Surfshark Review

Updated: 2022-09-19 / Article by: Timothy Shim

Company: SurfShark

Background: Surfshark is a relatively young VPN brand. Unlike many new VPNs, it showed few teething problems at launch. The first few years saw Surfshark rapidly grow its server network. Today, it focuses on expanding new features. After a sterling run over the past years, Nord Security (the company that owns NordVPN) saw the light and bought Surfshark in early 2022.

Starting Price: $2.21/mo

Currency: USD

Visit Online: https://www.surfshark.com

Review Summary & Ratings

5

Having been a Surfshark customer since they launched, I am a huge fan. Despite their popularity, service quality and pricing have remained relatively consistent. This VPN offers fast speeds and excellent compatibility. It's also begun to include more interesting security features.



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Surfshark Speed Test Results

LocationDownload (Mbps)Upload (Mbps)Ping (ms)
No VPN (Benchmark)529.56497.071
United States (Seattle)360.49251.07195
United States (New York)375.84214.91222
United Kingdom (London)391.41204.96249
Germany (Berlin)346.38157.16352
Singapore494.17409.5110
Japan (Tokyo)455.935.10104
Australia (Perth)383.99243.53217

The top speed of my broadband connection is 500Mbps. With Surfshark, I can maintain that speed on most servers. Even when connected to a Surfshark server halfway across the world, performance remains decent. 

Get more details in review below.

SurfShark Price Comparisons

VPN Services*6 months Subscription1 Year Subscription2 / 3 Year Subscription
Surfshark$12.95/mo$3.99/mo$2.21/mo
AtlastVPN$10.99/mo$3.29/mo$2.05/mo
CyberGhost$12.99/mo$4.29/mo$2.29/mo
ExpressVPN$12.95/mo$6.67/mo$6.67/mo
IPVanish$10.99/mo$3.33/mo$3.33/mo
NordVPN$11.99/mo$5.89/mo$3.99/mo
TorGuard$9.99/mo$4.99/mo$4.99/mo
VyprVPN$15.00/mo$8.33/mo$8.33/mo

Pros: What I Like About Surfshark

1. Surfshark Offers Top-tier Security

Surfshark Offers Top-tier Security

Surfshark combines several features that give it the excellent security profile that VPN users need. It mandates some while giving you options with others for better control. While enabling all security options is advisable, you may need to toggle them for convenience.

Military-Grade Encryption

Surfshark data encryption is top of the line. Data encryption helps to ensure any information leaving your device is useless, even if it falls into the wrong hands. Surfshark uses AES-256 for data encryption, which is currently the highest level of data encryption possible. 

The encryption rate is one thing that Surfshark enforces. You don't have the option to disable or lower the encryption standard. That's best to avoid having you shoot yourself in the foot. Some VPN brands allow users to select lower encryption levels to boose speed, which isn't a great idea.

Automatic Kill Switch

You can enable or disable a kill switch option. With this enabled, Surfshark will prevent any data from leaving your device if it detects a disconnection from the VPN server. This way, you won't send data directly to a destination without the VPN protecting you.

This option is relatively standard across VPN services, and it's a good idea to ensure it's enabled. Often, I can't tell the difference whether my Surfshark connection is active or not since it's fast, regardless.

Security Protocols

Security protocols are VPNs' guidelines for transmitting data through your connection. Surfshark covers today's most commonly-used protocols, including IKEv2, OpenVPN (TCP and UDP), and WireGuard. The latter is my go-to choice since it's ridiculously fast.

Surfshark Security Protocols
To choose your Surfshark protocol manually, go to Settings > VPN Settings > Protocol.

MultiHop Servers

Where one is good, two are better. Instead of routing your connection through one VPN server, you can “hop” it through two. While this may be a redundant step, you can benefit from the extra challenge anyone will face if they try to trace your device.

I've tested Surfshark using a single and MultiHop connection. The speeds are similar. You don't have to worry about the extra routing slowing down your connection. My only complaint is that there are only a few Multi-hop connection locations available:

1st Surfshark MultiHop Server2nd Surfshark MultiHop Server
UKFrance
UKGermany
SingaporeHong Kong
USThe Netherlands
SingaporeThe Netherlands
USPortugal
GermanySingapore
FranceSweden
GermanyUK
AustraliaThe Netherlands
The NetherlandsUS
CanadaUS

*Highlighted cells indicate the best MultiHop server pairs to use.

If you plan to use MultiHop, I recommend choosing a pair of servers closer to each other. For example, Singapore and Hong Kong or Canada and the US. The relatively closer distance will help reduce unnecessary latency.

Camouflage Mode

Also known as server Obfuscation, Camouflage mode on Surfshark helps you hide the fact that you're using a VPN. Some websites are more rabid about detecting and blocking VPN users. What I like about Surfshark is that this mode is automatically enabled and works silently in the background.

NoBorders Mode

If you find that the network you're on is giving problems with Surfshark, then enable NoBorders Mode under your app settings. Although it's meant to be helpful in some restrictive countries, I find it useful in more niche situations. 

One example is when I connect to many office networks that have sensitive threat detection protocols. Using Surfshark NoBorders allows me to use my VPN without problems while on the “alien network.”

2. Great Privacy Options With Surfshark

Surfshark upgraded its infrastructure to 100% RAM-only servers
Surfshark became one of the first VPNs to upgrade the security of its infrastructure with a 100% diskless server network in mid 2020.

Aside from security, another hallmark of an excellent VPN is its privacy policy and technology. That's something I find Surfshark provides in spades. From its no-logging policies to lots of privacy features. This VPN is dedicated to protecting your interests and doesn't collect personal information or store any data on its servers. 

You can browse the web without worrying about others seeing what you do online. Privacy features I love at Surfshark include:

RAM-Only Servers

Surfshark servers run entirely on RAM. This form of volatile memory is much more expensive than standard storage devices like mechanical hard drives or even NVMe drives. They are also a lot faster.

The best part is that each reboot will wipe all data from Surfshark servers. That ensures any traces of you connecting through hose servers are gone at the pull of a plug. I can't think of any better way to ensure customers' privacy than ensuring that it's impossible to retain data.

IP Rotator

When I use a VPN, I often worry if it will assign me the same IP address if I repeatedly connect to the same server. Surfshark solves this problem for me by using an IP Rotator that swaps the assigned IP periodically.

The swap is seamless, so your IP may get changed multiple times during a single session. You won't even notice when it happens since there's no interruption to your browsing or web usage.

Incogni by Surfshark

Speaking of privacy, Surfshark also has another product called Incogni. While it's separate from the VPN, it helps you get your data out of the hands of data brokers. It's an interesting concept and I've found it quite helpful. Learn more in my Incogni review here.

3. Surfshark is a Trustworthy Choice

Surfshark notifies the public of any official requests for information it receives.
SurfShark Independent Audits
Surfshark lays claim to having gone through independent audits by Cure53. Here is their audit report on SurfShark VPN Chrome Extension (2018) and SurfShark Infrastructure (2021).

Surfshark was initially headquartered in the British Virgin Islands but recently moved to the Netherlands. The new location is still acceptable since that country also doesn't enforce data retention laws.

The Netherlands is also not within the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance group of countries – which I find vital when selecting a VPN. Other features that lend greater credibility include the strict no-logs policy, independent audits, and, most importantly, a Warrant Canary.

Warranty Canaries are public bulletins that display notice of all requests for private information. That includes demands from government agencies for data, gag orders, and more. It's a fantastic way of staying transparent to its users.

4. Excellent VPN Speed and Reliability on Surfshark

Our SurfShark Speed Test Results

LocationDownload (Mbps)Upload (Mbps)Ping (ms)
No VPN (Benchmark)529.56497.071
United States (Seattle)360.49251.07195
United States (New York)375.84214.91222
United Kingdom (London)391.41204.96249
Germany (Berlin)346.38157.16352
Singapore494.17409.5110
Japan (Tokyo)455.935.10104
Australia (Perth)383.99243.53217

Note: Discussing VPN speeds is an entirely different can of worms, so if you're not sure what makes your VPN go fast (or slow), check out my VPN guide here.

Speed is one of the anchor traits of any VPN service. A slow VPN is useless even if it's the most secure. Thanks to WireGuard, many VPN services – Surfshark included – can break speed barriers.

When using the WireGuard protocol with Surfshark, I can hit almost maximum line speeds for my VPN connection. That's something that OpenVPN never could do for me, even when connecting to nearby local VPN servers.

The top speed of my broadband connection is 500Mbps. With Surfshark, I can maintain that speed on most servers. Even when connected to a Surfshark server halfway across the world, performance remains decent. 

While OpenVPN is a tried and tested protocol, it simply can't match WireGuard in performance. Do note, though, that latency is still a consideration that WireGuard can't fully overcome. That's simply the law of physics.

More Details on Our Sufshark Speed Tests

Test Platform Specifications

  • Device – AMD Ryzen 5800X, 32GB RAM
  • OS – Windows 11
  • Router – Asus AX86U
  • Network Connection – Gigabit LAN
  • Internet Speed – 500 Mbps
  • Surfshark App – Version 3.4.4
  • Protocol Used – WireGuard
  • Physical Location: Malaysia

No VPN

Speed Test with no VPN
Speed test result with no VPN connection – Download = 529 Mbps; Upload = 497.07 Mbps (see actual test results).

US (Seattle)

Surfshark Speed Test from US Seattle
Surfshark speed test result from Seattle US – Download = 360 Mbps; Upload = 251 Mbps (see actual test results).

US (New York)

Surfshark Speed Test from US New York
Surfshark speed test result from New York US – Download = 375 Mbps; Upload = 214 Mbps (see actual test results).

UK (London)

Surfshark Speed Test from UK London
Surfshark speed test result from London UK – Download = 391 Mbps; Upload = 204 Mbps (see actual test results).

Germany (Berlin)

Surfshark Speed Test from Germany
Surfshark speed test result from Berlin Germany – Download = 346 Mbps; Upload = 157 Mbps (see actual test results).

Asia (Singapore)

Surfshark Speed Test from Singapore
Surfshark speed test result from Singapore – Download = 494 Mbps; Upload = 409 Mbps (see actual test results).

Australia (Perth)

Surfshark Speed Test from Australia
Surfshark speed test result from Australia – Download = 383 Mbps; Upload = 243 Mbps (see actual test results).

Japan (Tokyo)

Surfshark Speed Test from Tokyo Japan
Surfshark speed test result from Tokyo Japan – Download = 455 Mbps; Upload = 5 Mbps (see actual test results).

5. Wide Range of Devices Supported

The Surfshark Windows App is easy to use even for beginners. To select connect to their VPN servers, simply select “Fastest Location” or a country in the menu. To expand the Surfshark app menu, hover over the left navigation bar.

Surfshark maintains a simplistic yet highly functional user interface. The experience is consistent across most platforms. That's important since it works on multiple platforms, including Windows, Linux, macOS, various routers, etc.

Getting the perfect balance of a clean interface that isn't overly basic is a challenge many VPNs seem to face. Surfshark nails it by choosing the correct elements to prioritize, hide, or relegate to sub-menu settings. 

Devices Supported by Surfshark

You can use Surfshark on the following devices and platforms:

  • MacOs
  • iOS
  • Firefox Browser
  • Various routers
  • Various Smart TVs
  • Windows
  • Android
  • FireTV
  • Xbox
  • Linux
  • Chrome Browser
  • AppleTV
  • PlayStation

The range of platforms and devices Surfsharks supports is also important. Surfshark is one of the few VPN services that doesn't cap the number of connections you can use simultaneously – whether you're a family with six devices — each streaming Netflix or Hulu — or a business with multiple stores.

Today, thanks to IoT, practically everything is connected to the Internet. One household can easily have up to 10 devices connected to various networks. My place, for example, has three mobile phones, three tablets, four desktop PCs, one laptop, a router, and two smart TVs!

The only downside is that I've noticed a somewhat different experience on the various platforms. For example, using Surfshark on Linux can be more cumbersome than on most other platforms. However, this is likely due to the platform's nature rather than the Surfshark app.

6. Torrenting on Surfshark is Easy, Fast, and Safe

Torrenting is a double-edged sword for many service providers. On the one hand, it's popular and in demand by many users. The downside of that coin is the risk of P2P users infringing copyright, for which the service provider may be liable.

Still, Surfshark does well to open all its servers to torrenting activities. They provide sufficient bandwidth to ensure everyone gets a fair shake, even with high-volume data traffic. You can choose any Surfshark server for P2P; they don't restrict torrenting to a select few servers.

While speeds remain quite acceptable, you will find that using any VPN will slow down your torrent speeds somewhat. It's unavoidable, and I feel Surfshark has already done its best to mitigate that factor.

7. Surfshark Unlocks Many Streaming Platforms

I use Netflix the most and am happy that most regions I frequent have no problems working with Surfshark. That's mainly for the US, Australia, Japan, and Hong Kong.

The best VPNs for streaming have a few things in common. They're the ones that can best combine high-grade encryption, excellent speeds, and media platform compatibility. The result is a fast and reliable media streaming connection.

Surfshark is one of those VPNs. It is one of the best-performing VPN services I've tested, which makes it perfect for streaming UHD video content over the web. Surfshark works seamlessly with popular streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Disney+ and more.

8. Excellent Customer Support

Recent chat records with Surfshark support
One of my chat records with Surfshark support.

Checking out their customer support, I was delighted with the results each time. I contacted them twice, once with a sales inquiry and another with a more technical question. Both times responses were fast (within a few seconds).

I was also happy with the knowledge displayed by their support staff, who could resolve my issues quickly and efficiently.

Cons: What's Less-than-great About Surfshark

1. “Fastest Server” Isn't Necessarily Right

SurfShark Fastest Server Features

When I first ran the Surshark VPN app, I wanted to see how well it would do with everything on default. All I did was install it, enter my credentials then click on “fastest server.” The app connected me to a server in my country – with dismaying results. 

The same thing occurred with the “Nearest Server” option.

Select the server yourself if you want to get fast speeds on Surfshark. Choose one that's nearby in a location that boasts high-quality infrastructure. I found the best speeds when connected to a Surfshark server in Singapore.

2. Extra Security Costs More

SurfShark Antivirus

While I applaud Surfshark for maintaining low subscription fees, there's a reason why they can achieve that. The company separates the core VPN product from extra security features like antivirus, email monitoring, ID leak alerts, and more.

Opting for the additional security features means you need the Surfshark One package, which raises the monthly fee considerably. Still, the approach has its pros and cons. The downside is the increased overall cost of a comprehensive product.

The upside is that for users like me who already have threat protection, we don't have to pay for something we don't need.

Surfshark User Reviews – Why People Choose Surfshark

Hearing it from myself alone may give you some doubt. Surfshark, however, has the support of thousands of customers. The brand gets a solid 4.5 overall rating from over 15,000 TrustPilot reviews. That's something against which not many brands can compare.

Many users commented on Surfshark's excellent customer service, support, and user experience. I've also had a fantastic experience with Surfshark over the past three years as a customer.

Surfshark Plans and Pricing

How Much Does Surfshark VPN Cost?

Surfshark latest pricing
Surfshark is great value for money – the VPN supports unlimited device connections and costs only $2.49 per month.

Despite an expanding server network and an increasingly more significant number of features, Surfshark pricing is relatively consistent. They haven't raised rates through the roof.  When I signed up years ago, I paid $1.99/mo. Today, the price remains a mere $2.49/mo.

Where you can find cheaper options, Surfshark seems to be the apex of where price meets performance. I consider it an absolute steal for the quality of service it provides. 

To learn more, visit Surfshark online.

After You Purchase: How to Download and Install Surfshark

Before you download Surfshark, you should sign up for an account for a smoother experience. The download package is small and will only take a moment to get on your device. The process will differ slightly depending on what platform you're using;

Setup & Installation — Easy Setups, Even on Some Incompatible Devices

Installing Surfshark on Microsoft Windows

There are two main ways you can set up a SurfShark on Windows 10. The first and easiest way is to use the app provided by SurfShark. I prefer this since it's more convenient, and the native app offers more features.

Method 1. Installing Surfshark via their Windows App

To install the app:

  1. Visit the Surfshark website and download the Windows app
  2. Double-click the installer file to start setup
  3. When the installation completes, click “Run” to start the app

You'll be asked to either log in to your account or create a new one. If you have not yet signed up for the service, then choose to register an account. If you have an existing account, enter your email address and password. 

To connect to a SurfShark server, you can either click the “Connect” button and let Surfshark choose the best server for you or click on an option under the “Locations” tab if you wish to connect to any particular country/server. Surfshark has over 3,200 VPN servers in 65 countries.

Method 2. Manual Installation on Windows

setting up VPN on Windows 10 using manual installation
The OpenVPN GUI Interface is separate from your core Windows installation.

The way you set up your SurfShark manually on Windows depends on what protocol you wish to use.

Different VPN protocols offer different levels of security and performance. To learn more about this, read our VPN Guide. I usually prefer OpenVPN for its better security compared to other existing protocols.

To set up Surfshark manually for OpenVPN on Windows:

  1. Download the OpenVPN GUI (here) and install it
  2. Download OpenVPN configuration files (usually in a ZIP file ) from your VPN provider. I recommend you extract those files into a separate folder inside your OpenVPN installation directory (e.g., C:\Users\YourUsername\OpenVPN\config)
  3. Run the OpenVPN application
  4. Right-click on the OpenVPN icon on your notifications area (here)
  5. Choose the server you want, then click “Connect”
  6. Enter your username and password

Installing Surfshark on Android

setting up VPN on android
Surfshark App on Google Play Store.

Given the simplicity of how mobile devices handle things, setting up SurfShark on Android is probably the easiest of all methods:

  1. Launch the Play Store app on your device
  2. Search for Surfshark and install it
  3. Start the app and log in using your credentials
  4. Hit the “Connect” button to start the service

You can also choose your location from the list of servers/countries in the app.

Surfshark VPN for iPhone / iOS

setting up VPN on iOS
Surfshark app on Apple App Store.

Setting up a VPN on your iOS device should be just as simple as on the Android platform:

  1. Find the Surfshark app on the App Store
  2. Download and install the app
  3. Once that's done, just launch the app and hit the “Connect” button

Installing Surfsahrk on Web Browsers

SurfShark has browser-based extensions for both Chrome and Firefox. While these extensions are convenient and lightweight, I recommend using the complete app instead. The browser extensions are better for occasional users who don't often leave their VPN enabled.

Surfshark Google Chrome Extension

  1. Visit the Chrome web store and search for your VPN extension
  2. When you find the right one, click “Add to Chrome”
  3. Click on the extension icon on your browser toolbar
  4. Enter your login credentials
  5. Hit the “Quick Connect” button, and you're done

Surfshark Mozilla Firefox Extension

  1. Click on the Menu icon (with three horizontal lines) and select “Add-ons”
  2. Search for the Surfshark add-on and click on it
  3. Click on “+ Add to Firefox”
  4. Once installed, click the icon on the toolbar and enter your credentials
  5. Hit the “Quick Connect” button, and you're ready to go

Installing Surfshark on Routers

setting up VPN on routers
VPNs can be installed on some routers, but often have limited performance.

Before you start, you should know a few things about VPNs on routers. Since VPNs often use heavy encryption, performance on routers is often negatively affected due to their limited hardware capabilities.

Also, not all routers will support VPNs. If you want to use a VPN on your router, ensure that it can do so before signing up for the service! Like the manual configuration on Windows, you will need to download Surfshark's OpenVPN configuration files. Then:

  1. Sign in to your router's administration panel
  2. Click “VPN” from the menu and then “OpenVPN”
  3. Select “OpenVPN Client” and click “Add Profile”
  4. Select the “OpenVPN” tab and fill in your credentials
  5. Click “Choose File” to select an OpenVPN configuration file, then click “Upload”
  6. Click “OK”

The profile should appear under your list of VPN connections. To start any of them, choose the one you want and hit the “Activate” button.

Note: Currently, most routers have not yet implemented support for WireGuard. The one exception I know of is Asus. Even then, it's only available on the Beta firmware version for some of their router models. If you want to use WireGuard with Surfshark on your router, you will need one of the following Asus routers: GT-AX11000ZenWiFi XT8RT-AX88URT-AX82URT-AC86URT-AC68U.

To learn more, visit Surfshark online.

Verdict – Is Surfshark a Good VPN?

I love Surfshark and have been a fan of theirs since the early days. Over the years, my opinion hasn't changed. It's still one of the best VPN choices available. It's one of those services that manage to improve over time.

Aside from the excellent privacy and security, the speed at which Surfshark embraces new technologies like WireGuard is laudable. It was one of the first brands to jump into the pool – something many competitors are hesitant over.

I highly recommend Surfshark to anyone looking for a combination of the best VPN features at an affordable price.

Surfshark Alternatives

If Surfshark feels like it isn't a great match for you, there are other options. While hundreds of VPN brands are in the market, only a handful are fast, safe to use, and provide a decent user experience.

Compare Surfshark VPN with other providers

VPN Services*6 months Subscription1 Year Subscription2 / 3 Year Subscription
Surfshark$12.95/mo$3.99/mo$2.21/mo
AtlastVPN$10.99/mo$3.29/mo$2.05/mo
CyberGhost$12.99/mo$4.29/mo$2.29/mo
ExpressVPN$12.95/mo$6.67/mo$6.67/mo
IPVanish$10.99/mo$3.33/mo$3.33/mo
NordVPN$11.99/mo$5.89/mo$3.99/mo
TorGuard$9.99/mo$4.99/mo$4.99/mo
VyprVPN$15.00/mo$8.33/mo$8.33/mo

To see more choices in VPN services, check out our list of the 10 best VPN services.


Surfshark FAQs

Is Surfshark VPN recommended?

Yes Surfshark is recommended. Aside from the excellent privacy and security, the speed at which Surfshark embraces new technologies like WireGuard is laudable.I highly recommend Surfshark to anyone looking for a combination of the best VPN features at an affordable price.

How many devices can I install Surfshark on?

You can install Surfshark on unlimited number of devices. Surfshark is one of the few VPN services that doesn't cap the number of connections you can use simultaneously – whether you're a family with six devices or a business with multiple stores.

How much does Surfshark cost?

Surfshark costs $12.95 per month if you signup on monthly basis. For those who subscribe to their two years plan, prices drop to $2.49/mo.

How do I pay my Surfshark subscription fees?

You can pay Surfshark with all major credit cards (Visa, Master, Amex, Discover), PayPal, , Google Pay, Amazon Pay, or cryptocurrencies using CoinGate or CoinPayments.

Is Surfshark owned by NordVPN?

In early February 2022, Nord Security and Surfshark announced they were merging, making Nord Security the owner of both NordVPN and Surfshark. According to SurfShark's public announcement, the two companies will continue to operate as separate companies with separate VPN infrastructures and different business development plans.. 

Is Surfshark a Chinese company?

No. Surfshark is a VPN service company founded in British Virgin Islands and recently relocated this headquarter in the Netherlands. It is a subsidiary of Nord Security – which based in Panama. 

Are there any Surfshark apps for FireTV Stick, Apple TV, or smart TV?

Yes. Surfshark provides a number of apps for streaming devices like Roku, Apple TV, and Android TV. You can download these apps directly from the Google Play Store or Apple App Store.

Is cancelling Surfshark subscription easy?

Yes. You can easily cancel your Surfshark subscription by reaching out to their customer support via live chat or email ([email protected]).

Can Surfshark work in China?

Yes – based on our tests with Surfshark from within the Country suggest that SurfShark is one of the remaining key players which allow unrestricted Internet access to China-based users. However your connection may be inconsistent – especially during significant national holidays, like the communist party’s anniversaries.

Does Surfshark unblock Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer?

Yes, Surfshark unblocks most main stream media streaming platforms including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer.

Does Surfshark support split tunneling?

Yes, Surfshark supports “Split Tunneling” and calls it “Surfshark Bypasser”. With Bypasser, you can connect to two IPs at once and choose which data you want to encrypt and route thru Surfshark VPN.

About Timothy Shim

Timothy Shim is a writer, editor, and tech geek. Starting his career in the field of Information Technology, he rapidly found his way into print and has since worked with International, regional and domestic media titles including ComputerWorld, PC.com, Business Today, and The Asian Banker. His expertise lies in the field of technology from both consumer as well as enterprise points of view.