Surfshark vs ExpressVPN: which VPN is better?
Surfshark and ExpressVPN are two well-known VPN providers on the market. Both offer advanced security features, excellent speeds, and are suitable options for streaming. While ExpressVPN tends to be pricier than Surfshark, the latter is known for its additional security features. Therefore, it's natural to compare Surfshark and ExpressVPN to determine their price-to-quality ratio.
When considering value for money, Surfshark stands out with unlimited simultaneous connections and a higher level of security compared to ExpressVPN. It provides a wide range of features, including malware blocking, making it a cost-effective and versatile choice for your VPN needs.
To make an informed decision on which VPN suits your needs, we tested and compared ExpressVPN and Surfshark in terms of security, performance, usability, and more aspects. Continue reading and find out more about their features to determine which one suits you better.
Surfshark vs ExpressVPN
While both providers are top-rated VPNs, Surfshark leads with a 4.7 rating, and ExpressVPN follows with a 4.3. Surfshark also comes with cheaper plans than ExpressVPN. Long-term subscription prices for Surfshark start at $3.99/month, while ExpressVPN costs $8.32/month when opting for a 1-year subscription. Moreover, Surfshark is located in the Netherlands (a member of the 14-Eyes alliance), while ExpressVPN is based in a privacy-friendly location.
However, even with a less privacy-suitable jurisdiction, Surfshark offers more value for a smaller price.
|🥇 Overall rank:||#2 out of #36||#6 out of #36|
|🖥️ Servers:||3200+ servers in 100 countries||3000+ servers in 94 countries|
|📖 No logs policy:||No logs||No logs|
|💵 Pricing:||From $2.30/month||From $6.67/month|
|🔥 Coupons:||Surfshark VPN coupon 82% OFF||ExpressVPN coupon 49% OFF|
|🔒 VPN protocols:||WireGuard, OpenVPN, IKEv2||Lightway, OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP/IPsec|
|🍿 Streaming services:||Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and more||Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney+|
|🖥️ Platforms:||Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox||Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS|
|📥 Simultaneous connections:||Unlimited||5|
|💁🏻 Support:||Knowledge base, 24/7 live chat, email support||Knowledge base, FAQs, email, 24/7 live chat|
Why should you get Surfshark?
Surfshark is an excellent choice if you seek very secure and speedy connections. This VPN comes with robust security tools, like AES-256 encryption, and a strict kill switch. It works with RAM-only servers and has an independently audited no-logs policy.
It also perfectly implements the market-standard WireGuard tunneling protocol, which leads to seamless browsing, speedy torrenting, and lag-free streaming. It unblocks all popular streaming sites, including Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, and others.
Why should you get ExpressVPN?
ExpressVPN is a top choice for those seeking an excellent streaming VPN with great security features. This VPN offers AES-256 encryption, RAM-only servers, a strong kill switch, and an independently audited no-logs policy. More so, it’s based in a privacy-friendly jurisdiction.
When it comes to the best streaming VPNs, ExpressVPN is an excellent choice since it can unblock all popular streaming platforms, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and many others.
Netflix and streaming performance
If you’re looking for a reliable VPN to unblock plenty of streaming sites, then both Surfshark and ExpressVPN are good options for you. Additionally, Surfshark is one of the top providers on our best VPNs for Netflix list.
When it comes to unblocking different streaming sites, the results are pretty impressive for both providers.
|Amazon Prime Video||✅||✅|
Any popular streaming site is easily accessible with both Surfshark and ExpressVPN. Additionally, both VPN providers support streaming on all of their servers.
SmartDNS is a really useful feature when you want to watch blocked content on devices that don’t support VPN connections. This includes smart TVs and gaming consoles. Both Surfshark and ExpressVPN offer this feature (ExpressVPN calls it MediaStreamer). We tested both services and discovered that they work perfectly for accessing Netflix or any other streaming platform on the smart TV.
Plans and pricing
Surfshark is the more budget-friendly choice compared to ExpressVPN subscription plans.
Both providers offer a variety of different plans, and the longest-term subscription is always the cheapest, and here Surfshark is much cheaper in the long run.
Additionally, you can try both providers with a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee to see which is the best for you.
|Check pricing||Check pricing|
At first glance, it’s crystal clear that ExpressVPN is a pricier service. Even though the shortest plans –monthly subscriptions – cost the same amount between the two ($12.95/month); continuing with longer subscriptions, ExpressVPN noticeably surpasses Surfshark.
ExpressVPN has a 6-month subscription that costs $9.99/month and then a 1-year subscription that drops the prices to $6.67/month. Still, it’s more than twice expensive as its competitor.
That being said, Surfshark also offers a 1-year subscription for only $3.99/month, and then the cheapest option is the 2-year subscription for as little as $2.30/month.
Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that both providers offer 7-day free trials available on Android and iOS devices.
Surfshark vs ExpressVPN: which is more secure?
|A member of the 5-Eyes Alliance?||Yes||No|
|DNS leak protection||Yes||Yes|
Security is the cornerstone of any VPN. As VPN applications handle your data, the wrong service might do more harm than good. Luckily for us, both Surfshark and ExpressVPN implement good security measures. However, there are some points to consider when choosing between these two providers.
On the other hand, while ExpressVPN has been independently audited, there are other concerns regarding the security of this VPN.
ExpressVPN was recently purchased by Kape Technologies company, which has had a controversial record regarding privacy.
Both Surfshark and ExpressVPN have completely ditched hard drive servers, making all of their infrastructures run on volatile memory (RAM). This means that there’s no hard drive to store your data on. What’s more, these servers get completely wiped out with every single reboot.
This is a guarantee that none of the user data is being kept for future use. Additionally, RAM-only servers protect user data from being stolen, hacked, or otherwise obtained by a third party.
Surfshark only keeps the information you used to create an account, which consists of your email address and encrypted password. It will also keep your billing information, however, you are free to subscribe by using cryptocurrency for an extra layer of anonymity.
Likewise, ExpressVPN doesn’t collect any personal information on its users like activity logs and connection logs. Similarly to Surfshark, it only collects the bare minimum of data like your email address and payment information.
Security and privacy audits
Third-party audits are a great way to determine whether a service truly delivers its promises.
Since 2018, ExpressVPN has undergone several different audits. This provider has been independently audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers. Additionally, ExpressVPN had Cure53 pen testing and source-code audit on their own routers (Aircover). Also, F-Secure audited their Windows app.
Speed comparison: which is faster, Surfshark or ExpressVPN?
For the Surfshark vs ExpressVPN speed comparison, we put the fastest tunneling protocols – WireGuard and Lightway, to the test.
The data in the table shows the average download and upload speeds from different server locations, like the US, UK, Canada, Germany, France, and Japan. The distance to the server location also has an impact on the speed results.
- Baseline: 454 Mbps download/ 456 Mbps upload
|Surfshark (WireGuard)||ExpressVPN (Lightway)|
|The US||364 Mbps/ 379 Mbps||237 Mbps/ 222 Mbps|
|The UK||409 Mbps/ 463 Mbps||251 Mbps/ 225 Mbps|
|Canada||420 Mbps / 428 Mbps||227 Mbps/ 215 Mbps|
|Germany||396 Mbps/ 466 Mbps||257 Mbps/ 265 Mbps|
|France||410 Mbps/ 454 Mbps||250 Mbps/ 240 Mbps|
|Japan||241 Mbps/ 329 Mbps||112 Mbps/ 52 Mbps|
Surfshark’s WireGuard and ExpressVPN’s Lightway tunneling protocols are different protocols, but we’re comparing the two because they present the best that each provider has to offer.
From the data in the table, it is clear why Surfshark is one of the fastest VPNs on the market right now. ExpressVPN couldn’t compete with Surfshark in regards to the download and upload speeds. Each server location that was tested provided faster speeds with Surfshark.
Regarding the providers’ ping, in the three tested locations, it was once again found that Surfshark is the winner.
|The US||~ 103 ms||~ 104 ms|
|The UK||~ 36 ms||~ 44 ms|
|Japan||~ 271 ms||~ 307 ms|
The results here were closer and ExpressVPN didn’t let up too much. However, in the end, Surfshark clearly had a lower ping, which leads to fewer lags and a more enjoyable browsing experience.
Even though a VPN’s main function is to encrypt your traffic and fake your location, extra features can greatly benefit your everyday life. And Surfshark is the leader here, offering a ton of features like CleanWeb and GPS Spoofing.
What if you only need a VPN on your browser or a specific app? That’s where split tunneling comes into play. This feature gives you a choice over which applications and websites use VPN traffic.
Surfshark calls this feature Bypasser. During our testing, this feature worked really well and we successfully customized the list of apps that needed a VPN tunnel to work.
Meanwhile, you can find this feature under the Split tunneling tab on ExpressVPN.
Nevertheless, here the split tunneling feature works just as well. Additionally, this feature is available on ExpressVPN’s Windows, macOS, and Android applications.
SmartDNS is a feature that allows you to stream geo-blocked content on devices that don’t support VPN connections. With its help, you can finally watch your favorite Netflix shows on your PlayStation or a smart TV.
Whether you use Surfshark or ExpressVPN, you can activate this feature from your account dashboard. Just keep in mind that ExpressVPN calls it MediaStreamer.
Stealth servers, also known as obfuscated servers, is a feature that lets your VPN connection go undetected. In other words, your VPN traffic looks just like regular traffic. This is especially useful in oppressive countries like China, however, stealth servers will also help you avoid throttling and will let you unblock websites more easily.
Surfshark calls this feature Camouflage mode. You can either select it manually or the service will kick in automatically when needed.
ExpressVPN switches to obfuscated servers as soon as it senses the need to do so, which means you won’t have to do anything by yourself.
This part is dedicated to features that are available only on Surfshark or ExpressVPN.
The router applet is a feature reserved solely for ExpressVPN users. That’s because this VPN offers a proprietary application for routers, which shortens the installation process. To install the VPN on your router, you’ll need to download ExpressVPN’s firmware and then upload it to your router.
With Surfshark, you can easily spoof your GPS location on Android so that it matches your selected country. In this way, you’ll trick the apps that can detect where you are. Additionally, Surfshark offers a double VPN feature called MultiHop. It redirects your traffic through two different VPN servers, which adds an extra layer of security.
Another great feature is Surfshark’s CleanWeb, which functions as an ad blocker. It blocks malicious ads, pop-ups, online trackers, and dangerous websites.
Lastly, it’s important to mention that Surfshark has released its own antivirus software. It’s still a pretty new addition to the security package, however, this antivirus is really effective when protecting your device in real-time from malicious threats. Additionally, the virus scan option will quickly and securely check your device systems for any possible threats.
Surfshark and ExpressVPN offer a very similar global network of servers, however, Surfshark has just a slightly broader global coverage of server locations.
With more than 3200+ servers in 100 countries, Surfshark provides access to various global content. To compare, ExpressVPN doesn’t let up too much – it has around 3000 servers, and you can find them in 94 countries.
However small, this is still a win for Surfshark. Additionally, Surfshark offers specialty servers, while ExpressVPN doesn’t.
China and countries with restricted Internet access
When you travel to a country with heavy censorship and Internet restrictions (like China), a good VPN becomes invaluable. Fortunately, both Surfshark and ExpressVPN implement their own measures to bypass Internet censorship.
Surfshark uses obfuscated servers, it hides the fact that you are using a VPN at all.
Just like Surfshark, ExpressVPN uses stealth servers to help you bypass the Great Firewall of China and other online barriers. This technology kicks in automatically as soon as the VPN notices that it’s needed.
No matter if you use torrents daily or once a month, you’ll need a reliable torrenting VPN. Fortunately, both VPNs will take care of your needs, as they support P2P connections.
Since both VPN providers support torrenting on all of their servers, it won’t be an issue to find the best server with good speed. So torrenting will be easy with either of the options here.
Platforms, interface, and ease of use
|Supported OS||Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox||Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS|
|Other software and devices||Android TV, Fire devices, routers||Android TV, Fire devices, routers|
|Browser extensions||Chrome, Firefox, Brave, Edge||Chrome, Firefox, Brave, Edge|
|Usability level||Easy to set up||Easy to set up|
There’s not much to complain about the variety of applications provided by Surfshark and ExpressVPN. The selection is almost identical with a couple of exceptions.
For example, ExpressVPN has a dedicated router applet. On the other hand, Surfshark has a dedicated app for Linux users, which is rare, and offers unlimited simultaneous connections.
Surfshark’s apps are modern looking, easy to use, and nicely developed. The applications are also pretty easy to navigate and use even for beginners.
Both Windows and macOS versions don’t have the map interface, instead, Surfshark has a list of countries and servers for you to pick from. Additionally, the Windows app is slightly better than the macOS version, as it lacks the Bypasser feature.
Where Surfshark’s desktop apps shine with the feature-rich graphical application for Linux users that is both easy to set up and use. A dedicated app for Linux isn’t a commodity even amongst the best VPNs for Linux.
If you like slick and modern applications, you won’t be too impressed by the Windows and macOS apps of ExpressVPN.
The best thing is that both apps have the same features, which is quite rare, as most VPNs usually mishandle their macOS applications. Here, we have a kill switch, stealth servers, and all the other features mentioned before.
There’s also an app for Linux. Even though it’s not underdeveloped feature-wise, it doesn’t have a user interface and you have to navigate it through the command line.
Similarly to the desktop situation, Surfshark’s Android app is superior to its iOS counterpart.
The Android app has GPS spoofing and Bypasser features, which the iOS version lacks. On the other hand, it still offers features like a kill switch and CleanWeb, to name a few.
The mobile apps of ExpressVPN are decent in terms of functionality.
However, keep in mind that the iOS version is inferior to the Android application here as well, as it lacks a few features like a kill switch and split tunneling.
|24/7 live chat||✅||✅|
|Guides or articles||✅||✅|
Friendly and competent customer support is a sign of good service. Gladly, both providers put a lot of effort into it.
When using Surfshark, you get a 24/7 live chat and an email ticket system. As an alternative, you can also read through the knowledge base that has lots of questions answered or the FAQ page.
The situation is similar with ExpressVPN. It offers a huge knowledge base, FAQ, 24/7 live chat, and email support.
To sum up, both Sufshark and ExpressVPN won’t disappoint if you have any issues or need help. The live support options and extensive knowledge bases lead to a tie in this section.
What do Redditors say about Surfshark and ExpressVPN?
According to Reddit discussions on Surfshark vs ExpressVPN, opinions vary. Some Redditors praise Surfshark for its affordability, extensive server network, and solid privacy features. They appreciate its user-friendly interface and fast speeds.
On the other hand, ExpressVPN supporters highlight its exceptional security measures, reliable performance, and seamless streaming capabilities.
Overall, Redditors agree that both VPNs offer reliable services, but choosing between them depends on individual priorities, such as budget and specific features. To learn more, take a look at the best VPNs according to Reddit.
Video review: Surfshark vs ExpressVPN
Surfshark vs ExpressVPN – who wins?
|Ease of use||✅||❌|
If you’re still thinking about which is better – Surfshark or ExpressVPN, we’ve made a verdict. All in all, Surfshark is a better VPN service compared to ExpressVPN. It’s not only incredibly fast but also offers next-gen security features, a wider selection of servers, more intuitive apps, and significantly cheaper subscription plans.
Undeniably ExpressVPN had its moments where it outrivals Surfshark. For example, it has a dedicated router applet, which makes protecting home devices more convenient. Although its security suite is one of the best on the market, the price makes it a less worthy option.
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Is Surfshark better than ExpressVPN?
Yes, Surfshark is better than ExpressVPN in most ways. For example, it offers a lower price, has more special features, is faster, and more secure.
Is Surfshark VPN any good?
Yes, Surfshark is a really good VPN service. It lets you watch geo-blocked content, offers lots of useful features, and provides you with unlimited simultaneous connections. It’s also secure since it has a strict no-logs policy and works with RAM-only servers, so your data isn’t collected or stored anywhere.
Is Surfshark better than NordVPN?
It depends. Even though Surfshark offers more simultaneous connections and a lower price, NordVPN is better at unblocking streaming services and is more suitable for torrenting, as it offers the SOCKS5 proxy.
Is Surfshark owned by ExpressVPN?
No, Surfshark is not owned by ExpressVPN. Surfshark is often mistaken as being owned by ExpressVPN due to shared service features and Reddit reviews. However, they are separate entities with distinct ownership, infrastructure, and business models, competing independently in the VPN market.
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