Two hands holding smartphones. One with Surfshark's logo on its screen, and the other with Nord VPN's.

There is no tool more important than a Virtual Private Network (VPN) for protecting your data and privacy online. With your cybersecurity at stake, you will want the best service available. 

In this NordVPN vs. Surfshark comparison review, we will dissect these two giants of the VPN industry. From key performance metrics to pricing and additional features, no stone will be left unturned. So, should you go swimming with the sharks or climb the Northern peaks?

Note: The comparison was last updated in April, 2024.

Table of contents

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    Surfshark vs. NordVPN: at a glance

    In short, NordVPN has a larger server network, offering over 6,000 servers in 111 countries, while Surfshark has 3200 servers in 100 countries. However, Surfshark allows unlimited simultaneous connected devices, while NordVPN caps the number of devices at ten. Pricing-wise, Surfshark costs less across all plans.

    Let’s take a deeper look at what they offer and try to establish a clearer distinction between the two.

    Surfshark
    NordVPN
    Simultaneously connected devices
    Unlimited
    10
    Server countries
    100
    No. of servers
    3200+
    6000+
    Lowest monthly price
    $2.19/mo
    $3.69/mo
    Protocols
    WireGuard, OpenVPN, IKEv2
    WireGuard (NordLynx), OpenVPN, IKEv2
    Cookie pop-up blocker
    check
    check
    Ad blocker
    check
    check
    Independent audit
    check
    check
    10 Gbps servers
    check*
    check
    24/7 support
    check
    check
    Money-back guarantee
    30 days
    30 days
    Operating systems
    MacOS, Windows, Android, iOS, Linux, Chromebook, tvOS
    MacOS, Windows, Android, iOS, Linux, Chromebook, tvOS
    Data encryption
    AES-256
    AES-256
    No-logs policy
    check
    check
    Dedicated IP address
    check
    check
    Malware blocker
    check
    check
    Data breach alert
    check
    check

    *Available in specific locations only

    Disclaimer: The displayed pricing, server details and features in this article are correct as of April 2024 and are subject to change.

    Surfshark vs. NordVPN: price

    Money, money, money, must be funny in a rich man’s world.

    The ABBA hit from the 70s rings as true today as it did back then. But if you want to be smart, not funny, about your money, you should consider VPN prices before choosing your service provider.

    Both NordVPN and Surfshark offer 1-month, 12-month, and 24-month plans. NordVPN offers a slightly cheaper 1-month plan at $12.99/month compared to Surfshark’s $15.45/month offer.

    But Surfshark’s offerings of $3.49/month for a 12-month plan and $2.19/month for a 24-month plan are much cheaper than NordVPN’s $4.59/month for 12 months and $3.69/month for 24 months.

    Basic/Starter Plan
    Surfshark
    NordVPN
    1 month
    $15.45
    $12.99
    12 months
    $3.49/month
    $4.59/month
    24 months
    $2.19/month
    $3.69/month
    Money-back guarantee
    30 days
    30 days

    Payment options

    Both service providers accept credit cards, PayPal, Sofort, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, and crypto. NordVPN even offers a chance to pay by cash in retail locations in 6 different countries.

    Key takeaway:

    Unless you plan on quitting the internet soon, long-term plans are the way to go with VPN providers. Surfshark offers cheaper long-term plans, NordVPN costs slightly less for a 1-month plan, and both providers offer the same 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try out their services worry-free.

    Server locations

    The number of locations and servers are among the key metrics you should be looking at when deciding on a VPN provider. 

    Surfshark: 3200+* servers in 100 countries.

    NordVPN: 6000+ servers in 111 countries.

    *Some Surfshark VPN servers are virtual and don’t have a physical location.

    Both providers have servers in each major continent, but what about the number of countries in them?

    Surfshark (countries in continent)
    NordVPN (countries in continent)
    The Americas
    17
    8
    Europe
    46
    37
    Asia Pacific
    27
    11
    Middle East and Africa
    8
    4

    The more servers you have to choose from, the more likely you are to enjoy fast connection speeds. That’s because the servers don’t get too busy, and even if they do, you will usually be able to switch to a less crowded server nearby. 

    Server locations can be as crucial for a fast connection as the number of servers. Having more location choices means that you will be able to connect to a server close to you. The smaller the distance between you and the server, the faster your connection.

    When it comes to the battle of Surfshark vs. NordVPN, your needs dictate who wins this round. NordVPN has more servers. Both of them have also been upgrading to 10Gbps servers, which should result in better connectivity.

    Perhaps more importantly, NordVPN has more servers and locations in North America and Europe, while Surfshark offers more options in South America, Asia, and Africa. Therefore, you should go with the provider that offers more options in countries you anticipate connecting to the most.

    Key takeaway:

    Surfshark covers more countries worldwide, but Nord has more servers in each location. Your choice should depend solely on who has more servers in locations you need to access. NordVPN might be the better option for North America and Europe, while Surfshark offers more options in the rest of the world.

    Server speeds

    Speed is the name of the game in the VPN industry nowadays. The 24 hours we have in our days are rarely enough anymore. An extra minute of download time or a couple more seconds for a page to load can be enough to deter some people from using a certain VPN.

    Thankfully, Surfshark and NordVPN are two of the fastest VPNs. We ran some tests using the Ookla Speed Test tool to determine which is faster. 

    Note: before we look at the numbers, we must say that speed test results will vary between users. Some key performance factors are the distance between you and the server, server speed and crowdedness, and who your internet service provider is.

    To determine a baseline speed, we first ran a test without connecting to a VPN:

    • Download speed (Mbps): 272,47;
    • Upload speed (Mbps): 215,80;
    • Ping (ms): 5.

    After determining the baseline, we ran tests on a local server as well as three international servers in Dallas, Sydney, and Tokyo. We used the WireGuard protocol — the fastest option for both services. Here’s how it all panned out:

    Speed type
    Surfshark
    NordVPN
    Local server download speed (Mbps)
    238.46
    236.50
    Local server upload speed (Mbps)
    190.08
    179.71
    Local server ping (ms)
    44
    10
    International server download average (Mbps)
    181,09
    189,06
    International server upload average (Mbps)
    60,5
    59,92
    International server ping average (ms)
    237
    237

    Once again, the results are ridiculously close. The difference is so small that it’s nearly impossible to feel, and either provider can be slightly faster or slower on any given day.

    The only significant takeaway is that NordVPN had a lower local server ping. This may be because the NordVPN local server is closer to that of Surfshark, but it’s something worth noting. The international server ping average was identical for both providers.

    Key takeaway:

    The speed difference between NordVPN and Surfshark is paper thin. Both download and upload speeds were nearly identical in local and international servers, and so was the international server ping average. Needless to say, both are great if you’re looking for speed in a VPN.

    Streaming performance

    We all hate buffering. That’s a fact. And it always gets worse as the movie gets closer to its climax. Choosing a VPN with fast server speeds is a surefire way to avoid buffering. Luckily, we have already established that both Surfshark and NordVPN have some of the fastest servers in the business.

    Your connection speed is likely to be different from ours. Thankfully, Netflix provides internet connection speed recommendations for watching their content. You can run your own speed tests and measure the results against these metrics.

    Recommended speed (Mbps)
    High definition (HD) – 720p
    3 Mbps
    Full high definition (FHD) – 1080p
    5 Mbps
    4K/Ultra HD (UHD)
    15 Mbps

    There is one more thing you need to consider when choosing a VPN for streaming. You need to check if the VPN works with your preferred streaming services. Both NordVPN and Surfshark support streaming on all of the most popular streaming platforms.

    Surfshark
    NordVPN
    Netflix
    check
    check
    Hulu
    check
    check
    Amazon Prime Video
    check
    check
    Disney+
    check
    check
    BBC iPlayer
    check
    check
    HBO Max
    check
    check
    YouTube
    check
    check

    Key takeaway:

    Both providers offer fast server speeds and support streaming on all major platforms. Either Surfshark or NordVPN would be great choices for watching content online.

    Disclaimer: Please note that using Surfshark services for any illegal activities is strictly forbidden and violates our Terms of Service. Make sure that any use of Surfshark services for your particular activities conforms to all relevant laws and regulations, including those of any service providers and websites you access using Surfshark.

    Gaming

    Gaming-wise, let’s see which provider is worthy of the best VPN for gaming title. Both VPNs go toe-to-toe:

    • Offer lightning-fast speeds;
    • Have 10Gbps port servers;
    • Provide enough servers and locations for the entire world to connect to.

    When considering a gaming VPN, search for a provider with a Dedicated IP feature or static IP servers. Luckily, both Surfshark and Nord VPN have this feature.

    Your IP changes whenever you connect to a VPN, even when gaming. That may get you banned because your gaming platform sees you signing in from a different IP and perceives it as someone else trying to access your account via a different IP.

    To prevent such accidental bans, static IP servers and Dedicated IPs maintain an IP address that, when connected to, maintains a single IP.

    So far, it’s a tie.

    Key takeaway:

    Both providers offer fast server speeds and support streaming on all major platforms. Either Surfshark or NordVPN would be great choices for gaming or watching content online.

    Security and encryption

    Surfshark
    NordVPN
    VPN Protocols
    WireGuard, OpenVPN, IkeV2
    WireGuard (NordLynx), OpenVPN, IkeV2
    MFA protection
    check
    check
    Antivirus
    check*
    uncheck
    Breach monitor
    Data encryption
    AES-256
    Cloaking technology
    NoBorders obfuscation
    Obfuscated servers
    App security
    Kill Switch
    DNS status
    Private DNS
    Private DNS

    *not part of the base VPN plan

    Encryption

    AES (Advanced Encryption Standard)-256 encryption is used by both providers. It is an industry-leading encryption algorithm that is nearly impossible to crack.

    Kill Switch

    Both NordVPN and Surfshark VPN offer an extra layer of security on all platforms with a Kill Switch feature. This tool shuts down your internet connection if your VPN connection drops. 

    It may sound inconvenient, but that’s the only way to ensure your data and privacy are always protected. 

    Cloaking technology

    Sometimes, you may need to hide that you are using a VPN. And both VPN services allow you to do so with their obfuscated servers.

    Why would you want to hide the fact that you’re using a VPN? Using a VPN is illegal in some countries. And other countries are very restrictive about internet use and censor it.

    Obfuscated servers hide the fact that you’re using a VPN by making your traffic look like regular online traffic. Even if you don’t have any internet restrictions in your country, obfuscated servers let you browse the web with more privacy from your internet provider.

    Key takeaway:

    Surfshark and NordVPN share the same security and encryption features. That’s something you can expect, with security and privacy being their top priority. You get industry-leading encryption, protocols, and extra features with both providers.

    NordVPN vs. Surfshark: extra features

    Feature
    Surfshark
    NordVPN
    Ad blocker
    check
    check
    Cookie pop-up blocker
    check
    check
    Split tunneling
    check
    check
    Browser extensions
    check
    check
    Smart DNS
    check
    check
    Double VPN
    check
    check
    GPS spoofing
    check
    uncheck
    Dedicated IP*
    check
    check
    Alternative ID
    check
    uncheck
    eSIM*
    uncheck
    TBD

    Ad blocker

    Surfshark’s CleanWeb and NordVPN’s Threat Protection both include an ad blocking feature. They also block malicious websites and phishing attempts.

    Keep in mind that neither of these is an antivirus. It will not block all phishing attempts, malicious websites, or ads. So stay away from suspicious links at all costs. 

    Split tunneling

    When a VPN is active, it usually tunnels (encrypts) all your data. Split tunneling is used if you need some of your data unaffected by a VPN. Both NordVPN and Surfshark VPN include this feature in their services.

    A split tunnel is useful for securing sensitive data, accessing wireless devices, using two different IPs at once, and excluding data-heavy apps that are slowing down your VPN connection. 

    Smart DNS

    Unfortunately, many smart TVs and gaming consoles don’t yet support VPNs. However, you can access content on these devices thanks to the smart DNS (Domain Name System) feature.

    Both companies offer the smart DNS feature. It does take a little bit of effort to set up, but there are extensive guides to help you out with that.

    Disclaimer: Please note that using Surfshark services for any illegal activities is strictly forbidden and violates our Terms of Service. Make sure that any use of Surfshark services for your particular activities conforms to all relevant laws and regulations, including those of any service providers and websites you access using Surfshark.

    Double VPN

    A Double VPN is exactly what it sounds like. It gives you extra security by routing your traffic through two VPN servers. Surfshark calls it MultiHop, but it is the same service as Nord’s Double VPN. 

    Be aware that using Double VPN can slow down your connection. Only use the service if you really need the extra security and not when casually browsing or streaming.

    GPS spoofing

    Regular use of a VPN does hide your IP address but does not hide your location from the GPS function. Surfshark does offer a GPS override feature on its Android app that helps you hide your location from the GPS. NordVPN doesn’t provide GPS spoofing options.

    Dedicated IP

    A dedicated IP is an IP address that belongs to you only and always remains the same when using a VPN. NordVPN offers a dedicated IP address in 18 countries worldwide; however, it is a paid service without a free static IP alternative.

    Surfshark has static IP addresses in 6 countries that are included in the base plan and don’t require you to make extra purchases. As of April 2023, Surfshark also offers a paid Dedicated IP feature with 14 locations in 10 countries.

    So if you simply need a static IP that would not change while using a VPN, Surfshark has got you covered without any additional costs. If you want a dedicated IP address, both NordVPN and Surfshark offer this as a paid feature.

    Alternative ID

    Alternative ID is a feature unique to Surfshark that lets you create a new online identity and email address to stay anonymous. Useful for when you don’t want to use your real credentials when signing up for services.

    eSIM

    NordVPN launched their new eSIM Saily on March 27, 2024. This new service helps users find affordable data plans in one place. Users are able to choose from hundreds of countries and dozens of plans to get the deals that are best for them. 

    As stated by Vykintas Maknickas, the Head of Product Strategy at Nord Security, Saily ensures that you don’t need to use public Wi-Fi networks you don’t trust to access the internet. 

     

    Key takeaway:

    Both NordVPN and Surfshark have loads of useful features. Many overlap, while others are only offered by one of the service providers. The only winner here is you, getting a chance to choose a VPN with features that suit your personal needs.

    VPN protocols

    Both providers use the same VPN protocols with only minor differences.

    Protocol
    Surfshark
    NordVPN
    OpenVPN
    check
    check
    IKEv2
    check
    check
    WireGuard
    check
    check(NordLynx)

    The only real distinction between the two is that NordVPN offers NordLynx, a protocol built around Wireguard. NordVPN states that this protocol makes your VPN connection even more secure.

    When it comes to speed, WireGuard is the fastest protocol for either provider. IKEv2 is also valued for its speed and ability to switch networks on demand. OpenVPN is chunkier and slower than either of the protocols above. Still, users value its security, stability, and the fact that it is the only protocol many routers natively support.

    Key takeaway:

    Both VPN providers offer the best protocols currently available. The extra features offered by NordLynx are the only thing that separates NordVPN and Surfshark.

    Audits

    In the olden times, a VPN company could have gotten away by just saying that their services are secure. Nowadays, some companies undergo independent security audits to prove they are worth your trust. 

    Some of the most reputable auditors are Cure53, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), and firms within the Big Four.

    Surfshark audits

    To show how serious they are about security, Surfshark had Cure53 audit its browser extensions in 2018. A 2021 audit of the whole infrastructure followed, once again done by Cure53.

    The only thing missing was definite proof of their no-logs statement. It was achieved at the end of 2022 by an assurance report from Deloitte, one of the Big Four firms.

    In December 2023, Surfshark’s app for Android passed the MASA independent security audit. Surfshark app was tested for sensitive data handling, user authentication, secure session management, cryptography, code quality, and API security.

    Neither of these audits found any serious issues, and any potential minor issues were quickly resolved.

    NordVPN audits

    NordVPN has already completed three separate no-logs policy audits. PricewaterhouseCoopers completed the first two in 2018 and 2020, while Deloitte completed the most recent no-logs assurance report at the end of 2022. 

    The company also underwent a complete security audit of NordVPN’s apps by VerSprite in 2019. As was the case with Surfshark, no critical security issues were found in any of NordVPN’s audits. Any other possible threats were quickly taken care of.

    Key takeaway:

    Both NordVPN and Surfshark put their money where their mouth is. They have undergone audits by some of the biggest names in the industry to prove themselves as some of the best VPN providers.

    Privacy

    Securing your privacy is one of the most important reasons for using a VPN. Thankfully, both VPN providers have made your privacy their priority. They back it up with their no-logs policies and the headquarters locations.

    No-logs

    When a VPN service provider says they have a no-logs policy, that means they don’t track your location, sell your data, or collect any data that is not required to provide their services. They will still need to collect some of your data. This may include your payment information, username, and email address.

    Both Surfshark VPN and NordVPN have recently had their no-logs statements approved by Deloitte. NordVPN also had two prior no-logs policy audits. So you can be sure that your privacy is safe with either of the two.

    RAM-only servers

    Having a no-logs policy is common amongst VPN providers nowadays. But Surfshark and NordVPN took their security to another level by switching to RAM-only servers

    This means that they don’t store data on physical drives. If it’s not there, it cannot be taken in the case of a break-in. All existing data is wiped off every time a server shuts down or is restarted, which ensures the highest level of security possible.

    Headquarters locations

    When choosing a VPN, make sure their headquarters are located in a country with no data retention laws. NordVPN is based in Panama, while Surfshark is based in the Netherlands. Both countries allow the VPN provider to protect your privacy completely.

    Key takeaway:

    Both providers have had their no-logs statements approved. Both headquarters are in ideal locations, and both use RAM-only servers. Your privacy is as safe as it can be whether you choose Surfshark or NordVPN.

    Customer support

    Both NordVPN and Surfshark offer live chat and email support, an extensive knowledge base, and YouTube channels with loads of useful information.

    Customer service
    Surfshark
    NordVPN
    Live chat
    check
    check
    Ticket support
    check
    check
    Email support
    check
    check
    Searchable knowledge base
    check
    check
    Video guides

    We ran some tests to see how everything really works. In both cases, customer support agents were quick to answer live chat requests and seemed knowledgeable. 

    If the issue was too problematic to solve on the spot, they processed it through the ticketing system and took care of it in a reasonable amount of time. Email support also did not take long to answer with solutions.

    What if you don’t feel like chatting with a customer support agent? Surfshark and NordVPN have loads of information within their searchable knowledge bases, as well as informational videos that may help solve most issues.

    Key takeaway:

    There is nothing that you are getting from one company but not the other when it comes to customer support. The support teams were well-informed and quick to respond, and the knowledge bases and YouTube guides were plentiful.

    Reddit reviews: Surfshark vs. NordVPN 

    We’ve scoured Reddit, the mecca of opinions, to bring you a Redditor’s take on Surfshark vs. NordVPN. We’ve condensed the essence of the reviews into five points:

    1. Redditors recognize NordVPN and Surfshark as excellent VPNs with strong encryption, good speeds, and no-logs policies.
    2. NordVPN is noted for its extensive server network of 6000+ servers in 111 countries, while Surfshark, with over 3200 servers in 100 countries, is highlighted as a solid contender.
    3. Some Reddit users mention NordVPN having occasional connection issues and relatively higher prices, but its large server network and strong encryption, including the NordLynx protocol, stand out.
    4. Redditors note Surfshark is more affordable, offers unlimited simultaneous connections, and boasts security features like Dynamic MultiHop (double VPN with extra steps), CleanWeb, and split tunneling.
    5. NordVPN is suggested for those prioritizing a large server network and excellent speeds, and Surfshark is for users seeking affordability and unlimited simultaneous connections.

    A Redditor named pitifulPear998 states:

    But if I had to pick, Surfshark took a slight edge with its playful visuals and straightforward navigation. NordVPN, you’re sleek, but sometimes, a girl just wants a bit of charm, you know?

    There are as many opinions as there are people, so feel free to check the Reddit’s threads and reviews for yourself:

    Surfshark vs. NordVPN recap

    Category
    Notes
    Server locations
    NordVPN has overall more servers, while Surfshark offers more servers in Asia, Africa, and South America. So your choice should depend on where you will connect to and from.
    Server speeds
    The download and upload speeds were pretty much identical, with nothing to split the two providers apart.
    Streaming performance
    Both providers offer fast VPN servers and support all major streaming platforms.
    Price
    Surfshark VPN comes in at $2.19 per month on a 2-year plan, while NordVPN costs $3.69 per month for 2 years.
    VPN protocols
    Both NordVPN and Surfshark use WireGuard, IKEv2, and OpenVPN. NordVPN offers an embellished version of WireGuard called NordLynx.
    Customer support
    Both providers have great customer support teams and extensive searchable knowledge bases.
    Audits
    Companies can speak highly of themselves all they want. Surfshark and NordVPN have proven their claims, with both companies undergoing extensive audits over the years.
    Privacy
    With approved no-logs claims, perfect locations for a VPN, and RAM-only servers, both VPN providers offer the best privacy you can hope for.
    Security and encryption
    Once again, we have nothing to pick at. NordVPN and Surfshark use the best encryption algorithm and share the same additional security features. You are in safe hands, no matter who you choose.
    Extra features
    Surfshark offers GPS spoofing, while NordVPN does not. However, NordVPN offers more dedicated IP locations. Most of their features are either identical or very similar.

    NordVPN vs. Surfshark: which one should you choose?

    If there is one conclusion that you should have reached by reading this blog post, it’s that both Surfshark and NordVPN are the crème de la crème of the VPN world. 

    NordVPN has more servers in North America and Europe, which makes it a slightly better option for connecting to and from these regions. It was also a tiny bit faster during our speed test.

    On the other hand, Surfshark has more connection options for users in Asia, Africa, and South America. Surfshark also offers unlimited simultaneous connections while being the cheaper option of the two, making it perfect if you use many devices and want to save a few extra bucks.

    No matter which one you choose to go with, you’re in good hands. Both Surfshark and NordVPN have some of the fastest servers in the industry with the best privacy and security features available today.

    More Surfshark comparisons and reviews

    Need more information before choosing a VPN? Take a look at our extensive Surfshark review to learn more about everything that Surfshark has to offer. If any doubts persist, take a gander at the other comparison reviews and see how Surfshark does against the competition.

    Browse the internet privately
    while enjoying lightning-fast speeds
    Surfshark

    FAQ

    Does Surfshark work with Netflix?

    Yes! Surfshark works with Netflix, and thanks to its blazing speeds, you can securely enjoy it without buffering.

    Is Surfshark owned by NordVPN?

    No, even though Surfshark announced its merger with Nord Security in February 2022, it continues to function as a separate company. Both NordVPN and Surfshark have kept their branding, infrastructure, employees, management, and product development separate.

    Is Surfshark better than NordVPN?

    Surfshark is not better than NordVPN, although the two are very close. That being said, Surfshark can be a better option than NordVPN if you are connecting to or from Asia or Africa or if you need unlimited simultaneous connections.