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How does up-and-coming VPN provider Surfshark fare against NordVPN, one of the most trusted veterans on the scene? These two services actually have a lot in common. From secure 256-bit encryption, blazing-fast speeds, and support for OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols to 24/7 live chat support and feature-rich apps, both VPNs offer a lot of value for money. . Surfshark’s CleanWeb protects you against malware and annoying ads, just like NordVPN’s CyberSec suite. You’ll also find a kill switch and private DNS settings in both VPN desktop apps, so you don’t have to worry about losing sensitive data. That said, NordVPN does have some distinct advantages when it comes to server access.
With this Panama-based provider, you’ll have nearly 5,400 servers at your disposal, while with Surfshark, based in the British Virgin Islands, you’ll have just over 500. Plus, NordVPN offers useful specialty servers, including Double VPN Options, P2P and Obfuscated. Surfshark also offers you specialized servers, but despite a great user interface, they are not that easy to access. Both VPNs are currently capable of unblocking the US Netflix catalog. Thanks to its diversity of servers, NordVPN also works with many other regional versions of Netflix. It is also the best VPN for China as it bypasses the Great Firewall without any problem. To find our winner, we’ll have to dig deeper.
Surfshark vs. NordVPN: which is better
Prices and discounts
At $11.95 and $12.95 per month, respectively, NordVPN and Surfshark are affordable enough with a monthly subscription. However, since both VPNs offer drastic discounts on their multi-year plans, they are best suited for users looking for long-term protection. In fact, the discounts are so high that if you’re willing to sign up for an annual subscription, we recommend going for a two-year subscription.
At NordVPN, a two-year subscription costs $79, which works out to $3.29 per month. On Surfshark, two years cost $59.76, which is only $2.21 per month. As you can see, these are huge discounts compared to the monthly cost. Both services include a 30-day money-back guarantee. That means you can try them out for a month and get your money back if you’re not impressed.
Both NordVPN and Surfshark offer excellent cross-platform support, with apps for all major platforms and a command line-based installer for Linux systems. These services also share some useful privacy features, including automatic ad blockers and malware scanners, as well as extensions for Firefox and Chrome. It is worth noting that these browser extensions only protect your browsing traffic and do not allow you to use applications such as P2P clients or messaging applications anonymously. Still, each service offers something the other doesn’t. NordVPN, for example, allows you to automatically connect when using an unsecured Wi-Fi network.
Surfshark, on the other hand, has a split tunneling feature (known as whitelisting) that allows you to specify apps and websites that can bypass the VPN. Basically, this feature is available on all platforms, while NordVPN only offers it on Windows and Android devices. The biggest difference between NordVPN and Surfshark is the connection limit. NordVPN allows up to six simultaneous connections, just above the industry average of five. Instead, Surfshark allows an unlimited number of connections, which makes it a very attractive option if you want to protect many devices at once.
Streaming and Unblocking
NordVPN is a favorite among users who stream frequently, in part because it unblocks many of the most popular streaming services abroad. However, Surfshark performed admirably in this area and was able to keep up with NordVPN in most of our tests. Surfshark was able to unblock several major platforms, but was unable to bypass ABC’s geo-blocking, while NordVPN was able to.
It’s worth noting that both VPNs work well on Netflix and can technically unblock the service no matter which server you choose; they just redirect you to the US version if they can’t unlock a particular library.
Speed and number of servers
Speaking of tests, we also ran speed tests with NordVPN and Surfshark and weren’t particularly impressed with either. Surfshark is more consistent, but its speeds can only be described as average, and generally only offer about half the speed that NordVPN’s fastest servers can offer. While the “slow but steady” principle may be good advice in many other areas of life, it is not necessary when it comes to VPNs, as there are many other services that offer speed and reliability.
The advantage is that both services have a server nearby if you just need a VPN to protect yourself online. Both networks are extensive: NordVPN has over 5,000 servers in 60 countries, while Surfshark has 3,200 servers in 65 countries. With such a large network, you are sure to find a server within a few hundred kilometers, especially if you are in Europe or North America.
Choosing between NordVPN and Surfshark depends on what you need it for. If you need a cheap VPN for more security, Surfshark is the best option, despite its average speeds. If you need a VPN that can do a bit more, like access Netflix and other streaming services, NordVPN is the best option, at least for the first couple of years. After that, NordVPN becomes too expensive for what you get, and we recommend looking for another VPN when your first subscription expires.
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