ExpressVPN vs Surfshark: Will the newcomer or veteran win?

ExpressVPN Surfshark comparison

ExpressVPN and Surfshark are two popular VPN providers with different benefits. ExpressVPN is best known as an experienced provider you can count on; Surfshark is a newcomer who quickly made it to the top. We compared these two providers in the following categories:

  • Security: ExpressVPN
  • Speed: Surfshark
  • Privacy: ExpressVPN
  • Prize: Surfshark
  • Ease of Use : ExpressVPN
  • Customer service: tie

Surfshark wins in two categories while ExpressVPN wins in three categories. We gave the overall victory to ExpressVPN because this provider offers better data protection.

Do you want to know exactly what the differences are between these two providers? Then read on below.

In our series of popular VPN provider comparisons, we rated both ExpressVPN and Surfshark. ExpressVPN is the undisputed number one VPN provider at All Things VPN. Nevertheless, we particularly appreciate Surfshark because of its perfect price-performance ratio. But which provider did the best in the test? Find out all about it below.

ExpressVPN vs. Surfshark: their features at a glance

Below is a brief explanation of all of the above properties:

Server3,000+ servers in 94 countries3,200+ servers in 65 countries
Torrents/P2P Support
Simultaneous connections5No limit
Operating systemsWindows, Mac, iOS, Android, LinuxWindows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux
LogsOpenVPN, IKEv2/IPsec, L2TP/IPSec, Lightway (beta)OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPsec, Wireguard, Shadowsocks (proxy)
priceFrom $ 6.67 per monthFrom $ 2.49 per month
Logging PolicyNo logsNo logs
Money back guarantee30 days30 days
DNS Leak Test
Tor over VPN
Encrypted servers
Double VPN
Dedicated IP
ad blocker
Hard drive-less servers
Custom DNS option
Static IP address servers
Anonymous search engine
Notification of email leak
Automated HTTPS redirection
Data compression option
Link to the websiteVisit ExpressVPNVisit Surfshark

Below is a brief explanation of all of the above features:

  • Server : Shows how many servers each VPN provider has available and how many worldwide locations these servers are located.
  • Torrents / P2P Support : Indicates whether torrents can be downloaded through a specific VPN.
  • Netflix / Streaming : Indicates whether you can access the American version of Netflix with the respective VPN provider.
  • Concurrent Connections : How many concurrent VPN connections you can have per subscription for each VPN provider.
  • Operating System : Indicates which operating system (s) the specific VPN is compatible with.
  • Protocols : Provides a list of each VPN encryption protocol.
  • Price : Provides information on the cheapest monthly subscription cost of each VPN. The cheapest prices are often related to a long-term subscription.
  • Logging Policy : Indicates the type of logging policy the company behind the VPN uses. A VPN provider that does not keep logs is preferable to a VPN provider that does.
  • Money Back Guarantee : The amount of time you can claim your money back if you change your mind about using the VPN. This period is often shorter if you take out individual monthly subscriptions.
  • DNS leak test : A DNS leak test checks whether your IP address has been published.
  • Tor over VPN : Indicates whether the VPN provider’s servers are suitable for use with the Tor network. This network is used to visit the dark web.
  • Encrypted servers: Encrypted servers make VPN traffic look like normal traffic. This makes it more difficult for repressive regimes to deny you access to certain websites.
  • Double VPN : When using Double VPN, you connect through two VPN servers instead of one. This creates an even more anonymous VPN tunnel, which, however, has a negative effect on the speed.
  • Dedicated IP : Indicates whether you can get a fixed IP address from the respective VPN provider (frequently for a small surcharge per month).
  • Kill switch : The kill switch is a feature that ensures that your internet traffic is automatically stopped if you lose your VPN connection.
  • Split tunneling : allows you to specify which applications and websites you want to connect to via the VPN and which you don’t.
  • Adblocker : Allows you to determine whether the respective VPN can block advertising, if desired, without having to install a separate browser extension.
  • Diskless servers : These servers do not act as storage servers. The advantage of such servers is that they do not contain any data. As a result, they are useless to hackers if they can gain access to such servers.
  • Custom DNS option : Indicates whether the VPN allows you to set up your own DNS entries.
  • Online tracker blocker : Indicates whether the respective VPN provider can block online trackers.
  • Static IP address servers : Although Surfshark does not have a dedicated IP address, it does have shared servers with static IP addresses.
  • Anonymous Search Engine : Surfshark has its own twist on DuckDuckGo: an anonymous search engine that doesn’t track your data.
  • Email Leak Notification : If your email address appears in an online database, you can choose to be notified by Surfshark.
  • Automated HTTPS Redirect : If you enable this feature, you will be automatically redirected to the HTTPS version of a website instead of the HTTP version.
  • Data Compression Option : This is a nice addition to VPNs. It allows you to reduce your data consumption by compressing large images, etc.

ExpressVPN vs. Surfshark: Which VPN is Safer?

The security of a provider can be summarized in a few points: the protocols offered, the type of server used and whether additional functions are offered, such as blocking online trackers and the like.

  • ExpressVPN supports OpenVPN with UDP or TCP as well as the protocols IKEv2 / IPSec, L2TP / IPSec and Lightway. ExpressVPN itself recommends using these protocols even just to change your location (for example, to watch movies from the US Netflix library). The security benefits of L2TP are very limited. Surfshark offers the OpenVPN, WireGuard and IKEv2 / IPSec protocols. WireGuard is a new protocol that is said to be faster and more secure than OpenVPN. However, WireGuard is still in development, as is ExpressVPN’s Lightway. It’s still in the testing phase and in our opinion shouldn’t be used by the average VPN user.
  • Shadowsocks is also offered as a “protocol” by Surfshark, but it is only a proxy function. However, this feature is useful in countries like China, where the use of VPNs is blocked. However, it’s unfortunate that Surfshark doesn’t make it clear that Shadowsocks isn’t actually a true VPN protocol. Having a proxy to share content in certain countries is less secure than using a VPN, so we don’t necessarily like this option.
  • Both Surfshark and ExpressVPN use 256-bit encryption, and both providers also have a kill switch in case the VPN connection unexpectedly breaks.
  • Surfshark offers double VPN connections. However, this does not benefit your level of security so much.
  • ExpressVPN has an option to create custom DNS records, which comes in handy.
  • In addition, both VPNs support ObfProxy. This Tor technique can prevent deep packet inspection, which can be used to determine whether a person is using a VPN connection. In many cases, with an Obfproxy you can use VPNs in countries where it is not allowed.

Ultimately, we think ExpressVPN beats Surfshark when it comes to security, albeit by a very small margin.

Security Winner : ExpressVPN

VPN Provider vs Provider Winner Security Banner ExpressVPN New

ExpressVPN or Surfshark: Which Provider Wins in Speed?

To compare the speed of these two VPNs, we ran speed tests on both VPNs. First, however, we tested our own internet connection without a VPN to set the speed baseline. The results can be seen in the figure below.

Speedtest no VPN

We then tested international and local servers belonging to both ExpressVPN and Surfshark. The results are shown in the table below, with the fastest speeds in bold.

Local server download speed (Mbps)322.38381.40
Local server upload speed (in Mbps)171.11265.15
Ping premises Server8 ms4 ms
Download speed of international servers (in Mbps)139.68372.46
Upload speed of international servers (in Mbps)26.9702.19
Ping international server114 ms78 ms

The test results show that both providers are definitely fast enough in daily use. Therefore, in daily use it does not matter which provider you choose, you will probably not experience slowness with either of the two. However, if you regularly do intensive downloads or stream a lot, the difference in achievable speeds can certainly be a reason for picking Surfshark. In our speed tests, Surfshark turned out to be one of the best VPN providers in terms of speed.

Fastest VPN : Surfshark

VPN Provider vs Provider Winner Speed Banner Surfshark

ExpressVPN vs. Surfshark: How Do These VPN Providers Handle Your Privacy?

In addition to data security for third parties, the internal guidelines of the VPN provider are of course also important. If a provider keeps logs, the VPN connection is likely very secure, but your data could still get into the hands of others. How do ExpressVPN and Surfshark manage your data?

In addition to speed, it is also important that, thanks to the VPN provider, your personal data does not end up in the hands of third parties. Do these two providers keep logs, and if so, what happens to them?


  • It is immediately clear that ExpressVPN keeps no logs. The company operates out of the British Virgin Islands, which has extremely strict data protection laws.
  • In addition, TrustedServers are used, on which no data can be permanently stored, as the servers are “hard drive-free”. Even if you want to keep logs, this is not possible with these server types.


  • Surfshark also has a “no logs” policy. However, Surfshark does ask for some information that they use to monitor their software. The company uses this (anonymized) data to see how busy its servers are.
  • Surfshark recently switched to a pure hard drive server network. As with ExpressVPN’s servers, no data can be stored on these servers, as all data is only temporary.

Both providers don’t keep logs, but since Surfshark keeps anonymous data, we’re leaving the victory to ExpressVPN. The reason for this is that we, in fact, have to blindly trust Surfshark that this data is and will remain anonymous.

Privacy Winner : ExpressVPN

VPN Provider vs Provider Winner Privacy Banner ExpressVPN New

ExpressVPN vs. Surfshark: Which Provider Is Cheaper?

The most attractive feature of Surfshark is its unprecedented low price. This is the cheapest of all the premium providers we recommend (except for temporary VPN deals). The following table provides an overview of the various subscription options.

1 month$12.95$12.95
6 months$9.99$6.49
1.25 years (15 months)$6.67
2 years$2.49

Note: prices may vary from day to day. We try to keep this table up to date, but always check a VPN provider’s website for the most up-to-date price

The winner of the award : Surfshark

VPN Provider vs Provider Winner Price Banner Surfshark

ExpressVPN vs Surfshark: Which app is easier to work with?

Our previous reviews of ExpressVPN and Surfshark have shown that both providers offer an easy-to-use application. However, there are differences and what about the installation process and their respective websites?

  • The layout of the ExpressVPN application is very clean and has a large connect button, so there is little time to waste before you can get online. You can also choose different locations. Surfshark has basically the same layout as ExpressVPN, but with Surfshark you can pick from the home screen whether you want to connect to the “fastest server” or the “closest country”. ExpressVPN will automatically select the fastest server.
  • Surfshark provides limited information about the various features of its application. For example, you could turn on Shadowsocks without knowing what this function actually does. ExpressVPN, on the other hand, provides an explanation of when it is best to use each of the protocols.
  • Both Surfshark and ExpressVPN’s websites offer a knowledge centre where beginners can find information about what the VPN does and how to use them. We found Surfshark’s website to be a bit easier to navigate, but ExpressVPN often offers in-depth information.
  • The installation of both applications is self-explanatory; You click on the downloaded file and follow the steps shown on the screen. This is similar to the installation process for many other software packages.

First, we have to say that both applications work fine. However, Surfshark could provide a little more information about its various settings. Because of this, ExpressVPN narrowly wins in this category.

Below are screenshots of the software from ExpressVPN and Surfshark.

Screenshots ExpressVPN and Surfshark Software

Ease of Use Winner : ExpressVPN

VPN Provider vs Provider Winner Ease of Use Banner ExpressVPN New

Customer Support: How do these vendors solve your problems?

Of course, problems can arise where one look at the provider’s website is insufficient to resolve them. How is ExpressVPN and Surfshark customer service responding?

  • Both ExpressVPN and Surfshark have customer service agents who can be reached via live chat. In addition, both providers have connected us directly with an employee.
  • Both staff were knowledgeable and gave adequate answers to our questions.
  • Customer service is only available in English for both providers.
  • As described above, both vendors’ websites also contain an information database that contains answers to frequently asked questions.

After all, for us, there was no clear difference between these two providers in terms of customer service.

Customer Support Winner: Tie

VPN Provider vs Provider Customer Service Banner Tie

Our final verdict: when should you choose ExpressVPN, and when should you choose Surfshark?

It often happens that the best VPN providers are often head to head. Both Surfshark and ExpressVPN are excellent choices, but if all you want is the lowest price, then you should probably go for Surfshark.

On the other hand, Surfshark isn’t that good when it comes to privacy. Since this is the main reason for using a VPN, this category is very heavily weighted. In the end, Surfshark wins in two categories, while ExpressVPN wins in three. Yes, you pay more, but it also means you are less likely to be exposed to a privacy invasion.

The following list gives an overview of the results for each category:

  • Security: ExpressVPN
  • Speed: Surfshark
  • Privacy: ExpressVPN
  • Prize: Surfshark
  • Ease of Use: ExpressVPN
  • Customer service: tie

Ultimately, ExpressVPN wins by a minimal margin. Would you like to take out a subscription with one of these providers? Then click the appropriate box below to be directed to either the ExpressVPN or Surfshark websites.

Would you like to see the other VPN comparisons? Then click on one of the following links: