Leona Baker, Author
Riley Marsden, Chief Editor
In this day and age, our privacy on the internet is almost non-existent. There are dozens of parties that could be interested in spying on your online activities, from governments and advertising companies to your internet service provider; the risks are endless.
Luckily, you can use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) like Express VPN to hide your identity on the internet and keep your data safe. In this article, we’ll give you a brief overview of Express VPN and the company behind it as well as information on its safety, so stick around.
About the Company
Express VPN is based in the British Virgin Islands, an excellent location for a VPN service. Why, you ask? Simply because the country doesn’t have any laws in its jurisdiction, where VPN companies are forced to submit their users’ data. Not to mention, the country isn’t part of any international intelligence-sharing agreements like the Five Eyes or Fourteen Eyes alliances.
The service currently has over 3000 servers in 160 locations and 94 countries, including Brazil, Germany, United States, Singapore, Japan, Netherlands, and Sweden. The number of servers is projected to grow even more in the next few years with more locations.
The servers use volatile memory instead of relying on hard drives, which significantly boosts the servers’ security since no data can be stored permanently on volatile memory (RAM). Moreover, the tool is available on almost all popular platforms, including Linux, Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android.
Express VPN provides several VPN protocols for its users to choose from, including OpenVPN, PPTP, and L2TP/IPSec SSTP. Additionally, the company released a newly-developed custom protocol called Lightway in 2020, which is claimed to be more secure and faster than other protocols. Still, these claims are yet to be proved.
ExpressVPN was founded in February 2009 by a company called ExpressVPN International Ltd.
In 2016, the tool was criticized by former Google engineer Marc Bervand for using weak 1024 RSA key encryption, claiming that the Chinese government was able to spy on the service’s users. This has led the company to upgrade to 4096 RSA keys, which provided its users with a higher security level.
On the note of using ExpressVPN in China, it’s worth mentioning that the Chinese government was involved in removing more than 600 VPN apps from Apple’s App Store in 2017, including ExpressVPN. However, people in China can still use the service by downloading it from other resources.
In 2017, ExpressVPN was involved in investigating the assassination of Andrei Karlov, the Russian ambassador to Turkey. The Turkish government claimed that the assassin used ExpressVPN to hide his data on Facebook and Gmail, and the government was unable to find any logs that can help in the investigation.
Keeping the motives of the person who committed this inhumane crime aside, this was indirect proof that ExpressVPN doesn’t keep logs of their users’ data.
DNS Leak Results
DNS (Domain Name System) leaks on VPN services can be a massive threat as you could get your identity exposed even when you’re connected to a VPN server.
ExpressVPN servers actively block DNS requests to all servers except their own ones, giving you strong protection against DNS leaks.
Additionally, several independent labs have tested ExpressVPN for DNS leaks, and the results that came were pretty assuring. No DNS leaks from ExpressVPN have been reported till the moment of writing this article, so you can safely use it with peace of mind.
It’s also worth noting that the company released an open-source Privacy Research Lab in 2017 that tested VPN services for DNS leaks. The tool is free to use by anyone, and it was reported that 11 common VPN services failed the test. ExpressVPN was one of the few services that showed no leaks whatsoever.
It’s a no brainer that the company tested its service first before launching its Privacy Research Lab, though, so it can be considered as a marketing tactic, and it’s a successful one, indeed.
ExpressVPN provides members with 24/7 customer support through various channels like live chat and email. The customer support team is very responsive and professional, and you should expect to get your query solved within a few minutes if you use live chat support.
A warrant canary is a declaration that some VPN companies announce for the public, stating that they haven’t received any secret warrants from the government to hand in their customers’ data on the web.
Unfortunately, ExpressVPN hasn’t yet released a warrant canary, which could be a red flag for some people. Nevertheless, they could release it anytime soon; you never know!
Pros and Cons
To recap, ExpressVPN is definitely a safe VPN to use. With a strict no-logs policy, excellent encryption, and robust DNS leak protection, we can confidently say that you can trust ExpressVPN with your data.
We do have a couple of concerns though, one of which is the limited number of third-party security audits, and the other being the absence of a warrant canary. We hope that the company will work on these two aspects in the near future to provide its customers with more transparency and a higher trust level.