With so many people feeling more concerned about their online privacy, Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are becoming more popular. One that’s been gaining some attention is SurfShark.
What is Surfshark? Surfshark is a type of VPN that has many privacy features in place to keep you secure online.
It also offers other features, such as when it comes to improving your streaming experience.
Interested? Here’s everything you need to know about Surfshark before you sign up. Let’s explore its features, pros, and cons.
How Much Does Surfshark Cost?
When it comes to what you’ll have to pay for this VPN, Surfshark requires you to pay a subscription of $12.95 per month.
This is considered to be one of the most expensive VPNs on the market. However, it does have subscription plans in place that can help you to save some money.
You can opt for an annual plan of $4.98 per month. Unlike with other VPNs, there’s no dedicated IP fee to pay and you can get a 30-day money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied with the service.
If you fancy giving Surfshark a test run before you commit to one of its plans, you should consider trying its free trial, which lasts for seven days, and you can try it out on various platforms, such as Android, iOS, or Mac.
This is much better than what you’ll find on some other VPNs, such as CyberGhost, which only offers a one-day trial.
When it comes to paying for Surfshark, you’ll love that you have many payment options available. These include your credit cards, cryptocurrencies, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, Alipay, and PayPal.
If you want to cancel Surfshark, you can do so at any time by contacting their support.
Surfshark Pros: What To Know About Its Best Features
Many of Surfshark’s features are also its advantages. So, let’s check out what this popular VPN has to offer its users.
- One of the best features of Surfshark is Whitelister. What this does is let you choose what apps and websites will enable you to use the VPN connection. While you might not think this is very useful, it certainly will be when you’re online since some websites block VPNs from being able to access their content.
- It has a feature called MultiHop. This creates a VPN connection to a server so that you have the chance to bounce traffic to a second VPN server, therefore increasing your online security.
- Surfshark has tons of tools to increase your privacy. These include the following:
- A custom DNS service called SmartDNS boosts your privacy. Surfshark offers a private DNS on every server that gives you the chance to increase your protection and prevent any third parties from gaining access to your browsing sessions.
- An ad-blocker called CleanWeb.
- A feature called HackLock notifies you if your accounts have been compromised.
- A feature called BlindSearch allows you to search online without having to deal with ads. BlindSearch will only show organic search results with no historic memory.
- When it comes to encryption, Surfshark will keep you in good hands as it uses AES-256-GCM encryption. It also has encryption protocols that are available, such as IKEv2, which ensures that traffic is secure, and WireGuard. This feature makes use of cryptography protocols and algorithms so that your data remains protected.
- However, on the Android app, you can switch from AES-256-GCM to Chacha20 Poly1305. These are both safe, although AES will be faster but if your device isn’t compatible with AES, Poly1305 is a good alternative to use.
- Surfshark is available for use in 65 countries. These include countries in Africa and South America, which are often not included in other VPN locations.
- Surfshark makes use of various virtual locations. These are basically servers that can handle surges in demand. It also has about 3,200 servers available – this is more than double what other VPNs on the market have to offer (via PCMag).
- Its servers rely on RAM memory. This makes them safer because diskless servers prevent private encryption keys from getting stolen.
- Surfshark also makes it clear that they do not log user IP addresses, how much bandwidth their users are using, or the browsing history, connection timestamps, or network traffic of their users.
- Surfshark has a Kill Switch feature in place. This deactivates your connection to the internet if you lose signal and then it gets reactivated automatically when you’re back online. This prevents your traffic from being leaked.
- Surfshark can be very convenient if you’re in a region that blocks the use of VPNs. This is because of its NoBorders feature that effectively hides your VPN traffic to make it appear as regular HTTPS web traffic.
- Surfshark is pretty versatile. You can use it on Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows. As a bonus, you can use it on FireTV, which isn’t usually the case with VPNs. In addition to that, you can make use of proxy plug-ins for Firefox and Chrome browsers.
- If you want to use a VPN while gaming, you’ll be able to do so with PlayStation and Xbox, thanks to its DNS connection.
- One thing you’ll really love about Surfshark is its ability to unblock Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney+, iPlayer, and Netflix.
- If you’re using a VPN for the first time, you’ll want using it to be easy. You can definitely achieve that with Surfshark. It ensures that you’ll be automatically connected every time you boot your device. There’s also a Quick Connect button that will choose the optimal server every time, automatically. This is user-friendly because, unlike with other VPNs, you won’t have to manually connect or choose a server.
- Surfshark offers a search engine tool. This search is free of ads and completely private. Your search results won’t be affected by your search history and data pertaining to this history is not recorded.
- If you want to make use of privacy features such as BlindSearch and HackLock, you will have to pay an extra $0.99 per month.
- While the Kill Switch comes in handy, it does have some issues. It disables your internet usage unless you’re connected to Surfshark. This can prove quite frustrating.
- When using Surfshark you’ll get the same IP address whenever you connect to it. This can make it a little easier for hackers to track your online activities than if the VPN made use of dynamic addresses.
- There are differences between the Android and iOS apps. On Android, you have more features available to you. These include support for Whitelister and GPS spoofing. The latter is a feature that’s rarely offered by VPNs and it enables you to spoof, or hide, both your IP address and GPS location without having to use additional software. By comparison, on iOS you’ll have fewer features, but it’s worth noting that you’ll still be able to use the Kill Switch, NoBorders, and CleanWeb features.
Is Surfshark Fast?
Surfshark is considered to be a fast VPN, but there are differences between its OpenVPN and WireGuard results. In tests, OpenVPN achieved speeds of between 165 and 170mbps, but in some cases, it was much lower than that.
WireGuard, on the other hand, can provide speeds of between 550 and 700mbps. The test also found that in the U.S., OpenVPN provided low speeds of between 100 and 150mbps, and WireGuard only managed average speeds of 150 to 210mbps.
In other tests, results were as follows:
- With Wireguard: Surfshark experienced reduced download speeds of 23 percent when connecting to Argentina, but the lowest reduction in speed was only a 6-percent decrease in many European countries. The bottom line: location matters and if you choose a closer location, you won’t really battle with a reduction in speed.
- With IKEv2: the largest speed drop when it came to downloads was 45 percent when connecting the server in Australia, and the lowest drop was 18 percent in European countries.
- With OpenVPN: the variant used played an important role. With UDP, the largest download speed decrease was 64 percent, while with TCP it was 98 percent. Although location does play a role, TCP achieved large speed drops regardless. The lowest drops were 54 percent for UDP and 49 percent for TCP.
What Data Does Surfshark Log?
While we’ve featured all the information that Surfshark won’t access or log, you will naturally be wondering what it will log.
Surfshark will keep your account info, such as your password and email, but these are encrypted. You can also expect it to keep your billing information, diagnostic reports, and order history.
It also has anonymized info, such as what web pages you’ve visited.
Your IP address and unique device identifiers will be kept, but only from the website instead of on the VPN app. Surfshark will collect cookies, but you can opt-out of this if you like.
What Should You Know About Surfshark’s Protocols?
Surfshark makes use of both IKEv2 and OpenVPN protocols, in order to make use of both of their advantages.
Some users will choose IKEV2/IPsec because it has the benefit of offering multiple functions while working well if you need to unblock a streaming service such as Netflix.
That said, if you want a more reliable, yet slower, connection, OpenVPN performs well.
Surfshark also offers Shadowsocks and WireGuard. Here’s what you should know about them.
- Shadowsocks is unlike other protocols we’ve mentioned because it’s more of an encryption protocol for proxy connections. It protects your browser traffic and is used mainly when bypassing censorship measures, such as in countries like China. Surfshark works well in China to bypass internet restrictions but sometimes you’ll have to use a manual connection.
- WireGuard is the fastest tunneling protocol that’s very secure and can work on macOS, Windows, iOS, and Android.
If you’re looking for a VPN to make you feel more secure online, you should consider getting Surfshark.
Not only is this a VPN that’s available in many regions, but it boasts valuable privacy features and ensures a good amount of versatility, such as when it comes to how you pay for it and what devices you can use with it.
There are tons of features to make use of with Surfshark that ensure you’ll feel more confident about using the internet, as we’ve seen in this Surfshark review.
Surfshark also offers features that you won’t find on many other VPNs, which surely puts it ahead of the pack. Whether you’re a gamer, streamer, or want a more secure internet connection for work, Surfshark is a valuable VPN to consider.
“Secure your digital life” is a message you’ll see on the Surfshark website homepage and this VPN certainly goes a long way to achieving this goal.
Does a VPN Generally Make Your Speeds Slower?
A VPN does slow down your speeds as a result of how web traffic needs to move through an encrypted server as well as to the public network’s server.
Is Surfshark Better Than ExpressVPN?
While both have great features, ExpressVPN does have a few that are ahead of Surfshark.
For example, it uses dynamic IP addresses so that you can remain more anonymous, and it has fewer delays on Windows computers.