Surfshark Review (2022) – An Excellent VPN for an Excellent Price
Surfshark has been on an upward trajectory ever since its launch in 2018. What started out as a simple Android app has quickly become one of our all-time favorites here at VPNOverview.
We’re talking about the first VPN service to ever receive the AV-Test’s seal of approval. It’s also the only VPN that got its first independent audit the very year it was released. Today, the Surfshark VPN is one of the most well-known and reliable VPN providers in the world.
While all of this looks great on paper, we wanted to know how it actually performs. We put it through its paces in our Surfshark VPN review, and let’s just say, even we were surprised!
Read our full Surfshark VPN review below to find out how it performed during our relentless testing circuit.
Surfshark VPN: A Short Review
|Secure protocols and no-log policy||No dedicated IPs yet|
|Automatic kill switch||Subpar Linux client|
|Seamless server switching|
|Unlimited simultaneous connections|
|Easy to use install & use|
|Great customer service|
|Easily unblocks Netflix and other streaming services|
|Torrenting is allowed|
|Useful extra features such as CleanWeb (adblocker), NoBorders Mode, Camouflage Mode (stealth VPN),|
and Bypasser (Split tunneling)
Considering these aspects, the Surfshark VPN is an excellent choice that’s on par with the long-term champion, NordVPN. That’s a testament to the company’s dedication to improving Surfshark VPN, and it’s paid off. If you’re convinced, they have a 30-day free trial, so check it out below!
- Torrenting allowed
- Works with Netflix
- Zero logs
- Credit card
Speed — How Fast Is Surfshark VPN?
We saw some pretty phenomenal results in our Surfshark speed tests. We didn’t face any issues during everyday use and could browse the web, stream HD videos, and download large files without any hiccups. In fact, Surfshark VPN is much faster than many other VPNs we’ve tested. That’s why it gets a 9.5/10 for speed.
Here’s a brief overview of this section:
- Surfshark VPN dishes out amazing speeds.
- We experienced no major fluctuations during daily use.
Surfshark VPN speed test results
We ran several speed tests on Surfshark VPN. The aim was to try different servers and evaluate the impact on download and upload speeds. Our results are summarized in the table below.
Please note that speeds may vary for you depending on your location and the speed of your internet connection.
The first row shows our internet speed with no VPN connection while the second row shows the speeds when we let Surfshark automatically connect to the fastest server available. The rest are servers from specific countries.
|Server||Download (MBPS)||% Download||Upload (MBPS)||% Upload||Ping (MS)|
|The U.K (London)||87.91||92.8%||87.80||92.6%||14|
|The U.S (New York)||85.91||90.7%||49.88||52.6%||80|
As you can see, for most servers, there was barely any impact on our upload and download speeds. Surfshark has yielded some of the best and fastest speed test results of any of the VPNs we’ve tested.
Even though for some servers that are geographically further away, the upload speed reduced significantly, the download speeds remained high. This ensured a seamless streaming and browsing experience with an active connection to Surfshark VPN.
Speed during daily use
Because of the test results, especially those of the US server, we had hope that the standard internet speeds during daily use were going to be great. The VPN didn’t disappoint: it worked seamlessly during everyday use. We also tested Surfshark VPN whilst surfing, watching shows on Netflix, downloading torrents, and playing online games, and it exceeded our expectations every time.
While browsing, we didn’t notice Surfshark’s effect on our internet speeds at all. Loading websites, emailing, downloading attachments, and browsing social media were all incredibly smooth. We had no issues watching videos on YouTube and streaming content on Netflix, either.
Netflix even appeared to buffer faster than with other VPN providers. We can confidently say that Surfshark VPN is an ideal choice for streaming (especially Netflix).
Downloading torrents wasn’t an issue either. We managed to download relatively large files in no time. What’s more, Surfshark automatically detected that we were using a torrenting program and switched from a regular VPN server to a specialized P2P server to facilitate the download. This was a nice touch, and definitely boosted speeds.
And, we didn’t experience any lag while gaming. We connected to both local and US servers without noticeable delays. Like always, we tried graphics-intensive, first-person shooting games to see how the VPN would hold up. There was a slight latency drop, but it was marginal. The gameplay wasn’t affected at all.
Safety — How Secure Is Surfshark VPN?
We found Surfshark to be a very secure VPN provider. From masking your true IP and encrypting your traffic to avoiding dangerous logging, Surfshark passes every test with flying colors. That’s why we gave it a 9/10 for security.
The most noteworthy security features include:
- Surfshark VPN supports OpenVPN, IKEv2, and Wireguard.
- It does not keep any harmful logs.
- It comes with an automatic kill switch.
- The registration only requires your email address and payment info.
Surfshark has AES-256-bit encryption and uses, among others, the two safest VPN protocols right now: OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPSec. This shows they clearly aren’t willing to compromise when it comes to their users’ security.
Since the start of November 2021, Surfshark no longer offers Shadowsocks, its encrypted proxy specifically designed to bypass censorship in China. Instead, its NoBorders mode can help users in restrictive regions.
Further, Surfshark has recently introduced the WireGuard protocol for all Android, Windows, iOS, macOS, and Linux users. Wireguard uses the ChaCha20 encryption algorithm and is incredibly fast when compared with other protocols.
WireGuard has under 4,000 lines of code (while OpenVPN has 400,000+), which reduces loading times and vulnerabilities hackers might exploit. In fact, even NordVPN‘s proprietary NordLynx protocol is based on WireGuard.
Finally, Surfshark also offers perfect forward secrecy, no matter what protocol you choose. Forward secrecy constantly changes encryption keys, so if there’s ever a breach, the stolen keys become useless once you turn your VPN off.
Logging and privacy
Surfshark has a “no-logs” policy. They make every effort to record as little personal information as possible for their VPN to work. Just like most other providers, they’ll need your email address to create an account and payment information so they can process your payments.
Secondly, Surfshark — like most VPNs — requires certain information to monitor their service and prevent abuse. For example, they use anonymized information to keep track of how busy their servers are and to see if there are any connection issues.
These issues aren’t traceable to a specific user and only concern the general use of their servers and service. In addition, Surfshark doesn’t appear to be keeping any logs. As mentioned previously, they have a strict “no-logs” policy, supported by independent security audits in 2018 and 2021. That lands it a place on our list of the best no-log VPNs.
Furthermore, Surfshark uses a RAM-only server network, which means that there is no longer any data stored on hard drives. This technology also ensures that data is automatically deleted with every server reset.
Your data will therefore only be stored temporarily and cannot be retrieved afterward. More and more VPN providers are switching to RAM-only servers because it offers more privacy.
In addition, Surfshark is one of the first VPNs to offer two-factor authentication (2FA). This means you log in via two steps, which is an effective way to protect yourself against all kinds of online attacks. You can read more about two-factor authentication here.
For Surfshark Alert users, this two-step authentication is mandatory, while the “normal” Surfshark user can choose to use it for extra protection.
A kill switch is an essential security feature for any VPN. It instantly “kills” your internet connection if your VPN stops working for whatever reason. This prevents data leaks (like your IP address) and keeps you protected when your VPN falters. Surfshark offers a kill switch on Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. You can turn it on by going into the settings in the Surfshark app.
Surfshark Nexus is the VPN’s latest upgrade to improve security and user experience. Nexus is an innovation based on software-defined networking (SDN) technology. The update connects the user to the VPN’s entire network of servers instead of connecting to an individual location (or subgroup of servers).
Connecting every user to the entire network and moving their traffic around could cause latency or security concerns, but Surfshark seems to be handling it well. The Nexus infrastructure has already been deployed into the current Surfshark VPN, although the full features will be gradually rolled out over the next year or so. Because of this, we haven’t been able to test Nexus fully at this time, but we have not noticed any change in speed yet.
Nexus appears to be an improvement for Surfshark users’ online privacy since they will be able to change their server without losing the VPN connection, protecting their real IP address from others.
What information does Surfshark VPN need?
All you need to do to create an account with Surfshark VPN is to provide your email address and a password. Therefore, if you make sure neither contains any information about you, you’re good.
If you want a completely anonymous purchase, we recommend buying your VPN with cryptocurrencies. Should you choose to pay with a service like PayPal instead, you will have to connect your PayPal account in order to complete the payment.
Other security and privacy features
Surfshark just rolled out a new feature that informs users about the history of sites they visit. If they’re connected to Surfshark (and have the Surfshark browser extension installed), this new feature will analyze all sites users end up on.
If they’re navigating a site with a history of data breaches, a red sliver will display at the top of the screen. It’s a great help if you don’t know which sites you can trust with your data.
Usability — How User-Friendly Is Surfshark VPN?
Surfshark excels at user-friendliness. Their software is very easy to use because it has a couple of super convenient options. On top of that, their customer service is easy to reach. So, we gave it a 9/10 for user-friendliness.
During our research for this Surfshark review, we arrived at the following conclusions:
- Surfshark’s website and apps are very easy to use.
- The app installation is quick and effortless.
- Surfshark is one of the cheapest VPN providers and offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- The customer support team is skillful and quick to respond.
Surfshark website and installation process
The Surfshark website is very well-organized, not too busy, and all the important information is right at your fingertips. They’ve kept the My Account section of the website as simple as possible.
There are a couple of buttons for downloading software for specific devices and operating systems. You can also see when your subscription will end, and there’s a button for changing your password and one for logging out. As a result, managing your Surfshark account is very easy.
Installing Surfshark is incredibly easy and straightforward. On mobile devices, you can download the Surfshark VPN app from the App Store or the Play Store. On Mac or PC, simply click the relevant icon on your account dashboard.
Here’s a step-by-step guide for installing Surfshark:
- Choose a subscription and go through the order process
- Log in to the Surfshark VPN website
- Click on the icon of your operating system
- Open the .exe file you downloaded
- Go through the steps of the installation wizard
- Open Surfshark VPN once it’s installed
- Log in with the login information you created for your account
- If you want, select a server, then enable Surfshark
Surfshark appearance and ease-of-use
Surfshark VPN’s UI is incredibly simplistic, and it’s one of the most easy-to-use VPNs in the market. You don’t need to be a tech whiz to understand all the options. Once you’ve signed in, you won’t be overwhelmed by countless options and settings. Instead, you’re only shown settings that matter to the average VPN user. All options and settings include a clear description and all menus are easy to navigate.
You don’t have to worry about manually selecting a server for specific tasks, such as streaming or downloading torrents. Simply connect to Surfshark’s VPN and it will automatically recognize when you’re about to download a torrent and switch to a P2P server.
In this case, you won’t have to manually select a P2P server, as the program will do it for you.
Moreover, all American servers appear to work with Netflix, and you can even effortlessly set up a double VPN tunnel to further conceal your identity. All these separate elements make Surfshark a very user-friendly VPN.
You can now also connect to individual servers in Surfshark in certain countries. You can check their servers list to see how many servers are available in specific countries. To connect to a specific server, just head to the Specific IPs section, and select one.
Surfshark and Mac
Many VPNs tend to falter when it comes to macOS, but Surfshark rides the wave pretty well. It worked seamlessly on a MacBook Pro with macOS Monterey. Surfshark VPN also works perfectly with the latest Apple M1 Pro chip, so you don’t need to worry about tinkering in the Command Terminal to get it running properly on macOS.
Also, as you’ll see in the pricing section below, you can take advantage of a seven-day free trial on Mac. If you need a robust VPN for Mac, you can’t go wrong with Surfshark.
Surfshark and Linux
Surfshark is also available for Linux users. Specifically, the terminal app is available on Ubuntu and Debian distros. Unfortunately, this does not even come close to the amount of Linux options available from competitors like NordVPN and ExpressVPN, which offer support for other distros too.
Users of other distros can make do with manual OpenVPN servers, however. Below, you can read a short summary of our experience with using SurfShark on a Debian distro.
The number of servers available to Linux users is somewhat limited compared to Surfshark’s overall server network. Linux users have access to about 102 servers spread across 61 countries. Unfortunately, the quality of your connection depends quite strongly on which server you select.
Some of Surfshark’s servers offer blazing fast speeds, to the point where you won’t even notice any difference from your actual connection speeds. Other ones barely manage to achieve a quarter of your normal internet speed. As such, be sure to run a quick speed test when you connect to a new server to gauge the difference.
More worryingly though, Linux users tend to suffer from DNS leaks or transparent proxies while connected to Surfshark. This problem can be resolved if you are particularly savvy with Linux, or with the help of Surfshark VPN’s customer service. Nevertheless, the problem shouldn’t be occurring in the first place.
The client, overall, is quite user-friendly. The installation is a piece of cake and the selection of commands you have to learn is limited and intuitive. Surfshark VPN on Linux also includes a number of neat extra features, such as an automated selection of the best available server, a kill switch, multi-hop, and the ability to easily switch between UDP and TCP servers.
Unfortunately, these extra features do not make up for the DNS leaks, transparent proxies, or uneven quality of available servers. However, since support is generally limited, you may have trouble with such features. If you want a reliable VPN to use on a Linux system, here’s our list of the best VPNs for Linux.
Surfshark pricing and payment methods
Surfshark is very reasonably priced. It’s one of the cheapest options around and they have discounted deals active throughout the year. As with most other VPNs, you receive a discount when you subscribe for a longer period.
A monthly subscription costs $12.95 per month, a twelve-month subscription costs $3.99 per month, and a two-year subscription costs only $2.30 per month. With the latter, you’ll even get three months extra for free!
On their website, these prices are also available in Euros, AUS/CAN dollars, Chinese Yuan, and Pound sterling.
Surfshark also offers the option to purchase Surfshark One for an additional $1.49 per month. That’s a total of $3.79 for all of these services!
Surfshark One includes their Surfshark Antivirus software, Surfshark Alert, and Surfshark Search. Surfshark Alert scans the web and warns you when your email address has been leaked, and Surfshark Search is a way to search without seeing ads or logging your information.
If you’d like to get a good VPN as well as solid antivirus software, we recommend getting this Surfshark One package.
Surfshark offers a 30-day money-back guarantee as long as you abide by their terms of service. You can use this refund option to test Surfshark cost-free for a full month. Moreover, you can use the subscription on an unlimited number of devices. Payment methods include the following options:
- Credit card (Mastercard, Visa, American Express, and Discover Card)
- Amazon Pay
- Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies (using CoinGate or CoinPayments)
- Other local payment options, such as Direct Debit.
Please note: The main currency Surfshark uses is the dollar. This explains why the price you may see in other currencies (the pound e.g.), depending on where you live, constantly changes a little bit. This depends on whatever the dollar’s value is at a given moment.
Surfshark also offers a seven-day free trial on macOS, iOS, and Android. To get this, simply download the Surfshark app from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store, sign up for an account, register your payment method, and start the trial.
Your card will only be charged after seven days unless you choose to cancel. In case you accidentally keep a subscription, you’re still eligible for Surfshark’s 30-day money-back guarantee, so it’s a win-win.
Surfshark has excellent customer support. When we tried the chat function on their website, we were assisted by an actual employee within the space of a minute. Our problem was that we couldn’t watch American Netflix at first, but customer service was able to help us fix this in no time.
We also appreciated the fact that we were talking to a real person. We didn’t receive any automated responses from a bot. This is a relief compared to the customer support at other VPNs.
Surfshark VPN Server Network
When it comes to VPN server networks, we’re primarily interested in server quality and the sheer number of available locations. Bigger server networks increase your chances of dealing with censorship and bypassing geo-restrictions. It also helps with server lag caused by overcrowding. Surfshark’s current server configuration earns it an 8.5/10.
These are the conclusions we arrived at regarding Surfshark’s server network and locations:
- Surfshark has an excellent server network of 3200+ servers across 65 countries.
- It doesn’t offer dedicated IPs at the moment.
Number of servers and locations
Surfshark has 3200+ servers across 65 countries. You can find Surfshark servers in the following countries:
- Europe: Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Moldova, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom
- The Americas: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Paraguay, United States
- The Middle East and Africa: Israel, Nigeria, South Africa, United Arab Emirates
- Asia Pacific: Australia, Azerbaijan, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam
Dedicated IP address
Unfortunately, Surfshark doesn’t offer the possibility to request a dedicated IP address. You’ll usually connect to the same server and same IP address when choosing a specific server. But this isn’t always the case: if you select the “optimal location” option, chances are you’ll get a different server each time. That’s because Surfshark looks at the amount of traffic on various servers and selects the server that works best at that moment.
With a recent update, however, Surfshark has added some servers with a “static” IP address. This means the IP address of these servers will always be the same. But remember that they’re shared and not dedicated.
You can use these servers to get access to websites and apps which block you if you log in from a different IP address than you normally do, with Surfshark’s VPN tunnel and encryption.
We have not tested ourselves whether this actually works well though, so we can’t guarantee this is a viable and good way to get access to these services.
Update: Surfshark has stated that offering their users dedicated IP addresses is “on their roadmap.” They even encourage users interested in this feature to contact them, adding that “the more requests we get – the faster a new feature is delivered.” You can express your interest in this feature by contacting Surfshark’s customer service.
Surfshark VPN Options
In addition to the standard possibilities, many customers want to use their VPN to stream Netflix US and download torrents. Surfshark is definitely mindful of that and it includes these options and much more.
The whole list of Surfshark’s extra features includes:
- Surfshark offers various features that block ads, whitelist websites, and offer increased levels of security.
- Both US servers and servers of other countries worked with Netflix.
- Surfshark gives you access to about 18 different Netflix libraries.
- You can download torrents with Surfshark safely and easily.
- Surfshark has a NoBorders Mode for areas with strict censorship, GPS-Spoofing options, and a Camouflage Mode that prevents your ISP from seeing that you are using a VPN.
These are explained in further detail below.
MultiHop, Bypasser, and CleanWeb
All of these features functioned properly when we tried them for this Surfshark review. CleanWeb was able to block ads that managed to slip even past our regular adblockers. The MultiHop option provides some additional security but does have a negative impact on your internet speeds.
After all, your traffic has to go through two VPN servers instead of one. The Bypasser for apps and websites allows you to connect to specific apps and websites you trust using your own IP address instead of that of the VPN server (split tunneling). This could definitely prove convenient in some situations.
On top of that, Surfshark has recently added two new options: Surfshark Alert and Surfshark Search. Surfshark Alert is an option you can use that will notify you when your email or passwords might be in danger of being compromised.
Surfshark Search is Surfshark’s answer to the anonymous search engine DuckDuckGo. However, both Surfshark Alert and Surfshark Search are paid expansions of the normal Surfshark subscription.
Surfshark and Netflix
Surfshark aims to unblock Netflix for all VPN users. During our tests, all US servers appeared to work with Netflix. Aside from that, Surfshark also allows you to access the content of other local versions of Netflix.
Surfshark actively focuses on making the libraries of about 30 countries available to its users. These countries include the United States, the United Kingdom, India, Italy, Norway, Germany, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Poland, France, Canada, Turkey, Sweden, Singapore, Taiwan, Portugal, Thailand, Russia, and the Netherlands.
If you use a different server location to visit Netflix, you’ll automatically be sent to American Netflix. On their website, Surfshark mentions that you can ask them about any Netflix library you’d like to access but isn’t on their list. They might be able to unlock it for you.
Netflix likes to block servers when they find out that they are VPN servers. This can sometimes make accessing Netflix with a VPN quite difficult. However, in our experience, with Surfshark this issue is usually solved by simply selecting a different server.
In case you still can’t reach Netflix with this clever system, don’t hesitate to contact Surfshark. Their live chat works effectively and can usually help. They might give you advice about which server to choose or try to solve the issue from their side.
Usually, they’re able to help you out in a few minutes. In short, Surfshark is very suitable for streaming content.
Surfshark VPN for torrenting
Surfshark has specialized P2P servers that help you avoid the legal pitfalls of P2P filesharing. You don’t have to manually select these servers: they are automatically activated when you open a torrenting program.
The VPN server will recognize the P2P traffic and connect you to a P2P server. We even suspect it might automatically connect you via MultiHop servers. This means added protection against prying eyes.
NoBorders and Camouflage Mode
Surfshark also has two different VPN modes on top of their regular VPN service. These are Camouflage Mode and NoBorders Mode. Camouflage Mode is Surfshark’s version of “obfuscation technology.”
It’s primarily designed to disguise your VPN traffic to bypass any content filtering and make it more difficult to monitor your activities. It runs automatically when you pick OpenVPN (TCP or UDP) as their protocol.
NoBorders Mode is a mode in which you can use Surfshark and access the internet freely even in restrictive regions. When Surfshark detects any kind of restrictions on your network, it automatically enables the NoBorders mode. This gives you a selected list of servers that perform well despite network restrictions.
Recently, Surfshark has added a GPS spoofing function to its service. GPS spoofing allows you to change your virtual location, even when it isn’t based on your IP address. Surfshark’s GPS spoofing option is only available on Android for now.
Our Experience With Surfshark VPN
To conclude, Surfshark is an excellent VPN for most users. It’s reliable, secure, fast, and works well for browsing, streaming content, downloads, and torrents.
At the same time, it boasts great features like a kill switch, ad blocking, GPS spoofing, access to varied Netflix libraries, etc. Moreover, its affordability makes it a great alternative to using free VPNs that often come with limitations.
Although it’s a fairly recent entrant into the VPN space, Surfshark holds its own in the league of top providers. It’s even expanding into the antivirus realm and recently created its own data deletion service called Incogni. We’re sure you’ll have an amazing experience with it, but in case you want to compare it with other options, we’ve got detailed articles covering just that.
Check out the links below to find out how Surfshark VPN holds up against the other VPNs we recommend.
Surfshark Compared With Other VPNs
Do you have a question about Surfshark? We’re here to help. Simply click the question you’re interested in and the answer will appear.
Surfshark is a very secure provider. It uses the two safest and well-known protocols, OpenVPN and IKEv2. Surfshark does not keep logs and only needs your email address in order to create an account. Moreover, their headquarters are located on the British Virgin Islands, which is a plus for the privacy of all its users. However, they do seem to operate from the United Kingdom.
Surfshark works with Netflix perfectly. When you use their servers, you’ll be able to access the Netflix library of fifteen different countries, including the US, the UK, France, Germany, and Turkey. If you use a Surfshark server that isn’t located in one of these fifteen countries, you’ll automatically be sent on to the American version of Netflix.
Surfshark is one of the cheapest and best VPN providers of the moment. You’ll be able to get a two-year subscription for just $2,30 a month. A six-month subscription comes down to $6.49 a month, while a monthly subscription will cost you $12.95.
Surfshark barely appeared to affect our internet speed during our daily use. Even so, speed tests prove that this isn’t the fastest VPN on the market. Surfshark does cause a decrease in both factual download and upload speeds. However, this decrease did not affect our browsing, streaming, or downloading activities, which makes Surfshark a good VPN for everyday use.
The easiest way to do this is by using a Windows PC running Windows 10 with Surfshark VPN installed. Use your PC as a mobile hotspot and connect your smart TV to it. This way, your smart TV will be connected to Surfshark, just like your PC. This is a very simple process, consisting of only four steps. Read here how this method works in detail.
Yes, Surfshark and other VPNs are perfectly legal in most countries, including the United States, most of Europe, and other western nations. However, some countries such as China, Russia, and Iran may have bans and restrictions on VPN usage. Check out this guide to learn more about the legalities of using. VPN.
Yes, Surfshark hides your IP address so you can browse anonymously. This prevents third parties from getting hold of your IP and deriving information about you. Surfshark also has a smart kill switch that ends your internet connection if you lose contact with a VPN server. This prevents leakage of your IP.
Surfshark is not a free VPN, but it is very affordable, with a two-year plan amounting to just a couple of dollars per month. This is really attractive given the premium security features and good speed that Surfshark offers.
Yes, Surfshark is a pretty good VPN for torrenting. It offers decent download speeds and ample security for anonymity.
What our experts think