The VPN landscape is filled with a lot of famous names. Surfshark, NordVPN and PureVPN are three that are always in a fight to the top.
Now, all three of these VPNs have their strengths and weaknesses. And it can waste quite a lot of time to test them and see which one works better for your specific case. Thankfully, we’ve done all the legwork so you wouldn’t have to. Here’s a detailed VPN comparison of Surfshark, NordVPN and PureVPN based on price, speed, UI, security and much more.
Quick Summary – The Ultimate Winner
On average, 26% of web users employ VPNs when accessing the internet, some regions more than others. The best VPN depends on your needs. The salient features of our top picks are mentioned below.
Best known for P2P support, NordVPN excels in providing secure and speedy servers for torrenting. This VPN can also unblock Netflix and other streaming services like BBC iPlayer and Hulu. NordVPN also turned out to be the #1 VPN provider in our testing of the best VPN services.
Surfshark is regarded as the jack-of-all-trades. It’s worth noting that all of the Surfshark servers let you unblock Netflix for streaming. It uses 256-bit AES encryption and protects against DNS, IPv6, and WebRTC leaks.
PureVPN offers more options with its less-than 1-year plans as compared to most other VPNs. It prides itself on providing excellent compatibility, especially with its Chrome extension. This service focuses on providing uninterrupted streaming and is designed with novices in mind.
Surfshark vs NordVPN vs PureVPN – Price Comparison
Now, let’s have a look at our detailed price comparison for these VPNs.
|7-day trial||Not offered||Not offered||$0.99/month|
|6 month||Not offered||Not offered||$8.33/month ( 24% off)|
|1-year||$5.99/month (50% off)||$6.99/month (41% off)||Not offered|
|2-year||$1.99/month (83% off)||$4.99/month (58% off)||Not offered|
|3-year||Not offered||$3.44/month (70% off)||Not offered|
All three VPNs provide a 30-day money-back guarantee. The charges are accumulated, and customers are billed every time their package is renewed.
NordVPN, being a more mainstream option, charges a bit more than Surfshark. It also charges more due to its extensive infrastructure. However, it does offer discounts for long term customers.
On the other hand, Surfshark is focused more on gaining market share, hence it offers even more discounts. Surfshark also offers protection beyond VPN separately at $0.99/month.
PureVPN focuses on getting monthly and half-yearly customers. And for those that opt for the 7-day trial version. What’s more, it offers a 47% discount for subsequent months at $5.82/month. But it does not have yearly or longer-term packages.
With all that said, when we compared these three VPNs, we came to the conclusion that Surfshark provides more value for money. It offers massive discounts for 1-year and 2-year subscriptions and also provides extreme value when it comes to speed, security, and unblocking capabilities.
The Winner: Surfshark @ $1.99/month as it offers the maximum features at an affordable price.
Surfshark vs NordVPN vs PureVPN – Speed Test
For most people, a VPN will slow down their internet. This happens because the VPN encrypts all the data that goes to and from their IP address.
What Affects Your Internet Speed While Using a VPN?
A number of factors can influence your internet speed, which may not be related to your VPN. Such as:
- Bandwidth throttling: Numerous ISPs share bandwidth, causing your connection to slow down. They may also slow down certain types of downloads, such as streams and large files.
- Your line speed: The speed of your internet connection. Most modern networks vary between 10mbps-1Gbps
- Server location: Distance to the VPN server also impacts your internet speed as well. The farther your server is, the slower your internet will be.
Our comparison began with establishing the baseline numbers our ISP offers.
The baseline via ethernet on our desktop is 10.10 Mbps download, 10.23 Mbps upload, and a 2ms ping.
Although Surfshark’s quick-connect feature connected to a US server, it retained 92% of the download speed. This kind of performance is rare, regardless of the VPN being used. Moreover, this speed is more than enough for streaming and can even work for P2P file sharing. On the other hand, the ping increased significantly, introducing quite a bit of latency. In simple words, such high latency is going to ruin your online gaming experience and other latency intensive tasks.
NordVPN retained almost 77% of our baseline download speed. Although this is an excellent performance, it’s considerably lower than Surfshark. On the other hand, NordVPN performed quite similarly to Surfshark in terms of ping and upload speeds.
PureVPN performed as expected. It lags a bit behind both NordVPN and Surfshark, but the download speed is sufficient for streaming.
Winner: definitely Surfshark as it gives the maximum download and upload speed among others.
Surfshark vs NordVPN vs PureVPN – Ease of use (Setup/Interface)
A VPN needs to be intuitive, and easy for users to navigate through. We tested each VPNs ease of use by navigating through its user interface. The comparison is illustrated below:
Surfshark offers perhaps one of the simplest UIs that we have seen on VPNs. As a result, it’s easy for casual users to just press the “connect” button and continue with their work. Not to mention, their “dark mode” is extremely easy on the eyes, as you can see below.
Surfshark offers a lot more functionality for users who want more control. For instance, the location tab lets you choose servers, static IP, and Multi-Hop servers.
And the features tab lets you fiddle with the Whitelister, Cleanweb, and Privacy beyond VPN functions
NordVPN boasts a simple and intuitive interface. Finding different servers was easy and smooth. A standout feature of NordVPN is its dedicated servers – users can choose between specialty servers depending on whether they want a server for streaming or dedicated P2P transfer.
Moving on to the settings menu, it was easy to navigate where most of the options are off or disabled. So, depending upon your needs, you can play with them and choose the ones which suit you best.
Furthermore, the Advanced settings let you select a custom DNS server and have options such as “Obfuscated servers (OpenVPN)” and “Invisibility on LAN”.
PureVPN takes a different approach and requires users to choose a mode, i.e. streaming, file sharing, dedicated IP, etc. This helps the VPN to automatically connect to the best-suited server.
Each mode has several options, but it’s recommended to let the VPN decide the fastest server for you in most cases.
With that said, it seems as if PureVPN has the simplest UI which is extremely beginner-friendly
Winner: NordVPN, as it makes it easier to select servers, and lets you play around other features with just few clicks.
Surfshark vs NordVPN vs PureVPN – Features comparison
The table below compares the features that each of this VPN service offers.
|No Logs Policy||✓||✓||✓|
|Automatic Kill Switch||✓||✓||✓|
|DNS Leak Protection||✓||✓||✓|
|Onion Over VPN||✓||✓||Not offered|
|WireGuard (NordLynx)||Not offered||✓||Not offered|
|Multi-logins||Unlimited devices||6 Devices||10 Devices|
All three VPNs provide services that offer users flexibility in various use cases. It’s worth noting that these VPNs have thousands of servers spread across the world:
- Surfshark has more than 1700+ servers located in more than 63+ countries.
- There are more than 5800 NordVPN servers in 59 countries
- PureVPN has more than 2000 servers located in more than 140 countries.
A widespread network of servers has a few notable benefits, such as region-free streaming. This comes in handy when you want to watch a show that’s only available in say, Netflix Canada, but you’re based in Europe. NordVPN has successfully established multiple servers that offer superior streaming experience.
On the other hand, other streaming services such as PureVPN are taking a slightly different approach, and optimizing servers for newer streaming services, like Disney Plus.
Moving on, let’s talk about P2P support. P2P support allows direct data transfer between systems, without the need for a server. This method of networking is used by P2P clients such as uTorrent and BitTorrent for transferring files. P2P networking is supported by all the providers.
Moreover, NordVPN has dedicated P2P servers that provide stable speeds without any kind of bandwidth throttling. But that’s not all, NordVPN has a server recommender on their website that suggests the best server for you based on:
- Your location
- Server type
- Security protocol
Apart from the standard features, Surfshark offers an additional service at an added cost. This optional “protection beyond VPN” service offers:
- Hacklock: Scans the web and sends the user an alert in case their email gets leaked.
- Blindsearch: Allows users to search the web without ads, or logs. Hence, users benefit from unbiased and organic results.
The range of features impacts the pricing of a VPN, in addition to customer perception. Looking at the features of all three, the high price of NordVPN can be justified. On the other hand, Surfshark provides a unique set of features that users may prefer over NordVPN. PureVPN, on the other hand, is a secure, albeit basic, VPN that does not provide as many value-added services.
With all that said, Surfshark seems to provide all features along with the ability to connect unlimited devices. So, when it comes to features, Surfshark looks marginally superior considering the price point at which it offers these features.
Winner: Surfshark wins this round too. The features are solid and comes at an inexpensive price.
We tried unblocking popular geo-restricted sites using all three of these VPNs. Here are a few screenshots of our results:
Surfshark offers stellar unblocking capabilities on streaming services. We were able to connect to Netflix USA, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer using a server in New York without any troubles. Out of all three, Surfshark provided the fastest streaming experience.
Although Surfshark was the clear winner in fast streaming, NordVPN wasn’t far behind, providing an amazing streaming experience as well. There were no issues with connecting to a US-based server for accessing sites like Netflix US, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer.
Although Netflix isn’t that easy to access using a VPN, PureVPN being the more basic choice still unblocked Netflix US with ease. We saw similar results for Hulu and BBC iPlayer as well. However, the streaming speed was considerably compromised with PureVPN.
With all this in mind, we can say that although all three VPNs unblocked popular streaming services, NordVPN provided the best buffer-free streaming experience.
Winner: All three VPNs were able to unblock US Netflix. However, NordVPN stood the best because of the ability to unblock not only US but other geo-restricted Netflix libraries.
Surfshark vs NordVPN vs PureVPN – Servers and performance comparison
Performance over different servers was in line with our initial speed test. Surfshark led the way with NordVPN not far behind. PureVPN came in third, but it still provided sufficient speed for basic browsing and 1080p HD streaming.
However, NordVPN has a few notable features that other VPNs lack. These include:
- Onion over VPN
- Dedicated P2P servers
Onion over VPN provides enhanced security, while P2P servers offer high-speed file sharing. These features offer flexibility and convenience for power users.
Winner: For sure, it is NordVPN with so secure protocols and the ability to utilize Onion over VPN.
Security Protocols Comparison
VPNs use a variety of security protocols and military-grade encryption. Military-grade encryption refers to AES (Advanced Encryption Standard). It can be configured in 128, 192, and 256 bits. AES 256 is the most superior standard used by VPNs today.
As opposed to encryption, a number of security protocols are supported by most VPN services. You can read on our detailed guide to VPN protocols and their compatibility with popular devices.
The following table shows the supported protocols for Surfshark, NordVPN, and PureVPN:
|PPTP||Not offered||Not offered||✓|
|Wireguard||Not offered||✓||Not offered|
|Shadowsocks||✓||Not offered||Not offered|
NordVPN uses OpenVPN by default but also supports IKEv2/IPSec and Wireguard (NordLynx) for operating systems. It uses TLS v1.2 for browser extensions. Surfshark also supports OpenVPN and IKEv2, but in addition, it supports Shadowsocks too. Shadowsocks is a protocol designed specifically for use in countries where VPNs are blocked or banned and to circumvent internet censorship.
PureVPN may seem like it has limited options, but it offers support where NordVPN and Surfshark don’t. It’s the only VPN on our list that supports PPTP protocol. While it’s one of the oldest yet fastest protocols, it has its limitations as it uses obsolete security standards. Still, it can be used for faster browsing and streaming if security is not that big of a concern for you.
The bottom line? When it comes to security, there’s no VPN better than NordVPN.
Winner: It is pretty obvious that NordVPN takes the lead as it not only supports IKEv2 but has also incorporated WireGuard VPN tunneling.
Privacy / Data required to Sign-up
It is of utmost importance that VPNs keep only essential client data in their database. That’s why better VPN services strictly adhere to data privacy.
Let’s delve deeper into the data each of these 3 VPNs require at the time of registration:
The list of payment methods for Surshark and NordVPN is very lengthy. In addition to the ones listed above, NordVPN also supports other payment methods such as Giropay, Doku, Sofort Banking, etc. PureVPN has perhaps the most limited payment options available among the three.
NordVPN and Surfshark are among the few VPNs that provide support for Cryptocurrencies. Neither Surfshark nor NordVPN offers a trial, while PureVPN offers a 7-day trial period. But, all three VPNs do provide a money-back guarantee.
In fact, NordVPN accepts Bitcoin via Bitpay with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Regardless of the VPN though, the registration process is quick and efficient. At the time of registration, you are only required to submit your email address and billing information.
All in all, PureVPN needs the least amount of data for a signup, but has limited number of payment options.
Surfshark vs NordVPN vs PureVPN – Customer Service Comparison
Our comparison will be based on response times, how helpful the customer service representatives are, and how long they take to respond via “Live Chat”.
Customer support can either make or break a user’s experience with a product or service. The table below mentions various modes of customer support available:
|Mode of Support||Surfshark||NordVPN||PureVPN|
|Dedicated “Help/Support” tab||✓||✓|
Let’s keep aside the raw data, and talk about ease of use and accessibility. Surfshark and NordVPN both have dedicated help/support tabs on their websites. This makes customer support accessible literally at the click of one button. PureVPN also has a help page, but it’s located at the bottom, so some users may have trouble finding it.
As far as live chat is concerned, NordVPN sweeps the competition. In our test, their response was instant. The customer support representative promptly responded to our queries and replied with helpful tips to troubleshoot our connectivity issues.
On the Other hand, Surfshark’s live chat support failed to work. Even after repeatedly trying for more than 24 hours, we resorted to submitting a request via email. Although we did get an auto-generated response, a Surfshark representative didn’t get back to us until after 4 hours and 45 minutes later. We received more or less a similar response from PureVPN as well.
Our customer service experience suggests that NordVPN offers superior customer support, but it’s not without its flaws. The inquiry process is lengthy, and customers usually have to go through 3 calls before they are directed to an operator who can help them.
Winner: NordVPN has a strong customer support and a great round-up of the knowledge base, blogs, and other guides to help its users.
Final Verdict – 1 Clear Winner
So, there you have it, people! Our verdict on the Surfshark vs NordVPN vs PureVPN varies based on the user. If you require a fast VPN that offers the most flexibility as well as excellent customer support, go for NordVPN. On the other hand, if you are a casual user, and do not get influenced by all the frills you’re better off using the less pricey option; Surfshark.