ExpressVPN vs Surfshark: Detailed Comparison 2023
You can find ExpressVPN and Surfshark mostly on the top of any website that lists the Best VPN services, including Best VPN.co. Moreover, the similarity between these two services is that they both have their headquarters in the British Virgin Islands, away from the 5,9,14 eyes Alliances, which means you can expect them to use proper logging standards.
However, their target market is different from each other. ExpressVPN is famous for being a premium VPN, whereas Surfshark is known as one of the most affordable VPN services.
With Surfshark gaining huge prominence in the industry over a short period of time, many are wondering if the newcomer competes with the household name, ExpressVPN.
If you have the same contemplation, you are in the right place. Check out this in-depth comparison analysis of ExpressVPN vs Surfshark to learn which provider emerges victorious.
Let’s get the comparison to begin and see which one attracts more users!
ExpressVPN vs Surfshark: Direct Comparison
|No. of Servers||3000 servers in 94 countries||3200 servers in countries|
|Multi Logins||5 devices||Unlimited devices|
|Price||US$ 6.67 /mo (Get 49% Off + 3 Months FREE on its 12-Month Plan)||US$ 2.49 /mo (Get 84% + 2 Months FREE on 2-Year Plan)|
|Coupon Deals||Save 49% on 12 Months + 3 Months FREE||Save 83% on 24 months + 3 Months FREE|
|Money Back Guarantee||30-days||30-days|
|VPN Protocols||WireGuard, OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, and IKEv2||WireGuard, IKEv2, and OpenVPN|
|Compatibility||Windows, macOS, Linux, routers, iOS, Android, game consoles, AppleTV, Firestick, and more.||iOS, Android, Windows, Linux, Chrome, routers, Apple TV, and more.|
|Streaming Platforms||Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, Hulu, HBO Max, and more.||Hulu, Disney+, Player, Netflix, Amazon Prime, & more.|
|Customer Support||Available 24/7 via Live Chat and Email||Available 24/7 via Live Chat or Email|
|Trustpilot rating||4.7 out of 5||4.5 out of 5|
ExpressVPN vs Surfshark: Detailed Comparison
After comparing the two services, it becomes clear that ExpressVPN is way more expensive. It offers three different plans to users: Monthly, Six months, and 1-year.
|1-year plan||US$ 6.67 /mo (Get 49% Off + 3 Months FREE on its 12-Month Plan)|
|Special offer||49% off on a 1-year plan|
|2-year plan||US$ 2.49 /mo (Get 84% + 2 Months FREE on 2-Year Plan)|
|Special offer||83% off on a 2-year plan|
With regard to money-back guarantees, both ExpressVPN and Surfshark offer a 30-day refund. You can avail of them anytime under a month if you are not satisfied with their service.
|Operating System Apps||Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Amazon Fire TV/Firestick, routers||Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, and Fire TV|
|Manual Install Devices||Some Routers, Set-Top Boxes, Kodi, FireStick||Linux, Routers, Set-Top Boxes|
|Split Tunneling||Windows, Android, macOS (excluding macOS 11 and above), routers.||Windows and Android|
|Free Extras||Media Streamer Smart DNS, RAM-based servers, browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari||Shadowsocks Support, Hacklock, Blindsearch, NoBorders Mode, TrustDNS|
In terms of features, both ExpressVPN and Surfshark very well surpass many providers in the industry. They stay updated on the latest in technologies and hacks to maximize performance.
Where Surfshark offers pre-configured routers, ExpressVPN adds a native client for DD-WRT and Tomato routers; you can install them by installing their firmware.
ExpressVPN even adds a Media Streamer Smart DNS service for streamers, while Surfshark offers multiple security tools like NoBorders, BlindSearch, Hacklock, and Shadowsocks.
As far as simultaneous connections are concerned, ExpressVPN can only be used on 5 devices at a single time. Surfshark, on the other hand, offers unlimited multi-logins.
To my surprise, ExpressVPN and Surfshark are equally matched in terms of unblocking different streaming platforms. Like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and now even Disney Plus.
From either service, you can feel assured to face no hassles in streaming on VoDs in ultra HD quality, be it from desktop clients or smartphone apps.
|VPN Protocols||Lightway, PPTP, L2TP, OpenVPN||L2TP, IPSec, IKEv2, Shadowsocks, OpenVPN|
|OpenVPN Data Encryption||AES-256-CBC||AES-256-CBC|
|OpenVPN Control Channel Encryption||RSA-4096||RSA-4096|
|Cloaking Technology||Cipher Block Chaining||Shadowsocks|
|App Security||Kill Switch||Kill Switch and DNS/WebRTC/ IP Leak Protection|
|DNS Status||Private DNS||TrustDNS|
ExpressVPN supports three protocols: PPTP, L2TP, and OpenVPN (TCP and UDP). It uses AES-256-CBC ciphers with HMAC SHA-256 data authentication on the data channel.
AES-256-GCM ciphers with RSA-384 handshake and HMAC SHA-256 data authentication are used for the control channel.
Surfshark, on the other hand, is a big fan of the IKEv2 protocol and uses it as “default” across its iOS device. Other apps utilize the same “OpenVPN (UDP)” protocol as a default.
It utilizes AES-256-GCM ciphers, so no additional authentication is provided on the data channel, but it is incredibly secure.
For the control channel, Surfshark uses an AES-256-GCM cipher with the TLS key exchange secured using RSA-2048. Perfect forward secrecy is provided by ECDH-(384?) key exchange.
Servers and Speed
Reviewing VPN services means more than just looking at the pricing and features available. You also need to factor in total servers, a number of countries support, and dedicated streaming/torrent servers, if any.
ExpressVPN offers a huge listing of3000 servers in 94 countries worldwide. ExpressVPN allows torrenting on almost all servers. Streaming is still a little tricky and may take tries on different servers.
Surfshark, on the other hand, tends to offer a dramatically lesser count. They only have 3200 servers in 65 countries worldwide, but the performance is still quite superb.
Also, if we take into factor that Surfshark only recently made its way into the marketplace in 2017, some leeway can be given in comparison to a service with 10+ years in the industry.
If we talk about the speed of ExpressVPN and surfshark, both of them deliver exceptional speeds on their multiple servers, especially US, UK, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.
Following are the speed results of ExpressVPN and Surfshark when connected to the US servers.
These speed results show that ExpressVPN gets the edge over Surfshark.
|Headquarters||British Virgin Islands||British Virgin Islands|
|Sign Up Information||Email Address||Email Address|
|Anonymous Payment Methods||Bitcoin and Mint||Various Cryptocurrencies|
Both Surfshark and ExpressVPN have their headquarters in the British Virgin Islands, an autonomous nation with a fair degree of freedom in matters governing its internal affairs.
In comparison to Britain, safe internet jurisdiction BVI does not impose mandatory data retention and mass surveillance laws. Neither is BVI a part of the 5/9/14 Eyes alliances.
There are no major issues with either VPNs logging policies either. In fact, ExpressVPN’s servers were seized following an attack on the Russian Ambassador of Turkey, but no details were revealed.
Similarly, there have been no cases involving Sufshark sharing personal details of users to government agencies. As far as anonymous payment options are concerned, both providers also support bitcoin.
|Static IPs||None||6+ Locations|
For configurations, Surfshark gains an edge over ExpressVPN. Where the BVI-based provider adopts a shared infrastructure and addresses allocation, Surfshark supports both: dynamic and static.
As a result, the BVI-based provider delivers more benefits to users, particularly ex-pats/travelers wanting remote access to office files, along with protection when accessing financial information.
It is important to note, though, that dedicated IPs are available as an add-on with Surfshark, so you do have to pay extra for them. However, the benefits of getting one give you greater value for your money.
Again, both ExpressVPN and Surfshark considered as China VPNs as they do exceptionally well at bypassing the “Great Firewall” in China. Both providers utilize the “obfuscation” technology for maximum cloaking.
Where ExpressVPN markets it through its RAM-infrastructure servers, Surfshark offers a special “NoBorders” mode for the task. The best part of all; residents can instantly bypass all geographical limitations.
Since VPN apps are banned in the Chinese Play Stores, ExpressVPN and Surfshark even provide residents with a dedicated Chinese mirror website to download their apps hassle-free.
Americans Users in China can download ExpressVPN from their dedicated Chinese page here: http://exp4links4.net/
Americans Users in China can download Surfshark from their dedicated Chinese page here: https://shark-cn.com/
Why Choose ExpressVPN?
If money is not your issue, then you can choose ExpressVPN without even thinking because we normally put ExpressVPN on the top of our best VPN list. There are many reasons why choosing ExpressVPN would be a better option than Surfshark. ExpressVPN has servers in 160 locations which is twice the size of Surfshark servers.
Server location matters the most when you want to access foreign geo-restricted countries from anywhere.
Speed is another reason why you choose ExpressVPN if you want to enjoy flawless streaming and gaming experience.
Why Choose Surfshark?
SurfShark is a great choice if you are looking for an inexpensive VPN service with unlimited device connections. Moreover, Surfhsark uses the Multihop feature, which means your internet activity and IP addresses encrypt via multiple servers, making it impossible for others to break the code.
ExpressVPN vs Surfshark: Our Winner
Our Winner is ExpressVPN!
ExpressVPN and Surfshark are both excellent services, there is no question about that, but if we were to look for the best VPN for streaming, best VPN for gaming, and other purposes, we would blindly choose ExpressVPN. According to our ExpressVPN vs Surfshark comparison.
The main reason for choosing ExpressVPN for the winner is it offers more servers spread across more locations, Unblocking ability, blazing-fast speeds, and support for more browsers and devices.
Another reason is that ExpressVPN uses Stealth servers, which works great for heavily banned nations like China and UAE, as well as is good at hiding your identity from your ISP and government.
ExpressVPN vs Surfshark : FAQs
Is ExpressVPN good for Netflix?
Yes, ExpressVPN is the best VPN for streaming Netflix. It offers servers in 160 locations around the world that give you smooth access to 20 plus different Netflix libraries. Additionally, it allows you to access Netflix on smart TVs and many streaming devices.
Does Surfshark work for Netflix?
Yes, Surfshark works perfectly fine with Netflix. With servers in 65 countries, you can enjoy any geo-blocked Netflix library from anywhere.
Does Surfshark work with smart TV?
No, Surfshark does not have an app that works for smart TVs. However, there are 2 ways to secure your Smart TV with Surfshark, and that is either you set up a Smart DNS or install a VPN on your routers.
Does ExpressVPN stop hackers?
Yes, ExpressVPN stops hackers by using high-end encryption protocols which encrypt your data. Hackers cannot read, insert, or modify any data because of the encrypted connection.
Does ExpressVPN work with Amazon Prime?
Yes, ExpressVPN can let you stream Amazon Prime in HD quality without buffering, as well as its geo-blocked content, meanwhile keeping your online identity safe and secure.