Surfshark VPN – is a relatively new player in the industry of VPN services. However, it has managed to set up quite an impressive network of servers with 3,200 of them around the world. Being based in the British Virgin Islands, the company has immunity against demands by any authorities to provide data on its clients’ web surfing. Apparently, no member from international surveillance alliances can compel Surfshark to hand over clients’ information. This is a highly important factor for any VPN, and Surfshark thoroughly meets our expectations.
Surfing the web is really dangerous with data breaches and hacking threats. And yet, you can make it completely safe if you choose to be private with a VPN service. Surfshark claims to be the perfect option to encrypt your web traffic at the most competitive prices. So we need to test and review it. Can its overall performance surpass the low pricing? Let’s dig into the matter deeper and find this out.
The company incorporates a number of advanced features to provide its users with a high level of security and excellent performance. Every feature plays a distinct role in the operation of the VPN service. Let us break down the main ones.
Using the VPN services by Surfshark, you don’t change your actual IP address. In fact, it is simply conveying it thanks to the multiple servers around the globe. Generally, VPN servers require hard drives. However, even though no information is stored on the hard drives, malicious third-party sites can still get to your hard drives by using special codes. Physical servers can get exposed remotely whether the hard drives contain any data on users’ internet browsing or not.
What makes Surfshark unique in this term is that the system doesn’t require a hard drive or private keys since it offers RAM-only servers. What’s the benefit of such a server? All the information about the users’ internet operation is automatically wiped out from the servers once they are turned off. Such a system is to the benefit of the user and not the VPN provider since it makes the service more volatile yet adds an extra security level for the user.
One of the most important features a VPN service must have is the Kill Switch, and that of Surfshark is quite powerful. This tool terminates the internet session the moment it detects a leak. This eliminates any possibility of the actual IP address and the browsing data of the user being exposed by either the ISP or the third parties. This comes especially beneficial if you are browsing in a restricted or heavily censored country. Surfshark’s Kill Switch, in this case, serves as a barrier between remaining safe while browsing and facing legal action for that.
Private DNS and Leak Protection
Domain Name System, more usually referred to in the abbreviated form DNS, allows users to connect domain names to IP addresses. Surfshark offers its users Private DNS, i.e. all the DNS servers get encrypted. As a result, malicious sites become incapable of seeing your internet browsing data. The company ensures it prevents any DNS leaks by blocking all DNS requests while directing them through an encrypted tunnel. So Surfshark provides a no-logging policy and ensures perfectly safe internet browsing.
Most services, such as Disney+ or Netflix, offer different libraries depending on the country of the streaming. And if you live in an oppressed country, you may not be able to watch certain shows you would like to. To bypass the system, you need a tool that will not let any third-party sites detect you’re browsing the internet with a VPN service. Thanks to the NoBorders mode of Surfshark, bypassing geo-restrictions to get to your desired destination becomes possible. Surfshark keeps all its servers under the NoBorders mode. Once you access Surfshark, you can click on the preferred location and access it through the particular VPN server which lets streaming the channel and content you seek. What’s more, since Surfshark has an obfuscated system of servers, no third parties can find out you’re using a VPN service.
Double VPN (Multi-Hop)
This is another highly beneficial feature by Surfshark that lets users connect to two servers at once both to get an extra layer of security and hide their identity better. You see, if you lose connection to one server, the second will still provide you with seamless browsing, while being connected to two servers located in different countries will make it almost impossible for IPS and third-party sites to detect your real IP address. Using Double VPN may greatly reduce the speed of browsing. However, if you still opt for this additional security feature, you’d better choose one server that’s the closest to you and one that’s relevant to your desired internet destination. For instance, if you want to access a Canadian website privately while you are living in China, you’d better choose one server that’s located in China, and one that’s located in Canada.
Do you worry someone will disclose you’re using a VPN service? If a platform detects a user accessing their system through a VPN service for streaming or torrenting, they may switch it off. Nevertheless, Surfshark has a way out of such a situation. It offers a Camouflage Mode. The latter obfuscates servers whenever you use your VPN service to browse Tor, etc. to hide the session. As a result, you can bypass the VPN blockers and create the illusion you are not using any privacy tools. Camouflage Mode comes especially useful for users from highly censored countries where the use of a VPN service is forbidden.
Browsing even through already familiar websites sometimes becomes dangerous since regular ads, which may seem innocent at first glance, can actually be pieces of malicious software that try to get access to your PC or the device you are using. As you can already guess, using a VPN service that provides an ad-blocker is highly recommended, especially if you are using it for business purposes. Surfshark offers a CleanWeb feature to help you keep your personally identifiable information secret and far from the reach of the wrong hands.
If you prefer so, you can call this feature Split Tunneling. By adding a certain website to your Whitelist, Surfshark will let it bypass the VPN. Meanwhile, you can access other websites with the VPN to browse in privacy. The apparent benefit of this feature is that you don’t have to connect and then disconnect the VPN to get to different sites simultaneously. The feature is particularly beneficial for those users who need to access certain sites for business in private while letting the biggest portion of sites bypass the VPN.
Surfshark claims to have a strict no-logging policy. However, they collect and store information like performance data, frequency of use, and unsuccessful connection attempts. Indeed, no third-party site can get this information from the company unless it provides it willingly. Although the company is transparent with its users, other VPN services provide a much stricter no-logging policy. Anyway, the good news is that Surfshark does not store any personally identifiable data (IP addresses, browsing activity, etc.).
Privacy and Security
Surfshark is definitely among the most secure and trustworthy VPN providers in the market. In fact, the privacy features of the company start with secure protocols, strong encryption (AES-256), and the kill switch feature that successfully blocks internet access once it detects an identity leak. However, these are only the basic features. The company has its own DNS on every server it utilizes thus reducing any possibility of others’ spying on the user’s internet activities. Furthermore, the Double VPN tool serves as an extra layer of protection.
Surfshark is based in the British Islands, so the company doesn’t have to keep any logs on its users. The company doesn’t collect any incoming or outgoing IP addresses, history on downloading or purchasing on the web, as well as the VPN servers you are using, any session information, browsing data, network traffic, and connection timestamps. The information that the company stores about its users, involves the email address and billing information, which is, though, never transferred to third parties.
Surfshark uses AES-256 encryption which is standard for most VPN services. The company encrypts the data that goes through both the network and the device you are using to access it.
Another technology that Surfshark uses to provide security for sending data throughout the internet is the protocol. The protocols that the company supports, are as follows:
- OpenVPN: Offers profound encryption and is best with desktop OSs.
- IKEv2: The company ensures security through the Internet Key Exchange version 2. It’s best for mobile users, offers high speeds and premium security.
- Shadowsocks: This is an encrypted proxy created to help you bypass geo-restrictions. Can be used only on Windows and Android gadgets.
Speed of Operation
Whenever you use a VPN service to browse the internet, you are sure to notice slower speeds than usual. This is absolutely normal since the web traffic passes through an encrypted server on top of the public network’s server. The speed of VPN service is to be measured by such factors as the distance to the server, the operating system used, the make and model of the gadget you use, as well as the browser type. To conduct a test speed of Surfshark, we used the SpeedOfMe, nPerf, and SpeedTest sites. As a result, the US OpenVPN delivered somewhat below-the-average results at 170Mbps while the downloads hit only 100 to 110Mbps. Whether you are TCP or UDP affects the OpenVPN speeds.
However, the WireGuard performance by Surfshark has by far been the fastest. The lowest reduction was only 6% registered in some European countries. If you live anywhere nearby, it won’t make sense to switch off the VPN to get better performance.
The second fastest protocol by Surfshark is IKEv2. The lowest drop was 18% in the same European territory which is definitely not bad.
To sum up, Surfshark VPN service is definitely fast. The overall performance can be described as satisfying.
Although Surfshark delivers quite robust performance with amazing features, the prices for the services are rather affordable.
- The most beneficial price is set for the 2-year plan. It costs only $2.29 per month. This plan is provided with a 30-day money-back guarantee and two months for free.
- Obtaining the VPN service for 6 months, you are charged $6.52 per month, while the monthly cost is $13. The payment for any tier you get is to be conducted through a credit card (Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and Amex are available), GPay, PayPal, Amazon Pay, or Cryptocurrency.
Whichever plan you obtain, you get only one account yet can use it for all your devices. The company also suggests enhancing the security of your device through the Surfshark One. The privacy and protection tool is offered at the price of $1.49 per month.
How to Use Surfshark
If you have decided to download and use Surfshark as your VPN service, you won’t face any difficulties in the setup process. Here is a step-by-step guide on the download and installation processes of Surfshark. Mind that, depending on the device you will use it on, you may have to perform some other steps, too.
- Open the official website of Surfshark and hit download;
- Find the installation file on the device and double-click it;
- Allow the device to make changes in the system;
- Once the installation is complete the app will start automatically;
- Now create an account using authentic data;
- Enter the authentication code;
- Hit Verify;
- Connect the app to the closest VPN server for the best performance;
- Enable the features you want to use.
So, Surfshark is an appropriate option for you, if you need Netflix and torrenting, a VPN service, which is not listed as a member of Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes Communities, a VPN service that has a reliable antivirus, secure browser, and identity monitoring, or a strict no-logging policy.