If you’re on the internet, you need to assume that you’re being watched. Right now, your internet service provider is handing your private data over to third-party marketers and advertisers — and that’s the best-case scenario.
As more folks become aware of just how at-risk they are online, they’re increasingly looking to protect themselves using virtual private networks — or VPNs for short.1 Through some pretty high-tech maneuvering, these programs scramble and shield your data from prying eyes and malicious intentions — all for less than you’d usually spend on lunch.
In this article, we’re going to be looking at one such service that consistently finds itself at the top of the heap — ExpressVPN. But as with any highly rated service, I always want to ask — is it all just hype, or is it really worth it?
ExpressVPN consistently comes in as one of the top-ranking VPN services out there, and honestly, it’s one of our favorites too. You can read our full, in-depth review of ExpressVPN to find out exactly why, but in a nutshell, it’s really hard to argue with their list of features. What they lack in bells and whistles, they more than make up for in highly advanced, state-of-the-art security coupled with a user-friendliness that’s really unrivaled. Really — take a look at this quick-hit list of features:
Simply put, ExpressVPN is one of the most secure, easy-to-use VPNs on the market today, but that begs the question — is the service really worth the cost?
ExpressVPN is actually one of the pricier options on the market. Similar to how most services structure their pricing, ExpressVPN has a base, month-to-month cost, but if you sign up for longer subscription durations, that month-to-month price decreases.
Here’s a quick look at their subscription durations and costs:
|Duration||1 Month||6 Months||12 Months|
|Cost||$12.95 per month||$9.99 per month||$8.32 per month|
For context, if you look at the plans for SurfShark — one of the cheaper options out there — a six-month subscription is only $6.49 per month. If you sign up for their two-year plan, the price drops to only $2.49.
Since you’ve probably got that rattling around in your car’s cup holder, you might be wondering why you should consider paying that much more for ExpressVPN. The simple answer is — you get what you pay for. Like I said above, it’s easily one of the most secure and simple-to-use VPNs available. Do you want a hamburger, or do you want a steak? Both are great — they’re just different.
If your answer is steak, ExpressVPN has several unique ways to pay — good news for folks who really want to protect their privacy. Rather than having to cough up your easily identifiable credit card information, ExpressVPN gives you the option to pay with bitcoin cryptocurrency. And while choosing this method won’t guarantee complete anonymity (the blockchain Bitcoin is based on is publicly available), it’s far easier to obfuscate than plunking down your debit card.2
ExpressVPN isn’t unique in this regard — there are a handful of other services that accept bitcoin — but it’s reassuring to see this option. It means they’re prioritizing privacy.
But with prices ranging between $12.95 to $8.32 per month, it is a little steep when you consider that another top-ranked service like NordVPN drops to almost half of that with their one-year package. ExpressVPN does offer a perk to make the price a little more palatable, though.
No matter which subscription package you select, ExpressVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. That’s great news if you’re a little wary of forking over nearly $100 for a yearlong plan for a service you’re not even sure you’ll enjoy using. This means that you can realize the maximum savings with ExpressVPN while putting it to the test yourself for nearly a month risk-free.
FYI: Most VPN services offer some type of trial period, but ExpressVPN’s is one of the most generous.
This is obviously a helpful tool you can utilize when shopping around for a VPN — especially considering some services only offer these types of guarantees for a week or two, and only then for their longest-duration subscription packages. It also speaks to how confident ExpressVPN is in their service. They’re so sure you’re going to like it, they’ll let you fiddle around with it for a month before you make your ultimate decision.
Sometimes, though, ExpressVPN will take things even further.
Every now and then, ExpressVPN runs a promotion where they’ll tack three extra months onto their 12-month subscription plan for free. If you do the math, that means the real month-to-month price is $6.66.
Additionally, most VPN companies usually run Cyber Monday deals. For the uninitiated, Cyber Monday is the term for the online promotions that occur after Black Friday — this year it’s going to be on November 29. Now I’m not encouraging you to wait months to protect yourself online, but if you happen to be shopping around close to Thanksgiving, maybe hold off and see if you can score some savings.
I’m not a huge fan of commitment. It took me nearly a year to research which truck I wanted to buy. But in this case, I have to say ExpressVPN’s year-long subscription is clearly the way to go. This wouldn’t be my recommendation if ExpressVPN didn’t come with the 30-day money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied, but since it does, it is. A month is more than enough time to get a comprehensive understanding of whether any VPN service will be right for you. You’ll figure out where the friction points are — if there are any — as well as find out if it doesn’t offer something you later learn you really want or need.
FYI: Looking for streaming or P2P optimizations? ExpressVPN might not be right for you. Maybe read this analysis of CyberGhost to see if they’re offering what you need.
So when you’re trying out ExpressVPN, here are some of the features you’re going to find.
ExpressVPN’s servers are RAM-only, meaning traffic or user data is never written to a hard drive. Additionally, every one of their servers is completely erased and reloaded every time they’re reset.
ExpressVPN users can configure which devices or what traffic is routed through the VPN and what goes over standard ISP. There are certain specific circumstances where this can come in handy, including streaming foreign media or connecting to peripheral devices.
Your computer’s DNS requests are handled directly by ExpressVPN, so there’s never a risk of leaks or exposure. This means there is no way for your ISP to censor your internet activity.
ExpressVPN will terminate your internet connection should the VPN service be interrupted for whatever reason. This is a critically important function for folks like torrenters, who never want to run the risk of exposing their true IP address.3
Did You Know: Another great VPN with lots of unique features is HMA VPN (pardon my language), otherwise known as HMA. While it’s not as easy to use as ExpressVPN, you might like their affordable plans. Check out our guide on HMA’s pricing and packages.
As you can see, ExpressVPN packs in a lot of power for the price. Are they for everyone? No, probably not. There are certainly cheaper options out there, and ones that feature more highly specialized purposes. However, two thoughts on that.
First, when I say “ExpressVPN costs more,” we’re talking about dollars per month. Yes, it’s “more” but in the scheme of things, we’re not talking about figures that are going to break most peoples’ banks. For context, the difference between NordVPN $5 per month versus ExpressVPN’s $8 is $36 over the course of a year. When you think about it that way, it really is splitting hairs over the cost.
And second, ExpressVPN really does offer a lot for the price. They have one of the most secure services on the market and offer access to one of the most sophisticated, technologically advanced server networks out there. At the end of the day, if you value security, privacy, and ease-of-use, you’re not going to be disappointed spending the extra couple of dollars for ExpressVPN.
ExpressVPN runs $12.95 for a month-to-month subscription. A six-month subscription costs 9.99 per month, and a yearlong subscription costs $8.32 per month.
Although ExpressVPN is one of the costlier services on the market, their security and ease-of-use make them a great option.
ExpressVPN works on macOS, Windows, and Linux operating systems as well as Android and iOS devices and select gaming platforms.
ExpressVPN offers one of the most technologically advanced server networks on the market, making it extremely secure.
Yes, ExpressVPN offers a well-designed mobile app for both Android and iOS devices.
Coble, S. (2020, March 26). VPN Usage in U.S. Quadruples. InfoSecurity Magazine.
Beigel, O. (2021, January 7). Buying and Using Bitcoin Anonymously / Without ID. 99 Bitcoins.
Barnes, D. (2020, May 23). Which VPNs have a VPN Kill Switch (and how to use it). Download Privacy.