ExpressVPN for Torrenting

ExpressVPN started in 2009, with the objective of keeping their users anonymous from intelligence agencies, governments, hackers and Internet Service Providers. It didn’t take them a long time to be on the top of the market.

But what caught our attention was the fact that many users consider it a great VPN for torrenting. So, we had a closer look and tested the software extensively. Here's our ExpressVPN review with all the security and speed details.

Safety and Privacy

The fact that the company is located outside the US and the European Union is very important. These are the big monitoring sharks. Because they are in the British Virgin Islands, the USA data retention and EU DRD laws are not applicable. That way, even if a government agency asks for user information, they don't have to obey.
 
ExpressVPN has a zero log policy. This is the key factor to look for in a VPN service, especially for torrent users. For obvious reasons, you don’t want your activity logs saved. It would kill the whole principle of being anonymous. As every provider that we recommend, this VPN service does not keep your logs. They are very clear about this in their Terms of Use.
 
They use the highest level of encryption available, a 256-bit encryption. And they allow the main protocols: OpenVPN, L2TP, PPTP and SSTP. OpenVPN is the default and we recommend to leave it like that, because it's the safest protocol.
 
ExpressVPN uses shared IPs, which is a great advantage. This means that thousands of users share the same IP. Therefore, one IP address cannot identify a single person.

The User Interface

The fact that the software is so easy to use is a big plus for them. VPN beginners will have no problem managing all the options. From the main window, the user can connect/disconnect and also access all the settings.

Connecting to a Server

Users can select a server in different ways: Recommended, Favorite servers, and a list of every location. All these options are useful, but we liked the Smart Location the most. It's located inside the recommended servers area, as it's showed on the image below. This is one of the new features in the last update, and now it's really easy to select the best server available. It only takes a single click.
 
When you select the smart location, the software suggests the best server. This suggestion depends on the latency, download speed and distance of each user. In our case, it recommended the Netherlands. It was the fastest server available, considering our connection. Keep in mind that this server suggestion will be different for each user.

Features and Settings

One of the things that separate this VPN from many others is the fact that they listen to their users. There are regular software updates that can have a huge impact on the user experience. To give you an example, until the beginning of 2016, there were many online complaints stating that ExpressVPN was missing a Kill Switch. This was actually true, this option is extremely important, especially for torrenting. Well, guess what happened… Yep, they heard it, and they introduced a Kill Switch in their software.

But there's more, let's see the top features of ExpressVPN, and how to use them:

The Kill Switch

This tool is of extreme importance in a VPN software. If something goes wrong and the VPN connection stops drops, the Kill Switch stops your Internet connection. This avoids that your real IP is exposed and your data visible while the VPN is not working. This is the kind of tool that should always be enabled.

The DNS Leak Prevention

This feature prevents DNS leaks that can compromise the user anonymity. The goal is simple, it prevents the DNS requests to be made through the ISP servers. To do so, top VPN providers make sure that those requests go through their own private DNS servers. This option is available in the Advanced tab.
 
Windows users often have this issue, and most of the times they don't even realize it. The problem is that Windows uses the default settings. In other words, it sends the DNS requests through the ISP servers, even when using a VPN. We advise keeping this useful feature turned on at all times to avoid any risks of leaking your real IP.

The built-in Speed Test

Another interesting tool is the built-in speed test. It’s exactly what it sounds like, a speed test of every server. With this feature, you can see which servers are the best for you at that precise moment. It shows you the download speeds, the ping latency, and the Speed Index. The last one is the score of the ping latency and the download speed combined. The highest the Speed Index, the better connection you will have.

This feature can be very useful for the old school VPN users who don't want any automatic selection of the server. This option allows you to see the speed of each server and select your favorite.

Server locations

There are more than 1500 servers, in 145 cities, in 94 countries (and they add new ones frequently). ExpressVPN allows torrenting on every server. This makes it very simple for users in every country to find and connect to servers nearby, and enjoy fast speeds. You can see the full list of ExpressVPN servers here.

Compatibility

The software has a high device compatibility when compared to many providers. The most common platforms are available, like Windows, Mac, Android, iOS and Linux. We tested the mobile apps, and they were efficient and straightforward. You can check more info on both Android and iOS apps.

The number of connected devices allowed is not the highest, but it’s still not bad. You can have 3 simultaneous connections, which is enough to cover every device of most users.

Security Tests

DNS Leak Test: ExpressVPN passed every DNS test. We didn’t register a single leak.

IP Test: Our real IP was always hidden in our tests. The detection tools we used saw the IP that the VPN assigned to our connection.

Torrent address detection test: When we downloaded torrent files, there was no leak of our IP. The country and IP address detected were the ones provided by the VPN.

Speed tests

The speeds we achieved with ExpressVPN impressed us. It was one of the fastest VPNs we tested. Here are the results:

speed without a vpn connection
Without VPN
download speed test with ExpressVPN
Connected to ExpressVPN (OpenVPN protocol)

Torrent Speed Test

torrenting test without a vpn
Without VPN
torrent speed test with ExpressVPN
Connected to ExpressVPN (OpenVPN protocol)

Every VPN reduces the speed of your connection, but only a few can reduce it minimally. As we expected, ExpressVPN achieved great speeds. It’s also important to mention that we saw good speeds on many servers, located in different countries. 

Price

Like the majority of VPNs, the 1 year subscription package is cheaper. But unlike the majority, ExpressVPN has a money back guarantee policy of 30 days, with no questions asked. This means that from the moment of buying the VPN, the users have 30 days to make a decision. They can ask for their money back if they are not happy with the software, or they will continue using the VPN.

In our opinion, the 1 year subscription has a fair price. Considering the quality of the service, $8.32 per month is not expensive. There are several payment methods available, including Bitcoin, PayPal and credit card.

What we like about ExpressVPN

  • No logs are kept
  • Location in the British Virgin Islands (outside US and EU)
  • Great 256-bit encryption
  • Kill Switch
  • Impressive number of server locations
  • Speed Test feature
  • Shared IPs
  • Smart location feature
  • The software is very straightforward
  • money back guarantee policy of 30 days 

What could be improved

  • Although it's simple to avoid IPv6 leaks by manually disabling IPv6, it would be great to have an IPv6 leak prevention included in ExpressVPN.
  • It would be convenient to have a "check for updates" button. That way we wouldn't have to go to their website from time to time to check if there is an available update.

Conclusion

This service includes every detail that a good VPN should provide: no logging, unbreakable encryption and great speeds. Besides that, they have a very impressive number of server locations and must have features, such as a Kill Switch. After reviewing ExpressVPN in detail, we had no doubts. They are an excellent choice to download torrent files with peace of mind.