Based on all of my testing, NordVPN and Surfshark are both great options, but deciding which one meets your needs takes a lot of time and research. That’s why I compared these 2 premium VPNs in 13 key areas. While both VPNs delivered an excellent user experience and quality security measures, there could only be one winner. NordVPN eeked out ahead in multiple key categories, making it the best value for your money. If you’re interested in trying it out, NordVPN has a 30 day money-back guarantee where you can try out all of its premium features risk-free! Try NordVPN risk-free

Short on Time? Find Out Who Won Right Here

If you want to make a quick decision, take a look at the test results below (spoiler alert — NordVPN is the winner!).

Winner of Each Category

If you want the full test results now, jump to the summary! Try NordVPN risk-free

NordVPN vs. Surfshark — Pricing and Coupons

Both VPNs provide a number of subscription options, but you’ll get a better deal if you sign up for a yearly plan instead of paying month-to-month. Luckily, you can usually find hidden discounts on these VPNs to bring down the cost (but be careful of fake or expired coupons). Although Surfshark’s subscription options differ from NordVPN’s, its best offer is much cheaper. That’s why I chose Surfshark as the winner of this category. Try Surfshark risk-free

NordVPN vs. Surfshark — Speed

I conducted 3 different speed tests to find the average speeds for both VPNs. However, keep in mind that server speeds vary based on many factors like how far the server is from your location. If I ran these tests again, I would probably get different results. As you can see in the table above, both VPNs demonstrated high speeds. However, during my tests, NordVPN was faster in all download tests, making it the best choice for consistently high performance. Here’s a more detailed look at my test results: During my single-connection test, NordVPN was 39% faster than Surfshark. During my multi-connection test, NordVPN was 62% faster than Surfshark. NordVPN was 42% faster than Surfshark during a test with a distant New York server. NordVPN was faster in every category I tested apart from server setup speeds — so it’s the clear winner of this category. Try NordVPN risk-free

NordVPN vs. Surfshark — Features

Surfshark and NordVPN share most of the same standard features (like a global server network and unlimited bandwidth) — but when I took a deeper look, I noticed some differences. They both have widespread server networks, but NordVPN has one of the largest VPN networks on the market (with over 5456 servers to choose from!). This means you’ll always have alternative servers to choose from in case your server is slow. The only place Surfshark outperforms NordVPN is in device connections. With Surfshark, you can connect an unlimited number of devices at once, while NordVPN only supports 6 connections. Overall, both services offer a wide range of features but NordVPN goes above and beyond in areas like coverage and security. After testing so many VPNs, I found that more servers to choose from means better server performance — so NordVPN is the winner here. Try NordVPN risk-free

NordVPN vs. Surfshark — Streaming (Netflix and More!)

NordVPN and Surfshark are closely matched when it comes to streaming as both support many popular platforms. Both gave me consistent streaming connections and avoided the dreaded Netflix proxy error. I also tested each service with multiple free regional streaming platforms such as 9NOW in Australia, CBC in Canada, and TVP in Poland. Both VPNs managed to unblock all 3 websites with minimal buffering. NordVPN easily accessed BBC iPlayer. Unfortunately, when connected to Surfshark, BBC iPlayer showed an error message. My tests prove that Surfshark is a capable VPN for streaming but lacks several platforms that NordVPN supports (like Vudu, Sky, and SHOWTIME). For this reason, NordVPN wins this category. Try NordVPN risk-free

NordVPN vs. Surfshark — China

Neither Surfshark nor NordVPN work in China — despite both offering a different feature for overcoming internet restrictions in countries with heavy surveillance. For NordVPN, these are obfuscated servers, while Surfshark calls them “NoBorders” servers. During my tests, both VPNs failed to connect. This is likely due to the Chinese government identifying and blocking my servers. As you probably know, China has severe internet restrictions in place. However, I didn’t have any problems using ExpressVPN or PrivateVPN to bypass the Great Firewall of China and use the internet freely.

NordVPN vs. Surfshark — Torrenting

NordVPN and Surfshark each support torrenting — however, NordVPN has thousands of servers dedicated to torrenting. Apparently all of Surfshark’s servers support torrenting, so I ran some tests to see how they performed compared to NordVPN’s P2P servers. For my tests, I connected each VPN to a local Warsaw server. While both services performed well, I could download a 2.17GB file from the public domain in just 3 minutes with Surfshark — and it took NordVPN over 4 minutes. When it comes to torrenting, Surfshark has higher speeds for torrenting, and NordVPN has a larger number of servers dedicated to torrenting. You’ll have to decide which feature is more important to you. If you want the best VPN for torrenting, I recommend you consider ExpressVPN instead. During tests, I was impressed to find that ExpressVPN has excellent speeds and every server in its network supports torrenting.

NordVPN vs. Surfshark — Gaming

As a gamer, I know the most important metric for gaming is latency (also known as ping). Latency is the time it takes for your command to reach the server and for the result of that command (movement, shooting, etc.) to be sent back to your device. I know firsthand that VPNs aren’t often used while gaming because they have a bad reputation for increasing latency (due to the extra server connections). However, I was positively surprised by Surfshark’s results. Be aware that the lower the ping (in ms), the better! While testing, Surfshark had lower ping than NordVPN in all 3 games. In Rocket League, my ping while connected to Surfshark was even lower than my base ping. I assume that the VPN was taking a more direct route to the game servers than my ISP, resulting in a lower ping. If you need to use a VPN while gaming, connect to your closest available server to limit the amount of latency. Neither VPN is the best for gaming in 2023, but Surfshark’s lower latency results make it the better choice over NordVPN. Try Surfshark risk-free

NordVPN vs. Surfshark — Security

NordVPN and Surfshark each use the fastest and most secure VPN protocols (including OpenVPN), which means no matter which one you choose — you’ll always be secure. A core feature of a VPN is that it masks your IP address, therefore IP and DNS leak protection is an essential part of any VPN. I ran leak tests on both services to ensure they protect your personal data with every connection — they both passed with no issues. With server chaining technology, NordVPN and Surfshark allow you to connect to two VPN servers at once. This sends your data through two encrypted VPN tunnels and countries, making you harder to track. However, NordVPN offers 70 Double VPN connections, compared to Surfshark’s 13. For those wanting even more privacy, NordVPN’s “Onion over VPN” servers are a great option. Your traffic is first sent to NordVPN’s encrypted servers and then through the Tor network. Tor is seen as the most secure browser available as it anonymously bounces traffic across multiple nodes (individual computers) before reaching its final destination. Finally, both VPNs have an integrated kill switch for all your devices. This cuts off your internet connection if your VPN connection ever fails, preventing accidental data leaks. This category is a close match, with both VPNs offering the same core security functionality. However, with NordVPN’s Tor servers and larger selection of Double VPN connections, it takes a slight lead and wins this category. Try NordVPN risk-free

NordVPN vs. Surfshark — Logging Policy

NordVPN and Surfshark both claim to keep no logs of your personal data, and both have been independently audited to verify that their claims are true. While neither NordVPN nor Surfshark’s privacy policies have been proven in a real-life attack, they have both been subject to the following:

NordVPN was audited by PWC in 2018, which fully verified their no-log policy. It was shown to keep no IP addresses, traffic logs, or connection logs of any kind. Surfshark underwent an audit in 2018 as well, although it was far more limited in scope — only auditing the Chrome and Firefox extensions. While Surfshark passed that audit, a full audit of the main software is necessary to ensure full compliance with the no-log policy.

Apart from auditing, where a VPN provider is located is also extremely important. The 5, 9, and 14 Eyes alliances are groups of countries that share data gathered by intelligence services (and can pressure companies within their borders to share information). Luckily, both of these services are outside of the alliances, with NordVPN based in Panama and Surfshark in the British Virgin Islands. While both VPNs are in safe international jurisdictions, only NordVPN has received a full independent audit so I had to choose NordVPN as the winner. Try NordVPN risk-free

NordVPN vs. Surfshark — Device Compatibility

As you can see above, both services support the most popular operating systems and mobile devices. However, Surfshark is the clear winner of this category as it supports 18 devices and will allow you to connect them all on a single account, while NordVPN only supports 14. Try Surfshark risk-free

NordVPN vs. Surfshark — Interface


Both NordVPN and Surfshark have an appealing interface, although I didn’t find either offered the best VPN app for Windows. However, with NordVPN you can pick a server from a list of countries or directly from the map. I prefer this over Surfshark’s list-only approach as the map allows me to check nearby servers and automatically connect to the best available server. Both VPNs have menus and settings that are simple to understand and enable in just a few clicks. Surfshark splits its settings across 3 menus in a slightly disorganized way, so finding a specific setting can sometimes be frustrating. Personally, I find NordVPN’s menu structure more intuitive as it clearly labels every setting option so you can find and enable specific settings quickly.


NordVPN and Surfshark use the same desktop interface on mobile so I found it easy to connect to a server on either interface. During my tests, I realized that both apps run in the background once you’re connected. You can easily disconnect by swiping down your notification bar and clicking “disconnect”. When you’re not actively using them, both apps stay hidden. NordVPN’s map-based server overview and more streamlined menu navigation made it a lot easier for me to use, so it wins this category. Try NordVPN risk-free

NordVPN vs. Surfshark — Setup


Both NordVPN and Surfshark are easy to install on desktop. In 5 simple steps (and less than 3 minutes), I installed both apps to my MacBook and started browsing. I found the download for Surfshark took an extra minute compared to NordVPN, but once the app was installed I had no issues.


Most how-to pages tell you to get the mobile app from the Play Store (Android) or App Store (iOS), but I don’t recommend doing that. I learned the hard way that if you don’t buy directly from the vendor, it may not process your refund (or could take much longer in Surfshark’s case). I had to read through both Apple and NordVPN’s refund policies — Apple’s took me over an hour to read and understand. To save yourself the hassle of speaking to a middleman (like Apple), follow these simple instructions:

Other Devices

Apart from computers and mobile devices, both VPNs offer installs for other hardware.

You can download either VPN from the “Apps” section on Fire TV devices. Download both services from the Play Store on Android TV. Find the manual install files in your NordVPN or Surfshark account for router setup. Easily download the Linux repo and install both VPNs through the terminal.

Both VPNs offer a fast download and installation experience on both desktop and mobile, so this category is a tie.

NordVPN vs. Surfshark — Customer Service

I found NordVPN and Surfshark do equally well in the field of customer service. They both have a deep and well-organized help section full of tutorials, guides, and troubleshooting material. If you can’t find the answer to your question in any of the guides, NordVPN and Surfshark offer 24/7 support through email or live chat. Live chat is a convenient feature as it offers you the quickest answer to your questions. For both providers, this feature is easy to connect. I’ve used live chat for both VPNs dozens of times over the past year and have only positive things to say about them. Each time I’ve used this feature, the representatives have responded quickly and been knowledgeable on a wide range of subjects like manual VPN setup and choosing the best server for streaming in a certain country. As both VPNs offer thorough and responsive customer support, there is a tie for this category.

Final Look: NordVPN vs. Surfshark

And the Winner Is… NordVPN

NordVPN is the overall winner, but that doesn’t mean Surfshark isn’t worth your attention. If you’re looking for a high-speed VPN with the best access to streaming services and a verified no-logs policy, then NordVPN is the best choice for you. If price, number of device connections, and gaming performance matter the most, then Surfshark is my recommendation. However, compared to many other VPNs I’ve tested, both NordVPN and Surfshark are quality VPNs that offer great value for money. Alternatively, you can check out the full list of the best VPNs for 2023 to learn more about top-tier VPNs like ExpressVPN. Try NordVPN risk-free    

Here Are the Best VPNs in 2023 (Tested)