SurfShark VPN Review 2022
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By sending all of your web traffic through an encrypted connection to a faraway server, VPNs can increase your online anonymity, but that security may come at a cost—in the case of Surfshark VPN, a cost expressed in actual money. Our most recent Editors’ Choice winner for VPNs, Surfshark VPN, is also one of the priciest. With unlimited device connections, a growing and evolving offering, and top-notch apps, the company does a decent job of justifying that price. A third-party audit has also been used by Surfshark VPN to support its claims. Surfacing in a crowded field, Surfshark VPN is still impressive.
What is the price of Surfshark VPN?
The monthly subscription fee for Surfshark VPN is $12.95, which is more expensive than the $9.90 average for the providers we’ve evaluated. This makes Surfshark one of the most costly VPNs we’ve yet examined, significantly more expensive than Mozilla’s VPN’s $9.99 monthly fee or Mullvad VPN’s 5 euros ($5.03 at the time of writing) monthly fee.
Like many VPNs, Surfshark VPN offers significant discounts to encourage long-term commitments. A yearly package begins at $47.88 and costs $59.76 to renew the next year. The cost of a two-year plan is also $59.76; however, after the first two years, it automatically renews for the same amount. Even if that’s a little perplexing, the annual renewal cost is still considerably cheaper than the $67.73 average for the VPNs we have tested. Long-term plans do in fact save you money, but we advise starting with the smallest subscription to ensure the VPN works for you before upgrading to a larger subscription if you find the service to be satisfactory.
Major credit cards, Amazon Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, and a number of cryptocurrencies via CoinGate or CoinPayments can all be used to purchase a Surfshark VPN subscription.
There are many affordable VPNs and even a few respectable free VPNs to take into consideration if Surfshark VPN is too expensive for you. One of the few free VPNs that does not place a bandwidth cap on user traffic is Proton VPN.
Despite the monthly plan’s high cost, Surfshark VPN provides outstanding value. Surfshark VPN allows you to utilise an unlimited number of devices with one account, in contrast to the great majority of VPNs. Most businesses disconnect you after just five concurrent connections. Only three other VPNs we’ve tested, Avira Phantom VPN, IPVanish VPN, and Windscribe VPN, do not impose a cap on the number of connections that can be made at once.
What Can Your Money Get You?
The uncommon characteristics that Surfshark offers are perhaps its greatest assets. For instance, Bypasser is a split tunnelling application that enables you to choose which websites and apps make advantage of the VPN connection. It’s convenient because you can disable it to visit some websites that ban access through VPNs. Compared to its rivals, Surfshark’s solution is neat and a lot simpler to use.
Multi-hop, which establishes a VPN connection to a server and then bounces your traffic to a second VPN server for even better protection, is another feature that is frequently missing from VPN services. Unlike IVPN, which allows you to construct a multi-hop connection between any two of its servers, Surfshark’s multi-hop connections are restricted to the prefabricated ones the firm provides.
Access to Tor via VPN, which is available through NordVPN and ProtonVPN, is one uncommon feature that Surfshark currently lacks. Tor can be used without a VPN, although this push-button access is useful.
Numerous VPN providers provide add-ons to your base subscription that are extra-cost. When your VPN connection is being banned, private, static IP addresses like those offered by NordVPN and others come in handy. Although Surfshark VPN does not sell dedicated IP addresses, it does give users free access to static servers. Each user of a Surfshark static server has a shared IP address with every other user of the server.
A bespoke DNS service called Smart DNS and an ad blocker with the name CleanWeb are both offered by Surfshark VPN. Both of these are fairly typical features for VPNs. Surfshark Search, a privacy-conscious search engine, and Surfshark Alert, which functions similarly to HaveIBeenPwned(Opens in a new window) and notifies you if your accounts have been compromised. Be aware that Surfshark Alert and Surfshark Search have an extra monthly fee of $0.99 each.
The business furthermore provides Surfshark One in addition to its privacy tools. For just a little bit more money, this security suite offers antivirus protection in addition to the essential VPN service for $14.44 per month or $96 per year (with a first-year discount of $65.76). Real-time security and on-demand virus scanning are features that Surfshark One offers in addition to the meagre claims that the majority of other VPNs make about identifying harmful websites. Unfortunately, in our hands-on testing, the antiviral features had a very low performance. Customers who already use Surfshark should continue using simply the VPN for the time being and hunt for dedicated antivirus elsewhere.
The most exciting new features of Surfshark VPN take place in the background. The company is making an effort with Surfshark Nexus (Opens in a new window) to turn its fleet of individual servers into a whole network. According to the business, this will make a number of additional privacy features possible that aren’t feasible with the present VPN design. IP Rotator is the first new function to be released; it periodically changes your IP address without disconnecting you from the internet. As these features are released, we are interested in evaluating them.
Despite being effective solutions, VPNs cannot resolve all of your privacy and security issues. You can be tracked in a variety of ways online. Use a standalone ad- or tracker-blocker in addition to the privacy features that are integrated into the majority of browsers, as we strongly advise. Also take note of how much more difficult it is to track your online activities when using the free Tor anonymization network. We strongly advise utilising a password manager to generate complicated, one-of-a-kind passwords, activating multi-factor authentication whenever practical, and installing antivirus software.
Surfshark VPN Protocols
To establish a VPN connection, there are numerous methods. Since OpenVPN’s origins are in the open-source community, it has been screened for any flaws, hence we recommend it. WireGuard appears to be OpenVPN’s heir apparent. Like OpenVPN, WireGuard is open-source, but unlike other protocols, it purportedly runs substantially quicker.
The WireGuard and OpenVPN protocols are available in Surfshark’s Android, iOS, macOS, Linux, and Windows apps. Additionally supported by iOS, macOS, and Android are the IKEv2 protocols.
Surfshark Servers and Server Location
Recently, Surfshark stated that it now has VPN servers in 100 different countries, far exceeding the industry average and even surpassing ExpressVPN and Hotspot Shield VPN. The company’s claim that it is the “first premium commercial VPN” with access to 100 countries seems a bit unrealistic, despite the fact that it is undoubtedly a significant accomplishment. While PureVPN boasts of having servers in 140 countries, HMA VPN has long bragged about having VPN servers in 190 countries.
It is undeniable that Surfshark offers a diverse selection of server locations. With six server locations in Africa and twelve in South America, the business has exceptional coverage in two areas that VPN services frequently completely ignore. We hope that additional rivals will follow Surfshark’s lead. You are more likely to locate a server site nearby your house or wherever you may be visiting if there are several server locations available, and there are many possibilities for spoofing your location.
Additionally, Surfshark provides servers in nations with restrictive internet regulations, such as China (Hong Kong), Turkey, and Vietnam. The corporation still has servers in Ukraine, but no longer in Russia.
Virtual servers and virtual locations are terms used by several VPNs. Since virtual servers are software-defined, more than one virtual server can be hosted on a single physical server. These are widely used by businesses to handle spikes in demand. Servers, whether virtual or physical, can be set up to appear at virtual locations that are different from their actual locations. Although neither is fundamentally bad, we want businesses to be up front about where and how their servers are used. A recent shutdown of Surfshark VPN’s physical servers in India was caused by legislation that endangered the security of user data. Many other businesses have followed suit. Indian IP addresses are still provided with virtual locations by Surfshark VPN.
Having additional servers increases your probability of finding a connection that works well for you, therefore this is beneficial. However, it does not ensure better service. In contrast, Surfshark boasts more than 3,200 servers, which is more than twice as many as the typical VPN we’ve tested. Despite this, CyberGhost continues to dominate the market with more than 8,277 servers available.
According to Surfshark, the server infrastructure for its servers is provided by “trusted third-party data centres.” The business does make use of servers that can only run RAM. This indicates that the server would be quickly erased if it were to be physically removed in order to access the data inside. The business also explains in a blog post how diskless servers guard against private encryption keys being stolen from server configurations. A few companies, such as ExpressVPN, made this change long ago.
Is Surfshark VPN Trustworthy ?
Surfshark VPN makes it clear in its policy guidelines that it does not record IP addresses, browsing histories, bandwidth usage, or network data. That is the exact response you want to receive from a VPN provider. Additionally, according to the policy, the corporation does not record connection timestamps, but this is only partially accurate. The corporation does log connection timestamps, according to the Terms of Service policy, but deletes them 15 minutes after your connection has ended. When we contacted Surfshark VPN, they said that this was done to stop someone from exploiting the limitless simultaneous connections offered by the business by connecting an insane number of workstations.
Additionally, Surfshark VPN mentions that it receives advertising IDs from outside sources, using Google Play as an illustration. You can reset these identifiers on your own. These IDs are used, according to the company’s policy, to assess the effectiveness of its advertising in generating instals. There are no adverts in the apps. Surfshark VPN goes to great measures to detail every cookie on its website and every analytics service it employs in other sections of its policy. Although the size of the list and the breadth of the data are frightening, we admire the attempt toward transparency.
On its transparency report, the company has a live warrant canary (opens in a new window). The corporation claims that, if contacted by law police for information, it would be impossible to pinpoint a specific user.
The merger of Surfshark VPN and NordVPN was announced on February 2, 2022. Both corporations assure us that the brands will remain distinct organisations with independent business strategies and frameworks. In a news release, the acquisition was characterised as a chance for the two businesses to collaborate and concentrate on various market niches. According to a Nord Security representative who spoke with PCMag reporter Michael Kan, neither business is buying the other, and this was not an acquisition. Both businesses will be owned by a new holding company named Cyberspace, which was registered in the Netherlands.
To validate claims concerning consumer privacy and security, several VPN providers undertake independent audits. In 2018 and 2021, respectively, Surfshark ordered its first and second audits. Cure53 performed both of them. The second audit (which opens in a separate window) focused on Surfshark’s infrastructure and VPN setup, providing some assurance over the business’s hidden operations. We’re pleased with the successful outcomes of this most recent audit and hope Surfshark will carry out more of them in the future. Although audits are not perfect tools, they are an important step a VPN may take to build confidence. For instance, TunnelBear VPN has committed to yearly service audits.
Speeds and Performance
In general, a VPN slows down both your upload and download rates while speeding up your latency. Using the Ookla Speedtest tool (Opens in a new window), we calculated the percentage difference between batches of tests conducted with and without a VPN to get a feel of the degradation. Do read How We Test VPNs to learn the specifics of how we collect and analyse this data.
The company recently upgraded its server infrastructure to 10GB connections, according to representatives of Surfshark VPN, and this seemed to have improved the VPN’s performance in our testing. Speedtest results for download and upload were found to be slowed by 8.5% and 16.6%, respectively, when using Surfshark VPN. That’s a big improvement over the previous test we did of the service.
Additionally, employing Surfshark VPN resulted in a 3.1% decrease in latency, according to our tests. In most cases, using a VPN should result in a noticeable increase in latency. However, we believe that this cannot be repeated and is most likely a result of minor adjustments made to the testing network. You can see how minimal the difference is when expressed in actual numbers: a baseline median latency of 4.047 ms and a median latency of 3.923 ms while Surfshark VPN is active. Surfshark VPN, however, has what we believe to be a negligible effect on connection latency.
VPN Speed Test Results
Remember that we only tested this VPN at a specific time of day and in a specific location to get our results. Your outcomes will undoubtedly vary, so we do not advise making a VPN purchase solely on the basis of speed testing.
Is Surfshark a Good VPN ?