Surfshark is an upstart VPN that combines excellent prices with a large collection of advanced features and plenty of functionality. Based in the Netherlands, the award-winning VPN has created a buzz on the internet space, giving top brands a run for their money.
The VPN service claims to represent cybersecurity and online freedom. How true is this? Does it actually live up to the hype? To determine if Surfshark is worth your investment, I tested every aspect of the VPN, including its unblocking abilities, speeds, security tools, server network, device compatibility, and ease of use.
Surfshark is putting in impressive results – The VPN service justifies its worth by offering rarely seen security features, blazing speeds, and a reliable server network for better coverage.
It has more configurable privacy add-ons, bypasses regional blocks and fields thoughtfully designed apps. In a crowded field, I would recommend Surfshark because it lets you hook up an unlimited number of devices simultaneously – all at a budget-friendly price.
You also get apps for Windows, Android, macOS, iOS, and Amazon Fire TV Stick. However, the provider needs to scale up in some important areas, primarily its server network, which is pretty tiny compared to other rivals.
Do you want to embrace your full security potential? If so, Surfshark has your back. You get maximum security and anonymity online at a low price. With a generous unlimited device policy, you can secure as many devices as you like.
Test its full arsenal on Android or iOS for 7 days without spending a single penny. And you can try the desktop versions risk-free for 30 days to see if it works for you.
Our Surfshark review walks you through key aspects of Surfshark (pros and cons) and why it’s increasingly gaining popularity.
In A Hurry? Here Is What You Should Know:
Watertight security features and privacy tools: Offers multi-grade encryption, a kill switch, leak protection, and multiple protocols and no-logs policy to secure your digital life.
Great unblocking capabilities: Surfshark unblocks geo-restricted streaming sites and apps. I was able to access 16+ Netflix libraries, BBC iPlayer and Hulu, among others.
Maintains incredible speeds andunlimited bandwidth: You enjoy high-speed browsing, HD streaming, torrenting, and gaming with zero buffering, lags, or interruptions.
Small but stable server count: The VPN comes with a fleet of 3200+ encrypted servers across 65 countries, allowing you to connect from anywhere (home and abroad).
Compatible with multiple platforms: There are native apps available for Windows, Android, iOS, MacOS, Linux, and devices such as Android TV, Fire TV, Kodi, and Amazon TV.
Unlimited device connections: Users can secure an unlimited number of devices, making it a great value for households with many devices or large families.
30-day money-back guarantee: Its refund policy is incredible. You can test it out risk-free for 30 days. If it doesn’t fit your needs, request a refund via its active 24/7 live chat.
Streaming: Surfshark Unblocks Netflix & Other Streaming Services
A good streaming VPN majorly depends on three things- the ability to unblock multiple streaming sites, fast speeds, and a decent server network. Surfshark combines all these to allow you to stream HD videos for fun.
Surfshark completed a clean sweep of all major streaming platforms, including Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Disney, and more. To Netflix fans, the VPN provider offers access to over 14 libraries, including Netflix US, UK, Canada, Germany, Australia, Japan, just to mention a few.
Even though some streaming platforms required me to switch to different servers, it took me just a few seconds to find the best ones.
Netflix US & Other Libraries – Successfully Unblocked
It’s worth noting that Netflix is the most sought-after streaming platform but toughest to unlock, especially after it cracked down VPNs in mid-2021 in what they called “Netflix VPN ban.”
Surfshark offers speedy servers for a seamless streaming experience. During my streaming tests, all 11 US servers performed excellently with Netflix on my first attempt. I watched movies of my choice, both new and old titles from all genres.
Plus, I streamed Netflix’s top-rated and most-viewed TV shows without any buffering. Since the connection speeds for Surfshark are top-notch, streamingmy famous “300” movie in 4K HD wasn’t an issue to me. And with no annoying bandwidth limits, I watched everything I liked.
The vendor says upfront that it bypasses Netflix beyond the US. So, I meticulously tested a London server to see if Surfshark makes any real commitment. I was intrigued by how everything worked perfectly – no lags, interruptions, or slowdowns. The pattern was the same with Canada, Germany, and Japan VPN servers.
When I connected with other countries like New Zealand, Surfshark automatically redirected me to US Netflix, which seemed strange. The company representatives told me this was secret when I contacted them.
On a positive note, there are no cases of Netflix proxy error at all. It’s advisable to clear your browser cache and cookies before accessing any streaming content with a VPN.
Amazon Prime Video – Successfully unblocked
Bypassing BBC iPlayer tough geo-restrictions can sometimes be intimidating, but not with Surfshark. I accessed Amazon Prime Video US on the 3 servers I tested – Dallas, Washington, and New York servers.
The only notable drawback here is that I had to switch between servers to find the best ones, but I didn’t get stuck in the wheel of constant loading. I only waited for about 1-3 seconds for the documentary to load.
I saved the fastest servers on the “Favorite list” for quick access.
BBC iPlayer – Successfully Unblocked
Most VPNs are struggling to get around BBC iPlayer blocks. All 3 Surfshark server locations in the UK gave me access to sports events (Chelsea players training at Cobham) available for streaming on BBC iPlayer. All this time, I didn’t experience any interruptions.
I also enjoyed hundreds of TV shows through BBC iPlayer while still in the US. Whether it’s sports coverage, films, or movies you’re trying to access outside the UK, look no further – your contract with Surfshark will make a difference.
Disney+ – Successfully Unblocked
In my tests, I connected to 4 servers from different countries – the UK, US, Sweden, and the Netherlands. Every server allowed me to access Disney+ in HD without lag. I binge-watched the greatest shows on offer, including the on-demand The Clone Wars.
Despite picking server locations outside the US, Disney+ automatically brought me to the US library. That was not a big deal since the US library bags the most titles the people are after.
Unblocked Hulu, HBO Max, Kodi & more
The exciting things kept coming with Surfshark encrypted servers getting us into Hulu, HBO Max, Kodi, and more at ease. Earlier, the company had put it straight that it supports these streaming platforms.
I had no trouble using Surfshark servers to access Hulu. I took seconds trying different servers before I hooked up with ones that worked fine. The first two US servers from Boston and Cambridge kept getting stuck from time to time, but my third choice (Dallas server) worked fine.
The VPN provider hints that it unlocks Kodi add-ons restricted to specific regions. How well? I successfully watched legal yet restricted on-demand content on Popcornflix add-on, which only works in the United States and Canada.
Smooth browsing, streaming, and torrenting require a decent amount of speed, but not all VPNs are built equally. Fortunately, Surfshark is among our top ten fastest VPNs but needs to improve in this area. I conducted regular tests in various regions using Speedtest.net.
Looking at the speed test results, we can see Surfshark gave me excellent WireGuard speed on local servers. Surfshark clocked an average speed below 20 Mbps on long-distance server connections.
Here are the results for 3 servers I tested at the time of this review; it’s important to note that my baseline speed was 58.70 Mbps.
My first junction was in the US. I tested the servers not far from my actual location, where a New Jersey server reached a speed of 54.86 Mbps.
Connecting to Surfshark didn’t impact my speed in any noticeable way. The speed was enough for me to stream Netflix US with zero delays. I didn’t have any problem watching TV shows on Hulu either.
Carrying out the same speed tests from a server in the United Kingdom, I got slightly good speeds averaging 21.70 Mbps.
I watched the sports highlights on BBC iPlayer without any hiccups.
Finally, the Australian server wasn’t that good. I saw a speed of 5.09 Mbps in my last round of testing. I found it hard to watch HD videos on Netflix libraries.
From the overall results, we deduce that local servers are speedy and work fantastically during everyday use. Faraway servers offer good speeds to ensure seamless browsing, streaming, and gaming experience but can’t match local servers.
Server Network - Decent Server Coverage Worldwide
Having a fleet of server locations globally means you can easily find the “fastest” servers when at home, traveling, or abroad. Surfshark has upgraded its server network lately to 3200+ servers located in 65 countries.
All servers are widely spread in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. This gives users excellent options for spoofing their real location. Most servers are located in the US, Europe, and Canada, with other locations having a few but reliable ones.
Every server I tested gave me fast and consistent connections. I also noticed that Surfshark runs a 100% diskless server network. The volatile RAM-only servers automatically delete the entire traffic when you reboot or switch off your VPN. No data is stored.
The whole server network supports trusted and secure WireGuard, OpenVPN, and IKEv2. You can browse safely without falling behind on speed by connecting to a nearby server or international servers.
Virtual Server locations
Surfshark cares about people who live in unstable countries where it’s a thorn to operate VPN services. That said, the provider offers virtual locations in countries such as Costa Rica, Chile, Argentina, and more.
When connected, you’ll appear to be located somewhere, but you’re physically located somewhere else. The only downside is response time (high ping rate) and speed. Any server marked with a “V” is a virtual server.
It took me 10 seconds and a few attempts to connect to the Costa Rica virtual location. But it’s worth having it if you’ll ever want to access more global content.
Static IP Servers
Exactly after you launch the Surfshark VPN, you’ll stumble upon something like “Static IP.” These static servers provide you with the same IP address every time you connect.
If you often get annoyed completing a million CAPTCHA checks, this feature will serve you better. I constantly verify my identity when dealing with banking apps when using a VPN. I use Surfshark VPN to stop this.
You get static servers in the US, the UK, Germany, Singapore, and Japan. Even better, these servers are torrent-friendly.
Security – Offers More Advanced Security Features
You don’t just need a VPN – you need a secure VPN. All Surfshark apps are equipped with a ton of security features which put it right up there with other contenders – CyberGhost and NordVPN alike.
The VPN service puts all classic security tools in place – industrial-grade encryption, a kill switch, secure protocols, private DNS leak protection, and other customizable advanced features.
Surfshark utilizes AES 256-bit encryption that’s highly considered almost impossible to break. Also used in banks, this top-quality level of encryption secures your web traffic against your ISP, hackers, and other prying eyes.
You’ll take control of your sensitive data while using Wi-Fi hotspots you don’t trust. No one will access your searches, who you’re hanging with, or what you’re doing online.
Even if hackers set up fake hotspots or deploy innovative techniques to snoop your activity, they won’t thrive in their motives. Android users can use ChaCha encryption which works perfectly on mobile devices.
A Kill Switch
Surfshark’s customizable kill switch secures your web traffic if the VPN connection drops ever goes down. This feature worked well during my simulated crash test. It shows that a kill switch continues to work even if users suffer an unexpected crash.
Unlike other VPNs, Surfshark lets you access the kill switch from its base connection screen. It isn’t enabled by default; you just need to click the arrow to activate it without navigating through the menu settings.
I tested the feature on my Windows 10 computer, smartphone, MacBook Pro and didn’t have issues. Kill switch is also available in other Surfshark’s custom apps like Android TV and Fire TV.
Multiple Security Protocols
Talking about VPN protocols, Surfshark currently offers three protocols to secure your digital life. While OpenVPN (UDP and TCP) and IKEv2 are pretty standard, I was impressed to see a full WireGuard integration included in all apps.
OpenVPN (UDP and TCP) – The OpenVPN with UDP and TCP variation is the industrial benchmark protocol you’ll get in every VPN. In my testing, UDP was faster than TCP, making it ideal for gaming, streaming, and video calls, while TCP offered a stable connection.
Still there, this open-source protocol impresses long-distance servers. You’ll get it on Windows, Android, iOS, Linux, macOS, and FireStick TV.
IKEv2 – IKEv2 is usually handy. With it, I got super fast speeds when connected to local servers. The protocol performs inherently well on Android. Thanks to its excellent smartphone compatibility. It is enabled by default (auto-connect) when you switch from Wi-Fi to mobile data.
WireGuard – Surfshark now provides the new WireGuard technology, which is fantastic. It’s a modern VPN protocol that’s highly secure, provides brilliant speeds, and includes stealth by default.
My tests vindicated WireGuard as a super-efficient protocol than the older ones. No wonder all market-leading VPNs are bound to make it a must-have tool. It’s available on all apps.
For this review, I ran speed tests using all protocols. WireGuard speed results were miles away better than IKEv2 and OpenVPN. There’s a noticeable difference between the last two.
If you’re seeking good speeds without compromising security, WireGuard’s stellar performance will make you extremely happy.
In-Built Leak Protection
The VPN provider provides private DNS/IP leak protection to guarantee users optimal security and anonymity on the internet. When testing, I found zero signs of IP,DNS, or WebRTC leaks when connected to 5 different server locations. Meaning no outsiders can trace your real location.
DNS protection is mandatory to block your ISP from spoofing your online activity. WebRTC and IP prevent your IP addresses from leaking whenever there’s a possibility of security flaws.
Multi-hop Feature (Double VPN)
The Multi-hop mode gives you an option to “chain” VPN servers so that you can encrypt your internet traffic over two servers rather than one.
Your PC -> VPN server 1 -> VPN server 2 -> Internet
A multi-hop connection means if your exit (first) server gets compromised, snoopers still won’t unmask your real IP. The feature adds an extra layer of security for regular VPN users who experience end-to-end timing attacks.
There are 14 different double-hop servers available. Practically, you can connect to the New York server and London server simultaneously. You’ll virtually appear in 2 different regions. This is amazing, but will always slow down your speed significantly.
Camouflage mode is another unique feature to rave about – most of us know it as obfuscation. It makes your VPN connection look like normal traffic. Not even hackers, your ISP, or other agencies can tell that you’re using a VPN.
This convenient feature mostly makes sense for users looking to bypass Firewall or censorship. I tried it on the café’s Wi-Fi networks and instantly got around restricted sites (Netflix) without any hiccups.
Note that a Camouflage mode auto connects once you connect to the OpenVPN protocol. No scrolling down looking for it!
The feature is designed to handle stringent countries that have banned VPN usage or imposed heavy internet restrictions. Good examples include Vietnam, Russia, China, and the UAE. NoBorders Mode detects the situation and serves you with a list of the right servers you can use.
Whitelister (Split Tunneling) feature
Another rarely seen tool in many VPNs is split tunneling. The cool in-app feature allows you to select websites and apps to bypass VPN while others go outside the VPN.
You can activate Surfshark’s Whitelister directly in the setting area. To test it out, I added the apps to encrypt through Surfshark tunnel on my Windows- the feature worked exactly as advertised.
It’s helpful to note that Whitelister is available on Android and Windows only.
I was delighted to see Surfshark come crammed with robust privacy tools. The trustworthiness and transparency shown by Surfshark deserve appreciation.
Strict No-log Privacy
Surfshark respects user privacy and is very committed to strengthening it, giving you safe surfing all the time. Thanks to its strict no-logs policy. The VPN Company stresses that it doesn’t collect your browsing history, IP addresses, network traffic, data bandwidth used, and connection timestamps.
It states, “We don’t log on any of your identifiable data.” That’s what privacy-conscious users would like to hear from any VPN provider. The company only collects anonymized aggregated analytical data, login credentials (email, passwords), and billing information.
Still in its policy, Surfshark goes even further to explain the analytics service it uses and cookies on its website. That’s a good effort towards safety and transparency.
Surfshark recently established its headquarter in the Netherlands, a member of 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance. The 14-eyes countries aren’t ideal for VPNs because they have mandatory data retention laws. But Surfshark vows to keep its services log-free.
The new legal entity will regulate its own internal affairs. So, if contacted by the government or law enforcement, the company won’t hand over your details.
Independent Security Audits
Surfshark made it clear that it recently commissioned a third-party audit to make its service tight and transparent. The private cybersecurity testers from Cure53 tested the Firefox and Chrome browser extensions.
According to the audit report, there were no serious privacy and security issues. Third-party audits for most top VPNs are carried out annually. This initiative is highly recommendable and needed as proof of their claims.
Compatibility: Supports All Major Operating Systems
Surfshark has native apps available for all major operating systems and devices. You shouldn’t have an issue installing it on your Windows, iOS, Android, Linux, and MacOS. It also exclusively supports other mainstream devices like Kodi, Android TV, and Fire TVs.
The VPN service gives you an option to download a VPN extension for Google Chrome and Firefox. You’re always protected no matter what.
Desktop Apps: Windows, Linux, and macOS
All custom apps have undergone a sublime UI redesign. At a glance, they now look attractive. Users find them simple as A-B-C since you can do most of the settings with a single button click.
You’ll find server locations on the left-hand side. Just select your preferred location and click on it to connect. The Windows client supports OpenVPN (UDP & TCP), WireGuard, and IKEv2. But IKEv2 is set by default.
Mac app looks the same as the Windows app – both are nearly identical. You’ll access all security features without any difficulty. You can choose any VPN protocol as per your needs.
The Linux app works with either Debian or Ubuntu. I was pleased to see a kill switch feature integrated into this app. This feature will keep you protected should your VPN connection drop unexpectedly.
Mobile apps – iOS and Android
Surfshark’s apps for iOS and Android are lightweight. After testing, I can say both are simplified versions of desktop apps. They’re easy to use as well.
Both the security and privacy are as tight as what users would expect on Mac and PC with just minor caveats. A kill switch (although not set by default), CleanWeb, and Whitelister are all present.
Very fascinating is this feature that overrides your smartphone’s GPS location function. This spoofs your phone’s physical location.
You can easily download the app from the App Store or Google Play store. Installation is straightforward – it took me less than 10 seconds to install it on my mobile device. iOS app for your iPhone is available on the App Store.
Apart from Surfshark VPN for web browsers, Surfshark has dedicated apps for Amazon Fire Stick, Android TV, and Fire TV.
Is Surfshark Good For Torrenting?
Yes, this is one area Surfshark excels. All Surfshark encrypted servers are P2P-friendly. It’s great for downloading torrents. The VPN service already comes with a WireGuard protocol that gives excellent speeds. The encryption makes security credentials almost faultless.
Surfshark has no data bandwidth limits so that you can torrent as much you’d wish. That’s why I’m not shy to recommend torrentors to test this VPN service. The company doesn’t indicate which servers are P2P-optimized. Although a bit unclear, every server I tried supported torrenting when I opened the uTorrent client.
Is Surfshark Good For Gaming?
Definitely yes. One factor to look for in a VPN for gaming is speed. Surfshark’s fast speeds don’t disappoint when it comes to gaming online. Our speed test results show that Surfshark is capable.
Full-game gamers will agree with me that consistent speed is critical for some high-demand activities like gaming, streaming, and torrenting. It would be painful if you lose a game due to excessive lagging.
I tested out Surfshark gaming capabilities with Fifa 21 – a super game loved by many. All US, UK, and Canada servers have impressive performance. The VPN delivered buffer-free gameplay, making it enjoyable.
Does Surfshark Work in China?
Even though China is determined to mull over its anti-VPN technology, Surfshark is one of the few VPNs working in China. The VPN is doing it at ease.
Both NoBorders and Camouflage Mode are responsible for bypassing the Chinese Firewall and other countries that impose internet restrictions.
Many customers find it hard getting Surfshark running there. The support team informed me that it’s always there to help you if you can’t get it running right away.
The representatives also confirmed that their service unblocks content in Russia, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey.
Simultaneous Connections: Unlimited
Surfshark supports unlimited simultaneous connections. You can secure up to as many devices as you want with one account subscription. This means you’re going to connect all the devices simultaneously without needing a router.
Other VPN services limit the number of connections, mostly 5-10 devices under a single account.
Ease of Use
Surfshark is stuffed with intuitive apps that boost a smooth user experience. To install the VPN, you’re required to;
Open an account with Surfshark,
Subscribe to a plan
Go to Surfshark’s website and click ‘download now’ the app for your respective device
Install the app automatically
The only information asked to verify during the process is your name and email address. After fulfilling the payment, it took me less than a minute to get the process done. As long as your credentials are correct, everything will sail through without much effort.
Beginners will praise Surfshark’s minimalist interface, which is easy to get you started. The site is well organized, from settings to server location list. Any information you need is readily readable.
A simple on/off toggle – Helps you connect and discount your VPN, as you please.
Favorite allows you to save your fastest servers for easy access whenever you feel your online life is in danger.
A features toggle – you can activate the features to suit your needs.
Users can quickly switch between regions while setting changes are easily accessible.
Reliability & Customer Support
The provider offers outstanding services to its customers. These are the options to use when you need help:
24/7 live chat
FAQ and articles
Surfshark’s dependable live chat operates around the clock. The agents are polite and helpful. I’m glad that the waiting times are short. You can use email chat for technical queries (open-ended questions that need explanation).
The service is equipped with tutorials, informational articles, and a prolific database of user guides.
Paying the price for the sake of protecting your sensitive information is justifiable. Surfshark has three subscription plans – monthly, a 6-month, and a 2-years plan. As always, purchasing a large plan results in bigger savings.
A 2-year plan is a palatable option – very cheap. You can get other limited-time offers and better discounts during the year.
Users can buy Surfshark with PayPal, credit and debit card, Amazon Pay, or crypto. Once you become a subscriber, you get a 30-day money-back guarantee. If your VPN is for short-term use or trial, you can cancel the plan and request a full refund.
Overall, the VPN is a great value for your money.
Does Surfshark have an adblocker?
The CleanWeb feature blocks ads, trackers, and malware on your browser and apps before you can load.
Is there a Surfshark free trial?
New subscribers get a 7-day free trial on Android, iOS, and macOS. You can take advantage of Surfshark’s generous refund policy by testing out the VPN risk-free for 30 days.
Will Surfshark slow down my internet speed?
Using VPN results in speed loss. That’s normal, but Surfshark offers ultrafast WireGuard speeds, so you’ll barely notice the difference.
The Bottom Line
Based on my tests, Surfshark proves its worth with top-notch security and privacy tools, including AES 256-bits encryption, a kill switch, and leak protection. It doesn’t keep data logs, too.
Apart from safeguarding your digital life, Surfshark allows you to stream on Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and others anonymously.
The fact that Surfshark runs a diskless server network is great. You can find servers where you need them. What’s more? All servers are reasonably fast to give you the best browsing, streaming, and gaming experience.
I appreciate Surfshark’s easy-to-use apps for Windows, iOS, Android, Linux, MacOS, and browser extensions. And with a 7-day free trial and 30-day money-back guarantee, don’t forget to give it a try.