- Better for torrenting
- Supports port forwarding
- Lightweight & user-friendly app
- Advanced ad & malware blocker
- Faster than ProtonVPN
- Premium security & privacy features
- Better for unblocking streaming sites
- Offers a free Smart DNS service
But which is better for you?
While Surfshark is faster and better for streaming, ProtonVPN excels at torrenting and provides moderately higher security.
In this Surfshark vs. ProtonVPN comparison, I’ll review the two providers and show you how they compare.
Keep reading to find out!
Surfshark vs. ProtonVPN (Overview Table)
|Servers:||3200+ servers in 100 countries||2900+ servers in 68 countries|
|Speed:||-14% drop (nearest server)||-22% drop (nearest server)|
|Protocols:||WireGuard, IKEv2, OpenVPN||WireGuard, IKEv2, OpenVPN|
|Streaming:||Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, DirecTV, DAZN, Sling||Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, DirecTV, DAZN, Sling,|
|Torrenting:||Supports P2P on most servers||Supports port forwarding (seeding)|
|Gaming:||33 ping||38 ping|
|Logs:||Verified No-logs policy||Verified no-logs policy|
|Security:||AES-256 encryption, Double VPN, Obfuscation, kill switch, RSA-2048||AES-256 encryption, Multi-Hop (Secure Core). Tor Over VPN, kill switch, RSA-4096|
|Devices:||Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Chrome OS, Smart TV, game consoles, routers||Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Chrome OS, routers|
|Simultaneous Connections:||Unlimited personal devices||10 devices|
|Customer Support:||Live Chat, Email, Knowledgebase||Live Chat, Email, Subreddit, Knowledgebase|
|Best Deal:||Surfshark Discount||ProtonVPN Discount|
ProtonVPN has 2900+ servers spread over 68 countries.
While this is quite impressive and allows you to unblock most content on the internet, Surfshark goes beyond that.
It boasts one of the most extensive server networks, with 3200+ servers in 100+ countries, giving it the upper hand.
With either VPN, you can find servers in all the popular locations, including the US, UK, Germany, Australia, and Japan.
Additionally, Surfshark has servers in locations rarely covered by VPNs, like Ghana, Morocco, Algeria, Bhutan, Brunei, Laos, Mongolia, and Macau SAR China.
Surfshark uses RAM-only servers across their entire network, ensuring that all information is wiped clean if the server is switched off. This helps protect your data against physical attacks.
ProtonVPN doesn’t use RAM-only servers but features full disk encryption to mitigate similar risks.
On top of that, the VPN offers secure-core servers which reroute your traffic through an additional server operated in-house by ProtonVPN and located in a privacy-friendly country.
But like Surfshark’s MultiHop servers, ProtonVPN secure core servers may reduce your internet speed.
Overall, Surfshark 100% diskless servers are better for security and privacy-sensitive users. The provider has also had its entire Surfshark server infrastructure audited by Cure53, and no issues were detected.
Most VPNs don’t offer servers in mainland China, and unfortunately, Surfshark and ProtonVPN are no different. You can’t use either to access local content outside the country.
But both are excellent if you’re trying to bypass the Great Firewall and use a VPN within China. First, Surfshark has a NoBorders feature that automatically beats network restrictions.
Meanwhile, ProtonVPN has a “Stealth VPN“ protocol and “alternate routing,” enabling access to YouTube, Facebook, Gmail, and other websites in Shanghai.
Still, Surfshark offers better overall performance in China.
Also, thanks to its extensive East Asian server network, the provider has servers in more neighboring countries than ProtonVPN. This allows you to get fast, stable connections in any corner of China.
Surfshark and ProtonVPN have a decent number of servers, but Surfshark has a significantly more extensive server network. And while both work in China, Surfshark has servers in more neighboring countries than ProtonVPN. In this category, Surfshark is the winner.
Is Surfshark Faster Than ProtonVPN?
Surfshark is faster than ProtonVPN, but that doesn’t mean ProtonVPN is a slouch.
Both VPNs retained most of my internet speed, with Surfshark showing a 14% drop and ProtonVPN having a 22% impact via UK servers — some 4000 miles away.
I ran the speed tests over UK, US, and Australian servers, while connected via WireGuard, IKEv2, and OpenVPN protocols.
Both VPNs posted their best results when using WireGuard. IKEv2 was the second fastest protocol, and OpenVPN had the slowest speed.
But I was more than impressed with the speeds, even when using OpenVPN.
Both kept the impact below 20% on nearby servers, with Surfshark posting the better results.
There were, however, more pronounced dips when connected to Australian servers.
Speed & Performance Tests
Here is a quick look at the speed test results using WireGuard, IKEv2, and OpenVPN via the US, UK, and Australian servers.
|US Server||UK Server||AU Server|
|ProtonVPN (OpenVPN UDP)||-34%||-23%||-44%|
I obtained the fastest download speeds with Surfshark using WireGuard via the UK server.
ProtonVPN had slower results but delivered better upload speeds.
Surfshark wins in this category, with 6.8% faster speeds on nearby servers and 3.8% faster on distant servers (New York, US). I recommend using WireGuard to get the best out of your Surfshark and ProtonVPN connections.
Surfshark and ProtonVPN are excellent for streaming thanks to their fast speeds and incredible geo-unblocking capabilities.
Both unblocked Hulu, Max, Sling TV, and Disney+. Here’s the breakdown:
|Streaming Service||Surfshark Access||ProtonVPN Access|
Besides US streaming services, I unblocked NRK, France.TV, ABC iView, and many other overseas streaming apps.
But if I had to choose one for streaming, I would pick Surfshark.
Its faster speeds offer a much better streaming experience, especially when watching 4K videos.
Surfshark’s more extensive server network also allows you to unblock streaming content from more countries than ProtonVPN.
Whether you want to access the Netflix US library from the UK or the UK library from the US, you won’t go wrong with Surfshark or ProtonVPN.
I also tried Netflix Canada (and its fantastic Marvel collection) and Netflix Japan (an excellent option for anime fans), and both VPNs worked reliably.
Surfshark and ProtonVPN also unblock Netflix Slovakia, Netflix Bulgaria, and Netflix Latvia – the 3 largest libraries – allowing you to get more bang for your buck.
|Unblocks:||Netflix US?||Netflix UK?||Other Netflix Libraries?|
|Surfshark||Yes||Yes||Netflix CA, JP, SK, BG, LV, & more|
|ProtonVPN||Yes||Yes||Netflix CA, JP, SK, BG, LV, & more|
As you can see, I could stream Dexter on Netflix US using Surfshark.
And below, I’m streaming “NCIS” on Netflix US with ProtonVPN:
But unblocking Netflix with a VPN isn’t always straightforward and may require a few tries.
Surfshark was more reliable, as it unblocked most Netflix libraries on the first attempt.
Surfshark and ProtonVPN are excellent for streaming and work with all primary streaming services, including Hulu, Max, and multiple Netflix versions. But Surfshark unblocked almost everything on the first try. Thus, I recommend Surfshark for Streaming.
Surfshark and ProtonVPN are suitable for torrenting. They support P2P file transfers on most of their servers, and as we’ve seen, they have the speed to ensure quick downloads.
On top of that, both VPNs offer robust security to keep you safe when connected to a torrent swarm—more on the various security features in a bit.
But while both VPNs are suitable for torrenting, ProtonVPN offers better P2P features and performance.
First, it provides P2P specialized servers for enhanced safety and optimized download speeds.
To connect to these servers, look for a server with the two-way arrow icon.
ProtonVPN is also one of the few VPNs that support port forwarding.
This enables you to securely seed torrents.
It also enables you to connect to more peers than you would with Surfshark, allowing you to optimize file transfer for quicker downloads.
To ensure both VPNs deliver what they advertise on the tin, I ran P2P tests for each with qBittorrent.
I tested both services using WireGuard via a UK server and monitored the download speeds and time to transfer 2.3GB.
|Average Download Speed||Max Download Speed||Download Completion Time|
|ProtonVPN||1.2 MiB/s||17 MiB/s||31 minutes 57 seconds|
|Surfshark||1.3 MiB/s||13 MiB/s||34 minutes 51 seconds|
ProtonVPN had slightly better download speeds, with a maximum speed of 17 Mbps during my tests.
Surfshark also performed admirably, but its maximum download speeds were significantly slower than ProtonVPN at 13Mbps.
While Surfshark is generally faster, ProtonVPN’s port forwarding allows you to download files in a shorter time.
In my case, ProtonVPN had faster downloads than Surfshark by 2 minutes 54 seconds.
Both providers support P2P, but ProtonVPN’s port forwarding optimizes your file transfers for quicker downloads. And when you consider that ProtonVPN also allows you to seed torrents, it’s a clear win for the Swiss VPN provider in this category.
Surfshark is a better VPN for gaming, thanks to its faster speeds and lower ping.
Its more extensive server network enables you to find less-loaded servers near you.
In my tests, Surfshark delivered better ping than ProtonVPN.
I used both VPNs with Hotline Miami, and everything was a breeze.
I also tested the services with Valorant and other high-end games and was pleased with the performance.
Although ProtonVPN has a higher ping than Surfshark, it worked well with Valorant.
Both VPNs had decent ping when connected to the nearest servers, with Surfshark posting the lowest.
ProtonVPN had zero packet loss, while Surfshark had a 1% packet loss.
Both providers offer protection against DDoS attacks when gaming, but overall, I was more pleased with Surfshark’s gaming performance thanks to its faster speeds and larger server network.
|Surfshark||London, UK||WireGuard||33 Mbps||1%|
|ProtonVPN||London, UK||WireGuard||38 Mbps||0%|
Both VPNs offer DDoS protection and are suitable for gaming. But Surfshark is slightly better thanks to its faster speeds, lower ping, and more extensive server network.
ProtonVPN is in Switzerland, which lies outside the 14-Eyes alliance and doesn’t have mandatory data retention laws.
Meanwhile, Surfshark is in the Netherlands, a member of the 9-Eyes.
But since the Netherlands doesn’t have data retention laws, this shouldn’t compromise your privacy.
On top of that, Surfshark and ProtonVPN maintain warrant canaries to notify users when they receive legally binding data requests.
Surfshark warrant canary is updated daily. And failure to see updates can be indicative of a court order.
On the other hand, ProtonVPN updates its warrant canary whenever there’s a court order, as shown below.
Surfshark’s warrant canary is better since, in theory, a gag order can prevent ProtonVPN from updating theirs.
Surfshark and ProtonVPN claim to have a no-logs policy.
I read through both providers’ fine print and found neither records activity logs.
But both keep your IP address temporarily for various reasons, including to combat abuse and fraud.
Surfshark claims these IP logs are kept for no more than 15 minutes after you terminate your session. ProtonVPN, on the other hand, doesn’t specify how long these temporary IP logs are stored.
But thankfully, both providers have a clean track record, with ProtonVPN going as far as challenging the Swiss government and winning a court case regarding telecommunication surveillance.
Surfshark and ProtonVPN are also big on transparency and had their privacy policies reviewed and verified by external auditors.
However, while Surfshark requires an email address when creating an account, ProtonVPN doesn’t.
This comes with caveats, though. For instance, you won’t get notifications or easily recover your account if you lose your password.
|Traffic Logs?||Connection Logs?||IP Address?||Server Location?|
Both VPNs are in jurisdictions with no mandatory data retention laws, and don’t keep activity logs. But both store IP logs temporarily, and with Surfshark in a 9-Eyes country, I recommend ProtonVPN.
Surfshark and ProtonVPN are robust enough to keep you safe on public WiFi and prevent your ISP from keeping tabs on your browsing.
ProtonVPN offers slightly more powerful encryption, with its RSA-4096 encryption key stronger than Surfshark’s RSA-2046.
But other than that, you get the same encryption standard, with ChaCha20 over WireGuard and AES-256 over OpenVPN and IKEv2.
I ran both VPNs through Wireshark to test the encryption, and you can see the results – nothing but gibberish:
Plus, both VPNs feature an automatic kill switch to ensure your location and online activities aren’t exposed if the VPN connection drops.
IP, DNS, WebRTC Leak Test
I tested for IP, DNS, and WebRTC leaks using a third-party tool, and both Surfshark and ProtonVPN are as secure as they claim.
Surfshark and ProtonVPN offer automatic DDoS protection on all servers.
However, if you suspect your connection is targeted, you can also switch VPN servers to stop the attack. I tried that with Surfshark and ProtonVPN, and both worked flawlessly.
ProtonVPN and Surfshark offer obfuscation, allowing you to defeat censorship.
Surfshark provides this via its Camouflage Mode, which you can enable through OpenVPN. Meanwhile, ProtonVPN offers obfuscation via its Stealth protocol.
However, neither offers obfuscation across all primary devices.
Surfshark offers obfuscation on Windows and Android, while ProtonVPN supports it on Mac, iOS, and Android.
Thus, to use obfuscation on a Macbook, you must opt for ProtonVPN.
And to use obfuscation on Windows, you must go with Surfshark.
Public Wi-Fi Protection
Surfshark and ProtonVPN can keep your data safe on public WiFi thanks to their impenetrable encryption.
You get protection against man-in-the-middle attacks and other threats like the WiFi Pineapple.
However, Surfshark is better since it automatically connects when it detects a secured network.
Surfshark and ProtonVPN protect your browsing from ads, trackers, and phishing domains. ProtonVPN does this through NetShield, while Surfshark has a CleanWeb feature.
In addition, Surfshark offers a cookie pop-up blocker extension for Chrome browsers that rejects all possible cookies.
While both ad blockers are fantastic against ads, CleanWeb is better at blocking malware. Its database is more extensive and updated continuously.
On top of that, CleanWeb has a handy feature that warns of past data breaches.
Surfshark and ProtonVPN offer Double VPN. This gives you an extra layer of protection by routing your internet traffic through two VPN servers.
Surfshark does this through its MultiHop servers, while ProtonVPN uses its Secure Core servers.
I recommend ProtonVPN’s Double VPN over Surfshark’s.
Unlike Surfshark, ProtonVPN MultiHop servers (secure core servers) are owned and run in-house, minimizing security loopholes.
Plus, all are in privacy-friendly jurisdictions to reduce the risk of compromise.
Extra Security Features
Another Surfshark feature I like is GPS Spoofing. Available on Android, it allows you to change location when using GPS-enabled apps such as Google Maps, Snapchat, and DirecTV.
ProtonVPN doesn’t offer GPS spoofing, but it has Tor Over VPN servers that Surfshark lacks. These servers reroute your internet traffic through the Tor network giving you additional protection.
ProtonVPN offers more robust encryption than Surfshark. On top of that, its secure core servers are run in-house, sealing all security loopholes. Although Surfshark also offers double encryption, ProtonVPN is the better option for security.
Devices & Connections
Surfshark and ProtonVPN work with all primary devices, including Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and Linux.
If you aren’t ready to install the apps on your device, you can use the VPNs via browser extensions.
Surfshark supports Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Mozilla Firefox extensions. Meanwhile, ProtonVPN has extensions for Chrome, Edge, and Internet Explorer.
You can also configure the VPN services on your router and protect every device connected to your home WiFi.
|Compatible OS?||Windows, macOS, iOS, Linux, Android||Windows, macOS, iOS, Linux, Android|
|Smart TVs?||Android TV, FireTV, Apple TV (SmartDNS), Samsung TV (SmartDNS)||Android TV, FireTV|
|Browser Extensions?||Chrome, Edge, Firefox||Chrome, Edge, Internet Explorer|
Additionally, you can use Surfshark on unlimited devices simultaneously, while ProtonVPN only supports 10.
Surfshark and ProtonVPN work with many devices and offer apps for all primary devices. But Surfshark provides compatibility for Smart TVs and game consoles. It also offers unlimited simultaneous connections. So, the winner is Surfshark.
Both VPN providers offer dedicated IP addresses, but ProtonVPN limits this feature to businesses.
With Surfshark, you can get dedicated IPs for personal use in the following locations:
- Los Angeles, US
- London, UK
- Frankfurt, Germany
- Amsterdam, the Netherlands
And it’s easy to get a dedicated IP address with Surfshark. You just need to sign into your account dashboard, open the “Dedicated IP” tab and click “Upgrade.”
In comparison, you need to contact the sales team to obtain a ProtonVPN dedicated IP.
ProtonVPN dedicated IPs are available to Business VPN subscribers – and only if your organization has at least 10 paying users.
Overall, Surfshark is the best option if you’re trying to get a dedicated IP address.
Since the VPN also supports unlimited connection, you can use your dedicated IP on a business level.
Surfshark and ProtonVPN offer dedicated IPs. But while you can get a Surfshark dedicated IP with a single click, ProtonVPN dedicated IPs are designed for business and are not as quick to obtain. Thus, Surfshark wins.
Static IP Addresses
Surfshark and ProtonVPN also offer static IPs with their standard plans.
It’s a good option if you’re okay with sharing the same IP with other VPN users.
Surfshark offers 36+ static IP servers in 6 countries – Germany, Japan, Singapore, the Netherlands, the US, and the UK.
ProtonVPN doesn’t have a Static IP feature out of the box but allows you to get a permanent IP via a custom profile.
Every time you connect via the custom profile, you’ll connect to the same server with its specific IP address.
So, the best VPN in this category depends on intuitiveness, reliability, and choice of static IP locations.
On intuitiveness and reliability, Surfshark is your best bet. It makes connecting to a static IP as simple as connecting to its standard servers.
While you won’t get the same level of user-friendliness using ProtonVPN’s custom profile, you get a wider choice of static IP locations.
You can set up a static IP profile using any of the ProtonVPN server locations.
While you can obtain static IPs with both VPNs, only Surfshark offers a dedicated Static IP feature making it straightforward to use. On the other hand, ProtonVPN allows you to set up a static IP using any of its 68 server locations, while Surfshark has static IP servers in 6 countries. Thus, this is a tie.
Surfshark and ProtonVPN offer quality customer support.
I contacted both providers via live chat and received quick responses.
ProtonVPN support was slightly better, with almost instantaneous responses.
Aleksander – the ProtonVPN support agent – joined my chat within 5 seconds and replied in less than a minute.
Unlike ProtonVPN, Surfshark tries to answer your questions with a chatbot before transferring you to a support agent.
Additionally, you can email both providers or submit support tickets on their websites.
You also get a knowledge base section where you can find FAQs, set-up guides, and troubleshooting tips.
On top of that, Surfshark and ProtonVPN have active subreddits where you can get help from the support teams and fellow users.
ProtonVPN customer support responds quicker than their counterparts at Surfshark. But other than that, the two providers offer similar communication channels. ProtonVPN is the clear winner in this category.
Surfshark and ProtonVPN are user-friendly VPNs that get most things right.
Both are easy to set up and use and allow you to connect with a single click.
But you’re bound to come across differences and shortcomings.
I found the Surfshark app heavy and slow to open on Windows.
But the ProtonVPN app was very responsive.
Most notably, the features offered by both VPNs are not uniform across all devices.
Surfshark doesn’t provide OpenVPN on the macOS app, so you can’t use its Camouflage mode (obfuscation) on Macbook.
On the other hand, ProtonVPN doesn’t offer its Stealth VPN Protocol on Windows.
Additionally, split tunneling is missing on the Surfshark and ProtonVPN macOS clients, but you can find the feature on Android, iOS, and Windows.
I liked that the Surfshark Windows app has a built-in speed test, allowing you to quickly spot and connect to a fast server and get better speeds.
ProtonVPN doesn’t offer a similar feature.
But compared to Surfshark, the ProtonVPN Windows app is more customizable.
It lets you enable features like IPv6 leak protection and hardware acceleration.
ProtonVPN and Surfshark Android apps come with most of the VPN features offered by either provider. But notable features are missing on the ProtonVPN Android app, like the IKEv2 protocol.
Still, you get unique benefits with each on Android, such as GPS spoofing and Invisible LAN with Surfshark, and Moderate NAT with ProtonVPN.
Both providers offer a full suite of features on Windows. But while ProtonVPN is a slightly better option for Mac, Surfshark is the better VPN for Android.
Both VPNs are easy to set up and use, but ProtonVPN apps offer more customization options for a more tailored experience. Likewise, Surfshark apps have handy features that ProtonVPN lacks. ProtonVPN wins here.
Price & Value
Surfshark is more affordable than ProtonVPN. The provider offers 3 pricing plans – 1 month, 1 year, and 2 years.
While the monthly plan costs less upfront, the long-term plans offer huge discounts.
I recommend the 24-month plan for maximum savings.
Here’s a snapshot of Surfshark pricing plans:
ProtonVPN offers similar subscription lengths, but its long-term plans are pricier than Surfshark.
Here are ProtonVPN plans:
On the bright side, its monthly plan is one of the cheapest in the VPN market.
However, given long-term deals are more popular than short-term plans due to savings, I recommend Surfshark as the budget option.
Finally, both providers offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, allowing you to try the VPN risk-free.
Surfshark and ProtonVPN accept PayPal and card payments with Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover.
In addition, Surfshark allows Google Pay, Amazon Pay, and multiple other payment methods based on your location.
Meanwhile, ProtonVPN accepts bank transfers and cash. But in Russia, you can only subscribe using Union Pay and Bitcoin.
Both providers also accept cryptocurrency.
You can use CoinGate and CoinPayments to sign up for Surfshark.
But while ProtonVPN accepts crypto, you can’t use it during sign-up.
Once you sign up, you can purchase credits with Bitcoin, which you can use to subscribe to your ProtonVPN paid plan.
ProtonVPN offers cheaper monthly subscriptions, but Surfshark is more affordable in the long run, thanks to its cheaper 1-year and 2-year plans. Surfshark also lets you sign up with crypto and is the better option regarding price and value.
Surfshark vs. ProtonVPN
|Servers:||3200+ servers in 100 countries||2790+ servers in 68 countries||Surfshark|
|Speed:||-14% drop||-22% drop||Surfshark|
|Protocols:||WireGuard, IKEv2, OpenVPN||WireGuard, IKEv2, OpenVPN||Tie|
|Streaming:||Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, DirecTV, DAZN, Sling||Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, DirecTV, DAZN, Sling,||Surfshark|
|Torrenting:||Supports P2P on most servers||Supports port forwarding (seeding)||ProtonVPN|
|Gaming:||33 ping||38 ping||Surfshark|
|Logs:||Verified No-logs policy||Verified no-logs policy||Tie|
|Security:||AES-256 encryption, RSA-2048, Double VPN, Obfuscation, kill switch||AES-256 encryption, RSA-4096, Multi-Hop (Secure Core). Tor Over VPN, kill switch||ProtonVPN|
|Devices:||Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Chrome OS, Smart TV, game consoles, routers||Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Chrome OS, routers||Surfshark|
|Simultaneous Connections:||Unlimited personal devices||10 devices||Surfshark|
|Customer Support:||Live Chat, Email, Knowledge base||Live Chat, Email, Subreddit, Knowledge base||ProtonVPN|
|Best Deal:||Surfshark Discount||ProtonVPN Discount|
Which VPN Should You Choose?
Overall, Surshark is the better VPN. It delivered the fastest speeds, allowing me to stream without buffering. And its low ping ensured I remained a menace on Call of Duty.
But if you’re looking for a VPN for torrenting, ProtonVPN is a more suitable choice. It supports port forwarding, allowing you to seed torrents and access faster download speeds.
Protect private web traffic from snooping, interference, and censorship. All plans are covered by a no-hassle 100% money-back guarantee for your first 30 days of service.