Surfshark Review 2019

Surfshark is a British Virgin Islands-based VPN provider that hasn’t been around for long but has rapidly built a reputation as an up-and-comer in the VPN industry.

I decided to check out Surfshark and see if the VPN service lives up to the hype.

How fast are Surfshark’s connection speeds?

Can you use those connections to access Netflix in other countries, and if so, how well does it perform?

What type of privacy and security protections does Surfshark offer?

Can you engage in P2P file sharing while connected to Surfshark servers?

See if SurfShark is Right for You

Surfshark allows customers to choose between different monthly subscriptions, including a single month, month-to-month, or yearly. The 1-year and 2-year subscriptions are the most valuable.

You’ll pay $11.95 per month for the month-to-month subscription. However, the price of the 1-year subscription drops down to an average of $5.99 per month (charged as $71.88), and a 2-year package runs a mere $1.99 per month (charged as $47.76).

SurfShark offers a 30-day money-back guarantee for all subscription plans. A 7-day free trial is also available.

I’ll answer these questions and many more in this exciting VPN review!

My Verdict

I would highly recommend Surfshark to any online user looking for an easy way to keep their online travels safe from prying eyes, as it protects your privacy well. Netflix fans will appreciate the service’s fast connections, which provide smooth streaming, and its reliable ability to unblock Netflix and other streaming providers in numerous countries.

OVERALL RANK:
Speed: 3.5/5
Tested Speed: 17.9 Mbps average download speed (independently tested)
Streaming Support: HD & 4K HDR
Streaming Score: 4/5
Unblocks Netflix?: Yes – U.S., France, the United Kingdom, Japan and other countries
U.S. Streaming Services Supported: Netflix U.S., Hulu (hit or miss), Amazon Prime (U.S. only), HBO
U.K. Streaming Services Supported: Netflix U.K., BBC iPlayer, Sky Go
Security Score: 4.5/5
Privacy Rating: 5/5
Supports P2P File Sharing: Yes, connect to any server. However, your connection will be rerouted to servers in the Netherlands or Canada
Value for the Money: 4.5/5
Cost: $1.99/month for 2-year deal
Money-Back Guarantee: 30 days (offers 7-day free trial)
Website: www.Surfshark.com

Pros

  • Speedy connections
  • Unblocks Netflix in the U.S., U.K., Canada, France, Japan and more
  • No logs
  • Excellent privacy and security protections
  • Provides kill switch and ad-blocking protection

Cons

  • Global server coverage needs improvement

Features

Surfshark’s app – available for macOS, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android and Amazon Fire TV – provides excellent protection for your internet connection.

The simple-to-use app offers kill switch protection, blocks ads and tracking cookies, and offers Double VPN protection (called “MultiHop”), which routes your internet connection through two VPN servers, further obfuscating your actual IP address.

Surfshark IP locations image

A “NoBorders” feature allows using the VPN in overly restrictive areas, like China. Meanwhile, its “Whitelister” feature allows specific apps and websites to connect outside of the VPN tunnel.

In addition to native apps, Surfshark also provides browser extensions for the Chrome and Firefox platforms. (Please note that the extensions only protect your browser sessions.)

The provider offers a setup package for Linux, although it’s a bit more involved than just running a setup app. Router support is available for numerous brands of routers.

Surfshark mobile app image

Users in large families or small businesses will appreciate the provider’s allowance of unlimited simultaneous connections on a single account.

At the time of this article, Surfshark has 500+ servers in 65+ locations in 50+ countries. That’s not near the server count that many other VPN providers offer, but it appears to be proliferating quickly.

Surfshark allows P2P file sharing on its network. However, it advises that users will get better transfer speeds while using their U.S. or U.K.-London servers. If a user connects to any other server for P2P purposes, they will be rerouted to servers in the Netherlands or Canada, depending on their physical location.

24/7 live support is available from the Surfshark customer support department, along with a contact form and a searchable FAQ library.

Streaming

If you’re like me, you spend much of your idle time watching videos from streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Sky, BBC iPlayer and others. That makes streaming access a crucial feature when I’m considering a VPN.

A VPN can make you appear to be located in another part of the world, opening up content to which you might not usually have access.

However, over the last few years, streaming services have actively blocked access outside of specified regions due to their contracts with content providers.

I am happy to report that Surfshark did an excellent job of ramming through regional roadblocks for Netflix, opening access in the U.S., France, the United Kingdom, Japan and other countries.

Amazon Prime didn’t fare quite as well. While I could access U.S. Prime content via Surfshark, the U.K. content was unavailable.

Hulu was a hit or miss proposition, with only a few U.S. VPN server locations allowing access to Hulu content. One location worked for a few minutes, then Hulu cut me off.

When I had access to the content on all 3 streaming services, the video began streaming quickly, with only a few seconds of buffering time, and played smoothly.

Security and Privacy

Surfshark provides optimal security and privacy protections, doing a fine job of protecting your identity and online actions.

The provider, located in the privacy-friendly British Virgin Islands, keeps no logs whatsoever connected to your online travels while connected to their servers.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are welcome here, so grab a disposable email address, and you’ll be able to keep your subscription flying entirely under the radar.

Surfshark protects your connection using 256-bit AES encryption, and if that’s good enough for the military, it’s good enough to protect you.

Two protocol options are available: OpenVPN and IKEv2. OpenVPN is the industry darling these days, but both protocols are perfectly acceptable options. Mobile users will want to use IKEv2, as it allows for faster connections, which is a valuable feature on mobile apps.

As I mentioned before, Surfshark offers kill switch protection on their apps, as well as DNS and IPv6 leak protection. The service also offers WebRTC leak protection.

WebRTC is actually a useful web browser function, as it allows computers to perform special functions, such as voice and video calling, via your browser. However, a bad actor can trick the feature into revealing a user’s actual IP address. Surfshark’s WebRTC leak protection prevents this.

Speed

Before sharing my Surfshark connection speed test results, allow me to review how we calculate the figures.

Using a gigabit Ethernet connection based in the United States, we test VPNs by connecting to 3 different locations – the United Kingdom, the United States and Hong Kong.

We perform the tests on 3 different days and at 3 different times of each day. The provider’s Windows app is used for the testing, connecting via OpenVPN over UDP.

Surfshark might be a newcomer to the VPN scene, but it doesn’t have much to learn about fast connections, ranking in as the 6th fastest out of our top 10 VPNs.

While 6th place might not seem like much of an accomplishment, rest assured this is a fast pack of 10.

In our testing, Surfshark delivered a 17.9 Mbps average download speed. Take note that your mileage may vary depending upon your usual connection speeds, the VPN server’s location and the time of day you connect.

The provider offered more than enough horsepower to keep up with HD video streaming and gaming needs, and might even supply enough oomph to handle 4K HDR content, depending on your usual connection speeds.

Cost

Surfshark pricing options image

Surfshark’s pricing starts as quite expensive if you opt for a single month’s subscription. However, 1-year and 2-year subscriptions are quite the value.

If you opt for the month-to-month subscription, you’ll pay $11.95 per month. However, the price of the 1-year subscription drops down to an average of $5.99 per month (charged as $71.88), and a 2-year package runs a mere $1.99 per month (charged as $47.76).

A 30-day money-back guarantee is available for all subscription plans. A 7-day free trial is also available.

Alternatives

Despite Surfshark’s excellent all-around service, you may not find it to be the right fit for your particular needs. So, allow me to present 2 alternatives for your consideration.

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN logo

ExpressVPN has been an industry leader for many years, reliably providing top-notch services around the globe.

This provider offers speedy connections via thousands of servers located around the world. ExpressVPN takes a back seat to no one when it comes to privacy and security protections.

Yes, ExpressVPN is more expensive than many providers, but it’s tough to get champagne service on a beer bottle budget.

NordVPN

NordVPN Logo

NordVPN is also a well-established VPN provider, known for excellent service at a reasonable price, making it an excellent option for users on a budget.

While providing fast connections is second nature to this provider, its global server coverage is slightly lacking. However, I’m willing to bet most users will find it adequate for their needs.