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NordVPN vs Surfshark - Which One Wins in 2024

NordVPN and Surfshark are two of the top VPNs in the world. 

NordVPN stands out with its reputation for lightning-fast speeds, robust security features, and ability to unblock popular streaming platforms. Surfshark attracts attention with its budget-friendly pricing and unlimited simultaneous device connections.

So… which is better? 

In this guide, we’ll compare NordVPN and Surfshark side-by-side. We'll break down their security protocols, performance, streaming compatibility, pricing, and more. 

By the end, you’ll be able to confidently choose the VPN that best suits your online needs.

NordVPN vs Surfshark – Which is best in 2024? 

Surfshark just about beats NordVPN in several crucial areas. 

It's our top pick for budget-friendly VPNs. It offers unlimited device connections on a single, affordable plan. With 3,000+ speed-optimized servers in over 100 countries, Surfshark accesses all your favorite streaming sites and delivers smooth viewing (including Netflix US).

While NordVPN has more servers (6,300+ in 111+ countries) and works well for streaming, it's less user-friendly and doesn't match Surfshark's speed. It also limits your devices to 10. That’s still a lot, but you can’t beat the value of unlimited devices that Surfshark offers. 

Both VPNs offer no-questions-asked 30-day money-back guarantees, so you can test them risk-free. You can also read our side-by-side reviews of NordVPN and Surfshark.

Throughout this review, we'll explore the security, speed, streaming capabilities, and privacy features of each VPN in more detail.

But, if you want a quick decision, Surfshark is the clear winner.


NordVPN and Surfshark offer comparable pricing structures, with monthly, yearly, and two-year subscriptions. 

However, Surfshark takes the lead in value. 

Its two-year plan boasts an 85% discount and costs only $2.29 monthly ($59.76 in total; $29.88 per year). NordVPN's two-year plan offers a 62% discount and costs $3.09 per month ($99.99 in total; $49.99 per year).

Surfshark's value is unbeatable: for a lower price, you get unlimited device connections, top-notch security features, and faster speeds. 

Read more: The best budget VPNs in 2024

NordVPN and Surfshark offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, allowing you to test their connection speeds, server options, and device compatibility before making a long-term commitment.

Try out Surfshark!

Which has better features? 

No Value NordVPN Surfshark
Simultaneous connections 10 1000
Total servers 6200 3200
Number of countries 111 countries 100 countries
Obfuscation (stealth)
Self-hosted DNS

NordVPN and Surfshark support popular devices and operating systems like Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, smart TVs, and routers. 

They also cover security essentials such as: 

  • 256-bit AES encryption
  • An automatic kill-switch that cuts off your internet if the VPN connection drops
  • DNS/IPv4 leak protection
  • Support for various VPN protocols

You can protect all your devices with a single subscription and even share it with others. NordVPN's limit of 10 simultaneous connections is still decent but less flexible than Surfshark's unlimited offering.

Surfshark includes additional features like CleanWeb (ad-blocking), Whitelister (split tunneling), dark web monitoring, and more. 

NordVPN boasts its own NordLynx protocol, known for its exceptional speeds due to its modern, lightweight design. It also offers advanced encryption customization for tech-savvy users.

Ultimately, Surfshark provides more advanced features to fortify your online privacy and security than NordVPN at a lower price.

Try out Surfshark!

Are routers supported? 

No Value NordVPN Surfshark
Router support

Both NordVPN and Surfshark allow direct installation on compatible routers.

Router setup is generally more complex than installing a VPN on your devices. Both VPNs offer guides, but ensuring your router is supported is important.

Surfshark works with virtually any home Wi-Fi router, offering the convenience of protecting all devices on your network with a single setup. The installation process is particularly user-friendly, with clear step-by-step instructions that don't require much technical know-how. However, some specific router models or firmware versions may cause compatibility issues.

NordVPN is compatible with popular router brands like Asus, DD-WRT, and Tomato. Its website also has installation guides.

Overall, Surfshark gets the edge in this category due to its simpler setup process.

Try out Surfshark!


What websites do they access? 

No Value NordVPN Surfshark
Amazon Prime

Surfshark consistently accesses over 29 Netflix libraries and other platforms, such as Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Disney Plus, SkyGo, ABC, NBC, and CBS.

NordVPN can access almost every major streaming website – including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and Disney+. It's also fast enough for HD streaming from most countries and works with banking websites, apps, and other typically restricted online services.

While NordVPN boasts a more extensive server network in more countries, Surfshark has dedicated servers optimized for streaming. This usually means faster, more reliable connections with less chance of buffering or slowdowns during peak times.

Surfshark also works with more Netflix libraries than NordVPN, which we break down below. 

So… when it comes to content, Surfshark just clinches this round. 

Try out Surfshark!

Netflix libraries

No Value NordVPN Surfshark

For the widest access to global Netflix content, Surfshark is a better choice than NordVPN. Both can access popular libraries like the US, UK, Canada, and Japan, but Surfshark goes the extra mile with Australia and numerous European countries.

Try out Surfshark!

Torrenting capabilities

No Value NordVPN Surfshark
Port selection
Torrenting allowed?
Dedicated servers?

NordVPN and Surfshark both allow torrenting on all their servers. They also offer dedicated torrenting servers designed for maximum speed and security.

NordVPN and Surfshark also adhere to strict "no-logs" policies, ensuring no data is recorded on, or retrievable from, their servers. NordVPN is headquartered in Panama, one of the most private places on Earth, while Surfshark is based in the Netherlands – part of the 9 Eyes global surveillance alliance. 

Both NordVPN and Surfshark provide the automatic kill-switch feature. This essential tool instantly cuts off your internet if the VPN connection drops, preventing your ISP from detecting your torrenting. 

Plus, both VPNs work seamlessly with popular torrenting clients like BitTorrent, uTorrent, and qBittorrent.

Our tests showed Surfshark to be slightly faster and more secure for torrenting. This is likely due to its advanced features and lightweight apps. We also prefer its more privacy-friendly location in Panama. 

Try out Surfshark!

Setup & usability

No Value NordVPN Surfshark
nVidia Shield
Android TV
Fire TV
Routers supported

NordVPN and Surfshark offer user-friendly apps for popular devices like Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and Linux. They also provide clear setup guides for easy installation.

Connecting to a server is quick and straightforward, with both VPNs featuring "one-tap" options. NordVPN includes a server list and a smart location tool for automatic server selection, while Surfshark offers a straightforward list for manual selection.

You'll find 24/7 customer support via live chat and email with both VPNs, ready to help with any questions or issues.

Overall, Surfshark's apps have the edge. They're well-organized, visually appealing, and offer advanced features like dark web monitoring and specialized servers for various purposes. 

Surfshark also provides a more stable connection experience, making it generally easier and more reliable to use.

Try out Surfshark!

Mobile features

No Value NordVPN Surfshark

NordVPN's mobile app offers more advanced features and customization, catering to experienced VPN users. Surfshark's mobile app, on the other hand, excels in user-friendliness and is perfect for iOS VPN beginners.

Both VPNs provide smooth streaming and torrenting experiences on mobile devices. They also have a kill-switch for mobile data protection.

NordVPN and Surfshark include auto-connect and split tunneling. Split tunneling lets you choose which apps use the VPN while others connect locally. This is particularly useful for watching foreign streaming content while using apps that need your actual location.

Both VPNs also offer responsive customer support if you need help.

Overall, Surfshark wins this round for its user-friendliness.

Try out Surfshark!

Performance & speed

No Value NordVPN Surfshark
Total servers 6200 3200
Server locations 135 140 SpeedTest (average) 85.9 Mbps 41.0 Mbps
Speed 568.0 Mbps 273.2 Mbps
Performance 9 9

NordVPN has a larger server network with over 6,000 servers across 111+ countries. Surfshark trails behind with 3,200+ servers in over 100 countries. 

NordVPN also developed a proprietary VPN protocol – called NordLynx – that is meant to deliver a faster, smoother experience than typical protocols like WireGuard (used by Surfshark and other top VPNs). 

However, Surfshark consistently takes the lead in delivering fast connections. NordVPN is also reliable, but speeds can be less consistent depending on your server.

In our tests, Surfshark delivered 323.6 MBps on the nearest US server and only dropped slightly when connecting to the UK. NordVPN peaked at a slightly slower 310 MBps on the closest server. 

NordVPN and Surfshark are two of the fastest VPNs in the world. They offer stable connections with low latency for a smooth online experience, and the difference in your experience will be negligible. 

Winner: It’s a draw!


No Value NordVPN Surfshark
Obfuscation (stealth)
IPv6 leak protection
WebRTC leak protection
Bare-metal servers?
Self-hosted DNS

NordVPN and Surfshark prioritize security, with many advanced features. These include: 

  • 4096-bit RSA keys for encryption
  • Protection against IPv4 and WebRTC leaks 
  • Multiple VPN protocols (L2TP/IPSec, IKEv2, OpenVPN, and WireGuard)
  • Industry-standard 256-bit AES encryption
  • IP address obfuscation to mask the use of a VPN 

NordVPN delivers many of these features through its proprietary NordLynx protocol. Surfshark has developed standalone tools: Camouflage Mode and NoBorders Mode.

NordVPN and Surfshark operate their own DNS servers, minimizing the risk of exposing your data to third parties.

Surfshark goes further, however, with a suite of additional tools like ad blockers and malware detection included as standard. 

Try out Surfshark!


No Value NordVPN Surfshark
Jurisdiction Panama British Virgin Islands
Independently audited?
User details required for sign up?
Anonymous payment options?

The first thing to note is the location of both VPNs. 

NordVPN is based in Panama, a tax haven with strict privacy laws. Surfshark’s HQ is in the Netherlands, at the heart of the EU. While NordVPN is committed to privacy, Surfshark's jurisdiction might offer you more peace of mind.

Both VPNs have strict "no-logs" policies, so your online activity is never recorded or shared. They use RAM-only servers, regularly wiped to prevent data lingering on their networks.

Surfshark goes further with an optional MultiHop setting, routing your traffic through two VPN servers for an extra privacy layer (though this might impact speeds).

NordVPN offers advanced customization options like adjustable encryption, a feature mainly appealing to tech-savvy users.

Third-party firms regularly audit both VPNs to confirm their privacy claims. 

While we trust NordVPN’s privacy policies, we’re more comfortable with Surfshark’s location in Panama. 

Try out Surfshark!

Customer service

No Value NordVPN Surfshark
Free trial Yes - 7 Days 7-days (macOS and mobile apps)
Money-back guarantee
24-hour support
Live chat
Money-back guarantee length 30 days 30 days

NordVPN and Surfshark offer 24/7 customer support through live chat, ticketing, and email, but Surfshark generally has slightly faster response times, especially during peak hours. 

Both VPNs have helpful knowledge bases, with Surfshark particularly good at answering common questions.

Surfshark shines with detailed guides, including screenshots and step-by-step instructions for various issues. 

Both VPNs offer email and ticketing support for complex inquiries, with typical response times within the same day.

Try out Surfshark!

Methodology: how we compare VPNs

We use a thorough testing process to provide the most accurate reviews of NordVPN and Surfshark (and any other VPN). Here's what we focus on:

  • Security: We analyze encryption standards, available protocols, leak protection measures, and additional security features to guarantee your data, location, and identity remain protected.
  • Large server networks: We test servers worldwide to confirm fast, reliable connections with minimal downtime across various locations.
  • Fast connections: Speed tests are crucial – we assess how well each VPN performs for streaming, gaming, video calls, and other data-intensive activities.
  • Access to content: We verify that the VPNs can unblock popular streaming sites and bypass geographical restrictions.
  • Transparency: Privacy policies should be clear and easily understood. We ensure the VPNs outline their data collection practices (ideally none!) and build trust.
  • Ease of use: Technical complexity shouldn't translate to a difficult user experience. We recommend beginner-friendly VPNs with user-friendly interfaces.
  • Value: The best VPNs balance features and affordability with straightforward pricing and money-back guarantees.

For a deeper understanding of our testing procedures and criteria, refer to our VPN review methodology.

Conclusion: NordVPN or Surfshark in 2024? 

Surfshark outperforms NordVPN ever so slightly, earning the #2 spot on our best VPN list (NordVPN follows closely at #3).

While NordVPN has a larger server network, Surfshark's 3,000+ servers across 100+ countries deliver consistently faster speeds and better global connections.

Surfshark also excels in unlocking popular streaming platforms. It offers robust security and privacy features, user-friendly apps, and the huge benefit of unlimited device connections on a single plan.

Try Surfshark risk-free with its 30-day money-back guarantee and see why it's our top

Written by: Conor Walsh

Conor is a tech writer with professional paranoia. He's passionate about privacy, and when not writing about it, can be found trying to get far away from his phone and any other technology, enjoying some live music, outdoorsy stuff, or a good (physical) book.


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