Surfshark Review 2019
Surfshark is an affordable VPN service you can get at $1.99/mo price. It has 1,000+ servers in 60+ countries suited for Netflix and P2P tasks. Surfshark has received 4.0 stars rating.
Surfshark despite being a new entrant is already making waves due to its impressive features and powerful performance in the world of online privacy.
With its ultra-fast 1,000+ servers and intuitive apps, this service is gradually catching up to the best VPN Providers.
Furthermore, it provides unlimited multi-login, 24/7 live chat, Netflix unblocking, OpenVPN, IPsec, &IKEv2 protocols along with 256-bit encryption, multi-hop, kill switch, WebRTC protection, CleanWeb, and Whitelister features under one roof.
You can attain all these above-explained benefits by subscribing to its monthly, yearly, two yearly pricing at the cost of $11.95, $5.99, and $1.99 per month.
This is the reason I recommend this impressive British Virgin Island (BVI) based service that safeguards your online presence completely.
However, for the interest of privacy-seekers around the world, I have put on my skeptical hat for this Surfshark review. Let’s see how it performs.
Look out for any other newcomer VPN in the industry in our top VPN reviews.
Recently, Surfshark has published a detailed report that highlights the quality of people’ s digital lives those who live in 65 countries across the globe.
The final factors that described the overall digital quality of life were taken from 21 indicators.
These five (5) factors are:
- Affordability of connectivity
- Speed of connectivity
- Security of citizens’ personal information
- Digital advancement of specific country in terms of its cyber security
- Development of a country in terms of availability of e-services offered by its government
Based on the above parameters, the overall digital quality of life in 65 major countries of the world have been thoroughly explained.
There are countries like Australia, France, Singapore, Norway and Japan are the table toppers. On the other hand, countries such as Pakistan, Egypt, Iraq, Ethiopia, and Algeria are placed at the bottom of the table.
The said initiative shows that the BVI based VPN service takes no half measures when it comes to giving importance to the netizens’ digital lives no matter from which country they belong.
My Rating Criteria
To cut the long story short, I tested Surfshark through various factors listed in my own rating criteria described below:
- Pricing – How much does Surfshark cost?
- Security – Protocols, Encryption & Features
- Jurisdiction – Belongs to User-friendly Country
- Speed – Is Surfshark fast?
- Streaming – Unblocks US Netflix & Other Streaming Services
- Leaks – IP, DNS, WebRTC & Virus Tests
- Trustworthiness – Logging Policy, Audit Report, Warrant Canary, Support & Trustpilot Reviews
- Compatibility – Which devices does Surfshark work on?
Pricing – How much does Surfshark cost?
The VPN offers three budget-friendly pricing plans. All of these plans come with a complete of features offered by the VPN.
Quite simply, the VPN offers the following packages:
As you can see, this is somewhat standard pricing strategy where the longer plans offer superior discounts.
However, the yearly plan of this VPN is a bit on the higher side. $5.99 a month for the annual package is a bit too much, especially considering that this VPN is relatively new in the industry.
They also have a proven track record, so is Surfshark worth it? This review answers your question.
When it comes to payment options, this VPN is pretty well rounded.
You can pay for the subscription with PayPal, Amazon Pay, Google Pay, Alipay, and a wide variety of credit cards.
The privacy-conscious customer can also opt for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Surfshark Partnership with CoinGate
Surfshark has collaborated with CoinGate a cryptocurrency payment processing company to accept litecoin payments through the lightning network.
This is another milestone achieved by the VPN provider as it endorses its own stance of preserving users’ privacy to new heights.
According to the viewpoint of Surfshark’s chief marketing officer Magnus Steinburg,
The core premise of Surfshark is the privacy of our users. Most privacy enthusiasts, and especially crypto owners, will always likely choose cryptocurrencies to subscribe to our service. Therefore, it is essential that such transactions would happen in a timely manner, and CoinGate’s Lightning Network will us help us achieve that
Surfshark refund policy applies to desktop versions of the app i.e. for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS.
The money-back guarantee is valid for 30 days if you are unsatisfied with the service.
But in order to receive the said refund, one has to comply with Terms of Service of the VPN.
In addition, the subscribers who used gift cards or prepaid cards at the time of purchase are not eligible for refunds.
Surfshark Free Trial
Luckily, you can avail Surfshark free trial feature hassle-free.
The provider offers a 7-day free trial available on Google Play Store and Apple App Store too.
You may experience the said advantage on your devices like Windows, Android, iOS and browser extensions as well.
However, you will have to provide your Credit Card information to use free trial benefit.
Likewise, you will not need to go through any payment process at all.
You can cancel the free trial yourself from Apple App Store or Google Play Store account.
I do not think that is too big of a problem.
This is because a 7-day trial is a good enough time for a user to decide whether the service is worth purchasing for the full version or not.
For more details read our Surfshark free trial blog.
However, you cannot avail such luxury on other devices like Windows and Mac.
To attain free trial benefit on above-mentioned devices, you will need to subscribe to any of the given pricing plans.
Security – Protocols, Encryption & Features
Hands down, Surfshark is one of the most secure VPNs in the industry.
The ultimate goal of a VPN is to keep your connection safe from the prying eyes of vigilant agencies and hackers.
Allowed VPN Protocols and Encryption
The dedicated client of Surfshark packs OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols along with AES 256-bit encryption.
OpenVPN is the industry-standard protocol and is widely considered as the best technology for securing sensitive data. Meanwhile, IKEv2 is less capable than OpenVPN but it used by smartphone users as it requires less battery than the latter.
The encryption level offered by the provider is also extremely proficient and can thwart the most advanced hackers.
Other Security Features
Here is the list of other prominent features which you will not find in other VPNs. These are:
With Multihop feature, you can establish a chain of VPNs and make yourself untraceable on the web.
Understandably, some you might consider this feature a bit of an overkill. But consider this; we never know what government agencies are up to these days.
Maybe they are working on tools that can make normal VPN connections looks like child’s play. Maybe they have already achieved this feat.
Whatever the case is, multihop does provide you an extra layer of security. Something that can come in handy against advanced surveillance techniques.
CleanWeb is a built-in feature of the VPN that blocks ads, trackers and malware. This tool keeps malicious software away from your device, thus providing you with peace of mind.
The client of this VPN comes with an in-built Kill Switch that prevents IP leaks. It does this by killing your internet whenever you lose the VPN connection.
There is no denying cyber attacks are increasing at a rapid pace these days. Therefore, the kill switch benefit may come in handy when your VPN service suddenly stops working.
Surfshark has added another feather in its cap by including two exclusive privacy features.
Through the Hacklock, you can secure and monitor your emails to certain degree. In addition, you may keep an eye on your passwords vulnerabilities as well.
BlindSearch works like an ad-free private search tool. It only displays organic results only. These results do not include any kind of historic memory at all.
You will have to pay $0.99 per month additionally to avail the above-described features.
For instance, you want to bypass VPN protection when it comes to visiting certain sites and services but do not know how to do it.
Surfshark has solved this problem to a certain degree. All you have to do is to avail “Whitelister” feature.
The said benefit enables you to circumvent VPN tunneling feature a great deal.
No border is another enticing feature that adds value to Surfshark reputation. When you enable such benefit on your devices, you can use the VPN in restrictive countries haggle-free.
Private DNS and Leak Protection
Through private DNS and leak protection feature, Surfshark secures every single server to another level.
Compatibility with TOR
What makes Surfshark different from the other services is its TOR compatibility. You can use both TOR and the British Virgin Island (BVI) service at the same time.
Compatibility with Router
Luckily, you can install Surfshark on your router without any hassle. However, your router must support OpenVPN protocol.
With camouflage mode, you can spoof your locations even from your ISPs. As a result, they cannot trace your online activities.
You can protect your digital privacy to great lengths by masking your original IP addresses.
SurfShark Servers: Fast and Furious
The server list of this VPN is expanding so fast than it is hard to keep up.
As of today, the VPN is boasting 1,000+ servers from 60+ countries. Believe me, the numbers were a lot lower just a few months ago.
As it shows above, almost the entire planet is covered with this VPN’s servers.
The providers have included servers from all continents except Antarctica (Of course).
Regardless of how impressive the server list is, it all gets down to the actual performance of the servers.
Now, this brings me to an important point; the servers of this VPN are exceptionally fast.
While using this VPN for streaming video content, I experience no buffering at all.
The gaming experience was also seamless with little to no lagging.
Despite all this, I would like to put my skeptic hat back on and remind the readers that Surfshark is a relatively new service.
This means that it has a low number of users, which usually results in a faster speed.
We will have to wait and see how this VPN holds up once the subscriber count eventually increases.
Surprisingly, the review of Surfshark VPN unveils that not all the 1,000+ servers are physical or bare metal. Our VPN server locations guide highlights that numerous VPN services deliver two types of servers to their users mainly.
You can contemplate these servers in the form of physical and virtual as well.
Let me explain you the concept of virtual servers briefly. These servers provide you the IP addresses of your desired countries. However, these virtual servers are located elsewhere in reality.
At present, Surfshark offers two virtual servers to their subscribers. The first one in India that is actually located in the Netherlands.
The same goes for other servers present in Vietnam, which is placed in the Netherlands physically but usually routes from Belgium.
Does Surfshark work in China?
If your VPN service does work in China, it adds a certain value to your VPN provider’s goodwill. Fortunately, Surfshark is proudly offering China working feature to its subscribers.
In case you are planning to move to China for any reason, Surfshark becomes an interesting privacy choice. To get an accurate official response, I contacted its customer support.
The response was instant and up to the point. According to them, you can opt their Windows as well as Android app to secure your digital existence in China.
Likewise, you will need to install the service on iOS and MacOS platforms manually.
Still, Surfshark has surprised its subscribers to a certain degree. It is not a joke to defeat Chinese great firewall restrictions with such ease.
That said official authorities have started blocking different VPN sites in China.
This is the reason you cannot access VPN services without using their mirror sites.
In this case, Surfshark has not disappointed its Chinese users.
As per their official response was given on Reddit, Surfshark is workable on Windows and Android devices.
You can use Surfshark’s mirror site to avail its services in China.
Similarly, you will be able to use Surfshark Mac and iOS apps in the coming months in China.
The service is trying its level best to release the apps for these platforms in China as soon as possible.
If you read the above Reddit thread in detail, you would realize that different users have appreciated its efforts in bypassing Chinese restrictions.
Surfshark has turned out to be a budget-friendly choice for VPN users in China.
Unfortunately, China is not alone when it comes to blocking different VPNs in the country.
Other countries like Russia, UAE, Iran, and Oman do not support the online freedom right of their netizens.
Consequently, you may not use your preferred VPN services in such countries straightaway.
In this situation, the role of obfuscation feature comes in handy. The said benefit allows you to combat numerous censorship tactics imposed by the number of governments all over the world.
You may also like to read about Best VPN as per Reddit platform as well as how you can bypass VPN blocks and why obfuscation is necessary.
Jurisdiction – Belongs to User-friendly Country
The best thing, which I found during this Surfshark review, was its user-friendly jurisdiction.
Surfshark belongs to British Virgin Island territory.
You might be wondering why it has so much importance.
If your VPN service exists in any of the 14 eyes countries, chances are that they have to abide by data retention regulations.
If you do not know about 14 eyes territories, read our exclusive guide.
These countries retain users’ information as they compel organizations those who operate under their jurisdiction.
The same does not go for Surfshark as the brand strictly follows its own data protection policy in the right way.
Background of Parent Company is Unknown
Surfshark has not done something extraordinary when it comes to finding their parent company.
When I explored their official site in detail, I could not find any information that relates to company background.
Surfshark will have to come up clean as their users have to know about their background.
Once they have defined their background, they may grab more attention from its potential users in a better way.
Speed – Is Surfshark fast?
Surfshark delivers decent connection speeds overall.
The speed test results for Surfshark were obtained using a base Internet connection of 30 Mbps.
I tested the UK and US servers for Surfshark to see how it performs on the two most commonly used servers across the world.
The download speed in the UK server measured more than 21.57 Mbps whereas the upload reached 18.83 Mbps. This is not exceptional but still remarkably good considering the base speed is 30 Mbps.
The US speed dropped a bit, clocking 18.98 Mbps on download and 15.32 Mbps on upload.
As such, the speed performance is decent. However, the real test of Surfshark will lie in its consistency in the long run, since VPNs decline in performance when their customer base increases.
Unbearable Connection Speeds
Without appreciable servers’ speed, you cannot achieve your streaming objective.
When it comes to streaming Netflix and other media services, Surfshark has let down its customer surely.
If you are able to attain average streaming speed after putting all the hard yards, you still cannot watch your desired content.
You will take some time to swallow this harsh reality.
Streaming – Unblocks US Netflix & Other Streaming Services
Surfshark does unblock US Netflix. Likewise, it also supports other streaming platforms such as Firestick and Kodi.
However, the speeds are not much conducive for streaming US Netflix media content.
Unblocking Netflix is not as simple as it used to be.
With the streaming giant putting its foot down against geo-dodging software, the VPNs are falling like a House of Cards in front of Netflix’s firewall.
So, are there still some services that can unblock the popular streaming site? Well, Stranger Things have happened.
To see if Surfshark has the capability to unlock the hidden treasures on Netflix, I conducted several tests in my blog Surfshark Netflix.
The result showed that this VPN unblocks geo-restricted content on Netflix without much difficulty.
I guess this an aspect of the VPN service, where Surfshark takes the crown.
I connected to its US server and was able to watch the show, Hawaii Five-O.
However, I had to face buffering issues while streaming the content.
P2P / Torrenting Compatibility
Like Netflix, torrenting allows you to watch a wide variety of content. It can also be used to download software, eBooks and what not.
But, there is a downside to this seemingly harmless tool.
While you download a torrent, your connection remains exposed to a barrage of harmful entities.
To conduct torrenting in a secure manner, you need a VPN.
However, some VPNs strictly prohibit downloading torrents through their servers.
Thankfully, Surfshark is not one of those VPN providers. It provides P2P compatible servers that allow you to download torrents without a worry in the world.
Other Streaming Services
Surfshark also works with other streaming services like FireStick, Kodi, Hulu, BBC iPlayer & more.
Surfshark for FireStick
The latest feature Surfshark has added in its armory is its FireStick app.
The app allows you to accomplish your media streaming cravings through anonymity and online protection both.
If you are a newbie in the field of online privacy, you do not need any rocket science to achieve your mission.
You can easily install Surfshark on your Firestick devices and continue streaming your favorite media stuff anonymously.
Surfshark for Kodi
The same goes for Kodi as well. The famous open-source media streaming software exclusively delivers a program add-on by the name of VPN Manager.
This program add-on supports numerous VPN services but sadly is not compatible with Surfshark.
However, you may use Surfshark with Kodi through the dedicated VPN app.
Check out our detailed Surfshark on Kodi guide to use the VPN service on the popular media software stress-free.
Leaks – IP, DNS, WebRTC & Virus Tests
Undoubtedly, Surfshark is a leak-free VPN service.
Without IP leak and DNS leak testing, you cannot be sure about your online privacy.
Therefore, you must pass your VPN service through various different testing tools.
I tested Surfshark to check if the provider leaks my IP and DNS information or not.
When I checked Surfshark IP leak feature through IPleak.org, I received below-mentioned result:
Note: I connected to the US server before performing IP leak test.
When I used DNSleak.com to evaluate Surfshark DNS leak support, I found the following result:
Note: I connected to the US server before performing DNS leak test.
Similarly, when I tested WebRTC leak protection feature through ip8.com, the VPN did not expose my WebRTC information online.
In order to know about different types of VPN leaks including IP, DNS, and others, check out our exclusive VPN leak test guide.
I checked Surfshark Windows setup file on Virus Total to discover in case the file exposed any virus or not.
The file passed the online fitness test with excellence.
Trustworthiness – Logging Policy, Audit Report, Warrant Canary, Support & Trustpilot Reviews
Surfshark follows the concept of no logging in the right direction.
You can use the VPN without fearing about its logging policies. The British Virgin Island service follows the policy of no logging in true letter and spirit.
I had to perform extensive research regarding Surfshark logging policy. However, I was delighted to know that the provider does not have a controversial logging background.
As I already mentioned, Surfshark belongs to British Virgin Island, and it does not follow any specific data retention rules.
To know more about different types of logging policies and other VPNs logging practices, read our detailed VPN logging policies guide.
Generally, VPN services do retain some information about their customers.
Most of the times, they store the email address, billing information and some other data that helps them improve their service.
This is very much the standards in the VPN industry. Netizens should not tolerate any service retaining their personal information without clearly informing about this beforehand.
The information stored by this VPN cannot be used to track your location.
Moreover, to put the cherry on the top, the VPN provider is based in British Virgin Island, a place with no mandatory data retention laws.
Independent Security Audit by Cure53
Surfshark is taking all the right measures to become one of the most transparent VPN services in the market.
Recently, Cure53 a German cybersecurity organization performed an independent audit. The company tested its Chrome and Firefox browser extensions.
There were only two security vulnerabilities found in their extensions as per the findings.
You can consider these weaknesses in the form of unencrypted HTTP link usage in invitation mail and insecure HTTP protocol usage in the proxy configuration.
The initiative taken by Surfshark is highly commendable as not every VPN service submits its apps for autonomous inspection.
Interestingly, Tunnel Bear also submitted its apps to Cure53 for an inspection purpose during the year 2017.
Warrant Canary is Harmless (Date: July 8, 2019)
A warrant canary is a method in which a VPN informs its customers that a secret government has issued a subpoena against them.
In reality, it works as a litmus test for numerous VPNs.
Through warrant canary, you can check the number of inquiry orders and national security letters VPNs have attained about their users.
Luckily, Surfshark has not received a single inquiry order about their subscribers.
- 0 National Security Letter
- 0 Gag Order
- 0 Warrant from a Government Institution
Customer Service: 24/7 Live Chat
To get help from the providers, users can turn to the support section of the provider’s website. Here, they will find useful information in the form of FAQs, Setup guides and other tutorials.
But if these options prove to be insufficient, users can contact the VPN in two ways:
- 24/7 Email Ticketing
- Live Chat
Now, lots of VPN services claim to provide 24/7 Live Chat and sometimes, this claim is nothing more than a farce. Surfshark on the other hand, live up to its promise.
You can contact the agents of this VPN at any time of the day and they will be at your assistance.
Surfshark Trustpilot Review
Surfshark has received outstanding reviews so far from users on Trustpilot. Although there are only 145 reviews published on the website yet because it is still a new product, there is not a single poor or even average review yet.
This is extremely promising and highlights the excellent performance of the VPN. I hope it continues to live up to the expectations of users in the future as well.
Compatibility – Which devices does Surfshark work on?
On compatibility front, Surfshark supports numerous operating systems and devices.
Until very recently, the VPN was only available through the Android app and its browser extensions. The Android app was still a work in progress and the Surfshark extensions provided minimalistic security to the users.
However, all that has changed now. Surfshark has recently released dedicated clients for Windows, iOS and has updated the Android app. Although the Windows app is categorized beta version, it is still a solid VPN client.
Surprisingly, there is no app available for Mac OS users and they have to set up this VPN manually on their system. Same is the case for the Linux users.
On a related note, the providers have also made the VPN compatible with DD-WRT, Tomato and AsusWRT routers.
Surfshark for Chrome
Surfshark VPN extension for browsers includes one for Chrome.
The Chrome app offers quite basic features and is essentially a proxy add-on.
You can use it to bypass geo-restrictions but don’t except any strong security or privacy mechanisms from it.
This VPN has designed a user-friendly client for Windows that comes with several nifty features. The app sports a simplistic outlook and is extremely easy to navigate. Through Surfshark login, you can use the Windows app in no time.
Although still a beta version, the app has advanced security tools such as a Kill switch, CleanWeb, and Split Tunneling.
The thing that impressed me most about this client was that it connected and disconnected almost instantly. Usually, this is an area where many VPN clients struggle.
While using the VPN for this Surfshark VPN review, I discovered that Kill switch and CleabWeb features are not automatically turned on.
Hence, make sure to enable these features from the setting section for an extra layer of security.
Overall, Surfshark has quite a modest user interface that is extremely simple to use for the nonprofessional. It might seem too bland to users that are accustomed to fancy visuals, but it gets the job done without any gimmicks.
Now I do not know about you guys, but simplicity has a charm of its own. So, I think it has done a great job keeping it simple and intuitive to use.
Do I Recommend Surfshark?
Yes, I do recommend Surfshark.
Now, I am concluding my Surfshark review here. There are many things, which I liked about them.
But naturally, there are some other things that must be dealt accordingly.
Surfshark entices customer’s interest with blazing fast servers, cross-platform compatibility, powerful security features and easy access to geo-locked content.
Over and above, this VPN has taken customer support to another level with its 24/7 Live Chat support. Moreover, not to forget, its server list is growing in tandems.
If not all this is enough to pique your interest than your thirst for online privacy might be insatiable.
Based on the above analysis, I would give Surfshark 4.0/5.0 rating overall.
Feel free to share your experiences about Surfshark in the comments section below.