ExpressVPN vs Surfshark VPN (2019) – Should You Pick a Well-Known Brand or a Newcomer?

When choosing between different VPNs, how do you compare them? What kinds of features do you prioritize? We bet that you check the age of a VPN brand you’re interested in buying. After all, there’s nothing wrong with going for a well-known brand, which minimizes the chances of encountering something ‘unusual’ later on. Well, this article will show you that even a newcomer can challenge long-standing VPNs. Therefore, we’d like to welcome you to our ExpressVPN vs Surfshark VPN comparison.

Before we dive deeper, let’s quickly go over these VPN services. ExpressVPN is among the very best VPNs you’ll find right now, without a single doubt. It comes with an unparalleled set of features and has a reputation for truly caring about its customers. As noted in our ExpressVPN review, you simply can’t go wrong if you choose this one. Then, we have a newcomer – Surfshark. Our Surfshark VPN review will tell you that we felt quite impressed by this VPN, especially since it seems to check all the right boxes. In the end, these two VPNs are quite similar, so we’ll need to pay extra attention to their subtleties.

First, let’s start our ExpressVPN and Surfshark VPN comparison by listing these VPNs’ most prominent features. To learn more about this, check the table found below.

ExpressVPN Surfshark VPN
Jurisdiction The British Virgin Islands The British Virgin Islands
Logs No logs collected. No logs collected.
Number of Servers 3,000+ servers in 90+ countries. 1,000+ servers in 60+ countries.
Parallel Connections 5 Unlimited
Encryption Standards AES-256; OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP/IPsec. AES-256; OpenVPN, and IKEv2.
Speed Reduction 19% on average. 28% on average.
P2P Support YES YES
Supported Platforms Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, Web browsers, and routers. Windows, macOS, iOS, Linux, Android, Web browsers, Fire OS.
Visit ExpressVPN Surfshark VPN

Next, we’ll compare the scores of individual aspects of these two VPNs, based on our reviews. This will help you check the strong and weak sides of both of these VPN services.

ExpressVPN Surfshark VPN
Jurisdiction, Reputation 10/10 10/10
Supported Platforms 10/10 10/10
Installation Process 10/10 10/10
Prominent Features 9.5/10 10/10
Server Count 8.5/10 5.5/10
Ease of Use 10/10 10/10
Media Streaming 10/10 10/10
Security & Privacy 10/10 10/10
Speed & Performance 9/10 8.5/10
Customer Support 10/10 10/10
Pricing 9/10 8.5/10
Overall Score 9.6/10 9.3/10

So, that would be all for our introductory segment. Make sure to keep on reading our ExpressVPN vs Surfshark VPN comparison to learn all there’s to know about these two incredibly capable VPN services.

ExpressVPN vs Surfshark VPN – Which One’s Better?

We will be comparing these VPNs by checking their individual aspects – just like we did when we reviewed them. This is how you can decide which one to pick, based on your individual needs. So, let’s jump right in, shall we?

Background, Jurisdiction & Reputation

Surfshark Review - British Virgin Islands

First and foremost, let’s talk about where these VPNs come from. More precisely, we’ll check under whose jurisdiction they operate, which should be important to know if you truly care about your privacy.

  • ExpressVPN: This VPN has done its homework and chose a country with no data retention laws. This is the reason why ExpressVPN comes from the British Virgin Islands. It’s outside of the 14 Eyes Alliance, which is always a good thing to know. This is a no-logs VPN with a reputation for helping users from ‘problematic’ countries. In the past, its servers were seized once – which was a good marketing opportunity for ExpressVPN as no user records were ever found by the authorities.
  • Surfshark VPN: Interestingly enough, this VPN also comes from the British Virgin Islands. It doesn’t collect any data and there are no reports that would put its reputation at risk. Even though it’s relatively young, Surfshark certainly seems like a good option for those who care about their privacy.

Winner: It’s close to impossible to decide the winner of this category. Both of these are highly reputable solutions, after all. However, ExpressVPN’s age and numerous proofs of its no-logs policy is something that its rival can’t match.

Supported Platforms & Devices

ExpressVPN - Supported Devices

A capable VPN service brings native applications across the board – for all currently popular platforms. So, let’s see what kinds of applications are offered here.

  • ExpressVPN: One of the selling points of this VPN is its platform compatibility. It’s safe to say that no matter which platform you use – ExpressVPN will offer native software. It’s present on all desktop and mobile operating systems, media streaming devices, Web browsers, and you can install it on plenty of routers as well. Also, you can use it on up to 5 devices at the same time, which seems generous enough.
  • Surfshark VPN: Everything we said about its competitor also applies to this VPN. All currently popular platforms are on the list, including routers as well. However, Surfshark comes short when it comes to media streaming platforms, where only Fire OS is supported. Still, note that you can use it on an unlimited number of devices, though.

Winner: Once again, it’s very hard to decide which of these two VPNs is better. ExpressVPN is compatible with any device imaginable, while Surfshark VPN allows you to connect as many devices as you want. Therefore, we’ll call it a tie.

Installation & Initial Configuration

ExpressVPN - Account Access

When it comes to installing the chosen VPN, you’ll usually find plenty of different options. However, you’ll want something simple and without unneeded complications and bloatware.

  • ExpressVPN: Once you sign-up for this VPN, you’ll get to log-in to your online user dashboard (on its official website). This is a central place from where you can control your account, download different versions of this VPN, and more. ExpressVPN is trying to automate and simplify this process by automatically detecting your operating system. Also, you can log-in to the application only once, by using your activation code. All in all, this is a very streamlined process that leaves a positive first impression.
  • Surfshark VPN: This VPN is also taking a very simple approach (perhaps overly simple, in comparison to what ExpressVPN offers). Sign-up and you’ll see various instructions on how to download Surfshark apps. The application itself is quite lightweight and doesn’t need plenty of computing resources, which means that it can run on even some old machines as well.

Winner: Both of these come with really simple installation procedures. Our personal preference would be ExpressVPN, as it has managed to polish this procedure and make it as straightforward as possible. However, you won’t make a mistake if you choose Surfshark from this aspect.

Prominent Features

Surfshark Prominent Features

Now, here’s where the real battle begins. In this segment, we’ll tell you about what kinds of features you can expect out of these VPNs. With this said, make sure to pay your attention.

  • ExpressVPN: This VPN is powered by a series of high-end features, in addition to all the standard features you’d typically expect. This includes having access to different VPN protocols, the strongest types of data protection, split-tunneling, and more. It’s also worth mentioning that ExpressVPN keeps investing in developing and introducing new features, such as TrustedServer. This feature eliminates the use of hard drives from this VPN’s data centers, which is why ExpressVPN is among the most secure VPNs you’ll find today.
  • Surfshark VPN: One thing is clear – Surfshark has inspected its competition closely. Aside from the standard features like DNS and IPv6 leak protection, there are plenty of unique features as well. For example, ‘CleanWeb’ is a built-in tool that blocks ads, trackers, and malware. Also, this VPN allows you to route your traffic through several servers at the same time, increasing the level of your data protection.

Winner: Both ExpressVPN and Surfshark are among the safest VPNs out there. With ExpressVPN, you get a full set of features designed for both beginners and more advanced users. However, Surfshark offers that same thing, in addition to a couple of highly innovative features as well.

Server Count

ExpressVPN - Server Locations

We’re sure that you’ll want to know about these VPNs’ server networks. We’ll tell you how many servers you can expect, in how many countries, and plenty more.

  • ExpressVPN: At the moment, this VPN comes with more than 3,000 servers spread across the globe. It covers 90+ countries and over 160 locations. What’s important to be mentioned is that these servers are strategically placed across the planet. This means that you’ll always find a nearby one, which should provide you with reliable performance.
  • Surfshark VPN: If you decide to go with this VPN, know that you’ll get over 1,000 servers in around 60 countries. Even though this is highly impressive for a relatively new VPNs, you can see which of these VPN services takes the win in this round.

Winner: For a very long time, ExpressVPN has been on the VPNs with the highest server count. Therefore, it easily wins this round as it comes with over 3,000 servers.

Ease of Use

ExpressVPN Taiwan Server

There’s a common misconception that VPNs are overly complicated to use. Maybe this was true a decade or two ago, but it’s no longer true for modern VPN solutions. They usually come with highly polished interfaces that work for both beginners and advanced users.

  • ExpressVPN: During the last or so, ExpressVPN has simplified its UI and now comes with a uniform design across all of its supported platforms. The team behind this VPN has done a marvelous job of trying to explain what each button does, so it’s all very intuitive. More advanced users will want to dig a bit deeper and play around with this VPN’s settings. In other words, ExpressVPN brings just the right balance between simplicity and complexity, which is really hard to achieve.
  • Surfshark VPN: We suspect that one of the biggest role-models for Surfshark is none other than ExpressVPN. These two come with relatively similar interfaces, both of which are suitable for a wide range of users. You’ll get to use a simple UI, perfect for first-timers. However, once you start to dig a bit deeper, you’ll see that Surfshark also has its complex side, designed for more advanced users.

Winner: Interestingly enough, these two VPNs come with similar interfaces. They’re easy to use, highly intuitive, and quite polished overall. You won’t make a mistake no matter which of these you choose.

Media Streaming & Torrenting Support

ExpressVPN Unblocks Netflix

Is media streaming important to you? Want you want to unblock various types of websites? If your answer is “Yes”, then keep on reading this segment.

  • ExpressVPN: This VPN has a reputation of unblocking pretty much any website, in any part of the world. This also applies to Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video. What’s important to note is that ExpressVPN was managing to unblock Netflix even during those times when this streaming platform took steps to prevent VPNs from working. And also, this VPN comes with P2P-friendly servers, which means that you’ll get to download torrents with ease.
  • Surfshark VPN: We were surprised to learn that Surfshark is equally capable when it comes to media streaming and P2P file downloading. No matter what website we tried to unblock, Surfshark had the means to help us.

Winner: Again, there’s no clear winner here. Both ExpressVPN and Surfshark are capable of unblocking websites, streaming media from the Web, and downloading torrents.

Security & Privacy

Surfshark Privacy

In this segment, we’ll check what kinds of security- and privacy-related features these VPNs bring. So, continue reading our ExpressVPN vs Surfshark VPN comparison to see which one protects your privacy in a better way.

  • ExpressVPN: Aside from bringing AES-256 encryption, this VPN relies on a really wide range of VPN protocols. We’re talking about OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, and PPTP. You’re free to choose which one you want to use. There’s a kill-switch included as well, protecting your data if you get disconnected from a secure server. And let’s not forget to mention that ExpressVPN is a verified no-logs VPN service, keeping no records of your Web browsing.
  • Surfshark VPN: This VPN understands the importance of providing a safe haven for their users. It uses AES-256 but also relies on OpenVPN and IKEv2. Also, this VPN service keeps no user records and comes free of any data leaks. All in all, it definitely seems like a trustworthy solution.

Winner: Both of these have the power to protect your privacy online. However, considering that ExpressVPN has been on the market longer than Surfshark, it takes the win in this category.

Speed & Performance

Surfshark Speed and Performance

It’s true that VPNs come with many benefits. However, one of the downsides related to the impact on the speed of your Web connection. So, let’s see what kind of performance you can expect out of these two VPNs.

  • ExpressVPN: As per our tests, ExpressVPN made our Web connection slower by 19% on average. We have to say that this is an amazing result, as well as one of the best results we got out of dozens of VPNs that we tested so far. Depending on the starting speed of your Web connection, even 4K media streaming shouldn’t be an issue.
  • Surfshark VPN: This VPN slowed us down by 28% on average. We did experience some throttling when using remotely located servers, though. In general, Surfshark should be proud of this result. However, it doesn’t come close to what ExpressVPN offers.

Winner: There’s no need to think too much when it comes to this category. ExpressVPN is one of the fastest VPNs out there, so it easily takes the win here.

Customer Support

ExpressVPN - Customer Support

We have to note that customer support is often an overlooked feature. However, something can go wrong when you’re using a VPN, and you’ll want to have a team watching your back. Most importantly, you’ll want to have someone who’ll assist you in a timely manner.

  • ExpressVPN: Trust us when we say that ExpressVPN knows how to assist its customers (and those who aren’t subscribers as well). You can chat with this VPN’s team live via the official website. Also, you’ll get to read plenty of guides, tutorials, frequently asked questions, and plenty more. There’s even a very interesting and often-updated blog section.
  • Surfshark VPN: This VPN also offers live-chat on its website. In addition, you’ll find setup guides, frequently asked questions, and similar. Of course, you are also free to create a support ticket and we assure you that you’ll get a response in a timely manner.

Winner: Both of these VPN services come with admirable customer support. They offer live chat, nicely written tutorials, and they’ll be there for you in times of need.


ExpressVPN - Pricing

And finally, let’s see how much these VPNs cost. We’ll tell you how much you’ll need to pay on a monthly basis. Also, we’ll tell you how much you can save if you go for their long-term plans.

  • ExpressVPN: This VPN comes with a monthly price of $12.95. However, the price goes down if you pick its annual plan, to $6.67 per month – and this plan currently brings three additional months of use, free of charge. There’s a 30-day money-back guarantee, and you can pay via numerous payment processors.
  • Surfshark VPN: Priced at $11.95, this VPN is somewhat more affordable than ExpressVPN (but not in a drastic way). Its annual plan brings the price down to $5.99 per month. There’s a 30-day money-back guarantee and there’s support for plenty of different payment processors.

Winner: These two VPNs come with similar pricing schemes. Surfshark is slightly more affordable, but not by much. In general, these aren’t the most affordable VPNs you’ll find, but both of these are among the most capable VPNs right now.

ExpressVPN vs Surfshark VPN – Which One Should Be Your Pick?

Overall, both of these are amazing choices. No matter which one you pick, you can be sure that your online privacy is protected in the best way possible. Therefore, we can pick the winner based on subtleties. In this case, the winner would be ExpressVPN.

Even though Surfshark comes with a compelling set of features, ExpressVPN comes with several additional tricks up its sleeve. This is a long-stand VPN with no problematic situations in its past. It comes with a verified no-logs policy, unblocks any website, uses the latest privacy-related technologies, and more. Therefore, we strongly recommend you subscribe to ExpressVPN.

Dear readers, this is where we conclude our ExpressVPN vs Surfshark VPN comparison. Finally, we’d like to ask you to share this article online. You can also follow us via our social media profiles, on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks!


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