Surfshark enjoys a reputation for being a cheap and powerful VPN. But is it as good as the reputation goes? In this Surfshark review, we’ll dig deeper and uncover the truth about this VPN provider.
Table of Contents
- Surfshark Pros
- Top-Notch Security
- Strict No Logging Policy
- No DNS/IP Leak
- Safe Jurisdiction (British Virgin Islands)
- Decent Connection Speed
- Torrenting with Surfshark
- Surfshark Netflix Support
- Secure Extension-Plugin For Browsers
- Very Responsive Live Chat Support
- Affordable Subscription
- Useful Features
- Unlimited Device Connections
- Surfshark Cons
- Do We Recommend Surfshark VPN?
Is There More to Surfshark VPN Than Meets the Eye?
At a glance, there are a few points of interest about Surfshark. The VPN is based in the British Virgin Islands and has a network of over 800 servers in 50+ countries.
It’s supported on popular platforms including Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android, and it provides extension plugins for Chrome and Safari. You can install Surfshark on selected gaming consoles and smart TVs.
It’s also possible to install Surfshark on selected routers, however, these routers need to support OpenVPN as a client. By having Surfshark on a router, every connected device is protected by the VPN.
There are no limitations to device connections with Surfshark. For a single paid account, you can connect any number of devices that you own to the VPN. The unlimited device connections and the low price point of subscription make Surfshark appealing to internet users.
But is having an unlimited device cap enough to solidify its position as one of the leading VPNs? There are more questions to be asked and answered.
After getting our hands dirty with Surfshark, we discovered there are many plus points to this VPN. Perhaps, the hype that was going around about Surfshark isn’t a far cry from the truth after all. Here are the facts that impress us:
1. Top-Notch Security
Surfshark lives up to the industrial standard by employing the AES-256 encryption on the VPN connections. The AES-256 encryption is used by government agencies and the banking industry.
A 256-bit key is used to secure the message encrypted by the AES-256 algorithm. This means that the encryption is technically impossible to break even with a brute-force matter. Hackers will have an impossible task trying to decrypt this super-secure encryption even if they have intercepted the messages.
Users also have the option to select from OpenVPN or IKEv2/IPsec. Both are common VPN protocols that are used to secure connections between endpoints and increase the speed of data transfer.
Surfshark automatically chooses the IKEV2/IPsec as the default protocol. Feel free to switch over to OpenVPN if you wish to. Depending on the device, one protocol may prove to be faster than the other.
Having these VPN fundamentals right gives Surfshark a good start in this review.
2. Strict No Logging Policy
A VPN is as trustworthy as the personal data that it collects, or not. For Surfshark, data logging is kept at minimal.
Surfshark does not collect information that may reveal the privacy of the user, such as IP addresses, browsing histories, and others listed in its policy.
Information like email addresses, billing information, and diagnostic data are gathered to facilitate the operation of the VPN. Note that this is a normal practice in the VPN industry. All VPN providers will gather basic information that are essentials for billings and user experience.
It’s commendable that Surfshark isn't ambiguous in its logging policy. The detailed description puts us at ease where users’ privacy is concerned.
3. No DNS/IP Leak
Some VPNs are notorious with DNS or IP leak issues, which inadvertently gives away the IP address and location of the users.
Thankfully, Surfshark shows no signs of DNS/IP leak, which means you’re absolutely secure and anonymous when connected to the VPN.
Here’s a quick way to check out if Surfshark suffers from DNS/IP leak.
- Connect to Surfshark.
- Launch IPLeak.net
- Check out the IP address and DNS displayed.
The IP address and DNS should reflect the VPN server that you’re connected to. If you see your actual IP address, it means that the VPN suffers from DNS/IP leak.
4. Safe Jurisdiction (British Virgin Islands)
Surfshark is based in the British Virgin Islands, and this means a lot to privacy-conscious VPN users. The British Virgin Islands is not a member of the 5-Eyes alliance. This means that companies in the British Virgin Islands are not subjected to data retention laws.
Of course, with a strict no-logging policy, Surfshark has nothing stored that may compromise your privacy even if ordered to hand over the information. But it does give extra reassurance that they are staying away from the 5-Eyes alliance or countries friendly to it.
You can also check on the Warrant Canary at Surfshark which lists any Warrants, Gag Orders, or Summons received from government agencies.
We took a glance, and it shows a squeaky-clean zero.
Being transparent in its policy and having a Warrant Canary is a great strategy in building its credibility amongst users.
5. Decent Connection Speed
A decrease in connection speed is inevitable with a VPN connection. However, an excellent VPN shouldn’t impact your browsing experience and particularly, streaming high definition movies.
Surfshark, while not the fastest in the industry, boasts decent connection speed. Here’s what our internet uploads and downloads are like without a VPN connection.
When connected to a Surfshark server in the US, we experience only a slight drop in the connection speed.
Of course, you may have varying results depending on the distance between your location and the server. You’ll have better results when connecting to a nearby Surfshark server.
6. Torrenting with Surfshark
Some VPNs disallow torrenting or remain neutral with P2P applications. Surfshark explicitly states that it is geared for torrent applications.
A combination of strict no logs policy, unlimited bandwidth, and decent download speed is the perfect recipe for staying protected while downloading torrents on P2P clients.
Surfshark works with all torrenting software and websites. If you’re using a popular torrenting client like uTorrent, connecting to Surfshark will prevent your IP address from being revealed to the community.
7. Surfshark Netflix Support
Surfshark is one of the few VPNs that have the upper hand against Netflix’s VPN-banning policy. It is an open secret that Netflix is actively blacklisting VPN connection, and some well-known VPNs have been on the receiving end.
You can expect a high success rate when using Surfshark to access Netflix. A quick test on a few random servers allowed us to stream our favorite TV shows on the streaming giant.
It’s remarkable how Surfshark connects to Netflix with ease as many VPNs only have a handful of servers working despite making claims of being Netflix-friendly.
Surfshark is your turn-to VPN if accessing Netflix is a top priority. We knew how it feels when you’ve missed out a week of TV shows on the popular streaming platform.
One needs not to be a technical wizard to operate the Surfshark client app. Despite the underlying complexity, Surfshark made the app amazingly simple for users.
Once you’ve got the Surfshark app installed, a simple touch on the quick connect button will get you connected to the best location in terms of speed.
If you wish to connect to a different VPN server manually, you can access the server selection screen which has all the servers organized according to countries.
Overall, the software and app are designed intuitively. All the commonly used controls and options are accessible with minimal navigation. Surfshark proves that keeping it simple wins the game.
9. Secure Extension-Plugin For Browsers
It is common for VPN providers to offer browser extensions. However, these extensions are usually bugged with issues that jeopardized the security and privacy of the users.
Surfshark browser extensions have been audited by an independent security web testers, Cure53. The result shows that the browser extensions offered by Surfshark belong to the minority that shows little weaknesses.
10. Very Responsive Live Chat Support
If you run into problems with Surfshark or have queries that pop up while you’re using the app, help is only a fingertip away.
Besides the comprehensive tutorials and support ticket, you can reach out to Surfshark’s 24/7 live chat.
We wanted to be sure that it works and we bounced a simple question.
It took less than 5 seconds to get a reply.
To confirm that we’re not chatting with a bot. We tried to follow up with another question, and we got similar speedy replies.
Customer support is an important element for VPN providers, and Surfshark has its priorities right.
11. Affordable Subscription
It seems Surfshark can do no wrong, including its pricing strategy. Surfshark offers 3 different subscription plans. You’ll get the best savings from the 24-months plan which comes down to $2.39 per month. A 1-month plan will cost $12.95, and a 12-months plan is priced at $3.99 per month.
All of these plans are backed by 30-day money-back guarantee policy. If you don’t feel that Surfshark is doing an excellent job for you, you can initiate a refund process easily.
12. Useful Features
Surfshark goes beyond providing basic VPN protections. It has a handful of features that can be handy in maximizing internet safety. Here are some that caught our attention.
- CleanWebTM – Ads can be annoying and increase the risk of malware and phishing activities. CleanWebTM puts a stop to the annoying ads and provides a pleasant ads-free browsing experience.
- WhiteListerTM – Surfshark offers users the option of allowing certain apps to bypass VPN protection. This feature is useful for situations like connecting to a network printer or accessing less-sensitive but heavy data usage app.
- Camouflage Mode – Being in camouflage mode prevents your ISP from learning that you’re using a VPN.
- Multihop Mode – Is there a need for more than a single VPN connection? It seems so as the Multihop allows maximizing privacy by securing connections to two countries.
- NoBorders ModeTM – Some countries enforce high censorship on the internet. Surfshark is built with technology than allows bypassing the restrictive firewalls in those countries.
- Kill Switch – A VPN isn’t complete without a kill switch. A kill switch disconnects your device from the internet when the VPN connection is dropped. It helps to keep your browsing session from being exposed to the public.
13. Unlimited Device Connections
You’ve read it at the top of the review, and we’re highlighting the point again. Surfshark offers unlimited device connections for a single paid account. This is not a gimmick that you’ll find offered by other leading VPNs.
Concurrent device connections are usually limited within the range of 3-6 by competing VPNs. Removing the limit is a smart move by Surfshark, at least for its users. It creates the perception that Surfshark offers better value for money.
With all the other handy features, it’s hard to argue otherwise.
While we’re pretty amazed by Surfshark as a whole, there is one area that we have reservations about.
Lack Of Company Information
There are no hints on the management team or owner of Surfshark. You can’t find any “About Us” page on Surfshark’s website. All you’ll have is a registered address that points to the British Virgin Islands.
But the lack of information on the team running Surfshark shouldn’t be a cause of concern. It’s a common practice for most VPN providers to leave out such details.
Do We Recommend Surfshark VPN?
Surfshark did indeed make a splash in the VPN scene after its launch in 2018. It’s ticking all the right boxes on features that appeal to VPN users. Not only does Surfshark shine in terms of privacy and security, but it also unblocks Netflix with ease.
You'll also be impressed by the advanced features incorporated into Surfshark apps. Features like split tunneling and multi-hop give you better control over VPN usage. Surfshark's ability to bypass geo-restrictive blocks easily makes it an ideal VPN to use when traveling abroad.
So yes, we do recommend Surfshark!