Surfshark vs NordVPN Comparison [2021 Results]

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If you have never used a VPN (Virtual Private Network), telling which one best suit your need is a difficult task. That is why we have done extensive research on two of the most popular VPNs available right now to decide which one is the best choice.

Most services brag about their traffic features and numerous protocols, but few of them deliver on these boasts. Not to mention that the information is useless to those who lack in-depth knowledge of networking concepts.

NordVPN vs SurfShark Comparison

In this review, we will explain each feature and how it affects your daily VPN usage.

We will start with a highlight of their best-selling points.

Reliable, fast speedSpeed is enough for live streaming in HD
Logs are not kept, and security is strong Extensive security and privacy features
Multiple connections are allowedThe network server is expansive
Unblocking ability is excellentUnblocks an wide list of popular services


Surfshark’s and NordVPN’s per month subscriptions are affordable at the highest fee of $11.95. Surfshark beats NordVPN with the lowest short-term offer of $1.99 a month, but NordVPN is the king for long-term VPN use with a 75% discount on the three-year plan.

Both services offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. NordVPN, however, also provides a three-year subscription plan that is not available for Surfshark users. In terms of one-year subscriptions, Surfshark’s $71.88 plan is cheaper than NordVPN’s $83.88 plan, but NordVPN has better discounts.

In inference, none of the two VPN services have a better overall subscription plan than the other.


Both are compatible with a wide range of operating systems ranging from a command line-based installer for Linux to a one-click install wizard for Windows. They also come with some extra features like extensions for browsers and automatic ad-blocking.

Both VPN have features that the other lacks, which means that the VPN you will use depends on what you are trying to do with it. NordVPN’s six simultaneous connections are impressive for a VPN service, but Surfshark buries it with its unlimited connections.

Surfshark includes Whitelister (a split tunneling feature) that lets you allow some websites and applications to bypass the VPN. NordVPN, on the other hand, automatically connects whenever it detects you on an unsecured network. 

Unblocking and Streaming

NordVPN is the winner of the best streaming services because it unblocks major streaming services, including some Netflix regional libraries. While Surfshark also unblocks most services, it is unable to unblock Eleven Sports. Some of the streaming websites that both VPN can bypass include Hulu, BBC iPlayer, NBC, ITV, Channel 4, Sky Go, Amazon Prime Video, and CBS.

Both VPN services cannot unblock streaming services from ABC.


Traffic and internet connections are most regulated in China among all other countries. China outright blocks most VPNs and prevents its citizens from having access to websites where they can be downloaded. Despite this heavy internet-restrictions from China, though, both Surfshark and NordVPN work seamlessly after proper configuration. You can do this by turning on “Obfuscate Servers” in Settings>Advanced for NordVPN or “NoBorders” in Settings>Advanced for Surfshark.


While the desktop applications for both VPNs are user-friendly, with NordVPN, you can choose a location from either a map or a list directly on the landing page. Also, since the general and advanced settings are kept separate on NordVPN, there is less room for possible errors when changing settings.

In its mobile version, the recent server and a quick connect button are now centered and front. The kill switch is removed as well as the obfuscated server feature, but ad-blocking and auto Wi-Fi protection are still available.

Surfshark offers quicker access to settings and frequently-used servers; it also makes it easier to make mistakes and more difficult to operate. The desktop version and the mobile version have a few differences with more security features being kept and some even expanded upon. An example is the ability to conserve data by sending smaller packets on mobile Wi-Fi.

Indeed, both VPNs have one-click install wizards for most operating systems, including iOS, Windows, Linux, and macOS.

Performance and Servers

Surfshark is no match for NordVPN when the criteria are servers and coverage. Surfshark is impressive, no doubt, but NordVPN has seven servers to every one of Surfshark’s. What this means is that with NordVPN, latency is lower, the connection speed is fast, interruptions are rare, and more.

The Russian bill that requires VPN companies to provide the government with access to their servers means that NordVPN has no servers in Russia. Meanwhile, Surfshark still keeps servers in Russia, but they claim their servers keep no logs. While Surfshark may be telling the truth, we will advise you to keep in mind that any use of Surfshark’s Russia server is likely monitored.

Overall, NordVPN edges out Surfshark on this one, with over 60 countries covered and over 5,700 servers online at all times.


Both Surfshark and NordVPN allow IKEv2 and OpenVPN protocols, but Surfshark is currently beta testing the open-source Shadowsocks proxy. They also use the unbreakable AES 256-bit encryption.

Their DNS servers are private, and NordVPN has a 4096-bit RSA key while Surfshark has a 2048-bit one for device communications. The RSA key types mean that NordVPN is significantly more private than Surfshark.

To bolster digital security and enhance online privacy, both NordVPN and Surfshark come with a kill switch feature that instantly blocks every online data transfer whenever there is an interruption in the network. This works alongside their private DNS servers, which disallow any third party access to your internet data and traffic.

Additionally, both NordVPN and Surfshark comes with a unique cloaking technology that is required to bypass geolocation restrictions and anti-VPN policies.

NordVPN’s Obfsproxy cloaking tool will mask your internet traffic and conceal everything that might indicate the use of a VPN. Surfshark’s NoBorders tool will also alter your internet traffic to hiding every sign that you are using a VPN.


Surfshark bases in the British Virgin Islands while NordVPN is based in Panama. Both are countries that don’t make it mandatory to share server details with the government, which makes them ideal for VPN operations.

Unlike NordVPN, which keeps no traffic information at all, Surfshark keeps some connection logs such as crash information and usage frequency. These logs are usually harmless. Since both don’t keep records of your activity, your privacy is assured, and your details are safe with both services.

It is possible to sign up with a new, temporary email address and pays for it with bitcoins, Ethereum, or Ripple.


Everyone connected to any server of both NordVPN and Surfshark shares the same IP address, which helps secure your connection even better. Since various users all have the same IP address, telling who is who becomes exceedingly difficult.

NordVPN allows you to have a private server (dedicated IP address) for just a few dollars per month, something that Surfshark does not have. None of the two offers any anti-DDoS server, but such is unneeded since all VPN services are designed to protect you from DDoS attacks.

Instead, they both come embedded with intuitive automatic systems that trigger an instant switch in the server’s IP address to combat any incoming threat or limit the effect of an ongoing attack.

Most times, these VPN services will make sure the impact of the attack is absorbed across all the servers, thereby taking the pressure off your home router to reduce the impact of the attacks to the barest minimum.

Surfshark lacks a NAT firewall to prevent hacking attempts, a feature that is present in NordVPN and marks it out as the more secure VPN choice.

Customer service

Both VPN services take customer support with the utmost seriousness. Since both services offer an extensive, easily reached knowledge base, you can solve most problems that crop up yourself. There is even a YouTube channel for NordVPN that offers walkthrough tutorials.

There is an option for live customer support chats with both VPN services. Surfshark outsources its live chat customer support while NordVPN’s live chat is an in-house thing. Both services also offer the option for email communication if you can’t access the live chat for one reason or the other.

In most cases, the customer support team of both NordVPN and Surfshark was available to respond to our request in less than a minute if initiating a request. This guarantees prompt and swift response whenever you need to make clarifications, ask questions, lodge complaints, and seek help.

However, you should keep it in mind that you may not be able to access the live chat service of both VPN programs some times. This is most likely to occur if the user is located in China.

In this instance, you may be forced to contact them only via email, with the response time much slower than their live chat services.

While the email response isn’t very fast on both VPN services, NordVPN still has the record for the faster response between the two.

Another area where NordVPN shows slightly better performance than Sufshark is in the answering pattern and tutor availability.

They both come very close when it comes to the average email response time, with NordVPN just a tad faster. Both NordVPN and Surfshark provides simple and easy to understand solutions to stubborn issues and guides to installing and configuring the programs for use. So the email option isn’t a bad idea at all if you are unable to reach them via their built-in live chat services.


Overall, deciding the better VPN service provide between these two services is a very close call as they both consistently deliver exceptional results in many areas. Surfshark’s affordability plays a significant role as it will add excellent digital security and online privacy to your web browsing experience in the most inexpensive way. Another notable feature of Surfshark VPN is an extensive network that comes without a limit, thus giving you untethered access to some of the most popular online video streaming websites in the world.

The truth is, Surfshark comes really close, but it is still no match for NordVPN.

NordVPN’s extensive network coverage and swift unlocking services clearly differentiate it from other VPN programs, making it the go-to application for anyone looking to get the best services from a VPN service provider.

It offers the best form of security and online privacy without sacrificing usability and speed. You can even opt for a dedicated UP address and customized DNS servers while concealing your online activities from the view of other devices that are on the same network with you.

In this contest between some of the most popular VPN services available right now, NordVPN is the undisputed best.

Surfshark is fast, lacks a connection limit, has strong privacy and security features, and works in china. It can also unblock popular streaming platforms and remain affordable. These features, together, make Surfshark a brilliant choice for day-to-day usage.

However, NordVPN is our choice for the overall best. NordVPN’s unlocking abilities are unmatched and its expansive server network means that connections are always stable. It emphasizes privacy and security and offers a lot of extra features for personalized use. NordVPN remains the overall better choice for your private browsing needs.

Felix Olsson

Felix Olsson

Felix Olsson is a VPN and web security expert. He is a tech enthusiast who loves testing VPN services and the latest developments in the cybersecurity world. You'll often find him either reading privacy policies or testing a new service or device.

1 Comment
  1. Everyone is talking so much about surfshark lately. Yeah, they grew like crazy last year or two, but after reading the article it is clear there is space left to improve. How do you think when the time will come when surfshark will become a better option than NordVPN?

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