Surfshark is known to be one of the best VPNs in the industry. It’s budgeted, fast, provides unlimited device connections, but is it still secure? I’ll be putting the app to the test again in this Surfshark review, to see if it’s any good in 2021!
To many, Surfshark seems to hit the benchmark; landing it among the best VPNs to date. It has made a lot of changes since last year, introducing a new WireGuard protocol, a larger network coverage, and other security features to its specs. I’ve made a note to put these new features to the test. You’ll see all the results further on.
Surfshark has always been one of the more affordable VPNs, costing $2.49/mo. for a good 2-year package. However, I know for a fact that as a customer, most of us still wonder if there is more to a VPN besides having amazing discounts.
Surfshark claims to offer unlimited access to all the popular streaming services like Netflix, or even Disney Plus. Most streaming buffs know how tough it is to get access to those services. But, can Surfshark still unblock it? Is Surfshark any good? All these results will later be accumulated in this Surfshark review, showing you whether it’s still secure and reliable.
Here’s an abridged Surfshark review of everything you need to know, just in case you want to skip the details.
|Base||British Virgin Island|
|Refund||30-days money-back guarantee|
- Surfshark is headquartered in the British Virgin Island, it started off with a minimum of 100 servers which turned into 3200+ and 65 countries, in a short time span.
- Works well with streaming and P2P activities ( tested further on)
- Offers apps for Windows, iOS, Android, macOS, Linux, and much more.
- It’s got a 24/7 online helpline, that’ll assist you from wherever you may be.
- Surfshark comes with impeccable speed results, which we will test further on!
- Great security backing. Operates using 256-bit encryption, has a Kill Switch, Whitelister, CleanWeb, and a lot more, all for $2.49/mo. making it more reasonable than most VPNs.
Surfshark Review – The Rating Guide
Not many users know how to test a VPN, how it works, and how it’s protecting us. You need to understand how Surfshark works and what all it can do for you – what it did for me, before investing. The following points are what I based all my research on.
Ready? Let’s go!
- Devices and apps
Security – Discussing its encryption and advanced features
Security is one of the biggest concerns when going for the right VPN. Surfshark seems to be on the right path where its security features are concerned.
It offers the best security measures to keep you safe. It offers multiple security features; highlighting an unstoppable AES 256-GCM encryption, a Kill Switch, leak protection, and other secure protocols, which is mentioned below.
Keeping options open, Surfshark offers four protocols;
- IKEv2 (Android, Windows, macOS, iOS, and Fire TV applications)
- OpenVPN -TCP and UDP (Android, Windows, macOS, iOS, Fire TV, and Linux)
- Shadowsocks (Windows and Android)
- The latest addition called WireGuard (Android, iOS, and Windows)
Most users go for OpenVPN connections for faster and stable internet, however, with the introduction of WireGuard, you can now switch between the two. WireGuard promises better results and tested much better than OpenVPN. If you’re still going for OpenVPN, make sure to use UDP instead of TCP.
IKEv2 is available on all the Surfshark apps but is the default choice on macOS and iOS apps. I believe IKEv2 makes a better choice for streaming instead of OpenVPN. But, you can make several switches to see which one works the best for you.
The Shadowsocks protocol is more of an open-source encrypted proxy, only available on the Windows and Android apps. It allows you to access Geo-restricted services in highly-censored countries like China.
Surfshark VPN Encryption
The best part about a VPN is its encryption. Surfshark operates using AES-256-bit encryption. This encryption standard is one of the strongest and basically cannot be penetrated or disrupted. Surfshark’s encryption protects each and every piece of information/data during all your online activities.
Furthermore, Surfshark has an extra feature for its Android app, allowing a choice or switches between AES 256-GCM and Chacha20Poly1305 encryption. This will give you better speeds overall.
This is one of my favorite built-in features that Surfshark provides. Everyone hates annoying ads or pop-ups that keep cropping up from time to time. That’s where the CleanWeb feature comes in. It sweeps away all those annoying ads that constantly pop up, on certain websites or YouTube.
The Surfshark CleanWeb feature used to be available only on the Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS apps. After a few upgrades, the CleanWeb feature is now available on Brower extensions, Android, iOS, macOS, Windows, Linus, and Fire TV apps.
Masking your IP address to a whole new level, we have the Surfshark security settings feature called the Multi-hop servers. It allows you to connect to two encrypted servers at one time; also known as DoubleVPN. This feature helps improve your anonymity.
For example, I wanted a connection to a UK server and connected to Surfshark’s MultiHop server of the United Kingdom – France. I was virtually at both locations in one go.
This makes sure that your physical IP is lost between two virtual locations. If you open the Surfshark app, you’ll have a number of options to choose from. Here’s what the Surfshark MultiHop servers look like:
I know what you’re thinking. And it’s the exact same thing I asked myself too. “Will being logged into two servers slow down the speed?” Absolutely not!
When I tested it out, to my surprise it actually didn’t make much of a difference in speed compared to my local connection speed.
This is one of the most necessary features for a VPN to possess. It kills your internet as soon as it senses a drop in the connection of the VPN server. To review the Surfshark Kill Switch, here’s what you should do to test it out:
While downloading a movie or even a song, shut the connection of the VPN and you’ll see how it immediately shuts your internet along with it. You’ll find the Kill Switch feature on the Surfshark apps for Windows, iOS, Android, and macOS.
However, the Kill Switch didn’t work as well on the iOS app as it did on the Windows and Android. You should run a few tests of your own to see how it works for you.
Whitelister is another Surfshark name of the split-tunneling feature. This is an in-built feature that allows you to block websites or apps that you don’t require VPN protection for. What’s amazing and super relevant about this feature, is that it works both ways. That’s where the reverse Whitelister comes in.
You either add an app or website that you would like to protect or exclude certain sites or apps you think you should disregard. It all depends on your preference really, if you’d like to use or deduct certain apps or pages from your usual surfing experience.
You’ll find the Surfshark Whitelister feature on Windows or Android apps. You can review this feature using the Surfshark free trial for mobile devices.
It leads or transfers all your network requests or needs through its own Surfshark DNS servers rather than the ones available on default DNS servers used or run by your ISP. On the other hand, the Leak Protection feature works as a barricade, keeping your IP, DNS, and WebRTC from leaking out.
Surfshark has an additional feature called Smart DNS. This should only be used if there aren’t any apps for certain devices or gaming consoles. It can be used over one IP address at a time, and is best for countries like China, or Russia. However, Smart DNS only unblocks limited websites or apps.
These restricted are limited to only services within the US. So, with the Surfshark Smart DNS feature, you’ll be able to unlock US-based services like Disney Plus, Amazon Prime, or Netflix.
Living up to its name, this feature hides you or rather blends you into the background, away from prying ISP eyes. They’ll never find you. You’ll find the Surfshark Camouflage feature only on Windows, iOS, Android, or Linux apps.
GPS Spoofing (Override GPS Location)
Surfshark is constantly on the go for adding new security features to its list; keeping your anonymity/safety first priority. Besides the above, it now has a new feature added to its list called “GPS Spoofing”. It allows you to take privacy to a whole new level.
The Override GPS Location feature allows you to change your physical GPS location on your device; matching it to the GPS of the server you’re connected to. So, now both your IP and GPS are safely tucked away. For now, this feature is only available on Android apps.
As the features name describes, it is exactly what you’ll be getting. NoBorders, meaning no restrictions in any country that you’d like VPN access in. This Surfshark feature activates only in highly-censored countries or regions. Countries that don’t allow access to unlimited networks, for example, China and Russia.
Additional security features – always come with a cost
Besides the amazing features that Surfshark provides, they took an extra step with additional features that are like the cherry on top. They include:
- Surfshark Alert– scans for damages, stolen data, and possible leakages and alerts the users when they are at risk. Available on browser extensions.
- Surfshark Search – allows you to surf the internet and receive only organic results. Additionally, you can continue with this feature with utter privacy, ad-free, and a no-tracking experience. You can find this on browser extensions.
Surfshark gives you the option to choose if you’d like these additional features added to your subscription plans. They’re available for $0.99/mo.
Invisibility – Surfshark leak test review
There’s no point in investing in VPN services only to receive data leaks. So to put this Surfshark security under review, I conducted my own testing. This was basically to check whether Surfshark is actually safe or not.
The results I got were very pleasing, because…
For the IP I used ipleak.org with servers United States – Atlanta
For the DNS leak, I used dnsleak.com with server United States – Weehawken
Looking at the results I’ve gotten, you can see that Surfshark gave me completely leak-free results! This means my physical location or IP address wasn’t detected.
Servers – Does Surfshark work in China?
First of all, Surfshark has great coverage of 3200+ servers in 65 countries. Almost all the servers I tested out delivered great results and speeds for HD streaming, torrenting, and gaming.
But…does it work in China?
China is always on the go for trying to track down and block VPNs. However, many user Surfshark reviews reported that it works in China, letting you break through censorship and VPN blocks.
Surfshark serves among some of the best VPNs for breaking down all geo-restricted restrictions. It has even expanded its horizons towards providing very stable connections throughout some parts of mainland China. Thanks to its’ NoBorders feature, which also aids in allowing you to gain access to restricted content.
Surfshark is still on the run to make more improvements, giving other VPN providers a run for their money.
It’s widely recognized now, more than ever, because of being able to access restricted content in China. That’s where Shadowsocks comes in; available on the Windows and Android apps.
All these features are inclusive in the Surfshark features with 3200+ servers and 65 countries.
Surfshark physical and virtual servers
Speaking of maximum coverage, its servers work across every continent except Antarctica. Having a great feature of both virtual and physical servers, it serves as a compensation door.
For example, if a physical server doesn’t work in a particular region, Surfshark will still give you (limited) virtual access to some parts in that restricted zone using servers in neighboring countries.
Surfshark is by far one of the best VPNs in the market covering all the major countries in the world, especially considering it worked great throughout my re-test. It’s said to be one of the best providers for the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and more!
Streaming – Does Surfshark unblock Netflix and more?
Yes! It turns out that Surfshark is one of the best VPNs for Netflix!
This has got to be one of the most commonly asked questions of today. I won’t lie, this was on the top of my “have to know” questions too. And I’m super stoked with the results! Surfshark is among a few VPNs that provide smooth access to multiple streaming services.
Want to know another fun fact? Surfshark swears that it can unblock 16 other Netflix libraries and that’s the best thing about it! But, of course, I tested it out, and managed to unblock Netflix Japan, Netflix Espana, Netflix Singapore, and other libraries.
Other platforms that Surfshark has managed to unblock include Disney Plus, Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer, Hotstar, Hulu, and more!
Is Surfshark good for torrenting?
Yes, it is!
Surfshark happens to be one of the best torrenting VPN services that have been tested so far.
Torrenting isn’t considered as legal in most countries around the world. These platforms upload copyrighted content, which are usually a violation of terms, and can be quite risky in the long run. Using a great VPN like Surfshark for it is your safest and best bet.
Almost all the Surfshark servers are P2P compatible and produce some of the great speed results for torrenting. And, if you’ve gone through my IP/DNS and WebRTC leak test above, Surfshark delivered great results.
It makes a reliable VPN client for P2P file-sharing, especially since works great with P2P platforms like uTorrent, Popcorn Time, BitTorrent, VLC, Ace Player, and more. Just connect to any of its P2P optimized servers and you’ll be able to access the best torrent sites.
Is Surfshark good for gaming?
Yes, Surfshark is one of the top providers that are the best for gaming.
Most gamers experience terrible downtime, high latency issues, buffering or DDoS attacks. A VPN will help secure your gaming consoles, data, and a lot more. Surfshark offers a great security backing, and will work best for gamers to have the bets experience. When I tested Surfshark, it worked best for plaftorms like PUBG, and more.
Speed – Is Surfshark fast?
In a nut-shell, Surfshark’s speed is fast and stable.
Activities like streaming, torrenting or gaming, require great speeds. No one likes constant buffering. You and I both know what it’s like waiting for hours and hours just to download a single torrent. Sometimes it is even interrupted mid-way. These issues are due to ISP throttling, and VPN will help bypass it.
I tested the Surkshark speeds, connecting to a few of the more popular servers. However, please note that at the time of testing, I was connected to a slower internet just to check out the VPNs stability. Your connection speed can hamper a VPNs results, and it always varies.
The Surfshark speed test review
Speed is one of the main features for me. I checked out the speed of my local connection before connecting to the Surfshark VPN. The results were:
After connecting to Surfshark…
I connected to a US server (New York):
And pulled out a 27.13 Mbps download speed on a 34.35 Mbps local connection. The results were pretty good and reasonable enough for streaming and downloading movies or videos.
I went ahead and ran some tests on two other servers to check if there was a damp in the speed as compared to a US server. I connected to a UK server (London) and yielded:
For the third I connected to the Australia server (Sydney) and pulled out:
The speeds after VPN connectivity were slightly slower as compared to what they were without a VPN, especially the Australian speeds. But, looking at how little of a difference it made when compared, I can easily say that it is perfect for streaming and torrenting.
To highlight that, its compatibility with torrent software like uTorrent and BitTorrent is a plus point on its own. I mean I didn’t have to wait an entire day or long hours to download movies. Surfshark, having its multiple servers also works well not only for torrenting but for P2P overall; being optimized according to it.
All in all, its speed results depend on the distance between your physical location and the server you’re connected to.
Surfshark device compatibility review
One of the best things about investing in Surfshark is its device compatibility.
Not too long ago, Surfshark wasn’t a great app for a few devices but over time, it now supports some of the major devices. Being completely compatible with innumerable devices and apps is not the only plus side. It allows you to make unlimited device connections simultaneously.
Let’s take a closer look at the kinds of devices/platforms that Surfshark meshes with:
- Nvidia Shield
- Apple TV
Surfshark review – User-friendly interface
Speaking of devices, Surfshark apps are extremely user-friendly; being visually appealing, and simple to the touch. It is designed with the intention to let new-timers to the tech world, have an easy experience while using the Surfshark VPN service.
Plus, if there’s a device you own that doesn’t support native VPN apps, you can always use the Smart DNS feature to create a connection via a router.
The Surfshark apps all worked great, but they all possessed a different set of features. For instance, a few protocols are on the Windows app, while scarce on the iOS. Although, you will still get the best of everything because you can still use the VPN on multiple devices.
Surfshark multi-device connections
Surfshark allows its users to make unlimited multi-device connections. So, if the VPN misses out a few fetaures on iOS, you can test or use them on your Windows and so on.
Location – Where is Surfshark located and how does it help you?
Before looking into any VPN, you always make sure to go through multiple sources, just like I did for my Surfshark Review.
Surfshark completely revolves around keeping your identity a secret and focuses all its efforts on providing you with the best security measures. This is also possible because it hails directly from the British Virgin Islands, a privacy friendly region, with a great deal of its manpower scattered around Europe.
Surfshark keeps a close check on no data retention laws. It doesn’t get any better than this right? But of course, it does. It adds to the no-logs policy.
Some of you may be wondering why its location matters or rather; what exactly is it doing for you?
Well, let me tell you a little something about the British Virgin Islands, it works outside the watchful eyes of the 14-eyes alliance. It really does help fight against all the service providers from harvesting your data or from other forms of law enforcement agencies. Hence it’s also a good option for European Countries.
Pricing – How much does Surfshark cost?
Before diving straight into the open waters of Surfshark or rather any VPN, the question on everyone’s mind is usually regarding the amount of money they’re going to be spending. Well, here’s the thing: You’re not alone! I too thought about it for a minute.
But again, ask yourself, are we really going to talk about putting a price on your security? Especially since you’re receiving a lot of features and consistent performance throughout?
Luckily, Surfshark is extremely affordable, in fact, one of the best VPN’s out there! And after discussing all the amazing features it provides, I highly recommend it! The Surfshark price plans include:
- The 1-month plan (which is a little bit pricy) costs around $12.95/mo. without any discounts
- A 6-month plan coming to $6.49/mo. giving you a 50% discount
- A 24-month plan costing you an easy $2.49/mo. with an 81% discount (BEST PRICE)
Which one would you choose?
It doesn’t end there, Surfshark also offers you a discount coupon with a money-back guarantee! But of course, which lasts only 30-Days, just in case you aren’t completely satisfied.
Keeping in mind, that before jumping in to buy Surfshark, be sure to read the Terms of Service section. There are two things that restrict you from getting a refund back and those are through purchases made through:
- Gift Cards
- Prepaid Cards
For some of us, that may find it a little overpriced, I believe Surfshark does offer you your money’s worth. Here’s what Pcmag had to say about this competent service,
“While a bit pricey, Surfshark does offer excellent value for that money. For one thing, it lets you use an unlimited number of devices on one account, whereas most companies cut you off after just five simultaneous connections”.
Does Surfshark offer a free trial or refind period?
Seems to me that Surfshark really does think of everything. Before I bought it, I gave the 7-day free trial a quick run-through. This is applicable to only Android and iOS mobile apps.
Also note, if you feel like tapping into the refund after the 7-day free trial, you will have to provide your Credit Card credentials; just for the safe side!
This means you will have to subscribe to the most affordable package and receive a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can use this as a hack for a longer free trial. This allows you to test the VPN to see if it’s working fine.
Reliability – Is Surfshark safe?
After running through this entire Surfshark review, of course, most of us intense researchers still have a few questions in mind. And that’s completely alright! You have every reason to be sure that what you’re investing in is worth the money.
A few common questions that I’ve come across are whether Surfshark keeps a tab on all your logs. Read below and see if it’s true. You’ll also find Trustpilot Reviews, a Warrant Canary report, and a little on the Surfshark Support team.
In it, it mentions that it does not capture the following details:
- Browsing history
- IP addresses
- Session information
- Connection timestamps
- Used bandwidth
- Network trafficking etc.
On the other hand, what Surfshark does collect are emails, billing information, encrypted passwords, and well your order history; not putting damp into your privacy.
24/7 Customer Support
For further queries, Surfshark does have a 24/7 Customer Support system. They’re pretty great with helping out!
Surfshark reviews from other users
Not everyone shares the same opinion about Surfshark, and that’s okay. I’ve taken the time out to gather up some unbiased Surfshark reviews from other sources like Reddit, an outlook from users in Australia, UK, and Italy. Combining my results through a list of pros and cons, here’s what I got:
- Exceptional speed
- Simple to use
- Functional Kill Switch
- Functional support on multiple platforms
- Acceptable streaming speed
- Great value for money (per month)
- A couple of the servers IP’s are restricted for Netflix (try other servers)
- No trials available without payment
Surfshark – (An Approval from AV-Test)
Apart from this Surfshark review, to prove what others think about this VPN, why not read what AV-Test has to say!
What’s the verdict?
I prefer Surfshark mainly because of its high-end security, fast and stable speeds, and unblocking abilities. Streaming on Netflix has never been better, with zero buffering issues! Its VPN apps are user-friendly and easy to set up, with the plus side being that it’s quite affordable, especially on the 2-year plan of $2.49/mo. However, apart from this Surfshark review, I believe you should always conduct more research before settling.
Surfshark also offers regular discounts that you can keep track of, on our VPN deals page!