Surfshark vs NordVPN
Picking a VPN can be tricky. There’s a lot of information about each VPN provider, but it can be tricky to fully grasp the implications of the technical specs and determine how one platform stacks up against the other.
If you are looking to subscribe to a VPN service today, Surfshark and NordVPN are doubtless two of the providers you will consider. NordVPN is a trusted VPN provider and has been around for several years. Surfshark is a relatively new player on the scene but has quickly become one of the top VPN providers on the market today.
These two VPN platforms have some similarities and differences. This article is dedicated to exploring the strengths and shortcomings of Surfshark and NordVPN to let you know how they perform in reality.
Surfshark vs. NordVPN – A Detailed Comparison
Surfshark is one of the fastest-growing VPN providers in the world today. The company was launched in 2018 and is based in the British Virgin Islands. This VPN has become one of the top-rated VPNs in the world today.
Surfshark has over 1700 servers in 63 countries. It is available as an app for all platforms, including iOS, macOS, Windows, Android, and Linux. You can get it as a browser extension for Chrome and Firefox. This VPN is also available for smart TVs, routers, consoles, and other devices. One thing that sets Surfshark apart from other VPNs is that you can connect one account to an unlimited number of devices. Most VPNs have a limit of about 5 to 12 devices.
Surfshark is an award-winning VPN that comes with many features that give you strong encryption, protection from malware and phishing, and even an ad blocker. Surfshark uses standard AES-256 encryption, and there are a few protocols to choose from. Surfshark claims to be ahead of the competition. But is that true? That’s partly what we hope to discover in this Surfshark VPN review.
NordVPN is one of the trusted names in the VPN business. This VPN has been around since 2012 and has been at the forefront of innovation in the VPN field since then. NordVPN was launched in 2012. This company was created by four childhood friends who united their efforts to develop a solution for the fight against surveillance, censorship, and content control.
NordVPN has over 14 million users worldwide. NordVPN has 5,500 servers in 59 countries across the world. This VPN is available as an app for Windows, Linux, Android, iOS, and macOS devices. It is available as a browser extension for Chrome and Firefox. You can install this VPN on devices like smart TVs, consoles, routers, and more. NordVPN supports up to 6 devices at a time.
NordVPN is an award-winning VPN platform that provides superior, time-tested service. NordVPN is supposed to be one of the best VPN providers available today. But does it live up to the expectations? That’s what we hope to answer in this NordVPN review.
One of the key things to consider when you are signing up for a VPN service is speed. Nothing is more annoying than lagging in the connection when you are streaming or gaming online.
There are a lot of factors that can determine the speed of a VPN service. This includes your device, server congestion level, and more. Surfshark and NordVPN both support split-tunneling, which allows you to choose which apps to use VPN for.
Surfshark and NordVPN do not enforce any bandwidth limits, and they both offer above-average speeds. The protocol that you choose can sometimes affect the speed that you experience when using these VPNs. For example, you’re likely to enjoy faster browsing speed if you use NordLynx compared to OpenVPN.
In our speed tests, NordVPN had an average speed of over 180Mbps for downloads and around 160Mpbs for uploads. Surfshark, on the other hand, had average download speeds of 175Mbps and upload speeds of 160Mbps. The results didn’t change significantly for most of the other servers we tried.
There is no guarantee that NordVPN will always top Surfshark in terms of speed. However, in our tests, NordVPN has always been somewhat faster. This may be because they have way more servers and a larger network.
NordVPN is the clear winner in this category.
Surfshark and NordVPN come with numerous features that will ensure you are satisfied no matter why you need a VPN.
The features that you can expect from Surfshark include:
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- No bandwidth limit
- AES 256-GCM encryption
- Three different encryption protocols available (OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPSec, and Shadowsocks)
- Ad blocker
- CleanWeb (malware and phishing blocker)
- DNS and leak protection when you use IPv4 stack
- Kill Switch
- Multihop servers
- Camouflage mode
- NoBorders mode
- Override GPS location
- Support for Torrenting and File Sharing
- Access to 15 different Netflix libraries from different regions around the world
- Whitelister (Bypass VPN)
- You can make your device invisible to other devices on the same network
- Static Servers
- Small Packets (currently available for only Android devices)
- Surfshark Alert (this feature notifies you if your information on any website is compromised)
- 24/7 Customer Support
NordVPN also has a long list of impressive features, including the following:
- AES 256-bit encryption
- Three different encryption protocols (OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPSec, and NordLynx)
- No bandwidth limit
- Supports 6 simultaneous connections
- DNS and
- Support for Torrenting and P2P File Sharing
- Ad Blocker
- CyberSec (provides malware and phishing protection)
- Hide IP Address
- Dedicated IP
- Automatic Kill Switch
- Onion over VPN
- Uninterrupted streaming
- Access to all streaming platforms
- Double IP Protection
- 24/7 Customer Support
Surfshark and NordVPN have many of the same features. These VPNs are both excellent options for all-around use. NordVPN can unblock more streaming platforms than Surfshark, so NordVPN is the winner in this category.
Reliability is the most important yardstick to determine if a VPN service is good. Reliability includes offering uninterrupted, fast connection, and complete protection for your data at all times.
Surfshark touts its platform as being very reliable, and that is true. We didn’t experience any performance issues when testing Surfshark or any of the times we have used it.
NordVPN is one VPN that deserves to be described as reliable. It has been around for several years and continues to be rated highly by critics. We didn’t experience any performance issues when using NordVPN.
It is important to note that NordVPN was the subject of a data breach in 2018. However, the company has recovered from that dent in its reputation and has worked hard to prove to internet users that it is a reliable VPN service.
Both Surfshark and NordVPN are equally reliable VPN platforms, and there is no clear winner in this category.
Like other VPN providers, security is paramount for both Surfshark and NordVPN. Both platforms come with many features to guarantee you can enjoy full anonymity and data protection online.
The security provisions on Surfshark include the following:
- AES 256-Bit Encryption: This is an advanced encryption standard that is used by most VPN platforms in the world today.
- VPN Protocols: Surfshark supports OpenVPN (UDP and TCP), IKEv2, and Shadowsocks protocol. These are all trusted protocols.
- Kill Switch: This is a safety mechanism that cuts your connection and keeps you protected if there is a disruption in your VPN service.
- Leak Protection: This VPN comes with both DNS leak protection and IPV6 leak protection: This makes it impossible for anyone to take advantage of security flaws in your browser and the websites you visit to hack you.
- MultiHop: This feature allows your connection to be routed through NordVPN servers in different countries across the world.
- Hide Your IP: This feature ensures that your real IP address always stays hidden.
- CleanWeb: Malware and ad blocker, as well as protection against phishing.
The security provisions of NordVPN include the following;
- AES 256-Bit Encryption: NordVPN also uses 256-bit encryption, making it virtually impossible for your data to be compromised in transit.
- VPN Protocols: Nord VPN supports OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPSec, and NordLynx protocol. NordLynx is a relatively new and exclusive protocol built on WireGuard.
- Kill Switch: This ensures your data is never compromised, even for one second.
- Mask Your IP: This feature protects your IP address and makes it impossible for anyone to track you based on your online activities.
- Double Protection: Like Surfshark’s Multihop, this feature routes your connection through NordVPN servers in different countries.
- Onion over VPN: This is a unique feature that gives you the advantage of using the Onion network (Tor) network in addition to NordVPN for maximum security.
- CyberSec: This feature provides protection from malicious websites and phishing attempts. It also includes an ad blocker.
As you can see, both Surfshark and NordVPN have strong security provisions. However, NordVPN comes with some extra, unique features that make it a marginally better option than Surfshark. For that reason, NordVPN is the winner in this category.
Surfshark is based in the British Virgin Islands, which does not require online companies to keep or share user activity logs. The company does not store any data regarding your browsing history, IP address, bandwidth usage, or anything like that.
Surfshark was audited by German cybersecurity firm Cure53 in 2018 to affirm its no-logs policy.
NordVPN is also strict about its no-logging stance. NordVPN has its headquarters in Panama, and the country’s law does not require online companies to keep or share logs of user activity. Therefore, NordVPN does not keep any data on your browsing history and habits.
NordVPN announced this year that it is transitioning to using diskless RAM servers, which provides extra assurance that none of your data is stored. PricewaterhouseCoopers have audited NordVPN in 2019 and 2020 and reaffirmed that it adheres to its no-logs policy.
Both Surfshark and NordVPN claim to store no user logs. However, NordVPN appears to be more committed to this and is more transparent about its efforts to uphold this commitment. Therefore, NordVPN is the winner in this category.
Surfshark is based in the British Virgin Islands. Although the British Virgin Islands is considered British overseas territory, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation does not apply to the country. The British Virgin Islands is not part of the 5 Eyes, 9 Eyes, and 14 Eyes alliance.
The British Virgin Islands has no laws concerning data retention. The country follows English Common Law, which doesn’t have any stipulations regarding data retention. Internet companies operating in the British Virgin Islands are not obligated by law to store any information regarding user activity or similar data.
As a result, Surfshark can maintain its no-logs policy and continue to protect your data. There have been talks about the British Virgin Islands government developing data protection laws in the future in line with global practices. However, this is yet to materialize.
NordVPN is based in Panama. The country is not part of the 5 Eyes, 9 Eyes, and 14 Eyes alliance. Panama has no data retention laws. This means NordVPN is not required to store or share user data.
Pundits have often raised concerns about the implications of Panama’s close political ties with the US on VPN companies operating in the country. However, so far, the Panamanian government has not concerned itself with the activities of companies.
Both the British Virgin Islands and Panama are excellent locations for VPN companies, so there is no winner in this category.
Streaming Capabilities (Netflix, Hulu, etc.)
Surfshark and NordVPN work great for getting past the geo-restrictions on streaming sites. Also, both VPN providers don’t have any bandwidth limits, which means no lags or buffering.
Surfshark is optimized to allow you to enjoy HD streaming. With this VPN, you can access 15 different Netflix libraries from various regions across the world, including the United Kingdom, the United States, Italy, Germany, France, Australia, Singapore, South Korea, and Japan.
Apart from Netflix, Surfshark also works with other streaming platforms like HBO Now, Disney+, Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Sky Go, DAZN, and many more.
You’re unlikely to experience any issues with streaming when using Surfshark. In the unlikely event that you encounter some issues, changing your settings usually does the trick.
NordVPN allows you to enjoy uninterrupted HD streaming for platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, Hulu, HBO Now, Showtime, Sky, ESPN, and more. NordVPN provides access to many of the same Netflix libraries that Surfshark does, and a few different ones like the Netherlands, Finland, and Spain.
As indicated above, Surfshark and NordVPN can successfully help you get past the geo-restrictions on streaming sites. However, NordVPN is the winner in this category because it works for some streaming platforms that Surfshark doesn’t.
Torrenting & File Sharing
Both Surfshark and NordVPN support Torrenting and P2P file sharing. You can enjoy relatively good speeds on both platforms.
All Surfshark servers support Torrenting, and the company also has some dedicated P2P servers. Surfshark is compatible with uTorrent, BitTorrent, aBittorrent, Deluge, Vuze, and many other P2P platforms.
Surfshark has one of the fastest download speeds of any VPN provider out there, thanks to its dedicated servers. Also, your data is encrypted, and Surfshark comes with a kill switch to ensure that you stay anonymous if your VPN protection is interrupted.
NordVPN has many more servers than Surfshark and has more servers dedicated to P2P than Surfshark. The fact that NordVPN has hundreds of dedicated P2P servers means you’re likely to have to deal with server congestion or similar issues.
NordVPN also protects your data through encryption and comes with a kill switch. NordVPN works with all the top P2P platforms. It is perfect for sharing large files.
Although both Surfshark and NordVPN both work well for P2P file-sharing, Surfshark usually provides faster download and upload speeds on its dedicated servers. This makes Surfshark the winner in this category, but the margin isn’t huge.
Pricing & Plans
Surfshark has different pricing packages, so you can choose which works best for you, depending on your budget. You get to save more when you choose a longer subscription plan. Surfshark has a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try out this VPN before actually paying for it.
1 month plan - $12.95 monthly
6 months plan - $6.49 monthly ($38.94 total)
2 years plan - $2.21 monthly ($53.04 total)
All Surfshark plans give you access to all the features on this VPN except Surfshark Alert and Surfshark Search, which you can get for $0.99 more. Surfshark accepts all the major payment systems, including credit/debit cards, PayPal, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, and cryptocurrencies.
NordVPN also has different pricing packages, so there’s an option for everyone. Just like Surfshark, you get to save more when you choose a longer subscription on NordVPN. NordVPN has a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can sample the service before you sign up for it.
1 month plan - $11.95 monthly
1 year plan - $4.92 monthly ($59.04 total)
2 year plan - $3.71 monthly ($89.04 total)
All NordVPN subscription packages give you access to all the features on this VPN. However, you need to pay $1.49 each for additional features like NordPass and NordLocker. NordVPN accepts credit/debit cards, Google Pay, and cryptocurrencies.
It is a bit tricky to pick a clear winner for this category. NordVPN is more affordable than Surfshark if you are choosing a monthly or a yearly subscription plan. However, if you are going for a two-year subscription plan, Surfshark is a more cost-effective choice. With that said, there is no clear winner in this category.
As indicated above, Surfshark has a 30-day money-back guarantee if you choose to stop using its service within the first 30 days. So, if you are not satisfied with the service, you can get your money back. Otherwise, payment is deducted automatically at the beginning of each billing cycle.
Surfshark’s refund policy does not apply to subscriptions purchased through third-party platforms like iTunes, Apple’s App Store, or Amazon. Also, the company does not provide refunds for payments made using prepaid cards and gift cards. You can reach out to Surfshark for more information via [email protected]
NordVPN also provides a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you choose to stop using the service within the first 30 days, you are entitled to a full refund regardless of the plan you prefer. If you do not cancel your subscription, billing is done automatically at the beginning of each cycle.
NordVPN’s refund policy does not cover purchases made through third-party stores like Apple’s App Store. You need to contact the third-party store you bought your subscription from for a refund. For information about refunds, contact the NordVPN customer support team via their website.
Both VPNs have the same refund policy, so there is no winner in this category.
Value for Money
The VPN market is very competitive, and providers are working hard to outdo each other in the quest to provide better value for money.
Surfshark has many great features and is one of the best VPNs on the market today. NordVPN also has a lot of exceptional features and provides good quality service that is worth the money.
After careful consideration, I’d say NordVPN provides better value for money because you get access to more features. If you are choosing a monthly or yearly plan, you save money by selecting NordVPN. Although the two-year plan on NordVPN appears to be more expensive than Surfshark's, the extra features make it worthwhile.
Conclusion (Overall Winner)
Surfshark and NordVPN are two of the foremost VPN providers on the market today, and they are super effective at providing secure connections and protecting your privacy online.
If we were to pick between them, NordVPN would be the choice because it won more categories in this article than Surfshark. NordVPN is packed with many features (a bit more than Surfshark), and it is worth its price.