Surfshark hasn’t been around for very long, so I was skeptical about its quality. I wanted to check whether Surfshark could match the performance of other premium VPN services. To find out, my team and I ran a series of rigorous tests on Android, iPhone, Windows, and Mac devices. I even asked one of my colleagues in China to test Surfshark from behind the firewall to see how well it performed.
In short, Surfshark is an outstanding VPN service. It doesn’t leave any loopholes in terms of security. Various features, including DNS leak protection, CleanWeb, encryption, and a VPN kill switch, are available to keep you safe online. Privacy-conscious users will also appreciate that Surfshark doesn’t keep logs. On top of all that, it also allows unlimited device connections on a single account.
Surfshark offers a 7-day free trial (on mobile devices), and a 30-day money-back guarantee if you need more time to test the service. This means that you can try Surfshark risk-free, and if you don’t like it, it’s easy to get a refund.
It will please streamers to know that Surfshark is compatible with all popular streaming services. I used Surfshark to access platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+, Kodi, and HBO Max, although the experience wasn’t always smooth.
I could also unblock BBC iPlayer, NBC Sports, ESPN+, YouTube TV, Sling TV, fuboTV, Yle, and Abema TV. Unfortunately, not every server successfully connected on the first attempt. I often had to try at least 2 servers before establishing a working connection.
If you want an uninterrupted streaming experience, all of ExpressVPN’s servers are optimized for streaming and worked flawlessly in my tests.
You can use Surfshark to unblock geo-restricted content on Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime, and even BBC iPlayer, renowned for its geoblocking difficulty.
Only a few VPNs can overcome Netflix’s VPN blocks, so I was impressed that I could unblock Netflix in 15 countries. This includes the US (Atlanta, Charlotte, Latham, and Los Angeles servers), Canada (Montreal and Vancouver servers), UK (Glasgow, London, and Manchester servers), Australia, and Japan (Tokyo #1, #3, and #6 servers). My average speed allowed me to stream all my favorite shows in UHD without lag or buffering — even over long-distance servers.
If you receive a Netflix proxy error message, I recommend clearing your browser’s cache. This is because Netflix checks the location data in your browser — and will block you if it doesn’t match Surfshark’s server location.
Streaming through Amazon Prime Video is available through Surfshark across most locations, including the US and UK. I recommend the Boston, Charlotte, and New York servers for the US and the London and Manchester servers for the UK. I conducted these tests on my Windows desktop and MacBook Pro. Unfortunately, Surfshark can’t unblock the Amazon Prime Video app on mobile or tablet.
I easily connected to Hulu on over 10 US servers, with my fastest servers in Boston, Detroit, and Manassas. I only waited a few seconds for the movie Transformers to load to watch the entire film in HD with zero buffering.
I easily unblocked Disney+ in the US, Netherlands, and India. Unfortunately, I couldn’t access Disney+ in any other country — I’d be automatically redirected to the US site. I watched the movie Toy Story 4 in UHD with just a few seconds of load time.
I could access HBO Max on every US server. The videos were quick to load, and I didn’t experience any connection errors when I watched multiple episodes of Game of Thrones. I enjoyed the best streaming quality on the Boston, Dallas, Manassas, Miami, New York, and Tampa servers.
When I connected to Surfshark’s servers in the US, I downloaded and streamed Kodi add-ons like Popcornflix, Crackle, and Tubi. I was especially impressed with the servers in New York, Toronto, and Vancouver. It never took more than 3 seconds to load a video, and I could skip forward and back without any buffering.
Surfshark’s speed performance was decent on every option I selected. My Ookla SpeedTest results showed an average connection speed of 39.89 Mbps, which was close to my speeds without a VPN connection. The MultiHop servers, however, slowed down the speeds, but they were still usable.
Surfshark is one of the fastest VPNs on the market and I had no problems streaming and torrenting large files on every server I tested. I also found it was reliable when it came to maintaining speed in distant locations.
To better understand Surfshark’s performance, I connected to 4 different servers around the globe (London, Florida, Paris, and Adelaide). With a US connection that offers native download and upload speeds of 44.77 Mbps and 36.88 Mbps, I was ready to explore Surfshark’s capabilities.
I began by selecting the ‘Fastest server’ and ‘Nearest country’ options, both of which connected me to a Surfshark server in the United States. The speed difference was just 6%, and I could still torrent, game, and watch UHD videos without experiencing any lag.
I found Surfshark’s Australia server to be the second-best performing location, even though it was the farthest away. I obtained a download speed of 40.41 Mbps and an upload speed of 30.05 Mbps. My UK and France speeds were equally fast, dropping by just 12% and 15%, respectively.
Unfortunately, the ping rates were unexpectedly high, considering the slight drop in speed. This was unfortunate, and if you enjoy online gaming as I do, you might consider getting ExpressVPN — its ping and speed are consistent across all of its servers.
I noticed a further reduction in my connection speed when I connected to a MultiHop server or used one of Surfshark’s static IP addresses. MultiHop decreased my speeds by about 50%. This result was not surprising to me due to MultiHop’s tendency to slow down the internet speed. The data you send through the VPN goes through two different servers simultaneously and is encrypted twice.
I find that Surfshark’s speeds are more than fast enough for most online activities. I also suggest you make sure Surfshark’s connection protocol is set to WireGuard to achieve top speeds. This protocol is designed to improve connection speeds without compromising your data security.
I’m happy to report that I had no speed issues when gaming with Surfshark while connected to a local server. As every gamer knows, losing a hard-fought match only takes a couple of seconds of lag. That’s why I’m especially picky when recommending a VPN for gaming.
In my tests, I connected to a New York server and launched Left 4 Dead 2 on Steam. Once the game was running, I ran a speed test — and my ping was 42ms. This is decent, considering that New York is over 1763km from my Memphis location. Generally, anything under 150ms is acceptable when playing online games. During the game, I easily kept up with my teammates. I didn’t even have to lower the game resolution in return for faster speeds.
Keep in mind that you’ll need to connect to nearby servers for the best possible gaming speeds. When I connected to distant locations, my ping increased by more than 300%. This made it impossible to keep up with my teammates.
If you’re looking for a VPN with consistent speeds and ping in every location, ExpressVPN is one of the best VPNs for Call of Duty and other fast-paced games.
Speed determines how fast content uploads, so if you're torrenting or streaming, you want the speed to be somewhat identical to your regular internet speed. Since a VPN encrypts your data, it usually takes a bit longer to send your data back and forth, which can slow down your connection. However, if your ISP deliberately slows down your connection (also known as throttling) a VPN might increase your internet speed. Testing a VPN is somewhat pointless because new servers pop up and affect speed. Your speed can also differ according to your location, so your speed test might not match ours. Having said that, we tested the speed in numerous locations to provide you with the average.
Surfshark has servers across an extensive geographic footprint. There are approximately 3200 servers in 99+ countries, including 37 virtual servers. Regardless of where you live, you’ll be able to find a server nearby.
There are also static servers available in the US, UK, Singapore, Japan, and Germany. These servers allow you to use the same IP address every time. Although it works fine for avoiding extra verification, static IPs are often shared by many users at once and get flagged as being associated with a VPN.
I was pleased to see that there are quite a few MultiHop server options that encrypt your data twice by routing it through 2 servers instead of 1. I tested MultiHop by connecting to the Singapore–Hong Kong server and checking my final IP address — which was Hong Kong.
Surfshark comes with the standard features you would expect in a VPN and some nice extras you don’t often see. Although I was impressed to see how many extra features come with this VPN service, I found that not all of them are available on all devices. I checked out all of them, and here are my results.
An increasing number of premium VPNs have started offering in-built blockers against ads, malware, and trackers — but not all of them work well. That’s why I was happy to see that CleanWeb blocks all pop-up, video, and banner ads on news sites like the Daily Mail and Forbes. I even noticed faster loading speeds as a result!
Overall, CleanWeb is a great feature, but it does have a minor drawback — it fails to block some YouTube ads. I found this quite disappointing since I hate being interrupted by ads while watching videos. If this is an issue for you, Cyberghost’s ad blocker easily removed all YouTube ads during my tests (it even blocks malware and trackers!).
Many VPNs have robust encryption but still leak your private data to specific websites and apps. To confirm Surfshark offers in-built leak protection, I connected to random servers in the US, Australia, and Germany.
With each server connection, I ran tests on IPLeak.net — and I was pleased to see that my actual IP address was secure each time. Surfshark also proved to be highly leak-proof when tested for DNS and WebRTCleaks.
Surfshark also has some interesting security tools. While 2-factor authentication (2FA) and TrustDNS are free, you’ll have to pay a little extra for Surfshark Alert and Surfshark Search.
It’s rare to find a VPN service that asks for extra authentication. However, Surfshark offers 2FA as an option on all its apps. You should always enable 2FA wherever it’s available, as it drastically reduces your chances of being hacked.
This is a free, standalone app for iOS and Android devices. TrustDNS connects you to a public DNS server instead of a DNS server assigned by your ISP (Internet Service Provider). ISPs can monitor and track your internet activity — and in countries like Australia, ISPs are even required to submit customer metadata to the government for 2 years. While this is a decent app, I don’t believe it’s worth the effort of downloading, as the Surfshark VPN app offers DNS masking, military-grade encryption, and leak protection.
You can access both features on your account dashboard. Surfshark Alert immediately informs you when you’ve been the victim of an online data breach. It checks your personal information daily against a database of leaked email addresses, passwords, and credit cards.
Surfshark Search is a private search engine that blocks ads and trackers, allowing you to browse the internet more anonymously.
To its credit, I found Surfshark’s privacy statement very clear and easy to understand. Any reliable VPN should offer this. The no-logs policy states that your browsing history, IP address, and other identifying data are never tracked, logged, or shared.
Although it doesn’t keep any logs of your activities, Surfshark does collect your email address, password (it’s encrypted), and payment details. If you don’t feel comfortable with this information on file, it’s easy to register anonymously by signing up with a throwaway email address and paying with cryptocurrency. Alternatively, you can email the support team and request your personal information be edited or permanently deleted.
Surfshark was initially headquartered in the British Virgin Islands but has since relocated to the Netherlands. While the Netherlands is a member of the Nine-Eyes Alliance, it doesn’t have any data retention laws. This means that Surfshark is not obligated to log any data about you, so the no-log policy remains in effect.
Surfshark’s website features a warrant canary that informs you when the company has received a subpoena by government or law enforcement authorities. While Surfshark stresses that the no-logs policy prevents it from providing user logs, I like that I can still see whether national security letters, gag orders, or government warrants have been issued.
An increasing number of VPN companies are now investing in third-party audits to verify their privacy claims — and Surfshark is one of them. In 2018, Cure53 conducted an independent audit of Firefox and Chrome browser extensions. I carefully read the report and saw no significant security or privacy flaws. While I’m satisfied with Surfshark’s efforts to secure its browser extensions, I’d like to see an audit of the VPN itself in the future.
Surfshark’s speeds, security, and privacy features make it a valuable tool for torrenters. There are no data or bandwidth limits when downloading with Surfshark, and it is compatible with popular torrenting software like qBittorrent and uTorrent.
The Surfshark website states that you’ll be automatically connected to a P2P server in a torrenting-friendly country once you launch a BitTorrent client. But this didn’t appear to happen — I connected to a regular server in Turkey, started torrenting on qBittorrent, and was still on the same server.
I immediately contacted customer support over 24/7 live chat, as I’d already begun torrenting and was concerned about my privacy. When a representative asked me to run tests on IPLeak.net, I saw my IP address was still in Turkey, but the DNS server had changed to the Netherlands. According to the representative, I’d already been rerouted to a P2P server as the DNS address had changed.
While I was pleased that my torrenting traffic was secure, it was time-consuming to verify my DNS address on an external website. I recommend connecting to a P2P server from the “Location” tab to avoid the hassle. Just type “P2P” in the search bar, and you’ll see a full list appear. The fastest servers will have a near-empty circle icon.
Although it offers some features to enhance its effectiveness, Surfshark isn’t the best VPN for China. During testing, my colleagues in China could only connect to 1 server in Ireland, and the connection failed after 30 seconds.
My colleagues weren’t able to use Surfshark, even after troubleshooting attempts. Surfshark’s customer support representative recommended using the Shadowsocks protocol or switching on NoBorders mode — neither of which worked.
Surfshark’s unstable nature makes it essential to have a backup VPN in the event it fails. I recommend ExpressVPN for China as it’s one of the only VPNs that work there. It comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try it risk-free and get a refund no questions asked. The protection of a VPN doesn’t give you a license to commit illegal acts, so please exercise a basic level of caution when using a VPN in China.
One of Surfshark’s standout features is that it protects an unlimited number of devices simultaneously. Most premium VPNs only offer 5 to 10 simultaneous device connections, which isn’t always enough to cover every device you work on.
To test this, I connected to a UK server on a Windows laptop, 2 Windows desktops, an iPhone 13, a Samsung Galaxy smartphone, and 3 iPads. I’m happy to report that I didn’t have any connection issues and no significant slowdown in speed. I only noticed some lag when 8 devices were connected at once, which is impressive, as many VPNs slow down as soon as an extra device is added. This means that you won’t have to pay for multiple VPN subscriptions or pick and choose which devices you want to protect.
Although there are more high-performance VPNs for Windows, Android, iOS, and Mac, Surfshark’s apps are relatively straightforward and easy to use. I like that the apps all look similar, so I don’t waste time looking for settings when switching from one OS to another. I also appreciate that the desktop apps are available in 14 languages, including English, German, Italian, French, Japanese, and Korean.
Surfshark offers native apps for the following operating systems:
I do wish that Surfshark was compatible with a wider range of devices, though. ExpressVPN, for example, is also compatible with Kindle Fire, Chromecast, Chromebook, and more. Plus, it’s super easy to set up ExpressVPN on your smart TV.
You can install Surfshark’s browser extensions onto Chrome and Firefox, which encrypts your browser traffic and hides your IP address. However, anything you do outside of the browsers will be unencrypted.
Even though you won’t get VPN-level security with the browser extensions, it’s useful when you want to quickly change your IP address for streaming. I tested the browser extensions with Netflix US and had no problems streaming the film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
The extensions for Chrome and Firefox look similar to the VPN apps. I was happy to see that the CleanWeb ad-blocker feature was available, so I could browse news and shopping sites without being interrupted by ads. I was also impressed that 9 languages are supported: English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Russian, and Chinese.
Surfshark doesn’t offer native VPN apps for smart TVs, Apple TVs, or game consoles — but it does offer Smart DNS. Smart DNS doesn’t encrypt your data like a VPN, but it does change the virtual location of your device.
This application is straightforward to install and use, no matter your platform. After a quick download and installation, I was up and running in no time at all. You can access Surfshark’s apps on Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android through browser extensions.
The biggest issue I had was the faulty “Connect” feature. When you click this button, you should automatically get connected to the fastest server. However, I found that wasn’t always the case.
I ran speed tests using the “Connect” button on the UK, US, Germany, and Australia servers and compared the results with my own manual server selection. The result was that I selected 2 servers that were faster than Surfshark’s “Connect” option. To guarantee the fastest speed each time, I recommend selecting a server yourself.
|Surfshark’s “Connect” Feature||Manual Server Selection||Speed Difference|
|Australia||38.42 Mbps||40.41 Mbps||+5%|
|Germany||42.11 Mbps||40.57 Mbps||-3%|
|UK||41.33 Mbps||39.68 Mbps||-4%|
|US||40.35 Mbps||41.93 Mbps||+3%|
I was satisfied with the customer support provided by Surfshark. You can contact customer support over email, an online form, or live chat. The customer support team is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you prefer troubleshooting problems yourself, you can also check out the website’s setup guides, tutorials, and FAQs.
I tested all of these support options to see how effectively the company resolved issues. I found that live chat is the best way to receive fast and detailed assistance. However, I didn’t need to look much further than Surfshark’s website for simple issues.
I was impressed by the friendly and fast responses. During my review, I tested the 24/7 live chat feature multiple times as I experienced minor technical difficulties. For example, I couldn’t stream Netflix while connected to a US–Detroit server, and I struggled to connect to a specialty P2P server when torrenting.
It took about 2 minutes to connect to a customer service representative each time, which was a little longer than I prefer. However, the representative would provide me with step-by-step instructions and detailed explanations, and my problems were always successfully resolved.
The most convenient aspect of Surfshark’s live chat is that you can access it directly in the Windows and Android apps — you don’t have to visit the website. All you have to do is go to “Settings” and then “Get Instant Help” to get in-person assistance. Unfortunately, this feature isn’t available yet on iOS or Mac.
I also tested Surfshark’s email support by sending several messages to enquire about some of its features. For comparison, I also used an email address not connected to my Surfshark account to see if there would be a difference in response time. I’m happy to say that I received detailed responses in less than an hour every time.
While I’m pleased with the fast response times, I recommend contacting Surfshark over 24/7 live chat. It’s much quicker as you can speak directly to a customer support representative, especially if you have any urgent technical issues.
Many VPNs have websites with help sections that are so poorly organized that they’re barely usable. I was impressed that Surfshark’s “Help” section on its website is comprehensive and regularly updated. Most of the time, I didn’t need to contact customer service as I could find answers to my questions.
Topics are divided into 4 sections: installation, troubleshooting, account, and general inquiries. You can find step-by-step instructions for installation and troubleshooting, complete with screenshots and even some video tutorials.
We personally test the customer support team of every VPN we review. This means asking technical question through the live chat feature (where applicable) and measuring the response time for email questions. Whether you need to connect to a specific server, change your security protocol, or configure a VPN on your router, finding a VPN with quality customer support should be important to you.
Surfshark is a very affordable VPN, considering what you get for the price. Depending on your needs, Surfshark subscriptions are available for one month, six months, and a year. The longer you subscribe to the service, the bigger the discount you’ll receive.
The 2-year + 2 months subscription offers the maximum savings at just $2.49/month. Additionally, Surfshark unlocks all premium features once you subscribe, rather than restricting access to some features for extra charges.
You can pay with credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover), cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple), Amazon Pay, Google Pay, and PayPal. If you want to use Surfshark anonymously, I recommend signing up with a throwaway email address and paying with cryptocurrency.
If you’re unsure if Surfshark is suitable for you, you can test it with its 30-day money-back guarantee available to new subscribers. If you don’t like Surfshark at the end of this period, simply request a refund via 24/7 live chat or send an email to the customer support team. It also offers a 7-day free trial, but it’s only available on Android and iOS devices.
I tried the money-back guarantee by signing up for a 1-month plan, and I used Surfshark to browse the internet, download torrents, and stream Netflix. I requested a full refund before the 30-day period ended, and I got my money back in 7 days! I didn’t even need to provide a reason for canceling.
You should consider Surfshark if you are looking for a high-quality VPN service with great privacy and security, an affordable price, excellent unblocking capabilities, unlimited simultaneous connections, and high speeds. It also offers apps for a variety of devices that are very straightforward to install and use, and they even include CleanWeb, an ad- and malware blocker that comes in very handy when browsing the internet.
One small downside of Surfshark is that some of its advanced features are only available on specific apps, but that doesn’t take away from the great impression I’ve had of the service.
You can try Surfshark yourself for free for 7 days with the free trial on mobile devices or for 30 days on any compatible device thanks to its money-back guarantee. That way, you can test out every feature for yourself and if you don’t like it, you can easily get a refund over 24/7 live chat.
Yes, Surfshark is a great product with a lot to offer. The Surfshark VPN service is fast and secure, and it provides a wealth of advanced features without keeping any logs. It employs cutting-edge technology such as WireGuard VPN protocol and VPN kill switches to ensure your safety and security. Applications are also available for all major operating systems and devices.
Yes! While Surfshark does not offer a free plan, it does offer a 7-day free trial if you download the app from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. You can also receive free months of VPN service by referring others. You receive one free month when you refer a friend, and your reward increases as you refer more friends.
As a general tip, I’d be cautious about using a free VPN. While I can recommend some free (and safe) VPNs, you’ll find the trade-off is limited bandwidth, reduced server locations, pop-up ads, and slow speeds. It’s expensive to operate a VPN service, so no trustworthy provider will provide a quality experience at no cost. If it does, I can guarantee you’re paying in other ways. I’ve seen cases where shady VPNs secretly sell people’s browsing history, private data, and bandwidth to make money.
Yes, it’s entirely safe to use Surfshark. When you connect to a server, your data and online activity are protected by AES-256-bit encryption. This is the strongest level of encryption available and is uncrackable.
The strict no-logs policy further ensures the privacy of your data. No browsing activities, passwords, or sensitive files are monitored or logged by any third party when you’re connected to the VPN. This even includes Surfshark itself! No one can spy on your actions, so your privacy is fully protected online.
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