ExpressVPN Review 2022: Private, Secure (and Pricey) [Tested]

ExpressVPN lives up to its name as a speedy VPN service. It also provides top security and privacy, but at an expensive price compared to other VPNs.
Ben Walker, Author
Catherine McNally, Editor
Last updated Sep 9, 2022
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On ExpressVPN's website

  • Strict no-logs policy with independent audit
  • In-house Lightway protocol for more speed and security
  • More expensive than NordVPN, Surfshark, and CyberGhost

ExpressVPN is arguably the most well-known VPN on the planet, offering blazing fast speeds, top-level security, and an easy-to-use interface. The ExpressVPN app is available on loads of different devices, providing effortless access to unblocking popular streaming services such as Netflix and Disney+.

We like that ExpressVPN has a no-logs policy, and that an independent audit by a team of experts at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) found the ExpressVPN privacy policy to be above board.

We don’t love how expensive ExpressVPN is (starting at $8.32 per month) compared to other popular VPNs, but we understand why you might pay a premium for this quality product. Check out our ExpressVPN review to see its complete list of features, pricing, and test results.

ExpressVPN overview

Price $8.32–$12.95/mo
Free version No
Max # of connected devices 5
# of servers 160 server locations
VPN protocol Lightway, OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP/IPsec
No-logs policy No logs
Headquarters British Virgin Islands
Netflix access Yes

All About Cookies Rating
“ExpressVPN is a top VPN service because it offers just about everything you might need in a VPN, including fast speeds, no logs or tracking, and access to popular streaming services. You also get access to 24/7 customer support and server locations in 94 countries.

ExpressVPN is right for you if you want a high-quality, fast, and secure VPN. But there are cheaper alternatives if you want to save money.”

In this article
ExpressVPN overview
Who is ExpressVPN best for?
ExpressVPN features
ExpressVPN test results
ExpressVPN compatibility
ExpressVPN customer support
ExpressVPN prices and subscriptions
ExpressVPN FAQs
Bottom line: Is ExpressVPN good?

Who is ExpressVPN best for?

  • Recommended for people who want a fast and secure VPN that doesn’t keep logs, offers loads of server locations, and can unblock streaming libraries.

ExpressVPN is a leading virtual private network (VPN) provider because it delivers what it advertises. Namely, you don’t have to sacrifice your internet speed for a secure connection and your online activity is always kept private due to the ExpressVPN no-logs policy.

Any VPN can say it has a strict no-logs policy, but ExpressVPN works to back up its claims with actual proof. This is shown by the ExpressVPN headquarters being located in the British Virgin Islands, a territory with no data retention laws. ExpressVPN also had an independent audit of its privacy policy successfully completed by PwC in 2019.

ExpressVPN might not offer you as many features as some other VPNs (including Surfshark), but it tends to get everything right as far as standard VPN usage. You can’t deny its fast speeds, high levels of encryption, and compatibility with different devices and operating systems.

Note that ExpressVPN is owned by Kape Technologies, which also owns CyberGhost, Private Internet Access (PIA), and ZenMate VPN. As far as we can tell, the Kape acquisition of ExpressVPN in December 2021 hasn’t negatively affected anything regarding the ExpressVPN privacy policy or its everyday services. ExpressVPN still operates independently.

ExpressVPN pros and cons

Pros
  • 160 server locations in 94 countries
  • In-house Lightway protocol for more speed and security
  • Strict no-logs policy with independent audit
  • 24/7 live chat for all (not just customers)
  • Free features such as MediaStreamer and Threat Manager
Cons
  • More expensive than NordVPN, Surfshark, and CyberGhost
  • Missing some features, including malware and antivirus protection

ExpressVPN features

ExpressVPN highlights include its many server locations, especially its high number of available countries (94). ExpressVPN also has a no-logs policy, kill switch, and split tunneling.

The ExpressVPN interface is easy to use, though its minimalistic design on the Windows desktop app is a bit different compared to popular VPNs such as NordVPN and Surfshark. The main difference is you don’t immediately see the server list, which is often the first thing you see on other VPN apps.

This is more of a small difference rather than a glaring issue. But it’s something we noticed immediately and thought other users might find unfamiliar as well.

Server count and countries

  • 160 server locations in 94 countries

ExpressVPN has 160 server locations in 94 countries. That’s a high number of countries compared to other popular VPNs such as NordVPN and Surfshark, and about the same as CyberGhost.

It’s hard to determine exactly what “160 server locations” means comparatively since other VPNs typically provide a number of servers that reaches into the thousands.

ExpressVPN doesn’t specifically say on its website how many individual servers are spread across its 160 server locations (which includes the regions of Asia Pacific, Europe, Americas, and Middle East and Africa).

The ExpressVPN interface requires you to click on the three dots next to the selected server location to open up a list of all available servers.

According to an ExpressVPN customer service representative, each server location can have hundreds of servers.

We chatted with Kianna, a customer support rep for ExpressVPN, in the live chat. Kianna told us that each VPN server location can have hundreds of servers with thousands of IP addresses each.

That could mean ExpressVPN’s server count is over 32,000 (160 x 200 = 32,000), but that’s probably not the case. The ExpressVPN browser extension pages on Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox say that ExpressVPN actually has around 3,000 servers, which seems more appropriate as an average amount compared to other VPNs.

Overall, ExpressVPN offers plenty of server options, which could be especially useful for streaming regional content.

Note that ExpressVPN uses RAM-only servers on its TrustedServer network for increased privacy. These servers don’t write to a hard drive, and data is wiped with every reboot. ExpressVPN also has a small percentage (less than 3%) of virtual servers.

No-logs policy and headquarters

  • Does ExpressVPN keep logs?: No
  • ExpressVPN headquarters: British Virgin Islands

ExpressVPN has a strict no-logs policy as part of its privacy policy. This means it doesn’t track or keep logs of your online activity other than the bare minimum required to operate the VPN.

This no-logs policy is backed up by the fact that ExpressVPN is headquartered in the British Virgin Islands, a territory with no obligatory data retention laws.

The British Virgin Islands also isn’t part of the global surveillance groups of countries known as the Five, Nine, and 14 Eyes Alliances. The U.K. is part of these groups and the British Virgin Islands is a U.K. territory, but it’s a self-governing territory.

ExpressVPN’s no-logs policy was put to the test in 2017 when the Turkish government seized an ExpressVPN server as part of a criminal investigation. But the seizure was believed to lead nowhere since ExpressVPN doesn’t keep customer connection logs because of its privacy policy.

Additionally, the independent security firm, PwC, successfully completed an audit of the ExpressVPN privacy policy in 2019. This is important because any VPN provider can say whatever they want about their privacy policy and logging practices. But having an independent third party confirm the practices offers unbiased proof of trustworthiness.

PricewaterhouseCoopers conducted a third-party audit of ExpressVPN's no-logs policy and found that the company upholds its zero logs promise.

Kill switch

ExpressVPN provides a kill switch feature called “Network Lock.” This feature is designed to block all internet traffic if your VPN connection drops unexpectedly, which helps ensure none of your online activity travels over an unsecured internet connection.

This type of feature could come in handy in a number of situations, including if you switch Wi-Fi networks or you lose power and the internet is down for a minute or two.

We tested Network Lock by connecting to an ExpressVPN server and then putting our laptop in airplane mode. The ExpressVPN app immediately notified us that internet traffic was being blocked to protect our privacy (indicating the kill switch was working).

We tested ExpressVPN's kill switch and it blocked our internet traffic when our connection to the VPN server was interrupted.

When we tried to switch to a different VPN server while already connected to ExpressVPN, we were notified that our internet traffic could be unsecure during the switch. So the kill switch might not function 100% effectively in this type of situation.

While using its kill switch feature, ExpressVPN warned us that our internet traffic may not be encrypted while the VPN reconnects.

Find the ExpressVPN kill switch feature in your VPN options. The toggle to turn it on is in the “General” tab under “Network Lock.”

You can find the ExpressVPN kill switch feature under the Options menu and in the General tab. You can turn it on in the Network Lock section.

Split tunneling

ExpressVPN offers a split tunneling feature that allows you to select which apps use the VPN. This can be useful if you want certain apps to bypass the VPN connection for potentially faster internet speeds.

Find the ExpressVPN split tunneling feature in your VPN options in the “General” tab under “Split tunneling.”

The ExpressVPN split tunneling feature allows you to require all apps to use the encrypted VPN connection or designate certain apps to not use the VPN connection.

Encryption

ExpressVPN uses AES-256 encryption, which is considered the best encryption available. It’s estimated that it would take billions of years to crack AES-256 encryption.

VPN protocol

ExpressVPN uses a variety of VPN protocols, including:

  • Lightway
  • OpenVPN
  • IKEv2
  • L2TP/IPsec

Choosing your protocol is set to automatic by default, but you can manually select a protocol in your VPN options in the “Protocol” tab. This includes choosing between UDP and TCP advanced options

ExpressVPN offers a lot of protocols, including Lightway, OpenVPN, IKEv2, and L2TP/IPsec.

You should typically use the Lightway and OpenVPN protocols of the available options because they often provide the best security and fastest speeds. ExpressVPN recommends always choosing Lightway first, which is its in-house, open-source VPN protocol built for quick and secure connections.

L2TP/IPsec is less secure and not recommended even though it’s one of the available options.

Other notable features

MediaStreamer

MediaStreamer is a Smart DNS feature from ExpressVPN that could help you spoof your location on devices where you can’t install VPN software.

For example, you might consider using MediaStreamer on a Playstation or Xbox gaming console to stream regional content from different streaming services. You might also use MediaStreamer on a smart TV that doesn’t have access to the ExpressVPN app.

You likely wouldn’t need to use MediaStreamer with a device that already has access to ExpressVPN via its iOS or Android app or other type of app.

You can set up MediaStreamer for different devices by first registering your IP address for MediaStreamer on the ExpressVPN website.

Keep in mind that MediaStreamer isn’t a VPN, so it doesn’t provide VPN security or privacy benefits.

Threat Manager

ExpressVPN subscriptions include access to Threat Manager, a service that’s designed to block apps and websites from tracking your online activity or engaging in other similar activities.

Threat Manager does this by preventing your device from communicating with any server that’s on a constantly updated “blocklist” of known trackers and malicious sites. Threat Manager is relatively new and currently only available for iOS, macOS, and Linux.

Using an iPhone, we were able to open the ExpressVPN app and easily find where to turn on Threat Manager in the VPN settings.

The ExpressVPN threat manager feature is found in the settings menu.

Note that Threat Manager is only active if you’re connected to the VPN.

The ExpressVPN threat manager feature blocks trackers and malicious sites while you browse online or use apps on your device. It's only active if your VPN is connected.

ExpressVPN test results

We conducted three tests — a speed test, a DNS leak test, and a WebRTC leak test — to see if ExpressVPN performs as advertised and deserves our recommendation. Specifically, we conducted these tests to see if using ExpressVPN affects your internet speeds or privacy.

ExpressVPN passed all three tests. Here are the results.

Speed tests

  • ExpressVPN speed test results: ExpressVPN passed its speed tests.

We run speed tests to see whether a VPN connection negatively affects your internet speeds. Since this is often the case with any VPN, we only consider significant impacts (that fall outside a reasonable drop off in speed) in our assessment.

We tested internet speeds with ExpressVPN by first running a speed test without the VPN connected and then running multiple speed tests while connected to different VPN servers worldwide.

These tests were run using a MacBook Pro running macOS Monterey from a physical location in the U.S.

Our ExpressVPN speed test showed only a small drop in download speed when we connected to a Toronto, Canada, server.

ExpressVPN speed test results

Test type No VPN US to US US to EU US to AU
Download speed 203.8 Mbps 177.7 Mbps 139.1 Mbps 115.6 Mbps
Upload speed 5.7 Mbps 4.9 Mbps 4.8 Mbps 4.3 Mbps
Latency (ping) 134 156 343 517
Download speed % difference N/A 14% 38% 55%
Upload speed % difference N/A 15% 17% 28%
Latency % difference N/A 15% 88% 118%
Test results as of 8/30/2022.

As expected with any VPN provider, the internet speeds dropped the farther the VPN server was from our physical location in the U.S. This was especially true as we connected to servers in Europe and Australia, which isn’t a surprise considering the extreme distance.

Despite the distance to some servers, ExpressVPN still functioned well and passed its speed tests successfully. We didn’t have any trouble connecting to any of the servers, though we noticed there weren’t as many options in the U.K. compared to some other VPNs we’ve tested. At the time, we only saw four U.K. servers, all in the London area.

We noticed ExpressVPN's UK server locations were limited to four London-area servers.

ExpressVPN offers an extensive list of “Recommended Locations,” but it’s not apparent why these server locations are recommended. The assumption is that these are some of the fastest servers available in different countries.

ExpressVPN provides a list of recommended servers in countries like the UK, US, Germany, the Netherlands, and France.

You can also select an option for a “Smart Location,” which automatically picks a VPN server location for you based on download speed, latency, and distance. This typically means choosing a nearby server location.

ExpressVPN has the option to choose a smart location server, which connects you to the fastest server based on your current location.

ExpressVPN Netflix tests

  • ExpressVPN Netflix test results: ExpressVPN passed its Netflix tests.

If you want to watch Netflix with ExpressVPN, you’re in luck. We tested ExpressVPN to see if we could use its VPN to access Netflix regional content in different countries, including the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Australia.

Accessing Netflix and content libraries from other streaming services is a common use for VPNs, so we wanted to make sure ExpressVPN performed in this category. And perform it did. We were able to access Netflix with ExpressVPN in all these server locations without any significant errors, buffering, or lag.

We used ExpressVPN to connect to a Canadian VPN server and watched Booksmart on Canadian Netflix.

ExpressVPN Netflix test results

US to US US to UK US to Canada US to AU
Did it work with Netflix?
Test results as of 07/272022.

We did experience a slight delay connecting to a few Toronto servers, but this was quickly remedied when we switched to a Montreal server.

Note that ExpressVPN also advertises its compatibility with other streaming services such as Hulu, Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, Discovery+, Spotify, ITV Player, and more. We personally found ExpressVPN worked with many other streaming services in our ExpressVPN firestick review below.

ExpressVPN says it works with Hulu, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, Prime Video, and other streaming services.

DNS leak tests

  • ExpressVPN DNS leak test results: ExpressVPN passed its DNS leak tests.

We do a domain name system (DNS) leak test to see whether any private information is being leaked online. We use the DNS Leak Test service from BrowserLeaks to test whether we had any DNS leaks before and after connecting to ExpressVPN.

Before connecting to ExpressVPN, we were able to see our IP address, internet service provider (ISP), and server locations. After connecting to the VPN, we could only see information associated with the VPN servers. This means leak protection was working because our information was masked.

WebRTC leak tests

  • ExpressVPN WebRTC leak test results: ExpressVPN passed its WebRTC leak tests.

WebRTC leaks are vulnerabilities in certain web browsers and applications that could expose your IP address. We used the BrowserLeaks website to test for WebRTC leaks before and after connecting to ExpressVPN.

We were able to see our true IP address before connecting to ExpressVPN. After connecting to the VPN, our true IP address was successfully masked.

ExpressVPN compatibility

You can set up ExpressVPN on loads of different devices, operating systems, mobile apps, and browser extensions, including:

  • Windows 7+
  • macOS 10.13+
  • Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, Arch, Raspberry Pi, and Linux Mint
  • iOS 12+ (iPhone, iPad, and iPod via Apple App Store)
  • Android 5.0+
  • Google Chrome
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Microsoft Edge
  • Chromebook
  • Fire TV
  • Kindle Fire
  • Apple TV
  • Android TV
  • Xbox
  • Playstation
  • Home or office router
  • Smart home devices

ExpressVPN router app

You can set up ExpressVPN on a router one of two ways:

  1. Manually configuring a compatible router
  2. Buying a compatible VPN router

You typically need some advanced technical knowledge to correctly configure VPN software on an existing router. But ExpressVPN can help you pinpoint compatible routers and download the correct firmware. Then it’s down to using the ExpressVPN setup tutorials to configure your router.

For a potentially easier strategy, consider buying a VPN router. FlashRouters sells routers that are already compatible with ExpressVPN, with no configuration required.

ExpressVPN Fire TV Stick review

The Amazon Fire TV Stick is a useful streaming device. We personally use it at home or while traveling since all it typically needs is power and an internet connection — so plugging it in to a hotel or Airbnb TV is often a piece of cake.

But traveling out of the country presents the same issues with streaming services that you’d find on other devices. Namely, does the Fire TV Stick work with different VPN services to provide a simple and seamless streaming experience?

With ExpressVPN and the streaming services we tested — Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, Disney+, Peacock, and Paramount+ — we found it did. Of course, your experience could vary depending on your location and bandwidth, but we had a good experience connecting to a U.S. server from an Airbnb (with 30+ Mbps internet speeds) in England.

Here are the steps to set up ExpressVPN on Amazon Fire Stick and Amazon Fire TV.

ExpressVPN customer support

ExpressVPN offers customer support options through its support center, email, and 24/7 live chat on its website. You can also participate in its bug bounty program or provide feedback through in-app support tickets.

You can email ExpressVPN at [email protected].

The live chat button can be found in the bottom right corner of most pages on the ExpressVPN website. Simply click it to start chatting with a live customer service representative.

You can chat with ExpressVPN customer support by clicking the green chat button in the bottom right of the support page.

You can also interact with the ExpressVPN team via its social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

The ExpressVPN YouTube channel could be helpful if you want to catch some of the latest ExpressVPN updates. But we recommend checking out the ExpressVPN YouTube if you’re more of a visual learner and could likely benefit from video tutorials. For example, there’s a full playlist of router tutorials if you want to set up ExpressVPN on a Netgear, Linksys, or Asus router.

Live chat

We initiated a live chat with a customer representative to judge the overall customer support experience.

We were connected to Tristan in about a minute or less and they set to responding to our query about setting up ExpressVPN on an Amazon Fire TV Stick. They asked whether we preferred being walked through the steps or having the steps sent via email, which we thought was a nice touch.

We opted to walk through the steps. It’s important to note that Tristan actually typed out the steps in the chat with us rather than refer us to a guide or tutorial that surely exists.

We chatted with Tristan, an ExpressVPN customer support rep, who helped us set up our VPN on our Amazon Fire TV Stick.

Upon receiving the installation instructions, we received another helpful response for a question that we hadn’t actually asked yet. Tristan let us know that connecting to any server location would do to get streaming services to work.

Certain VPNs such as CyberGhost recommend specific servers for different streaming services, but not ExpressVPN.

Tristan told us that any ExpressVPN server should allow us to watch any streaming service.

Tristan was very helpful, responsive, and easy to understand. Overall, the 24/7 customer service experience was successful.

Support center

The ExpressVPN support center offers troubleshooting guides, instructional videos and articles, and a “Contact Support” button (which just opens up the live chat feature). You can also use the search field to find information related to your search term(s).

SCREENSHOT - CUSTOMER SUPPORT - ExpressVPN-review_support-center.jpeg

The support center could be helpful in certain situations, but I’ve often found using a search engine is quicker. For example, typing set up playstation ExpressVPN into Google will probably bring me directly to the article I want. This bypasses the need to head to the support center first to type in my query.

Bugs and support tickets

ExpressVPN offers a bug bounty program on bugcrowd for ethical hackers to find vulnerabilities in the ExpressVPN system. If you find a legit vulnerability, you get paid between $150 to $2,500.

ExpressVPN offers a bug bounty, where you can submit info about a bug and earn between $150 to $2,500 per vulnerability.

There’s also a $100,000 one-time award for finding a specific vulnerability within the ExpressVPN servers.

You can also open support tickets within the ExpressVPN app for everyday bugs and feedback. Navigate to “Help & Support” and select the “Contact Support” option. Then you can type out a message and include diagnostic information.

You can submit a support ticket directly from the ExpressVPN app. Go to the main menu and choose Help & Support, then click Contact Support to open the ticket window.

ExpressVPN prices and subscriptions

ExpressVPN offers subscription plans for one month, six months, and 12 months (one year). All three plans offer the same security features, so the only difference is the cost. Similar to other VPNs, the longer your subscription, the less you’ll end up paying on a monthly basis for ExpressVPN.

The cheapest option for ExpressVPN: One-year plan for $8.32 per month

The most expensive option for ExpressVPN: Monthly plan for $12.95 per month

Paying $8.32 per month might not seem like much compared to everyday subscription services such as Netflix (up to $19.99 per month) or Amazon Prime ($14.99 per month). But here’s how ExpressVPN stacks up against other popular VPNs and their lowest monthly prices:

As you can see, ExpressVPN is at least double the price of the next closest competitor on this list. It’s also more than triple the cost of Surfshark and CyberGhost.

It’s likely worth paying the additional cost if you want the reliability and fast speeds of ExpressVPN. It’s a simple VPN to use that accomplishes primary VPN tasks such as unblocking streaming services with ease. Plus it offers access to loads of worldwide servers.

But if you want to save money on a VPN, there are plenty of lower-priced alternatives.

How much does ExpressVPN cost?

1 month 6 months
Best Price
12 months
Price per month $12.95/mo $9.99/mo $8.32/mo
Price per year $155.40 $119.88 $99.84
Prices as of 8/29/22.

ExpressVPN payment options include:

  • Credit card (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover)
  • PayPal
  • Bitcoin
  • Paymentwall

ExpressVPN supports a ton of different payment methods, including PayPal, bitcoin, Mint, UnionPay, and more.

ExpressVPN offers a 30-day-money-back guarantee. Contact ExpressVPN via live chat or email for a full refund if you're not 100% satisfied within the first 30 days.

ExpressVPN FAQs


+

Is ExpressVPN really free?

No, ExpressVPN isn’t free. It’s one of the most expensive services among popular VPNs, starting at $8.32 per month. But you can try ExpressVPN for up to 30 days because of its 30-day-money-back guarantee. If you’re not satisfied with the service, get a full refund in the first 30 days.


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Is ExpressVPN legit?

Yes, ExpressVPN is a legit VPN that’s considered trustworthy and secure. It has a no-logs policy and its headquarters are located in an area (British Virgin Islands) with no data retention laws. You can also count on ExpressVPN to have fast speeds, including if you want to use it for different streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu.


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What are the cons of ExpressVPN?

The main con of ExpressVPN is its high cost compared to other popular VPN services such as IPVanish, NordVPN, Surfshark, and CyberGhost. Here are the starting monthly costs for each of these VPNs at the time of writing:

  • ExpressVPN: $8.32 per month
  • IPVanish: $3.99 per month
  • NordVPN: $3.29 per month
  • Surfshark: $2.49 per month
  • CyberGhost: $2.29 per month

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Is ExpressVPN safe and legal?

Yes, ExpressVPN is safe and legal to use. It has a no-logs policy and its headquarters location in the British Virgin Islands means there aren’t any data retention laws to worry about. But is ExpressVPN legal to use everywhere? Mostly, yes. Though, certain countries have specific laws about VPN usage, so be sure to research laws before traveling.


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Is ExpressVPN worth the money?

Yes, ExpressVPN is worth the money for its fast speeds, reliability, and high levels of security and privacy. It can also be used to unblock regional content for different streaming services. But you might consider Surfshark for its additional features, lower cost, and unlimited simultaneous users.

Bottom line: Is ExpressVPN good?

Yes, ExpressVPN is a good service that offers everything you need in a VPN, including fast speeds, a no-logs policy, and access to popular streaming services. You have plenty of server locations to choose from and you can easily access features such as a kill switch and split tunneling.

ExpressVPN is one of our top recommendations if you want both speed and security, as shown by our speed tests and the available VPN protocols.

Learn More
On ExpressVPN's website

  • Strict no-logs policy with independent audit
  • In-house Lightway protocol for more speed and security
  • More expensive than NordVPN, Surfshark, and CyberGhost

But ExpressVPN has a much higher cost compared to basically every other popular VPN, including NordVPN and CyberGhost. And, in some cases, other VPNs such as Surfshark offer more features at a lower cost. For an affordable and trustworthy alternative, check out our NordVPN review.

Author Details
Ben Walker
Ben Walker is a writer at All About Cookies with a passion for all things internet and technology, whether it's using VPNs while away from home or organizing his life with password managers.