Surfshark vs NordVPN Comparison in Apr 2024

The VPN landscape is filled with a lot of famous names. Surfshark and NordVPN are the two that are always in a fight to the top.

Surfshark vs NordVPN

Now, both 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 vs. NordVPN 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, in some regions more than others. The best VPN depends on your needs. The salient features of our top picks are mentioned below.

Don’t want to read the whole comparison? Well, NordVPN turns out to be the winner of our comparison. But it had a close competition with Surfshark, which stood as the runner-up of this run down.

1. NordVPN

Best known for P2P support, NordVPN excels in providing secure and speedy servers for torrenting. This VPN can also unblock BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus, Netflix, and other streaming services. NordVPN also turned out to be the #1 VPN provider in our testing of the best VPN services. You can check our in-depth review of NordVPN so you can know more about this VPN.

2. Surfshark

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, Kill switch and protects against DNS, IPv6, and WebRTC leaks. If you want to buy this inexpensive VPN then read our detailed review of Surfshark.

Surfshark vs NordVPN- Price Comparison

Now, let’s have a look at our detailed price comparison for these VPNs.

Subscription PeriodSurfsharkNordVPN
7-day trialAndroid & iOS onlyAndroid & iOS only
1 month$10.99/month $12.99/month
6 monthNot offeredNot offered
1-year$3.99/month (64% off)$4.99/month
2-year$2.29/month (79% off)$3.79/month (54% off)
3-yearNot offeredNot offered

All two 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.

With all that said, when we compared these two VPNs, we came to the conclusion that Surfshark provides more value for the money. It offers massive discounts for 2-year and 2-month free subscriptions and also provides extreme value when it comes to speed, security, and unblocking capabilities.

The Winner: Surfshark @ $2.29/mo as it offers the maximum features at an affordable price.

Surfshark vs NordVPN – 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.

Internet speed by ISP
Without VPN

The baseline via ethernet on our desktop is 10.10 Mbps download, 10.23 Mbps upload, and a 2ms ping.

Surfshark Speed

Surfshark speed
Internet Speed with Surfshark

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 Speed

NordVPN speed
Internet Speed with NordVPN

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.

Winner: definitely Surfshark as it gives the maximum download and upload speed among others.

NordVPN vs Surfshark – 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

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 interface 1

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.

Surfshark interface 2

And the features tab lets you fiddle with the Whitelister, Cleanweb, and Privacy beyond VPN functions

Surfshark interface 3

NordVPN

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.

Nordvpn interface 1

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.

Nordvpn interface 2

Furthermore, the Advanced settings let you select a custom DNS server and have options such as “Obfuscated servers (OpenVPN)” and “Invisibility on LAN”.

Nordvpn interface 3

Winner: NordVPN, as it makes it easier to select servers, and lets you play around other features with just few clicks.

NordVPN vs Surfshark – Features comparison

The table below compares the features that each of this VPN service offers.

FeatureSurfsharkNordVPN
Military-Grade Encryption
Split Tunneling
No Logs Policy
Automatic Kill Switch
DNS Leak Protection
Onion Over VPN
Streaming
P2P Sharing
OpenVPN
IKEv2/IPsec
WireGuard (NordLynx)

Not offered
Multi-loginsUnlimited devices6 Devices

These two 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:

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 a superior streaming experience.

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 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 these two VPNs, 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.

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 come at an inexpensive price.

Device Compatibility – Which VPN is the Best?

To check the device compatibility, we compared both the VPNs side-by-side so you can see which one offers the best compatibility and apps for devices.

SurfsharkNordVPN
Windows✔️✔️
Android✔️✔️
iOS✔️✔️
Amazon FireTV✔️✔️
Chrome ✔️✔️
Firefox✔️✔️
PlayStation✔️❌ (SmartDNS available)
Android Smart TV✔️✔️
Routers✔️✔️

Surfshark Device Compatibility

Surfshark offers easy-to-use apps for all major devices, and you can even manually set it up on devices for which there are no apps available like Xbox or Playstation.

What we love about Surfshark is that its functionality is very similar on Windows, iOS, Android, and macOS, which makes it very easy to use across platforms.

Surfshark apps are available in 15 different languages, and there is a Smart DNS feature for Smart TVs, gaming consoles, and other devices that don’t have native support for VPNs.

Furthermore, it supports unlimited simultaneous connections on a single account, making it one of the best multiple device VPNs.

NordVPN Device Compatibility

NordVPN has a variety of apps for different platforms and you can also set it up on your router. Unlike Surfshark, NordVPN apps are not similar across platforms. Its Windows app is the most powerful, with all the latest features. It even offers two kill switches which the other apps don’t.

However, its macOS, iOS, and Android apps also pack all the required features. It even has two apps for macOS – one available on App Store, and one on its official website. Both apps offer different functionality and features.

There is a Smart DNS feature available as well, and it supports 6 simultaneous connections on a single account.

Unblocking Capability

We tried unblocking popular geo-restricted sites using both of these VPNs. Here are a few screenshots of our results:

Surfshark

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 these two, Surfshark provided the fastest streaming experience.

Surfshark unblocks netflix

NordVPN

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.

nordvpn unblocks netflix

With all this in mind, we can say that although both of these VPNs unblocked popular streaming services, NordVPN provided the best buffer-free streaming experience.

Winner: Both of these VPNs were able to unblock US Netflix. However, NordVPN stood the best because of the ability to unblock not the only US but other geo-restricted Netflix libraries.

Unblocking Geo-Restrictions in China and Other Restricted Countries

VPN usage has increased in China because of the Great Firewall. However, not all VPNs are capable of bypassing geo-blocks and working in China. Therefore, we have tested these two providers to see which one is a good option for Chinese users.

Does Surfshark work in China?

Yes, Surfshark does work in China.

The provider constantly keeps its servers and IP address updated to defend against Chinese VPN-blocking mechanisms. There is a NoBorders mode that obfuscates VPN traffic, making it look like normal HTTPS traffic. The NoBorders mode helps bypass stern geo-blocks and gives unhindered access to the internet.

Does NordVPN work in China?

Yes, NordVPN does work in China, as confirmed by its customer support. However, you will have to manually set it up on your device, or if you are traveling, make sure to download its app before landing in China.

NordVPN offers obfuscated servers like Surfshark that help bypass VPN blocking mechanisms and internet restrictions in the county.

The Winner:  Surfshark and NordVPN are winners here because of their obfuscated servers that are capable of bypassing the Great Firewall and geo-blocks.

NordVPN vs Surfshark – Torrent Comparison

Torrenting is another major reason behind using a VPN. Most users deploy a VPN to safely torrent files. However, not all VPNs are a great choice for P2P, as only some support it, and most are slow.

Therefore, we tested these two providers to see which one is best for torrenting.

Surfshark Torrenting Performance

Surfshark is a great choice for torrenting, as it not only supports P2P but also offers fast connection speeds. There are special P2P-optimized servers in its network that you can connect to for torrenting.

If you are not connected to a P2P server, when you open torrent clients like uTorrent, BitTorrent, etc, Surfshark automatically connects you to a nearby P2P server.

Surfshark also offers a SOCKS5 proxy and split tunneling, making it a perfect choice for torrenting. As far as speeds are concerned, on a 100 Mbps connection, we managed to get a decent torrenting speed of around 9.25 MB/s with Surfshark using uTorrent.

NordVPN Torrenting Performance

NordVPN openly supports and provides dedicated servers for P2P. It supports P2P file sharing on its servers and offers fast speeds as well. Its NordLynx protocol is best for data-intensive tasks like torrenting, because it boosts your speeds, without compromising on security.

As for downloading speeds, it gave us a download speed of 8.35 MB/s on uTorrent. You could expect even faster speeds if you download torrents with a good seed/peer ratio.

There is a SOCKS5 proxy for those who don’t care about data security and want fast speeds. Moreover, the split tunneling feature ensures that your P2P traffic is encrypted without encrypting the full connection.

The Winner: NordVPN is a clear winner here with its P2P servers and SOCKS5 proxy. It also offers fast connection speeds so you can download large files with ease.

Surfshark vs NordVPN – 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.

However, NordVPN has a few notable features that other VPNs lack. These include:

  1. Onion over VPN
  2. Dedicated P2P servers

nordvpn feature

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 and NordVPN:

ProtocolsSurfsharkNordVPN
PPTPNot offeredNot offered
IPSec
L2TP/IPSecNot offered
OpenVPN UDP/TCP
WireguardNot offered
ShadowsocksNot 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.

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.

Logging Policy

One of the main reasons for using a VPN is for online privacy, and a provider that logs user data beats the purpose. Therefore, we checked the logging policy of each provider to see the information stored.

Surfshark Logging Policy

Surfshark is a strict no-logs policy VPN as it does not log any user data. Based in the British Virgin Island, which is a safe jurisdiction, Surfshark does not store any personally identifiable data.

It only logs information like the VPN server you have connected to and the timestamps. This is also deleted within 15 minutes after the termination of your VPN session. Surfshark has also undergone a third-party audit by Cure53.

Surfshark logging policy

NordVPN Logging Policy

NordVPN is based in Panama – a privacy-friendly jurisdiction and it does not store any user data. NordVPN does not monitor your internet activity, IP addresses, and other personally identifiable information.

NordVPN logging policy

Its privacy policy has been audited twice in 2018 and 2020 by PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers). Moreover, it’s one of the few VPNs with ioXt-certified mobile apps that confirm NordVPN’s compliance with strict security standards. You can check the full certification report here.

The Winner: Surfshark and NordVPN are clear winners here. They have a clean slate when it comes to privacy policies as none of them have disclosed information regarding their users in the past.

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:

Data SurfsharkNordVPN
Email
Credit Card
Google Pay
Amazon Pay
Paypal
CryptoCurrency
AliPay
WeChat
Union Pay

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.

NordVPN and Surfshark are among the few VPNs that provide support for Cryptocurrencies. Both of these VPN providers offer a 7-day trial period. In fact do provide a money-back guarantee too.

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.

Winner: NordVPN has always stood strong against logging, and providing maximum privacy. Surfshark is still a newcomer who still needs to test the water.

Surfshark vs NordVPN – 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 SupportSurfsharkNordVPN
FAQs
Installation Guides
Billing info
Troubleshooting/Connectivity
Blogs
General Info
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.

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.

nordvpn customer support

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.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Surfshark better than NordVPN?

After comparing these two VPNs, we conclude that Surfshark is better than NordVPN. It not only offers the best pricing plans, but also offers the best performance when it comes to speed, security, and unblocking ability.

Do Surfshark and NordVPN offer any deals?

Yes, Surfshark and NordVPN do offer amazing deals. Surfshark offers an 84% discount on its two-year plan and NordVPN offers 68% off on its 2-year plan.

Is NordVPN faster than Surfshark?

After my multi-connection test, Surfshark was faster than NordVPN. It offered superb speeds on all its servers, so Surfshark is a clear winner here.

Other VPN Comparisons

You can check out our other VPN comparisons:

Final Verdict – 1 Clear Winner

So, there you have it, people! Our verdict on Surfshark vs NordVPN 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.

About Sebastian Riley

Sebastian Riley is a cyberlibertarian activist and an internet freedom fighter who strongly believes in an unsegregated and uncensored internet. With a cybersecurity degree, Sebastian is a professional bug hunter and a freelance opensource penetration tester.