Surfshark is a fierce contender on the VPN playing field – but is it really eating its competition alive? In this Surfshark review, we’ll see if they’ve got what it takes to eat or be eaten.
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 the 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 $2.49 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.
|OVERALL RANK:||#2 out of 78 VPNs|
|USABILITY:||Very Easy To Use|
|LOG FILES:||Strict No Logging Policy|
|LOCATIONS:||65+ countries, 3200+ servers|
|SUPPORT:||Live Chat (24/7)|
|TORRENTING:||P2P & Torrenting Allowed|
|NETFLIX:||Unblocks Netflix USA|
|ENCRYPTION/PROTOCOL:||256-bit AES/OpenVPN, IPSec & IKEv2 & Wireguard|
As a brand-new user, you’ll be prompted to create an account or log in with an existing one before installing Surfshark.
Once installed, Surfshark walks you through the setup process. We’ve listed each step for you below, although beginners will be more than comfortable installing and activating Surfshark on their own.
Step 1: Select your preferred language.
Step 2: Select where you would like the software to be stored on your disk.
Remember, the installation requires 32 MB of free space, so be sure that this is available before you begin.
Step 3: Run the downloaded software to complete the installation and begin activation.
One pro of Surfshark VPN is that its software is very small, sleek, and simple to use.
The interface is extremely user-friendly and can be minimized even further with what they call the “mini mode”.
Once you have successfully installed Surfshark, simply log in and click “connect” to connect to the fastest server available. You can change all of your customizable settings as seen below.
Attractive In-App Features
When choosing a VPN provider, there are a few key things to look for. Obviously, the level of security and privacy offered is paramount, but there are other factors to consider. Speed, for example, is important if you want to be able to use the VPN for streaming or gaming.
You want to make sure that your chosen VPN covers all the bases when it comes to ad blocking, data security, malware defense, and more. And then there are the extras that can sweeten the deal, like a generous free trial or a subscription plan, or attractive in-app aesthetics.
Surfshark appears to tick the boxes pretty convincingly. Let’s take a closer look.
Adblocking with 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 its 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.
Split-Tunnel with 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 warned – 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.
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.”
Custom Server Locations
Surfshark is extremely usable, and most features can be customized. As for server locations, it’s easy to set favorite servers and toggle between them 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.
MultiHop Double VPN
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.
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!
Never mind the scammers – why should your provider know what you’re looking at? Camouflage Mode ensures that no one, not even your internet source, can see your activity. Surfshark also allows you to change your IP address, making it even more difficult to trace your digital identity.
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.
Step 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.
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.
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.
Surfshark uses industry-leading AES-256-GCM encryption, so you can rest assured that your information is protected.
Their default protocol on all their apps is IKEv2/IPsec, which is often a standard on the leading VPNs. However, OpenVPN and Wireguard are also options with Surfshark.
Surfshark’s Killer Benefits and Advantages
We were very impressed with this lineup of features from Surfshark. Not only can users layer multiple security measures onto their internet activity and personal data, but there are also plenty of customization options that aren’t seen across the VPN board.
But that’s not the end of the good news – because yes, Surfshark more than pulls through in terms of benefits and advantages. Let’s take a look.
New Surfshark Nexus Technology
Surfshark recently introduced their new exclusive technology called Nexus. If you connect to Nexus, your traffic will be routed through a whole network of servers, not only one VPN tunnel. This new technology means even more unique VPN features like:
- IP Rotator – changes your IP every once in a while without disconnecting you from the server. Tracking you will become even harder.
- IP Randomizer – gives you a new IP for every website you visit without disconnecting you from the VPN.
- Dynamic Multihop – this feature let’s you choose your entry and exit locations.
Nexus also means better speed and connection strength for you, the user.
Numerous Servers Across Different Countries
Surfshark has over 3,200 servers in over 65 countries, giving you access to the most reliable and fastest servers while still providing the most secure connection possible. We mentioned previously that they have a no-logs policy as most VPNs do. They also ensure that all servers support peer-to-peer sharing. If that’s not enough, all of their server run on RAM. No data is saved on hard drives.
Check out their server list here.
Minimal Speed Loss (~15-20%)
Using a VPN has the possibility of slowing your connection; it’s one of the downsides to using this technology, so a speed test should always be carried out before choosing a provider.
We tested the speed using Surfshark on three different servers. For reference, prior to using the VPN, our benchmark speed test showed 237 Mbps download and 12 Mbps upload. Here’s what we found:
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
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. We attempted “Fastest Server” Connect via Surfshark to stack against these currently higher speeds from servers in different countries.
To confirm the results, we 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
Torrenting and P2P Use is Allowed
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 its compatibility with all P2P clients, including uTorrent, BitTorrent, Vuze, and many others.
Surfshark VPN is compatible with any torrent site, so you can access your favorite P2P sites without restrictions, such as ThePirateBay and LimeTorrents.
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.
Read more about our top VPNs for Torrenting.
Near-Perfect Netflix Functionality
You’re in luck – watching Netflix with Surfshark is easy as it gets. Surfshark is one of our best VPNs for Netflix.
Netflix offers different content in different countries depending on where you are located. Using a VPN with Netflix allows you to access the 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, 4/5 US servers tested worked well – however, there may be some issues when connecting to Netflix in India and some servers in US.
- New York – US: Yes
- Los Angeles – US: Yes
- Miami – US: Yes
- Atlanta – US: No (proxy detected)
- Chicago – US: Yes
- Toronto – Canada: Yes
- Madrid – Spain: Yes
- New Zealand: Yes
- Japan: Yes
- London – UK: Yes
- Mumbai – India: No (proxy detected)
As with all VPNs, it’s crucial to make sure that Surfshark’s leak tests come back clean to verify that there are no IP, DNS, or WedRTC leaks.
Below are our findings after testing with IPLeak.net, Perfect-Privacy.com, BrowserLeaks, and IPX.ac.
- IPLeak.net Test – No Leak
- 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
- 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
Reliable 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.
Physical Location Information: the Single Downside?
We found very little information about Surfshark’s physical location, so their lack of transparency can be a cause for concern.
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.
Plus, we at least know that they are based in the Netherlands – so they aren’t totally in stealth mode.
Multiple Pricing Plans Offered
Surfshark offers one of the lowest pricing packages around, at just $2.49 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.
Surfshark is determined to make happy customers, it seems. 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. Simply reach out to their customer support team to request a refund.
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.
Conclusion – Does Surfshark Beat the Competition?
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 helpful with any questions we had.
At under $3 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).
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.
Add your own review:
17 user reviews for Surfshark VPN: Cream of the Encryption Crop? (2022 in-depth)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
I like it, but it still needs heavy development.
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.
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.
Good so far...
I've been using SurfShark for a few months now.
- 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
- Is Surfshark free?
No it’s not. You can try it out and ask for a refund in the first month if you don’t like the product.
- Is Surfshark safe?
Yes, Surfshark is a safe VPN to use. They use 256-bit AES encryption and IKEv2 protocol by default.
- Is Surfshark worth the money?
Yes, there aren’t many better options in that price range. If you’re still not sure, you can read our NordVPN review.
- Does Surfshark work with other streaming platforms like: BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Hulu?
Yes, they take pride in their capabilities as one of the best VPNs for streaming.
- Does Surfshark work in China?
Yes, we flew out to China back in 2019 & tested VPNs behind the great firewall. Surfshark isn’t the best option, but it worked. If you’re looking one for China, click here.
- Is Surfshark good for Kodi & Amazon Fire TV stick?
Yes, Surfshark is a good option for that if you own a newer generation Fire TV device.