ExpressVPN and Surfshark tend to find their way on most top 10 VPN lists, and unsurprisingly – some users want to know how the two compare against each other. And that’s the point of this article, to tackle the two popular VPNs and determine which one’s better — so you could make a more informed decision on which to buy.
So without further ado, here’s how ExpressVPN and Surfshark compare…
Comparing the features
We go point by point…
Servers & Locations
Surfshark has more than 1,000 servers in over 60 countries in its network. Popular destinations in North America and Europe are covered, though there are just a few servers in Africa and the Middle East. Specifically, Surfshark has servers in Israel, Libya, South Africa, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. ExpressVPN, on the other hand, has a network with over 3,000 servers spread across 160 locations in 94 countries! Since this is partly the numbers game, we have to give this round to ExpressVPN.
This round is a tie as both services offer apps for all popular platforms — including Windows, macOS, iOS and Android — along with browser extensions for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, as well as a native app for Amazon Fire TV Stick. Additionally, apps of both ExpressVPN and Surfshark look equally modern and easy to use. There is a difference, though. Whereas ExpressVPN has a more-white design, Surfshark’s apps are black-ish. At the end of the day, it is up to you to determine which look you like better. Also, Surfshark lets you install its apps on as many devices as you want, whereas ExpressVPN tops at 5 simultaneous connections.
ExpressVPN is faster, but that doesn’t mean Surfshark is a slacker; quite the contrary, we have found it to be quite zippy especially when connecting to nearby servers. In fact, in some cases, we have found it to be faster than ExpressVPN despite not having that many servers. It all depends on where do you want to connect to and from, I guess. Most users will thrive with ExpressVPN as they won’t have to worry where a server is located — ExpressVPN has one of the biggest networks around. And, as we’ve noted above, more servers help deliver faster download and upload speeds.
Security & Privacy
Surfshark uses IKEv2/IPsec as a default protocol on all of its apps while providing an option to change to OpenVPN. ExpressVPN also supports OpenVPN, which we suggest everyone to use for all of their web whereabouts. When it comes to privacy, both services conduct their businesses in a zero-logs fashion. Also, both are located in privacy-friendly shores of the British Virgin Islands, which has little to do with any major intelligence-sharing arrangement.
Ease of Use
Thanks to their fancy UIs, both Surfshark and ExpressVPN are super easy to use with quick access to advanced settings — from where you can fine-tune the VPN settings, change protocols, and tweak other options. Should you experience a problem, you’ll be glad to know that both services offer round the clock chat support with friendly staff waiting to help you solve any problem you may have. Also, websites of both services have a solid content offering with FAQs, video tutorials, knowledge base, and more.
Streaming & Torrenting
If video streaming is the primary thing you want to do with a VPN, you can get either of the two services. Both Surfshark and ExpressVPN have proven their worth with all popular streaming platforms — including Netflix, Disney+, BBC, Hulu, HBO and so on. The situation is the same with torrenting as neither of the two services requires connecting to specialty servers — all servers are made do sing along P2P traffic.
Surfshark can help you bypass censorship in some places if you’re using its Windows app that rocks the “NoBorder Mode.” Unfortunately, though, such an option is not available from apps on other platforms. However, ExpressVPN is better suited for the task, especially in China where it has (unsurprisingly) found an engaging audience. When it comes to other high-censorship countries, both VPNs get the job done.
ExpressVPN costs more; it’s that simple. It is a more premium product that won’t let you down, no matter what you need it for. That being said, Surfshark is also solid but the fact that it costs less than ExpressVPN should tell you something. And in case you wonder, we believe you should get the best possible service and let it run in the background at all times. Both companies offer a 30-day money-back guarantee and will gladly take your crypto assets — though ExpressVPN only accepts Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash.
Which VPN is better?
If you can afford it, get ExpressVPN. Actually, you should ask yourself a different question — can you afford NOT to get the best possible VPN? We don’t think that’s the area where you, or anyone else, should save on.
Then again, it’s your money and as far as we (don’t) know, Surfshark could work perfectly for you. For instance, if you primarily need it to watch Netflix from anywhere, there is no need to pay the premium. On the other hand, you never know when you will need a VPN for something else. We live in an ever-changing world and by getting the best VPN (ExpressVPN), you can’t go wrong. You know how they say, better safe than sorry. 😉