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Surfshark Review 2021 – It’s Affordable, But Is it Safe and Fast?

Surfshark is an all-rounder VPN service that works with Netflix / torrenting and costs only $2.49/mo. For all its unique capabilities and proprietary features, it has earned a rating of 4.4/5.0, To find out everything that's good and bad about Surfshark, check out this in-depth review.

Surfshark-best-vpn

Surfshark VPN is no longer the new kid on the block. I’ve seen this British Virgin Island-based VPN grow from just 100 to 3200+ servers in a little over a year. Some of these servers even make Surfshark accessible in China.

There’s a lot to love about Surfshark. To start, Surfshark is a secure VPN offering 256-bit encryption, Multi-hop, Kill Switch, Whitelister, CleanWeb, and much more for just $2.49/mo .

Surfshark guarantees that it maintains no logs of privacy-sensitive information of users, claiming that Cure53’s independent audit is legitimate. It is also safe to use and offers amazing security features.

However, there is still a little room for improvement, if we talk about speeds and server networks, considering its server coverage is smaller than most VPNs. I would recommend ExpressVPN if you want global server coverage and fast speeds.

Want a Quick Overview? Here are the key findings.

  • StreamingSurfshark has powerful unblocking capabilities to unblock Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and more.
  • Speed It offers fast upload speeds but slow download speeds on some servers.
  • Server Network – It has a good number of servers and all are super reliable.
  • SecurityTons of built-in features for improving online security against various cyber threats. Offers advanced features that are not available in other VPN services.
  • Features – Surfshark offers amazing in-app features that set this VPN apart from other premium services including an ad and malware blocker.
  • Privacy – Surfshark has a strict zero-logs policy and it doesn’t store any user information. Its privacy policy is transparent and it is also audited.
  • User experienceOffers easy-to-use apps for newbies with a minimalistic design and is one of the few premium VPNs that allow unlimited simultaneous connections.
  • CompatibilitySupports unlimited multi connections and offers apps for a variety of devices including routers and Smart TVs.
  • Pricing Offers an 81% discount on its 24-months along with unlimited multi-logins. It is also one of the best affordable VPNs.
  • Customer support – Offers live chat, email support, installation guides, Faqs, and more.

Surfshark Features – April 2021 Update

Number of servers 3200
Server locations65
Number of IP Address3,200+
Encryption AES-256 Bit
Does it keep logs No Logs
Number of devices per subscription Unlimited Devices
Does it include a kill switch? Yes
Price $2.49/mo

Streaming – Is Surfshark good for streaming?

Yes, Surfshark VPN is one of the best choices available for streaming. This is seriously impressive, considering that most VPNs nowadays cannot get past the firewalls and VPN-blocking technologies implemented by popular streaming services.

I tested Surfshark with streaming services such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video and found them working flawlessly.

SurfsharkStreaming Platforms
NetflixUS, UK, Canada, Germany, Australia, South Korea, Japan, and more.
HuluUS, Japan
Amazon Prime VideoYes
BBC iPlayerYes
Disney+Yes
HBO GoYes
HBO NowYes
HBO MaxYes
VuduYes
SHOWTIMEYes
Sky TVYes
ESPNYes
DAZNYes

Does Surfshark work with Netflix and other streaming services?


Yes, Surfshark works efficiently with Netflix. For Netflix U.S, I connected to the U.S St. Louis server of Netflix and streamed the famous “300” movie. Surfshark not only played the movie within seconds but also delivered HD picture quality.

[caption id="attachment_215972" align="aligncenter" width="700"]surfshark-connected-to-us-server-playing-300-movies-on-netflix Surfshark Unblocking Netflix US – all 24 US servers worked perfectly![/caption]

I also managed to unblock the U.K library of Netflix too. What’s even more impressive is the fact that Surfshark can unblock 16 different Netflix libraries. Speaking of Netflix, here’s how you can watch Surfshark with Netflix.

Another strange thing I experienced when accessing international libraries with Surfshark is that most EU servers redirected to Netflix US. It was quite confusing for me. I decided to contact customer support about it and they clarified that it is perfectly safe to use EU servers to watch Netflix US and Surfshark do that to facilitate their users.

Basically, you can use servers in Europe that are close to you to access Netflix US, instead of using long-distance US servers which will definitely affect your connection speeds. This was very surprising to me and convenient too. I tested Netflix US on Sweden and the Czech servers and there was no Netflix proxy error.

Apart from the US and UK Netflix, Surfshark also unblocked other popular Netflix libraries as shown in the table below:

Netflix LibrariesWorking (Yes/No)HD StreamingBuffering
Netflix USYesNo
Netflix UKYesNo
Netflix ITNo (SD Streaming)Minimal
Netflix DENo (SD Streaming)Minimal
Netflix AUYesNo
Netflix JPYesNo
Netflix KRNo (SD streaming)Minimal
Netflix FRYesNo
Netflix CAYesNo
Netflix ESYesNo


Amazon Prime Video works flawlessly with Surfshark. During my test, everything streamed in HD quality, and I did not encounter any errors whatsoever while connected to the U.S Chicago server. However, I had to switch 5-6 servers before, trying my luck with the Chicago server that worked with Amazon Prime US. I could also unblock the Canadian library, and had no luck with the French library.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="695"]Surfshark-Amazon-Prime-US Surfshark only managed to unblock the US and Canadian Amazon Prime Video Libraries. I could not unblock France content. [/caption]


Hulu works quite well with Surfshark. During my testing, pretty much any U.S server I connected to easily managed to unblock Hulu. As for picture quality, I managed to stream multiple shows in HD quality.

[caption id="attachment_303173" align="aligncenter" width="603"]Surfshark-unblocking-hulu Surfshark easily unblocked Hulu on its Bent server and I could stream in HD quality without buffering.[/caption]

If you want a VPN that consistently unblocks Hulu without issues, ExpressVPN is my top choice.


Surfshark works brilliantly with Disney Plus. I managed to get the best performance with Surfshark’s Denver, Detroit, Boston, Atlanta, and New York servers. Again, all of the content that I streamed on Disney plus played in 1080p HD quality.

[caption id="attachment_248991" align="aligncenter" width="700"]disney-plus-with-surfshark Surfshark unblocking Disney+ on its New York server with high video quality. [/caption]

Similar to Netflix, if Surfshark cannot unblock a regional Disney+ library it will automatically redirect you to the US Disney+. But as the content is somewhat similar in all regions, so that should not be an issue. Also, the US Disney Plus library is the biggest, so you won’t be missing out on much.

Before accessing Netflix or any other streaming content with a VPN, we recommend that you clear your browser cache, cookies, and history one time.

Apart from Netflix, other popular streaming services, which include BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and Disney Plus, are also accessible in 1080p HD quality. I could also stream geo-restricted BBC iPlayer content using Kodi Addon with the UK server (Manchester was faster than London).

I had no issue unblocking sites with Surfshark. However, it did act up when I tried to unblock Hotstar. I had to change several servers and it finally unblocked on my 7th attempt. During testing, the speeds were extremely slow and there was alot of buffering. It could be due to the distance, but the video kept buffering and it was unwatchable.

Surfshark also offers something scarce these days with many VPN providers. While I was testing different websites with its servers, I noticed that if I enabled its CleanWeb adblocker feature, it would stop all those annoying ads from popping up. It made my streaming and browsing experience very smooth.

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Speed – How fast is Surfshark?

Downloading speed is one area where Surfshark needs to improve. Despite offering 3200+ servers in 63 countries, I found Surfshark to deliver burdened down downloading speeds on every server that I tested with my 100 Mbps connection in my speed tests.

But on the other hand, I can’t complain about its uploading speeds. While Surfshark struggled to exceed the 25 Mpbs downloading speed mark, it managed to deliver uploading speeds in the upper 80s to the 90s range.

Just check out the table below:

Server locationDownload speedUpload speedPings
Australia – Perth25 Mbps93.25 Mbps132 ms
Canada – Montreal25.17 Mbps92.09 Mbps265 ms
Germany – Frankfurt25.67 Mbps92.5 Mbps117 ms
Hong Kong25.67 Mbps93.25 Mbps264 ms
India25 Mbps93 Mbps211 ms
Italy – Milan25.67 Mbps95.67 Mbps263 ms
The United Kingdom – London25.5 Mbps91.09 Mbps139 ms
The United States – New York24.09 Mbps87.5 Mbps251 ms
United Arab Emirates24.92 Mbps91.75234 ms

While Surfshark managed to offer slow downloading speeds in my speed test, I could still download large torrent files quickly and watch Netflix in HD quality. You can check out my complete guide on the Surfshark speed test for more in-depth speed test results.

Surfshark U.S server speed

The download speed that I managed to get on the U.S New York server was 24.09 Mbps, and the upload speed was 87.5 Mbps. While I had no complaint about the upload speed, downloading speeds could have been better.

Surfshark U.K server speed

The speeds on the U.K London server were slightly better. Surfshark VPN managed to achieve 25.5 Mbps download, 91.09 Mbps upload, and 251 ms pings if we talk about download speed. Considering the overall speed test results, Surfshark performed quite well.

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Surfshark Server Network

Surfshark has over 3200 servers in 65 locations. It is not bad, but if you compare it with other VPNs like Private Internet Access (which has over 35,550 servers in 77 locations) then this isn’t a huge network. Also, if you want a global coverage, then you can also go for ExpressVPN that has 3000 servers in 94 countries and over 160 cities.

Most of Surfshark’s servers are located in the United States, spread out in 24 cities. Meaning, Surfshark is a great option for users who want to unblock American streaming sites and bypass geo-blocks. Apart from the US, Surfshark also has a big server network in Europe with multiple servers in all major countries like the UK, France, Germany, Spain, and France.

Surfshark also offers physical servers in countries with heavy internet restrictions and censorship like Russia, Turkey, and Vietnam. Most VPNs dont offer servers in these locations, so if you live in one of these locations, you can use Surfshark to surf the web freely by connecting to an international server.

Virtual Server Locations

Surfshark also has virtual servers in multiple locations including Chile, Argentina, and Costa Rica. It is mostly available in countries where it has become difficult for VPNs to provide their services due to restrictions and political instability. When you connect to one of these virtual servers, it actually connects you to a physical server that is located outside the region. It not only gives you more options but also boosts your speeds.

Each virtual location in Surfshark’s app is marked with a ‘v.’ However, keep in mind that virtual locations might result in higher pings because to establish the connection, your data has to travel to a physical server that is outside your region. During testing, it took me some time to connect to the Chile server.

Surfshark-virtual-locations

Surfshark’s virtual locations help you bypass censorship but can lead to higher pings.

Surfshark’s Static IP Address

Surfshark also offers static servers that give you the same IP address every time you connect. These servers are located in 5 countries: Singapore, Germany, Japan, the US, and the UK. This is very convenient when you instantly want a connection and dont want to complete the CAPTCHA code every time you log in to your banking apps. I tested the same static IP server and was asked to confirm my identity during the first login attempt on my banking app.

What’s best is that these static IP servers are P2P friendly so you can torrent, and also choose from MultiHop servers for extra protection.

Security – How secure is Surfshark?

Surfshark VPN is one of the most secure VPNs in the industry. It offers the best encryption, VPN protocols, and additional features. If you go through the features list of Surfshark, you’ll see that this provider offers unbreakable AES 256-bit encryption, leak protection, Kill Switch, secure protocols, along with additional features to keep you safe and secure.

Surfshark Encryption

Surfshark relies on AES-256, Advanced Encryption Standard (sometimes also referred to as Rijndael algorithm), to encrypt all the data that goes through the network to and from your device. This is the same encryption standard that the United States uses. This encryption standard is responsible for providing you DNS and IPv6 leak protection so that neither your Internet Service Provider nor any third party entity can see your personal activity or data.

AES 256-bit encryption is the best in industry and is used by governments and the military to protect their data. Therefore, you can bet that with Surfshark, your ISP will not be able to see your online activities.

Surfshark VPN Protocols

Taking about protocols, currently, it offers five different protocols for VPN connection which is very useful in case Surfshark displays connection issues.

  • IKEv2.
  • L2TP.
  • OpenVPN.
  • Shadowsocks.
  • WireGuard

While OpenVPN would be a preferred choice for speed and reliability, and one can say it is the top choice for selecting the connection protocol, WireGuard is slowly advancing toward becoming the next big thing.

WireGuard was first released in 2016, and similar to OpenVPN, it is also Open Source. It uses state-of-the-art cryptographic technology, which makes it faster to deeply, more stable, and 4 times faster than OpenVPN. Surfshark offer this protocols for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS device application only.

It is expected that more and more VPN providers will switch to WireGuard connection protocol in the future. For a more in-depth comparison, do check out our Wireguard vs. OpenVPN comparison.

In this heading, we will discuss OpenVPN, which is used to transmit data, transmit data from the US, and compare it with WireGuard, the latest technology and is incorporated by Surfshark for transmitting data is faster.

Surfshark-speed-on-security-protocols

The dedicated desktop app of Surfshark packs in four VPN protocols, IKEv2, Shadowsocks, WireGuard, and OpenVPN, with a TCP and UDP variation. Speaking of OpenVPN, the iOS app of Surfshark VPN now supports the OpenVPN protocol.

Surfshark has also added Shadowsocks protocol in the Windows and Android apps and can be manually configured on Mac and iOS devices. It is an encrypted proxy that is created for users residing in countries with a high level of censorship and internet restrictions like China, Egypt, and the UAE. It acts as a backup in case the OpenVPN stops working.

protocol

The IKEv2 protocol is, although fast and offers excellent smartphone compatibility, isn’t the safe protocol out there. In fact, there is evidence of the NSA actively exploiting this protocol. On the other hand, OpenVPN is the industry benchmark and the safest protocol currently used by VPN providers.

Surfshark Leak Test Results

DNS leak protection is mandatory as it ensures that your data is being routed via Surfshark’s DNS servers instead of your Internet Service Provider’s DNS servers. Similarly, IPv6 leak protection ensures that the network’s IPv6 is not leaking your real location.

Before I can trust my privacy with Surfshark, I decided to take some leak tests. Here’s how Surfshark performed in my leak test:

dns-leak-test

During testing, I found out that Surfshark masked my real IP address and location in Spain and there was no DNS, WebRTC, and IP leak.

I was satisfied with the results as neither my DNS nor IPv6 was leaking after connecting to Surfshark.

Surfshark Automatic Kill Switch

Surfshark VPN also comes with a built-in Kill Switch feature that prevents IP leaks if your VPN service suddenly stops working. This feature is so smart; it automatically kills your internet whenever you lose connecting with the VPN server. In case of any VPN connectivity issues, it will deactivate your internet connection and reactivate it automatically. This way no information will be leaked in case of any sudden connection drops.

Surfshark-Kill-switch

Enable Surfshark’s Kill Switch in 3 clicks on its Windows app

I tested out this feature by downloading a torrent file and then disconnecting from the VPN server midway. As soon as I disconnected from the VPN server, Surfshark automatically disabled my internet connection. The automatic kill switch feature is available in Surfshark’s browser extensions and also all other apps.

Surfshark’s Multihop Feature

With Surfshark’s Multihop feature, you can establish a VPN chain and take IP masking to the next level. For instance, you can connect to Surfshark’s servers in France and the United Kingdom simultaneously and virtually appear in two different locations. It sends you traffic through two server locations instead of one which is amazing.

multihop

This feature can add an extra layer of security to combat advance online surveillance. In terms of performance, I found the Multihop feature to be not all that slow. Despite being connected to two different servers, I didn’t notice too much of a speed drop. 

NoBorders

No border is a Surfshark feature designed for countries with strict regulations against VPN usage and heavy online censorship (think China, for example). As soon as the NoBorder feature detects the situation mentioned above, it will present you with a special list of servers that you can connect to.

Surfshark-No-Borders

Surfshark’s NoBorder mode to bypass heavy internet restrictions and censorship in regions like China or UAE.

Surfshark Camouflage Mode

This mode makes your encrypted traffic look like regular traffic under deep packet inspection (DPI) so that nobody can see you’re using a VPN. It is a convenient feature to use if you connect behind a strict firewall or an Internet Service Provide that restricts VPN usage.

Basically, Camouflage mode makes your VPN traffic look like normal traffic, so you can surf the internet undetected and it also helps avoid VPN bans. This is really helpful when using public Wi-Fi like in libraries and cafes, where some sites are blocked. I tested on a public Wi-Fi in a library and it instantly unblocked Netflix and Disney + without any hiccups.

You dont have to manually enable the Camouflage mode as it is automatically enabled when you connect to the OpenVPN protocol. OpenVPN is available on Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and Linux.

Surfshark 2FA

Surfshark also offers a 2FA feature, also known as Two-Factor Authentication. It adds an additional layer of security to your Surfshark account. To enable 2FA on Surfshark, you will have to open its official site on your browser and log in using your credentials. After that go to “Account Settings” and click on “Turn on 2FA.” After that, you can either set it up with your email id, or authentication apps like Google Authenticator.

I chose the Google Authenticator method because it is super private and is also recommended by Surfshark. All you have to do is download the Google Authenticator app from Google Play Store or App Store if you are using an iOS device. Just scan the QR code and it will register your site. Now, every time you log in, you will need to enter the code from the authenticator app. But remember the code is only valid for 30 seconds, after that it generates a newer one.

Surfshark VPN CleanWeb

CleanWeb is a built-in feature of Surfshark VPN that blocks ads, trackers, and malware. I particularly love this feature because it actively blocks annoying advertisements.

Here’s a screenshot of Surfshark’s CleanWeb feature in action:

Clean-web

To enable the CleanWeb feature on Surfshark’s extension, simply click on the feature and enable it. It comes in handy as you won’t have to see intrusive ads when browsing online anymore.  It also detects malicious websites and phishing scams to protect your device.

Cleanweb-Surfshark

Surfshark GPS Spoofing

Apps and websites use GPS to locate users instead of using IP addresses. This way advertisers target you with ads. However, it is an issue when it comes to the online privacy of users and unfortunately, a VPN is not enough. But, Surfshark has solved this problem by offering a GPS Spoofing feature.

This feature hides both your IP address and GPS location making it look like you are physically located in the same place as the server location. Therefore, no apps can track your whereabouts. However, this feature is only available on Android. To enable it, you can select the “Override GPS Location” feature under the advanced settings.

I tested this feature by connecting to its Chicago server. After enabling the feature, I went to Google Maps and it showed my location near Willis Tower in Chicago when physically I was in Spain. However, you cannot use it on games like Pokemon Go, because then it won’t be able to load any PokeStops, and the game needs your location.

In-App Features of Surfshark

Apart from security features, Surfshark also offers tons of cool in-app features for its users. Here are some notable ones:

Surfshark WhiteLister Feature

surfshark-Whitelister-feature-in-action-min

As the name suggests, Whitelister is a split tunneling feature that allows you to custom exclude specific apps or websites from connecting via a VPN.

This feature is great if you prefer securing certain sensitive apps and websites while excluding other apps that you might use for streaming and general browsing.

One way Surfshark’s Whitelister feature stands out is that it can be used in a reverse manner. For instance, instead of just excluding apps or websites, you can even add apps or websites that you want to protect with the VPN.

To test out this feature, I added my browser to the list, and the Whitelister feature worked exactly as advertised.

Device Invisibility

With Surfshark, you can also make your VPN-enabled devices invisible to other devices that are on the same network. This feature offers an extra layer of privacy and is best when you are using public Wi-Fi and dont want to visible to others. Unfortunately, this feature is only available in Surfshark apps for Windows and Android. To enable the feature, simply go to Settings > Advanced > and turn on the Invisible to devices feature. 

Surfshark-Invisible-to-devices

Surfshark Device Invisibility feature for extra protection on public Wi-Fi.

Surfshark Privacy Beyond VPN

Surfshark also offers a bundle add-on package called Privacy Beyond VPN that comes with 2 additional features and an extra cost of $0.99 per month in addition to the basic subscription cost. These features are:

  • Surfshark Search is a private search engine that does not contain any ads or trackers like Google. You can browse and surf the web without feeling like someone is tracking all your clicks. It is very similar to DuckDuckGo, but with no ads.
  • Surfshark Alert gives users immediate notifications in case their personal information is leaked. In case there’s a breach, you get an instant notification.

Surfshark’s Free Trust DNS

Surfshark also offers a free Trust DNS app that lets you change your DNS address for free. What’s best is that you can choose from 100+ public DNS servers and access websites that are blocked at the DNS level and even hide your online activity from your ISP. It is only available on Android and iOS apps.

If you want to connect to the public DNS server, you can easily do that with Surfshark’s app, but we recommend using Surfshark’s VPN server. One reason is that DNS proxy doesn’t offer the same level of protection and privacy as a VPN because it doesn’t encrypt your traffic and your IP address is visible. Second, you might not be able to unblock geo-restricted sites like Netflix because these servers are blacklisted.

Your Privacy and Surfshark

In this heading, we will be looking directly into the relationship between your privacy and Surshark, how Surshark honors it, and what is a Warrant Canary.

Does Surfshark keep logs?

No, Surfshark doesn’t keep logs and strictly follows the concept of no data logging. If you go through Surfshark’s privacy policy, the provider mentions that it does not log the following information:

  • IP addresses
  • Browsing history
  • Session information
  • Used bandwidth
  • Connection timestamps
  • Network traffic and other similar data

Surfshark-Logging-Policy

This is seriously impressive because Surfshark only collects emails, encrypted passwords, billing information, and order history. This is pretty standard and cannot pose a threat to user privacy.

If you are still doubting how much serious they are about protecting the user’s personal information and data, then you will be blown about the fact that they are using the servers with volatile (RAM) memory. The advantage of using a volatile (RAM) memory server is that as soon as it is shut down, all the data and information on it will be deleted as compared to the servers working on hard drives.

Surfshark Jurisdiction

Surfshark is headquartered in the British Virgin Islands, which, as we’ve discussed earlier, is a jurisdiction with no mandatory data retention laws. This is one of the most ideal locations for VPNs to be based in, as other famous VPNs like ExpressVPN is also based in BVI.

The British Virgin Islands is located outside the 5 Eyes, 9 Eyes, and 14 Eyes Alliance – a group of countries sharing surveillance intelligence between one another. Not only are they a decentralized organization, but they are also transparent when it comes to disclosing their office locations. One of their representatives confirmed that they have offices in Germany, Cyprus, and the United Kingdom and employees working remotely from Finland, China, Lithuania, India, Netherlands, Ukraine, Philippines, and the US.

Surfshark Warrant Canary

If you don’t know, a warrant canary is basically a small document informing customers of National Security Letters, Gag Orders, and Warrants that the provider has received to date.

Impressively, Surfshark has not received any subpoena or orders to disclose customer information as of February 26, 2021:

0 National Security letters;
0 Gag orders;
0 Warrants from a government organization.

Warrant-Canary-Surfshark

Even in the case of a subpoena, Surfshark will have no data to give due to its zero-log policy.

Independent Security Audit by Cure53

To make their service more transparent and secure, Surfshark recently carried out an independent audit of its service through a German cybersecurity organization called Cure53. The company tested the Chrome and Firefox browser extensions and there were no major security or privacy issues according to the audit report.

The initiative taken by Surfshark is highly commendable as not every VPN service submits its apps for autonomous inspection. However, no audit has been conducted on Surfshark’s logging policy or the VPN app itself. This is somewhat disappointing, as premium VPNs like ExpressVPN have been audited numerous times including their logging and privacy policies.

Therefore, having third-party audits of logging policy is common among top premium VPN services. There is no issue with Surfshark’s privacy policy but an audit is needed as proof of their claims. If you want to use an audited and a VPN with a verified no logs policy, there are multiple options out there.

Is Surfshark Good for Torrenting?

Yes, Surfshark is a fast, safe, and overall good solution for torrenting. With security features such as 256-bit encryption, a strict no-logs policy, and leak protection, Surfshark allows you to safely download torrents from anywhere in the world using its dedicated P2P servers.

Surfshark also has an amazing feature for users who are very keen on torrenting. It offers whitelist capabilities through its “Whitelister” feature. This feature allows the user to single out your torrent client, enabling it to channel the traffic through the VPN. In contrast, your other internet traffic is channeled through an internet service provider network.

If we talk about speeds, Surfshark really impressed me with its overall decent connection speeds. I managed to download an average-sized torrent file relatively quickly without abrupt connection drops or speed fluctuations during my testing.

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Does Surfshark work in China?

Yes, Surfshark is among the very few VPNs working in mainland China. In fact, its servers in Hong Kong managed to unblock pretty much any Chinese content I tried to access.

Surfshark manages to do this because it uses a mix of both physical and virtual servers. This way, even if Surfshark VPN doesn’t offer a physical server in Albania, for instance, its virtual server location can still give you access to all regional content available in Albania. This is exactly how Surfshark’s Hong Kong server compensates for the nonexistent Chinese server.

If you are having issues downloading Surfshark in China, you can set it up manually which works all the time. Customer support is also available in case you need help setting it up on your device. Surfshark also works in other countries with internet restrictions like Saudi Arabia, Russia, and the UAE.

Surfshark-China-Customer-Support

If you cannot seem to use Surfshark in China, you can contact customer support and set it up manually.

Surfshark uses NoBorders Mode and Camouflage Mode that are made for bypassing the Great Firewall of China. The Camouflage Mode hides your VPN traffic and makes it look like normal traffic so you can bypass VPN blocks imposed by ISPs.

Similarly, the NoBorders Mode detects VPN blocking technology and firewalls and helps select obfuscated servers so you can get unrestricted access to the internet. On top of that, you can also use the Shadowsocks proxy to bypass heavy censorship and restrictions in China.

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Surfshark User Experience

Surfshark app is really easy to use. It is clean with a lot of white space and the layout is simple as everything is within reach after a few clicks. You dont have to dig deep into the app for advanced settings. It features a somewhat similar app across all platforms including Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. Meaning, you dont have to spend time getting used to different versions. Even its browser extension is very simple and lightweight.

Another great thing about Surfshark’s app is that it has a little description below each feature for those who are new to VPNs. It is helpful for understanding the feature and what it does. Similarly, Surfshark’s app is available in 15 languages including German, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and Spanish.

There were few things that bugged me. For example, whenever I used the auto-connect feature, I experienced slow speeds, and when I connected to a server of my choice manually, the speed was perfect. Just like CyberGhost, Surfshark can also include a list of optimized servers for P2P, Gaming, MultiHop, and more so the user can choose one based on his needs instead of going on a wild goose chase.

Similarly, at first, I could not find server information like ping time, server load, and more. After contacting customer support, I found out that to view individual server information you need to disconnect from the VPN. This is very helpful as you can choose the fastest server with lower pings.

Surfshark-server-infromation

View server load and pings of the individual server location to choose the best server.

Unlimited Simultaneous Device Connections

Surfshark is one of the few premium VPNs that allow you to connect as many devices as you want with a single surfshark subscription. This is a great value for money because most VPNs restrict device connection between 5-10. This feature makes it a great choice for large families.

What’s best about Surfshark is that you can connect different kinds of devices with it at the same time and you will not experience any effect on the performance. I tested the performance by configuring Surfshark on my router and connected it with my laptop, iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and desktop computer. I did not see any change in the performance.

Compatibility – Is Surfshark Compatible with My Device?

Since Surfshark is compatible with all major operating systems, you should have no issue installing it on your device.

Surfshark VPN can be used with Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, and many other mainstream devices. Speaking of other devices, I easily managed to download and setup Surfshark on FireStick in a matter of minutes. Also, with its extensive refund policy, Surfshark is no doubt the best free VPN for FireStick.

Setting up Surfshark on Kodi was also easy too. I just had to run it in the background before launching Kodi. And if you’re wondering, yes, you can easily set up Surfshark on Roku devices and routers as well.

Here’s a complete list of Surfshark compatible devices:

Desktop & LaptopsPhones & TabletsBrowsersSmart TVsConsoles
macOS – 10.12 or neweriOS – 10.3.3 or newerChromeFire TVXbox
Windows – 7 or newerAndroid – 5.0 or newerFirefoxApple TVPlayStation
LinuxOther TVs

Surfshark VPN boasts user-friendly apps for a variety of devices. These apps sport a new versatile design and are extremely easy to navigate. Everything is snappy, and options are straightforward to find.

surfshark-ios-app-user-interface-and-hands-on-experience

You get a quick-connect button that connects you to the best server closest to you in the middle of the app. You also get a server list on the left-hand side of the app. You can either search for your desire server location or pick specialty servers supporting Static IPs or MultiHop.

Accessing advanced features is also easy with Surfshark. From the settings menu, you can change language, switch to dark mode, or get help.

If you dig in even deeper, you can access the Connectivity tab and the Advanced tab to run speed tests and enable features like Kill switch, NoBorders or switch to a different protocol.

Overall, Surfshark is designed with newbies in mind.

Pricing – How much does Surfshark cost?

Here is a list of all Surfshark budget-friendly pricing plans:

Subscription PlanPricingDiscount
$12.95/mo1-monthNo discount
$6.49/mo6-months50% discount
$2.49/mo 24-months81% discount

The basic monthly subscription price, which is $12.95 per month, can seem quite expensive than the other VPN provider. If you purchase the six-month subscription in one go, then the price comes down to $6.49 per month – still pricey – but if you go for the two-year subscription, then that where Surfshark beats many of its competitors with a meager price of just $2.49 a month.

surfshark-cheap-pricing-plans

As you can probably tell, Surfshark’s 24-month subscription plan is the most affordable option to get. If we talk about payment methods, you can purchase a subscription for Surfshark through:

  • Credit cards
  • PayPal
  • Google Pay
  • Amazon Pay
  • Cryptocurrency (i.e. Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple).

Surfshark-Payment-Methods-Review

Surfshark Refund Policy

Surfshark offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try it out for 30 days free of cost and cancel it to get a refund. It does however come with exceptions. Users who have signed up for the VPN via App Store, Amazon, or iTunes cannot get a refund. The same goes for gift card payments. In such cases, the user will have to contact the specific store for a refund. That said, there are a couple of things worth noting in Surfshark’s terms of service section if you plan on getting a refund.

Surfshark-Refund-Policy

One great policy of Surfshark is that, unlike most paid VPNs, Surfshark also refunds payments made with cryptocurrency. Users who paid for Surfshark with cryptocurrency will be given an equivalent amount in US dollars based on the change rate at the time of refund.

For more information about Surfshark refunds, check out this article on canceling a Surfshark subscription.

Get Surfshark30 Days Money-Back Guarantee

Is Surfshark VPN Free?

Yes, Surfshark VPN offers a 7-day free trial, but only for the Android and iOS apps. One thing to note is that you will have to provide your credit card information to avail of the free trial. If you’re curious how to get the free trial of Surfshark, check out this separate blog on Surfshark free trial. By using Surfshark’s free trial you can also access geo-blocked streaming platforms like Netflix US, Hulu, Disney+, and more. It is also a great free VPN for Popcorn Time.

Surfshark Reliability & Customer Support

Surfshark offers featured rich apps for most operating systems. The entire time I tested its apps for various operating systems, I never noticed any crashes. But in case any of Surfshark’s apps fail to work properly, try the tips mentioned in this Surfshark not working article.

Surfshark’s customer support is quick and helpful. You can not only contact their support team through live chat, but you can also get help through email support.

Their customer support representatives are responsive and knowledgeable. I asked their support agent Edd a simple question and immediately got a response back within seconds:

Surfshark-customer-support

Aside from that, Surfshark has a detailed Help section on its website where you can find troubleshooting guides, installation tutorials for popular devices, and helpful FAQs.

In terms of obtaining the knowledge you need, many improvements could be made in regards to how the articles are arranged. For example, if you type in “Android” to the search bar, you receive a list of articles related to Android issues, such as installing Surfshark on an Android device.

Surfshark Compared to Other VPNs

Comparing VPNs side-by-side can help you make the best decision for yourself and also indicates the caliber of the provider you’re looking at. Here’s how Surfshark compares to two other top-rated providers, NordVPN and ExpressVPN.

ExpressVPNNordVPNSurfsharkVPN
Average Speed75.34 Mbps65.81 Mbps77.34 Mbps
Kill SwitchYesYesYes
Allows TorrentingYesYesYes
Encryption Type256-bit AES256-bit AES256-bit AES
Money-Back GuaranteeYesYesYes
Record User LogsNoNoNo
Unblocks Netflix USYesYesYes
Unblocks Amazon Prime VideoYesYesYes
Lowest Monthly Cost$6.67 per month$3.71 per month$2.49 per month

You can also check out the IPVanish full review as it also offers unlimited simultaneous connections, just like Surfshark.

Reddit opinion about Surfshark

If you head over to Reddit, you will also find multiple users who will praise this service for what it actually is – a customer-centric product determined to provide online anonymity with access to global content. Let’s take a look at a Reddit review left by one of their satisfied users.

review-reddit

Naturally, the Reddit user also left some negative remarks as well.

Do I Recommend Surfshark?

Yes, I highly recommend Surfshark. There’s a lot that I like about Surfshark VPN. The fact that it offers fast speeds with barely any speed drops is awe-inspiring. I also like that Surfshark works exceptionally well with Netflix and offers 3,200+ servers for only $2.49/mo.

However, I still wish to see more servers added to the list—especially a dedicated server for China. I’m also a bit skeptical about the Trustpilot reviews of Surfshark. Something tells me not all reviews are legitimate – not sure about that. But considering overall features, pricing, customer support, and trustworthiness, Surfshark is one phenomenal VPN service and thoroughly deserves the 4.3/5.0 rating.

This concludes my Surfshark review. Still in confusion? Have a look here to decide whether to get NordVPN or Surfshark.

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'Abdul Rehman

Abdul Rehman

Author
Posts by Abdul Rehman

Abdul Rehman's Biography :


Abdul Rehman is a simple Tech savvy bloke with a neck for writing. Monday to Friday, he enjoys delving down in to the inner workings of privacy and security of top-tier VPN providers. Nevertheless, on the weekend he is a bit modest and simply loves spending time with his dog.


41 Responses to Surfshark Review 2021 – It’s Affordable, But Is it Safe and Fast?

  1. NN says:

    I am writing to confirm that the 30-day-money-back-guaratee works flawlessly.
    Amazing service. I am super happy with the service and support of surfshark.
    I tried surfshark for about a week. I used it mainly for torrenting. Downloading worked perfectly – fast speeds, many connections, no issues. Uploading didn’t work well – few incomming connections, very rare seeding events. After I checked with surfshark it turned out that surfshark does not support opening/forwarding ports and without opened ports seeding is very limited but possible.
    I demanded a refund using the 30-day-money-back guarantee and I was refunded THE SAME DAY.

    • Abdul Rehman says:

      Thank you for your feedbac. We are hopeful that you will soon find the best suitable VPN for your need. Best of luck! Stay Safe and Secure!

    • Abdul Rehman says:

      Thank you for your feedback. We are hopeful that you will soon find the best suitable VPN for your need. Best of luck! Stay Safe and Secure!

  2. James says:

    Surfshark isn’t as transparent and secure as they would lead you to believe. First, the kill switch function is flawed. When the kill switch is activated and the VPN disconnected, TOR can connect with no difficulty. This makes me wonder how many other apps can bypass the kill switch? Second, you can tell Surfshark where to connect, but it often connects to the fastest server available to you. I have screenshots of ipleak.net with the surfshark app sitting on top. I’m not connected to the server displayed on the Surfshark app and it’s verfied by ipleak.net.
    As for refunds? Mine was simple and FAST. I first presented the evidence of security issues with Surfshark, then asked for a refund. Paypal notified me of the refund 57 minutes later.

  3. Toby says:

    Can’t say that I have a lot of knowledge about VPNs and security, but I try my best to keep up and improve. I decided to try out Surfshark after I read that it was user-friendly, because that’s what’s important for a newbie like me obviously. I was quite happy with their performance. Recently, I was torrenting “Once upon a time in Hollywood,” and the movie was downloaded in a couple of minutes, not sure if this should be faster, but it was pretty close to what I used to get without a VPN.

    • Abdul Rehman says:

      Hey Toby, glad to hear you’re enjoying Surfshark. It is indeed the fastest VPN we’ve ever tested. If you torrent quite often, you might also enjoy using Ivacy VPN.

  4. Lester Farkas says:

    A few thoughts about Surfshark. I’ve used SS extensively for the last two weeks, and have found a couple of flaws that, while not deal-breaking, are annoying.
    -Surfshark DOES seem to have regular connectivity issues, and regularly disconnects on my mobile devices, requiring far more attention devoted to ensuring that my VPN is still active than I would like.
    -Despite their claim towards ‘stealth’ service, I constantly find that various websites will recognize that something is not kosher, and attempt to prevent me from logging on. This includes Amazon Prime, Gmail, and several smaller streaming sites. Obviously, this is also after changing the servers and attempting to streamline the process as much as possible.
    -Customer Service is prompt, yes, but useless. I contacted them several times, using multiple different ISPs and contact names to ask a variety of different questions about their service, and was met with a wall of helpless drivel that usually boiled down to, “It’s in Settings”, regardless of the question. I did have ONE seemingly knowledgeable individual help me out, but that was it. Be functional with Reddit before use.
    HOWEVER, despite the occassional frustration that SS can cause through dropped connections, and the like, they still seem tobe the best bang for your buck if you need to connect multiple devices (as I do) simultaneously, with decent speeds, and a multitude of effective servers. I’m not sure that I would recommend it, but I certainly wouldn’t steer anyone away from it either. Simply be aware of what you’re getting into.
    N.B: I have NOT attempted to get a refund from the service, since I am not altogether unhappy with it, so I have no first hand knowledge regarding that. However, I can easily believe other reviewers claims that it is virutally impossible simply based off of the quality – or lack thereof – of their regular customer service.

    • Abdul Rehman says:

      Hey Lester,
      You’re absolutely right. Pretty much no VPN I’ve also tried is perfect. Though, I didn’t encounter connectivity issues at my end. As for customer support, some representatives tend to offer better help than others. In my experience, I came across agents who were actually helpful.

  5. dr.danny says:

    I was surprised to find out that VPN can help with lags that I get while gaming on my PlayStation, so I decided to use my Surfshark account on PlayStation, and strangely the speed did improve. I always thought it should slow it down, was I the only one? Also, buying games that are not yet available in my country is a nice hack too.

    • Abdul Rehman says:

      Hey Danny,
      You’re not the only one. I regularly come across users who use VPNs for lag-free gaming. As long as you connect to the right VPN server, you should experience better speeds and performance.

  6. Simon_G says:

    When I started my new job, I started traveling quite a lot. First of all, I had to improve my personal security and then make sure I was able to access websites that may be blocked in some regions (social and gmail). Of course, I use an antivirus (Avast), but your review convinced me to get Surfshark as well. It has been quite helpful to pass all the geo-blocks, and I’ve been using it most of the time I’m connecting to random Wifi. So far, so good

    • Abdul Rehman says:

      Hey Simon,
      Glad to know that you’re enjoying Surfshark. Despite being on the budget side, Surfshark still offers some top-specced features. No wonder you’re able to easily bypass geo-blocks.

  7. Dawn says:

    I got Surfshark after reading your review, with their 30 day money back guarentee. And on the same day as subscribing I cancelled, changing my mind that I needed it, and asked for my refund. They just keep emailing back asking why I want to cancel, and are not giving me the refund, despite me emailing a further twice to them saying I want my refund.
    So, not to be trusted.

  8. Jake says:

    Does it work on a Firestick ? If so, Is there dedicated app ?

    • Abdul Rehman says:

      Hey Jake,

      Yes, Surfshark does work on FireStick. In fact, you can find its dedicated app on the Amazon app store. The good thing about Surfshark is that it is the only VPN app for FireStick with a built-in Kill Switch feature.

  9. Giusepe says:

    After I decided to get a VPN, I was looking for something, which was affordable for a student’s wallet and would be recommended for streaming and torrenting. I decided to try out Surfshark and thought that if I don’t like their services, I can get a refund. I have discovered they have a CleanWeb feature, which prevents ads and tracking, although while using it, a couple of ads did pop-up while I was on Youtube watching videos on my phone. Anyway, as this wasn’t the deal-breaker for me, after using it for half a month, I decided to stick with it since the price was quite low, and all other features worked smooth.

    • Usman Hayat says:

      Dear Giusepe,
      Thanks for reaching out to us. We can safely you did the right thing eventually by subscribing to Surfshark. The VPN gives you online freedom alongside better streaming speeds to help you watch your desired TV shows or movies from anywhere.
      Apart from affordable pricing, you can get various privacy features like camouflage mode, kill switch, and so on.
      Cheers!!!

  10. Damon says:

    I payed for the 2 year membership because it had a 30day money-back guarantee. I used it for 2 days and it would not download any videos through Kodi (which is the reason I bought it). I switched back to the VPN I had been using and it went back to working fine. I emailed Surfshark and told them I wanted a refund 2 days ago. I received an email wanting me to explain the problem, which I did, and I didn’t get a refund. I sent another email that afternoon and got the exact same message. I replied to that and still haven’t heard anything back. I will now have to contact my credit card to have them do a charge back since this company apparently doesn’t respond to their refund guarantee. I would stay away from this company due to its shady practices. You have been warned!!

    • Surfshark says:

      Hello, Damon. We would like to apologize for this situation on behalf of the Surfshark customer support team. It should be noted that we are deeply concerned about your issue and hope to see you back to our customer support anytime soon. In addition to this, our 30 days money-back guarantee applies to all our customers, so you don’t need to contact your bank as we will issue the refund immediately once you send us an email again. Once again, let us apologize if we misunderstood each other.

  11. Dave Greiman says:

    1. How many many users are allowed per account?
    2. And does it have an App that serves with an iPad?

    • VPNRanks says:

      Hello Dave Greiman,

      1. Surfshark has unlimited simultaneous connections per account.

      2. It offers a dedicated app for iPad.

  12. Steve93 says:

    I’ve been using Surfshark myself, it has a good 4k streaming for Netflix, indeed the connection dropped a couple of times tho as soon as I switched the server managed to watch movies without any more disruptions

    • VPNRanks says:

      Hello Steve93,

      Thanks for sharing your experience with Surfshark with us. We also found this VPN to be one of the best when it comes to Netflix!

  13. kevin says:

    surfshark collects ip addresses from your computer and other devices from websites.
    And collect various error reports. (Metadata Risks)
    When you use our app, we may collect advertising identifiers – unique, user-resettable IDs for advertising, – surfshark privacy policy
    And they also collect cookies.
    This policy is dangerous.

    • VPNRanks says:

      Yes, Surfshark does retain IP address when you visit its website for the first time because it helps them diagnose problems with their server and to display the content according to your preferences. I am not saying that this feature should be recommended in any of the VPN service because a VPN is designed to hide your IP address. To be honest, every user who visits any website will have their IP address compromised. It’s just the matter if this VPN service keeps track of your browsing history? No, they don’t. That brings me to your statement, ‘They collect cookies’. Yes, they do. There’s a simple way to turn off your cookies or you can also warn your computer whenever a website is using cookies. So, technically there’s no threat.
      About Advertising Identifiers, first you should know how Advertising Identifier works. It is only for marketing purposes and doesn’t use your personal information as it’s been already cleared by Surfshark. Still, you can reset your identifier or opt out of personalized ads by adjusting your device settings.
      To your next point that Surfshark collects various error reports. That holds true because then, they would know the aggregated performance data, unsuccessful connection attempts, and other info, but the data collected for diagnostic purposes does not contain uniquely identifiable information. So, Surfshark cannot identify if the users’ name is ‘Kevin’ or ‘John’ and that eliminates the last threat you identified. So, if you ask me if Surfsahrk is dangerous? No, it’s completely safe to use Surfshark VPN.
      Hope that solves your problem? Do let me know there’s still something that clears up. I will be more than happy to help. Cheers!

  14. ValveZ says:

    Very unstable VPN. I have very frequent random disconnections with Surfshark. I thought that my PC’s were causing this problem but later found out that more users had similar issues. Not a single solution provided by the Surfshark or found on the web solved the problem. So I tried free VPN’s like ProtonVPN, Windscribe and OperaVPN and none of them disconnected, not even once, during 1 month period. Other than that they have OK customer support and no DNS leaks.
    Still, I wouldn’t recommend Surfshark. Not until they upgrade their servers and fix a major security problem – instability.

    • Surfshark says:

      Hello, Valvez. Thank you for your honest review, although according to your described issues, Surfshark customer support could be able to assist you 24/7 beyond any doubt. Having said that, we would like to invite you to start the free 7-days trial and test our service again and give us a second chance to solve your problems.

  15. Aaron says:

    Great service bought the $50 deal for 2 years and have been using it for a couple hours now and everything seems to be good I love the extra features that comes with the client too couldn’t ask for anything better also the support takes everything seriously and is fast to answer any questions and concerns or support

    • Usman Hayat says:

      Dear Aaron,
      Thanks for sending your valuable feedback to us.
      We are glad that you found Surfshark useful and equal to the task.
      Cheers!!!

  16. Jake B says:

    I’m not particularly picky when it comes to my computer gadgets and software but I have tried a couple of vpns with really horrible app design so surfshark was very easy on the eye when I first saw it. It’s working smooth too so nothing to complain about.

    • Usman Hayat says:

      Dear Jake B,
      Thanks for reaching out to us.
      We are happy that you liked Surfshark app because of its simplicity.
      keep using Surfshark and enjoy online anonymity from anywhere.
      Cheers!!!

  17. Tod says:

    Nice review! You described everything that people need to know about this provider. I am using Surfshark for a few months, and I am happy with the service and what they are offering for their customers. I had a few questions about MultiHop, but customer support helped me immediately.

    • Usman Hayat says:

      Dear Tod,

      Thanks for reaching out to us.

      We are glad that you found our review helpful. You were able to know about its MultiHop feature through customer support upfront.

      Keep using Surfshark and enjoy online anonymity as per your demands.

      Cheers!!!

  18. Gary says:

    How I know if it has a GDPR policy?

    • Usman Hayat says:

      Dear Gary,

      Thanks for sending your valuable feedback to us.

      Surfshark is a GDPR compliant VPN as the service has categorically expressed its views about the matter in its privacy policy section.

      Cheers!!!

  19. PwT says:

    I’ve tried most VPN’s but always found them wanting in some way or another. SurfShark has most bases covered, amazingly fast, faster than any other VPN I’ve used! Double hop, connects almost instantly, again the fastest of any VPN. I had problems with an early version of the windows app & they gave me 6 months free added on. Unlimited connections unlike Express with 3, work fine with Netflix on my android TV. Hard to find a negative point. It’s obvious some VPN’s pay for getting to the top on so called reviews. For me SurfShark is the best I’ve tried.

    • Usman Hayat says:

      Dear PwT,

      Thanks for reaching out to us…

      We are glad that you liked Surfshark. Keep using the service and enjoy online anonymity from anywhere.

      Cheers!!!

  20. Roman says:

    Hello

    Do not buy it. I had installed software on 3 PCs, notebook and android and all starts to have problems with internet, network… even if surfshark is not connected… Software is piece of crap. I paid for 24 months and I want refund after few days more than 30 days and the reject to refund.
    Do not trust SurfShark. Pay a little more and everything will at least work which won’t with surfshark!

    • Ed Savinksy says:

      Did you not experience these issues during the first 30 days of your service? The refund policy is clearly stated, so not sure why you’d be upset because you waited beyond that time to cancel.

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