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NordVPN vs. Surfshark: Which One Is Best?

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NordVPN vs. Surfshark: Which One Is Best?

With thousands of VPNs on the market today, choosing an ideal one is always a hassle. However, we are here to end all your VPN problems by comparing two of the best VPN services, NordVPN vs. Surfshark. Being leading VPN providers, NordVPN and Surfshark deliver the best security protocols and highly excel when it comes to their features. 

NordVPN and Surfshark may share the same parent company but they are two very different products. This blog will help you pick between these two by contrasting their similarities, differences, strengths, and weaknesses. Among the factors we will be focusing on are speed, pricing, security, customer support services, and compatibility. Please stick with us to learn which service is ultimately better.

NordVPN vs. Surfshark: Side-By-Side Comparison

NordVPNSurfshark
Valuable FeaturesUnlimited bandwidth, 24/7 customer support, P2P support, Malware blocker, Split tunneling, Kill switch, Auto-connect, Onion-over VPN servers, no logs policyUnlimited bandwidth, 24/7 customer support, P2P support, Malware blocker, Split tunneling, Kill switch, Auto-connect, no logs policy
Server Count5600+ in 60 countries3200+ in 100 countries
Simultaneous Connections6Unlimited
StreamingNetflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney+Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video
Plans And PricingThe monthly plan costs $12.99, the one-year plan costs $4.49/mo, and the two-year plan costs $3.29/mo.The monthly plan costs $12.95, the one-year plan costs $3.99/mo and the two-year plan costs $2.30/mo.
Speed (On a 100Mbps connection)US server: 93.57 Mbps download speed and 89.52 Mbps upload speeds
UK server: 92.84 Mbps download speeds and 97.67 Mbps upload speeds
Hong Kong server: 91 Mbps download speeds and 93.09 Mbps upload speeds
US server: 83.27 Mbps download speeds and 65.59 Mbps upload speeds
UK server: 82.36 Mbps and upload speeds of 55.15 Mbps
Hong Kong server: 70.91 Mbps download speeds and 62.11 Mbps upload speeds. 
EncryptionAES-256-GCM and ChaCha20AES-256-GCM and Chacha20 Poly1305
Customer SupportLive chat, email, guides, social media, and FAQsLive chat, email, guides, tutorials, and FAQs
Device CompatibilityWindows, macOS, Android, iOS, Fire TV, Blackberry, Raspberry Pi, Chrome, Firefox, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Android Smart TV, and RoutersWindows, macOS, Android, iOS, Fire TV, Blackberry, Raspberry Pi, Chrome, Firefox, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Android Smart TV, Routers, Kodi, Opera, PS4/PS5, and more.
Gaming SupportLowAverage
Payment MethodsCredit cards, PayPal, AmazonPay, Apple Pay, ACH Transfer, Google Pay, and cryptocurrenciesPayPal, credit cards, Google Pay, Apple Pay, Amazon Pay, and cryptocurrencies

NordVPN vs. Surfshark: What’s the Difference?

NordVPN is an extremely secure VPN provider with tons of useful features. Since the VPN’s jurisdiction is in Panama, the VPN enjoys high levels of privacy since the country doesn’t have any laws against privacy. Additionally, NordVPN provides all its external independent privacy audit details to the public allowing users to check how the VPN performed in those audits. Regarding performance, NordVPN tips the scale, especially with its ultra-fast upload and download speeds, high server count, and six simultaneous connections. 

Surfshark is also a decent VPN service providing slightly similar features to NordVPN but at a lower cost. The VPN has great download and upload speeds, unlimited simultaneous connections, and notable privacy and security protocols. Additionally, the VPN offers its users antivirus protection and breach alerts. Regarding servers, Surfshark may have fewer than NordVPN, but the server count is decent enough and will suit all your VPN needs. 

As you can see, both NordVPN and Surfshark have many valuable features. However, Surfshark is slightly better than NordVPN owing to its wide variety of features, even though Nord VPN has more specialty server options. Let us examine some of these features in greater depth to determine the winner in the NordVPN vs. Surfshark debate.

Speed

When using a VPN, speed is one of the vital factors. We used a 100 Mbps connection to test the speed of both VPNs on American, UK, and Hong Kong servers. While both providers offer ultra-fast speeds, NordVPN is ultimately faster than Surshark. Both VPNs use WireGuard protocols for speed, with Nord using a fancier version of WireGuard called NordLynx. 

NordVPN delivered 93.57 Mbps download speed and 89.52 Mbps upload speeds on the US server. Connecting to a UK server delivered 92.84 Mbps download speeds and 97.67 Mbps upload speeds. While connected to a Hong Kong server, NordVPN managed 91 Mbps download speeds and 93.09 Mbps upload speeds. 

Surfshark delivered download speeds of 82.36 Mbps and upload speeds of 55.15 Mbps when connected to a UK server. The download and upload speeds for US servers were 83.27Mbps and 65.59 Mbps respectively. The Hong Kong Server attained a download speed of 70.91 Mbps and an upload speed of 62.11 Mbps.

Plans and Pricing

VPNs typically have simpler pricing schemes. Longer subscriptions are usually better since they have more savings. With NordVPN, the monthly plan costs $12.99, whereas the yearly plan costs $4.49/mo. The two-year plan costs $3.29/mo. With Surfshark, the monthly plan costs $12.95, whereas the one-year plan costs $3.99/mo. The two-year plan finally costs $2.30 per month.

Both monthly options are more expensive than the above plans, even though NordVPN is slightly cheaper. However, Surfshark is more affordable in the long run and thus wins in terms of pricing. Both providers have a 30-day money-back guarantee and a 7-day free trial, with Surfshark only providing this free trial for mobile devices. 

Regarding payment options, NordVPN features credit cards, PayPal, AmazonPay, Apple Pay, ACH Transfer, Google Pay, and cryptocurrencies. Surfshark allows payment via PayPal, credit cards, Google Pay, Apple Pay, Amazon Pay, and cryptocurrencies. You can always check for discounts and coupons from both providers to lower your subscription. 

Security Protocols

Both NordVPN and Surfshark have impeccable security protocols. They both use AES-256-GCM for data encryption while working on RAM-only servers. They also have a killswitch and DNS leak protection. Surfshark differs from NordVPN by being a member of the 9-Eyes Intelligence Alliance, raising a few questions regarding data privacy.

Aside from that, both VPNs publicly show their security audits, from which we can see that NordVPN has had two no-logs policy audits while Surfshark has had three audits. Two Surfshark audits were on server infrastructure, browser extensions, and general security. The last audit was on Surfshark’s no-logs policy. Finally, both providers use SHA-512 as their hash and have an ad blocker and malware scanner. NordVPN narrowly wins in security protocols since it is better overall. 

Smart DNS

Since most media streaming devices lack VPN support, NordVPN and Surfshark use Smart DNS to achieve VPN-like functionalities on these devices. With NordVPN, you get SmartPlay which automatically comes into play whenever you are using a VPN to unblock content on streaming websites. Surfshark also has the same tool and it works in a similar manner. Surfshark calls its tool SmartDNS and it has the same success rate as SmartPlay. 

Specialized Servers

Both VPN providers feature specialized servers that offer additional benefits for unique cases. With Surfshark, you get Multi-hop, P2P, and Static IP. While Multi-hop grants you access to two servers for maximum privacy and security, P2P ensures you get the best speeds, and Static IP gives you the same IP address whenever you connect to the VPN. 

NordVPN does not lag in specialized servers but also features some equally impressive options. Its Double VPN servers offer the same functionality as Multi-hop. Additionally, Onion over VPN lets you combine your connection with the Tor network. Obfuscated servers are also helpful as they scramble your traffic making it appear like you are not using a VPN. NordVPN specialized servers come at an extra cost, and you will be the only user for those IP addresses you will be assigned. 

Split Tunneling

Split tunneling is very useful because it enables you to route your internet traffic precisely. Both NordVPN and Surfshark allow you to route any apps using a VPN or even add some exclusions for your VPN. The feature will help you eliminate the need to disengage the VPN when directly using an app. Unfortunately, both providers feature split tunneling in Windows and Android only. You will not access this feature if you are a Mac or iOS user.

Web Filters

Both providers offer web filters that protect you when browsing. Surfshark calls its web filter Clean Web, and it successfully stops intrusive trackers and ads before you get them. The feature achieves this function by blocking any available adware hosts, trackers, or malware. CleanWeb works as a browser extension. NordVPN’s version is called Threat Protection, and it similarly blocks all the ads and trackers when browsing. Threat Protection identifies malware, thus protecting users from malicious websites. 

Server Count And Locations

Both NordVPN and Surfshark have a high VPN server count in numerous locations. These servers make connecting to any global location and accessing their content easy. While NordVPN has an impressive 5600+ servers, they are only spread across 60 countries. On the other hand, Surfshark has 3200+ servers spread across 100 countries. One provider has more countries and fewer servers, while the other has more servers in fewer countries. 

Additionally, Surfshark uses virtual locations while NordVPN does not. However, NordVPN’s Europe and US servers are more than Sursfshark’s entire count, meaning that you will have tremendous versatility when using NordVPN, and it thus wins in this category. 

Torrenting

Both VPN services have P2P servers that facilitate torrenting. Surfshark allows for torrenting on all its servers. However, the speeds are slightly lower than NordVPN, which includes a free SOCKS5 proxy for faster speeds. Nord VPN is also restrictive, but as soon as it detects P2P traffic, it automatically reconnects to a P2P server resulting in safer file sharing and better speeds. NordVPN wins this torrenting category. 

Ease Of Use and Platforms

The two VPNs perform impeccably regarding usability and user-friendliness. They have a wide selection of intuitive applications which are easy to use. For Linux users, NordVPN does not feature a visual interface for the Linux app. However, Surfshark has a dedicated app for Linux, and its visual interface is nice. 

Windows users get the best treatment with NordVPN and Surfshark since they both have an aesthetically pleasing user interface. The Windows versions also include some features not present in Mac versions, such as Split Tunneling. 

Mac users get two Surfshark versions, the Apple Store and website versions. The App Store version has all the tunneling protocols, whereas the website version only features IKEv2. With NordVPN, Mac users get the same experience as Windows users since the two have similar features. However, NordVPN has two versions, with the website only having OpenVPN tunneling. However, this website version enjoys most of NordVPN’s recent updates. 

For mobile users, both VPNs have great apps for Android users. Surfshark Android versions have Bypasser, GPS spoofing, and other valuable features, whereas the iOS version only has CleanWeb, auto-connect, and a kill switch. NordVPN’s Android version is also easy to use and has the most features. However, the iOS version has limited features, including a kill switch, dark web monitoring, and the favorites tab. 

vpn on iphone
Surfshark has a great app for Android users, but the iOS version has fewer features.

Customer Support

Both NordVPN and Surfshark have good customer support services. Although none of the providers offer phone service, you can still use the live chat, email, guides, articles, or FAQs to seek assistance whenever you encounter problems while using either service. Both providers provide quick and knowledgeable answers, with users having to only wait for a short period before they are answered. 

Streaming

Both NordVPN and Surfshark support the most popular streaming platforms. They perform well when streaming Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, and platforms. Both VPNs can also easily stream content on geo-restricted platforms like ITV. However, Surfshark failed to stream content on BBC iPlayer, while NordVPN easily accessed the service. While Surfshark streams most platforms seamlessly, the service loses to NordVPN in this category since NordVPN supports several other platforms, including Vudu, Sky, and Showtime. 

Gaming

Gaming latency, also known as ping, is a vital factor to consider for gamers. Most VPNs have a lousy reputation since they increase latency, causing most gamers to avoid them. However, Surfshark shows lower ping values than NordVPN in most tests. However, we cannot declare either of these VPNs as fit for gaming, but for the sake of this comparison, Surfshark wins. 

Device Compatibility

Both services support most of the popularly used devices and operating systems. However, Surfshark supports more devices than NordVPN. NordVPN supports Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Fire TV, Blackberry, Raspberry Pi, Chrome, Firefox, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Android Smart TV, and  Routers. Surfshark supports Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Fire TV, Blackberry, Raspberry Pi, Chrome, Firefox, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Android Smart TV, Routers, Kodi, Opera, and PS4.

NordVPN vs. Surfshark: 7 Must-Know Facts

  • Overall, NordVPN has more significant download and upload speeds than Surfshark when connected to a 100Mbps connection. 
  • Both VPNs have easy-to-use interfaces across all platforms. However, Android and Windows versions have more features and functionalities than Mac and iOS versions. 
  • In gaming, both VPNs are not ideal. Surfshark has less latency and is better than NordVPN in gaming. 
  • NordVPN and Surfshark have excellent device compatibility, with Surfshark supporting more devices than NordVPN.
  • Regarding plans and pricing, NordVPN has cheaper monthly plans, but Surshark is cheaper in its one-year and two-year plans.
  • NordVPN has 5600+ servers in 60 locations, whereas Surfshark has 3200+ servers in 100 locations.
  • Both VPN services have equally good customer support services. 

NordVPN vs. Surfshark: Which Is Better? Which Should You Use?

Now to the big question, which is better? When it comes to choosing between NordVPN vs. Surfshark, NordVPN emerges as the overall winner due to its robust security features, fast connection speeds, and user-friendly interface. However, Surfshark is still catching up since both VPNs are of excellent quality and offer great value for money. 

If you are looking for an ultra-fast VPN with a verified no-logs policy, compatibility with most streaming platforms, and superb overall performance, NordVPN will suit you best. However, consider Surfshark if your priorities include subscription price, server count, and gaming performance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which VPN is faster, NordVPN or Surfshark?

NordVPN has a larger network of servers, which typically results in faster speeds. However, Surfshark’s network is constantly expanding, and it utilizes the WireGuard protocol, which can offer faster speeds than NordVPN’s default protocol.

Can the authorities track VPN?

The authorities can’t monitor live, encrypted VPN traffic, but they can ask your Internet Service Provider for connection or usage records if they have a court order. Your ISP can tell the authorities where to go because they are aware that you are using a VPN.

Can I use NordVPN or Surfshark to access geo-restricted content?

Yes, both NordVPN and Surfshark allow users to access geo-restricted content by routing their traffic through servers in different countries. NordVPN has a larger number of server locations, but Surfshark’s servers are generally less crowded, which can result in faster speeds for streaming.

Which VPN is easier to use, NordVPN or Surfshark?

Both NordVPN and Surfshark have user-friendly interfaces and are easy to use, even for beginners. NordVPN has more advanced features and options, which may be overwhelming for some users, while Surfshark offers a more streamlined experience with fewer advanced settings.

Does NordVPN or Surfshark offer a free trial?

Both NordVPN and Surfshark offer free trials, although the specifics of each trial may vary. NordVPN offers a 7-day free trial for mobile users and a 30-day money-back guarantee for all plans. Surfshark offers a 7-day free trial for Android and iOS users and a 30-day money-back guarantee for all plans.

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