NordVPN vs SurfsharkVPN 2022

When you choose a VPN, you have a lot of options. In our Best Guide and Speed Tester Guide, we’ve narrowed the list down to about 10 of the 50+ commercial brand options. Perhaps the best-known VPN service on the market, NordVPN is not only known for its TV ads and sports sponsorship, but is also appreciated by millions of people around the world for its serious and secure offerings. But if you want to narrow it down even further, what should you choose? In this article, we’ve selected and compared our top two picks – NordVPN and Surfshark.

Introduction to NordVPN

NordVPN is best known for its P2P support and excels at providing secure and fast servers for torrenting. This VPN can also unblock Netflix and other streaming services like BBC iPlayer and Hulu. NordVPN also came out on top in our test of the best VPN providers.

Introduction to Surfshark

Surfshark is considered a jack-of-all-trades. It’s worth noting that all of Surfshark servers allow you to unblock Netflix streams. It uses 256-bit AES encryption that prevents DNS, IPv6, and WebRTC leaks.

Overview

NordVPN Overview

NordVPN has an advantage over Surfshark when it comes to the total number of servers. It has more than 5,500 servers spread all over the world and offers a map interface on its website that shows the server areas. It has a presence in over 59 countries and offers up to 6 simultaneous connections.

Surfshark Overview

Surfshark has omitted the map; however, the site provides a concise list of servers with a “Connect” button. It has over 1700 servers in 63 countries worldwide. Surfshark has fewer servers than NordVPN, but it has a wider reach due to NordVPN’s presence in some other countries. Another advantage of Surfshark is that it allows unlimited simultaneous connections. If you are the kind of person who likes to have many devices like some smartphone, computer, iPad, PlayStation, Xbox, Smart TV, etc., you can connect through Surfshark and stay protected on these devices simultaneously.

Speed Comparison

Both NordVPN and Surfshark support the WireGuard VPN protocol. Since WireGuard is (usually) much faster than OpenVPN and other traditional protocols, we expected both NordVPN and Surfshark to deliver good speeds.

We conducted speed tests with NordVPN and Surfshark using 500 Mbps connections in our labs in the US. All tests were performed using the WireGuard protocol of the official VPN client. Let’s now take a look at the results.

Test 1: Los Angeles, USA

We first tested the NordVPN server in Los Angeles: 304 Mbps(On average).

Over 300 Mbps is a good speed for NordVPN.
Here’s Surfshark server in Los Angeles: 346 Mbps(On average).

At this point, Surfshark has the advantage over NordVPN, but both are pretty fast at over 300 Mbps.

Test 2: Seattle, USA

This is NordVPN server in Seattle: 445 Mbps(On average).

These are the results of our fastest VPN speed test to date. Hats off to NordVPN!
And here’s Surfshark server in Seattle: 308 Mbps(On average).

At the Seattle location, NordVPN has a big advantage.
We ran a few other tests with each VPN rating and the results were similar. Both VPNs are fast when using the WireGuard VPN protocol.

Note: Not all VPNs that use the WireGuard protocol are fast. For example, NordVPN and Private Internet Access also support WireGuard. However, in a comparison of NordVPN and PIA, Nord beat the competition.

Surfshark is slower with OpenVPN

One of Surfshark’s drawbacks is with the OpenVPN protocol. When testing speed with OpenVPN, it struggled to exceed 100Mbps, which is below average for fast VPNs. For example, here you can see Surfshark OpenVPN server in Los Angeles, which achieved a download speed of around 81Mbps(On average).

We found that most of our Surfshark OpenVPN speed tests were in the 70 to 90Mbps range. That’s not very good.

In comparison, NordVPN OpenVPN speeds were found to be between 200 and 270 Mbps. Even with NordVPN’s dual-hop servers (routing traffic through two different VPN servers), we still achieved good speeds. Here’s NordVPN US-Canada (dual VPN) server using the OpenVPN protocol.

NordVPN offers excellent speeds with the OpenVPN protocol as well as WireGuard.

Winner for Speed Comparison: NordVPN

Special Features

Both providers offer a kill switch, which is considered a special feature of VPNs and is placed on the desktop. Surfshark offers a multi-hop connection, similar to NordVPN’s feature that causes the IP address to change twice before reaching the destination server. Both support P2P, so you can obtain your favorite Linux distribution as a torrent (and possibly other digital sharing activities of dubious legality, which we strongly advise against).

NordVPN has some interesting features that Surfshark doesn’t offer. NordVPN also offers Onion Over VPN, which allows you to use the anonymizer Onion with Nord VPN. NordVPN also allows you to purchase dedicated IP addresses, which can help you if you work with anonymous servers or gaming connections. NordVPN also offers business plans.

Both providers offer malware and adware filtering, though Surfshark’s AdBlock VPN features seem to be a bit more comprehensive: Surfshark also offers a so-called Masquerade mode, which the company says prevents your local ISP from learning that you’re surfing the web with a VPN. NordVPN does have a blog post about whitelisting, but it seems that whitelisting is not really a customer feature. In contrast, Suftshark uses its split tunneling feature as whitelisting.

Both providers come into play with most of the expected features. Nord has some business-oriented features, while Surfshark has some features that provide limited additional personal privacy – but to really verify this, a thorough test is required. That’s why we call the draw specific features.

Winner for Special Features: Tie

China Setup

NordVPN tops the list of best VPNs in China along with Surfshark’s competitors. Once again, NordVPN’s sheer speed helps it win this round, as using a stealth VPN, let alone Tor over VPN, slows down the connection speed significantly. Speed aside, we’ll soon see what advantages Surfshark has over its competitors.

For starters, all of Surfshark’s servers support covert servers (stealth VPN), while NordVPN offers 17 locations in 14 countries. On the other hand, if you’re in China and trying to overcome Deep Packet Inspection (DPI), it doesn’t make much sense to connect to a European or US server. Also, Surfshark borderless mode should be used in conjunction with camouflage mode for best results.

Winner for China Setup: NordVPN

Logging

Both providers claim not to keep logs and are located in countries that don’t have to store user data – NordVPN in Panama and Surfshark in the British Virgin Islands.

That’s a good start, but we’d like to see evidence to back up these claims – usually in the form of independent audits. The good news is that NordVPN claim of zero logging has been confirmed by PwC.

Surfshark was audited in some form by Cure53 in 2018, but that was only for its browser extension, and we’d like to see more clarity on its privacy policy. In terms of transparency alone, NordVPN wins this contest.

Winner for Logging: NordVPN

Streaming and Unblocking

Services NordVPN Surfshark

Netflix

Over a dozen libraries including Netflix US, UK, Australia, Canada, Japan, Netherlands
US, UK, France, India, Japan, Netherlands

Hulu

US, Japan
US, Japan

Sky Go

Yes
Yes

Prime Video

US, UK
US, UK

ABC

No
No

Channel 4

Yes
Yes

ITV

Yes
Yes

NordVPN is a favorite among frequent streamers, in part because it unlocks many of the most popular streaming services abroad. However, Surfshark performs admirably in this regard, keeping up with NordVPN in most of our tests.

While Surfshark was able to unblock some major platforms, it was unable to bypass Eleven Sports’ geoblocking, while NordVPN was. In addition, none of the services were able to unblock ABC.

NordVPN, however, was able to unlock the Netflix library in several regions. It’s worth noting that both VPNs technically unlock Netflix on any server you choose; if they can’t unlock a library, they simply redirect you to the US version.

Winner for Streaming and Unblocking: NordVPN

Gaming Experience

As a gamer, I know that the most important metric in gaming is latency (sometimes called ping). Latency is the time it takes for your command to reach the server and for the result of the command (movement, shot, etc.) to be returned to your device.

I know first hand that VPNs are not often used in gaming because they have a bad reputation for increasing latency (due to the extra server connection). However, I was pleasantly surprised by Surfshark’s results.

Remember, the lower the ping (in ms), the better!

Games Without VPN NordVPN Surfshark

Rocket League

34ms
75ms
33ms

Call of Duty : War Zone

39ms
54ms
50ms

Apex Legends

31ms
44ms
35ms

In testing, Surfshark showed lower ping than NordVPN in all three games, and in Rocket League, my ping was even lower than my base ping when connecting with Surfshark. I believe the VPN took a more direct route to the game server than my ISP, resulting in a lower ping.

Surfshark’s lower latency scores make it a good choice for gaming, and it wins this category.

Winner for Gaming: Surfshark

Which is more Secure?

In what is probably the most important test, we now compare the privacy and security features of the two providers.

NordVPN has excellent 2048-bit dual encryption and offers some very interesting features like Dual VPN and Onion over VPN, which uses an encrypted Tor network for ultimate privacy at lower speeds.

Surfshark also impresses with its own MultiHop technology, which works similarly to Nord’s Double VPN. While you can’t route through the Tor network, Surfshark offers HackLock and BlindSearch to protect your online identity.

NordVPN supports OpenVPN, IPSec/IKEv2, NordLynx (Wireguard) and SSTP, while Surfshark supports OpenVPN UDP and TCP, L2TP, IKEv2 and Shadowsocks. Wireguard will also be available soon. So there’s a lot to choose from.

One thing that sets NordVPN apart from other providers is its regular independent auditing. This means that the VPN allows unbiased third parties to access your servers and source code to confirm privacy policies and look for vulnerabilities.

Winner for Secure: NordVPN

Pricing Plans

As the table below shows, Surfshark’s cheapest package is cheaper than NordVPN’s. NordVPN’s single-month package is slightly cheaper, but for a long-term package, Surfshark is obviously much cheaper. The monthly costs for the different subscriptions are listed in the table below.

Provider 1 Month 6 Months 1 Year

NordVPN

$11.95
-
$4.92/Month

Surfshark

$12.95
$6.49/Month
-

Note: For long-term subscriptions, you usually pay only once for the entire subscription period. Therefore, you are billed per subscription period, not per month. Although we try to keep this table as up-to-date as possible, you should always visit the VPN provider website to check the current prices.

Winner For Pricing: Surfshark

Pricing Methods and Refund Policy

NordVPN pays as for cryptocurrencies, it accepts Ethereum and Ripple at the time of writing this comparison.

Surfshark offers several credit card payment options, including Master Card, Visa, PayPal, and Discover. It also supports 3 cryptocurrencies, namely Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple.

Finally, both providers also offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. Therefore, Surfshark and NordVPN are very similar in terms of payments, pricing, and refunds. However, Surfshark has a slight advantage due to its cheaper price.

It is very important that the provider you choose has a clear refund policy. There are some providers that offer refunds on a case-by-case basis, and you don’t want to have to stay in contact with them about your money. If you decide not to continue your subscription, there is a possibility that your refund request will be rejected. So, be sure to check their refund policy before committing to any VPN provider. Although refund policy may seem questionable, it is still one of the best VPN provider in the industry and can compete with the top VPN providers

Winner for Pricing Methods & Refund Policy: Surfshark

Privacy

Given the ubiquity of security breaches and hacking attacks, it’s no surprise that nearly 80% of Americans say they’re concerned about how much personal data companies collect about them. If data collection is a bug, then VPN are used to remove the bug of online tracking and allow users to remain private online.

Privacy Jurisdiction

Neither Surfshark nor NordVPN are based in countries that are members of the Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and Fourteen Eyes international surveillance consortium (specifically the British Virgin Islands and Panama). This means that companies are never legally required to hand over user data to governments, which is ideal for a service that exists for the purpose of giving users privacy.

Privacy Policy

We also read each VPN’s privacy policy to see what data the VPN stores. Here’s what we found.

  • What both NordVPN and SurfShark log: Email addresses, payment details, app diagnostics like crash error reports.
  • What NordVPN logs that SurfShark doesn’t: Device IP address used for payments, server load information, username, timestamp of last session state, whether the user connected in the last 30 days, in-app event information, device model, OS version, device ID.
  • Surfshark logs things that NordVPN does not: Encrypted passwords.
  • What is not logged: Network activity, IP address when connecting to the VPN.

Servers

Servers NordVPN Surfshark

Number of Servers

5000+
53+

Number of Countries

60+
35+

Obfuscation

Yes
Yes

Speed

27.91 Mbps
24.91 Mbps

In terms of performance, the winner is clear. In total, NordVPN has 5,000 servers spread across 59 countries. Surfshark, has 1,040 servers in around 60 countries. That’s an impressive reach, but nothing comes close to what NordVPN has to offer.

You want a VPN network with many servers, because that means the entire network is less congested. This makes it more likely that you’ll get a high-speed, low-latency connection, so you can stream and surf uninterrupted during your free time.

With Surfshark, you can still get a good connection, but with NordVPN, you’re less likely to have problems at peak times.

Winner for Server: NordVPN

Adblocker

The ability to block ads is a very common feature in advanced vpn apps in 2022.

NordVPN has a CyberSec feature that, when enabled, blocks intrusive ads on websites and video platforms like YouTube. It also has a malware blocker that protects your device from known phishing and malware-infected websites.

Besides ad-blocking, the CleanWeb feature protects your device from malware infections and is used to launch DDoS against other servers.

Surfshark and NordVPN are also good options if you are looking for a vpn that will protect you from distractions, annoying ads as well as phishing sites.

Browser Plugins

Both Firefox and Chrome have browser extensions for mobile devices and desktop. With these extensions, you can also use an ad blocker and enable WebRTC-enabled blocking to further protect yourself from web traffic leaks.

In terms of usability, both NordVPN and Surfshark have an architecture that is very easy to configure. Their applications have a nice user interface and are quite stable.

Winner for Browser plugins: Surfshark

Multiplatform Compatibility

When using Surfshark, I was able to connect an unlimited number of devices simultaneously as part of my subscription. I was able to use my iPhone, my Android tablet, and my Windows-enabled laptop at the same time without any issues.

Surfshark also runs on Linux and has extensions for the Chrome and Firefox browsers.

For Fire TV and Apple TV, the website gives very simple instructions.

NordVPN allows up to six devices to connect simultaneously. These gadgets can be Windows, iOS, macOS, Android and Linux. As with Surfshark, a browser extension is also available.

If you want to connect multiple devices and use Apple TV with a VPN, NordVPN offers a special router with VPN support at a discounted price.

Winner for Multiplatform Compatibility: Surfshark

Customer Support

I contacted chat support for both VPNs to see if they were any good. The NordVPN representative was prompt, personable and detailed. Meanwhile, Surfshark wasn’t there at all. Instead, a chatbot entertained me and gave vague answers, which frustrated me. It really would have been better to talk to a real human.

Both VPNs have an extensive online knowledge base. Unfortunately, only NordVPN offers a detailed video tutorial. Surfshark makes up for it with descriptions and screenshots, which isn’t very good. It’s just much better to see how I solved my problem.

If you want to learn more about the customer support offered by each service, please check out the following.

Support NordVPN Surfshark

Live Chat

Yes
Yes

Email and Ticket Support

Yes
Yes

Phone Support

No
No

Average Response Time

3 Hours
4 Hours

Winner for Customer support: NordVPN

Frequently Asked Questions

Which VPN is the best for streaming?

Both NordVPN and Surfshark are among the few VPNs that reliably remove geo-restrictions when streaming on popular platforms.NordVPN stands out for several services, including Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer, due to the size and efficiency of its global network. Plus, NordVPN lets you achieve faster speeds so you can fully enjoy HD video content without buffering.

Will NordVPN slow down your Internet speed?

Actually, all VPNs slow down connection speeds to some extent, as traffic is sent to the VPN server for encryption. The physical distance between you and the server also affects the speed, so the further away the server is, the more your download and upload speeds will be affected. Compared to most VPNs, NordVPN is one of the least slowing in terms of your internet speed. In most cases, you won’t notice a noticeable drop in speed when connecting to a local server.

Does NordVPN have a bandwidth limit?

No, NordVPN does not limit bandwidth usage or speed like most advanced VPNs (including Surfshark) do. Note that due to the way VPNs work, you may experience slower connection speeds when using a VPN.

How do I know if Surfshark is working?

The main screen of the Surfshark app you are using will tell you if you are successfully connected to the VPN server. If you click on the white arrow above the “Connected” status, you will see your new IP address and the total amount of data sent through the VPN tunnel. You can further verify the security of your VPN by visiting an independent website and performing IP and DNS leak tests.

Is Surfshark VPN better than NordVPN?

Saying one is the best is not a good move, as both Surfshark and NordVPN are good in terms of security and features. Price-wise, Surfshark costs less than NordVPN for 24 months.

Bottom line

This was probably the most difficult decision we’ve ever made. We compared the two best options on the VPN market and honestly, I didn’t think NordVPN would be beaten in this battle.

No matter which provider you choose, you’ll get the best features, the highest speed, and the best user experience. Buy both products with confidence.

SAFE VPN

9.5/10

4.5/5
FAST VPN

9.6/10

4.5/5
USER FRIENDLY

9.5/10

4.5/5

Table of Contents

en_USEnglish