Surfshark is a top best VPN service and offers a wide range of features and a great value.
There are 3,200+ servers in the network, spread across 160+ locations in 95 different countries.
There are Windows, Mac and iOS apps for Android, iOS, Android, and Linux. Chrome, Firefox, Edge extensions and a Smart DNS system to unblock websites.
No matter what device you use, you don’t need to worry about irritating’simultaneous connections’ limitations. Surfshark can be installed on any number of devices you wish.
Excellent technical support is provided by the service, which includes strong AES256-GCM encryption, WireGuard and OpenVPN security, IKEv2 support and WireGuard. There’s also a no logs policy and a kill switch that protects you in the event of a VPN connection dropping.
- Surfshark: Want to try it? Visit the website (opens new tab).
- Surfshark subscription options 24 Month Plan – US$2.30 Per Month (US$55.20 Total Cost)
This is a deep topic. Android apps can view VPNs through most VPNs. However, Surfshark is not compatible with Android. It uses a GPS Spoofing feature to send the coordinates of your VPN server back to you.
There’s also ad- and malicious URL blocking, P2P service on most servers, VPN chaining (2 servers per hop), split tunneling, zero-knowledge DNS servers and 24/7 support via live chat and email if something goes wrong.
The Windows kill switch has been updated since our last review. It is lighter and more practical (we’ll discuss that later). As mentioned above, Edge now has a browser extension and WireGuard is the default app protocol.
Surfshark Nexus was also announced by the company. It is a “cutting-edge technology to alter VPNs.” For more information, see this blog article (opens new tab). It provides a smarter method of routing traffic through Surfshark’s network.
Surfshark Nexus is set to add new features in 2022 and 2023. But the first feature, IP Rotator, automatically changes your IP address every few seconds, without you ever having to disconnect, is already available.
What’s New in Surfshark VPN?
Editor’s Note: The following notable updates have been made since our March 2022 Surfshark full-scale test:
July 2022: Surfshark has added more locations, bringing Surfshark’s total countries to an impressive 95.
GUI Updated May 20,22 (opens in new Tab) for Linux Users
8 new server locations were added to the network in Brunei (Bhutan, Sri Lanka), Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Mongolia and Nepal.
Surfshark Antivirus (available via the Surfshark One Suite) was rolled out to macOS users.
You’ll see that the Surfshark price guide and deals guide are more expensive than others at $12.95.
The cost of a year upfront (opens new tab) is $3.99 per month. But that’s only for the first term. It will go up to $4.98 upon renewal.
Surfshark’s 24-month plan (opens new tab) is the most affordable at $2.49 per month. To sum it all, signing up for a year is $47.88 and two years are $59.76. This is just for the first term. On renewal, you will be able to switch to the regular monthly plan at $4.98 per month.
Although the initial price is lower than most competitors, there are some exceptions. Private Internet Access’ 3-year plan starts at $2.03 per month and includes a basic on-demand antivirus.
Surfshark One offers all the same VPN features but adds Avira antivirus, data breach monitoring, and privacy-friendly internet searching. It can be activated for $1.99 per month. Cheap? It’s not cheap. It supports on-demand scans but does not have real-time protection so it is not an alternative to a full antivirus program.
VPNs are now an option for most antivirus companies. AvastOne offers far more powerful antivirus and security tools and an unlimited VPN for $4.19 per month in year one and $8.33 upon renewal.
Surfshark offers a 7-day free trial on Android, iOS, and Mac that allows you to try the service out for yourself. Although we would love to see something for Windows users too, it seems unfair that many providers offer no trial.
Surfshark offers more than you might expect, including support for credit cards and PayPal, cryptocurrencies as well as Amazon Pay, Google Pay, and cryptocurrencies.
If you decide that the company is not for you after reading this, there’s a 30-day money back guarantee.
Privacy and logging
Surfshark’s privacy features begin with the VPN basics: Secure protocols (WireGuard UDP, OpenVPN UDP, and TCP), AES256 encryption, and a kill button to prevent identity leaks and block internet access if the VPN connection ever stops working.
Surfshark has its own DNS server on each server, which reduces the possibility of other people spying on you. It is also possible to use a double VPN hop to connect to Paris and then leave Surfshark’s network in New York. This makes it harder for others to track your movements.
Surfshark, like ExpressVPN is based on the British Virgin Islands. The company points out that it doesn’t have to keep logs of user activities.
Surfshark’s No Logs page says that the service does not collect your IP address, browsing history or session information.
Surfshark FAQ explains that the only data the company retains about you are your email address, and billing information.
While privacy policies are important, we don’t believe customers should be forced to trust the words of VPN providers. We are happy to report that Surfshark has passed two areas of its service under independent security audit.
Cure53 , a German security company, put Surfshark’s browser extension under a powerful security microscope in November 2018. Only a few small issues were found by the company, which concluded that Surfshark VPN extensions had a strong security position.
This was great news in 2018, but less so years later, when it focused on a small area of the service.
Surfshark reported on a second Cure53 audit in May 2021 (opens new tab).
The scope of this audit was much larger: “To examine and evaluate the security position exposed by Surfshark server, VPN configuration as well as related infrastructure.”
Only four security-related general issues were found by the auditors, with a maximum severity rating of ‘Medium’. It’s okay to not be used to Cure53 audits. They are extremely thorough and always find something.
Surfshark was able to clearly understand the difficulties associated with VPN security, and this report concluded that ‘the overall result should be regarded positively’.
Surfshark could have gone a bit further in its audit. Surfshark didn’t verify Surfshark had no log credentials. This feels like a missed chance. The company has published only a summary of its report. We’d prefer to see the complete version.
We are glad Surfshark went through this audit and the results look positive to us. According to the company, another audit is being conducted in the near future. We’ll be curious to see the results.
Surfshark’s Windows application is simple to install and easy to use. Although the interface is more complicated than usual, with tabs, icons and lists, it works just like any other VPN. You can access the nearest server by clicking Connect. There is also a list of locations that will show other servers. A Settings icon allows you to access some additional features.
OpenVPN takes between 8-10 seconds and WireGuard connections take just a few seconds. The app is always in touch with you, and you can receive desktop notifications that let you know when you are protected (and when not).
The location picker is well-designed and displays both cities and countries in one list. This allows for more scrolling but also means that you don’t need to open another tab to view cities. They’re all easily visible at a glance. Surfshark does a disservice by not sorting cities alphabetically. However, it works well.
You can view latencies for locations by clicking. You can search for specific locations by using a few keystrokes (typing “atl” will display Atlanta), or you can save your favorite locations to use later.
You can connect to any location in Germany, Japan or Singapore using a static IP list. The US option has been dropped. This could be useful in certain situations. However, it’s not recommended to use for security purposes or to access restricted networks. It is a static IP but not for you. Any other Surfshark customer can have the same IP address. This doesn’t guarantee your identity.
MultiHop tabs pass your traffic through two VPN servers. This ensures that attackers won’t be able to access your IP address even if an exit server is compromised. There are 14 routes, with the first being your initial connection. These options include the US, Canada and UK. The second is where you will appear to be to outsiders (France and Germany, Hong Kong and India, Portugal, Singapore and Sweden).
The Bypasser panel allows you to specify applications, websites, and IP addresses that bypass VPN (an extended version of split tunneling features you’ll find with providers such as ExpressVPN). Surfshark can cause problems with certain websites or apps. You can add it to the allowed list.
You can also set the Bypasser so that only your selected apps are routed through the VPN. This is especially useful if Surfshark is only used for one or two tasks. For example, torrenting. You can set your torrent client up to connect via VPN. Everything else will use your regular internet connection.
There are many configuration options available, and all of them worked well for us. It’s also great to see VPN providers offer split tunneling support on the computer. Split tunneling is a feature that many VPNs offer on Windows. These include ExpressVPN Hotspot Shield NordVPN Private Internet Access, ProtonVPN and NordVPN. However, many VPNs save this feature for their mobile apps.
Surfshark’s CleanWeb function blocks trackers, ads and malicious links. Although we aren’t sure how effective it is, we did quick tests and found that specialist tools such as uBlock Origin blocked more advertisements and provided more control.
The NoBorders mode is designed to allow you to get online in countries that have blocked VPNs. Surfshark does not explain this in detail, but it seems to try to obfuscate traffic in some manner.
You can launch the VPN with Windows or switch to WireGuard or OpenVPN UDP or TCP. Surfshark was once able to support Shadowsocks. This feature is commonly used to bypass VPN-unfriendly countries and internet censorship in China. The company ended the option in November 2021. It stated that less than 0.5% customers used it and resources could be better spent elsewhere.
Surfshark kill switch
If your VPN is lost, a kill switch can be used to block your internet connection. However, it can be problematic in some rare cases.
A recent modification has made the kill switch less severe. Before, the kill switch was disabled and you could not access the internet at any time unless Surfshark was connected. It’s no longer active after you disconnect, but it does protect you during an internet session. You can still access your regular internet connection if you so desire.
We believe that this is a significant improvement as Surfshark users don’t need to be online all the time. Surfshark will restore a locked-down version of the kill switch soon if you want it.
Our main tests were well handled by the kill switch. The VPN connection was closed and the app displayed a warning to us that our internet was being blocked. Our traffic was never exposed.
We also test for extreme conditions, such as what happens if Surfshark apps or services stop working. The worst case was that the app crashed to the point where we couldn’t access any websites using the kill switch. Even rebooting didn’t help.
The software seemed to recognize that there was an issue and displayed the message “We’ve detected a problem with your connection” in the app window. Although that’s helpful, we would prefer a notification so we could be informed immediately.
This is important to remember. Our more extreme tests are used to show how bulletproof a kill button is. However, they are not something you will likely see in reality. Surfshark can be used for many years and not experience a service failure.
Surfshark’s kill button is very effective and will protect your from any issues that may arise. It’s not as robust as the other options, so we believe there is room for improvement.
Surfshark’s Mac version looks very similar to the Windows version. However, there are a few differences.
For example, the app window can’t be resized. The Favorites tab is gone and the servers are now at the top in the Location list. This means that they all appear in the same tab but may require a bit more scrolling to reach certain locations.
The app fixes one small Windows app problem: it displays city locations alphabetically.
There were no app differences that we could see in real-world usage. The VPN connection was fast and didn’t drop at any time.
Surfshark’s Mac users are missing out on a few features. There is no bypasser that allows you to choose which apps and websites you do not want to be routed through the VPN.
However, there are still many functionality available: static IPs and Multi-Hop VPNs, WireGuard, OpenVPN support, Kill switch, CleanWeb’s Ad and Malware blocking, and auto connect to turn on VPN when you access untrusted network (the latter is not something Windows users have).
This is a far better specification than what we see often elsewhere. Surfshark’s Mac offering offers a well-balanced combination of power and ease of operation.
Although mobile VPN apps are often more complex than their desktop counterparts, Surfshark’s Android version of Surfshark is very similar. It does have a slightly different interface to make it work on smaller screens but it still has the same protocol support, kill switch and static IP features as the desktop version.
The Android app performs better than the desktop editions in certain areas. It includes both the auto-connect on accesing untrusted network’ feature (not accessible on Windows) and the Split Tunneling Bypasser system.
There are a few new features that you can use to make it mobile-specific. One is the ‘Override GPS Location’ feature. This matches your device’s GPS position with your VPN server. It makes it harder for apps to find where you are. A ‘use small packets’ option can improve performance on some mobile networks.
You can also send bug reports and browse the tickets within the app if any of these options don’t work.)
Surfshark’s iOS VPN App is a similar story: The look and feel of the app are identical, but you still have the kill switch and the option to choose from OpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuard, and many other protocols.
Recent additions are small but welcomed. Widgets simplify connecting and allow you to report bugs directly from the app.
It’s an impressive setup. Software for Apple’s mobile OS often lacks features when compared to other platforms.
These apps are impressive, simple to use and an improvement on the mobile VPN functionality that is often lost on smartphones.
Surfshark performance was measured from two locations: a US data center and one in the UK. Both had a 1Gbps connection. This gave us ample scope to evaluate its potential.
Surfshark was installed on our test systems. We connected to the nearest location and tested download speeds with SpeedTest, nPerf, SpeedOfMe, and Command Line App. Each site provided at least five results using WireGuard. We then ran each test again with OpenVPN and ran the entire test set in both morning or evening sessions.
OpenVPN results were disappointing. They reached a peak of around 140-150Mbps both in the US and UK. Recent tests showed that most top VPNs were in the 200-300Mbps range. Mullvad was able to achieve 480-490Mbps.
Surfshark’s WireGuard support is a powerful tool. Downloads jumped to 550-700Mbps in UK and 720-790Mbps US. This is comparable to providers such as NordVPN (730-760Mbps), IVPN (730-810Mbps), and Mullvad (740-820Mbps), but still behind TorGuard (905Mbps+).
Netflix and streaming
Surfshark is a great VPN that promises unblocking capabilities but doesn’t make any commitments. Surfshark not only declares that it blocks Netflix but also names the 20 near countries (opens new tab) where it currently operates (US, France and Japan, Italy, Australia, and many other countries).
This was not just a marketing-oriented confidence. Each of our three test locations was able to access US Netflix.
BBC iPlayer can be more difficult than you might think. But not this time. Surfshark was able to bypass its VPN blocking and allow us access from three of our test UK locations.
Surfshark got us into US Amazon Prime and Disney Plus. This gave it an excellent 100% in our unblocking tests.
This is a fantastic result that places Surfshark among the top unblocking VPNs. CyberGhost, ExpressVPN Hotspot Shield NordVPN, ProtonVPN and CyberGhost are all currently in our testing.
Surfshark may not work for you. The support website (opens new tab) offers setup and troubleshooting guides and FAQs.
The content is well-organized. Clicking on ‘Get Started” will take you to a Tutorials page that contains articles about setting up the apps and getting it working on other platforms.
These guides are not as basic as the ‘download and install the installer’ ones you will find with lesser VPNs. Take a look at How to Setup Surfshark On Windows (opens new tab) (no need for you to read it, scroll down). You will find step-by-step instructions with screenshots and guidance on how to connect and where to place them.
Surfshark offers 24/7 support via live chat if this is not enough. This was done while we tried to fix a connection problem. We received a friendly response in less than 60 seconds. If you are having trouble finding something on the website, you might consider opening a chat session to resolve the issue faster than you think.