Being based in the British Virgin Islands, offering 30-day money-back guarantee, and live chat as part of their customer support. All this sounds very familiar, yet this is from a newcomer on the VPN scene.
Surfshark offers lots of features that can make many other VPN providers blush, but is this VPN service deserved of the rise in the rankings.
That is what this Surfshark VPN review will find out. There is more to a VPN, and many newcomers find this out over time.
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- 24/7 Live chat support
- Tracking and malware protection
- Zero logging policy
- Uses some virtual servers
- No trial on windows
- Suffers some slow connection speeds
The pricing for Surfshark is highly competitive once you get away from their monthly charge. This is more expensive than quite a few other VPN services on the market.
Recently, the company has changed its pricing and done away with the three-year option.
To fall in line with other providers, they offer 2-years, one year and the monthly plan. Yet, there is no multi-month, so it does take a long commitment to gain the best pricing benefits.
|1-Year||$5.99||Billed as $71.88 every 12 months|
|2-Years||$1.99||Billed as $47.76 every 24 months|
Potential users can make use of a 7-day free trial for Android, iOS, and Mac devices, although there is no free offering for Windows or other operating systems.
Payment methods are not the largest, yet they do cover a few different means of paying that include Credit cards, Cryptocurrencies, Alipay, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, and PayPal.
To fully test all the features, there is a 30-day money-back guarantee. However, the company does want to try to resolve the issues for why users want to cancel.
Once users sign up, they have unlimited simultaneous connections, which are very different from any of the best VPN providers offerings.
One thing to note is the 30-day money-back refund when purchased through iTunes, or the app store needs to be made through Apple and not Surfshark. Additionally, no refunds are made when purchased using prepaid or gift cards.
Users who wish to sign up for the service, only need to head to the website and select one of the buttons, which takes them to the sales page. Here, pick a plan; enter a real email address to create an account.
You can now include two additional features for an extra $0.99 per month. These are Hacklock and BlindSearch. Select the payment option and fill in payment details.
After this, users will be guided through the email confirmation steps and the downloading of apps.
Features and Benefits
Surfshark has a wide list of features, which surpasses some of the best VPN’s on the market. The first two being the add-ons, HackLock scans and alerts if your email has been leaked, and then BlindSearch that allows you to search without ads or logs.
There is a kill switch, to prevent any DNS leak, yet this isn’t enabled by default. There is also automatic Wi-Fi security.
Users have options what they want the VPN connection to do when an unknown public network is spotted.
Device support is extensive; they support Windows, macOS, and Android and iOS operating systems. With manual installation, they support Linux, Smart TV’s, consoles, and routers, among others.
During testing, there were no leaks, and this was thanks to the amount of leak protection and the VPN protocols, which are in use.
These are industry standard military-grade AES-256-GCM and SHA-512 encryption to protect data. These go along with OpenVPN and IKEv2, among others.
Camouflage mode stops anyone from seeing users are using a VPN. This includes ISP's. No Borders, which helps users who live in restrictive countries, or for regular users who wish to access websites, which are blocked.
CleanWeb is a malware blocker, an ad-blocker, and an online tracking blocker. While these are a welcome addition to stop these intrusions at the server level.
In testing, we found that some of the best browser extensions performed equally as well.
Split tunneling is taken care of by Whitelister, so you can direct some traffic through the VPN, and some through the regular connection path.
VPN’s are used in two key areas for a lot of users. This is bypassing geo-restrictions when streaming and downloading and P2P file sharing safely and securely.
In the case of torrenting, they openly accept this, yet in the terms and conditions, they do state about using the servers for the transmission of copyrighted materials. This is exactly what torrenting does.
The main thing is the service is safe when partaking in any of these activities. Even using Kodi to stream this kind of content, users are kept safe.
When you look at the data retention and security and privacy. This side of the service is top level.
They retain nothing incriminating, and because they are located in the British Virgin Islands, they are under no laws for them to keep any user logs.
The logging policy states that users are taking responsibility into their own hands, and although these actions can be performed, Surfshark is not liable for any action taken against users.
There is an Android app, as well as one for the iPhone. These deliver stripped back interfaces compared to desktop clients but still deliver all the features. The only change is how you access them.
Aside from these, you have browser extensions available. These are available for Chrome and Firefox.
As part of the company transparency, they had an external auditor to verify security on the extensions for Chrome and Firefox.
Cure53 found a couple of issues, yet they were happy to see such a strong security stance from a young company.
The vulnerabilities were rated as “low,” and have been addressed by Surfshark.
Before looking at the network performance, which is crucial for any VPN company. The one area which can give users a good indication of how the company performs is their customer service.
There are many providers that don't offer much support, and because of the nature of VPN’s, there can be problems, which require immediate assistance. This can be more the case for newer users.
Surfshark puts a lot of larger VPN companies to shame in this department. Right from the start, Surfshark has had live chat support, and to make this even better, it is 24/7.
Live chat isn’t cheap, so for a company of this age, it shows how committed they are to provide for their users.
The chat box can be accessed from any page on the website, as can the help page. On this page, users have the chat option as well as being able to submit a request for more in-depth questions.
Further, down, there are lots of FAQ’s and help sections, which cover much of what a user needs to know.
With 800+ VPN servers over 6 continents covering 50+ countries, the Surfshark network is quite small.
It should be noted, they do use some virtual servers, but the company doesn’t hide the fact, and these are placed as close as they can be to the countries, which they are supposed to cover.
In testing, the speed test didn’t suffer because of this, and they perform well over average.
There are some other top tier VPN’s that don’t perform as well. It was found there was some drop off on servers occasionally.
This could be because they are new, the server was overloaded, or it was passing through a virtual server, which had an impact.
One feature that will influence their speeds is the multi-hop feature. This bounces your connection over multiple servers before emerging onto the internet.
To enable or disable this is as easy as many of the other features. It sits in the left-hand menu bar in the client interface.
Overall, they deliver enough speeds for streaming over long distances, and for good downloads when P2P file sharing.
The Surfshark VPN review dug as deep as it could to find out all the ins and outs of the service.
What was found was, if they continue to perform this way over the next couple of years, some of the VPN’s which hold certain positions will find themselves slipping down the rankings.
To compete with the top two or three VPN’s in the market, it may take a while longer for them to be any threat.
It is a good service, but it needs some time to mature. What appears good today may not exist tomorrow, so for now, it is one to keep an eye on.