Surfshark Full Review: Excellent Value for Money
Surfshark offers an enormous range of premium VPN features with a very competitive price of $2.49 per month. It's genuinely excellent value for money if you're on a budget. Also, you can test out Surfshark yourself for free for 30 days with a money-back guarantee.
This thorough review will discuss Surfshark features, abilities, security protocols, and customer support. We want to highlight their server coverage and speed, security measures, and subscription plans.
This section checks how Surfshark fares against its competitors in terms of speed tests, the number of servers, their geographic distribution, and their fastest available protocol.
1. Speed tests
Surfshark is reportedly one of the fastest VPNs. It scores top points when it comes down to the speed it provides. Whether it's for streaming, torrenting, or gaming, Surfshark makes sure you won't feel any lags or speed drops, especially when using the WireGuard protocol.
2. Number of servers and geographic distribution
Short explanation: Surfshark has 3200+ servers distributed over 65 countries.
Long explanation: The Majority of Surfshark's servers are located in the US, which eases unblocking streaming platforms such as; Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu. Moreover, Surfshark also has servers in several other countries and regions worldwide, such as; Russia, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East, and Africa.
3. Fastest available protocol
Short explanation: WireGuard is the fastest available protocol by Surfshark (recommended to use).
Long explanation: In the VPN world, many protocols exist, with differences between protocols making the difference in how secure a VPN is, how fast, and whether it can bypass geo-censorship.
Typically, the trade-off is between speed and security, with the PPTP protocol typically being the fastest but the least secure.
A unique protocol that Surfshark uses is the Shadowsocks protocol which is top-notch when it comes to obfuscation and bypassing geo-restriction. Sadly it is slower and less secure than other protocols such as OpenVPN, which can also be used to bypass geo-censorship.
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Security and Privacy
One of the main reasons a person might use a VPN is to secure their VPN connection and stay anonymous while privately surfing the internet.
You would be surprised by the number of security and privacy features that Surfshark offers. For example, it offers the MultiHop feature, which encrypts your traffic data twice by steering it through two different servers instead of just one. The extra server routing creates an extra layer of privacy that makes it almost impossible for third parties to trail your real location.
Surfshark also provides the GPS Spoofing feature, which automatically updates your device's location to match the server location you're connected to. Lastly, Surfshark offers a CleanWeb Feature that Blocks Ads, Malware, and Trackers.
The most important features regarding security and privacy include:
1. Encryption and protocols
Surfshark provides AES 256-bit encryption, which secures all traffic sent through its servers. Governments and militaries use this type of encryption worldwide to protect their private data and sensitive information.
Most typical VPNs offer the traditional OpenVPN and IKEv2 security protocols. However, Surfshark also offers WireGuard and Shadowsocks protocols.
Are you new to VPNs?
For Surfshark, use WireGuard protocol for speed, use OpenVPN protocol for security, use Shadowsocks protocol to bypass geo-censorship (obfuscation).
Pro mode: The protocols available for Surfshark include:
|Platform||Windows,macOS, iOS, Linux, FreeBSD, and BlackBerry devices||All platforms||All platforms||All platforms|
|Security and encryption||IPsec encryption||AES encryption (most secure)||ChaCha 20 for symmetric encryption with Poly1305 for message authentication||SOCKS5, Best for Obfuscationin high censorship countries. Relatively less secure than other protocols.|
|Firewall||UDP ports 500 and 4500, and ESP IP protocol 50||Uses 443 port (hard to block)||The port can be freely selected from the high ports range. If no port is specified, WireGuard uses51820/ UDP||Uses multiple TCP ports|
|Speed||Generally fast (faster than OpenVPN)||Generally fast (faster than Shadowsocks)||Fastest protocol on this list||Slowest in this list|
2. Logs policy
Short explanation: Surfshark has a true no-log policy.
Long explanation: When it comes to privacy, Surfshark offers a strict No-Logs Policy, which ensures that your browsing history, IP address, and other identifiers are never tracked, saved, or shared with any third parties.
3. Kill switch
Short explanation: Surfshark has a fully functioning kill switch feature.
Long explanation: Surfshark offers a kill switch if your connection ever drops; the kill switch blocks all internet traffic until you've safely reconnected to the VPN server. This feature works on all major platforms such as; Android, iOS, Windows, and macOS.
4. RAM-based servers
Short explanation: Surfshark has RAM-based servers.
Long explanation: The icing on the cake is that Surfshark runs all its server networks on Random-access memory (RAM) memory. This means that all of your traffic data is totally wiped out with every session and every server reboot.
Even though this sounds like a really essential function and a must-have feature in all VPNs, you'd be surprised to know that most VPNs on the market operate their servers on standard hard drives, which keep your data until it's manually erased from the drives. This will raise a severe security threat if someone tries to hack or seize the VPN company's servers.
5. Based country
Short explanation: Surfshark is based in the British Virgin Islands (BVI).
Long explanation: The company's headquarters are located in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), which is outside the jurisdiction of the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance. VPN companies based inside the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance are considered a possible security threat as these countries are known to spy on their citizens and share information internally.
6. Warrant canary
Short explanation: Surfshark has a warrant canary system.
Long explanation: A warrant canary is an indirect method to warn customers of governmental attempts to subpoena, where the presence of the warrant on the company’s official website means the local government hasn’t tried anything yet.
In the event the warrant canary is removed from the company’s page, it means they were asked. Despite being outside the 5/9/14/ eyes alliance, and with VPN being legal in the British Virgin Islands, Surfshark still provides its users with a warrant canary so they can rest assured everything is alright.
Surfshark in Practice
In terms of the application of VPNs in the real world, we dive further into how Surfshark fares against the rest in the following categories:
Surfshark is an excellent choice when it comes to unblocking streaming platforms. It can easily access popular platforms like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, Kodi, and Disney+. It also unblocks DAZN, BBC iPlayer, ESPN+, NBC Sports YouTube TV, Sling TV, fuboTV, Yle, and Abema TV.
It is important to note that not every server unblocks the earlier mentioned streaming platforms on the first attempt. You have to change servers several times to establish a working connection. When it comes to Netflix, not many VPNs can overcome Netflix's firewalls; however, it unblocks their geo-restricted content in most countries, making it one of the best VPNs for streaming.
Short explanation: Surfshark allows torrenting. Furthermore, Surfshark has specialized torrent servers.
Long explanation: Surfshark has excellent server speeds and robust security measures for torrenting but compared to other VPN providers such as CyberGhost, your torrenting experience won't be as smooth and easy.
That being said, it's still a good choice for torrenting that allow P2P sharing, and many of its servers are optimized and designed for fast torrenting. Surfshark is compatible with P2P service providers such as; BitTorrent and uTorrent, and Popcorn Time.
If you are looking for an excellent VPN for torrenting, we would recommend CyberGhost or ExpressVPN, as they have hundreds of P2P-optimized servers; you'll get both fast speeds and strong encryption; however, Surfsharks prices are much more budget-friendly. (Read our review on The Best VPNs for Torrenting).
Short explanation: Surfshark has optimized gaming servers.
Long explanation: When it comes to gaming, the reason why you would want to use a VPN for games is variable, but one thing is clear, which is no one wants to lag at all. Companies with specialized gaming servers make sure your gaming experience will be smoother than with companies that don’t have specialized gaming servers. (Read more on VPN and Gaming).
4. Dedicated IP servers
Short explanation: Surfshark doesn’t have dedicated IP servers.
Long explanation: While using a VPN, you would want a dynamic IP (an IP that changes whenever you reconnect to a server). In certain situations, this is not the case. A dedicated server is recommended in the following situations:
- Business security and privacy
- Frequent online payment
- Avoid getting blacklisted
- Avoid CAPTCHAs
If you find yourself as someone who would benefit from a dedicated IP, then I recommend you to go for Private Internet Access
5. Geo-censorship bypass (obfuscation)
Surfshark offers Camouflage Mode, which hides the fact that you're using a VPN by masking your encrypted internet traffic, which makes it a great option for obfuscation. It is best to use the Shadowsocks protocol when attempting to by-pass geo-censorship.
6. Split tunneling
Short explanation: Surfshark has the split tunneling feature only on Windows and Android.
Long explanation: The Whitelister feature for split tunneling allows you to choose specific websites and apps to bypass the VPN connection, which means that in the same session, you can choose which apps go through the VPNs and which would go without.
This is super helpful if you want to use the VPN to hide your online banking information. At the same time, you don't want the VPN to change your location and change your Netflix content by moving you to a different geographical location.
The Whitelister feature is only available on Windows and Android. If you're a Mac user and want to enjoy this feature, then CyberGhost is your ideal choice.
7. Tor over VPN
Short explanation: Surfshark has Tor over VPN support.
Long explanation: Torrent onion router (Tor) is a P2P program used to enter the dark web. Using a VPN adds an extra layer of anonymity, especially at the entry node, with the addition of data encryption.
Surfshark works on all major operating systems such as; Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, Linux, and Amazon Fire TV. As well, Surfshark offers browser extensions for both Chrome and Firefox. Surfshark does so while providing great functionality in multiple languages.
Surfshark is compatible with:
- Fire OS
Surfshark is available as an extension on:
- Google Chrome
The cherry on top is that Surfshark's desktop apps are available in 14 different languages, including English, French, German, Japanese, and Korean, which even the top VPNs on the market like CyberGhost don't offer for their desktop clients. They provide an unlimited number of device connections per a single subscription plan, enabling you to share a single subscription between friends and family.
1. Supported languages
Surfshark supports the following languages:
- Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese)
- Portuguese (Brazilian)
2. Customer support
Surfshark's customer service is pretty impressive as they have a 24/7 live chat support team which are responsive, friendly, and very professional. Furthermore, you can also contact Surfshark on their ticket request system, which is too fast and informative.
Surfshark provides customer support in the following forms:
- Live chat
- Knowledge base
- Email and tickets
Pricing and Payment
Surfshark has several subscription plans which differ in lengths and price. The best plan at the moment is $2.49 for two years' commitment. No matter which plan you choose, you'll have access to the same premium features.
If you're worried about the long commitment, there's a 7-day free trial if you download their application from Google Play or the Apple Store and a 30-day money-back guarantee on their plans.
When it comes to payment methods, Surfshark offers a wide range of payment options, including; credit cards, Amazon Pay, and PayPal. You can also pay through cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ripple, and Ethereum.
Available payment methods summary:
- Major credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, etc.)
The excellent server speeds, plentiful security, and responsive customer support make Surfshark the right VPN choice, especially since you can connect an unlimited number of devices on a single account.
That being said, we must point out that Surfshark falls behind the other top VPN providers like CyberGhost and Private Internet Access, and the main reason is its lack of consistency and accessibility.