Who is really offering privacy?
LOCATION AND JURISDICTION
- Astrill VPN
Astrill Systems Corp founded Astrill VPN in 2009. This company is registered in Seychelles, an east-Africa privacy-friendly country outside the 5, 9, or 15 Eyes alliances.
ExpressVPN is also founded in 2009, by Express VPN International Ltd, a company that is registered in the British Virgin Islands, which is also a privacy-friendly country outside the 5, 9, or 14 Eyes alliances. But it remains a British overseas territory, one of the 5-Eyes countries.
- Astrill VPN
First of all, they may ask you about your phone number and address (depending on your payment method).
Second, during your active session, they collect your real IP address. Yes, they remove it once disconnected, but why you get it in the first place.
Device fingerprint is the information like the OS version, monitor resolution, hardware, browser version, language ….
How I found this?
A user on the internet shared that when he tried to get the free trial using a phone number and an email address that he never used before, he was asked to upgrade his account because he already benefited from the free trial.
When he asked Astrill support, they replied at him saying that a device fingerprint was formed and stored for situations like this.
Comparing the two privacy policies, I clearly see that the ExpressVPN collect less information about me.
More than that, the history is also reassuring us about ExpressVPN, because when the Turkish authorities tried to find user information on one of ExpressVPN’s servers in 2017, they were unable because simply there is no stored information. And that is due to TrustedServer technology used, which allows servers to run on RAM and not on SSDs for example.
Who Can Unlock Netflix?
Netflix is what VPNs struggle the most to unblock.
- Astrill VPN
Because it’s not yet available for me in Morocco, when I try to access the kids-show Shaun the Sheep: Adventures from Mossy Bottom, all I get is this reminder page.
I tested unblocking it the first time using the “Los Angeles A” server, but I didn’t succeed.
But directly after I tried using the next server which is “Los Angeles B”, the page started showing me the play button.
With ExpressVPN updating its 3000+ servers constantly, I’ve succeeded in unblocking Netflix US, UK, Canada, France, and Germany from the first try.
Who is the fastest
Speed is one of the major things to look at because if a VPN decrease your internet speed too much, you will be incapable of watching videos without buffering.
Who has the most coverage?
Astrill offers a non-disclosed servers number in 109 cities across 60 countries.
Internet users shared on the internet that they have 365 servers. Even if it’s not the exact number, I feel that it’s closer to the truth, because if Astill has a bigger servers number it would be promoting it.
The majority of Astrill’s servers are concentric in:
Astrill is limited in servers in:
- Africa: 2 locations
- Australia: 5 locations
Another plus is that Astrill offers sometimes the ability to get a Chinese IP address from outside China.
This is very useful if you are Chinese abroad and you want to watch local services like TV.Sohu.com, CNTV.cn, V.Baidu.com, Video.sina.com.cn, V.qq.com, Tudou.com, IQiYi.com, Youku.com, etc.
ExpressVPN offers 3000+ servers in 160 cities across 60 countries.
The majority of ExpressVPN’s servers are concentric in:
ExpressVPN is limited in servers in :
- Africa: 4 locations
- Australia: 5 locations
Unfortunately, ExpressVPN doesn’t offer the ability to get a Chinese IP address from outside China.
Who is the Safest VPN provider?
VPN safety is linked to how much security is implemented in order to keep my data safe.
Astrill offers 4 protocols (OpenWeb, StealthVPN, Wireguard, and OpenVPN).
ExpressVPN offers 6 protocols (Lightway, OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, IPsec, IKEv2, and PPTP).
Both companies have developed their own protocol to bypass countries’ censorship.
Astrill has StealthVPN and ExpressVPN has Lightway.
It’s hard to compare protocols because available protocols depend on the used device/system and the location.
Encryption is what makes your data useless if it falls into the hands of other parties.
Both companies offer the high-standard encryption AES-256, used by banks and governments.
- DNS LEAK TEST:
This is the part that will make the difference clearer between these two VPNs.
With Astrill, my real identity (IP address, approximate location) was leaking to the web tool Perfect Privacy.
This is only happening when I’m connected using OpenVPN, StealthVPN, or WireGuard protocol (3 out of the 4 available protocols).
The same thing happens when I’m using another leaking test website (DNSleaktest.com).
I’ve tested ExpressVPN leaks using 4 different leaking test web tools (IPLeak.net, Perfect-Privacy.com, BrowserLeaks, IPX.ac).
As you see from the photos above, ExpressVPN didn’t leak my approximate location or IP address.
- KILL-SWITCH/APP GUARD:
Kill-switch is what blocks your real information from leaking when your internet reconnects and your VPN still try to connect you to a server.
Even though some VPNs don’t have it, I see it as a required security feature in every VPN software.
Fortunately, both of our competitors have it.
At the time of writing this review, I didn’t test yet the reliability of these kill-switches.
Who Is the Best for Torrenting
Fortunately, both VPNs support torrenting.
For speed, both have excellent speeds, Astrill has only 10% and ExpressVPN only 16% of internet speed decrease.
The first thing to mention is that the kill-switch feature is by default disabled on Astrill and enabled on ExpressVPN.
That means if I started torrenting directly after installing Astrill, my real identity will be exposed.
In a nutshell, Astrill requires some trial and error at first, ExpressVPN is directly easy to use and to understand.
What I prefer in ExpressVPN/hate in Astrill:
- Getting a notification on my Mac every time I got connected or disconnected from a server. Not available in Astrill.
- Choosing a server from the dropdown list is harder with Astrill because the window size is small.
What I prefer in Astrill/hate in ExpressVPN:
- If I hover with my mouse over a feature, I get a short explanation.
I’ve tested the customer support of our competitors and both of them are very good.
Astrill has a 24/7 live chat that joined the conversation after only 15 seconds of me waiting.
It offers also a ticket system that replied to me after only 18 minutes.
There are FAQs, video tutorials, and manuals if you want to know how to do something.
I’ve used ExpressVPN’s 24/7 live chat multiple times, and every time the agent joins the conversation very fast (under 15 seconds).
They have also a ticket system, video tutorials, instructions, and troubleshooting guides.
Prices, Free Trial, and Refund
Astrill offer 3 plans :
- The monthly plan at $20
- The semi-annually at $90 ($15/month)
- The annually at $120 ($10/month)
ExpressVPN offer also 3 plans :
- The monthly plan at $12.95
- The semi-annually at $59.95 ($9.99/month)
- The annually at $99.95 ($8.32/month).
Other than this, if you use my affiliate link, I will get a commission and you will be gifted 3 months for free if you opt for the 1-year plan.
Both options are above average, but between these two, ExpressVPN offers the best value for your money.
Astrill offers a 7-days free trial that does not require your credit card, does not have any data limit but some servers like the Chinese ones are not included.
ExpressVPN does not offer a free trial.
Astrill does not offer a full or partial refund.
With ExpressVPN, all subscriptions are guaranteed with a 30-days money-back guarantee that I’ve tested and it’s working for sure.
Even though they state in their refund policy that they will not ask me any questions, it’s not the case because they did, but directly after resending them the same request, they inform me that they forwarded it to the billing team.
Astrill VPN vs ExpressVPN: The Winner Is …
Definitely, I will recommend ExpressVPN.