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 you’re interested in using. After all, there’s nothing wrong with going for a well-known brand, which minimizes the chances of encountering something ‘unusual’ later on.
Before we dive deeper, let’s quickly go over these VPNs. 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 can’t go wrong if you choose this VPN.
Then, we have a newcomer – called 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 vs. Surfshark VPN comparison by listing these VPNs’ most prominent features. So, check the table found below.
|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.||3,200+ servers in 65+ countries.|
|Encryption Standards||AES-256; OpenVPN, Lightway, L2TP/IPSec, IKEv2, PPTP.||AES-256; OpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuard, Shadowsocks.|
|Speed Reduction||44.7%, on average.||37.7%. on average.|
|Supported Platforms||Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, Web browsers, routers, and media streaming devices.||Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Smart TVs, Web browsers, and routers.|
Next, we’ll compare the scores of individual segments of these two VPNs, based on our reviews. This will help you check both the strong and weak sides of these two VPN services.
|Background, Jurisdiction &Reputation||10/10||10/10|
|Supported Platforms & Devices||10/10||10/10|
|Installation & Initial Configuration||10/10||10/10|
|Server Count & Infrastructure||8.5/10||8/10|
|UI/UX Design & Ease of Use||10/10||9.5/10|
|Media Streaming & Torrenting Support||10/10||10/10|
|Security & Privacy||10/10||9/10|
|Speed & Performance||8.5/10||9/10|
So, that would be all for our introductory segment. Make sure to keep reading our ExpressVPN vs. Surfshark VPN comparison to learn all there’s to know about these two VPNs.
ExpressVPN vs. Surfshark VPN 2021: Head-to-Head Comparison
We will compare the VPNs by checking their individual aspects – just like we did when we first 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
First and foremost, let’s talk about where these VPNs come from. More precisely, we’ll check under whose jurisdiction they operate, which is crucial to know before you subscribe (to any VPN, for that matter).
- ExpressVPN: This VPN has done its homework and chose a country with no mandatory data retention laws. That is the reason why ExpressVPN comes from the British Virgin Islands. It’s outside of the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance, which is always a good thing to know. In the past, its servers were seized once – which turned out to be a good marketing opportunity for ExpressVPN as no user records were ever found by the authorities. That’s because this is a certified no-logs VPN service.
- Surfshark VPN: Interestingly enough, this VPN also comes from the British Virgin Islands (which isn’t a coincidence, of course). It doesn’t collect any of your personal data, and there are no reports that would question this VPN’s reputation. Even though it’s a relatively young VPN, Surfshark certainly seems like a good option for those who care about their privacy.
Winner: It’s close to impossible to decide which VPN wins this category. Both of these come from highly reputable brands, after all. However, ExpressVPN‘s age and numerous proofs of its no-logs policy is something that its rival can’t match (at the moment, at least).
Supported Platforms & Devices
A capable VPN service brings native applications across the board – for all currently popular desktop and mobile platforms. So, let’s see what you can expect from Surfshark and ExpressVPN.
|Desktop Platforms||Windows, macOS, Linux, Chrome OS.||Windows, macOS, Linux, Chrome OS.|
|Mobile Platforms||Android, iOS, Amazon Kindle Fire, Nook HD.||Android, iOS.|
|Web Browsers||Chrome, Firefox, Edge.||Chrome, Firefox.|
|Routers||DD-WRT, Tomato, and more.||DD-WRT, Tomato, and more.|
|Other Devices||Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, and more.||Fire TV, gaming consoles, and more.|
- ExpressVPN: It’s safe to say that no matter which platform you use – you can expect ExpressVPN to offer native software for your devices. It’s present on all currently popular desktop and mobile operating systems, media streaming devices, Web browsers, and you can install it on plenty of routers as well. You can also use it on up to 5 devices at the same time.
- Surfshark VPN: Everything we said about its competitor applies to this VPN as well. All currently popular platforms are on the list, including routers. Surfshark also offers apps for media streaming devices and has Web browser extensions. On top of that, you get to use Surfshark on an unlimited number of devices, which is a really welcome benefit.
Winner: Again, it’s tough 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 – as we strongly believe that no matter which of these VPNs you pick, your needs will be met.
Installation & Initial Configuration
When it comes to installing your chosen VPN, you’ll usually find plenty of different options. However, you’ll want something simple and without unneeded complications or 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, which is highly important in the world of VPNs.
- Surfshark VPN: This VPN is also taking a straightforward approach (perhaps overly simple, in comparison to what ExpressVPN offers). Sign up for Surfshark, and you’ll see various instructions on how to download Surfshark apps. The application itself is very lightweight and doesn’t need plenty of computing resources, which means 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, still suitable even for complete beginners.
Now, here’s where the real battle begins. In this segment, we’ll tell you about what kinds of features you can expect from these VPNs. With that said, make sure to pay attention.
|DNS Leak Protection||YES||YES|
|IPv6 Leak Protection||YES||YES|
|Unlimited Server Switches||YES||YES|
- ExpressVPN: This VPN is powered by a series of high-end features, in addition to all the standard features you’d typically expect. That 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 two servers simultaneously (which is something that its competitor doesn’t offer right now), increasing the level of your data protection. There’s also a real-time identity theft alert service, as well as GPS spoofing (available on Android).
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, which means that it wins this round.
Server Count & Infrastructure
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.
|Number of Servers||3,000+||3,200+|
|Number of Locations||160||N/A|
|Number of Countries||94||65|
|Specific Cities Selection||YES||YES|
- 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. You’ll always find a nearby one, which should provide you with stable and fast performance.
- Surfshark VPN: If you decide to go with this VPN, know that you’ll get over 3,200 servers. Therefore, this VPN offers more servers than ExpressVPN. However, if we take a closer look, we’ll see that Surfshark covers 65 countries, while ExpressVPN has servers in 94 countries. So, the question is – do you need a VPN with more servers or a VPN that has servers in more countries?
UI/UX Design & Ease of Use
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 applications. 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 its supported platforms. The team behind this VPN has done a marvelous job of trying to explain the role of each button, so it’s all very intuitive. More advanced users will want to dig a bit deeper and play around with this VPN’s settings (which are nicely categorized and come with helpful tips throughout). 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 more complex side, designed for more advanced users. Therefore, no matter if you have some experience using a VPN or if you’re a beginner, Surfshark will most definitely meet your needs.
Media Streaming & Torrenting Support
Is media streaming important to you? Do you want to unblock various types of websites? If your answer is “Yes,” then keep on reading this segment.
|Amazon Prime Video||YES||YES|
|Torrenting (P2P) Support||YES||YES|
- ExpressVPN: This VPN has a reputation for unblocking pretty much any website in any part of the world. This also applies to Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video. What’s important to note is that ExpressVPN managed 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 (no optimized servers – its entire server network supports P2P traffic), 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. We’ve used this VPN to unblock a wide range of hugely popular and lesser-known media streaming service, with great success. On top of that, Surfshark is also a nice option if you plan on downloading torrents, as its infrastructure is built to support P2P traffic from the ground up.
Security & 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 an extensive range of VPN protocols. We’re talking about OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, IKEv2, PPTP, and Lightway (ExpressVPN’s proprietary VPN protocol). On top of that, ExpressVPN respects your privacy, which is visible in almost every aspect of its service. It comes from a privacy-friendly country, utilizes privacy-first technologies, and it’s not afraid to go through independent audits. Therefore, it doesn’t come as a surprise that there are no reports of this VPN logging private data or exposing any kind of sensitive information. Let’s remind you that ExpressVPN comes with many years of experience, which tells a lot.
- Surfshark VPN: This VPN understands the importance of providing a safe haven for its users. It uses AES-256 but also relies on OpenVPN, IKEv2, and WireGuard. Therefore, it comes with a smaller number of VPN protocols than ExpressVPN – but focuses on truly high-end options. Also, this VPN service keeps no user records and comes free of any data leaks. It even includes handy extras such as a real-time theft alert service. All in all, it definitely seems like a trustworthy solution.
Speed & Performance
It’s true that VPNs come with many benefits. However, it’s also true that VPNs (no matter which one you pick) will make your Internet connection somewhat slower. 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 44.7% on average. Therefore, we have to note that ExpressVPN isn’t the fastest VPN out there. Still, we also have to note that its performance is very stable, without noticeable fluctuations. No matter if you connect to a nearby server of a highly remote one, your Web connection speed won’t take a major hit. In other words, if you have a fast-enough Internet connection, even streaming in 4K while using the highest level of encryption will be possible.
- Surfshark VPN: This VPN slowed us down by 37.7%, on average. As you can see, this is faster than what its competitor offers at the moment. This is especially true for local connections, which is where Surfshark excels. On top of that, you get a small but highly effective range of VPN protocols, so you can really fine-tune your Web connection’s performance. Overall, we don’t have any reason not to recommend this VPN to your readers.
We have to note that when it comes to VPNs, their customer support is often an overlooked feature. However, something can go wrong from time to time, and you’ll want to have a team watching your back. Most importantly, you’ll want to have someone who’ll assist you promptly.
- 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 in real-time 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. All of that material is nicely written and truly helpful, especially for less experienced users. Therefore, in case of any problems, you can be sure that someone will assist you in no time.
- Surfshark VPN: This VPN also offers live-chat on its website. Besides, you’ll find setup guides, frequently asked questions, and similar. Of course, you are also free to create a support ticket, which means that Surfshark provides a high level of customer support overall. Once again, you won’t make a mistake no matter which of these two VPNs you pick.
And finally, let’s see how much these VPNs cost. We’ll tell you how much you’ll need to pay monthly. 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 methods. Therefore, ExpressVPN isn’t the most affordable VPN out there – but considering its set of features, we believe it brings plenty of value.
- Surfshark VPN: This VPN comes with a monthly plan priced at $12.95. However, unlike ExpressVPN, Surfshark offers really big discounts on its long-term plans. For example, the price goes all the way down to $2.49 per month if you pick the VPN’s 2-year plan. However, make sure to read the fine print, as you’ll need to pay $59.76 for the first two years – and each subsequent year after that.
ExpressVPN vs. Surfshark VPN – Which One Should Be Your Pick?
Overall, both of these VPNs 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 only. In this case, the winner would be ExpressVPN.
Even though Surfshark comes with a compelling set of features, its competitor 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.
You’ve reached the end of our ExpressVPN vs. Surfshark VPN comparison. If you have any questions or doubts, make sure to post your comment below. Thanks for reading!