Surfshark vs NordVPN in 2023

Jan Youngren
Jan Youngren | Chief Editor
Last updated: February 6, 2023
Surfshark VS NordVPN comparison
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Which one is better, Surfshark or NordVPN? Both are great services that I can recommend to anyone. However, each of our comparisons has one winner, no matter how close the fight. So, which provider comes out on top? Check out my in-depth comparison – the results might surprise you!

In this article, I take a closer look at the most important VPN criteria, such as privacy, security, performance, and price, among others. Don’t have time to read the whole NordVPN vs Surfshark comparison? The table below should give you a good idea which Virtual Private Network better suits your needs.

Surfshark VPN vs NordVPN comparison highlights

Our rating9.6 ⭐9.4 ⭐
Current offerGet NordVPN 57% OFF!Get Surfshark 82% OFF!
Price starts from$3.49/month$2.30/month
Money-back guarantee30 days30 days
No-logs policyIndependently-auditedIndependently-audited
Servers5400+ servers in 60+ countries3200+ servers in 100+ countries
VPN protocolsNordLynx, OpenVPN, IKEv2WireGuard, OpenVPN, IKEv2
StreamingNetflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, and moreNetflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, and more

While both services are evenly matched in many aspects, NordVPN is much faster than Surfshark VPN. This can primarily be attributed to the in-house NordLynx tunneling protocol, which facilitates improved connection speeds along with better privacy. So, if you want low latency and quick loading times, get NordVPN.

Surfshark vs NordVPN – speed

According to our in-house VPN speed testing tool, NordVPN is faster than Surfshark. But the difference pales when you see how far behind them all other services are. This is because of the next-gen WireGuard tunneling protocol that both contestants have implemented.

Still, there is a difference between the two. NordVPN’s version of this protocol, known as NordLynx, is faster due to the double NAT (Network Address Translation) system. It’s also more secure as this improvement allows the VPN to establish a connection to the servers without storing any identifiable data.

Meanwhile, Surfshark utilizes the original WireGuard code. And it does come out on top in terms of connectivity and loading times, especially compared to such old protocols like OpenVPN and IKEv2. Still, it doesn’t facilitate the same level of performance as NordLynx.

NordVPN vs Surfshark VPN: 14-Day Speed Average

More live data from our VPN Speed Test tool
NordVPN Surfshark VPN
USA server
Download Speed944 Mbps788 Mbps
Upload Speed843 Mbps742 Mbps
UK server
Download Speed1,270 Mbps286 Mbps
Upload Speed1,223 Mbps295 Mbps
Germany server
Download Speed683 Mbps613 Mbps
Upload Speed1,120 Mbps1,037 Mbps

Servers

NordVPNSurfshark VPN
Servers5400+3200+
Countries60+100+
All physical serversYesNo
Owns all serversNoNo
RAM-only serversAllAll

The size of a VPN’s server fleet determines overall performance. You’re less likely to suffer from overcrowding and the problems it entails if there are hundreds of servers to pick from. And we can’t forget country coverage either, as it affects what kind of foreign content users can access.

NordVPN comes in strong with 5400+ servers across 60+ countries. There are no virtual servers, which is great for speeds, and all hardware runs on RAM modules only. Furthermore, the provider has been upgrading its fleet to 10 Gbps servers for better connectivity.

Surfshark VPN is not far behind with 3200+ RAM-only servers in 100+ countries, making it the provider with the largest country coverage. It has some virtual servers, but they are primarily in locations where having physical hardware would be dangerous. The provider is also updating its network to 10 Gbps servers to accommodate the advent of 5G technology.

Surfshark vs NordVPN – price

NordVPNSurfshark VPN
Free trial
7-day (requires Android)7-day for macOS, iOS, Android
One month
$11.99/month$12.95/month
One year
$4.99/month$3.99/month
Two years
$3.49/month$2.30/month
Money-back guarantee30 days30 days
Payment options
Credit card, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, ACH Transfer, cryptocurrencies, UnionPay, cashCredit card, PayPal, Sofort, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, cryptocurrencies, Giropay, WebMoney

Both providers come with your standard VPN pricing options, ranging from short-term plans to lengthier subscriptions. 30-day money-back guarantees protect them, and you can finalize the purchase using several popular payment methods, including cryptocurrencies.

Neither NordVPN nor Surfshark VPN has a free version. But you can test the services with the 7-day free trials instead. With the former, you can only download it via the Google Play Store but use it on any device you want after you sign up. It’s easier with Surfshark, though, as the trial is available via Google Play and Apple App Stores.

It all boils down to the price in the end. Surfshark is considerably cheaper than NordVPN, especially regarding longer plans.

NordVPN pricing

NordVPN offers a plethora of subscription options that can be categorized into tiers. The Standard selection includes:

Here, you only get the VPN service. The other two tiers – Plus and Complete – come with their own perks. The former adds the NordPass password manager and a data breach scanner, while the latter throws 1 TB of encrypted cloud storage on top. The pricing varies accordingly, but not by much.

CompletePlusStandard
Monthly plan$14.49/month$12.99/month$11.99/month
1-year plan$7.49/month$5.99/month$4.99/month
2-year plan$5.99/month$4.49/month$3.49/month

It’s possible to test the service with the NordVPN 7-day free trial. While technically it’s only available to Android devices via the Google Play Store, the provider lets you use it on other platforms once the sign-up is complete.

As for the payment options, there’s plenty to pick from. After utilizing a NordVPN coupon to get a better price, you can commit using credit cards, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, cryptocurrencies, and even cash. Lastly, everything’s insured by the 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can always request a refund if the service doesn’t meet your standards.

Surfshark VPN pricing

In comparison, Surfshark comes with fewer subscription options – three:

For an additional $1.49/month, you can also get Surfshark One. This package includes additional security features:

  • Alert. Informs you about personal data breaches in real time.
  • Search. A secure search engine that provides anonymous browsing.
  • Antivirus. Software that protects your devices from getting infected with malicious software.

Those interested in the service can take it out for a spin with the free Surfshark VPN 7-day trial. Unlike NordVPN, it’s available on macOS, iOS, and Android devices via the respective app stores.

Once you get a lower price with a Surfshark VPN discount code, pay for the subscription with the option most convenient to you. The provider supports credit cards, PayPal, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, Giropay, and even cryptocurrencies. And if things don’t work out in the long term, put the 30-day money-back guarantee to good use.

Security

NordVPNSurfshark VPN
EncryptionAES-256AES-256
ProtocolsNordLynx, OpenVPN, IKEv2WireGuard, OpenVPN, IKEv2
Security featuresDouble VPN, Tor over VPN, Threat Protection, SOCKS5 proxy, Obfuscated servers, DNS and IPv6 leak protection, split tunneling, kill switchCleanWeb, MultiHop, Bypasser (Windows & Android), Camouflage & NoBorders modes, DNS, IPv6, and WebRTC leak protection, Surfshark One, GPS spoofing (Android), kill switch

Surfshark and NordVPN offer top-notch security. Both have:

The providers pack a punch in terms of features and versatility. Each service has a number of perks that make them great in their own ways, so in this category, Surfshark and NordVPN are tied.

NordVPN security features

For a more in-depth view of what this provider has to offer, head over to our NordVPN review. As for the more notable features, subscribers get:

  • Threat Protection. It works even when you’re not connected to a VPN server and actively protects you against malicious software. It scans files for viruses, blocks advertisements, and prevents you from entering suspicious websites.
  • Double VPN. Lets users route their internet via two VPN servers instead of one for double the encryption. Great for those who want maximum untraceability.
  • Onion over VPN. Another perk that boosts your anonymity by routing your internet via the Tor network. Be aware that your speeds will slow down significantly whilst using it.
  • Obfuscated servers. A feature best used if you need to bypass restrictive firewalls and Deep Packet Inspection (DPI). It hides all traces of VPN usage, allowing you to utilize NordVPN where VPN technology is prohibited.

Surfshark VPN security features

We recommend reading our Surfshark VPN review if you want to know more about all the features this service has in store. Here’s a glimpse of what you can utilize:

  • Camouflage and NoBorders modes. Disguises all VPN traffic as regular traffic, allowing you to use the VPN in regions where this technology is banned, like China.
  • CleanWeb. An ad, tracker, and malware detection and blocking tool. The best thing about it is that CleanWeb is able to detect phishing attempts.
  • MultiHop servers. These automatically route internet traffic via two VPN servers, resulting in twice the encryption.
  • Bypasser. Surfshark’s version of split tunneling, it lets you customize your connection by routing VPN traffic via selected applications. Others not included in the list will continue working without the protection of the VPN.

Privacy

NordVPNSurfshark
JurisdictionPanamaNetherlands
LoggingIndependently-audited no-logs policyIndependently-audited no-logs policy
Anonymous payment
Cryptocurrencies, cashCryptocurrencies

While both services have strong credentials in terms of privacy, NordVPN still comes out on top. It operates from the privacy-friendly jurisdiction of Panama, a country that has no data-retention laws. Furthermore, the service’s no-logs policy has been independently-audited by PwC, one of the most dependable and capable auditing firms.

Meanwhile, Surfshark is based in the Netherlands, a member of the Fourteen Eyes alliance. It’s not exactly the best place in terms of privacy, but at least the company adheres to a strict no-logs policy independently-audited by Deloitte. Another commendable thing is that Surfshark’s browser extensions and server infrastructure have been verified by Cure53.

While both services offer cryptocurrency payment methods, NordVPN gets bonus points for letting people pay for their subscriptions with cash. It and the previously mentioned reasons make this provider a much better choice in this category.

Surfshark vs NordVPN – device compatibility

NordVPNSurfshark VPN
Major dedicated apps
Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, AndroidWindows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android
Other dedicated apps
Fire TV & Fire Stick, Android TV, Kodi add-onFire TV & Fire Stick, Android TV
Browser extensions
Chrome, Brave, Edge, FirefoxChrome, Brave, Edge, Firefox
Manual setup
Routers, firewalls, NAS, RokuRouters, firewalls, NAS, Chromebook, pfSense, Raspberry Pi
Simultaneous devices
6Unlimited

No matter which one you try, both NordVPN and Surfshark have easy-to-use apps and excellent 24/7 customer support. But even if we don’t count NordVPN’s beautiful map with all the countries marked, it still looks better than its opponent. When it comes to tweaking your settings, each provider offers enough room for customization and explains what will happen if you turn them on or off.

Desktop applications

Surfshark and NordVPN have dedicated apps for Windows, macOS, and Linux. What’s immediately noticeable is that the former pays special attention to Linux users by providing them with a sleek Graphical User Interface (GUI). It looks almost identical across all three platforms, so switching between them isn’t confusing.

Surfshark VPN app for Linux with GUI

As for Windows and Mac applications, Surfshark VPN and NordVPN offer the same interface and features, respectively. Neither OS user is missing out on security perks. However, some may find NordVPN easier to use as it also comes with a visual map you can pick servers from.

Mobile applications

Now, comparing Android and iOS applications is a whole different thing. Notably, both NordVPN and Surfshark offer fewer features for Apple phone owners. While you’re still getting the security essentials required to stay safe, the experience is less customizable.

NordVPN Android and iOS versions

Android havers are the winners here with one and the other. The apps come with the same features as their desktop counterparts and with some additional perks to boot. NordVPN includes Tapjacking protection and split tunneling, while Surfshark offers GPS Spoofing and Invisibility on LAN.

Surfshark mobile apps

NordVPN vs Surfshark – which one wins the Netflix battle?

NordVPNSurfshark
Netflix US
YesYes
Other Netflix libraries
YesYes
Other platforms
YesYes

NordVPN is the best VPN for Netflix, and Surfshark is right behind as #2. But how good Surfshark is for streaming, really?

Once again, NordVPN is faster and might give you UHD (4K) when Surfshark struggles with HD. What’s more, while Surfshark has around 3200 servers, NordVPN has more than 2000+ in the US alone, which means there’s less chance of overcrowding.

Surfshark unblocks Netflix

Both contestants of the NordVPN vs Surfshark duel easily unblock American Netflix and libraries in other countries, such as the Netherlands, the UK (which had the largest library when I was writing this comparison), or Japan. The same goes for other streaming platforms like Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, or Disney Plus.

Speaking of Kodi, none of our contestants has a dedicated app for it, but both support it and can be used together without any issues.

So, is there anything that Surfshark has and NordVPN doesn’t? The above-mentioned Smart DNS feature extends the number of supported devices with various smart TVs and game consoles. Therefore, if you have Apple TV or Xbox One and a good internet connection, go for Surfshark VPN.

Torrenting

NordVPNSurfshark VPN
Allowed on
All serversAll servers
Free SOCKS5 proxy
YesNo
Split tunneling
Yes (Windows, Android, and Android TV)Yes (Windows and Android)

All torrenting fans know that speed and security are the two main criteria when looking for a reliable P2P VPN. As I’ve mentioned earlier, NordVPN is a clear winner in the speed department, but is Surfshark a safer option for torrenting? Well, it turns out that both providers are secure enough, thanks to their kill switches and leak protection.

So the only thing left to evaluate is the extra features that can enhance your P2P experience. To start with, NordVPN allows torrenting on all servers but offers dedicated P2P hardware for optimized performance. Surfshark VPN lets you roam free on all 3200+ servers.

Moving on, NordVPN has a free SOCKS5 proxy and split tunneling, while Surfshark just offers the latter.So, is Surfshark any good for P2P? To sum up, both are among the greatest VPNs for torrenting, but this round goes to NordVPN, thanks to its sheer speed.

China

NordVPNSurfshark VPN
Works in China
YesYes
Stealth VPN
Yes (Obfuscated servers)Yes (Camouflage and NoBorders modes)
Tor over VPN
Yes (Onion over VPN)No

NordVPN and Surfshark sit at the very top of the best VPNs for China list. They effectively break through the Great Firewall of China, making them great for evading surveillance and restrictions. Both achieve this in their own ways.

NordVPN does this with obfuscated servers and Onion over VPN. The former masks VPN traffic as your regular internet traffic – as a result, you can use the VPN even when it’s technically blocked on the network. The latter routes your connection through the Tor network, where it gets encrypted several times over.

Meanwhile, Surfshark VPN utilizes Camouflage and NoBorders modes to bypass any blocks. The combination of both switches your tunneling protocol to OpenVPN with the XOR patch. Your traffic gets scrambled, making it more difficult to detect through DPI.

Customer support

NordVPNSurfshark VPN
24/7 live chatYesYes
Phone LineNoNo
Email YesYes
KnowledgebaseYesYes

Having knowledgeable professionals on hand whenever an issue arises is incredibly useful. Especially for VPN services, where some problems require in-depth comprehension of this technology.

Yet again, it’s a tie between NordVPN and Surfshark VPN. The services have 24/7 live chat support, an option to submit a ticket via email, and extensive knowledgebases with answers to all kinds of questions, and tons of tutorials.

Best VPN by category

NordVPN🥇Surfshark VPN🥈
Speed and servers
Wins✔️Loses❌
Pricing
Loses❌Wins✔️
Security
Tie🤝Tie🤝
Privacy
Wins✔️Loses❌
Compatibility
Loses❌Wins✔️
Streaming
Wins✔️Loses❌
Torrenting
Wins✔️Loses❌
China
Tie🤝Tie🤝
Customer support
Tie🤝Tie🤝
Total wins
4 out of 92 out of 9

Surfshark vs NordVPN – which is better?

And here are the results of the Surfshark vs NordVPN comparison. The latter wins in four out of nine categories. So, is NordVPN really the best? Well, Surfshark supports more devices, has better prices, and offers a 7-day free trial for Apple and Android devices.

However, when it comes to privacy, torrenting, and streaming – there’s no better choice than NordVPN. Having said that, Surfshark VPN is a great service and a close competitor that you may like even better. I advise putting the free trial versions to good use to find which one suits your needs the best.

Get NordVPN today


You may also like to read:
NordVPN Black Friday deals
Surfshark Black Friday deals
NordVPN vs CyberGhost
NordVPN vs ExpressVPN vs Surfshark VPN
NordVPN vs OpenVPN
Surfshark vs IPVanish


FAQ

Is NordVPN better than Surfshark?

NordVPN is better than Surfshark VPN in several ways. It has more reputable security credentials, due to the privacy-friendly location and independent audits, facilitates faster speeds, thanks to NordLynx, and offers robust features. Still, both providers are good and are in our top VPNs list.

Is Surfshark owned by Nord?

Surfshark and NordVPN are owned by the same parent company – Nord Security. While they technically operate under the same roof, these VPNs will remain separate for the foreseeable future.

Which is faster – Surfshark or NordVPN?

NordVPN is faster than Surfshark. While both have the next-gen WireGuard tunneling protocol, NordVPN’s implementation of it, NordLynx, is more secure and much faster due to the double NAT system.

Is Surfshark VPN reliable?

Yes, Surfshark VPN is reliable. The connections are stable and fast, the features work as intended, and a wide variety of servers ensures that geo-blocks are not a problem.

Does Surfshark work with Netflix?

Yes, Surfshark works with Netflix. It has plenty of servers around the globe and can unblock the US, UK, Canadian, and other Netflix libraries. Plus, the WireGuard tunneling protocol guarantees a buffering-free experience.

Is NordVPN the best overall?

According to our research, NordVPN is indeed the best overall VPN. It’s fast, dependable, has plenty of security features, a solid privacy policy, and an affordable price.

Top category VPN provider
1. NordVPN
9.6 / 10
Excellent security
Flawless privacy practices

Disclaimer: Affiliate links help us produce good content. Learn more.
14 comments
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  1. Doug Jensen

    Great page, thank you. What do you think of VyprVPN?


    1. avatar
      Mikaela Bray

      Hi Doug Jensen!

      Thank you for commenting. You can read the VyprVPN review and find out our opinion there.


  2. Alan

    I had Nordvpn which mirrored Samsung tablet to LG TV using built in software.
    Recently switched to Surfshark and mirroring will not connect. Error message “cannot connect due to vpn”,
    Surfshark support unable to fix.
    Any suggestions?


    1. avatar
      Ethan Payne

      Greetings, Alan. Have you tried setting up Smart DNS on your LG TV? Honestly, I’m not sure what else I can suggest if customer support couldn’t help.


  3. John

    Hello , Does Nord VPN have Camouflage mode , which is available on Surfshark? If yes what is the feature called ?


    1. avatar
      Ethan Payne

      Hello, John. Yes, NordVPN has a similar feature, and it’s called Obfuscated Servers. You can enable them from the settings menu.


  4. then and there

    Man, Surfshark vs NordVPN is even harder decision than I thought? I have a few questions: 1) is camouflage mode the same as socks5? 2) Does NordVPN have something like clean web feature? 3) What is noborders mode? Thanks for answers and I hope they will help me to choose the best vpn out there!


    1. avatar
      Ethan Payne

      Hello there. 

      1. Camouflage Mode obfuscates your VPN traffic and makes it less susceptible to content filtering. Meanwhile, SOCKS5 is just a proxy and isn’t as effective.

      2. CyberSec is a similar feature that blocks ads and malicious domains.

      3. NoBorders mode is a feature that’s meant to get around network restrictions. For example, those in restrictive countries or offices.


  5. Norm

    I’m trying to decide between Surfshark and Nordvpn. ExpressVPN does not pique my curiosity. I’ve been using it for a while now and want to try something different for streaming. What are your thoughts on these two, taking into account I’m also interested in Peacock? Thank you very much!


    1. avatar
      Ethan Payne

      Hey, Norm. Both Surfshark and NordVPN can unblock Peacock and other streaming options. Therefore, you should look at what else is important for you. NordVPN is faster, but Surfshark is cheaper. The latter also has unlimited simultaneous connections. On the other hand, NordVPN has an independently audited no-logs policy.


  6. Olli Wells

    I was always compelled by the question which is better Nordvpn or Surfshark because they both seem reliable, just one is better in terms of price, the other is better with security. So yeah, now I understand it’s just personal preference. I personally am willing to pay a little bit extra for the quality, so my choice of vpn is Nord.


    1. Kel in P

      I had NordVPN first, had problems with connectivity repeatedly. Their support was not very responsive. I had nearly two years on their special offer, but they would not do a partial refund. So it didn’t matter if I cancelled. I switched to Surfshark VPN. Works great, they will respond if there are any issues. And I can use it on multiple devices and different platforms. Windows including Windows 11, iOS, Android, and Linux. Now with unlimited connections. New features added all the time.

      I don’t miss Nord. The only time they have contacted me was when they updated their Terms of Service.


  7. Ed

    If someone asked me to take one of them for free, without looking at the price of nordvpn vs surfshark, I’d choose Nord any day, but… since I probably won’t use tor over vpn or other advanced features, and nobody is giving me them for free 😀 I choose by the price, however are there any hidden terms and conditions with surfshark? why is it so cheap?


    1. avatar
      Ethan Payne

      Hey, Ed. There are no hidden terms with Surfshark. The VPN is based in the British Virgin Islands, has been audited independently, and has a strict no-logs policy. However, I don’t know why it’s so cheap. But keep in mind that some Surfshark features cost extra so it’s actually not as cheap as it seems at first glance. 

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