million users globally.
But is ExpressVPN legit? Is ExpressVPN good for protecting user data? Find out in our review of Express VPN Canada.
|Registered in:||British Virgin Islands|
|Log policy:||No Logs|
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ExpressVPN is one of the more popular options or arguably best VPN services for Canada out there with extensions for Firefox and Chrome. It also offers some of the best speeds of any apps.
Based in the British Virgin Islands, ExpressVPN apps have been able to carve out a sort of niche in what is otherwise a fast highly competitive market by mainly standing out from all the rest. It has been consistently touted as a top-rated VPN service capable of delivering more features, no logs with Netflix, and speed than any of its competitors.
One instance of ExpressVPN’s connection security, vastness, and versatility is often its fast 3000 servers across 160 locations in over 94 countries ensuring you can watch all the Netflix online you want with no logs. The speed of these servers is all pretty good.
Most servers are in the US and Europe, but they also have servers in many different countries in Asia, along with a list of countries which you don’t often see VPN services offering like Africa, South America, and even the Middle East. On a side note putting up a VPN server in the Middle East is both expensive and challenging, but ExpressVPN is one of the few that’s managed to pull off this feat and with no logs.
Another highlight worth mentioning is dedicated to ExpressVPN connection apps for Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, and Android operating systems amongst other obscure ones without logs and added security. The company also provides dedicated setup support for apps for devices like Fire TV, routers, Apple TV, Chromebooks, PlayStation, Kindle Fire, etc.
The million-dollar question or questions we answer in this review is if all the features and functions worth it? Should you subscribe to the ExpressVPN app in Canada? What support does it offer in Canada? Is it for the average Joe who just wants an easy to use VPN service? Why they don’t have logs? We will break down each aspect of ExpressVPN so hold tight and read through before spending your hard-earned money to watch Netflix with no logs.
Let’s kick off our Express VPN review with a detailed dissection of the ‘Pros.’ If anything the attractive list of pros and security should convince most people to subscribe but don’t do that just yet to watch Netflix! Oh and we do cover logs below.
Now let us be straight over the dozens of VPNs we’ve reviewed in Canada not a single service said that their Linux servers or encryption connection didn’t have security. Instead, all services, even those that were free said that they offered excellent security and were fast.
However, as it always turned out the security was awful even for so-called ‘free’ standards. The good news is that during our testing we found ExpressVPN’s security to be topnotch. Also, security does not compromise speed.
Obviously, speed and security i.e. being fast is important as we’ll examine in the performance section below.
Let’s start with encryption, most VPN service providers would tout that they support OpenVPN connection, which is fine but ExpressVPN takes things one step further.
The company uses state of the art 4096-bit SHA-512 RSA certifications, so it uses AES-256-CBC to mainly encrypt the control channel while Hash Message Authentication Code is used to protect against data alteration in real-time. In plain and simple terms if someone was to intercept your connection, they still will not be able to see what you’ve been doing.
We opened up ExpressVPN’s configuration files which are used for OpenVPN and yes! The security is undoubtedly state of the art. So, it isn’t just marketing-speak. The same goes for logs.
ExpressVPN in Canada also has support for Perfect Forward Secrecy security connection which is yet another layer of protection to prevent logs. It works by automatically assigning you a new but secret key each time you are connected. That key is refreshed every hour while your connection is kept open. So, even if a hacker was able to compromise your computer, the most they may get, if they are very good is just 60 minutes of data or logs. But the data will be encrypted and hence unusable.
Another great thing about ExpressVPN’s security connection is that not only do they offer DNS leak protection which prevents your data from leaking in the event of intermittent internet service, but they also have a private, 256-bit encrypted DNS on every server. Now that’s a huge advantage over many competing services that only redirect the DNS traffic over to OpenDNS or maybe some other third-party service.
Not only does a regular DNS run the risk of logs but it also gives attackers an opportunity to intercept requests from your computer, then filter and even block them, so here to ExpressVPN does an excellent job of providing security.
While as much as we wanted to test the DNS server security in detail, it wasn’t possible, we did use websites like ipleak.net and dnsleaktest.com, to confirm if the service was using IP addresses for their own DNS queries. What we found was there were no traffic or data leaks so security is perfect.
No Logging Policy
The funny part about the so-called “No Logging” connection policy is that every VPN service provider in Canada claims that they don’t maintain logs, or at least most do. The problem is that you need to take their word for the no-logs policy.
How can you check if a company does not maintain logs? Well, you can’t, so we need to look at where the company is based and also read through the fine print to see what it says about logs. Also, perhaps what it doesn’t say about logs!
ExpressVPN Canada is based in the British Virgin Islands. This jurisdiction doesn’t have any data retention laws, thus, there’s no need for the VPN service to keep logs.
Plus, ExpressVPN’s website provides a detailed explanation of their logging policy, outlining what information they collect, why they don’t collect logs, and why they decided to work this way and explaining the impact of these logs on users. We discuss the no-logs policy on this page in further detail below.
Very Easy to Use
Our ExpressVPN review was done on a Windows 10 machine with Canada English, but we also ran the app or client on Mac, Android, and an iOS device.
For the most part, the experience was consistent.
The Mac and Windows clients look like identical twins; the same goes for the Android and iOS versions.
The only difference is perhaps that installing the app on an iOS 12.1.1 device took a few extra steps owing to the extra layer of security that Apple offers.
We and many others who tested the ExpressVPN client security across all devices and found it very easy to use. The large On/Off button takes the ambiguity out of how to connect. It is also the same layout across all devices.
So, even someone who has never used a VPN service will know to tap or click on the large button to activate the VPN connection. Also, the option on the left to choose a location is pretty self-explanatory.
The client offers many different ways to connect apart from just clicking on the large button which chooses the best server. You can also use the Smart Location feature which will select the closest server. Plus, users can select from a list of recent connections that shows the last three.
The system tray icon in windows is also pretty useful. Right-click on it and a menu pop up showing the last three locations and choosing any one of them will get you connected immediately. So, you don’t have to open up the app altogether.
Update edit: ExpressVPN has announced that starting from 20th June 2019 the company will upgrade all plans with new limitations. Now, you will be able to enjoy ExpressVPN on 5 devices simultaneously!
Because the 3 devices limitation was the only con we had with ExpressVPN. Now we have no cons on our list here.
We were not able to find much wrong with ExpressVPN. The only problem we know many people will have is with the fact that you’re only allowed 3 simultaneous connection. Compared to the competition, which offers up to 5 connections, ExpressVPN seems to be beat in this department. Our personal feeling is that three simultaneous connections would be enough for most users. Especially since the service offers router support which means that all devices connected to that router will be connected. Most routers today support close to a dozen devices and you can maintain personal logs for all devices. Please note that you can install ExpressVPN on unlimited devices but can just use it on 3 devices simultaneously.
Check out the features of ExpressVPN:
When we first started using ExpressVPN, it didn’t appear that the service supported torrents. Unlike other services you don’t see a big button saying ‘torrents,’ but it’s website did mention P2P support which is different technically speaking of course.
So, we went through the FAQs and found out that not only does the service support torrents, it also helps to overcome many obstacles associated with competing services that offer the same feature.
People using torrents aren’t forced to use just a handful of often overloaded and consequently slow servers. To start with it is possible to choose from many VPN locations.
Your transfers or bandwidth is not in any way limited, so there is no data cap, and so your connection is not throttled. Now it is hard to say if these promises are just part of a slick marketing campaign or if they are in fact part of the service. But we did stumble upon a hint on the official website.
Most VPN services like ISPs in Canada have what’s called a ‘fair usage’ clause which essentially states that you can only use the service within certain limits. So, using it too much can get your connection throttled.
But it can be limited for several other reasons which aren’t stated too clearly. However, if you check ExpressVPN’s Terms of Service, there isn’t anything similar on there. Yes, they have an ‘Acceptable Use Policy,’ though that mainly covers legal issues which includes a warning that users shouldn’t download copyrighted material via torrent websites.
On the upside, users in Canada have access to lots of different connection locations, no activity logs, and 30-day money-back guarantee. So, if torrents are your thing, then you can’t go wrong with ExpressVPN even though they don’t make a huge fuss about the service.
Split Tunneling online connection is a very interesting feature that isn’t turned on by default because it affects performance.
By turning it on, you can force some ExpressVPN apps or programs to use the VPN while others use your regular internet.
Setting up split tunneling will require that you dive into the program’s advanced features.
All you have to do is go to ‘options,’ then ‘general,’ go right down to where it says ‘split tunneling’ and check the box below that.
Then click the ‘settings’ option below that and from there choose how you want split-tunneling to work. You can select which mobile apps use the VPN, and all others will use your regular intent connection. Keep in mind that it does affect speed to some extent.
Another big advantage is that your ISPs in Canada won’t suspect you’re using a VPN if they see traffic from other apps coming from the same computer which is particularly useful in countries where there is a ban on using VPNs.
ExpressVPN Pricing & Plans
ExpressVPN uses a well structured, straightforward pricing plan. To start with, they have three plans. The monthly billed plans start at $12.95 which is comparatively expensive.
Those looking to save some money should opt for the 6-month plan to which the price drops to $9.99 a month which is a fair discount. You get more flexibility when compared to the competition many of whom don’t have a 6-month plan.
If you are looking for further savings, then the annual plan will make more sense which reduces the monthly bill to $8.32 ($6.67/month with the offer above), which is a whopping 35% discount on the standard monthly plan. Sure it is slightly higher than the competition, but you’re also getting a better service for the price.
Also, worth mentioning is that ExpressVPN accepts an array of payment methods including, all major credit/debit cards, Bitcoin, PayPal, Yandex Money, WebMoney, AliPay, etc. Though we were not able to test all these payment methods for the reviews.
ExpressVPN Speed Test
ExpressVPN like all VPN services tends to throttle your internet’s speed to a certain degree. However, high-quality service will have the least speed throttling.
We ran speed test by randomly connecting to a server on another continent and running speedtest.net. We then disconnected and reconnected measuring the speed each time.
Then averaged out the throttling we experienced and converted it into a percentage value. The speed we determined was comparatively good.
During our testing for these reviews and speed testing, we found that ExpressVPN throttled our speed by an average of 5% when connecting to servers within North America.
Speed was further throttled by 15% when connecting to Asian servers, and the same goes for the ones we connected to in Australia. Europe was slightly better with an average of 12%.
ExpressVPN has allows 145 servers with OpenVPN enabled across all of them with great speed.
We tested each server by connecting to it. Out of all servers, just 3% of them failed to connect.
That’s a pretty good failure rate, not to mention the fact that it took just 5 seconds at most to connect which is great speed.
Please keep in mind that problems connecting with some servers aren’t entirely ExpressVPN’s fault, it could be a problem with your ISP. That said with an abundance of servers you are bound to find one that works in a hurry! The same goes for connection speed.
Does ExpressVPN Work With Netflix?
One of the biggest benefits of using a VPN connection service is the fact that you can access geo-blocked websites like Netflix. You can also access versions of a website that are only intended for specific regions.
So, if you want to stream US shows which are only available on the US version of Netflix, then ExpessVPN makes that possible.
All you need is to log-into a US VPN server to bypass any geo-restrictions for Netflix. Plus streaming speed should be decent or you’ll sit around waiting for the video to load.
During our time reviewing various services, we found that things aren’t as simple as we theoretically imagine. Streaming service providers like Netflix tend to stay one step ahead of the game, and so they know that users are trying to get around their restrictions.
Thus, their connection is always kept up to date for streaming and they may slow down the speed. Netflix, for instance, it tries to detect and block VPN servers from accessing specific types of content. Also, Netflix may lower the speed for some types of connections.
During our testing for this ExpressVPN review, we found that the service very easily unblocked Netflix, Amazon Video, Wikipedia, iPlayer, YouTube and loads of other websites with good speed.
For us, it was a sign of relief since most VPN services don’t commit to unblocking geo-locked sites, but in the case of ExpressVPN they commit to it, and it works.
The way we tested this was to connect to a US VPN server at random, then access the US version of Netflix as well as other geoblocked websites with good speed. We then connected to a UK server and accessed BBC iPlayer and Netflix.
We found that out of the 25 locations we used five were able to unblock the service. So, it does take a while to find a server that will work. But once you do the speed is very good. We used the service’s LiveChat feature, and they helped us to narrow down the right servers and speed for the job. So, you could try that too.
ExpressVPN Privacy & Logs
ExpressVPN states multiple times that it’s network does not maintain logs a user’s real IP address when connected to the VPN server, or the time at which they are logged in, their VPN IP address or any other information relating to the websites they visit or the pages they stay on.
It also includes logs for all traffic flowing to and from the internet to users and DNS requests at high speed like when watching Netflix.
Interestingly we are in no way saying that ExpressVPN does not know a single thing about the people using its services. The company does state that they have logs for the date yet not the time of when a user has connected and their server of choice.
However, without an IP address, there is no way to link the date and to the IP address which consequently leads to the user’s ExpressVPN account.
Another thing that ExpressVPN keeps a record of is the version number of the client software you’re using and the total amount of data transferred each day.
Though it does not constitute to privacy risk, as the amount of data flowing is measured, plus many if not all other services are doing the same thing but it is something you should know.
ExpressVPN also anonymously collects speed, error, failure, and crash-related data. Since the data collection is anonymized, the company can’t tally that data to a particular user’s account. Also, users have the ability to disable telemetry sending of data during the installation process, or they can disable it via the settings.
Now even though like with every other VPN service you will have to take everything the company says on trusts like Chrome and Firefox. There is no way for us or you to independently verify with an audit to make sure that the company does exactly as it says like the way you can with speed.
That said since the British Virgin Islands isn’t part of the so-called “14 Eyes”, an intelligence-sharing agreement between 14 countries formally referred to as SSEUR, the chances that they are collecting data is slim.
So, to sum things up, ExpressVPN subscription does keep a record of very small amounts of data, but it does not constitute any significant risk or low download speed. The data collection is mainly to improve the service, and yet they do offer the best possible encryption and privacy features we’ve seen compared to most other services.
ExpressVPN Customer Service
ExpressVPN subscription offers some pretty good security, fast servers, good download speed and customer service or support as you’d imagine. They have agents who are working 24/7 and can be contacted via Live Chat.
However, unlike other customer service and support reviewed this isn’t just your typical run-of-the-mill outsourced technical customer service or first-line support. These support people for the most part are experts and helped us walk through various fabricated technical issues. They helped us speed things up when it came to finding certain features.
All other competing support we reviewed takes a day to respond. But there is always someone available to chat with for ExpressVPN subscribers. So, getting a problem fixed with good speed is very easy with chat support.
In addition to Live Chat support, there is also email, and you can open a ticket that rounds off the great customer service offered. However, the speed as you’d imagine with these isn’t as fast but they do have logs of previous conversations.
ExpressVPN Refund Policy
ExpressVPN is sold with a 30-day money-back guarantee which allows users to claim a refund if they are not happy with the service or the support. You can also claim if you suspect logs. However, the mobile app comes with a very interesting 7-day trial with support.
Canceling the service within 30 days is very simple and does not require contacting support. The service does not make you jump through any hoops like filling in forms, calling a phone number or telling the company why you want to cancel.
There is no clause in the small print which makes it impossible for you to cancel the service. All you need to is log-into your account and click cancel…that’s it!
ExpressVPN Price: How Does It Match Up With Its VPN Competitors
Price is one of the key things to consider when choosing a VPN provider. The price of a VPN subscription varies depending on the company that you choose. ExpressVPN’s prices are relatively higher than that of its competitors.
In comparison, NordVPN charges:
CyberGhost VPN charges
Private Internet Access charges
Although ExpressVPN price is more, this doesn’t necessarily mean that a different VPN company is a better choice. Yes, price is important, but you also have to look at other things like the features the VPN company offers and how it serves your needs.
For example, if you need VPN software primarily for streaming, you need to ensure that the VPN you choose supports streaming, works with your preferred streaming platform, offers suitable download/upload speed, and has the necessary security features to allow you to stream content safely.
There’s no way to completely guarantee if a VPN provider is right for you, no matter how many reviews you read. The only way to know this for sure is to try the service. Thankfully, ExpressVPN and other VPNs have a 30-day money-back guarantee that allows you to test out their service before committing to it.
Is ExpressVPN Safe for Online Banking?
As a VPN user, it is important to cross-check rather than assume that your chosen VPN service has the right features for online banking. So, is ExpressVPN safe for online banking? Yes, ExpressVPN comes with military-grade encryption and advanced security features that ensure your data is not compromised. Also, it works with all the major online banking apps.
ExpressVPN offers AES 256-bit encryption so your data is safe even in transit. You can choose any VPN protocol you prefer out of six different options. This VPN also comes with features like Network Lock (an automatic kill switch) that cuts your internet connection if your VPN protection is disconnected for any reason. There’s DNS protection that blocks blacklisted sites and filters unwanted content so you’re not a victim of phishing and malware attacks. ExpressVPN’s split tunneling feature allows you to control which app traffic is routed through your VPN tunnel.
ExpressVPN’s TrustedServer technology upholds the company’s strict no-logging policy. This means your data is never stored. ExpressVPN has been audited by PricewaterCoopers to confirm its no-logging policy.
You can check your bank account and send money online when using ExpressVPN without worrying that hackers can get access to your account.
Is ExpressVPN Good for Gaming? Connection Reliability Analysis
Speed and a stable connection are two of the key things that determine if a VPN is suitable for gaming. So, is ExpressVPN good for gaming? Yes, it offers unlimited bandwidth with no throttling, fast and stable internet speed, low ping times, multiple servers, and numerous security features.
When using ExpressVPN, you don’t have to worry about fluctuating internet speed. ExpressVPN is one of the fastest VPN services available today, and there are no lags while you’re gaming. Once you choose your preferred server location and establish a connection, ExpressVPN remains very stable. The connection doesn’t cut off randomly. This is important so you won’t lose any progress you’ve made in your game due to a loss in connection.
This VPN works well with different consoles and online gaming platforms. With ExpressVPN’s Smart DNS and MediaStreamer, you can change the location on your gaming console easily to unblock restricted content and get games at the best prices.
ExpressVPN works with different devices. There’s a VPN app for different devices. You can choose the Windows app, Linux app, Android app, Mac app, or iOS app depending on your device. You can even choose to install ExpressVPN as a browser extension, on your router or gaming console.
Express VPN Test vs Other Leading VPNs
Before settling for a particular VPN provider, it is essential to compare it with other VPNs available on the market. In this Express VPN test, we’ll see how this VPN service stacks up in comparison to other top VPNs.
ExpressVPN has up to 3000 servers in 160 locations spread out across 94 countries. While ExpressVPN server count is not a lot, they’re spread out across a wider number of countries than you’ll get from other VPNs.
NordVPN has over 5000 servers in just 59 countries.
CyberGhost VPN has over 7000 servers in 91 countries.
Private Internet Access has over 30,000 servers in only 78 countries.
So, although ExpressVPN does not have a lot of servers, the fact that they’re spread over a lot of countries means you’re likely to find a server near you no matter where you are.
ExpressVPN’s server count includes virtual server locations. ExpressVPN works in countries like China where other VPNs don’t operate thanks to its stealth servers that disguise your internet traffic.
ExpressVPN also has up to six VPN protocols, including OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP-IPSec, PPTP, WireGuard, and its unique Lightway protocol. That’s more than you’ll get from other VPNs. Its WireGuard and Lightway protocols are built on cutting-edge technology.
In terms of speed, ExpressVPN performs just as well (and sometimes better) than other VPNs like NordVPN, CyberGhost VPN, and Private Internet Access.
How ExpressVPN Works: A Quick Walkthrough
If you’re new to using VPNs and you’re wondering how ExpressVPN works, here’s a summary. The way ExpressVPN works is not very different from other VPNs available today. It simply creates an encrypted tunnel for your internet traffic so you can access the web anonymously and securely.
You don’t need to be a VPN expert to figure out how ExpressVPN works. The platform is easy to use, and you don’t have to struggle to find your way around the app.
To use ExpressVPN, you need to sign up for the service and download the app or browser extension. When you want to go online with VPN protection, simply open your VPN client, turn on the VPN service, and choose a server in your preferred location.
You can select your preferred VPN protocol or allow the software to pick one automatically. Your internet traffic is encrypted and routed through your chosen server. You enjoy fast internet speed without any interruption.
When you use ExpressVPN, you automatically enjoy all the benefits of this VPN service including full encryption, no logging, access to geo-blocked content, and much more.
If you encounter any issues, ExpressVPN offers 24-hour live chat support.
Frequently Asked Questions
ExpressVPN is completely legal unless your government explicitly has a law against the use of VPNs. ExpressVPN even works in countries like China where the use of VPN is not allowed.
While ExpressVPN is legal and helps you stay anonymous online, it doesn’t change the legal status of your actions. So, if you use ExpressVPN to commit a crime online, you may be untraceable, but it doesn’t mean your actions are legal. In summary, ExpressVPNs and other VPNs are legal.
ExpressVPN offers vast, high speed or fast servers, and a very secure network with no-logging. Its secure extensions for Chrome and Firefox. We always appreciate a solid no logs policy.
The service provides both quality and quantity while ensuring that everything is wrapped up into an easy to use package. That’s why we recommend ExpressVPN as the best VPN!