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vpnMentor was established in 2014 as an independent site reviewing VPN services and covering privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize the independent, professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.
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vpnMentor was established in 2014 as an independent site reviewing VPN services and covering privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize the independent, professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.

NordVPN vs Surfshark 2024

Table of Contents

    Which VPN is better?

    Author Image James Everard
    James Everard

    Senior Writer

    NordVPN and Surfshark are owned by the same parent company, yet they’re direct competitors in the marketplace. Both services offer similar features, and the plans and pricing are almost identical. So how do you choose between them?

    Fortunately, there are a few differentiating factors that set these VPNs apart. I tested each for speed, security, streaming, torrenting, customer support, and more. And, while they’re fairly evenly matched in some areas, NordVPN ultimately took the win.

    That’s because NordVPN offers faster speeds across the board and a more customizable and effective ad blocker, so it outperforms Surfshark. You can also try NordVPN for free since it has a 30-day money-back guarantee.

    Best alternative to NordVPN

    Our Score: 9.9

    ExpressVPN is fields ahead of its competitors in almost every category. It offers some of the fastest speeds I’ve tested, its unblocking is unrivaled, and its security is virtually bullet-proof. It also has a user-friendly app suitable for beginners and experts since it’s similar on almost any supported device. All in all, its price tag is well-justified.

    Short on Time? Here Are My Key Findings

    NordVPN Surfshark
    ⭐ Overall Rating Our Score: 9.4/10

    www.nordvpn.com

    Our Score: 9.3/10

    www.surfshark.com

    💲 Lowest Monthly Price $3.39/month with an additional 3 free months of service on your first 2-year subscription $2.89/month with 2 free months only on your first 2-year subscription
    🗓️ Price on Renewal $99.48 per year
    (subject to change)
    $59.76 per year
    (subject to change)
    🤑 Coupons NordVPN 67% Off
    (24-month plan)
    Surfshark 82% Off
    (24-month plan)
    💸 Money Back Guarantee 30 days 30 days
    📺 Streaming & Unblocking Can access Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Max, ESPN, iPlayer, and more Can access Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Max, ESPN, iPlayer, Sky Go, and more
    🌍 VPN Servers 61 countries with 6,088 servers 100 countries with 3,200 servers
    ⚡ Speed 4% drop on nearby servers 6% drop on nearby servers
    🎮 Gaming Performance 6ms latency on nearby servers 10ms latency on nearby servers
    🧑‍🤝‍🧑 P2P Support On all servers, plus around 5,000 servers optimized for P2P On all servers
    🔐 Security Protocols NordLynx, OpenVPN (UDP and TCP), IKEv2/IPSec WireGuard, OpenVPN (UDP and TCP), IKEv2
    🔌 Kill Switch Yes Yes
    ✅ IP/DNS Leak Protection Yes Yes
    🏢 Based in Country Panama The Netherlands
    ⚠️ Does VPN Keep Logs No No
    Works in China No No
    #️⃣ Number of Device Connections 6 Unlimited
    💻 Device Compatibility Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, and Edge.

    Plus, extensive support for routers.

    Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, and Edge.

    Router support is less comprehensive than NordVPN.

    🔧 Customer Support 24/7 live chat, knowledge base, FAQs, and email 24/7 live chat, knowledge base, FAQs, and email

    See More NordVPN Features >>

    Streaming and Netflix Access — Surfshark Wins by a Narrow Margin

    The unblocking abilities of both NordVPN and Surfshark are pretty good. My only criticism would be that Surfshark often took a few seconds longer to connect. But once you’re in, you’ll access most streaming platforms in under a second.

    That said, I couldn’t access any Prime Video libraries with either NordVPN or Surfshark. At the time of writing, Prime Video is moving to a new website that’s separate from the standard Amazon domain (with the exception of the UK and US libraries). No matter how many servers I tried, I couldn’t get around Amazon Prime Video’s tough new geo-blocks.

    These platforms are evenly matched for the most part. Surfshark can access Disney+ Hotstar (India), while NordVPN can’t. And NordVPN can access DAZN, but Surfshark doesn’t. However, Surfshark clinches the win here because it’s one of the few VPNs that work with Sky Go (on some servers).

    Streaming Platform NordVPN Surfshark
    Netflix ✅ Yes, including popular Netflix libraries like the US, UK, Canada, Japan, South Korea, and Switzerland ✅ Yes, including Netflix US, UK, Canada, Japan, South Korea, and Switzerland
    Disney+ ✅ Yes ✅ Yes
    ESPN ✅ Yes ✅ Yes
    (HBO) Max ✅ Yes ✅ Yes
    Hulu ✅ Yes ✅ Yes
    Sky ⛔ No ✅ Yes
    Amazon Prime Video ⛔ No ⛔ No
    BBC iPlayer ✅ Yes ✅ Yes
    ABC ✅ Yes ✅ Yes
    CBS ✅ Yes ✅ Yes
    NBC ✅ Yes ✅ Yes
    DAZN ✅ Yes ⛔ No
    Disney+ Hotstar ⛔ No ✅ Yes

    Both VPNs did well with iPlayer and easily accessed the site. I didn’t have any issues during testing, and the quality was great too.

    Screenshot showing NordVPN connected to a UK server over a browser window streaming BBC iPlayerEven some of the best premium VPNs struggle to access iPlayer, but NordVPN gave me access in seconds

    Similarly, both VPNs did very well in accessing different Netflix catalogs. NordVPN unblocked 17+ libraries, out of which one was the Netflix US. Surfshark also didn’t pose any issues accessing the American library with its US servers that I tried. Phoenix was one of them.

    A screenshot showing Riverdale playing while connected to Surfshark's Phoenix, US serverSurfshark gave me easy access to the 10+ Netflix libraries I tested it with

    Winner
    They’re both fantastic for streaming, but they're not perfect. Both struggle to access a couple of platforms (albeit niche or region-specific ones), and neither can access Amazon Prime Video. Surfshark earned the win here since it works with Sky Go, unlike most VPNs.

    Server Network — Both Have Huge Global Networks

    NordVPN Surfshark
    Total Countries With Servers 61 100
    Number of Servers 6,088 3,200

    Again, this is too close to call. NordVPN has way more servers, which may account for its faster speeds.

    But Surfshark covers exactly 40% more countries. It has servers in Andorra, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Belize, Bhutan, and Brunei (that’s just up to C, but you get the picture).

    Both offer a variety of specialty servers, too. You’ll get access to Double VPN (MultiHop on Surfshark) and dedicated IP servers. Surfshark also offers static IP servers, but NordVPN gives you P2P-optimized ones. Plus, NordVPN has obfuscated servers, but you have this setting in Surfshark for any server with its automatic Camouflage mode.

    The only thing that Surfshark can’t match is NordVPN’s Onion Over VPN servers, which let you access the Tor network from your regular browser. But this is a fairly niche use case, so not having access to these might not be a dealbreaker for you.

    So, with all that said, Surfshark is a good choice if you usually struggle to find servers in your country or any neighboring locations. Or, if you love to travel.

    Otherwise, I’d pick NordVPN, as you’re less likely to deal with server congestion thanks to its large network. Or, if you like to dive into the dark web.

    Winner - draw
    /
    Do you want more servers or more countries? There are clear winners either way. Judged together, it’s another dead heat between two heavyweight VPNs.

    Speed — NordVPN Steals the Win (But it’s Close)

    NordVPN is consistently the faster of these two VPNs. I tested servers in 3 continents over 6 weeks from the UK, and NordVPN came out on top in most cases. In fact, its impressive speeds are only rivaled by ExpressVPN.

    That being said, Surfshark’s speeds weren’t bad at all. I still had enough to stream in UHD (you only need 25 Mbps for that), but I did have some buffering issues on long-distance servers.

    Speed Tests NordVPN Average Download Speed Surfshark Average Download Speed NordVPN Average Upload Speed Surfshark Average Upload Speed
    Connected to a US server 103.99 Mbps 94.33 Mbps 12.70 Mbps 10.30 Mbps
    Connected to a UK server 108.57 Mbps 102.24 Mbps 13.34 Mbps 8.82 Mbps
    Connected to a Hong Kong server 66.58 Mbps 52.54 Mbps 9.60 Mbps 9.33 Mbps

    NordVPN offers its proprietary NordLynx protocol, which might be one of the reasons why it was slightly faster than Surfshark.

    Screenshot showing NordVPN connected to a US server over an online speed testWhile download speeds were very close, NordVPN’s upload speeds were 34% faster than Surfshark

    Surfshark was very close to NordVPN in some speed test results, but still a bit slower. For example, it gave me 102.24 Mbps on a UK server, whereas NordVPN gave me 108.57 Mbps.

    Screenshot showing Surfshark connected to a US server over an online speed testSurfshark’s ping was 20% slower than NordVPN, and its download and upload speeds were also slower

    Winner
    NordVPN is hands down the fastest of the two services, winning in every single speed-test category. However, it wins just by a narrow margin since the difference wasn’t very noticeable apart from the numbers.

    Gaming — NordVPN’s Latency is Super Low

    NordVPN is a clear winner on latency as well as overall speed. For reliable gaming with no lag, it’s a level up from Surfshark. Once again, it’s unbeaten across all my test criteria and comes out on top. Under 100ms is recommended for smooth gaming, and NordVPN gave me 77ms from New York, 5,500km away.

    NordVPN (NordLynx protocol) Surfshark (WireGuard protocol)
    Quick Connect 6ms 10ms
    Connected to a US server 77ms 96ms
    Connected to a UK server 6ms 10ms
    Connected to a Hong Kong server 252ms 347ms

    Even on servers in Canada, which is also far away from my location, I had a smooth gaming experience.

    Screenshot showing NordVPN connected to a server in Canada while playing an online gameWith NordVPN’s impressive ping, I could easily play Neverwinter while connected to a server in Canada

    Winner
    With a lower ping across 4 continents, NordVPN is the clear choice for gaming. I never experienced lag while gaming, even on long-distance servers.

    Torrenting — NordVPN’s P2P-Optimized Servers Offer Fast Speeds

    Both VPNs are excellent torrenting services. Surfshark’s entire network is P2P-friendly, but NordVPN has close to 5,000 specialty P2P servers. I was able to download a 4.3GB file 16% faster than Surfshark using one of these dedicated servers, so NordVPN takes the prize.

    Screenshot showing NordVPN connected to a specialty P2P server and accessing The Pirate BayNordVPN has 4,973 specialty P2P servers in 53 countries, making it a superior VPN for file sharing

    Just bear in mind that we don’t condone using a VPN to download content illegally. Sites like The Pirate Bay regularly host copyrighted content, and it’s against the law to download this in almost every country. Before you torrent anything, check that it’s legal to do so in your country and that the files you want to download are in the public domain.

    Winner
    With specialty P2P servers in 53 countries that are capable of fast downloads and uploads, NordVPN is the clear favorite for file sharing.

    Security — NordVPN’s NordLynx Protocol is Hard to Beat

    Once again, these VPNs are neck-and-neck on most security factors, but NordVPN wins due to its proprietary protocol and far more customizable ad blocker. NordLynx closes a security loophole in WireGuard, using Double NAT technology to give every user a unique IP.

    Surfshark’s IP rotator gives you access to new IP addresses regularly. It’s certainly a handy thing to have, don’t get me wrong — if you end up with a blocked IP address, you don’t have to wait long before you’re assigned a new one. But you don’t get the same benefit of having a unique IP address that NordVPN gives you automatically.

    NordVPN also gives you a Dark Web Monitor that trawls the dark web for security breaches. If it finds your details, you’ll immediately get an email notification so you can take the necessary measures to secure your accounts.

    Security Feature NordVPN Surfshark
    Encryption level AES-256-GCM with 4096-bit DH key, SHA-512 HMAC authentication AES-256-GCM with 4096-bit DH key, SHA2-384 HMAC authentication
    Kill Switch All compatible operating systems All compatible operating systems
    DNS/IP Leak Protection Yes Yes
    Protocols NordLynx, OpenVPN (UDP and TCP), IKEv2/IPSec WireGuard, OpenVPN (UDP and TCP), IKEv2
    Split Tunneling Yes (not on macOS) Yes (not on macOS)
    Private DNS servers Yes Yes
    Onion Over VPN servers Yes No
    RAM-only servers wipe data Yes Yes
    Ad & malware blocker Yes, highly customizable Yes, one-click
    Double hop servers Yes (Double VPN) Yes (MultiHop)
    Dedicated IP addresses Yes (extra fee) Yes (extra fee)
    Obfuscation technology Yes Yes

    NordVPN’s Threat Manager is a more effective blocker than Surfshark’s CleanWeb, clocking in at 72% of ads blocked to 57%, respectively. While Surfshark still blocks more than half of all ads (and is far more effective than some VPN built-in ad blockers), it just can’t rival NordVPN.

    Also, both have bug bounty programs. If you’ve never come across these before, they’re a big green flag for security. They reward cyber security hobbyists and professionals alike for finding security flaws before someone more nefarious has the chance to. Many hands make light work, after all.

    Winner
    The proprietary NordLynx protocol and adjustable ad blocker mean NordVPN is my top choice for security. These security features give you a great balance of security and speed. It’s the little differences like this that make NordVPN just a bit better than Surfshark.

    Privacy — Panama-Based NordVPN Keeps Your Data From Prying Eyes

    Both VPNs have a proven no-logs policy, so I’m confident they’re both private services that protect your data.

    NordVPN pays for regular independent audits. As of the time of writing, its no-logs policy has been audited and verified 3 times. On top of that, it has undergone an additional audit to confirm the security of its infrastructure, including its mobile apps.

    In comparison, Surfshark B.V. finally had its no-logs policy audited in 2022. But, it has had its infrastructure audited since then, too. I’m curious as to why it traded for 4 years without going to the effort of getting an independent audit, though.

    But, Surfshark’s HQ is in the Netherlands, a 5/9/14 Eyes alliance country. That means that any government within the alliance can demand all of Surfshark’s user data, and it would have to comply. While it doesn’t have any logs of your browsing activity, it’d still have to hand over some information, but it shouldn’t be identifiable.

    NordVPN’s HQ is outside the alliance in Panama, and so is under no such obligation to hand over any data. That’s enough to give NordVPN the win for privacy.

    For added privacy while signing up, both services accept 3 cryptocurrencies via CoinGate payment. You can’t auto-renew your subscription using this method, though, because there are no credit card details to keep on file. You can also use a disposable email if you don’t want to leave any trace of your subscription.

    Winner
    With its headquarters in Panama, outside the jurisdiction of the 14 Eyes Alliance, NordVPN takes this category by default. Plus, NordVPN has undergone more cybersecurity audits than Surfshark.

    Works in China — Neither Work

    Unfortunately, neither NordVPN nor Surfshark currently work in China.

    China has the toughest nationwide firewall in the world (known as the Great Firewall), and at the time of writing, even the best VPNs don’t work there consistently. Every VPN that wants to operate in China has to invest a great deal of time and money to stay one step ahead of the government’s highly advanced VPN blocks.

    We continually check to see which VPNs work in China, and we’ve found the most reliable VPN for China is ExpressVPN.

    Winner - draw
    /
    Neither NordVPN nor Surfshark currently works in China, so this round is a dead heat.

    Installation & Ease of Use — Surfshark’s Beginner-Friendly Apps Win

    Both of these VPNs are compatible with the major OSs and are easy to install and set up. I’d recommend either of them to VPN beginners because the apps are clean, simple, and pre-configured to give you great security and speeds without having to change any settings.

    The mobile apps (iOS and Android) are all similar to their desktop counterparts (Windows and macOS), too. All of them are just as easy to install and navigate. Surfshark also has a handy Android-exclusive feature that spoofs your GPS location, which makes it even easier to hide where you are, even if you’re on the go. It’s just a shame that it’s not available on iOS too.

    Speaking of Android-exclusive features, you can’t use split tunneling on NordVPN’s iOS app. So, if you’re an Apple geek (guilty as charged), you might find this VPN a bit less useful when you go on vacation.

    All in all, Surfshark took the win because its app is more straightforward to navigate. I like that when you’re connected, it shows your new IP address, and some key stats about your connection, and gives you quick links to important settings like your kill switch.

    In comparison, NordVPN’s animated map server list is pretty clunky. But it’s got a lot more customization compared to Surfshark. So, if you can deal with a larger app window (seriously, it’s huge compared to some others), you’ll be rewarded with a few more security and privacy options.

    Winner
    Both VPNs are quick to set up and beginner-friendly. However, I did find it a bit more complicated to change settings and activate certain features with NordVPN. Plus, Surfshark’s settings are mostly one-click, whereas NordVPN has more customizability.

    Reliability & Support — It’s Easier to Talk to a Human With Surfshark

    Customer Support Features NordVPN Surfshark
    24/7 live chat Yes — responds within 2 minutes, but you have to go through an annoying chatbot. There’s no immediate option to request a live agent. Yes — responds in seconds, but you have to go via a chatbot. There’s an immediate option to transfer to a live agent, though.
    Email support Yes Yes
    Phone support No No
    Step-by-step setup guides Yes, with screenshots Yes, with video tutorials
    Searchable knowledge base Yes Yes
    Exhaustive FAQ section Yes Yes

    Both VPNs are very reliable services, but should you run into any technical problems, Surfshark offers more support. Technically, the chat facilities are very similar; it’s just a lot easier and quicker to speak to a real agent with Surfshark. Getting past NordVPN’s bot is time-consuming and annoying. It’s one of the few areas in which NordVPN has some real room for improvement.

    Winner
    The ease of using the live chat alone is enough to hand this round to Surfshark. Plus, its video setup tutorials are easy to follow and great for beginners.

    Tips on Choosing Between NordVPN and Surfshark

    By now, you should have a good picture of both VPNs. But if you still need help deciding, here’s a quick summary of the key factors in this comparison:

    • Bypassing geoblocks. That’s crucial for users who want to access content from different regions. I tested this feature by attempting to stream Netflix while connected to servers in Europe, Asia, and the US. Both NordVPN and Surfshark could bypass geoblocks on most, but not all, of the top streaming platforms.
    • Fast speeds. Speeds can significantly impact your browsing and streaming experience. NordVPN came ahead, offering marginally faster speeds, which could be crucial for data-heavy tasks like streaming in UHD.
    • Extensive server networks. The more extensive and varied the server network, the better your options. NordVPN has 6,088 servers in 61 countries, while Surfshark boasts 3,200 servers in 100 countries. Although both have great networks, NordVPN has a slight edge in terms of sheer server numbers.
    • Robust security features. Security is paramount for ensuring your data remains private. Both NordVPN and Surfshark offer strong encryption and multiple protocols, making them highly secure options for your VPN needs, but the exclusive NordLynx protocol has the edge.
    • Respectable privacy practices. You should use a VPN that has a solid commitment to user privacy. NordVPN’s HQ is in Panama, and Surfshark’s is in the Netherlands. The latter isn’t great, as it’s part of the 14 Eyes Alliance. That’s why Surfshark’s no-logs policy is so important.
    • Easy to use. The user interface should be intuitive, making the VPN straightforward to navigate. Surfshark's interface was a bit more user-friendly, with more straightforward menus and settings that are easier to find. But, NordVPN’s app is still a good choice for beginners.
    • Trustworthy money-back guarantee. This lets you try out a VPN risk-free, knowing you can get your money back if it doesn’t meet your expectations. I signed up for both services and requested a refund to test their money-back guarantees. Both NordVPN and Surfshark promptly refunded the full amount with no issues.

    Our Score

    Features 9.4/10
    Pricing 7.5/10
    Ease of Use 10.0/10
    Reliability & Support 10.0/10
    Features 9.3/10
    Pricing 8.7/10
    Ease of Use 9.4/10
    Reliability & Support 9.8/10

    Reviews

    Review by our expert
    Author Image Angela Jovanoska
    Angela Jovanoska

    Cybersecurity Researcher

    Our Score: 9.4/10

    On the surface, NordVPN looks like a really impressive service. It claims to have a huge global server network, a speedy and reliable connection, and iron-clad security and privacy features. Plus, you can get it all for just $3.39/month. That all sounds great, but is there a catch? To find out, I did an in-depth analysis of NordVPN. I tested its speeds and how well it performs when you’re str...

    Read all
    Latest positive user review
    2
    210493Lu
    10.0/10
    The Best of The Best

    I simply tested all VPNs looking for cutting-edge online security, I tested the most expensive and the...  most talked about virtual anonymity, none made me as happy as NordVPN, it stands out for several reasons that the much more expensive ones it doesn't have, its double encryption, dedicated IPs, onion VPN, makes NordVPN unique, with almost 6,000 servers around the world and 12 million customers like me, you can see that NordVPN is not playing games with its customers and their online security , it always innovates to keep you more secure day after day, for a fair price in the long term and without sacrificing the speed of your connection, recently Nord is developing a new VPN protocol, Nordlynx a version still under construction derived from the Wireguard protocol, if you want to have a VPN of last security that think how it will make you more secure in the next month NordVPN is the right choice, I am completely thankful for being a customer and for finding what to me is the perfect VPN.More

    Latest negative user review
    D
    Dax
    6.0/10
    Average service, some nice features, rubbish support

    Basic features work really well. Basically. I liked the feature that when Nord crashes (as it seems to...  do monthly) it will shut other apps so they aren't exposed. My subscription is based in Australia. Found downloads peak at about 1-1.5Mb/s, which is ok as long as you aren't playing online games. Don't go for the frills (though hard not to when they gamify them). I canceled my subscription because I added the Kill switch and then MFA. Nek Minnit I can't even log in. No way to remove the Kill switch without logging in. Uninstalled, reinstalled no joy. Went to the help page, and it redirected me to up my subscription as the only solution. No chatbot where I am. and I don't have an email app so couldn't email help. After a couple of hours of mucking around. Gave up and went to a competitor. Note: if I hadn't played with the security settings, I would still be with Nord. But if I can't log in, it's a dead service to me.More

    Review by our expert
    Author Image Keira Waddell
    Keira Waddell

    Senior Writer

    Our Score: 9.3/10

    With VPNs, you tend to get what you pay for. So when I saw Surfshark’s low prices, I was skeptical about its rave reviews. To see if it could actually live up to these claims, I tested every aspect of Surfshark, including its speeds, security features, unblocking abilities, network reliability, and device compatibility. I also took a closer look at Surfshark’s privacy policy to verify its ...

    Read all
    Latest positive user review
    L
    Lucas Pinto Ricardo
    10.0/10
    Fast, reliable and unlimited

    This VPN is fast and reliable. It has a lot of servers in different countries and can be used in an un... limited amount of devices (it supports Linux, which is something very important for me). The software and app get updated regularly: note that I experienced some bugs with the auto-connect feature on Android that have been solved since then. With this competitive pricing, I would definitely recommend it. IMPORTANT NOTE: I am not including the customer support in this review, because I never had to use it. If I use it in the future, I will update this review with my experience. I recommend you to see other reviews that include it if it is important for you.More

    Latest negative user review
    D
    David
    6.0/10
    A Mixed Bag...

    There's much good to say about Surfshark. Pricing, especially when they're running a 'special', is gre... at. Speeds for most of their servers are quite good. The app works well (I mostly use it on a desktop), but has some bugs that never seem to be addressed. One is that the connection protocol has a habit of changing on its own out of nowhere, even though I have it set to use a particular protocol. Since it changes to a protocol where I can't connect this is a bit of a pain. Reported this, (it's going on for months) but never gets fixed. Also with the app, sometimes it will put up a notice within the app that you have a connection problem but it's not clear if you are or are not still protected when this occurs. The "notice" may or may not be seen by you unless you have the app on top of everything else you're running at the time. It's a bit disturbing when you see this, have no clue how long the 'notice' was up, and are wondering if you've been surfing protected or not! Another issue is even more concerning; I hit a lot of websites that won't allow you to proceed while connected to this VPN! The site immediately recognizes you're masking your IP and won't let you use the site. I guess you're still anonymous, which is good, but what good is it when they know you're on a VPN and won't allow you access? Not sure if this is something with Surfshark's system, or just that there are so many people on this VPN that the sites see IP addresses coming up too frequently and know you're masking. Have been on 3 other VPN's over the last 7 years, have not seen this difficulty before, not really happy about it since if a site blocks you while being on a VPN it doesn't do you much good. So, it's kind of a mixed bag. I signed up on a 2-year deal, not sure I'll continue with them when it expires. There's a lot of promise with Surfshark, but they need to fix and flesh out parts of their service.More

    Pricing

    NordVPN Surfshark
    Starting Price $3.39/month $2.89/month
    Price (On Renewal) $99.48 per year
    (subject to change)
    $59.76 per year
    (subject to change)
    Money Back Guarantee (Days) 30 days 30 days
    Number of Devices per License 6 Unlimited
    Router Setup (for Unlimited Devices) Easy setup and support for many popular routers. Router support significantly less extensive than with NordVPN.
    See Plans > See Plans >

    Best VPN by Category

    Best VPN Overall

    NordVPN is better thanks to its consistently faster speeds, considerably more effective ad blocker, and its proprietary NordLynx protocol that’s fast and reliable.

    Best VPN for Torrents

    NordVPN takes the win for torrenting because of its faster download speeds and 4,973 specialty P2P servers.

    Best VPN for Windows

    NordVPN is better because of its flawless integrations with all Windows operating systems — Windows 7, 8.1, 10 (version 1607 or later), and 11. The Meshnet, Double VPN, and Threat Protection features are fully compatible, and, as is often the case, there are some features for Windows users that macOS users won’t get their hands on. Split tunneling and Obfuscation are only available on the Windows app.

    Best VPN for Android

    NordVPN comes out on top since it has full support for Android 7.0 to 13.0 and a streamlined Lite version of its Threat Protection ad, tracker, and malware blocker. Plus, its handy dark mode saves battery (not to mention your eyes!).

    Best VPN for Mac

    NordVPN is better because you can customize the protocol to find the best for you, including its proprietary NordLynx protocol for Ultra HD-friendly speeds. Also, there's a Presets feature to preconfigure your connections and quickly launch websites and apps. Unusually, this isn’t available for Windows.

    Best VPN for iOS

    NordVPN wins this category because its iOS app is clean, minimal, and designed for maximum ease. It includes Siri integration to help you instantly connect to one of the app’s 6,088 servers. And like the Android version, there’s a battery- and eyesight-saving dark mode.

    Best VPN for USA

    Surfshark is the clear winner here since it has servers in 25 US locations, whereas NordVPN only covers 16. If you want good coverage of servers in the US, Surfshark is the better choice.

    The Bottom Line

    These VPNs are similar in many ways, but when you inspect the features in fine detail, NordVPN is a step ahead in most regards. It’s consistently faster across any distance, its in-built ad and malware blocker is considerably more effective, and it has unique and original features like Meshnet and Dark Web Monitor.

    That said, in certain circumstances, you may prefer to try Surfshark. Unlimited devices are beneficial if you’re traveling with a large group or just have a ton of devices. But for the reasons stated above, its competitor takes the overall win. You can try NordVPN for free with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

    Time to decide which one is best for you

    FAQ

    Is NordVPN better than Surfshark?

    Yes, I recommend NordVPN over Surfshark. NordVPN offers a broader range of servers and has faster speeds across the board. Plus, it has unique and interesting features such as the adjustable Threat Protection ad, tracker, and malware blocker, the private network Meshnet feature, and the Dark Web Monitor to scan the Tor network for data breaches.

    Surfshark allows unlimited simultaneous connections and is a little easier to use, so some may prefer it. But I think NordVPN is the better choice across all compatible OSs.

    Is NordVPN faster than Surfshark?

    NordVPN offers faster speeds due to its more extensive server network and proprietary NordLynx protocol. Having more servers usually means less load, enabling a quicker connection. However, Surfshark isn’t far behind and offers competitive speeds, especially in countries where it has multiple servers.

    But if you’re looking for the fastest VPN, look no further than ExpressVPN. It has the fastest speeds I’ve ever tested, thanks to its exclusive Lightway protocol. NordLynx is just a modified version of WireGuard, but Lightway was built from the ground up to be a fast and secure protocol. And, unlike WireGuard, it supports obfuscation.

    Which is better for Netflix, NordVPN or Surfshark?

    Both NordVPN and Surfshark efficiently bypass Netflix’s geo-restrictions, but NordVPN is usually more reliable. It has servers in all the major Netflix regions, and its proprietary NordLynx protocol is ideal for bypassing VPN blocks and getting UHD-friendly speeds. Plus, its Android and iOS apps mean you can access Netflix on your tablets and mobile devices.

    Does NordVPN or Surfshark offer any deals?

    Yes, both services regularly offer promotional deals and long-term subscriptions at discounted rates. Surfshark usually has lower base prices and frequently offers more appealing discounts. But I’m confident that NordVPN more than justifies the extra cost per month and is still a very affordable option, starting at $3.39/month.

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    vpnMentor was established in 2014 as an independent site reviewing VPN services and covering privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize the independent, professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.

    About the Author

    James conducts rigorous hands-on research and testing to evaluate dozens of VPNs for his articles. He's an advocate for digital freedom.