VPN Provider

NordVPN vs. Surfshark: Comparing Two Top VPNs

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VPNs are perfect if you use a lot of public WiFi, or don't want to leave traces of your activity at home. NordVPN and Surfshark are two of the most user-friendly providers out there. With them, anyone can easily create a VPN tunnel in a matter of minutes, hiding their IP address and location. Only one question remains: Which is the best?

In our comprehensive EXPERTE.com VPN comparison, we assessed 27 services according to several factors. When the dust settled, both NordVPN and Surfshark emerged near the top of our ranking. To help you reach a decision, we wanted to take a closer look at both, evaluating them directly against one another.

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NordVPN
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NordVPN vs. Surfshark

NordVPN
NordVPN
(877,857 )
5,500+ servers, 60 countries
excellent performance
no logs
6 devices simultaneously
affordable 2-year package
9.4
excellent
Data Volume
unlimited
Devices
6
Protocols
5
Contract Period
1 - 24 months
NordVPN 2-year plan
 $3.79
monthly price
Visit Website*
30 days money-back guarantee
Surfshark VPN
Surfshark VPN
(207,223 )
3,200+ servers in 100 countries
unlimited number of devices
many apps (Linux, FireTV, ...)
cheap 24-month plan
expensive monthly plan
8.8
good
Data Volume
unlimited
Devices
unlimited
Protocols
3
Contract Period
1 - 24 months
Surfshark 24 months
 $1.99
monthly price
Visit Website*
Get 83% Discount
1.

Installation and Features

The first things we looked at among the VPNs in our sample were how user-friendly their apps were, and which features they included.

There isn't much difference between NordVPN and Surfshark: Both scored highly thanks to their equally user-friendly desktop and mobile clients that can be installed and configured in a matter of seconds. NordVPN's app features an interactive world map that you can connect to VPN servers on. With Surfshark, it's possible to expand (or collapse) the app depending on how much information you'd like to see.

NordVPN's app impresses with its zoomable and scrollable world map.

Both providers offer access to all of the most important VPN features, as well as a few extras. With NordVPN, you'll get five different types of special servers, like Double VPN (connections are created through two servers, enhancing security) and Onion Over VPN (connections are made via the Tor network). Split tunneling is also supported.

For its part, Surfshark's Multi-Hop feature allows users to create two VPN connections at the same time. You can also manage which apps use your VPN tunnel thanks to its support of split tunneling.

Both provide a kill switch (for automatically severing your VPN connection if a disruption is noticed) and static IP addresses.

With Surfshark, you can manually connect to a particular server, or let the app link you to the nearest one.

Similarly, both providers offer excellent mobile apps. It's too close to call so far as features and user-friendliness are concerned.

Winner: Draw

2.

Server Network

When it comes to servers, both NordVPN and Surfshark post impressive numbers. NordVPN provides access to more than 5,000 servers across 60 countries, while Surfshark can boast 3,200 servers in 65 countries. This means that NordVPN has the upper hand in terms of server power, while Surfshark is more international, covering Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and Venezuela. These are mostly virtual servers, however.

NordVPN has more servers, but Surfshark's global footprint is larger.

At the end of the day, NordVPN's server advantage trumps Surfshark's slightly better international presence and the round goes to NordVPN.

Winner: NordVPN

3.

Performance

Performance is another aspect that we can easily assess in numbers. To evaluate each provider from our sample, we connect several times per day to random servers in Germany and the US via a 1 GB/s server in Frankfurt. After measuring the upload and download speeds of each connection, we compile them into an average.

Once again, NordVPN and Surfshark are neck and neck taking first and second place, respectively, in our speed ranking.

1.
NordVPN
195.6 Mbit/s
Download
42.9 Mbit/s
Upload
2.
Surfshark
191.7 Mbit/s
Download
42.8 Mbit/s
Upload
3.
Mullvad
200.8 Mbit/s
Download
18.1 Mbit/s
Upload
4.
ExpressVPN
175.0 Mbit/s
Download
42.0 Mbit/s
Upload
5.
HideMyAss!
167.7 Mbit/s
Download
16.1 Mbit/s
Upload
6.
TorGuard
166.5 Mbit/s
Download
16.3 Mbit/s
Upload
7.
hide.me
153.9 Mbit/s
Download
27.0 Mbit/s
Upload
8.
PrivateVPN
155.1 Mbit/s
Download
21.2 Mbit/s
Upload
9.
Proton VPN
154.8 Mbit/s
Download
18.8 Mbit/s
Upload
10.
IPVanish
156.4 Mbit/s
Download
15.0 Mbit/s
Upload
11.
PureVPN
113.1 Mbit/s
Download
41.4 Mbit/s
Upload
12.
TunnelBear
129.4 Mbit/s
Download
18.4 Mbit/s
Upload
13.
VPN Unlimited
109.6 Mbit/s
Download
37.6 Mbit/s
Upload
14.
ZenMate
126.3 Mbit/s
Download
18.8 Mbit/s
Upload
15.
CyberGhost
118.6 Mbit/s
Download
18.4 Mbit/s
Upload
16.
Private Internet Access
109.7 Mbit/s
Download
17.0 Mbit/s
Upload
17.
Windscribe
82.2 Mbit/s
Download
43.3 Mbit/s
Upload
18.
Hotspot Shield
79.9 Mbit/s
Download
38.8 Mbit/s
Upload
19.
VyprVPN
106.0 Mbit/s
Download
12.2 Mbit/s
Upload
20.
Perfect Privacy
99.3 Mbit/s
Download
12.7 Mbit/s
Upload

But speed isn't everything. For that reason, we also check how each provider fares in enabling access to content from abroad on popular video streaming platforms (Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and BBC iPlayer). Beyond that, it's also important whether a VPN can get around Internet restrictions and censorship, like those in China.

Both NordVPN and Surfshark delivered across the board and performed equally well at both streaming geo-blocked content and connecting to websites normally blocked in China.

Even though NordVPN is slightly ahead in terms of speed, the difference between the two is so slight that we can't designate a winner.

Winner: Draw

4.

Security and Privacy

To gain a better idea of how secure a VPN is, we examine which protocols they support. In this area, both NordVPN and Surfshark offer access to WireGuard and OpenVPN, which reflect the state of the art.

Similarly, both passed our VPN leak tests (DNS, WebRTC, and IPv6) with flying colors.

We didn't find any DNS leaks when connected to NordVPN or Surfshark servers.

We also check each provider's privacy policy to find out if they store user traffic logs. Both NordVPN and Surfshark deny this, however, that's not enough for us. We always pay attention to whether a VPN provider has submitted to regular, independent security audits. These assess the accuracy of their corporate promises and guarantees. NordVPN and Surfshark both last submitted to Deloitte audits in December 2022.

Another aspect to pay attention to is where a provider is headquartered since the laws in that jurisdiction decide how they handle data. Both NordVPN and Surfshark are based in countries that don't have strict data storage laws (Panama and the British Virgin Islands, respectively). Similarly, neither country is a party to any international surveillance or security agreements and has relatively lax data privacy laws.

Once again, there's almost nothing separating the two VPNs. Thanks to their support of the newest protocols, regular and independent security audits, and corporate basing in 'data safe' countries, we can't name a clear winner.

Winner: Draw

5.

Customer Support

So far as customer support is concerned, we take two factors into consideration. The first is static support, often in the form of a help center featuring articles, guides, and FAQs that users can consult for help in operating their VPN. Beyond that, we also assess which options a provider offers for direct support, and how responsive and competent it is.

Both advertise 24/7 live chat support, and we never had to wait longer than a minute for a response. Emailed queries were answered within 12 hours (NordVPN) and 7 hours (Surfshark), respectively.

Surfshark has slightly shorter email response times than NordVPN.

Both providers offer well-stocked static support areas featuring FAQs and guides to important features. There's almost nothing separating the two VPNs, however, Surfshark's slightly faster email response time gives it a tiny edge over NordVPN.

Winner: Surfshark

6.

Pricing

How much you pay per month for a VPN depends on the length of your subscription. NordVPN and Surfshark are available monthly, yearly, or for 2 years.

NordVPN's two, shorter subscriptions cost slightly less than those of Surfshark, however, Surfshark's 24-month package offers the lowest monthly price overall.

Below, we've provided a detailed price list for both providers:

Surfshark Prices

24 months12 months1 month
Monthly Price $1.99 $3.99 $13.99
Contract Period (Months) 24 12 1
Limits
Data Volume unlimited unlimited unlimited
Number of Devices unlimited unlimited unlimited
Features
Number of Servers 3,200 3,200 3,200
Number of Countries 100 100 100
No Server Logs
P2P Allowed
Tor Access
Kill Switch
Protocols
OpenVPN
WireGuard
IKEv2
OpenVPN
WireGuard
IKEv2
OpenVPN
WireGuard
IKEv2

NordVPN Prices

2-year plan1 year plan1-month plan
Monthly Price $3.79 $4.49 $12.99
Contract Period (Months) 24 12 1
Limits
Data Volume unlimited unlimited unlimited
Number of Devices 6 6 6
Features
Number of Servers 5,000 3,400 3,400
Number of Countries 60 60 60
No Server Logs
P2P Allowed
Tor Access
Kill Switch
Protocols
OpenVPN
WireGuard
SSTP
SOCKS5
IKEv2
OpenVPN
WireGuard
SSTP
SOCKS5
IKEv2
OpenVPN
WireGuard
SSTP
SOCKS5
IKEv2

Determining which of the two is best priced depends largely on how long you intend to use a VPN. If you only want to try out a VPN or use it for a year, NordVPN will cost less. On the other hand, should you be in the market for a long-term (2-year or more) solution, your wallet will thank you for going with Surfshark. Because the differences are minor, we can't call a winner for this round.

Winner: Draw

7.

Customer Reviews

After perusing a number of review aggregators, it becomes clear that both services enjoy an equally "good" reputation. Surfshark's users commend its price-performance ratio, while those of NordVPN highlight its fast and easy-to-reach support. There is some criticism though: NordVPN apparently has occasional issues with geo-blocking, and Surfshark connections allegedly generate too many captchas when surfing.

Even though both providers received similar scores, NordVPN is slightly ahead.

Winner: NordVPN

Surfshark Customer Ratings

Customer Ratings
4.4 / 5
207,223 Bewertungen
Visit Website*

NordVPN Customer Ratings

Customer Ratings
4.5 / 5
877,857 Bewertungen
Visit Website*
We analyzed the reviews and ratings from various portals and found 877,857 ratings with an overall rating of 4.5 out of 5 .

Conclusion

After seven rounds, two went to NordVPN, one went to Surfshark, and four were undecided. Accordingly, NordVPN edges out Surfshark owing to its slightly better server network and customer reviews. For users looking for a short-term VPN, its monthly and annual subscriptions are also just a bit better than Surfshark's.

At the same time, it was a very close call, and Surfshark has shown itself to be a real contender. The relatively young provider (founded in 2018), didn't receive a lower score than "good" in any of the areas we assessed, offering better support response times and edging out NordVPN in that area. As we noted above if you're shopping for a long-term VPN solution, a 24-month Surfshark subscription will cost less than two years with NordVPN.

It was a photo finish, but NordVPN was a hair ahead, making it our overall winner. Since NordVPN and Surfshark offer nearly identical features and performance, either provider is a solid choice.

Overall Winner: NordVPN

For detailed reviews of each, as well as the 25 other providers from our sample, be sure to consult our comprehensive EXPERTE.com VPN test.

Best Overall 2024
NordVPN
NordVPN
(877,857 )
NordVPN is our number one VPN because it combines speed, ease-of-use, and functionality in a slick package that's also pretty affordable.
5,500+ servers, 60 countries
excellent performance
no logs
6 devices simultaneously
affordable 2-year package
9.4
excellent
Data Volume
unlimited
Devices
6
Protocols
5
Contract Period
1 - 24 months
NordVPN 2-year plan
 $3.79
monthly price
Visit Website*
30 days money-back guarantee
Review
9.4
excellent
Visit Website*
Check Review
Performance
10 / 10
Security & Privacy
9.4 / 10
Bedienung & Features
9.4 / 10
Support
9.4 / 10
Server Network
8.6 / 10
Top VPN Provider 2024
Sponsored
from $3.79
per month
NordVPN
from $6.67
per month
ExpressVPN
from $0.00
per month
Proton VPN
from $1.99
per month
Surfshark
show all
Author (German Version): Martin Gschwentner
Martin Gschwentner majored in American Studies and Media Studies in Germany, the USA and France and works as a freelance editor in Paris. He is a doctoral student at the Institute for English and American Studies at the University of Paris Diderot, where he is researching the influence of money on US politics. On EXPERTE.com he writes about IT security, data protection and software for the self-employed and small businesses.
Translation: D Bare
* Ad disclaimer: For links marked with an asterisk, EXPERTE.com may earn a commission from the provider. The commission has no influence on our editorial rating.
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Best Overall 2024
Sponsored
NordVPN
5,500+ servers, 60 countries
excellent performance
no logs
6 devices simultaneously
affordable 2-year package
9.4
Review
excellent
Try NordVPN now
30 days money-back guarantee