NordVPN vs Surfshark Comparison 2020
Below I have pitted both these providers against each other and evaluated them on several VPN related factors to find out which emerges victorious.
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.
|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
|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.
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).
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.
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/
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
|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 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.
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.
Severs and Performance
|Total Number of Servers||5,200+||1,040|
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.
|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|
|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|
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.
|Headquarters||Panama||British Virgin Islands|
|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.
|Static IPs||40+ Locations||6+ Locations|
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.
|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 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:
|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|
|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
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!