- Super affordable
- Netflix unblocking
- Superb security
- Unlimited connections
- Inconsistent speeds
- Too basic for some
A full-featured and high-speed VPN doesn’t have to be expensive. Surfshark proves that point perfectly by offering one of the best services out there for nearly half the price of the competition.
Surfshark VPN is a relatively new service compared to some other options out there, but what it lacks in age it makes up for in features. From tight security and privacy to feature-rich apps and the ability to unblock Netflix – this packs in everything most people look for in a VPN. It’s one of the best Android VPNs available right now.
With over 3,200 servers spread across 160 locations in 65 countries worldwide this is a super capable VPN that’s perfect for anyone travelling. But with AES-256 level encryption, it’s also just right for anyone looking for a VPN to keep themselves anonymous and secure at home – or anywhere else for that matter.
As of 2020, Surfshark uses RAM-based servers only, meaning no data is stored on drives at any point, making it super secure and private.
So is this the VPN for you? Read on to find out everything you need to know about Surfshark VPN.
Pricing and plans
Surfshark keeps it nice and simple when it comes to pricing options with three tiers to pick from. These are time-based, with monthly, annual, or two-year plans which go down in price based on how long you commit.
The monthly option is the most open, allowing you to pay month-to-month with no commitment. As such this is the most expensive, usually priced at around $12.95. Jump up to a six-month plan, paid in one lump sum, and you get a big reduction that equates to $6.49 per month.
But the best plan, which gives you one of the most affordable VPN prices of any out there right now, is the two-year plan. Pay this sum upfront and it works out at just $2.49 per month. That’s a saving of a massive 81% savings compared to the regular monthly cost.
Our widget below keeps tabs on the latest Surfshark VPN deals so you’ll always get the best price.
Testing and performance
In our latest round of testing, we found some inconsistencies when it came to performance. OpenVPN speeds were below average in both the UK and U.S with between 100 Mbps and 170 Mbps, though UK WireGuard speeds were superb at 550-700 Mbps. That being said, WireGuard disappointed in the U.S. at only 150-210 Mbps. Worse was U.S. IKEv2 performance at a dire 40-45Mbps.
Server locations, peak usage times, and various other factors can affect performance, so your mileage may vary. In our previous round of testing, we saw much better speeds and consistently good performance so it’s possible that improved speeds will return.
Despite being a cheap VPN, Surfshark is pretty feature-rich. One of the big features for VPNs these days is Netflix unblocking and Surfshark specifically advertising this is something its service offers. In fact, it even names 14 countries where it can do this, including the U.S., France, Japan, Australia, Italy, and more.
Aside from Netflix, you can enjoy geo-restriction unblocking for the likes of YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and even the often challenging BBC iPlayer. The only one that presented issues here was Amazon Prime Video, which did work for going abroad and accessing home country content but blocked accessing other countries’ content when using your account setup at home.
You can connect an unlimited number of devices to Surfshark which is a huge perk. Other providers usually limit this to something like 5 or 10 devices at once, meaning you have to juggle which devices have an active connection or figure out how to run a VPN on your router.
Though there are a lot of features, the Surfshark team has stripped back the UI to make it easy for beginners with a quick connect button and easy location selector as its main interface. You can dig into some advanced settings if you want, but it’s not presented upfront which will be a plus or a minus depending on your preference.
Getting online in countries that otherwise block VPNs is an option here thanks to a service called NoBorders mode. This, presumably through obfuscating your traffic, gets you around any blocks to go online – ideal for China and Iran then.
A Whitelist panel is a nice touch that allows you to select applications, websites, and IP addresses that can bypass the VPN. This is great if you want to access your banking app without setting off alarms about you being out of the country, for example.
The CleanWeb feature works well to block ads, any trackers, and links that could be malicious to help keep your online experience as clear as possible.
The mobile apps allow you to select a “use small packets” option which is able to improve performance on some networks which could help speeds while also saving you money on data use.
Support is another great feature, with 24/7 live chat available wherever you are. This is a great way to get online if you’re having issues or find the right server to unblock something like a media player. While there are lots of details on the company’s website that can help, it’s nice to have a human waiting to help, should you get stuck.
Privacy and security
Surfshark uses the enterprise level AES-256 encryption meaning all your data is kept locked so even if it were compromised it would remain unintelligible. Not that it should be at risk thanks to a kill switch, keeping you safe if your connection drops, and a double-hop VPN. That means your address is even more secure, should you activate this feature, making you highly anonymous and difficult to track.
There are some of the best modern security protocol options including OpenVPN UDP and TCP plus IKEv2. Plus the company is based in the British Virgin Islands meaning no logging is required. The fact that each server has its own private DNS is yet another layer of security to set your mind at ease.
Surshark’s Mac app recently gained a kill switch which keeps it on the list for the best Mac VPN apps, though that’s lacking on the Windows side. In the Windows app, there is a lack of notification when it disconnects. It’s a minor gripe, perhaps, but could represent a gap in your security if it doesn’t automatically connect. Worth noting if you’re a Windows user that wants this running as tightly as possible.
Surfshark maintains that it does not keep any logs nor user histories for any sessions. That being said, Surfshark hasn’t undertaken as many audits as other VPN players like ExpressVPN and NordVPN with the last one taking place in 2018 and only looking at Surshark’s browser extensions.
In that third-party test, German security firm Cure53 led it to conclude that it was: “highly satisfied to see such a strong security posture on the Surfshark VPN extensions, especially given the common vulnerability of similar products to privacy issues.”
Should you sign up?
If you want to save a packet on a really decent VPN that offers lots of features, then Surfshark could be for you. Presuming you’re ok with paying that two-year upfront cost then you can get this cheaper than most other VPNs, without sacrificing features or security. In fact, this budget VPN is above average and beats a lot of the more expensive services with its offerings.
Features like unlimited device use make this a genuine option for use across all your gadgets. You could, conceivably, even split the cost with someone and share this impressive and comprehensive VPN service. Looking for other VPN deals? We have you covered there as well!
We test and review VPN services in the context of legal recreational uses. For example:
1. Accessing a service from another country (subject to the terms and conditions of that service).
2. Protecting your online security and strengthening your online privacy when abroad.
We do not support or condone the illegal or malicious use of VPN services. Consuming pirated content that is paid-for is neither endorsed nor approved by Future Publishing.
We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.