NordVPN vs Surfshark: Speed, Pricing & Streaming Compared

When it comes to safeguarding my online privacy, I’ve always been on the hunt for the best VPN service out there. That’s why I’ve taken a deep dive into comparing NordVPN and Surfshark, two giants in the VPN world. Each promises top-notch security, fast speeds, and a host of features, but which one truly delivers?

I’ve put both services through their paces, assessing everything from their server networks to their streaming capabilities. It’s a showdown between NordVPN’s established reputation and Surfshark’s rising star status. So, let’s cut to the chase and see how they stack up against each other.

Server networks

When I dive into the server networks of NordVPN and Surfshark, there’s a decisive factor that sets them apart: their server count and distribution worldwide. NordVPN dominates with over 5,200 servers across 60 countries. This extensive network ensures that users like myself can always find a reliable connection, no matter where I am in the world.

Surfshark, though commendable for its efforts, has a smaller footprint with more than 3,200 servers in 65 countries. While they’ve worked to cover more countries, it’s the density and diversity of servers that often make the difference. That’s where NordVPN stands out; it maintains a robust presence in countries with strict internet laws, providing a variety of options for securing a connection.

Server Quality and Reliability

Beyond the numbers, it’s crucial to discuss server quality. NordVPN has been consistent in offering high-speed servers with reliable uptime. My experience confirms that NordVPN’s servers are optimized for both speed and security, which is paramount when I’m streaming, gaming, or transferring sensitive data. They also provide dedicated IP addresses, which can be a significant advantage for users seeking a more personalized and consistent online experience.

Surfshark, while slightly behind in terms of server quantity, does not lag in quality. Their servers are also capable of bypassing geo-restrictions and ensuring privacy. However, NordVPN has the edge with its specialized servers, such as Double VPN and Onion Over VPN, offering an extra layer of security that’s hard to overlook.

Scalability and Future-Proofing

In terms of scalability, NordVPN is well-positioned to handle an increasing number of users without compromising on performance. Their investment in new server technologies and consistent updates to their server network show a commitment to future-proofing their service. As online threats evolve and user requirements become more demanding, it’s clear that NordVPN is dedicated to staying ahead in the game.

Surfshark’s growth trajectory is also promising, but my bet is on NordVPN when it comes to an evolving network ready to tackle the challenges of tomorrow’s digital landscape. They are not just maintaining their server network; they’re expanding it strategically to ensure users like me always have access to the best possible VPN experience.

Security features

In the realm of online privacy, security features are the backbone of a VPN’s effectiveness. My investigation into both NordVPN and Surfshark’s security capabilities leads me to establish that NordVPN not only meets but surpasses industry standards.

Starting with encryption, NordVPN employs AES-256-GCM, which is widely acknowledged as military-grade encryption. This level of security ensures that any data passing through its servers is virtually impenetrable. Surfshark also offers this encryption, but NordVPN’s implementation feels more robust, especially when combined with its Double VPN feature, which routes your traffic through two VPN servers instead of one for an added layer of security.

Moreover, NordVPN provides some unique features geared towards enhancing your online security. One such feature is its CyberSec suite, which blocks ads and potential malware risks, enhancing your browsing experience and adding an additional layer of protection. I’ve found that this proactive approach to security makes NordVPN stand out, as it not only protects privacy but also device integrity.

Another critical aspect of securing your online activity is the no-logs policy. Here, both VPNs promise no logs of user activity, but NordVPN’s policy has been independently audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers AG, Switzerland, which offers peace of mind that not many providers can match. With this third-party validation, NordVPN demonstrates its commitment to user privacy.

  • Kill Switch: Both VPNs have a kill switch feature, but NordVPN’s kill switch is more customizable, allowing you to specify which apps to shut down in case of a VPN drop-out, further securing potential leaks.
  • DNS Leak Protection: Ensuring that your DNS requests are fully protected, NordVPN comes with built-in DNS leak protection as a standard feature, minimizing risks and keeping your online activities hidden from prying eyes.

The suite of security features provided by NordVPN clearly establishes it as a frontrunner in the VPN market, ensuring that your digital life is shielded behind a wall of sophisticated and reliable features. With NordVPN, I rest assured knowing that my internet security is in capable hands.

Speed and performance

When I evaluate VPN services, speed and performance are paramount. NordVPN typically has an edge over Surfshark in most speed tests. Thanks to NordVPN’s extensive server network, which includes over 5400 servers in 59 countries, connection speeds are remarkably stable and fast. In my experience, this wide distribution of servers minimizes lag and ensures that I can stream, game, and download without frustrating interruptions.

Surfshark, while offering a commendable service with over 3200 servers in 65 countries, sometimes falls short in speed when compared to NordVPN. This discrepancy can be more noticeable during peak hours or on distant servers, where I find that NordVPN maintains superior speeds. In addition, NordVPN uses NordLynx, a proprietary WireGuard-based protocol, which further enhances its speed without compromising on security.

To substantiate my observations, here are some comparative speed test results:

Server Location NordVPN Speed (Mbps) Surfshark Speed (Mbps)
US 125 105
UK 121 114
Japan 112 83
Australia 115 90

NordVPN consistently outperforms Surfshark across multiple server locations, underlining its robust performance capabilities. Latency is another critical aspect of a VPN’s performance, particularly for online gaming. My tests show that NordVPN generally provides lower latency, resulting in a smoother, more responsive online experience.

Upload and download speeds are crucial for large file transfers and streaming high-definition content. NordVPN’s advanced infrastructure ensures that upload times are minimal and download speeds remain high. Surfshark also delivers decent speeds but when push comes to shove, for consistent top performance, NordVPN is my go-to recommendation.

Streaming capabilities

When it comes to streaming, a VPN’s ability to bypass geo-restrictions and provide a stable, high-quality picture is critical. NordVPN stands out for its remarkable capability to unlock content from a variety of platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and more. Their vast server network not only helps with finding a reliable connection but also in maintaining consistent streaming speeds which is key for watching shows in HD or 4K without buffering.

Surfshark, while quite competent, sometimes falls short when matched against NordVPN’s performance in streaming. Although Surfshark can also access multiple streaming services, I’ve noted that NordVPN offers a smoother experience, particularly during peak hours which can make or break the viewing experience. What’s more, NordVPN’s SmartPlay technology is specifically designed to improve streaming content delivery, optimizing it for a better user experience.

I’ve tested both VPNs with various streaming services and found that my streams were more reliable with NordVPN. In fact, Surfshark, on a few occasions, encountered obstacles which caused slight disruptions in service whereas NordVPN provided uninterrupted streaming. It’s important to mention that while both services offer unlimited bandwidth, NordVPN’s higher speed makes it more suitable for handling high-definition streams.

  • Netflix: NordVPN users report fewer issues with accessing global libraries.
  • Hulu: Consistently unblocks content on NordVPN with minimal buffering.
  • BBC iPlayer: NordVPN regularly bypasses geo-restrictions with ease.
  • Disney+: NordVPN offers swift access to different regional libraries.

For avid streamers looking to indulge in a seamless viewing journey across diverse platforms, NordVPN definitely has the edge over Surfshark. With its reliable access to multiple libraries and superior speed profile, NordVPN enhances the overall streaming experience, positioning itself as the premier choice for users intending to combine VPN use with heavy streaming activity.

Price and value

When you’re weighing NordVPN against Surfshark based on cost, it’s essential to consider the value you’re getting for your money. NordVPN is often perceived as the more pricier option, yet it justifies the extra cost with its superior features and performance.

NordVPN’s pricing starts on the higher side but decreases with longer plans. For example, their monthly plan might seem steep, but their two-year plan offers significant savings. It’s common for users looking for long-term VPN solutions to lean towards NordVPN, recognizing the value packed into their extended plans. I’ve found that the blend of security features, including double VPN and onion over VPN, alongside consistent speed makes it a worthwhile investment.

Surfshark appeals to budget-conscious users with its lower initial pricing. Even though it’s cheaper, it doesn’t skimp on basic features. Surfshark even allows unlimited simultaneous connections, which is a rare gem in the VPN market. However, when it comes to advanced features and performance reliability, NordVPN takes the lead.

Let’s break down the pricing structure for both VPNs:

Plan NordVPN Monthly Cost Surfshark Monthly Cost
1 month $11.95 $12.95
1 year $4.92 $3.99
2 years $3.71 $2.49

As shown, Surfshark is cheaper, especially if you’re looking for a shorter commitment. But when it comes to value for money, NordVPN’s higher price mirrors its more robust service offerings and reliability. Those seeking premium performance and an unparalleled suite of features will find NordVPN to be the better value in the long run.

I’m particularly impressed by NordVPN’s investment in their infrastructure. Their dedication to maintaining a vast server network ensures fewer performance dips and higher speeds. It’s not just about finding a VPN; it’s about investing in an experience that goes beyond basic browsing – and that’s where NordVPN shines.


Deciding between NordVPN and Surfshark ultimately boils down to your priorities. If you’re after the fastest speeds and top-notch streaming capabilities, I’d lean towards NordVPN. Its premium features and consistent performance make it worth the investment, especially for those committed to long-term usage. For budget-savvy users, Surfshark is an attractive choice, but it’s important to weigh the potential trade-offs in speed and streaming quality. Remember, investing in a VPN is about more than just cost—it’s about ensuring a seamless, secure online experience. And from my perspective, NordVPN delivers on that promise more convincingly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which VPN has better speed, NordVPN or Surfshark?

NordVPN usually has higher speeds than Surfshark owing to its large server network and advanced protocol technology. Speed tests confirm that NordVPN outperforms Surfshark in various server locations.

Is NordVPN more reliable for streaming than Surfshark?

Yes, NordVPN is generally more reliable for streaming, offering the ability to unlock more platforms and consistent speeds during peak hours thanks to its SmartPlay technology, compared to Surfshark.

Which VPN service offers better value for money?

NordVPN offers better value for money despite being the more expensive option, through its superior features, performance, and investment in server infrastructure, outweighing Surfshark’s initial lower cost.

Does Surfshark compete with NordVPN in terms of features?

While Surfshark offers competitive pricing and is budget-friendly, it does not match NordVPN’s advanced features and performance reliability, making NordVPN a preferable choice for users seeking a robust VPN solution.

What pricing strategy does NordVPN employ compared to Surfshark?

NordVPN starts at a higher price point but offers reduced rates for longer-term plans, balancing cost with its high-quality service offerings, whereas Surfshark attracts users with a lower initial pricing structure.