Browsing Surfshark reviews and having trouble making a final decision? Look no further.
The TL;DR - Surfshark could be the best cheap VPN you’ll find. For those simply wanting a VPN subscription that works on lots of devices, such as with a big family, with which you can do typical surfing.
Surfshark gives you everything NordVPN does but cheaper.
So, is Surfshark a good VPN? Absolutely. One of the best. It’s high-reputation yet new enough to offer better price-cuts. The user-base is loyal and they advocate it for terrific speeds and geo-blocking capabilities.
Table of Contents:
SurfShark Review 2023 - At a Glance
We sifted through the best data to help your search for the best VPN. Let’s look at key data points for Surfshark: servers, apps, surfing speeds, geo-blocking capabilities, price, and more.
At a glance:
Review of Surfshark: Pricing and Features 💰
Grab a ton of features for an eye-popping price, including unblocking Netflix, live chat customer support, very strong encryption protocols, kill switches for protection against data leaks, split tunneling, zero-knowledge DNS servers, P2P support for most servers, and adblocking.
Surfshark is similarly priced to NordVPN for shorter contracts. Savings begin once you go for a 1-year plan, with 2 years being the cheapest.
If you want 24 months of VPN coverage for the cheapest price around, Surfshark is the best choice of the topmost sought-after VPNs.
The first plan is a monthly rolling contract for £12.95/mo. A twelve-month contract gives you the second-best deal, at £4.98/mo. And the one-year is £4.98/mo. You can get even more for this price - on a 2-year-plan - priced at £2.49/mo.
You can find cheaper options but few of its quality. Surfshark is very generous, with extra features (adblocker) and unlimited connections on a single account. Most VPNs will cut off your service if you go over 5 connections.
By comparison, ExpressVPN only allows 5 connections, while NordVPN allows 6. You can install the software - with your account information attached - onto any number of devices, but the connection will limit you to only those numbers at any one time. Another thing where ExpressVPN and NordVPN are constantly trying to best each other.
Surfshark VPN Review: Speed and Performance 💨
The more layers of processing between the network you're accessing and your device, the more latency you’ll typically experience.
This isn’t always the case:
A VPN can have the side-effect of bypassing your ISP’s bandwidth throttles, speeding up your connection for gaming, streaming, and general surfing (which we touched on in our NordVPN review.
So, how fast is Surshark VPN? Generally, Surfshark is among the fastest VPNs around, leading to minimal download/upload speed drops.
On average, tests indicate an average upload speed drop of about 4.5%. This is one of the best results you’re likely to find anyway.
In a study of roughly 40 VPNs, Surfshark scored in the top two in all key dimensions. And it was far beyond the fastest when it came to the best upload speed percentage changes.
This indicates it will be a fantastic VPN for Netflix, streaming in general, and gaming
We think it's very wise to test this out for yourself: your location and the time of the day can influence performance. Just like NordVPN, they have a 30-day money-back guarantee, so your only risk is the time investment.
Privacy and Logging 🔒
Not all VPN providers are trustworthy!
The reason to avoid a free VPN is that many of them do the opposite advertised.
Rather than protecting your private information, they run adware, track sensitive data, even selling it off to third parties. The worst perpetrators store malware on your device.
They clearly state that there’s no logging of IP addresses and they don’t track activities, look into your network traffic, or even record connection time stamps and bandwidth usages.
The organization is decentralized. Rather than being headquartered in one place, you can find offices in the UK, Germany, Cyprus, India, Finland, and more.
2018, an independent third-party audit by Cure53 - and published on the Surfshark website - has so far only looked into plugins.
We’re still waiting on a 2020 internal audit that gives a full review.
Related Read: What is VPN Logging?
Surfshark and Netflix 🎥
Other than ExpressVPN (ExpressVPN review) - in terms of the sheer number of libraries it can unlock - Surfshark is quite possibly the best VPN for Netflix (test this first, to be sure!).
For instance, while NordVPN unlocks 7 different Netflix libraries, Surfshark unlocks 15.
Reliably get BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, and stream US Netflix in the UK. Do all of this while avoiding ISP tracking, streaming different programs from an unlimited number of devices at home and on the go.
Don't forget other popular channels such as Hulu and Peacock.
Split tunneling allows you partition part of your internet bandwidth using the VPN while having another part free for other online activities. Access a US Netflix library with 4,055 movies or 3,831 UK ones.
Servers / Server Locations 📍
The more servers available - and the better geographically distributed they are - the more likely you’ll be to find an optimal one while traveling (generally speaking, the closer a server is to you, the better the performance you’ll experience).
It gives you many options to spoof your ISP, changing locations to match your needs.
There's a total of 1,724 servers of mid-to-high range. This is only a fraction of NordVPN’s number. And there are several well-known VPNs with 3000+.
Get servers for a total of 64 countries, which is a strong number for a VPN (ExpressVPN has the lead with 94 countries).
Surfshark is particularly stand-up in having servers for South America and Africa, which many VPNs overlook in their coverages.
However, it's important to note that only four locations (Albania, actually, Costa Rica and Slovenia) are ‘virtual servers’.
Virtual servers are created by software, which means that the actual server hardware could be located in a different geographical place than where the virtual server is programmed to appear.
For reasons of performance, it can be important to know the actual location of your server. A large percentage of the servers Surfshark does have will actually be in the location they are advertised to be.
Beyond VPN 👑
‘Endpoint security’ is a comprehensive problem. Because our identities are more and more inextricably linked to the internet, we need more protection.
In fact, this is why we use VPNs in the first place.
Also for this reason - and also to have a “unique-settling-point” - some VPN providers are adding features that increase their protection capabilities beyond the scope of typical VPN security.
For instance: NordVPN has the CyberSec feature, which acts as a basic adware/malware filter. And TunnelBear (as well as NordVPN) also offers best password managers. That's just to name two.
Likewise, Surfshark offers a custom DNS option that gives you more protection against leakages. They called it the Smart DNS.
Also, get Surfshark’s adware blocker known as CleanWeb. Finally, the HackLock feature gives you a notification if your account is compromised. These all come at a separate cost.
Is Surfshark Better Than NordVPN? ⚔️
#1 Security (draw)
There is only a hair's breadth between the two. They both use the highest level of security around: the optimal security for your VPN is 256-bit encryption via OpenVPN, IKEv2, or Shadowsocks protocols. These are three of the most up-to-date encryption defenses for your systems.
#2 Family (Surfshark)
If you want as many devices under one account as possible, Surfshark wins. Nordvpn allows up to five simultaneous connections, while Surfshark could potentially power a large family with just one account subscription (unlimited connections).
#3 Features (NordVPN)
You just get more with NordVPN. For example one-click privacy protection, an immense number of servers (especially in the US - good for geoblocking), optimized torrenting servers, great Windows functionality for advanced users, two types of kill switches, and more.
#4 iOS (Surfshark)
The iOS app is more polished with Surfshark with an unlimited amount of simultaneous connections allowed, even if there are more advanced Windows functions with NordVPN and special service for the iPhone and iPad.
We made a more detailed comparison here : Surfshark vs NordVPN
Surfshark VPN Review - FAQs 💡
How to Use Surfshark VPN?
First thing is to get a subscription, which you can grab here.
Then head to this page.
Step #1 - Click on the ‘download now’ button. You should find the installation file in the Downloads folder of your device. Open up the execution file. Once the installation is complete, the app will open up automatically.
Step #2 - Once you're in the app, login in as an existing user using the subscription information that you will already have been sent to your email.
Note that you will need to enter a verification code - sent your email - if you have two-factor authentication enabled (we recommend that you enable two-factor authentication, as this is an extra layer of safety for your device).
Step #3 - Once you're inside of the app, click ‘connect’. Tapping it again will disconnect you from the VPN.
Step #4 - Hit the green arrow to see more information about your connection status. This will give you information about your IP address, and more.
Step #5 - Click the box button with three lines, in order to alternate your connection from the fastest to closest-to-you server.
Step #6 - To get a specific server location, choose from 1,707 in 60+countries by heading to the left-hand menu where it says locations.
Then, for each server, you can hit the star icon to remember it in the future.
If you have a good experience from using a particular server, hit the star and this will be in your quick list for the future so you can immediately use that.
To the left of the bubble is a circle that’s partly shaded.
The more shaded, the more that server is being loaded (used by many people). Typically, look for servers with less shading or none - for the best performance.
Step #7 - Finally, you’ll see two more filter options for the server type. The ‘multi-hop’ filter gives you more protection than a ‘static IP’ type.
Although Surfshark allows torrenting (‘P2P’ or peer-to-peer traffic), torrenting speeds aren’t as fast as NordVPN or Cyberghost, as it needs to reboot to the Netherlands.
And it’s not recommended for bypassing censored countries like China. But if you don’t need this - which most people don’t - it’s a great choice.
Does Surfshark Have Unlimited Data?
You’ll find plenty of third-party sources claiming that Surfshark offers unlimited connections or devices as well as unlimited data - but is this really true?
But does Surfshark have unlimited data? Theoretically, it would mean one account can service a whole block of residents!
You won’t find Surfshark verifying this on their official website or press releases (if we’re wrong, please leave a comment in the description).
Chances are you could use a single account to get great performance for a large family running, say, over a dozen simultaneous connections at once.
So, the long-and-short of it is that Surfshark doesn't explicitly say that you can get unlimited data with their account, but you certainly get unlimited devices (we wouldn't recommend going crazy with the number of devices you connect to one account, however).
Surfshark Reviews - Conclusion 🏁
Is Surfshark Better Than NordVPN? - If you need a VPN that can cover a large household, Surfshark is a superior option. Still, NordVPN has a larger range of advanced security features.
Also, if you need to access a censored state such as China or Iran, ExpressVPN is also superior. For normal surfing, Surfshark is a great way to save money while having world-class endpoint security.