Even though they might look simple, VPNs are backed by highly advanced technologies. So, you should never judge a VPN by its looks, but instead, dive deep into its specifications. As you surely know, the best way to find out if investing in a specific VPN is a good idea is by reading a review, just like this one.
With that said, we are going to help you by dissecting Surfshark into its smallest bits and checking whether this VPN service deserves your attention. So, welcome to our hands-on Surfshark review!
Before going deeper into this topic, you might want to spend a few minutes to understand how this technology works. If you didn’t know, VPNs come with numerous benefits, where the most important one is safeguarding your private data on the Web. They can make you anonymous online and even battle throttling imposed by your ISP.
However, this doesn’t mean that just about any VPN will do the job, as there is a limit to what each one can do. So, let’s see how Surfshark ranks and if it can beat any of the currently best VPN services.
As we do in each of our VPN reviews, we’ll first highlight the most important aspects of this VPN provider. Take a look at the table below.
|Jurisdiction||The British Virgin Islands|
|Logs||No logs, whatsoever.|
|Number of Servers||65 countries, 3,200+ servers.|
|Encryption Standards||AES-256; OpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuard, Shadowsocks.|
|Speed Reduction||37.7%, on average.|
|Live Chat Support||YES|
|Supported Platforms||Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Smart TVs, Web browsers, and routers.|
|Price||Starting at $2.21/month.|
We are certain that many of you are interested to know whether Surfshark works with popular streaming services. Don’t worry, we’ve tested it with several platforms, as shown below.
Media Streaming Support
|Amazon Prime Video||YES|
Before we dive into our detailed review, let’s take a look at the biggest pros and cons of using Surfshark. Don’t worry – this is the final table before we get to our full review.
The Bottom Line
|Pros||Broad device compatibility; Easy to use; Polished apps; Unblocks websites; Highly secure; Suitable for streaming; Doesn’t collect logs.|
|Cons||Not the biggest server network; No recent audit; Doesn’t offer truly anonymous dedicated IP addresses.|
|The Final Verdict||Surfshark truly brings a lot of value for its price – and could easily be one of the best VPNs right now. We highly recommend this VPN!|
By taking a quick glance at the tables found above, you can see that Surfshark is a capable VPN provider. However, how effective is it really? Let’s find out.
What’s New in Surfshark? – Recent Updates
Before jumping into the specifics of Surfshark, we’ll first highlight some of the most notable recent updates. We do the same in our every VPN review, trying to illustrate each VPN’s dedication to improving and evolving their service.
1. WireGuard Becomes Available to All Subscribers
When compared to OpenVPN, the VPN’s industry standard at the moment, WireGuard is more lightweight, performs faster, and gives you high-end privacy for your personal data. It certainly shows a lot of promise, and we’re happy to see Surfshark taking this leap.
2. Now Powered by 100% RAM-Only Servers
As a way to preserve the privacy of its subscribers, Surfshark has decided to eliminate the use of disks from its data centers. That means Surfshark’s servers now run on RAM, pushing this VPN one step ahead of its competition (as a side note, we’d like to say that ExpressVPN offers this same feature as well).
This transition means that no information can be physically taken from Surfshark’s servers. On top of that, removing any traces of any kind of information is now done easily.
3. Surfshark Introduces a Free DNS Changer App (Trust DNS)
If you want to unblock websites in a country where the use of the Web might be regulated, Surfshark offers a solution. There’s now a new app made by this VPN (called ‘Trust DNS’), available free of charge for iOS users, as well as for Android devices.
This app lets you change your DNS server, making sure your DNS requests are private and encrypted. You get to block ads along the way, in addition to protecting yourself from malware. However, keep in mind that ‘Trust DNS’ isn’t a replacement for a VPN.
4. GPS Spoofing Now Available on Android
For the most part, VPNs help you unblock just about any digital service. However, there are certain platforms that are close to impossible to unblock, as they rely on checking your GPS data (which are typically very hard to hide).
Not too long ago, Surfshark came up with an ingenious feature that lets you override your GPS coordinates and prevent apps from tracking you in the background. However, keep in mind that this feature is available on Android only and requires you to perform deep system-level changes.
5. Further Improvements to Surfshark’s Private Search
As a way to go beyond what traditional VPNs offer, Surfshark has been exploring new technologies. That’s how tools like ‘Surfshark Alert’ and ‘Surfshark Search’ came to be, available as add-ons for this VPN’s subscriptions.
Surfshark’s Search is a direct competitor to Google, designed for those looking for a privacy-friendly Web search tool. Plenty has been done on this tool in the last couple of months. So, today you can count on its autosuggest feature, improved video and image search, and more.
Surfshark VPN Review (2021) – Here’s All You Must Know Before You Subscribe!
We want to make this review as comprehensive as possible, which is why we’ll start with the basics. This means we’ll first do a background check on Surfshark. Then, we’ll install the application, test its interface design, performance, and plenty more. To learn more about this process, here’s how we review VPN services.
Table of Contents
Background, Jurisdiction & Reputation
Surfshark has taken the needed precautionary measures to protect its users from data harvesting. Also, there aren’t any data leaks in the past of this VPN. Our Score: 10/10.
Before deciding whether to trust a VPN, you need to know some background information. In this segment, we’ll take a look at the origins of Surfshark, and we’ll also check for previous data leaks.
Where Does Surfshark Come From? Is It Part of the 14-Eyes Alliance?
You will notice that many VPNs come from ‘exotic’ countries, and this also applies to Surfshark. This VPN comes from the British Virgin Islands, just like ExpressVPN – one of our top-rated VPN services at the moment.
This country doesn’t have mandatory data-retention laws, and it has full autonomy protecting businesses found within its borders. It also means that the 5/9/14-Eyes Alliance won’t be able to get to your data.
If you visit Surfshark’s website, you’ll also see that this VPN doesn’t collect any logs. To make this possible, this company needed to base its operations in a country whose laws protect this kind of practice. Therefore, we can conclude that Surfshark has covered the basics in the best way possible.
Did Surfshark Leak Personal Data in the Past?
Taking a closer look at any VPN’s data leak history is imperative. It gives you a clear indication of whether you should trust it or stay as far away as possible. Well, you should know that this puts Surfshark in the best possible position, as it comes with a clean slate.
Even though this VPN doesn’t have the same age as its competitors, it managed to stick to its promises. There aren’t any reports of personal data being collected in the past. In other words, your private information should be safe in the hands of this VPN.
Is Surfshark Legal and Safe to Use?
Yes, Surfshark is both legal and safe to use. This doesn’t apply only to this specific VPN, but to all VPN services in general. However, this situation isn’t so black-and-white in the entire world.
In a small group of countries, VPNs are illegal to use. Or they might be restricted in many ways. Therefore, our strong recommendation is to consider your country’s laws regarding VPNs and make sure to respect those laws.
We also need to mention that using a VPN isn’t an excuse to go against any laws. It’s true that VPNs guarantee your online anonymity. However, you must never use that privilege to do something that might be considered criminal activity in your country.
Supported Platforms & Devices
Surfshark is compatible with a wide range of platforms and devices. It even supports different kinds of routers, ensuring total protection. Our Score: 10/10.
A reliable and well-developed VPN should cover all of the currently popular platforms. That’s why we are happy to see Surfshark being compatible with pretty much any platform out there, both desktop and mobile.
|Desktop Platforms||Windows, macOS, Linux, Chromebooks.|
|Mobile Platforms||Android, iOS.|
|Web Browsers||Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox.|
|Routers||AsusWRT, DD-WRT, Tomato, and others.|
|Other Devices||Smart TVs, gaming consoles, streamers, and more.|
We have been following the development of this VPN for a while now. A couple of years ago, it used to offer a modest range of native apps, which is something that has completely changed in the meantime. Today, you will find native applications for various platforms and devices.
Let’s also not forget to mention that this VPN is compatible with many routers as well. You can use it via OpenVPN configuration files, and there’s a sizeable list of supported devices.
Even though setting up a VPN on a router might look like a complicated task, all you need is a trustworthy guide. It’s worth the effort since this is how you can protect all your Web-connected devices at once. And yes, Surfshark has the required documentation to help you get started.
On Surfshark’s website, you’ll also see that this VPN is compatible with Xbox and PlayStation consoles. However, in those cases, we’re talking about a ‘Smart DNS’ feature, which means that you can count on unblocking certain Internet services.
Installation & Initial Configuration
When it comes to native apps, you can install them in a matter of minutes. Sign in to your account, download the app, and then install it. That’s it. Our Score: 10/10.
We have tried Surfshark on macOS, Windows, Android, and iOS, where installing the application went without any problems. Once you sign up for a Surfshark account on its official website, you’ll get to access your personalized account dashboard. This is where you can download the apps and also where you can find the instructions for platforms without native Surfshark apps (where you need to configure the VPN manually).
On desktop operating systems, you can download Surfshark from its official website – and then install the application like you normally would. The whole process is very smooth. And on mobile devices, simply download Surfshark from your phone’s App Store, log-in, and you’re ready to protect your data.
Even though Surfshark looks like a simple VPN, it is powered by advanced tech. There’s a kill switch, zero-knowledge DNS, and plenty more. This is an almost perfect list of features. Our Score: 9/10.
We’ve come up with a set of features that every capable VPN needs to offer. So, let’s take a look at what you can expect from Surfshark.
VPN Features Checklist
|DNS Leak Protection||YES|
|IPv6 Leak Protection||YES|
|Kill-Switch||YES (Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS)|
|Split-Tunneling||YES (Windows, Android)|
|Unlimited Server Switches||YES|
Surfshark covers the basics quite well. Once you connect to a remote server, you get a new IP address. This will allow you to ‘alter’ your physical location and unblock websites, including the most popular media streaming platforms. Of course, this isn’t where the list of interesting features stop.
Among other features, Surfshark offers a way to route your traffic via two secure servers, and this feature is called Multihop. Also, let’s not forget to mention that this VPN provider employs a no-logs policy and zero-knowledge DNS. It means that your private data will truly stay private even after you connect to the Web.
And finally, we should also mention two additional features that set this VPN apart from the rest, called ‘Surfshark Alert’ and ‘Surfshark Search.’ They are available as an add-on to your subscription, available for $0.99 per month.
‘Surfshark Alert’ is designed to check whether your email address has been compromised in the past. More precisely, Surfshark will give you a list of previous incidents that might have leaked your email address and password (after checking your email address, that is). To stay secure, you should change your password to something unique.
Then, there’s ‘Surfshark Search.’ This is an ad-free Web search tool that acts as an alternative to Google. You’ll get organic results that should be highly relevant to your search while respecting your privacy.
How Many Simultaneous Connections Do You Get With Surfshark?
Surfshark doesn’t impose any limitations on simultaneous connections. Therefore, you’re free to install it on as many devices as you want, as well as use it across all of those devices (at the same time, of course).
This gives you plenty of freedom in terms of getting protected in your home, as well as on the go. And also, by not imposing any limitations, Surfshark avoids having to log any data – which gives it an advantage over its competitors.
Does Surfshark Have a Kill Switch?
Yes, Surfshark offers a kill switch on all of its supported devices. In other words, you can find and use this feature on Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, among other platforms.
Surfshark’s kill switch works just as you’d expect. Once you enable it, this tool will stop your Web traffic and prevent any application from connecting to your Web. Therefore, it’s designed to keep your private data leaks (and it does a very good job, by the way).
How to Enable Surfshark’s Kill Switch on Windows
By default, Surfshark comes with a disabled kill switch. We highly recommend you enable this option, and here’s how that is done.
- Once you launch the VPN, click on ‘Settings.’
- Then, choose ‘Connectivity.’
- Lastly, click on ‘Kill Switch‘ to enable this tool.
How to Enable Surfshark’s Kill Switch on macOS
Just like on the rest of the platforms supported by this VPN, you’ll need to enable Surfshark’s kill switch manually. So, go through the following steps.
- Once you open Surfshark, click on the cogwheel icon.
- Then, make sure to select the ‘General‘ tab.
- At the top, check the box next to ‘Kill Switch.’ That’s it!
How to Enable Surfshark’s Kill Switch on iOS u0026amp; Android
When it comes to mobile platforms, there are several ways to enable this VPN’s kill switch. So, we’ll show you the fastest one.
- Open the Surfshark app and tap on ‘Settings.’
- On iOS, select the ‘General‘ tab and enable the kill switch.
- On Android, tap on ‘Connectivity.’
- Then, tap on ‘VPN Kill Switch‘ and enable this feature.
Does Surfshark Offer Split Tunneling?
Yes, Surfshark offers split tunneling. However, keep in mind that this feature is available on Windows and Android only.
We’d also like to note that Surfshark offers plenty of fine-tuning in terms of split tunneling. For example, you can decide whether certain applications will be only routed through the VPN tunnel. Also, you can pick a group of applications that will bypass the VPN (this means that they’ll use your “regular” Web connection).
On Windows, Surfshark even goes one step further. You can set certain websites or IPs to bypass the VPN. This is an excellent way to avoid VPN-induced throttling in certain cases when you don’t need the VPN’s protection, and you do need all the Web speed you can get.
How to Enable Surfshark’s Split Tunneling on Android
Keep in mind that split tunneling is called ‘Whitelister’ in Surfshark. Here’s how to enable and fine-tune this functionality on Android.
- Tap on ‘Features,’ found at the bottom of your screen.
- Then, make sure to select ‘Whitelister.’
- Now, decide on the type of split tunneling you’d like to enable.
- Tap on ‘Apps Selected‘ or ‘Websites Selected.’
- Depending on what you’ve selected, check the boxes next to the apps you’d like to split tunnel. Alternatively, you can input any websites here if that’s what you want to split tunnel.
- Feel free to return to Surfshark’s home screen. That’s it!
How to Enable Surfshark’s Split Tunneling on Windows
Once again, we’d like to remind you that split tunneling is called ‘Whitelister’ in Surfshark. Follow these steps to enable this feature.
- Click on ‘Features,’ on the left side of Surfshark’s UI.
- Then, click on ‘Whitelister.’
- This is where you can enable split tunneling for applications or websites. Depending on your needs, select either ‘Route via VPN‘ or ‘Bypass VPN.’
- A dropdown menu should now appear. Feel free to click on it.
- Lastly, select any apps you’d like to add to Surfshark’s split tunneling list.
- Return to Surfshark’s home screen to apply the changes. That’s it.
Does Surfshark Offer a Static (Dedicated) IP Address?
No, Surfshark doesn’t offer static (dedicated) IPs in the “traditional” sense. In other words, you can’t buy an IP and make it your own.
However, this VPN comes with a range of servers that allow you to use static IPs. These are located in Germany, Japan, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States. As you can imagine, those servers bring static IPs associated with their respective countries.
In theory, this set-up should be equal to having a dedicated IP. After all, the IP addresses of those servers always remain the same. Therefore, you’ll still be sharing those with other users, so this can be helpful in a limited number of cases only.
Does Surfshark Have an Ad-Blocker?
Yes, this VPN offers an ad-blocking feature called ‘CleanWeb.’ It comes included in regular subscriptions, and you can use it on just about any device.
Surfshark’s CleanWeb works by utilizing a list of domains serving digital ads and malicious files/scripts. Therefore, those domains are automatically blocked, which, in turn, blocks ads and minimizes your chances of a malware infection.
Keep in mind that even though Surfshark’s CleanWeb is a powerful feature, it’s still not a complete replacement for a dedicated ad-blocker. For example, you can’t use it to block YouTube ads or similar types of advertisements.
What Features Are Missing on Android & iOS (Compared to Desktop Apps)?
Not much, really. Surfshark has done a good job of providing a uniform set of features across all their mobile apps, fully exploring the possibilities and limitations of Android and iOS.
As noted earlier, both Android and iOS come with Surfshark’s CleanWeb feature. They also have the kill switch built-in. Perhaps the only difference here is that Android offers split tunneling, while iOS doesn’t (which is a known limitation of this operating system).
When comparing them to their desktop counterparts, these applications bring a similar set of features. Therefore, we believe that Surfshark is one of the rare VPNs to have managed to secure high-end features for its subscribers across all of the available platforms.
Server Count & Infrastructure
Surfshark comes with 3,200+ servers at the moment. Furthermore, this VPN has been expanding its network aggressively in the last 12 months. Our Score: 8/10.
To make it easier to present what to expect from Surfshark in terms of its server network, we’ve put together a handy table. Check it out below.
Server Count Info
|Number of Servers||3,200+|
|Number of Locations||N/A|
|Number of Countries||65|
|Specific Cities Selection||YES (for certain countries)|
At the moment, Surfshark has more than 3,200 servers located across 65 countries. This list features a considerable number of European countries, as well as countries from the Middle East, Asia, North & South America, Oceania, and more.
It’s also worth mentioning that all of Surfshark’s servers are subject to the same set of policies. This means that you’ll find a private DNS on each server, they’re all powered by RAM (not by hard drives), and all of those servers are P2P-friendly.
Does Surfshark Use Virtual Server Locations?
Yes, Surfshark offers a small number of virtual server locations. Using these, you can get an IP address associated with Argentina, Chile, and Costa Rica.
We’re happy to report that Surfshark is very open and transparent about its server network. It doesn’t have a problem to clearly indicate which servers are virtual.
If you decide to use those, know that you won’t connect to a server that’s physically available in the selected country (but you’ll receive an IP associated with that country). We’re also happy to note that Surfshark’s virtual server locations receive the same treatment as their physical counterparts.
UI/UX Design & Ease of Use
You don’t have to be an expert to use this VPN. It comes with a simple UI that’s easy to comprehend, even if you’re a total beginner. Our Score: 9.5/10.
Before you get your Surfshark subscription, we’re sure you’d like to know how this VPN looks and works like. That’s precisely what we’ll explore in this segment, focusing on the VPN apps for desktop and mobile platforms, as well as checking out Surfshark’s Web browser extensions.
How Well Does Surfshark Work on Desktop Platforms?
Surfshark’s ease of use is perhaps its biggest strength. Once you log in to your account, the application will show a spotless and polished interface. If you click on the prominent blue button labeled ‘Connect,’ the app will find an optimal server. It means that you’ll be connected to the closest server available, which should, in turn, provide stable performance and fast Web browsing speeds.
If you check the left-hand side, you will see a list of Surfshark servers. This is where you can filter the available servers by their name and function. You can also check the status of each server by seeing its current “load.” Click on any of these, and Surfshark will initialize its procedure. After a few moments, your Internet connection will be secured.
While browsing the available locations, you can also connect to two servers at the same time. You can do this by clicking on the ‘MultiHop’ item (on the left side of the screen). There are more than a dozen different connections to choose from, and three of those allow you to obtain an IP address from the USA (via Australia, Canada, and the Netherlands).
Let’s also not forget to check out the application’s settings. You can fine-tune your user experience by clicking on the cogwheel icon (top-left corner). So, let’s see what can be fine-tuned via this panel:
- General: This tab allows you to enable/disable the VPN’s kill switch. You can also choose to start Surfshark on system startup, auto-connect to a server, and more.
- Networks: If you’re using this VPN on a notebook, you can set Surfshark’s behavior based on types of Wi-Fi networks (known and unknown). This will help you protect your private information even when using public Wi-Fi networks.
- Features: We encounter three options here (based on your subscription). The ‘CleanWeb’ feature allows you to eliminate ads and trackers. We’ve already told you about ‘Alert’ and ‘Search.’ These buttons will take you to these two handy tools on Surfshark’s website.
- Account: The name of this tab says it all. You can check when your subscription is due to expire, change your account’s password, log out, and similar.
- Updates: It’s essential to keep your VPN updated at all times. In case you’ve downloaded Surfshark from its official website, you can choose how to receive updates.
- Advanced: The final tab of the Settings panel allows you to choose a protocol, enable this VPN’s ‘Stealth Mode – No Borders’, and opt-in/out of anonymous crash reports.
How Well Does Surfshark Work on Mobile Platforms?
Overall, Surfshark’s mobile apps work in the same way – and we’re very happy to see this kind of uniformity. However, just like it happens with any other (high-rated) VPN, the Android app is a bit more capable, so let’s explain the situation.
On both Android and iOS, you’ll be greeted by a highly polished home screen. Tap on the blue ribbon you’ll see at the bottom of your screen, and you’ll connect to the nearest server. Pull a grey-colored card behind a server selection menu, and you’ll get to check your IP and enable the VPN’s kill switch.
Also, you will see four tabs at the bottom: Surfshark (the app’s home screen), Locations, Features, and Settings.
Using the Locations tab, you can browse all of Surfshark’s servers. Feel free to check each location manually, connect to the fastest server (or the nearest country), check out “static” servers or chain servers via a “MultiHop” feature.
When it comes to the Features tab, this is where you’ll find Surfshark’s CleanWeb, helping you eliminate ads, trackers, and malware. Then, you’ll see two additional features (priced extra), called Alert (for checking whether your email was in any data leak) and Search (the VPN’s privacy-friendly alternative to Google).
Android users will also see the “Whitelister” feature available in the Features tab. As explained earlier in this article, this is where you can set-up split tunneling. Sadly, this feature isn’t available on iPhones and iPads.
And lastly, we have the Settings tab. This is where you can enable Surfshark’s kill switch, change your VPN protocol, review your account information, and get help. Really simple yet highly effective – just like the rest of the Surfshark apps.
How Well Do Surfshark’s Web Browser Extensions Work?
Surfshark offers extensions for Chrome and Firefox. However, keep in mind that the Chrome extension should work just fine on Brave and Opera as well. The Firefox extension should work across a range of Gecko-based Web browsers.
As you can see from the images in this segment, Surfshark has once again done an admirable job. The VPN’s Web browser extensions follow the same design principles as the rest of its apps. This means that you’ll see four tabs at the bottom: Surfshark, Locations, CleanWeb, and Settings.
In general, there’s not much you can fine-tune here (aside from enabling the CleanWeb feature, getting rid of ads and trackers). However, it is worth noting that Surfshark’s extensions don’t limit your access to the VPN’s servers. In other words, you’ll get all of the servers available (including access to counties and individual cities) – no matter if you use an application or a Web browser extension.
In the end, we’d like to note that using a Web browser extension is a good way to protect your privacy on the Web. However, to reach the highest possible level of protection, always make sure to use a native VPN application.
Media Streaming & Torrenting Support
Surfshark VPN manages to unblock pretty much any popular media streaming website. Also, download P2P files is a possibility as well. Our Score: 10/10.
Aside from keeping you safe online, VPNs can also unblock websites, such as media streaming services. However, not all VPNs are equally capable when it comes to this. Here’s what Surfshark can help you with.
Media Streaming u0026amp; Torrenting Support
|Amazon Prime Video||YES|
Generally, you have to rely on high-priced VPNs to unblock hugely popular media streaming websites. However, it’s good to see Surfshark offering that same feature at a low price. Despite being still relatively new, you can use it to unblock different versions of media streaming platforms and unblock those not available in your country.
It’s also important to note that Surfshark supports P2P traffic across the majority of its servers. They also have dedicated P2P servers, which you can find by typing “P2P” in the locations search filed in the app. So downloading torrents safely should not be a problem at all.
Does Surfshark Work With Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Prime Video & Disney+?
Yes, Surfshark works with pretty much any media streaming platform. While testing the VPN, we managed to unblock Netflix, Disney Plus, Hulu, Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer. Therefore, if you’re after streaming – Surfshark should be your pick.
We need to highlight that unblocking media streaming websites via Surfshark was as effortless as possible. All you need to do is connect to a server in a specific country. Once you do so, you will get to visit websites (including streaming platforms) available in that specific country.
And also, we’d like to add that Surfshark’s website-unblocking capability is available across all of its apps. So, no matter if you want to unblock Netflix (for example) by visiting its website on your computer, or perhaps unblock its Android/iOS app, this is possible with Surfshark.
Which Surfshark Server Works Best for Netflix?
Surfshark doesn’t really bring servers dedicated to media streaming. That’s why you won’t find servers that are optimized for specific OTT platforms within Surfshark’s interface. Differently said, you’re free to use any server – which simplifies this whole situation.
However, we do have a helpful tip for you. If you’re after the best possible performance (which is imperative when it comes to streaming), you should pick a server that’s not under a lot of stress. You’ll see a circle-shaped icon on the right side of each server. Depending on how much that circle is “filled,” this indicates whether it’s mostly free of occupied by other users.
As you can see, you should go for servers where the circle-shaped icon is mostly “empty.” This should come in handy when connecting to countries with plenty of servers, such as the United States, for example.
Can You Use Surfshark With Kodi?
Yes, you can use Surfshark for Kodi. In fact, this is one of the VPNs we highly recommend if you’re a Kodi user, and here’s why.
First of all, Surfshark is an ideal solution for media streaming and unblocking. Considering that many Kodi addons are geo-locked, using Surfshark will help you unblock those and take full advantage of Kodi and its addons (legal ones, of course).
Then, we all know that Kodi doesn’t have the best reputation. It’s often tied to piracy, which is why many ISPs throttle Kodi-related traffic. To battle against this, Surfshark once again comes as a perfect solution. Therefore, it’s a win-win situation.
Security & Privacy
Surfshark promises not to keep any of your personal information, and it effectively blocks anyone from tracking you online. All of that sounds (and works) great – but we still wished to see a more recent audit to support those claims. Our Score: 9/10.
In this segment, we’ll take a closer look at three different aspects: encryption, logging, and data leaks. Each of these should tell us how well this company takes care of your sensitive data. Take a look.
Surfshark’s VPN Protocols – Listed & Explained!
Surfshark is bringing a selection of high-end VPN protocols, aiming to provide you with the highest possible level of privacy protection. With that said, let’s take a look at which VPN protocols are found across Surfshark’s apps.
Surfshark VPN Protocols (Built-In)
The table above describes the situation with built-in protocols. That means you’ll find the protocols mentioned above in Surfshark’s apps as soon as you install and launch them. Still, that doesn’t mean that Surfshark is limited only to those specific protocols.
For example, let’s take macOS. By default, Surfshark’s Mac application is powered by IKEv2 only. However, more advanced users can use third-party VPN clients to tunnel their traffic via Surfshark’s OpenVPN protocol.
Speaking of those, we owe you a deeper explanation of what each of those can do, in what situations you should use them, what to expect, and more. So, keep on reading.
This VPN protocol is known for its flexibility, performance, and security. It’s not the most secure protocol – but it should be more than enough for average home users. On top of that, it comes with many benefits for mobile devices, as it supports easy switching between Wi-Fi and 4G/5G without losing your VPN connectivity.
If you want the best possible protection for your data, OpenVPN is what you should use. It’s fast, secure, and it’s an open-source protocol. That’s precisely what makes it suitable for unblocking websites and making sure no one can trace you online.
If you’re after the latest technologies, WireGuard won’t disappoint you. This is the latest VPN protocol available, now starting to appear across VPN services. It’s very lightweight, uses high-end cryptographic primitives, and provides incredibly smooth and fast performance.
Lastly, we have Shadowsocks – which isn’t a VPN protocol, per se. Instead, this is an encrypted proxy known for its ability to unblock websites. It’s hugely popular in China, as Shadowsocks has proven effective against the so-called Great Firewall of China.
Does Surfshark Log Private Data?
In terms of respecting the privacy of its subscribers, Surfshark seems to be one of the favorable VPNs at the moment. This VPN has truly done plenty to avoid having to collect personal data, and these efforts are evolving over time.
Speaking of personally identifiable data, Surfshark requires your email address, encrypted password, and basic billing information. That data is needed only to become a subscriber to this VPN. And that’s precisely where any type of logging ends.
Differently said, Surfshark doesn’t log your IP address, Web browsing history, used bandwidth, session information, network traffic, or connection timestamps. This means that this VPN doesn’t know anything about your online activities or whereabouts.
It’s also worth noting that Surfshark’s servers are RAM-only servers. Therefore, they don’t collect or store any data. And also, this VPN was put through an independent audit a while back, providing all of its “no logs” claims. We wished to see a more recent audit, though.
Does Surfshark Leak/Expose Your Personal Data?
Based on numerous technologies that Surfshark employs, it’s easy to conclude that this VPN provides an incredibly secure tunnel. However, just like with everything else about Surfshark, we’ve put its tunnel through a test.
As you can see from the screenshots supplied in this segment, no data leaks were detected whatsoever. After connecting to a VPN server, third-parties were able to see our virtual information. That means that our IP address, DNS data, or other types of transmitted data corresponded to Surfshark’s information only.
We’ve also tested our geolocation data, checking what third-party websites see. We’re happy to report nothing pointed to our “real” physical location, which is one of the reasons why Surfshark is capable of unblocking just about any website.
Speed & Performance
In general, Surfshark is one of the fastest VPNs out there. Even though it can be unpredictable at times – it mostly provides smooth and fluid performance. Our Score: 9/10.
It’s true that it’s impossible to predict a VPN’s performance – before using it yourself. However, we’ve done a round of speed tests, helping us compare Surfshark to its competitors. Therefore, here’s what you need to know.
Surfshark VPN Speed Test
Before jumping into testing various Surfshark servers, we had to test our own Web connection first. Later on, we’ll use that baseline data to get more information about the VPN’s speed.
As you can see above, after testing the speed of our Web connection (without Surfshark running in the background), we managed to get 355.75 Mbps for downloads and 48.39 Mbps for uploads.
Local Speed Tests
When it comes to local speed tests, keep in mind that our team is located in Europe. Therefore, local connections (in our case) would be connections to Italy and the United Kingdom. With that said, here’s how those servers performed.
In terms of Surfshark’s server in Italy, we got 286.42 Mbps for downloads and 39.48 Mbps for uploads. Overall, those are very good numbers, making it evident that Surfshark didn’t slow us down by much.
Then, a server in the United Kingdom managed to get us 303.03 Mbps for downloads and 40.84 Mbps for uploads. Once again, Surfshark has proven that it’s an incredibly fast VPN service.
Long-Distance Speed Tests
When it comes to long-distance speed tests, we typically test servers found in the USA, Canada, India, and Australia. After all, those are the most popular countries when it comes to VPN users. So, here’s how those long-distance servers performed.
A server on the east coast of the United States gave us 212.45 Mbps for downloads and 26.46 Mbps for uploads. As expected, the speed of our Web connection went down – but those numbers are still higher than what we typically see at this point in testing.
A server in Canada managed to outperform the previously tested server (in the US). During this round of testing, we ended up with 238.35 Mbps for downloads and 28.46 Mbps for uploads.
Then, a server in India gave us 144.56 Mbps for downloads and 23.16 Mbps for uploads. We’re now entering the territory of very remote servers, so we have to say that Surfshark is meeting our expectations.
And lastly, we also connected to a very remote server (in relation to our physical location). A server in Australia gave us 142.12 Mbps for downloads and 19.56 Mbps for uploads.
So, How Well Does Surfshark Perform?
To make sense of all those numbers above, we’ve placed them in the table you’ll find below. So, let’s see how much did Surfshark slow us down.
Surfshark VPN Performance
|Download Speed||Upload Speed||Speed Reduction|
|Baseline (Europe)||355.75 Mbps||48.39 Mbps||0%|
|Italy||286.42 Mbps||39.48 Mbps||19.4%|
|United Kingdom||303.03 Mbps||40.84 Mbps||14.8%|
|United States||212.45 Mbps||26.46 Mbps||40.2%|
|Canada||238.35 Mbps||28.46 Mbps||33.0%|
|India||144.56 Mbps||23.16 Mbps||59.3%|
|Australia||142.12 Mbps||19.56 Mbps||60.0%|
We conclude that Surfshark did make our Web connection slower – by 37.7%, on average. This might look like much, but the truth is that we’re talking about one of the fastest VPNs here.
Surfshark works equally well when connected to both nearby and remote servers. Connecting and disconnecting is done instantaneously, so you can expect a very fluid experience. With that said, we can’t help but recommend this VPN to our readers.
What Kind of Performance Can You Expect? – It would be unfair of us to give you any precise numbers. That’s because you can’t really predict how a VPN will perform until you actually try it for yourself. After all, there are many variables here, such as the proximity of the nearest server, a chosen VPN protocol, and more.
However, we can tell you that Surfshark made our Web connection slower by 60% in the worst possible case (when connected to a server on the other side of the world). Therefore, if you have a 100 Mbps connection (for example), you should still be able to stream movies in 4K and HD.
In general, the faster your Web connection is, the better. However, also keep in mind that you can do plenty to optimize and speed-up a slow VPN.
Is Surfshark Good Enough for Torrenting (P2P)?
Yes, Surfshark is an excellent choice for torrenting. There are multiple reasons for that, so let’s explain why it’s wise to subscribe to this VPN if you want to download torrents.
First of all, Surfshark allows P2P traffic on the majority of its servers. Since you can count on a large number of servers available worldwide, this truly gives you plenty of options. Also, that means that you can count on fast performance, which is imperative in this case.
Then, Surfshark is capable of creating a very secure VPN tunnel. Your ISP or any third-party won’t see your P2P activities, making you safe and secure online. And on top of that, Surfshark doesn’t keep any logs either.
Is Surfshark Good Enough for Gaming?
Yes, we recommend using Surfshark if you’re looking for a capable gaming VPN.
As mentioned above, Surfshark is an incredibly secure VPN, bringing the latest available protocols and unparalleled performance. This means that you’ll get to prevent ISP throttling, protect yourself against DDoS attacks, and unblock just about any website.
In terms of gaming, you can count on low ping values (which translates to low latency). And since you can unblock any website, you’ll get to use any gaming-related marketplace. Therefore, Surfshark helps you buy games cheaper than usual while also unlocking games ahead of your timezone.
There are different ways to contact this company and have your questions answered. You can also talk to a real person via live chat. Our Score: 10/10.
In case you have any questions about this service, or if you’re experiencing any troubles, the best place to start is Surfshark’s official website. It is where you’ll be greeted by the live chat option, found in the bottom-right corner.
A real person will be there to assist you 24/7 and without waiting for more than a few minutes. So, here are all the customer support channels you can use:
- Live Chat Support: As already noted, you can take advantage of Surfshark’s live chat. We’ve talked to the company’s representatives a couple of times, and they always managed to come up with a solution/answer to our question (in a very friendly way, also).
- Setup Guides: Surfshark’s support center includes tutorials on installing the application on supported devices. Even though you’ll manage to install it just fine on desktop and mobile platforms, you’ll need a guide for installing this VPN on a router.
- FAQ: Even though it isn’t as comprehensive as we hoped it would, the FAQ section answers some of your general and technical questions.
- Support Tickets: Finally, you can use the ‘official’ way of getting help. You can do this by filling out a form found on the website, where you can explain your problem and wait for the tech team to contact you.
All in all, Surfshark has done a great job of providing a reliable customer support system. We’re sure that you’ll have your questions answered in no time.
Considering its overall value, we think that Surfshark is an excellent deal – especially if you go for its long-term plans. Our Score: 9.5/10.
VPNs, especially those such as Surfshark, are premium-priced services. Therefore, you’ll want to know whether you’re spending your money wisely. With that said, let’s talk about Surfshark’s pricing.
How Much Does Surfshark Cost?
Surfshark offers three subscription plans, with $2.21/month being the lowest you can pay right now. Let’s take a closer look at its pricing structure.
As you can see, you have several options. You can save the most by picking the VPN’s 2-year plan, which also gets you 3 additional months for free. Therefore, this plan lets you subscribe to Surfshark for only $2.21 per month, which means that you’ll save 83%.
We also told you earlier in this article about ‘Surfshark Alert’ and ‘Surfshark Search.’ By using these, you can search the Web without endangering your privacy, and you can check whether your email credentials have been part of a data breach. However, these two are available as a $0.99/month bundle.
When it comes to payments, you’ll be happy to hear that numerous payment methods are supported, including PayPal, credit cards, cryptocurrencies, and more. No matter which of the three subscription plans you select, you will get the same thing product-wise.
Surfshark’s Free Trial – Duration, Price & Availability
As you can already imagine, getting started with Surfshark’s trial involves downloading either its iOS or Android app. Then, click on ‘Start Free Trial’ while setting up the app, and that’s when you’ll be asked to pick a subscription plan. With that said, keep in mind that you’ll be charged a certain amount once your trial ends.
Differently said, you can get Surfshark’s Android/iOS trial only if you have a payment method set up on your smartphone. And if you forget to cancel your subscription on time, know that you’ll need to ask for a refund through Google or Apple, as you’ve used their App Store to make a purchase.
If you truly want to test-drive Surfshark, we recommend signing-up via its website, which is how you can count on a 30-day money-back guarantee. So, let’s talk about that.
Surfshark’s 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee – Will You Get Your Money Back?
Surfshark’s 30-day money-back guarantee applies to all of its plans, as long as you buy them from the VPN’s official website. On top of that, this is a “no questions asked” guarantee, which means that you reserve your right to simply change your mind about using Surfshark.
It’s also worth mentioning that Surfshark’s team will try to address your concerns first, especially if you’re asking for a refund due to technical difficulties. However, that won’t stop the process, as you can decline to provide a concrete reason.
It’s also good to know that you can get a refund for your Surfshark subscription cancelation twice (those two refunds must be six months apart). This is a way for the VPN to protect itself against different types of misuse.
Is There a Way to Use Surfshark for Free?
No, there’s no way to use Surfshark for free. This is a premium-priced VPN that had never offered a free tier – and we believe this situation will remain the same in the future as well.
As mentioned earlier in this Surfshark review, this VPN offers a free-of-charge app. Called ‘DNS Changer’ (Android, iOS), you can use it to unblock certain websites in your region. However, we’d like to highlight that ‘DNS Changer’ doesn’t replace Surfshark in any way.
Surfshark Comparisons & Additional Research Findings
After everything said in this review, you’re probably wondering how Surfshark compares to other VPN services. So, we’ll use this segment of our Surfshark review to answer that question and a couple more. Keep on reading.
How Surfshark Compares to Top-Rated VPNs (Surfshark vs. ExpressVPN vs. CyberGhost VPN)?
Surfshark is often compared to ExpressVPN and CyberGhost VPN, all three of which are highly capable VPN services. To give you an idea of what to expect from each of those, we’ve created a handy table, located just below this paragraph.
|Number of Servers||3,200+||3,000+||6,600+|
|Number of Countries||65||94||90|
|Number of Connections||UNLIMITED||5||6|
|Speed/Performance||ULTRA FAST||ULTRA FAST||FAST|
|Prime Video Support||YES||YES||YES|
When comparing Surfshark with ExpressVPN, we can see that both of these VPNs come with plenty of benefits and upsides. However, ExpressVPN comes with a bigger network, spanning across 90+ countries. Surfshark is a smaller VPN (in terms of its network) but brings unmetered VPN connections, which is definitely a nice bonus.
Then, we have CyberGhost VPN as well. This one brings an incredibly large network, along with high-end security features. However, it’s not as fast as Surfshark or ExpressVPN. To make up for that downside, CyberGhost VPN brings a highly affordable price – offering plenty of value overall.
After having spent plenty of time testing ExpressVPN, CyberGhost VPN, and Surfshark, our team concludes the following. If you want absolutely the best of what today’s VPNs offer, go for ExpressVPN. It doesn’t have the most affordable price, but you absolutely won’t make a mistake.
Then, we recommend CyberGhost VPN if you want to protect your data while streaming media and downloading torrents. However, be prepared to invest in this VPN’s long-term plan, which should bring its price down in a dramatic way.
And lastly, there are several good reasons to subscribe to Surfshark as well. This seems to be an ideal VPN for average home users – those who need a bit of everything, so to say. You get an incredibly strong set of privacy-protecting features, media streaming, torrenting, and some extra features as well.
Does Surfshark Work in China?
Yes, Surfshark works in China.
After doing online research and after talking to Surfshark’s customer support team, we got reassurances that you can use this VPN in China. Furthermore, there’s a built-in intelligent feature that will help you go over Internet restrictions, which also works in countries like China, known for its Great Firewall.
This feature is called ‘NoBorders,’ and it’s enabled from Surfshark’s settings (on Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS). This way, your VPN connection will receive a new layer of settings, making sure that your data packets can go through any obstacle.
It’s also interesting to note that Surfshark’s ‘NoBorders’ mode will automatically turn on if it detects any kind of restrictions on your network. However, this feature can be enabled on demand as well.
What’s Surfshark Missing?
Surfshark is a capable VPN with an incredibly powerful set of features. With that said, it doesn’t really miss anything crucial.
Even though its server network is big enough for average home users, we need to note that its competitors offer more options. We’re not talking here about Surfshark’s number of servers, as it offers more than 3,000 units. We’re talking about Surfshark’s presence, as it’s available in 60+ countries. For a very similar price, you could find a VPN present in 90+ countries.
Also, Surfshark has done a wonderful job of bringing a uniform set of features across all of its apps. However, we do feel that more work is needed to bringing together all those apps, as there’s still a bit of discrepancy there. For example, split tunneling is available on select platforms only.
Surfshark Pros & Cons – Here’s the Bottom Line!
We’re going to conclude our hands-on Surfshark review with a list of pros and cons. So, here’s what we think about this VPN after having tested it extensively.
- Brings high-end protocols and tough encryption.
- Doesn’t log any personal information.
- Doesn’t impose a limit on simultaneous connections.
- Highly-polished apps, available for many platforms.
- Great performance – speedy and fluid.
- Highly suitable for media streaming.
- Responsive and helpful customer support.
- Very affordable – if you pick a long-term plan.
- We would like to see a more recent audit.
- Not the most extensive server network out there.
- Doesn’t offer truly dedicated IP addresses.
So, Do We Recommend Surfshark VPN?
Surfshark provides one of the best VPN offers we’ve seen recently and covers everything that you will ever need. It allows you to browse the Web anonymously, hide your online whereabouts, obtain virtual IPs, use media streaming websites, and even download torrents. What’s not to like here, really?
We believe that Surfshark is very close to perfection. You can use this VPN without having to worry if your data will end up in the wrong hands. And you can continue using your favorite websites or even download torrents. Finally, this all comes at an affordable price. So, if you decide to subscribe to Surfshark, you surely won’t make a mistake.