Surfshark

Karl Cunningham Jan 26 2021

VPN Rating
9.5 /10
Minimum Price
$2.49 /Month
Comparisons won
4 /5
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Surfshark is an excellent VPN solution effusively packed with incredible features, covering over  3200+ servers scattered across 65 different countries globally. Unlike other established names in the VPN industry, Surfshark is more of an underdog that has recently taken the VPN arena by storm, deploying high-level encryption, privacy safeguards, and leak protection all, at a cheaper rate.

This VPN (Surf shark) product’s arsenal constitutes of super impressive features and capabilities. It is, therefore, those traits that have made Surfshark VPN to climb the ladder straight to the Top 5 VPNs as per the year 2020. At the time of writing this review, Surfshark VPN was capable to provide their users with; (i) strict no-logs policy, whereby user’s privacy is considered as a right instead of a privilege, in addition to “not” monitoring or logging anything clients do online. (ii) Industry-leading encryption, tailored to shield user’s online activities, and secure their data plus privacy through some of the best encryption algorithms of time. (iii) White lister, a handy feature suitable for the banking sector to allow selected apps or websites to bypass VPN connection. (iv) Up to 15 and many more Netflix libraries (v) CleanWeb and Kill Switch among others.

Additionally, the low cost (half price than most of their competitors) and a wide range of device supports are yet some of the intriguing features that any VPN user might need to try in the services synced with the Surfshark. These plus many more are some of the justification as to why Surf shark is rapidly becoming a VPN Champ.

Now, we can dive deep into the nitty-gritty of the surfshark VPN by answering the following questions.

• What is the login policy of this VPN product?

• How is the fleet of their server list distributed globally

• How fast is the speed of surfshark

• Does it allow Torrenting and streaming services?

• How wide is their platform supports

• In terms of pricing? How does surfshark VPN fares?

Overview

An illustration of the Surfshark overview

From the above overview, we can grasp some of the pertinent reasons as to why surfshark is believed to “ingesting their competitor’s deal alive”. However, to get a fair and unbiased insight, we had to check the advantages against the disadvantages affiliated with the usage of this new VPN brand (Surfshark). The table below depicted some of the merits and demerits of this mighty product for the users to make their informed decision.



Server Locations

How is the fleet of surfshark server list geographically distributed?

As a beginner, surfshark is struggling to cover a wide geographical area of their potential users, with approximately 1,700 servers distributed across the 63 + countries. Including Europe, The Americas, Asia pacific, not forgetting the middle-East and Africa. Note, just like some VPN providers, the distribution of the surfshark servers is unequal for instance in Africa, Only Libya, Nigeria, Egypt, Algeria, and South Africa are the countries enjoying the access to their (surfshark) servers.


Note, when we compared the surfshark server list distribution against their established competitors, like the Nord and Express VPN, and came out with the histogram of margins below.


Comparative analysis of the surfshark with express and Nord VPN server distributions.


The above analysis demonstrated the gaps that surfshark needs to fill in order to outshine its close contender in the VPN industry. However, considering the fact that Surfshark is a newly established solution, the sky is their limit in the expansion of the server distributions. At the time of writing this review, their network has covered Hongkong, Turkey and many other oppressive countries where the internet is highly censored and web contents blocked or restricted.

Logging

How do I know if the surfshark VPN can be trusted?

Any VPN user is always concerned about the trustworthiness of their VPN providers, similarly, this is a query that the surfshark subscribers would definitely want to address. Well, to clarify on this, Surfshark VPN firstly, operates under the jurisdiction of the British Virgin Islands, which is a perfect place to guarantee their strict no-logs policy. Additionally, it is one of the few VPNs which has managed to beat all the odds in completing an independent security audit returning no security issues. This audit (test on the surfshark extensions) was conducted by the third party called Cure53, an industry-leading web security service provider, dedicating their efforts to testing various online services. Their findings were that Chrome and Firefox extensions stand out with the relation “to being very rare for the VPN browser extension products, which commonly suffer from various issues.” Below is an overview of what was detailed in the report according to the surfshark blog.


The snapshot of an Audit Security Report by the Cure53 team


On the other side, the report also presented two vulnerabilities though with low severity, quoted by the cure53 team as “out of the two, only one is an actual vulnerability and not even related to the browser extension itself, and the other one was a general weakness.” Our teams have already addressed the issues to guarantee a bullet-proof service by all means. Said, the cure53 findings.

With the above findings, we deduced that the strategic location and the independent security audits are some of the supportive reasons to why this newly VPN product has a strong no logging philosophy. This should possibly help to answer the question of their trustworthiness.

Speed

These are the speed test results we found when testing Surfshark. Please note that these results always vary depending on your location, internet provider and the time of day. To take these variables into account, we’ve also included a speed test of our own connection without VPN as a benchmark.

Speed without a VPN (Speedtest.net):

Surfshark Speedtest No VPN

These are the speedtest.net results of our own connection without using a VPN.

Speed with a local server (Speedtest.net):

Surfshark Speedtest Netherlands

These are the speedtest.net results of our connection when we connected to the fastest Surfshark VPN server, closest to our testing location. We did this test to show the speeds a server close to your location might reach (also depending on your data plan of course). The closer the server is to your actual location, the smaller the detour your data has to take. This means that the delay will generally be smaller.

Speed when connected to a distant server (Speedtest.net):

Surfshark Speedtest USA

These are the speedtest.net results of our connection when we connect to a random Surfshark VPN server that’s far away from us (in this case the USA).

As you can see, the internet speeds decrease when we’re using Surfshark. Our local Surfshark server has a slightly higher ping and slightly slower download and upload speeds. With the distant servers, this difference is quite significant, with the ping peaking, and especially the upload speed lowering quite drastically.


Please note: this does not mean the quality of the American servers is worse than that of our local servers. It just shows that servers far away from you affect your speed more than servers that are close. The American servers are still of very good quality, and they are perfect for watching American Netflix.

Encryption

How secured is the usage of this VPN in addition to privacy features?

In terms of  security, surfshark is such a phenomenal player with bolstered military-grade security features and vast connection protocols in place. To begin with, the Auto Kill Switch feature, the secure protocols like the OpenVPN UDP and TCP, IKEv2, and the AES-256-GCM industry-leading encryption, are very handy to block internet access and prevent identity leaks in case the connection ever drops. Also, Surfshark has its private DNS on each server to reduce the chance of others spying on their user's activities hence creating an powerfullayer of security.

Apart from the above, surfshark further provides other advance formidable security features like the MultiHop which is quite a significant capability that offers an extra layer of protection by directing users traffic through two encrypted servers before reaching their final destination. The CleanWeb too helps to protect users from malware, and phishing attempts. With the help of this feature (CleanWeb), the surfshark users could easily forget that annoying ads and trackers even exist in the cyberspace.In addition, the Camouflage Mode incorporated with the surfshark solution uses specialized obfuscated servers that can easily bypass network firewalls and other internet blocks. This is, therefore, a big deal for oppressed countries with hefty internet access restrictions. Note, it operates by totally stopping user’s ISP from monitoring any of their activity. However, the downsize with Camouflage Mode is the compatible issue whereby it only works with the OpenVPN apps on Windows, Android, and iOS.

To address the privacy of users and their data, surfshark VPN equally implements the above mentioned secure protocol and the industry-leading encryptions. Furthermore, it has incorporated the web scan & alert feature together a new online search tool dubbed Blind search that never collects user’s browsing history.

Note, the strategic headquarter of the surfshark in the British Virgin Island, is yet another supplementary factor to the commitment of this VPN product in terms of privacy and maintaining a strict no login policy. This is because the British Virgin Island is a well-known location that is out of the jurisdiction pertaining to the invasive EU and US data retention laws.

Devices & Platforms

Does it allow Torrent and Streaming services and How wide is the  platform supports?

“Oh yes”, surfshark is indeed a game-changer to the internet users, who are obsessed with streaming or accessing geo-restricted content, on platforms like Netflix, BBC iplayer, Amazon prime video, and HULU among others. Our review proved that the Connection time while using surfshark was lighting fast, thus resulting in high-quality video with no buffering. For instance, in the United States, surfshark is capable to unblock up to 16 different Netflix libraries. Also, the Netflix US server contains access to most of the other countries’ servers apart from those of  Germany, Korea, Netherlands, Italy, Canada, Singapore, Turkey, France, Australia, Brazil UK, Japan, or India.

Note. As a fresh entrant, It’s just a matter of time to confirmwhether this VPN product is that good for streaming Netflix and other services.Meanwhile, It is still one of the best VPNs for streaming media services.

Another excelling point for the Surfshark VPN is the Torrenting aspect. This point is strengthened by the fact most Surfshark Servers support reliable Torrenting alongside secure P2P sharing. In that regard, therefore, it is compatible with famous P2P sites like ThePirateBay and LimeTorrents. P2P clients like BitTorrent, Vuze, and uTorrent not forgetting the streaming players like VLC, Popcorn Time, and the Ace Player. In an effort to ensure the anonymity of the users, Surfshark allows connection to The Onion Router (TOR) network, to secure the browsing experience of their users.

However, the windows native app for surfshark VPN is still in beta phase, which poses a million-dollar question of how the alpha version will place itself in the nearby future VPN market. There are notable inconsistencies whenoperation, some function might work effectively in one app and fails in another. For instance, whereas An Android or Windows native apps can allow users to select their VPN protocol in the Settings Tab, the iOS and macOS do not support.

Besides this petty inconsistency, surfshark is still ahead of its competitor by regularly aligning the app’s features in different platforms, for example, features like kill switch, No Borders mode, MultiHop, and the CleanWeb feature cuts across all the major platforms. The image below depicts some of the platforms used by the Surfshark VPNs.

Compatible platforms for running Surfshark

Support

The download, installation, and usage of Surfshark VPNs is quite simple and straight forward. These appealing interfaces are the major reasons as to why Surfshark’s applications are easy to use even to beginners.

Considering customer support, Surfshark deploys numerous mechanisms to solve both technical and non-technical question, these include, 24/7 live chat support, Email supports FAQ, and Knowledgebase containing tutorials, General info, and Billing. Note, the live chat support is commendable for its fast and informative response.

However, there is no phone support for users who might need phone calls to answer their queries. Also when we compared the knowledge base with other VPN providers, we acknowledge that Surfshark VPN presents few contents. Though we hope to see improvement in this part as time goes by.

Pricing
1.99
Surfshark 83% OFF 2 years plan

Surfshark /Limited Offer

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The record shows that most of the better performing VPNs are relatively expensive. On the contrary, for Surfshark, no matter what kind of payments plans is purchased, Surfshark provides the same advanced features. As displayed on their official website, the monthly charge goes for $11.95, followed by an annual package with a monthly payment of $5.99. For the long term subscribers, there is a 24 months package with a monthly payment of $1.99. The thumb rule here is, the longer the subscription, the lower rate.


Payment plans and rates
1 Month $12.95 $12.95/month

USD 12.95 billed every month

Save 0%
24 Month $310.80 $2.49/month

USD 59.76 billed every 24 months

Save 83%
12 Month $155.40 $4.59/month

USD 55.08 billed every 12 months

Save 65%

Note, Surfshark offers a 7 days legit free trial version of the app that can be download from either Apple Store or Google play after supplying the credit card details. In this case, the user's account would not be charged until the validity of the 7 days trial period has expired and the user has opted to continue with the service.

Payment method. Surfshark accepts payment from numerous payment options cutting across the major credit cards and cryptocurrencies. As displayed in the image below.

Supported payment methods

Remember, regardless of payment method, surfshark provides a 30-day money-back guarantee. This can be applied as collateral by the users who would wish to first test the product before fully committing. In a situation where they are not satisfied, they can apply for a refund using the 30days scheme.

The Bottom Line

From the slogan “Surfshark eating other VPN deal alive”, we can imagine “not only” how appealing the surfshark is, but also relate how fully packed and unique features they have. For that interpretation, we did a very quick analysis by citing some few parameters to compare how existing renowned VPN providers battles against the surfshark in this contemporary VPN industry as follows.

An illustration of Surfshark’s performance against other established VPN providers.

As depicted above, any enthusiast VPN user exceedingly in need of unlimited device supports, vast Netflix libraries, and a lively 24/7 customer support at a lower cost, should never hesitate to check out the unwavering capabilities of the Surfshark VPN.

However, being a new entrant in the market. It will take some time for this product to evenly expand its server across several geographical boundaries.

About The Author
Karl Cunningham
Karl Cunningham Tech Writer, VPN Expert

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