NordVPN vs Surfshark: See which provider stands out for privacy, speed, and more

Ruheni Mathenge Last updated: September 11, 2022 Read time: 17 minutes Disclosure

Which is a better service between Surfshark and NordVPN? Check out this comprehensive comparison in different categories (such as privacy, servers network, customer support, etc.) to find out the winner.

Sneak peek at NordVPN vs Surfshark

Due to the growing online security threats, thousands of VPN services are now available, claiming to provide the best services to the customers. Thus, choosing the best one that perfectly matches your requirements among the plethora of VPNs is always challenging. Here we present an honest comparative analysis of the two industry-leading VPNs: NordVPN vs. Surfshark. Based on our testing and research, we found NordVPN as the winner in most features, including fast servers, content unblocking ability, robust security, and zero-log policy. However, Surfshark doesn’t lag in providing more device connections and enhancing the gaming experience in less amount.

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) primarily strengthens your online security and privacy, but it can do much more. However, the hardest part is to opt for the right service from the best, especially if you are a beginner. But a spec-wise comparison can help you find your best pick, like comparing NordVPN vs Surfshark.

Although Surfshark is relatively new, it offers a feature-rich application and unlimited simultaneous connections. On the other hand, NordVPN is a well-established name with an even more extensive server network.

So, you might think comparing the two is unjust, given their years of existence. But when it comes to security, what matters is the underlying technology and security and privacy features that make a service take the lead. Besides, comparing these two services makes perfect sense since both providers have now joined hands to operate autonomously under a singular managing unit.

Hence, this article includes a detailed comparison of NordVPN and Surfshark to see which one outshines the other. At the end of the comparison, you will have a better idea of the service that suits your needs.

Short on time? NordVPN and Surfshark comparion quick results

Here is a summary of how both VPNs performed in different categories. The spoiler alert is NordVPN trashes Surfshark in most areas.

Plans and pricing Surfshark
Features NordVPN
Speed Tie
Streaming NordVPN 
Torrenting NordVPN
Gaming Surfshark 
Works in China Tie 
Security NordVPN 
Privacy NordVPN 
Interface NordVPN 
Device compatibility Surfshark 
Setup Tie 
Customer service Tie 

NordVPN vs Surfshark speed test: Which is faster?

Usually, a VPN will reduce your internet speed because it applies encryption and routes your traffic through remote servers. Therefore, the best way to assess the VPN speed is to check the severity of speed loss. In this case, we measured the average speed with different protocols and compared both providers.

Baseline download speed: 102 Mbps

 Baseline upload speed: 89Mbps

WireGuard/NordLynx Surfshark NordVPN
Average download speed 95Mbps 91Mbps 
Average upload speed 76Mbps  69Mbps 

Both VPNs have adopted the Wireguard protocol, which is commended for improved speed. That is why NordVPN download speed drops by only 10% and upload by 25%. On the other hand, Surfshark does better than NordVPN, with an average download speed loss of 7% and upload of 15%. These are very impressive scores compared to other providers.

IKEv2 Surfshark NordVPN
Average download speed  88.1 Mbps  85.3 Mbps
Average upload speed 25.6 Mbps  32.5 Mbps 

IKEv2 is perhaps the best tunneling protocol for mobile devices and is offered by both providers. It isn’t as fast as Wireguard, but Surfshark suffers a download speed of only 14%. However, the upload speed drop is significant at 71%. Conversely, NordVPN’s download speed loss is 16%, and upload speed at 67%. As you can see, the download speed loss of both providers is almost similar. However, NordVPN is a bit efficient in terms of upload speeds.

OpenVPN UDP NordVPN Surfshark
Average download speed 80.3 Mbps  59.5 Mbps 
Average upload speed 29.2 Mbps  49.1 Mbps 

The speed loss percentage will vary significantly, although OpenVPN UDP is the faster version. For example, NordVPN has an average download speed drop of 21% and an upload of 67%. On the contrary, Surfshark shows an average download speed loss of 41% and upload of 44%. So, this indicates that Surfshark is fairly consistent while NordVPN performs better in some locations.

OpenVPN TCP NordVPN Surfshark
Average download speed 28.6 Mbps  26.3 Mbps 
Average upload speed 24.9 Mbps  30.4 Mbps 

OpenVPN TCP protocol option is more focused on security but not speed. As a result, the speed reduction is quite severe. For example, NordVPN has a download speed loss of 71% and an upload speed loss of 72%. On the other side, Surfshark isn’t any different, with a download speed loss of 74% and upload speed loss of 65%. In this case, the performance of both services is almost similar.

Both VPNs seem to match in this category, with Open (UDP/TCP) and IKEv2 performance very similar. However, Surfshark Wireguard offers better speed than NordVPN’s NordLynx.