TLDR, NordVPN is better as a VPN but Surfshark is incredibly cheap making it a more budget option
NordVPN: Get 70%+ Discount
Surfshark: Get 83% Discount
When it comes to choosing a VPN, everyone is very choosy when it comes to choosing a VPN, everyone is very choosy. Afterall the VPN they choose will decide how safe and secure they are online. This isn’t helped by the fact that there are tons of VPN available. Each of those has all of the functions a VPN must-have. So it becomes a little overwhelming for an individual to choose a proper VPN. In this article we will be doing an in depth comparison of two of the big names in the VPN sphere. We will be comparing every aspect of both NordVPN and Surfshark to find out which one is better.
The comparison will be done in different sections. In each section we will analyze that particular feature of both the VPNs. We will give them each a score out of 10. The VPN with the highest will be crowned the winner. So without any further ado, let us begin our comparison of NordVPN vs SurfShark.
NordVPN vs Surfshark
1. NordVPN vs Surfshark Pricing
Ask anyone, and they will tell you that at the end of the day it is the pricing that made them choose that VPN. No matter how many features you have. Or how secure and encrypted your servers are. If the pricing isn’t right, no one will buy your VPN. This is why the very first thing we will be comparing is the price offerings of both the VPN.
NordVPN’s subscription plans and pricing:
NordVPN has four different plans. In fact, it is one of the very few VPNs that offer a 3 year plan. So here’s how its plans are laid out:
- Monthly: This is the shortest and the most expensive of all its plans. It costs $ 11.95 for a single charge. For a one year period it will cost $ 143.40. This plan is billed once every month. This is in no way the ideal plan. This should only be chosen if you require the VPN only for a short period. Say for a month or two. For a longer period, more affordable plans are available.
- 1 Year plan: This plan is for those users who need a VPN for a long period of time i.e for a year. The subscription for this plan is priced at $ 83.88. This comes with a 41 % discount which saves a total of $ 59.52. The per month cost for this plan is $ 6.99 which is almost half in price compared to the monthly plan. This is a much better deal. This plan is billed once every year.
- 2 Year Plan: This is an even longer plan with an even better saving. The subscription for this plan is priced at $ 119.76. This comes with a 58 % discount which takes the savings to a total of $ 167.04. The per month cost for this plan is $ 4.99 which is less than half the price of their monthly plan. This plan is billed once every 2 years. This plan is the ideal plan for those looking for a long term plan with a great saving. However as surprising, it may sound, this isn’t the best and the longest plan that NordVPN offers.
- 3 Year Plan: Now this is the best plan that NordVPN has to offer. It is also the plan with the longest duration. The subscription for this plan is priced at $ 125.64. Yeah that’s right. For just $ 5.88 you get an extra year of subscription. This plan comes with a 70 % discount which takes the savings to a total of $ 304.56. The per month cost for this plan is $ 3.49. This plan is billed once every 3 years.
*All these plans come with a 30 day money back guarantee. So if you don’t like what they have to offer, you can have your money back.
Surfshark’s subscription plans and pricing
Compared to NordVPN, Surfshark has fewer options. But what it lacks in option, it makes up for it in its aggressive pricing. It has one of the best deal any VPN provider ever offer. So let us see of the plans offered by Surfshark.
- Monthly: Like NordVPN, Surfshark’s shortest plan is their most expensive one. Further it is also priced exactly like NordVPN’s monthly plan and costs $ 11.95. It is billed monthly and costs $ 143.40 for a full year. Like we said above, it is in no way the ideal plan. This should only be chosen if you require the VPN only for a short period of time.
- 1 Year Plan: This is where NordVPN and Surfshark start getting apart. The plan costs a total of $ 71.88 as compared to NordVPN’s $ 83.88 for the same plan. The per month cost for this plan is $ 5.99 which is a dollar less than that of NordVPN. This plan accounts for a 50 % saving which is a total of $ 71.52. This plan is billed once every year.
- 2 Year Plan: Surfshark straight up steals the show here with a too good to be true deal. At $ 47.76 for 2 years this is the as good a deal anyone can ever get. For comparison, NordVPN’s 2 year plan costs $ 119.76 which is more than double what Surfshark costs. In fact this plan is cheaper than the 1 year plan of both NordVPN and Surfshark itself. The per month cost for this plan is an unbelievable $ 1.99. The plan is billed once in 2 years. So if you are looking for an affordable VPN plan this is it.
*Again all these plans come with a 30day money back guarantee. So if you don’t like what they have to offer, you can have your money back.
Our Verdict: Even though NordVPN has more options and the one month plan of both the VPN’s are identical. Surfshark however has the upper hand. It is not that NordVPN is not affordable or something. It is just that Surfshark has pretty much the best deal any VPN provider ever had. Which is why SurfShark gets an extra point. At the end of this section, NordVPN gets a 9 while Surfshark scores a perfect 10.
2. NordVPN vs Surfshark Logging Policy
NordVPN’s user logging policy
First we need to know where the VPN headquarters are based out of. Because the data laws of that country will decide whether or not the authorities can access the users’ data. NordVPN is based in Panama and the country doesn’t have any data retention law. This is an ideal location for a VPN.
Now that we have looked where its HQ is located, let us see what it’s logging policies are. Here’s what we could find in NordVPN’s official website:
We keep no logs of your activity online
We do not store connection timestamps, session information, used bandwidth, traffic data, IP addresses, or other data. Nothing to store – nothing to share with anyone.
NordVPN is based away from the EU and US jurisdictions
That’s why we don’t have the legal obligation to collect your personal data. If someone asks for it, the best we can do is shrug our shoulders. And we like it that way.
We accept cryptocurrencies
With a crypto wallet and some stealth skills, you can sign up and pay for NordVPN without leaving a trace of who you are. And you still get the 30-day money-back guarantee.
Those are some pretty impressive claims thereby NordVPN. But unlike other providers, NordVPN went ahead and verified their claim. They invited PricewaterhouseCoopers AG, Zurich, Switzerland, one of the Big 4 auditing firms to verify and support their claims. After their industry-first audit, their report concluded that NordVPN’s policy description is fair and accurate.
These are the things NordVPN claims they know about you and why they require those:
- Email address: It’s necessary for creating and managing your user account, resetting the password, and making a VPN connection.
- Payment data: Our payment providers process just enough billing information to make the payments – and refunds – happen. If you want to make an untraceable VPN purchase, we also accept cryptocurrencies.
- The timestamp of the last session status: For every user, we allow up to 6 VPN connections at the same time. To enforce the limit, our system tracks the username and the timestamp of the last session status while the session is active. It deletes the data automatically within 15 minutes after you disconnect.
From this we can conclude NordVPN strictly follows it’s No Logging Claim. Whatever data it has is only to further improve the experience of its users. This is a relief for every one of its users. Let us now see how Surfshark fares in this prospect.
Surfshark’s user logging policy
First off Surfshark’s HQ is located in British Virgin Islands. Like Panama, they also don’t have any mandatory data retention laws. So that’s a good start. We now look at Surfshark’s logging policy. Here is what we found from their official website:
A no-log VPN is the only reliable VPN
We are committed to protecting your privacy online, wherever you go and whatever you do. For us, no-logs is a no-brainer.
In short, a no-log VPN like Surfshark does not keep track of your online whereabouts or actions in any way. This includes:
- IP address
- Browsing history
- Used bandwidth
- Session information
- Network traffic
- Connection timestamps
Personal information that we collect
- Email address and encrypted password
- Basic billing information and order history
Why do we need this information?
We need your email in order to help you fix any issues that you may encounter.
We need your billing information to successfully create your account. Your billing information will include your payment amount, currency and the date of the payment, as well as what you chose to purchase. You can also opt for total anonymity and pay with cryptocurrency.
Anonymous information we collect for diagnostics
- Aggregated, anonymous performance data
- The frequency of use of our services
- Crash reports on apps
- Unsuccessful connection attempts
Why do we need this information?
We only collect the bare minimum amount of technical data, so we can fix any technical issues in a whim. None of this data can be tied to your account.
It is clear from their website that Surfshark doesn’t make any claims of not logging user data. They however take a more transparent direction. Instead of making such claims, they mention what they track. They also go ahead and explain why they need those data they track. This is totally acceptable and they deserve credit for that. So here’s our verdict after the end of this section.
Our Verdict: Both NordVPN and Surfshark do a great job of maintaining their no log policy. NordVPN however gets an extra point because they went ahead and verified their claim. So NordVPN gets a 10 and Surfshark gets a 9.
3. NordVPN vs Surfshark Security
In this section, we will see how effective each of these VPNs. We will look at the different protocols and the techniques they use. We will also find out if they manage to keep us secure and safe. Let us start with NordVPN, the more established among both.
NordVPN’s Network Protocols
NordVPN allows its users to connect using 3 different protocols. Here’s what their official website says about these protocols :
- IKEv2/IPsec: Internet protocol security (IPsec) operates with the newest version of the Internet Key Exchange (IKEv2) to enhance security, stability, and speed. IKEv2/IPsec employs powerful cryptography algorithms and keys, which are unbreakable by supercomputers.
- OpenVPN: OpenVPN is an extremely versatile security protocol, which you can use both for UPD and TCP ports – for safe browsing, gaming, and live streaming. To guarantee the protection of your sensitive data, NordVPN uses the AES-256-GCM encryption algorithm with a 4096-bit DH key.
- NordLynx: The chink in Wireguard’s armor — it can’t ensure complete user privacy. That’s why we developed a double NAT (Network Address Translation) system on its backbone. It allows a secure VPN connection and does not store any identifiable data on the VPN server. That’s the NordLynx technology, available on Linux.
Surfshark’s Network Protocols
Surfshark also supports 3 different protocols. Here’s what their official website says about these protocols :
- IKEv2: IKEv2 (short for Internet Key Exchange version 2) is a fast and secure protocol that tends to work best when the server you’re connecting to is physically nearby. It was developed by Cisco and Microsoft security engineers and it is very popular among mobile users.
- OpenVPN: OpenVPN is an open-source protocol, which means that it is constantly being developed and improved by security professionals around the world. It’s fast, secure, and often works best for long-distance connections or desktop operating systems.
- Shadowsocks: Shadowsocks is an encrypted proxy that was designed specifically to help people overcome the restrictions of the so-called Great Firewall of China. It works great for that purpose, but if you are not in a restricted country, you’re better off using either OpenVPN or IKEv2.
Our Verdict: NordVPN and Surfshark both support IKEv2 and OpenVPN which are the industry standard. They also support a different open-source proxy which provides further security. So both NordVPN and SurfShark get a 9.
4. NordVPN vs Surfshark Data encryption
Both NordVPN and ExpressVPN use Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) encryption in all their connections. According to NordVPN “AES is an encryption standard used and approved worldwide by governments, cybersecurity experts, and cryptography enthusiasts.” Further both use AES with a 256-bit keys which is an absolute overkill. It would take even Super Computers a billion of years to decrypt.
Control Channel Encryption: NordVPN uses a 4096-bit RSA key while Surfshark uses a 2048-bit RSA key. This lets the VPN privately communicate with all your devices. While Surfshark is still secure in this matter, NordVPN provides more security.
Our Verdict: NordVPN gets a 9.5 while Surfshark gets a 9 for both their encryption standards.
Other Security Features:
NordVPN and Surfshark both use a Private DNS. All the DNS queries of the users go through an encrypted tunnel. These queries are then resolved on the same VPN server the user is connected to. This means that there are no activity logs, no connection logs, no DNS blocking and no third parties.
VPN Kill Switch
Both these VPNs also have a network kill switch. So if your VPN connection ever gets interrupted or the connection drops unexpectedly, this will protect you. In such cases, Network Lock will immediately stop any kind of traffic from either entering or leaving your device. This way even if your VPN connection fails, both NordVPN and Surfshark will make sure you are protected.
Double VPN / MultiHop
Here the user will be connected to multiple countries or servers. Each country acts as a layer. In each layer the data is encrypted again. This means that the data will be encrypted multiple times. Hence, the data will be more secure. NordVPN calls this Double VPN while Surfshark calls this MultiHop. Both are essentially the same thing.
Obfsproxy / NoBorders
In order to bypass countrywide restrictions or VPN blocking, both the VPNs use their own proprietary software. While NordVPN calls it Obfsproxy, Surfshark named their NoBorders. Both of these however work in a similar manner. They both reshape your traffic which makes it look like you are not using a VPN at all.
Our Verdict: There’s very little to tell both the VPN apart here. Hence both of them get a 9 here.
5. Availability of Servers
NordVPN has a total of 5679 servers spread across 59 countries whereas Surfshark has 1040+ servers in 61+ countries. The only country where Surfshark has a server and NordVPN doesn’t is Russia. This is because NordVPN has shut down its server in Russia. This was after a bill that required VPN companies to provide the government with access to their servers was passed in Russia.
Our Verdict: Even though the no of countries they have servers in are almost the same, NordVPN has about 5 times more server. This is a given because NordVPN is already established whereas Surfshark is still new. We give Surfshark an 8 while NordVPN gets a 9.5 for their huge no of servers.
6. NordVPN vs Surfshark Geo Unblocking
Both the VPNs performed very well in this area. They successfully managed to unblock multiple regions in Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu. Surfshark however couldn’t unblock Eleven Sports while both NordVPN and Surfshark failed to unblock ABC. In comparison, NordVPN was able to unblock more no of Netflix libraries.
Our Verdict: Both the VPN performed very well in this area. Surfshar gets a 9 while NordVPN gets a 10 for its ability to unblock a larger no of Netflix libraries.
7. Other Features
NordVPN supports at most 6 simultaneous connections at a time. This is above the industry average, which is five. Surfshark on the other hand has no connection limit. This means you can connect as many devices as you want.
NordVPN allows you to automatically connect to a VPN whenever there is an unsecured Wi-Fi connection. Surfshark doesn’t have that,.
SurfShark supports Split Tunneling which allows you to exclude specific apps from accessing the VPN. So only apps you want to use the VPN for will use the VPN. NordVPN doesn’t support Split tunneling.
Our Verdict: While both have their advantages, Surfshark gets an extra point for its unlimited simultaneous connection. NordVPN gets 9 and Surfsharks gets a 9.5.
8. Customer Services
Both these VPN’s have incredible customer support. Both of them have 24/7 live chat support. They also have a ticket system. While NordVPN’s support team is in-house, Surfshark’s support team is outsourced. Both also have a searchable knowledge database. They also have email support if their chat support isn’t available. NordVPN however has a Youtube channel that provides video walkthroughs of their features.
Our Verdict: While both have similar support, NordVPN gets extra points for its Youtube Channel. So NordVPN gets 9.5 and Surfshark gets a 9.
NordVPN vs Surfshark: The Winner?
Both the VPN was excellent in almost every area we compared them. there was very little to tell them apart. Even after being a relatively new service, Surfshark still managed to give a tough fight to NordVPN.
The final score of NordVPN is 84.5 i.e an average of 9.38 whereas SurfShark scored 81.5 at an average of 9.05.
After taking everything into consideration we decided to choose NordVPN as the winner. This was because of its huge network of servers and its excellent unblocking abilities. We also found out that NordVPN is more suitable for advanced use cases. They have a chance of providing you with a more secure and private network.
This however doesn’t mean that Surfshark isn’t good enough. It’s just that NordVPN is a little better. At least for now. In fact if you are looking for an affordable 2 year plan, I would suggest you to choose Surfshark over NordVPN. It has an unbelievable performance to price ratio.
So we would like to conclude with the following statement:
Even though Surfshark is a really good VPN, it is not as good as NordVPN which is totally established. However, the difference isn’t much though. NordVPN will have to be on its feet to maintain its lead.
NordVPN: Get 70%+ Discount
Surfshark: Get 83% Discount