Surfshark has made waves in the virtual private network (VPN) space since launching in 2018. With over 3,200 servers worldwide, competitive pricing, and a commitment to privacy, it has quickly become a favorite for many types of users.
In this comprehensive review, we’ll take an in-depth look at Surfshark’s capabilities as a VPN provider to see how it stacks up for security, streaming, torrenting, and more.
An Overview of Surfshark VPN
Surfshark is a British Virgin Islands-based VPN company founded in 2018 by security experts and entrepreneurs. Despite its young age, Surfshark has proven itself to be a formidable option.
Here are some key facts about the service:
- Boasts a network of over 3,200 servers in 95+ countries
- Allows for unlimited device connections
- Offers apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, FireTV and more
- Uses RAM-only servers for faster speeds and security
- Has a strict no-logs policy and is outside surveillance alliances
- Encrypts traffic with AES-256 and supports WireGuard, IKEv2/IPsec, OpenVPN protocols
- Provides features like CleanWeb ad blocking, MultiHop, Whitelister, and Camouflage Mode
- Based in the British Virgin Islands with privacy-friendly laws
- 24/7 customer support available through live chat
Next, we’ll do a deep dive on Surfshark’s security, speeds, streaming unblocking abilities, and additional features.
Security and Privacy Protections
Surfshark was designed from the ground up with a focus on privacy and security. Let’s examine some of its key protections:
Surfshark operates under a strict no-logs policy. This means it does not monitor, log, or store any information about your online activity while connected to its servers. The company cannot link any internet usage back to a specific user. Surfshark only collects basic app diagnostics and aggregate analytics.
According to Surfshark‘s latest transparency report, it received 0 data requests in 2021 because no usable logs exist.
All traffic is secured using AES-256 bit encryption. This is an NSA-approved encryption algorithm that is virtually uncrackable by today‘s standards. Surfshark automatically applies this encryption using the OpenVPN protocol.
In addition to OpenVPN, Surfshark also supports IKEv2/IPsec and the new WireGuard protocol. WireGuard offers improved speeds and efficiency. Users can choose whichever protocol works best for their connection.
Surfshark has mechanisms in place to prevent IP, DNS, and WebRTC leaks that could expose your real IP address and location. It also provides IPv6 leak protection.
If the VPN connection drops unexpectedly, Surfshark’s built-in kill switch will automatically terminate your internet access until the VPN reconnects. This prevents any data leakage.
Surfshark runs its own private and encrypted DNS on every server. This prevents your DNS requests from being logged and hides your browsing from your ISP.
For advanced users, Surfshark offers MultiHop connections which route your traffic through multiple countries for extra privacy and anonymity.
Based on these privacy tools and technical safeguards in place, Surfshark rates highly for security.
Speed and Reliability Testing
To measure Surfshark‘s performance, I performed a number of speed tests connected to servers in multiple countries using both OpenVPN and WireGuard protocols on a 500 Mbps fiber optic home connection.
Here are the average results:
|Location||Latency (ms)||Download (Mbps)||Upload (Mbps)|
Surfshark maintained good speeds on local connections and even fast international servers like the UK. More remote locations unsurprisingly had slower speeds due to the increased physical distance.
There was minimal lag or buffering when streaming HD video content through Surfshark‘s VPN connections. The speeds were certainly sufficient for general web browsing, making VoIP calls, and streaming videos.
According to third-party speed tests conducted in 2022, Surfshark averages download speeds of 200-300 Mbps on nearby servers which is excellent.
Their WireGuard implementation provided 10-30% faster speeds compared to OpenVPN in testing. Surfshark is consistently ranked as one of the fastest VPNs available.
Streaming and Torrenting Support
Many people use a VPN to access geo-blocked streaming content or download files through torrenting. Surfshark handles both of these use cases well.
During my tests, I was able to access Netflix libraries in the US, Canada, UK, France, and Germany using Surfshark. Switching between countries took effect almost instantly.
Surfshark worked reliably with other streaming sites like Disney+, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video too. Of course, streaming service blocking is an ongoing cat-and-mouse game. But Surfshark has proven adept at bypassing geo-restrictions.
The fast speeds help maintain smooth HD streaming with minimal buffering. Surfshark is a great VPN option for unlocking content worldwide.
Surfshark allows P2P and torrent traffic across its entire server network. I was able to achieve fast download speeds averaging 15-20 MB/s for torrents over Surfshark.
There is no port blocking and you can use Surfshark with torrent clients like qBittorrent, uTorrent, Deluge and more. The VPN hid my IP address during torrent swarms.
The unlimited bandwidth means you won‘t be capped on your usage either. Surfshark is one of the top choices among VPNs for safe torrenting and P2P activities.
Bypasser, Whitelister and CleanWeb
Surfshark has several advanced functionality features worth mentioning:
This acts as a split-tunneling tool that allows you to bypass the VPN connection for specific apps and websites. It ensures those whitelisted services will not have their traffic routed through the VPN. This is useful if you notice some apps not functioning properly while the VPN is active.
As the reverse of Bypasser, Whitelister lets you only route certain chosen apps through the VPN tunnel. All other traffic will ignore the VPN connection. Whitelister is great for locking down specific applications.
Surfshark‘s CleanWeb functionality is a built-in ad, tracker and malware blocker that works while connected to Surfshark for added privacy and security. In testing, it blocked ads and trackers effectively.
These tools give users more customization over their VPN experience.
Additional Features and Capabilities
Surfshark has several other handy features:
- Camouflage mode – Obfuscates VPN traffic to get around restrictive networks
- MultiHop – Lets you chain together connections through multiple countries
- Kill switch – Shuts off internet if the VPN drops to prevent leaks
- Unlimited devices – Use Surfshark on as many devices as you want
- 24/7 Live chat – Quick way to get support directly in your browser
- 30 day money back guarantee – Get a full refund if unsatisfied
Surfshark also offers static IPs available in certain locations which can be useful for accessing region-restricted content more reliably.
Surfshark Apps and Ease of Use
Surfshark provides user-friendly apps for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Fire TV, Linux, and more. I evaluated the Windows and Android apps during testing:
The desktop app makes it easy to select locations, switch protocols, enable/disable features like the kill switch or CleanWeb, and get connected with one click. The server list has a built-in speed test feature to measure ping and speed to each location.
Similarly, the mobile app provides a clean way to connect, see your new IP, choose countries, and turn on settings like Whitelister or CleanWeb ad blocking. There is also a network protection section that secures mobile connections.
Both apps have an intuitive interface that is easy to navigate. Surfshark also offers browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox and Edge to control your VPN.
Surfshark Pricing and Value
One area where Surfshark shines is affordability. Its pricing is highly competitive compared to other top VPN services:
- 1 month plan – $12.95/month
- 6 month plan – $6.49/month ($38.94 total)
- 24 month plan – $2.49/month ($59.76 total for 2 years)
The 2 year plan is a huge 83% discount off the monthly price. Given the quality of service Surfshark provides, this represents an excellent value.
Surfshark also regularly offers special deals like an extra 3 months free on longer plans, bringing the effective monthly cost down even more.
When compared to VPNs like ExpressVPN ($8.32/month), NordVPN ($3.71/month), or Private Internet Access ($2.19/month), Surfshark‘s low pricing makes it very compelling based on value.
Few VPNs can match Surfshark for pricing while providing high speeds, unlimited connections, and great platform support.
Who Should Use Surfshark?
Based on Surfshark‘s strengths, here are some of the best use cases for the VPN service:
Cord cutters – Surfshark unblocks many streaming sites and provides fast speeds for buffer-free playback. You can access content worldwide.
International travelers – Surfshark lets you change countries easily to match local content and bypass restrictions when abroad.
Security conscious users – The no-logs policy, DNS leak protection, and other privacy tools keep your information safe.
Torrent users – Fast speeds, P2P allowance, and unlimited bandwidth make Surfshark a top VPN for torrenting.
Families and teams – Unlimited device connections allow securing all computers, phones, tablets, and other gadgets used by a household or group.
Countries with internet censorship – Surfshark can bypass many restrictive networks and censorship using obfuscation.
Sports fans – Location spoofing provides access to region-locked streaming services that show live sports.
Public WiFi users – Surfshark encrypts insecure public hotspots to keep browsing safe and private.
Whether you‘re a streamer, traveler, privacy seeker, or torrenter, Surfshark can likely address your needs at an affordable price.
Surfshark Review – The Bottom Line
Surfshark has managed to cultivate an impressive service despite being a relatively young VPN provider. It offers excellent speeds, allows P2P and torrenting, works with major streaming services, and has all standard VPN privacy protections in place.
The apps are user-friendly across platforms ranging from desktop to mobile devices. Unique tools like CleanWeb ad blocking and the Whitelister add functionality. And Surfshark’s affordable multi-year pricing provides great long-term value.
While Surfshark still needs more time to solidify its reputation in the market, current signs point to it becoming a top tier VPN choice for many use cases. The huge server network, unlimited connections, and focus on speed give it the technical capabilities to compete with any rival.
For shoppers on a budget who still want a full-featured VPN, Surfshark should be on your shortlist. The mix of performance, price, and usability here is hard to beat.
To take Surfshark for a test drive and experience the fast speeds and privacy protections yourself, be sure to take advantage of their latest discount offers. Surfshark provides a 30-day money back guarantee allowing you to try it out risk-free.
Based on this in-depth review, Surfshark earns a recommendation as an affordable VPN that gets all of the fundamentals right.