NordVPN vs Surfshark: which is the best VPN?

NordVPN Surfshark comparison

By thoroughly testing NordVPN and Surfshark and comparing them, we came to determine a clear winner. We have considered the following criteria and crowned the winner according to them:

  • Security: NordVPN
  • Speed: Surfshark
  • Privacy: Equality
  • Price: Surfshark
  • Ease of use: NordVPN
  • Customer service: NordVPN

We therefore came to the conclusion that between these two VPNs, NordVPN wins.

Want to know more about the test results and our comparison? So, read the full article below.

NordVPN and Surfshark are two popular VPN providersNordVPN is a recognized name in the industry, while Surfshark is a newcomer. To compete with the bigger ones, Surfshark offers its products at affordable prices. This has resulted in a growth in the number of regular users.

To identify the best VPN, we compared these two VPN providers. Not only when it comes to price and functionality, but also when it comes to speed, security, ease of use and customer service.

NordVPN or Surfshark: additional features, characteristics and options

Here are the basic characteristics of these two providers.

CHARACTERISTICNORDVPNSURFSHARK
ServersOver 5,400 servers in 59 countriesOver 3,200 servers in 65 countries
Torrent / P2P file download compatibility
Netflix
Simultaneous connections6No limits
Operating systemsWindows, Mac, iOS, Android, LinuxWindows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux
ProtocolsOpenVPN, IKEv2 / IPsec, NordLynx (WireGuard)OpenVPN, IKEv2 / IPsec, WireGuard, Shadowsocks (proxy)
PriceFrom € 2.97 per monthFrom € 2.09 per month
Keeping logsNo logsNo logs
Money back guarantee30 days30 days
DNS leak test
Tor over VPN
Obfuscated servers
Double VPN
Dedicated IP
Emergency stop function (kill switch)
Split tunneling
Ad blocker
Diskless Servers
Malicious website blocker
Custom DNS
Online Tracker Blocker
Static IP servers
Anonymous search engine
Email address leak notification
Link to websiteDiscover NordVPNDiscover Surfshark

Below is a brief explanation of all of the aforementioned features:

  • Servers  : Indicates the number of servers in a VPN and the number of countries in which these servers are located.
  • Torrent / P2P file download compatibility  : specifies whether the VPN allows P2P traffic on its servers, for example for downloading torrents.
  • Netflix / streaming : indicates whether the VPN in question allows access to the US version of Netflix.
  • Simultaneous connections  : Indicates the number of devices that you can simultaneously connect to the relevant VPN.
  • Operating System  : Indicates with which operating system (s) the specific VPN is compatible.
  • Protocols  : Indicates which encryption protocols the VPN supports. You can read more about encryption protocols here.
  • Price  : Provides the starting price per month for the cheapest VPN subscription from each provider.
  • Logs Policy  : Indicates whether the VPN provider in question keeps data (i.e. logs).
  • Money-Back Guarantee  : Indicates how long you can request a refund if you’re not happy with the VPN in question.
  • DNS Leak Test  : Indicates whether the VPN has a built-in DNS leak test, which determines if your IP address is leaking.
  • Tor over VPN  : Specifies whether the VPN provider has special dark web servers. Tor over VPN servers are special servers suitable for using the Tor browser.
  • Obfuscated Servers  : Indicates whether the VPN has obfuscated servers. These servers can allow free access to the internet even in countries with very repressive regimes. These are servers specially equipped to circumvent censorship.
  • Double VPN  : Indicates whether a particular VPN provider has “double VPN” servers. Instead of connecting to the internet with a single VPN server, you connect with two VPN servers simultaneously.
  • Dedicated IP : specifies whether the VPN in question offers dedicated IP addresses. You don’t share such an IP address with anyone else, but it often costs more.
  • Emergency stop function (kill switch)  : Indicates whether the VPN in question has an emergency stop function. This is a feature that ensures that your data will not be visible if the VPN malfunctions.
  • Split tunneling  : Some VPNs, such as Surfshark, call tunnel segmentation “Whitelister”. In principle, with this function, you can select which applications you want traffic to pass through the VPN or not.
  • Ad blocker  : Some VPNs have started offering ad blockers as an additional privacy feature.
  • Diskless servers  : these are servers on which nothing is stored. Diskless servers use only random access memory (RAM). Therefore, the server does not store any data because it only serves as a conduit.
  • Malicious Website Blocker  : This option protects you from malicious websites.
  • Custom DNS  : This is an option that allows you to use your own DNS records.
  • Online Tracker Blocker  : This additional function allows you to block online trackers present on certain websites and other online services.
  • Static IP address servers  : Surfshark does not offer a dedicated IP address, but does have a few servers with fixed IP addresses. However, these servers are shared with other users.
  • Anonymous search engine  : Surfshark has its own search engine which does not keep track of your activities.
  • Email Address Leak Notification  : Surfshark has a web crawler that allows it to see if your email address is available in online databases. It will then notify you if your email address is there.

NordVPN or Surfshark: which is more secure?

The biggest security differences between NordVPN and Surfshark are:

  • Encryption Protocols  : There is only a small difference between the protocols supported by NordVPN and Surfshark. NordVPN offers NordLynx, which is a modified version of WireGuard. Surfshark offers a Shadowsocks proxy, which is not really an encryption protocol, but a proxy to bypass censorship. Currently, whether you are using WireGuard or Shadowsocks, it doesn’t really make a difference when it comes to security. Indeed, WireGuard is still in the testing phase and Shadowsocks is more of a censorship bypass tool, closer to the obfuscated servers of NordVPN.
  • Specialized servers  : unlike Surfshark, NordVPN offers dedicated servers for using the Tor browser. They also both offer obfuscated and double VPN servers. Tor servers give NordVPN a small security advantage for Tor browser users.
  • Blocking Online Trackers  : Surfshark has a special feature to block online trackers. That’s a plus when it comes to privacy and security, but it’s not a big plus, as there are some really good free browser extensions out there that do the same. NordVPN has a malicious website blocker, but that only gives it a slight advantage over Surfshark.

Most secure VPN  : NordVPN (very short head, thanks to its Tor servers)

VPN Provider vs Provider Winner Security Banner NordVPN

NordVPN or Surfshark: which is faster?

To determine which VPN provider is the fastest, we give them a speed test. We first tested our own internet connection without VPN to establish a benchmark speed. Our basic measurements are provided in the following screenshot.

Speedtest no VPN

The test results for NordVPN and Surfshark are shown in the table below (the best scores are shown in bold).

SPEED ​​INDICATORNORDVPNSURFSHARK
Download speed on local server (in Mb / s)257.20381.40
Sending speed to local server (in Mb / s)388.64265.15
Ping on local server9 ms4 ms
Download speed on international server (in Mb / s)146.64372.46
Sending speed to international server (in Mb / s)27.2419.02
Ping on international server78 ms78 ms

During daily use, we didn’t notice anything in particular, neither with NordVPN nor with Surfshark. However, we can see a clear difference in the test results. Surfshark scores much better for download speed, and NordVPN scores slightly better for upload speed. However, since in the majority of cases download speed matters more than upload speed, we give Surfshark the victory.

Fastest VPN  : Surfshark

VPN Provider vs Provider Winner Speed ​​Banner Surfshark

NordVPN vs Surfshark: Which VPN Handles Data Better?

Security and privacy go hand in hand. It is therefore important, in addition to encryption, to consider how a VPN and the provider behind it handle your data. If a VPN’s encryption is good, but the provider sells your data to third parties, you’d better choose another VPN. Below are details regarding the level of privacy provided by NordVPN and Surfshark.

Privacy protection with NordVPN

  • As NordVPN is based in Panama, it is not required to store any data. He also does not have to consider requests for access to his data (if any) from third parties.
  • In 2018, a NordVPN server located in Finland was hacked. Although this was of some concern, it turned out that no data had been released. Indeed, the server did not contain any. NordVPN reacted quickly and adequately and ended its collaboration with the server centre housing the hacked server.
  • When creating your NordVPN account, you can pay in Bitcoin, which is another way to stay anonymous.
  • NordVPN does not appear to keep logs. This was also confirmed by an independent audit.
  • As NordVPN uses diskless RAM servers, no data is stored on the servers. Servers serve only as conduits. So, even if someone could access such a server, it would be of no use to them.

Privacy protection with Surfshark

  • Surfshark is based in the British Virgin Islands. It is, like Panama, a territory without strict legislation concerning the retention of data. Therefore, Surfshark, like NordVPN, is not obligated to keep any data of its users.
  • Surfshark also allows you to pay using cryptocurrency. Thus, you do not need to link your account to a personal payment method.
  • Surfshark also uses diskless RAM servers. Regarding privacy and security, these are as well configured as those of NordVPN.
  • When it comes to privacy, Surfshark has certain characteristics that are both positive and negative for privacy. Rather than a dedicated IP address (as NordVPN offers), Surfshark has a few static IP servers. While they don’t offer all the benefits of Dedicated IPs, it’s better than nothing when it comes to privacy. Additionally, Surfshark has an anonymous browser and notification system that lets you know when your email address appears to have been leaked online. These are cool privacy features, although they are also available through free browser extensions or sites like “haveibeenpwned?” “. Overall, the intention is good,
  • Surfshark offers the possibility of using its anonymous search engine. This is another cool addition, but you should probably use the free anonymous search engine DuckDuckGo.

When it comes to privacy, it’s hard to pick a winner. NordVPN has a DNS leak test, but theoretically, your most important hope is that a VPN won’t disclose your IP address. Surfshark offers a few additional (sometimes chargeable) features aimed at improving privacy protection, but these features are also available with browser extensions and other free websites, which often perform just as well. 

When it comes to privacy, we believe the difference between these two VPNs is too small to determine a clear winner. In our eyes, in this category, the match is a draw.

Privacy winner  : Equality

VPN Provider vs Provider Privacy Banner Tie

NordVPN vs Surfshark: which provider is more affordable?

As the table below shows, Sufshark’s most affordable plan is cheaper than NordVPN’s. NordVPN is slightly cheaper when it comes to a one-time monthly subscription, but eventually, Surfshark is clearly more interesting. The monthly costs of the different subscriptions are shown in the table below.

SUBSCRIPTIONNORDVPNSURFSHARK
1 month€ 9.56€ 10.85
6 months€ 5.44
1 year€ 3.93
2 years€ 2.97€ 2.09

Note  : With long-term subscriptions, you usually make a one-time payment for the entire period. You will therefore be billed per subscription period and not per month. We try to keep this table up to date, but always check the VPN provider’s website for the current rate.

Prize winner  : Surfshark

VPN Provider vs Provider Winner Price Banner Surfshark

Ease of use: appearance and installation

In our list of top VPN providers, all the tools mentioned are actually very user-friendly. It is therefore more a question of taste and preference, and not of the superiority of one over the other. Below we briefly cover how the software from NordVPN and Surfshark looks and how easy it is to install.

Differences between the appearance of NordVPN and Surfshark

Like CyberGhost, Surfshark prefers to display a list of its available VPN servers. NordVPN, on the other hand, chooses to display a map by default, with, if you prefer, the option to display its servers as a list. Therefore, with NordVPN, you get the best of both worlds. An intuitive map and a more detailed list.

We also find the structure of NordVPN’s “settings” page a bit clearer. It also offers the option to pause a VPN connection for a few minutes, which is a very user-friendly option.

Screenshots of the software from NordVPN and Surfshark are provided below.

Screenshots NordVPN and Surfshark Software

Both VPNs are intuitive and suitable for almost any user. We do, however, think NordVPN has a few cool features and options that make it a bit more user-friendly than Surfshark.

Installation process

The installation processes for NordVPN and Surfshark are so similar, they are almost identical. Once you have created an account, you log into the website and download the file appropriate for your operating system. Then an executable file (.exe) is downloaded. You open this file, after which the VPN will be installed. Once the VPN software is installed, all you have to do is connect.

On smartphones or tablets, you can download the VPN app from the provider’s website, or from the App Store or Google Play. After downloading and installing the app, you just need to grant the app permission to change your network settings. As soon as you click on “Accept”, the VPN is ready for use.

Ease of use winner  : NordVPN

VPN Provider vs Provider Winner Ease of Use Banner NordVPN

Customer support: are users well-supported?

The quality of customer service from a VPN provider can also be important. For the majority of users, the software will work perfectly straight away. However, if something is wrong, you should be able to get help. We reached out to NordVPN and Surfshark with several questions, and here are our conclusions:

  • NordVPN and Surfshark both offer chat support.
  • Both support agents were able to provide us with an appropriate response. NordVPN’s response time was shorter and the response was more complete.
  • NordVPN and Surfshark both have a knowledge base with answers to frequently asked questions and how-to guides.

The difference in customer service from each of these two vendors was minimal. However, since NordVPN gave us a bit more helpful help, we credit it with the title.

Customer support winner  : NordVPN

VPN Provider vs Provider Winner Customer Service Banner NordVPN

Conclusion: NordVPN or Surfshark, which is the best VPN?

NordVPN and Surfshark are very similar when it comes to quality. Both are good VPNs, but by our standards one wins slightly. The list below shows the winner in each area:

  • Security: NordVPN
  • Speed: Surfshark
  • Privacy: Equality
  • Price: Surfshark
  • Ease of use: NordVPN
  • Customer service: NordVPN

As you can see, Surfshark is the clear winner when it comes to speed and price. In terms of customer service, security, and ease of use, NordVPN clearly wins. Therefore, based on these criteria, we come to the conclusion that overall, NordVPN is better than Surfshark.