NordVPN vs Surfshark Comparison

NordVPN vs Surfshark: Speed, Streaming & Torrenting Comparison in 2021

If you are looking for a great vpn for streaming online content, then NordVPN and Surfshark are some of the best vpns for you.

However, each of these vpns have their pros and cons…

So in this article we are going do a NordVPN vs Surfshark comparison by looking at their advantages and disadvantages.

I hope that at the end of this NordVPN vs Surfshark comparison you’ll be able choose one is best for you between these two vpns.

So let’s get started.

Here is a quick summary.

StreamingNetflix, Hulu, Amazon, iPlayer Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, iPlayer
TorrentingP2P serversP2P servers
Kill SwitchYESYES
Works in China?YESYES
Pricing$ 3.49/month$ 1.99/month


NordVPN is vpn service provider based in Panama that enables to browse the internet anonymously.

Here is a detailed NordVPN review.

Surfshark is a VPN company based in the British Virgin Islands that enables you to browse the internet anonymously and access geo-restricted content.

Check out my detailed Surfshark review.

Server Collection

NordVPN has a total of 5,200 vpn servers based in 59 different countries.

Surfshark on the other hand has a collection of 1,040 servers that are spread over 61 different countries and continents.

While Surfshark enjoys a similar amount of server distribution in different countries, NordVPN has a lot more servers in general compared to Surfshark.


If you are looking for the best vpn for streaming entertainment content online, then you are among the majority of people who purchase vpns.

But how does NordVPN and Surfshark compare in terms of their streaming capabilities?

NordVPN is able to unblock entertainment content on platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and BBC iPlayer.

Surfshark on the other hand is also able to unblock content on sites like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and BBC iPlayer.

As you can see both of these vpns services are really doing a great job at unblocking geo restricted content on some of the most popular online video streaming platforms.

If you are looking for a vpn for streaming content online then either Surfshark or NordVPN will perform to you satisfaction.


Most people are often worried that their internet speeds are going to drop heavily when they connect to a vpn…

And this is true in most cases but there are vpns that enable to still maintain relatively high connection speeds in relation to you original speeds.

How does Surfshark and NordVPN compare in terms of connection speeds?

I tested both vpns using by Ookla by connecting to three different servers based in three different countries and then measured their download and upload speeds.

NordVPN maintained an average of 83% of the original internet speeds which give it a rating of 4.1/5.0 stars.

Surfshark on the other hand had an average speed of 93% of my original download speeds, which gives its speed test a rating of 4.7/5.0 stars.

So as you can see, while both vpns were able to deliver excellent connection speeds, Surfshark is a faster vpn overall compared to NordVPN.

If you are looking for a vpn that will enable you browse the internet at very high speeds then I recommend Surfshark.


P2P file sharing is another very common activity online.

However, support for downloading torrent files is not uniform across vpn servers…

While some vpns would allow you to download torrent files only on certain servers, other vpn block torrent traffic altogether.

This has been the case especially since law enforcement is dealing a very heavy on copyright infringement offenders.

So let’s now compare Surfshark vs NordVPN in terms of their support for torrenting.

NordVPN has specialized servers for torrenting.

In order to start torrenting you first need to click on the torrenting option in the app menu and then select the server you want to torrent from.

Surfshark on the other hand enables torrenting on all its servers.

You don’t need to first to connect to any specialized servers in order to start downloading torrent files in Surfshark vpn.

However, once you are connected to the appropriate server you’ll be able to torrent safely and completely anonymously since none of these vpns keep user logs as we’ll see below.

While NordVPN restricts torrenting to only certain servers, Surfshark allows torrenting on all its servers which means Surfshark has better support for torrenting than NordVPN.

Privacy Policy

Let’s compare NordVPN vs Surfshark privacy policy by looking at their geographical jurisdiction as well as the type of user data that they collect.

NordVPN is based in Panama, which is far from the 14 eyes countries that surveille their citizens and share this information.

In addition to that, Panama does not have data retention laws that obligate vpn companies to log vpn activity of their users.

It really is a safe place to based a vpn company.

Besides their safe location, NordVPN does not keep logs about your IP address, connection timestamps, bandwidth usage or DNS queries.

This means that there is no data on NordVPN servers that could actually be tied back to you.

So your browsing is completely private and anonymous… only known to you.

What about Surfshark?

Surfshark is based in the British Virgin Islands which also not part of the 14 eyes countries… even though its close to the UK which forms part of the 14 eyes countries.

Even so, the BVI is a separate country with no mandatory data retention so vpn companies are not obliged to keep logs of their users data.

In addition to being located in the BVI, Surfshark also states clearly on their privacy policy that they do not collect any information about your IP address, connection timestamp, bandwidth usage or DNS queries.

There is no logs on the Surfshark servers that could be tied back to you.

However, I dug deeper into their privacy policy and discovered that they log your real IP address every time you visit their website.

Even though your IP address on their website cannot be tied to your vpn usage logs it’s good to know that whenever you access any webpage on their website your IP address is logged.

Overall, though, both NordVPN and Surfshark do not keep any usage logs that could identify you.

They are the best vpns for privacy and anonymity online.


Proper data encryption ensures that your data is secure and safe from hackers who might want to decrypt the connect of your packets and see what’s inside.

What kind of encryption does NordVPN and Surshark use?

NordVPN uses AES 256-bit encryption to encrypt your data before it is transmitted over the network.

Surfshark also uses AES 256-bit encryption technology to encrypt your data.

Both vpns offer you the best encryption technologies that is used by militaries and government agencies to encrypt classified information.

It is an encryption technology that is impossible to crack.


A vpn uses a vpn connection protocol in order to be able to transmit data from the vpn server to the vpn client.

In order to be able to deliver the best service a vpn needs to use both a fast and secure protocol.

Fortunately, both Surfshark and NordVPN use the two most secure and fastest vpn protocols: OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols.

OpenVPN is the default protocol for desktop and Android apps whereas IKEv2 is the default protocol for the iOS apps in both vpns.

Surfshark has an additional vpn protocol called Shadowsocks that is particularly important for accessing censored websites as we’ll see later in this NordVPN vs Surfshark review in 2021.

If you are looking for a vpn that will provide you the best encryption and vpn protocols, then both NordVPN and Surfshark are great.

Ad Blocker

The ability to block ads is a feature that is very common among premium vpn apps in 2021.

When turned on, these features enable to browse websites without any ads at all… enjoyed an ad free browsing experience.

NordVPN has a CyberSec feature that when turned on enables you to block intrusive ads on websites and video platforms like YouTube.

It also has a malware blocker that protects your devices from known phishing and malware infected sites.

Surfshark also has a CleanWeb that offers similar functionality.

Once turned, you’ll be able to browse the internet without ads as well as YouTube.

In addition to the ad blocker, the CleanWeb features also protects your devices from being infected by malware and used to launch a DDoS on other servers.

If you are looking for a vpn that will keep you safe from those intrusive annoying ads as well as phishing sites then both Surshark and NordVPN  are great options.

Dedicated IPs

A dedicated IP enables you to access the internet always using the same IP address.

This is important especially when you need to connect to your home security camera feed remotely.

Because most vpns will always assign you a new IP address each time you connect to the internet, you need a dedicated IP address that is assigned only to you and that is not shared by anyone else.

NordVPN comes with a dedicated IP feature in all of its plans that you purchase.

Once you click on the dedicated IP option, you’ll get a list of the servers that you can connect to using a dedicated IP.

Surfshark also has a static IP that functions just like the dedicated IP address in NordVPN.

It enables you to choose a single IP for connecting to the server every time you connect to the vpn.

Kill Switch

Your internet access is only safe and encrypted as long as you remain connected to the vpn servers.

If for some reason your internet connection drops and your app disconnects from the vpn server, your IP address is revealed and your can see and log all your internet usage.

This is especially not a good idea if your in the process of downloading a torrent file.

An internet kill switch ensures that the internet access for your entire device is cut off anytime your app disconnects from the vpn server.

So you’ll only be able to access the internet through your vpn.

Both NordVPN and Surfshark have a powerful internet kill switch that ensures that every time you disconnect from the internet, your internet access is cut off.

If you want your internet access to always be through just turn on the kill switch.

Split Tunneling

While being able to channel all your traffic through your vpn is great, there are some instances where your might want certain apps to be able to access the internet without having their traffic channelled through the vpn.

This is where split tunneling comes into play.

A spit tunnel enables you to specify certain applications to be exempted from having their traffic channelled through your vpn.

It could be your backup app that you don’t want slowed down by your vpn.

Does NordVPN have a split tunnel?

NordVPN has a split tunneling feature that enables you to specify certain apps to be excluded from the vpn connections.

What about Surfshark?

Surfshark also has a feature that works just like a split tunnel called a whitelister.

The vpn whitelister enables you to specify certain applications to be exempt from having their traffic encrypted and channelled through your vpn apps.

It is important to note that all apps that are exempted from the vpn in the split will not have their traffic encrypted so your ISP can see and log your internet usage while on these sites.

Both Surfshark perform great when it comes to a split tunnel.

Work in China?

China controls internet access and usage to a huge extent and some sites are completely blocked in China.

Some of the sites that are blocked include Facebook, Twitter and Google.

In order to be able to access these websites while in China you need to have a vpn that is able to bypass the deep packet inspection technology of China’s firewall.

This is because vpn usage to access censored content is not allowed in China and vpn traffic is either throttled or blocked by ISPs.

Does NordVPN work in China?

NordVPN has a powerful server obfuscation technology that is able to bypass China’s firewall without being detected.

In order to be able to access content from countries like China, you need to change your vpn mode and connect to its obfuscated servers instead of the normal NordVPN servers.

In the menu there is an option for obfuscated servers that when you click provides you list of servers to connect to.

NordVPN will flawlessly work in China.

Does Surfshark work in China?

Surfshark on the other hand has a feature known as Camouflage mode that enables you to access censored content in countries like China.

Combining Camouflage Mode with the Shadowsocks protocol enables you to access censored content not only in China but also in other countries like the UAE, Iran and Qatar.

Surfshark works in China.

If you are looking for a vpn that you could carry with you someday to China then I recommend either Surfshark or NordVPN.


How much does it cost to purchase a NordVPN or Surfshark plan?

Let’s finish this Surfshark vs NordVPN comparison by comparing the different pricing plans available for both NordVPN and Surfshark vpn.

Since both of these vpn services are able to deliver you great connection speeds, streaming and privacy online…

You might expect that it will cost you an arm and a leg.

Luckily, both NordVPN and Surfshark are very budget friendly vpns and are especially great for a budget buyer.

The cheapest NordVPN is the 3 year plan that goes for $ 3.49/month while Surfshark cheapest plan is the 2 year plan that goes for $ 1.99/month.

So as you can see both are budget friendly vpns even though Surfshark appears to be much more cheaper than NordVPN.

If your are particularly looking for a great vpn for cheap, then I recommend Surfshark.

Payment Options

A vpn service that is great on privacy should ensure that payment methods that encourage anonymity are support.

This could be in the form gift cards or cryptocurrency payments.

NordVPN supports all the major credit cards and payment methods except PayPal.

In addition to that, NordVPN also supports cryptocurrency payments like Bitcoin.

Surfshark on the other hand also supports all the major credit cards and payment platforms including PayPal.

You’ll also be able to pay for your Surfshark plan using cryptocurrencies like Bitcoins.

Since both vpns support crypto payments, if you want to give as little details about you as possible… signup with disposable email address and then pay with some Bitcoins.

Even though NordVPN does not support PayPal payments, both offer you great payment options.

If you must pay for your vpn with PayPal then I recommend Surfshark… otherwise the lack of PayPal payments should not be a problem for most people.

In Conclusion

Finally, let’s finish this NordVPN vs Surfshark review by deciding on which one is the best vpn for you between the two…

Both vpns have great streaming capabilities, torrenting, no logs policy as well as additional features like adware and malware blockers.

In terms of features, Surfshark is really gives NordVPN a run for its buck.

In my opinion I would rather sign up for a NordVPN plan because they collect less information about me whenever I visit their site as compared to Surfshark that logs my IP address.

Besides, NordVPN is a bigger company with a large collection of servers than Surfshark.

Have you used either NordVPN or Surfshark before?

Please share your experience in the comments below.

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