Avast VPN vs ExpressVPN

Another tough day at the office for Avast Secureline VPN. Unfortunately it’s up against another of the VPN world’s big hitters in ExpressVPN, yet it doesn’t fare too poorly at all. These two have proven difficult to compare because they’re aimed at different users; Avast is more entry level and shrewdly priced, ExpressVPN is more feature heavy and impressive – but of course you’re going to need to pay handsomely for those features.

Avast VPN vs ExpressVPN

Brian Choi, Author

Riley Marsden, Chief Editor

Contents

Whether you need to protect yourself from prying eyes or simply want to access a wider array of streaming content from around the world, a VPN is a must-have for any savvy and relatively heavy internet user – but with so many providers and options, which one should you choose?

If you’ve managed to boil it down to Avast Secureline VPN (which we’ll call Avast from here on in) or ExpressVPN then you’ve done a lot of the leg work already. Our test will break down the key features and pros/cons of two of the VPN market leaders so you can choose the best one for your needs. Let’s dive in.

Speed

VPNs work by re-routing your connection to the internet via servers in different countries – and while this is a necessary step if you want to improve your security, one side effect is that it impacts the speed of your internet connection.

The scale of this impact depends on the VPN, with some performing better than others – and as you might have guessed from the name, ExpressVPN markets itself as one of the leaders when it comes to speed.

With an average download speed well in excess of 100mbps, ExpressVPN allowed for simultaneous internet activities without any drop in performance. Avast VPN didn’t perform quite so well in this regard, peaking at just over 70mbps – a significant drop compared to what ExpressVPN offered, but still easily capable of streaming high-quality video or online gaming without any buffering issues.

Servers

If your sole concern is security, then a wide range of servers may not be a priority for you – but generally speaking a higher number of servers is likely to result in a quicker, more reliable service. On top of that, the more countries a VPN has servers in, the greater access you will have to geo-restricted content.

With servers in 54 locations spanning 34 countries, Avast VPN is towards the more limited end of the VPN spectrum. Although their server base does cover the countries that host major streaming services such as Netflix and Disney Plus, it is dwarfed by ExpressVPN’s offering – over 3,000 servers across 94 countries.

Features

Each VPN on the market has its own unique features, so it’s important to explore what is on offer and work out what is most useful for your specific needs.

Both Avast VPN and ExpressVPN employ AES-256 encryption, a military-standard security measure that will ensure your data is kept out of the public domain – and they also both offer a kill switch, an essential function that automatically disconnects your device from the internet if you lose your connection to the VPN.

If you wish to connect multiple devices to your VPN, you can do so with both of these products. Each VPN allows you to connect up to five devices at once – however while ExpressVPN offers this function on its basic subscription plan, Avast VPN only provides it as a more expensive multi-device plan. With so little to choose between the two in this area, the ability to connect multiple devices at no additional cost gives the win to ExpressVPN.

Streaming

As you may have noticed if you’ve ever used a streaming service in a foreign country, different content libraries are made available in different regions. This can be frustrating if your favourite show isn’t available where you live – but many VPNs allow you to bypass this issue.

Routing your internet connection through a server in another country will allow you to access that country’s content, vastly increasing the number of libraries available to you.

Both Avast VPN and ExpressVPN are able to unblock most services, although in testing we were unable to get Avast VPN to bypass Netflix’s geo-restrictions – potentially a major drawback given that Netflix is one of the biggest streaming services around.

ExpressVPN successfully unblocked content from Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Disney Plus and Amazon Prime as well as many others – so we’ve given it the win here.

Torrenting

Regular torrent users may have found that in recent times some ISPs have begun to block access to torrenting software, making it impossible to access some content.

Luckily, most VPNs allow you to circumvent this issue by masking your online activity – and ExpressVPN goes one step further, not only offering a vast array of servers that allow P2P file-sharing but providing tips on how to optimise your computer to transfer date securely and privately.

Avast VPN’s torrenting features are far more limited by comparison. Most of its servers block P2P file-sharing software, although the product does allow the use of torrents on a limited number of servers.

With ExpressVPN allowing P2P file sharing on all its servers across 94 countries worldwide, it is the clear winner here.

Gaming

With many ISPs now choosing to throttle bandwidth during peak times, gaming can be a frustrating experience with endless buffering and lag. Once again, a VPN can be your saviour here – by masking your online activity, the VPN makes it difficult for your ISP to monitor your use and limit your bandwidth accordingly.

An additional benefit of a VPN for the dedicated gamer is that, as with streaming services, you can access region-specific content more easily. Many games are released on different dates in different countries, and if you simply can’t wait for a new game to arrive on your shores, both ExpressVPN and Avast VPN will allow you to access it via the country that it was first released in.

Although both products performed well in testing when it came to gaming, ExpressVPN’s larger server base again gives it a narrow victory in this category.

Free Trials

ExpressVPN free trial

ExpressVPN shockingly doesn’t offer a free trial. It seems a strange choice based on how generous its competitors are. They do however offer a 30 day money-back guarantee.

Avast free trial

Avast VPN offers a free seven-day trial period as well as a 30 day money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied – something that is pretty standard amongst most providers.

Other Considerations

Price

Each of these products comes in a variety of price brackets, with longer plans working out cheaper on a per-month basis.

ExpressVPN’s prices start at $12.95 for a month, but you can make a significant saving on a year-long plan, which costs $99.95. A 12-month subscription to Avast VPN costs $59.99, or $79.99 if you want to be able to access the VPN via multiple devices.

Support

ExpressVPN and Avast VPN both have dedicated customer support teams; Avast VPN provides a 24-hour telephone line and a ticketing system, while ExpressVPN has a 24-hour live web chat function as well as detailed user guides on their website.

The Verdict

It is honestly difficult to compare the two, mainly due to the fact that they are aimed at different markets – Avast VPN is an excellent entry-level VPN at a reasonable price, whereas ExpressVPN costs a little more but has more advanced features.

If money is no object, then ExpressVPN is clearly the superior choice. If you just want to dip your toe into the VPN world then Avast could be a good place to start.