NordVPN vs Surfshark VPN – Choose the Best One in 2023
In this NordVPN vs Surfshark VPN guide , we will tell you all about these two top-of-the-line providers, comparing them in all domains that matter.
And if you’re wondering, “Is NordVPN and Surfshark the same” then pretty much yes. Both VPN giants come under the same parent company, Nord Security.
I have tested almost 36+ VPN providers and these two names always come on top, whether it be in the area of speed, security, streaming, or torrenting.
However, to make things a little easy for you, I have pitted both these providers against each other and evaluated them on several VPN-related factors to find out which emerges victorious.
There are 14 categories in total which are the major ones, namely, Price, Speed, Features, Streaming, Unblocking Restrictions in China, Torrenting, Gaming, Compatibility, User-Interface, Servers Network, Security, Privacy, Configuration, and Customer Service.
So without further ado, let’s start with a quick comparison!
NordVPN vs Surfshark : Quick Overview – 2023
|Servers||5600 Servers in 59 Countries||3200 Servers in 65 Countries|
|Logs Policy||Strict No-Logs Policy||Strict No-Logs Policy|
|Free Trial||7-Day Free Trial on Android and iOS||7-Day Free Trial on Android, macOS and iOS|
|VPN Protocols||IKEv2/IPSec, OpenVPN, NordLynx (WireGuard)||OpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuard|
|Streaming Platforms||Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Disney+, MLB TV and more||Netflix, HBO Max, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, Popcorn Time and more|
|Compatibility||Windows, Linux, Mac, iOS, Android, Chrome, Firefox||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Firefox, Chrome|
|Money-Back Guarantee Period||30 Days||30 Days|
|Encryption||AES 256-bit||AES 256-bit|
|Customer Support||24/7 Live Chat, FAQs, Knowledge Base, Email||24/7 Live Chat, FAQs, Email, Knowledge Base|
|Best Deal||US$ 3.99 /mo (Get 57% Off + 3 Months FREE on 2-Year Plan). on the 2-Year Plan||US$ 2.49 /mo (Get 84% + 2 Months FREE on 2-Year Plan). on the 2-Year Plan|
NordVPN vs Surfshark – Which is the Best One in 2023? 14 Factors
- Prices and Discounts
- Speed Comparison
- Important Features
- Netflix and Unblocking Other Streaming Platforms
- China and Internet Restricted Countries
- Device Compatibility
- Setup and User Interface
- Servers and Performance
- Security and Encryption
- Logging and Privacy
- Customer Service
1. NordVPN vs Surfshark – Prices and Discounts
In the comparison between NordVPN vs Surfshark prices, Surfshark tends to be the cheaper option among the two if you go for the long-term plan.
You’ll need to pay only $59.76 upfront for Surfshark’s 2-year plan, while NordVPN requires $99.63 upfront for the same amount of time.
|1 Month||$11.99||1 Month||$12.95|
|12 Months||$4.99 ($59.88 upfront)||12 Months||$3.99 ($47.88 upfront)|
|24 Month||$3.69 ($99.63 upfront)||24 Months||US$ 2.49 /mo (Get 84% + 2 Months FREE on 2-Year Plan). ($59.76 upfront)|
Get NordVPN Now!30-Days Money Back Guarantee
Get Surfshark Now!30-Days Money Back Guarantee
As far as free trials are concerned, both NordVPN and Surfshark have 7-day free trials on some devices. However, you have a 30-day money-back guarantee available to get your money back if you are not satisfied with the service.
To compare NordVPN vs Surfshark on speed, I tried 5 major server locations which were US, Canada, UK, Germany, and Australia, and noted the average results.
I used the WireGuard protocol for both providers. You must be thinking NordVPN doesn’t have the WireGuard protocol, right? Well, technically, it does. The NordLynx protocol of NordVPN works on the WireGuard protocol but the provider has enhanced it by adding the double NAT system.
There we no major differences as both providers achieved exceptional speeds. However, Surfshark seems to be ahead in the US region with a larger margin than all the other locations.
Furthermore, I also tested NordVPN and Surfshark with the other protocols they offer, namely, IKEv2 and OpenVPN (UDP/TCP).
The IKEv2 is best if you switch a lot between mobile data and Wi-Fi. The drop percentage difference was very small for both providers.
The OpenVPN UDP is the faster variant. That’s why it is preferred more for activities like streaming videos, gaming, or VoIP calls. However, it is not a preferred choice if you’re in need of a consistent connection. Upon testing, we found that Surfshark’s connection was more stable than NordVPN’s OpenVPN UDP.
|Avg. Download Speed||91 Mbps||94 Mbps|
|Avg. Upload Speed||89 Mbps||91 Mbps|
Focusing more on stability and security than speed, the OpenVPN TCP variant is preferred more for activities like file transfers, web browsing, or emails.
3. NordVPN vs Surfshark – Important Features Comparison
For features, both NordVPN and Surfshark tend to be quite innovative, introducing their own set of tools and technologies for providing users with maximum online protection and privacy.
Both VPNs offer native apps for Windows, Mac , Linux , Android , iOS , Apple TVs , and a pre-configured router app. Although there is no list of dedicated add-ons for Kodi, you can get their VPN on Fire TVs as well.
NordVPN and Surfshark also offer browser extensions for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. If we compare them both in the list of top VPN comparison chart, I’d say Surfshark offers better security and instant connectivity on either platform.
With NordVPN, you get access to tools like CyberSec Threat Protection (blocks suspicious websites instantaneously), DoubleVPN (connects to two different VPN servers), and SmartPlay (instant unblocking and streaming on VoDs). Also, you can Set up and use NordVPN on Apple TV to avoid content restriction issues in your location.
Surfshark, on the other hand, offers more incentives, including Surfshark One, which offers an antivirus, a search tool, and an alert tool. NoBorders Mode allows you to use a VPN in heavily restricted areas, a Camouflage Mode to make your VPN traffic look like regular traffic to your ISP, and MultiHop to encrypt your traffic through multiple locations.
Winner in Features Comparison
4. NordVPN vs Surfshark Netflix & Unblocking Other Streaming Capabilities
In terms of unblocking, NordVPN and Surfshark are both quite proactive and reliable. They successfully manage to bypass content limitations, VPN bans, and geo-restrictions on various Video-on-Demand services (VoDs).
The NordVPN vs Surfshark Netflix comparison was very tough as both providers were successful in unblocking more than 15 Netflix libraries with no jerks or buffering issues.
Not only Netflix but there are other major sites too, with this Best VPN you can unblock streaming platforms like BBC iPlayer , Amazon Prime, Hulu , and even Disney Plus . The process on either VPN is quite simple too and does not require any rocket science.
For instance, if you want to unblock the US version of Netflix, simply connect to a server in the US on either VPN clients to access the complete content library with your favorite movies/TV shows. Moreover, if you are a non-UK resident you can access BBC iPlayer shows using NordVPN .
Winner in Netflix & Unblocking Other Streaming Capabilities
5. NordVPN vs Surfshark – China & Internet Restricted Countries
NordVPN has obfuscated servers for heavily restricted countries like China. You’ll be easily able to use NordVPN by enabling the option from the settings.
On the other hand, Surfshark too is a powerful and responsive VPN when it comes to offering services for China. There are no major issues with this VPN when it comes to bypassing the Great Firewall and unblocking services in China.
Both VPNs have performed exceptionally well and they both are suitable VPNs for China since their servers are able to unblock many websites inside China, which means that they respond very well and do not give problems related to downtime.
Users in China can download Surfshark from their dedicated Chinese page here: https://shark-cn.com/
Users in China can download NordVPN from their dedicated Chinese page here: http://nord-for-zh.com/
Winner in Working for China & Internet Restricted Countries
6. NordVPN vs Surfshark – Torrenting
NordVPN does not suffer from crowding due to a higher number of servers with NordVPN speed test we did not face any server-related issue due to a much better guarantee of server proximity. The provider offers dedicated P2P servers in the Specialty Servers section of its app. It is also leak-free and supremely Torrenting friendly.
Surfshark allows P2P activities on its servers and it does not suffer from leaks. The only problem is that due to the limited number of servers, some users may encounter poor speeds on some networks.
Winner in Torrenting
7. NordVPN vs Surfshark – Gaming
The best VPN for gaming will give you an ideal ping or sometimes referred to as “latency.” This is the time it takes for your device to send information to the gaming server and back again. The lower the number, the better.
For example, a ping of 50 milliseconds means that it takes only 50 milliseconds for your device to communicate with the gaming server. A higher number like 150 milliseconds would mean that it takes 150 milliseconds for the same task.
This might not sound like a lot, but when you’re playing an online game, every millisecond counts. That’s why a low ping is so important for gaming.
Here is a comparison of the two VPNs with one of the most demanding games.
|Ping without a VPN|
While both VPNs are great for gaming , Surfshark beats NordVPN in this category with a clear margin as evident from the above tests.
Winner in Gaming
8. NordVPN vs Surfshark – Device Compatibility
The above-mentioned chart proves that both providers have support for major platforms. However, I will go with Surfshark as the winner. The provider supports 19 out of 22 devices, while NordVPN has support for 15.
Winner in Device Compatibility
9. NordVPN vs Surfshark – Setup and User Interface
|Automatic Setup Wizard||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Linux||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Amazon Fire TV|
|Main Location Selection||Map-based||List-based|
|Extra Settings Pages||Yes||Yes|
With NordVPN, you will have apps to secure all of your devices like Windows, Macs, and iPhones. The provider even extends innate support for routers through dedicated setup guides.
A .apk file is also available for those who want to set up VPN on Android manually. The NordVPN with Firestick app is also there for streaming aficionados. All in all, the compatibility offered by NordVPN is incredible.
Best part of all: NordVPN’s apps are stable and they don’t crash at all but their interface is a bit clunky. The connection times are good but not great. Its apps have a good UI/UX but takes some time getting used to.
Surfshark’s apps are built in a minimalist manner which makes them extremely user-friendly. The app’s GUI are especially great and so is the architecture, so you won’t have major problems navigating.
The apps are stable as well. Response time to a server is about 10 seconds right now, which is considerably better than NordVPN. It does not take you long to connect to different servers.
We could have assumed that Surfshark is NordVPN’s equal, but that’s not the case. The former proves to be better in terms of powering compatibility and user ease on most of a number of platforms.
NordVPN vs Surfshark – Desktop App
NordVPN has both options available; map-based and list-based servers
NordVPN’s desktop app has a map-based interface with a map list on the left side. You can connect to a server location from both, map or the list.
A list of Specialty Servers is also available above the list of servers on the left tab including Dedicated IPs, Double VPN, Onion over VPN, and P2P servers. You can also add devices to the Meshnet.
All NordVPN features are in one window which makes navigating convenient
Upon clicking on Settings, you’ll find more features organized in a clean fashion on the left panel including Auto Connect (Protocols information), Kill Switch, and Split Tunneling. To use Obfuscated servers or Custom DNS, you can navigate to the Advanced tab.
Surfshark interface with the list-based server locations and options for Static IP and MultiHop at the top
The Surfshark desktop app is user-friendly with a quick-connect option on the right panel and a list of locations on the left panel. The virtual servers are marked with a ‘V’. And if you navigate slightly a little above, you’ll see the Static IP and MultiHop features.
All features are in one screen but you need to scroll down to access all
Upon clicking the Settings tab, you’ll find more features but you’ll need to scroll down to see all the tools. These include Quick Connect settings, Auto-Connect option, CleanWeb, Kill Switch, Protocol Control, Bypasser, Speed Test, Rotating IP, and NoBorders Mode.
NordVPN vs Surfshark – Mobile App
The NordVPN and Surfshark mobile apps are identical to their desktop apps, there are no differences. Upon testing, I found it easy to navigate through both apps.
Both apps were exceptional and easy to navigate. However, I found NordVPN more convenient as everything was in my viewing frame and I didn’t have to scroll or go back and forth to use different features.
Winner in Setup and User Interface
10. NordVPN vs Surfshark – Servers and Performance
NordVPN currently has a server network comprising of 59 servers in 5600 countries worldwide. This single-handedly allows NordVPN to offer a much better experience to users globally than other VPNs, including Surfshark.
A high number of servers means less crowding, as the user load is distributed evenly. Since servers are available in 59 countries, most can also find one near their location, thereby reducing the chances of experiencing lag considerably.
Surfshark previously had 800+ servers in 50+ countries. However, by the end of 2019, they have expanded this list to 65 servers in 3200 countries worldwide, all of which deliver great speeds and unblocking capabilities.
Surfshark has crossed NordVPN just with a little margin in the “country” domain, while NordVPN is dominant in the “server count” area.
Nonetheless, NordVPN is only behind 6 countries, while there is a major difference between Surfshark and NordVPN in the server count competition with NordVPN beating Surfshark with a handsome number.
However, if we talk about speed loss, then we can see Surfshark climbing into the league again, surpassing the competitor. So to me, this is a tie score.
Winner in Severs and Performance
11. NordVPN vs Surfshark – Security and Encryption
NordVPN offers support for all updated protocols, including IKEV2, NordLynx, and the industry-standard OpenVPN. It uses AES-256-CBC ciphers with HMAc SHA256 on the data channel.
For its control channel, NordVPN uses the same encryption and authentication above, with the inclusion of RSA-2048. Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS) is setup using the strong DHE-4096 key exchange.
Their mobile apps, conversely, particularly iOS use IKEv2 with AES-256-GCM cipher and HMAC SHA2-384 data authentication. PFE is provided by a DHE-3075 exchange.
Surfshark, on the other hand, is a big fan of the OpenVPN protocol and uses it as “default” across all of its devices. Users, nevertheless, do have the option of configuring WireGuard on all platforms.
It utilizes AES-256-GCM ciphers so no additional authentication is provided on the data channel. For the control channel, Surfshark uses an AES-256-GCM cipher with the TLS key exchange secured using RSA-2048.
Perfect forward secrecy is provided by an ECDH-(384?) key exchange. If we talk about security overall though, Surfshark definitely tends to be stronger. Unlike NordVPN, which was hacked in March 2018, Surf is still secure from such vulnerabilities.
Winner in Security and Encryption
12. NordVPN vs Surfshark – Logging and Privacy
|Sign Up Information||Email Address||Email Address|
|Anonymous Payment Methods||CoinGate||CoinGate, CoinPayments|
NordVPN is located in Panama, a country that has no data retention laws. Panama is not even a part of any data sharing alliance as well. So NordVPN’s headquarters is located in a secure region.
NordVPN also doesn’t keep logs of any sort of sensitive user information. No IP is stored, your browsing isn’t logged and your data isn’t shared with any 3rd parties. NordVPN has also been audited by PwC.
Surfshark is located in the Netherlands, which is not as safe as Panama as it is in the 14 Eyes Alliance Group. However, the VPN uses RAM-only infrastructure so your data will never be logged or tracked.
Surfshark was previously located in the British Virgin Islands which was a super-safe location for a VPN. And the provider would have won in this category if it was still registered there. But since that’s not the case anymore, NordVPN takes the win.
Winner in Logging and Privacy
13. NordVPN vs Surfshark – Configuration
For configurations, NordVPN and Surfshark both support dynamic and static IP addresses. Where Nord offers more in the way of servers, Surfshark adds extra security features.
For instance, NordVPN supports dedicated IPs in many locations around the world. Surfshark is currently only offering static IPs in varied cities.
Dedicated IPs are available as an add-on, meaning you will have to pay extra for them. However, they are incredibly handy tools, especially for travelers, streamers, torrents, etc.
Winner in Configuration
14. NordVPN vs Surfshark – Customer Service
|Searchable Knowledge Base||Yes||Yes|
|Average Email Response Time||30 Minutes||25 Minutes|
|Live Chat Support||Yes||Yes|
NordVPN’s live chat support is okay. The response time varies from a minute to five minutes, which is quite slow. But since there is a queue system in place, these times are expected. You can even contact their support team if you want to cancel the NordVPN recurring payments feature.
My biggest problem with it chat team is that they were a bit cold in their responses and sometimes even blunt, making me feel unwelcome.
Surfshark’s customer support is much better than that of NordVPN. Responses are lightning fast, with the time for a chat support exec to respond to a question being less than 30 seconds.
Every technical query is handled by them in detail and they look for every possible solution to help you out. On top of this, the chat support execs are courteous and welcoming.
I even conducted a test on the response times from each provider on email support. The process included sending both providers four questions via email. See the statics for each VPN below:
NordVPN Customer Service
|Question||Initial Response Time||Number of Emails||Question Answered|
|Does NordVPN work with Netflix?||12 Minutes||1||Yes|
|Is NordVPN good for Torrenting?||40 Minutes||1||Yes|
|What encryption does NordVPN use?||38 Minutes||1||Yes|
|How activate NordVPN’s obfuscated servers?||30 Minutes||1||Yes|
Surfshark Customer Service
|Question||Initial Response Time||Number of Emails||Question Answered|
|Does Surfshark work with Netflix?||20 Minutes||1||Yes|
|Is Surfshark good for Torrenting?||25 Minutes||1||Yes|
|Does Surfshark work in China?||30 Minutes||1||Yes|
|How to activate obfuscation?||24 Minutes||1||Yes|
Winner in Customer Service
The Winner: Surfshark VPN
Other Comparisons to Check Out
- Surfshark VPN vs. PIA
- NordVPN vs. PIA
- PureVPN vs. NordVPN
- NordVPN vs. ExpressVPN
- Surfshark vs. IPVanish
NordVPN vs Surfshark – FAQs
Is using a VPN legal?
Unless you’re doing anything illegal, using a VPN is perfectly legal. However, do check the rules for VPNs of the country you’re visiting before using one to keep yourself out of trouble as some regions like China, North Korea, and Belarus have bans on VPNs.
What is meant by logging in VPN?
VPN logs are the data that your provider can keep when you use their service. When it comes to what your VPN could store, all of your activity is accessible by your VPN provider. Your traffic might be hidden to your ISP but your VPN provider can see your internet activities.
What is meant by simultaneous connections and should I be caring about it?
Simultaneous connections refer to the number of devices that can be connected to a VPN server at the same time.
For example, if a VPN allows five simultaneous connections, that means you can connect five devices to the VPN server at the same time.
And yes, you should be caring about it because it allows you to protect all of your devices with a single VPN account.
Is Surfshark owned by Nord?
Yes, Surfshark is owned by the same company which runs NordVPN, namely Nord Security.
Is NordVPN and Surfshark the same?
No, NordVPN and Surfshark are not the same but they share the same parent company which is known as Nord Security. Both VPNs are in the top 10 ranks of all time.
Is Surfshark VPN better than NordVPN?
Both VPNs give tough competition to each other. While NordVPN is among the top-tier VPNs, Surfshark wins in most categories in our comparison test.
Why NordVPN is the best?
NordVPN is the best because of its robust encryption, fast connection speeds, user-friendly interface, and handy security features. It is the safest, most reliable option to hide your original identity while surfing the open web.
What VPN is better than Nord?
NordVPN is among the best VPNs, but ExpressVPN comes pretty close and gives tough competition to NordVPN. ExpressVPN offers blazing fast speed, Lightway protocol, and the company is registered in the privacy-friendly British Virgin Islands.
Is Surfshark a good VPN for gaming?
Yes, Surfshark is a good VPN for gaming offering blazing-fast download and upload speeds with an ideal ping (latency) rate to enhance your gaming experience.
Does Surfshark prevent DDoS?
Yes, Surfshark is a great VPN for avoiding DDoS attacks. The provider encrypts your traffic with the NASA-grade AES 256-bit method and advanced protocols to divert hackers and deliver a smooth gaming experience.
Can I use NordVPN and Surfshark with Netflix?
NordVPN and Surfshark are closely matched since both these VPN giants work with Netflix. They can unblock almost 15+ Netflix libraries of major countries with their massive network of servers.
Is it easier to use Nord or Surfshark’s applications?
Yes, both VPNs have easy-to-navigate interfaces on desktops and mobiles. You can connect in a single click with the quick connect option and all of the options are neatly organized so you don’t have to dance through the apps while searching for a feature.
NordVPN and Surfshark are both popular VPN providers, but which one is faster?
While both VPNs are blazing fast. In our test, Surfshark’s speeds were slightly better than NordVPN’s, especially in the US region. However, there were no major differences and both VPNs should work fine for all kinds of operations, including streaming, gaming, or casual browsing.
NordVPN vs Surfshark – Conclusion
There is no doubt that NordVPN is equally as good as Surfshark.
However, in this NordVPN vs Surfshark comparison, Surfshark wins in more categories making a total of 7 wins out of 14, acing in the categories of Pricing, Speed, Features, Gaming, Compatibility, Security, and Customer Service, while NordVPN could only secure positions in 3 categories, namely, Torrenting, User-Interface, and Privacy.
This is why I recommend going for Surfshark, as it has never been hacked, nor does it store logs (verified and audited by Cure53). It is an all-rounder service that unblocks all popular VoDs, works in China, and offers ultimate torrenting and streaming speeds while being extremely cost-friendly!