Surfshark is a VPN provider that we wanted to test to check the excellent reviews about it that run on the internet. Faced with the increasing number of online threats, more and more Internet users turn to protection solutions to secure their data. VPNs are an integral part of this security software that guarantees anonymity on the net and online activities’ confidentiality.
But how do you choose your supplier? Indeed, it is difficult to choose when you see the multitude of players in the market. To help you, we’ve reviewed key suppliers’ solutions to give you a detailed analysis of their performance at all levels. Without waiting, check out our review of Surfshark.
What is Surfshark, and how to install it?
A newcomer among the greats, the VPN Surfshark has imposed itself by offering a quality solution at very affordable prices. By focusing heavily on the simplicity of use, the clarity of the explanations, and offering exciting features, he convinced the most novices in computer science and the most experienced.
If we were to make a summary, here’s what we could note:
- Unbeatable pricing
- Unlimited number of devices to protect
- Camouflage mode
- The simplicity of installation and use
- Works with Netflix and Torrenting
- Works in China, UAE and Turkey
- Whitelist (Split-Tunneling) available
- Multi-hop (double VPN)
- Speed (especially for downloading and streaming)
- Number of servers
How do I install the app?
The Surfshark app can be installed from a computer, tablet, smartphone or Android Smart TV. To download the software, you can go to the brand’s website or the app store corresponding to your operating system (App Store or Google Play Store).
Once the file is downloaded and opened, all you have to do is let yourself be guided by the installation steps and provide your identifiers. For sure, everything has been well thought out so that the VPN configuration is done quickly and simply on all your devices. However, if you need more details, you can check out the Surfshark guides accessible from its help centre. In addition to several screenshots, video tutorials are available.
How do I use VPN?
Once Surfshark is installed, you’ve done the most “difficult”. Using the VPN app is very simple. The main commands, namely the login button and the list of countries, are accessible directly from the interface and very easily identifiable. Even if you’ve never used this type of software before, you won’t have to worry about using it because everything is intuitive.
Note that if you don’t know which server to choose and you don’t have a particular location in mind, you’ll be able to follow Surfshark’s recommendations. You’ll find, for example, the “fastest server” option as well as “closest country.” If in doubt, don’t hesitate to ask the brand’s experts for advice, who will respond via chat.
Once the Surfshark VPN is activated, your internet connection and identity will be secure. This is the primary function of VPNs, but ultimately, you will have one (and especially several) reasons to use a VPN whatever your online activities. Before going into the details of this review on Surfshark, let’s take a quick look at VPN’s different cases.
- Want to protect your online business? It will allow you to be completely anonymous on the internet and thus no longer be vulnerable to various attacks, such as data theft, phishing or targeted marketing (retargeting), in a too intrusive way.
- Are you using a public Wi-Fi network? It will guarantee you protection and anonymity from malicious people who might want to retrieve your login data and use it against you or resell it.
- Going to a country where strong censorship is in place? We will have the opportunity to return to it in the rest of this Surfshark test, but you will be able to circumvent this censorship to continue to access all the content and platforms you want.
- Are you going abroad and want to continue to access all your content? All you have to do is choose a server in France, and you can unlock everything again.
- You don’t have an account on a sports TV channel, but you still want to see all the matches and competitions? You will be able to access a huge number of foreign TV channels free of charge, saving a specialty channel subscription price.
- Want to buy your plane tickets at the most advantageous price? With a VPN, you’ll be able to change your location and benefit from the best rates.
- Are you used to downloading torrents and watching streaming content? No need to be afraid; with a Virtual Private Network, no one will be able to trace back to you, not even your ISP (Internet Access Provider).
As you can see, the advantages of such software are manifold. We would be amazed if you didn’t find your account in this range of uses. In any case, the Surfshark VPN has the solution, and it’s the cheapest of the moment:
The first element we will see in the test in this review on Surfshark is its speed. Indeed, we must not forget that this is a fundamental element since this will determine your comfort when you go on the internet with the VPN.
It is completely normal to have a slight drop in throughput because your traffic passes through another server which irreparably creates longer response times. However, what is not normal is to switch to a mediocre connection and have to compromise on download times or image quality streaming.
So we’ve done several Surfshark tests to make sure you can count on him at this level.
Speed without VPN
For starters, here’s the status of our connection without VPN, and therefore without any protection. Given the results, we can see that the flow is fast in both download and upload, and the latency very short (9 ms). This should make it easier for us to see possible disparities once connected to the VPN.
Speed in France
Here is a new test, this time carried out with a server located in France and more precisely in Marseille. As can be seen, the connection is much less good, but it is still more than enough for your online activities, even download or stream HD. This is still positive in our Surfshark test, and our opinion comes out even better.
Speed in the USA
Finally, we wanted to refine our test a little more. Here are the results obtained when we connect to an American server.
There has been a fairly large drop in connection quality since download speeds have been almost divided by 10. As you will have understood, this decrease from the basic connection without a VPN is quite normal. On the other hand, the speeds proposed by Surfshark are indeed lower than those offered by some of its competitors. We think of ExpressVPN or CyberGhost that you can find in comparing the fastest VPNs of 2021.
Note that it is possible to perform a speed test yourself directly from the Surfshark app on Windows. This feature is not yet available on macOS.
Finally, although the connection speeds remain correct, it is still a point on which the provider could improve in the future.
Surfshark test for streaming
Many Internet users use a VPN for streaming activities. Whether it’s accessing their content anywhere globally, unlocking exclusive foreign content or simply protecting yourself during this activity, all the reasons are good to use this tool daily.
We started our test with Netflix, the most famous platform and one of the most difficult to unlock. According to him, Surfshark would be able to access 15 different Netflix catalogues. Suppose some software doesn’t perform well with Netflix. Rest assured, the solution offered by this VPN provider is extremely effective in accessing the SVoD site. We tried the experiment by connecting to a server in the U.S., and the content on Netflix immediately followed accordingly. The video went off without any worries.
This is excellent news for those who would like to watch new movies and TV shows and people travelling or expatriates who would like to find their local content and audio settings.
In the same way, you will be able to access all the foreign channels you want, as long as the VPN covers the target country. So don’t hesitate to look at the list of servers upstream to get an idea. For the record, Surfshark is present in 65 countries.
For our part, we tried a lot of channels (France TV, M6 and TF1 from abroad, but also Molotov, BBC, RTBF, etc.), and everything worked very well. Beware, the image sometimes has trouble being in HD, but this is mainly related to this provider’s limited speeds.
The only streaming platforms the provider failed to unlock were Amazon Prime Video and DAZN.
Safety is paramount for a quality VPN. That is why in the continuation of this review on Surfshark, we will analyze in detail the proposals of this supplier at this level. Does it guarantee optimal protection? That’s what we’re going to see right now.
To take stock of the safety proposed by the supplier, we did several tests first without then with the VPN protection. Without Surfshark, our device’s IP address (a Mac in this case) is visible and our location correctly located.
On the other hand, once connected to a Surfshark server located in New York in the United States, the security system is effective: no reference to our actual location and no DNS leak detected.
This shows that you will be protected during your online activities and that your anonymity will be preserved at all times. Indeed, your actual IP address will never be visible once you have logged into a vendor server.
Be aware that several types of encryption are available. By default, the IKEv2/IPsec protocol will be used on your devices. But you can easily choose to modify it and use OpenVPN, for example. If you do not know which protocol to turn to, do not hesitate to contact us or contact the support service directly, as we can inform you about it.
In addition to the AES-256 encryption applied to all your data, Surfshark offers some users the right to go further with MultiHop. This feature redirects your web traffic via two VPN servers located in two different countries. This bridge creates double protection of your IP address and data. MultiHop is not necessarily necessary on a day-to-day basis. Still, if you live in a country that restricts Internet access or perform a risky activity, this option is ideal.
Let’s move on to an important element in our Surfshark test, which will complete our review: data privacy. The provider has a strict policy regarding log logs and its users’ activity logs: nothing is kept within the company. Being based in the British Virgin Islands, Surfshark has no obligation to keep any log and therefore manages to ensure your anonymity and online security. This territory is also outside of any intelligence alliance, such as the 5 Eyes, for example. So you can be serene because no one will be able to trace back to you, no matter what you do on the internet.
This no-log policy is imperative when we research VPNs. Indeed, how can you talk about real protection when the company you trust to protect you monitors your activities or stores your data?
Does circumventing censorship work?
The VPN is an efficient tool when travelling to a country where censorship is rife. Sometimes it’s the only way to continue to access your favourite TV shows or platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram or Google.
If you plan to visit one of the countries concerned, then be aware that the Surfshark VPN does work well, especially in China. With its advanced encryption system and NoBorders mode, you’ll have no trouble circumventing the censorship that’s in place. Nothing to worry about if you want to protect your data; no one will be able to access it.
Be careful, though; if you are looking for the best VPN for China, we must warn you: you can find better from other suppliers. Performance is not yet the best on the market, especially in terms of speed. So don’t hesitate to compare several offers that work in China (or other countries) to determine which one would suit you best.
The network of countries and servers
Learning about a provider’s server network is a key moment in a Virtual Private Network’s quality analysis. This will determine the number of countries you will be able to access and, to some extent, the server saturation you will have to deal with.
To write this review on Surfshark, we were therefore interested in the network proposed by the supplier. The provider has seen its number of servers increase in 2021 and currently has more than 3,200 servers in 65 countries. If country coverage seems low compared to the giants ExpressVPN or CyberGhost that are present in 90 countries, it should not be forgotten that Surfshark is a newcomer to the market and that the development of a servers network takes time.
There is already a great advance compared to the first proposals, but it would still require a little work at this level if the company wants to raise its software to the podium’s highest places.
Surfshark customer support test
Customer support is often a neglected part of testing. However, it is essential when you subscribe to a VPN service. No one is immune to a question or a technical problem. Finding clear answers quickly in the event of a problem is the very basis of a quality customer relationship. We, therefore, strive for each vendor analysis to address this point.
We have contacted customer support several times to give us our own opinion on Surfshark. Good news for the supplier: we were very pleasantly surprised.
In addition to the obvious FAQ pages that will allow you to have almost instant answers to the most frequently asked questions, you will be able to benefit from detailed tutorials. In particular, they are available according to devices and operating systems to adapt to all requests.
On top of that, you will be able to access an online chat with an expert advisor in the Surfshark field. Only black spot: it is only in English at the moment. On the other hand, it is available every day, 24 hours a day and the answers are speedy. We can only encourage you to take this opportunity if you have difficulties or have any questions!
Offers and pricing
Here we are already more or less at the end of this review on Surfshark. But let’s not forget a critical point of this review: pricing. Now let’s see in our VPN test what it offers its customers.
This supplier’s advantage is that this point is likely to be quickly concluded: difficult to find cheaper elsewhere. Indeed, since its inception, Surfshark stands out in particular with its very aggressive pricing policy, which allows it to attract a lot of users.
The monthly subscription is of no major price interest (although it is cheaper than others!). In 2021, it is mainly with the 24-month subscription that the offer stands out, with quality protection at only 1.83 euros per month.
If you decide to opt for this provider, we advise you to choose this longer subscription to benefit from the best rate. In any case, be aware that you can enjoy a period of 30 days satisfied or refunded: no need to hesitate.
To stand out, more and more vendors are offering additional features to create a new consumer benefit. This can range from expanding the devices affected by protection to adding protection and encryption systems or features developed on the application.
In this part of our test, Surfshark will be screened so you can make up your own mind about the proposed solution!
The number of simultaneous connections
This is one of the exclusives offered by the provider: if you buy a subscription, you will be able to connect and use this protection on all devices of the family or your loved ones simultaneously. You can protect as many devices as you want at the same time. Yes, you read it right: the number of simultaneous connections is unlimited!
Knowing everything we’ve said in the game about the offer and associated pricing, you realize that the price per device is simply unbeatable. And this without compromising on quality.
Therefore, this is a more than positive point of this review on Surfshark because the supplier proves once again that it has been able to understand its users and consumers to offer an offer as close as possible to their expectations and needs.
We’re not going to dwell on that because it’s pretty much the same with all the good suppliers on the market: our opinion on Surfshark couldn’t be that positive if you couldn’t install the VPN on your various devices.
So you can be sure you can use the software, regardless of your operating system: Windows, Android, macOS, iOS, Linux and Fire TV.
Also, note that a browser extension is available to protect your connections on Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.
If you use the OpenVPN protocol with UDP or TCP ports, you can also enjoy Camouflage mode. It allows you to pass your traffic as “normal” so that your ISP doesn’t even know you’re using a VPN. It is not possible to turn this option on/off. It must be activated when you use OpenVPN, so you can “deactivate” it by changing protocols. Excellent point in this review on Surfshark.
For even more anonymity, Surfshark has a Double VPN feature. Here it is named MultiHop. The operation is effortless. Instead of connecting to a server, as 99% of VPNs do, you connect to 2 different servers. For example, you can connect to France via the UK. In practical terms, your data is then encrypted once by the first server, and when you arrive on the second server (the one in France), it is encrypted again, and the latter ignores your original IP.
Be careful, be aware that the Surfshark MultiHop will slow down your connection considerably. It should be used only in particular cases.
Like other excellent VPN providers, Surfshark also offers an ad blocker and an anti-malware filter called Cleanweb. It allows you to block most ads (no adblocker can block them all) in a fairly efficient way. All you have to do is activate it in the app settings.
We’ll talk to you in other articles about the “Split-tunnelling” feature developed by some cybersecurity companies. At Surfshark, this feature is also present, but under another name: Whitelister or whitelist.
In a nutshell, you’ll be able to allow certain apps and websites to bypass the VPN and bypass the protection it guarantees. This can be interesting if you don’t want to indicate a different location from your usual location. For example, for your emails: you won’t have an alert that an unusual connection has taken place on the other side of the globe.
It’s very convenient, don’t hesitate to use it if you have apps that require it.
You’ll understand: Surfshark deserves its place among the greats. Despite its young age, the supplier has developed software as close as possible to consumers’ expectations and today has a highly efficient and effective solution to guarantee your safety on the internet.
Although some improvement points are noteworthy in terms of the speed of connection, our opinion on Surfshark is still very positive. The value for money is excellent, so feel free to test the solution yourself thanks to the satisfied or refunded period of 30 days!