Surfshark vs ExpressVPN: Is ExpressVPN Worth It?

ExpressVPN and Surfshark are the two of the best VPNs in the current market, but the high price of ExpressVPN drives a lot of people away as compared to Surfshark which has a much cheaper offer. Is ExpressVPN worth the price?

SurfShark vs ExpressVPN: Why is ExpressVPN not worth purchasing?

1, Speed: ExpressVPN is the faster VPN on nearby servers, but Surfshark is faster on far-away servers

ExpressVPN is faster than Surfshark on nearby servers

To test Surfshark and ExpressVPN local speeds, we used the app’s automatic server selection feature. In Surfshark VPN, this is called ‘Quick Connect’. In ExpressVPN, it’s named ‘Smart Location’.

The table below shows a comparison of Surfshark and ExpressVPN’s speed performance.

Local Download Speed95Mbps97Mbps
Average International Download Speed86Mbps85Mbps
Local Upload Speed94Mbps91Mbps
Ping8ms 8ms
Time to Connect3.6 seconds1.5 seconds

We found that ExpressVPN’s speeds are slightly faster on local connections. When using it, our download speeds dropped by just 3% to 97Mbps. Surfshark caused our speeds to slow to 95Mbps, an 5% drop.

Both VPNs will be more than fast enough for almost every web activity. However, if you want the fastest raw download speed, ExpressVPN will perform better on nearby servers.

Upload speeds are important for nearby connections. You’re more likely to be connecting locally when using the VPN for activities like torrenting and secure video conferencing.

Surfshark’s upload speeds are faster than ExpressVPN’s. In our tests, we recorded an upload speed reduction of 6% with Surfshark, compared to 9% with ExpressVPN.

Surfshark is faster for long-distance connections

To stream geo-blocked video content in HD and 4K, a VPN needs to have fast download speeds on international connections.

We recorded ExpressVPN and Surfshark’s download speeds while connected to servers in four different continents from our test location in the US. Here’s a table showing our results:

Server LocationSurfshark ExpressVPN

As you can see, Surfshark is faster than ExpressVPN on most international servers. Though the difference is not that stark, our content still loaded quicker and we didn’t experience any buffering.

With regards to network speed, the results may differ depending on each person’s broadband provider and geographical location. When you look at the reviews on some websites or read about the discussions of users on Reddit, you will see people with varying opinions about the speed. Some would say Surfshark is faster, while others would express that ExpressVPN is faster. This is because of the different conditions that can affect the user experience.

User discussion on Reddit
User discussion on Reddit

So the best way is to test it yourself using the VPN software’s 30-day money-back guarantee policy.

Recommendation: Unless you are in search of the fastest VPN, then speed should not be the sole factor affecting your decision-making since ExpressVPN and Surfshark have very little impact on the native network speed, and the effect is so small that you wouldn’t even notice the difference.

Both ExpressVPN and Surfshark offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. It’s a no-questions-asked policy, which essentially becomes a VPN free trial. You can make the most of the refund policy to effectively use ExpressVPN for free and use Surfshark for Free.

I suggest starting with Surfshark first, as it offers excellent service and is very cost-effective. In comparison, ExpressVPN is indeed too expensive.

(Limited Time Offer)

2, Privacy & Security – ExpressVPN raises concerns for some users.

When it comes to privacy and logs, SurfShark and ExpressVPN are great options. Both of these VPNs are verified as no logs VPNs.

However, ExpressVPN received criticism after being acquired by known malware distributor Kape Technologies in 2021. Kape previously made money through ad platforms. You can see a lot of criticism on Reddit with many people giving up using ExpressVPN because of this!

User discussion on Reddit
User discussion on Reddit

Even more concerning is that Kape seems to be experiencing operational issues. A few months ago, the company laid off a significant portion of its global workforce. Even ExpressVPN’s Chief Technology Officer for Privacy, Dan Gericke, announced his departure on LinkedIn.

It’s certainly possible that ExpressVPN (or other Kape-owned VPNs like CyberGhost and PIA) will suffer a noticeable blow to quality, especially with the engineering and QA departments have been hit heavily. However, all we can do for now is wait and see.

In summary, it is currently not recommended to purchase VPN from Kape. The reason is very simple, if there are more trustworthy options out there, why settle for one that may be risky?

The Winner: Surfshark

3, While much cheaper, Surfshark’s customer satisfaction is comparable to that of ExpressVPN

Priced at nearly one-third of ExpressVPN’s cost, Surfshark offers product experience, service quality, and customer satisfaction on par with ExpressVPN. Both have the same score on TrustPilot, reaching as high as 4.4.

Surfshark on Trustpilot
ExpressVPN on Trustpilot

The Winner: Tie

4, Price – Equally excellent, why spend nearly three times as much money?

ExpressVPN and Surfshark are currently the top VPNs in the market and display great qualities. However, Surfshark offers significantly lower prices then ExpressVPN. We consider it to be one of the best cheap VPNs on the market, under $3 per month.

According to my testing, Surfshark offers better security and has its own advantages in terms of speed, unless Surfshark does not support the country you’re in or after the trial period you find that it does not perform well due to your location, otherwise there is no need to pay nearly 3 times the price for ExpressVPN.

If you are really still on the fence, keep in mind that ExpressVPN and Surfshark both offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. Therefore you could purchase both VPNs, test each service for a few weeks, and then cancel the one you don’t want for a full refund.

Get the current maximum discount on two VPNs through my link.

Try Surfshark Now – Get 85% Off + 2 Months FREE >> (Limited Time Offer)

Try ExpressVPN Now – Get 49% Off + 3 Months FREE >>

The Winner: Surfshark

5, Both Surfshark and ExpressVPN cover the most in-demand countries.

Surfshark ExpressVPN
Countries with City-Level Choice1114

Surfshark and ExpressVPN both have more server locations than most of the competition. Surfshark offers 100, while ExpressVPN has roughly 105 at the time of writing. Both cover the most in-demand countries (such as the US and UK), so neither is really “best”. The only exception is if you specifically need an IP address from a country that only one of these VPNs supports.

6, Surfshark allows for Unlimited Simultaneous Connections

ExpressVPN allows for 8 simultaneous connections and offers a custom router for situations where 8 simultaneous connections are not enough. Surfshark takes a different approach. With Surfshark, you get unlimited simultaneous connections. You can have as many devices actively using the internet as you wish, all for the price of a single subscription.

7, Security & Technical  – Surfshark is marginally more secure than ExpressVPN

The table below shows a comparison of Surfshark and ExpressVPN’s encryption and security features.

Surfshark ExpressVPN
VPN ProtocolsWireGuard & OpenVPNLightway & OpenVPN
Encryption CipherAES-256 & ChaCha20AES-256 & wolfSSL
Kill SwitchYesYes
Leak ProtectionYesYes
First-Party DNSYesYes
Open-Source AppsNoBrowser Extension Only
Colocated ServersYesNo

Both Surfshark and ExpressVPN use strong security protocols, including OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPSec. Unfortunately, Express does not have WireGuard like Surfshark does, they instead use their own Lightway protocol. We found that ExpressVPN’s macOS client will leak your true IP address when changing server locations.

The Winner: Surfshark

Conclusion: Surfshark wins in 2024

We like and recommend both of these VPN services. Both of them stand head and shoulders above the vast majority of the VPNs on the market.

However, in the past few years, we have seen Surfshark VPN improve more rapidly than ExpressVPN.

Ultimately, either of these VPNs may be the right choice for your unique circumstances. Both offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, which means you can test each one risk-free and keep the service you like the best.

Whichever VPN you decide to go with, be sure to get the best savings with the discounts below:

Surfshark’s Cyber Deal is live:

Get 85% Off Surfshark plus an extra 2 months FREE below:

(Limited Time Offer)

(Coupon is applied automatically; 30 day money-back guarantee)

And now for ExpressVPN.

Right now, 49% off is the best deal you can get on ExpressVPN. Even with the discount, ExpressVPN is still much more expensive than Surfshark — about double the price.

If you are really still on the fence, keep in mind that ExpressVPN and Surfshark both offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. Therefore you could purchase both VPNs, test each service for a few weeks, and then cancel the one you don’t want for a full refund.

ExpressVPN Coupon

SAVE: 49% + 3 months free

(Coupon is applied automatically; 30 day money-back guarantee.)

10 thoughts on “Surfshark vs ExpressVPN: Is ExpressVPN Worth It?”

  1. I’ve got to admit, ExpressVPN’s always delivers for me. But yeah, that price is a bit steep. So, if you’re looking for cheaper options, Surfshark has some pretty good deals. Of course, just try them out first – free trials exist for a reason.

  2. I’ve had EVPN for 2 years. I use it their OpenVPN files on my Asus router so that specific devices on my network use the vpn and others don’t.

    The OVPN files are easy to use on my router. Their apps are also very easy to use when I’m not at home. They have many servers all over the US so I can always find one to connect to.

    Like all vpns, their speeds are not very good. I lose about 50% of my overall available internet speed (measured using when I’m connected to any of their servers.

    Also, I received an email about a price increase on my next renewal. My yearly price is going up $20, which is too much for me. I’m going to be looking for a new vpn provider soon.

  3. Well Express is pretty easy to use, good customer support, easy to install on a variety of routers, even found a good router in Bangkok, about 10 percent faster than my previous VPN, Will work on Firestick

    A little more expensive, more and more servers are blocked by the streaming services. This is a problem for Live TV with Hulu as it is Zip Code Specific, they have been able to provide a working server for Sling TV.

    Not enough cons to make me look for something else

  4. Surfshark is cheap and it works well, my only complaint is the desktop app on pc is terrible, loads of annoying things where they want you to upgrade, pop ups, opens on startup and never closes properly. Also it doesn’t support port forwarding but that’s minor

  5. I’ve been on EVPN for two months. Made the switch only for their advertised windows split-tunneling. While using split-tunneling on Windows several programs that have been filtered not to use the VPN won’t function. Support says their engineers are working on it with no time estimate. Whats worse is they release updates to their app without really saying what was changed just that incredibly stupid playful things that companies say when they don’t think their users care like “We adjusted a few gears for you to make sure things run smoothly!” It’s pretty annoying to say the least.

    If they don’t fix the issues with split-tunneling soon I may as well go back to my previous VPN provider because apparently no one has decent split-tunneling for windows anyway.

  6. I’m curious how Surfshark’s speeds compare to top performers like ExpressVPN and NordVPN. But still seems fast enough for most.


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