ExpressVPN has become one of the most popular and widely-used virtual private network (VPN) services available today. As more people become concerned about their online privacy and securing their internet connections, services like ExpressVPN have seen a surge in demand. However, with this increase in popularity comes higher pricing compared to some other VPN providers.
At $12.95 per month for their one-month plan, ExpressVPN definitely sits at the higher end of pricing in the VPN market. Many users may experience “sticker shock” when first checking out ExpressVPN, especially if they’ve used cheaper or even free VPNs in the past. Still, there are reasons ExpressVPN commands the premium price tag.
ExpressVPN Plans and Pricing
ExpressVPN offers customers a few different plan options to suit different budget and commitment levels. Here is a breakdown of the pricing and subscription lengths:
- $12.95 per month
- Ability to cancel anytime
- Best for short-term use or trying out the service
The one-month plan offers the highest degree of flexibility for those who may only need a VPN for a short project or trip abroad. At $12.95 per month, it is significantly more expensive than pre-paying for 6 or 12 months upfront. But users aren’t locked into a long subscription if their needs change.
- $9.99 per month
- $59.95 billed upfront every 6 months
- Saves about 23% compared to monthly billing
The six-month plan offers a decent discount for those willing to prepay for half a year of service. At only $1.96 per month in savings, the discount isn’t substantial. Still, for medium-term VPN users, it strikes a balance between longer commitments and retaining some flexibility to change services.
- $8.32 per month
- $99.95 billed once per year
- Saves 36% compared to monthly billing
Paying $99.95 for ExpressVPN’s annual subscription offers the best dollar-for-value from a monthly rate standpoint. The annual plan comes out to just $8.32 per month, saving about 36% compared to paying month-by-month. This tier also allows people to set and forget their VPN for an entire year.
In addition to the above payment tiers, every ExpressVPN subscription comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. If users aren’t satisfied with the service or no longer need it within the first month, they can request a full refund with no questions asked.
So why does ExpressVPN command a higher price than many competitor VPNs? It comes down to several key features that set ExpressVPN apart in terms of speed, privacy, security protections, and usability.
One of the most common complaints against VPN services is that connecting through remote servers slows down internet speeds considerably. ExpressVPN solves this problem by optimizing network connections and minimizing latency issues even when routing traffic internationally across continents.
The result is some of the internet’s fastest VPN speeds capable of handling bandwidth-heavy tasks like streaming HD video. ExpressVPN only uses premium bandwidth provided from top internet service providers to facilitate fast speeds. The service even has a speed test tool built into the app dashboard.
High Levels of Security and Privacy
As an privacy-focused VPN provider catering to security-minded individuals, ExpressVPN packs an impressive lineup of encryption and protocol technologies to safeguard user data and activity.
Some of these security features include:
- AES-256 encryption for all traffic
- Support for Lightway, OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec and other protocols
- Secure Core server network in privacy-friendly countries
- Private DNS on every server
- No traffic logs or activity logs kept
Together, these create a secure, encrypted tunnel designed to anonymize activity and prevent snooping, throttling, censorship, or geographic restrictions when browsing the internet. ExpressVPN also offers IP address masking, hiding the user’s true location from websites or spying parties.
Of course, security means little without trust, which is why ExpressVPN has taken unprecedented steps to build user trust around their strict no-logging policies…
All VPN services claim not to keep logs of user activity. However, many have failed audits or have come under fire for actually retaining logs despite claims otherwise. This makes verification of no-logging policies extremely important.
ExpressVPN is one of just a few VPN providers to successfully complete a third-party audit of their no-logging policy. Conducted by PricewaterhouseCooper in 2018, the audit comb through ExpressVPN’s servers and systems, confirming:
- No IP addresses are logged that could identify individual users
- No activity logs around connections or sessions times are kept
- No browsing history or traffic data logging takes place
This level of scrutiny has helped ExpressVPN back up their statements around protecting privacy. Users can genuinely feel confident their VPN activities remain anonymous.
In 2022, ExpressVPN took their commitment to transparency even further by announcing a full server audit by auditing giant KPMG…
Independent Audit by KPMG
In May 2022, ExpressVPN engaged KPMG to audit their systems and backend infrastructure powering their VPN network. KPMG’s intensive audit looked at ExpressVPN’s server locations, configuration files, memory, disk drives and more across over 100 servers.
The goal was to validate that ExpressVPN operates securely and aligned to consumer privacy interests in an open and transparent way. After months of unfettered inspection, KPMG concluded:
- ExpressVPN’s infrastructure does match their public server locations list without any discrepancies.
- No user activities around connections, disconnections or sessions are logged on these servers.
- ExpressVPN enhances privacy by limiting data retention wherever possible.
Having one of the “big four” auditors confirm these facts provides further piece of mind ExpressVPN takes no-logging and consumer privacy seriously. No other consumer VPN provider has opened themselves up to this degree of scrutiny, underscoring ExpressVPN’s commitment to integrity.
ExpressVPN vs Competitors
Compared to other popular VPN services, ExpressVPN definitely sits at the top end from a pricing perspective. Below is a breakdown of how some of their main competitor services compare from a subscription plan and cost standpoint:
- 1 month – $11.99
- 6 months – $6.66 per month ($49.93 total)
- 12 months – $4.92 per month ($69 billed annually)
NordVPN offers longer 1, 2 and 3 year plans not offered by ExpressVPN. Their 2-year plan comes out to only $3.71 per month ($99 billed every 2 years). Still, even NordVPN’s 1-year plan is about $3.40 per month cheaper than ExpressVPN’s annual plan.
- 1 month – $12.95
- 6 months – $6.49 per month ($38.94 total)
- 12 months – $2.49 per month ($29.95 billed annually)
Surfshark comes in the closest to ExpressVPN’s monthly rate at $12.95 as well. Yet they really shine in long-term savings, with their 2-year plan costing only $2.49 month, almost $6 cheaper than ExpressVPN.
- 1 month – $12.99
- 6 months – $5.25 per month ($49.50 total)
- 12 months – $2.75 per month ($49.50 billed annually)
CyberGhost marginally beats ExpressVPN’s monthly rate while annihilating them on yearly and 3-year rates, coming out to as low as $2 per month. However, they do not offer a money-back guarantee for multi-month plans.
As shown above, ExpressVPN struggles to match the longer term discounts other VPNs offer, even if the monthly pricing looks similar initially. A savvy consumer locking themselves into 2 or even 3 years could save upwards of 50-75% relative to ExpressVPN’s best dollar-per-month rate. That being said, ExpressVPN compensates by leading in other areas like speeds, service reliability and trust.
Saving Money on ExpressVPN
Between the pricing tiers and longer commitments, there are still a few ways to save a bit of money when using ExpressVPN without sacrificing on quality:
Look for Holiday Deals and Bundles
ExpressVPN will occasionally offer limited-time discounts and bundling deals around peak shopping holidays like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, New Years and others.
While these deals don’t usually discount their official advertised plans, they sometimes offer free months of service or other incentives. For example, last 2021 Black Friday offered 6 months free when you purchase a 12-month plan. Outside of bundled specials, standalone deals knocking 10-15% off plans may be advertised too.
Following ExpressVPN’s social media feeds and checking in around major holidays is the best way to find these periodic savings. Just don’t expect dramatic 50-70% type discounts like other VPN brands feature in holiday promotions.
Make Use of the Referral Program
ExpressVPN also offers a referral program where existing users can share a special link and code with friends to get them to sign up. When a new user signs up via one of these links and stays with the service for at least 30 days, both they and the original referrer get a free month of VPN service.
Referring multiple friends can help longer-term ExpressVPN users chip away at their effective costs. Power users with sufficient outreach could even score free months of service perpetually. However, referrals require proactively getting friends and family to commit to a paid VPN subscription, which may test some relationships!
Either way, between holiday bundle deals and leveraging the referral program, opportunities exist to trim ExpressVPN’s higher pricing at least modestly through discounts or free months. Don’t expect NordVPN-level pricing, but saving something is better than nothing.
At the end of the day, ExpressVPN sits firmly as one of most full-featured yet expensive VPN options for privacy-conscious users. Strong word of mouth stemming from proven speed and reliability has cemented them as an industry leader. Yet newer and hungrier upstart VPNs compete aggressively on pricing, offering impressive discounts.
It’s up to each individual user to weigh ExpressVPN’s best-in-class user experience against leaving potentially significant money on the table. Of course, price-sensitive shoppers can offset costs by capitalizing on ExpressVPN’s periodic deals and referral program freebies. But the service still costs a premium compared to market rates.
Ultimately, ExpressVPN home to a suite of cutting-edge privacy tools justifies much of its higher subscription costs relative to competitors. From independently-audited no-logging policies, to blazing speeds unlocking geo-restricted content worldwide, they excel across the board. Users wanting a premium VPN get what they pay for with ExpressVPN – though deals help soften the pricing advantage competitors maintain.