Surfshark VPN Review 2019: NordVPN and ExpressVPN has Some Serious Competition

last updated: 11 March 2019 written by: Sebastian Petrosi
Surfshark Review
Overall Rating
$11.95
$1.99/mo
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Pros

  • Low Price
  • 24/7 Fast customer support
  • No Leaks
  • Unlimited Devices
  • Strong Encryption
  • No logs
  • App Usability and Simplicity

Cons

  • Decent Speeds but Inconsistent
  • No Transparency about its Parent Company

Shark VPN is based in the British Virgin Islands, which is far away from the 14 eyes. This relatively new VPN has taken over the industry like a storm. It has garnered enough attention to attract many VPN users. It offers secure protocols like IKEv2 and OpenVPN, 500+ servers in 50 countries and unlimited torrent bandwidth. But what else does it have to offer? is it fast? does it work in China? does it support Netflix? Is their customer support good enough to handle user queries? All of these questions will be answered in this SurfShark VPN Review.

If you want more options you can go to our vpn reviews page for other VPN providers review. With that out of the way, lets get to the review.

Surfshark VPN Review

Before I begin, I’d like to state that I will be discussing each of SurfShark’s pros and cons in this review. This Surfshark Review will be to the point and concise so that you can make your decision quick and easy.

Surfshark VPN Review Summary

In our Surfshark VPN review, we tested the security offered by this brand. The level of encryption offered by Surfshark is AES-256-GCM and SHA-512 which are high in class and pretty much the industry average. Additionally the service also have its own DNS network along with apps with built-in DNS, WebRTC, and IPv6 leak protection. They have a strict no logs policy to compliment other features.

Surfshark also offer a kill switch which does not sound too special because all the top ones offer it, but for a new service, it is commendable. They offer round the clock support and their agents are actually quite good. Additionally the service currently owns a network of more than 500 servers in 50 countries across the globe. In terms of speed, they have a mile to go and we are hopeful that they will get things better in near future.

Our Surfshark VPN Review Score

  • Features: 3.2
  • Apps: 2.6
  • Security: 3.5
  • Speed: 3.1
  • Overall: 3.1

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Advantages of using SurfShark VPN

I have made a list of all the advantages of using SurfShark and discussed them individually.

Surfshark VPN No Logs Policy

Surfshark VPN makes it explicitly clear in their privacy policy that they do not keep any logs of its users at all. It states that, “Surfshark respects your privacy, therefore we are committed to not process any data related to the online activity of our users. Surfshark is based in British Virgin Islands, which does not require data storage or reporting. We do not collect IP addresses, browsing history, session information, used bandwidth, connection time stamps, network traffic and other similar data.”

I have emphasized this point a lot in my articles. You need to really dive into the logging policies of the VPN provider you choose. Make sure that they don’t keep any logs and even if they do, check what kind of logs they keep. In this case, Surfshark only keeps three types of data:

  1. Email Address for account registration
  2. Billing Information
  3. Diagnostic Reports

I have already gone through in details about logging policies in my No logs VPN and What is a VPN articles. The type of data Surfshark keeps is nothing to worry about.

SurfShark has no Leaks

Imagine that you are torrenting and in the background the VPN you are using leaks your IP. The next thing you know your ISP gets notified and you get slapped by a DMCA notice and a hefty fine. That would be a nightmare. Luckily, Surfshark is tightly sealed and it does not leak. I ran 6 different tests and all them showed that it did not leak.

But hey, don’t take my word for it. You can try this yourself using their 30-Days money back guarantee or using their free trial using a hack I know of ;).

SurfShark VPN is away from the 14 Eyes – The British Virgin Islands

SurfShark’s HQ is based in the British Virgin Islands which does not have any data retention laws and is far away from the 14 eyes. This means that SurfShark isn’t liable to hand over any kind of the data to the government. Surfshark has followed the footsteps of ExpressVPN which is also based in the same region but they have one up-ed them by ensuring that even Surfshark’s payment processors – except for one – are based outside the 14 eyes. That is some solid level of security.

To prove my point further. Take a look at SurfShark’s Warrant Canary. As of today Surfshark hasn’t received a single National Security letter, Gag Order or a Warrant from the government organization.

I bet this would be proof enough to show that SurfShark really is secure but wait there is more! Recently, SurfShark got audited by a company called Cure53 and here is what they had to say:

To sum up, Cure53 is highly satisfied to see such a strong security posture on the Surfshark VPN extensions, especially given the common vulnerability of similar products to privacy issues.

This shows the level of confidence the people of SurfShark has on its product and their boasts on their tight security is right on the money.

SurfShark Unblocks Netflix and Allow Unlimited Torrenting Bandwidth

Netflix has been a bane for every VPN provider. They have been blocking IPs which restricts users from accessing Netflix’s full library. SurfShark is one of those VPN providers that works with Netflix like a charm. Similarly, not every VPN provider allows torrenting and even if they do, they put a cap on downloading speeds. SurfShark not only allows torrenting but also gives you unlimited bandwidth.

Netflix

How do you get SurfShark to work with Netflix? Lets say you are located in Germany and you want to access the full library of American Netflix. All you have to do is select a USA and server and log on to Netflix. That is it! Out of 11 available servers I found that 7 of them worked fine. If you want to try a sure shot connection try the Los Angeles server.

Torrenting

SurfShark has stated in their torrenting policy that their product supports p2p/torrenting. You will get unlimited bandwidth and complete access to p2p on all of their servers. And you won’t have to worry about IP Leaks as I have already discussed that it does not leak any.

SurfShark Uses Standard Protocols

SurfShark has only two tunneling protocols

  1. OpenVPN
  2. IKEv2

OpenVPN is the most secure and sought out option. Their OpenVPN can switch between UDP and TCP, UDP is fast but lacks functionality whereas TCP is slow but more secure.

IKEv2 is also a very popular protocol as it offers a lot of features. You can switch between networks because of its flexible connection and its security is impenetrable.

You can easily switch protocols by going to settings> advanced settings > Protocols.

As to why does SurfShark only has two protocols support, I asked their support and they told me that L2tp and PPTP are outdated and they wanted to provide their users with the most secure options. I can’t argue with that but having more options is always good.

Surfshark’s diverse Features

Whitelister

This new feature is similar to Split-Tunneling. It allows you to add an exception for apps you don’t want to go through the VPN connection. It works best with mobile banking apps.

NoBorders Mode

This feature allows you access SurfShark in regions that does not allow VPNs like Iran and China. Its a neat feature but still needs to tweak a bit.

Multi-hop

Surfshark is one of the handful of VPN services which offer multi hop VPN connections. Double hop and multiple hops connections are advanced VPN connections which enhances the security and privacy of the users. It is because the request of the user gets to its destination through multiple VPN servers on its way, rather than only one. Additionally, the data gets re-encrypted every time a new server transmit the data packets. You can read more about Muti-Hop VPN in our article.

Kill Switch

Internet kill switch is one of the most common, yet important feature that almost all the VPN service providers offer. Although it is offered by almost all the services, but its functionality and effectiveness is not that common. We tested the kill switch by Surfshark and it work most of the time. However, they are continuously improving the service, so we can hope it will get better soon.

CleanWeb

CleanWeb is the trademark feature offered by Surfshark. It consists of three tools which include an ad blocker, trackers blocker and malware blocker. These three combined makes CleanWeb which is a really great name for a feature that kills all the trackers, ads and does not let any malicious site of ad to pop up. This is how it cleans the browsing experience for the user, hence the CleanWeb.

24/7 Customer Support

Like many other ace VPN services in the market, Surfshark also offers a 24/ customer support where the users are sufficiently helped by the skilled agents. The customer support of Surfshark is quite reliable and commendable as they are not only very responsive but also very helpful to help in troubleshoot or setup the VPN on any compatible device.

Unlimited VPN Connections

Another sufficient feature that is offered by Surfshark and only a handful others is the unlimited simultaneous VPN connections. It means that a user of Surfshark can use a single account on unlimited devices. A single paid account can easily cover all the personal devices and home devices of the user without paying extra.

These are some of the notable features that Surfshark offers with its paid plans. These features certainly are impressive enough to make users try the service out. However, the pricing plays a really crucial role in making users decide to get the service. Let’s see our review of Surfshark’s pricing in the next section.

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Surfshark VPN Low Prices

The VPN prices of Surfshark do not make it fall in the category of cheap VPN services. It offers three pricing plans which actually differ in the duration of the subscription. These pricing plans are:

1 month: $11.95/Month

1 year: $5.99/Month i.e. $71.88 for the yearly subscription

2 years: $1.99/Month i.e. $47.76 for the two years subscription

surfshark review

These pricing certainly do not feel too affordable, neither too expensive. However, these plans certainly do put the brand on the expensive ones’ bracket. Still Surfshark has managed to impress the users and become popular quite quickly. In addition to this, Surfshark accepts payments through credit cards, PayPal and various crypto currencies. This covers almost all the popular currencies which users may wish to use, including the anonymous payment methods.

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SurfShark’s Servers & Locations

Surfshark boasts to have more than 500 online VPN servers in 50 countries. It certainly is not the biggest network that we know a VPN owns, but it is very impressive considering the fact that it is relatively a very new VPN service. These 50 countries easily cover all the major countries which users wish to connect. Also, the brand often adds more servers which is beneficial for the users.

In terms of performance and speed, the service is neither too impressive but not bad at all. It is on the right path to offer a great, stable and fast service. Currently, the users might face minor connection stability issues and slow speeds on some servers, due to network congestion or server overload.

SurfShark’s Apps Usability and Simplicity

SurfShark has kept its apps simple and easy to use. You can easily connect to SurfShark with a single tap of a button. You can also switch between servers. And the best part is that the UI is constant on all apps. Currently, SurfShark has apps on the following OS.

  1. Windows
  2. Mac
  3. Android
  4. iOS
  5. Fire TV
  6. Chrome and Firefox

Surfshark VPN for Mac

SurfShark has launched its app for Mac OS and my first impressions are amazing. I will cover it more detail but for now all I can say is that it has the potential to be the best VPN for Mac. You can try it out, they are offering 7-days trial. Also, you need to have mac OS 10.12 or higher.

Surfshark review mac

Surfshark VPN for iPhone

Surfshark’s app for iPhone and iPad is available on the app store for the users. Surfshark offers a seven days free trial on the iOS app. It is comparatively new and not fully impressive. Still, the VPN functions and options work pretty well considering the fact that it is a relatively new service. However, do not expect any advanced options or feature from Surfshark VPN for iOS.

surfshark review ios

Surfshark VPN for Windows

The app of Surfshark VPN for Windows is still in beta phase but available for the users. Since it is the beta phase, you cannot expect it to be perfect. Neither you can expect it to give you brilliant options and advanced VPN features. So, you can see what it would be. However, it is continuously being developed and getting better with each passing day. So, it certainly is worth a shot, as you get a 30 days money back guarantee with it. Read more to find out which are the best windows vpn.

Learn how to configure Surfshark VPN to Windows 10 properly.

surfshark review windows

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Surfshark VPN for Android

Surfshark for Android app is also available on Google’s play store, like its other counterpart for Apple mobile devices. It is quite similar to the iOS version, except for the options and design which are required for the android platform. In terms of performance and speed, it is average and getting better. Like other versions, you cannot expect many advanced features and option from this app like you might do from other top VPN providers, but they are actually just getting started. Read more on android vpn.

surfshark review android

Surfshark VPN for Router

Surfshark VPN support all the DDWRT routers and others which support OpenVPN in the firmware. It does not offer any applet for the routers, but still have easy to follow user guides which can help any user configure the VPN on the router. It is always a good idea to use a VPN on the router level so that the whole network of the home can be protected by the VPN. Read more on how to setup best vpn routers.

Disadvantages of using SurfShark

SurfShark Speeds are good but Inconsistent

SurfShark has good speeds but they were inconsistent. Let me explain how, I tested SurfShark with 5 locations

  1. London
  2. Amsterdam
  3. Los Angeles
  4. Hong Kong
  5. Singapore

My physical location was Germany, when I tried connecting to these server the speeds were varying a lot. For example, there was a 20% drop in my downloading speed when I connected to London and Amsterdam. This drop is reasonable and you should expect this drop when you connect to a VPN. But when I connected to the other 3 servers the speeds were all over the place. The speeds dropped by 80% and at times it went close to my base speed by 80%. I had to reboot, switch protocols and talk to support to try and figure all of this out.

Any other user would have just quit but since I was testing for the review I wanted to make sure that I’d get the right result. I am not sharing any screenshots right now as I am still testing and once I am done I will update this section.

No Transparency Behind the Parent Company

Almost every other review site is concerned with this point. SurfShark hasn’t disclosed their parent company and there is a lot of chatter that they might be owned by another VPN provider. I can’t say for sure so I am not going to dwell on this. I wouldn’t say that this is a big problem but it would have been better if they had disclosed this info. VPN providers like ExpressVPN and NordVPN have kept everything transparent which is why a lot VPN users trust them. SurfShark should do the same.

Is SurfShark Worth buying? A definite, Yes!

SurfShark has strong security features, great apps, decent speeds and is priced reasonably well. I know my point “Decent Speeds” contradicts with the what I said earlier but I am still testing and their support has been very helpful. Hopefully I will figure this out. Speaking of support, their live support is awesome and they really try to present the solution to the problem you have presented.

To end this review I’d say that even though SurfShark is new in the market but because of their tight security and awesome feature they will give VPN giants like ExpressVPN and NordVPN a run for their money. Go give it a try, SurfShark is worth every penny.

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published on: 05 December 2018