Which is better SurfShark or NordVPN? [Test Results 2020]
More and more people are making use of VPNs as part of their personal and professional online security packages. A VPN can offer a lot of protection on both public and private Wi-Fi networks, encrypting your connections, hiding your IP address, masking your location, and allowing you to browse the world wide web without restrictions and far fewer concerns.
However, there are a lot of different VPNs out there, and picking one can feel like quite a challenge. Two of the top names in the industry right now are SurfShark and NordVPN. The former is a relative upstart in the VPN world, while the latter is one of the most established and best-known brands in the business.
It might seem like a mismatch to pitch a relatively new company up against such a colossal competitor as NordVPN, but SurfShark has made a lot of waves and generated a lot of positive attention since its inception, so it can certainly go toe-to-toe with big players like NordVPN in key areas, and our side-by-side comparison will show you exactly how these two brands compare.
In this SurfShark vs ExpressVPN comparison report, we will cover the following areas:
• Top selling points
• Speed tests
• Security and Encryption
• Simultaneous Connections
• Customer Support
Now let’s dive into the details of our comparison report.
Top Selling Points – Let’s get to know them
To start off our SurfShark and NordVPN comparison, we’ll take a general look at the main selling points for each of these brands. What sets them apart from the crowd and why do so many users tend to gravitate towards them rather than other providers?
Let’s start off with SurfShark. As stated above, this is one of the newer VPNs on the market, but it’s already garnered a lot of attention for its excellent speed and performance ratings. It’s ranked as one of the fastest VPNs around right now, with a sizable server network covering over 60 different countries in total, according to the latest figures.
SurfShark is also renowned for its wide array of features. It comes complete with ad-blocking tools and even malware scanning software too in order to keep your devices clear of viruses and other unwanted elements, while also offering an anonymous searching mode and the big benefit of providing unlimited simultaneous connections, which is something that many other VPNs don’t offer.
NordVPN, meanwhile, is a big, established brand that has cemented itself atop the VPN industry as one of the most trusted and popular names in the entire business. Millions of people around the world make use of NordVPN, and this particular VPN provider is famed for its exceptional levels of security.
When it comes to NordVPN, you’re getting peerless privacy options and lots of advanced security features like specialty servers, obfuscated servers, P2P servers, Onion over VPN servers, kill switches, custom DNS settings, invisibility on LAN, and so on. As well as being highly secure, this VPN is known for being fast, reliable, and terrific for streaming too.
One of the most important factors to take into account when evaluating the overall quality and usefulness of any VPN is its speeds. Some VPNs can actually slow you down when you’re trying to browse, stream, game, or download, while others keep your speeds strong or even improve them.
We put both SurfShark and NordVPN to the test to figure out which one was faster, with some interesting results recorded. Even though NordVPN has the bigger network, with over 5,000 servers, the two VPNs perform quite similarly when it comes to speeds.
We tested out servers in big cities around the world like LA, New York, London, and Tokyo. On some servers, SurfShark had slightly faster speeds than NordVPN, but on most of them, it was NordVPN that came out on top.
The speed differences between the two providers weren’t always huge in our results, but they conclusively showed that NordVPN tends to have slightly faster speeds on the whole and is therefore the right option to choose if speed is what matters the most for you.
Another big factor to take into account when looking at the quality and value of VPNs is their pricing system, and this is one area where we can often see a lot of divergence in terms of how companies go about selling their products. Some VPN brands offer very low prices and super savings on extended subscriptions, while others can be quite costly, even during sales periods. So how do NordVPN and SurfShark compare in this aspect?
Well, NordVPN offers three possible plans: a monthly plan, a yearly plan, and a two-year plan. Prices for the monthly plan are fixed at around $11.95 per month, but as you move up to the yearly and two-year plans, you start to pay a lot less, dropping to around $3-$5 per month, and NordVPN runs a lot of sales, promos, and discounts throughout the year at times like Black Friday, Christmas, and New Year.
They offer a 30-day money back guarantee for all new sign-ups and you can get discounts on other NordVPN products when signing up like NordPass password manager and NordLocker secure cloud storage. In terms of payment methods, you can use cards, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, Union Pay, and various cryptocurrencies too.
SurfShark, meanwhile, also offers a trio of subscription plans: a monthly plan, a six month plan, and a two-year plan. Prices for the monthly plan are fixed at $12.95 per month, but when you go up to the biggest two-year plan, you can pay under $3 per month, which is a quite incredible price.
Like NordVPN, this brand runs a lot of sales and specials for new users and offers a 30-day money back guarantee. You can pay via credit card, PayPal, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, or cryptocurrencies, and you can also get email protection for a small extra fee.
Overall, if you want the absolute cheapest plan, SurfShark’s two-year option is the right one, but the prices between both of these brands are quite similar overall and there are great deals to be enjoyed with both of them.
Most VPNs offer the same basic functionality: they aim to protect your devices by encrypting connections and hiding your IP address, letting you access geo-blocked content, browse safely on public networks, and not have to worry about hackers or prying eyes observing your online activities.
However, many of the top VPNs also offer a range of extra features and some can go far above and beyond the call of duty with their offerings. This is another area in which SurfShark and NordVPN have some similarities and some differences.
SurfShark has a lot of great features, including double VPN servers to encrypt traffic twice, obfuscated servers for use in certain countries or regions, and the CleanWeb feature that helps to block ads and keep you safe from suspicious sites too. You can also pay a little extra for SurfShark Alert, which offers real-time alerts if your private data has been compromised in any way, email protection, and a private search engine too.
NordVPN, meanwhile, also boasts its own array of interesting features, including P2P servers, obfuscated servers, double VPN servers, and Onion over VPN servers, giving you lots of different ways to use your VPN and really appealing to advanced users too. There’s also the CyberSec filter feature that blocks ads, trackers, and malware too.
Overall, it’s tough to pick a winner in this category as both brands do a lot in the features department. NordVPN’s feature list is probably a little longer and will appeal to more advanced users, but SurfShark does enough to satisfy casual users.
One of the many reasons why people choose to get a VPN is for their unique streaming advantages; the best VPNs allow you to by-pass the blocks and restrictions that many streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video put into place to prevent users from other nations and regions accessing their content.
SurfShark does a more than reasonable job when it comes to streaming. It can unblock all of the major platforms like Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, NBC, several Netflix libraries, ITV, Sky Go, and more. It does, however, struggle sometimes with certain Netflix locations.
NordVPN is similarly very impressive in this department, working admirably to bypass the blocks in place for all of the big streaming services mentioned above, and it can give you access to Netflix almost anywhere on Earth too.
Overall, this is another example where we see how SurfShark and NordVPN actually have a lot in common and can stand together on equal footing, with both of them being able to unblock all kinds of streaming sites.
Security and Encryption
Another one of the big reasons why a lot of people choose to get VPNs installed across their devices is for security purposes; the best VPNs can offer strong encryption for your online connections on computers, laptops, phones, tablets, and so on, but some are much stronger than others.
SurfShark does an impressive job in security, making use of the latest and greatest 256 cipher technology and OpenVPN and IKEv2 VPN protocols to offer very strong standards overall. It also makes use of the advanced WireGuard VPN protocol for top quality encryption too and runs independent security audits on its services.
NordVPN is regularly regarded as the king of the VPN industry in the security department and it continues to stand strong as one of the top providers of secure, protected connections. It also features 256-bit encryption, along with OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols, plus WireGuard, kill switches, and independent security audits.
As you may be able to see from this comparison, SurfShark and NordVPN once more have a lot of similarities here. They both use similar protocols and encryption technology, allowing them both to offer very similar standards of security, so you can’t go wrong, no matter which one you choose.
Want to learn more about security? read our ultimate guide for VPN security
Along with helping you stay safe online, the best VPNs can also mask your identity and protect your privacy too, letting you browse, stream, and download with total freedom, not having to worry about ISPs or agencies spying on your activity and storing your data in any way.
SurfShark is based in the British Virgin Islands, which is one of the best jurisdictions for VPN privacy as it doesn’t partake in any of the big surveillance alliances like Five Eyes or Nine Eyes and is fully legally independent. What’s more, SurfShark has a no logs policy in place to ensure that it doesn’t store user data, although this hasn’t been audited by a third party.
NordVPN, meanwhile, is based out of Panama, which is also one of the top spots for VPN privacy in the world. It’s not under the control of EU or US jurisdictions in any way, nor is it part of any big security alliances. In addition, NordVPN has a no logs policy and has had this policy audited and confirmed by a third party, giving it a slight edge.
Once again, NordVPN and SurfShark are quite equally matched in this area, but we have to give the advantage to NordVPN, purely based on the fact that it took the time to get its no logs policy audited, which is something that SurfShark still needs to do.
Many VPN users like to sign up for a single subscription and then share the VPN with their families so that everyone in the same household can benefit from protection across their devices. However, a lot of VPN providers limit how many simultaneous connections you can have at any one time.
This is where SurfShark really shines. It offers unlimited simultaneous connections, which is simply staggering and by far one of the best aspects of this particular brand. While so many other companies limit users to four, five, or six connections at most, SurfShark lets you use a single subscription across dozens of devices at once, offering amazing value for money.
With NordVPN, meanwhile, you’re capped at six simultaneous connections in total. That’s not bad and will be more than enough for most families and groups of roommates, but it’s still a limitation and so it’s clear to see that SurfShark is by far the big winner in this particular category.
There may come a time when you need a little help with your VPN or you just have a question about features, services, payment, etc. In that case, it always helps when your chosen VPN provider has taken the time to put together a strong customer support department, but some providers do a much better job of this than others.
SurfShark has its own live chat system you can contact, as well as an email support address that can be contacted at any time, along with some on-site guides and FAQS to help you out. NordVPN offers basically an identical service, with live chat, email, and on-site Help Center articles to answer common questions.
Overall, both of these providers do a perfectly respectable job of keeping customers informed, up to date, and assisted, and it’s simply not possible to say that one is better than the other.
SurfShark vs NordVPN – Which One’s Better?
Overall, what we can see throughout this side-by-side comparison of NordVPN and SurfShark is that they’re both rightfully regarded as two of the best VPN providers you can find today, and they both have a whole lot in common as well.
Both of them offer strong speeds, reasonable prices, impressive feature lists, solid security, great privacy, and reliable customer support, and it’s impossible to find a clear winner in almost any of the categories listed above.
We can fully recommend both brands, but if we had to pick one slight winner, it would be NordVPN. NordVPN just about gets the edge because of one or two small advantages like its audited no logs policy and its slightly better speeds.