Surfshark: Reliable, Cheap & User-Friendly – Does This VPN Check All the Boxes?
Surfshark. Ltd operates in the British Virgin Islands. That is good news since it’s outside of the 14 Eyes Alliance and private. Read the Surfshark review.
Price Currency: $
Operating System: Windows
Application Category: Utility
Connect unlimited devices with high, reliable speeds and an impressive array of features, all in one easy-to-use package.
Being relatively new to the VPN market, Surfshark has had to quickly prove it’s reliable, trustworthy, and one of the fastest VPN services around, to make it capable of being one of the best.
With its simple interface amidst proficient privacy and security standards, an extensive list of additional features, and an unlimited number of devices that can be connected.
But just how good is it? Our comprehensive Surfshark review delves deep, to help you decide whether the new provider delivers on its promises and if it can be trusted, as well as investigating how much Surfshark costs and if its features are worth their price tag.
- 1 Surfshark Pros & Cons
- 2 Surfshark Overview
- 3 Streaming Movies and TV Shows With Surfshark
- 4 Using Streaming Devices with Surfshark
- 5 Surfshark Features
- 6 Surfshark Plans and Pricing
- 7 Surfshark’s Privacy and Security Features
- 8 Surfshark’s Technical Details
- 9 Surfshark Customer Support
- 10 How Does Surfshark Stack Up to ExpressVPN?
- 11 Methodology
- 12 Wrapping Up
- 13 FAQs
Surfshark Pros & Cons
|Fast connection speeds
|Not all features are available on all platforms
|Antivirus features and dedicated IP cost extra
|No logs policy
|Private DNS and leak protection
|24/7 customer support
|Servers & Locations:
|3200+ servers across Europe, America, Asia, and Middle East & Africa
|Available 24/7 via email and live chat
|IKEv2/IPsec, OpenVPN (UDP and TCP), and WireGuard with the AES-256-GCM algorithm
|Windows, Linux, MacOS, iOS, Android, Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Fire TV
|Those pre-installed with OpenVPN or L2TP clients, any running AsusWRT firmware, or any that can download VPN-compatible firmware (such as DD-WRT open-source or Tomato)
|P2P File Sharing (Torrenting):
|Country of Registration:
|Yes (for an additional fee)
|Free Trial or Money-Back Guarantee?
|7-day free trial (iOS, Android, and macOS only), and a 30-day money-back guarantee
Streaming Movies and TV Shows With Surfshark
Compatible Devices and Services
Surfshark is available on all major platforms, including:
Unfortunately, not all the platforms get the same features (see our “Features” section below). Those such as automatic KillSwitch, Camouflage mode, NoBorders, and regular CleanWeb features are available on iOS, Android, macOS, and Windows, while others like Bypasser are only available on Android and Windows.
Surfshark is also available on gaming consoles and any smart TV, with setup guides for:
- Apple TV
- Amazon Fire TV
- Android TV
- Samsung smart TV
- Chromecast | Google TV
- LG TV | LG WebOS
- Nvidia Shield
Surfshark is compatible with most streaming service providers, including:
- BBC iPlayer
- Amazon Prime Video
- Sling TV
- HBO Max
- DIRECTV Stream
Surfshark claims you can stream in 4K HD without buffering, thanks to its fast servers and encryption protocol, and by having at least 1Gbps port connected per server (the amount of traffic each server can handle). In addition, its choice of 3,200 servers means users shouldn’t run into any congestion.
However, due to the encryption being used to keep your connection secure while using a VPN, buffering is sometimes unavoidable. If this happens, it’s often worth trying to connect to a different server, changing your protocol settings, or turning on Surfshark’s multihop feature, as all of these options can help make your VPN faster.
Windows or Android users can also choose to use Surfshark’s Bypasser feature and have slow sites bypass the VPN to transmit via a standard internet connection instead.
Surfshark doesn’t place any limitations on speed, bandwidth, or data, though it does note you may experience a 20-30% decrease in speed (compared to not using a VPN).
Conversely, Surfshark may increase your speed. Some internet service providers begin to slow down activities like streaming (this is called bandwidth throttling) to encourage users to switch to higher-paid plans. Surfshark mitigates this by hiding your internet traffic from the service provider, ensuring you continue to receive high-speed streaming.
Surfshark also prevents its servers from being overloaded (which would cause them to slow down) by offering more server bandwidths per user in popular locations. This means Surfshark users should enjoy low latency and minimal speed reductions when streaming.
Mobile and Desktop Apps
Surfshark has apps for all of the major platforms it’s compatible with. The Surfshark website has download links for each of these, depending on your device and system requirements.
For desktop computers:
- macOS (Catalina 10.15 and later: Big Sur, Monterey, Ventura)
- Windows (10 and 11 – and still compatible with Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 legacy OS)
- Linux (Ubuntu)
- Android 5.10 and newer
- iOS 13.0.0 and up
Surfshark browser extensions are available for:
VPN extensions are proxies that mask your IP, bypass internet restrictions, but don’t offer the same privacy or protection as a full VPN. However, Surfshark’s browser extensions allow users to use CleanWeb 2.0 – Surfshark’s new, upgraded, four-in-one ad and tracker blocker (see “Features” below for more).
Ease of Use
Since Surfshark has apps for each of its available platforms, setting up and using Surfshark’s VPN is relatively straightforward, as you can access all settings and options through the app’s clean interface.
Surfshark’s website also contains user guides for most of its platforms, explaining how to set up and start using Surfshark on macOS, Windows, iOS, Android, Linux, Chromebook, and Amazon Fire TV. In addition, Surfshark has an entire Help Centre filled with instructions, guides, and FAQs, with videos on most pages to help walk you through any difficulties.
If you’re still having issues, Surfshark has 24/7 customer support via email or live chat, so there’s always someone available to help you out.
Using Streaming Devices with Surfshark
Surfshark can be used with several devices to stream content. Here are the compatible devices:
Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick
Surfshark has an app for Fire TV devices, making it easy to download and use: simply search for Surfshark on your Fire TV device, install the VPN app, log in, and connect.
Surfshark has more detailed instructions in its Help Centre, including a simple step-by-step guide on how to install Surfshark on Amazon Fire TV and Amazon Fire TV Stick.
Surfshark is currently supported on the following Fire TV devices:
- 2nd-gen and 3rd gen Fire TV & Fire TV Stick
- 4K Fire TV & Fire TV Stick
Surfshark says it’s available on all smart TVs, including Apple TV, Chromecast, Samsung Smart TV, Android TV, and Roku.
If your TV supports apps, then you can simply search for the Surfshark app, download it, and log in to begin using it.
Alternatively, if your TV doesn’t support apps, you can activate Smart DNS and follow the guide for your TV. Smart DNS changes the DNS address (for spoofing your virtual location) on your Smart TV while streaming. Surfshark makes sure to cover even unsupported devices, such as Apple TV.
The Surfshark website contains set-up guides for almost every smart TV option available.
Surfshark will work on:
- Xbox (Xbox One, Series S, and Series X)
- Nintendo Switch
You’ll need to set up the VPN on your router first, which Surfshark provides instructions for. Then, when you connect your game console to the router like you usually would, your device is protected by the VPN.
Surfshark is stuffed with useful features. This includes the basic VPN features you would expect from any provider, such as DNS leak protection, secure encryption, and an automatic kill switch.
On top of that, Surfshark offers additional special features of its own, to help keep your data and privacy secure (though not all of these are available on all platforms):
(Available on browsers Chrome, Firefox, and Edge.)
CleanWeb 2.0 is Surfshark’s new, upgraded ad and tracker blocker. Combining four key features into one, CleanWeb 2.0 can be used as an ad blocker, cookie pop-up blocker, data breach alert, and malware alert. By blocking ads and malware before they can load, CleanWeb 2.0 also helps save mobile data and boost browsing speeds.
Regular CleanWeb is available with the VPN app on iOS, macOS, Android, Windows, Linux, and Fire TV. However, this lacks CleanWeb 2.0’s ability to block video ads, its integrated cookie pop-up blocker, or offer data breach and malware alerts.
Bypasser (Split Tunneling)
(Available on Android, Windows 7,8, 10, 11, and routers.)
Bypasser is what Surfshark calls VPN split tunneling (and is very similar to whitelisting). It allows you to choose which information uses the VPN connection (and is therefore encrypted) and which can be transmitted via the standard internet.
This is useful if you find some sites are slow on the VPN, as you can make those run faster by having them bypass the VPN, while other services you use remain protected. It’s also helpful if a legitimate site, like your bank, needs to confirm your real location.
Reverse Bypasser (Route via VPN)
(Available on Android, Windows 7,8, 10, 11, and routers.)
In contrast to the standard Bypasser, Surfshark’s Reverse Bypasser allows you to choose which sites will only go through the VPN (and therefore will always be encrypted). Any other apps and websites will be able to see your real IP address.
(Available on Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows.)
If your VPN connection unexpectedly disconnects, Surfshark’s KillSwitch will automatically cut you off from the internet to prevent any information from being leaked. This can be turned on and off in settings.
(Available on Android, iOS, macOS, Windows, and Linux.)
Camouflage mode disguises your connection to look like regular browsing traffic, so even your internet service provider can’t tell you’re using a VPN. This helps you bypass any content filtering, especially if your country blocks VPN ports.
Override GPS Location
(Available on Android)
Location override lets you match your GPS location to the Surfshark server you’re connected to. This can be useful if you need to use an app that only provides a service in certain countries.
(Available on Android, Windows, macOS, and iOS.)
If NoBorders detects you’re connected to a network with certain restrictions (usually enforced by the country you’re in), it can help you find servers that will work the best.
Obfuscated servers hide the fact that you’re using a VPN, by making your internet traffic look like regular traffic. You might need this to unblock your VPN so it can work in the first place if you’re in a country that places restrictions on the use of VPNs, but also to hide your use of a VPN from your internet service provider, prevent government tracking, and bypass any blocks strict internal networks may have placed on VPN usage to ensure you can get internet access.
(Available on Android, Windows, macOS, and iOS.)
Instead of connecting to just one server at a time, Multi-Hop switches your connection from one server to another across multiple countries at a time, enabling a greater level of ID protection and footprint masking.
(Available on Android and iOS – and coming soon to Windows and macOS)
Using a button on your app’s connection screen, you can choose to pause your VPN for 5, 30, or 120 minutes. During this time, your entire internet traffic will skip the encryption and private tunneling part of your VPN, but you won’t be disconnected from it.
Your connection will automatically resume after the selected time is up.
(Part of Surfshark’s new Nexus technology, being rolled out gradually across 2022 and 2023)
To prevent privacy concerns from having the same IP address when connected to a VPN for a long period, IP Rotator changes your IP address periodically, without disconnecting you from the VPN network. This makes you even more difficult to track than with a standard VPN.
(Available on Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS.)
VPN services usually provide their users with a new IP address for each session. As a result, the one used by you today could be used by someone else tomorrow.
Surfshark now offers the option to have a dedicated IP address – one unique and anonymous to the user that doesn’t change. No one else will be able to access or associate you as the owner of the IP, but it prevents websites from blacklisting unstable IPs or from thinking you’re a bot and triggering interrupting verifications like CAPTCHA requests.
Currently, Surfshark’s dedicated IPs exist in a few locations, including Los Angeles, New York, Dallas, and San Jose in the US, as well as in the UK, Netherlands, and Germany. Availability is limited, so not every location may be guaranteed for purchase, but Surfshark says it’s working on making more countries available soon.
It should also be noted that Surfshark’s dedicated IPs have an additional monthly cost, with users required to pay an extra $3.75 a month.
Manual WireGuard Connection
Instead of using the WireGuard protocol through the Surfshark app, you can also opt to use it for manual connections.
Manual connections allow for a faster and more stable connection on devices not compatible with the Surfshark app, provide a faster connection on compatible routers, protect all devices without affecting network speed, and allow users in countries with VPN restrictions to access WireGuard benefits.
Alternative ID is a feature that gives you a new identity and email to use online protecting your real identity online. You give information of the persona you want to create and it gives you a new email address and profile. This prevents your real information from falling into malicious sites and databases safeguarding your identity.
This feature is available for Surfshark One and Surfshark One+.
Peer-to-peer (P2P) networks allow all connected computers access to all or some part of the same resources and data. This lets you share files fast and safely, without the use of a central server (known as torrenting).
All Surfshark servers support P2P traffic.
Graphical User Interface (GUI)
(Available on Linux)
The Surfshark app for Linux provides a genuine GUI, meaning users can browse, connect to, and mark their favorite servers without having to enter a single into the terminal. It also allows seamless switching between OpenVPN and WireGuard, without the need to adjust any settings.
“Surfshark is based in the jurisdiction, which does not require information storage or reporting. We do not collect any information about what you do online (your visited IP addresses, browsing history, session information, used bandwidth, connection time stamps, network traffic, or any other similar information).”
It does store information about your IP address and which VPN server you connect to, but this is deleted once you end your session:
“Our servers do store information about your connection to a particular VPN server (user ID and/or IP address and connection time stamps), BUT this information is automatically deleted within 15 minutes after termination of your session. And be assured that no information is stored about the websites you visit.
However, Surfshark does collect:
- Aggregated performance data
- Frequency of use
- Unsuccessful connection attempts and “other similar information”
Surfshark says this does not contain uniquely identifiable information and it is meant strictly for diagnostic purposes.
When using the app, you will be asked if Surfshark can collect your location data (only your wifi name), which is stored on your device to use the “auto-connect feature” for trusted wifi networks. Surfshark says: “Please rest assured that we do not share this information to any third party. In fact we do not store this information on our end and it is stored only on your device.”
Additionally, users who choose to purchase a Dedicated IP will be required to link their email address to it. However, Surfshark developed a solution for those wishing to remain private by creating an anonymous mode for Dedicated IP, which allows users to unlink their email address and ensure Surfshark remains unaware of the IP owner’s identity.
For the process of payments, Surfshark’s payment processing partners collect the usual data necessary for this, and Surfshark will only process small payment-related information (such as part of the credit card number or payment amount) for payment-related issues (like fraud prevention).
If you need complete anonymity, Surfshark offers the option of using cryptocurrencies.
In December 2022, Surfshark passed an independent audit by Deloitte that tested and confirmed Surfshark’s no-logs policy.
Surfshark Plans and Pricing
The standard Surfshark plan offers three types of subscription lengths:
- 1 month – $12.95/month;
- 12 months – $3.99/month, billed now at $47.88, then $59.76 annually;
- 24 months (+2 months free) – $2.30/month, billed now at $59.76 for the first 26 months, then $59.76 annually.
Surfshark’s features are the same, regardless of which subscription length you choose – so all options include the ability to connect an unlimited number of devices. This means the most cost-effective option is to sign up for the 24-month plan for the price of $2.30 per month (plus two months free), which is paid upfront as a 26-month total of $59.76.
All plans automatically renew as a yearly plan.
It should be noted that none of the prices include tax, so that will be an additional cost at checkout.
Surfshark One is a bundle that’s designed to enhance your privacy and security online. It provides four features packaged into a single account to protect yourself from viruses, malware, data leaks, and privacy threats.
In addition to Surfshark’s VPN, Surfshark One also includes antivirus protection, search protection, and fraud alerts:
Surfshark Antivirus provides real-time scanning and 24/7 protection from viruses and malware, protection against computer camera hacking, and cloud protection.
The antivirus software simultaneously scans all five devices connected via Surfshark VPN at once and, true to the company’s VPN heritage, it doesn’t collect any personal data.
Surfshark Antivirus has picked up some powerful endorsements:
- Certified by Virus Bulletin, a security benchmarking, testing, and certification firm.
- Certified by AV-Test, another cybersecurity testing company.
- Part of Microsoft Virus Initiative (MVI), a team that helps makes antivirus/antimalware products integrate better with Windows devices.
Surfshark’s search tool doesn’t track or store your data and provides ad-free organic search results only, allowing you to browse in complete privacy. Surfshark Search has no ads, no logs, and no trackers.
Surfshark Alert is a smart tool that automatically monitors your emails, credit cards, and personal IDs, plus scans for breached databases, and notifies you with real-time alerts when it detects any breaches related to your personal information.
The prices of the Surfshark One bundle are:
- 1-month plan for $17.95/mo (plus tax);
- 1-year plan for $4.49/mo ($53.88 for the first 12 months, then $70.55 annually (plus tax));
- 2-year plan for $3.22/mo ($83.76 for 24 months, then $70.55 annually (plus tax)).
Surfshark One+ offers all the features offered by Surfshark One. These are Surfshark VPN, Surfshark Antivirus, Surfshark Search, and Surfshark Alert. Additionally, it offers the Incogni product which removes your data from databases.
It removes data from company databases preventing them from sending email campaigns and targeted ads. It also offers data removal from people search sites preventing phishing attacks and identity theft.
The prices of the Surfshark One+ bundle are:
- 1-month plan for $22.95/mo (plus tax);
- 1-year plan for $8.29/mo ($99.48 for the first 12 months, then $99.00 annually (plus tax));
- 2-year plan for $6.23/mo ($155.76 for 24 months, then $99.00 annually (plus tax)).
Surfshark offers a seven-day free trial via the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. This means only Android, iOS, or macOS users can benefit. However, once you’ve signed up for the trial on one of these platforms, you can access Surfshark on any other device regardless of its operating system.
To access the free trial, users need to download the app from either of those stores and choose “Start free trial”. You will then need to create an account and select the 12-month option.
Although the first seven days are free, you’ll need to provide a payment method when signing up. This will schedule an automatic renewal for the 12-month subscription at the end of your seven-day free trial.
If you cancel before the end of your free seven days, you won’t be charged. If you forget, you can still request a refund through the 30-day money-back guarantee.
What is Surfshark’s Refund Policy?
All Surfshark subscriptions bought through their official website come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Monthly subscriptions may be refunded within the first 30 days only after the initial purchase.
Additionally, those who purchase the 12- or 24-month plans (and have the auto-renewal option on) will again be eligible to apply for the 30-day money-back guarantee after each renewal.
To claim a refund, you must contact Surfshark’s Customer Support team via email or live chat within 30 days of the initial purchase.
However, if you paid for a subscription through an Apple or Amazon store (eg Apple App Store), you must contact the specific store for a refund based on their refund policies. Surfshark is unable to refund any purchases made through a third party.
You should also note that prepaid cards or gift cards can not be refunded either.
If you paid using cryptocurrency, the equivalent amount in US Dollars will be refunded in the same cryptocurrency based on the rate of exchange at the time of the refund.
Surfshark allows you to pay via credit card, PayPal, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, or cryptocurrency.
When paying with cryptocurrency, you can choose from either CoinGate or CoinPayments. This is a completely anonymous way to buy a VPN, particularly useful if you reside in a country where the use of VPNs is banned. Even Surfshark won’t know you have Surfshark!
The type of cryptocurrencies currently accepted by Surfshark are:
- Bitcoin (BTC)
- Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
- Ethereum (ETH)
- TRON (TRX)
- Tether (USDT)
- Litecoin (LTC)
- Ripple (XRP)
- Beam (BEAM)
- Dogecoin (Doge)
- Monero (XME)
How to Cancel Surfshark
Surfshark lets you cancel your subscription at any time before your renewal date, and you will still be able to use the remainder of your current subscription until it expires.
To cancel Surfshark, you should contact Surfshark’s customer success team via its live chat service. If you purchased via the Google Play Store or Apple App Store, you will need to cancel the subscription within your Google or Apple account. Surfshark has more information about canceling on its help page.
Surfshark’s Privacy and Security Features
Privacy is among the main reasons for acquiring a VPN. Surfshark provides privacy and security by:
A VPN hides your activities, data, and identity through encryption – which, simply put, is the practice of turning normal text into a ciphertext no one can read.
Surfshark uses AES-256 encryption, which is virtually impenetrable and the most effective encryption algorithm available. (It would take the world’s fastest computer billions of years to crack an AES-256 encryption!) As a result, AES-256 is one of the most respected encryption options you can get, used by the majority of big VPN providers, like ExpressVPN and NordVPN.
However, Surfshark also uses ChaCha20 encryption, depending on the protocol it uses. A protocol is a set of rules that determine how data will be moved over a VPN, including how it will be encrypted.
Surfshark uses IKEv2, OpenVPN, and WireGuard protocols, and will automatically recommend the best protocol for you depending on the device you’re using and your reasons for needing a VPN (though you can choose any of Surfshark’s available protocols in the app’s settings).
- WireGuard is the newest and lightest protocol, which means it should be the fastest option.
- IKEv2 is similar, and a great choice for on-the-go.
- OpenVPN is often a great choice for routers.
IKEv2 and OpenVPN both use AES-256 encryption, whereas WireGuard uses ChaCha20. The key difference between AES-256 and ChaCha20 is how their ciphers convert text. ChaCha20 is believed to be faster, though it doesn’t yet have the same trustworthy reputation as AES-256 since it’s still fairly new.
Surfshark lets you choose the protocol your device uses in its app settings, so you can change your mind at any time.
DNS Leak Protection
In addition, Surfshark ensures DNS leak protection, so your activities and data should remain secure. If a VPN has DNS leaks, it means some of your activity and/or privacy data is not being encrypted and is therefore not anonymous or protected. You may not even know, as you’d expect the VPN to be working.
Each Surfshark server has its DNS with leak protection to prevent this from happening.
How many Servers does Surfshark have?
Surfshark has more than 3,200 servers across 100 countries, on six continents.
The further the server is from your actual location, the slower your internet speed will be, so it’s good to have a wide selection of servers available, and Surfshark’s should be enough for most users. Additionally, Surfshark claims its number of servers is continually growing.
Most of the servers offer P2P support, URL and ad blocking, VPN chaining, and split tunneling. All servers will support your choice of VPN protocol.
When you open the Surfshark app, you will also be able to choose between the different types of servers: Locations, Static IP, or MultiHop.
Which one to choose depends on your preferences. Static IP means you always have the same IP address, whenever you use that specific server and reconnect – this gives you faster speeds and better access to geo-restricted content. On the downside, that IP address is also always linked to you.
The MultiHop option gives you better security, by sending traffic through two different servers. Users’ speeds will be slower, but the IP address is masked better. This is also known as a Double VPN.
All of Surfshark’s servers are 100% RAM only – Surfshark is one of the first VPN providers in the industry to upgrade all its servers to a RAM-only infrastructure. RAM-only servers are more secure as no information can physically be taken from them (should any malicious third-party gain access to them), and any information on the hard drive is automatically wiped off whenever the server is turned off.
Additionally, every server on Surfshark’s network offers private DNS, as well as leak protection when using the IPv4 stack, ensuring your requests won’t be accessible in an unencrypted format.
Surfshark has also recently introduced its new Nexus technology which connects all of Surfshark’s VPN servers into a single, global network. This means, that instead of going through a single VPN tunnel, your traffic is routed through an entire network of servers. As a result, your VPN’s security and privacy are improved, its performance is stabilized, and the connection speed is enhanced.
With such an extensive number of servers, Surfshark covers almost every key city around the globe. This includes:
- Brussels, Belgium
- Paris, France
- Berlin, Germany
- Athens, Greece
- Rome, Italy
- Oslo, Norway
- Warsaw, Poland
- Lisbon, Portugal
- Madrid, Spain
- London, UK
- Edinburgh, UK
- Toronto, Canada
- Montreal, Canada
- Buenos Aires, Argentina
- Sao Paulo, Brazil
- Sydney, Australia
- Melbourne, Australia
- Hong Kong, Hong Kong
- Delhi, India
- Tokyo, Japan
- Auckland, New Zealand
- Singapore, Singapore
- Seoul, South Korea
- Bangkok, Thailand
- Cairo, Egypt
- Tel Aviv, Israel
- Lagos, Nigeria
- Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Surfshark has servers in most major US cities, including (but not exclusive):
- Los Angeles
- San Franciso
- Las Vegas
- New York
The Surfshark website has a complete list of the key cities and countries that currently have active servers.
Defense Against Malware and Data Breaches
Malware is software (like a program or file) that is harmful to your computer and could be used by scammers to steal your data. You can get malware through a variety of ways, but some of the most common are by accidentally clicking on an infected website or email, or by downloading an infected file.
VPNs can’t always help against malware, as they don’t prevent you from opening links or making downloads. However, Surfshark could help prevent malware from carrying out its intended task by making it harder for the malware to connect with its handler to transfer data or receive commands.
For greater protection, Surfshark has an antivirus feature in its Surfshark One bundle, which you can add to your VPN subscription for an additional monthly cost. This will notify you immediately should you download any malicious files, schedule scans to check for malware, and remove any threats in real time before they can harm your device. It will also inform you if any databases containing your sensitive data (such as email, password, ID, or bank information) have been breached.
In addition, Surfshark One subscribers have access to Incogni. This tool contacts data brokers (organizations that collect and sell data) to request they delete any data they have on you. This should help prevent online marketing ploys from targeting you.
With Surfshark’s network containing thousands of servers, having an independent and expert third-party check and report on Surfshark’s claims is important to ensure users receive the service they expect.
Cure53, which is a Germany-based cybersecurity firm that has been running software tests and code audits for more than 15 years, has assessed Surfshark’s security twice, most recently in April 2021. The test took seven days over two weeks and found “no doubt that the Surfshark maintainers have a clear understanding of security and privacy challenges associated with being a VPN provider.” More recently, an independent audit was undertaken by Deloitte, in December 2022, to test Surfshark’s no-logs policy.
Surfshark passed, with Deloitte’s findings concluding:
“Based on the procedures performed and the evidence obtained, in our opinion, the configuration of IT systems and management of the supporting IT operations is properly prepared, in all material respects, in accordance with Surfshark’s description of its no-logs policy.”
Incogni: Personal Data Removal Service
Surfshark recently introduced Incogni, a personal information removal service to help you take back control of your data. Incogni allows you to opt out of the collection and sale of your personal information by data brokers and people search sites.
Typically, the steps required to remove yourself from the internet are a hassle to deal with. But Incogni makes the process easier. By removing your personal information, you can lower your risk of invasion of privacy, scams, and even identity theft. What’s more, it’s the most comprehensive data removal service on the market and is fully automated.
The prices of Incogni are:
- 1-month plan for $12.99/mo (plus tax);
- 1-year plan for $6.49/mo (billed $77.88 annually (plus tax)).
We haven’t tried Incogni yet, but once we’ve completed our test, we’ll post our results on this review.
Surfshark’s Technical Details
Here are some other questions our readers have asked us about Surfshark.
How Easy Is It to Install?
Surfshark has an app for each of the platforms it’s available on (iOS, Android, macOS, Windows, Amazon Fire TV), so installing it is as simple as clicking “download” on the relevant app store for your device. Each option is linked on Surfshark’s website, so you don’t even need to search for it.
There are also dedicated user guides for each app, platform, and browser extension on Surfshark’s “Setup & Installation” section within its Help Centre.
If you’re unable to install the app, there are walk-through guides on how to install Surfshark manually.
Setting up on a router is slightly more complicated, as you can’t simply download an app. However, even this isn’t particularly complicated, if you follow one of the many step-by-step illustrated guides Surfshark offers.
Though it depends on the exact router you’re using (and Surfshark explains how to find out if your router is compatible), you should just need to find your Surfshark credentials (which can be located in the “setup” part of your Surfshark account), choose a server, and then configure your chosen protocol. Again, this is all explained in detail in the “Router” section of Surfshark’s Help Centre.
How Fast is Surfshark?
A VPN will most likely slow down your internet speeds, as your traffic is being directed through a secure server in another location. Generally, the closer you are to the server location, the less the decrease in speed is likely to be since your data has less of a distance to travel.
Surfshark has over 3,200 servers across 100 countries, and you can choose to join any of these. However, you can also simply choose “fastest location”, and Surfshark will automatically connect you to the server that will offer you the fastest speeds.
We ran a speed test using the “fastest location” option and found our internet download speed was the same as without a VPN with just a 10% drop in upload speed.
The test results revealed a slight increase in latency too – which is the time it takes for data to pass from one network node to another. The higher your latency, the more likely you are to experience lag, though anything under 100ms is generally considered okay for tasks like gaming.
Speed was around 18% slower when connected to a server on the other side of the world (in our case, Australia), with a much greater latency and slower upload speed. This is to be expected.
We also tried Surfshark’s “MultiHop” option, which sends traffic through two different servers for extra security. This is supposed to slow speeds down, though we found our internet increased. However, latency and upload speeds were affected as predicted.
Does Surfshark Work In Other Countries?
With server locations across 100 countries over six continents, and paired with its NoBorders mode, Surfshark should work all over the world.
We tested and confirmed Surfshark worked in the countries most likely to use a VPN, including:
- Hong Kong
Surfshark has a virtual Chinese server, which we found worked without any issues. When in China, Surfshark says it will automatically detect and switch to its “NoBorders” zone, which will provide you with a list of servers that function well within the country’s network constraints.
Surfshark Customer Support
Surfshark offers support with experts via email or 24/7 live chat, so you can get help with anything at any hour.
In addition, it has a comprehensive Help Center, containing step-by-step guides and video instructions for everything from getting started and common issues, to billing and account questions. It also has an impressive range and easy-to-access Setup guides and tutorials for all of the platforms and devices you can use Surfshark on.
Each help article tells you when it was last updated, with the majority seeming to have been checked within the previous two weeks. The longest length of time we could find for when an article had last been updated was three months ago.
Surfshark also maintains an active blog, with new articles posted every couple of weeks. Posts are usually about important updates to the service or helpful tips and explanations on VPN technology.
How Does Surfshark Stack Up to ExpressVPN?
Both Surfshark and ExpressVPN are reliable and trustworthy VPN providers, offering advanced privacy and security across a range of devices, and packaged with a variety of additional features.
Each uses industry-standard encryption protocols with no DNS leaks, works on all common platforms, and upholds a no-logs policy. They have a similar number of servers across a comparable number of countries (Surfshark has 3,200 servers over 100 countries, while ExpressVPN has around 3,000 servers over 105 countries), so users are unlikely to run into any traffic congestion or connection problems.
In addition, both providers offer 24/7 support and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
ExpressVPN has been around longer though, having been founded almost a decade before Surfshark. This additional time has allowed ExpressVPN to earn an established reputation for being proficient and reliable, as well as the capability to develop its own VPN protocol, Lightway. Lightway is designed to increase a user’s connection speed and stability when using a VPN and requires less battery and maintenance.
And if you’re concerned about malware, ExpressVPN offers its Threat Manager (which blocks apps and sites from communicating with trackers and other malicious third parties) as part of its package, whereas Surfshark requires an additional fee and upgrade to Surfshark One if you’d like its antivirus features.
Surfshark’s plan will allow you to have unlimited simultaneous connections, including its mobile apps. ExpressVPN will only allow eight devices to be connected at any one time. However, this can be increased if you install ExpressVPN on your router, as any device connected to the router will also be protected. This is another area where ExpressVPN shines, by providing an easy-to-install app for routers, while Surfshark requires you to manually configure your router’s settings.
Surfshark’s vast amount of features, fast connection speeds, and no logs policy make it a strong contender for anyone requiring high-security assurances, and its easy-to-download, user-friendly app across all major platforms, as well as its comprehensive online support pages, make it suitable for all types of internet users (and one of the best VPNs for beginners).
Being able to connect an unlimited number of devices without any bandwidth restrictions is a particular highlight, and makes it a great VPN for families and households that like to stream movies and play games online at the same time.
With its 24/7 customer assistance and 30-day money-back guarantee though, Surfshark is well worth trying out.
Is Surfshark trustworthy?
Yes, Surfshark is trustworthy. Being based in the Netherlands, Surfshark is legally bound to comply with strict GDPR standards, and its comprehensive no-logs policy has been confirmed with multiple independent audits.
In addition, Surfshark uses RAM-only servers that each have their own DNS leak protection and obfuscation settings, and when paired with Surfshark’s industry-standard encryption, choice of protocols, and privacy-focused features (such as IP rotator and camouflage mode), its VPN is a secure choice.
What’s Surfshark company history?
Surfshark is a cybersecurity company based in the Netherlands, focused on developing humanized privacy and security solutions.
Its VPN service launched in 2018 and is now one of the major VPN brands worldwide, having grown to include the new WireGuard protocol, an additional package of antivirus and alert features (known as its Surfshark One bundle), and a single, global network of 100% RAM-only servers spanning 100 countries across Europe, America, Asia, and Middle East & Africa.
In 2022, Surfshark merged with Nord Security (which owns the VPN brand NordVPN), at which time it received a valuation of $1.6 billion. NordVPN and Surfshark remain separate, independent businesses, though both are two of the five founding members of the VPN Trust Initiative, which aims at fostering cooperation in the VPN industry.
Is Surfshark owned by China?
No, Surfshark is not owned by China. The founder of Surfshark is Vytautas Kaziukonis, with a business registration address in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The Netherlands is a member of the EU, and as such is bound to strict GDPR practices. This means any personal data Surfshark collects must be processed lawfully, fairly, and in a transparent manner in relation to individuals.
Surfshark also has offices in Lithuania and Poland.
Can you be tracked using Surfshark?
No. There is no way to be tracked using a Surfshark, as long as the VPN is encryption and working as expected. Surfshark uses industry-standard AES-256 encryption and ensures DNS leak protection, so your web traffic, data, and traffic cannot be tracked while you are connected to Surfshark.
In addition, Surfshark offers extra features that ensure users’ privacy and anonymity, such as camouflage mode, multi-hop, IP rotator, and obfuscated servers.
Can you use Surfshark for Netflix?
Yes, Surfshark can be used for Netflix. Once you have active subscriptions for both Surfshark and Netflix, install Surfshark on the device or router you want to watch Netflix on. Once installed, connect to the VPN, and then open and log into your Netflix account. You can now securely stream all your favorite shows on Netflix.
For smart TVs incompatible with apps, you can use Surfshark’s Smart DNS setting to change your virtual location while streaming.
What is the monthly fee for Surfshark?
Surfshark’s monthly fee depends on the length of the subscription plan you choose, with the monthly price cheaper the longer you’re signed up. Monthly prices range from $12.95 per individual month to $2.30 a month if you pay for 24 months (+2 months free) upfront. Please note, any plan longer than one month is billed as one lump sum, and the prices don’t include tax.
Please see our “Surfshark Plans and Pricing” section above for more details.
Is Surfshark safe?
Yes, Surfshark is safe. It uses industry-standard AES-256 encryption, ensures DNS leak protection, and maintains 100% RAM-only servers. This means your data is virtually impossible to decrypt, and nothing is kept on the servers themselves should hackers gain physical access to them.
In addition, Surfshark upholds a strict no-logs policy, which has been tested and verified through multiple independent audits, and is based in a country within GDPR jurisdiction.
What is the difference between Surfshark and PureVPN?
Surfshark and PureVPN are both secure VPN providers that work across the majority of platforms and devices, with a similar price structure. While PureVPN offers more servers, Surfshark’s network spans more countries and all of its servers are 100% RAM-only, meaning they’re safer and more secure.
A Surfshark subscription also allows users to connect an unlimited number of devices simultaneously, whereas PureVPN restricts users to a maximum of 10 devices.
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