ExpressVPN vs Surfshark VPN

Virtual Private Network is now not an unknown term. It is the fastest-growing technology. Even underprivileged, uneducated people know about VPNs and the ways through which they work.

However, if you have newly discovered VPNs and are confused about which to buy, you are certainly in a problem because the search engines are flooded with many VPNs.

Some are free, while others are paid. This is where you need to be cleared. Dont ever consider free VPNs. You may take it as a warning. Why? We will discuss this below.

However, our article is not about “WHY You Shouldn't Purchase Free VPNs” but compares the two most renowned VPNs in the industry. Express VPN and Surfshark VPN. One is leading the sector another is leading new VPNs.

Both are the best for online privacy and security of your data against snoopers and surveillance. One is a bit expansive, and another is pocket-friendly, but the former gives more features.

This makes you confused about which to buy. Here is some good news. We are writing a comprehensive yet detailed covering every aspect of similarities and differences between ExpressVPN and SurfsharkVPN.

After hours of research, we have put a head-to-head comparison, especially for you. After reading the article, you would quickly finalize the best VPN connection as per your preference and choice.

express vpn vs surfshark

A Concise Definition


ExpressVPN - Best VPN Provider

ExpressVPN is leading an entire VPN industry with its complete package of encryption, anonymity, speed and other add-on features.

Founded in 2009 and headquartered in the British Virgin Islands, ExpressVPN was now acquired by  Kape Technologies in 2021.

 Kape Technologies also operate three other VPNs, including Private Internet Access, CyberGhost and ZenMate. Express has reliability in its connections, servers and applications. It has a massive network of servers in many countries.

Surfshark VPN

SurfShark - Best For Streaming

Surfshark was founded in 2018 with a headquarter in British Virgins Islands. It has many features for your security and anonymity and saves you from snoopers and cyberhackers.

Similarly, Surfshark can block as many streaming sites as possible. Just install it and start using it. Now you can browse privately, change your IP and travel securely just by using Surfshark VPN over your device.

Similarities between ExpressVPN vs. Surfshark VPN

Military Grade Encryption

VPN work on the tunneling process. It creates an encrypted tunnel from where your data passes through and is encrypted.

For the tunnel, a VPN uses algorithms. Every reliable VPN uses military-grade encrypted algorithms. Surfshark and Express have no exception.

ExpressVPN uses AES 256 bit encryption with 4096-bit DH key SHA-512 HMAC authentication. Similarly, Surfshark has AES-256 bit encryption along with AES-256-GCM HMAC-SHA256-128/SHA-512 authentication.

military grade

Zero Logging Policy

A VPN is used to hide your browsing activities from an Internet Service Provider, advertisers and government surveillance agencies.

However, these organizations and cyber hackers can only track your data when it is traced or saved by the VPN provider. If the VPN does not track any data, no one could ever snoop into your activities.

Both Express and Surfshark VPN have strict no-log policies. None of them keep any logs or collect any of the personal information or data of the user. Your IP address, history, passwords are all secured.

As per Express's website

No activity logs. ExpressVPN does not see or record which websites you visit. We never log the destination or contents of your traffic, and we run our own private, zero-knowledge DNS on every VPN server for added privacy and anonymity.

Surfshark only keeps the information you add on its website for payment methods such as email and password and billing information. The following words are evidence of its policy.

Surfshark respects your privacy, therefore we are committed to not process any data related to the online activity of our users. Surfshark is based in the British Virgin Islands, which does not require data storage or reporting. We do not collect IP addresses, browsing history, session information, used bandwidth, connection time stamps, network traffic and other similar data.

Third-Party Audits

Nothing can be confirmed till some other person acknowledges it. Similarly, all reliable VPNs consult big firms to verify their privacy and no-log policy. These are usually known as Third-party Audits.

Cure53- a German-based cybersecurity company performs audits of Surfshark. On the contrary, Express's audit is conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers. Both are renowned and independent audit firms.

Device Compatibility

All good VPN services have compatibility with each device and every operating system. Express and Surfshark are compatible with:

  1. Android (Smartphones, Tablets)
  2. iOS (iPhone, iPad)
  3. macOS
  4. Linux
  5. Windows

Slightly a slight difference appears. For instance, ExpressVPN doesn't offer a kill switch on iOS devices; similarly, Surfshark doesnt offer NoBorder mode on mobile apps.

Bypass Censorship

The fundamental aspect of providing VPN services is to secure your online activities. However, for a user, the very first function of any VPN is to bypass geo-restrictions.

A VPN hides your original IP address with a VPN-generated IP address. You can get an IP of any country just by connecting to various server locations.

For instance, if you want to unblock and access HBO Max, you can hide your IP with a US IP address. Both ExpressVPN server and Surfshark server can help you connect with loads of places and unblock as many sites as you want.

Some of the sites you can unblock as

  1. Amazon Prime Video
  2. Netflix
  3. Channel 4
  4. Eleven Sports
  5. Kodi
  6. Hulu
  7. Disney+
  8. BBC iPlayer
  9. Sky Go
  10. Showtime
  11. NBC Sports

You can also bypass censorship of highly surveilled countries such as Chins, the UAE, Turkey, etc. Surfshark even uses Shadowsocks to unblock restricted content.

Chinese Censorship

China is a highly surveilled country. Firstly, it uses advanced technologies and chips for surveillance of her citizen. If a government knows that you are using a VPN within Chinese borders, no one could ever save you from jail.

In 2013, a man named Wu Xiangyang, in China, was sentenced for 5 year and was also fined 500,000 yuan (£56,800) for using and selling VPN.

Image a censorship and surveillance situation there. A single leak can cost you years. Similarly, most Chinese channels and sites are blocked, and the Great Firewall of China is almost unbreakable.

So, you need a VPN having all qualities to remove blocks without letting the Chinese Government know. ExpressVPVN, as well as Surfshark VPN, are highly recommended for China.

Even Surfshark has NoBorder mode (Settings > Advanced > NoBorders) specially designed to remove all censorship hurdles and circumvent government restrictions.

Hide Your OpenVPN In China


Protocols are pretty essential. Firstly, many protocols use for hiding your actual IP address. Secondly, VPNs safeguard you from cyberhackers. Some are dedicated to streaming too. However, in this process, speed suffers a lot.

Many reliable VPN connections offer dedicated protocols specifically for speed even better performance. Both Express and Surfshark VPN providers offer VPN protocols.

OpenVPN UDP TCP: OpenVPN is an industry-leading protocol for security. It's an open-source protocol providing the perfect solution of security and anonymity. It is available on Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS apps.

IPSec/IKEv2 – This protocol is also for security. It is available on Windows, macOS, and iOS applications. It encrypts all IP packets. This is best for smartphone users.

Besides these standard protocols, Both Express and Surfshark do have additional protocols.

For instance, Express uses

Lightway Protocols: This protocol is specifically designed for smooth VPN connection and fast speed. It does support UDP and TCP.

L2TP: It provides an extra layer of security during the tunneling process. It usually pairs with IPSec.

As Express, Surfshark also uses some famous protocols as:

WireGuard: It is an industry-leading protocol for speed and is highly secured. WireGuard is available for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS applications.

Shadowsocks: This VPN protocol is specially designed to circumvent restrictions as China and other surveilled countries.

Ram-based servers

Most of the VPN providers run their servers on hard drives. These devices retain data until and unless it is written over or removed manually, which means the chances of cyber snooping are higher.

Therefore, many VPN providers like Surfshark and ExpressVPN use RAM on the software of their servers. RAM loses data at every power loss, so what else does a VPN need when your data lose after every time you disconnect and connect to the VPN.

Kill switch

Sometimes your VPN connection drops with the device you are using. In this case, the chances of DNS and IP leaks are as high as 100%. Nor is this something you can manage yourself because connections could be dropped automatically without letting you know through any pop-up.

It is crucial to have a technology detecting connection lost in such cases. Kill switch come to rescue you. It activates automatically and drops your connection if the device and VPN drop-down.

Both ExpressVPN and Surfshark VPN have built-in kill switches which can work on Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, and routers.


VPN is located in countries where the Government has no policies for data retention for any organization are preferred more for VPN. This is becasue many countries like the USA, UK, Canada are a part of surveillance organizations as a 5-EYE, 9-EYE, and so on.

These counties retain and share data of their customer to curb terrorism, illegal activities and money laundering. Location in the British Virgin Islands or Panama, outside the 5, 9, and 14 Eyes alliances, is ideal for any VPN.

Surfshark and ExpressVPN have their headquarter in British Virgins Islands. The territory is free from any jurisdiction of data retention law, so it is the ideal place for VPN companies.

DNS, IP Leaks

No matter how hard can you try, an ISP can sneak into your activities through a DNS request. If this DNS request is leaked in China, you may be ended up in jail. Therefore, all reliable VPNs such as Express, Nord, and Surfshark have DNS, WebRTC and IP leaks protection.


Transfer of files and data contains loads of worms, viruses and cookies. If you digitally transfer files from one device to another, a high chance of cyberattacks exists.

Therefore, every reliable VPN offers safe torrenting and P2P file sharing. ExpressVPN is the best for torrenting due to its high-speed servers.

The speed can sometimes be reached to 4.6GB for video files. As far as Surfshark is concerned, it also owns ultra-fast speed. Surfshark also has dedicated p2p optimized servers through which you can directly connect to.

Additionally, many torrenting sites such as BitTorrent, Kodi and uTorrent are blocked in many countries. Even torrenting is illegal in many countries, including Canada, Mexico, Israel, etc. To use these platforms, you again need VPN.


Youngsters, even adults, come to know about VPN just for gaming. Their initial concern is to retain Ping of the game, which they think could only be maintained by installing the right VPN over your device. Secondly, games such as PUBG, Counterstrike and Freefire and many more are blocked in certain countries.

Like the Government of India has blocked PUBG, people would use VPN to connect and play their favorite games. Also, many gamers want to change their servers to meet new friends. They can also use VPN to mask their IP with the IP of some other country and can access their preferred regions.


SmartDNS enables you to stream geo-restricted sites on devices that do not allow VPN. You can watch movies and play games on PlayStations and Smart TVs through smart DNS. You can activate this feature on your Express's or Surfshark account. Keep in mind Express calls it MediaStreamer.

Obfuscated Servers

Similar to you, an ISP is also concerned about your online activities. They use advanced technologies to check what you are browsing, and they even know if you are using a VPN. Against such activities of ISP, Express and Surfshark have designed Obfuscated servers.

These servers remove every single trace of the VPN from your network so that no one can ever discover whether you are using a VPN or not. This means your network and your entire VPN traffic are secured with our recommended VPNs.

Split Tunneling

Though every VPN offers tunneling, specific have split tunneling. Split tunneling is used when some of your websites and applications do not work on a VPN connection.

You can either choose to have all your traffic encrypted, or you can add some of your preferred apps on the split tunnel. The VPN will only run on such sites rest work on normal internet connections.

Also called Whitelister in Surfshark'sofficial term, Split tunneling is available for Windows and Android. On ExpressVPN, it works on Windows, Mac, and Android applications.

Onion Routing

Tor Browser or Onion Routing is used for anonymous browsing. Through Tor, you can even access Dark Webs, let alone Netflix, Disney and other channels. However, TOR browsing is usually unsecured. It also requires a VPN. Thankfully, both surfshark and ExpressVPN support onion routing through “Onion Over VPN.”

Ease of Use

None of us could define a clear winner regarding Express and Surfshark's user-friendliness. Both are pretty intuitive and easy to use.

Surfshark has a big button to connect with the VPN with a list of servers on the left. You can drag down the setting for more options and features.

Similar to this, ExpressVPN also has a much larger quick-connect button. Plus, the setting has various categories also a separate list of switching servers.

Customer Support

Customer support is another fundamental feature of a VPN. Everyone does not belong to a technology background, but VPN has become a need of every person. Even blue-collar workers are also using it to circumvent geographical restrictions and secure their data.

The websites of both Surfshark and ExpressVPN is loaded with

  1. Video tutorials
  2. Informative articles
  3. Set up guides
  4. FAQ section

You can approach any methods mentioned above to resolve your general problems. In case of specific issues, you can avail of their 24/7 live chat and email option with a customer representative. People usually contact representatives to resolve technical problems, billing and payment issues.

Differences Between ExpressVPN vs Surfshark VPN

Server Counts

For any reliable VPN, the network coverage through servers means a lot for any user. Comprehensive area coverage means seamlessly fast speed, unbreakable security and unblocking capacities of multiple sites.

If we talk about ExpressVPN, it has more than 3000 servers installed at 160 locations and in 94 countries worldwide. It covers America, Europe, Asia, the Pacific, the Middle East and African countries. If you need to pick a location like Kyrgyzstan, Express is the best pick.

vpn server

However, Surfshark is also not leaving behind in the race of servers. Surfsahrk has 3200 servers in 65 countries of the world. It has servers in all the zones mentioned above. Surfshark also has virtual servers located in  Chile, Costa Rica and Argentina.


ExpressVPN will surpass your expectations in terms of speed. Although Surfshark is flawed and uses the industry-leading protocol WireGuard, its speed isn't matched with the counterpart ExpressVPN.

However, the standard is that both VPNs offer unlimited bandwidth and bypass ISP throttling. Wondering what ISP throttling is?

An Internet Service Provider puts a cap on your speed, which means when you reach a certain level of data usage, your speed automatically slows down to barred you from using more data.

However, a VPN masks your IP and hides your activities. In this case, an ISP cannot figure out how much data you have so far and cannot restrict your speed.

We are not saying Surfshark is terrible for speed, and you shouldn't consider it at all. Why would we keep it in the top 3 VPNs if it wasn't good? In this article, where we ought to compare two VPNs, we put Surfshark on second speed.

Device Connections

If you are paying for a VPN, you need only one or two, but all your devices are secured. All our recommended VPNs have multiple device connections.

For instance, Express offers 5 simultaneous connections with one subscription. This means you can use Express on 5 devices at a time.

However, Surfshark is taking the lead in it. It allows unlimited device connection to connect to multiple different servers at one time. No doubt, Surfshark VPN service does care for your entire family and all devices with its unlimited connections.

MultiHop Servers

Before getting into details, let's first understand what multihop servers are. Typically, your data passes through one server to which you are connecting. If you are connecting to the server in New York, that server encrypts and decrypts your data.

Multihop servers mean you can connect to not only one but two servers at a time means passing your data twice from different servers to add an extra layer of security and higher the standard of encryption.

With Surfshark, you can connect to two servers, let's say the United Kingdom and France, the United States and Portugal and so on.

Unfortunately, ExrpressVPN does not offer any such services.VPN users can only connect with one server at a time.

This is also worth mentioning that multihop is usually helpful when using it in highly surveilled countries with oppressive regimes, sharing some secret news or information as journalists or politicians.

Static IP vs. IP Shuffle

Neither ExpressVPN nor Surfsark offers dedicated IP addresses on their VPN servers. On the contrary, Express prefers much IP Shuffle. It rotates your IP address whenever you connect to its server. On the contrary, Surfshark offers static IP to its customers.

Ad Blocker

Not all VPNs come with an adblocker. Adblocker is also an important feature to block all malware, scareware and cookies. It is usually preferable for accessing streaming services such as watching videos on Youtube or so.

Many VPN users prefer VPN companies having built-in adblocker. Unfortunately, it doesn't have an ad blocker if we talk about Express. However, SurfsharkVPN does have an adblocker named “CleanWeb.”

ExpressVPN vs SurfsharkVPN: An Overview

FeaturesExpress VPNSurfshark VPN
Total Servers3000+1700+
Device Connections5Unlimited
Unlimited BandwidthYesYes
Smart DNS LeakYesYES
Kill SwitchYesYes
No Log PolicyYesYes
AES 256-bit EncryptionEnd- to-endEnd- to-end
Customer ServiceBestBetter
24 months$3.98
12 months$6.67
6 months$9.99$7.98
1 month$12.95$14.44
Money-Back Guarantee30 days30 days
Get It NowGet It Now


Is Surfshark better than ExpressVPN?

Both Surfshark and ExpressVPN are the best for privacy, security and speed. It is pretty tough to choose between two. However, we guarantee that all our recommended VPNs are better than free VPNs.

Is Surfshark better than NordVPN?

Surfshark and Nord are two of our top choices, followed by ExpressVPN. Even Surfshark and Nord are almost identical in their primary and add-on features. So it is pretty tough to choose between the two.

What should I keep in mind when choosing between ExpressVPN and Surfshark?

Before choosing any VPN, whether it is Surfshark or Express, keep the three most crucial points in your mind:
The VPN should protect your digital anonymity
The VPN should secure your data from cyber hackers, advertisers and surveillance agencies
The VPN should have lightning-fast speed.

Is ExpressVPN faster than Surfshark?

Yes, in terms of speed, Express is much faster than Surfshark. It never slows down may the vast network of the server is the reason. If you are only considerate about speed, we suggest going with ExpressVPN. If not, you can choose any that suits your pocket and personal preference.
You can also try the 30-day money-back guarantee of our recommended VPN to check how good are they working for you.

Does ExpressVPN or Surfshark offer any deals?

Yes, both Surfshark and ExpressVPN offer deals. Currently, Express is offering a value of $6.67 for 12 months, where you are saving 49%. Similarly, Surfshark is offering a discount of 72% for USD 3.98 per month for 24 months.

Final Verdict

Whether it's Express or Surfshark, both are the best on their horizon. If Express has speed, then Surfshark has multihop. If Express offers a Kill switch on all devices, Surfshark offers NoBorder mode.

Both can surpass government censorship and could help you bypass any geo-restriction and watch whatsoever you want. Not only this, Express and Surfshark are the best for security and anonymity with almost identical encryption algorithms and forward keys.

The server coverage is also similar, only the difference in location. After evaluating all the sides, we can't proclaim any winner or loser. Both are excellent VPN services and are a winner in our eyes.