ExpressVPN vs ZenMate - Comparing Performance, Speed, Prices
Internet users all around the world keep their data secure with a Virtual Private Network (VPN), and so can you! Subscribing and activating a VPN is easy, but finding the right provider can be a little more challenging. Read our review of two VPN giants, ExpressVPN and ZenMate, to find out more!
Due to the universal need for online privacy and unrestricted internet connections, there are a seemingly endless number of VPN companies which all offer comparable services. Most deliver better privacy and access to geo-restricted content, but two popular providers, ExpressVPN and ZenMate, stand out. Our tech experts put the two VPNs up to the test to examine the pros and cons of both brands.
Our team found some interesting results during our VPN comparison and we’ve found a clear winner. In the end, we found that ExpressVPN takes a slight edge. However, ZenMate offers some impressive benefits and it was a close race all the way. We encourage you to read our review below to find out more about these VPN giants for yourself!
How We Compare VPN Services
To effectively compare VPN providers, we examine a wide range of categories that are crucial to top services. These include the availability of servers, privacy and security protections, pricing, and other key features that add value to a VPN.
While any VPN will slow down your browsing performance, there are many factors that will influence the extent to which it will be impacted. When it comes to speed, ZenMate’s top speed is almost unparalleled, though it has been reportedly unreliable and can change drastically day-to-day. ZenMate’s lag is probably due to its low list of servers, which only spans across 30 locations. ExpressVPN, on the other hand, has over 1700 servers across 94 countries. Mac, PC, iOS, and Android users alike can stay secured across multiple devices, with ExpressVPN allowing up to three connections at once, and ZenMate coming in at five devices.
Available Streaming Services. VPNs are a great way to access streaming services if they are blocked by pesky geo-restrictions. We’ve found that popular platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Pandora can be unlocked by both ExpressVPN and ZenMate, while ExpressVPN also works with Spotify. ZenMate’s unreliable speed does take a toll on users, however, as inconsistent speed is not ideal for streaming content.
Mobile Apps. Smartphones and tablets also need protection when connecting to unsecured networks. Your VPN of choice should include a mobile application so you can stay protected across multiple devices. Fortunately, whether you are an iPhone or Android user, an app is available for download for both ExpressVPN and ZenMate to keep your device protected on the go.
Protocols. When customers have multiple encryption protocols available, they can create the best experience possible. Whether a user prefers fast connection speeds to the highest security level, or they are willing to sacrifice speed for better protection, options are important. ZenMate is a bit more limited, offering just IPSec/L2TP, whereas ExpressVPN also hosts OpenVPN protocols (the industry standard), and PPTP as well.
Kill Switch. A kill switch is an extra security measure which will shut off the server connection should the VPN lapse in coverage. This is a standard feature available from both ExpressVPN and ZenMate, granting users an extra degree of protection. However, it is worth it to note that at the time of writing this, ZenMate’s kill switch was only available for the Desktop Client for Windows.
Data Logging. VPN logs are the enemy of user privacy. Fortunately, ExpressVPN and ZenMate have a strict no logging policy, which strongly benefits users. The less you are tracked, the more private and secure your browsing can ultimately be.
Split Tunneling. The split tunneling solution allows you to specify which programs run through the VPN and which do not. Split tunneling is offered by ExpressVPN while unfortunately is not available from ZenMate.
Security and Privacy
While both 256-bit and 128-bit encryption offer different merits, it is generally believed that the former is more robust than the latter. ExpressVPN runs its platform with AES-256 encryption, while ZenMate instead deploys 128-bit, which offers slightly faster connection speeds but weaker protections.
It is important for a VPN company to offer strong service and support to help with any problem the customer may encounter with the software. We appreciated that in addition to the extensive FAQ and troubleshooting section both companies host on their websites, ZenMate took it a step further with its “ZenMate Academy” section. ZenMate Academy provides a wealth of information regarding all aspects of internet security. However, ZenMate does not offer much more in terms of help, like the 24/7 chat feature on ExpressVPN’s website. The latter also provided outstanding support and rates highly for customer satisfaction.
Often the price you pay for a VPN is in line with the features of the product you receive. In that regard, ZenMate is relatively more affordable than ExpressVPN. ZenMate can be purchased for a monthly subscription of $8.99, as a 6-month package for $44.99, or as an annual package for $59.99. To accompany its services, ZenMate provides a 30-day money back guarantee. ZenMate does offer a free VPN option, but it is limited in terms of server locations, speed, and available platforms.
On the other hand, the heftier product can be purchased for substantially more. ExpressVPN goes for either $9.99 per month, $59.95 for 6 months, or $99.95 for a year-long subscription, with all packages including a 30-day money back guarantee.
ExpressVPN Take the Crown
Both ExpressVPN and ZenMate each have a lot to offer. ZenMate is more affordable, while still providing basic VPN security along with fast connection speeds, making it a good choice for surfers less interested in extra features. When it comes down to it though, our VPN services comparison showed that ExpressVPN is the winner thanks to its massive server list, fast speeds, and top-flight security. In our view the superior customer service, higher server count, and overall speed reliability more than accounts for the extra cost of this high-quality VPN solution. Let us know how you feel about the VPNs on our list, and if you’d like to see us compare two other brands!