Surfshark vs Expressvpn

If you value your privacy, you should always go for a provider in a privacy jurisdiction, such as the British Virgin Islands. Today, we’ll compare two VPNs from the same area, Surfshark, and ExpressVPN.
We compare the features, pricing, ease of use, support and speeds of Surfshark and ExpressVPN.
Article by
Stephen Mash

Stephen is a UK-based freelance technology writer with a background in cybersecurity and risk management.

About writer

Contents

Compare ratings

Rating
PIA logo
 ExpressVPN logo
Features
9.4
9.6
Pricing
9.4
8.2
Ease of Use
10
9.4
Support
9.6
9.5

Reviews by experts

Reviews
Review by our expert
PIA logo
7.1

Surfshark is a premium VPN service based in the British Virgin Islands that offers easy-to-use anonymous and safe browsing feat...

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Article by
Stephen Mash
Last modified:
2021-06-05 10:06
 ExpressVPN logo
9.0

ExpressVPN is a premium VPN service based in the British Virgin Islands that markets itself as having one of the best performan...

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Article by
Stephen Mash
Last modified:
2021-08-26 14:26

Side-by-Side Comparison

Surfshark
Pricing
Monthly
$12.95
Half yearly
$38.94 (equivalent to $6.49 per month)
Two yearly
$59.76 (equivalent to $2.49 per month)
Payment Methods
card_amazon_pay Created with Sketch.
Parallel Connections
Unlimited (Subject to Fair Use Terms)
Server Locations
65 countries
Jurisdiction
British Virgin Islands
Protocols
OpenVPN (UDP)
OpenVPN (TCP)
WireGuard
IPsec (IKEv2) on iOS
Encryption
AES 256 GCM
Handshaking RSA
Speeds
Surfshark VPN Server Locations Download Upload
United Kingdon 418.75 Mbit 164.6 Mbit
Australia 346.95 Mbit 22.6 Mbit
Taiwan 325.03 Mbit 0.98 Mbit
South Africa 176.8 Mbit 3.07 Mbit
California, USA 284.36 Mbit 21.46 Mbit
New York, USA 315.07 Mbit 52.57 Mbit
Germany 540.44 Mbit 148 Mbit
Spain 445.98 Mbit 45.04 Mbit
Brazil 228.1 Mbit 24.61 Mbit
Indonesia 163.92 Mbit 18.26 Mbit
ExpressVPN
Pricing
Monthly
$12.95
Half yearly
$59.70 (equivalent to $9.95 per month)
Yearly
$99.95 including discount and three free months (equivalent to $6.67 per month)
Payment Methods
Parallel Connections
5
Server Locations
94 Countries
Jurisdiction
British Virgin Islands
Protocols
IPsec (IKEv2)
OpenVPN (UDP or TCP)
Lightway (Built on WolfSSL)
Encryption
AES 256
Speeds
ExpressVPN VPN Server Locations Download Upload
United Kingdon 468.98 Mbit 212.99 Mbit
Australia 316.19 Mbit 18.08 Mbit
Taiwan 345.33 Mbit 25.09 Mbit
South Africa 331.56 Mbit 9.37 Mbit
California, USA 354.08 Mbit 42.8 Mbit
New York, USA 400.08 Mbit 65.08 Mbit
Germany 540.43 Mbit 118.08 Mbit
Brazil 411.00 Mbit 15.49 Mbit
Surfshark
ExpressVPN
Pricing
Monthly
$12.95
Half yearly
$59.70 (equivalent to $9.95 per month)
Yearly
$99.95 including discount and three free months (equivalent to $6.67 per month)
Monthly
$12.95
Half yearly
$59.70 (equivalent to $9.95 per month)
Yearly
$99.95 including discount and three free months (equivalent to $6.67 per month)
Payment Methods
card_amazon_pay Created with Sketch.
Parallel Connections
Unlimited (Subject to Fair Use Terms)
5
Server Locations
65 countries
94 Countries
Jurisdiction
British Virgin Islands
British Virgin Islands
Protocols
OpenVPN (UDP)
OpenVPN (TCP)
WireGuard
IPsec (IKEv2) on iOS
IPsec (IKEv2)
OpenVPN (UDP or TCP)
Lightway (Built on WolfSSL)
Encryption
AES 256 GCM
Handshaking RSA
AES 256
Speeds
Surfshark VPN Server Locations Download Upload
United Kingdon 418.75 Mbit 164.6 Mbit
Australia 346.95 Mbit 22.6 Mbit
Taiwan 325.03 Mbit 0.98 Mbit
South Africa 176.8 Mbit 3.07 Mbit
California, USA 284.36 Mbit 21.46 Mbit
New York, USA 315.07 Mbit 52.57 Mbit
Germany 540.44 Mbit 148 Mbit
Spain 445.98 Mbit 45.04 Mbit
Brazil 228.1 Mbit 24.61 Mbit
Indonesia 163.92 Mbit 18.26 Mbit
ExpressVPN VPN Server Locations Download Upload
United Kingdon 468.98 Mbit 212.99 Mbit
Australia 316.19 Mbit 18.08 Mbit
Taiwan 345.33 Mbit 25.09 Mbit
South Africa 331.56 Mbit 9.37 Mbit
California, USA 354.08 Mbit 42.8 Mbit
New York, USA 400.08 Mbit 65.08 Mbit
Germany 540.43 Mbit 118.08 Mbit
Brazil 411.00 Mbit 15.49 Mbit

Comparison Review

Sure, these providers are similar in terms of privacy. However, that’s where the similarities end. Surshark and ExpressVPN serve two entirely different target markets. While we recognize the first as the “bargain provider,” the latter is known as “the big name.”

Let’s pit Surfshark and ExpressVPN against one another and run down the specifications on paper.

Privacy – Minor Yet Important Differences

As mentioned, both Surfshark and ExpressVPN are based in the British Virgin Islands, which is excellent news. The country isn’t a member of The Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, or Fourteen Eyes alliance.

At first sight, both VPNs provide the same features and privacy protection. However, let’s get into more details.

ExpressVPN encrypts data using one server, while Surfshark is a bit more serious in this regard. Both VPN providers have strict no-logs policies. Still, while Surfshark keeps only encrypted passwords, anonymous app diagnostics, emails, and payment information, ExpressVPN keeps a few more things. For instance, the company retains information regarding the app version or usage stats, which is entirely unnecessary.

Security – It’s A Tie

Surfshark provides for a smooth user experience without ads, trackers, malware, and phishing attempts. The VPN offers Kill Switch, Private DNS & leak protection, Camouflage Mode, Change your IP, and the industry-leading AES-256-GCM encryption.

Surfshark features

Source: https://surfshark.com/features

ExpressVPN also uses AES-256, the same encryption standard adopted by the US government and security experts protecting classified data. Furthermore, the VPN provides IP address masking, anonymous browsing (Bitcoin payments and Tor network integration), VPN split tunneling, Network Lock kill switch, TrustedServer technology, and Public Wi-Fi safety.

ExpressVPN features

Source: https://www.expressvpn.com/features

More or less, Surfshark and ExpressVPN account for the same security and protection, so let’s say it’s a tie in this regard.

Speed – ExpressVPN Is The Ultimate Leader

Connection speeds play a key role in choosing a VPN provider. Fast forward, both providers have well-distributed server networks across the Americas, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa. 

Surfshark has over 3,200 fast 100% RAM-only servers in 65 countries. As a user, you get Private DNS, Camouflage Mode, OpenVPN (TCP / UDP), IPSec / IKEv2, and Extension support on each server.

Surfshark servers

Source: https://surfshark.com/servers

In turn, ExpressVPN has more than 3,000 servers in over 160 locations in 94 countries. All servers come with Lightway UDP, Lightway TCP, OpenVPN with TCP/UDP. Also, you can get L2TP/IPSec or IKEv2 on a selection of the server network, appropriately marked in the list.

ExpressVPN servers

Source: https://www.expressvpn.com/vpn-server

Surfshark is incredibly usable and definitely no slouch. Still, it cannot compare to ExpressVPN, one of the fastest VPNs on the market today. As the name implies, it comes with impressive, lightning-fast speeds, which essentially give the provider a competitive advantage.

Apps and Compatibility

You can install ExpressVPN on all of your devices and use five at the same time. Better yet, you can set up the VPN on your router and immediately protect your entire home network, including all smart TVs, game consoles, and IoT devices.

ExpressVPN features 2

Source: https://www.expressvpn.com/features

Still, Surfshark takes things to another level in this regard. You can connect and use the VPN on an unlimited number of devices at the same time. In other words, you can protect all your gadgets simultaneously. The VPN works with iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, Chrome, Firefox, Linux, and FireTV. You can also set it up on your consoles, PlayStation or Xbox, or your router.

Surfshark apps

Source: https://surfshark.com/download

While five simultaneous connections are ample for most users, unlimited ones are still the better alternative. However, ExpressVPN offers a broader selection of compatible apps, such as Nintendo Switch or smart TV systems. So, once again, there’s no winner.

Streaming Options – Both VPNs Are Incredible

Yet another tie – both Surfshark and ExpressVPN are compatible with the most popular streaming platforms, including Netflix, HBO, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, or Hulu.

Surfshark offers fast servers for a seamless streaming experience. In turn, you can enjoy a 4K HD without buffering.

The same applies to ExpressVPN, with a broad range of available websites to stream.

Surfshark streaming

Source: https://surfshark.com/use-cases/vpn-for-streaming

ExpressVPN streaming

Source: https://www.expressvpn.com/vpn-service

Customer Support – 24/7/365

Surfshark comes with 24/7 expert support via live chat, email, or ticketing support.

Surfshark support

Source: https://surfshark.com/features

ExpressVPN offers the same qualities, meaning around-the-clock availability.

ExpressVPN support

Source: https://www.expressvpn.com/support/

Both VPNs also come with comprehensive Knowledge bases addressing the most important (and expected) issues. In other words, you will have a smooth customer experience, regardless of your choice.

Pricing – Surfshark Is Much Cheaper

As mentioned before, Surfshark is the more affordable alternative out of the two. You get to choose from three plans, monthly, six-month, or two-year subscription.

Surfshark pricing

Source: https://surfshark.com/pricing

ExpressVPN, on the other hand, offers more premium services. Once again, the provider offers three plans, paying per month, every six months, or a year.

ExpressVPN pricing

Source: https://www.expressvpn.com/order

Both Surfshark and ExpressVPN offer great discounts on longer-term plans, which is excellent news for users. They also come with 30-day money-back guarantees. In turn, if you are not satisfied with your choice, you can always ask for a full refund of your resources.

Conclusion

Do We Have A Winner – Surfshark Or ExpressVPN?

Both Surfshark and ExpressVPN are reliable providers. Essentially, your choice between the two depends on your resources and intended use. See, Surfshark is the newer and more affordable solution. It performs well, so it’s challenging to beat its value for money. What makes it better than ExpressVPN is its multi-hop feature (apart from the price). Also, it allows for more simultaneous connections and a better privacy policy. On the other hand, ExpressVPN provides a premium experience with high security and incredible speeds. It comes with more servers and better worldwide reach. It’s also more compatible with devices and browser extensions, such as Blackberries or routers. Still, the best part about it is, ExpressVPN gives you a different IP address each time you connect, delivering the ultimate reliability.