CyberGhost, ExpressVPN, and Surfshark are all used for streaming, anonymity, and enhanced security for individuals, professionals, and businesses. Our VPN comparison will help you choose the best service that matches your need.
Quick Summary – Which VPN is the Best?
We reviewed these VPNs so you don’t have to spend hours figuring out the best one for you. Each VPN has its Unique Selling Point, but they all come with their own limitations as well. Let’s begin with a quick review of each service.
Surfshark has positioned itself as a general VPN suitable for various uses. For starters, it offers top-tier encryption, protects against WEBRTC leaks, and offers responsive servers that support region-free streaming. Surfshark is the right balance between cost and value. It’s not too expensive and still has plenty of features. Therefore, we’ve ranked Surfshark as the second-best VPN on our list.
ExpressVPN is one of the best selling VPNs in the world. It has an extensive infrastructure of servers across the world and offers excellent features that attract professionals and average users alike. It excels in offshore unblocking, especially in countries with heavy censorship. With its superior speeds and professional-grade infrastructure, ExpressVPN is the second-best VPN in our list of VPN providers for 2021. You can find out more about it in our detailed ExpressVPN review.
CyberGhost is one of the best value options for VPN users. It offers a stable connection at astonishingly low prices. Competitive pricing makes CyberGhost an excellent option for streaming and casual browsing, without the bells and whistles of higher-tiered VPNs that cost more. You can find out more about it in our detailed CyberGhost VPN review.
CyberGhost vs ExpressVPN vs Surfshark – Price Comparison
VPN service providers use various pricing strategies depending on their features and target audience. Let’s take a look at the pricing for CyberGhost, ExpressVPN, and Surfshark.
|Free trial||1-day trial available||7-day trial only for iOS & Android||7-day trial only for iOS & Android|
|6 month||N/A||$9.99/month (23% off))||$6.49/month|
|15-month||N/A||$6.67/month (49% off)||N/A|
|2-year||$3.49/month||N/A||$2.49/month (81% off)|
|3-year||$2.25/month (83% off)||N/A||N/A|
We analyzed the prices of each VPN and found a few things worth pointing out. Every VPN has a base monthly rate, but most people opt for longer-term deals to get some serious discounts.
Let’s start with ExpressVPN, it’s $12.95/month but offers a 49% discount for its 15 months package. Similarly, CyberGhost has a 3-year plan at an 83% discount. This is a limited time stay-at-home deal that also comes with +3 extra months. If you plan on using CyberGhost, hurry up before this deal expires. Nothing beats Surfshark though, which offers a whopping 81% discount on their 2-year at a meager $2.49/month.
Moreover, Surfshark has an additional “Activation Beyond VPN” service at $0.99/month, while CyberGhost has an add-on dedicated IP option at $5/month. ExpressVPN, on the other hand, offers a complete package with no add-on services at extra cost.
The Winner: When it comes to the price, Surfshark takes the lead with the lowest price and maximum number of features.
CyberGhost vs ExpressVPN vs Surfshark – Speed Test
The inherent function of VPNs is to redirect your traffic. So, your internet speed is bound to take a hit in most cases. Most VPNs claim to maintain your bandwidth. But you shouldn’t just take their word for it, because we have analyzed the speeds of each VPN on our list.
Our goal is to give you an idea about the speeds you should expect from each VPN. Therefore, our methodology was quite straight forward. We began our benchmark by first conducting a test for our ISP without any VPN. Next, we conducted a speed test for each VPN to gauge how much speed was lost due to it.
But VPN performance can vary considerably depending on the proximity of your server, response times, and countless other factors.
The test began with a benchmark for our base speed.
We are testing on a 10mb connection with 10.10 Mbps download speed, 10.23 Mbps up speed, and a 2 ms ping.
CyberGhost maintains a 7.12 Mbps download and a 3.53 Mbps upload speed. It retains about 70% of the bandwidth, which is decent enough for a budget VPN. But it’s the slowest VPN on our list.
Express VPN retains more than 95% of our internet’s bandwidth, which is a stellar performance for a VPN. Moreover, it also offers the highest upload speed and the best latency among the three VPNs. Surely, ExpressVPN provides premium performance.
Surfshark prides itself as a jack of all trades, and it performs just as promised. Providing some of the best speeds for both download and upload, Surfshark is one of the best value VPNs available. It stands behind ExpressVPN when it comes to the connection speeds.
The Winner: Looking at the speeds, ExpressVPN takes the lead due to its high download speed and lowest latency. Surfshark stayed pretty close to the winner with 9.29 Mbps download speed.
CyberGhost vs ExpressVPN vs Surfshark – Ease of use (Setup/Interface)
Accessibility for consumers is key for every software. Therefore, we have compared each of the VPNs based on the user interface, ease of use, and overall design.
The interface is intuitive. The start screen lets choose between the best overall server or best server for streaming. Alternatively, users can access the full range of servers by clicking the yellow tab on the left, as shown above.
Connection features offer extra privacy layers as well as an ad blocker.
The settings section allows users to change their preferences, access connection settings, and choose their preferred security protocol, among other things.
Connecting to ExpressVPN is super intuitive. Just press the button and voila! Your connection is now secure.
For users that rely more on tweaking with the settings, there is an option to manually select the servers.
ExpressVPN also offers plenty of options for various user preferences. Users can choose when the program starts, which VPN servers it connects to, and toggle the built-in internet killswitch.
The UI for Surfshark is user friendly, intuitive, and features a dark mode.
It does offer a lot of functionality for users who want more control. For instance, users can choose between servers based on location, choose a static IP, and enable Multihop servers.
Moreover, Surfshark also features an ad blocker, app exceptions, as well as Privacy beyond VPN features that we will discuss in a bit.
The Winner: Surfshark has by far the most modern design. Its dark mode makes the app even more elegant. Therefore, we rank Surfshark as the VPN with the best User Interface/Setup.
Moreover, it offers a plethora of features easily accessible to any user without making the app too complicated. CyberGhost comes in second with a neat white background desktop app.
CyberGhost vs ExpressVPN vs Surfshark – Features comparison
|AES 256 bit encryption||✓||✓||✓|
|Cross-platform compatibility||Desktops, mobile, TVs, routers, and consoles.||Desktops, mobile, TVs, tablets, and routers||Desktops, mobile, TVs, routers, and consoles.|
|No Logs Policy||✓||✓||✓|
|Automatic Kill Switch||⨯||✓||✓|
|WEBRTC Leak Protection||✓||✓||✓|
|Multi-logins||7 Devices||6 Devices||Unlimited devices|
Cyberghost claims to “Bypass geo-restrictions, closedowns, and digital censorship with our VPN service.” This makes CyberGhost ideal for accessing blocked websites, especially in heavily censored regions. Moreover, it allows users to play region-locked games, get better online deals, stream sporting events, stream TV shows & movies, and download files via torrents. Each VPN has its unique advantages. Let’s discuss each of them in detail:
Another place where CyberGhost shines is its multi-platform compatibility and support for up to 7 devices for every account. It supports Windows, macOS, Linux, Android/iOS, Smart TVs, as well as Playstation and Xbox.
ExpressVPN also offers most of these features, and then some more. For starters, ExpressVPN has more security protocols than most VPNs. You can check the full list here. This gives users the liberty to optimize their VPN to their needs. Unlike CyberGhost, ExpressVPN is not compatible with consoles, but it supports more professional use cases, such as major routers, as well as NAS storage systems such as QNAP, Synology, and ASUSTOR.
Surfshark strikes the perfect balance between cost and features. It provides a stable connection and offers a range of features most consumers would use. The Privacy Beyond VPN package provides extra protection:
- HackLock: Alerts you when an unauthorized person is about to access your emails or passwords.
- BlindSearch: Allows you to enter a “real” incognito where your activity is hidden.
The Winner: After performing an in-depth comparison, we came to the conclusion that Surfshark provides the best feature set for professionals as well as average consumers alike. It leads the way owing to the plethora of features it offers. ExpressVPN is second in line due to it’s high price tag that goes with the same features offered by Surfshark.
A lot of people use VPNs when streaming. In fact, as much as 29% of all VPN users access streaming sites like Netflix on a monthly basis. Therefore, we conducted our own comparison to check how CyberGhost, ExpressVPN, and Surfshark fare when it comes to unblocking and streaming.
As expected, CyberGhost unlocks Netflix USA with ease. We also tried other streaming services like Hulu and BBC iPlayer as well, both of which worked without any issues.
ExpressVPN worked just as expected. Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer were easily unlocked once the VPN was connected.
Surfshark also delivers stellar streaming performance on Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer.
Unblocking streaming services has become a huge market for VPN users outside of the USA. In fact, 55% of VPN usage in Asian countries is for streaming unavailable content. Moreover, out of all the VPN users who access streaming sites, 49% are located in Canada or Mexico.
The Winner: Looking at these figures, it’s obvious why every VPN needs to support region-free streaming. In our comparison, ExpressVPN performed better due to its fast servers. Surfshark was a close second, while CyberGhost lagged behind.
CyberGhost vs ExpressVPN vs Surfshark – Servers and performance comparison
A VPNs performance is largely dependent on the physical infrastructure it supports. This includes a vast network of secure servers.
- CyberGhost features a network of more than 6600+ servers in 89 countries.
- ExpressVPN has more than 3000 servers located in 94
- Surfshark has more than 3200+ servers located in more than 65 countries.
These numbers only offer a limited view. For an in-depth analysis, we need to look further. The speed and reliability of servers are important. We tested each VPN and reached the following conclusion.
When it comes to server & performance, ExpressVPN takes the podium. It costs a bit more but offers stellar performance and stable connections. The abundance of servers also helps ExpressVPN deliver fast connections to users all over the world.
Surfshark isn’t too far behind ExpressVPN, but it has a few limitations. According to multiple user reviews, Surfshark servers are down in a few regions. This user claims they can access french servers for months, and Surfshark customer service is no help. Moreover, Netflix has blocked a number of its servers. In conclusion, Surfshark may not perform as expected when connected to servers outside of the USA.
CyberGhost does not have the same issues, but why is it last in servers and performance comparison? Because some of its features compromise user security. A new CyberGhost feature installs its own SSL root certificate, which is a big no when it comes to privacy and security.
The Winner: In the server comparison, ExpressVPN again offers the best performance. Surfshark is next in line because it has fewer servers. CyberGhost is ranked third because even though it has the most servers, they’re not as well optimized and some features may require root access.
Security Protocols Comparison
Security protocols bring enhanced security and improve the efficiency of each VPN. But, they are incredibly complex algorithms that take years to build. The table below shows some of the widely adopted security protocols.
Looking at the table we can see ExpressVPN supports almost all security protocols. Although OpenVPN is the most widely used protocols, each one of them has its own pros and cons. PPTP, for instance, is one of the fastest protocols, ideal for streaming and casual browsing. SSTP is another protocol that offers superior anonymity. It allows you to bypass websites that block VPNs.
Surfshark doesn’t support many of the older protocols, but it makes up for it by being more progressive. It supports Shadowsocks, a new protocol created to circumvent internet censorship, especially in China. The trend so far shows Surfshark takes a different approach by bringing something new to the table.
Cyberghost supports more traditional Protocols like OpenVPN and IKEv2. Sticking to the basics has helped CyberGhost keep its cost down and by offering a secure connection to its users at a significantly lower cost.
Winner: In conclusion, ExpressVPN again takes the lead when it comes to supporting various security protocols. It’s followed by Surfshark that’s paving the way for newer security protocols. CyberGhost comes in third as it supports the lowest number of security protocols.
Privacy / Data required to Sign-up
ExpressVPN offers the most payment options to its users. Ranging from credit cards to bitcoin, to union pay, etc.
Surfshark is second in line as it provides a number of options and supports google pay and amazon pay.
CyberGhost only offers credit card payment and supports PayPal and Bitcoin.
Nevertheless, it’s still easy enough for most people to pay for all three VPNs. CyberGhost’s payment method does come with one caveat. They do not have an explicit unsubscribe button.
To cancel your subscription you have to contact support and hope they help you out. Personal information and accessibility of payment is another area where all three VPNs take a different approach.
CyberGhost vs ExpressVPN vs Surfshark – Customer Service Comparison
The support for software can make or break a customer’s experience. Therefore, we went through the process of analyzing customer support services by each VPN. We pitted each VPN against another by testing how prompt their replies were, how knowledgeable the representative was, and whether their live chat helped solve our connectivity problems.
But before we delve deeper into our analysis, let’s take a look at various modes of customer support available for each VPN.
|Mode of Support||CyberGhost||ExpressVPN||Surfshark|
|Dedicated “Help/Support” tab||✓||✓||✓|
All three VPNs have a dedicated help/support tab on their websites. This makes troubleshooting easier, especially for people who aren’t tech-savvy. Moreover, all three VPNs feature live chat support on their websites. This makes troubleshooting and inquiry very easy. But it doesn’t work if the VPN has connectivity issues unless you use another device for troubleshooting your desktop.
Initially, the customer service representative couldn’t diagnose our issue. They also took a good few minutes to respond. But after testing a few possible problems, the representative recommended using OpenVPN, which solved our connectivity issue.
We could not gain access to ExpressVPNs live chat support due to the ongoing pandemic, but their response via email was prompt.
Surfshark has a reputation for poor customer support. Our experience wasn’t any different. The live chat button on their website did not work
We did receive their auto email response, but it wasn’t as prompt and we had to wait a while before we could troubleshoot the issue.
Winner: To summarise, CyberGhost provided the best customer support out of all three VPNs. ExpressVPN’s live chat isn’t working at the moment, but their response via email was prompt and our issues were resolved quickly.
There you have it – a comparison between CyberGhost, ExpressVPN, and Surfshark. According to our analysis, Surfshark takes the lead due to the amazing features at an inexpensive price tag. ExpressVPN is second on our list due to its solid infrastructure at a premium price.