I’ve been using just a normal DNS service for years. But it’s just a DNS service. It doesn’t make you anonymous on the internet. You’re still surfing using your normal IP on normal websites. It’s only when you’re trying to access a blocked website, then the DNS will switch the route to make the website accessible for you.
In my case, I’ve been using it for Netflix for years with a DNS service to access different regions, especially US. If you’ve been doing the same since before Netflix has gone global, then you would know that they’ve blocked DNS services and VPN from accessing different regions other than your own. That’s really frustrating.
The DNS service that I’ve been using still works but for US region, it lags as hell. If I’m lucky, the movie would play all blurry for like 10 minutes or so. Most of the time I’d still get the dreaded ‘proxy error‘.
Since June, I’ve finally gotten the opportunity to try a VPN service for the first time called ExpressVPN.
I wanted to write my review a while back but I decided to give it some time to fully test it and experience the service. It’s been 3 months now at the time I’m writing this and I think I’ve experienced enough of the service to write a review. This review is my honest review based on my own experience and I’ve not been influenced by anyone else.
WHAT IS EXPRESSVPN?
ExpressVPN is a high speed, secure and easy to use VPN. A VPN is different than DNS service because it makes you completely anonymous on the internet, therefore, your activity can’t be tracked by your service provider.
- Blazing fast speed with over 2,000 servers in 148 locations in 94 countries.
- Founded in 2009 and based in the British Virgin Islands, a tropical oasis without data retention laws.
- Strictly NO LOGS policy. No activity logs, no connection logs.
- Security against hacking and surveillance with 256-bit AES encryption, DNS/IPv6 leak protection, kill switch and split tunneling.
- No restrictions. Stream, torrent or you can even use TOR to browse their hidden .onion site.
- 30-days money-back guarantee.
- EASY setup. Get it up and running in a minute.
- Expensive monthly cost (cheaper if you pay annual subscription)
- Only 3 devices per subscription
After you register, you have to download their software to get connected. Upon successful registration, you will get a unique activation code that you need to put into the software to let it verify you. Once that’s set up, then you just pick a location or let it pick the best location for you and then just connect. It’s very simple.
With my previous DNS service, I’d put their DNS address in my router setting so it’ll affect all the connections that are using the same wifi connection. No hassle but all connected devices will be using the same setting. Let’s say if I set up to connect to the US region, all devices will be using the US region.
With a VPN, you have to install the software on all the devices where you want to use ExpressVPN. It’s quite troublesome to install the app on all devices BUT I came to realize it’s a very good thing. You can get connected to a different region for different devices. For example, I could be connected to the US server on my computer but France on my phone.
The main thing I love about ExpressVPN is the speed. They claim they have blazing fast speed and it’s true, for some popular locations.
When I used my previous DNS service, loading Netflix for US region was quite hell. Loading took a long time. If it loads, the movie would be blurry for around 10 minutes. It’s very rare that I could get HD quality with my previous DNS service. So, I’d normally use UK or Canada which was faster but sometimes I’d still get the proxy error and I’d have to wait until they fix the situation.
With ExpressVPN, loading everything was fast, especially for US location because there are so many locations that you could choose from. Some other countries have limited location, like Japan for example which had 2 locations, so if both give you the proxy error, then you’d still have to wait until they fix it. This only applies to Netflix.
Switching countries and location was really easy and fast too. No bandwidth throttling. My connection works normally as if I wasn’t using a VPN.
NETWORK LOCK KILL SWITCH
I love this feature and it’s very important. Should your VPN connection fail or disconnect, it will lock your internet connection until you’re connected back with your VPN. This means that if your VPN is disconnected, it will disconnect your own internet connection thus reducing the risk of exposing your real location and IP. This is important if you’re in the middle of something private and confidential while on a public network and you don’t want your identity exposed when your VPN gets disconnected.
You could, of course, turn this off. It can be annoying at times. But if you’re always using a public wifi, it is highly recommended that you use a VPN and turn on this feature to protect your sensitive data from prying eyes/hackers.
I’m not gonna lie. I do think the monthly cost is a bit on the expensive side unless paid annually. My previous DNS service was half the cost. But the thing is, it couldn’t even do half the things ExpressVPN could. With everything that ExpressVPN is offering, it’s definitely worth the monthly cost for total anonymity online. But if budget VPN is what you’re looking for, then ExpressVPN might not be right for you.
Be aware though, that cheaper VPN might or might not be as secure as ExpressVPN, might still be risky and could still potentially expose you.
I tested their customer support once when I had an issue of the app not loading on my laptop (windows 10). I took about an hour trying to figure out what went wrong until I gave up and decided to just chat with someone.
The CS rep was nice and friendly and helped solve my problem within minutes. I should’ve contacted them first instead of trying to be smart and trying to solve my own problem that I knew nothing about haha.
One great thing about using a VPN is that it unblocks geo-restricted features that will only be available to certain countries. For example – Youtube.
If you’re not from the US or some other selected countries, you won’t be able to access certain features like Youtube Premium, Youtube TV, buying movies or even accessing geo-restricted videos.
My main purpose for having a VPN is to watch Netflix. Since Netflix started blocking proxy, it’s been hard to find a service that truly works. Most of the time you’ll get the proxy error message. Free DNS services don’t work anymore. Paid ones could work sometime but it’s still hard to find one.
So far, ExpressVPN works with Netflix and unblocking other geo-restricted websites. Switching region is so easy and only takes a few seconds. I love that. I think it’s the best VPN for American Netflix.
However, sometimes I’d still encounter the proxy error with a lesser popular region that has one or two servers to choose from and that can be frustrating. At least with the popular region, I could choose from quite a number of servers compared to my previous DNS service where I couldn’t choose any.
I’ve tested the ExpressVPN app for mobile on my Samsung S7 Edge phone running on Android 8.0 Oreo. You just install the app, put in the code and voila, it’ll be up and running. Setting up just takes a minute and switching countries is very easy. Everything worked great without having to do any complicated setup or tweaking.
What I really like about ExpressVPN:
- No logs policy
- Fast speed
- Works with Netflix
- Easy to set up and switch regions
- Fast and friendly customer support
What I don’t like about ExpressVPN:
- Only limited to 3 devices at once unless I pay for an additional subscription
- Quite expensive monthly cost
Despite being slightly expensive, what you get from them in term of product features, customer service, quality, speed, total security, and privacy, I feel that it’s definitely worth the price.
This review will be updated from time to time when I find new things to add, so keep checking back for future updates on ExpressVPN.
Disclaimer: This review contains an affiliate link. If you register with ExpressVPN using my link, I will get some commission without any additional cost to you. If you find this review useful, I’d appreciate if you could use my link. I only review and recommend services I trust and have personally used.