Surfshark Review: Useful features of the VPN
Surfshark is a newcomer in the market. However, it has already established itself as a reliable and trustworthy VPN. It even can compete with such leading VPN services as ExpressVPN or NordVPN.
The service boasts extremely useful features and robust encryption. It seems to be one of the best security tools in today’s complex cyber environment. However, is it really so safe and useful?
Keep reading my review and you will find the answers to the following questions:
- What are the features of Surfshark VPN?
- What platforms are supported by Surfshark?
- How many servers does SurfShark provide?
- How to use Surfshark?
- How to get Surfshark for free?
- How successful are tests for Surfshark?
Features of Surfshark VPN
The VPN offers its users a lot of useful features. That’s a fact! However, the most pleasant moment here is that the service is, undoubtedly, one of the cheapest VPN providers in the market.
It allows saving up to 83% if paying for 24-months in advance. In this case, the VPN will cost you only $1.99 per month! You can even reduce the price by applying a coupon on their official website. For this, you have only to click “Get started” on the main page of the VPN.
Sounds well, right?
Other plans are not so wallet-friendly:
- 12-months plan is $71.88 or $5.99 per month;
- 1-month is billed $11.95 per month.
All of them include the features that I’m going to cover below.
What’s Surfshark logging policy?
Actually, it is enough to collect such data as e-mail and billing information for any VPN. It was pleasant to know that Surfshark collects only this information:
- E-mail address and encrypted password (in order to provide customer support, create and manage an account);
- Billing information and order history.
So, the VPN is able to provide you with safety. It does not save any logs that can compromise your anonymity on the Internet.
What encryption methods are applied?
Today it is difficult to find a VPN that won’t support 256-bit encryption. Even VPNs that do not worth using, support this kind of encryption in order to hide user’s data on the Internet. However, it is still a big advantage as 256-bit encryption is used by banks, big corporations and even governments to hide the most sensitive data from third-parties.
Together with the encryption method, it is also crucial what protocols the VPN uses.
What protocols are used?
There are two VPN protocols used by Surfshark: IKEv2 and OpenVPN. Encryption of these protocols, as you have already known, is done by AES-256.
Being a Microsoft developed protocol, IKE runs well on all versions of Windows. The protocol is rather secure. It relies upon the IPSec and is able to pass through firewalls.
As for OpenVPN, this protocol is considered to be industry standard. It offers enhanced security features. Its another advantage is frequent and consistent updates. This is, of course, important for strong security.
What are other useful features?
Surfshark is becoming one of the leading providers not for nothing. The functions that it offers to its customers are able to provide with high security level.
Just have a look:
- CleanWeb: the primary goal of this feature is to block trackers and ads. It is able to recognize malware and phishing attempts by scanning millions of entries in the database. The feature is extremely helpful on a mobile device as they are more vulnerable to cyber attacks.
- Whitelister: this feature works exactly as split tunneling i.e. excludes particular websites from connecting through a VPN. Why do you need it? Well, it allows improving your speed by excluding data-heavy websites and applications that don’t need to be protected from VPN tunneling.
- Kill Switch: extremely useful feature on all devices and for any Internet activities. If a VPN offers Kill Switch that really works, it guarantees all your traffic is only sent through a safe VPN connection. How does it work? Simple! It disconnects your Internet connection in case a VPN connection drops, thus protecting your data from leakage.
- MultiHop: allows connecting via several servers at once. It adds an extra layer of security and makes your encryption even more complex. However, bear in mind that this feature reduces speeds a lot because of connecting two servers.
- NoBorders: the feature is exactly what you need in case you are going to get past restrictions in a heavily censored country. It also helps to unblock VoIP messengers and banned social media anywhere in the world.
- Camouflage Mode: guarantees that no third-party knows you are using a VPN, even your ISP.
- Private DNS & leak protection: a large number of VPNs use this feature in order to protect their users against DNS leak. Does this Surfshark feature really work? Read IP leak test for Surfshark.
- Obfuscation: this function allows using Surfshark in China as it helps to bypass VPN block. It makes VPN traffic to look like regular unencrypted internet traffic. That’s why you can successfully use the VPN in those countries where governments try to block VPNs.
Servers and platforms
I think now when you know Surfshark features, you might think about getting the VPN on your device. But what platforms are compatible with the service? Does the VPN have a decent server park? It’s time to learn this information.
What platforms are supported?
A piece of good news - the VPN works on various operating systems. No matter what device you use you will hardly face some problems with the installation of the VPN on your device. Surfshark works on Linux, Windows, and macOS. For mobile devices, the VPN offers software on iOS and Android. You can also use the VPN as an extension for Chrome and Firefox. Smart TVs (FireTV, AppleTV, etc) and consoles like Xbox and PlayStation are also compatible with the VPN. You can set up Surfshark on your wireless routers (AsusWRT, DD-WRT, Tomato) as well.
Surfshark server location
The server network is not so wide if compare SurfShark vs NordVPN. I expected to see more locations. However, we have to make allowances for the VPN’s “youth”. It is a relatively new provider with 800+ servers in 50+ countries.
The Surfshark’s servers are located in Europe, The Americas, Middle East, Africa, and Asia Pacific. They are distributed throughout the world. All of them supports Camouflage Mode, IPSec/IKEv2 and OpenVPN protocols.
What is also worth mentioning is that all Surfshark servers are torrent-friendly. You can use the app to find the fastest servers for torrenting. For this, you have to click “Locations” and find “P2P” servers. As I have used servers in San Francisco and Manassas already to test if the VPN works with Netflix, they are shown in “Recent used”.
How to use Surfshark?
As other advanced VPNs, Surfshark is easy to download and use. To get the VPN on your device, you are to visit the official website, click get started and choose a plan.
There you should also create your account. For this, just enter your email address. The last step is to choose a payment method. Surfshark accepts credit cards, PayPal, Google Pay, cryptocurrency (Ethereum, Ripple, Bitcoin), Alipay and Sofort.
As soon as you get your credentials to the email you have registered, you can set up the VPN on your device. I am glad to inform you that Surfshark allows unlimited number of devices! Yes! For such an affordable price!
To download Surfshark, log in to your account and choose a platform you want to get the VPN on. It took me about a minute to get Surfshark VPN on my Windows.
After downloading the software on your device, you have to enter your Surfshark login and password and connect to one of the Surfshark VPN servers. For example, I chose the server in Finland.
I’d like the interface of the software a lot. It is extremely simple. The app is compact and I find it extremely convenient. Moreover, there is a possibility to use the mini mode of the application. Servers and useful features are located on the left part of the application.
In the settings one can see his account data and custom plan. The general settings of the Surfshark software allow changing protocols, switching Kill Switch and other useful features. You can also change the language and contact Surfshark team via the app.
Actually, I can’t even remember what I disliked while using the app. It is undoubtedly one of the best VPN software for me. And I think a lot of Internet users will appreciate it.
How to get the VPN for free?
Despite the service is one of the cheapest if pay for the two-year plan, it is still possible to use it for free. How to do that? There are two options: to use the service’s free trial or use its money-back guarantee.
Use Surfshark’s money-back guarantee
The process is the same as was described in How to use Surfshark. The only difference, you have to contact Surfshark team in order to ask for your money refund within 30 days. However, before trying this method of getting Surfshark for free, you should know the following information:
- iTunes and App Store are subjected to their own policies, that’s why if you purchase the VPN via these services, a refund is not granted. It would better to contact a specific store for a refund.
- Cancelled accounts will not be refunded for the unused period of VPN usage. That’s why it is better to ask for a refund on the last day of the money-back guarantee.
- Payments made using prepaid cards or gift cards are not refundable.
- If you purchase a subscription with cryptocurrency, the equivalent amount in US Dollars is refunded in the same cryptocurrency you used.
That’s it. It is quite easy to get the VPN for free. Besides, all premium features will be allowed to you when using the VPN money-back guarantee.
Use 7-day free trial
Yes! The VPN offers 7-day free trial, though there is little information about it on their official website. I contact their customer support via live chat in order to learn more about Surfshark free trial. Here is what I have found out. To use Surfshark for free you have to:
- Go to their official website and download Surfshark APK or get it through Google Play on your Android. You can also download the app on iPhone.
- After you launch the software on your mobile device, it will offer you to use the 7-day trial. The screenshot is taken through my Android:
- Click “Start free trial” and create an account: fill in your email and create a strong password. You should also select between 12 months or 1 month account and provide information about your payment method. Then click “Subscribe”. In order to not be charged, cancel free trial before it expires.
- Now, you can use the VPN for free on your smartphone. However, if you want to use the free trial on other devices, you just have to use the same credentials. That’s it!
Surfshark free trial offers the same features as premium subscription does. It is just an amazing trial for those who need a VPN for a short period of time. Surfshark will protect you on the Net and provide you will immensely useful features for free for 7 days! And, as you might remember, the VPN allows a limitless number of multi-logins.
It seems Surfshark is really super reliable. The last step to make sure the VPN is worth using is to test it for DNS leaks and fast connection. For those, who are looking for a VPN to unblock Netflix, I have tested the service with this streaming service.
IP Leak Test for Surfshark
As the VPN offers more than 800 servers, I checked some of them for IP leaks. Luckily, I didn’t detect any IP or DNS leaks. In the screenshot you may see IP test for Surfshark’s server in Taiwan:
Other servers showed successful results as well.
Surfshark speed test
Speed is a vital criterion while choosing a reliable VPN service. However, every VPN reduces speeds because of encryption. Despite, Netflix recommended speed for HD quality is 5.0 Megabits per second it is better to find the VPN that is able to provide you with higher download speed.
Have a look at my speed without the VPN:
The table below demonstrates speed results with Surfshark servers in various parts of the world:
|Asia||309 ms||7.42 Mbps||7.23 Mbps|
|Europe||39 ms||39.87 Mbps||19.51 Mbps|
|The USA||127 ms||11.73 Mbps||8.85 Mbps|
As you can see, the server in Europe reduced my speed twice. The speeds with Asia servers are too slow. Though, they are still appropriate for regular safe browsing.
Test for Netflix
I chose 3 random American servers of Surfshark to see if it works with Netflix. All of them were able to unblock the streaming services. Perfect! If the speed near 12 Mbps is enough for you, Surfshark is a nice choice or this purpose!
Here is an example of how the server in San Francisco unblocked Netflix US:
Conclusion: pros and cons
Surfshark is a secure and safe VPN that is able to hide your real IP on the Internet and guard you against cyberattacks. Besides, it gives a possibility to use its service for free! For this, you just have to use the VPN’s 7-day free trial or 30-day money-back guarantee.
Surfshark is a no logs VPN that provides robust encryption and protocols. Another perfect feature that I cannot but mention is the dedicated customer support. Every time I used their live chat their responses were fast, polite and useful.
Speaking about the disadvantages, here I would mention the high price for one-moth usage and internet connection is not so fast as I expected when testing the VPN. Do I recommend to use the VPN? A definite “Yes”! Just have a look at how many pros the VPN has:
+ No logs;
+ Robust encryption;
+ A great number of extra security features;
+ BVI jurisdiction;
+ Unblocks Netflix;
+ Unlimited multi-logins;
+ Highly affordable;
As for the cons:
- High price for one-month tariff;
- Inconsistent speed.
Top 3 alternatives to Surfshark
Surfshark is a reliable VPN for all activities on the Internet. It is a good choice for regular browsing and for safe gaming, torrenting and streaming. Here are other VPN services, which I would recommend you to use as well:
CyberGhost: perfect provider with diverse server park, torrent-friendly servers, and no-logging policy.
ExpressVPN: fast VPN with 3,000 servers and user-friendly application for major platforms.
NordVPN: robust provider with military-grade encryption, friendly customer support, and useful security features.
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