NordVPN vs Surfshark: Head-to-Head Comparison
There are hundreds of VPN services out there, but only some can be trusted. No doubt, every single VPN service promises to deliver security and privacy but not all of them stay true to their words. At VPNranks, we have tested hundreds of VPNs to find the right VPN provider for your needs.
Based on extensive testing, we can confidently say that both NordVPN and Surfshark are great VPNs for anyone who wants to secure their online privacy and security.
NordVPN is a veteran VPN service with a continuously expanding customer base, whereas Surfshark only surfaced in the VPN industry in 2018. Nonetheless, Surfshark has quickly become a highly valued VPN that is now counted among the best in the industry.
Before we go into details, here is a brief overview of 11 different categories on which both NordVPN and Surfshark has been tested in this article:
Surfshark is the winner in this contest due to the fact that it offers better value for money:
- Decent speeds: 24.09 Mbps
- Cheaper price
- Proven performance
- Consistent Netflix support across the world
A Quick Comparison of NordVPN and Surfshark
This table is a quick summary of almost 9 important factors to help choose the most appropriate VPN according to your requirement.
|Speed||93.5 Mbps||24.09 Mbps|
|Server Network||5,500+ servers|
|Jurisdiction||Panama||British Virgins Islands|
|Customer Support||Live chat, tutorials, knowledgebase||Live chat, tutorials, knowledgebase|
|Encryption||AES-256 bit||AES-256 bit|
NordVPN vs. Surfshark 2021 – Detailed Comparison
To determine the better VPN out of these, I performed a detailed comparison between Surfshark and NordVPN. In this comparison, I analyzed the attributes of both providers and compared their relative strengths and weakness.
Following is the detailed comparison of both providers:
1. Pricing Plans: NordVPN vs Surfshark
Result: Surfshark is cheaper than NordVPN
Surfshark Price: Surfshark has the primary USP of being a considerably cheap service, priced at $2.49/mo. Surfshark’s 2-year plan is the cheapest one.
NordVPN Price: NordVPN is slightly expensive than Surfshar. However, NordVPN is itself a very reasonably priced VPN costing $4.13/mo if you subscribe to the 2-year plan.
2. Payment Methods
Result: Surfshark offers more payment methods than NordVPN
NordVPN Payment: NordVPN currently accepts credit card payments through Master Card and Discover. As for cryptocurrencies, it is accepting Ethereum and Ripple at the time of writing this comparison.
Surfshark Payment: Surfshark offers various credit card payment options including Master Card, Visa, PayPal, and Discover. It also supports 3 cryptocurrencies i.e. Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple.
Result: Both providers offer exactly a similar 30 days refund policy
Finally, both providers also offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. As such, Surfshark and NordVPN are very similar as far as payment, pricing, and refunds are considered. However, Surfshark has a slight edge courtesy of its cheaper price.
It is very important that the provider you decide to go with has a clear refund policy. There are providers such as TunnelBear, that offer refunds on a case-by-case basis and you wouldn’t want to be stuck with them regarding your funds. It is possible that your refund request may get disapproved by TunnelBear if you decide to not continue with the subscription. Therefore, always make sure to check the refund policy yourself before committing to any VPN provider. Although the TunnelBear refund policy may seem dodgy, it is still one of the best VPN providers in the industry and can go toe-to-toe with top-tier VPN providers. Recently, we compared it with NordVPN, and you can check out this blog to decide which one will be your next provider: TunnelBear or NordVPN.
3. NordVPN vs Surfshark: Speed Test
Both NordVPN and Surfshark offer good connection speeds. Because both support WireGuard and it tends to be faster than OpenVPN. We tested both VPNs on 100 Mbps connection speeds. Here are the results:
Test #1: NordVPN vs Surfshark US
|Speed Results||93.5 Mbps||24.09 Mbps|
NordVPN is one of the fastest VPN service and offers consistent speed across its server network. On a US server, it delivered a speed of 93.5 Mbps.
Surfshark is no slouch itself when it comes to speed. However, on a US server, it clocked in the speed of 24.09 Mbps. That is very slow compared to NordVPN.
Test #2: NordVPN vs Surfshark Australia
|Speed Results||93.5 Mbps||25 Mbps|
NordVPN on its Perth, Australia server offered amazing speeds. It did not disappoint.
Surfshark’s server in Australia, Perth again offered very low download speeds and high upload speeds.
Slow Speeds with OpenVPN: Surfshark vs. NordVPN
Surfshark also offered slower speeds on its OpenVPN protocol. It was much slower as compared to connection speeds without the OpenVPN protocol.
In contrast, NordVPNs OpenVPN speeds were a little better than Surfshark. NordVPN DoubleVPN feature also provides fast connection speeds as compared to Surfshark’s OpenVPN speeds. Here is the speed test result:
Therefore, NordVPN was faster than Surfshark in both WireGuard and OpenVPN protocol. The same was the case in the comparison of NordVPN vs TorGuard, where NordVPN offered faster connection speeds on both OpenVPN and WireGuard protocols.
4. Servers in Countries
Result: Based on the above comparison, NordVPN turns out to be the winner.
In terms of server count, Surfshark would take years to beat NordVPN. The Panama-based provider has a network of over 5,500 servers in 59+ countries. In contrast, Surfshark has 3200+ servers in 65 countries.
Chinese Restrictions: NordVPN vs Surfshark
China imposes severe internet restrictions and censorship in the country. However, both NordVPN and Surfshark can easily bypass the Great Firewall of China. Both NordVPN and Surfshark offer features that enable Chinese users to bypass restrictions and use the internet freely.
NordVPN offers Obfuscated servers, and Surfshark offers No Border servers for Chinese users.
How to Turn on NordVPNs Obfuscated Servers
How to enable Surfshark’s No Border Servers
5. Privacy & Logging Policy: NordVPN vs Surfshark
Result: Both providers do not store logs
|Does not log IP address, timestamps, DNS, bandwidth, or traffic||Does not log IP address, timestamps, bandwidth, or traffic|
Surfshark follows a zero-logging policy in true letter and spirit. Similarly, NordVPN guarantees against any form of user information or activity logging.
NordVPN does not keep any user data. It only logs some technical information like usernames, server load information to recommend the most suitable server, and email address when you are creating an account.
Surfshark does not log any user information. It also doesn’t log personal information that users provide when creating an account.
6. Device Compatibility: NordVPN vs Surfshark
Both NordVPN and Surfshark are compatible with different platforms and devices. You can use dedicated apps of these VPNs for multiple devices including Windows, Mac, Android, Linux, Android, iOS, routers, and others. Due to Surfshark’s free trial, it is often listed as the best free VPN for PC offering unlimited bandwidth.
Result: Both providers offer good performance and reliability
|Samsung Smart TV||No||Yes|
|Android Smart TV||Yes||Yes|
|LG Smart TV||No||Yes|
NordVPN might not offer dedicated apps for these platforms, but you can configure it on your router and protect all your devices.
7. VPN Setup: Surfshark vs NordVPN
As you can see from the above table that both NordVPN and Surfshark offer VPN apps for various devices including Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, browsers, and more.
Use NordVPN and Surfshark on Desktop
1. Go to NordVPNs official website
2. Click on VPN Apps
3. Select the App of your device (macOS, Windows, Android, etc) > Click download.
4. Install the app on your device
5. Open the App > Sign in using your credentials.
1. Go to Surfshark’s official website
2. Click on Apps from the landing page
3. Under the section Desktops & Laptops > select your device.
4. Click Download > Install the app.
5. Open the App > Sign in using your username and password.
Use NordVPN or Surfshark on Mobile (Android & iPhone)
You can find most VPN apps on Play Store (Android) or App Store (iOS), but we dont recommend downloading VPN apps from app stores. If you don’t buy VPN apps directly from the vendor, you might not be entitled to a refund. Just follow these simple steps to get NordVPN or Surfshark on your mobile phones:
|NordVPN on Mobile Devices||Surfshark on Mobile Devices|
1. Go to NordVPNs official website and sign up.
2. Click on VPN Apps and download the app on your mobile phone.
3. Open the App > Sign in using your credentials.
1. Go to Surfshark’s official website and Sign up.
2. Click on Apps from the landing page and download it on your mobile phone.
3. Open the App once downloaded > Sign in using your username and password.
Setup for Other Devices
Apart from desktops and mobile phones, you can also get these VPNs for other devices.
- Download VPN apps from the official website of VPNs for devices like Smart TVs, Fire TV, etc.
- Manually configure VPNs on your routers. You can find installation files on the landing page of VPNs.
8. Customer Support
Result: Both providers have excellent customer support in place
NordVPN resolves customer queries primarily through live chat, which is available round the clock every day of the week. Tutorials and knowledgebases for setups and other technical problems are also available on the NordVPN official website.
Surfshark also provides 24/7 live chat support. The customer support representatives are capable of answering your complaints or queries without wasting your time.
9. NordVPN vs Surfshark: Streaming, Netflix, and Torrenting
|Netflix||US, UK, Canada, Japan, Germany, France, Spain, and more.||US, UK, Canada, Germany, Australia, South Korea, Japan, and more.|
|Hulu||US, Japan||US, Japan|
|Amazon Prime Video||Yes||Yes|
Both NordVPN and Surfshark had amazing results as they unblocked all of the above-mentioned geo-restricted streaming platforms in one go. Both the VPNs also unblocked various Netflix libraries and we never had to encounter Netflix proxy error.
Netflix – NordVPN vs Surfshark
Result: Both providers can unblock US Netflix with good efficiency
Fortunately, you can avail Surfshark or NordVPN both to accomplish your Netflix media streaming cravings. Both providers are top recommended Netflix VPNs due to their efficient Netflix unblocking.
However, NordVPN allows you to access Netflix US media library in one go. Sadly, users may face buffering issues while accessing Netflix content through Surfshark. However, it all depends on your internet connection and your actual geographical location. Both Surfshark’s and NordVPNs streaming speeds were fast and consistent.
Torrenting/P2P – NordVPN vs Surfshark
Result: Both providers offer strong protection for torrenting activities.
You can choose either NordVPN or Surfshark to download your favorite torrents securely and anonymously. Interestingly, both VPN services operate from user-friendly countries and have plenty of P2P-supported servers.
The AES-256 bit encryption and zero-logging stance of both companies ensure that you can safely download torrents without worrying about getting tracked down by authorities. Surfshark and NordVPN don’t have data limits so you can download as many torrents as you want.
Learn more regarding NordVPN torrenting guide.
Result: Both providers are located in equally safe jurisdictions
|Jurisdictions||Panama||British Virgin Island|
NordVPN is located in Panama, which is a country with privacy-friendly laws. With no mandatory data retention laws in the country, NordVPN is under no obligation to store logs of your activity, IP address, or other personally identifiable information.
Surfshark, for its part, is located in the British Virgin Islands, which is another country where ISPs and VPNs aren’t bound by any data retention laws. BVI is also not a part of any surveillance alliances like 5-eyes, and it is legally independent of the UK with its own privacy laws.
Jurisdiction is very important when you are deciding on a VPN for yourself. For example, you wouldn’t want to purchase PIA, because it is operating from the US and your online privacy and data will always remain at risk. Even though PIA is a competitive VPN provider on many levels with a top-tier VPN provider like ExpressVPN, due to its jurisdiction, it is not a favorite. Check out how it performs against top-tier VPN in ExpressVPN vs Private Internet Access comparison.
11. NordVPN vs. Surfshark: Security Features
Result: Both providers possess strong security features
|Onion over VPN||Yes||No|
For tunneling protocols, Surfshark uses IKEv2 and OpenVPN protocols, which are also the exact two protocols offered by NordVPN. However, both providers are rich in security features as shown in the table above.
Overall Ratings: NordVPN and Surfshark
Result: NordVPN has outdone Surfshark based on the different factors mentioned above. Hence, I declare NordVPN a winner.
|Value for Money||9/10||9.5/10|
When I reviewed Surfshark and NordVPN in detail, I was able to rate them based on different factors. I considered factors like performance, anonymity, compatibility, features, and so on.
TrustScore: NordVPN vs Surfshark
Trustpilot is a top-notch customer review site that delivers updated and unbiased reviews about different products and services. You can explore the resource to find relevant feedback about Surfshark and NordVPN hassle-free.
As per the viewpoint of one Surfshark user, you could trust its impressive customer support that solves your problems timely.
Surprisingly, NordVPN users have given mixed reviews about the private network provider. Some users did not like its confusing payment mechanism. But, few subscribers appreciated the brand overall.
NordVPN vs. Surfshark: Redit review
Reddit is one of the most sought platforms to explore unbiased reviews about different VPNs. Here is a guide that discusses the best VPNs for Reddit users. One Reddit follower recommended Surfshark to other users.
Final Verdict: Surfshark is the Winner
Based on better pricing, privacy-focused logging policy, faster download speeds, and overall strong performance Surfshark is the winner of this comparison against NordVPN.
However, NordVPN is not a lesser VPN by any means and is one of the leading brands in the whole industry. So you can’t go wrong with either choice. Just make sure you know what you’re in for before you purchase one.
For more comparisons, you can check our comprehensive VPN comparison chart that we have prepared for better insights.