NordVPN vs Surfshark Comparison 2020

Last Updated: December 27, 2019
Muhammad Hamza Shahid

Muhammad Hamza Shahid

Surfshark is a fast-rising service, but can it compete with the might of NordVPN? To settle this, check out this NordVPN vs Surfshark comparison!

Where Surfshark represents the new breed of top VPN services, NordVPN is an old warhorse that people have been trusting for ages.

Below I have pitted both these providers against each other and evaluated them on several VPN related factors to find out which emerges victorious.

Highlights

NordVPN Surfshark
  1. 5,200+ Servers in 58 Countries
  2. AES-256-CBC Encryption
  3. 6 Simultaneous Connections
  4. Unblocks All Streaming Platforms
  5. Audited No Logs Policy
  1. 1040+ servers in 61+ countries
  2. Dedicated IPs available
  3. Unlimited Simultaneous Connections
  4. Apps for All Platforms/Devices
  5. Verified No Logs Policy (Audited)

Pricing and Discounts

If we talk about pricing, Surfshark tends to be the cheaper option among the two, despite starting off with the same monthly pricing. If you go for a per month plan, you will have to pay $11.95 with Surfshark and NordVPN.

NordVPN Surfshark VPN
Plan Price Plan Price
1 Month $11.95 1 Month $11.95
12 Months $6.99 12 Months $5.99
24 Month $4.99 24 Months $1.99

However, as we continue to opt for longer duration plans, the pricing drops further. Where NordVPN starts at $6.99 on a 1-year plan, totaling to $83.88, Surfshark is available for $5.99, billed as $71.88 per year.

NordVPN does offer more tiers in comparison to Surfshark, like a 2-year and 3-year plan as well. Meanwhile, the latter only goes as far as offering a 2-year plan, which is still quite reasonable.

If you want to get the best value from NordVPN, go for their 3-year deal that cuts the monthly costs to $3.49. On the other hand, Surfshark’s best deal is on their 2-year plan that starts at a minimal $1.91/mo.

As far as free trials are concerned both NordVPN and Surfshark have discarded its availability. However, with either service you do have a 30-day money back guarantee available, if you are not satisfied with the service.

Get This Best Deal for NordVPN: 70% discount on the 3-year plan

Get This Best Deal for Surfshark: Save 83% on their 2-year special

Features

NordVPN Surfshark
Simultaneous Connections 6 Unlimited
Operating System Apps Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Amazon Fire TV Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS, Linux, Kodi, and Fire TV
Manual Install Devices Set-Top Boxes, Routers, and Linux Routers, Set Top Boxes, and Linux
Split Tunneling Not Available Yes (All Apps)
Free Extras Browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox, CyberSec, DoubleVPN, SmartPlay Shadowsocks Support, Hacklock, Blindsearch, NoBorders Mode, TrustDNS

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 dedicated add-on 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, I’d say Surfshark offers better security and instant connectivity on either platforms.

With NordVPN, you get access to tools like CyberSec (blocks suspicious websites instantaneously), DoubleVPN (connects to two different VPN servers), and SmartPlay (instant unblocking and streaming on VoDs).

Surfshark, on the other hand, offers more incentives with Shadowsocks support, a Hacklock feature (data leak tool for identity theft protection), BlindSearch, a NoBorders Mode (for access in China), and more.

Unblocking Capabilities

NordVPN Surfshark
Netflix Yes Yes
Hulu Yes Yes
Sky Go Yes Yes
Amazon Prime Yes Yes
BBC iPlayer Yes Yes
ABS Yes Yes
CBS Yes Yes
NBC Yes Yes
ITV Yes Yes
Channel 4 Yes Yes

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).

These include streaming platforms like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and even Disney Plus. The process on either VPNs 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.

China

NordVPN has a redirection site for China, but a major issue that users will face with this service in China is that it doesn’t respond sometimes. You won’t be able to access anything for long periods of time.

Surfshark is more powerful and responsive when it comes to offering services as a VPN for China. There are no major issues from this VPN when it comes to bypassing the Great Firewall and unblocking services in China.

Surfshark is a much more suitable VPN for China, since its 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/

Torrenting

NordVPN does not suffer from crowding due to a higher number of servers so it has faster speeds due to a much better guarantee of server proximity. It also leaks 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.

Setup and Interface

NordVPN Surfshark
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
Mobile Friendly 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 dedicate setup guides.

A .apk file is also available for those who want to set up VPN on Android manually. 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.

NordVPN interface

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 a 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 the most of a number of platforms.

Surfshark Streaming Mode

Severs and Performance

NordVPN Surfshark
Server Countries 58 61
Total Number of Servers 5,200+ 1,040
Speed Loss  19.2% 10.1%

NordVPN currently has a server network comprising of 5200+servers in 58 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 user load isdistributed evenly. Since servers are available in 60 countries, most can also find one near to 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 over 1040 servers in 61 countries worldwide, all of which deliver great speeds and unblocking capabilities.

Security

NordVPN Surfshark
VPN Protocols PPTP, L2TP, IKEv2, OpenVPN L2TP, IPSec, IKEv2, Shadowsocks, OpenVPN
OpenVPN Data Encryption AES-256 AES-256
OpenVPN Control Channel Encryption RSA-2048 RSA-2048
Cloaking Technology Obfsproxy Shadowsocks
Extra Protection Double-Hop Routes and Onion over VPN CleanWeb, Multihop, Whitelister
App Security Kill Switch, Wi-Fi, DNS/WebRTC/ IP Leak Protection Kill Switch and DNS/WebRTC/ IP Leak Protection
DNS Status PrivateDNS TrustDNS

NordVPN offers support for all updated protocols, including IKEV2, L2TP, 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, conversly, 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 IKEv2 protocol and uses it as “default” across all of its devices. Users, nevertheless, do have the option of configuring OpenVPN 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 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 that was recently hacked, Surf is still secure from such vulnerabilities.

Privacy

NordVPN Surfshark
Headquarters Panama British Virgin Islands
Connection Logs None None
Activity Logs None None
Sign Up Information Email Address Email Address
Anonymous Payment Methods Monero, Dash, Gridcoin, Rpple, ZCaas, Ehterum, Litecoin, Bitcoin Various Crpytocurrencies

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.

Surfshark is located in the British Virgin Islands, which is as safe as Panama. The BVI also doesn’t have any mandatory data laws and neither does it hold membership in 5/9/14 Eyes Alliances or other data-sharing agencies.

There is no major issue in Surfshark’s logging policy either. The provider has managed to keep its privacy policy clean and by that, it has ensured that users can trust it blindly as a zero-logs service.

Configuration

NordVPN Surfshark
Address Allocation Shared/Static Shared/Static
Static IPs 40+ Locations 6+ Locations
DDoS Protection Yes None
NAT Firewall Yes Yes

For configurations, NordVPN and Surfshark both support dynamic and static IP addresses. Where Nord offers more in the way of locations, Surfshark adds extra security features.

For instance, NordVPN supports dedicated IPs in more than 40+ locations around the world. Surfshark is currently only offering static IPs in 6+ locations 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, torrenters, etc.

Customer Service

NordVPN Surfshark
Video Guides Yes Yes
Searchable Knowledge Base  Yes Yes
Phone Support No No
Email Support Yes Yes
Average Email Response Time 30 Minutes 25 Minutes
Ticket Support Yes Yes
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 que system in place, these times are expected.

My biggest problem with it chat team is that they were a bit cold in their responses and sometimes event 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

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

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

Other Comparisons to Check Out

  1. PureVPN vs. PIA
  2. NordVPN vs. PIA
  3. PureVPN vs. NordVPN
  4. NordVPN vs. ExpressVPN
  5. ExpressVPN vs. PureVPN

The Winner: Surfshark

Surfshark is the Winner

There is no doubt that NordVPN is equally as good as Surfshark. Sadly, the recent scandal of it being hacked has resulted in it losing all its credibility and reputation.

This is why I recommend going for the much safer and reliable option, 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 speeds for torrenting and streaming, all while being extremely cost-friendly!

Leave a Reply

Rate the Review*

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *