ExpressVPN vs. Surfshark: Which One Wins?

Abeerah Hashim Last updated: April 27, 2023 Read time: 20 minutes Disclosure

Surfshark vs ExpressVPN compared head to head. Find out if the VPN's world seasoned veteran is still better than the energetic new kid on the block.

VPN services are in high demand due to the increase in cybersecurity threats. A wide range of premium and free networks are available today, making it harder to select the one that best matches your needs and budget. After vigorous testing and research, we provide a spec-wise comparative analysis of top-notch VPN services: ExpressVPN vs. Surfshark. Both services can evade geo-blocks, support torrenting, and obfuscate VPN traffic. Likewise, their premium features include split tunneling, Kill Switch, support for multiple simultaneous connections, and cross-platform compatibility. However, after a head-to-head competition, we found ExpressVPN as a winner in providing robust security features, high speed, and a user-friendly interface. In comparison, Surfshark takes the lead in delivering outstanding services at less pricing.

Digital privacy was the last priority on most internet users’ minds for decades. Then Edward Snowden came to show us all the errors of our ways.

In the post-Snowden world, everything is different. Suddenly privacy, anonymity, and security online are essential for most users. Consequently, the Virtual Private Network (VPN) has become a much more critical and powerful tool to ensure those things.

So the demand for VPN services has exploded, and so has the number of vendors offering the “best, most powerful, secure, private and anonymous” VPN in the business. But, of course, very few VPNs out there can fulfill those promises. Surfshark and ExpressVPN are among them.

The best VPNs are very user-friendly. However, this apparent simplicity is deceptive. The machinery behind the few clicks the user has to make is exceedingly complicated. Moreover, it requires vast amounts of expertise and infrastructure from the provider, so many want their potential customers to learn about it. Education is always a good policy, of course. But VPN technology is specialized, so unless you’re a geek or a networking professional, the material you need to understand regarding VPN will likely be beyond your reach.

So, the market is too big, there are too many offers on the internet, and telling apart the best from the rest takes time, energy, and expertise. So, what can you do about it? Well, nothing! We’ve done it, so you don’t have to.

We chose two of the best VPNs in the industry to compare head-to-head: ExpressVPN vs Surfshark. This article will give you all the information you need to compare them in full detail, we will explain the most advanced features of each, and by the time you’re done reading, you’ll know which is the one for you.

ExpressVPN vs Surfshark: Quick summary

ExpressVPN and Surfshark are two of the best VPNs in the business. But, unfortunately, when you see two such good services side by side, the edge that one gets over the other comes down to subtle things and incremental features.

When comparing Surfshark vs ExpressVPN, we have two services at the top of their powers but aim to serve different types of users. So choosing either VPN is more about suiting a digital lifestyle than a single feature that is so much better with one of them.

We had both VPNs fighting six rounds. Then, ExpressVPN took the security, privacy, and ease of use ones. However, Surfshark got away with speeds and price. In addition, customer service was a draw. So ExpressVPN carried the day. However, Surfshark remains the better option for many users. Specifically, those who want better speeds and want more cost-effective service. This is not to say that ExpressVPN lacks speed, but it’s way more expensive.

So ExpressVPN is a better VPN than Surfshark because it’s now more complete. But do not underestimate Surfshark. It’s turned the VPN world upside down quickly, and it would not be a surprise if it surpasses ExpressVPN soon.

At PrivacySavvy, we keep compiling lists of the best VPNs for various tasks or particular features. In every case, both Surfshark and ExpressVPN lead the pack (usually along with NordVPN).

Of course, Express VPN remains the best-known option. It’s been around for a long time and has gathered a massive (and deserved) reputation. But Surfshark is a top-notch service, and it managed to win a few rounds in our contest.

Each VPN vendor has an audience and a user base for sure. Still, we wanted to determine which is best when considering several aspects of the service: customer support, user-friendliness, pricing, privacy, speed, and security.

Both networks have strengths and weaknesses — and you’ll find them out if you read the rest of this article. But hopefully, the detailed information we will offer you here will help you decide which of the two fits your digital habits in the best possible way.

ExpressVPN vs. Surfshark: The quick comparison

ExpressVPN has over 3000 servers in 94 countries, while Surfshark has 3200+ servers in 65 countries. So Surfshark’s international presence is evidently inferior. But it has servers in all the jurisdictions that count, and that 3.2k servers, a higher number than ExpressVPN’s, is quite impressive for a service that’s not been around for so long.

Both VPNs are good for unlocking Netflix, BitTorrenting, preventing DNS leaks, obfuscated traffic, split tunneling, using a kill switch, and using RAM-only servers. And both support Linux, Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows.

Then there are the features that diverge. For example, ExpressVPN supports five concurrent connections to the network, while Surfshark will give you an unlimited number.

Surfshark’s VPN protocols include OpenVPN (the industry’s golden standard), IKEv2, and WireGuard. ExpressVPN has them too, but it also offers L2TP/IPSec and Lightway.