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 VPN has quickly become one of our all-time favorites here at VPNOverview.
This is the very 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, Surfshark VPN is one of the most well-known and reliable VPN providers in the world.
While all of this might look great on paper, we’d like to know how well this VPN actually performs. After putting it through its paces in our Surfshark VPN review, we’re even more thrilled than we expected to be!
Read our full Surfshark VPN review below to find out how it performed in 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, Surfshark VPN is an excellent choice that’s on par with long-term champion, NordVPN. This is a testament to the company’s dedication to improving Surfshark VPN, which has certainly paid off over the years. 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?
Our Surfshark speed tests show some pretty phenomenal results. 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 what we’ve found:
- 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 Surfshark 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 your normal internet connection.
The first row shows our internet speed with no VPN connection. The second row shows the results we got 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 VPN 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 the upload speed reduced significantly for some servers that are geographically farther away, the download speeds remained high. This ensured a seamless streaming and browsing experience with an active VPN connection through the Surfshark app.
Speed during daily use
Based on the test results, especially the speeds we got on the US server, we expected our standard connection speeds to be great. The VPN didn’t disappoint: it ran seamlessly during everyday use. We 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 went very smoothly. 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.
On top of this, we didn’t experience any lag while gaming. We connected to both local and US servers without noticeable delays. We tested 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 refraining from logging personal data, Surfshark passes every test with flying colors. That’s why we give it a 9/10 for security.
The most noteworthy security features are the following:
- Surfshark VPN supports OpenVPN, IKEv2, and Wireguard.
- It does not keep any harmful logs.
- It comes with an automatic kill switch.
- Surfshark offers various features that block ads, whitelist websites, and offer increased levels of security.
- 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.
- The registration only requires your email address and payment info.
Surfshark has AES-256-bit encryption and uses some of the safest VPN protocols of this moment: OpenVPN and WireGuard. Clearly, they aren’t willing to compromise when it comes to their users’ security.
OpenVPN is an open-source tunneling protocol. Surfshark offers options for UDP or TCP on all major operating systems.
WireGuard is a newer protocol that’s available for all Android, Windows, iOS, macOS, and Linux users. It uses the ChaCha20 encryption algorithm and is incredibly fast. 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.
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.
Surfshark has also stopped supporting the IKEv2 protocol on Windows, since its popularity is decreasing. This protocol is still available for mobile users.
Finally, Surfshark 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 and makes every effort to record as little personal information as possible for their VPN to work. Like most other providers, they do need your email address to create an account, as well as your payment details.
Furthermore, 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 connectivity issues.
These issues aren’t traceable to a specific user and only concern the general use of their servers and VPN service. Moreover, Surfshark doesn’t appear to be keeping any logs. Their strict “no-logs” policy was verified by independent security audits in 2018 and 2021. This has landed Surfshark a place on our list of best no-log VPNs.
Surfshark also uses a RAM-only server network, which means that there is no longer any information stored on any hard drives. This technology ensures that data is automatically deleted with every server reset. As a result, the information cannot be retrieved afterward. More and more VPN providers are switching to RAM-only servers because they offer 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. For Surfshark Alert users, this two-step authentication is mandatory, while the “normal” Surfshark user can has the option to use it for extra protection. You can read more about two-factor authentication here.
A kill switch is an essential security feature for any VPN. As the name suggests, it instantly “kills” your internet connection if your VPN stops working for whatever reason. This prevents data leaks (like your real IP address) and keeps you protected whenever 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.
As it is, we haven’t been able to fully test Nexus 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 rotate between servers without losing the VPN connection, protecting their real IP address from others all the while.
Surfshark browser extension
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 thin red lline will be displayed at the top of the screen. This is a great security benefit if you’re not sure which sites you can trust with your data.
MultiHop, Bypasser, and CleanWeb
All of these features functioned properly when we tried them for this Surfshark review. CleanWeb was even able to block ads that managed to slip 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.
You can use Bypasser to connect to specific apps and websites you trust using your own IP address instead of that of the VPN server (split tunneling). This can prove very convenient in some situations.
On top of that, Surfshark has recently added two new options: Surfshark Alert and Surfshark Search. Surfshark Alert 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.
Keep in mind, however, that Surfshark Alert and Surfshark Search are both paid expansions of the normal Surfshark subscription. They are included in the Surfshark One package that costs $1.49 on top of your regular plan.
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.
If you’re located in a region with restricted internet, NoBorders Mode allows you to access the internet freely. 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 censorship.
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.
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. As long as you make sure neither contains any personal or sensitive information, you’re good when it comes to privacy.
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 link your PayPal account in order to complete the payment.
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, customer service is easy to reach. So, we give 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 the Surfshark app once it’s installed.
- Log in with the Surfshark 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 different menus are easy to navigate.
You don’t have to worry about manually selecting a Surfshark server for specific tasks, such as streaming or downloading torrents. Simply connect to Surfshark’s VPN and it will do most of the work for you. For example, 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 set up a double VPN tunnel to further conceal your identity. All these separate elements make Surfshark a very user-friendly VPN.
You can also connect to individual servers in certain countries. You can check the servers list to see how many servers are available in specific countries. To connect to a specific Surfshark 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 VPN connection varies wildly depending on the Surfshark 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 internet 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.
Of greater concern is the fact that 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.
Overall, the client 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. 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 VPN service providers, you receive a discount when you subscribe for a longer period. Their current prices are as follows:
- Monthly subscription: $12.95 per month
- Twelve-month subscription: $3.99 per month
- Two-year subscription: $2.49 per month
On their website, these prices are also available in euros, AUS/CAN dollars, Chinese yuan, and pound sterling.
If you want to expand your online security, Surfshark also offers the option to purchase Surfshark One for an additional $1.49 per month. That’s a total of $3.98 for all of these services:
- Surfshark antivirus software: detects and deletes malware from your device
- Surfshark Alert: scans the web and warns you when your email address has been leaked
- Surfshark Search: allows you 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, one subscription can be used on unlimited devices.
Payment methods include the following options:
- Credit card (Mastercard, Visa, American Express, and Discover Card)
- Google 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 US dollar. This explains why the price in other currencies (e.g. the pound) can vary. This price is dependent on whatever the dollar’s value is at a given moment.
Surfshark also offers a seven-day free trial on macOS, iOS, and Android. All you have to do is 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 either way.
Surfshark has excellent customer support. When using the chat function on the website, we were assisted by an actual employee within the space of a minute. We reached out because of initial problems with watching American Netflix and customer service was able to help us fix our issue 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 VPN services.
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 with a foreign IP address. It also helps with server lag caused by overcrowding. Surfshark’s current server configuration earns an 8.5/10.
These are the conclusions we arrived at regarding Surfshark’s server network and locations:
- The Surfshark VPN server list consists of 3200+ servers across 95 countries.
- 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 safely and easily with Surfshark.
- It doesn’t offer dedicated IPs at the moment.
Number of servers and locations
Surfshark has 3200+ servers across 95 countries. If you’re looking for a specific IP address, you can find Surfshark servers in the following countries:
- Americas: Argentina, Bahamas, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, United States, and Venezuela
- Asia Pacific: Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Combodia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam
- Eurasia: Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan
- Europe: Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Greenland, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom
- Middle East and Africa: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Marocco, Nigeria, South Africa, and the United Arab Emirates
Surfshark and streaming (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 allows you to access the content of local Netflix libraries.
The VPN service 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.
Since Netflix likes to block servers used for VPN traffic, accessing the streaming service with a VPN can sometimes be quite a challenge. 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 offer help. They might give you advice about which server to choose or try to solve the issue from their side.
Most of the time, 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.
Dedicated IP address
Unfortunately, Surfshark doesn’t offer the possibility to request a dedicated IP address.
When choosing a specific server, you’ll usually connect to the same IP address. 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 VPN connection that works best at that moment.
In a recent update, however, Surfshark has added some servers with a “static” IP address. With these static IP servers, you will always get the same IP address. However, remember that they’re still shared and not dedicated.
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.
Our Experience With Surfshark VPN
To conclude, Surfshark is an excellent VPN for most users. It’s reliable, secure, fast, can connect unlimited devices, 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, and more. On top of that, 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 this Surfshark VPN review to 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.
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 WireGuard. Surfshark does not keep logs and only requires your email address in order to create an account. Moreover, their headquarters are located in the Netherlands, which is a plus for the privacy of all its users.
Surfshark works with Netflix perfectly. When you use their servers, you’ll be able to access the Netflix library of about thirty 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 thirty 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 $2.21 a month. A twelve-month subscription comes down to $3.99 a month, while a monthly subscription will cost you $12.95.
Surfshark barely affects your internet speed during 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. During testing, 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 our detailed VPN installation guide for smart TV to see 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 on VPN legality to learn more.
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 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. Given the premium security features and good speed that Surfshark offers, this is a very attractive deal.
Yes, Surfshark is a pretty good VPN for torrenting. It offers decent download speeds and ample security for anonymity.
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