SurfShark review

TOP rank 9.6 Reviewed by Jayden Andrews
February 9, 2020

Surfshark is a very excellent VPN app. It is one of the best out there and for a good reason. It has strong security and privacy credentials that include among other things, military-grade encryption, IP and DNS leak protection, a strict no logs policy, and an internet kill switch. If you are into streaming content on Netflix, ESPN and Hulu, Surfshark VPN is the app for you.

While most other VPN apps lead to “proxy detected error” on Netflix, you will get none of that with Surfshark VPN. Should you buy the app? Definitely! It is fast, secure, reliable, and served by an excellent customer care team.

2 years: $1.99/month
Save 83%

Surfshark is a very excellent VPN app. It is one of the best out there and for a good reason. It has strong security and privacy credentials that include among other things, military-grade encryption, IP and DNS leak protection, a strict no logs policy, and an internet kill switch. If you are into streaming content on Netflix, ESPN and Hulu, Surfshark VPN is the app for you.

While most other VPN apps lead to “proxy detected error” on Netflix, you will get none of that with Surfshark VPN. Should you buy the app? Definitely! It is fast, secure, reliable, and served by an excellent customer care team.

9.2
Speed
9.8
Security
9.8
Compatibility
9.8
Price
9.5
Support
Pros
Very fast and responsive servers
Error free streaming on Netflix
Unlimited device connections
1040+ servers in 61 countries
Beautiful desktop and mobile interfaces
NoBorders and camouflage modes
Cons
The NoBorders mode limits the number of servers to a dozen
Pricey at $11 a month

Summary

Speed drop speedtest We check the speed with and without VPN, then calculate the average in percentage. The smaller the speed drop, the faster the VPN.
-29%
Logging
Strict no-log policy
IP, DNS Leaks
No
Jurisdiction The 5 Eyes (FVEY), 9 Eyes and 14 Eyes alliances impose laws that force VPN companies to hand over logs to the government upon request. Privacy Havens - These are countries where companies don't have to share their logs to the government and VPN users are completely protected.
British Virgin Islands (Privacy Haven)
Servers
1040+
Countries
61
Netflix Unblock
Yes
Torrenting speed drop
-33%Good
Simultaneous connections
Unlimited
Works in China
Yes, сamouflage mode
Support
24/7 Live Chat, Email
Kill switch
Yes
Encryption AES-256 is the most secure type of encryption today. Other standards like DES-CBC, AES-128 provide lower levels of security.
AES-256
Protocols OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPsec are the most popular protocols which provide optimal balance between speed and security.
IKEv2, IPSec, OpenVPN
Platforms
Android, iOS, macOS, Windows
Applications
Apple TV, Chrome, Firefox, Routers

Surfshark Speed tests

Ordinary connection
Download: 11.92 Mbps
Ping: 23 Ms
Upload: 1.82 Mps

VPN apps need to be fast, so that even with them working, you can still browse the internet. We tested to see if there was any truth to the claims that Surfshark is a fast VPN service.

Checking VPN servers

As you can see, the reduction in speed was about 30%, and while it might seem as being on the higher side, that is what you get from most “fast VPN services”.

Speed reduction happens because VPN apps have to reroute your internet traffic through servers that are at times thousands of miles apart. In other words, there is no way that you can possibly have a VPN service that does not dent the speed of your internet connection in the slightest. Further, the speed also depends on what protocol or added feature that you use. Surfshark performs well, even when you vary these factors.

Norway
Download: 11.05 Mbps
Ping: 200 Ms
Upload: 2.40 Mbps
Japan
Download: 8.20 Mbps
Ping: 410 Ms
Upload: 1.56 Mbps
USA
Download: 3.40 Mbps
Ping: 277 Ms
Upload: 0.38 Mbps
Australia
Download: 11.36 Mbps
Ping: 437 Ms
Upload: 1.73 Mbps

Average speed drop: -29%Good

Surfshark Servers

1040+ servers
61 countries

Surfshark may not have the biggest network server among those VPNs we reviewed, but its 1040+ servers is already above the industry average and are enough to deliver the speeds that users need.

Having more than 1000 IP addresses may not be a lot, but as long as they do the job of protecting your anonymity perfectly, then 1000 is good enough. Surfshark’s servers are located in more than 61 countries around the world, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Russia, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the US. It also has servers in less popular countries, such as Sweden, Norway, Israel, Chile, and Brazil.

Surfshark Security features

When buying a VPN app, most customers are usually looking for a secure and private way to surf the internet. This matters a lot, especially in the age of mass surveillance and increased cybercrime. Surfshark VPN has some of the best security and privacy credentials in the industry. Let us have some detailed look at them.

Military Grade AES-256 Encryption

Surfshark’s encryption method of choice is the AES military-grade 256-bit encryption standard. It is the most secure way to send data over computer networks. Some of the bigshots that use the same encryption standard include the US military, CIA, IMI16 and Russia’s FSB.

NoBorders Mode

The NoBorders mode is a feature that allows you to bypass the Great Firewall of China. Personally, I had troubles with this mode because when it is turned on, there are very few servers available. I had to contact the customer care team to understand what was going. They were very helpful.

MultiHop

MultiHop is another security feature that is available to premium Surfshark VPN users. It allows you to connect via multiple countries at once, thus masking your IP address in a more sophisticated way.

Whitelister

Whitelister is proprietary technology by Surfshark that allows you to exclude specific apps or websites from connecting via VPN. The Whitelister feature is excellent, especially when you are low on bandwidth because you don’t have to visit all websites with a VPN.

OpenVPN

Surfshark uses OpenVPN to setup its connections. This protocol is one of the fastest and safest VPN protocols at the moment.

Check all features SurfShark

IP and DNS Leaks

It is always advisable to test a VPN app for DNS or IP leaks. The way to do this is to visit a site, such as Ipleak.org and see whether your original IP address will show. If it does, that means that there are IP and DNS leaks, and that the app cannot be trusted to keep you anonymous. I tested Surfshark to see if the app would leak any of my hidden details. The IP address that you see there is the one that was assigned to me by the VPN app, which means that no one can figure out my original IP address.

DNS Leak Test Results If the DNS test leak is returning a blank screen, and there is no IP leakage, you can be sure that there is no DNS leak of any sort.

IP leak results:
No leaks
DNS leak results:
No leaks

Logs policy

Some of the data that Surfshark does not collect or store include:

  • Incoming or outgoing IP addresses
  • Browsing, downloading, or purchasing history
  • VPN servers used
  • Used bandwidth
  • Connection time stamps
  • Network traffic

Despite having a strict no logs policy, Surfshark does concede that if ordered by a court of a competent jurisdiction, they can disclose user data.

The company behind Surfshark is headquartered in the Virgin Islands, a crown dependency that is also a tax haven for the rich and famous. And despite being a crown dependency, the tiny island nation is not part of the 5 eyes that spy on the rest of the world. It has no obligations to share signals intelligence with anyone. All this is to say that a strict no logs policy means a lot more coming for the Virgin Islands compared to many other countries, such as the UK.

Check SurfShark privacy policy

Surfshark for Netflix

If you are into streaming content online, you must be aware of the many geo-restrictions in place. Sites such as the BBC, ESPN, Hulu, Netflix and many more restrict content to IP addresses from certain geographical regions, mostly in Europe and North America.

But with the help of a VPN app, such as Surfshark, you can still get the best content on these sites and not have to encounter the annoying “This is not available in your region” message. Acing this test is, however, not easy and I was surprised that Surfshark works extremely well with Netflix.

Netflix
Netflix unblock status:
Success

Torrenting

For the next test, I wanted to see if it was possible to use a torrent client, such as uTorrent and still get your download on time. Going by the speeds I got during the speed tests, I was already certain that NordVPN would also ace this test.

Torrenting without VPN:
956 Kb/sec
Torrenting with VPN:
642 Kb/sec
Speed deduction: -32%
Good

When it comes to downloading and sharing stuff online, security conscious people rely on VPNs. They just don’t want to get caught by the FBI, for instance, for copyright violations or for sharing forbidden content. While using VPNs for this purpose, it is essential to establish whether the app impacts the download time in any remarkable way.

You simply don’t want an app that will throttle your internet connection to the point where it becomes impossible to browse.  We tested the torrenting capabilities of Surfshark and we can say that Surfshark is really good for torrenting. It does not impact the download time in any remarkable way.

Tor Check

If you want to surf the internet with some levels of anonymity and have no money to purchase a VPN app, then the Tor browser is your best bet.
It is as secure as a browser can get. If you could, say add a VPN app over this browser, then no one can discover your original IP address. The Tor network is, however, notoriously slow and some VPN apps don’t work well with it. Surfshark, however, is very compatible with the Tor browser.

Tor
Compatibility status:
Success

Platforms

Android
iOS
macOS
Windows
Apple TV
Chrome
Firefox
Routers
Simultaneous connections:
Unlimited devices

Surfshark has an app for all major platforms i.e. Apple TV, Windows, Android, routers, iOS, Linux and browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox.

The app can be installed in countless devices, although we are not sure what that means. In comparison, other VPN apps offer up to 5 or 7 simultaneous connections. Surfshark says that you can connect as many devices as you want with one subscription. It is an amazing offer.

For this review, we tested the app on a Windows desktop and on an Android phone. I’ve got to say that we were very impressed by the intuitive interface, especially on the desktop. It fills a lot space and that is not something you see with other VPN apps.

The mobile app even has Wi-Fi protection features that can be set to auto. That means that whenever you are in a public space, your communications will automatically be protected from eavesdroppers. The CleanWeb feature blocks ads, malware, and trackers. I thought it was a very cool addition.

 

Customer Support

Surfshark

Surfshark has an excellent customer care system in place, although we did find it odd that once you refresh the site, your chat history disappears and you have to queue again.

The support system is available on a 24/7 basis on mail and on live chat. The response time on the mail usually takes longer- about an hour- so if you are going to be buying this app, we suggest that you consider using the live chat. It is excellent.

Support channels:
Email
Live chat
Help center
Phone line

Pricing

Surfshark has a three tier payment system. $11.95 a month, $1.91 a month for 2 years and $5.99 a month for a year. Compared to other VPN apps, this pricing is way cheaper.

1 month
$ 11.95
per month
 
11.95 billed every month
1 year
$ 5.99
per month
Save 50%
$71.88 billed every year
2 years
$ 1.99
per month
Save 83%
$47.76 billed every 2 years

For this review, I purchased the app at $11.95 a month. As far as the payment process goes, it is was very smooth and there were no issues to report. The app has a 30 days refund policy which is the standard in the industry.