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vpnMentor was established in 2014 to review VPN services and cover privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.
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vpnMentor was established in 2014 to review VPN services and cover privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.

ExpressVPN vs Surfshark 2024

Table of Contents
    Editor's Note: Transparency and impartiality are important to us when bringing you our best selection of VPNs. Some of the industry-leading products on our list, including Intego, Private Internet Access, CyberGhost, and Expressvpn are owned by Kape Technologies, our parent company. The VPNs we choose are derived from a thorough testing process.

    Which VPN is better?

    Author Image Keira Waddell
    Keira Waddell

    Senior Writer

    You’ll find conflicting views online about which is the superior choice between ExpressVPN and Surfshark, and choosing a winner wasn’t a simple task. While both VPNs offer robust services, there are noteworthy differences between them.

    I rigorously tested each VPN’s speeds, streaming, torrenting, gaming, customer support reliability, and lots more. I analyzed their subscription plans, finding any hidden costs in the small print. Additionally, I scrutinized their privacy policies and delved into their historical data-handling practices.

    Here's the verdict: Both VPNs offer fast speed and user-friendliness, and they both work well for HD streaming. However, if your online privacy is a concern, ExpressVPN is ultimately the best choice.

    Surfshark isn't a bad option, though — it’s a great budget-friendly alternative. Nonetheless, its privacy standards are questionable, it has slightly slower speeds, and it doesn’t work in China. Take a look at my more detailed tests below.

    Try ExpressVPN Risk-Free

    Short on Time? Here Are My Key Findings

    ExpressVPN Surfshark
    ⭐ Overall Rating Our Score: 9.9/10

    www.expressvpn.com

    Our Score: 9.3/10

    www.surfshark.com

    💲 Lowest Monthly Price $6.67/month with 3 months of service free on a 1-year plan $1.69/month with 2 months of service free on a 2-year plan
    🗓️ Price on Renewal $116.95 per year
    (subject to change)
    $59.76 per year
    (subject to change)
    🤑 Coupons ExpressVPN 49% Off
    (12-month plan)
    Surfshark 86% Off
    (24-month plan)
    💸 Money-Back Guarantee 30 days 30 days
    📺 Streaming Works with Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and more with ease Works with most streaming platforms but sometimes requires troubleshooting
    🌍 VPN Servers 105 countries with 3,000 servers 100 countries with 3,200 servers
    ⚡ Speed Only 9% drop on faraway servers, ideal for 4K streaming 14% drop on a long-distance server
    🎮 Gaming Performance Optimal speed and ping Slower download speeds and higher ping on long-distance servers
    🤝‍🧑 P2P Support Yes, on all servers Only specific servers are optimized for torrenting
    🔐 Security Protocols Lightway, OpenVPN, and IKEv2 WireGuard, OpenVPN, and IKEv2
    🔌 Kill Switch Yes Yes
    ✅ IP/DNS Leak Protection Yes Yes
    🏢 Based in Country British Virgin Islands The Netherlands
    ⚠️ Does VPN Keep Logs No No
    Works in China Yes No
    #️⃣ Number of Device Connections 8 Unlimited
    💻 Device Compatibility Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and more

    Plus, a native app for routers

    Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and more
    🔧 Customer Support 24/7 live chat, knowledge base, FAQs, and email 24/7 live chat, knowledge base, FAQs, and email

    Streaming — ExpressVPN Wins by a Narrow Margin

    Important: Although a VPN can hypothetically let you access streaming services that aren't available in your region, doing so goes against most platforms' T&Cs. It might even constitute copyright infringement, which the team and I don't condone. Both ExpressVPN and Surfshark have strict no-logs policies, so they don’t track or see what you do online. It’s up to you to use these services responsibly, so please ensure you follow all applicable rules, regulations, and laws.

    ExpressVPN and Surfshark both work with most major streaming platforms in their licensed regions.

    That said, our global team of testers noted that Surfshark required troubleshooting to work with certain platforms, such as BBC iPlayer in the UK. Our tester in the US also wasn’t able to watch Amazon Prime Video. Plus, some Surfshark servers only let us watch Netflix Originals. Our testing team reported that ExpressVPN worked with 23 Netflix libraries (tested from their respective licensed regions) compared to Surfshark, which worked with 16.

    Streaming Platform ExpressVPN Surfshark
    Netflix ✅ Yes, 23 libraries in total, including popular Netflix libraries like the US, UK, Canada, Japan, South Korea, and Switzerland ☑️ Yes, 16 libraries in total, but not as reliable for some locations
    Disney+ ✅ Yes ✅ Yes
    ESPN ✅ Yes ✅ Yes
    (HBO) Max ✅ Yes ✅ Yes
    Hulu ✅ Yes ✅ Yes
    Sky ✅ Yes ✅ Yes
    Amazon Prime Video ✅ Yes ☑️ Yes, with the exception of APV US
    BBC iPlayer ✅ Yes ✅ Yes
    ABC ✅ Yes ✅ Yes
    CBS ✅ Yes ✅ Yes
    NBC ✅ Yes ✅ Yes

    Although both VPNs worked well with most streaming platforms, ExpressVPN delivered the fastest speeds and, therefore, smoother streams.

    A screenshot of Bakugan on Netflix US while connected to ExpressVPN's New Jersey serverAlthough our tester is based in California, there was no buffering while they used a server over 4,500km away

    Surfshark was fast on local servers, but long-distance servers caused more buffering. Our testers in the US noticed this was the case when they used servers across the country at 3,000km away or more.

    Surfshark streaming Hulu on Boston serverAfter waiting 5 seconds for the video to load, Only Murders in the Building streamed with zero interruptions

    Both Surfshark and ExpressVPN offer Smart DNS services that let you stream in HD on devices that aren’t normally compatible with VPNs, like smart TVs and gaming consoles.

    ExpressVPN's MediaStreamer feature is compatible with a ton of devices, including LG TVs, Samsung TVs, PlayStation, Xbox, routers, Amazon Fire TV, and many others. What I particularly appreciate are the detailed guides that provide step-by-step instructions for configuring this Smart DNS on a variety of devices. Once ExpressVPN’s MediaStreamer is set up, you can stream local content on your chosen device (if you’re within the UK, US, or Australia).

    Surfshark’s Smart DNS feature also lets you set it up on non-compatible devices and has detailed setup guides on its website. However, Surfshark’s Smart DNS only works with local content within the US.

    Winner
    Both VPNs deliver buffer-free 4K quality content for streaming on nearby servers. Nevertheless, I prefer ExpressVPN due to its fast speeds that facilitate smooth streaming of my local streaming platforms without hiccups.

    Server Network — Both Have Large Global Server Networks

    ExpressVPN Surfshark
    Total Countries With Servers 105 100
    Number of Servers 3,000 3,200

    Both ExpressVPN and Surfshark have vast global server networks. Each VPN’s servers are well spread out across the globe, so no matter where you are, you’ll find a server nearby to give you the fastest speeds.

    These large server networks also mean you have more options if one server isn’t working for some reason or is too slow due to overcrowding. However, I never had an issue with either VPN during my testing.

    That said, this category is a draw because the server count is very similar for both.

    Winner - draw
    /
    Surfshark and ExpressVPN have a similar number of servers distributed well across the globe.

    Speed — ExpressVPN Is Faster Than Surfshark

    ExpressVPN is one of the fastest VPNs out there. Surfshark also performed well, but ExpressVPN came out as a clear winner. I tested servers in various locations around the world, including the UK, the US, and Tokyo.

    I was impressed with ExpressVPN’s performance on both short- and long-distance servers. On nearby servers in the UK, I got a minimal 6% drop. The results were similar even on faraway locations.

    Screenshot of ExpressVPN speed test results on long-distance serversMy speeds only dropped 9% on ExpressVPN’s New York server, which is roughly 5,000km away

    Surfshark was a bit slower than ExpressVPN on long-distance servers. For example, on a server in Canada, I got a 14% drop. This is still a good result and great for high-bandwidth activities, though. Nearby servers gave me a lower drop, like the Berlin one that I tested.

    Screenshot of Surfshark's local speed tests resultsSurfshark’s Berlin server dropped my speeds by 10% using the WireGuard protocol

    Even though Surfshark is slightly slower, its speed drops aren’t so low that you’ll notice a huge difference. You can normally expect VPNs to drop your speeds by around 20–30% (I’ve tested VPNs that drop speeds up to 80% on long-distance servers).

    Speed Tests ExpressVPN Average Download Speed Surfshark Average Download Speed ExpressVPN Average Upload Speed Surfshark Average Upload Speed
    Connected to a US server 88.76 Mbps 85.35 Mbps 13.74 Mbps 8.5 Mbps
    Connected to a UK server 97.9 Mbps 97.28 Mbps 13.74 Mbps 12.95 Mbps
    Connected to a Tokyo server 72.43 Mbps 52.54 Mbps 13.92 Mbps 8.05 Mbps
    Winner
    While both VPNs delivered fast enough speeds suitable for streaming in UHD, lag-free gaming, and quick torrenting, ExpressVPN came out on top with slightly better results.

    Gaming — Both VPNs’ Low Ping Rates Ensure Seamless Gaming

    Both VPNs have low enough latencies to ensure seamless streaming on local servers. You need a ping of under 100ms for smooth gaming. ExpressVPN gave me an average of 17ms on local servers, and Surfshark delivered a ping of 19ms.

    It’s rare to come across a VPN that delivers a ping under 100ms on servers far away from your location. However, both ExpressVPN and Surfshark gave me ping rates of just under 100ms on their New York servers during my tests from the UK. Even though this would still be too slow for fast-paced games, it’s really impressive since it’s over 5,000km from my location.

    ExpressVPN Lightway Surfshark WireGuard
    Quick Connect 8ms 10ms
    Connected to a US server 94ms 96ms
    Connected to a UK server 9ms 10ms
    Connected to a Tokyo server 263ms 264ms

    Both VPNs let me play Team Fortress 2 lag-free, so I was really satisfied. All in all, I recommend using a nearby server for the best gaming experience.

    Screenshot of ExpressVPN's London server connected while gamingI experienced zero lagging during my game, so I could stay ahead of my opponent

    Winner - draw
    /
    Although ExpressVPN delivered faster overall speeds in my speed tests, both VPNs performed almost identically in gaming.

    Torrenting — ExpressVPN Has Fast Speeds and P2P Support on Every Server

    ExpressVPN is the clear winner when it comes to torrenting due to its fast speeds and the fact its entire network is P2P-friendly. With ExpressVPN, I was able to download at 2.1 MB/s with only 0.44 seeders. That let me complete the 700MB file in under 6 minutes.

    Surfshark’s torrenting support is a little clunkier. The biggest issue was finding a server since they’re not labeled. I ended up contacting customer support, and they told me to type “P2P” in the search bar for the torrenting servers to appear. This brought back a list of suitable servers (it has around 60).

    That said, it automatically selects a suitable server once you start torrenting if you’re using one that doesn’t allow P2P connections. While this is useful, I didn’t like being connected to an unknown server location — I’d rather choose a specific country. Nevertheless, it provides quick downloads, as I was able to download a 2.5 GB file in under 10 minutes. Keep in mind that this file had more seeders than the one I tried with ExpressVPN.

    However, please note that the team and I don’t condone using a VPN to illegally download content. Some torrenting sites host copyrighted content, which is against the law to download in most jurisdictions. Before using a VPN for torrenting, check the local laws and regulations in your region.

    Winner
    While both VPNs have fast enough speeds for quickly downloading files, ExpressVPN was faster. Plus, you can use any server to torrent.

    Security — ExpressVPN’s Secure Proprietary Protocol Sets It Apart

    ExpressVPN and Surfshark use AES 256-bit encryption standard, recognized as the highest level of encryption. However, ExpressVPN uses a lengthier encryption key (4,096 bits compared to Surfshark's 2,048 bits), making it practically impossible to crack.

    Security Feature ExpressVPN Surfshark
    Encryption level AES 256-GCM with 4096-bit DH key, SHA-512 HMAC authentication AES 256-GCM with 2048-bit DH key, SHA2-384 HMAC authentication
    Kill switch All operating systems All operating systems
    DNS/IP leak protection Yes Yes
    Protocols Lightway, OpenVPN, and IKEv2 WireGuard, OpenVPN, and IKEv2
    Split tunneling Yes (not on iOS or macOS 11 and above) Yes (not on iOS or macOS)
    Private DNS servers Yes Yes
    Tor Over VPN servers No No
    RAM-only servers wipe data Yes Yes
    Ad & malware blocker Yes Yes
    Double hop servers No Yes
    Dedicated IP addresses No Yes
    Obfuscation technology Yes Yes

    ExpressVPN has an Advanced Protection set of features, which includes ad, tracker, malware blocking, and parental controls. So, you’ll see fewer targeted ads, and even if you accidentally click a scam link, ExpressVPN will block it before it poses a threat.

    Surfshark also has a solid ad and malware blocker called CleanWeb that works in a similar way. It also has double-hop servers, called MultiHop, which add an extra layer of protection by sending your traffic through 2 locations rather than 1.

    Screenshot of Surfshark's CleanWeb feature blocking ads on Forbes.comYou can easily enable CleanWeb, and other security features, through the app’s settings tab

    That said, ExpressVPN marginally wins thanks to its Lightway protocol, which uses an efficient encryption library and a lightweight code that ensures the fastest speeds without compromising security. The security benefits Lightway has over Surfshark’s WireGuard setup far outweigh the drawbacks of the missing ad blocker.

    Screenshot of ExpressVPN list of protocols with descriptions in the Windows appIt lets you set the protocol to Automatic and chooses the best one for you depending on what you’re doing

    Plus, while it’s not specifically a VPN feature, ExpressVPN does include a password manager. Personally, I couldn’t recommend this highly enough. This makes it easy to set unique, strong passwords for each of your accounts because you don’t have to remember them — just copy and paste them from your secure vault.

    Winner
    Both VPNs keep you safe online. However, the proprietary Lightway protocol, robust encryption techniques, and included password manager mean ExpressVPN is slightly better for security.

    Privacy — ExpressVPN Has Standout Privacy Standards

    Both VPNs boast a well-established, audited no-logs policy, ensuring your privacy.

    However, Surfshark's headquarters are located in the Netherlands, a member of the 9 Eyes Alliance. This means that any government within this alliance could request Surfshark's user data, and they would be obligated to comply.

    Bear in mind that if you’re using Surfshark’s Alert service, this includes all of the sensitive (and identifying) information you hand over so it can check for data leaks on the dark web. It’s encrypted before it’s stored, though.

    Alternatively, ExpressVPN's headquarters are located in the British Virgin Islands, which has no obligation to share your data with third parties. This gives ExpressVPN the upper hand in terms of privacy.

    ExpressVPN goes the extra mile by regularly commissioning independent audits. In 2022 alone, 9 different aspects of the service were audited (covering desktop and mobile apps, its VPN router, its privacy policy, Lightway protocol, and its servers). In contrast, Surfshark has only undergone one audit of its no-logs policy in the same year.

    Both VPNs operate their entire server networks using RAM-based servers. Because the servers don’t use hard drives, all data that flows through them exists only on temporary memory that’s wiped on reboot. ExpressVPN refers to this feature as TrustedServer technology. So, both avoid storing your data for extended periods, making it even harder for third parties to access it.

    When signing up, you will need to provide your name, email address, and payment method. If giving your email address concerns you, you could use a disposable email for added privacy. Both services also allow anonymous payment methods through cryptocurrency.

    Winner
    ExpressVPN is the clear winner in the privacy category since Surfshark is headquartered in a country that’s in the 9 Eyes Alliance and has undergone fewer audits than ExpressVPN.

    Works in China — ExpressVPN Does, but Surfshark Doesn’t

    ExpressVPN wins this round hands-down since Surfshark doesn’t work in China. This is despite its Camouflage and NoBorders modes, which are designed to work on restrictive networks. Camouflage obfuscates your VPN traffic, but Surshark still doesn’t work in China. It also doesn’t guarantee that it will work in other restrictive countries like the UAE, Iran, or Russia.

    On the other hand, ExpressVPN is one of the more reliable VPNs for China and similar countries. Its entire server network uses obfuscated servers, which conceal your VPN use. Plus, it has a list of recommended server connections to use from within China.

    It’s important to note that both the Great Firewall and VPNs are constantly changing. They’re effectively locked in an arms race. So, while this is correct at the time of writing, the situation can always change in the future.

    In recent months, we’ve learned that even top VPNs don’t always work in China 100% of the time. That said, we still find that ExpressVPN is the most reliable VPN for China.

    Note that non-government-approved VPNs are illegal in China. However, there aren't any publicly reported cases of tourists being fined for using one there so far. The team and I don't condone using a VPN illegally, so we urge you to comply with local laws.

    Winner
    ExpressVPN is the best VPN for China. It doesn’t require manual configuration and even has a mirror website that works there to let you download the app from within the country.

    Installation & Ease of Use — Both VPNs Are Easy to Install and Use

    ExpressVPN’s desktop and mobile apps are streamlined and easy to use. The app is extremely similar across different devices, so you don’t need to spend time getting used to it all over again.

    Screenshot of ExpressVPN's Windows app showing its Smart Location and sever listThe large on/off button is present in all ExpressVPN’s apps and makes connecting quick and easy

    It has a Smart Location feature that connects you to the fastest server for you. Clicking on the Selected Location will show you a list of recommended servers under one tab and all of ExpressVPN’s servers under the other tab. Its settings are also easy to access by clicking the three lines on the top left (known as the burger menu). On mobile, you can find the settings at the bottom of the home screen. Plus, ExpressVPN’s app is available in 17 languages.

    Surfshark is equally user-friendly, with a simple interface and clearly marked tabs to access its features. You can find a server easily by searching via the search bar. You can also favorite servers for a quicker connection the next time you want to use it. Once connected, it displays your new IP address, provides connection statistics, and offers shortcuts to important settings such as the kill switch and CleanWeb.

    Screenshot of Surfshark's Windows app interfaceYou can also pause the VPN connection for a set period of time, so you don’t need to remember to turn it back on

    Winner - draw
    /
    I’d recommend either to VPN beginners because their applications are designed with simplicity in mind and come pre-configured to deliver excellent security and speed.

    Reliability & Support — ExpressVPN Makes It Easy to Get Support

    Both VPNs offer highly dependable support in the event of encountering technical issues. They have 24/7 live chat available, and I was always able to get an answer to my queries in a few minutes.

    However, I got connected with a live agent with ExpressVPN straightaway, whereas I had to go through a chatbot before speaking to an agent with Surfshark. So, ExpressVPN deserves the win because having to jump through hoops to speak to a human for support is a pain when you’ve got a burning question or issue.

    Customer Support Features ExpressVPN Surfshark
    24/7 Live chat Yes, responds immediately Yes, responds in seconds, but you have to go via a chatbot first — there’s an immediate option to transfer to a live agent, though
    Email support Yes Yes
    Phone support No No
    Step-by-step setup guides Yes, with video tutorials Yes, with video tutorials
    Searchable knowledge base Yes Yes
    Exhaustive FAQ section Yes Yes
    Winner
    Both VPNs offer great support, but I was able to speak to an agent immediately with ExpressVPN.

    Tips on Choosing Between ExpressVPN and Surfshark

    With so many features to consider, choosing between these 2 VPNs isn’t easy. Different people will have different needs and reasons for using a VPN. However, here's an overview of the key criteria I used when comparing these VPNs:

    • Smooth streaming — Many VPNs struggle to work with popular streaming platforms or fail to provide fast enough speeds for uninterrupted streaming. Both ExpressVPN and Surfshark worked well with most platforms and provided great speeds.
    • Fast speeds — Speed is crucial for smooth browsing and streaming. ExpressVPN takes the slight lead in this category, offering consistently fast speeds, useful for high-bandwidth activities like UHD streaming and torrenting.
    • Extensive server networks — A vast network enhances your ability to find a fast, reliable server nearby. ExpressVPN boasts 3,000 servers across 105 countries, and Surfshark provides 3,200 servers in 100 countries.
    • Robust security features — Security is vital for safeguarding your data. Both ExpressVPN and Surfshark offer strong encryption, a kill switch, IP/DNS leak protection, and multiple secure protocols, ensuring a high level of security. However, ExpressVPN has the edge thanks to its Lightway protocol.
    • Strong privacy practices — Opt for a VPN with a firm commitment to user privacy. Both VPNs have proven no-logs policies, but ExpressVPN's headquarters are in the privacy-friendly British Virgin Islands. Surfshark's location is in the Netherlands, which is in the data-sharing 9 Eyes Alliance.
    • Easy to use — A user-friendly interface is crucial for easy navigation. You also want to ensure it’s compatible with your devices and is easy to install. Both ExpressVPN and Surfshark are great for both VPN beginners and experienced users alike.
    • Trustworthy money-back guarantee — A reliable money-back guarantee allows you to try a VPN risk-free, with the assurance of a refund if it doesn't meet your expectations. In my experience, both ExpressVPN and Surfshark promptly processed full refunds with no complications.

    ExpressVPN vs. Surfshark — Reddit Opinions

    Reddit opinions about ExpressVPN and Surfshark vary, but ExpressVPN has a slightly better reputation. Some users have reported that Surfshark has had some issues delivering consistent speeds, especially on long-distance servers.

    However, many users have said that Surfshark is worth the low price, but ExpressVPN excels in speed, consistency, and security. So, it really depends on your priorities. If you want a high-performance VPN that puts your online safety first, ExpressVPN is the top choice. However, if the price is a big concern, Surfshark might just cut it for you.

    screenshot of Reddit user opinions of Surfshark and ExpressVPNThere are mixed reviews on Reddit, but users generally had good experiences with both VPNs

    Our Score

    Features 9.9/10
    Pricing 9.4/10
    Ease of Use 10.0/10
    Reliability & Support 10.0/10
    Features 9.3/10
    Pricing 8.7/10
    Ease of Use 9.4/10
    Reliability & Support 9.8/10

    Reviews

    Review by our expert
    Author Image Keira Waddell
    Keira Waddell

    Senior Writer

    Our Score: 9.9/10

    ExpressVPN is one of the most popular and trusted names in the industry. It’s known for being one of the safest, fastest VPNs around, so I wanted to see if it can live up to these claims. It’s not the cheapest VPN, but it often offers discounts that make it a better value for the money. Other decent VPNs offer similar security features for much cheaper. So, do you really need to pay that muc...

    Read all
    Latest positive user review
    J
    JKJHB
    8.0/10
    jhJ JJ

    I've been an ExpressVPN customer since 2017 and it's been great: quickly connects to a nearby server i... n the Wash DC region, embedded shortcuts to apps I want to use while using VPN, disconnects quickly, has the kill switch feature which is necessary these days, and has a fine mobile app which works well on my Android phones and tablets. However, I was just notified that the annual price is jumping from $99 to $117 upon the next renewal, so it's time to see how the others compare within VPN Mentor.More

    Latest negative user review
    C
    Charli
    6.0/10
    Ok, but expensive

    Seems ok, but I wouldn't say it's worth $20AUD a month. That's steep if you live in a backwater like A... ustralia, where the currency is not valuable. Easy enough to set up - you don't need to be Einstein - but unless you're a tech nerd who can take a look under the bonnet, you'll just have to trust what they say about their product. It frequently drops out without the slightest warning, often when it's the only thing online at the time - despite fast and flawless fiber internet, rendering expression entirely useless UNLESS you have it sitting on your desktop where you can keep an eagle eye on it to actually see it when it drops out so you can kick it back into service again (it doesn't do it by itself), which seems to defeat its purpose, so I'm taking away 2 stars for that. Support is good and they do get back to you as fast as they can.More

    Review by our expert
    Author Image Keira Waddell
    Keira Waddell

    Senior Writer

    Our Score: 9.3/10

    With VPNs, you tend to get what you pay for. So when I saw Surfshark’s low prices, I was skeptical about its rave reviews. To see if it could actually live up to these claims, I tested every aspect of Surfshark, including its speeds, security features, streaming abilities, network reliability, and device compatibility. I also took a closer look at Surfshark’s privacy policy to verify its v...

    Read all
    Latest positive user review
    L
    Lucas Pinto Ricardo
    10.0/10
    Fast, reliable and unlimited

    This VPN is fast and reliable. It has a lot of servers in different countries and can be used in an un... limited amount of devices (it supports Linux, which is something very important for me). The software and app get updated regularly: note that I experienced some bugs with the auto-connect feature on Android that have been solved since then. With this competitive pricing, I would definitely recommend it. IMPORTANT NOTE: I am not including the customer support in this review, because I never had to use it. If I use it in the future, I will update this review with my experience. I recommend you to see other reviews that include it if it is important for you.More

    Latest negative user review
    T
    Tim S.
    2.0/10
    Don't waste your money on dedicated IP

    While the generic Surfshark servers work well, the dedicated IP is worse than useless. With it, I get ... constant captchas and some websites refuse to connect at all. All is fine once I reconnect to a generic or even free VPN. Support is friendly but hopelessly incompetent at getting the problem fixed. So the dedicated IP works exactly opposite as what is advertised, all while vacuuming money out of your wallet. Stay away.More

    Pricing

    ExpressVPN Surfshark
    Starting Price $6.67/month $1.69/month
    Price (On Renewal) $116.95 per year
    (subject to change)
    $59.76 per year
    (subject to change)
    Money-Back Guarantee (Days) 30 days 30 days
    Number of devices per license 8 Unlimited
    Router Setup (for Unlimited Devices) Easy setup + a dedicated router app Manual setup

    Surfshark is one of the most affordable VPNs, so it takes the prize for this section. You do have to bear in mind that its plans almost double on renewal, though. That said, it’s still half the price of ExpressVPN’s annual plan. It also offers unlimited simultaneous device connections, making it really great value if you have a ton of gadgets or a large household.

    Despite ExpressVPN’s higher price, it’s one of the best-performing VPNs. So, if you want the fastest speeds that let you stream in the best available quality with zero interruptions and top-of-the-range security features, ExpressVPN is the best value for money. That said, I know it’s not always the most affordable option if you’re on a very tight budget.

    You can also try ExpressVPN and Surfshark risk-free since they both offer a money-back guarantee.

    Winner
    Surfshark’s low monthly price makes it the clear winner and its unlimited simultaneous device connections make it great value for larger households.

    Best VPN by Category

    Best VPN Overall

    ExpressVPN is better due to its fast and secure Lightway protocol and robust privacy policy. During my tests, it gave the fastest speeds and consistent performance, making it the top pick for overall reliability.

    Best VPN for Torrents

    ExpressVPN is better for torrenting because of its faster download speeds, and P2P-optimized server network.

    Best VPN for Windows

    Surfshark is better because it offers more options on its Windows app, including NoBorders, CleanWeb ad blocker, speed test, and 2 kill switch options.

    Best VPN for Android

    ExpressVPN comes on top because of its security features for Android. It supports Android 5.0+. The Protection Summary notifies you when your IP address is under the VPN's protection. Plus, Threat Manager blocks malicious sites and trackers. It also has the Keys password manager and data breach notifier. However, Surfshark does have a cool GPS Spoofing feature on Android.

    Best VPN for Mac

    ExpressVPN is better because you can use different protocols to find which works best for you, including its proprietary Lightway protocol for fast speeds. Also, there's a Shortcuts feature to quickly launch websites and apps whenever you connect. Neither ExpressVPN nor Surfshark offer split tunneling feature on macOS.

    Best VPN for iOS

    ExpressVPN takes the win because of its extra iOS features. It also has the Keys password manager, which lets you store passwords, notes, and credit cards securely across your devices. It also has Threat Manager that blocks trackers and malicious sites.

    Best VPN for USA

    Surfshark is narrowly better for the US since it offers 22 US locations (compared to ExpressVPN’s 24). Our testers in the US found that both VPNs worked well with domestic streaming platforms, including Netflix US, Amazon Prime Video, and Max, and they both delivered fast speeds for UHD streaming.

    The Bottom Line

    Although both VPNs perform well and offer great features, ExpressVPN emerged as the winner in most of my tests. It has fast speeds on local and faraway servers and consistently works with streaming platforms. Plus, it’s the most privacy-conscious VPN that undergoes regular audits and is based in a privacy-friendly jurisdiction.

    That said, there are some instances where Surfshark might be a better choice. If you need VPN protection for a large group or have lots of gadgets, Surfshark's unlimited device connections make it a great value for money.

    Nevertheless, I recommend ExpressVPN as the better overall service.

    FAQ

    Is ExpressVPN better than Surfshark?

    Yes, overall, ExpressVPN is better than Surfshark. It has faster speeds over long distances, and it has stronger privacy standards. Surfshark's advantage is that it offers unlimited simultaneous connections. However, ExpressVPN’s native router app also lets you easily protect all devices on your home network. You can try ExpressVPN risk-free for 30 days since it offers a trusted refund guarantee.

    Is ExpressVPN faster than Surfshark?

    ExpressVPN is faster than Surfshark, so it’s a great choice for movie fans and gamers. Plus, all its servers are P2P-optimized, so you can download large public domain files without slowdowns. This is mostly thanks to its proprietary Lightway protocol that’s optimized for speed without compromising security.

    Are ExpressVPN and Surfshark better than NordVPN?

    ExpressVPN is better than NordVPN, but NordVPN is slightly better than Surfshark. All 3 VPNs are solid choices in their own right, offering decent speeds, security features, and large server networks. However, ExpressVPN edges ahead in several aspects, including faster speeds for consistent, smooth streaming and a strong privacy stance.

    Ultimately, the choice between these VPNs depends on your specific needs. If you prioritize speed and reliability, ExpressVPN is the best option. NordVPN offers a good alternative if you're looking for a balance between performance and affordability, while Surfshark excels in providing budget-friendly VPN services.

    Do ExpressVPN or Surfshark offer any deals?

    Both ExpressVPN and Surfshark offer deals regularly. To get the best savings on plans, check out the latest VPN coupons and discounts. Right now, you can get 49% off ExpressVPN and 3 months of service for free.

    We review vendors based on rigorous testing and research but also take into account your feedback and our affiliate commission with providers. Some providers are owned by our parent company.
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    vpnMentor was established in 2014 to review VPN services and cover privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.

    About the Author

    Keira is an experienced cybersecurity and tech writer dedicated to providing comprehensive insights on VPNs, online privacy, and internet censorship.