NordVPN vs Surfshark

There is an extensive range of VPNs available on the market, meaning that it can often be difficult to choose the right one for you. Therefore, we have saved you time by comparing two of the best VPN providers, NordVPN vs Surfshark, to help you decide which is the best for your needs.

Table of content

NordVPN vs Surfshark: Overview

Setting up and downloading both NordVPN and Surfshark is quick and easy. Both providers offer well-designed clients that are pleasing to look at. NordVPN’s client offers a map interface displaying server locations across the globe. Surfshark does not offer a map but comes with a clear list of server locations and a large “Connect” button for an instant VPN connection.

NordVPN offers a larger server network, but Surfshark boasts server locations in more countries. This will likely make little difference to your user experience. However, the fact the Surfshark offers a generous unlimited connections policy is a greater advantage. This means that you can protect multiple phones, laptops, computers, gaming consoles, Smart TVs, and more, all on a single Surfshark subscription. NordVPN, on the other hand, limits users to just 6 devices.

NordVPN

NordVPN offers an excellent VPN product that comes with torrenting support, streaming unblocking capabilities, and fast connection speeds. NordVPN is arguably the most well-known VPN provider on the market, and its service does not disappoint.

NordVPN is relatively good value for money, with monthly subscription prices starting at just $3.71 a month if you sign up for 2-years. However, if you want the freedom of a monthly rolling contract, you will be paying a premium price of $11.95 a month. There is a range of payment options, including PayPal, credit card, Bitcoin, and more.

There is military-standard AES-256 bit as standard and a range of additional features such as Double VPN encryption, Onion over VPN, and access to obfuscated servers. There is a reliable kill-switch too, to ensure you are protected if the VPN fails for any reason, as well as secure DNS leak protection.

NordVPN has completed recent independent audits of its product and policies to provide evidence for its no-logs promise. This is a huge benefit for privacy-concerned users.

Connection speeds are great, especially if you utilize the provider’s proprietary NordLynx protocol. UK connections reach speeds of up to 350Mbps. NordVPN is an excellent choice for streamers, thanks to its reliably unblocking performance. There is torrenting support on most, although not all, of the provider’s servers, meaning that it is not a bad choice for torrenting.

The NordVPN desktop clients are well-designed, powerful, and simple to use, even for novice users. However, the service does work better on larger device screens. There is support for a wide range of devices and operating systems; however, users are limited to just 6 simultaneous connections, which is somewhat disappointing.

NordVPN offers a 24/7 live chat in case you run into issues while using the service. There is a wide range of support articles available on the website too.

Surfshark

Surfshark is a well-designed VPN service with an impressive range of high-quality security features for a meager price. As long as you are happy to commit to a 2-year subscription plan, Surfshark is one of the most affordable VPN providers on the market in 2021.

It offers unrivaled value for money, all of the features that you could ever need, as well as a generous unlimited simultaneous connections policy, which means that you can protect all of your devices for no extra cost.

Despite its affordable price, Surfshark is one of the best VPN services on the market. It is cost-effective and powerful and boasts a wide range of server locations and excellent features. There are well-designed clients for most popular devices and operating systems and AES-256 encryption and WireGuard support as standard.

Surfshark’s short-term plans are relatively expensive, with its monthly rolling contract coming in at $12.95 a month. However, if you sign up for two years with the provider, you will receive one of the cheapest monthly subscription rates on the market, just $2.49 per month. The provider frequently offers discounts too, which means that you may get access to Surfshark’s services for an even lower price.

The provider offers all of the basic security features, including AES-256 bit encryption, and comes with a range of extras such as MultiHop, which allows you to reroute your VPN connection through more than one server and an ad-blocker. There is a split tunneling tool that is useful for torrenting or when you want to separate your internet connections.

Surfshark provides a reliable kill-switch too, which ensures your internet connection is cut if the VPN fails for any reason. This ensures that no unencrypted information or your real IP address ever becomes exposed when connected to the VPN.

When it comes to data logging, Surfshark provides an impressive policy to reassure its users. The company is also based in the British Virgin Islands, a country that enjoys excellent data privacy laws. Surfshark did complete an audit of its VPN servers and policies in 2018; however, we would like to see another audit shortly.

Connections speeds are impressive when using WireGuard, with average speeds of up to 200Mbps on Surfshark’s US and UK VPN servers. Even on busy servers, speeds were sufficient for most users to stream in high definition and without buffering.

Surfshark is an excellent choice for streaming fans, thanks to its excellent unblocking performance. The provider can successfully access a host of streaming sites, including Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and more. There is full support for torrenting too, which means that you do not have to waste time looking for a P2P-optimised server.

Surfshark’s apps are simple and easy to use, even for beginner VPN users. The mobile apps are just as powerful and offer a well-designed, intuitive interface. Its unlimited connections policy means that you can use the VPN on all of your devices and share the subscription with your partner or family too. Customer support is decent, and there are setup and troubleshooting guides and a 24/7 live chat available.

NordVPN vs Surfshark: Pricing

For many users, pricing and affordability are among the most important factors when choosing a VPN provider. Therefore, we have compared NordVPN vs Surfshark in terms of their subscription options, discounts, and money-back guarantees.

With NordVPN, prices start at $11.95 if you opt for the freedom of a rolling monthly contract. As with any VPN provider, prices fall significantly if you commit to a longer-term NordVPN subscription. On its 6-month plan, NordVPN monthly prices drop to just $6, while its 12-month plan comes in at $5.75 a month.

Surfshark offers short-term similar prices, with its monthly plan priced at $12.95 a month. This makes it more expensive than some of its competitors. If you pay 6 months in advance with Surfshark, the price falls to $6.49 a month, which is still relatively expensive.

If you are happy to commit for a longer-term, both NordVPN and Surfshark offer significant discounts. On its 24-month plan, NordVPN comes in at just $3.71 a month, which is up to 70% cheaper when compared to its monthly option. However, the Surfshark 24-month plan is even more affordable, at $2.49 a month, making it one of the cheapest VPN providers on the market.

Surfshark also frequently offers further discounts and deals, meaning that you may receive access to the VPN’s services for even less. Although you may be wary of committing to such a long-term, its affordability means that it is worth it. Surfshark also comes with a 7-day free trial on its macOS, iOS, and Android clients if you are still not yet convinced. Unfortunately, there is no Surfshark trial option for Windows.

Similarly, NordVPN comes with a 7-day free trial on Android and iOS; however, there is no NordVPN trial option for Windows or macOS. If you want to test the NordVPN service fully, we recommend signing up for a paid subscription plan and utilizing the 30-day refund guarantee if you are not happy.

Regarding payment options, Surfshark offers a range of methods, including credit card, cryptocurrencies, PayPal, AliPay, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, and more. NordVPN offers a decent variety of payment methods, including credit card, PayPal, Bitcoin Cash, Monero, Ethereum, and Bitcoin.

Both NordVPN and Surfshark come with generous 30-day money-back guarantees, allowing you to test the products and services before committing to a paid plan. If you are not happy with the service provided, request a refund, no questions asked.

NordVPN vs Surfshark: Privacy

Surfshark comes with a host of privacy and security features, including standard AES-256 bit encryption and support for first-rate protocols, including OpenVPN UDP, OpenVPN TCP, IKEv2, and WireGuard. Some advanced Surfshark privacy features, including private DNS across all of its VPN servers, offer an extra layer of security protection to prevent cybercriminals or third parties from accessing your private browsing data.

Surfshark also comes with a VPN chaining feature. This allows you to re-route your internet traffic through two different VPN servers rather than just one. This can be easily accessed by clicking the MultiHop button and enables you to connect to one VPN server location and exit through a different one. This means that even if a cybercriminal gained access to the exit server, they would be unable to decipher your real IP address.

There are 15 Surfshark MultiHop routers with connection locations in the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, Singapore, France, the Netherlands, India, or Australia. Exit locations include Germany, France, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Portugal, Sweden, Singapore, the United Kingdom, or the United States.

Surfshark provides a Whitelister feature too, which allows you to choose several apps, IP addresses, or websites that will reroute around the VPN. This works in a similar way to split tunneling. The VPN also comes with ad and web-tracker blocking technology too to ensure you are protected online.

NordVPN offers an extensive list of privacy features too, including basic AES-256 bit encryption and 4096-bit Diffie Hellman keys. There is Perfect Forward Secrecy technology too, which means that new NordVPN encryption keys are created at the start of every VPN session and every hour thereafter. This means that even if a cybercriminal gained access to a VPN session, they would be booted after an hour.

NordVPN vs Surfshark: Security

In terms of security, there is Onion over Tor with NordVPN; this serves to reroute your internet connection through the encrypted Tor network for an additional layer of anonymity. There is Double VPN technology too, to re-route your internet connection through two different NordVPN servers too. NordVPN also offers a range of obfuscated servers to mask the fact that you are using a VPN to allow you to bypass VPN restrictions or censorship.

Both Surfshark and NordVPN also offer a reliable kill-switch that will automatically cut your online connection if the VPN fails for any reason. This is useful for any activities that require complete privacy and anonymity. There is complete DNS and WebRTC leak protection with both Surfshark and NordVPN too.

NordVPN vs Surfshark: Data logging

Both NordVPN and Surfshark claim not to keep any user activity logs and are based in countries that do not require VPN services to store user information. Both providers have also completed independent security audits to back up these claims, which is reassuring.

Surfshark is based in the British Virgin Islands, a country that enjoys excellent privacy laws. This means that Surfshark VPN is not required to keep logs of VPN-related activities. Surfshark provides a complete explanation of its no-logging policy on the FAQ section of its website. The policy states that Surfshark does not store IP addresses, browsing activity, internet history, accessed VPN server locations, bandwidth consumption, session information, or timestamps.

The only information that Surfshark VPN does store is the email address and billing information you used when signing up for your Surfshark account and some anonymous statistical information such as crash reports and performance statistics.

Like Surfshark, NordVPN does not store logs of user online activity. Its no-logging policy states that it does not monitor, record, store, or share user information with third parties. NordVPN does not log user connection timestamps, bandwidth consumption, data traffic logs, accessed IP addresses, or online browsing data. NordVPN also claims that it does not store session logs, which many VPN services continue to do.

NordVPN vs Surfshark: Security Audits

When it comes to auditing, Surfshark has completed a full audit of its services and policies with Cure53, a renowned security company. However, the audit did only cover the VPN service’s browser extensions, which is somewhat disappointing. We are pleased to see that the company has completed an audit, but we would like to see a complete audit of all of its VPN services.

In terms of auditing, NordVPN received a complete security audit by PricewaterhouseCooper which supported its no-logging claims. Considering that NordVPN’s security audit covered its whole product and server, it is the clear winner in this category.

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NordVPN vs Surfshark: Server Locations

NordVPN provides servers in 15 United States cities, 3 Canadian cities, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Costa Rica, Chile, 5 Australian cities, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Taiwan, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea, Thailand, South Africa, 2 Indian cities, United Arab Emirates, Israel, Turkey, and European servers in the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Poland, Ireland, Czechia, Italy, Spain, Finland, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Latvia, Romania, Portugal, Luxemburg, Ukraine, Greece, Estonia, Iceland, Albania, Cyprus, Croatia, Moldova, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, and North Macedonia.

Surfshark provides access to European server locations in Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Moldova, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom.

Surfshark’s servers in the Americas include Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Paraguay, and the United States; the Middle East and African servers in Israel, Nigeria, South Africa, and the United Arab Emirates.

In the Asian Pacific, Surfshark provides servers in Australia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Phillippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.

NordVPN vs Surfshark: Connection speeds

Both Surfshark and NordVPN performed well during speed tests. NordVPN is slightly faster thanks to its proprietary NordLynx protocol that offers speeds of up to 105Mbps. This means that upon speed comparisons, NordVPN came out on top for streaming and gaming in high definition without lag or buffering.

NordVPN vs Surfshark: Streaming

Many users choose to download a VPN service for the sole purpose of streaming geo-restricted content on sites such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Disney+, and more. Therefore, we have compared Surfshark and NordVPN in terms of streaming capabilities.

NordVPN is excellent when it comes to accessing Netflix from a large number of servers. The provider offers reliable access to the popular service, which is good to know. YouTube also posed no issue to the provider, nor did Disney+ or Amazon Prime Video. However, NordVPN did have difficulties when it came to accessing BBC iPlayer, which is well-known to be difficult to access with a VPN. However, even though the NordVPN desktop client did not enable access to iPlayer, the browser extension did.

Like NordVPN, Surfshark is an excellent choice for streaming fans, thanks to its ability to unblock a range of streaming sites. Many VPN services claim to offer access to a range of sites but do not deliver. However, Surfshark is different.

When it comes to Netflix, Surfshark is extremely reliable. It offers access to Netflix libraries in more than 15 countries, and it lists all of the countries in which it works. These countries include the United States, Japan, France, Italy, Australia, and more. The provider had no issue accessing US Netflix from a range of servers.

Surfshark is great when it comes to other streaming services and can unblock US YouTube without an issue. It was successful at accessing BBC iPlayer from a range of servers which is impressive as many providers often struggle to overcome VPN restrictions there. It also enabled access to Disney+ and US Amazon Prime Video from several servers too. This means that Surfshark is the clear winner when streaming, thanks to its reliable unblocking of all of the VPN services that we tested.

NordVPN vs Surfshark: Torrenting and P2P support

Surfshark suggests that it is the best VPN available for torrenting. It makes it easy for P2P sharers by automatically re-routing your connection to a suitable VPN server when it identifies torrenting activity. There are excellent connection speeds too, meaning that you can download and share quickly.

Surfshark also offers the option to pay with Bitcoin, which is great if you want to keep your torrenting activities completely anonymous. There is a whitelisting feature too, which means that you could reroute your torrenting activity through the VPN while allowing the rest of your internet traffic to continue through your normal ISP connection.

NordVPN is another excellent choice for torrenters, despite that it does not boast about its support for P2P sharing. Like Surfshark, not all of the NordVPN servers are optimized for torrenting. Still, if the client detects torrenting traffic, it will automatically redirect you to one of the specialty P2P servers supporting torrenting activity. There are hundreds of NordVPN servers across the globe that support torrenting, meaning that you will always have access to a secure connection.

There is a range of additional privacy features that make NordVPN a great choice for torrenters too, including Double VPN technology, Onion over VPN, DNS leak protection, and a transparent no-logging policy to ensure your activity remains anonymous.

NordVPN vs Surfshark: Setup

Installing and setting up Surfshark is a simple, streamlined experience. Enter your account and payment details, click the download link, and allow the client to install. To set up your VPN connection, all you need to do is click the Connect button. Once you are connected, a notification will tell you that you are connected to the VPN, and the client interface will display your new IP address and location.

NordVPN offers a similarly simple setup process across all devices and operating systems. The provider offers a range of tutorials, setup guides, and articles. NordVPN comes with 24/7 live chat support too, in case you require further assistance. NordVPN also provides a range of setup guides for niche uses, including SOCKS5 proxy setup, as well as installation guides for browser extensions.

NordVPN vs Surfshark: Desktop clients

Surfshark provides excellent apps for both Windows and macOS. Installation is simple; all you need to do is click one of the download links available on the provider’s website. The Surfshark interface is intuitive and well-designed. It features a large Connect button, allowing a quick connection to the VPN. There is a panel offering server status details as well as a list of server locations. There is a helpful Favorites feature too, which allows you to save your most used servers for easy access later.

There is a dedicated IP list that allows connections to VPN servers in Singapore, the United Kingdom, Japan, the United States, and Germany. This means that you can access the same dedicated IP address every time you access the VPN.

Surfshark also comes with a NoBorders mode which enables you to use the VPN in places that do not typically support the use of VPNs, such as offices or universities. There is also a MultiHop feature, Whitelister, and an integrated kill-switch.

With NordVPN, the desktop interfaces are clean and simple too. There is a large map interface, allowing you to select your desired server by clicking on the map. There is a typical server list too, which is simple to use. Unfortunately, NordVPN has replaced the Favorites option with a Recents system, which is somewhat less useful.

Connections are quick and easy, and so is switching between NordVPN protocols, activating the kill switch, and using a range of additional features in the Settings.

NordVPN vs Surfshark: Mobile clients

The Surfshark mobile version for iOS and Android is impressively powerful, and both clients are packed with useful privacy features. The apps are well-designed and clean too, ensuring a user-friendly experience.

The Android app is extremely similar to the Windows version and features a list of server locations, split tunneling, Multi-Hop, and Whitelister. There is support for a range of protocols, including OpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuard, and Shadowsocks, and the same kill-switch as the desktop client.

The Surfshark Android app also offers the option to choose between AES-256 GGM or Chacha20Poly1305 encryption methods. Most of the features are available on the iOS version too.

Like its desktop versions, the NordVPN mobile clients feature a map-based interface which is slightly difficult to use on a smaller screen. NordVPN installation and setup are quick and simple. Once you have signed up to NordVPN, you will be redirected to the relevant app store. Download and install the NordVPN app, and you will be using the VPN in a few minutes.

Connecting and disconnecting from NordVPN is simple and will take less than a minute. There is an auto-connection feature available on both of the NordVPN mobile clients. There is a Whitelist option, CyberSec, and a reliable kill-switch available on iOS. However, the Android app lacks a kill-switch.

There is the option to create a simulacrum by selecting “Always-on VPN” and “Block connections without a VPN.” The NordVPN Android app even comes without split tunneling, which is impressive for a mobile version.

NordVPN vs Surfshark: Customer service

When signing up for a new VPN provider, it is reassuring to know that there is excellent customer support on hand when you run into any issues while setting up or using the service.

NordVPN offers excellent live chat, which ensures fast, helpful responses to all of your queries. There is a range of NordVPN setup and support articles, which are comprehensive and packed full of useful information. Surfshark comes with live-chat support too and also promises quick and useful responses. Its user guides have recently been updated too, which is good to see.

Both NordVPN and Surfshark offer excellent customer service, which means that you will be looked after no matter which one you pick.

Author Cliff Durward

Hey guys, I'm Cliff! I live in Cleveland, Ohio with my wife and my kids. I love cybersecurity and I've been writing about it for a decade!
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PrivacySharks » NordVPN vs Surfshark
Last updated: April 15, 2021