Surfshark is a new VPN service that’s taking the VPN industry by storm. Launched in 2018, Surfshark has quickly grown in popularity with over 500,000 installs on their Android app alone.
Part of the reason behind Surfshark’s overwhelming popularity is its affordable price. Starting from just $1.99/mo, Surfshark offers powerful features like Ad-blocker, VPN chaining, P2P support, split tunneling, zero-knowledge DNS, 24/7 customer support, no logs policy and more.
You can make payments through credit cards, PayPal, cryptocurrencies, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, and even Ali Pay. Unfortunately, though, Surfshark doesn’t have a free trial version which can be deal-breaker for some, but you can still avail their risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee instead.
To top it all off, Surfshark works exceptionally well with Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, YouTube and other popular streaming services in the market.
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Overall I highly recommend Surfshark and have given it a spotless 4.5-star rating in this Surfshark review.
Surfshark at a Glance
Don’t want to read to the whole review, here’s everything you need to know…
Pros of Surfshark
Spoiler alert, I really liked Surfshark a lot and here’s why:
Affordable Pricing, payment modes & refund policy
Surfshark is probably one of the most affordable VPN I’ve come across in a really long time. Like most other VPN’s in the industry, Surfshark offers three plans, but the only difference is their massive discounts.
Here’s how much each Surfshark subscription plan costs:
With plans starting from just $1.99/mo, it makes Surfshark a lot cheaper than its competitors like ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and even PureVPN.
Surfshark’s Payment Modes
Aside from offering unbelievably affordable pricing plans, I really like the fact that Surfshark offers support for a wide range of payment methods. Not only does Surfshark accepts credit card payments, but also Cryptocurrencies.
Here are all the payment modes that Surfshark offers:
- Credit card
- Amazon Pay
- Google Pay
Surfshark’s Refund Policy
To keep things plain and simple, Surfshark offers a no questions asked 30-day refund policy. If you’re not satisfied with their service, you can always claim a refund within the one month period.
According to Surfshark’s terms of service, “we guarantee you a right to claim a refund within 30 days following your subscription of our Services”.
To test out their refund process, I contacted their customer support. To my surprise, instead of using miserable tactics to convince me to stick with the service, the support representative only asked me two questions and processed my refund request.
Q1. We are sorry to hear that you are considering discontinuing using our services. Could you please elaborate on what issues made you reconsider and why would you like to receive a refund? I am sure we will be able to help you resolve any issues that you might have!
Ans. No issues, I just wanted to try out the service…
Q2. Could you please provide us with the details of the email address used to purchase our services?
Overall, I really like their refund process, but there are few things to look out for if you plan to get a refund later. Check out the screenshot below:
Even though Surfshark is relatively new in the industry, the company has made quite a name for itself. Generally speaking, Surfshark has pretty positive reviews online.
As I was saying, people on the internet are mostly satisfied with Surfshark. If you head over Trustpilot and go through the overall review, you’ll see that the service has 81% reviews. Even more impressively, out of 394 user reviews, only 3% users have rated the Surfshark as bad.
Here’s one review that highlights Surfshark’s fast speeds, low prices, and the ability to list geo-restrictions in China:
Here’s another review, that’s highlighting Surfshark’s super helpful customer support.
Naturally, I also came across some negative comments as well that seem to criticize Surfshark’s speeds.
That being said, I personally didn’t encounter slow speeds with Surfshark. As long as you’re selecting the best server closest to your geographic location, you shouldn’t any issues regarding speeds.
And its similar story over at Reddit as well. Most people have genuinely positives reviews about Surfshark.
Here are two Reddit comments highlighting Surfshark’s phenomenal speeds, pricing and the ability to bypass Netflix restrictions.
Powerful Security & Privacy
When it comes to security, Surfshark is no slouch. Despite costing only $1.99/mo, Surfshark offers tons of powerful security features that we normally expect from high-end VPNs.
Encryption & Protocols
Right from the get-go, Surfshark uses some very powerful encryption to keep you safe and anonymous on the internet.
With a combination of AES-256-GCM/AES-256-CBC encryption and secure protocols like IKEv2 and TCP / UDP OpenVPN connections, Surfshark actually manages to deliver industry benchmark security.
Surfshark also has a built-in kill switch feature in all of their applications for added security. This feature is basically designed to disconnect your network connection in case your VPN connection abruptly drops.
Bear in mind that the kill switch feature is not enabled by default and would require you to manually enable the option from the settings menu.
I’ve personally tried out this feature and it works exactly as advertised. During my testing, I purposely messed with my network settings and Surfshark immediately disconnected me from the internet.
Surfshark might be small compared to ExpressVPN and NordVPN, but it still boasts quite a noteworthy leak protection. Even after rigorously performing leak testing through a variety of tools for DNS, WebRTC and IP leaks, Surfshark managed to pass with flying colors.
Below are the tools I used and their leak test results:
1) ipleak.org – Passed
2) ipleak.net – Passed
3) browserleaks.com/webrtc – Passed
No Logs Policy& Warrant Canary
Nowadays, almost every VPN provider claims to offer a no-logs policy. But from years of reviewing experience, I know it’s not always true. But surprisingly enough, Surfshark actually offers a legitimate zero logs policy.
That’s seriously impressive to see coming from a relatively new VPN service.
Aside from delivering a legitimate zero logs policy, Surfshark also regularly publishes a brief warrant canary report on their official website detailing secret government subpoenas issued to them so far.
Here’s the current status of Surfshark’s warrant canary:
In terms of raw performance, Surfshark is seriously impressive. Not only did it managed to deliver exceptionally fast streaming speeds, but also worked flawlessly with torrenting and geo-block bypassing.
Since Netflix and other streaming platforms don’t generally tend to work outside of a few selected regions, not many VPNs tend to work reliably.
Fortunately, that’s not the case with Surfshark. In fact, I had no trouble unblocking the US library of Netflix with Surfshark.
Here are all the working servers that I used to unblock Netflix US with:
- Los Angeles (Ultra HD)
- Phoenix (HD)
- Seattle (HD)
- Las Vegas (Ultra HD)
- New Jersey (HD)
Aside from Netflix, Amazon Prime and BBC iPlayer also worked surprisingly well without any lags or annoying proxy issues.
With that said, streaming services and VPNs are constantly involved in a cat and mouse game. Thus, a streaming service that might be working fine today, might not work tomorrow.
Other than performing exceptionally well in the streaming department, Surfshark worked considerably well in the torrenting department as well.
Since Surfshark allows P2P and BitTorrent on all of their 800+ servers, downloading and uploading torrents is an absolute breeze.
The servers in the US, UK, and the Netherlands worked best for me. I personally tested Surfshark with uTorrent and found it perfectly capable of delivering excellent P2P performance.
When we talk about mass online geo-restrictions, nowhere is this matter more prevalent than in China. The country uses its so-called Great Firewall of China (GFW) with Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) to detect and deter VPN traffic in mainland China.
Fortunately, Surfshark’s NoBorders mode and Camouflage is perfect for bypassing the GFW and accessing foreign contents.
After digging around a bit, I found out that Surfshark uses XOR patch instead of using default tunneling protocols to bypass strict network firewalls. With powerful geo-lock bypassing features of Surfshark, I also found it quite useful for Australia.
Now we move on to the speeds of Surfshark. Now I’m not going to beat around the bush here, Surfshark managed to perform better than my expectations.
For my testing, I used my 100 Mbps internet connection and managed to achieve around 60+ download and 50+ upload speeds on average.
But if still don’t want to take my word for it, here are the speed test results for the U.S server of Surfshark:
Compatibility & User Experience
Compatibility wise Surfshark is pretty great. I mean, you get support for smartphones, computers, browsers, smart TVs and even gaming consoles.
Before I talk about Surfshark’s user experience, here’s the complete list compatible OS and devices:
- Smart TVs
- Apple TV
- Other TVs
Surfshark iOS & Android
Now if we talk about user experience, both Android and iOS apps of Surfshark are very well designed and super easy to use. Every option is dead easy is to find and the apps rarely ever glitch out or freeze.
Best of all, unlike making features and the UI of the apps differ from each other, Surfshark has done a pretty good making both their Android and iOS apps virtually identical.
Surfshark Desktop Apps & Browser Extensions
Moving on to both browser extensions and desktop apps of Surfshark and they’re also super snappy to use. Though it’s worth noting that the browser extensions of Surfshark are comparatively less specced out than their desktop counterparts. Then again it’s only designed to secure browsers and not your entire device.
Speaking of which, if you want to avail all the features that Surfshark has to offer, you’re going to want to use either their use the Surfshark apps for Windows, macOS, and Linux.
Excellent Customer Support
Surfshark offers a decently fast customer support system via live chat and email ticketing. From my experience dealing with Surfshark, their support team is quite knowledgeable and quick to respond.
Another thing I really like about their support representatives is the fact that they don’t rely on copy-pasted answers like most other VPN providers do.
Their email support is also comparatively quicker than most other VPN services out there. They usually respond to emails within a few hours.
Cons of Surfshark
While there’s a lot to love about Surfshark, there are few things I wish this otherwise rock-solid VPN provider can address.
Comparatively Fewer Servers
While 800+ servers in 50+ countries is a lot, Surfshark’s server park is still combatively smaller than NordVPN, ExpressVPN and other VPNs in the market.
Sure you can unblock pretty much any geo-restricted content out there, but having more server available is always better. Overall I wish Surfshark would drastically add more servers to their list.
Another issue that I found with Surfshark is the lack of transparency. The company doesn’t disclose information about stakeholders or the owners behind the company.
Even when I inquired about it with Surfshark’s customer support, they still wouldn’t disclose any information.
Here’s the response I got from Surfshark’s live chat support:
“Well, we are a small start up company that is only like a year in a business for now , but we have been growing pretty fast. We have the market standards like great encryption, no logs policy, audit on our extension and many features. We are not owned by anyone and operate under our own will”.
“Surfshark Ltd. is owned by private shareholders who chose not to disclose their private information to the public as it has not been legally required. As long as we are determined to invest time and effort in developing smart solutions which can overcome the restrictions, the private shareholders of Surfshark Ltd. seek to exercise their right to privacy and remain undisclosed. This is a measure of risk management to secure the sustainability of Surfshark as a service, protect our customers and employees”.
No Free Trial
Last but not least, Surfshark doesn’t offer a free trial feature. This can be disappointing for some users who just want to try out the service without providing their credit card information.
If you wish to tryout Surfshark, you have no choice but to actually purchase Surfshark, and get a refund afterward.
So do I recommend Surfshark?
Absolutely Yes! Considering its speed, privacy, security, and rock-solid performance, Surfshark is on par with industry’s top performers and have scored a 4.5-star rating in my Surfshark VPN review.
Their customer support is quite responsive, their apps are superfluid, and their subscriptions plans are unbeatable. That said, if they can add more servers, become more transparent, and offer a free trial version, Surfshark can definitely score a spotless 5-star rating.