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Surfshark review

You don’t have to spend big to get a fully-featured VPN

Surfshark VPN review
(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

As long as you’re willing to take out a two-year contract, Surfshark is one of the best value VPNs on the market today. Not only does it offer unbeatable value for money, but it also comes with more or less every feature you could need and a generous unlimited device policy.

For

  • Unblocks Netflix, iPlayer and the rest
  • Unlimited devices policy
  • Plenty of servers around the world
  • Well-designed apps

Against

  • Customer support not the absolute best

Surfshark is a VPN provider that operates from a homebase in the British Virgin Islands. This choice of jurisdiction means that Surfshark isn’t obliged to retain any data about its users – great news if you’re looking for a VPN that’s able to protect your privacy. 

This VPN goes above and beyond when it comes to safeguarding your browsing activity, and to do this it uses multi-hop server technology and even camouflages itself to prevent your ISP from detecting VPN use.

Alongside that, Surfshark also offers great value in its longer plans, which makes it a good choice for those looking to stay safe online for a relatively small outlay. So, read on for our full review, in which we will explore a number of Surfshark's features to help you decide if this VPN provider is right for you.

Surfshark VPN review - homepage

(Image credit: Surfshark)

Plans and Pricing

One of Surfshark’s major selling points is its extremely low monthly cost, with prices starting at a mere $1.99 per month for a 24-month contract. It's understandable that some users may feel apprehensive about starting a two-year plan, but most competitors are charging about the same overall for a single year of service. 

However, the two-year Surfshark package is the only one that offers truly good value for money – the single-month and one-year plans aren't priced quite so keenly ($11.95 and $5.99 a month respectively), and for contracts of this length, you’ll find plenty of competitors offering comparable rates.

All Surfshark plans also come with a 30-day money back guarantee, so from a pricing standpoint there’s little reason not to give Surfshark a go – especially if you're happy to commit to a two-year subscription.

  • More: Grab yourself a bargain with the best cheap VPN

Features

Without doubt, Surfshark's most useful feature is the unlimited number of devices you can install the Surfshark client on and connect to the internet simultaneously. This is unusual to see, and means you can effectively use a single account to install a VPN on every device you use to connect to the web. 

Surfshark has released client applications for all manner of products, including TVs, consoles, desktops, and mobiles, which means your one subscription really will go the distance. Another useful feature, also available on all its apps, is its ability to access geo-blocked streaming services – and for this reason it features on our best Netflix VPN list

Surfshark VPN review - unlimited device policy

(Image credit: Surfshark)

Keeping your identity and activity secure is a major part of any VPN’s feature set, and we’re happy to report that Surfshark does well in this regard. Not only does it have a strict data retention policy, but it also encrypts all browsing activity using encryption standards and protocols such as AES-256, OpenVPN, and UDP. 

Surfshark actually goes a step beyond many other VPN providers with a small group of multi-hop servers. Effectively, these allow you to tunnel your traffic through two Surfshark servers at once, making it even harder to trace your browsing activity.

Besides identity protection, other noteworthy Surfshark features include a whitelist to let certain apps or websites bypass your VPN connection (split tunnelling by any other name), and an ad-blocking and malware protection tool.

Interface and in use

We tested Surfshark on a variety of devices, and in each case we found that getting set up was as easy as downloading the app and logging in with our new account details. 

No matter what device you use Surfshark on, you’ll receive a fairly consistent user experience. The main part of the interface is taken up by a server list sorted by location and divided into categories such as favorites, multi-hop, and static IP. To connect to a location, simply click its name. 

Overall, the Surfshark interface is minimalist, and you won’t encounter any unusual design choices. Everything works well, though, and first-time VPN users will have no problem figuring out what’s going on. With some devices, you can enable a Surfshark dark mode, which we felt improved the interface’s aesthetic significantly.

Surfshark VPN review - server list

(Image credit: Surfshark)

While testing Surfshark, we were impressed by the download speeds and connection times this VPN achieved. We tried connecting to a number of Surfshark servers from the U.S. and UK, and each time connections were established within a few seconds. 

Our 75Mbps UK test line recorded an average download speed of 68Mbps when connected to Surfshark servers, while our US 600Mbps line averaged 120Mbps. Although this means bandwidth was somewhat reduced in the USA, Surfshark will still be adequately speedy for most uses including watching Netflix.

Support

In terms of support, you can find answers to most questions through Surfshark’s handy support site. Installation guides are available for all supported platforms as well as a broad selection of how-to articles addressing common problems.

You can also launch a live chat message session by hitting the Support icon displayed on the bottom right of most pages on the Surfshark website. This service is available 24/7, and throughout our Surfshark review, customer support representatives responded to our queries quickly. 

Though we could tell advisors were using a support script at first, once they understood our questions they provided informative, personalized and actionable advice.

The competition

Although Surfshark is one of the cheapest VPNs on the market, it’s not free. If you only want to use a VPN occasionally, you can save cash with ProtonVPN, which is totally free to use. However, there are some significant drawbacks with ProtonVPN, of course, such as a heavily limited choice of servers. 

Surfshark nails the core VPN essentials, including price point, features, and security. However, it only has a moderate 1,700 servers and some users will be willing to pay a premium for a broader selection of locations and IP addresses. While Surfshark's server selection is more than adequate, if you're looking for breadth it could be worth investigating ExpressVPN or CyberGhost – both of these have considerably more servers to choose from than Surfshark. 

Surfshark: Final verdict

For users on a budget, Surfshark is the best value VPN on the market right now – as long as you don’t mind signing up to a two year plan, that is. Throughout our time with Surfshark we were impressed by its reliability and its comprehensive list of features, putting it on a par with more expensive competitors, while its streaming capabilities and clean interface make it great for casual users as well as experts.

However, alongside price, the unlimited number of devices that can connect using a single account is what really sets Surfshark apart from its competition. 

Specs

Supported platforms: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, Fire TV, Apple TV, other TVs, PlayStation, Xbox, Chrome & Firefox (browser extensions)
Supported protocols: OpenVPN UDP, OpenVPN TCP, L2TP, IKEv2, Shadowsocks, Wireguard (forthcoming)
No. of servers: 1,700+
No. of countries: 63+
Country of registration: British Virgin Islands
Payment options: Credit card, PayPal, Google Pay, Bitcoin, Ripple, Ethereum
Real name necessary? No
Encryption protocol: AES-256
Data usage: Unlimited
Bandwidth usage: Unlimited
Max. no. of simultaneously connected devices: Unlimited
Customer support: 24/7 chat and email
Privacy policy: No logging

  • See where Surfshark sits on the list of today's very best VPNs

  • tuanton
    Tried Surfshark from my location in Malaysia. My main interest was connecting to UK sites BBCiplayer/ITV Hub and other TV Catch Up sites. I took out a months subscription on trial and didn't get good results - continual lag which needed continual re-connection on most sites. I cancelled the subscription and received refund as promised. Later discovered I had problem with my laptop driver which I had fixed and this re-established my laptop fast internet speeds. Because of Surfshark pricing I was tempted to try again which I did, unfortunately with no improvement in the performance of Surfshark. I cancelled again and because I had previously tried there was no refund the second time, something worth remembering because most other companies did offer refunds for 2nd tries.
    I accept and think a lot depends on your location but certainly can't agree with Surfshark's 'Blazing Speeds' claims. Of the many VPN's I have tried to replace my expensive Express VPN subscription which is coming to an end, there have been others with much higher speeds. I was fortunate ultimately in discovering one that offered 7 days free trial without credit card and which turned in the best performance of all I had tried. In the end cheap is not always the best option.
    Reply