Deciding between NordVPN and Surfshark is incredibly tricky. In this article we'll be contrasting their features to help you choose.
By using comparisons, it's the easiest way for you to determine the features that matter most for your use.
With that in mind, our NordVPN vs Surfshark VPN won't just tell you which to use, but what will benefit you most for your specific needs.
A historic industry giant versus the hottest up-and-coming VPN provider.
To be fair, NordVPN and Surfshark are very similar in a lot of aspects. In fact, they are so identical that discovering which one is better is a challenging task.
It's a task we're ready to take on, keep scrolling to find out which is better. (Oh, if you're itching to see the winner you can skip right to the results).
Let's start our NordVPN vs Surfshark 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 traffic logs of your browsing behavior or access logs of your connection.
It only keeps the 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.
NordVPN has had its service go through an independent audit by PricewaterhouseCoopers AG, Zurich, Switzerland to confirm this.
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 interesting features, with a zero-logs policy being among the very strictest.
To start, let us note that this VPN is based in the British Virgin Islands, which is another excellent location from a privacy standpoint.
Once again, the only info that they are collecting is 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 of its app's behaviour to discover potential bugs and issues, but that's it.
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 excellent.
Neither collects anything more than what is necessary, and both NordVPN and Surfshark VPN are safe from being forced to collect user data due to the privacy-friendly jurisdictions in which they operate.
However, with NordVPN's service being audited more thoroughly and by a higher authority, the first point in the NordVPN vs Surfshark comparison goes to NordVPN.
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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 to those regions and unblock nearly any streaming service out there at beyond average speeds. It works with streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Peacock TV and even BBC iPlayer.
Plus, with unlimited bandwidth that NordVPN apps offer, you can stream endlessly.
Meanwhile, it is fast enough for you to enjoy all the content offered by these services without experiencing buffering.
It also has something called 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 replacing 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 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 5,200+ VPN servers located in 60 different countries will pretty much guarantee an entirely open internet.
When it comes to Surfshark, the service offers a significantly lower number of VPN servers – 3,200.
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 covers more countries than NordVPN – 65 of them. At the same time, it is also able to unblock Netflix in multiple countries (up to 30 different regions) and it even includes some countries that NordVPN doesn't, such as Russia.
If you're a Netflix fiend then you'll appreciate the vast regions that the service unlocks, more than any other VPN service.
In fact, Surfshark is a commonly recommended service for unblocking almost all the most popular streaming services, including the likes of Disney+. They even manage to unblock some of the more obscure services from Japan, Korea, Malaysia and elsewhere.
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 is excellent at unblocking too, we can't argue with the vast amount of Netflix regions that Surfshark works with.
It's a close call on this one but since it is NordVPN vs Surfshark, we had to choose a winner, even if it only slightly better than the other one.
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3. Concurrent Connections
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.
On the other hand, we have Surfshark, which offers unlimited simultaneous connections per license.
A single license obtained at an even lower price, as we will discuss further down will protect as many devices as you or your entire family own. 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.
As stated, Surfshark is a clear winner. Despite NordVPN's pretty good 6 simultaneous connections, it cannot compare to the younger competitor's unlimited coverage.
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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 use 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 two browser extensions, you can use NordVPN on pretty much any device that can use at least one of the two browsers. Browser extensions essentially give you nearly an unlimited number of devices to protect with NordVPN today.
The 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 locations.
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, 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 NordVPN by serving unlimited devices, including desktop VPN apps and mobile apps. These are feature-packed apps that have a lot to offer, regardless of a 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 also offers Chrome and Firefox extensions, so it also covers as many devices as can run one or both of the browsers.
Another similarity between the two 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.
Furthermore, Surfshark also covers gaming platforms like PS and Xbox, which were clearly left out by NordVPN. Note that you can further improve Surfshark's 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.
This is important, as it combines simplicity with advanced features, like split tunneling. 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.
Although Surfshark appears to cover more devices, these don't have dedicated apps and would require manual setup. The same could be said for NordVPN. Surfshark is not bad, however, but there is a reason for this decision.
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 prices of NordVPN and Surfshark. NordVPN has relatively standard prices for its plans, and it has four different plans for you to choose from.
As we are about to see, this is a VPN whose plans are focused on long-term dedication, which could be good or bad, depending on what you need.
NordVPN's plans look like this:
- 1-month plan: $11.95 per month
- 15-month plan: $3.93 per month
- 2-year plan: $3.30 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.
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 choice.
Only note that you need to pay long-term plans 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 the prices change frequently. 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. This service offers only three plans, like most services. The plans themselves are similar in terms of length, and they look like this:
- 1-month plan: $12.95 per month
- 24-month plan: $2.49 per month
- 24-month ‘One' plan: $3.98 per month
It is immediately apparent that this VPN also offers only a monthly plan and then jumps straight to the two year one.
However, other than that, you will quickly notice that its monthly price is slightly higher, but its discounts for long-term plans are more significant. 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, 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 plans are of mostly the same length. 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.
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. It has several thousands of specialty 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 managed to beat the other service, despite its great offering.
Where 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 colors.
Finally, Surfshark offers lower prices for their standard VPN service.
At the end of the NordVPN vs Surfshark comparison, we can say that neither of the two VPN services is bad.
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. So, it did what it could to provide a better deal, 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.