|Jurisdiction||British Virgin Islands|
|Price||$1.99/mo ($47.76 for 24 months)|
|Servers||1700+ in 63+ Countries|
|Logs||No Logs Certified|
|Works in China||Yes|
|Compatibility||Windows, Android, Apple, Chrome, Firefox|
Established in 2018, Surfshark is one of the cheapest VPNs I have tested. Does its quality match its pricing though? Indeed, the provider maintains the perfect balance between value and reliability, going head-to-head against names like ExpressVPN and NordVPN.
It offers unlimited multi-logins, successfully unblocks Netflix in 13 countries, and bypasses the VPN ban in China, while providing access to 1040+ servers in over 60+ countries worldwide. Starting at $1.99/mo on a 2-year plan, I highly recommend Surfshark VPN for those in search of a budget-friendly all-rounder that defies all odds to offer a premium product.
To verify Surfshark’s all-rounder VPN claims, I’ll be researching every feature and its security, streaming, pricing, servers, compatibility, and support. Let us see if the VPN is really worth the money, after putting it through the grind!
- Jurisdiction: Where is Surfshark VPN Based?
- Security: Is Surfshark VPN Safe and Reliable?
- Leaks: Does Surfshark Leak Your IP, DNS & WebRTC?
- Servers: How Many Servers Does Surfshark Have?
- Streaming: Does Surfshark Work for Netflix?
- Speed: How Fast is Surfshark and Its Servers?
- Compatibility: Apps and Supported Devices
- Pricing: How Much Does Surfshark Cost Really?
- Trustworthiness: Trustpilot Ratings, Reddit & Customer Support
Jurisdiction: Where is Surfshark VPN Based?
Surfshark has its headquarters in the highly safe and privacy-friendly British Virgin Islands, which may be a British Overseas Territory, but has a fair degree of freedom in matters governing its internal affairs.
Britain is 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 do not bound BVI to do the same.
This is the primary reason why Surfshark and the infamous 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.
Security: Is Surfshark Safe?
My Surfshark review unveils that based on the location, audit, warrant canary, and logging policy, the provider is definitely a safe choice. You can use it for staying anonymous and secure when downloading torrents, streaming pirated movies, or even when accessing banking information!
Does Surfshark Keep Logs?
No, Surfshark 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 based on my Surfshark review, the VPN 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 details of your email or credit cards. They generate specific account numbers to create user accounts and run them.
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 review of Surfshark VPN’s Chrome and Firefox browser extensions.
Surfshark VPN aced the limited assessment, conducted in November 2018, with nothing being found except for two minor vulnerabilities that were marked as “low severity”.
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 2020, Surfshark VPN is also among the few providers that offer 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 had been a year of innovation for Surfshark, as it went 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 and the VPN Trust Initiative (VTI)
To play its role in building understanding, strengthening trust, and mitigating risks for users, my Surfshark review discovers that the VPN has joined hands as a founding member of the VPN Trust Initiative (VTI).
This initiative from i2Coalition seeks to build a community of cooperation in the privacy industry to provide insights regarding the best practices and technical standards of VPNs.
It will serve as a voice of the VPN industry collectively, helping consumers be more informed about their VPN choices, while gaining more knowledge about appropriate guidelines.
Warrant Canary is Clear of Threats (Date: June 27, 2020)
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 June 27th, 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 VPN. It is also vital to highlight that not many VPNs issue these Warrant canaries. Most receive such orders and most comply with them.
Leaks: Does Surfshark Leak Your IP, DNS & WebRTC?
Based on my Surfshark review, the provider does not leak any personally identifiable information. Your IP, DNS, and WebRTC remain leak-free at all times, regardless of which server you connect to.
How did I reach this conclusion? I performed VPN leak tests on Surfshark VPN. The process took me a good 12 hours, where I checked almost all servers of Surfshark from six different VPN testing tools on the internet:
WebRTC and HTTP Request Leaks:
IPv4/IPv6 and Torrent IP Leaks:
Surfshark came out unscathed from all these six leak tests to establish its credibility, as a highly suitable service for protection against prying eyes and copyright infringement hunters while torrenting.
Servers: Does Surfshark Have a Good Network Infrastructure?
Yes, in fact 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 review of servers, 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.
Is Surfshark Good for Torrenting?
Indeed, Surfshark VPN offers excellent performance for p2p activities. You have 1000+ servers in 60 locations, all of which are P2P-friendly and work with clients like uTorrent, BitTorrent, 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.
Does Surfshark Work in China?
Fortunately, Surfshark works smoothly in China. Similar to NordVPN and ExpressVPN, the newcomer also offers a dedicated Chinese website to help residents in the country gain access to their product.
For expats, Surfshark VPN offers the NoBordersTM mode, which bypasses “The Great Firewall” using obfuscation technology. Follow the steps below to activate the mode and become a Chinese local again:
- Download the Surfshark VPN 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 Uses both: Bare-Metal and Virtual Locations
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, signaling a virtual server.
As of October 2019, Surfshark VPN had adopted the practice and now clearly marks all virtual locations in their apps, be it on iOS, Android, Mac, or Windows.
Streaming: Does Surfshark Work with Netflix and Other VoDs?
Gladly, Surfshark VPN does work with Netflix and other streaming sites like BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, Hotstar, Voot, Hulu, and even Disney Plus, thanks to its strong security/privacy that offers protection against Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) and other VPN blocking algorithms.
To unblock the American Netflix 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.
Surfshark Speeds: How Fast is Surfshark?
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 1040+ servers in 60+ countries, I decided to conduct another test. This time, Surfshark offered better performance, delivering an average of 89.99 Mbps in downloads and 86.25 Mbps in upload.
Is Surfshark Compatible with My Device?
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 2020, 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 VPN
- 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 VPN
- 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!
Pricing: How Much Does Surfshark Cost?
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 to leverage 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, my Surfshark review unveils 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 30-day-money-back guarantee on all premium plans, from the day your subscription commences. Surfshark also accepts all major payment methods.
These include PayPal, AliPay, and Credit/Debit card, etc. You can also pay through different types of cryptocurrencies to remain anonymous, without divulging any significant financial details.
Trustworthiness: Trustpilot Ratings, Reddit, and Customer Support
To give you better idea about Surfshark VPN, I have provided details about the provider from the perspective of “users” on Trustpilot and Reddit. These should help with the decision-making process:
Surfshark Review Trustpilot
Surfshark has receiving an average rating of 4.5/5 on Trustpilot from a total of 1,059 users. Needless to say, this is quite a remarkable score and indicates that users are satisfied with the provider.
Over 71% of users have given Surfshark an “excellent” rating, which says a lot considering about the reliability of the provider. Most complaints around the service revolve around their refund policy and the waiting period for getting one.
Surfshark Review Reddit
I was confident about Surfshark having a good reputation among Redditors, and I was proven right by the countless of positive reviews on Reddit. Most netizens have had a “great” experience with the provider.
Users appreciate the budget friendly costs, the user-friendly design, good performance, and unlimited devices. Some Redditors reported issues with Netflix, but like the review below clarified that contacting the support team helped.
Surfshark Customer 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.
I even recorded the response times after sending the VPN four questions via email with intervals. Among them, two were general queries and two were a little more technical. See the statistics below:
|Question||Initial Response Time||Number of Emails|
|How do I use Netflix on Surfshark?||20 Minutes||1|
|Is Surfshark good for Torrenting?||25 Minutes||1|
|Does Surfshark Work in China?||30 Minutes||1|
|Can I install Surfshark on my router?||24 Minutes||1|
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.
However, if you are still looking for alternatives and do not mind paying a little extra, I recommend signing up for PureVPN (starts at $2.91/mo ) or Ivacy (starts at $1.99/mo.), both of which maintain a perfect balance of affordability and value.
You can also look at other alternatives to Surfshark below and their comparisons of pricing, features, unblocking capabilities, torrenting/streaming performance, setup and interface, servers, security offered, customer service and more:
- Surfshark vs. PureVPN
- Surfshark vs. Ivacy VPN
- Surfshark vs. NordVPN
- Surfshark vs. ExpressVPN
- Surfshark vs. IPVanish
- Surfshark vs. PIA
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.
Above all, my Surfshark review finds that the VPN 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.