ExpressVPN Review

There are many reasons why you should use a VPN in Australia. Ranging from increased security to accessing certain websites, it’s one of the best ways to protect your data online.

ExpressVPN Australia is a popular choice among VPN users. It offers speedy connections all across the world and has top-of-the-line security protocols. Whether you want to stream content from the US, play games from IP addresses abroad, or feel safe using public WiFi, ExpressVPN is a great choice.

We dig into its features and see how it holds up to some of its top competitors.

ExpressVPN Service: The Basics

ExpressVPN is a popular choice for people worldwide that want to protect their privacy and access geo-restricted websites. It launched in 2009 and has apps for macOS, iOS, Windows, Android, and Linux. You can access up to five connections simultaneously with a single account.

Users state that ExpressVPN offers outstanding speeds and is easy to navigate. They also praise the company’s transparency and efforts to protect users’ privacy. However, it requires a monthly subscription to use these services and the price is heftier than most other VPNs.

Jurisdiction: Where Is ExpressVPN Based?

ExpressVPN is owned by ExpressVPN International Limited, registered as a British Virgin Islands (BVI) company. BVI is an offshore jurisdiction that doesn’t have intelligence-sharing agreements nor data retention laws. This means that ISPs (internet service providers) don’t have to store metadata of their users’ activity on the internet, which they have to in Australia for example.

If you’re worried about third parties accessing your information, BVI-based ExpressVPN is a superior choice to any ISPs based in Australia, the US, or some European countries that have more intrusive privacy laws.

You’ll also stay away from Chinese and Russian laws that might be even more intrusive in their companies’ privacy. As a matter of fact, many users are praising the great lengths ExpressVPN goes to in order to obscure its ownership.

Third-Party Audits on ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN has posted the results of a third-party security audit by the cybersecurity firm Cure53 done in May and June 2019. The independent company found three “medium” severity issues in ExpressVPNs security and privacy protections, while two were “low” and two were only “informational”.

All in all, Cure53 stated that they found no critical security issues that could allow attackers to affect the state of the VPN connection.

Note that this third-party audit was done over 1.5 years ago and there’s no more up-to-date information about security audits. ExpressVPN could benefit from updated independent audits to enhance their claims of protecting user data.

Top ExpressVPN Features

So, what are the features that make ExpressVPN stand out among the crowd? Let’s see how well it’s suited for the Australian market.

Privacy

Most websites and social media platforms store everything you do online. Your web search history, Facebook posts, and sites you’ve visited are kept in data centers that third parties might access. It can be a little scary when customized ads pop up on our timeline, for example.

How safe are you when browsing through websites with this VPN? ExpressVPN states that they don’t store any data that could “compromise a user’s privacy or security.” This means that they don’t keep activity or connection logs nor save any sensitive information that could be used to identify a specific user.

They do, however, collect some information including what version of the app you’re using, what server you use, how many MB of data is transferred, and what dates you use the VPN. But this is unlikely to identify you personally.

Worth mentioning is that ExpressVPN doesn’t store any data on physical harddrives that have to be deleted manually. They use RAM (random access memory) that processes information immediately and can automatically delete it as well.

Encryption

ExpressVPN uses AES-256 as their encryption protocol. This stands for Advanced Encryption Standard with 256-bit keys and it has become the best choice for encryption standards.

The longer the bit key chain, the more difficult it is to crack the encryption since there are more possible key combinations. With 256 bits, you get military-grade encryption software.

Paired with this is a SHA-512 HMAC (hash-based message authentication code) and a RSA (Rivest-Shamir-Adleman) 4096-bit key. Your data is safe here. All in all, it’s almost impossible to break into these servers which keeps your information private.

VPN Protocols

There are several VPN protocols available for ExpressVPN users that enable strong encryption between the VPN server of choice and your computer. These include OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP/IPSec, and IKEv2. In 2020 they also released a new protocol called Lightway that’s designed to provide faster, stable, and more reliable connections. 

You can switch between protocols as you like when using the VPN but there is also an automatic setting that selects the optimal protocol for your security and speed. The high-level encryption software and wide range of VPN protocols to optimize speed and security make encryption one of ExpressVPNs strongest features.

Speed

It’s well-known that VPNs tend to slow down your internet connection. Since your traffic has to be rerouted across the world this is a logical consequence. Upload and download speeds tend to be especially affected.

When it comes to fast internet, unfortunately, Australia isn’t at the top either. In fact, we’re ranked 68th in terms of internet speed as of 2020 with an average fixed broadband speed of 41.78 Mbps. 

As for ExpressVPN, they have their own in-built speed test you can use to see what server connections are working best for you. When testing across locations and times, ExpressVPN frequently reaches 100+ Mbps download speed on average which makes it one of the fastest VPNs available.

One particular area where ExpressVPN really shines is in the gaming realm. Several users report connecting to servers in multiple countries and maintaining HD clarity when gaming without experiencing major, if any, lagging.

ISP Bandwidth Throttling and Unlimited Bandwidth

Did you know that your ISP can also intentionally slow down your internet speed? This is called bandwidth throttling and is common when you watch streaming websites that demand high bandwidth such as Netflix.

Knowing this, there’s no wonder the YouTube video you’re streaming seems to take forever to load at times. But by using ExpressVPN VPN Australia you can access websites and load videos faster without bandwidth throttling. Therefore, your internet speed might even be improved by using a VPN in some cases.

As a matter of fact, ExpressVPN offers unlimited bandwidth and can bypass caps put on download speed by your ISP.

Split Tunneling

One great feature offered by ExpressVPN is split tunneling. This lets you route some of your traffic through the VPN tunnel and access the internet directly through other devices or apps simultaneously.

You don’t have to switch your connection on and off when you want to access local or foreign network devices. Download and browse the web securely without slowing down other web activity. ExpressVPN offers this feature for Mac, Windows, Android, and routers.

Kill Switch

ExpressVPN uses a kill switch called Network Lock. This is an extra safety feature that will keep your data safe by blocking internet traffic if your VPN connection drops. Your data won’t be sent unencrypted and your IP address will stay hidden from third parties even if you change WiFi networks or there is a power shortage.

Public WiFi Safety

For those of us who use public WiFi, we should make it a habit of protecting our computers or other devices from third-party internet users. Public internet connections are typically non-encrypted and if you open an email or do other sensitive online tasks, you risk that people steal your information.

For Mac, Windows, Linux, and routers, the kill switch feature is standard on the ExpressVPN app. This means that your data will be protected if you switch to a public network and information won’t leak until a secure VPN connection is re-established.

Due to offering VPN services on most devices and using a kill switch, ExpressVPN provides maximum safety when using public WiFi.

Customer Service

ExpressVPN provides a 24/7 customer service chat and responds to email inquiries quickly, often within the hour. This is one of the most beloved features of this VPN provider. The people behind ExpressVPN are reportedly also friendlier than other customer service workers in the field.

Is There an ExpressVPN Browser Extension?

Yes. This makes it easier for you to decide when you want to use your VPN and on what sites you want to use it. You can control the ExpressVPN app remotely from Chrome, Edge, Vivaldi, Firefox, and Brave.

Other brands automatically or manually connect to the VPN every time you log into your computer so it’s not as customizable.

One feature of the Chrome extension is that it has HTTPs everywhere with EFF’s secure browsing technology. This means that your communication with HTTP-only sites will be automatically encrypted. Whenever you visit these sites your online communication will be secured automatically.

How Many Service Networks are There?

Generally, the more service networks the better since you’ll have more options of masking your IP address. ExpressVPN has more than 3000 servers in over 160 locations, spanning 94 countries all around the world. This means that you can connect to any website, anywhere.

A large number of these servers are located in the US, the UK, and other Western European countries. This means you’re easily able to find the fastest connection for the website you’re visiting in these countries. Since a lot of English-language entertainment content comes from the US and UK, this is great for Australians.

You can also switch between servers as much as you like.

What Can You Stream With ExpressVPN?

Due to geo-restrictions, there are many websites we can’t access in Australia. Some include news and entertainment channels such as BBC or Hulu.

Another frustrating aspect has to do with region-restricted content on Netflix and other streaming sites. While a new movie or TV show might be available on the US version of the site, people located in Australia might have to wait for months to access it.

With ExpressVPN, you can unblock streaming services in the USA such as Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime, Kodi, Spotify, and HBO Max, just to mention a few. As for Netflix, you can also unlock libraries in the UK, Japan, Canada, and of course, Australia if you’re an Aussie living abroad.

Geo-restrictions make many Australian sites unavailable outside the country. If you’re an expat and wish to access your favorite AU websites, you can also use ExpressVPN. You won’t miss out on your local sports matches or favorite Australian TV shows.

If you live in a country where some websites are censored by third parties, you can use this service to go around firewalls and keep updating your friends and family about your adventures abroad. ExpressVPN works in China and can help you access Facebook, Google, and Instagram that would otherwise be blocked.

Make sure to download the app on your devices before you go since ExpressVPN isn’t available on the Chinese Apple App Store.

Is ExpressVPN Good for Torrenting?

Downloading copyrighted content is illegal in Australia and many other countries, so we advise against it. ExpressVPN won’t stop you from torrenting, however, and won’t keep track if you do. Your ISP will not know about it either.

Since ExpressVPN offers unlimited bandwidth, torrenting is easy. The company doesn’t keep any logs over what websites their users are visiting which is an added plus. Also, ExpressVPN generally has a faster download speed than its competitors which makes it further suited for torrenting.

Can You Have Simultaneous Connections?

Yes. You can have up to five simultaneous connections with one ExpressVPN plan. If you invest in a router with a VPN, you can even have an unlimited number of connections at the same time. So, feel free to scroll through social media on your phone while watching Netflix on your laptop.

Another plus is that ExpressVPN has apps for iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Linux, and other operating systems so it suits most types of devices.

Price: How Much Does ExpressVPN Cost?

You might think that the price is going to be hefty given all that ExpressVPN offers. That’s not totally wrong, but we think it’s worth it. They offer three subscription types:

  • 1-month plan at $12.95.
  • 6 months for $9.99 per month.
  • 15-month plan for $6.67 per month plus three months free.

Naturally, the 15-month plan offers the most bang for your buck. If you don’t want to use your credit card or online banking to pay for the subscription, ExpressVPN also lets you pay with Bitcoin. This gives you the option to stay even more unnoticed online.

Free Trial or Money Back Guarantee?

There’s no free trial period offered by ExpressVPN. You have to sign up for a subscription plan to be able to use their services.

They do offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, though. If you’re not satisfied, you get a refund, no questions asked.

ExpressVPN: Summary

ExpressVPN is excellent for privacy with their no-storing policy. They also provide top-speed internet as far as VPNs go and have an in-built speed test for you to check how fast different servers work. Even gamers praise the performance of this VPN.

There are 5000+ servers in 160 locations across 94 countries. Many of these are located in the US and UK which makes it easy to connect to US Netflix, HBO, and Amazon Prime. The unlimited bandwidth makes this brand a great choice for torrenting.

In terms of security, ExpressVPN offers a military-grade AES-256 encryption protocol. With the kill switch, you can feel safe that your data won’t leak. This is also a user-friendly VPN with split tunneling, so you can access local and international sites simultaneously.

Note that while this service provider states that these are the features of their VPN, there’s a lack of updated, independent audits confirming this. Also, this VPN doesn’t offer a free trial and is pricey compared to many competitors. But for top-class features and great customer service, a heftier price is expected.

Alternatives

So, how does ExpressVPN hold up to some of its top competitors? Let’s look̈ at three popular VPN Australia providers.

Surfshark

Surfshark is a cheaper alternative to ExpressVPN. But how does it compare to ExpressVPN in terms of privacy and performance?

Privacy and Security

This is a brand that values privacy, with a no-log policy and AES-256 encryption, just as ExpressVPN. With the kill switch component, your data is further secured.

Surfshark offers a feature called CleanWeb that works as an ad blocker. This means that you don’t have to sit through annoying ads while watching a YouTube video, for example, and it also helps protect you against potential malware.

Servers and Connection Speed

An area where Surfshark’s VPN is lacking compared to other brands is their amount of servers. There are more than 1700 servers in over 63 countries, but ExpressVPN offers 5000+, which might be why Surfshark has lower speeds.

Devices

A big plus here is that Surfshark lets you use an unlimited amount of devices with a single subscription, benefiting the whole family. For apps and devices, you can use the VPN on Chrome, iOS, Android, macOS, Firefox, Windows, Amazon Fire TV, Trust DNS, and Linux.

Streaming and Torrenting

You can watch Netflix libraries from the US, UK, and Japan, as well as from Australia if you’re abroad. Disney+, BBC iPlay, Hulu, HBO Max, and Amazon Prime are other streaming sites that work well. However, YouTube TV seems to be blocked.

Surfshark also allows its users to torrent.

Customer Support

They have 24/7 customer support if any problems occur.

Pricing

What makes Surfshark stand out from the rest is its great value price at $2.49 a month. When subscribing, you pay $59.76 upfront for a two-year period. This is among the cheaper VPN providers you can find.

However, note that if you decide to renew your subscription on a monthly basis, you have to pay $12.95, which is the same price for a monthly ExpressVPN subscription. Surfshark also gives you the option of paying for six months upfront where the price lands on $6.49 per month.

NordVPN

This is one of the most popular VPN providers in Australia as well as across the world.

Privacy and Security

For privacy, know that NordVPN is based in Panama, which means the company can legally keep a no log policy.

An added plus is that NordVPN has an in-built ad blocker called CyberSec, it’s something that ExpressVPN lacks. This is another layer of security that prevents potential malware from affecting your device.

Note that NordVPN doesn’t have a split tunneling feature for desktops. This makes it a little less user-friendly. You can use a feature that encrypts only your browsing traffic on the Chrome and Firefox web extensions, however.

Also, NordVPN stores data on physical hard drives until they manually erase it. This makes it less secure than ExpressVPN.

Servers and Connection Speed

With over 5,400 servers located in more than 60 countries, they have more servers than ExpressVPN but in fewer countries. Generally speaking, NordVPN has a speedy connection. But in some less-popular countries, ExpressVPN has an advantage.

Devices

You can use this VPN on most devices including iOS, Mac, Android, Windows, Linux, etc. With NordVPN, you can connect six devices simultaneously which is one more than ExpressVPN.

Streaming and Torrenting

You can torrent freely with this VPN and stream most US-based streaming sites such as Netflix, HBO Max, Amazon Prime, Disney+, Hulu, etc. With an AES-256 encryption protocol and a kill switch feature, you can browse safely.

Some users report watching Netflix on HD with NordVPN without experiencing buffering. The connection speed is especially good in the US and customers can even experience an increase in their download speed when streaming through these servers. 

Customer Support

As with many other service providers, NordVPN offers 24/7 customer support through chat.

Pricing

NordVPN gives their customers a few subscriptions offers. If you sign up for a two-year plan, you pay $3.71 a month and $4.92 for the one-year plan. As for the monthly subscription fee, you pay $11.95 per month. They also offer a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Windscribe

Finally, let’s discuss Windscribe, which offers a free VPN version, as well as a subscription plan.

Privacy and Security

Windscribe is a Canadian VPN provider, which means they have to log some user data, such as your open tabs and tab history. It also logs applications you have open on your computer.

While this goes against the no log policies of many other VPN providers, at least Windscribe is very up front about the information they access.

They do state that this data is only logged during an on-going session and isn’t stored on any hard drives when you end your session. But note that there is a lack of independent third party audits confirming this.

Servers and Connection Speed

Windscribe has about 500 servers in 60 countries, which is a lower number than other VPN providers on this list. That means that the connection speeds are generally slower than those of ExpressVPN.

Worth mentioning is that the downloading speed is slower if you’re on the free plan compared to the premium one.

Devices

One great feature of Windscribe is that it allows you to connect to an unlimited number of devices with a single account, even a free account.

You can use the VPN with many systems including Windows, Mac, Chromebook, Android, iOS, Linux, Firefox, etc. They also have browser extensions on most operating systems excluding Windows Edge.

Streaming and Torrenting

One big benefit with Windscribe is that you can access the US Netflix library with the free version. But other countries’ libraries seem difficult to reach. Hulu, HBO Max, and BBC tend to work with some lagging issues, but Amazon Prime doesn’t.

Keep in mind that this isn’t the most ideal VPN for torrenting since third parties can access your information if they ask Windscribe.

Customer Support

There’s an online chatbot available, but keep in mind the system works on Canadian time. If you’re contacting customer service from Australia, there’s going to be a big time difference to check out.

Pricing

The best feature of Windscribe is that you can use up to 10GB of data for free every month. This equals about 10 hours of streaming time on Netflix, for example. Except from the free version, Windscribe also has a yearly plan at $49 which boils down to $4.08 a month, or you can pay $9 for a monthly plan.

You also have the option of building your own plan based on the number of locations you want to access. Here you pay $1 per location and you can always upgrade it as you need. This is a good choice if you only want to watch the US Netflix library, for example.

ExpressVPN: The Takeaway

All things considered, ExpressVPN is a great choice for VPN Australia. It’s fast, provides servers in a superior number of countries, and has some of the best security features and privacy-protecting policies in the industry.

ExpressVPN has browser extensions on almost all operating systems and you can stream and torrent almost anything from anywhere. The only real downside is the pricing, which is a bit heftier than other VPN providers.

Surfshark or NordVPN are excellent alternatives if you want similar features for a lower price and Windscribe has one of the best free VPN versions on the market.