Is ExpressVPN still fulfilling its promises on privacy?- a detailed review

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Shigraf aijaz

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21min read

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ExpressVPN remains amongst the top VPNs despite having a shady parent company and the privacy allegations. The VPN produced remarkable results in our tests especially the ones around privacy and security. We also found it working reliably with Netflix. Here is our final insights on ExpressVPN:



Encryption Type

Third-Party Audit

Log Policy


Smart DNS



Dedicated IP


Double VPN

Ad blocker

Malware Blocker

Password Manager


Gaming Support

Torrent Support

Streaming Supports



Free Version




British virgin island

4 million





30-day money-back guarantee


4096-bit DH key

Secure up to 5 devices



ExpressVPN is among the top-rated VPNs in the industry and has gained millions of users in the past years. Although it offers more or less the same security features as other popular providers, the prices are higher than most. We tested the VPN ourselves to understand the reason behind the high prices.

It uses advanced encryption and also offers a proprietary protocol for blazing-fast speed. On the other hand, ExpressVPN surprised us by unblocking most streaming sites and effectively working in China. 

However, its recent affiliation with Kape Technologies has raised many red flags. The high prices and security concerns have created confusion among users. The security features and bypassing methods are not enough information to trust the VPN service. Read this review further to clarify doubts about ExpressVPN and see if it’s worth it. 

Who owns ExpressVPN?

ExpressVPN was founded in 2009 and worked under the parent company Express VPN International Ltd, started by two entrepreneurs. In 2019 the VPN got audited for its no-log policy, and in 2020, It introduced its proprietary protocol. Until 2021 the VPN worked under the same parent company and prospered in many aspects. 

In September 2021, the VPN service shared the idea of joining forces with Kape Technologies in the future. ExpressVPN claimed that it would remain a separate service from other Kape products and their user’s privacy would only be increased. On December 16, 2021, ExpressVPN, in a blog, made its official affiliation with Kape Technologies known to its users. The provider assured its users that:

“Yes, ExpressVPN will continue operating as a separate brand and service, run by our existing (and fast-growing!) team. We’ve been proud to lead the industry in terms of technology, product, infrastructure, customer support, transparency, and more—and we plan to continue doing so as an independent service. With the backing of Kape, ExpressVPN will be able to continue delivering more innovations and improvements to users.”

Despite Kape Technologies’ shady past, ExpressVPN maintained its clean image and provided the same reliable security. The affiliation did trouble some users about their privacy, but needless to say, ExpressVPN handled the matter very well.

What does ExpressVPN have to offer its users?- general insight  

Searching for VPNs in 2023, an era of mass online surveillance and data breaches, is challenging. Specifically, some renowned VPN providers have surfaced with various security breach issues. 

While looking into ExpressVPN, similar concerns regarding privacy and security are bound to come up, specifically since its infamous affiliation with Kape Technologies, a company associated with cybersecurity issues.

This review explores ExpressVPN in every aspect and gives a transparent overview of the VPN. We have tried to answer all questions regarding the reliability and security of ExpressVPN. 

  • Online privacy: industry-level encryption of AES-256-bit ensures robust security and prevents data breaches. 
  • Safe jurisdiction: British Virgin Island is not allied with the 14 Eyes and is a privacy-friendly jurisdiction. 
  • Audited no-log policy:  the VPN keeps no logs of its user’s activity and has audited its no-log privacy several times. 
  • Streaming: it unblocks all streaming platforms, including Netflix, BBC iPlayer, etc. The MediaStreamer helps bypass geo-blocks, and fast protocols ensure fast streaming speed. 
  • Torrenting and P2P: it allows P2P sharing with its global servers. Besides, features like split tunneling further help in torrenting. 
  • Gaming: the fast protocols help in gaming and offer low ping time. 
  • Onion over VPN: this feature helps safely browse the Tor browser without compromising security. 

We aim to provide a better insight into what ExpressVPN offers; therefore, we have researched the VPN over social platforms like Reddit, Quora, and Twitter. Aside from that, we tested the VPN to see if all the features were living up to the claims. Read along to know more!

Is ExpressVPN secure?

The best VPNs protect users’ data by encrypting their traffic and following strict privacy policies. ExpressVPN is undoubtedly ahead of many VPNs when it comes to security. It offers high encryption, and fast protocols, prevent data breaches, and has a no-log policy. We have described the prominent privacy and security feature of ExpressVPN below;

  • Network lock(kill switch): Prevents IP leaks and data breaching by disconnecting the internet connection during VPN connection drops. 
  • Zero-knowledge DNS: It works by increasing your privacy and bypassing censorship. 
  • Threat Manager: Blocks trackers and third-party cookies from tracking your device. 
  • DNS leak protection: It prevents your DNS from leaking. 
  • Tor over VPN: Protects your device and data while using the Tor browser. 
  • Obfuscation: It makes the VPN traffic look like HTTPS traffic, which helps in bypassing geo-blocks. 
  • Password Manager: The ExpressVPN keys generate new and strong passwords and store them in a digital vault for security. 

ExpressVPN is a treat for privacy freaks. However, it lacks dedicated IP, an essential privacy feature offered by other VPNs like NordVPN. It is still one of the most secure VPNs on the internet. 

The logging policy of ExpressVPN. 

ExpressVPN is true to its words and does not keep logs of its user’s activity. The company’s no-log policy is audited by KPMG, Cure53 of TrustedServer, and  PwC Switzerland in 2019 and 2022. The independent audit further ensures that the VPN follows and keeps no logs of users’ activity. Here is what ExpressVPN stores in its servers;

The VPN does not store any of the following personal data;

With that being said, we can assure you that ExpressVPN is a secure VPN service and respect its user’s privacy. 

Jurisdiction- where is ExpressVPN located? 

ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands, free from all data retention laws. Even though it is considered a part of the UK, the country follows its own rules. The BVI is not an alliance with the 14 eyes, so It is safe to say that it is a secure jurisdiction. 

However, the government of the BVI can still demand ExpressVPN to share its user’s information according to its data protection law. This is when the no-log policy plays its part, as the company keeps no records of users’ information; it has nothing to share with the government. 

Past Records.

While researching a VPN, we light some spotlight on its past record to see if the VPN is trustworthy. While digging into ExpressVPN, we came across some interesting records. 

Daniel Gericke.

The CIO of ExpressVPN has been fined $1.68 million due to his recent controversy. Unknown to his previous records, former UAE mercenary hacker Daniel Gericke was hired by ExpressVPN as its CIO in 2019. In a recent report, it has come to light that he was involved in the project Raven, “a hack against American citizens.” It is quite a scene to unfold when the company’s CIO is involved in such projects, and the company promises security to its customers. 

However, ExpressVPN took the leverage and released a statement describing how they were unaware of the previous involvement of Daniel Gericke. The company further explained that Daniel had gained their trust. Still, it’s not what they rely on, “instead, we rely on our controls,” ExpressVPN stated. Furthermore, ExpressVPN assured customers of their increased privacy. 

Kape Technologies malware accusation. 

In addition, ExpessVPN was acquitted by Kape Technologies; the deal was settled for $936 million. The sudden acquisition raised heads as Kape Technologies was previously involved in many controversies. The company’s products were accused of being adware by security company Malwarebytes. In 2015 a research paper described the involvement of Crossrider(Kape Technologies);

Crossrider is a mobile, desktop, and extension development platform that enables drop-in monetization via major ad injectors. Crossrider provides its affiliate ID to ad injectors while separately tracking kick-backs to developers. The other top affiliates listed in Table III are all cross-browser extensions and plugins that impact Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer.

However, the company has shifted its aim to cybersecurity. Kape technologies also own other VPN services like CyberGhost and have gained the trust of multiple VPN users. Moreover, ExpressVPN regularly conducts private audits that prove its clean stance on privacy and security.  


The use of secure encryption ciphers is essential for robust security. A solid VPN uses high encryption to prevent data leaks by encrypting the internet traffic. It protects users from becoming victims of hackers by protecting their devices from malicious attacks. 

ExpressVPN uses the AES-256-bit algorithm, the most robust encryption used by the military, industries, and the government. Moreover, the VPN also uses the ChaCha20, besides AES-256. The ChaCha20 is a secure cipher also used in banks and ATMs.

What VPN Protocols does ExpressVPN use? 

ExpressVPN offers various protocols for the best possible VPN experience. Protocols ensure fast speed and quick server connections. They are responsible for forming encrypted tunnels; however, not all protocols are the same. Each protocol works differently, such as;

  • OpenVPN (TCP/UDP): As the name suggests, it is an open-source protocol. While the TCP works best for bypassing censorship, UDP is great for fast speed. 
  • L2TP/IPSec: it is not the best when in competition with OpenVPN and lightway. It offers reliable speed and security. 
  • IKEv2: it works best for mobile users and efficiently lets users switch between cellular to mobile data.
  • Lightway (TCP/UDP): a proprietary protocol of ExpressVPN that offers fast speed and robust security. It was independently audited by Cure53 and is among the best protocols to use.  

Users can either select the VPN protocol themselves or let ExpressVPN automatically choose the best protocol for their device. 

Streaming with ExpressVPN- can it bypass geo-blocks? 

VPN usage is not restricted to security purposes only. They are equally important for streaming as other tasks. Online streaming consumes a lot of bandwidth, and in many cases, ISP throttle users’ connections to maintain internet speeds. This unethical act can be stopped by using a VPN. Here are the streaming features offered by ExpressVPN;

  • Smart DNS: helps bypass geo-blocks and unblock streaming sites. 
  • Prevent ISP throttling: The obfuscating technology prevents ISP throttling and ensures uninterrupted streaming. 
  • Speed test: ExpressVPN allows users to perform a speed test before connecting to a server. It helps in finding the fastest server for lag-free streaming. 
  • Many servers: It offers 3000+ servers in 94 countries.  
  • Netflix: US, UK, Canada, France, Japan, India, Australia, etc. 
  • Hulu: New York, Washington, New Jersey, Los Angeles, Chicago, Phoenix, Atlanta, Seattle, and Denver.
  • BBCiPlayer: London, Docklands, Midlands, and others. 
  • Disney+: New York, San Francisco, Washington DC, Dallas, Chicago.
  • Amazon Prime: United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and Australia.

We took the matter into our hands to cross-check ExpressVPN’s claims to unblock all popular streaming platforms. Here is a brief overview of what we experienced while accessing streaming sites and how we did it.

How to unblock Netflix with ExpressVPN?

We can say we were fairly impressed by ExpressVPN’s performance. The homepage loaded quickly, and the VPN took no time to unblock the streaming service. We used the Los Angeles 3 server, and the speed was fast enough for HD streaming. ExpressVPN can unblock 20+ Netflix libraries; almost all servers work with the site. 

For buffering free Netflix streaming, you must step up the MediaStreamer, the smart DNS feature of ExpressVPN. The VPN automatically connects you to the fastest protocol, although we selected the lightway protocol for fast speed. In short, the experience was seamless, and we will 100% recommend using ExpressVPN for Netflix!

How I set up ExpressVPN for Netflix;

  • Launch the ExpressVPN app and Log in with your email. 
  • Choose your subscription plan. 
  • Choose a server of the region you want to access Netflix from. 
  • Open the Netflix site.
  • Start streaming!

Make sure you have a Netflix subscription to unlock different libraries. 

Unblocking BBC iPlayer with ExpressVPN. 

Using BBC iPlayer with ExpressVPN was like a breeze. The quality was HD, and the site worked smoothly. There was no long-term buffering or errors. We tried using the UDP protocol with BBC iPlayer to test its speed, which did not disappoint. 

To set up ExpressVPN, we only used the MediaStreamer and waited for it to connect. Moreover, we also used the kill switch feature to prevent IP leaks and were left amazed by how smoothly it worked. Overall, the sound and video quality were great. 

How I set up  ExpressVPN for BBC iPlayer;

  • Launch the ExpressVPN app and Log in with your email. 
  • Choose your subscription plan. 
  • Choose a UK-based server. 
  • Open the BBC iPlayer site.
  • Start streaming!

Users must have a BBC iPlayer subscription to unblock the site. 

Can ExpressVPN access Hulu?

We were able to unblock Hulu with ease; the VPN pretty much did the work itself. All shows were accessible, and the video quality was amazing. We experienced no lags while streaming, and the whole experience was seamless. 

All we did was log in on ExpressVPN with the credentials. Then we enable the MediaStreamer, and network lock. After that, we chose the New York server. Surprisingly, the speed was fast enough for HD quality. Although we were automatically connected to the Chicago server first, the server was not fast enough for Hulu, and we had to switch to the New York server. So, we recommend switching between servers to find the fastest server. 

How I set up  ExpressVPN for Hulu;

  • Launch the ExpressVPN app and Log in with your email. 
  • Choose your subscription plan. 
  • Choose a US-based server. 
  • Open the Hulu site.
  • Start streaming!

Users must have a Hulu subscription to unblock the site. 

Unblocking Disney + with ExpressVPN. 

It’s safe to say that ExpressVPN is the best choice to unblock Disney+. The VPN worked amazingly well with the streaming platform. The movies took only a few seconds to load. In addition to fast speed, the video quality was also HD. 

To use ExpressVPN with Disney+, we had to log in to ExpressVPN. We enabled the media streamer only. However, you can also turn on the network lock for more security. The VPN will connect you to the fastest server automatically. If you are unsatisfied with the server speed, try switching to another server. 

How I set up  ExpressVPN for Disney +;

  • Launch the ExpressVPN app and Log in with your email. 
  • Choose your subscription plan. 
  • Choose a US-based server. 
  • Open Disney +.
  • Start streaming!

Users must have a Disney+ subscription to unblock the site. 

Accessing Amazon Prime with ExpressVPN. 

Amazon Prime is available in most countries except for Mainland China, Iran, North Korea, and Syria. We had to use a VPN to unblock the regional libraries of the site. ExpressVPN works exceptionally well with Amazon; the VPN is fast and offers the best HD-quality streaming. 

We first set up our ExpressVPN app, which is quite simple. Afterward, enabled the MediaStreamer to bypass geo-blocks, and we were all set. We used the lightway protocol for fast streaming, and that’s what we got! ExpressVPN is a great choice for Amazon Prime, and if you face any problems with servers, try switching to a different server.

How I set up  ExpressVPN for Amazon Prime;

  • Launch the ExpressVPN app and Log in with your email. 
  • Choose your subscription plan. 
  • Choose a server of the region you want to access Amazon Prime from. 
  • Turn on incognito mode if you face difficulty in unblocking the site. 
  • Open Amazon Prime.
  • Start streaming!

Users must have an Amazon Prime subscription to unblock the site. 


If you are having trouble accessing streaming sites with ExpressVPN, try these methods;

  • Disconnect and reconnect the VPN.
  • Clear your cache and cookies.
  • Use Incognito mode.
  • Restart your router.
  • Change the VPN’s protocols. 
  • Switch to a different VPN server.
  • Update the VPN.
  • Contact customer service.

These troubleshooting tips will hopefully help you solve any issue you face. 

Here is how you can use the MediaStreamer DNS

Mediastreamer, a smart DNS feature of ExpressVPN. It allows users to bypass geo-block, firewalls, and other censorship. 

  1. Register your IP address on the ExpressVPN website.
  2. Go to the ExpressVPN setup page, and Enter your verification code.
  3. On the dashboard, click “Add Group.”
  4. Name it “MediaStreamer” (or whatever you like).
  5. Select the 3 dots on your device.
  6. Now, Select “All Locations.”
  7. Scroll down to the location list and select “MediaStreamer.”
  8. Drag the devices you want in the MediaStreamer to the MediaStreamer group.

If you want to unblock streaming sites, make sure to enable MediaStreamer. 

Torrenting with ExpressVPN. 

Torrenting poses risks to your privacy and security; it is unsafe to perform torrenting without a VPN. Although torrenting is not exactly illegal, in some countries, it is condoned. Moreover,  it leaves your personal information, such as IP address and device information, vulnerable to hackers online. ExpressVPN promises to provide secure connections while torrenting. Here is what the VPN offers regarding torrenting; 

  • Network lock: It prevents IP leaks during connection drops and maintains users’ privacy. 
  • Split tunneling: Users can select which data gets encrypted and which travels on open networks.

Setting up ExpressVPN is pretty easy. You do not have to follow a long list of instructions, just enable the network lock and turn on split tunneling. We let the VPN choose a server for us automatically and used the lightway protocol for fast speed and secure connection. However, ExpressVPN lacks P2P optimized servers but still performs well while torrenting; The large server fleet makes up for this. 

Gaming- Is ExpressVPN fast enough for gaming?

Online gaming requires fast speed and low ping time. However, it is hard to play with restricted bandwidth and geo-restrictions. Many people use VPNs while gaming for various purposes. Aside from bypassing geo-blocks, it provides unlimited bandwidth, low ping time, and fast speeds. Only premium VPN services can provide these features. 

ExpressVPN is a versatile VPN service with over 3000 global servers and fast protocols. The VPN promises to offer its users a smooth and seamless gaming experience. We tested the VPN ourselves, and here is what it offers; 

  • VPN protocols: Fast protocols like lightway ensure high speed and maximum security. 
  • Split tunneling: This helps maintain consistent gaming speed by allowing users to select which app data gets encrypted. 

Here is how we configure ExpressVPN for gaming;

  • Unable to use the Kill Switch, it will help lower the ping time. 
  • Enable ExpressVPN’s DNS servers for fast speed. 
  • Select the lightway protocol. 

We were amazed at how efficiently ExpressVPN reduced the Ping time. Besides, we could access geo-blocked games and experience no lags at all while gaming, thanks to its AES-256 encryption. Overall, ExpressVPN is an excellent choice for reducing ping time. 

Secure browsing through Tor.

Another important test was to check if ExpressVPN worked with the Tor browser. Fortunately, it does work with Tor, and what’s better than combining two safety tools together? ExpressVPN offers the following Tor-specific features; 

  • Onion over VPN: The internet traffic is routed through various volunteer-operated servers, which makes tracking your activity harder. 
  • Split tunneling: This helps maintain consistent gaming speed by allowing users to select which app data gets encrypted. 

You can set up your VPN in two ways;

  • Tor over VPN:  In this method, you connect to a VPN first and then access the Tor Browser. It is the preferable way to VPN over Tor. 
  • VPN over Tor: In this method, you open Tor before connecting to the VPN. This method is more complicated. 

We used the Tor over VPN method for easy setup and more security. Most of the servers worked with the browser, and the speed was also satisfactory. 

Pricing and Money back guarantee 

ExpressVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee and the following pricing plans; 

One month$12.95/m
Six months$9.99/m
Twelve months$8.32/m

ExpressVPN accepts the following payment method;

  • Credit card,
  • PayPal,
  • debit card,
  • Online transfer payments,
  • Bitcoin,
  • other cryptocurrencies.

It also offers anonymous payment options like Bitcoin for anyone who wants to maintain their anonymity.

Customer support- Experience with ExpressVPN’s customer service. 

ExpressVPN offers a number of ways to solve their customer queries, such as live chat, ticketing, email, and FAQs. We tried to reach the live chat support and were pleasantly surprised with the service. Although we had to wait a few seconds to get in touch with an operator, the service was surely helpful. 

Besides, both paying and visiting, customers can reach their live chat service. The live chat is provided by a third-party source known as SnapEngage.

Moreover, You can also send emails and tickets to ExpressVPN. The ticketing and email service is provided by a third-party platform called Zendesk. 

Pros and cons.

Here is a list of all the pros and cons of ExpressVPN for a quick overview;

Strong security: it offers AES-256 and ChaCha20 for robust security.No P2P specialized servers: ExpressVPN lacks P2P servers for sharing. 
Built-in Tor over VPN feature: you can use the tor browser safely with the onion over VPN feature. No dedicated IP: There is no dedicated IP for users, and you must use shared IP. 
Independently audited no-logs policy: the VPN keeps no logs of its user’s activity and offers maximum privacy. No-call customer service: users can’t call customer service and can only contact through live chat or email. 
Fast speed protocols: lightway protocol ensures fast speed, which is best for streaming and torrenting. High prices: the prices are high compared to other VPN services. 
30-day money-back guarantee: it offers 24/7 customer support and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Network lock: kill switch feature, which prevents IP leaks during connection drop. 
MediaStreamer: smart DNS feature that helps in bypassing censorship and firewalls. 
Streaming features: prevents ISP throttling, offer unlimited bandwidth, and bypass geo-blocks. 
Extensive server network: globally located 3000+ servers helps in high speed and quick server connections. 

Remember these things before selecting ExpressVPN. 

Final Words 

ExpressVPN is a great choice if you are looking for a secure VPN. The VPN stands out and works well in all aspects, like streaming, torrenting, and gaming. It offers fast speed and robust encryption for secure browsing. The VPN is based in the privacy-friendly jurisdiction of the British Virgin Islands, so there is no need to worry about your security.

Moreover, the app design is simple, and the customer service is quick. This makes ExpressVPN one of the best VPNs on the internet. Although the prices are a little high, other than that, ExpressVPN is an excellent option for beginners and privacy freaks. 


The VPN is not free but offers subscribers a 30-day money-back guarantee. 

ExpressVPN is one of the most trustworthy services. It offers AES-256-bit encryption and follows a no-log policy. 

NordVPN is another trustworthy and excellent VPN service. It offers similar encryption of AES-256-bit along with high-speed protocols. 

The headquarters of ExpressVPN is in the British Virgin Islands, which is free from data retention laws. 

ExpressVPN is a popular name in the VPN industry; with robust encryption and fast protocols, the VPN is the best among its rivals. It offers numerous security features, including Kill Switch and obfuscating technology to bypass geo-blocks. It is safe to say that ExpressVPN is a good choice and a reliable VPN. 

NordVPN offers fast speed and AES-256-bit encryption similar to ExpressVPN. Both VPNs offer more or less the same features; however, NordVPN is faster and cheaper than ExpressVPN.

One significant disadvantage of ExpressVPN is its high prices. It has higher prices than most of the high-rated VPN services and offers similar features as theirs. Many VPN providers offer the same features at lower prices. 

ExpressVPN has servers in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. It can unblock streaming sites in Canada and offers maximum security.