SurfShark is currently one of the leading VPN providers in the market despite being quite a young company, established in 2018. Thanks to the series of advanced features and user-friendly interface, SurfShark is definitely a force other VPN services reckon with today.
SurfShark is based in the Netherlands, where the local laws don’t support international intelligence sharing. Accordingly, the company has no data retention laws to follow. Furthermore, SurfShark has a strict no-logs policy which means it never saves the personally identifiable data of its users that any government could request. SurfShark has never registered any data leaks throughout its operating history, which speaks to its outstanding commitment to privacy.
What’s more, the company ensures state-of-the-art protection of its users’ data and online activity history through advanced AES-256 encryption, as well as such reliable protocols as WireGuard, OpenVPN, and IKEv2. As a result, SurfShark customers acquire access to their desired content at blazing-fast speeds without facing any restrictions or having their data compromised.
This is all the hype around SurfShark. But is it truly worth it? This in-depth review will thoroughly inspect the company’s legality and safety, delve into its inner working and setup processes, and examine the pricing options.
Pros and Cons
Below we have collected some benefits and downsides of using SurfShark VPN on any operating system. Use the lists to decide whether it’s worth entrusting your traceless internet surfing to this VPN provider.
✔ Fast protocols
✔ Auto-connect functions
✔ Secure and undisclosed DNS
✔ Unlimited bandwidth
✔ Safety on Public WiFi
✔ Lightning-fast streaming and downloading speed
✔ Genuine and location-specific search/browsing results
✔ One-month free trial period
✔ 30-day money-back guarantee
✘ No free VPN version is available
✘ Limited access in the free trial period
✘ Failures in kill-switch when under pressure
✘ Certain features present in one operating system and missing in another
So, these were the basic and most essential pros and cons of SurfShark VPN provider. As you can see, the benefits are way more in quantity and quality. The major downside of the company is the provision of paid services only. However, free cheese is only in a mousetrap; to get premium quality service, one must be ready to pay for it.
SurfShark has a set of unique and advanced features making the software different and better than most competitors. For instance, split tunneling, otherwise known as Bypasser, is offered on Android and Windows. Within the scope of this feature, the company offers a whitelist feature on both desktop and mobile. You can set up websites and applications you don’t want the VPN to cover.
Just the same way, there’s a blacklist. Here you can include those websites and applications to always open with VPN, with the only difference in that the desktop app doesn’t provide the option of selecting sites for the blacklist.
The VPN provider supports Windows, iOS, Android, Mac, and Linux operating systems. Furthermore, SurfShark supports all web browsers, like Chrome, Mozilla, and Microsoft Edge, such routers as AsusWRT, Tomato, DD-WRT, and others., as well as Smart TVs, gaming consoles, etc.
SurfShark is an excellent option for torrenting as all its servers are fully optimized for P2P downloads regardless of the torrenting clients in use. Particularly, such popular options are supported as Torrentz3, Transmission, uTorrent, BitTorrent qBittorrent, and Deluge. SurfShark offers unlimited bandwidth and no data caps. However, some dropdowns in speeds while downloading can be registered. Those mostly relate to the original download connection and the number of seeders.
SurfShark also supports Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, gaming, etc.
Is SurfShark Safe?
SurfShark comes with all the essential VPN security features, including a Kill Switch, 256-bit AES encryption, and a no-logs policy. The advanced security features include RAM-only servers with no old-school hard drives, a CleanWeb system for protection against malicious websites, MultiHop servers, etc. So, SurfShark is definitely safe.
SurfShark provides a 1GBit port on every VPN server to maintain high speed of connections. Tests carried out during different times of day show an average speed was 324 Mbps which makes the company stand proudly against NordVPN and IPVanish reputable companies and even exceed ExpressVPN. The average speeds for North America, Asia, and Europe are 317 Mbps, 400 Mbps, and 253 Mbps, respectively.
SurfShark introduces three plans, priced differently depending on the period you subscribe – one month, 12 months, and 24 months. The suggested plans are priced as follows, provided you purchase a 1-year subscription:
- Standard: $3.99 per month (after the first year of subscription, the annual cost will be $59.76). The plan includes a secure VPN, Ad Blocker, and Cookie pop-up blocker.
- Premium: At $4.49/mo (after the first year of subscription, the annual cost will be $79.00), the pricing tier also involves a private search engine, round-the-clock antivirus protection, antivirus, aunty-spyware and malware protection, etc.
- Ultimate: The highest priced plan, Ultimate costs $8.29/mo for the first year, while the annual renewal price is $99.00. The tier provides the full power of the service for identity protection, security of devices, privacy safeguards, and complete identity.
All plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. By purchasing a 24-month Standard plan, you also acquire a one-month free trial.
Privacy and Security
One of the main merits of SurfShark is its utter privacy. Using the software, your privacy is maintained at all times as no hacker or meddler can access your data thanks to the two-factor authentication. It blocks every third-party source and tracking cookie that may appear malicious. The same level of protection refers to the user’s IP address. However, in case of an unexpected VPN connection drop, Kill Switch automatically disconnects the user from the internet, thus safeguarding their privacy.
Any phishing and malware attempt can be harmful to both the user and the device as they not only worsen the performance of the software but can also reveal a user’s sensitive information. Acknowledging this, SurfShark guarantees to serve as an anti-phishing and anti-malware agent for its user’ devices. The system blocks all attacks in real time.
Unlike the vast majority of VPN services, which themselves read and save users’ data instead of third-party meddlers, SurfShark has a no-logs policy and never keeps tabs on users’ data. This is a critical feature if you want a genuinely private internet browsing experience.
And finally, the unbeatable AES 256 GCM encryption is way more robust and secure than any other encryption found in other similar tools. Besides this, the company offers WireGuard, IKEv2, and OpenVPN modern security protocols to choose from.
In addition to industry-standard security features, the company also provides the following tools:
- Bypasser – a split-tunneling tool to let you blacklist and whitelist sites;
- IP Rotator – a tool that changes the user’s VPN regularly without disconnecting him from the VPN;
- CleanWeb – eliminates all ads and blocks connections to malicious websites;
- MultiHop – a user’s data are sent through two VPN servers for extra security level;
- In-built speed test – before choosing a server, you can test different servers to spot which provides the highest connection speed.
SurfShark Technical Parameters
The core of SurfShark VPN performance lies in the provided VPN protocols and their server locations. Let’s clarify particularly what your VPN connection with this company is based on.
The company brings in many high-end VPN protocols to deliver the highest level of privacy protection. Particularly, SurfShark offers built-in IKEv2 and WireGuard for Windows, Android, macOS, iOS, and Fire TV systems. OpenVPN, meanwhile, is available for Windows, Android, Fire TV, and iOS operating systems. More advanced users can tunnel their traffic via OpenVPN protocol using third-party VPN clients.
Let’s see what each of the available VPN protocols stands out for:
- OpenVPN: This VPN protocol offers the highest security of one’s data. It’s open-source: hence, it’s excellent for unblocking sites and ensuring nobody can trace you online.
- IKEv2: Better known for good performance and flexibility, this VPN protocol is a more appropriate option for home users. It also ensures easy switching between 4G/5G and WiFi without losing connectivity.
- WireGuard: The latest VPN protocol WireGuard is lightweight, implements top-notch cryptographic primitives, and provides smooth and quick performance.
With SurfShark, a user can set up an automatic connection to the VPN server of their liking when booting the device. It allows browsing between a certain country and the closest or fastest location.
SurfShark has over 3200 servers located in around 100 countries worldwide. And this number keeps on rising regularly. Servers are located in all continents and geographical regions, including the Middle East, Europe, Asia, Oceania, North and South America, etc.
All these servers operate according to the same set of policies. Accordingly, all servers are powered by RAM and not hard drives, are P2P friendly, and there’s a private DNS on every server. Furthermore, all SurfShark servers are unified to the Nexus technology, which implies the company uses its whole network to route every user’s web traffic and help them change the IP address without a disconnection.
SurfShark also introduces a small number of virtual servers receiving the same treatment as their physical counterparts. Virtual servers can be found in Algeria, Mexico, South Korea, and several other countries.
So, although SurfShark can’t boast of an immense number of servers like some other giants in the VPN world do, its smart use of servers stands out and brings visible efficiency.
Verdict: Is SurfShark Safe?
SurfShark has proven a reliable, fast, and secure VPN for most users. It can connect unlimited devices and works perfectly for streaming content, browsing, torrenting, and downloading. Besides these basic tools for a standard VPN service, SurfShark also boasts unique features like a Kill Switch, GPS spoofing, ad blocking, and access to different Netflix libraries.
And although there’s no free plan, those offered come at pretty affordable prices and include tons of features. All this, along with a superior security level backed with two-factor authentication, strong encryption and several prominent VPN protocols, make SurfShark a great pick!