Surfshark Review 2023
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) helps protect your online chats by encrypting them, making them tough for outsiders and trackers to understand. When you use a VPN, for example, to search on Google, your IP address seems to come from the server you've chosen, hiding your true identity from websites. In a world where data can be harmful, getting your privacy back is really important. Learn why VPNs are a must-have in 2023 here.
Surfshark VPN is currently the best VPN out there, with most of the features and excellent service. It's awesome for boosting privacy, but what's more alluring is its price; it's one of the cheapest options. In this article, we'll explore what Surfshark VPN offers and help you figure out if it's worth your money.
For Readers In A Hurry, Here Is A Quick Take:
Surfshark is currently one of the fastest-growing VPNs, so what specials are they offering to their users? Let’s take a quick look: servers in 100 countries, including Africa, have one of the fastest speeds, support torrenting, can easily access the geo-restricted content on streaming giants like Netflix, and offer the most special features (more than you will need). and all that at one of the lowest prices: $2.49 per month.
Surfshark follows a strict no-logs policy and has a beautiful "Zero" figure on its warrant canary. Surfshark is a light VPN with excellent support and a smooth interface. It even offers unlimited simultaneous connections—what more can you want from a VPN, especially at this price?
The best thing about Surfshark is that it sits right at the sweet spot. While PIA VPN and CyberGhost are a bit cheaper, they are based in the USA and owned by Kape; similarly, Nord and Express are similar but charge higher prices. So, Surfshark is the perfect combination of privacy standards like ExpressVPN and NordVPN with affordable prices like PIA VPN.
Offers most features in the market
Streams content smoothly
Spread across 100 countries
OpenVPN is only available in the Window app
Based in the Netherlands (14 Eyes)
Fewer servers in Africa
Surfshark VPN stands out as one of the best-priced VPNs in the market, offering a remarkable set of features at a highly competitive rate. The monthly plans start at only $12.95 per month; however, we suggest our readers go for a longer plan. Here's why. The yearly plan is $3,99 per month, while the most affordable plan is $2.39 per month with 1 extra month.
So, if you choose the 2-year plan, you can get the most premium VPN and features at the cheapest price possible. If you don't find Surfshark suitable for you, there is always a 30-day money-back guarantee. So, without any problem, you should definitely select the longer plan.
Secure Protocols and Encryption
Surfshark VPN provides three secure protocols: OpenVPN, WireGuard, and IKEv2/IPsec. Each protocol is widely adopted and has its own advantages. OpenVPN is a popular choice and has been thoroughly tested. WireGuard is a newer protocol with light code, making it faster than OpenVPN, and many VPNs are starting to adopt it. IKEv2 is more focused on mobile devices, offering better performance, particularly on iPhones.
By default, Surfshark uses WireGuard, or you can let the VPN pick the best protocol by selecting "automatic." OpenVPN is only available on the Windows version, which is unusual since most VPNs support all protocols on almost all devices. In Windows, you also have the option to choose the packet size while using the OpenVPN protocol. It's possible to install OpenVPN on macOS, but it requires a manual setup, which might not suit everyone.
Surfshark employs AES-256 GCM encryption for OpenVPN and IKEv2 while using ChaCha20 for WireGuard. Both encryption types are highly advanced and military-grade, taking even the fastest computers billions of years to crack through brute force. Keep in mind that encryption is what makes virtual private networks truly "private," so always opt for the best choice available.
Extensive Server Network
Surfshark VPN boasts over 3,200 servers across more than 100 countries. While these numbers are impressive, it's important to remember that having more servers can improve accessibility but not necessarily privacy. So, it's crucial to consider server locations and features.
In terms of server count, Surfshark's 3,200+ servers don't quite match Private Internet Access's 17,000+ servers, although PIA relies heavily on virtual servers. Surfshark's presence in 100+ countries is remarkable, as it means the servers are well-distributed. However, some VPNs like HMA and PureVPN have an even more extensive reach, with servers in 190+ and 140+ countries, respectively. Keep in mind that not all of these are physical servers.
But when it comes to trust and privacy, all the above-mentioned competitors fall behind. Surfshark is far ahead of them in truly safeguarding the user's data. So, all the real competitors, like Express and Nord, offer a bit smaller server network, while those like HMA offering larger networks are not even deemed trustworthy.
Upon analysis, most Surfshark servers are located in Europe and Asia, with almost every European country hosting a physical server, making it an excellent choice for European and American users. The VPN also has servers in Africa and South America, although coverage isn't perfect. Surfshark offers 25+ city servers in the USA, which can help bypass blackouts during sporting events. It is the best VPN to watch F1 online.
Surfshark VPN has been upgrading its servers from 1 Gbps to 10 Gbps since 2021, although the company hasn't shared the exact number of upgraded servers. ExpressVPN and NordVPN started their upgrades earlier than Surfshark. Upgrading to 10 Gbps is crucial for premium VPNs, especially with the emergence of 5G networks. Some upgraded servers are located in the USA, UK, Japan, Australia, and even Hong Kong.
Virtual servers are software-configured servers that appear to be in one location while physically located elsewhere. This means that a single physical server can be converted into multiple virtual servers.
Surfshark has also upgraded all its servers to RAM-only or diskless servers, which support its no-logs policy. RAM-only servers don't have storage or disks for storing information. Sometimes, even with a no-logs policy, companies can't monitor servers in restricted regions that may be seized. To mitigate this risk, many companies have started using RAM servers, ensuring that there is no data to capture even if servers are seized
Excellent choice for streaming Geo-restricted Content
Streaming has become one of the main reasons people use VPNs today. With increasing restrictions on regional content and libraries, it's more convenient for users to access a VPN on one platform rather than waiting for a release (which may never happen) or paying for multiple subscriptions. A survey found that 50% of VPN users primarily use them for streaming purposes.
When testing international libraries, Surfshark accessed more than 10 libraries. Although one was not entirely reliable, these 10 consistently streamed content in HD, including libraries in the UK, USA, Italy, Netherlands, India, Germany, and more.
Also by-passed, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Disney+
We also tested Surfshark on other platforms, like BBC iPlayer and Amazon Prime. BBC iPlayer only works in the UK, yet I was streaming BBC iPlayer in HD from Austria easily by connecting to the SurfShark UK server. while Amazon Prime was connecting to almost every country from the browser. We also were able to access the geo-restricted content on IPTV, Disney+, and Kodi TV through Surfshark VPN.
It managed to access almost all major streaming platforms, except for Hulu. Well, all the VPNs have some platforms that they cannot access. Till now, I have never found a VPN in my 3+ years of experience that unblocks all the streaming platforms. Though the VPN is expanding its reach, maybe soon enough it will easily bypass Hulu also.
After analyzing and using Surfshark on all the platforms, I can easily say that Surfshark is by far among the best VPNs I have used for streaming content with minimal lags.
Strict No-logs Policy
Surfshark adheres to a "no-logs" policy, which means it doesn't store user activity or personal information (unless necessary for its operation). This is what we expect from premium VPNs, although this is also the area where VPNs try to fool their users. As there is no definite way to verify a VPN policy completely, VPNs make their own glossary and find ways to trick people.
Does collects Aggregate data
In order to enhance its services, Surfshark gathers aggregated data on crashes, app performance, successful connections, etc. Since the information cannot be traced back or linked to specific accounts, there is no reason to be concerned. This data is anonymous and was gathered by a group.
Besides this, all the data is wiped off within 15 minutes of disconnection, thanks to the RAM-only server. This means just after 15 minutes of your disconnection, your logs are no longer present in any records, not even on the servers, and thus no one can even retrieve that information anymore. If you are still not satisfied, you can email the business to ask for the deletion of all the information on your account, like name and email, and the company will wipe that off too.
An official request or warrant is reported via Surfshark's warrant canary. This canary announces if Surfshark receives any gag orders, warrants, or subpoenas. The canary still stands at 0, meaning no warrant or subpoena has yet been received. The company further claims that even if it does receive one, it would not be able to provide any information since they themselves do not store any.
Surfshark underwent an independent audit of its no-logs policy in January 2023, conducted by Deloitte, one of the largest auditing firms. Surfshark passed the audit, and its no-logs policy was verified. There was no vulnerability found in Surfshark's system. though this was not their first audit.
The company also went through audits in 2018 and 2021, but these were infrastructure audits that didn't address the core issue. However, with the no-log policy now verified, we can be satisfied with Surfshark's commitment to privacy.
Speed test results 2023:
Note: At VPNGrades.com, we are committed to providing accurate and reliable information to our readers. To ensure that our reviews are based on real-world performance, we rigorously test the speed of VPNs using a variety of tools and methods. We test the speed of VPN servers across multiple locations and at different times of the day to get a comprehensive understanding of the VPN's performance. Read how VPNs affect Internet speed here.
Surfshark is by far one of the fastest VPNs I have tested in my lab. The VPN straight-up competes with ExpressVPN and Hotspot Shield. Surfshark is also a light VPN that feels like small software, but when connected to the internet, it is a rocket ship flying past the moon.
Surfshark may not have a special in-house-designed protocol, but the core speed of Wireguard mounted on this light yet powerful VPN would surprise anyone. This is also due to the upgrade of their servers to 10 Gbps.
These high-speed servers already control more than 80% of the Surfshark connection, leading to connections to servers with fewer loads and hence excellent speed.
Privacy Friendly Jurisdiction
Surfshark was founded in 2018 in the British Virgin Islands, a jurisdiction with no data retention laws or privacy-infringing legislation. In 2021, the company changed its jurisdiction to the Netherlands, a move that raised some concerns.
The Netherlands is not a country that values privacy as much as the British Virgin Islands, primarily because it is a member of the 14 Eyes alliance, which includes countries that track their users in the name of protecting their nation’s interests. The USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, and other nations are included in the 14 Eyes.
Surfshark claims to not have been bound by any laws on data retention in the country. While this may be true, one can't help but wonder why the company would leave a privacy-friendly jurisdiction in the first place. Even after claiming to have strict no-logs, operating under 14 eyes is not supposed to be good.
Surfshark claims they can legally maintain a no-logs policy, but they won't be of much help to authorities. However, Surfshark should address user concerns regarding these jurisdictional issues. The Netherlands may not have any data retention laws, but still, these countries keep trying to watch their citizens and companies.
Merger with NordVPN
Surfshark was formed under Surfshark Ltd. initially. Since then, there have been some changes in the name, but recently they merged with Nord.
In 2021, Surfshark merged with NordVPN, the most popular VPN owned by Nord Security. Some believed it to be an acquisition, but both Nord and Surfshark refused it, claiming it to be a merger. A new company, Cyberspace, was created after this merger.
Surfshark also stated clearly to its users that they won’t share their infrastructure or server network with Nord or vice versa.
Companies like Kape, Zeff Davis, etc. are competing to create a monopoly in the privacy sector, which is not at all good for the users. NordVPN, being the market leader, took the step of merging with Surshark, which was growing rapidly.
This is another area where no other VPN can compete with Surfshark. Surfshark offers so many basic and special features that no other VPN can compete with it. Earlier, NordVPN also used to offer similar features, but since the introduction of Surfshark's Nexus technology, even Nord can't compete with Surshark VPN.
Bypasser (Split Tunneling)
Surfshark VPN's Bypasser feature, also known as split tunneling, is a powerful tool that allows users to customize their VPN experience by choosing which apps and websites use the VPN connection and which ones to bypass it.
This can be especially useful for users who want to prioritize speed and performance or for those who need to access region-specific content that may be blocked by the VPN. With the Bypasser feature, users can easily configure their VPN to work exactly how they need it to.
You can exclude your banking and other personal trustworthy sites to bypass directly without any VPN connection.
Surfshark VPN's kill switch is a vital security feature that helps to protect your online privacy in the event of a VPN connection failure. Essentially, the kill switch acts as a fail-safe mechanism, automatically cutting off your internet connection if the VPN connection drops, preventing your IP address and other sensitive information from being exposed.
The Camouflage mode of Surfshark VPN, also known as Obfuscation, is a special function that improves your privacy and security by hiding any indications of your VPN connection from the outside world. When turned on, Camouflage mode disguises your traffic so that it resembles a regular internet connection, making it extremely challenging for anyone to keep track of or monitor your actions.
Those trying to get around content filtering or restrictions find camouflage mode particularly helpful because it enables them to access forbidden content covertly. Also, since camouflage mode uses your existing network ports to create a secure connection, it can be utilized to get around VPN port restrictions.
Surfshark offers an integrated anti-virus solution to protect your devices from malware, phishing attacks, and other online threats. This feature scans your downloads and alerts you to any potential threats, ensuring that your device remains secure while browsing the internet.
Surfshark Search is a private and ad-free search engine provided by Surfshark. It allows you to perform searches without being tracked or having your data collected by third parties. With Surfshark Search, you can enjoy a more private and secure browsing experience.
Cookie and Pop-up Blocker
Surfshark provides a built-in cookie and pop-up blocker feature that prevents annoying pop-up ads and restricts websites from collecting your browsing data through cookies. This feature not only declutters your browsing experience but also helps protect your privacy by limiting the information websites can gather about you.
Surfshark VPN's CleanWeb is an upgraded feature that blocks ads and malware on the most popular streaming platforms. The feature is available on browser extensions and works on a wider range of ads, banners, and pop-ups than traditional ad blockers.
CleanWeb also helps to minimize malware risks and avoid phishing attempts while boosting browsing speeds and saving mobile data. Using a VPN alongside CleanWeb adds an extra layer of security and privacy by masking your online identity and protecting your data.
Nexus Technology and features
Surfshark VPN's Nexus technology is a powerful solution that connects all of its VPN servers together, offering a unique and secure way to improve your VPN experience. When you connect to Nexus, your traffic gets routed through a whole network of servers rather than a single VPN tunnel.
This obscures and hides your traffic, ensuring maximum privacy and security while stabilizing performance and enhancing your VPN connection speed. With Nexus, Surfshark VPN delivers a seamless and reliable VPN experience, ensuring that you can browse, stream, and download with confidence, no matter where you are in the world.
Here are some exclusive Nexus features that have been released, while many other features will be released soon.
Surfshark's IP Rotator feature enhances your online privacy by periodically changing your IP address every 5–10 minutes. This makes it more challenging for websites or trackers to identify you, as your connection appears to be coming from different locations.
Although the feature is currently in beta, it already shows promise in further bolstering users' anonymity. However, there's no option to customize the time interval for IP address rotation as of now. This feature is especially useful for sites that keep on running potential IP checks to detect VPN users; as soon as they start detecting your connection, you will be assigned to another one.
Surfshark's Multi-hop (also known as Double VPN) is a feature that routes your internet traffic through two separate VPN servers instead of just one. We can even decide which two VPNs we want to connect, as VPNs like CyberGhost only have multi-hop on specific locations. So if anyone even uses trackers to detect your location, he will still be led to another VPN location.
This adds an extra layer of security and privacy, as it makes it even harder for anyone to trace your online activities back to you. By connecting through multiple servers in different countries, your digital footprint becomes more difficult to follow, offering you enhanced anonymity and protection.
Suitable Apps for all devices
Surfshark VPN on Windows
The Windows version can be downloaded and installed from the dashboard. The app offers a quick tour to explain basic features.
All protocols are supported in the Windows version, but letting the app choose the best one is recommended. The app runs smoothly, and all features can be found in the settings.
We conducted DNS and WebRTC tests and detected no leaks. The kill switch worked consistently, and there were no leaks while changing servers.
Surfshark VPN on Android
You can download the Android version from the Google Play Store or the official website. 5-105–10kill minutes. The option to select the interval is not available yet, as this feature is still in beta.
DNS leak tests BlueebRTC tests showed no leaks on iOS. There were no leaks while changing servers, and the kill switch functioned as expected.
Surfshark VPN on macOS
Like most VPNs, you'll need to download the app from the official website. You can also install the OpenVPN protocol if you wish, although our tests showed no need for it with WireGuard available.
The interface is similar to the Windows version, and features look great on the larger screen. All features can be accessed, and detailed views of options are available. The theme and graphics remain consistent, with options to switch between light and dark themes.
No leaks were detected in the DNS and WebRTC tests. The kill switch worked well, and there were no leaks while changing servers. However, we found that connecting to servers was slightly slower on macOS compared to other platforms.
Customer support is a very important aspect of tech products, as no matter how many features and excellent services they provide, people should have someone who can teach them how to use them in the best way possible.
Surfshark VPN's customer support is available 24/7 through live chat and email, with friendly and knowledgeable agents ready to assist with any issues or concerns. The company also provides a comprehensive knowledge base on its website, featuring helpful articles, tutorials, and frequently asked questions that cover a wide range of topics. The customer support team is known for its responsiveness and professionalism, making Surfshark VPN a reliable and user-friendly VPN service.
Whether you're a casual user seeking better privacy or a heavy streamer in search of seamless content access, Surfshark delivers on all fronts. Its impressive performance, consistent updates, and user-centric approach make it a worthy contender in the VPN market.
If you're looking for a reliable and feature-rich switch without burning a hole in your pocket, Surfshark is definitely worth trying out. Its cost-effective plans and unparalleled service quality make it an excellent choice for users seeking value and performance in a single package.
Despite being comparatively new to the VPN scene, Surfshark has quickly gained users' trust by providing top-notch service and maintaining a solid commitment to privacy. With its affordable pricing structure and a vast range of features, Surfshark is an ideal choice for anyone looking to enjoy a secure and unrestricted internet experience without breaking the bank.
How do I install Surfshark VPN on my device?
To install Surfshark VPN on your device, follow these steps:
-For Windows and macOS: Visit the Surfshark website, sign up for an account, and download the application for your operating system. Run the installer and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation process.
-For Android: Visit the Google Play Store, search for Surfshark VPN, and install the app. Sign in with your account credentials after the installation is complete.
-For iOS: Visit the Apple App Store, search for Surfshark VPN, and install the app. Sign in with your account credentials after the installation is complete.