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ExpressVPN review (Australia)

Easily one of the best and most powerful VPN clients around.

ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN (2022)
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
Price
From $12.95/mth
Servers
3,000+
Simultaneous connections
5
August 02, 2022
8 min read

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Quick verdict: ExpressVPN review
ExpressVPN is a fantastic choice for a first-time VPN user. This speedy VPN is incredibly easy to use, fast to connect, and there are handy website guides to encourage more advanced features. There are plenty of countries and locations to choose from, too. Still, it’s a comparatively pricey VPN that’s limited to a bare-bottom five simultaneous connections, which further hampers the overall value.
pro
Pros
pro Incredibly easy to use
pro Speedy and secure connections
pro Lots of locations
con
Cons
con Only five simultaneous connections
con Comparatively pricey
con Some website incompatibilities

Variety may be the spice of life, but when it comes to picking the best virtual private network (VPN) software, being faced with more than a dozen viable options can be incredibly intimidating. That’s where we come in. At the top of the VPN ladder is a showdown between NordVPN, Hotspot Shield and, the focus of this particular review, ExpressVPN.

While not perfect, ExpressVPN is a great place to start or continue your VPN journey. While not perfect, ExpressVPN is a great place to start or continue your VPN journey.

NordVPN review on a smartphone

Are there better VPNs than ExpressVPN?

ExpressVPN is a top-tier contender for the best VPN in Australia but it faces some strong competition. 

ExpressVPN prices and plans

Premium price that's worth every cent.

NordVPN has an edge in our top three VPNs because it offers the cheapest pricing of the three, which is a great place to start when comparing overall value. That said, ExpressVPN is only US$1 more for the monthly plan and around US$15 more per year for the annual option. Get used to seeing a lot of US prices when it comes to VPNs, with CyberGhost, Surfshark and Private Internet Access standing as three VPN exceptions that offer Australian pricing.

While certain VPN providers offer a two-year or even three-year pricing bundle, which means cheaper monthly pricing overall (albeit charged in one hit), ExpressVPN splits the difference between monthly and annual payments with a six-month option. The value still isn’t flash for the six-month option, though. As is the VPN pricing trend, there’s more money to be saved by buying the longest purchasable period of time. As you’ll see in the table below, sticking with the ExpressVPN annual option offers the best overall value.

While certain VPN providers offer a two-year or even three-year pricing bundle, which means cheaper monthly pricing overall (albeit charged in one hit), ExpressVPN splits the difference between monthly and annual payments with a six-month option. The value isn’t flash for the six-month option, though – particularly given it’s 95 cents more expensive than a NordVPN annual subscription – so, as is the VPN pricing trend, there’s more money to be saved by buying for the longest purchasable period of time. As you’ll see in the table below, sticking with the annual option offers the best overall value.

Express VPN deals in Australia
ExpressVPN plans are charged in USD in Australia.
Plan
Monthly price
Upfront price
Detail

One month

US$12.95

US$12.95

Six months

US$9.99

US$59.94

One year

US$8.32

US$99.84

Price and plan information only valid as of last page update. 

Below is an indication of how ExpressVPN stacks up next to the other top four VPNs.

Compare ExpressVPN with other VPNs

Brand
Details
Cheapest price
Number of VPN servers
Simultaneous connections
US$3.29/mth
US$78.96 2-year plan for new visitors
5,224
60 countries
6
US$4.99/mth
US$59.88 1-year plan
60+
47 countries
10
AU$3.39/mth
AU$81.36 2-year plan
3,200+
65 countries

Unlimited

AU$2.89/mth
$75.14 2-year plan
28,429
78
10
US$3.99/mth
US47.89 1-year plan
1,600+
52
Unlimited
US$8.32/mth
US$99.84 1-year plan
3,000+
94
5

Data effective of last page update. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

ExpressVPN connectivity and user experience

At the time of revisiting ExpressVPN once again after a year of use in 2020, the core Windows software had been updated for 2022 and it was incredibly speedy to connect. ExpressVPN didn’t used to be as fast as NordVPN, but now ExpressVPN seems to connect almost instantaneously and disconnect at the push of a button.

It connects fast enough to not interfere with uptime-dependent online activities like music streaming, which isn’t always the case with Hotspot Shield. Unlike previous years, there were no issues connecting to servers this time for ExpressVPN. Old rival NordVPN comes out second best when it comes to disconnecting, too, with ExpressVPN offering a one-tap connect/disconnect button that’s impossible to miss. Meanwhile, NordVPN still has you reaching for a smaller connection button and dealing with a drop-down menu when you just want to disconnect.

At the time of writing, ExpressVPN offered a healthy number of servers (3,000+) in a wide range of countries (94, third behind PureVPN and Hotspot Shield), which offers great versatility. The only disclaimer there is, of our top five VPNs, ExpressVPN has the second lowest server count, so while the country count is second, more servers in popular countries tend to mean faster overall speeds and reliable uptime. Admittedly, the 160 locations offered by ExpressVPN is a positive.

ExpressVPN continues to embrace the ease-of-use lessons of NordVPN and has simplified things with a smart server recommendation based on your location, alongside a streamlined short list of recommended server options. You can search for countries or cities that aren’t listed or scroll through alphabetised server locations by country.

While the ExpressVPN Windows app has come a long way since I first used it in 2020, there were still some quirks in my recent tests. Other VPNs I’ve used update the software within the app, but ExpressVPN forces you to download the file again and effectively treat it as a new installation (though it mercifully retains your credentials).

There was an odd bug where ExpressVPN started with Windows and automatically connected to a server, though I had neither option selected (and they were both unchecked in the settings). ExpressVPN works seamlessly with almost every typical app I threw at it, though there were some website oddities. One Australian website told me I couldn’t use it outside of Australia when I was connecting via an Australian server, and another US website refused to load during US server tests.

There are also frequent ‘verify you’re not a robot’ tests from Google, which is typical of VPN servers with a lot of people connected to a server that has the same IP address. While not a unique annoyance, ExpressVPN doesn’t let you manually select servers, so your best bet is to try a nearby location if you’re doing a lot of Google searches and want to avoid this message.

When I tested ExpressVPN on an Nvidia Shield TV Pro, I was frustrated to be greeted with a username and password request, seemingly without a QR or web link option to enter credentials on another device. It felt particularly strange given that ExpressVPN provides an activation key that I assumed could be used in lieu of credentials on other devices.

None of these issues is detrimental but given how easy ExpressVPN is to use most of the time, these quibbles become more noticeable when they do crop up.

ExpressVPN supported devices

Five simultaneous connections per plan.

An ExpressVPN subscription covers five simultaneous connections, which is the entry-level number for VPN services. For context, while that’s a common amount, it’s beaten by NordVPN (six); CyberGhost VPN (seven); the 10 simultaneous connections from ProtonVPN, PureVPN, Private Internet Access and PrivadoVPN; as well as unlimited connections from Surfshark, IPVanish and Windscribe VPN.

As for which devices are officially supported by ExpressVPN, check out the full list below:

  • Windows
  • MacOS
  • Linux
  • Chromebook
  • Android
  • iOS
  • Amazon Fire tablet
  • Asus, Linksys and Netgear routers
  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Amazon Fire Stick
  • Android TV
  • Chromecast with Google TV

That’s very much a short list of compatible items as ExpressVPN also lets you manually configure certain devices that don’t directly support the ExpressVPN app. You can see this mix of routers, game consoles and other officially supported devices below:

  • DD-WRT routers
  • D-Link routers
  • Netduma routers
  • Sabai routers
  • Tomato routers
  • TP-Link routers
  • Apple TV
  • Chromecast
  • Nintendo Switch
  • PlayStation 3
  • PlayStation 4
  • Roku
  • WD TV Live
  • Xbox 360
  • Xbox One

There are ExpressVPN browser extensions for those VPN-ing on a computer, but given how easy the software is to use, the browser extensions feel surplus to requirements. For advanced users who don’t mind router tinkering, ExpressVPN has updated its router app for streamlined VPN-ing with compatible routers. It’s a great way to use one of those five simultaneous connections to cover multiple devices at a router level, and it also allows per-device split tunnelling (to regulate what is and isn’t covered by the router-level VPN).

ExpressVPN streaming and server speeds

One of the main things to know about VPNs is when you connect to a server, your overall internet speed will be slowed. Your distance from the server and how much a VPN provider invests in speedy server infrastructure (and back-end programming) will determine whether the speed change is major or minor. Below is a table of speeds I achieved with a Superloop NBN 100/40Mbps Fibre-to-the-Curb (FTTC) connection while testing ExpressVPN during the middle of the day (using Speed Test).

ExpressVPN server latency and speeds from Australia

VPN server
Download speed
Upload speed
Latency

No VPN

93.64Mbps

35.95Mbps

5ms

AU VPN

88.33Mbps(~6% difference)

34.48Mbps(~4% difference)

6ms(~17% difference)

US VPN (auto, fastest)

76.36Mbps(~19% difference)

27.11Mbps(~25% difference)

153ms(~97% difference)

US VPN (manual, closest)

78.40Mbps(~16% difference)

25.60Mbps(~29% difference)

153ms(~97% difference)

Those ExpressVPN speed test results are great for Australian users, with minimal impact on download speed, upload speed and connection latency. Things start to slow down when connecting to faraway servers, though. ExpressVPN doesn’t seem particularly adept at picking the fastest US server automatically. My connection was routed to New Jersey on the east coast of America, rather than the closer west coast servers.

Still, when manually selecting a location, the hit to download speeds was manageable, alongside respectable results for upload speed and latency. It’s an expected story for the automatic UK server selection, with a typical hit to download speed alongside great results for upload speed and latency.

ExpressVPN streaming

One of the possible uses for a VPN service is sidestepping region-locked content, which may be as simple as watching a geoblocked YouTube trailer, streaming an international Netflix library or accessing premium services not available in Australia. This is a grey area as far as VPNs are concerned (read those Ts and Cs!), but it is a potential way to access content that may not be readily available in Australia. Alternatively, a VPN can be used while you’re overseas to access Australian streaming services by connecting to an Australian server.

Check out the table below to see which popular US and Australian streaming services work with ExpressVPN.

ExpressVPN performance with popular streaming services

Service
ExpressVPN compatible?
Buffering speed

Netflix US

Yes

Slow

HBO Max

Yes

Fast

Hulu

Yes

Fast

Peacock

Yes

Moderate

Kayo

Yes

Fast

Stan (including Stan Sport)

Yes

Fast

ExpressVPN can now be counted among those rare VPN services that’s a faithful streaming companion. In my latest tests, I had no issue accessing the Netflix US library, HBO Max, Hulu and Peacock for streaming via an ExpressVPN Los Angeles server. The libraries were all fast to load and streaming started within seconds. Admittedly, my initial tests had issues accessing HBO Max via the Los Angeles and New Jersey servers.

BBC iPlayer was fast to load and stream when ExpressVPN automatically selected a London server. Connected to a Brisbane or Sydney server, I was able to easily access Stan regular content and Stan Sports programming. Things were a lot slower for Kayo, particularly when it came to loading the library, but streams usually started after 10 or so seconds. Admittedly, the stream quality was lacking and didn’t seem to buffer beyond SD or lower quality.

Below is a table that uses the 16% and 24% best-case difference in download percentage when connecting to a US server or UK server with ExpressVPN. Those percentages are then applied to the average typical evening download speeds (TEDS) among NBN providers across all available speed tiers. The three columns on the right give an indication of how many simultaneous streams (if any) can be run for a single account on popular US 4K streaming services, including Netflix, Hulu and HBO Max. There’s also a column for BBC iPlayer in the UK. Both Hulu and BBC iPlayer have unlimited screens options, so that’s reflected in the table below.

ExpressVPN speeds for 4K streaming services

NBN speed tier
Average NBN TEDS
ExpressVPN TEDS
Netflix 4K(25Mbps)
Hulu 4K(16Mbps)
HBO Max 4K(25Mbps

NBN 12

11.42Mbps

9.59Mbps

Too slow

Too slow

Too slow

NBN 25

21.45Mbps

18.01Mbps

Too slow

1 stream

Too slow

NBN 50

45.17Mbps

37.94Mbps

1 stream

2 streams

1 stream

NBN 100

86.67Mbps

72.80Mbps

2 streams

4 streams

2 streams

NBN 250

212.10Mbps

178.16Mbps

4+ streams

11 streams

3+ streams

NBN 1000

337.50Mbps

283.50Mbps

4+ streams

17 streams

3+ streams

ExpressVPN extras

For those who really care about their privacy, ExpressVPN is one of the VPN providers that follows the trend of not tracking user activity nor user logs, which means your online activities are properly anonymised while connected to a VPN server. ExpressVPN also has VPN split tunnelling for more advanced users to separate specific internet traffic from everything else.

There’s also a Smart DNS service and, if you don’t know what that is, you can learn more about it by tapping into what’s by far the best not-so-hidden gem of ExpressVPN: guided support. There are tonnes of guides available on the official website to help with connecting devices or other troubleshooting issues. It helps that a lot of them have corresponding videos, too, to make life even easier.

ExpressVPN has also added Threat Manager, which is available for iOS, Mac and Linux users. It’s a free feature that pledges better protection against trackers and malware. Android, iOS and Google Chrome users can also make use of ExpressVPN Keys, which is a great value-add for those in the market for a password manager.

ExpressVPN vs NordVPN

NordVPN and ExpressVPN are two of the biggest names in the VPN space, so it’s no wonder people are regularly comparing them. And it’s a close battle, too. The extra cost for ExpressVPN gets you connections in more countries (94 vs 60), albeit with fewer servers (3,000+ vs 5,500+). Both VPNs are incredibly easy to use, but the extremely helpful video guides on the ExpressVPN website reward curiosity with meaningful and easy-to-follow assistance.

ExpressVPN went from slightly slower to connect to noticeably faster to connect and disconnect, though NordVPN is still fast to connect. ExpressVPN had faster Australian and UK download speeds than NordVPN in our tests but slightly slower US download speeds. NordVPN worked seamlessly with all streaming services except for Kayo, but ExpressVPN worked with Kayo (even if it wasn’t the best experience). NordVPN also offers one more simultaneous connection than ExpressVPN (six vs five), but ExpressVPN supports a wider range of devices.

Should I buy ExpressVPN?

Just because we rank NordVPN slightly above ExpressVPN, it doesn’t mean the latter VPN provider is a distant second place. While NordVPN edges out ExpressVPN in our comparisons, ExpressVPN is still a strong pick, particularly for new users and those looking to learn more at their own pace via ExpressVPN’s handy guides.

Frequently asked questions about ExpressVPN

Is ExpressVPN really free?

No, ExpressVPN isn’t free. There is a 30-day money-back guarantee if you’d like to try ExpressVPN, but you have to cancel and request a refund for it to be considered a ‘free’ trial.

Is ExpressVPN legit?

Yes, ExpressVPN is a legitimate VPN service, and it’s one of the best you can buy. NordVPN still has the wood on ExpressVPN for our ranking, but every update has ExpressVPN edge closer to matching NordVPN.

What does ExpressVPN actually do?

Like any VPN, ExpressVPN creates a secure connection between a compatible device and the internet. It helps to protect your anonymity while adding extra layers of security, simultaneously also allowing users to access geoblocked content around the world.

Is ExpressVPN really free?

No, ExpressVPN isn’t free. There is a 30-day money-back guarantee if you’d like to try ExpressVPN, but you have to cancel and request a refund for it to be considered a ‘free’ trial.

Nathan Lawrence
Written by
Nathan Lawrence
Nathan Lawrence has been banging out passionate tech and gaming words for more than 11 years. These days, you can find his work on outlets like IGN, STACK, Fandom, Red Bull and AusGamers. Nathan adores PC gaming and the proof of his first-person-shooter prowess is at the top of a Battlefield V scoreboard.

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