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Surfshark VPN Review

Rob Mardisalu

Rob Mardisalu

Below is my honest, unbiased Surfshark review. Testing period: 1 week.

surfshark vpn review
SurfShark is rated 2nd out of 78 VPNs on TheBestVPN.com

Is Surfshark really “eating other VPN deals alive” as they say? In this Surfshark review, I’ll see if they’ve got what it takes for them to live up to that slogan or if they’ll be swallowed by the competition.

Surfshark has a no-log policy, kill-switch feature, as well as a camouflage mode to make your internet browsing activity look normal to your internet provider. This VPN offers top features you would want out of a reliable, secure, and easy-to-use VPN.

As a newer VPN, it seems to be one of the cheapest on the market at just $1.99 USD per month if you sign up for a 24-month package. Along with unlimited device usage and 15 Netflix libraries, you might wonder why their price is so good, especially with three months free.

Let’s dive in to see if Surfshark really is at the top of the food chain in the VPN world.

Surfshark Overview

OVERALL RANK: #2 out of 78 VPNs
USABILITY: Very Easy To Use
LOG FILES: Strict No Logging Policy
LOCATIONS: 61+ countries, 1040+ servers
SUPPORT: Live Chat (24/7)
TORRENTING: P2P & Torrenting Allowed
NETFLIX: Unblocks Netflix USA
ENCRYPTION/PROTOCOL: 256-bit AES/OpenVPN, IPSec & IKEv2
COST: $1.99/mo
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: www.Surfshark.com

Surfshark VPN Pros

1. Surfshark Is Quick and Easy to Use

For any new VPN user, Surfshark is simple to install and activate. By following the steps below, you’ll see that the setup process is user-friendly and quick. As a brand-new user, you’ll be prompted to create an account or log in with an existing one before installing Surfshark.

surfshark vpn adblocker

Once installed, Surfshark walks you through the setup process. I’ve listed each step for you below, although I truly think a beginner would feel comfortable installing and activating Surfshark on their own.

Step 1:

Select your preferred language.
surfshark installation

Step 2:

Select where you would like the software to be stored on your disk. Remember, the install requires 32MB of free space, so be sure that this is available before you begin.
surfshark installation

Step 3:

Run the downloaded software to complete the installation and begin activation.
surfshark installation

One pro of Surfshark VPN is that their software is very small, sleek, and simple to use.

surfshark installation

The interface is extremely user-friendly and can be minimized even further with what they call the “mini mode,” as you’ll see in the screenshot below.

surfshark installation

Using Surfshark Once Installed

Once you have successfully installed Surfshark, simply click “connect” to connect to the fastest server available:

connecting to surfshark

In-App Features

CleanWeb

With Surfshark’s CleanWeb built-in adblocker feature, you won’t have to worry about malware or phishing attempts. Combine that with a pleasant and uninterrupted browsing experience that doesn’t slow down your bandwidth. No more annoying ads or pop-ups, but most importantly, you’re protected from any attempts to gain access to your information and tracking.

To automatically detect malware, Surfshark consistently updates their database of malware-infected websites and prevents you from accessing them. At the time of my research, they had detected over 1 million infected sites, but rest assured that you’re protected with their VPN and CleanWeb feature.

The CleanWeb feature is available on Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS.

surfshark in-app features
Whitelister

With Whitelister, you can split-tunnel your VPN to personalize your browsing experience. You can set certain sites and IP addresses to bypass the VPN completely by creating a “white list.” This allows you to control the privacy and security of the websites you truly need protection for, while allowing other safe sites to connect directly to the internet.

If you’re on a private connection, this can be a great tool to use. However, be careful. Whitelisting any site or IP address can leave you open to an unsecured connection without encryption.

The benefit of a feature like this can be appreciated when setting up network devices, such as a printer or scanner, to avoid the additional hassle of setting them up through the VPN. It can also eliminate the need to turn on and off the VPN by simply adding your favorite secure sites to your white list.

surfshark vpn

Privacy beyond VPN includes premium features such as HackLock—email leak protection—and BlindSearch—private search— as you’ll see in the screenshot below. At an additional $0.99 USD per month, you can add this to your current Surfshark subscription by clicking “more info.”

surfshark vpn

Locations

Surfshark is extremely usable, and most features can be customized. As for server locations, you can easily favorite and toggle between servers via the Locations tab. You could choose the “fastest server” or “closest country,” and this option allows you the additional personalization to choose your favorites.

surfshark vpn review

MultiHop

Surfshark offers a double VPN connection, giving you another layer of protection and security. By connecting via two different VPN servers, often located in two different countries, you can hide your location better and improve your privacy further.

This feature is great for users that are hyper-sensitive about their online privacy. Keep in mind that a good VPN such as Surfshark will offer sufficient protection even if you only use their single VPN server.

The best part? Like all of Surfshark’s features, MultiHop is easy to set up. Simply head to the Locations tab, select MultiHop at the top of the screen, and scroll to select your favorite pair.

surfshark vpn review

Multiple/Unlimited Device Support

While you’ll often see a limit to the number of devices under one VPN account, Surfshark boasts an unlimited devices feature. This means that you can have simultaneous connections on all of your family’s devices, protecting your privacy from every entrance point. You can connect smart TVs, gaming consoles, and even your FireStick with FireTV!

surfshark vpn review

SurfShark VPN Comparison Chart

Surfshark’s offer includes an ad blocker, torrenting, independent audits, and Whitelister, which many other VPNs don’t currently offer.

surfshark vpn review

2. Numerous Servers in Different Countries Offered

Surfshark has over 1,000 servers in over 60 countries, giving you access to the most reliable and fastest servers while still providing the most secure connection possible. I mentioned previously that they have a no-logs policy as most VPNs do. They also ensure that all servers support peer-to-peer sharing.

surfshark vpn review

3. Small Speed Loss (~15-20%)

Speed testing is a necessity, since using a VPN has the possibility of slowing your connection. I tested the speed using Surfshark on four different servers. You will see the results below.

For reference, prior to using the VPN, our benchmark speed test showed 237 Mbps download and 12 Mbps upload.

New York – US (Connect to Fastest Server)

  • Ping: 57ms
  • Download: 161.18 Mbps
  • Upload: 9.07 Mbps

Sydney – Australia

  • Ping: 211ms
  • Download: 150.01 Mbps
  • Upload: 5.44 Mbps

Toronto – CA (Faster Download Speeds Than “Fastest Server”)

surfshark vpn download speeds

Paris – France (Faster Download Speeds Than “Fastest Server”)

  • Ping: 108ms
  • Download: 170.77 Mbps
  • Upload: 8.56 Mbps

The tests will have different results based on the time of day and node saturation. I attempted “Fastest Server” Connect via SurfShark to stack against these currently higher speeds from servers in different countries.

To confirm my results, I connected to New York again, and speeds were faster than the first but just falling short of Toronto by 2 Mbps:

New York, Second Attempt – US (Connect to Fastest Server)

  • Ping: 17ms
  • Download: 181.62 Mbps
  • Upload: 9.03 Mbps

4. Torrenting / P2P Allowed With Surfshark, Including Use of Tor Network

VPNs for torrenting are practically a necessity to keep your anonymity when downloading or seeding torrents, and Surfshark claims that they’re the best VPN out there for that exact purpose.

Your internet providers can throttle your connection speed based on the content you download or torrent, so a VPN helps you avoid this. Using a VPN especially while torrenting can also offer protection from possible downloaded malware. This is no different with Surfshark. But what makes Surfshark stand out is their compatibility with all P2P clients, including uTorrent, BitTorrent, Vuze, and many others.

surfshark vpn review

Surfshark VPN is compatible with any torrent site, so you can access your favorite P2P sites without restrictions, such as ThePirateBay and LimeTorrents.

surfshark vpn review torrenting

You can get top-notch P2P speeds while using Surfshark’s servers in the following countries:

  • United States (US) 
  • United Kingdom (UK) 
  • Canada (CA) 
  • Germany (DE) 
  • Italy (IT) 
  • Poland (PL) 
  • Spain (IS) 
  • Norway (NO) 
  • Denmark (DK) 
  • Luxembourg (LU) 
  • Hong Kong (HK) 
  • Singapore (SG) 
  • Netherlands (NL) 
  • Bulgaria (BG) 
  • Belgium (BE) 
  • Switzerland (CH) 
  • Slovakia (SK) 
  • Serbia (RS) 
  • Finland (FI)

This doesn’t mean you have to stick to these countries’ servers when torrenting, however. If you’d prefer, SurfShark can reroute you to other servers located in the Netherlands, Canada, or the United States, depending on your actual physical location. These P2P connections include streaming players like VLC or PopcornTime, as well as torrent software like BitTorrent, Vuze, or uTorrent.

Surfshark also allows for connection to the Tor network to fully secure your browsing experience. Tor is “the onion router,” which ensures that all of your online web traffic remains completely anonymous. Because the Tor network is run by volunteers, security is not always guaranteed. Running Tor with Surfshark grants you that anonymity with the security and safety of a reliable VPN.

5. Netflix Works in Most Places

Netflix offers different content in different countries depending on where you are located. Using a VPN with Netflix allows you to access content you wouldn’t normally be able to watch.

Here are the Netflix platforms you’ll find on their corresponding servers:

  • Netflix UK  > UK servers
  • Netflix IN > India servers
  • Netflix IT > Italy servers
  • Netflix CA > Canada servers
  • Netflix DE > Germany servers
  • Netflix AU > Australia servers
  • Netflix FR > France servers
  • Netflix NL > Netherlands servers
  • Netflix BR > Brazil servers
  • Netflix US > All servers in countries other than the UK, Japan, India, Italy, Canada, Germany, Korea, Netherlands, Turkey, France, Australia, Brazil, or Singapore

Overall, all US servers I tested worked great. I did experience some issues when testing for Japan and Spain.

Servers tested:

  • New York – US: Yes
  • Los Angeles – US: Yes
  • Miami – US: Yes
  • Atlanta – US: Yes
  • Chicago – US: Yes
  • Toronto – Canada: Yes
  • Madrid – Spain: No (proxy detected)
  • New Zealand: Yes
  • Japan: No (proxy detected)
  • London – UK: Yes
  • Mumbai – India: Yes

6. No Leaks Found With Surfshark!

As with all VPNs, I want to make sure that the leak tests are clean to verify that there are actually no IP, DNS, or WedRTC leaks.

Below are my findings after testing with IPLeak.net, Perfect-Privacy.com, BrowserLeaks, and IPX.ac.

  • IPLeak.net Test – No Leak
surfshark vpn no ip leaks
  • Perfect-Privacy.com DNS Leak Test – No Leak
  • Perfect-Privacy.com IP Leak – No Leak
  • BrowserLeaks WebRTC Leak Test – No Leak
  • IPX.ac – No Leak

7. Features of Surfshark

Kill Switch

This feature will turn off your internet connection immediately if the VPN drops for whatever reason, so that your data protection and privacy are never compromised. Surfshark’s Kill Switch option is available on Windows, macOS, and iOS.

If you’re working with sensitive information or even torrenting, turning on the Kill Switch feature offers you extra security. As with everything with Surfshark, it’s extremely easy to use, as you’ll see below.

Step 1. In the Surfshark app, navigate to Settings > Connectivity.

surfshark kill switchStep 2: Switch it on, and it is activated. If, for some reason, you get disconnected, a notification will pop up, and your internet access will be immediately terminated.surfshark vpn review kill switch

No Logging Policy

When using a VPN, a no-log policy should be standard, as this keeps your data, history, IP address, traffic, and connection timestamps from being collected and stored. Surfshark protects all traffic with AES-256-GCM encryption, which is the industry-leading standard. This also keeps your traffic from suffering from any IP, WebRTC, or DNS leaks.

The personal information Surfshark admits to storing is your login information (email address and encrypted password) and your basic billing information in order to create your account.

They also mention that they collect anonymous information such as performance data and crash reports on the apps to continuously improve your experience using their VPN. See their privacy policy for more information.

surfshark vpn no logging policy

No Borders Mode

Depending on where you may be located while browsing the Internet, certain sites can be blocked or restricted. Surfshark’s No Borders mode opens up the internet for you to freely browse, unblocked, without geo-restrictions.

From streaming platforms to government-based censored content, you’ll be able to explore with unlimited access.

Private DNS and Leak Protection

Each server has a private DNS and leak protection when using the IPv4 stack. This creates yet another level of security.

Camouflage Mode

What I do love about Surfshark is their camouflage mode, which makes your traffic appear normal to avoid suspicion from your provider that you’re using a VPN, so you can browse in peace.

Hide Your IP

Your IP address alone can tell a LOT about you, including your physical location. Using a VPN is the easiest and most secure way to mask your IP. With Surfshark, simply logging in and connecting will automatically hide it, keeping your data, history, and location private.

Encryption

Surfshark uses industry-leading AES-256-GCM encryption, so you can rest assured that your information is protected.

Secure Protocols

Their default protocol on all their apps is IKEv2/IPsec, which is often a standard on the leading VPNs. However, OpenVPN is also an option with Surfshark.

8. Customer Support Offered 24/7

Live Chat, 24/7, FAQs, Tutorials

Surfshark has a great customer support platform allowing you to search through support documentation and walk through tutorials on how to use their VPN and its features. If you run into an issue or have an unanswered question, their support team is available via live chat or email 24/7.

surfshark vpn customer service

Surfshark VPN Cons

1. Physical Location Information Not Transparent Enough

I found very little information about Surfshark’s physical location, so their lack of transparency can be a cause for concern, as you’ll see in their response to this question below. They mention that they are under the jurisdiction of the British Virgin Islands, a region away from the 14 Eyes, but don’t specify where. Don’t worry though, a lot of companies in the industry do that – look at ExpressVPN and NordVPN.surfshark vpn review

Multiple Pricing Plans Offered

Pricing Plans

Surfshark offers one of the lowest pricing packages I have seen, with just $1.99 USD per month if you sign up for their 24-month package. Even if you are concerned with making a long-term commitment, they offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. You’ll see that they offer 1-month and 12-month plans as well at a higher price if you would be interested in a short-term option.

For payment methods, Surfshark offers flexibility. You can pay using a multitude of options, including Paypal, Apple Pay, cryptocurrency and Alipay.

Money-Back Guarantee

They offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, even on their 24-month plan. As long as your account does not breach their Terms of Service, reach out to their customer support team to request a refund.

Free Trial

Surfshark doesn’t truly have a “free” trial, but they offer a risk-free subscription for 30 days. If you aren’t satisfied within those 30 days, you can simply request a refund. The only true “free” trial is through Google Play or the Apple App Store. You must provide your credit card information upfront, but you won’t be charged until the 7-day trial is up. At that point, you will be charged if you choose to continue.

Conclusion – Would I Say That Surfshark beats Their Competition?

yes vpn recommended surfshark

Surfshark, for the price, has some wonderful features that you expect out of a good VPN. Speeds are fast, the usability of the app is unmatched, and their privacy and security are definitely on par with other VPN industry leaders. Their customer support was informed, timely, and was helpful with any questions I had.

At under $2 per month for their two-year package, you can’t beat what you’re getting with Surfshark VPN. I would recommend this VPN to anyone looking to protect their information on a budget!

If you’re still not sure, you can check out NordVPN (our top rated provider).

Visit Surfshark.com

P.S. I’m always interested in user-reviews so if you’ve used Surfshark before, leave a review! Let us know if you’re experience matched ours. 

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17 user reviews for Surfshark VPN

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Unknown 7/10 September 3, 2019

Really inconsistent speeds...

Really inconsistent speeds... Even in my country, it sometimes does 69 ping and 5 Mbps when VPN is on. While my normal internet speed without VPN is like 7 ping and 100++ Mbps. Really cheap though, but I would rather pay more for faster servers.

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Scott 2/10 August 27, 2019

Buyer beware

Have been using the service for a couple of days. Having issues with their app on both of my 4k firesticks, it causes the screen to go black. Uninstall the app and the firesticks work again. I have been asking in my last 3 emails for a refund under the 30 day refund policy they keep ignoring this request. Also found the service slow.

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Robert 10/10 August 23, 2019

Love it!

This is a good VPN service it offers secure and fast VPN to keep information from going into the hands of big government or corporate businesses.

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Travis.S 9/10 August 22, 2019

Useful features all in one app

I mainly get Surf Shark to keep my data safe and private but later on I discovered that they have features such as CleanWeb where they block ads and such. Also they provide unlimited device connections and have smart DNS, which means I can use Surfshark for my TV and XBOX as well. Haven't had any regrets so far.

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Steven 9/10 August 7, 2019

Newbie VPN user

I'm new to using Surfshark. I have had them for a few days now and have no complaints. I choose and like them because it is easy to use, have unlimited devices covered (I think only they do that), and it has been very stable so far. My speeds have been decent too!

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Nabuman 10/10 July 18, 2019

Email response time

I noticed you had a not so good review about e-mail response time with Surfshark. I was curious about something with them and received a return e-mail reply within 9 minutes. Totally impressed.

Also thanks for the review it has helped me make a decision about trying out a VPN.

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JS 7/10 July 12, 2019

I like it, but it still needs heavy development.

Hi,
I have 2 VPN subscriptions : Surfshark and PIA. I can tell that PIA is far more reliable and complete, but Surfshark is less complicated in day-to-day use. I'm willing to let Surfshark some time to fully evolve because there's a lot of good things with it. If they succeed in reliability (almost no leaks) and improve its ability to connect on public networks that block VPN to 100% easily without needing any understanding of VPN (family's members just want to click on one button without thinking), they'll become my favourite. Actually, for the price I paid, it's still interesting.
Finally, if they are proactive to work on their service as their customers representatives have been to answer my questions and receive my suggestions, that should be great.

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Thorax 2/10 July 8, 2019

Surfshark is unstable

The biggest problem with Surfshark is instability. Frequent random disconnections are an everyday reality with Surfshark. I thought that I had some issues with my computers and tried every possible solution (none of which worked) but then found out that few others had exactly the same issues. Since I had no disconnections with other VPN's, it's more than obvious that the full blame is on them. Other than that, their customer service is OK and there are no DNS leaks.

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NoName 9/10 July 5, 2019

Good so far...

I've been using SurfShark for a few months now.

Bad points:
- The main complaint is the amount of time the application takes to load. I'm running: Win7 x64 / i7 4.2ghz oc'ed / 16gb RAM / 2x 150gb SSD's ...So my system isn't the fault. It's just really slow to launch on Windows 7 for some reason. We're talking 5 minutes sometimes, which is a major problem if you have the killswitch enabled when you shutdown, because the killswitch is still enabled when you boot up, so you can't access the internet again until you launch it again. Not a problem if you take privacy REALLY seriously, but if I'm just sticking YouTube on for the kids it's a hassle waiting for the application to load.
- Google Home/Chromecast don't work. Bit of a no-brainer I guess, but if you're connected to SS on the mobile app, you can't cast to Chromecast and you can't control Google Home. I guess that's to be expected if you've suddenly jumped from one country to another, but just a bit annoying.
- Again with the mobile app: If you want to quickly check something on your phone, be prepared to do a robot verification and click images. Sure, if you take your privacy so seriously you don't touch Android or Google then this might not be an issue, but quickly finding out something on Google can become a chore. Bad points over.
I have it running whenever my PC or phone are on. I have absolutely ZERO dropouts or disconnects. Less so on mobile, these do occasionally happen but it's fairly infrequent. Sometimes the connected timer is up to 3-4 days without dropout so all is good there. The speeds are not that bad. I only have a 2.5mb connection and I can stream Netflix with SS enabled.
It's also fairly regularly updated which can only be a good thing, and it always adds/removes countries from the list so it's good to see they don't just leave the same servers running indefinitely.

I think the other ratings are slightly off. Giving it 3/10 because it doesn't work through nVidia Shield is unfair. Shield is a niche product and to expect every device to be supported is a bit unrealistic. The fact is, the Tech Support got it working but clearly the user didn't pay attention to what they did so they could reconfigure it themselves.

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A friend. 10/10 July 4, 2019

Fantastic VPN for the price!

Nice, slick, minimalistic app on all platforms. Has excellent speeds connecting out of the country (around a 15% decrease in speed which is completely unnoticeable).

Excellent security and the 24 hour live chat is brilliant and everyone I’ve called upon it they’ve been fantastic.

With 83% off the 3 year plan I absolutely had to snap that deal up and fully expect Surfshark to be up there with the likes of NordVPN and Express VPN very very soon!

Excellent product.

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James 10/10 June 24, 2019

Impressive

I've been impressed by the service so far. Works great both on Android and even (!) on Chromebook. Focused on security, yet still providing fine speed and friendly customer support. I wish they had cheaper monthly options.

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Jocke 9/10 June 21, 2019

A bit slow on page load

I have just bought the 24 month deal on Surfshark. It is a great deal to pay just $1,99 per month. Excellent features. Plays BBC iPlayer nicely (and for those who think Netflix is still worth watching, so does Netflix USA) Only downside is that compared to my other VPN (PrivateVPN) it loads pages a bit slower. Adds about 2-3 seconds on page loads when using Surfhsark (in sweden on Surfshark swedish server), but maybe they will improve. I ́ve only been using it for a couple of weeks, but it has been stable the whole time. No leaks.

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inspector 5/10 June 10, 2019

Inconsistent answers

In the live support screenshot regarding android killswitch:

YOU: Will one be added in the future?

SUPPORT: Not sure, Android OS is hard to set up, we are doing everything we can, WE WILL ADD IT IN THE FUTURE.

She is not sure but then she said in the same sentence they will add in the future. tbh this kind of answers make it look unprofessional. it looks like she just wants to make you comfortable for the moment.

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Alpha 8/10 May 28, 2019

SurfShark review

I just got done using and testing SurfShark. SurfShark I found does have WebRTC leak on IPv6 I checked on three different websites on Windows Desktop, both my location and ISP is revealed by Surfshark. In addition SurfShark does have a tab now for Virtual Server list so they do use virtual servers as well as a Physical Server tab. Finally, I am a user of Camfrog and had continual periodic disconnects of both Camfrog main program and disconnects from Camfrog rooms. I did contact live customer support I tried everything they suggested worked with them for hours and we could not fix the connection problems with Camfrog disconnects. Note: I am also using PrivateVPN and with PrivateVPN I do not have WebRTC IPv6 leaks and with PrivateVPN no consistent disconnections from Camfrog. -- Things I really do like about Surfshark it's Whitelister option to allow certain programs or websites through the VPN is very useful. The kill switch on SurfShark for the desktop is also superior to PrivateVPN's kill switch, and SurfShark does now have Kill Switch on Android. I would give SurfShark 2.5 stars for because of it's security hole mentioned above and it's inability to keep me connected on Camfrog, and for it's use of virtual servers. But, it's software options I'd give Surfshark 4 stars. If Surfshark patches it's WebRTC holes and IPv6 problem and connections issue with Camfrog that would be great. Live Customer service at SurfShark did tell me they currently do not support IPv6 but they plan to.

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hidden 5/10 May 25, 2019

Trojan in SurfShark install file

Trend Micro repeatedly deleted SurfShark setup file, showing a supposedly known trojan was infecting it. Live chat with SurfShark just said 'whitelist' the file, with further 'explanation' I didn't understand. Not finding any similar issues discussed on internet also make me feel uneasy. Can their app setup files become infected without their knowledge?

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My Name 6/10 April 26, 2019

Extremely Slow

For me, speed is something pretty significant, if I'm unable to stream videos without interruption I consider the service not worth it, which is what happened throughout this experience. Constant disconnects/reconnects there is no other word to describe it but unstable. Though it looks good on paper, It has that cheap price for a reason.

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Chris Harvey 3/10 March 18, 2019

Doesn’t work reliably with nVidia shield.

Living in Australia, I wanted to access us Netflix. Out of the box SureShark would not allow me to access Netflix using my nvidia shield tv box. After contacting SureShark chat support they got me up & running but it took half an hour of fiddling. The next day Netflix was again blocked. No amount of changing settings & changing DNS has worked. Final result, It doesn’t work well on nvidia shield.