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SURFSHARK REVIEW: Really powerful VPN at low cost

Last updated: February 11 2020 By Dean Chester
Surfshark pros Surfshark cons
  • 100% security (except on Linux)
  • Low price
  • High speed
  • 1000+ servers in 61 country
  • 7-day free trial with no card required on mobiles
  • Netflix (most regions)
  • Supports every platform
  • Kill Switch on all the platforms
  • Torrenting
  • Modern functionality
  • You can’t choose a specific server within a location
  • DNS leaks on Linux

Surfshark reviewSurfshark is a multiplatform paid world-class VPN service that takes the second spot in our best VPNs ranking. At the same time, it is one of the cheapest VPNs. Its prices start at $1.99 per month.

Surfshark is a relatively young provider as it was founded in 2018. But its development is so rapid that this is our third research of it within one year’s time.

By the start of 2020, a lot of updated information has been gathered detailing Surfshark’s performance in regard to:

+ Streaming. We summarize our large-scale 6-month test of the support of Netflix and Hulu by several most popular VPN services.

+ Security and privacy protection. We have conducted new in-depth security tests on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

+ Fresh customer reviews. We’ve analyzed dozens of reviews and opinions by real customers on Reddit and Quora.

Surfshark has passed all of our tests with flying colors.

Now that I have conducted, without false modesty, the most detailed research of Surfshark VPN that I know of, I’m ready to tell you everything about its results, real characteristics and abilities.

Before I get into it, I’d like to emphasize that I have collected all the facts presented in this review as an independent expert. I haven’t been promised, neither have I accepted any rewards from Surfshark. I use a usual 1-year plan:

My current Surfshark subscription

So, what makes Surfshark VPN one of the best services of this day?

* proven high level of security and reliability

* its support of all the platforms

* consistent support of Netflix, Hulu, and other video services

* its proprietary Shadowsocks VPN protocol

* special server lists with dedicated IPs, MultiHop (double VPN) as well as servers for p2p/torrenting

* VPN protocol obfuscation allowing it to work in the countries with censorship (NoBorders)

* safe jurisdiction and No-Logs policy

I’d like to mention that Surfshark has expanded functionality not only on Windows like many of its rivals but on every major platform.

What drawbacks should still be eliminated?

- It’s not possible to choose a specific VPN server in a selected location.

- It would be great to see safer and more functional Linux software.

You can read on or use the quick nav menu to jump ahead to the chapter you need:

+ VPN services almost constantly hold special offers. At this moment, a Surfshark VPN subscription can be obtained at an 83% discount.


Surfshark: features and opportunities

Surfshark: features and opportunities

Do you know how I knew that Surfshark is a serious player in the VPN market even before I tested it? That’s because it works in China. I’d like to start enumerating the features of this VPN specifically by mentioning this one. There are around 7 to 10 VPNs worldwide that can defeat the Great Firewall of China. Surfshark is one of them, which speaks volumes about how high the technological level of this service is.

But that’s only the beginning. Here’s the list of features that are seldom supported by VPN providers but are consistently and properly present in Surfshark VPN:

+ working in China

+ streaming (Netflix, Hulu, and other video services with geo-restrictions)

+ proprietary VPN protocol

+ Kill Switch (protects your traffic when your VPN connection is disrupted)

+ all the features including the Kill Switch (available on Windows, Android, Mac, and iOS in the same way)

What do we get by installing Surfhark (the full list)?

+ 256-bit traffic encryption

+ Kill Switch in every app (very rare)

+ OpenVPN (UPD and TCP), IPsec, Shadowsocks tunneling protocols

+ 61 countries available

+ servers that allow P2P (torrenting)

+ servers with fixed IP addresses (dedicated IP)

+ VPN protocol obfuscation (NoBorders technology)

+ convenient apps;

+ Whitelister (Split Tunneling);

+ CleanWeb (blocks ads, trackers, and malware)

+ a 7-day free trial for mobile apps with no card required.

+ HackLock and BlindSearch. Available at an extra fee. (I’ll tell you more about them later on.)

But at the same time:

- No opportunity to choose a specific server within a given location

- The app for Mac doesn’t let you choose a protocol

- Linux software doesn’t protect DNS queries

I should mention that Surfshark provides a 7-day free trial period without any functionality limits on Android and iOS. More on how to use it in the next chapter.

Generally, Surfshark allows solving any task that VPN technology copes with including modern needs such as unblocking geo-restricted content and torrenting protection.


Surfshark Free Trial

Surfshark free trial

Surfshark is available for free for 7 days on Android and iOS with no credit card needed. All the other platforms are only available for a fee.

What can free Surfshark do?

The basic app features of the paid and free versions are exactly the same.

The only difference is that in the paid version, you can activate two functions that increase your level of safety when using the internet for an extra charge.

What peculiarities of the trial version do you need to know?

+ The trial period is only available on Android and iOS.

+ You can only use the trial once.

+ To use the free trial, you have to install the Surfshark app first. You can find its download links easily on Surfshark’s website. After you launch it, the free trial signup window will appear. Enter your email and password there.

I haven’t tested the trial version before buying a subscription because it’s identical to the paid ones.


Surfshark Pros

I’d like to draw your attention to three important advantages of Surfshark:

  1. Proven reliable protection of data, location, and visited websites’ addresses (except for the script for Linux).
  2. Great Netflix support at a high speed and for virtually any region. There is, however, a subtle detail I will talk about later on.
  3. Low prices.

Let’s go into more detail about the advantages of this provider.

1. High level of security

Proven traffic protection

Security of Surfshark: no data leak on Windows
Windows

The most effective way to test the performance of a VPN app is to intercept the computer’s outbound traffic and analyze it. I log all data packages with the IP addresses during a lengthy time period by using the Wireshark traffic analyzer. Then, I scan this data for all the connections that could happen outside of the VPN channel (its IP address is marked in green).

As you can see in the screengrab, besides the address of the VPN server in Finland, there are only the local addresses of the tested computer in my local Wi-Fi network. That’s exactly how it should be when a VPN works correctly (in reality, not all providers achieve that).

I should point out that Surfshark manages to protect your data even with the kill switch being off.

To put it short, Surfshark protects all the data fully by packing it reliably inside an encrypted VPN channel.

  • My advice: Use the IKEv2 protocol on Windows with Surfshark. OpenVPN doesn’t provide so much security with this provider and can leak certain messenger and system utility data if the kill switch isn’t active.

Lately, I started testing not only Windows apps but also software for Mac and Linux to maximize the fairness of my reviews.

Surfshark has passed the test on macOS as well successfully:

Security of Surfshark: no data leaks on macOS
Mac

As for Linux, the tests of Surfrshark yielded good results in regard to traffic protection. However, the addresses of the visited websites were not protected at all:

Security of Surfshark: website addresses leak on Linux
Ubuntu

I should explain. The screenshot shows that the traffic was really sent into an encrypted VPN channel with the IP address of 185.242.5.218 (marked in blue). At the same time, DNS queries containing data about visited sites went to the network with no protection (marked in red – you can clearly see in the intercepted traffic that I visited google.com).

So, to sum the security test results of Surfshark:

  1. The Windows version is 100% safe if you use IKEv2. The app sets up the protocol automatically by default and in my case, it set IKEv2 up. If you switch to OpenVPN, you risk leaving some part of your traffic unprotected. To avoid it, you should simply turn the kill switch on in the app settings.
  2. Surfshark for Mac is also confirmed safe. IKEv2 is the only protocol available in this version of the app.
  3. The software for Linux allows DNS leaks to happen. If you need a 100% secure VPN specifically for Ubuntu, my advice is to use NordVPN.

We check apps for Android and iOS according to the parameters more relevant to mobile VPNs. So, we’ll talk about them in one of the following sections.

Reliable protection of visited addresses (except on Linux)

While analyzing the traffic, I found out that the DNS queries containing website names are transferred to a server through an encrypted VPN channel. It got me thinking if these queries are processed right on the VPN server or are transmitted in an unprotected fashion to public DNS servers.

To see that, I checked the destination DNS server address with ipleak.net:

DNS server is conjoined to the VPN server
Image taken from ipleak.net

The screencap shows that the DNS server is located on the main server (as their IP addresses match). This guarantees that neither the ISP (Internet service provider) nor other systems or devices between the user’s gadget and the VPN server can determine the names of the visited resources.

You can subscribe with an 83% discount for $1.99 per month for 2 years here

2. Surfshark has reliable Netflix support

Surfshark supports Netflix

Surfshark is one of the best VPNs for Netflix (holding the second spot).

There are 3 reasons for it:

  1. Its efficiency in unblocking geo-restrictions for most countries including all the most popular regions (US, UK, JP, AU, DE, etc.) is almost guaranteed
  2. High server speed
  3. The lowest price compared to other VPNs with matching features

I’ve been testing certain VPNs’ Netflix and Hulu support for more than 6 months to be absolutely sure in what I say about them. For that entire time, Surfshark managed to outperform the streaming services’ restriction successfully. And not simply successfully but perfectly.

There are around 20 VPN services that can “crack” Netflix. Only a few of them are capable of doing it in a manner that doesn’t make the user reconnect several times to find a working server.

As for its speed, it is consistently high. I have checked it regularly on certain popular locations and created a table of the averages:

Country Speed, Mbps
US (United States) 8-30
CA (Canada) 20-50
JP (Japan) 20-30
UK (United Kingdom) 20-50
DE (Germany) 40-70
AU (Australia) 15-25
IN (India) 30-50

As you can see, all the locations allow watching videos in HD and even in 4K.

Hulu is next.

Surfshark supports Hulu
Surfshark supports Hulu

Since this streaming service only contains content for the United States, I tested it only with US locations.

Hulu is supported by an even smaller number of VPNs than Netflix. By using Surfshark, I managed to unblock it on every US location.

So, these are the first two reasons why Surfshark is among the leaders in terms of streaming support. I should only add the mention of its price:

With the current discount of 83%, the price is $1.99 per month (if you subscribe for 2 years).

3. More than 1000 servers

There are more than 150 (or 300, depending on who you ask) active VPN services and most of them have the same numbers of locations to connect to and servers. These numbers can equal 10, 20, or, with more advanced providers, up to 50.

Surfshark claims it has more than 1000 servers in 61 countries!

While far from being a record (for example, both NordVPN and CyberGhost VPN have more than 5000 servers), it’s considerably more than the average figures in the VPN market.

Surfshark has a small drawback: the user can’t choose a definite server within a location. The system finds the most suitable IP address on its own. For instance, I need to browse the Internet from Sydney, Australia:

Location selection in the app menu

There are several servers in this location but a user can’t access their list.

Why is it inconvenient?

Some websites don’t appreciate it if you change your IP often. They are, most often, payment systems or other services that require you to go through authentication again any time there are some changes to the user location data. In such cases, it’s convenient to use the same server to visit websites from IP addresses located in the same subnetwork or even with the same exact IP.

Nevertheless, Surfshark does provide an opportunity to do so by using its list of servers with fixed addresses (Static IP). However, the list is rather short:

  • Germany
  • Japan
  • Netherlands
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

Moreover, it’s only available on Windows.

Surfshark has another two curious specialized server lists:

  1. MultiHop
  2. P2P

While both of them expand the provider’s functionality, only MultiHop is actually useful as of this day.

Let me explain why.

MultiHop is a kind of double VPN technology. It allows setting double protection of the location data. A user can choose a suitable pair of servers from this list. Physically speaking, their computer is going to connect to the first server which is connected to the second, “outgoing” one through which the Internet is accessed. It decreases the chance of somebody discovering the user’s real IP.

There are 13 input and output server pairs available:

  • UK-FR (United Kingdom -> France)
  • UK-DE (United Kingdom -> Germany)
  • SG-HK (Singapore -> Hong Kong)
  • SG-NL (Singapore -> Netherlands)
  • US-NL (United States -> Netherlands)
  • US-PT (United States -> Portugal)
  • DE-SG (Germany -> Singapore)
  • FR-SE (France -> Sweden)
  • IN-UK (India -> United Kingdom)
  • DE-UK (Germany -> United Kingdom)
  • NL-US (Netherlands -> United States)
  • CA-US (Canada -> United States)
  • AU-US (Australia -> United States)

In what cases is MultiHop VPN convenient to use?

I can’t give you a clear list of situations when it’s really necessary to use double VPN. It’s quite open to argument whether or not it bolsters your privacy by a lot because my tests showed that Surfshark is decently safe even without it. This function can be really useful when a user needs to hide the fact they’re connected to a specific country from the system administrator or the ISP. To give you an example: you want to connect to a UK server from India. However, for some reason, you can’t. Then the IN-UK MultiHop connection will help you. Your ISP will see that you have connected to an Indian IP but not your farther connection to the UK.

As for the P2P server list, today, it can be called irrelevant because all Surfshark servers support P2P/torrenting:

All Surfshark servers are P2P-friendly

4. Large number of countries

Large selection of countries

In 2019, Surfshark increased its coverage from 50 to 61 countries. Right now, it beats even NordVPN in this regard because that provider recently left Russia and supports 59 countries instead of 60. By the way, Surfshark still provides 2 locations in that country.

All the popular countries are supported (e.g., US, CA, NL, JP, DE). But there are also others that are rarely seen among VPN providers today: RU, KZ, Libya, and some other ones.

4 countries out of 61 are virtual locations and the provider doesn’t make a secret out of it:

  • Albania
  • Chile
  • Costa Rica
  • Slovenia

There are no physical servers in these countries. Users connect to them in a virtual manner through servers located in different places.

In general, Surfshark’s coverage has been considerably improving. As of this day, it’s one of the best ones and is available at an unprecedentedly low price for such a number of countries.

5. High speed

To be honest, I wasn’t exactly satisfied with Surfshark’s speeds on many locations just about a year ago. As the tests showed, however, today, speeds are improved almost in every country.

I’ll give just a few examples.

The test showed perfect speed in 100Mbps channel*:

Country Download speed, Mbps Upload speed, Mbps
United States 8-40 15-40
Canada 15-16 15-50
Germany 40-70 20-55
Netherlands 35-75 25-60
Singapore 30-60 20-40

* the table shows average speed ranges because speeds have been tested more than once on different servers in different cities.

The use of Surfshark has become objectively more convenient. Rarely, the speed does drop below 30-20 Mbps but it mostly happens during the “rush hours” when the load is the biggest.

I should specify that what I said about speeds here is relevant also to the servers on which I conducted streaming tests.

6. Supports all platforms (learn all about the differences)

In this section, I will tell you about the peculiarities of Surfshark’s work on every platform in detail. Most reviews I’ve read only talk about the more general characteristics of this provider and don’t take its pros and cons applicable to a specific platform into consideration.

Surfshark for Windows

Surfshark for WindowsAs it usually is, the Windows version is the fullest one. Besides all the features and settings I’ve already enumerated, it also allows you to enable two extra functions that are available for a surcharge and increase your general Internet security:

+ HackLock. Warns the user in the cases when logins and passwords you transmit into the network can be intercepted by hackers.

+ BlindSearch. Blocks search engines tracking the user’s search, making it as private as possible.

The surcharge is only $0.99 per month, making the full cost with the minimal price for the VPN service $2.98 per month.

What features and settings does Surfshark for Windows have?

+ maximum functionality compared to other OSs

+ proven security

+ separate specialized server lists for:

  • MultiHop VPN
  • Static IP

+ 61 countries available

+ choice of IKEv2, OpenVPN (UDP or TCP), Shadowsocks (protects only web browser traffic)

+ Kill switch

+ can block LAN traffic (Invisible to devices)

+ CleanWeb (blocks malicious websites)

+ Whitelister (Split tunneling)

- no free trial (as opposed to mobile apps)

- no list of servers for P2P (though it’s really unnecessary anyway)

The most important thing on the list is the kill switch. It’s required for safe torrenting as well as any other connection type that involves a continuous data flow that needs to be reliably hidden.

  • My advice: If you want to be sure that the server you chose is suited for torrenting, type “p2p” in the location search bar. A list of countries will open that is identical to those P2P ones you can access on other OSs.

Generally, Surfshark is a great VPN for Windows. It has everything it needs to solve any task present on this platform including streaming.

You can subscribe to Surfshark for Windows with a beneficial discount of 83% on the official website surfshark.com.

Surfshark for Android

Surfshark for Android

Surfshark’s version for Android is almost as good as the Windows one in terms of functionality and convenience.

It also has basic, expanded, and extra functionality available for a surcharge.

The app lets you choose VPN protocols, turn the malicious website blocker and Whitelister on, etc. So I won’t repeat myself and say the same things I said about Surfshark on Windows. Instead, I will delineate the main differences and provide the test results of the Android app with unexpected connectivity issues and other problems a VPN can face in real conditions of using a mobile gadget.

Peculiarities of Surfshark for Android:

+ Override GPS location. This rare and extremely useful feature doesn’t simply hide the IP address but also masks the GPS coordinates that can give away the user’s location.

+ Autostarting VPN in mobile networks as well as secure and unsecure Wi-Fi networks.

+ Can choose an encryption standard. You aren’t that likely to ever need this function but you can try to toy around with it to see if it affects your Internet speed and battery life.

- The NoBorders mode (VPN obfuscation) that allows bypassing VPN blocks clandestinely is absent.

And that’s the only drawback of the mobile version of Surfhark. It matters only for users in China and certain other countries that block VPNs.

Data protection test in real-time conditions:

The Cool Tech Realtime IP Logger test is successfully passed on Android 10

Surfshark has successfully proved to be resilient against all sorts of unexpected issues that can occur when using mobile devices in real-life conditions. However, there’s a caveat:

The kill switch provides protection only on relatively new versions of Android (bigger than 6). With Android version 6, the kill switch failed to protect data when the VPN deactivated suddenly.

I’ll explain this in detail.

Cool tech Realtime IP Logger shows how effectively the app protects the user’s IP address when anything unexpected happens to the VPN channel. For example, issues can occur when the device connects to a Wi-Fi network after the cellular internet, when the Wi-Fi connection is unstable, or in other real-life events. There are several lines that say “Reconnect…” in the screenshot. These are checkpoints where such events occur. The IP address of the device is read. Surfshark coped with the task in all cases and protected the real IP reliably.

The app for Android 6 failed and allowed an IP leak during the very first event:

The Cool Tech Realtime IP Logger test failed on Android 6

So, what conclusion about Surfshark on Android do we arrive at?

The app has exceptionally powerful functionality especially if you compare it to “average” VPNs that like to claim they are the best ones in the Google Play Market catalog. Its safety is proven on devices running on a relatively up-to-date version of the OS. I should also note that the app has low energy consumption.

You can download Surfshark for Android from the Google Play Market or as a .apk installer from surfshark.com.

Surfshark for Mac

Surfshark for MacRecently, Surfshark became available in the Mac App Store, which makes it one of the few VPNs trusted by Apple. At the same time, it can be easily downloaded and installed using an installer or the website of the service.

Surfshark for macOS has a lot of basic and extra options just like its apps for the platforms we’ve already covered but still doesn’t quite live up to them in terms of functionality. Moreover, there are some important differences you should know of in advance.

What peculiarities does Surfshark have on Mac?

+ Available in the Mac Apple Store

+ Has a list of servers for P2P

+ Has all the most important features including the kill switch and NoBorders

- Only supports IKEv2

- No list of servers with Static IP

- No WhiteLister (Split tunneling)

- Extra functions aren’t available for a surcharge (HackLock and BlindSearch)

There are no such differences among those enumerated that would restrict the VPN’s sphere of application in any meaningful way. On the contrary, you can save money by not buying extra functions of dubious utility since it’s not supported on macOS anyway.

Our tests confirm the security of the Mac app. The IP address, traffic, and addresses of the resources you visit are under reliable protection.

Combined with the extended functionality, high speeds, and stable performance, it makes Surfshark one of the best VPNs for Mac.

You can download and install Surfshark for Mac from the Mac App Store or directly from Surfshark.com.

Surfshark for iOS

Surfshark for iOSThe Surfshark functionality for iOS turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Its app for iPhone and iPad can be rightfully called one of the best VPNs for iOS. Unlike the apps made by 80 or 90% of other providers, it has almost the same functionality as the apps for Mac and Windows.

The most curious thing is the ability to select a VPN protocol and the presence of a kill switch. These features are the rarest on this platform.

There is also obfuscation (NoBorders), tracker blocking, and extra features available for a surcharge.

So what peculiarities does Surfshark have on iOS?

+ uncharacteristically for most VPN services, an expanded functionality is available including protocol choosing options and obfuscation

+ has passed the real-life conditions security test successfully

- no Whitelister option

- no Static IP list

I should emphasize that Surfshark is one of the best VPNs for iOS. Though it doesn’t seem to have any giant advantages and sort of lags behind Mac and Windows versions functionality-wise at first glance, it’s better than most other VPNs for this OS. The reason for it is because really powerful VPN software is rarely made for it.

Surfshark for iOS is available in the Apple App Store but make sure to sign up on Surfshark.com first.

Surfshark for Linux

Surfshark for Linux

Surfshark offers command-line software for Ubuntu Linux.

It’s quite an efficient solution that allows using VPN technology for various purposes that include protection of important data, bypassing blocks, safe torrenting, or “borderless” streaming.

I can’t say it’s easy to use but if you’re accustomed to the command line in the console, then installation and launch of Surfshark won’t cause any difficulties.

Before you use “apt-get install …”, you only need to install an additional repository:

Installing an additional repository for Surfshark

You can download it from the Surfshark website. On the same page with the link to the .deb repository, you can find an in-depth manual for further installation.

After installing Surfshark on Linux, you’ll need to enter the email and password you used at the signup.

What peculiarities does Surfshark have on Mac?

+ command-line app

+ easy to install

+ MultiHop is available

- allows a DNS leak

- doesn’t encrypt requests of domain names

- no indication of the connection status

I have mentioned in the security section of this review that Surfshark for Linux has a rather serious DNS leak issue.  This fact restricts the use of the Linux software for solving sensitive tasks.

  • If you need a reliable VPN for Linux that doesn’t have security problems, my recommendation is to use the NordVPN software.

Apart from that, the performance of Surfshark is outstanding. All the locations are available and the connection is stable.

Surfshark for Chrome

Surfshark for ChromeSurfshark is available as a proxy browser extension for Chrome and Firefox.

I can’t emphasize this enough: it is a proxy because proxy and virtual private network are different technologies with vastly different features. A proxy protects only the traffic of the browser it’s installed to. The traffic of other apps and the OS go into the network unprotected.

It doesn’t mean that Surfshark for Chrome and Firefox is useless. In some cases, it very much is. For example, a proxy connection is quite enough to unblock websites or stream from the browser. Surfshark performs these tasks effectively. The advantage of using its browser extension is how speedy the connection is. The proxy starts almost immediately while a full-fledged VPN takes a few seconds to establish an encrypted channel.

My tests have confirmed that data and website addresses are reliably protected.

  • Tip: You can you a web-browser extension over the main VPN app. It will allow you to get another layer of protection for your browser traffic and hide your location even better – just like with double VPN.

You have the following settings:

  • Country selection
  • Protection from WebRTC leaks (on by default)
  • Cyber Sec (protection from malicious websites, off by default)

Surfshark for Chrome and Firefox is available after subscribing on Surfshark.com.

Surfshark for TV, gaming platforms, and routers

Surfshark for TV, gaming consoles and routersSurfshark supports other modern platforms:

  • routers (manual OpenVPN configuration or L2TP on demand)
  • TV and consoles (FireTV, Apple TV, Android TV)
  • game consoles (Xbox, PlayStation)

Surfshark is available on any device that supports VPN technology.

For certain modern platforms, it’s enough to install an app while others you have to set up manually with the help of detailed instructions published on Surfshark.com.

  • Tip: If you can’t set the VPN up on a device or the software malfunctions for whatever reason, the best solution would be to set up Surfshark on a router. If you do it, all the devices in your Wi-Fi network will work with the VPN.

7. Effective torrenting protection

Surfshark is effective to use with torrents

Surfshark provides not just one but two ways to protect your torrenting activities:

  1. regular VPN app launch
  2. launching the VPN app and setting the torrent client up in addition to that

Both ways keep you secure if you use them right. Let’s discuss each of them.

The regular launch reliably protects your use of torrents is your Internet connection is stable and the VPN server doesn’t disconnect all of a sudden. Such a thing happens roughly in 1% of cases but it still can happen. To eschew safety vulnerabilities in nonstandard situations, you should always turn the kill switch on when torrenting:

The kill switch feature in Surfshark

Surfshark has this feature on all the major OSs but it is turned off by default.

The second way doesn’t require you to use the kill switch. All you have to do is connect to the VPN with the default settings and set the torrent client up by binding a VPN channel to it:

Binding Surfshark to qBittorrent

This bind guarantees that the traffic will always be protected. Should anything happen to the VPN channel, any torrenting processes will stop automatically.

What servers should you choose for torrenting?

As of this day, all the Surfshark servers support P2P. However, the app for Apple devices has special server lists for torrenting. They are likely a relic of the time when Surfshark allowed P2P not on every location.

As for the speed, the tests of Surfshark showed fast speeds on most servers. To ensure good performance, choose the least loaded locations that have an advanced technical infrastructure such as European countries.

8. Safe jurisdiction

Surfshark’s British Virgin Islands jurisdiction is safe

Surfshark is based offshore in the British Virgin Islands.

It makes any political or financial pressure on Surfshark Ltd, the proprietor of the VPN service, unlikely.

We’ll go into some more detail about Surfshark Ltd later on.

9. Works in China with the NoBorders mode

Works in China

The NoBorders feature (obfuscation) is the only way to bypass VPN blocks. Every protocol leaves its footprint it can be traced by, and such a connection can be blocked. NoBorders changes these protocol footprints and makes it “invisible”.

There are very few VPN services that have obfuscation and even fewer actually manage to get it to work efficiently.

Surfshark is one of them. I’ve been monitoring this feature for more than a year as well as read customer reviews and can tell for sure that Surfshark works in China and other countries that block VPN.

  • Recommendation: If you are going to China, install Surfshark in advance because there, its website can be blocked.

Surfshark cons

Surfshark also has some flaws.

1. Doesn’t allow choosing a specific server inside a location

Can’t choose a specific server within a locationIf we compare Surfshark to its strongest competitors, its method of choosing VPN servers is less convenient. Not only does it lack a visualized map with the countries marked on it but also doesn’t let you choose a specific server.

That’s a bit of a contradiction: while Surfshark has more than 1000 servers, its users can’t freely access any particular one they want as the app automatically connects to the most suitable option.

It’s inconvenient for two reasons:

  1. You can’t use the same server (and its IP addresses) several times. This problem is solved by using the Static IP list but only partially as it has a limited number of countries.
  2. You don’t see how many servers there are in any given location and can’t tell how likely the risk of your server suddenly stopping working without another one to take its place.

2. DNS leaks on Linux

Can’t choose a specific server within a locationI have mentioned in the previous chapters that Surfshark doesn’t protect DNS queries on Linux. These queries contain the name of a visited domain. A DNS server replies to the queries by providing the domain’s IP address.

Besides, the software for Linux doesn’t transmit those queries to a safe DNS server. Unless you change the addresses of DNS servers manually in the Internet connection settings of the OS, your queries will be sent to your ISP’s DNS servers.

Changing the system DNS settings solves the problem only partially because the addresses of the websites you visit are still sent into the network unencrypted.


Plans and pricing

Plans and pricing

One of the biggest advantages of Surfshark is its price.

There are three reasons why it is considered to be excellent:

  1. Not many VPN services lower their prices below $2 per month.
  2. Surfshark is the most powerful VPN that has a low price.
  3. Its cheapest plan is the two-year one as opposed to a three-year subscription many of its rivals offer.

I should also mention its convenient 7-day trial period. It’s available only on Android and iOS but on the positive side, it doesn’t require a credit card to be activated.

If you buy a subscription without using a free trial, you can get a full refund within 30 days on the two-years plan. It’s a safety net for those who are a bit apprehensive of buying a long-term subscription at once.

Surfshark is one of the few VPNs that accept Google Pay and Amazon Pay. You can also use PayPal, cryptocurrencies, or Alipay.


Information about the company owner

Surfshark Ltd address
The photo is taken from Google Maps service

Surfshark is a registered trademark of Surfshark Ltd. It was registered in March 2018. Little is known about the company since it is registered in an offshore in the British Virgin Islands. Information about the founders and activities of Surfshark Ltd are also not covered in public sources.

Surfshark Ltd:

Vanterpool Plaza, 2nd Floor, Wickhams Cay I

1110 Road Town, Tortola

British Virgin Islands

phone:   +46184957018

website: surfshark.com


Conclusion

So is Surfshark worth using?

The answer is yes!

It has all the necessary characteristics of a safe multifunctional modern VPN. The flaws described in this article are insignificant for 99.9% of users and don’t negatively affect the feel of using the service. Furthermore, Surfshark continues to dynamically develop and I expect it to further improve its performance in the future.

The only significant flaw was found on Linux. My advice to the users of that platform is to find some better software from a different VPN service.

Leave your comments and ask your questions about Surfshark below. My colleagues and I will be happy to answer!

Visit Surfshark

Further reading:

CoolTechZone - Chief Editor
Dean Chester
Cybersecurity and online privacy expert and researcher. He's been published on OpenVPN, EC-Council Blog, DevSecOps, AT-T Business, SAP Community, etc. Dean has been testing VPNs for 8 years.

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6 user reviews for SURFSHARK REVIEW: Really powerful VPN at low cost

Lots of pluses!

After reading scores of Surfshark reviews on different sites and forums, I concluded that this provider is worth a try. Pretty nice server network, clear privacy policy, Netflix support, BVI location are good for any user. Besides, the provider promises that every user has a chance to try Surfshark free for 7 days. And it is no joke! I’ve read on forums that some VPNs allow free trial for iOS and Android, whereas it’s impossible to test the service on a PC running on Windows without paying for a subscription. Surfshark differs from such providers. I’ve installed the app on my iPhone and used the same credentials on Mac book. In general, I like the app but want to try a couple more VPNs to compare firsthand before making a decision what service to use.

good vpn

I became a paranoid about ISP surveillance and surfshark was the first vpn I tried out. Using it for some weeks now and the only issue I can mention is the limited amount of servers within one country so you cannot be 100% sure that you don’t use the same IP as before. I am using surfshark app on android 9.0 and so it’s been fine. I live in Germany and use the vpn to access US Netflix and iPlayer, I haven’t the least glue about other countries, I don't download torrents or anything.

Surfshark to implement wireguard

You can see on their website that Surfshark is going to add Wireguard VPN protocol early next year. They claim it’s going to perform better than all other protocols and my experience with it suggests that it’s true. Just something I figure is interesting to know.

Good price!

Dean, awesome review. Decent VPN, best price. I think I’ll try it!

Surfshark is a scam!!

I wonder why there are so many positive Surfshark VPN reviews. It is a scam! I DO NOT recommend using the VPN.
After using Surfsahrk for several weeks I decided to unsubscribe from it (the speed was extremely slow). But it was just a challenge. Not only they ignored my emails with the request to unsubscribe (yep, you cannot do that directly on their website!!) but also tried to upsell me!
Finally (after 10 emails), they unsubscribed me but it was a very nervous and unpleasant experience!

Dean Chester's picture
Tom, I just finished another

Tom, I just finished another test of Surfshark and, on the contrary, noticed a significant increase of speeds. My guess is that you used Surfshark quite a long time ago when it was just beginning its activities.

$ $ $
Sam Chester
You can use a trial version for 7 days or refund the money for 30 days. Anyway, you risk if you start using Surfshark right now.

Dean Chester
It’s the best price/quality VPN today. You will get everything and even more for just $1.99 per month. It works even in China, supports Netflix and adapted for private use.
+
Cool functionality
Best price

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