Good morning everyone, happy Presidents Day! I am writing this post from beautiful, sunny Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, and I hope you have the day off as well to explore the world. When I travel, staying connected is always a huge priority to me, so finding free, reliable Wifi is important. Unfortunately, public Wifi in hotels, restaurants, and public spaces is fraught with danger. You never know who is connected to the Wifi network and if they are intercepting your data and personal information.
Several months ago, my friend Stefan at Rapid Travel Chai recommended ExpressVPN (referral link). VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and it is a service that encrypts all of your incoming and outgoing data. I have used ExpressVPN at home, on the road, and on my iPhone for the last 3 months and have nothing but good things to say about the service. Here are the highlights of the service that I cut and pasted from their website:
- Videos from anywhere – Watch the content you want from anywhere on Earth at blazing fast speeds.
- Online privacy – Encrypt your internet traffic and hide your IP address from hackers and spies.
- Unblock websites – Access any website or app without censorship.
- Easy-to-use VPN service for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Routers, and Linux – Setup is easy, whether you’re using a computer, tablet, or smartphone. Our user-friendly apps let you secure your connection and unblock websites in one click. Just sign up, install, and connect.
- Ultra secure and ultra fast – Our network is SSL secured with 256-bit encryption, and we’re constantly optimizing our network to provide unlimited bandwidth and speed, so you can stream your favorite movies and TV shows in high definition. ExpressVPN runs seamlessly in the background so you can use the internet without interruptions.
- 5-star customer support – Our world-class support team is at your service. We offer round-the-clock customer support by live chat and email. Get instant help from a knowledgeable support agent when you use our live chat feature.
- 145+ VPN locations… and counting! – You can choose from 145 cities in 94 countries. With unlimited speeds and unlimited server switches, you can connect from anywhere in the world.
- 30-day money-back guarantee – We’re confident that you’ll be happy with our product and services. We also want you to be confident in your purchase, which is why we have a hassle-free 30-day money-back guarantee.
Here are screenshots of the ExpressVPN software running on my laptop (left side shows not connected and right side shows connected to VPN):
The best feature about ExpressVPN on desktop/laptop is the ability to run a speed test to all available VPN to determine which network is the fastest. No matter where you are in the country or world, the speed test service will tell you exactly which network will give you the best VPN speed. Even though I am in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, ExpressVPN has determined that connecting to San Jose, CA, is the fastest option, even though VPN options like Los Angeles or San Diego might be physically closer to me.
I ran 2 speedtest.net tests. The left side shows the speeds before joining VPN and the right side shows the speeds afterward joining VPN. In most cases, the VPN network should run a little slower than connecting directly to the Wifi network since the data needs to go through the VPN service before going to you, so just ignore the conflicting results below.
Along with software that works on desktops and laptops, ExpressVPN also has a great iOS app (and Android app). The service works the same on the app, but it does not have a speed test feature built in (hopefully some day soon it will), so I usually select the VPN near San Francisco or San Jose by default (since I am normally in the Bay Area).
I once again ran 2 speedtest.net tests (using the iOS app). The left side shows the speeds before joining VPN and the right side shows the speeds after joining VPN. As you can see, the download and upload speeds are a little slower when connected to VPN, which makes sense, since the data has to go through the VPN before getting to me.
I use ExpressVPN anytime I am connected to a Wifi network. On my desktop and laptop, ExpressVPN loads when I start my computer and automatically connects to my preferred VPN. If the Wifi signal goes out, ExpressVPN will pause all inbound and outbound traffic until it can automatically reconnect to VPN, so your data stays private and secure the whole time.
ExpressVPN worked great when I was in South America a few weeks ago. After I connected to the free hotel Wifi, I connected to ExpressVPN as soon as possible. By connecting to VPN, it makes my browsing experience much better. When I access global websites, like Google and eBay, it will load the US version of those sites, rather than the local language version. When I log into my bank and credit card accounts, I do not get as many fraud warning/notifications, making it quicker to view my accounts. Lastly, when using Hulu or Netflix, most content is blocked if accessed outside the United States – but after connecting to VPN, I was able to stream my favorite shows and movies like I was back home in San Francisco.
If you want to check out ExpressVPN, here is a 30 day free trial (referral link). If you become a paying member, I will get 30 days of free service added onto my ExpressVPN yearly subscription.
Monthly subscriptions start at $12.95 if you use the month-to-month option and go down to $8.32/month if you lock in a yearly subscription. You can have the software and app running simultaneously on a few different devices, which make it great if you have a family or several devices you want to protect at the same time.
If you have any questions about ExpressVPN, please leave a comment below. If you are a current ExpressVPN subscriber, please let me know what your experience has been like. Thank you for reading and have a great day everyone!
I did VyprVPN as per Stefans post. It has been great. I didn’t know I needed it until i had it.
Awesome, what’s the best feature of VyprVPN and what is the monthly or yearly cost?
I can’t remember the cost, but it had lower annual rate prepaid. Very similar functions as well.
Thank you Nathan.
I think for regular users Private VPN is much better option (cheaper).
Depending how much you travel and what kind of protection you need. It is less than $40 per year.
Sorry, my previous comment should refer to Private Internet Access VPN provider and not Private VPN which is similar but more expensive option.
Thank you for the recommendation :)
I’m headed to China this week. Would using ExpressVPN allow me to view websites that are otherwise blocked there (such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter)?
It should definitely work in China. Try out the free 30 day trial. Let me know if it works well for your trip :)
I JUST renewed another VPN and this is also definitely not a test post
Does this one work with Linux? (I’m windows free, thank God)
OK I’m going to answer my own question since I just checked out the ExpressVPN website. Yes, it works with Linux.
What I did notice is that they give you OpenVPN, L2TP-IPsec, SSTP, and PPTP protocols, so I may actually switch to Express when my current service runs out (bought the year plan). But they are saying on the website that for Linux, you get OpenVPN protocol – no mention of the rest. Right now I’m getting OpenVPN and PPTP. Looks like ExpressVPN gives more for your money if one uses Windows operating system, or at least upon first glance. I will keep this company on my radar.
You can always try the 30 day free trial to see how the VPMN service works on Linux. Please report back on your thoughts :)
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I tried to log in to stream programs from a european tv station but I get a message that I can not view contents from my viewing area due to copyright issues. With this product would I be able to mask my IP address showing one from that european country and stream content?
Yes, check the list of VPN locations on their website. They should have several options in Europe. You can start with a free 30 day trial to see if the VPN service works for you.
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