Surfshark and ExpressVPN are all perfect for streaming, anonymity, and enhanced security for individuals, professionals, and businesses. However, which one should you go for? Our VPN comparison will help you choose the best service that matches your needs. So let’s get started with the detailed comparison without any further ado.
Surfshark and ExpressVPN are the best and most trusted VPN providers in the industry. These VPNs not only protect their users’ privacy but also allow them to browse the internet and unblock geo-restricted content with complete anonymity.
In this comparison of Surfshak vs ExpressVPN, we found that ExpressVPN offers remarkable performance in terms of speed, unblocking capability, torrenting, etc. However, Surfshark took the lead by offering great features at an affordable price. Let’s discuss the comparison deeper to discover what makes each VPN unique.
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 2023. You can find out more about it in our detailed ExpressVPN review.
We have covered this detailed Comparison of ExpressVPN and Surfshark on the basis of the following factors:
- Price Comparison
- Speed Test
- Ease of use
- Features comparison
- Device Compatibility Comparison
- Unblocking Capability
- Unblocking Geo-Restrictions in China and Other Restricted Countries
- Torrent Comparison
- Servers and Performance Comparison
- Security Protocols Comparison
- Logging Policy
- Privacy / Data required to Sign-up
- Customer Service Comparison
Let’s get started with an in-depth comparison:
1. Surfshark vs ExpressVPN – 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 Surfshark and ExpressVPN.
|Free trial||7-day trial only for iOS & Android||7-day trial only for iOS & Android|
|1-year||$6.67/month||$3.99/month (69% off)|
|2-year||N/A||$2.30/month (82% off)|
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 costs $6.67/mo (Save 49% and get 3 extra months FREE with 12-month plan). Nothing beats Surfshark though, which offers a whopping $1.99/mo (Save 86% and get 3 extra months FREE with 24-month plan).
Moreover, Surfshark has an additional “Activation Beyond VPN” service at $0.99/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.
2. Surfshark vs ExpressVPN – 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 straightforward. 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.
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 two 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 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.
3. Surfshark vs ExpressVPN – 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.
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.
4. ExpressVPN vs Surfshark – Features comparison
|AES 256 bit encryption||✓||✓|
|Cross-platform compatibility||Desktops, mobile, TVs, tablets, and routers||Desktops, mobile, TVs, routers, and consoles.|
|No Logs Policy||✓||✓|
|Automatic Kill Switch||✓||✓|
|WEBRTC Leak Protection||✓||✓|
|Multi-logins||6 Devices||Unlimited devices|
Each VPN has its unique advantages. Let’s discuss each of them in detail:
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. 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 its high price tag that goes with the same features offered by Surfshark.
5. Surfshark vs ExpressVPN – Device Compatibility Comparison
VPNs offer apps for various devices, but they have different apps with a different interface. Therefore, in our comparison, we decided to compare the apps offered by these providers to see which VPN takes the lead.
|Amazon Fire TV||✔️||✔️|
|Browser Extensions||Chrome, Firefox||Chrome, Firefox, Safari|
Surfshark Device Compatibility
Surfshark works with all popular operating systems like iOS, macOS, Android, and one of the biggest perks of this VPN is that it allows you to connect as many devices as you want simultaneously. While most providers restrict to 10 device connections, Surfshark is the best multiple device VPN with great compatibility.
Surfshark offers dedicated apps for the following:
- Windows 7 or newer
- iOS 10.3.3 or newer
- macOS 10.12 or newer
- Android 5.0 or newer
- Linux Ubuntu and Debian
- Amazon Firestick
There are browser extensions for Google Chrome and Firefox. Moreover, there is a Smart DNS available for devices like gaming consoles, Smart TVs, and Chromecast.
ExpressVPN Device Compatibility
ExpressVPN offers apps for various operating systems and devices like Windows, macOS, Android, Linux, and Firestick. It also offers apps for Kindle Fire, Chromebook and routers.
Apart from that, ExpressVPN also offers browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. There are apps for streaming devices like Apple TV, and Roku as well.
Furthermore, ExpressVPN allows up to 5 simultaneous connections on a single account. It is a great choice for personal use and a small household.
6. ExpressVPN vs Surfshark – Unblocking Capability
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 Surfshark and ExpressVPN fare when it comes to unblocking and streaming.
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.
7. Unblocking Geo-Restrictions in China and Other Restricted Countries
VPN usage is quite common in China due to high government censorship and online restrictions. However, the Great Firewall of China is no match for popular VPN services. Therefore, we decided to compare these VPNs and see if they work in China.
Does Surfshark work in China?
Yes, Surfshark works in China.
Surfshark keeps its servers updated, to offer new IP addresses to defend against China’s blocking mechanisms. Thanks to its NoBorder protocol, you can easily use the internet without any restrictions.
When the Surfshark app detects any kind of restrictions on the network, it automatically enables NoBorders mode and gives you a selected list of servers that work best in restrictive networks.
Does ExpressVPN work in China?
ExpressVPN consistently works in China and offers fast speed for streaming, browsing, and more. ExpressVPN is one of the few providers that deftly navigate around the Great Firewall. It also offers a wide range of servers in Hong Kong, Japan, and Taiwan.
The provider constantly monitors its network for China and ensures access to servers in the country. Under the hood, it uses obfuscation protocols and advanced unblocking technology that allows you to get around geo-blocks and access any content you want online.
8. ExpressVPN vs Surfshark – Torrent Comparison
A lot of people use a VPN for torrenting, because it keeps you safe online, and allows you to bypass ISP throttling. Therefore, we conducted a comparison to see how Surfshark and ExpressVPN perform while torrenting.
Surfshark Torrenting – Excellent for P2P File Sharing
Surfshark is a great choice for torrenting, as it offers unlimited data and all its servers support P2P. There are also special servers for secure P2P. Once you start using a P2P app, Surfshark will automatically connect you to the closest P2P server available.
Moreover, there is a split tunneling feature called WhiteLister that allows you to choose apps and websites that you don’t want to pass through the VPN tunnel.
Moreover, there it also supports a SOCKS5 proxy for a faster connection without encrypting your data. On a 100 Mbps connection, we got a fast download speed of 8.25 MB/s with Surfshark using uTorrent.
Is ExpressVPN Good for Torrenting?
Yes, ExpressVPN is great for torrenting as it allows P2P on all of its servers, so you can expect fast connection speeds while downloading large files. During our tests, we could torrent a 1GB file within 15 minutes which was great.
The speed is prone to fluctuations, but overall, ExpressVPN is a good choice for torrenting. With its Lightway protocol, ExpressVPN offers fast-speed connections, so you will not have to experience any lag while torrenting. It gave us a download speed of 9.35 MB/s on uTorrent. You could expect even faster speeds if you download torrents with a good seed/peer ratio.
For the purpose of this article, we also tried P2P streaming apps with ExpressVPN like Popcorn Time and Plex. While we do not condone access to copyright material, ExpressVPN will allow you to such apps without any issues.
The Winner: After our comparison, we can confidently say that ExpressVPN is the best VPN for torrenting as it offers fast connection speeds, with P2P supported on all servers, and a port forwarding feature available. Surfshark comes at the second position.
9. 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.
- ExpressVPN has more than 3000 servers located in 94 countries.
- Surfshark has 3200+ servers located in 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.
10. Surfshark vs ExpressVPN – 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.
11. ExpressVPN vs Surfshark – Logging Policy
Surfshark and ExpressVPN offer strict no-log policy, as they don’t log any user data and are not based in the 5-Eyes intelligence alliance.
Surfshark Logging Policy
The only information logged includes the VPN server you are connected to and the connection timestamps which are all deleted within 15 minutes after your VPN session is terminated.
Surfshark’s server infrastructure has also undergone a third-party audit by Germany-based Cure53. The audit did not detect any security issues.
ExpressVPN Logging Policy
ExpressVPN is another trustworthy VPN service based in the safe jurisdiction of the British Virgin Islands, with a strict no-logs policy.
ExpressVPN runs on RAM-based servers, so it makes it impossible for data to be stored on them. Similarly, its TrustedServer Technology ensures all data is wiped with every reboot, and servers never write data on the hard drive, so no information is stored.
ExpressVPN’s no-logs policy has been proved in court after the Turkish investigation of the assassination of Andrei Karlov, the Russian Ambassador to Turkey in 2016.
During the investigation, Turkish authorities tracked the IP address of the alleged police officer who shot Karlov to ExpressVPN. Upon confiscation of servers, the authorities could not find any information regarding the perpetrators, because there were no user logs.
12. ExpressVPN vs Surfshark – 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.
Nevertheless, it’s still easy enough for most people to pay for both of these VPNs.
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 both of these VPNs take a different approach.
13. 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||ExpressVPN||Surfshark|
|Dedicated “Help/Support” tab||✓||✓|
Both of these VPNs have a dedicated help/support tab on their websites. This makes troubleshooting easier, especially for people who aren’t tech-savvy. Moreover, both of these 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.
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, ExpressVPN provides better customer support than Surfshark. ExpressVPN’s live chat isn’t working at the moment, but their response via email was prompt and our issues were resolved quickly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Surfshark better than ExpressVPN?
Yes, Surfshark is better than ExpressVPN when it comes to features, pricing, security, and user-friendliness. Both of these providers are no doubt premium services, but Surfshark outperforms with its vast features, streaming capabilities, and pricing plans.
Do ExpressVPN and Surfsharkoffer any deals?
Yes, ExpressVPN and Surfshark offer deals on their plans. Let’s start with ExpressVPN. It offers a 49% discount on its 12-month plan. Similarly, Surfshark is offering an 85% discount on its two-year plan.
Different VPN Comparisons
You can check other VPN comparisons:
- NordVPN vs ExpressVPN
- Cyberghost vs NordVPN
- Avast SecureLine vs ExpressVPN
- PureVPN vs ExpressVPN
- NordVPN vs Surfshark
- IPVanish vs Surfshark
There you have it – a detailed comparison of Surfshark vs ExpressVPN. 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.