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Surfshark VPN review: Cheap and abundant with features

Low-cost solution with no compromises on quality

surfshark vpn review
(Image: © Surfshark)

Our Verdict

Surfshark offers strong security and an array of interesting features for a low price.

For

  • Browser extensions passed an audit
  • Very affordable
  • Unblocks Netflix
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections

Against

  • Free trial requires signing up for a subscription
  • No free trial for Windows
  • Surfshark is a provider of virtual private network services headquartered in the British Virgin Islands

Surfshark is a provider of VPN services headquartered in the British Virgin Islands.

MORE: Best VPN Service - Reviews of Top-Rated VPN Providers

(Image credit: Future)

Price

As usual, the most expensive subscription option is the 1-month one at $11.95. It is followed by the 1-year plan at $5.99 per month ($71.88 billed every 12 months). The cheapest is the 2-year subscription at just $1.99 per month (billed $47.76 every 24 months) and is one of the most affordable plans in the entire VPN industry.

For an additional $0.99 per month, you can enable the extra features called HackLock and BlindSearch (more detail further on). The provider’s services can be paid for using credit cards, PayPal, Google Pay, and even cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple).

 A 7-day free trial is available on iOS, macOS, and Android applications. To get it, you need to download Surfshark mobile app from Google Play or Apple App Store. After downloading, you just have to open the app and click ‘Start Free Trial’. You still have to choose the plan you wish to use after the trial period, but you won’t be charged for the first seven days and you can cancel at any time during this period if you don’t want to continue.

In addition, all the provider’s plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. There is no traditional free trial for Windows, although the company states its money-back guarantee is risk-free. This means you have to sign up and pay for a subscription, but you can request a refund in the first 30 days if you don’t like the service after testing its full functionality.

(Image credit: Future)

Compatibility

The provider covers all major operating platforms (iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Linux, and Fire TV Stick) and you can connect unlimited devices to one account simultaneously. It also has extensions for Firefox and Chrome. All the apps are very user-friendly and intuitive, and not even beginners will have any problems getting around.

The service can also be installed on supported routers, Xbox, PlayStation, smart TVs, and more.

(Image credit: Future)

What you get

Most servers are P2P friendly so there are no obstacles to fast and safe torrenting. The NoBorders mode can get you online in countries where VPNs are blocked. It unblocks geo-blocked websites and allows you access to popular streaming services like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and HBO.

To actively protect you from malware and phishing attempts, the provider utilizes CleanWeb, a blocking mechanism that also removes annoying ads and pop-ups.

A split-tunneling feature called Whitelister allows you to exclude specific apps or websites from the VPN connection, especially useful in accessing network devices like printers or online banking. This feature is currently only available in the Windows and Android clients.

The provider offers two optional features you can purchase with your subscription - HackLock and BlindSearch. HackLock scans the web and alerts you if your email is leaked, allowing you to prevent the potential damage before things get out of control. BlindSearch enables private and efficient searching with no annoying ads or any logs.

Privacy

Your identity and activities are kept hidden thanks to the conventional tools such as the hack-proof 256-bit encryption and OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols. The provider’s Windows app also supports the Shadowsocks protocol - an open-source encrypted proxy mainly used in China to bypass the Great Firewall.

The company’s own zero-knowledge DNS servers reduce the chances of snoopers sticking their noses in your online activities. Furthermore, the MultiHop feature allows you to connect via two different VPN servers (usually in different countries), adding an extra layer of security.

A kill switch protects you from data leakage in the event of a sudden VPN connection interruption. Whenever this happens, it will jump in and ‘kill’ your whole Internet access. The Camouflage Mode makes it nearly impossible for anyone to discover you’re using a VPN simply by looking at your traffic.

Surfshark operates from the British Virgin Islands, an ideal place for privacy and enforcement of the company’s strict no-logs policy. It spells out that the company won’t collect any incoming and outgoing IP addresses, browsing, download, or purchasing history, VPN servers connected, bandwidth amount used, session information, network traffic, or connection timestamps.

The provider is one of the few VPNs which has opened its doors to outside auditors (the German security firm Cure53). They conducted an independent security check of Surfshark’s browser extensions and found no critical issues. While this is appreciated, a more detailed report of the entire platform would be even better. 

Performance

Surfshark connects without a glitch, with faster-than-average connection times. Its performance is solid in terms of download speeds, hailing 66Mbps on a 75Mbps connection and a somewhat weak 110Mbps on a 475Mbps line. This is still quite acceptable, just a bit feebler in comparison to some of the competitors.

Customer support

Should you require assistance while using the VPN platform, it is available in the website’s support section. It is divided into eight categories, offering information on many areas of the service and addressing a whole host of concerns.

For those who’d like to know more, not just about the provider, but the VPN industry and privacy concerns in general, they can check out Surfshark’s blog section, with articles like ‘15 Cult Movies on Netflix & How To Access Them’ and ‘Is VPN Slowing Down Your Internet? Here Are 8 Easy Tips to Resolve It’.

If you need to get in touch with an actual person working at Surfshark, you can do so using a contact form or live chat. Someone will be right with you, no matter what time of day or night it is.

Bottom line

Surfshark has an impressive offer under very competitive prices, especially for the 2-year plan. It will easily connect you to some popular streaming channels, as well as facilitate seamless torrenting. It supports an unlimited number of devices and has apps for all the major platforms.

Our score: 4.5/5

Client software: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS
Supported Protocols: Open VPN, IPsec
No. of Servers: 1,040+
No. of Countries:
 60+
Country of registration: British Virgin Islands
Payment options: Credit card, PayPal, Cryptocurrency, AliPay, Google Pay.
Real name necessary? No
Encryption protocol: L2TP/IPSec
Data usage: Unlimited
Bandwidth usage: Unlimited
Max. no. of simultaneously connected devices: Unlimited
Customer support: 24/7 chat and email
Privacy policy: No logging