Surfshark VPN – Is This the Best Bang for the Buck?

Surfshark VPN Review

Surfshark VPN Review

Compared to the best VPN websites, SurfShark is a new kid on the block. It’s younger and smaller than other providers. Sure, it claims to offer great speed, privacy, and topnotch performance just like any VPN service. But is this as good as it claims? We’ll find out here.

Why choose Surfshark VPN?

What we can say is that SurfShark is a relatively fast VPN service, but it’s not one without issues. As a young service, it’s normal that it’s still a work in progress. Also, SurfShark isn’t as popular as NordVPN or ExpressVPN. To compare, ExpressVPN has more than 10 million installations while SurfShark has more or less 25,000.

Still, we always believe that size isn’t always a determiner of how good a VPN is. By knowing how VPN works and checking its features, we can decide if it’s worth the try. And that’s exactly what we did here.

PROS

  • Contains advanced features
  • Can unblock Netflix
  • Affordable prices for short and long contracts
  • Above average speed
  • No log policy
  • Industry standard encryption
  • Uses a warrant canary feature

CONS

  • The email support can make use of some improvements
  • There are inconsistencies on the speed
  • It only uses IKEv2 and OpenVPN
  • Still new and may have more errors than other providers

Important specs

Location: British Virgin Islands (present in more than 50 countries)

Number of servers: 500

Number of IP addresses: 500

Connected devices: unlimited

Kill switch: Yes

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Key features

Speed and performance

When it comes to speed, SurfShark can be a little unpredictable. Our tests yield different results which can be problematic for heavy internet users.

At first, it yielded around 50 Mbps download speed in a 100 Mbps connection. On a second test with a different location, it plummeted to 10 Mbps which is a total disappointment. This is quite messy and a downer for those who are planning to try a newer service.

What’s surprising is that the download speed is poor but the upload speed is decent. Still, it’s not enough to justify the underperformance of the VPN.

If you’re planning to pay for a VPN service, you might as well look for a better option with faster speed. SurfShark is good but it’s not the best if you’re using it for work and other strenuous tasks, it might be unreliable at times.

Ease of use

Setup-wise, the SurfShark is pretty easy to use. You just download the app, click install, and then tweak the settings to your liking. There are also native features that are intuitive and very useful for most users.

You can choose your platform on their website. SurfShark is compatible with Mac OS, Windows, and Linux. As for mobile gadgets, this works for Android and iOS. This is also compatible with Chrome, Firefox, and FireTV.

Once you have the app set, you can tap the connect button and it will automatically use the server that’s ideal for your location. But if you wish to use a different location, you can pick from the servers available on the drop-down menu.

Overall, this is like any other VPN service. If you know how to setup a VPN, there’s nothing to fret about SurfShark.

Encryption and security

The SurfShark VPN has the basics covered. It uses the industry standard AES 256-bit encryption. It also has a kill switch that will shut down all traffic when your connection is compromised.

SurfShark uses safe protocols like IKEv2 and OpenVPN which is also used by almost every VPN provider. It also has a private DNS server to prevent any spying or brute force attack that may happen while you’re browsing the web.

When it comes to information, SurfShark only stores your email and billing information. Other than that, your IP addresses, browsing history, used bandwidth, network traffic, and so on, are cloaked and anonymous.

Also, the fact that this is based on the British Virgin Islands adds another security guarantee. BVI isn’t a part of the 14 eyes or the countries that collect and share intelligence on their territories.

Moreover, SurfShark has a warrant canary feature. This isn’t special since almost all VPNs would have this on their systems. Still, it’s an added protection given that SurfShark is still a newcomer.

A warrant canary refers to the ability of VPN providers to send you, the user, the information about private subpoenas issued on you. You’ll find a list of gag orders and national security letters that you have received.

But the good thing here is that SurfShark has a very clean warrant canary record. There are zero records as of date.

Zero viruses and leaks

Even if there are some complaints about SurfShark, we’re still impressed with their layers of security. For example, they have zero DNS leaks and a clean virus record. In fact, our tests showed that SurfShark is squeaky clean – not a trace of any suspicious files or scripts.

So far, the Windows, Mac, and Android versions are clean during our scan. However, the iOS version isn’t scannable yet and the customer support said that they are yet to release a downloadable iOS version for desktop use.

What we love the most is that SurfShark is airtight. It’s sealed on every corner and there’s not even a pinhole where leaks can penetrate. Although they are a work in progress, SurfShark is taking small but very sure steps to guarantee their users privacy.

Overall, SurfShark is a champ in hiding your location. It’s also a master concealer of IP addresses so you’ll have peace of mind while browsing

Clean and decent background

Unlike CyberGhost whose parent company has a notorious past, SurfShark came from a clean background. There have been a lot of VPN scandals documenting how VPN providers lie about the security level of their platform. SurfShark isn’t one of them.

Just take PureVPN for example. Back in 2017, PureVPN was discovered to be helping the FBI tracked down a man who’s behind a cyberstalking campaign against a former roommate. As much as the intentions are good, it just proves that such VPN service can divulge your information when pressed to do so.

PureVPN was based in Hong Kong but some research said that it’s actually linked to a Pakistan-based company. Nevertheless, they’re not 100% secure.

Gladly, SurfShark has not been involved in such kind of situation. Probably, one of the reasons is that it’s still a young service. Nevertheless, it’s a great start for a company offering privacy as a service.

Streaming and torrenting

It’s just a shame how large VPN providers can’t give us the benefit of unblocking Netflix with decent speed. The good news is that SurfShark excels on this part. We’ve tried accessing various servers and each one worked just as fine.

Still, we don’t discount the possibility that some servers and IPs might be blocked by Netflix. The company has been conducting crackdowns to VPNs. With that, we suggest that you enjoy the benefit while it lasts.

You’ll also enjoy P2P transfer or torrenting since SurfShark is fully secured and they don’t limit the bandwidth. Overall, this might be the fastest VPN for streaming.

Great customer support

You have two ways you can contact Surfshark: either by email or chat. The email support isn’t the best and it badly needs improvements. But when it comes to the chat support, we can say that what the former lacks is compensated by the latter.

You’ll get exact answers and not just some copy-pasted chat macros.

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Pricing

As for the price, SurfShark is affordable and can even beat NordVPN when it comes to long contracts. Currently, their 24-month contract is only worth $1.99 per month! It’s a big saver and even their 12-month contract is competitively priced.

Here’s their pricing chart:

If you decide to purchase a license, you’ll also enjoy the convenience of their payment portals. Currently, SurfShark accepts credit card, cryptocurrency, Tenpay, Alipay, PayPal, and Dragonpay.

In case you’re not yet sold to the VPN, you can start with their 30-day free trial.

Sure, you can opt for the large and the best VPN websites, but you can also explore what SurfShark has to offer.