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A virtual private network — often shortened down to “VPN” — is something you may not think you need, but can dramatically change the way you work (and play) online. A VPN routes your internet traffic through a server elsewhere in the world, and encrypts it to boot. What does that mean? There’s the geographical benefit, of course — if you’re in one country but want to appear as though you’re in another, a VPN can let you do that. But a VPN offers protection, too. If you’re working with sensitive information online — say, if you’re doing online banking — a VPN ensures your data stays private.
ExpressVPN is a fairly popular VPN service you can subscribe to, so today, we’re going to be taking a deep dive into what this particular provider has to offer. We’ll look at ExpressVPN’s features, what a subscription will cost you, whether you can get a free trial, and a whole lot more. By the time we wrap up, you should have a good idea of what ExpressVPN can do for you, and whether or not it’s going to serve your needs.
ExpressVPN is a pretty easy service to use, especially for those who are brand new to the concept of using a VPN. If you’re using the service on PC, all you need to do is install the ExpressVPN app, select a server, and connect. Just like that, you’re good to go. The same goes for mobile devices. If you download the ExpressVPN app from your device app store, install it, and then log in, you’re set. As we explained in our ExpressVPN review, you don’t have to fidget with any complicated settings: It just works.
As for what ExpressVPN does for you, well, that’s pretty simple to explain, too. ExpressVPN has servers in 94 countries. When you choose one and connect, your traffic is routed through that location before reaching the wider internet. What does this mean? If you are, for example, working in Mexico, connecting to an ExpressVPN server in the United States would likely help you get the U.S. versions of websites.
ExpressVPN serves as a sort of bodyguard for your private information, too. It can sometimes be risky to send data over certain types of connections. Some nefarious individuals can snoop your traffic and, if they’re skilled enough, lift sensitive details from it. ExpressVPN encrypts your traffic, which basically makes it indecipherable to those who might try to steal your private information. If you often work on insecure connections — such as coffee shop or airport WiFi networks — having a VPN service like ExpressVPN can help keep you protected.
Before we go too deep into this section, it’s very important to note something: streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and more do not like VPNs. That’s not to say these services won’t work if you use a VPN. But people often try to get around regional streaming lockouts using VPN services, and as such, most streaming services consider this act a violation of their terms of service. If you try to access something like Netflix using a VPN, you do so at your own risk.
With that said, ExpressVPN doesn’t seem particularly shy about letting you know it works with streaming video services. On one page of its website, ExpressVPN lists Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Hulu, HBO Max, and more as services you can “unblock” using its product. Could you use ExpressVPN outside of the United States and perhaps get access to Netflix’s U.S. streaming library? The short answer is: Yes!
When it comes to using a VPN, one thing some people care a lot about is anonymity. You can usually browse on the down-low by default when you use a VPN. A website is going to have a hard time figuring out who you are, which is sometimes the point. But how private is your browsing data, really? Could someone make a visit to ExpressVPN headquarters and take a look at what you’ve been up to online?
The answer, it seems, is a resounding “no.” ExpressVPN takes anonymity very seriously — so much so, in fact, that it vows to flat out not track many details. ExpressVPN doesn’t keep logs of IP addresses. It doesn’t keep logs of browsing history. It doesn’t keep logs of “traffic destination or metadata.” And it won’t even keep tabs on your browser’s DNS queries. ExpressVPN pretty much puts a blindfold on while you are using its product. If that sounds good to you, ExpressVPN might be your jam.
If you have a device sitting around, there’s a pretty good chance ExpressVPN works on it. That might sound like hyperbole, but it’s pretty darn close to the truth.
There’s an ExpressVPN app for Windows. There’s also one for Mac. You can download apps on both iOS and Android. Linux is supported, too. Chromebooks have an ExpressVPN app available. The Kindle Fire can make use of ExpressVPN. You can even install an app for the service on your router — depending on the model, of course. You can use ExpressVPN on up to five devices simultaneously.
If an app sounds like too much work, for you, though — or you just want to protect regular web traffic and nothing else — ExpressVPN has several browser extensions available for Chrome, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge.
When it comes down to the cost of a VPN service, there’s often some good news and some bad news. This holds true for just about every service, including ExpressVPN. The good news? You can typically get a pretty good deal on a VPN service — somewhere close to $10 a month in most cases, if not cheaper. The bad news? VPN services love trying to lock you in for the long term, and ExpressVPN is no different.
One single month of ExpressVPN will run you $12.95 per month. It’s not the most expensive thing in the world, but it’s not all that cheap, either, when compared to other services. You can get a better deal on ExpressVPN, however, if you’re willing to pay up. If you commit to one whole year of service, your grand total will ring up at $99.95. That brings the monthly cost down to $8.32.
If you’re only looking for a month-to-month deal, ExpressVPN’s pricing is bad news. But if you’re just looking for the best possible deal, then you might be thrilled to see just how much you can save on the longer-term deals. Signing up for VPN services for a year or more is generally the cheapest route to go, and that’s certainly the case with ExpressVPN.
Unfortunately, it seems like free trials on all types of services are going the way of the dodo. Companies have discovered that it’s a lot more beneficial to get customers signed up with a payment method, and then get them to pay at least something. Going this route, it’s a lot easier to retain customers.
ExpressVPN is one such company now doing this. There is no free trial available for the ExpressVPN service. If you want to create your own trial, in a sense, you’ll need to sign up for a new account, pay for a month of service, and then cancel within 30 days. Thanks to ExpressVPN’s money-back guarantee, you should get refunded.
Having to cancel something and then wait for a refund is certainly not ideal. But you might find it’s also not necessary — ExpressVPN fared pretty well in our review so it might just prove to be a subscription that you hang on to.
Contracts on products or services are meant to lock you in. They’re basically like handcuffing yourself to one particular option for one year, two years, or more than that. If you don’t like what you’ve done, you’ll likely pay a penalty to get out of the contract. Some companies don’t want to stand behind what they’re offering, and as such, they think a contract is a good way to keep you locked into something you’d otherwise try to get out of.
ExpressVPN, fortunately, has no contracts. You can sign up for as little as a month, step that up to six months, or pay for a year up front. The service doesn’t force you into anything you’re not comfortable with. Most importantly, you still get the same service and support regardless of whether you’re a monthly subscriber or a yearly subscriber.
Canceling ExpressVPN is easy. If you disable the service’s auto-renewal feature, then ExpressVPN will cancel your subscription rather than charging you the next time that your service would otherwise renew. To toggle that feature, just sign in to your account on ExpressVPN’s website and navigate to Subscription Settings. You’ll find the auto-renewal feature there.
When you get down to it, most VPN services don’t differ all that much from one another. They all like to list off their features, and most of those feature sets are pretty similar when stacked side by side.
But ExpressVPN does have a few things that help it stand out from the crowd, such as its extensive support for smartphones and other devices. There are few internet-connected operating systems that aren’t supported, and you can use ExpressVPN on up to five devices at once.
Is that enough? Well, we won’t spoil anything, but we will say that ExpressVPN put up a solid performance in our ExpressVPN Review. You’ll have to read our review to learn more!