Deciding between NordVPN and Surfshark is incredibly tricky.
In this article, we’ll be contrasting the features to help you choose in the big VPN face-off; Surfshark vs NordVPN.
Comparing all the main aspects of both NordVPN and Surfshark, we will make it far easier for you to determine the features that matter most for your use and, therefore, which of these two excellent VPN providers is the right one for you to choose.
With that in mind, our Surfshark vs NordVPN comparison guide won’t just tell you which to use but what will benefit you most for your specific needs.
NordVPN vs Surfshark VPN is a battle that pits a historic industry giant versus the hottest up-and-coming VPN provider. NordVPN and Surfshark VPN both have their big advantages as well as some downsides that mean neither VPN is right for everyone.
Although to be fair, NordVPN and Surfshark VPN are very similar in a lot of aspects. In fact, they are so identical in many ways that discovering which one is better is a challenging task. But the differences are there if you know where to look and that is where our expertise in VPNs comes in.
It’s a task we’re ready to take on, so keep scrolling to find out which is better in the battle between NordVPN and Surfshark VPN. (Oh, if you’re itching to see the winner, you can skip right to the results).
Table of Contents
Let’s start our NordVPN vs Surfshark VPN comparison with the logging policy of the two services.
NordVPN has been known as one of the best services to use from a privacy perspective for years, now. It keeps a strict no-logs policy, meaning that it stores no internet or browser traffic logs of your browsing behaviour, or access logs of your VPN connection.
It only keeps the minimal amount of data that you provide during registration, which is the necessary minimum for it to provide services to you in the first place.
Other than that, everything else is done through automatic processes that do not require user info.
The service is also based in privacy-friendly Panama, so it is outside of the 14 Eyes’ jurisdiction, and it cannot be ordered to start recording user data or, indeed, to share this data with other countries.
It emerged with flying colours to reaffirm once and for all that NordVPN’s no logs policy is rock solid and that this is a VPN provider that you can be sure will keep your VPN traffic and data private.
Then, we have Surfshark VPN – a relatively new VPN provider that has been in business since around 2018.
However, the service surged through the ranks, and it managed to beat all competition thanks to its excellent features, with a zero-logs policy being among the highlights.
To start, let us note that this VPN was based in the British Virgin Islands, which is another excellent location from a privacy standpoint. However, there was consternation last year when it was announced that the headquarters of Surfshark was being moved to the Netherlands.
This is a European country and a member of the nine eyes intelligence-sharing network.
Surfshark VPN insisted that its no logs policy would remain unaffected but the fact is that there are a number of Dutch laws that could impact it, which was not the case in the British Virgin Islands.
This move was definitely a backwards step for Surfshark VPN.
Once again, the only info that they are collecting is their users’ email and encrypted password, plus the billing info and order history. This is the data provided during registration, just like what we have seen at NordVPN, and it is necessary for the VPN to provide service.
Lastly, the service collects data on its app’s behaviour to discover potential bugs and issues. This amounts to the recording of anonymous, aggregated stats, which is most likely harmless but at the same time far from ideal.
Surfshark also claims to have been audited, but this has been called into question by security researcher Connor “PWire” who said of the auditor report that “we can see that the scope was so little that it is more of a PR stunt than it is guarantees of security” (Source).
Naturally, if you ever encounter any issues or have questions about connection logs or data practices, you can always just ask Surfshark support and get your answer ASAP.
The service has had much audited, but their no-log policy isn’t part of that.
From the logging claims, both NordVPN and Surfshark are good, but there is little doubt that between NordVPN and Surfshark VPN, there is only really one winner.
NordVPN collects nothing that isn’t necessary for their service, and they have an independent audit to prove it. Surfshark VPN unfortunately does collect some anonymous aggregated data about your VPN connection and is also based in a 9-eyes country now.
Therefore, the first point in the NordVPN vs Surfshark comparison goes to NordVPN. Their logging policies and privacy protections overall help ensure that between NordVPN and Surfshark VPN, they edge this round.
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Next up is the test to see how NordVPN and Surfshark VPN compare when it comes to the features and infrastructure they can offer that help VPN users to stream movies, TV shows, and other content online.
Streaming is one of the most common use cases for a VPN these days, especially when it comes to overseas content. Due to legal and other reasons, streaming services are often limiting their services to only a few regions.
With NordVPN, you can easily connect your VPN server to most regions and unblock nearly any streaming service out there at above-average speeds, according to our speed tests. Its range of server locations means it works with most streaming platforms and is able to unblock BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Peacock TV and more.
Plus, with the unlimited bandwidth that the NordVPN apps offer, you can stream as many movies and TV shows as you like.
Meanwhile, it is fast enough for you to enjoy all the content offered by these services without experiencing buffering.
It also has a number of specialty servers, and something called a Double VPN feature. Essentially, the Double VPN feature is a security option that routes your traffic through double VPN servers, making it that much harder to identify you.
Two VPN servers are now encrypting your data when even one is usually enough to keep you perfectly safe. It also gives you a new dedicated IP address tied to the VPN server you have connected to replace your own.
These are obfuscated servers that can mask IP addresses so well that no one can even tell that you are using a VPN.
Still, you should always check if your data or VPN traffic is leaking by using a DNS leak test and ensuring that your internet connection is as safe as it can get with either Surfshark VPN or other VPN software.
You can stream HD videos just as easily as you would without a VPN. Meanwhile, its large server network consists of 5,221 VPN servers located in 59 different countries will pretty much guarantee an entirely open internet.
When it comes to Surfshark, the service offers a significantly smaller server network with 3,200+ servers currently available.
However, you would likely agree that this is by no means terrible. If NordVPN wasn’t such a giant in the industry, this would have been rather impressive.
One detail that does impress is that Surfshark VPN covers more countries than NordVPN – 100 of them at the time of writing.
Partly as a result of this, Surfshark VPN is able to unblock Netflix in multiple countries (up to 30 different regions), and it even includes some countries that NordVPN can’t handle.
If you’re a Netflix fiend, then you’ll appreciate the vast regions that the service unlocks more than any other VPN.
In fact, Surfshark is a commonly recommended service for unblocking almost all the most popular streaming services, including the likes of BBC iPlayer and Disney+. They even manage to unblock some of the more obscure services from Japan, Korea, Malaysia and elsewhere.
Surfshark VPN also offers various specialty servers, although the range of options on this front is not quite as diverse as NordVPN has available.
Both NordVPN and Surfshark are excellent when it comes to streaming, but we have to side with a Surfshark on this one just because of the massive number of services it unblocks.
While NordVPN has more servers and is excellent at unblocking, too, we can’t argue with the vast amount of Netflix regions that Surfshark works with, which arguably makes it the best VPN for streaming overall, nevermind in individual VPN comparisons like this one between NordVPN and Surfshark VPN.
It’s a close call on this one, but since it is NordVPN vs Surfshark, we had to choose a winner; even if both Surfshark and NordVPN impress, Surfshark just squeaks this one.
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3. Concurrent Connections
Challenge three in the NordVPN vs Surfshark VPN comparison looks at what some users might consider a niche feature but which for others, is absolutely essential to justify spending money on a VPN.
To make the most out of using a VPN, you need a service that supports as many platforms as possible and with as many simultaneous connections as possible.
NordVPN understands this, as we live in a world where every person has at least one device that can connect to the web, and that needs VPN protection to be safe.
This is why the service offers protection for 6 devices at the same time. With it, you can protect all of your devices if you happen to use multiple simultaneously.
It is also great for protecting an entire small family at the same time, all with a single licence.
Being able to connect up to six devices at a time is more than enough for the vast majority of users. But there is no hiding from the fact that there are some VPN services that offer more.
This brings us to Surfshark, which offers unlimited simultaneous connections per license.
A single license obtained at an even lower price, as we will discuss further down in this comparison, will protect all the devices you or your entire family own – even if this numbers into double figures or even higher.
Just choose one of its specialized servers, click the button, and it will automatically connect, thanks to its auto-connect feature.
There is nothing much else to say, except for the fact that Surfshark definitely wins in this category.
Both Surfshark and NordVPN offer enough simultaneous connections for the vast majority of users.
But with unlimited simultaneous connections available, which means that their subscribers can connect as many devices as they like for the price of a single subscription fee, when it comes to NordVPN vs Surfshark VPN on concurrent connections, Surfshark is a clear winner.
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Next up, as we consider NordVPN vs Surfshark VPN, is a look at the various different apps that these two terrific VPNs offer their subscribers.
With all of those simultaneous connections possible, you might want to know which platforms you can use NordVPN on.
The number of devices and systems that NordVPN users can download and use their VPN apps on is more than decent, even when compared to other leading VPN companies, and it includes all popular ones. With it, you can protect:
- Windows (desktop versions)
- Windows Phone
- Android TV
Thanks to the Chrome, Edge, and Firefox extensions, you can use NordVPN on pretty much any device that can use at least one of the three browsers, without the need for any manual setup. Browser extensions essentially give you nearly an unlimited number of desktop and mobile devices to protect with NordVPN today. Even Android TV is covered.
The NordVPN app itself is very user-friendly, presenting you with the map (or server list, whichever you prefer) of the world, which shows all of the NordVPN server location options.
All you need to do is click on the location of your choice, and you will connect to it. There is also a quick-connect button that lets you, well, quickly connect to the last VPN you used.
It also gives you a built-in kill switch on every app, alongside other nifty features like split tunneling. Split Tunneling is a feature which lets you decide which apps use the VPN. There is even a dedicated IP option so that your details will always be safe.
When it comes to Surfshark, once again, it rises to the challenge of a much older service. It already beats Nord VPN by serving unlimited devices, including desktop VPN apps and mobile apps. These are feature-packed apps that have a lot to offer, regardless of the provider you choose.
As for which devices you can use it on, the list looks somewhat similar to the one we have seen above, and it includes:
- Mac OS
- Apple TV
- Other TVs
As you can see, just like NordVPN, Surfshark VPN also offers Chrome, Firefox, and Edge extensions, so it also covers as many devices as can run one or both of the browsers.
Another similarity between the two VPNs is the kill switch. The kill switch is one of the security features that VPN providers offer so that your internet would be cut if there is an app malfunction. All good VPNs offer a kill switch and both NordVPN and Surfshark VPN are no exception.
Furthermore, Surfshark also covers gaming platforms like PS and Xbox, which were clearly left out by NordVPN. Note that you can further improve Surfshark calls anonymity by combining it with any private search engine or even Tor servers – which belong to the Tor Network, also known as the onion network.
Although the download speed will be too impacted to use it for streaming. Still, you will have the most private internet access you can imagine.
Surdshark’s app is also straightforward to use, with a clean interface and simple navigation, which makes it very user-friendly. But the setup of the app is not quite as clean and simple as the NordVPN apps for us.
There are a number of advanced features, like split tunneling available too. Split tunneling lets you decide which apps should go through the VPN and which ones should not, so you don’t have to encrypt 100% of your traffic.
A slightly controversial decision, perhaps, as Surfshark VPN appears to cover more devices, but the old adage about quality over quantity applies here with these two VPNs.
While Surfshark VPN’s apps are by no means bad, for us they are not quite at the same level as the VPN apps offered by NordVPN.
For us, it came down to the interface. We like the clear lines of the NordVPN app and the ability to connect both using a world map view and simple country listing.
Again, another close call but NordVPN takes this one.
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Lastly, let’s talk about the prices of NordVPN and Surfshark. NordVPN has relatively standard prices for its plans, although it does make things a little bit more convoluted by offering different price plans depending on which of their myriad of additional services you choose to sign up for.
For the purposes of this straight-up comparison between NordVPN and Surfshark VPN, we are going to just look at their core VPN prices.
NordVPN’s prices currently look like this:
- 1-month plan: £9.99 per month
- 1-year plan: £3.79 per month
- 2-year plan: £2.49 per month
As you can see, the service offers rather low prices due to massive discounts, but it also wants you to commit to it and use it for years, hence the lower prices if you sign up for longer. If you can lay your hands on a NordVPN coupon, you could potentially save even more.
This is not necessarily a bad thing, provided that you are happy to stick with the same service for the foreseeable future.
If you simply want protection, it is an excellent and extremely cost-effective choice.
Only note that you need to pay long-term plans all at once instead of monthly. Other than that, we should also note that NordVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee for all of the plans, so you have a month to change your mind if you commit.
They do tend to offer deals regularly, so these prices change frequently and you can sometimes find NordVPN packages available for even less. We also found some of their ‘limited time only’ deals to be a little disingenuous as they were offered again the day after.
Now let’s see how Surfshark compares. Surfshark offer only three plans, like most services. The plans themselves are similar in terms of length, and they look like this:
- 1-month plan: £10.88 per month
- 1 year plan: £3.35 per month
- 2 Year plan: £1.72 per month
You will quickly notice that its monthly price is slightly higher, but its discounts for long-term plans are more significant and will work out cheaper overall that the NordVPN prices. They’ve also introduced a new Surfshark One account which includes additions such as anti-virus and others.
In other words, Surfshark’s 2-year plan is cheaper than NordVPN’s 2-year plan, and comparing the NordVPN and Surfshark VPN one-year price points will show that Surfshark is cheaper over that time period too. So from the pricing standpoint, Surfshark is a preferable option.
Like with NordVPN, you get a 30-day money-back guarantee with each of the plans.
Interestingly enough, the supposed underdog wins again, this time due to higher discounts on its long-term plans.
The subscription price plans that are on offer from both NordVPN and Surfshark VPN are all of the same lengths. But, even NordVPN’s 2-year plan is still more expensive monthly than Surfshark’s 24-month plan, so we have to give a point to the younger service.
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Overall winner: Surfshark
Surprisingly enough, it seems that the underdog Surfshark won the NordVPN vs Surfshark battle, at least when it comes to these main aspects.
Both NordVPN and Surfshark VPN are exceptional VPN services, and most users will do perfectly well, whichever they decide to sign up with and use. But the purpose of this article is to see which offers the better overall service across all the main features that a VPN user is looking for in their provider.
And while there are a number of categories where both NordVPN and Surfshakr VPN can barely be seperated, and a number where NordVPN is a clear winner, putting everything together has revealed that Surfshark is currently the best.
The fact NordVPN’s logging policy has been audited fully by a higher authority saw it take this category.
NordVPN wins in terms of server coverage, even though it covers fewer countries and server locations. It has several thousands of speciality servers, more than Surfshark at this time, which gave it a substantial edge as it protects your personal data on a greater level.
But, on all other aspects, Surfshark VPN managed to beat the other service, despite its great offering.
Whereas NordVPN has 6 simultaneous connections for multiple users, Surfshark offers unlimited ones.
Surfshark covers a lot of different devices, as does NordVPN, but we felt the interface of NordVPN’s offerings slightly surpassed the competition, whether we are talking about apps for a mobile device, a browser extension, a computer, or some other platform.
Both have also passed speed tests with flying colours.
Finally, Surfshark offers lower prices for its standard VPN service.
At the end of the NordVPN vs Surfshark VPN comparison, we can say that neither of the two VPN services is bad. Not by any stretch of the imagination.
Surfshark simply offers a slightly better deal, although it is easy to see why. The service is young, as mentioned, and it entered the VPN industry only three years ago.
At the time, NordVPN already dominated the sector as one of the best in the industry, and Surfshark, as a newcomer, had to offer better features to even be considered a competitor. So, it did what it could to provide a better deal to users to protect your internet traffic and provide all the features you need, and it paid off.
Now, it is up to you to decide whether lower prices and unlimited concurrent connections can beat a greater number of servers. But, no matter which VPN you choose, the most crucial part is that you will be well-protected and safe.
Both are excellent services. It’s just this time, Surfshark took the top prize.