Surfshark vs. NordVPN – Which One To Choose?
When comparing the top VPNs, the differences often boil down to nuances. Because of this, it can be hard to determine what service is the best. What’s more, depending on your needs and preferences, some VPNs are more suitable than others. With that in mind, both NordVPN and Surfshark are great, but which is better?
In this detailed NordVPN vs. Surfshark page, we will compare these two VPNs across a multitude of key aspects. We’ll cover all features in great depth, compare VPN servers, speed, security, and much more. Read on to learn how these two VPN companies compare and which one is the better pick for you.
Short on time? We think that NordVPN is better by a tiny bit
Surfshark vs. NordVPN – A Quick Overview
In this Surfshark vs. NordVPN, we’ll thoroughly go into the details of these two VPNs. That said, if you’re looking for quick info on the key aspects, we’ve prepared just the thing. Here’s a table covering some of the essential features of NordVPN and Surfshark VPN:
|Based In||Panama||The Netherlands|
|Number of Servers||5,400+||3,200+|
|Logging Policy||Zero-logs Policy||Zero-logs Policy|
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Privacy is arguably the most important part of a trusted VPN service. So, it’s good to see that both NordVPN and Surfshark VPN take this aspect very seriously. More precisely, here’s how they compare on the privacy front:
Both NordVPN and Surfshark VPN maintain strict no-logs policies. They don’t keep any traffic logs of their user’s activities. Of course, beyond these no-logs policy statements, it’s essential that you have evidence you can rely on to know that this is true. Luckily, both NordVPN and Surfshark have proven to stand behind their connection logs policies.
They have submitted themselves to independent audits at least a couple of times. This is commendable, as few VPN services like to undergo this process willingly. Using VPN with a no-logs policy is paramount if you want maximum online privacy.
That said, maintaining a ” strict no-logs policy” status is difficult for VPN services. For this to be true, they need to operate in a jurisdiction that doesn’t have any mandatory data retention laws. This brings us to the next crucial part of this NordVPN vs. Surfshark comparison.
NordVPN is based in Panama and Surfshark is based in the Netherlands. Both countries have a very privacy-friendly stance on online data retention. In other words, neither NordVPN nor Surfshark are obliged to store any logs on their users.
However, while this sounds good, there’s one more crucial aspect to consider. The Netherlands is a part of the 9 Eyes Alliance, while Panama is not. This alliance is essentially a global surveillance organization. Countries that are a part of this alliance can share private communications cross-border and severely undermine the online privacy of their citizens.
It’s important to mention that Surfshark’s founding is a bit unclear. In the first few years, the company was headquartered in the British Virgin Islands. In 2021, Surfshark VPN announced that it would be relocating its headquarters from the British Virgin Islands to the Netherlands for business reasons.
You should keep this information in mind if you decide to go with Surfshark VPN. And, if you want complete privacy in this regard, it’s better to pick NordVPN.
Registration and Banking
When using an online service, especially from an authoritarian country, you ideally want to give as few details as possible during the registration process. In the context of VPNs, this means using an anonymous payment method and signing up using just your email.
From this perspective, both NordVPN and Surfshark VPN allow you to maintain a high degree of online anonymity, as you don’t have to share any personal details to sign up. If you prefer, you can use cryptocurrencies and avoid giving any identifiable information.
You can also use the convenient Google Pay option to pay for your NordVPN or Surfshark subscription. Google Pay isn’t as private as cryptocurrencies but is still a semi-anonymous option better than standard fiat payment methods.
Privacy Features Comparison Winner: NordVPN
Both NordVPN and Surfshark are very secure VPN services. The only question is to what extent these security features can protect you and which of these two VPNs does a better job at keeping you safe. To answer this, here’s a NordVPN-Surfshark comparison across the most important security features:
Both NordVPN and Surfhark support the best encryption protocols in the industry. That said, NordVPN has an edge in this regard, as it also offers an in-house protocol that can deliver great connection speeds.
More precisely, NordVPN has its own NordLynx protocol, based on the popular WireGuard protocol. NordLynx is the service’s default VPN protocol. What’s more, NordVPN says that this protocol can be up to two times faster than other protocols. While our tests didn’t confirm this, NordLynx has proven to be the fastest protocol around.
This protocol is available on all of the service’s VPN apps. In addition to the NordLynx protocol, NordVPN also supports IKEv2/IPSec and OpenVPN UDP/TCP protocols. With the latter two protocols in mind, Surfshark also supports IKEv2/IPSec and OpenVPN UDP/TCP, as well as the WireGuard protocol. All of these are available on every Surfshark server location.
Both Surfshark and NordVPN use the AES 256-bit cipher. This is considered to be the best encryption algorithm and is currently the standard among all reputable VPNs. Additionally, both services have implemented Perfect Forward Secrecy just as an added protection measure to keep users safe.
A kill switch is often an underappreciated security feature that every trustworthy VPN service should have. It’s a simple mechanism that cuts off your Internet connection when it notices that your VPN connection drops. And, while both services come with a kill switch feature, NordVPN is again better in this aspect.
This is because its kill switch is available to Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and Linux users. In comparison, Surfshark VPN currently supports the first four platforms but doesn’t implement a kill switch in its Linux VPN app.
Additionally, NordVPN has gone through more effort in further developing its kill switch. On its Windows and macOS apps, you can customize the kill switch and specify which apps you want it to block in case of a connection drop. So, if you’re an advanced user that wants to customize their apps, NordVPN wins hands-down.
IPv6 and DNS Leak Protection
The last thing you want when using a VPN is for your real IP address to be leaked to anyone trying to observe your Internet traffic. To ensure complete online protection, the VPN should protect you against DNS, IP, and WebRTC leaks. And, in order to verify that both of these services can do so, we’ve tested them for all three aspects.
Although both NordVPN and Surfshark can keep your data from leaking, NordVPN is more adept at this task. The main reason for this is that Nord VPN has integrated IPv6 leak protection. In comparison, Surfshark VPN doesn’t come with this security feature. It only protects you against IPv4 leaks. This means that your IP may leak when using IPv6 with Surfshark.
Focusing on DNS leak protection, both NordVPN and Surfshark VPN can keep you safe against this threat. Surfshark VPN includes private DNS on all of its server locations. On the other hand, NordVPN has a SmartDNS feature. It works excellently in tricking any website into believing that you are in the locations that your VPN IP addresses show.
Both Surfshark and NordVPN include an in-app security feature that protects you from annoying ads and trackers, as well as from dangerous malware. In NordVPN’s case, this is the Threat Protection feature. The complete Threat Protection tool is available on Windows and macOS apps. The Lite version, which doesn’t block trackers or scan for malware, is available on all other apps and supported browser extensions.
Surfshark’s take on this feature is its CleanWeb tool, currently offered in the CleanWeb 2.0 version. CleanWeb is available on all of Surfshark’s supported apps and browser extensions, including Fire TV.
CleanWeb blocks pop-ups, ads, and alerts you against any data breaches and malware. Considering this, if you use primarily desktop devices, both Surfshark and NordVPN can block ads, malware, and trackers equally well. If you also want the full extent of the blocking features on your mobile devices, Surfshark VPN offers better support.
Overall, we give NordVPN a slight advantage in terms of security. Its NordLynx protocol is superior, it offers IPv6 leak protection, and its kill switch is more customizable. In contrast, Surfshark’s CleanWeb tool offers more comprehensive support across all apps than NordVPN’s Threat Protection feature.
Security Features Comparison Winner: NordVPN
Comparing VPN Servers
Both Surfshark and NordVPN boast a large server network suitable for VPN users from all over the globe. To see how the two fare, check out the NordVPN-Surfshark comparison table below:
|Total Server Number||5,400+||3,200+|
|Number of Countries||60||100|
As you can see from the table above, NordVPN and Surfshark offer very strong server networks with great worldwide coverage. And, while NordVPN offers noticeably more servers, Surfshark’s network stretches across more server locations. Nevertheless, there are other important factors to consider when comparing NordVPN-Surfshark servers. Let’s go a bit deeper and compare NordVPN vs. Surfshark servers through more criteria:
Featured VPN Server Locations
NordVPN has over 5,400 servers in 60 server locations, while Surfshark VPN offers over 3,200 servers in 100 locations. That said, these numbers can often fluctuate slightly, especially in NordVPN’s case, as servers do get updated reasonably frequently.
An interesting recurring pattern that was identical in our ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN comparison is that NordVPN has more servers but in fewer locations. Considering that Surfshark supports over 60% more server locations than NordVPN, it might be a better pick than Nord VPN based on where you live.
It’s worth mentioning that NordVPN exclusively uses only bare metal servers. All of its servers are physically located in the listed locations. In contrast, Surfshark employs the help of virtual server locations. For some specific countries, you can even choose between virtual and physical servers.
Lastly, if you want to use an IP address that will be yours alone, you can get a dedicated IP address with NordVPN. Dedicated IP addresses are available in seven countries. In comparison, Surfshark currently does not offer dedicated IP options. Customers can only use static IP servers.
Ability to Access Restricted Regions
The ability to access content in restricted regions and authoritarian countries is one of the factors that distinguishes top VPNs from average ones. With that in mind, NordVPN and Surfshark work great with countries that have restricted Internet access. For instance, both VPN providers work in China. Still, neither VPN provider actually has VPN servers in this country.
Obfuscated servers are a significant reason why Surfshark VPN and NordVPN are able to work in restricted regions. When using NordVPN’s apps, you’ll find these servers in the “obfuscated servers” tab.
Surfshark VPN also offers server obfuscation and markets it under the Camouflage Mode feature. Camouflage Mode automatically runs on every connection when you use OpenVPN protocols.
With Surfshark, you also get one more additional tool. More precisely, in the settings tab, you can turn on NoBorders Mode. When enabled, this VPN feature allows you to bypass Internet restrictions and use Surfshark from anywhere in the world.
In this particular NordVPN-Surfshark server comparison, we’d give the latter VPN provider an edge. This is because Surfshark’s NoBorders Mode and Camouflage Mode are both all-encompassing features available across all servers.
On the other hand, NordVPN offers obfuscation only on specialty servers. More precisely, only over a dozen out of the 60 NordVPN server locations provide specialty servers with obfuscation capabilities.
RAM-only servers offer much better security and privacy than servers that store data on hard drives. NordVPN and Surfshark both offer only RAM-based servers. Surfshark fully transitioned to RAM-only servers in 2022, while NordVPN did so two years earlier.
In this regard, the two services are equally outstanding. You can rest assured that neither of these two VPN providers stores any of your data on their servers. Moreover, with RAM-based servers, a simple server reboot automatically wipes all data. This helps NordVPN and Surfsharl reinforce their no-logs policies.
VPN Server Network Winner: Tie
VPN Connection Speeds
NordVPN and Surfshark are known for their fast and stable speeds. But, which service performs better? To find out, we compared NordVPN vs. Surfshark across various servers. We used the two best-performing protocols available in their respective apps. For Surfshark, this was the respectable WireGuard protocol. For NordVPN, we used the proprietary NordLynx protocol.
When performing the NordVPN-Surfshark speed tests, we used a dedicated network with an average 32 Mbps download speed and 20 Mbps upload speed. This NordVPN vs. Surfshark speed comparison table shows how they perform in various scenarios:
|Local Server||29 Mbps||27.5 Mbps|
|Remote Server||25 Mbps||23 Mbps|
|Upload Speed||7 Mbps||6.5 Mbps|
Thanks to its NordLynx protocol, NordVPN outperforms Surfshark in every connection speed category we’ve compared them in. Still, Surfshark holds its own pretty well. Despite NordVPN being the superior performer, Surfshark’s connection speeds make it one of the fastest VPNs you can get.
VPN Connection Speeds Winner: NordVPN
Surfshark and NordVPN are very capable of unblocking any streaming site you want to access. We’ve tested both across the most popular streaming services in the world, and they excelled at unblocking each one. This includes services like Netflix, the BBC iPlayer, Hulu, HBO, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video.
It’s difficult to objectively give either VPN the upper hand in this category. They are fast, with stable speeds, and minimal connection drops. NordVPN is a bit more capable of accessing more Netflix libraries, but not to a significant degree.
Streaming Services Winner: Tie
Comparing Torrenting Abilities
Many privacy-conscious users use VPN services to mask their torrenting activities. Both VPNs are fast and come with excellent privacy protection features. Their apps include a kill switch tool to protect you in case of unexpected connection drops. While both keep zero logs, NordVPN has an advantage, as it’s based in privacy-friendly Panama.
We find it a bit disappointing that neither NordVPN nor Surfshark support port forwarding. This feature can be very valuable when downloading torrents. With that in mind, if you want a service that offers this option, check out our list of the best VPNs with port forwarding.
P2P Optimized Servers
Specialized servers that are optimized for P2P torrenting can provide the extra performance boost needed for better torrenting. In this regard, Surfshark’s servers are more convenient as a whole. This is because its entire server infrastructure supports torrenting.
In comparison, servers in 20% of NordVPN’s supported countries aren’t optimized for P2P file-sharing. You can look up the supported locations on NordVPN’s site to find which locations support torrenting before manually connecting to a server. Alternatively, you can use the P2P specialty server tool in NordVPN’s apps to automatically choose a P2P server.
Furthermore, in this case, quality outperforms quantity. While NordVPN’s P2P-optimized server list is shorter, it performs better. The speeds are faster than with most Surfshark servers, so you’ll generally download torrents more quickly.
Torrenting and P2P Winner: NordVPN
NordVPN and Surfshark VPN are both outstanding for gamers. They come with all of the necessary features that make a top service in the gaming VPN scene. Both are capable of delivering fast and stable connection speeds. Both offer unlimited bandwidth and don’t limit how many times you can switch servers.
From a security perspective, both will keep your connection safe and protect you against DDoS attacks. So, no matter which VPN provider you choose, you can count on a smooth and secure gaming experience.
Gaming Winner: Tie
Supported VPN Apps and Simultaneous Connections
The supported apps and the number of connections directly impact your experience. If a service is too restrictive on this front, your overall VPN usage experience might be subpar. With that in mind, this NordVPN vs. Surfshark table illustrates how the two VPNs compare in this regard:
|Supported VPN Apps||Windows, Mac,|
|Browser Extensions||Chrome, Firefox, Edge||Chrome, Firefox, Edge|
|Other Apps||All TVs that support|
the Play Store app
At first glance, there is one aspect that visibly sticks out from this NordVPN-Surfshark table—the number of simultaneous connections. NordVPN supports up to six connections. This isn’t overly impressive but is more than enough for most VPN users.
That said, Surfshark VPN completely dominates this comparison, as it allows you to connect unlimited devices on a single subscription plan. This enables you to protect as many devices as you want and even share your subscription with multiple users in your household.
The two services offer apps for all major platforms. You can download a native NordVPN or Surfshark VPN app for Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, and Linux. In terms of app installation and overall app performance, the two services are fairly similar. All of their apps are straightforward to install across all platforms. They are easy to navigate but still offer more than enough manual setup options for more advanced users.
Overall, both Surfshark VPN and NordVPN support all major platforms and offer convenient setups on routers. Moreover, NordVPN’s and Surfshark’s browser extensions perform equally impressive on all three supported browsers. However, as Surfshark offers unlimited simultaneous connections, it wins this category.
Device Support Winner: Surfshark
Subscription Prices Head to Head
Both NordVPN and Surfshark are known as VPN companies that offer you a lot of value for money. Their subscription prices are affordable, and both VPNs provide room for saving money if you opt for a long-term subscription. That said, while these two VPN services are both budget-friendly, one does have the edge over the other.
Still, it also depends on what type of plan you opt for. More precisely, Surfshark offers standard pricing plans in a one-month, 12-month, and 24-month subscription form. On the other hand, NordVPN’s service comes in many different packages.
NordVPN also offers a monthly, one-year, and two-year plan. However, what makes it different from Surfshark VPN is that it also provides three more options for each plan. The core Standard plan comes with all of the basic NordVPN features and tools. Besides this, there are also the Plus and Complete plans, which offer added features like a cross-platform password manager, a data breach scanner, and 1 TB of encrypted storage.
Comparing the two service’s standard plans, we can see that NordVPN comes with a more affordable monthly subscription. Its standard monthly plan comes at an $11.99 price tag, while Surfshark’s monthly plan is set at $12.95.
However, as we move to the one-year and two-year plans, the tides shift in Surfshark’s favor. The Netherlands-based provider bills users $3.99 per month on a one-year plan and just $2.49 per month on a two-year plan. In comparison, NordVPN’s one-year plan is priced at $4.99, and the two-year plan at $4.19.
With this in mind, while NordVPN is still more affordable than most other VPNs, Surfhark simply outperforms it in this regard. For users looking for a long-term plan with the best value, Surfshark is the better pick.
Pricing and Affordability Winner: Surfshark
Customer Support Service
NordVPN and Surfshark VPN have pretty comparable customer support services. Both offer around-the-clock live chat support. Moreover, their live chat services are very responsive and helpful. However, both NordVPN and Surfshark VPN will first automatically connect you to a chatbot. Only if the chatbot isn’t helpful, you’ll get redirected to a live support agent.
Besides the valuable live chat service, both VPNs also offer email support. This is also a solid contact channel, but you will typically have to wait for a couple of hours to get a response. It isn’t as convenient as live chat, which will usually be able to resolve your queries and help you within several minutes.
Additionally, the two services provide a lot of helpful content on their dedicated help center pages. These sections are divided into various categories covering general information, tips, and guides. Their help center pages also have a handy search bar that can help you quickly look up answers by your target keywords.
Customer Service Winner: Tie
It’s hard to beat NordVPN when it comes to additional security features, as this service offers a ton of great tools. So, we can’t hold this against Surfshark, as it already includes many advanced features that you can’t find in other VPNs.
The Bypasser tool is the most significant extra feature you’ll find in Surfshark’s apps. This is available on the VPN’s Android and Windows apps. The Bypasser is its take on the standard split tunneling feature and lets you select what data you want to keep on your regular network and what you want to mask through VPN traffic.
NordVPN also supports split tunneling in its apps. Its split tunneling feature is available on Windows, Android, and Android TV apps. Unfortunately, neither NordVPN nor Surfshark support split tunneling on their Mac and iOS apps.
Besides split tunneling, NordVPN delivers several more interesting features. Arguably the most important one is the Double VPN feature. Double VPN allows you to route your VPN traffic through two VPN servers. This is great for those primarily using the service for security purposes, as it adds another layer of encryption. Surfshark doesn’t lack in this regard, as it has a double VPN feature of its own, called MultiHop.
NordVPN also offers a Meshnet feature. Meshnet allows NordVPN users to create a private point-to-point connection between devices. This makes it a great tool for anything from remote file sharing and online work to LAN parties.
On top of this, NordVPN is the best VPN for browsing the dark web. Its Onion Over VPN feature provides the advantages of the Tor network with the inherent security VPN features of a Virtual Private Network.
Staying on the topic of the dark web, NordVPN apps also include a Dark Web Monitor. This feature is available on Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. It automatically scans the dark web and alerts you if it finds that any of your credentials are leaked. Considering all of these advanced tools, NordVPN is a much better choice for advanced VPN users.
Extra Feature Comparison Winner: NordVPN
Both NordVPN and Surfshark are Great – But Which is Better?
The two services are pretty neck-and-neck in many aspects we’ve compared them across. Surfshark even edges out its competitor in overall value for money—it offers more affordable long-term plans and allows you to connect an unlimited number of devices.
At the same time, NordVPN is the superior service in several crucial categories. It offers better privacy, security, and noticeably faster connection speeds. It also has more unique and advantageous features. If you want even more thorough coverage of these two industry-leading VPNs, we recommend reading our dedicated VPN reviews.
To sum up this detailed NordVPN-Surfshark page, we’ve found that both services are impressive VPNs with a lot to offer. But, the goal of this comparison was to pick a winner. With that in mind, if you want the absolute best VPN, choose NordVPN over Surfshark.
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Surfshark vs. NordVPN FAQs
NordVPN vs. Surfshark, which one is more popular?
NordVPN is much more popular on Google Play. It has over 700,000 reviews and a 4.5 rating, while Surfshark has just under 70,000 reviews and a 4.1 rating. That said, Surfshark is more popular in the App Store. It has just under 30,000 ratings and an excellent 4.8 score. NordVPN has over 5,000 ratings and a 4.7 score.
Which VPN offers better servers, Surfshark or NordVPN?
Based on pure server numbers, NordVPN offers a bigger server network than Surfshark. It has over 5,400 servers while Surfshark VPN has over 3,200. However, in terms of overall global server coverage Surfshark has the edge. Surfshark covers 100 counties and NordVPN covers 60 countries.
Is Surfshark faster than NordVPN?
NordVPN is faster than Surfshark, as this Panama-based VPN is the fastest VPN provider in the industry. This is in large part due to NordVPN’s in-house NordLynx protocol. It offers impressive connection speeds, far faster than most other protocols.
Is NordVPN better for the dark web than Surfshark VPN?
Surfshark is a very safe and secure VPN and one of the best for the dark web. However, NordVPN is a much better choice, as it offers specialty servers with Onion over VPN features. This feature combines the best aspects of the Tor network and a VPN to deliver the most private experience.
Cybersecurity and VPN researcher