There are hundreds of VPN services out there, but only some can be trusted. Undoubtedly, every 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 that we did for our NordVPN vs Surfshark comparison, we can confidently say that NordVPN and Surfshark are great VPNs for anyone who wants to secure their online privacy and security.
A Quick Comparison of NordVPN and Surfshark
This table covers a quick summary of almost 9 important factors to help you choose the most appropriate VPN according to your requirement.
|Jurisdiction||British Virgin Islands||Panama|
|Security||AES 256 Bit||AES 256 Bit|
|Leaks||No IP, DNS & WebRTC||No IP, DNS & WebRTC|
|Servers||3,200+ in 65 Countries||5,200+ in 59 Countries|
|Speed||24.9 Mbps average||93.5 Mbps average|
|Streaming||Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and More||Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and More|
|Compatibility||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, routers||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, routers|
|Customer Support||Live chat, tutorials, knowledgebase||Live chat, tutorials, knowledgebase|
|Trustpilot||4.3 ★★★★ – Reviews 9,718||4.0 ★★★★ – Reviews 6,127|
|More Info||ExpressVPN Review||NordVPN Review|
|Visit Site||Visit Site|
Surfshark vs NordVPN 2021 – Detailed Comparison
To determine the better VPN out of the two, 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
Result: Surfshark is cheaper than NordVPN
|2-year plan||$2.49/mo||$3.30/mo (VPN Awareness Month - 2 year plan at 72% off + 3 months FREE)|
|Payment methods||Credit cards, PayPal & Bitcoin||Credit cards, Alipay, Bitcoin|
Surfshark Price: Surfshark’s primary USP is a considerably budget-friendly service, priced at $2.49/mo. Surfshark’s 2-year plan is the cheapest one.
NordVPN Price: NordVPN is slightly expensive than Surfshark. However, NordVPN is a reasonably priced VPN costing $3.30/mo (VPN Awareness Month - 2 year plan at 72% off + 3 months FREE) if you subscribe to the 2-year plan.
NordVPN Payment: NordVPN currently accepts credit card payments through Credit Cards (Visa, Master Card, and Discover), Google Pay, Amazon Pay, Union Pay, and ACH Transfer. 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. Like NordVPN, it also supports Google Pay, Amazon Pay, and 3 cryptocurrencies, i.e., Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple.
Finally, both providers also offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. Thus, Surfshark and NordVPN are very similar as far as payment, pricing, and refunds are considered. However, Surfshark has a slight edge courtesy of its lower price.
The provider you decide to go with must have 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. However, your refund request may get disapproved by TunnelBear if you decide not to 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.
2. NordVPN vs Surfshark: Speed Test
Both NordVPN and Surfshark offer good connection speeds. Because both support WireGuard, as it tends to be faster than OpenVPN. We tested both VPNs in our local testing lab with a base speed of 100 Mbps connection. Here are the results:
|Multiple connections (Local)||25.87 Mbps||94.5 Mbps|
|Single connection (Local)||21.23 Mbps||95.75 Mbps|
|Distant server speed (US)||23.09 Mbps||93.5 Mbps|
|Average Speed||23.09 Mbps||93.5 Mbps|
|Average time to initiate server connection||8 sec||3 secs|
Let’s see how these two provider performs when tested with different server locations one by one.
Test #1: Surfshark vs NordVPN – US server location
|Speed Results||93.5 Mbps||24.09 Mbps|
NordVPN is one of the fastest VPN services and offers consistent speed across its server network. For example, 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 at a speed of 24.09 Mbps. That is very slow compared to NordVPN.
Test #2: Surfshark vs NordVPN – Australia server location
|Speed Results||91 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
It was much slower as compared to connection speeds without the OpenVPN protocol.
In contrast, NordVPN’s OpenVPN speeds were a little better than Surfshark. In addition, the NordVPN DoubleVPN feature also provides fast connection speeds compared to Surfshark’s OpenVPN speeds. Here is the speed test result:
Therefore, NordVPN was faster than Surfshark while using WireGuard as well as OpenVPN protocol. The same was the case in comparing NordVPN vs. TorGuard, where NordVPN offered faster connection speeds on OpenVPN and WireGuard protocols.
3. Security Test
Result: Both providers possess strong security features
|Protocols||OpenVPN, IKEv2, NordLynx||OpenVPN, Shadowsocks, WireGuard, IKEv2|
|Encryption mechanism||AES-256-Bit encryption||AES-256-Bit encryption|
|Control channel encryption||4096-bit RSA key||2048-bit RSA keys|
|DNS security||Private DNS||Private DNS|
|Cloaking technology||Obsproxy||NoBorder Obfuscation|
These providers rely on using OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols, but Surfshark also supports Shadowsocks (an open-source proxy) and WireGuard, the newest major player in the industry. This feature is known for being easier to audit and faster over long-distance connections.
In fact, NordVPN actually bases its own exclusive protocol, NordLynx, on WireGuard, citing its “lean architecture” as a major selling point.
As for the encryption mechanism, both of these providers use AES-256-Bit encryption. This encryption technique scrambles your traffic using a secret key, meaning anyone looking in can only see meaningless data.
In addition, NordVPN utilizes a 4096-bit RSA key to let your device communicate with the VPN privately. In contrast, Surfshark uses 2048-bit RSA keys, which are still secure but slightly less so.
4. NordVPN vs Surfshark: Privacy & Logging Policy
|Headquarter location||Panama||The British Virgin Islands|
|User details for sign-up||Email address||Email address|
|Anonymous payment options||Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple||Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple|
Surfshark follows a strict zero-logging policy. 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 creating an account.
Surfshark does not log any user information. It also doesn’t log the personal information that users provide when creating an account.
5. Special features
When talking about special or advanced features, both VPN providers have some unique and common features available. For example, both vendors offer an internet kill switch, but Surfshark offers a Multi-Hop feature equivalent to the NordVPNs Double VPN feature.
NordVPN has a few interesting features that are not available with Surfshark. Onion Over VPN, which allows you to use both the Onion anonymizer and Nord’s VPN together. NordVPN also allows you to buy a dedicated IP address, which can help if you wish to remotely access few devices or protect yourself from DDOS attacks during online games.
Both providers offer malware and adware filtering, although Surfshark’s AdBlock VPN feature appears to be more inclusive. Surfshark also offers Camouflage Mode, which can prevent your local ISP from knowing you’re surfing using a VPN.
While NordVPN has a blog post on whitelisting, they don’t appear to have whitelisting as an actual client feature. By contrast, Suftshark uses its split-tunneling feature as a whitelister.
To know what feature is available with which provider, you can check out our table below:
|Onion Over VPN||Yes||No|
6. NordVPN vs Surfshark: Netflix Streaming and Torrenting
Surfshark guarantees access to 15 various Netflix libraries. This ability to overcome 15 Netflix libraries’ geo-restriction has worked as a great selling point and a reason to keep the service up.
NordVPN did pretty well in our testing as well. It easily circumvents every Netflix library restriction we tried. However, other streaming services sometimes required few tries.
Both NordVPN and Surfshark had amazing results as they unblocked all of the geo-restricted streaming platforms in the table below. In addition, both the VPNs also unblocked various Netflix libraries, and we never had to encounter Netflix proxy error.
|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|
7. Surfshark vs NordVPN: Torrenting
To find out the best VPN for torrenting among NordVPN and Surfshark, we carried out extensive torrenting using uTorrent and BitTorrent software and a base internet connection of 100 Mbps.
During our testing, both of these providers delivered almost similar torrenting speeds. However, with a speed of 84.35 Mbps, NordVPN did manage to take a very minimal lead from Surfshark, which ended up delivering 82.67 Mbps speed.
In a nutshell, 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 in their VPN infrastructure.
The AES-256-Bit encryption and zero-logging policies ensure that you can safely download torrents without worrying about getting tracked down by authorities. In addition, Surfshark and NordVPN don’t have data limits, so you can download as many torrents as you want.
Learn more regarding the NordVPN torrenting guide.
8. Customer Support
It’s a bit of a twisted journey to get to NordVPN’s knowledge base of guides and articles, but once you’ve found your way there, the content is great. 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.
I contacted NordVPN’s live chat support, and while the live chat agent “Peyton” was effective, he seems to be taking about 10-15 seconds to respond to my questions. However, apart from the slow response time, I felt that their live chat support was incredible.
Surfshark’s bank of guides is very similar, with excellent articles that should cover most issues. It also provides 24/7 live chat support, and the customer support representatives are capable of answering your complaints or queries without wasting your time. I contacted their support, and support agent “Scarlett” was very quick, reliable, and polite. She responded to my every question within 5-8 seconds and seemed quite knowledgeable.
However, for most users, live chat will be your first and only port of call. Thankfully, both providers have operators available 24/7 who are knowledgeable and seem to be able to sort the majority of problems.
|Live Chat Agent||Yes||Yes|
|Live Chat Bot||Yes||Yes|
9. Surfshark vs NordVPN: Server locations
In terms of server count, Surfshark would take years to beat NordVPN. The Panama-based provider has a network of over 5200+ servers in 60 countries. In contrast, Surfshark has 3200+ servers in 65 countries.
Surfshark vs NordVPN: Chinese Restrictions
China imposes severe internet restrictions and censorship in the country. However, both NordVPN and Surfshark are premium VPNs that 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.
10. NordVPN vs Surfshark: Device Compatibility
While both, NordVPN and Surfshark are compatible with different platforms and devices. Surfshark’s ability to support unlimited simultaneous connections compared to NordVPN’s 6 simultaneous connections gives the former VPN provider a clear advantage when it comes to supporting Windows, Mac, Android, Linux, Android, iOS, routers, etc simultaneously.
In addition, Surfshark’s 7-day free rial often makes it an ideal VPN provider to test out device compatibility. This same feature also helped this provider be listed among the best free VPN for PC.
|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.
11. Surfshark vs NordVPN: VPN Setup
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. your device’s App 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 don’t 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.
- Set up NordVPN on Smart TVs
- Set up NordVPN on PS4
- Set up NordVPN on Roku
- Set up Surfshark on Amazon Fire TV
- Set up Surfshark on Router
- Set up Surfshark on Kodi
12. Surfshark vs NordVPN: Jurisdiction
|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 without any mandatory 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 essential when you are deciding on a VPN for yourself. For example, you wouldn’t want to purchase PIA because it operates from the US, as 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, it is not a favorite due to its jurisdiction. Check out how it performs against top-tier VPN in our separate ExpressVPN vs. Private Internet Access comparison.
Overall Ratings: NordVPN and Surfshark
Result: Surfsharkhas outdone NordVPN based on the different factors mentioned above. Hence, I declare Surfshark 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 such as performance, anonymity, compatibility, features, and so on.
TrustScore: Surfshark vs NordVPN
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 VPN provider. For example, some users did not like its confusing payment methods. But, few subscribers appreciated the brand overall.
Surfshark vs NordVPN: Reddit 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.
Yes, Surfshark is better than NordVPN. While these two providers managed to draw most of the comparisons, Surfshark easily defeated NordVPN in the subscription price and device compatibility factors making it easier for the former provider to beat the latter.
No, Surfshark isn’t faster than NordVPN. During our testing, NordVPN delivered an average speed of 93.5 Mbps on a 100 Mbps internet connection. In contrast, Surfshark only delivered an average speed of 24.09 Mbps on a 100 Mbps internet connection.
Surfshark is the best VPN to use for Android phones in 2021, with a Google Play Store rating of 4.1/5.0. The provider offers best-in-class security, privacy, data protection, and unblocking capabilities at a very budget-friendly subscription price on Android 11, 10, Pie, Oreo, Nougat, Marshmallow, and Lollipop.
Final Verdict: Surfshark is the Winner
Based on better pricing, a privacy-focused logging policy, faster download speeds, and overall strong performance, Surfshark comes out as the winner of the Surfshark vs NordVPN comparison.
However, NordVPN is not a lesser VPN 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.
To know more about these services, you can check out our detailed NordVPN review and Surfshark review. You can also check our comprehensive VPN comparison chart that we have prepared for a general comparison of multiple top VPN providers in the industry.