Surfshark vs. NordVPN: 2019 Comparison
I work in the digital space, so I take cybersecurity very seriously.
A VPN is a must for my work, otherwise, mine and my clients’ files are at risk.
But with so many VPNs available on the market, it was hard for me, as I’m sure it is for you, to choose the best provider.
Eventually, I narrowed it down to two – Surfshark vs. NordVPN (click here & save 70%+).
Are the two as good as they claim to be?
I tested both and wrote a review – keep reading to find out!
4.2 of 5
|4.8 of 5 |
|Price||View Best Price||View Best Price|
|Logging Policy||No-logging policy||No-logging policy|
|Download Speed Reduction||26-50%||25-42%|
|Servers & Countries||1000+ servers in 60+ countries||5639+ servers in 60+ countries|
|Torrenting / P2P||Yes||Yes|
|Customer Support||24/7 Live Chat + Email||24/7 Live Chat + Email|
|Simultaneous Connections||Unlimited||6 devices|
|Supported Platforms||Windows, iOS, MacOS, Android, Linux, Apple TV, Fire TV, Chrome, Firefox||Windows, iOS, macOS, Android, Linux, Chrome, Firefox|
|Visit:||Go with Surfshark||Go with NordVPN|
What to Consider When Choosing One VPN Over Another
If you work in the digital space like me, or just want to ensure your online privacy (it is your fundamental right!), a VPN is a good way to do it.
However, before choosing a provider, there are several things I would consider, and you should too.
Privacy, Encryption & Security
A VPN’s primary purpose is to protect your privacy and keep your online activities secure.
Therefore, it’s important to verify a service’s relevant features before committing.
A 256-bit encryption is considered the strongest.
A functioning no-logging policy should also be accompanied by a kill switch.
If your connection unexpectedly breaks, it ensures that your online activities remain cloaked from your ISP.
No Speed Loss
Naturally, we all want our privacy. But we also would prefer to not lose our connection speed as a result of security measures. A good VPN provider would keep speed disruption to a minimum.
However, the speed factor is also affected by a server you choose.
More on that below.
Support & User Experience
I don’t like my software being too “clunky”, and I prefer having help available when there’s an issue. A VPN’s interface should be easy to use and compatible with your device.
A round-the-clock customer service feature, such as Live Chat, is also important because they can provide urgent support if something goes wrong.
What You Get for the Price
I usually make sure to check a product’s value for money, and a VPN service is no exception.
There are usually several options, depending on how long you’re willing to commit for.
A free trial or a money-back guarantee would help you make a more informed choice.
How Do I Choose?
Privacy-Friendly Jurisdiction & Logging Policy
|Jurisdiction||British Virgin Islands||Panama|
|Logging policy||No-logging policy||No-logging policy|
This means that the companies aren’t obliged to provide any government with access to customers’ data, thus ensuring your privacy.
It doesn’t monitor, log, record, store or transfer your activities, such as traffic logs and IP addresses.
That’s the essence of an effective no-logging policy. However, it does specify that Surfshark may update the policy at its discretion, and continued usage signifies agreement.
For me, this was an issue since I don’t have time to conduct periodic checks of privacy policies, unless I’m notified. I see this as a drawback.
|VPN Protocol||OpenVPN, IPSec, IPv6, IKEv2, Shadowsocks (beta)||OpenVPN, IPSec, L2TP, PPTP|
|DNS Leak Test||Protected||Protected|
|Kill Switch||Yes except Android||Yes|
The OpenVPN protocol available for both VPN services uses 256-bits encryption which scrambles your traffic. NordVPN uses a 4096-bit RSA key for private communications between your device and VPN. It’s the most secure key available. Surfshark uses 2048-bit RSA – also a very secure key, but less secure than the 4096-bit.
I ran two DNS Leak tests (through IPv6 and DNSLeak) on both VPNs to check whether there were possibilities of an IP leak. Fortunately, neither NordVPN or Surfshark NordVPN has a kill switch enabled which you can customize manually, across all platforms. Surfshark offers an automatic kill switch, but only on iOS. It doesn’t currently offer a kill switch on Android devices.
This was a drawback for me since I use an Android tablet for work.
Countries & Servers
If a VPN has a wide server coverage, it provides you with more chances to access country-specific content and set up your speed to your liking. The closer a server to your actual location, the better speed you have.
With Surfshark, you have a choice of over 1000 servers in 60 countries.
For a VPN that’s only been on the market for a year, that’s very impressive.
NordVPN, on the other hand, has 5639 servers in 60 countries.
That means a very wide server coverage in specific countries. This can be particularly handy for users in large countries like Russia or China.
|Offers available|| |
|Free trial/money-back guarantee||7-day trial on mobile app – but credit card info required.||7-day trial; 30-day trial for 36 months option.|
Since Surfshark is quite new to the industry, it’s understandable that it wants to stay competitive by offering lower prices than other providers, to compensate for lack of goodwill assets.
Its most expensive plan is $47.76, valid for 24 months. Compared to NordVPN’s $119.76 for the same time (you can use a coupon code), Surfshark’s rates are much more competitive. Free trial is available for both providers, although Surfshark’s only works on a few platforms.
Surfshark also allows for PayPal payments, which NordVPN discontinued.
When I tested both companies for speed, the European servers close to me worked much quicker than the American or Canadian servers.
|Speed before VPN||7 ms||98 Mbps||53 Mbps|
|NordVPN Dutch Server||37 ms||74 Mbps (-25%)||48 Mbps (-10%)|
|NordVPN US server||187 ms||56 Mbps (-42%)||29 Mbps (-45%)|
|Surfshark UK server||28 ms||71.06 Mbps (-26.5%)||31.16 Mbps (-45%)|
|Surfshark US server||126 ms||48.99 Mbps (-50%)||21.48 Mbps (-60%)|
Speed-wise, NordVPN has shown significantly better results across the board.
The European servers were working as well as I could expect, with only marginal speed reductions. With Surfshark, the speed reduction was significantly higher.
|Fire TV||Yes||Only with router|
|Apple TV||Yes||Only with router|
If you’re someone who frequently streams video content but has limited access to streaming service, a VPN is the answer. Netflix and Hulu are the most popular services, but I also like BBC iPlayer, so it was important for me to find a VPN that could stream all three.
Both NordVPN and Surfshark do exactly that. However, not all servers work with streaming platforms. With Surfshark, Hulu was available on every server I tested, just as promised by their FAQs. Surfshark provides instructions on how to connect to a specific server to stream country-specific Netflix content. I found that to be quite helpful and happy to report that their instructions worked, albeit not without speed loss.
NordVPN also performed very well when I tried to access Netflix, Hulu and iPlayer.
For the latter, you need to connect to a U.K. server for both NordVPN and Surfshark.
Same for accessing ITV.
NordVPN’s package includes specialized servers for P2P sharing – torrenting.
These specialty servers are meant to keep your file sharing secure. This USP is a major draw for NordVPN as a favourite for torrenting. After testing a couple of P2P servers, I have to agree.
Surfshark also allows for torrenting. In fact, the company claims that their product is “torrent-friendly” in its entirety. And since it allows for unlimited connections, you can stream on your laptop and torrent on another device at the same time.
However, Surfshark doesn’t have as many servers as NordVPN, and therefore, there’s a bigger danger of overcrowding. The speed was also slower than NordVPN’s.
A dedicated IP address is helpful when you consistently need to access the same server.
It doesn’t change over time. NordVPN subscription includes Dedicated IP service for addresses in the US, the UK, the Netherlands, Germany and France.
This feature is great for those of you that need to consistently access files on the same server.
Surfshark doesn’t offer dedicated IP support at this time.
Customer Support *& UX
Live Chat Feature
Both NordVPN and Surfshark have a Live Chat feature to help you solve any issues or answer your questions 24/7. I found the support team of both services ready to answer my queries instantly – they were about kill switch on various devices that support the VPN services.
However, I felt that the answers I received from Surfshark’s customer support was more comprehensive. The manager took the time to explain the issue with the kill switch, rather than link me to a blog entry which is what’s happened with NordVPN. While the blog entry was interesting, I would’ve preferred an immediate response.
Devices & Platforms Supported
|Fire TV||Yes||Only with router|
|Apple TV||Yes||Only with router|
When using Surfshark, I could connect to an unlimited number of devices at the same time within the subscription. I could use my iPhone, my Android tablet and my Windows-enabled laptop at the same time with no problem.
Surfshark also works on Linux and there’re plug-ins for Chrome and Firefox browsers.
For Fire TV and Apple TV, the website provides very straightforward instructions.
For me, this USP was a strong argument in favour of Surfshark.
NordVPN allows connections on up to six devices at a time. Those devices can be Windows, iOS, MacOS, Android and Linux. Like with Surfshark, browser extensions are available.
I found that all my devices connected to NordVPN were working perfectly at the same time.
If you want to connect more devices and use Apple TV with a VPN, NordVPN recommends special VPN-enabled routers at a discount.
So, Which One is Better?
The most important thing in a VPN is the privacy and security of your online activities.
Both NordVPN and Surfshark scored very high on that front.
However, the clear winner is NordVPN, thanks to its additional security features and wide server coverage that Surfshark currently doesn’t have.
The latter is ahead of NordVPN, however, in terms of pricing and customer support.
Test both services for yourself and decide which one YOU prefer!