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OpenVPN vs. ExpressVPN Comparison Review

OpenVPN and ExpressVPN are two household names in the VPN industry. The two offer excellent security and share quite a lot in common. However, the differences are profound.


The difference between OpenVPN and ExpressVPN is the compatibility, protocols supported, servers, speeds, and content access. OpenVPN works with PCs and mobile devices only and supports just one protocol. It doesn’t have its own servers, offers slower speeds, and is unreliable for streaming, P2P activity, and gaming. On the other hand, ExpressVPN works with all devices, supports 8 protocols and has its own server network. It also offers fast speeds and is reliable for streaming, P2P sharing, and gaming.

🏆 Winner

Pros and Cons OpenVPN vs. ExpressVPN

OpenVPN Pros
  • It doesn’t limit connections; you can connect as many devices as you wish
  • It offers excellent security on the TCP port and comes with a good mix of security extras
  • It has a free version though you will have to get your own servers
  • Unblocks streaming sites and supports torrenting when connected to streaming and P2P-friendly servers
ExpressVPN Pros
  • Offers all-round protection for PCs, mobile devices, routers, streaming devices, and gaming consoles
  • Works with multiple protocols and has a blazingly fast proprietary protocol (Lightway)
  • Excellent privacy as it’s based in a privacy-friendly jurisdiction, has an audited no-log policy and deploys RAM-only servers.
  • Has a vast network of over 3,000+ highly specialized servers in over 94 countries
  • Blazingly fast speeds, especially with Lightway on UDP
  • Reliable when it comes to unblocking streaming sites, torrenting, and gaming
OpenVPN Cons
  • OpenVPN works with PCs and mobile devices only; no support for other devices
  • It supports just one protocol, OpenVPN, and doesn’t have its own servers
  • It is based in the United States, which is not a privacy-friendly jurisdiction
  • It doesn’t have its own servers; you will have to rent servers or use 3rd party VPN providers
ExpressVPN Cons
  • It allows for a maximum of 5 simultaneous connections

Comparison Table

🖥️ PlatformsPCs, Mobile, Routers, TV Sticks, Gaming ConsolesPCs, Mobile
💻 Devices5Unlimited
📜 Encryption256-bit AES encryption256-bit OpenSSL
🌐 ProtocolsPPTP, SSTP, L2TP, IKEv2, OpenVPN, WireGuard, IPSec, and LightwayOpenVPN
🪪 JurisdictionBritish Virgin IslandsUnited States
🤷 Logging PolicyNo LoggingN/A
🖥 Server Network3,000 servers in over 94 countriesNo servers
🧪 Leak TestsNegativeNegative
📺 Streaming✔️
🏴‍☠️ Torrenting✔️
🎮 Gaming✔️
👨‍🔧 Support24/7 live chat, email, FAQLive chat, FAQ, Guides
🆓 Free Version✔️
Free TrialN/A
🛡️ Guarantee30-day money-back guaranteeN/A

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OpenVPN and ExpressVPN Comparison Review

To the main business of the day, how does OpenVPN compare to ExpressVPN? To help you settle on the best VPN, we have compared the two based on essential factors considered when selecting the best VPN, from reputation to features and pricing considerations. Without further ado, let’s get into it.

1. Brand Trust

There are many VPN providers and brands today. While most are worth the money, some are run by bogus providers and don’t guarantee security and privacy. That said, it is vital to assess the brand trust of the VPN provider on your wishlist. We took it upon ourselves to do the heavy lifting by assessing the company background of the two providers. Our emphasis was on VPNs that have been in business for the longest time. We were also concerned with what cybersecurity experts and users think of the two. We checked different VPN platforms, forums, and consumer review websites to determine how they are rated.

OpenVPN Brand Trust

Started in 2001, OpenVPN is not a VPN provider but a VPN system that creates point-to-point and site-to-site connections via the OpenVPN protocol.

The protocol is considered the industry standard and is known for its airtight security. OpenVPN’s focus is security; it doesn’t offer good speeds and won’t facilitate content access like your typical VPN. After checking VPN forums, we are glad it is known for banking-grade security.

At the time of writing, OpenVPN commands a Trustpilot Trustscore of 2.4 after 6 reviews. This tells you it is not popular among consumers.

ExpressVPN Brand Trust

When it comes to brand trust, ExpressVPN is the winner. The VPN is a household name in the industry. ExpressVPN was started in 2009 by ExpressVPN International Ltd., which today is part of Kape Technologies, the same venture that owns other reputable VPNs, including Zenmate, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access.

It is an award-winning company known for excellent security and privacy and offers many other applications, including content access. We checked Reddit threads and other VPN platforms. It has good reviews.

At the time of writing, ExpressVPN boasts a Trustpilot Trustscore of 4.6 after over 23500 reviews.

🏆 Winner

2. Supported Devices

Device compatibility is another important consideration. This is because some VPNs work with specific devices only, while others are all-rounders that work with all devices you can think of.

Definitely, you want a versatile VPN that will protect your mobile, PC, router, and other devices. Besides the supported devices, it’s also essential to assess the allowed simultaneous connections on a single license, bearing in mind some VPNs allow for unlimited connections while others have limits. So, which devices do OpenVPN and ExpresssVPN work with? How many devices can you connect at a go?

ExpressVPN is a versatile VPN that works with a range of devices for all-round protection. There are apps for Windows, Linux, and macOS PCs, as well as Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Mozilla Firefox browser extensions.

ExpressVPN also has mobile apps for iOS and Android alongside support for routers, Roku, Smart TVs, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, PlayStation, Xbox, Nvidia Shield, and Nintendo Switch, among others.

The only shortcoming here is that it allows a maximum of 5 simultaneous connections on a single license. But you can always add more devices via an already-protected router.

3. Usability

Next, we wanted to find out how user-friendly the two VPNs are. Whether an expert or a beginner, you want a VPN with an easy registration process. Some VPNs have short and precise registration processes, while others require loads of information to get started. Definitely, you want a VPN that you can get started with within minutes. We also assessed the user interface, with our goal being a VPN with a clean user interface and straightforward navigation. So, which brand wins this round?

ExpressVPN is a user-friendly VPN that is easy to get started with. The first step is clicking the Get ExpressVPN button redirecting to the plans page.

Here, select the preferred plan key in your payment details and checkout to complete the order. Now that you have a subscription, create an account, download ExpressVPN, install the software, launch it, and log in. You are now ready to go.

ExpressVPN has a clean and intuitive interface with straightforward navigation and menu. On our usability scale, we give it a 4.5/5.

4. Security


ExpressVPN is just as secure as OpenVPN as it also deploys AES 256-bit encryption for airtight security.

With AES 256-bit keys, it is impossible to decipher the encrypted data.

ExpressVPN takes security a notch higher courtesy of RSA-4096 keys and SHA-512 hashing for authentication.

Security (Protocols)

Another important aspect is the VPN protocols, also known as tunneling methods. VPN protocols are a set of rules that dictate how your traffic is routed via the VPN servers.
Protocols are highly specialized. Some offer airtight security, while others are engineered to offer speeds. Some are meant for specific devices. The rule of thumb here is to use a VPN that supports multiple protocols for versatility. So, how does OpenVPN compare to ExpressVPN?

OpenVPN supports just one protocol; OpenVPN on TCP and UDP as well. The VPN deploys custom-tailored protocols based on SSL and TLS.

If you are in it for security, use TCP, while those who want speed should switch to UDP. This is one of the factors that make OpenVPN unpopular amongst VPN users.

On the other hand, ExpressVPN supports multiple protocols, 8 to be precise. These are PPTP, SSTP, L2TP, IKEv2, OpenVPN, WireGuard, IPSec, and Lightway. PPTP, SSTP, IPSec, L2TP, and IKEv2 are less popular today but still have diverse applications.

OpenVPN is considered the industry standard and is known for uptight security despite slow speeds. There’s also WireGuard which strikes a balance between speeds and security.

Last is Lightway, a proprietary protocol that works just like NordVPN’s NordLynx. It offers excellent security and blazingly fast speeds, making it the best for speed-intensive tasks such as streaming, torrenting, and gaming.

Security Extras

Security is not just about encryption technology and protocols. Several must-have security extras, such as a network kill switch, split tunneling, and IP/DNS leak protection, enhance security. These are basic features that any worthy VPN should have. Besides, there are several other extras to be on the lookout for. In this segment, we have assessed all the security extras that the two VPNs have.

ExpressVPN, on the other hand, packs lots of security extras. First is IP, WebRTC, and DNS Leak Prevention, so you can be sure your IP and DNS queries remain intact.

A network kill switch also springs into action when the VPN connection drops inadvertently. It kills the internet connection, so your traffic won’t be exposed. Another feature is Split Tunnelling which allows you to decide apps whose traffic can be routed via the VPN and traffic that can connect directly to the internet resource.

ExpressVPN also comes with Encrypted Private DNS that bolsters the security of DNS requests and a password manager for your passwords’ security. Last is port forwarding for routers, enhancing network efficiency, speeds, and security.

5. Privacy & Confidentiality

Log Policy

The logging policy should also be on your checklist. While most VPNs are marketed as no-log VPNs, some have been caught logging crucial data that can be used to track or profile users. That said, it’s imperative to assess a VPN’s logging policy. Some questions to ask yourself include, what information is logged, if any?
How is the information collected and stored? Has the logging policy been audited? Well, let’s find out what OpenVPN and ExpressVPN have in store.

On the other hand, ExpressVPN is a no-log VPN. The company doesn’t keep logs of personally identifiable information such as your browsing activity, original and assigned IP address, bandwidth, timestamps, etc.

Interestingly, it deploys RAM-only servers, which delete all data after every reboot alongside Encrypted DNS on all servers, which enhances privacy. The VPN’s log policy has also been audited.


When it comes to privacy, the VPN’s jurisdiction really matters. The best VPN should be based in a privacy-friendly jurisdiction that can’t coerce the provider to share users’ data. Unfortunately, some VPNs are based in countries with no respect for privacy; worse, others are part of global surveillance organizations such as the 5-Eyes, 9-Eyes, and 14-Eyes. VPNs in such countries should be used with caution as there are chances of your privacy being compromised. So, where are OpenVPN and ExpressVPN based?

ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), a privacy-friendly jurisdiction not part of any global surveillance organizations.

You can be sure that your data is safe with ExpressVPN.

6. Server Network and Distribution

The kind of servers a VPN deploys can be the deal maker or breaker, as servers are critical to the reliability and performance of a VPN. Go for a VPN that uses the latest servers with top-of-the-line hardware. Server specialization should also be a top priority.

The best VPNs have servers optimized for speed, security, privacy, and activities such as torrenting and P2P sharing. In addition to server specialization, check the number of servers available and their distribution. Go for a VPN with the highest number of servers distributed across the globe for reliability and unrestricted content access.

Another area where ExpressVPN beats OpenVPN is server network and distribution. While OpenVPN doesn’t have its own servers, ExpressVPN boasts over 3000 highly specialized servers in 94 countries. All these servers run on TrustedServer Technology, which deploys RAM-only servers for efficiency and privacy.

You can use the Smart Location feature to find the best servers for you in any of the 5 regions; Americas, Oceania, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. ExpressVPN’s servers are streaming and P2P-friendly courtesy of the top-of-the-line hardware that offers ultrafast speeds. Just to note, 70% of the servers have 10Gbps ports.

7. Streaming, Torrenting, and Gaming

VPNs do more than just offer online security and privacy. They also facilitate safe and secure content access. There are VPNs for streaming that unblock streaming sites such as Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer, which restrict content based on geolocation.

There are also torrenting and P2P VPNs that facilitate safe torrenting, doing away with the risks of bandwidth throttling, IP bans, and copyright infringement. Last, we have VPNs for gaming that improve overall gaming performance, keep threats at bay, and allow gamers to access geo-restricted gaming content, such as new maps and heroes and discounts. But not all VPNs are up to the task when it comes to content access. So, which VPN wins this round?

If you are into streaming, ExpressVPN is the best choice. The VPN has plenty of servers optimized for streaming, so whether you want to catch the latest TV show on Netflix, Japan, or HBO, it has got you covered.

In our tests, it unblocked several Netflix libraries, including Netflix UK, Japan, and Canada, alongside other streaming sites with geo-restricted content, for example, Hulu, HBO, Amazon Prime Video, Crunchyroll, Disney+, and BBC iPlayer, among others.

Regarding torrenting, ExpressVPN is also a cut above the rest. It offers decent speeds that allowed us to download torrents without any bandwidth throttling or IP bans. Last, ExpressVPN is a good VPN for gaming, especially with WireGuard or Lightway. The speeds were exceptional, and the pings were low for seamless gaming. ExpressVPN is also secure, so gamers can keep DDoS attacks at bay and access geo-restricted content.

🏆 Winner

8. Customer Support

Support should also be a consideration when selecting the best VPN. This is because, from time to time, you may encounter technical issues that require the provider’s intervention. As far as customer support is concerned, go for a provider with multichannel support.

You don’t want to get stuck along the way because of glitches or problems with billing. 24/7 live chat should b a priority here, alongside other channels such as telephone, email, and resources such as guides, tutorials, and FAQ sections.

ExpressVPN is also a great deal when it comes to customer support. The company also has a multichannel support infrastructure with 24/7 live chat as the best channel, as it offers immediate feedback.

ExpressVPN also has an email ticketing system, but you can’t rely on it if you want instant feedback. Response takes some minutes and even hours at times.

Other options to explore include guides, tutorials, and the detailed FAQ section.

9. Plans, Pricing, Free Trials, and Payment Options

In this last round of this OpenVPN vs. ExpressVPN comparison review, we want to find out which of the two providers offers the best bang for the buck. We will assess the available plans and their pricing. Other aspects we will consider include the availability of free trials, free versions of the software, money-back guarantees, and payment methods.

2-year planN/A
1-year plan$8.32 / moN/A
6 months$9.99 / moN/A
monthly plan$12.95 / moN/A

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Speed comparison: is Surfshark faster than PIA VPN?

📥 DownloadExpressVPNOpenVPN
🇺🇸 USA(CA)88Mbps/100Mbps80Mbps/100Mbps
🇨🇦 Canada87Mbps/100Mbps76Mbps/100Mbps
🇬🇧 United Kingdom82Mbps/100Mbps74Mbps/100Mbps
🇩🇪 Germany86Mbps/100Mbps68Mbps/100Mbps
🇫🇷 France78Mbps/100Mbps72Mbps/100Mbps
📤 UploadExpressVPNOpenVPN
🇺🇸 USA(CA)74Mbps/100Mbps61Mbps/100Mbps
🇨🇦 Canada73Mbps/100Mbps51Mbps/100Mbps
🇬🇧 United Kingdom68Mbps/100Mbps58Mbps/100Mbps
🇩🇪 Germany71Mbps/100Mbps55Mbps/100Mbps
🇫🇷 France60Mbps/100Mbps61Mbps/100Mbps

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can ExpressVPN be used in China?

Yes. ExpressVPN is a good VPN for China. You can access any content in China on the Android and iOS apps. For PCs, you have to create a hotspot on your mobile device. However, note the ExpressVPN website is blocked in the country.

2. Is OpenVPN free?

Yes. OpenVPN is free as it’s open-source software. However, there are paid products tailored for enterprises.

3. Is ExpressVPN or NordVPN better?

The two are the best VPNs on the market. Overall, NordVPN is the better option as it offers better value for money. However, if you are looking for speeds, ExpressVPN’s Lightway performs better than NordVPN’s NordLynx.

4. Is ExpressVPN trustworthy?

Yes. ExpressVPN is a trusted VPN brand owned by a reputable company, Kape Technologies. It offers state-of-the-art online security and privacy and fast speeds. It is also reliable when it comes to streaming, torrenting, and gaming.

5. Is OpenVPN any good?

As far as security is concerned, OpenVPN is a good choice. However, as a standalone VPN, it is not worth your time as it’s just a VPN protocol with no servers, so you will still have to spend some money on reliable servers.

Wrapping Up

That’s the end of this OpenVPN vs. ExpressVPN comparison review. So, which VPN should be on top of your wishlist? Candidly, OpenVPN is not a good option, especially if you are not a techie who understands the ins and outs of VPNs. Yes, OpenVPN is free but considering you have to get your own servers and configure it manually, it’s not worth your time.

ExpressVPN is the clear winner, as it is a fully-fledged VPN that offers excellent security and privacy. It also has specialized servers that guarantee fast speeds and reliability when it comes to content access (streaming, torrenting, and gaming). Check out the latest deals and discounts on ExpressVPN.