Even though they might look like simple applications, VPNs bring a number of advanced technologies. This is why you should never judge a VPN by its looks but instead dive deep into its specifications. As you surely know, the best way to truly get to know if investing in a VPN is a good idea is to read a review just like this one. And 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 Surfshark review!
Before going any deeper into this topic, you might want to spend a few minutes to get to know this technology. 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 any VPN will do the job – as there are different degrees of success. So, let’s see how Surfshark ranks and if it can beat any of the currently top-rated VPN providers.
As we do in our every VPN review, we’ll first highlight the most important aspects of this VPN provider. If you keep on reading this article, you will get to know more about each of the following nine criteria. Take a look at the table below.
|Prominent Features||Wide platform compatibility; Blocks malware, trackers, and ads; A Kill Switch; MultiHop support; No-logs policy; Zero-knowledge DNS.|
|Number of Servers||500+ servers in 50 countries.|
|Logging Policy||Employs a strict no-logs policy.|
|Encryption Standards||AES-256; IKEv2; OpenVPN.|
|Privacy||Zero-knowledge DNS system.|
|Speed||Below-average (slowed down our Web connection speed by up to 60%).|
|Device Support||Windows, Linux, Android, iOS, Chrome, and Firefox.|
|Number of Devices||Unlimited simultaneous connections.|
|Price||Starts at $3.77 per month (annual subscription plan).|
We are certain that many of you are interested if Surfshark works with popular media streaming services. Don’t worry, we’ve tested it with Netflix and Hulu (by accessing their US-based versions). We also know that many of you are using Kodi, so we’ve included this application as well.
And 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 our final table before we get to our review.
By taking a quick glance at the tables found above, you can see that Surfshark is a capable VPN provider. However, how effective it really is? Let’s find out.
Surfshark Review: TechNadu’s Detailed Analysis
We will begin our Surfshark review by checking its platform compatibility and ease of installation. Then, we’ll jump to more advanced and technical topics.
Surfshark is compatible with a wide range of platforms and devices – even though macOS is out of the picture right now. Even routers are covered! Our Score: 8/10.
A reliable and well-developed VPN should cover all of the currently popular platforms. That’s why we were happy to see that Surfshark is compatible with pretty much any popular platform, both desktop, and mobile. However, the situation isn’t that great when it comes to native applications. You can install this application on Windows, Android, and iOS. There are also Web browser extensions for Firefox and Chrome. And on top of this, you can install Surfshark on a wide range of routers including DD-WRT routers, as well as AsusWRT and Tomato-based ones.
As you can see, macOS is not on the list of supported platforms. However, you can still install this application on your Mac, you’ll just have to do it manually via the operating system’s settings. So, even though it’s entirely possible to use Surfshark on macOS, you’ll just have to make a few additional steps to make that happen. What’s also disappointing is that there’s no Safari extension. We sincerely hope to see this fixed soon considering that this provider has been covering more platforms in the past few months.
Installation & Setup
When it comes to native apps, you can install them in a matter of minutes. Those who use macOS will need a bit of technical knowledge to make this happen. Our Score: 8/10.
We have tried Surfshark on Windows and Android, where installing the application on both of these platforms went without any problems. Once you sign-up for a Surfshark account on its official website, you’ll get to your account area. This is where apps can be downloaded from, and this is where you can find instructions for platforms without native Surfshark apps.
When it comes to Windows, the installation file comes in at around 10MB. In general, this is a very lightweight application and it should run just fine even on older machines. You start the installation by double-clicking on the installation file. Choose the desired location on your computer and the software will install in a matter of seconds. There’s no bloatware or any other annoying offers. Once the installation is done, you can open the application, log in using your credentials, and this is where the fun starts.
Since Surfshark supports the OpenVPN standard, you can use it to install the application on platforms without the native app offered by this provider. Once again, this process starts on the official website. The good news is that you’ll find helpful and detailed tutorials on how to install Surfshark on routers, macOS, and Linux. With a bit of technical knowledge, you should not have any problems using this VPN.
Even though Surfshark looks like a simple VPN, a lot of interesting features can be found. Among those are a kill switch, zero-knowledge DNS, and several VPN protocols to choose from. Our Score: 8.5/10.
First and foremost, you need to know that Surfshark covers the basics quite well. Once you connect to a remote server of your choosing, 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. To further enhance your Web browsing experience, this VPN uses a so-called ‘CleanWeb’ feature that blocks advertisements, trackers, and malware. There’s also a capable Kill Switch which makes sure your real IP and your private files are not exposed in case a VPN connection drops.
Among other interesting features, Surfshark offers a way to route your traffic via two secure servers and this feature is called MultiHop. And let’s not forget that you can install this VPN on unlimited devices, which is unparalleled in the world of premium VPN solutions. Lastly, let’s not forget to mention that this provides employs a no-logs policy and zero-knowledge DNS. This means that your private data will truly stay private even after you connect to the Web.
Ease of Use
You don’t have to be an expert to using this VPN. It comes with a simple and self-explanatory UI that’s easy to comprehend even if you’re a total beginner. Our Score: 10/10.
Surfshark’s ease of use is perhaps its biggest strength. Once you log-in to your account, the application will show a very clean and polished interface. If you click on the prominent green-colored button labeled ‘Connect’, the application will find an optimal location. This means that you’ll be connected to the closest server which should, in turn, provide stable performance and fast Web browsing speeds. However, you are also free to pick a server manually which is done by clicking on the ‘Optimal Location’ button at the bottom of the UI. This will open a list of alphabetically sorted countries. If you’re looking for something in particular, you can use the search bar found at the top. Clicking on any of these locations will force Surfshark to automatically connect to that server.
While browsing the available locations, you can also connect to two servers at the same time. This is done by clicking on the ‘MultiHop’ link in the top-right corner. There are 8 different connections to choose from, and two of those allow you to obtain an IP address from the USA. Let’s give you an example – by choosing the final option on this list. As you’ll see, this option allows you to connect to the USA through Canada. This means that a Canadian server will first accept your traffic and it will forward it to the USA. So, instead of routing your traffic through a single VPN server, all your incoming and outgoing traffic will be routed through two servers. This provides an extra layer of protection and makes it impossible for anyone to track your real location online.
Let’s also not forget to check out the application’s settings. You can fine-tune your user experience by clicking on the Gear icon (top-right corner) from the Home page of the app. As you’ll see, this is a good way to check your account, when your subscription should expire, and update the application. There are also four sub-categories to explore called Connectivity, Notifications, Security, and Advanced. Let’s check them out.
- Connectivity: In case you want to be connected to a secure server at all times, this is where you can make that happen. First, enable the application to start every time Windows starts, and also enable the option of connecting to a remote server automatically. You can also decide which Wi-Fi networks should be protected automatically.
- Notifications: Each time you connect to a server and disconnect from it, you’ll see a notification on your screen. So, you can easily disable this option if you want.
- Security: By default, features like the Kill Switch and CleanWeb are not enabled. Both of these are tremendously helpful, so we recommend you to enable them.
- Advanced: The final option allows you to switch between TCP and UDP protocols and send anonymous crash reports.
Even though it doesn’t have the largest set of VPN servers, the majority of users should find their needs to be met. Our Score: 8.5/10.
At the moment, Surfshark has more than 500 servers located across 50 countries. So, even though there aren’t that many servers, they’re all strategically placed. A huge portion of European countries can be found on this list, as well as some countries from the Middle East, Asia, and more. Needless to say, there’s a number of different servers located in the United States – which is always a hugely popular location due to media streaming services.
As you can see in our article on VPNs with the highest server count, some VPN providers offer more than 4,500 servers to their customers. What this means is that a huge volume of individuals can use those servers without major performance drawbacks. In terms of connectivity, you should pay attention to the location of VPN servers (not their number) – and this is where Surfshark has done a great job. Plus, we’re sure that this VPN provider will add more servers as its user base grows.
Speed & Performance
During our tests, Surfshark made our Web connection speed slower by up to 60%. Not the best performance out there. Our Score: 6/10.
As always, we first test the ‘naked’ speed of our Web connection, without using a VPN. Our editorial team uses a 100Mbps Internet connection. Since we want to take full advantage of this speed, we’re using a wired connection (via Ethernet). As you can see from the image below, Ookla’s Speed Test calculated the download speed to be at 98.78Mbps while the upload speed is at 5.85Mbps. Now, let’s see how Surfshark performs.
First, we will allow the VPN to select the best possible location on its own. According to Surfshark, we will get the best speeds out of a server located in Hungary – so we connect to that one and run the Speed Test once again. This time, the test came up with somewhat slower speeds. There was a reduction of around 25% for downloads and just a tiny reduction for uploads. All in all, not the best results out there but still good enough.
Then, we have decided to try a remote server. Since we know that many of you will want to use media streaming services, we went with a server in the USA. This time, there was a reduction of around 60% for downloads and around 20% for uploads.
Since our Web connection was really fast, to begin with, this means that we could still use Netflix and even stream its content in 4K. However, this won’t be a possibility for those with slower Web speeds.
Security & Privacy
Surfshark promises not to keep any of your personal information and it effectively blocks anyone from tracking you online. Our Score: 9.5/10.
In this segment, we’ll take a close look at three different aspects: encryption, logging, and DNS leaks. Each of these should tell us how well does this company take care of your sensitive data. Take a look.
- Encryption: Surfshark brings powerful AES-256 encryption that’s enabled by default. This level of encryption is used in major financial and government-based institutions, which tells a lot. Even though there aren’t many available VPN protocols, you will reap the biggest benefits of using OpenVPN – which is also enabled by default. This means that even less skilled users will be perfectly protected right from the start.
- Logging: Not every VPN provider will take care of your data in the best way possible. That’s the reason why we published an article on the best VPNs with no-logs policies. We’re happy to say that Surfshark can join this list, as this VPN promises not to collect a single file about your Web browsing. What’s also important to mention is that this VPN functions under the jurisdiction of the British Virgin Islands. This means that no obligatory data retention laws apply.
- DNS Leaks: Finally, we also want to check if this VPN leaks our private data. So, we have connected to a remote server and then ran a DNS Leak Test. Luckily, our real IP address remained hidden and so is our real geographical location. In other words, no leaks were detected.
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. This 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.
Of course, there are other ways to get help. The company’s official help center is here to get you started. You can check out frequently asked questions, setup guides, and more. If you can’t find your answer using the help center, you can contact the company as well. All in all, the chances of not finding someone to assist you in a timely manner is close to impossible.
Even though this VPN brings numerous interesting features, it doesn’t bring the best performance. So, we’d like to see it more affordably priced. Our Score: 7/10.
The majority of currently popular VPNs are similarly priced – which makes it even harder to pick the best option out there. So, here’s how much you’ll need to pay if you want to use Surfshark.
- The most basic plan comes priced at $11.95 per month. This means that you’ll be billed every month;
- The bi-annual plan is priced at $8.99 per month which means that you are billed $53.94 every six months;
- The annual plan is priced at $5.99 per month and as such, this is the most affordable plan. However, you’ll be billed $71.88 every 12 months.
When it comes to payments, you’ll be happy to hear that numerous payment methods are supported. This includes PayPal, credit cards, AliPay, and cryptocurrencies. No matter which of these three plans you select, you will get the same thing. In other words, Surfshark will come fully unlocked. And let’s not forget to mention that there’s a 30-days money back guarantee.
The Final Verdict
The truth is that there’s a lot of love about Surfshark. It comes easy to use, has plenty of interesting and useful features, and most importantly – it takes proper care of your privacy. The only thing we would like to see improved is its performance.
Who Should Use This VPN? – Anyone who wants to protect their privacy online. This tool comes with the zero-logs policy and doesn’t leak any of your personal information.
Who Shouldn’t Use This VPN? – As per our tests, this provider’s USA-based servers aren’t the fastest. Therefore, this might not be the best option for media streaming, especially for those on slower Web connections.
- Pros: Very easy to use; Strong set of features; Powerful encryption; No data leaks; Unlimited number of devices; Plenty of server locations.
- Cons: Mediocre speeds; Not the best platform/device coverage.
- Final Score: 8.4 out of 10!
Buy Surfshark VPN
The most attractive thing about Surfshark is that it protects your private data in the best way possible. So, we’re sure that you’ll be happy with the protection you’ll get. Go ahead and purchase a Surfshark subscription today!
Dear readers, this is where we conclude our review of Surfshark. If you have any additional questions, make sure to contact us using the comments section below.