Surfshark VPN Review 2023: Should You Consider Using This Service?
Well, on the question of efficiency – Surfshark works perfectly, providing you with anonymity on the internet space. How does it work?
The way the Surfshark app works is pretty much like every other VPN you find on the internet. That’s why 31 percent of the world’s internet users choose it. In Indonesia, 61% – the highest VPN user percentage in the country, as well as 45% of VPN users in India, choose Surfshark.
When you run Surfshark and click “connect,” the application connects to the VPN server while using essential protocols containing important features like tunneling and encryption.
Hence, whatever you do online, browsing websites, chatting, uploading or downloading, etc., will be encrypted by the application. The data transmitted from your IP becomes gibberish to anyone trying to intercept or read it.
The VPN server infrastructure is designed in a way that it takes care of the encrypted data by decoding and forwarding it to its destination while replacing your computer’s internet proxy address with that of the VPN server. This deceives the website or service you are connected to think that you are at the server location.
Be that as it may, in the process of the website or service sending back data to you, the VPN doesn’t decrypt it by default. What the VPN server does is that it plays the role of the post-forwarding and packaging service – because it knows your IP from the onset, it sends the freshly encrypted data to your device.
Immediately the data lands in your device, the VPN app automatically decrypts it for your use, and that’s how it provides your device with the needed level of privacy while you easily and carelessly surf the internet (find more about what a VPN is here).
All through these service years, Surfshark has managed to win millions of hearts. No wonder why you get to hear most of the good things each time you do a SurfShark search online. Its Trust Pilot score is impressive.
It was the year 2019 when Surfshark was approved by an IT-Security Institute, AV-TEST. CNN also granted the award of “Best VPN Service of 2020” to Surfshark in 2020.
Specs To Understand
Launch Date –2018
Server location – 65 countries
Dedicated IP addresses – Yes
Language Supported – 13
Unlimited device connections – Yes
Kill Switch – Yes
Operating Systems Supported – Android, Windows, iOS, macOS, Linux, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chrome, Firefox
Protocols –IKEv2, OpenVPN, and WireGuard tunneling protocol
RAM Servers – Yes, from 2020 onwards
Server locations – Present in 63 locations
Encryption – AES-256 GSM
Mobile App – Yes, for Android and iOS
Obfuscated servers – Yes
Money-back guarantee – Yes, 30-day money-back guarantee on long-duration subscriptions
A Surfshark Detailed Overview: What are Its Strong and Weak Points?
Having been around for a while, Surfshark has become a household name. The company has used its competitive price to attract new users, and this has worked so far to bring in users from all VPN industries. (We tested and compared the most popular VPN services here.)
What does Surfshark bring to the table aside from its price?
Surfshark is quite fast. The overall performance is great and up to par with a top service provider in the industry. Testing its speed with key locations around the world, Surfshark’s download and upload speed can go as high as 400Mbps with a server in the US.
During the speed test, I was curious about what makes Surfshark VPN such a speeding VPN service. As I delved deeper, I figured out the secrets.
Firstly, all of its servers are well-optimized to ensure that latency is as less as possible. Also, Surfshark underwent regular updates and maintenance for its VPN servers that look after any trouble-causing bug in the infancy stage and fix it before it causes any trouble.
Secondly, its top-notch and high-end encryption plays a huge role in better speed. Unlike any other regular VPN services, Surfshark VPN protection uses AES- 256 GSM. This advanced encryption is faster than AES- 256 Bit encryption.
The protocols used, IKEv2, WireGuard, and OpenVPN protocol are also best of breed and contribute hugely towards better speed.
Lastly, the Surfshark servers are strategically placed. There is always a nearby server to your actual location. So you don’t have to connect with a distant server which could lead to poor speed.
Quality of Connection
Surfshark provides users with quality and secure connections in both privacy and security using a set of dedicated services – an encrypted protocol like OpenVPN and IKEv2, as well as tunnels. However, the quality of the connection depends entirely on your network speed and stability. With an unstable and slow internet connection, you get slow work efficiency. At the same time, a stable and fast connection enables better communication and, of course, high-quality content. Its geo-spoofing ability is amazing and will help you lift up internet restrictions easily.
The service quality is maintained even when multi-hop connections or unlimited simultaneous connections are in place. There is a slight speed dip, for sure. But that’s manageable. You won’t be bothered much if your internet usage isn’t too heavy.
Surfshark is as secure as you would want it to be. The VPN provides one of the highest levels of encryption (AES 256-bit encryption), backed with top-notch encryption. I didn’t simply believe what was mentioned on the website, as many VPN services claim something else and deliver something else.
So, to provide only updated information in this Surfshark review, I had to check the authenticity of the encryptions used. I used the Wireshark tool to check the encryption, and it confirmed that claimed encryption and protocols are in place.
The last time when I reviewed Surfshark, there was no mention of RAM-only servers. Recently, in July 2020, this VPN service provider announced that its entire server network is running on RAM-only servers, which is a great thing from a security point of view. RAM-only servers don’t keep logs of anything. Hence, one can be assured that no location data, IP address (change your IP), browsing history, downloading activities, or everything else will be recorded.
Now, let’s talk about its security-oriented features that will make your online presence secure.
A lot of nuisances can be created via ads and malware. Thus, Surfshark offers a feature to keep at bay. Known as CleanWeb, the in-built ad-blocker of Surfshark can protect you from phishing, malware, and adware. While it works great on browser extensions, you won’t be able to block YouTube ads (your ultimate unblock guide is here). This feature makes public Wi-Fi usage a little more stress-free. Its activation is simple. Just go to Settings, and the feature is mentioned there.
The DoubleVPN feature of Surfshark VPN is known as MultiHop. As two VPN servers will be at your service with this feature, you get to enjoy double encryption and more protection, Which means your data is encrypted twice.
Presently, the DoubleVPN feature is available only on Android, iOS, Windows (Windows VPN), Linux (Linux VPN), and macOS platforms (Mac VPN). The rest of the VPN apps of Surfshark VPN service lack this feature.
There is a Camouflage Mode feature that helps you hide your online activities and presence from ISP as well. Even though there is a split-tunneling feature, Whitelister, at work, I had trouble using it.
Recently, in December 2019, this VPN company launched the GPS-spoofing feature for Android. Activation of this feature allowed Android device users to hide the actual geo-location details completely.
There is decent protection offered against IP leaks, DNS leaks, and WebRTC leaks. All in all, Surfshark is a security-oriented VPN company offering almost everything that is needed.
Surfshark also offers a kill switch system that users can use to stop their internet connection automatically if there is an issue with the VPN connection. The kill switch temporarily disconnects your internet and then reactivates it when the connection becomes active again, so none of your internet traffic leaks to hackers (you can learn about data breaches in this article).
The feature-rich and responsive kill -switch makes sure that the traffic remains secure and the IP address isn’t disclosed if the VPN connection drops suddenly (did you know you can mask your IP?). It does work but is not flawless. I didn’t get any notification about whether or not the connection was dropped. Also, it takes a while to get connected. You have to wait for a few seconds.
Surfshark can ping as low as 2 pings per second on some servers and as high as 393 pings per second on other servers, depending on the distance of the server to your location. The lower the ping, the more stable the connection gets, which is important for several things on the internet, like streaming and playing games.
Surfshark likewise provides private DNS on all servers and IP leak protection with an IPv4 stack. However, your device version of IP depends on what your network provider supports, which means that there’s a chance that your data could be leaked if your device uses IPv6, as this is a new format, and Surfshark doesn’t support it yet. It’s advisable to disable IPv6 on your device while using Surfshark to prevent data leaks.
Compared to other VPN services, Surfshark has one of the most competitive prices in the market. At $2.49 monthly for a year subscription, plus you get 12 months free. This price is an absolute steal for a service that provides consistent performance and features.
There are multiple yearly and monthly plans to choose from. As far as payment means are concerned, you have the freedom to pay via credit card, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, UPI, PayPal, cryptocurrency, and many other means. The cryptocurrency payment puts Surfshark at the top of privacy-friendly VPN services, as it’s hard to track the payment done by cryptocurrencies. (Are you into crypto trading? This article will be helpful.)
Every subscription, other than a one-month plan, comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
There is a 7-day long free trial as well (top VPNs with free trials). But, only Android, iOS, and macOS users are allowed to avail themselves of this facility. Other services like browser extensions and routers lack this facility.
Streaming and Torrenting
As I tested Surfshark’s streaming capabilities, I was able to figure out that it’s a streaming-friendly VPN service provider. Hold on! I have reasons to conclude this. Firstly, there is a dedicated SmartDNS feature that works on almost any device.
Even if the app doesn’t offer native VPN support, SmartDNS will make it compatible with a VPN. This is a great feature.
I learned that Surfshark VPN offers streaming-optimized servers. As soon as I connected with its Android mobile app, a list of optimized servers was displayed. It was a great help.
In case you want to stream your favorite content on Smart TV or Amazon Fire TV stick, Surfshark won’t disappoint you as it has a Kodi app that installs seamlessly if you have 2nd or 4th generation Fire TV sticks and smart TVs.
Accessing geo-restricted streaming media services with Surfshark is easy. Netflix and other streaming platform access is effortless, and that’s why a lot of people choose it. You can unblock Netflix in nearly 20 locations and access geo-restricted content easily. As it features streaming-optimized servers all over the world in 65 locations, it’s easy to access a large collection of Netflix libraries. This way, it’s an excellent app for streaming lovers. As it supports unlimited connections, you can enjoy Netflix on all of your devices at a time.
Netflix is not the only streaming platform that you can access with Surfshark. You can stream media services like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, HBO Max, Disney+, and YouTube, among others.
From my last streaming test, BBC iPlayer unblocking has improved. Earlier, it was tough to unblock BBC iPlayer. But, now it’s better.
Let’s talk about torrenting now. Almost all of its servers support P2P file transfer; some are even optimized for torrenting. This way, I don’t think torrenting is going to be an issue with this VPN service.
I checked its efficacy for Deluge, uTorrent, BitTorrent, and Vuze torrent clients, and it worked almost all the time. I have already explained its security features. It’s certainly of top-notch grade. Hence, you don’t have to worry about any privacy hassle or trouble while you download torrents.
While Surfshark VPN is connected, the seeding/leeching ratio remained decent, and not much speed drop was observed.
However, it took nearly two days to download a 120-minute-long movie. As it offers unlimited bandwidth and traffic, it didn’t bug me that much.
While downloading a torrent file isn’t a much hassle, uploading is. I had almost 5 failed attempts. Lastly, I gave up.
The only thing that bothered me while using Surfshark for torrenting was its kill switch. As I mentioned above, you won’t be notified when the internet connection drops and the kill switch activates. All this happens very stealthily. So, when I was downloading a restricted game, I was a bit tense. But I didn’t get any warning messages either.
Keep in mind that the port forwarding feature isn’t offered. All in all, Surfshark is a great app to try for streaming. As far as torrenting is concerned, you can use it if torrenting isn’t a crime in your region and you’re more into file downloading.
VPN services going through independent audits are certainly worth considering. Surfshark understands its importance lately. As per the recent records, the last independent audit that happened was in 2018 by Cure 53. It’s mentioned on the website. The findings of the audits confirmed that its Chrome and Firefox extensions were flawless. However, nothing related to other solutions like the iOS app, Android app, router, and Kodi app is mentioned.
Surfshark with Skype
Surfshark connects without stress to Skype as long you have internet access. Surfshark has over 3200+ servers to enable uninterrupted VoIP over Skye. It also offers other features like benchmark protocols and powerful encryption, and that’s to mention a few. This is an advanced feature of Surfshark for sure.
Surfshark with Facetime
Surfshark helps you to keep your internet network running fast when it’s installed on your iPhone. This allows you to facetime and stream on your phone without any hassle. The VPN offers extensive bandwidth with high-demand servers (in Europe and the US) as well as a modern protocol like WireGuard.
Surfshark made sure that their VPN can be installed on several platforms so you can use it on any device you like so, please. What this means is that you can have it installed in your gaming devices or the router that your game’s internet is connected to. It’s super easy to install and allows you to unblock geo-restricted contents on your device, as well as lightning speed while you are online.
Surfshark has over 3000 servers present in over 65 countries. The VPN also has over 3000 distinctive servers and can allow an unlimited number of devices concurrently.
It’s straightforward to install Surfshark. First, you have to sign up for any plan you desire – this takes less than three steps. Choose your plan, enter your email address, and set up a payment method.
After signing up, go to the Surfshark website to download the application on all of your devices. It usually takes about 2 clicks to get the app up and running on your devices. After installing, go ahead and input your Surfshark login credentials, then click connect to any server on the list of servers, and you are good to go. Surfshark can be installed on almost all mainstream devices, depending on which one you are using.
Surfshark offers something called Split tunneling that allows you to choose certain websites, services, or applications to bypass when the VPN is connected. This is important for using websites and services that don’t accommodate a VPN, like banking apps and websites, or when connecting to an application without the VPN causing problems.
Surfshark is extremely easy to use because of its clean, intuitive user interface that even the least qualified users will find easy to utilize. Besides, the application functions the same way on all platforms (Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android), so you don’t have to learn how to use it on different devices. A piece of knowledge in one platform is all-encompassing.
More so, the app is available in more than 10 languages, including Spanish, German, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese.
As we previously mentioned, Surfshark is incredibly safe and easy to use, with a lot of strong security features which the average VPN doesn’t offer, as well as user-friendly.
Surfshark has an advanced feature called the CleanWeb ad blocker that’s powerful and effective. The feature helps to remove block malware, remove ads, and kill off a tiny little tracker that pollutes your device all day while providing you with a faster internet connection.
Surfshark has a browser extension on both Chrome and Mozilla that is a simplified version of the main desktop app. However, the extension does not include some advanced features except the CleanWeb ad and malware blocker. They also encrypt your traffic within the browser itself, which means anything you do outside the browser, like other apps on your computer, are left vulnerable.
Hence, we will advise using the desktop instead, as it protects the whole computer.
For any VPN service to become a trusted one, it’s essential to have a user-friendly policy. I didn’t mind going above and beyond to check how Surfshark VPN is doing on this front.
As I opened the page, I learned about the fact that Surfshark is based-out in the Netherlands, which is a privacy-friendly jurisdiction. Here, the government doesn’t force service providers to keep a tab on people’s online activities. So, records like IP address, session information, consumed bandwidth, website visited, files downloaded, and many more aren’t kept.
Earlier, the head office of this VPN company was in the British Virgin Islands. Even though the British Virgin Islands had a historical connection with the UK (VPN for the UK), presently, it’s an independent entity having user-friendly policies and laws.
The only recorded information is the user ID and internet connection timestamps. Keep in mind that it’s not saved for eternity. It gets auto-deleted within 15 minutes of internet connectivity.
Regarding its TrustDNS app, the Android app of Surfshark at the Google Play store, details like cookie ID, mobile device ID, in-app events, in-app purchases, ads watched, and browser used are collected.
With such a strict no-logs policy, data breaches will certainly be way too reduced.
No matter how strong claims a VPN service provider makes regarding offering user-friendly solutions, some glitches are bound to happen. Hence, I can’t complete the Surfshark review without discussing its customer support.
Its users are allowed to share their concerns and worries via 24*7 live chat, email, and ticket-based customer support. Mostly, the live chat feature is used as it is supposed to provide a prompt reply. I tried to connect them, and it worked.
I forwarded a false issue of not finding the NoBorder mode in the mobile app. Within 60 seconds, I got the replay with the link to a helpful blog. I also forwarded the same issue via email. In fact, it replied a bit late.
In case you’re new to VPN usage and need assistance, Surfshark has your back with detailed tutorials, guides, and FAQ sections.
There is a dedicated Help Center section on the website. The content available is intelligently categorized, making it easy to find out what kind of assistance you’re looking for. You have blogs and articles on Getting Started, Troubleshooting, and general awareness. Earlier, this section wasn’t that much sorted. Everything was mixed up, and one had to take the help of a search tool to find out the exact topic/blog.
But now, it’s well-organized. Surfshark has certainly improved its customer support and has managed to come a long way where it is giving bigger name brands solid competition.
- Safe & private connection
- Multi-hop connection available
- Available on many platforms
- Good speed
- Strong global server presence
- Smooth streaming of geo-blocked content
- Great prices
- Smooth user experience
- Nifty extra features
- P2P optimized servers
- Dodgy customer service
- Weak social media presence
- Erratic P2P Behavior
- Lacks port forwarding
How to install Surfshark VPN on iOS, Android, and Windows
Surfshark Download and Installation on iOS
Here’s how to download Surfshark and install it on an iOS device. Surfshark VPN download and installation is as simple as it gets. So this is it, VPN Surfshark installation process:
- Go to the App Store.
- Search for a VPN of your choice, e.g., Surfshark.
- Install the app. The app will ask you to permit adding a VPN configuration.
- Allow it.
- Create an account, or if you have an account, log in.
- Connect to a preferred server.
Surfshark Download and Installation on Android
For that, you need an Android device running OS 5.0 and above, as well as an active Surfshark subscription.
- Begin by opening the Play Store app on your device and type Surfshark into the search bar and choose the first result that appears on the list.
- The Surfshark VPN app page will open. Click Download or Install, and the installation will complete in a few moments.
- Once the installation is complete, open the app straight away, or go back to the home screen of your phone.
- If you have purchased your Surfshark VPN subscription already, Log in as an existing user. If you do not have the subscription yet, feel free to sign up for a free 7-day trial.
- Enter the email address you used when registering and your password.
- All you need to do now is to connect to Surfshark servers. Click the blue Connect button and your app will connect to the fastest server available.
Surfshark Download and Installation on Windows
- To begin with, open this page and click the Download now button. This will start the download for your Surfshark app.
- Once the download is complete, locate the installation file on your device. It’s most likely that you will find it in the Downloads folder of your device. Then proceed to install the file.
- Double-click this file above.
- The computer will ask if ‘you want to allow this app to make changes to your device?’ Click Yes.
- Wait till the installation finishes.
- When the installation is complete, wait a few seconds, and the app will start automatically.
- Sign in and tap Connect; the app will connect you to the fastest VPN services available.
How to install Surfshark on FireStick?
Installing Surfshark FireStick, like every other platform installation, is fairly easy.
- Click on the homepage of the Fire TV and navigate to the search bar.
- Look for “Surfshark” by typing it into the search panel.
- Click the Surfshark app icon in the search results.
- Click the Get button and download the app onto the device.
How to connect Surfshark VPN to a router?
- Open your router configuration panel. Access it by entering your router’s IP (Internet Protocol) address in your browser, just like a URL.
- Check for a VPN client tab, usually found under the advanced settings of your router.
- Follow your VPN client’s guidelines. Here are Surfshark’s instructions for setting up a VPN on Asus routers, DD-WRT routers, and Tomato routers.
- Ensure your connection is VPN-protected by searching “what is my IP” in Google and checking for your IP location.
- Start surfing the internet securely with SurfShark.
How to install Surfshark VPN on Xbox One?
Setting up Surfshark on Xbox One may seem more complicated than any other setup, but we have got you covered. You may have to fiddle with the setting which permits you to share your computer VPN connection with your Xbox. More so, you will need an Ethernet cable to connect.
- Make sure Surfshark is installed on your computer.
- Connect to one of the servers.
- Connect the Xbox to the computer with the Ethernet cable.
- On the computer, right-click on Wi-Fi (or Wired) connection on the toolbar.
- Go to the Wi-Fi tab (if you’re connected via Wi-Fi) or the Ethernet tab (if you’re using a cable connection.
- Find Change adapter options and click on them.
- Right-click the VPN network adapter (Surfshark in this example) and go to Properties.
- Go to Sharing and check the box Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s Internet connection.
- Choose the Xbox connection from the menu.
- Back on the Surfshark app, go to Settings -& Advanced -&; Protocol.
- Change the protocol to OpenVPN (UDP).
- Connect to whatever server you like.
- Now, push the Xbox button on your Xbox controller.
- Press the RB button three times.
- Select Settings and go to the Network tab.
- Select Network Settings > Test Network Connection.
- If all goes well, you will share your VPN connection with the Xbox!
There you have it, how to connect your VPN to your Xbox.[/vpnwelt_text_card]
Pros and Cons of Surfshark as per Reddit Users
In a world of abundance, it’s not easy to make a choice. As a VPN is something that you can’t afford to get a faulty one, I decided to gather real-time inputs about Surfshark.
For this job, there is no place better than Reddit. Here, one will hear from the actual users and analyze the actual performance of a VPN. I researched the top 100 comments on Reddit and have concluded a few inputs. So, let’s dig in.
The official community of Surfshark has 1.1K members on Reddit, which means tons of people are talking and discussing this VPN. Here are the consider-worthy inputs from that community:
See the comments for yourself to make your own conclusion:
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- 7 Best VPNs Reddit Users Recommend [2023 Ultimate List]
- NordVPN vs Private Internet Access (PIA) 2023: Are They Safe to Use?
Surfshark is based in the British Virgin Island. The company chose this location not only because their laws provide a haven for user data but the Island is likewise great with user privacy. More so, the island has no obligatory data retention laws, which means the company is not compelled to store logs, making it the ideal location for the servers.