Surfshark VPN Review & Comprehensive Tests (2020)

Surfshark logo
Verdict:
RECOMMENDED
Overall Score:
9.6 / 10

Surfshark is a relatively young VPN that is giving its more established competitors a run for their money.

The service promises to “secure your digital life” and provide you with “private access to the open internet”.

At a glance, the provider appears to have done their homework right.

The VPN comes with a robust feature suite packed in a sleek, easy to use client, at an attractive price.

At $1.99/mo, Surfshark is easily one of the most affordable VPNs in the market.

But is it too cheap to be good?

Keep reading this Surfshark review to find out!

I put the VPN through its paces and examined aspects like speed, Netflix access, connection leaks, and more.

Overview

CriteriaDetails
JurisdictionThe British Virgin Islands
LoggingNo-log policy
Speed Reduction
15 - 25 % On Average
Locations & Servers61 Countries, 1040+ Servers
EncryptionAES 256-bit, OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP. PPTP
PriceView Best Price
Payment MethodsCredit Card, PayPal, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, Cryptocurrency
Refund Policy30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
Simultaneous ConnectionsUnlimited Devices
P2P (Torrenting)
Yes
Live Chat SupportYes (24/7)
Supported PlatformsWindows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, Routers, Smart TVs, Consoles
Official Website:https://surfshark.com/
Table of Contents

What Is Surfshark VPN?

Surfshark.com website

Surfshark is a new VPN that was launched in 2018.

It is owned and operated by Surfshark Ltd., a company registered and headquartered in the British Virgin Islands.

Despite being new in the industry, this VPN has been expanding at quite a rapid pace. Just a few years ago, Surfshark’s entire network consisted of less than 40 servers.

Today, that number has turned into 1000+ servers spread across 60+ different countries.

"We’ve managed to create a VPN app as seamless as turning on Wi-Fi. Many features such as IP address masking, Zero-Knowledge DNS, IPV6 leak and WebRTC protection are embedded in Surfshark by default".

- CTO Magnus Steinberg

Surfshark goes beyond your usual VPN. They offer a wide array of features, including proprietary security solutions such as HackLock, BlindSearch, and CleanWeb (more on this later).

So, it comes as no surprise that the company was voted as the ‘fastest-growing company’ at the 2020 Cybersecurity Excellence Awards.

Surfshark’s CEO is Par Kaz, and the CTO is Magnus Steinberg.

Pros

  • Works reliably with Netflix, Hulu, and iPlayer
  • Delivers fast and stable connections
  • Robust encryption and security features
  • Does not keep activity logs
  • Supports torrenting and P2P file sharing
  • Allows unlimited simultaneous connections
  • No-questions-asked 30-day money-back guarantee
  • 24/7 live chat support

Cons

  • Speeds can vary from server to server
  • Expensive on a month-to-month subscription
  • Uses virtual servers in some locations

Privacy & Jurisdiction

0 / 10
Rating

The location of your VPN is critical, and so is its logging policy.

If your provider keeps your activity data or is based in a 14-Eyes country, then they can’t guarantee privacy from the authorities.

So, is Surfshark a safe VPN? Or does the VPN collect user data?

Surfshark respects your privacy

Are There Any Signs That Surfshark Keep Logs?

Surfshark advertises its product as a no-log VPN.

On their website, they state the following:

"A no-log VPN is the only reliable VPN. We are committed to protecting your privacy online, wherever you go and whatever you do. For us, no-logs is a no-brainer".

- Surfshark

I was impressed by how transparent their privacy policy is.

In addition to not collecting your browsing history, Surfshark makes it clear that they do not monitor or store IP addresses, connection timestamps, or any other data related to your online activities.

That said, the provider does keep the personal information you provide during signup. This includes your:

  • Email address
  • Basic billing information

Surfshark also admits to collecting unique advertising identifiers from third parties such as Google Play, for marketing purposes and user analytics.

While this may appear troubling, the information is not personally identifiable and you can opt-out at any time by simply adjusting your Google Personalised Ads settings.

Various privacy features

BVI Jurisdiction & Applicable Laws

Surfshark is based in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), which is an excellent location for a VPN. The country is not a member of the 14-Eyes or any other spy alliance.

Further, the BVI has privacy-friendly laws and does not require providers to retain user data.

Surfshark jurisdiction

Warrant Canary

Despite being located in VPN-friendly jurisdiction, Surfshark maintains a warrant canary that is updated daily.

So far, the company is yet to receive any national security letter or warrants from the government.

Surfshark's warrant canary

Surfshark uses this warrant canary to circumvent gag orders and warn users.

If the statement isn’t updated as expected, you should treat that as an indication that something is amiss.

How Secure Is Surfshark?

0 / 10
Rating

In regards to security, Surfshark has a lot to offer.

It’s well equipped and easily beats many big-name providers – and it does so by a mile.

Tunneling Protocols & Encryption

Surfshark is using AES-256-GCM encryption

Surfshark protects your online traffic with bank-grade AES 256-bit cipher, which is virtually impenetrable.

The encryption effectively guards against brute force attacks and will keep you safe when connected to unsecured Wi-Fi networks.

The VPN comes with three protocols in its armory, including:

  • OpenVPN UDP/TCP
  • IKEv2/IPsec
  • Shadowsocks

OpenVPN remains highly secure, and it’s the protocol I recommend.

IKev2 delivers a strong performance as well and is a perfect alternative if you seek speed.

While technically not a VPN protocol, Surfshark’s Shadowsocks proxy is likewise effective.

It completely obfuscates your online traffic, making it almost impossible to detect. It’s popular in China and works well against the Great Firewall of China (GFC).

Cleanweb feature

Other Great Security Features

  • DNS/IP leak protection: Surfshark features private DNS on each server and offers protections against DNS and IP leaks.
  • MultiHop: Routes your traffic through multiple servers at once, enabling you to double or even triple your encryption level.
  • Internet kill switch: If your Surfshark connection drops, this feature immediately stops your internet access, ensuring your IP and browsing history remain safe.
  • Camouflage Mode: Masks your Surfshark VPN traffic making it appear as a regular http connection. This enables you to bypass Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) and the VPN blocks implemented by countries such as China.
  • CleanWeb: An ad-blocking tool that also protects you from malware and phishing domains.
  • GPS Spoofing: Enables you to change not only your IP address but also your physical GSP location on your Android device.
Other privacy features

Recently, the provider had their browser extensions audited by the Germany cybersecurity company, Cure53.

While the report did yield two vulnerabilities, both were rated with “low severity” and the auditors concluded that the “applications make a very robust impression and are not exposed to any issues, neither in the privacy nor in the more general security realms”.

Privacy Beyond VPN

Surfshark further goes beyond what you would typically expect from a standard VPN and provides additional privacy solutions that you can purchase separately.

These features include:

  • HackLock: A breach detection tool that provides you with real-time alerts when your emails and passwords are at risk of being hacked.
  • BlindSearch: A search tool that displays purely organic results and allows you to search the internet with no ads, no logs, and no trackers.

Leak Tests

As mentioned, Surfshark uses leak prevention technology to prevent your real identity and physical location from being exposed.

To find out how effective it is, I connected to the New York, US server and tested for IP, DNS, and WebRTC leaks.

As you can see in the screenshot, Surfshark assigned me 92.119.177.20 as my public IP.

Assigned IP address

IP Leak Test

I can confidently say that Surfshark does not expose your IP information.

I used ipleak.org to conduct the test, and the VPN passed without issues.

No IP leaks found for Surfshark

DNS Leak Test

Using ip8.com, I tested for DNS leaks, and Surfshark aced this test as well.

In addition to the New York server, I tried several others, and none exposed my DNS address.

No DNS leaks were found

WebRTC Leak Test – WebRTC Tool

Surfshark automatically blocks WebRTC, and as you can see in the screenshot below, the test did not reveal any WebRTC leaks.

No WebRTC leaks

Virus & Malware Test

After testing for each of the different VPN leaks independently, I didn’t stop there.

I also ran Surfshark through virustotal.com to check for viruses and other malware.

Again, the VPN received a cleaned bill of health.

Virus & Malware test results

Speed & Performance

0 / 10
Rating

Slows speeds can be frustrating.

We all like our videos to load quickly and not just that but also stream without buffering.

Unfortunately, when you’re connected to a VPN, your connection speed will likely drop. Blame it on the VPN encryption.

However, with the right VPN, this speed loss should be barely noticeable.

So, how does Surfshark perform?

How Fast Is Surfshark?

To see how well the VPN performs, I first measured my baseline internet speed.

I was using a 100 Mbps connection and the speeds at the time were 97.84 Mbps download, 48.15 Mbps upload, and a ping of 14 ms.

I then connected to several Surfshark VPN locations and the average results were as outlined below.

Note: I was testing the VPN from Europe, so keep that mind when looking at the different server speed results.

PingDownload SpeedUpload SpeedSpeed Reduction (Download)
Base Line Data14 ms97.84 Mbps48.15 Mbps0%
Nearby Server48 ms82.97 Mbps43.61 Mbps-15.20%
Connected to the US
194 ms73.52 Mbps36.27 Mbps-24.86%
Connected to the UK
69 ms80.44 Mbps40.02 Mbps-17.78%
Connected to Canada
171 ms71.39 Mbps37.84 Mbps-27.03%
Connected to Australia
254 ms65.64 Mbps32.19 Mbps-32.91%

As you can see, Surfshark delivered fast connection speeds, especially when connected to nearby servers (Europe).

However, the VPN did suffer a bit when connected to distant servers (Australia), but overall, I was pleased with its performance.

Media Streaming

0 / 10
Rating

A good VPN can help you unlock a whole new world of content.

But while many VPNs will bypass simple geo-restrictions like those deployed by YouTube and social media platforms, only a few have what it takes to access services like Netflix, iPlayer, Hulu, HBO, and Prime Video.

Naturally, I checked to see if Surfshark makes the cut. I connected to different servers, in different locations, and tried to access some of the popular streaming services today.

Streaming ServiceStatus
Netflix USWorking
HuluWorking
BBC iPlayer
Working
HBOWorking
Amazon Prime Video
Working
Surfshark works fine with various streaming services

Does Surfshark Work With Netflix?

Netflix is the leading streaming service in the world right now.

It offers a large and varied collection of movies and TV shows that you can binge on.

However, the Netflix content library varies depending on where you are located, with American residents getting the upper hand.

Surfshark works reliably with Netflix, and by connecting to its US servers, you can easily access American Netflix.

In total, I tested 5 servers – New York, Boston, Miami, Detroit, Chicago – and all worked on the first try.

Below I was streaming Dexter”, an American Netflix exclusive crime drama TV show.

Surfshark works with Netflix, streaming Dexter

Besides Netflix US, I was able to access 19 other libraries, including the UK, CA, AU, DE, SE, and JP.

Surfshark also provides access to Hulu, HBO GO, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video.

Torrenting (P2P)

0 / 10
Rating

Not every VPN supports torrenting, and many of those that do, they only do so on countable servers.

Then there is the issue of security and privacy.

Yes, torrent poisoning is a thing.

If your VPN is plagued with connection leaks, it may be only a matter of time before you get a DMCA notice.

Is Surfshark Good For Torrenting?

Is Surfshark reliable provider for torrenting?

Surfshark is excellent for torrenting.

The VPN comes with bulletproof AES 256-bit encryption and strict no-log policy. Additionally, Surfshark features perfect forward secrecy, which protects your torrent traffic from past and future vulnerabilities.

Surfshark is also fast and provides unlimited bandwidth, allowing you to download large downloads without worrying about speed drops.

You can use Surfshark with virtually all P2P clients, including µTorrent, Vuze, and Deluge. It’s also compatible with BitTorrent players such as Popcorn Time, Ace Player, Stermio, and the popular VLC media player.

All Surfshark servers are P2P friendly, but you’ll get top speeds while using their servers in:

  • The United States, (US)
  • The United Kingdom, (UK)
  • Canada, (CA)
  • Germany, (DE)
  • Italy, (IT)
  • Poland, (PL)
  • Spain, (IS)
  • Norway, (NO)
  • Denmark, (DK)
  • Luxembourg, (LU)
  • Hong Kong, (HK)
  • Singapore, (SG)
  • The Netherlands, (NL)
  • Bulgaria, (BG)
  • Belgium, (BE)
  • Switzerland, (CH)
  • Slovakia, (SK)
  • Serbia,(RS)
  • Finland, (FI)

Countries & Servers

0 / 10
Rating
Surfshark global network of servers

Surfshark offers around 1040+ servers in 61 countries.

While the VPN cannot compete with the likes of NordVPN and ExpressVPN in terms of the sheer number of servers, you simply cannot dismiss it.

Surfshark has server locations in almost every continent, including the Americas, Europe, the Asia Pacific, Africa, and the Middle East.

However, it’s worth noting that the provider uses a mix of physical and virtual servers. While this may not sit well with some users, it does allow the VPN to cover more locations.

The servers are nicely organized, and if you are not in the mood for scrolling, there is an easily accessible search bar that you can use to find your desired server.

Surfshark VPN groups the Static IP and MultiHop servers separately and it makes it quite easy to save and access your favorite servers.

And if you need to make a quick connection, all you have to do is click either the ‘Fastest server’ or ‘Nearest Server’ option.

Fastest or nearest servers

Does Surfshark Work in China?

Surfshark is one of the VPNs that work in mainland China.

It allows you to access sites like YouTube, Facebook, Gmail, and hundreds of others that are unavailable in the country.

Remember, the internet in China is not only heavily censored, but also through the use of Deep Packet Inspection (DPI), the authorities actively detect and block VPN traffic.

Surfshark surely bypasses the Great Firewall of China thanks to its robust NoBorders feature and Camouflage Mode (obfuscation) capabilities.

Multi-Platform Compatibility

0 / 10
Rating

When it comes to compatibility, Surfshark is unrivaled.

You can use the VPN on almost any primary device you can think of.

Supported platforms include:

  • Windows
  • macOS
  • Linux
  • Android
  • iOS
  • Smart TVs (FireTV, Android TV)
  • Consoles (Xbox, PlayStation)
  • Browsers (Chrome, Firefox)
Compatible devices

Surfshark can also be set up on routers, which allows you to cover devices that lack inbuilt VPN functionality.

With routers, the setup process is a bit more involved, but the provider has easy-to-follow set up tutorials that you can use.

If you are not up for the hassle, you can alternatively purchase a router with Surfshark pre-installed.

Available options include the Asus RT-AC5300, GL iNet GL-b1300, and Netgear R6400.

How Many Devices Does Surfshar Allow at a Go?

While most providers will limit you to 5 or 6 connections per license, Surfshark allows you to cover an unlimited number of devices.

So, if you are looking for a family VPN that will protect all your home devices, Surfshark is an excellent option.

Use Surfshark on all devices

Customer Support

0 / 10
Rating

When your VPN develops issues, you want them addressed quickly so you can continue using the internet safely.

It’s, therefore, essential to ensure your provider has a customer service that can guarantee that.

Surfshark offers multiple support options, but just as is the norm in the VPN industry nowadays, their live chat is the most reliable.

It’s available 24/7, and their support reps are responsive and knowledgeable.

Surfshark also has a decent email ticketing system where you can leave a message and have one of their team members contact you.

You can leave a message for their customer support

Their website also has helpful resources like FAQs, a media center, and a knowledge base section where you can find setup tutorials, billing, and general information.

User Experience & Usability

0 / 10
Rating

Surfshark offers native clients for many of itsd supported platforms.

The apps are intuitive and straightforward to use, something which makes the VPN appealing to beginners.

Here is how the Windows and Android apps look:

Surfshark windows app
Windows
Surfshark Android app
Android

But the Surfshark doesn’t cater to beginners only.

Under the hood, the VPN spots advanced configuration options which make it ideal for seasoned users as well.

Features like Auto-connect, kill Switch, Start with Windows, as well as your choice of VPN protocol, are all customizable.

Surfshark also incorporates an in-built split-tunneling feature, which they’ve aptly named the ‘Whitelister’.

Basically, it enables you to whitelist certain sites and IP addresses and cause them to bypass the VPN.

Many additional features

While Surfshark is not going to win awards for aesthetics, its apps spot a modern and well-organized interface. Their desktop clients feature a “dark theme” mode, which I thought was a nice touch.

Surfshark does not neglect the small stuff, either.

When you visit their official website, you’re met with a pleasant greeting in your local language.

The site itself is well designed and quite easy to navigate.

Showing your location

Affordability

0 / 10
Rating

Surfshark packages are very affordable.

They offer three plans to choose from, with huge discounts for long-term subscriptions.

Current pricing plans include a monthly package, a 12-month package, and a 24-month package.

How Much Does Surfshark Cost?

1 Month

$ 11
95
per month
  • $11.95 billed every month

24 Months

$ 1
99
per month
  • $42.00 billed every 24 months
SAVE 83%

12 Months

$ 5
99
per month
  • $71.88 billed every 12 months

While Surfshark is overall quite cheap, their month-to-month subscription is steeply-priced.

However, the yearly plan allows you to save up a whole 50%, while the 2-year plan comes with an incredible 83% discount.

While the Privacy Beyond VPN features are priced separately, the provider uses the same customer-oriented pricing strategy that has come to define Surfshark.

Payment Methods

Surfshark affords its customers flexibility with payment methods.

You can purchase your subscription using any of the following:

  • Credit Cards – Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, JCB
  • PayPal
  • Google Pay
  • Amazon Pay
  • Cryptocurrency

Does Surfshark Have a Free Trial?

Surfshark does not provide the standard free trial.

However, they do have a money-back guarantee that allows you to test the service risk-free for 30-days.

Refund Policy

Surfshark maintains a transparent refund policy.

They guarantee you the right to claim a refund within the first 30 days following your subscription.

However, you should keep in mind that not all payments are refundable.

If you make your purchase via the Apple App Store or using prepaid cards or gift cards, you won’t be able to get your money back.

FAQ

Is Surfshark VPN Any Good?

Yes absolutely. Not only does it provide secure encryption, but also, the provider maintains a stringent no-logging policy. And if you are looking to bypass geo-restrictions, Surfshark does so with ease. The VPN also delivers fast speeds, which makes it perfect for streaming, torrenting, and online gaming.

Who Owns Surfshark VPN?

Surfshark is owned by Surfshark Ltd., a British Virgin Islands online security provider. The company headquarters are located at Wickhams Cay I, Road Town, Tortola, and its CEO, and CTO are Par Kaz and Magnus Steinberg, respectively.

Is Surfshark Easy to Use?

Surfshark is quite easy to use. Its apps are easily navigable, and you can establish a connection with a single click. Besides, there are plenty of tutorials on how to use the VPN, and if you find yourself in a bit of pickle, there is a quick live chat via which you can contact customer support for help.

How Much Does Surfshark VPN Cost?

Pricing varies depending on how long you commit to using Surfshark. Their month-to-month subscription will set you back $11.95, but if you opt for the long-term 2-year plan, the cost drops to just $1.99 per month.

Can I Use Surfshark VPN on My Router?

Yes, you can use Surfshark routers. However, not all routers are compatible. So, before you get your router, you should make sure it comes with DD-WRT, AsusWRT, Mikrotik, Sabai, and GL.Inet firmware.

Is Surfshark More Secure Than ExpressVPN?

On the jurisdiction front, Surfshark and ExpressVPN are pretty much tied since both are based in the Virgin Islands. Again, the two VPNs offer similar encryption and top security features such as MultiHop, internet kill switch and DNS/IP leak prevention. However, with privacy solutions such as HackLock and BlindPass, Surfshark manages to be slightly more secure than ExpressVPN.

Do I Recommend Surfshark?

Yes, I definitely recommend Surfshark.

The VPN has grown at a tremendous rate and does not show any signs of slowing down soon. It delivers fast connections, robust encryption, and advanced anonymity at a budget-friendly price.

Surfshark also has an extensive server network and it works reliably with Netflix and BBC iPlayer.

To be honest, there isn’t much not to like about this VPN.

And when you factor in their unbeatable price, it’s easy to see why it stands out.

If you are looking for a VPN that offers excellent value for money, then Surfshark is the perfect fit.

The VPN also ticks all the right boxes when it comes to streaming and online privacy.

You Might Also Like
Try Surfshark Risk-FREE!

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.

Bram Jansen
Bram Jansen
I'm Bram Jensen, a leading expert in the realm of cyberspace, ever since I was little, books like Neuromancer and The Foundation always fascinated me, this fiction of a world that isn't simply based within the real world. As I started growing up, I started gaining interest in how I could manipulate this cyberspace that's available in the real world, so I picked a career that I knew was right for me.
  • Limited Time Offer
  • SAVE 83%
Save on Surfshark
-83% OFF
Hurry up! Secure your digital life and grab your jaw-dropping VPN deal, TODAY!
OFFER EXPIRES IN:
Hours
Minutes
Seconds
  • Limited Time Offer
  • SAVE 70%
NordVPN deal
Save on NordVPN
-70% OFF
Hurry up! Save on the most trusted VPN on the market, TODAY!
OFFER EXPIRES IN:
Hours
Minutes
Seconds