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Surfshark vs. ExpressVPN: VPN speed, security and price compared

Two virtual private networks, both alike in dignity, in the British Virgin Islands, where we lay our scene...

Surfshark

Like

  • Doorbuster pricing
  • Multihop VPN
  • Competitive speeds

Don't Like

  • Still a newcomer
  • Privacy policy could use more detail
  • Fewer servers than larger VPNs
See at Surfshark

ExpressVPN

Like

  • Globally competitive speeds
  • Solid security suite
  • Company is based in privacy-friendly jurisdiction

Don't Like

  • Higher-than-average price
  • Limited number of simultaneous connections
  • No Safari ExpressVPN browser extension for WebRTC security
See at ExpressVPN

In 2022, both Surfshark and ExpressVPN are navigating the reverberations of ownership changes that each went through last year. Surfshark is now owned by NordVPN, and ExpressVPN is now owned by Kape Technologies. While their prices and server network sizes highlight their most notable differences, what makes the competition between Surfshark and ExpressVPN interesting is all that the two virtual private network options have in common. The two VPNs are known for their private, no-logs services featuring competitive encryption and fast speeds. And more pointedly, they're both headquartered in the privacy-friendly British Virgin Islands. 

When it comes to a privacy starting point, you want to look for a VPN headquartered or owned by countries outside of the US. While the British Virgin Islands is a UK territory, it isn't explicitly subject to UK data retention laws nor does it participate in intelligence-sharing agreements. Sure, its status as a UK territory gives us pause when considering the potential privacy exposure if political pressure were ever to be applied. But right now, we're feeling the island breeze.

Most recently, ExpressVPN just spent the better part of the past year battling for NordVPN's spot at the top of the VPN industry food chain, but now relative newcomer Surfshark is looking to eat ExpressVPN's lunch. Here's how the two island services stack up when it comes to speed, security and cost.  

Read moreThe best VPN service of 2022

Surfshark

It won't be long until big-name VPNs realize what kind of threat Surfshark really is: It's faster than a VPN of its size should be, has stronger security than you'd expect, offers a suite of impressive features and has cutthroat prices to go with its unlimited simultaneous connection allowance. During our 2020 testing, Surfshark has given even our most highly recommended VPNs a run for their money on speed, security and cost. 

You want to watch Netflix from any country? Surfshark's watertight DNS features make that possible. You want to torrent quickly and privately? Surfshark routes you to its own P2P-configured servers out of the US. You want to block fingerprinting trackers, use a private search engine and camouflage your traffic so it looks completely normal with the assurance of a kill switch? Surfshark's CleanWeb ad-blocker, Blindsearch search engine and on-board obfuscation covers you. 

Read moreHow we evaluate and review VPNs

With more than 3,200 servers in 65 countries, we lost less than 17% of average internet speeds during our most recent speed tests. That's faster than the 27% speed loss we saw in previous tests, and pushes it ahead of ExpressVPN to be the current front-runner in our speed comparisons. 

Surfshark is currently living up to its name with an aggressive pricing scheme. Right now, it's offering an 83% discount, bringing costs down to $2 a month for a two-year plan ($48 billed every two years). ExpressVPN isn't going to get anywhere near those prices right now. 

Read more: Surfshark VPN review: A feature-rich service with blazing speeds and a security focus

Read our Surfshark VPN review.

 

Surfshark VPN
84% off with 24-mo plan (+2 free months)
ExpressVPN

Despite battling major upheavals through the end of 2021, ExpressVPN clenched our Editor's Choice Award for best VPN in 2022. One of the two largest providers globally, the VPN titan has been in business since 2009 and once again aggressively raised the industry bar for service transparency this year. 

In the past year, ExpressVPN increased its independent third-party audit count, published details about its TrustedServer deployment process, joined the i2Coalition to call for improved VPN industry ethics, and released an open source Lightway encryption protocol.

After a set-back in 2020, ExpressVPN is again currently in first place as the fastest VPN we've tested. While most VPNs will cause you to lose half or more of your normal internet speeds, ExpressVPN caused us to lose just 2% of speeds in our 2022 speed tests. It also unblocks Netflix and other streaming services more reliably than most other VPNs, and seamlessly surpasses geo-blocking for access to international gaming servers and torrenting sites. 

All of our top-rated VPN's have wide compatibility across platforms and operating systems, but ExpressVPN's collection of setup guides, detailed FAQs and troubleshooting articles give it a clear advantage for users. So does its 24/7 customer support, and its no-questions-asked, 30-day money back guarantee.  

While you can get a better month-to-dollar bargain with ExpressVPN's two-year subscription, we don't recommend anyone purchase any two-year VPN subscriptions at this time due to overall market volatility. ExpressVPN's best plan offers five simultaneous connections for $100 a year (which includes three extra months, for a limited-time deal totaling 15 months of service). You can also opt for a $13 per-month plan, or pay $60 for six months. Read our ExpressVPN review.

Read our ExpressVPN review.

 

ExpressVPN
  • Competitive speeds
  • Solid security suite
  • Company is based in privacy-friendly jurisdiction
49% off with 12-mo plan (+3 free months)

Read more: What's the best cheap VPN? We found 3 good options