ExpressVPN vs Surfshark Comparison

ExpressVPN vs Surfshark: Speed, Streaming & Torrenting Comparison in 2021

Which vpn can unblock the most streaming platforms?

If you are looking for a vpn with great streaming support, you probably are asking yourself this very question.

In this ExpressVPN vs Surfshark comparison, were are going to compare two of the best vpns for streaming.

ExpressVPN and Surfshark are some of the vpns that are capable of unblocking the largest collection video streaming websites and platforms online.

However, how do these two vpns compare against each other in other areas.

We are going to compare these two vpns along the lines of their connection speeds, torrenting support and privacy policies.

I hope that by the end of this ExpressVPN vs Surfshark comparison, you’ll be able to choose between either ExpressVPN or Surfshark vpn services.

So let’s get right into it.

Here is a quick summary.

StreamingNetflix, Hulu, Amazon, iPlayerNetflix, Hulu, Amazon, iPlayer
TorrentingAll serversP2P servers
Kill SwitchYESYES
Works in China?YESYES
Pricing$ 8.32/month$ 1.99/month


ExpressVPN, to begin with, is a VPN company based in the British Virgin Islands that enables you to access the internet securely using the strongest encryption and most secure VPN connection protocols.

Check out my detailed review of ExpressVPN.

Surfshark, while also a VPN company based in the British Virgin Islands, enables you to access geo-restricted entertainment content as well as censored content in countries like China.

Check out my detailed Surfshark review.

Server Collection

If a vpn covers a large geographical region, you’ll be able to get a server to connect to for most of the countries whose content or IP address you may want to use.

This could be important for example if you are doing SEO and would like to see how your pages rank in different countries.

So which has a larger collection of servers between ExpressVPN and Surfshark?

ExpressVPN, at the time of writing this ExpressVPN vs Surfshark comparison, has a total of 3,000 servers that are located in 94 different countries.

Surfshark, on the other hand, has a total of 1,040 servers that are spread over 61 different countries in different continents.

It is therefore clear that ExpressVPN not only has a larger base on servers, but also covers a larger geographical region than Surfshark.

If you are looking for a vpn with a greater collection of servers then I recommend ExpressVPN.


I started this ExpressVPN vs Surfshark vpn comparison by mentioning that these two vpns are great for streaming.

Let’s now take a deeper look and see which of these vpns unblocks the most streaming platforms.

If you are looking for a vpn for streaming, you want to ensure that you only choose the vpn that will be able to unblock content on the  most number of popular video streaming platforms.

ExpressVPN will be able to streaming content various platforms like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and BBC iPlayer.

In order to streaming content on these platforms that is destined for different countries, just connect to a server that is located in that country and then open your streaming application.

For iPlayer, you’ll need to connect to a server based in the UK.

Surfshark is also able to unblock content on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and iPlayer.

Just like ExpressVPN, access streaming content for different is just about connecting to any server that is based in that country.

You don’t need to connect to any special servers in order to unblock these streaming platforms… any servers will work.

There are also some platforms like HBO, ABC etc that you’ll also be able to access with these two vpns.

ExpressVPN and Surfshark have streaming capabilities that are a real match for each other.

If you are looking for a vpn for streaming video content online then I recommend either ExpressVPN or Surfshark.


What about connection speeds?

Which one of these two vpns will let you watch videos on these platforms at their original HD or 4K qualities.

Let’s now look at how ExpressVPN vs Surfshark vpns compare in terms of their connection speeds.

In order to test their connection speeds, I connected to three different servers based in the US, UK and Hong Kong.

I then used to test for download and upload speeds before and after connecting to the servers.

ExpressVPN delivered great speeds that were an average of 87% of my original download speeds before connecting to their servers.

Surfshark on the other hand delivered better speeds, at 93% on average of my original download speeds.

It is therefore clear from this speed test that Surfshark is a faster vpn than ExpressvPN.

If you are looking for a vpn with the best connection speeds then I recommend Surfshark instead of ExpressVPN.

I know you’re surprised by these results because you believe ExpressVPN should be faster than everything else… but my speed tests proved otherwise.


What about downloading files from torrenting sites…

Some countries frown upon P2P file sharing such that certain vpns that are based in those countries block torrent traffic on their servers completely.

In order to stay safe while torrenting, you should ensure that you only download torrents after either connecting to an anonymous vpn or a proxy server that does not keep logs of your IP address.

This ensures that your actual IP is not revealed on the torrent sites that you visit.

Will you be able to download torrent files using either ExpressVPN or Surfshark?

ExpressVPN and Surfshark currently support torrenting on all their servers.

So you don’t need to first connect to some special P2P optimized servers before you can start downloading torrent files.

Add this to the fact that both these vpn don’t keep logs of your IP address and your torrenting is completely private and anonymous.

You shouldn’t be worried of your torrenting history being used against you in a court of law because such logs do not exist.

If you are looking for a vpn that is great for torrenting then I recommend Surfshark. It will give you better download speeds.

Privacy Policy

You already know that a vpn is supposed to make your internet access private by making you invisible to your ISP and government by extension.

But this also means that your entire internet history is now in the hands of a vpn company.

Some rogue vpns have gone ahead and logged this information then later sold it or handed it over to the government to use against you in a court of law.

A vpn that really cares about your privacy online starts by keeping zero logs of your internet activity.

Let’s now compare ExpressVPN vs Surfshark and see which one really offers true privacy online.

First of all, both ExpressVPN and Surfshark are based in the BVI.

The British Virgin Islands is a privacy friendly location to base a vpn company because they do not have any mandatory data retention laws that obligate vpn companies to keep logs.

It also does not form part of the 14 eyes countries surveillance alliance that spy on their citizens and then share their personal information amongst each other.

ExpressVPN has a privacy policy that states that they do not keep logs of your IP or DNS queries.

Basically, they are saying that they don’t keep any logs that can be used to identify you.

However, after reading further I found out that ExpressVPN also keeps logs of your location whenever you connect to their servers, your ISP as well as your total bandwidth usage on each day.

While this data may not be used to identify you, I find logging all this information completely unnecessary.

Surfshark on the other hand states clearly that they do not keep logs of your IP address, your connection timestamps or bandwidth usage.

On further reading, I also established that Surfshark logs your IP address whenever you visit their websites.

However, your IP address logged on their website cannot be linked to your vpn account.

It is therefore clear that Surfshark collection a lot less information about you than ExpressVPN.

If you are looking for a vpn that will collect as little information about you as possible and guarantee your privacy online then I recommend Surfshark.

Encryption and Data Protection

Securing your data and ensuring that it is safely transmitted starts by encrypting it using the best encryption technology available.

With a strong encryption, your data is safe even if it lands in the hands of a malicious hacker.

In order to guarantee the security of your personal information, both ExpressVPN and Surfshark use an NSA recommend AES 256-bit encryption technology.

It is a very secure encryption technology that is used by top militaries for encryption and is impossible to hack.

In addition to the encryption, both ExpressVPN and Surfshark also use some of the most secure vpn connection protocols for transmitting your information.

ExpressVPN supports both OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPSec protocols when connecting to the vpn servers.

Surfshark, on the other hand, supports OpenVPN, IKEv2 and Shadowsocks protocols.

All of these protocols are secure and have never been hacked before.

If you are looking for a vpn that will guarantee your security online, then either ExpressVPN or Surfshark is a great option.

Ad Blocker

An blocker disables ads and prevents them from showing on most of the websites that you visit.

If you want to have an ad free browsing experience then you need an ad blocker.

Most vpns these vpns come with an ad blocking feature already inbuilt in them to enable you block ads and tracking pixels on most websites.

ExpressVPN, although a very expensive vpn, is completely lacking in an ad blocking capability in any of its apps.

It also lacks a malware blocker that can protect your devices whenever you visit a malware infected site.

SurfShark, on the flip side, has a security feature called CleanWeb that enables you to block ads.

CleanWeb also has a malware blocker that can protect your devices from known malware infected phishing websites.

If you are looking for a vpn that has an ad blocking capability then I recommend Surfshark.

Dedicated IPs

In order to ensure you are anonymous online, vpn services will always provide you with shared IP addresses.

This happens everytime you connect to a vpn server, as you’ll be assigned a different IP.

However, some applications like your banking app trigger its security features that think your account has been hacked if you try to login with an IP address that belongs to a different country even if your username/password pair is correct.

In this case, if you want to continue using a vpn you need a dedicated IP address.

This is the IP that you can then whitelist in your apps in order to grant you remote access.

ExpressVPN, at the time of writing this ExpressVPN vs Surfshark comparison, does not support any kind of dedicated IPs.

So you won’t get an IP that you can whitelist in your apps.

Surfshark, on the flip side, offers you a static IP feature.

The static IPs let you choose an IP that you always want to use to connect to the internet.

It is a feature that is inbuilt in all their apps so you don’t need to pay extra for a static IP address.

If you are looking for a vpn that provides you static IPs so that you always connect to the internet using the same IP then I recommend Surfshark instead of ExpressVPN.

Kill Switch

Once you connect to your vpn, all your internet traffic is encrypted and channelled through your vpn tunnel.

But anytime your vpn app disconnects from the server, your real IP is exposed and your ISP can see the websites that you visit.

This could happen a few times when your internet connection drops or when you are switching servers.

A kill switch will ensure that anytime your vpn app disconnects from the server, internet access for your entire device is cut off until it reconnects.

So your IP address is not exposed during those few seconds when you’re disconnected from the server.

ExpressVPN and Surfshark both a vpn kill switch in all their apps that ensures that your internet access is cut off whenever you disconnect from the server.

If you are looking for a vpn with an inbuilt kill switch then I either ExpressVPN or Surfshark will do.

Split Tunnelling

A split tunnel will help you whitelist some applications and exempt them from having their traffic channelled through your vpn tunnel.

You may need to do this if you keep have security alerts from an app that doesn’t expect you to login with a different IP address or if one of your apps is being slowed down because of the connection speed drops cause by the vpn.

ExpressVPN has a split tunnel that lets your exempt certain apps from the vpn tunnel.

Remember that applications in your split tunnel will not be be secured by your vpn because your traffic is now routed through your ISP as usually.

You also cease to be anonymous on these apps because your traffic is transparent to your ISP.

Surfshark, too, has a whitelister that also functions as a split tunnel.

It enables you to specify certain applications to be exempted from having their traffic channelled through your vpn tunnel.

If you are looking for a vpn with a split tunnel then either ExpressVPN or Surfshark will do.

Works in China?

Most vpns will not work in China.

This is because China has a firewall with a powerful deep packet inspection technology that detects and blocks vpn traffic.

It is particularly good at blocking vpns that use OpenVPN protocol.

It is the most commonly used protocol because of its top notch security.

ExpressVPN is able to make its traffic look like normal https traffic and not be detected by the great firewall.

So you’ll be able to use ExpressVPN to access sites censored websites like in China without being detected and blocked.

Surfshark is also able to let you access the internet while in China.

It has a Camouflage mode that when turned on, provides you with the servers that obfuscated your traffic such that they are not detected as vpn traffic by China’s firewall.

Your first need to turn on this Camouflage mode in order to be able to access internet in China using Surfshark.

If you are looking for a vpn that is great for accessing internet in China then either Surfshark or ExpressVPN is a great option.


How much does it cost to use either Surfshark or ExpressVPN?

As we near the end of this Surfshark vs ExpressVPN review, let’s compare the cheapest pricing options for these two vpns to find out which is cheaper.

In order to get the best discounts, most vpn always make you choose a long term plan.

ExpressVPN has their cheapest plan being their 1 year plan that costs $ 8.32/month.

It is quite annoying that ExpressVPN does not provide any longer term plans and so forces you to renew your subscription every year that comes.

Surfshark, on the flip side, has a 2 year plan that costs $ 1.99/month.

First of all, this is great because you don’t have to find a disposable email every year to create a new Surfshark account.

Secondly, it is clearly evident that Surfshark is a much cheaper vpn compared to ExpressVPN.

If you are looking for a vpn that has long term subscription plans that are also cheap then I recommend Surfshark.

Payment Options

Let’s finish this ExpressVPN vs Surfshark comparison in 2021 by looking at the various payment options available for these two vpns.

The appropriate payment method to use if you want to give as little information about yourself as possible when subscribing for a vpn is to use an anonymous payment method.

Anonymous payment methods like gift cards and cryptocurrencies ensure that you give as little information as possible because they do not require a billing address.

A billing address includes a street address that could easily be used to identify you.

ExpressVPN and Surfshark both accept payments through credit cards, PayPal and Bitcoin.

So you have the option of using Bitcoin if you have a Bitcoin wallet and don’t want to give any personally identifying information.

If you are looking for a vpn that supports Bitcoins then either Surfshark or ExpressVPN will be great.

In Conclusion

I hope this ExpressVPN vs Surfshark comparison has helped learn about the strong points and weak points of either vpn.

Are you now ready to make a choice between either Surfshark or ExpressVPN?

If you are looking for a dirty cheap vpn that delivers excellent connection speeds, has great streaming support and has both an ad and malware blocker then I recommend Surfshark.

However, if you are willing to pay a little more for a vpn with a larger geographical coverage, great streaming support and also works in China then I recommend ExpressVPN.

Have you used either ExpressVPN or Surfshark before?

Please share your experience in the comments below.

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