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Surfshark vs. NordVPN: VPN speed, security and price compared

Can the industry leader fend off an ambitious upstart?

Surfshark is relatively new to the virtual private network scene, but its feature-rich applications and unlimited simultaneous connections make it a tempting offer against its more well-known competitors. Should industry titan NordVPN be worried? 

Here's how the up-and-comer VPN stacks up against one of the biggest VPN brands out there. 

Read more: The best VPN services for 2020


It won't be long until big-name VPNs realize what kind of threat Surfshark really is: It's faster than a VPN of its size should be, has stronger security than you'd expect, a suite of impressive features and cutthroat prices to go with its unlimited simultaneous connection allowance. During our 2020 testing, Surfshark has given even our most highly recommended VPNs a run for their money on speed, security and cost. 

You want to watch Netflix from any country? Surfshark's watertight DNS features make that possible. You want to torrent quickly and privately? Surfshark routes you to its own P2P-configured servers out of the US. You want to block fingerprinting trackers, use a private search engine and camouflage your traffic so it looks completely normal with the assurance of a kill switch? Surfshark's CleanWeb ad-blocker, Blindsearch search engine and on-board obfuscation covers you. 

Read moreHow we evaluate and review VPNs

With 1,000 servers in 60 countries, we lost only 27% of average internet speeds during our Surfshark speed tests. The service immediately blew past NordVPN's and Norton Secure VPN's tested speeds (which averaged 32% speed loss and 57% speed loss, respectively), and into competition with the likes of other speed-intensive VPNs such as ExpressVPN and IPVanish

Surfshark is currently living up to its name with an aggressive pricing scheme. Right now, it's offering an 83% discount, bringing costs down to $2 a month for a two-year plan ($48, billed every two years). That offer stands up easily to NordVPN's two-year plan at $5 a month ($120, billed every two years), and offers unlimited simultaneous connections compared to Nord's six-device limit. Surfshark is also available for Linux, Windows, Android, MacOS, iOS, Android TV and Amazon Fire TV. Nord, on the other hand, works with MacOS, Windows, Android, iOS and Linux.

Read more: Surfshark VPN review: A feature-rich service with blazing speeds and a security focus


This heavy-hitter stays on our list of best 2020 mobile VPNs for many reasons, including its status as the reigning value champion. Hands-down, you aren't going to get a VPN anywhere else that can do more than NordVPN does, as cheap as NordVPN does it. Despite a security breach reported last year, you'll be hard pressed to find another VPN that can do what NordVPN does at all. 

Sure, NordVPN could offer a little more privacy if it boosted the number of servers it owns, but we're talking about 5,000-plus servers in 62 countries, a strict zero-log policy and jurisdiction in Panama. It's an encryption powerhouse that recently switched to RAM-disk mode, and has a feature that allows you to VPN into Tor. It's available for not only iOS and Android, but also Windows Phone and even BlackBerry. 

Read more: All the VPN terms you need to know

With all that security, NordVPN has no business being as fast as it is. In our speed tests, NordVPN performed admirably, cutting our internet speed by about 32% on average, where most VPNs can reduce speeds by half or more. We found NordVPN's speeds were reliably fast: There were never any sudden dips or service interruptions, and where we expected the VPN to underperform, it proved itself up to the task. But despite having more servers, NordVPN just couldn't catch up to ExpressVPN when it came to speed. But then, we've yet to see any VPN catch up to ExpressVPN. 

For all that, how much are you paying? The company's one-year subscription plan costs $7 a month ($84 billed annually). While that yearly price is lower than most other contenders, the month-to-month price of $12 is at the high end of the spectrum. As of September 2019, the company's other pricing tiers have crept up a bit: It's now more than $3 a month for a three-year plan (or $126 billed every three years), up from $3/$108 total. And the two-year plan is now $5 a month ($120 billed every two years), up from $4/$96. And yes, NordVPN also has a full 30-day refund policy if you aren't happy with the service. 

Read more: NordVPN review: Still the best value for security and speed

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