In this article, I’ll do an in-depth review of Surfshark VPN. I will cover hands-on testing, evaluation based on main decision factors, comparison with competitors, pros and cons, and recommendations. I’ll also share my personal experience with Surfshark VPN and provide you with helpful resources to make an informed decision. So, without further ado, let’s set sail and explore the depths of Surfshark VPN!
Security and Encryption
When it comes to privacy, Surfshark doesn’t mess around. Its security and encryption features are top-notch, designed to keep your online activities secure and private. In this section, we’ll look into:
- Surfshark VPN’s encryption
- kill switch
- DNS leak protection
- split tunneling
Surfshark VPN uses AES-256-GCM encryption, which is considered military-grade and virtually unbreakable. This level of encryption ensures that your data remains safe and secure, even if intercepted by someone else.
Surfshark VPN offers a variety of secure protocols to choose from, catering to different user preferences and requirements. These protocols include:
- OpenVPN (UDP and TCP): A highly secure and reliable protocol, widely considered the industry standard for VPNs. OpenVPN offers a balance of speed and security, making it an excellent choice for most users.
- IKEv2/IPsec: Known for its fast connection speeds and ability to reestablish connections quickly if dropped. It is a secure and efficient protocol, ideal for mobile users who frequently switch between Wi-Fi and cellular networks.
- WireGuard: A relatively new protocol that offers excellent speed, security, and performance. WireGuard is quickly gaining popularity for its ability to provide a seamless VPN experience, especially on mobile devices.
In the event of an unexpected VPN connection drop, Surfshark VPN’s kill switch feature comes to the rescue.
It automatically disconnects your device from the internet to prevent your real IP address and sensitive data from being exposed. The kill switch is an essential security feature that ensures your online activities remain private at all times.
DNS Leak Protection
DNS leaks can pose a significant threat to your online privacy. It can expose your browsing history to your Internet Service Provider (ISP), even when you’re using a VPN.
To counter this, a built-in feature known as DNS leak protection is provided. This feature plays a crucial role in safeguarding your online privacy.
The way it works is by making sure that all DNS requests are routed through the VPN’s encrypted tunnel. This means your browsing history remains confidential, even from your ISP. By doing this, DNS leak protection ensures your online activity remains private and secure.
I ran multiple DNS leak tests during my hands-on testing, and Surfshark VPN passed with flying colors every time.
The split tunneling feature of Surfshark VPN, also known as Whitelister, gives you the option to customize your internet usage. It allows you to select specific apps or websites that aren’t required to use the VPN connection.
This customization provides you with greater control over your online activities. You can determine which parts of your internet usage are routed through the VPN and which are not.
This feature becomes particularly useful when you want to access local content or services. You can bypass the VPN for these activities. But for your other online tasks, you can still maintain a secure and private VPN connection. This balance ensures that you’re enjoying the best of both worlds: local access and VPN security.
Surfshark VPN values your privacy. They stick to a strict no-log policy. This means they do not collect, store, or share any of your online data.
Even your IP address, browsing history, and bandwidth usage are off-limits. They don’t log any personal information. This keeps your online activities private.
Is the no-log policy audited?
In 2022, Surfshark VPN faced a Deloitte audit. The goal was to check its no-logs policy, crucial for user privacy. The audit confirmed that Surfshark follows this policy. It reassured users about their privacy. This audit followed a similar one done by NordVPN, Surfshark’s sister company.
Surfshark identifies three log types: technical, personality-related, and activity logs. The VPN doesn’t track user activities or locations. It retains minimal data only to maintain VPN connections.
To prevent data recording, Surfshark’s servers run in RAM. Hard drives are read-only, so no data remains after the server shutdown. Surfshark plans to share a summary of Deloitte’s report. This will give more proof of its commitment to the no-logs policy.
What about warrant canary?
Surfshark features a warrant canary on its site. This warrant canary claims that no national security letters, gag orders, or government warrants have been received. But, there are claims that the warrant canary has been tripped.
Surfshark prides itself on a vast server network. It has more than 3,200 servers across nearly 100 countries. The servers are spread across North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Oceania, and Africa. Multiple cities in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Poland, Portugal, and Spain have these servers. With this broad network, Surfshark can meet diverse user needs, like streaming, P2P, and regular browsing.
In terms of setup, all Surfshark servers are RAM-only. They operate entirely on Random Access Memory (RAM), without any hard disks or SSDs. This setup ensures the servers reset completely when updated or disconnected, enhancing security. Also, Surfshark’s servers align with its no-logs policy, preventing data collection.
Every Surfshark server has at least one 1Gbps port. Upgrades to 10Gbps are in progress. Servers are marked by location, type, and supported protocols. This makes it easy for users to find the right server. With its diverse server network and high speeds, Surfshark is a versatile and reliable VPN service.
Streaming and torrenting is supported on all servers
Surfshark supports P2P and streaming on all of its servers (except in countries where torrenting is now allowed). Surfshark is one of the best VPNs for torrenting, offering high speeds and unlimited bandwidth
Impressive speed with minimal speed drops
Surfshark is one of the quickest VPNs, according to speed tests. Users enjoy no speed, bandwidth, or data restrictions. With an average speed of 324 Mbps across all tests, it’s faster than ExpressVPN or PureVPN. Speed tests show Surfshark VPN has no disconnects or slowdowns during everyday use.
While using Surfshark, I carried out numerous speed tests on different servers. I used well-known tools like Ookla’s Speedtest and Fast.com for accurate results. Across various servers and locations, Surfshark had minimal speed drops and low latency.
Connecting to nearby servers, I noticed only a small decrease in download and upload speeds. This slight drop is standard with any VPN service. Connections to distant servers like those in the United States, Europe, and Asia were a bit slower. However, the speed was still more than enough for smooth streaming, gaming, and browsing.
Surfshark excels in automatically selecting the best server based on your location and needs. The Quick Connect feature ensures you connect to the fastest server available. This creates the best balance between speed and security.
Remember, different factors can affect VPN connection speeds. These factors include the user’s base internet speed, the distance to the VPN server, server load, and the device used. But, in my experience, Surfshark consistently provided reliable and fast connections. This makes it a top pick for those who value speed and performance.
Streaming and Torrenting
Surfshark works with a broad array of devices. These include iOS, Android, macOS, Windows, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, FireTV, Apple TV, smart TVs, Xbox, and PlayStation. It also allows account sharing with family members, even those overseas. This lets multiple devices watch content at the same time. With no bandwidth or data caps, Surfshark is great for streaming, which typically uses a lot of bandwidth.
Testing of streaming services
Being a streaming enthusiast, I was keen to see how Surfshark handles geo-restricted content. I tested several popular streaming services, like Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video, to see how Surfshark performs.
- Netflix: I was impressed with Surfshark’s performance on Netflix. I accessed multiple regional libraries, like Netflix US, UK, and Canada, without any problems. The streaming quality was top-notch, with no buffering or lag during my viewing.
- Hulu: Surfshark also performed well with Hulu. I bypassed Hulu’s geo-restrictions easily and enjoyed my favorite shows without interruptions. The connection speed was enough for smooth streaming, letting me watch content in HD without issue.
- BBC iPlayer: Surfshark did well with BBC iPlayer too. It allowed me to access the platform from outside the UK, letting me stay updated with my favorite British shows. Streaming quality stayed consistent, with no buffering or lag issues.
- Amazon Prime Video: Finally, I tested Amazon Prime Video. Surfshark did not disappoint. I accessed and streamed content from different regions. The streaming quality was excellent, even for high-res videos.
In summary, my streaming experience with Surfshark was exceptional. It effectively unblocked geo-restricted content on various platforms and maintained fast connection speeds for seamless viewing. If you love streaming like I do, Surfshark is a VPN service worth considering.
After my streaming tests, I used Surfshark for torrenting. The process was seamless. With P2P-optimized services on all servers, strong encryption, and a strict no-logs policy, Surfshark ensured my torrenting was secure and private.
I found that Surfshark has servers specifically for torrent downloads. This makes it one of the top torrenting VPNs. High speeds and unlimited bandwidth from Surfshark allowed me to enjoy smooth torrenting without interruptions.
For secure torrenting with Surfshark, I connected to any Surfshark VPN server. I then enabled the kill switch to protect my connection if it dropped. Lastly, I launched my chosen torrenting client. Surfshark provides all the necessary tools to secure torrenting traffic. This gave me peace of mind while downloading and sharing files online.
Ease of Use and Compatibility
Surfshark VPN has proved to be a user-friendly service after a few weeks of use. It offers a one-click connect button. This allows quick server connection. You can choose either the nearest or the quickest server.
Their Bypasser is a convenient split tunneling tool. It lets you determine which apps and websites use the VPN. This bypasses the need to turn off the VPN for sites that block such access.
Surfshark VPN is ideal for beginners, offering user-friendly apps. The service encrypts and hides my internet traffic by default. A standout feature is the unlimited device connection, allowing multiple device security simultaneously.
Split tunneling and a multi-hop connection tool are also provided by Surfshark VPN. These features enhance its robust security, surpassing many other VPNs.
Surfshark VPN supports a broad range of platforms. These include macOS, Linux, Windows, Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, Xbox, PlayStation, Fire TV, and Apple TV. This broad compatibility allows users to use Surfshark VPN across many devices.
Surfshark VPN’s unlimited device connections on a single subscription is a notable feature. Users can install and use Surfshark VPN on all their devices without limits.
Furthermore, Surfshark VPN can be installed on routers. This is ideal for users not wanting to install separate VPN apps on each device. When Surfshark VPN is installed on a compatible router, all connected devices are automatically protected. This compatibility extends to various routers, including Asus, Vilfo, and GL.iNet routers.
Pricing and plans
Surfshark VPN has three pricing plans: Standard, Premium, and Ultimate. Each plan includes a variety of features for a secure, private browsing experience.
- Standard Plan: This includes VPN service, an ad blocker, a cookie pop-up blocker, a private search engine, and protection against viruses, spyware, and malware. It’s suitable for users seeking essential security features at an affordable price.
- Premium Plan: This plan includes all features of the Standard plan, plus extra protections. It offers real-time breach alerts for email, credit card, and ID, webcam protection, and personal data security reports. This plan is ideal for users needing higher security and more features for their personal information safety.
- Ultimate Plan: This is the most comprehensive offering, including all features of the Premium plan, plus advanced protections. With the Ultimate plan, users get data removal from company databases and people search sites. This plan is perfect for those wanting the highest level of protection and privacy.
Each plan’s price varies with subscription duration, with longer terms offering better value.
|Subscription Plan||Cost for 24 Months + 2 months free||Cost for 12 Months||Cost for 1 Month|
|Standard||$2.49/month ($59.76 upfront)||$3.99/month ($47.88 upfront)||$12.95/month|
|Premium||$3.49/month ($83.76 upfront)||$4.49/month ($53.88 upfront)||$17.95/month|
|Ultimate||$6.49/month ($155.76 upfront)||$8.29/month ($99.48 upfront)||$22.95/month|
Surfshark VPN Review: Plans and Pricing
Free Trials and Money-Back Guarantees
Surfshark VPN offers a 7-day free trial for iOS, macOS, and Android users. This allows users to test the service before subscribing. Users can explore all of Surfshark’s features with the free trial. This offer is only available via the Google Play store or App Store.
Another way to try Surfshark VPN is the 30-day money-back guarantee. After signing up and downloading the Surfshark app, users enjoy full access for 30 days. If unsatisfied, users can request a refund before the trial period ends. For a smaller upfront payment, opt for the monthly plan.
Surfshark VPN boasts excellent customer support. Users can contact the support team through several methods, ensuring prompt responses to queries and concerns.
One convenient method is their 24/7 live chat, accessible directly on their website. My personal experience with this service was positive. I found the representative to be friendly, knowledgeable, and quick in resolving my issue regarding a VPN upgrade on macOS.
Users can also contact Surfshark’s customer support via email. The team typically responds within hours, providing timely assistance.
Surfshark VPN also features a detailed knowledge base on its website. This includes articles, guides, and FAQs covering a broad range of topics. This resource is invaluable for users seeking immediate answers or troubleshooting tips.
Pros and Cons
Pros of Surfshark VPN
- Strong encryption and security features: Surfshark VPN uses robust encryption methods and protocols for user data privacy and security. Features like the kill switch, DNS leak protection, and multi-hop connections provide extra security layers.
- No-logs policy: Surfshark follows a strict no-logs policy, not storing any user activity data. This policy has been independently audited, offering users confidence in their privacy protection.
- Wide server network: Surfshark VPN has over 3200 servers in nearly 100 countries, offering a diverse and extensive server network.
- Excellent streaming and torrenting support: Surfshark VPN unblocks popular streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and HBO Max. It supports P2P file sharing on all servers, making it suitable for torrenting.
- Unlimited device connections: Surfshark VPN allows unlimited simultaneous device connections on a single subscription. This provides excellent value for households with multiple devices.
- User-friendly apps and compatibility: Surfshark VPN’s apps are intuitive and easy to use, suitable for beginners. It is compatible with various platforms, including Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, and more.
- Affordable pricing: Surfshark VPN has competitive pricing, especially for long-term subscription plans. This makes it an attractive choice for budget-conscious users.
Cons of Surfshark VPN
- Inconsistent speeds: Although Surfshark VPN generally provides good connection speeds, some users may experience inconsistent performance based on location and server connection.
- Limited free trial availability: Surfshark’s 7-day free trial is only available on iOS, macOS, and Android platforms. This may limit users on other platforms.
- Advanced features not available on all platforms: Some advanced features, like split tunneling and multi-hop connections, may not be available on all platforms. This could be a drawback for users needing these features on specific devices.
|+ Strong encryption and security features||– Inconsistent speeds|
|+ No-logs policy||– Limited free trial availability|
|+ Wide server network||– Advanced features not available on all platforms|
|+ Excellent streaming and torrenting support|
|+ Unlimited device connections|
|+ User-friendly apps and compatibility|
|+ Affordable pricing|
Surfshark VPN review: Pros and cons of Surfshark VPN
What are the alternatives?
When comparing Surfshark VPN to alternatives, we should consider performance in torrenting, streaming, privacy, and traveling. Here are some VPN alternatives with their pros and cons compared to Surfshark.
- NordVPN: Known for robust security features and a strict no-logs policy, NordVPN excels in torrenting and streaming, offering specialized servers for both. It has a broad server network and impressive speeds, making it suitable for streaming and traveling. Surfshark offers more competitive pricing and unlimited device connections.
- ExpressVPN: Renowned for high-speed connections, ExpressVPN is excellent for streaming and torrenting. It offers top-tier security features and a strict no-logs policy. With an extensive server network, it’s suitable for travelers. It’s pricier than Surfshark and only allows five simultaneous connections.
- CyberGhost VPN: CyberGhost VPN is user-friendly, offering dedicated servers for streaming and torrenting. It has a large server network and reasonable speeds. Its privacy features are strong, but Surfshark leads with its audited no-logs policy. CyberGhost offers a longer free trial, but Surfshark’s pricing plans are more budget-friendly.
- Mullvad VPN: Mullvad is well-regarded for its strong commitment to privacy, offering a unique account number system that provides an extra layer of anonymity. With support for torrenting and a no-logs policy, it is an excellent choice for those prioritizing privacy. It has a smaller server network compared to Surfshark, and its speed is decent but not exceptional. Mullvad doesn’t offer specialized servers for streaming, which might limit its effectiveness for those who frequently stream content. Its pricing model is simple and affordable, though Surfshark provides more flexibility with various pricing plans and unlimited device connections. Read the full comparison of Mullvad and Surfshark VPN.
Based on this Surfshark VPN review, it has proven to be a reliable and feature-packed VPN service that doesn’t break the bank. With its impressive performance, top-notch security, and user-friendly design, it’s a fantastic choice for anyone looking to protect their digital treasure trove. So, hoist the Jolly Roger and set sail with Surfshark VPN – you won’t be disappointed!
What is Surfshark?
Surfshark is a widely-used VPN service. It provides secure, private, and unrestricted internet access. It achieves this by encrypting users’ online data and concealing their IP addresses.
How much does Surfshark cost?
Surfshark’s pricing starts at $2.49 per month when subscribed to a 2-year plan, with various pricing options available for shorter subscription periods.
Who owns Surfshark?
Surfshark is owned and operated by Surfshark Ltd., a company specializing in internet privacy and security solutions.
Where is Surfshark based?
Surfshark is based in the privacy-friendly jurisdiction of the British Virgin Islands, which is not part of the 14 Eyes alliance.
Can Surfshark be trusted?
Surfshark can be trusted, as it has a strict no-logs policy, robust encryption, and numerous security features, such as a kill switch and DNS leak protection.
Is Surfshark better than NordVPN?
Comparing Surfshark and NordVPN depends on individual preferences. Both VPNs offer strong security, fast speeds, and large server networks, but pricing and specific features may differ.
How effective is Surfshark VPN?
Surfshark VPN is highly effective, providing secure and fast connections with access to over 3,200 servers in 65 countries, enabling users to bypass geo-restrictions and maintain online privacy.
Is Surfshark good for Netflix?
Surfshark is a good choice for Netflix users, as it effectively unblocks multiple libraries, allowing users to enjoy a wider range of content from different regions.