NordVPN vs Surfshark

If you know a thing or two about VPNs, then you might be wondering, what provider could be better than NordVPN? The VPN titan, along with ExpressVPN, dominates the Virtual Private Network industry. While that isn’t to say that other great VPNs don’t exist, NordVPN has a wholly positive reputation.

However, one VPN exploded onto the scene in 2018 and has risen through the ranks to rival both ExpressVPN and NordVPN. Surfshark is a top-rated VPN that offers a range of unbelievable features that seem too good to be true.

If you’re not already using a VPN, you should be since they provide your web traffic with a layer of privacy and allow you to access websites in other parts of the world. NordVPN and Surfshark are two of the best providers and well worth considering.

So is Surfshark a good VPN? And, more importantly, is it better than NordVPN? We’ve looked at the two providers in this NordVPN vs Surfshark comparison to see which VPN is worth you investing your time and money in.

Table of content

NordVPN vs Surfshark: Which VPN is the best?

NordVPN and Surfshark are two impressive VPNs that are brimming full of features and offer great security solutions. We’ve divided our comparison into sections, examining each section closely to deliver an unbiased review of the VPNs.

NordVPN vs Surfshark: Security and privacy

Hackers, Internet Service Providers (ISPs), and governments are all curious to see our online movements and access personal data. With a VPN, you can give yourself more privacy and also protect yourself from other malicious things on the internet. Both Surfshark and NordVPN employ various techniques and features to protect users online.

Encryption

The two providers both employ military-grade AES-256 bit encryption to protect your web traffic. AES-256 is strong encryption, which means hackers will unlikely be able to break through it.

NordVPN offers excellent tunneling protocols to ensure VPN connections on its network are solid. Protocols available with NordVPN include OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPSec, and NordLynx. NordLynx is NordVPN’s very own custom protocol, based on WireGuard technology. NordLynx offers the speed that WireGuard provides without suffering any security issues that come with the open-source protocol.

Surfshark also employs great protocols and gives users a choice of which protocol to tunnel their connection over. The default option on Surfshark apps is IKEv2 which offers great speeds. However, users can also choose from OpenVPN, WireGuard, or Shadowsocks on Windows and Android apps.

It’s great to see that both NordVPN and Surfshark avoid weaker protocols such as PPTP. This protocol provides a fast but ultimately unsafe connection, and many VPN providers have stopped offering it as an option.

Zero-logs policy

With Surfshark and NordVPN, your web traffic is guaranteed to be hidden from third parties when you’re using the VPN. But what about the providers themselves? Both Surfshark and NordVPN employ strict no-logging policies, which assure users that they don’t store or share their data.

The only data that NordVPN does log is the end of session times (and even then, this is only stored for 15 minutes). As well as this, NordVPN logs information that is essential for account maintenance and payment, such as your email address and billing details. NordVPN has had its privacy policy independently audited, which gives us faith that the provider tells the truth and doesn’t log or misuse customer browsing history, IP addresses, or any other data.

Surfshark doesn’t track or monitor any activity on its network. The provider, like NordVPN, does log certain account information like your email address and billing details, but this is never linked to any activity on its network. As well as this, Surfshark logs failed connection attempts, app crash reports, and frequency of the use of services. However, all of these are monitored to improve its VPN services for users.

Like NordVPN, Surfshark has also had an independent audit carried out, the results of which were released in 2018, and affirm that the provider sticks to its no-logging policy.

Headquarters

A VPN’s jurisdiction is important since it can affect whether VPN customers’ information is collected and shared or not. Fortunately, both Surfshark and NordVPN are based in optimal locations regarding privacy laws. Surfshark is based in the British Virgin Islands, and NordVPN is based in Panama.

Neither the British Virgin Islands nor Panama has obligatory data retention laws. Even better, neither country is a member of the Five Eyes alliance, an international espionage mission in which countries share citizen data.

Privacy and security features

Many VPN providers lack extra features, but Surfshark and NordVPN are no two such providers. Both offer a long list of impressive tools to make your browsing experience more private.

Surfshark:

Surfshark uses obfuscated servers that hide the fact you are using a VPN, and users can connect to one of these by selecting the Camouflage Mode. The MultiHop feature allows you to route your connection through multiple servers in different countries, masking your internet footprint even further.

It doesn’t stop there. Surfshark also has an automatic kill switch that will cease internet connections should the VPN server or connection get interrupted or go down. As well as this, Surfshark has CleanWeb, a built-in ad, malware, and tracker blocker.

Every Surfshark server comes with private DNS, and there is IPv4 leak protection. The fact that Surfshark processes all DNS requests on its own servers and prevents your IP address from being leaked is great news for privacy-concerned subscribers.

You can also access the TOR network using Surfshark. Just connect to a Surfshark server before launching the TOR browser.

NordVPN:

NordVPN also offers obfuscated servers in its network to help users surf the web without their ISP knowing they are using a VPN. These obfuscated servers also enable users to bypass VPN blocks on websites.

An internet kill switch is available and can be switched on in the VPN app for users who never want to browse the web without VPN encryption. A kill switch is essential to keeping your internet connection safe, and we don’t recommend using a VPN provider that doesn’t offer a kill switch.

As well as this, NordVPN has a Double VPN feature. This is similar to Surfshark’s MultiHop, although, with Double VPN, users route their connection through just two server locations and can change their IP address twice for an extra layer of privacy.

NordVPN also uses its own DNS on its servers and offers IPv6 and WebRTC leak protection. CyberSec is NordVPN’s anti-malware and adware feature and protects users by preventing them from accessing phishing websites.

NordVPN also has an Onion over VPN option for users who want to route their connection via the TOR network for extra privacy. You can click the Onion button on the NordVPN app to re-route your connection.

The winner: It’s a draw since both VPNs offer a similar security level and have great privacy features. With either VPN, you’re guaranteed a safe and secure VPN experience.

NordVPN vs Surfshark: Features

NordVPN and Surfshark are the best VPNs for extra features since they offer many extra tools to give customers an easy experience online.

Simultaneous connections

The number of devices you can use at the same time differs depending on the VPN provider. NordVPN offers users 6 simultaneous connections. 6 is a good amount, but it is nothing compared to the unlimited simultaneous connections users get with Surfshark.

With Surfhshark’s unlimited simultaneous connections, you can share the VPN with your friends and family and still protect all of your own devices. While NordVPN’s 6 simultaneous connection surpasses the industry-standard of 5, it can’t compete with Surfshark’s offering.

Streaming

Surfshark can unblock 15 Netflix libraries, which is an impressive number. Thanks to its specialty servers, there aren’t many streaming services that Surfshark cannot provide access to, including BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and HBO Max.

NordVPN is also a great streaming VPN and provides access to many Netflix libraries as Surfshark. Streaming services like Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer can also be accessed with NordVPN.

Both providers are great for streaming and prevent bandwidth throttling so that you can enjoy your favorite TV shows and films without suffering from any buffering or low-quality video.

Torrenting

You should use a VPN for torrenting to hide your P2P traffic and keep your real IP address safe. Fortunately, both NordVPN and Surfshark are great VPNs for torrenting. NordVPN has over 4000 dedicated P2P servers, while Surfshark permits torrenting on all of its servers.

Combined with features like first-rate encryption and the kill switch, the two providers are great choices for torrenters since they have excellent security measures in place to keep download data and your identity private.

Additional app features

There are extra features available in both the NordVPN and Surfshark apps that allow users to customize their VPN experience slightly. Firstly, Surfshark has a NoBorders mode, enabling users to bypass geo-restrictions and access content in other parts of the world, even in extremely restrictive regions.

Surfshark also has the Whitelister feature, which is its version of split tunneling. Surfshark subscribers can choose which apps and websites they want to bypass the VPN protection. NordVPN also has split tunneling, which is a great feature for VPN users.

Surfshark offers static IP locations for users who want to use the same IP address every time. NordVPN goes one step further and offers customers the option to purchase a dedicated IP address. A dedicated IP address is useful if you use a VPN for repeated activities such as online banking and need the same IP each time.

The winner: There is no clear winner when it comes to features. Like with privacy and security, the two VPNs are evenly matched, and both offer a great selection of features that are guaranteed to improve your internet experience.

NordVPN vs Surfshark: Prices

Let’s take a look at NordVPN vs Surfshark when it comes to pricing. Both providers offer a selection of subscription lengths, including 1 year and 2-year plans.

NordVPN:

Surfshark:

Each provider offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. 30 days is the average length for a money-back guarantee and gives customers time to test out the VPN and its features before committing to a long-term subscription. However, you do have to make an upfront payment to enjoy the refund policy.

Both providers offer a range of payment options, including credit cards, PayPal, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, and even cryptocurrencies. Both providers accept Bitcoin payments, a great payment method if you want to anonymize your payments.

The winner: The two VPNs are, again, pretty evenly matched in terms of cost. However, Surfshark’s 2-year plan offers great value for money, considering all of the features you get in return for the low monthly cost.

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NordVPN vs Surfshark: Server networks

More VPN servers usually signify more unrestricted internet access and the higher possibility of enjoying fast network speeds. The rule of thumb is that if the number of servers is higher than 1000, it is considered a decent size. Both NordVPN and Surfshark surpass that figure.

Surfshark has 3200 VPN servers in 65 countries. The server network comprises both physical and virtual servers, and the provider uses RAM-only servers. RAM is safer than hard-drive servers since all memory stored on the servers is deleted upon being switched off. The majority of the servers are based in Asia, North America, and Europe. There are a couple of server locations in Nigeria and South Africa, but that’s it on the African continent.

NordVPN offers its customers access to over 5500 VPN servers in 59 countries. Like Surfshark, most NordVPN servers are based in North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific. Disappointingly, NordVPN has even fewer servers on the African continent, offering just one country location, South Africa. NordVPN only uses physical servers, which means every server is in the place it says it is.

Like Surfshark, NordVPN has also begun the process of making all its servers run on volatile RAM. The VPN industry’s biggest players have taken note of the advantages that RAM servers provide, and NordVPN is following the crowd.

The winner: NordVPN has a larger number of servers overall, but Surfshark offers more country locations, which means it can unblock content across the world. If global reach is important to you, then Surfshark is the clear winner. However, if server network size is a more vital factor, then go for NordVPN.

NordVPN vs Surfshark: Platform support

There’s no point in finding out what a VPN can do for you if it doesn’t work on your devices. While some VPNs have support for all operating systems, others are limited to just a few platforms.

NordVPN offers support for Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Android TV, and routers with compatible firmware. By connecting the VPN to your router, you can bypass the 6 simultaneous connection limit and protect all devices connected to your router. There are also browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox users.

Platform support is similar to Surfshark, and with unlimited device connections, you can simultaneously use your VPN on all of these operating systems.

Surfshark can be used on Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV. Like NordVPN, Surfshark VPN can be used on your router and connected to your Xbox and Playstation gaming consoles. You can also use the Surfshark browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox.

The winner: It’s another tie. Both VPNs offer support for the same platforms and can be configured to routers to protect all IoT (Internet of Things) objects in your home.

NordVPN vs Surfshark: App usability

NordVPN and Surfshark VPN are two excellent choices for VPN novices since they provide many great features that VPN beginners can easily get to grips with. Each VPN offers dedicated apps for cell phones and clients for desktop computers, so we took a look at how user-friendly they are.

NordVPN:

NordVPN has an easy-to-use app that opens up to a map showing where you are connected. You can use the quick connect button or search the server list. The server list is excellent since you can either sort the servers by country or function, e.g., P2P, Dedicated IP, or Double VPN. You can also add any server to your favorites list so that you can use it again and again.

The settings section is also super easy to navigate, and users can enable the kill switch, activate the use of obfuscated servers, or change the protocol.

Surfshark:

Like NordVPN, Surfshark provides its customers with an easy-to-navigate app. Surfshark’s app has a stylish blue aesthetic, and it allows users to connect to the most optimal server as soon as they open the app up. If you want to choose a particular server location or country, you can scroll through the server list or search the list for a specific location.

Users can also customize their VPN use via the app like the Whitelister and MultiHop. There is also the option to customize your encryption by changing the protocols or enhance your online privacy by activating the kill switch.

The winner: Both providers have apps with easy-to-use interfaces that help users make the most out of the VPN.

NordVPN vs Surfshark: Speed

The most important things to consider when looking for a VPN are speed, security, and features. NordVPN and Surfshark are well known as fast VPNs, and our speed tests proved this.

We started with a speed of 39Mbps, which is extremely fast. We first connected to a NordVPN server in the US and got a download speed of 38Mbps. Connecting to the same location with Surfshark also produced a high speed of 37.6Mbps.

Testing the VPN in other parts of the world brought about more fluctuating results, yet we were still impressed overall. Using the OpenVPN protocol with both VPNs, we connected to UK-based servers and experienced a download speed of 34Mbps with Nord and 35Mbps with Surfshark. After this, we tested Japanese servers and got an average speed of 31.5Mbps with NordVPN and 30Mbps with Surfshark.

The winner: NordVPN and Surfshark are both fast VPNs and advertise themselves as such. Depending on whether you use OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPSec, or another protocol, your speed may be faster or slower. However, the two providers excelled in this area, and we would definitely recommend both if you want lightning-fast speeds.

NordVPN vs Surfshark: Customer Support

The quality of a VPN provider is often reflected in its customer service. Both VPNs offer fantastic customer support to help users if they have issues with the VPN.

NordVPN and Surfshark offer 24/7 live chat support on their sites. The live chat support allows users to directly speak to a customer service representative and get instant information and responses. Users can also get in touch with customer service via email, but they won’t receive an instantaneous response like with the live chat.

Finally, there are help sections on both VPN websites. Users can find support on using the VPN on their Android, iOS, or macOS devices and can find information relating to privacy and security.

The winner: Regarding customer support, neither VPN offers more than the other. While neither provider offers phone support, we are satisfied with the offerings as they stand.

Is Surfshark Better Than NordVPN?

So, which is the best VPN service? It’s hard to declare a winner since Surfshark and Nord are similarly matched in security, privacy, and other areas. However, there are a few areas in which one VPN excels more.

If you want to use the VPN on many devices simultaneously and have access to more server locations, Surfshark is a better option. The VPN also has cheaper long-term plans, which bode well for customers on a budget.

NordVPN, on the other hand, has a larger number of servers and is a fantastic streaming VPN. Moreover, it offers nifty tools in its apps, such as the Onion over VPN option, making a user’s VPN experience a lot easier.

Author Madeleine Hodson

I’m Madeleine and an author for VPNSurfers. I have a keen interest in VPNs and believe that everyone deserves internet freedom and security. I have lived in several countries, including a two year stay in Hong Kong which incl...
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Last updated: April 15, 2021