Starting at $1.99/mo. on a 2-year plan, I highly recommend Surfshark, if you are in search of an affordable all-rounder. The newcomer offers great security and reliability, along with amazing performance.
It successfully unblocks Netflix in 13 countries, offers unlimited multi-logins, and bypasses the VPN ban in China, while providing access to 1000+ servers in over 60 countries worldwide.
Most importantly, Surfshark is completely free from all sorts of leakages, competing against top names like PureVPN and ExpressVPN. It has even passed a security audit from Cure53.
As of 2019, the BVI-based provider even became a finalist in Cyber Security Awards 2019, as a startup of the year. It also introduced static IPs, two new VPN security features, and support for ShadowSocks,
|Jurisdiction||British Virgin Islands|
|Price||$1.99/month ($47.76 for 24months)|
|Bypasses China Firewall||Yes|
An Analysis of Surfshark’s Security
On the basis of Surfshark’s location, security audit, warrant canary, and logging policy, my in-depth analysis reveals that the provider is definitely worth the money. Online users can get maximum protection through Surfshark.
Located in BVI (An Internet Friendly Jurisdiction)
So, what are the data retention laws governing the existence of VPNs in the BVI? None, actually. It may be a British Overseas Territory, but it also has a fair degree of freedom in matters governing its internal affairs.
Britain might be a member of alliances like the 14 eyes, forcing it to comply with other member countries in matters of data and intelligence, but these shadows of alliances does not bound BVI to do the same.
This is the primary reason why Surfshark, along with ExpressVPN have set up their base there. Serving a gag request or filing a data extradition request in the country is a complex process. Its just a good place to be in as a VPN service, nothing more, nothing less.
Does Surfshark Keep Any Logs of Internet Activities?
No it does not keep connectivity/activity logs like incoming/outgoing IPs, VPN servers, used bandwidth, session info, network traffic, connection timestamps, and browsing/downloading/purchasing history.
It is important to mention that Surfshark does log your personal email address and credit card details though. Every provider requires these two details to create and manage your account, while also catering to your complaints.
Of course, there are providers like MullvadVPN that do not even keep your email or credit card details. They generate specific account numbers to create user accounts and run them.
Protocols and Encryption Information
There is no support available for protocols like L2TP/IPSec or PPTP. Surfshark uses the industry-standard OpenVPN (TCP and UDP) protocol on all devices and platforms.
This includes their iOS app, which previously only used the IKEv2 protocol. As a result, you can feel assured to leverage stronger security on your iPhone and iPad devices.
As of 2019, Surfshark is also among the few providers that offers the new Shadowsocks protocol, which helps in bypassing geo-restrictions in countries like China!
With regards to encryption, the provider supports two different ciphers: AES-256-CBC and AES-256-GCM. You can change them in all apps according to your security preferences.
Security Features Offered by Surfshark
2019 has been a year of innovation for Surfshark, as it goes on to add two new services to its VPN product offering; HackLock and BlindSearch. The former is a data leak alert system that may evolve into a full-fledged identity theft protection tool.
On the other hand, the BlindSearch is a new ad-free private search tool that aims to display pure organic results without the interference of any historic memory. This is a great tool for marketers as well.
As a benefit to free VPN users, Surfshark has even introduced the TrustDNS app to provide basic security for everyone. The provider has also added a reverse split-tunneling feature for selecting which apps or websites use the VPN.
Surfshark DNS/WebRTC/IP Address Leak Tests
It is never a bad idea to learn more regarding the security and reliability of VPN services. In light of this, I decided to perform VPN tests relating to WebRTC/DNS/IP address leakages on Surfshark.
The process took me a good 12 hours, where I checked almost all servers of the BVI-based provider, from four different VPN testing tools on the internet:
- https://ipx.ac/run – Passed
- https://ipleak.org/ – Passed
- https://ipleak.net/ – Passed
- https://browserleaks.com/webrtc – Passed
Surfshark came out unscathed from all these 4 leak tests to establish its credibility, as a highly suitable service for protection against prying eyes and copyright infringement hunters while torrenting.
Undergone a Security Audit By Cure53
Cure53, a renowned web security service firm, and the first choice for comprehensive audits of VPNs, conducted a full blown security assessment of Surfshark’s browser extensions.
Surfshark aced the limited assessment, conducted in November 2018, with nothing being found except for two minor vulnerabilities that were marked as “low severity”.
Warrant Canary is Clear of Threats (Date: October 21, 2019)
Surfshark’s Warrant Canary is as clean as a whistle, which is updated on a daily basis for the ease-of-mind of prospects and customers. As of Septemeber 20th, they have the following count on each such request:
- National Security Letters: 0
- Gag Orders: 0
- Warrants from a government organization: 0
This is incredibly impressive, further strengthening the credibility of Surfshark. It is also vital to highlight that not many VPNs issue these Warrant canaries. Most receive such orders and most comply with them.
Surfshark Server Locations: 1000+ Servers in 61 Countries
Surfshark’s server network has grown tremendously over the years. From 800 servers in 50+ countries, it now hosts 1040+servers in 61 countries globally, which is quite an achievement for a newcomer.
The server infrastructure was previously skewed more towards North America and Europe. However, it has added newer servers in places like Turkey, India, Singapore, South Korea, New Zealand, Israel, South Africa, Chile, Costa Rica and Canada among others.
Looking at this Surfshark server status, it is clear the VPN is looking to expand and rightly so. One of the most critical things that can make or break any VPN’s credibility in the market is the availability of its servers.
Speed Test on Different Servers (US, UK, Australia, Germany)
On an average, Surfshark managed to deliver 78.15Mbps in download and 60.18Mbps in uploads, when i first I conducted speed tests on 5 different servers selected randomly in the US, UK, Australia, Germany, and France:
After they recently upgraded their network to over 1000+ servers in 60+ countries, I decided to conduct another test. This time, Surfshark offer better performance, delivering an average of 89.99 Mbps in downloads and 86.25 Mbps in upload.
How to Use Surfshark with Netflix
To unblock the American VoD service, I switched the protocol from the outdated IKEv2 to the OpenVPN (TCP) protocol. After which, I tested all available US/UK/JP/DE servers in the “physical locations” tab:
5 Working Servers for Netflix US
- Los Angeles (Ultra HD)
- Las Vegas (Ultra HD)
- New Jersey (HD)
- Phoenix (HD)
- Seattle (HD)
3 Working Servers for Netflix UK
- London (Ultra HD)
- Manchester (Ultra HD)
- Glasgow (HD)
2 Working Servers for Netflix JP
- Tokyo (Ultra HD)
- Osaka (Ultra HD)
2 Working Servers for Netflix DE
- Berlin (Ultra HD)
- Frankfurt am Main
If you are figuring out how to watch Netflix US using Surfshark (or any other version UK, JP, DE), simply connect to the above working servers for each location and enjoy streaming your favorite movies/TV shows!
Apart from US, UK, JP, and DE, Surfshark provides access to 12 other Netflix libraries (16 in total). This is quite incredibly for a newcomer, considering its tough to even unblock one library in recent times.
Is Surfshark Good for Torrenting?
Surfshark offers 1000+ servers in 60 locations worldwide, all of which are P2P-friendly and work with clients like uTorrent, BitTorrent, qBittorrent, Vuze, Deluge, and streaming players like VLC, Ace Player, and Popcorn Time.
At the same time, the provider guarantees that its servers give no issues in downloading torrents and files from ThePirateBay, RARBG, 1337X, TorrentDownloads, and LimeTorrents.
Surfshark Works in China: NoBordersTM Mode Bypasses the GFW
Similar to NordVPN and ExpressVPN, the BVI-based provider offers a dedicated Chinese website to help residents in the country gain access to their product.
For expats, Surfshark offers the NoBordersTM mode, which bypasses “The Great Firewall”. Follow the steps below to activate the mode and become a Chinese local again:
- Download the Surfshark Windows Application
- Subscribe to a plan and enter your login details in the app
- Click on the “Gear” icon on the top right corner
- Navigate to the “Advanced” settings menu
- Activate the “NoBordersTM Mode”
- Connect to any available Surfshark China servers!
Surfshark Found Using Two Virtual Servers
I approached Surfshark’s live chat support to learn more about virtual/physical server offerings, but the representative completely denied having any fictitious locations.
Testing on their in-mum.prod.surfshark.com server revealed that it is actually located in Netherlands, Amsterdam. Another one is Surfshark’s Vietnam – Ho Chi Minh City server, which routes from Belgium through a datacenter located in Netherlands.
When i approached the provider again with these findings, they said that they offer both: virtual and physical. The chat support exec also mentioned that they are planning to inculcate a new feature within their apps.
One that will tell users as to which server is a virtual one and which one is an actual bare-metal one, similar to how other providers do it. Most providers have a (V) sign on their server list, signalling a virtual server.
As of October 2019, Surfshark has adopted the same practice and now clearly marks all virtual locations in their apps, be it iOS, Android, Mac, or Windows.
Surfshark Customer Support: Very Quick 24/7 Service
Surfshark is perhaps the only provider in the marketplace that offers over 10 different methods of receiving support. Of course, the most reliable of all is their 24/7 live chat support, which is incredibly proactive.
If you have a more detailed problem that requires attention, users have the option of submitting a request and selecting the relevant department to forward the complaint too.
Other mediums for support include separate pages for FAQs, applications assistance, billing & account, Smart TVs and consoles, features, router, manual connection, and DNS setups.
All in all, I was quite impressed by the myriad of options available and the division of different support pages, as to make it easier for users to receive specific information to their problems.
Surfshark VPN Costs, Trial, Refund, and Payment Methods
The pricing plans at Surfshark are divided into three silos: monthly (starting at $11.95), yearly ($5.99/mo.), and 2-years (as low as $1.99/mo.) Longer durations give you the ability of leveraging better discounts.
For instance, if you opt for the yearly, you will only have to pay $5.99/month, billed as $71.88 once. This is quite reasonable than paying $11.95 every month, which adds up to over $140!
Their 24 month plan is where the provider offers its cheapest subscription rates. It costs only $1.99/month ($47.76 billed once), which is significantly lower than the damage of the monthly or yearly subscription.
Surfshark VPN’s cost strategy makes one thing pretty clear i.e. they want you to buy their two year subscription. Still, it is quite cheaper than most comparable providers, providing users greater value for their money.
Do they offer a free trial? Sadly no, they do not offer a full-fledged free trial to customers. It makes sense too, especially considering you can get a 2-year plan for as low as $1.99.mo.,
On the contrary, you do have a money back guarantee on all plans, valid for a full 30 days from the day your subscription commence. Surfshark also accepts all major payment methods.
These includePaypal, Alipay, and Credit/Debit card, etc. You can also pay through different types of cryptocurrencies to remain anonymous, without divulging any significant financial details.
Previously, the provider did not offer much in the way of apps. Just a few browser extensions, a basic Android app, and that was it. Now they have undergone a serious transformation, adding a legion of new and improved apps for;
For 2019, Surfshark has even upgraded the design and user-interface of all apps, including the browser extensions. This further helps them in gaining more traction in their marketplace, as the new UI is quite impressive.
How to Install Firestick on Surfshark
- Launch the “Google Play Store” on your Amazon Fire TV
- Search for the “Surfshark” app
- Click “Download” and wait for the process to complete
- Sign in using your Surfshark login credentials
How to Install Kodi on Surfshark
- Sign up with Surfshark by getting a subscription
- Download the VPN app for the device you are using Kodi on
- Connect to any secure location to activate the VPN
- Launch Kodi and enjoy streaming safely on your device!
Surfshark enjoys the highest ranking from BestVPN.co, after reviewing over 180+ providers in the marketplace. Why? Because of its amazing service yet budget-friendliness, despite being a newcomer in the marketplace.
Do I Recommend Surfshark?
I highly recommend Surfshark, if you are looking for an affordable choice for all your VPN-related needs. You can get a plan for as low as $1.99/mo. from here.
As a newcomer in the marketplace, Surfshark unblocks Netflix, downloads torrents securely, and delivers excellent digital privacy, hence why it ranks 1st in our listing.
The VPN is free from WebRTC/DNS/IP address leakages, offers amazing support for all platforms, and provides users with unlimited simultaneous connections, as a first in the VPN industry.