Surfshark VPN

Surfshark Review (a STREAMING Behemoth with Jaws for Applause)

We mean no disrespect to sharks, but they’re not the first thing that comes to mind when we think of safety. Sure, Jaws wasn’t the most accurate portrayal of a shark, but that doesn’t change the fact that a gigantic, stealthy, carnivorous fish with infinitely-regenerating razor-sharp teeth is, to put it lightly, terrifying.

But there’s one shark that aims to shed the stereotypes and win its way onto your computer and into your heart: Surfshark. As a VPN, this shark directs its aggression towards hackers, malware, ISPs, governments and others who would otherwise devour your data like chum in a bucket.

Surfshark Benefits

Block phishing attempts, malware and ads with built-in CleanWeb technology Block phishing attempts, malware and ads with built-in CleanWeb technology
Split tunneling allows certain apps to bypass the VPN tunnel Split tunneling allows certain apps to bypass the VPN tunnel
Multi-hop option lets you route traffic through multiple servers at once Multi-hop option lets you route traffic through multiple servers at once
Third-party security audits verify privacy policies and code integrity Third-party security audits verify privacy policies and code integrity
Unlimited simultaneous connections protect each and every one of your devices Unlimited simultaneous connections protect each and every one of your devices
Substantial long-term discounts make VPN access affordable for all Substantial long-term discounts make VPN access affordable for all
Use the VPN in China, Russia, Turkey and other restrictive countries with NoBorders mode Use the VPN in China, Russia, Turkey and other restrictive countries with NoBorders mode
Private DNS keeps the URLs you visit away from prying eYes Private DNS keeps the URLs you visit away from prying eYes
No logs policy ensures that your traffic is never monitored or stored No logs policy ensures that your traffic is never monitored or stored
AES-256-GCM encryption keeps you safe on public WiFi AES-256-GCM encryption keeps you safe on public WiFi

For our Surfshark review, we’re heading deep into the belly of the beast (gulp!) to find out just how trustworthy this VPN is. After all, you can never be too careful in the open waters of the internet…

VPN Service Price Jurisdiction # of Countries # of Servers
$ 1.99
British Virgin Islands

If You’re In a Rush and Just Want Our Concise Opinion …

Sink your teeth into top-of-the-line security, worldwide streaming site access and an airtight no-logs policy. Surfshark is one shark you’ll definitely want to get chummy with!

About Surfshark

Do you love a good mystery? If so, you’re in luck, because the shroud of mystery surrounding Surfshark’s creators and origins is a thick one, indeed – there’s no “About Us” page on the website and no mention of its founders, employees or even the year it was founded.

What little information is available is confined to the website footer: Surfshark is owned by a parent company, the aptly-named Surfshark Ltd., and is based in the British Virgin Islands.

Surfshark Usability


Surfshark VPN website

Surfshark’s website is nice to look at, but after a cursory scroll-through seems to fall into the cliché of “the pretty face with nothing of substance behind it.” Its “Features” pages sport long scrollbars but little actual content – the CleanWeb page, for instance, is merely a list of common internet annoyances and a couple of paragraphs that say little more than “CleanWeb blocks these things.”

The articles in Surfshark’s Learning Center are more substantial, but still quite basic and often confusingly worded. For example, the Encryption page discusses the fundamentals of AES encryption, but omits information about key generation, authentication, and perfect forward secrecy; the result is difficult to follow and glosses over many necessary topics.

Supported Devices

Surfshark VPN supported devices

Surfshark offers apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. A command-line interface is available for Linux and HTTPS browser proxy extensions are available for Chrome and Firefox.

For devices that don’t support VPN apps, Surfshark offers Smart DNS, which doesn’t provide encryption or other security features but can enable access to geo-restricted streaming content. Smart DNS configuration guides are available for Apple TV, PlayStation, Xbox and smart TVs.

Manual configuration guides are available for Raspberry Pi, QNAP NAS systems and routers running DD-WRT or Tomato firmware. Some routers from Asus, Netgear, TP-Link and Linksys can also be configured to use Surfshark with their stock firmware.


Surfshark VPN apps

Surfshark’s sleek desktop app is unique in that as you resize the window, the content within it changes dynamically. This allows you to customize the amount of information and options available to you at a glance, making it suitable for minimalists and maximalists alike.

The main dashboard is as straightforward as can be: hit the “Connect” button and you’ll be connected to the location labeled below the button; by default, this is configured to have Surfshark determine the optimal server based on your connection and location. Once your link to the server is established, you’ll see your connection uptime, your bandwidth stats and your new IP address.

To change your location, you simply select a new country (or, in the case of countries with multiple server locations, city) from a list. You can search the list if you know which location you want to connect to, but you can’t view server stats like ping times and load, and you’re not able to compile a list of favorite servers.

Interestingly, you can apply “physical” and “virtual” filters to the location picker to view only physical or virtual servers, respectively (more on the difference between these in the “Servers and Locations” section below). You can also view only P2P-enabled or MultiHop servers (again, more on these in the “Torrent Policy” and “MultiHop” sections later).

Surfshark’s CleanWeb feature has its own settings panel; Whitelister does, too, but only on Windows as it isn’t yet available on macOS. The rest of the app’s settings are grouped together – these include auto-start, auto-connect, notifications, the kill switch, protocol switching and NoBorders Mode.

The Android and iOS apps share the desktop apps’ design, but each mobile app has its own differences in terms of settings. On Android, you gain the ability to use smaller packets (ideal for slower and less reliable mobile connections); on iOS, you lose the Whitelister feature and the ability to switch protocols.

Usability Score: 3.5/5

Surfshark didn’t get off to a great start with its website – in an industry where most companies provide detailed feature guides and in-depth VPN tutorials, its style-over-substance approach left us less than satisfied. Confusing and irrelevant information in the existing articles added to our disappointment.

But things got much better when we moved off the website and into the apps. For starters, there’s an app for all of the most popular platforms, plus Smart DNS for others that don’t support full VPNs; Smart DNS may not be as good as a VPN, but it should appeal to those who use their gaming consoles and smart TVs for streaming and other non-sensitive, geo-restricted tasks.

The apps themselves look great and provide a surprising amount of features without sacrificing simplicity. Users of all skill levels should have no trouble deciphering what the settings do and using them when needed.

And that goes for all platforms, not just the desktop apps. Generally, mobile VPN apps are far more limited than their desktop counterparts, but in Surfshark’s case, most of its features are present in all apps, including some (like the kill switch and CleanWeb) that are frequently absent from mobile apps.

However, one aspect of Surfshark’s apps could use some upgrades: the location picker. It works well for what it is, but its lack of a favorites system is unfortunate, and we’d like to see server stats like ping times added to improve functionality.

Surfshark Performance

Servers and Locations

Surfshark VPN servers

Surfshark offers over 800 servers in 56 countries.

Of these 56 countries, eight (Albania, Cyprus, Slovenia, Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, South Korea and Vietnam) only have virtual servers available, while one (India) has both virtual and physical servers available.

Virtual servers are partitions of a physical server that are configured to provide IP addresses from a different country – for example, part of a physical server in Italy could be used as a virtual server for Greece, providing Greek IP addresses to whoever connects to it. This can result in better speeds if you need an IP address from a distant country, as the real server could be much closer to you, but since Surfshark doesn’t disclose the true locations of its virtual servers, you might want to steer clear of them if you want full control over where your data travels.

North America, Europe and Oceania have the most servers – you can choose from 25 cities in the USA (including rarely-seen ones like Bend, Latham, Manassas and Oklahoma City), five in Australia (Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney) and three in Canada (Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver). Eastern and Western Europe are both well-represented.

Servers in Asia are also distributed nicely across all regions, but pickings are slimmer in the Middle East and Africa: Israel, the UAE and South Africa are your only options. Surfshark offers more Central and South American locations than most providers, with servers in Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Costa Rica; of these locations, however, only Brazil has physical servers.

Curiously, servers are available in several VPN-unfriendly nations: Russia, Turkey and the UAE. Caution should be exercised when using these servers given these nations’ attitudes towards VPNs and internet privacy in general – in the past, Russia has seized VPN servers from other providers without notice.


Unless your ISP throttles your connection, chances are your VPN speeds will never quite meet your base speeds. That extra stop your data makes along its route can add a significant amount of time to its commute, plus it has to contend with other variables like server load, encryption times and even the environment.

Because of these variables, there’s no way to know how fast your speeds will be with any VPN. But over the course of our VPN reviews, we’ve noticed a few trends that we use as benchmarks for evaluating VPN speeds.

Local servers should reduce your speeds by no more than 20%, while more distant servers in North America and Europe should reduce your speeds by no more than 50%. We give more leeway to more remote and lesser-used servers, such as those in Oceania and Southeast Asia, but even those should never reduce speeds by more than 90%.

Surfshark fares pretty well against these standards: local servers reduce speeds by 5-25%, a more variable range than we typically see, but still quite good. Longer-distance connections perform at a similar level – Europe-USA connections reduce speeds by 40-55%.

Surprisingly, Surfshark’s speeds excel most across great distances. UK-Australia connections, for example, reduce speeds by just 50%, while Europe-Hong Kong connections reduce speeds by around 75%; the latter figure is particularly impressive given that most providers’ Hong Kong servers struggle to return speeds higher than 3Mbps or so.


You’d be hard-pressed to find a VPN provider that hasn’t been affected by the VPN bans instituted by Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer and most other streaming sites. Thanks to content licensing restrictions, these sites do everything in their power to prevent location spoofers from accessing media from outside their true location – great for copyright holders, not so great for travelers and fans of international content.

If Surfshark has faced issues with streaming site access, it hasn’t let on to them at all. In fact, its streaming capabilities are perhaps the strongest we’ve seen from any provider.

With Surfshark, you can access not one, not two, but 14 different Netflix sites: servers in the UK, Japan, India, Italy, Canada, Germany, Australia, South Korea, France, the Netherlands, Turkey, Brazil, Singapore and the USA can access their respective Netflix sites. All other servers, regardless of country, can access US Netflix.

BBC iPlayer and Hulu present no obstacles, either – both can be accessed with ease. What’s more, Surfshark’s behind-the-scenes Smart DNS allows any server to access Hulu, so if you’re not in the USA, you don’t have to forfeit your fast local speeds by connecting to a US server.

Whitelister Split Tunneling

As great as it would be for the whole web to function perfectly with a VPN, that’s just not the case in reality. Many websites and apps will error out or refuse to load if you try to access them with your VPN turned on, citing security reasons.

For instance, your bank probably takes every possible measure to prevent fraud and unauthorized account access, so its website and apps likely contain code that detects and blocks VPNs. The same goes for streaming sites – even if you’re in the USA, and thus theoretically able to access US Netflix freely without violating geo-restrictions, trying to do so through a US VPN server could still result in a proxy error.

Trouble can arise in unexpected areas as well, such as on your local network. It may not be possible to use your WiFi printer or share files with other local devices while your VPN is running, as they’re not designed to handle VPN tunnels and encryption.

Surfshark’s Whitelister feature provides you with a way to avoid these hurdles. It’s the equivalent of the split tunneling feature offered by other providers, and the gist of it is that it allows you to route some traffic through the VPN while routing other traffic through your normal, untunneled connection.

With Whitelister, any apps or websites you add to the list will use your regular internet connection instead of the VPN. That way, you can seamlessly keep your web browser, torrent client and other apps locked down and secure without sacrificing access to the sites and programs that don’t work with VPNs.

Whitelister is currently available for Windows and Android only, though Surfshark states that it’s working on bringing the feature to other platforms.

Performance Score: 4.25 / 5

Surfshark’s server offerings are diverse and expansive, especially in the most popular areas. No matter where you are in the USA, for instance, you should be able to find a server within a few hundred miles of your location – that means super-low latency and high speeds.

Speaking of speeds, they’re quite good – not the fastest out there, or the most consistent, but still very usable across distances both short and long. In fact, we were pleasantly surprised by Surfshark’s long-distance performance, which bests that of most other providers we’ve reviewed over distances of thousands of miles.

Another standout area for Surfshark: streaming.

Consistent access to one streaming site is increasingly rare in the VPN industry; consistent access to 14 different versions of Netflix plus Hulu and BBC iPlayer is pretty much unheard of. If you’re a movie buff or a TV fiend who’s exhausted your local supply of streamable content, Surfshark will quite literally open up a whole new world for you.

The Whitelister split tunneling feature is the cherry on top of Surfshark’s excellent performance. Not everyone will need it, but those who do will find it easy to use and experience a big productivity boost from doing so.

But a couple of performance issues could use some attention, and both pertain to virtual servers. We appreciate that Surfshark labels its virtual servers, but users should also be informed of the actual location of the servers in order to maintain full control over their data; we’d also like to see more countries offering both physical and virtual servers, rather than just virtual ones, as this would give more users the option to use these locations.

Surfshark Security

Surfshark VPN security

VPN Protocols

There are many routes you can take when driving to work – some are quicker, some are safer, some are prettier, but they all get you to the same place in the end. The same can be said for VPN protocols, which alter the inner workings of your VPN traffic but all result in your data being encrypted and tunneled; you can make your choice based on the factors that matter most to you.

Surfshark offers two VPN protocols: OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPsec.


Security researchers, privacy activists and casual users alike champion OpenVPN for its speed, security, reliability and versatility. This open-source protocol is regularly updated to withstand the latest exploits and utilize the latest technology – and because anyone can view the code, there’s nowhere for governments, hackers or other ne’er-do-wells to hide any backdoors or malware.

You can use OpenVPN over UDP (for highest speeds) or TCP (for better data integrity). It’s available on Windows, Android and Linux; macOS and iOS support will hopefully be added soon.


Fast, secure and widely available, IKEv2/IPsec is similar to OpenVPN but with a few key differences. It works well on mobile devices since it can handle switching between mobile data and WiFi without dropping the VPN connection, but its closed-source nature means that its code hasn’t been as thoroughly vetted as OpenVPN’s.

IKEv2/IPsec is available on all platforms supported by Surfshark. Right now, it’s the only protocol option on iOS and macOS.


Surfshark VPN encryption

All Surfshark connections use AES-256-GCM encryption. AES-256 is often referred to as “military-grade” or “bank-grade” encryption as it’s used in these industries due to its virtually impenetrable strength.

AES-256-GCM, unlike other AES-256 variants, incorporates authentication into the encryption without the need for a separate authentication protocol. This can decrease processing times, making for a smoother VPN experience.


For those applications where security is of the utmost importance, Surfshark’s MultHop feature could be a lifesaver. Also known as double VPN, it allows you to route your traffic through two VPN servers, making it even harder for anyone to trace your activity.

Because connections between two VPN servers tend to be faster than those between a server and your device, you can use MultiHop to get higher speeds when connecting to distant servers. For example, if you’re in the USA and want to connect to Portugal, you may get a speed boost by connecting to the USA-Portugal MultiHop server rather than connecting directly to the Portugal server.

Surfshark’s MultiHop options are predefined, so you can’t pick just any servers to use with this feature. You can find the available pairs in the MultiHop section of the location picker; some options are USA-Netherlands, Australia-USA, Germany-Singapore, France-Sweden and India-UK, though there are many others.

Camouflage Mode

Often called stealth or obfuscation by other providers, Camouflage Mode is Surfshark’s ultra-sneaky security tool. It uses a tool called OpenVPN Scramble, also known as XOR, to scramble the metadata that identifies your traffic as OpenVPN traffic.

Because the XOR cipher is simple, it doesn’t require a ton of extra computing power to perform in a speedy manner, but it’s effective enough that the automated metadata scanning tools used by ISPs, websites, governments and network administrators no longer recognize the OpenVPN fingerprint. This allows you to avoid having your VPN traffic throttled by your ISP or blocked by site and network admins.

Camouflage Mode is based on OpenVPN, so it’s not available if you’re using IKEv2/IPsec (sorry, macOS and iOS users). It works on all of Surfshark’s servers and is always on automatically when using OpenVPN.

NoBorders Mode

Users in countries that engage in VPN blocking like China, Russia and Iran can utilize Surfshark’s NoBorders Mode to increase their chances of getting around government bans. When it’s enabled, the location picker will only display servers that are unlikely to be detected and blocked, preventing you from picking one that’s been blacklisted and potentially getting in trouble.


Surfshark VPN CleanWeb

Hopefully you already have a malware detector and ad blocker installed on your device – the web would be very annoying (and dangerous!) without them. Even so, another layer of protection never hurt anyone, and Surfshark offers just that in the form of CleanWeb.

CleanWeb utilizes a massive database of websites that are known to contain malware, phishing attempts and other nasty content. If you attempt to load one of these websites with CleanWeb enabled, you’ll be prevented from doing so, potentially saving you and your data from some unpleasant consequences.

What’s more, CleanWeb’s database also includes ad servers and trackers, so you won’t be followed around the web by invisible data harvesters and all-too-visible advertisements. It’s not a replacement for your dedicated ad and malware blockers, but it’s an excellent, hassle-free supplement.

Kill Switch

Surfshark VPN kill switch

Every VPN user should have – and make use of – a kill switch. It’s perhaps the most essential VPN security feature because it protects you in a situation that’s bound to happen eventually: your VPN connection drops unexpectedly and, since you still have your regular connection, you don’t even notice.

During that time, you could put yourself at risk in any number of ways: entering passwords and credit card information over an unsecured network, revealing your browsing activity to your office’s IT guy, even leaking your IP address through your torrent client. But a kill switch prevents all of these scenarios and more by cutting off all internet traffic in the event of a VPN connection issue.

Surfshark’s kill switch is available in all of its apps, including iOS and Android. That’s a big plus in our book, as many VPN providers have made their kill switches desktop-only features, leaving mobile users to fend for themselves.

Security Score: 4.25 / 5

Surfshark has security on lock. It’s got a truly impressive suite of features with something for all types of users, from journalists to activists to the average Joe.

We like that Surfshark offers only the two most secure VPN protocols, without even giving users the option to use less-secure ones like PPTP and L2TP/IPsec. This reduces the chances of an uninformed user making a choice that jeopardizes their privacy – with only IKEv2/IPsec and OpenVPN to choose from, picking a protocol is virtually foolproof.

The same goes for encryption: though we do like to see other ciphers, like Blowfish and Chacha20, offered for advanced users, you can’t go wrong with AES-256-GCM. It’s the most modern version of AES-256 and, thanks to its built-in authentication, the fastest one on most devices.

Surfshark’s two VPN ban-evasion tools, NoBorders Mode and Camouflage Mode, will no doubt be valuable to users in repressive countries or who otherwise face obstacles when connecting to a VPN. As any strategist will tell you, the way to win is to stay one step ahead of your opponent, and these specialized modes let you do just that.

MultiHop and CleanWeb will be of more interest to the average user, and everyone will be able to take advantage of the kill switch, which provides accessible security for all.

Surfshark would get a perfect security score were it not for the lack of OpenVPN on iOS and macOS. We hope that this functionality is added in the future, as it would make Surfshark a true internet privacy powerhouse in an industry where everyone claims to be one.

Surfshark Privacy and Policies


Surfshark is based in the British Virgin Islands

Surfshark is based in the British Virgin Islands, a group of islands in the Caribbean that’s technically a territory of the UK. Don’t worry – this sounds much worse than it is.

The UK has made headlines recently in a very bad way. Its so-called Snoopers’ Charter law paves the way for mass digital surveillance of British citizens, permitting the collection of location data, usernames and passwords, browsing history and just about any other type of personal data.

But being an overseas territory has its perks: the British Virgin Islands may rely on the UK for dealing with international affairs, but domestic laws are another story. The British Virgin Islands aren’t subject to the Snoopers’ Charter or any of the UK’s domestic laws – the islands are free to govern themselves as they wish.

There are no mandatory data retention laws in the British Virgin Islands and foreign law enforcement requests made to a company in the Islands must meet a very high standard to be approved. The High Court must be the one issuing the request, and it will only do so if the crime being investigated is also a crime in the British Virgin Islands that is punishable by a year or more in prison under BVI law.

The British Virgin Islands are not members of Five Eyes, its spin-offs or any other surveillance alliance. No evidence of cooperation with foreign intelligence agencies exists, making it an ideal place for a VPN to be headquartered.

Logging Policy

Surfshark VPN logging policy

Surfshark claims to keep no logs, as do many other providers. The problem is that this claim can’t be taken at face value, as “no logs” can be construed in a number of ways – some “no logs” providers actually log quite a bit of information, including bandwidth usage, server locations and even parts of your IP address.

Surfshark, thankfully, is not one of these providers. The company collects only a few pieces of information: your email address, your chosen password (stored in encrypted format) and your order history; the latter consists of your payment amount, currency and payment date, with no billing information stored by Surfshark.

The Surfshark apps do send anonymized diagnostic data to the company, but this data does not contain any information relating to you or your activity. It does include crash reports, error logs and aggregated performance data, which is used for troubleshooting and analytic purposes.

No timestamps, bandwidth stats, IP addresses (incoming or outgoing), server history, browsing activity or any other session data are collected or stored by Surfshark.

The Surfshark website, however, does collect IP addresses and website activity for use with Google Analytics and similar tools. Cookies are used to track user preferences and, unfortunately, the site does not respect Do Not Track headers.

Additionally, information from live chats and support tickets is collected and stored by Zendesk, the third-party customer support platform used by Surfshark. This data is subject to Zendesk’s own privacy policy and more security-conscious users may wish to send a direct email to support rather than using the website’s support system.

Torrent Policy

Surfshark permits torrenting on all of its servers, but there’s a bit of a catch: many servers redirect P2P traffic to another server. Only a few servers allow you to torrent or perform other P2P tasks without being redirected.

The fully-approved P2P server locations are the USA, the UK, Canada, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, Norway, Denmark, Luxembourg, Hong Kong, Singapore and the Netherlands. If you attempt to torrent on any other server, it will still work without any action needed on your end, but your speeds may be reduced as Surfshark will redirect the P2P traffic to the USA, Canada or the Netherlands (exactly which one depends on your location).

It’s a bit convoluted, but in practice, it’s hassle-free: you don’t need to switch servers to torrent and your P2P traffic will never be blocked, just redirected and slowed down a bit.

Surfshark doesn’t offer port forwarding, so you may have issues connecting to peers and getting top speeds when torrenting. If you experience this, you might need to switch to a provider that allows you to forward a port for your torrent client to use.

Privacy and Policies Score: 4.25 / 5

These days, anything referencing the UK tends to set off our privacy alarm bells, but the British Virgin Islands seem to be an exception to that rule. Surfshark chose its jurisdiction wisely: there are no laws in place that jeopardize your data in any way, and it’s an arduous process for any foreign government to gain access to data stored in the BVI.

Not that there’s any data for them to obtain from Surfshark anyway, since the only personal data the company collects is your email address and some very basic order history. At most, the only thing that Surfshark’s data could reveal about you is that you have an account and paid for service – and if you use an anonymous email address to register, there won’t be any way to tie your account to you at all.

But we wish the company’s website wasn’t so reliant on invasive third parties like Google and Zendesk, which pepper your browser with cookies and trackers in addition to following their own privacy and data handling policies. At the very least, we hope that Surfshark starts recognizing Do Not Track headers; most of its competitors, even those that also use third-party software and cookies, already do so.

Surfshark’s torrent policy is a little strange but, for all practical purposes, unrestrictive. A behind-the-scenes reroute isn’t that big of a deal and can be avoided altogether by connecting to a full P2P server from the get-go – there are enough of them that getting connected to a nearby one shouldn’t be an issue.

Surfshark Service and Value

Customer Support

Surfshark VPN customer support

Surfshark offers two ways to contact customer support: live chat and email support ticketing.

Live chat works best for quick queries and simple issues. It takes just a couple of minutes to get connected to a representative, and when you do, service is friendly and knowledgeable – we asked a simple question about protocol support and a more technical question about obfuscation, and both received quick replies with exactly the information we needed.

Support ticketing is better for lengthier messages or issues that require the sending of attachments, such as screenshots or log files. Responses take longer – up to 24 hours – but can go more in-depth than a live chat permits.

Pricing and Payment

Surfshark VPN pricing

Surfshark offers one service tier: unlimited bandwidth and unlimited simultaneous connections. The latter is a feature that seems unique to Surfshark – most other providers cap simultaneous connections at five, making this a great option if you have a lot of devices.

Three pricing tiers are available: one month for $11.95, 12 months for $71.88 (equivalent to $5.99 a month) and 24 months for $47.76 (equivalent to $1.99 a month). The price for the 24 month plan is shown with a coupon code automatically applied; however, it doesn’t seem like the discount ever expires or goes away.

An extra 99 cents a month gets you access to two exclusive privacy tools: HackLock, a tool that scans various databases of account breaches for your email address and alerts you if it detects a compromised account or password; and BlindSearch, an ad-free, tracker-free, log-free search engine. Free alternatives to both of these tools are widely available, but for some users, the extra 99 cents may be worth it to get them in a unified package.

A 15% student discount is available, though you need to sign up for a third-party service, Student Beans, to get it.

All plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. In some places on the website, this is referred to as a 30-day free trial, but this is misleading – you need to pay upfront and then request a refund, so it’s not a “free trial” in the usual sense.

Payment can be made via Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, PayPal, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, Alipay, Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple. Cryptocurrency payments are processed through CoinGate and are eligible for the 30-day money-back guarantee, unlike with many other providers that don’t offer refunds on crypto payments.

Service and Value Score: 4 / 5

In a world of form responses, untrained support reps and long reply times, Surfshark’s customer service is refreshing. We wish all live chats were as pleasant to use as this one!

Another wish that will probably go ungranted: for all VPN providers to offer unlimited simultaneous connections. Though Surfshark’s terms of service do state that it reserves the right to intervene if someone appears to be abusing the perk (such as for DDoS attacks or reselling the service), normal usage on any number of devices should be no problem.

We’re not sure why someone would pay $20 more for the 12 month plan than the 24 month plan, which is one of the best deals we’ve seen from any VPN provider at just $1.99 a month. Most equivalent plans we’ve seen average out closer to $3 or $4 a month.

On the other hand, the monthly plan is on the higher end of what we usually see. The average month-to-month price for a VPN is around $10, and Surfshark rings up at almost $3 more than that.

And though we like the 30-day money-back guarantee, we don’t like that it’s sometimes disguised as a free trial. Other providers are guilty of this, too, but that doesn’t make it any less misleading.

Our advice (and Surfshark’s as well): get the one-month plan, try it out, get your refund before the 30 days are up and, if you want to stick with Surfshark, get the two-year plan. We also recommend paying with cryptocurrency if you can, since you don’t lose your right to a refund and you’ll be able to keep your personal information to yourself.

Final Score: 4.15 / 5

VPN Service Price Jurisdiction # of Countries # of Servers
$ 1.99
British Virgin Islands

We’ve got a new addition to our list of life’s great ironies: there’s a shark that protects you from terror rather than instilling it in you. Enigmatic as its origins may be, Surfshark has earned our trust.

Don’t put too much stock in the website, which goes light on the VPN info and heavy on the sales pitches. Instead, we recommend trying it out and seeing how it balances aesthetics, ease of use and security – no small feat in our book!

If streaming is a priority for you, rejoice, for Surfshark cuts through geo-restrictions like a dorsal fin through water. No other provider we’ve seen can unblock so many versions of Netflix; frankly, we’d be happy with just one or two, but 14 is pretty much unheard of.

The security-oriented shouldn’t assume that streaming is all Surfshark can do. Between Camouflage Mode obfuscation, MultiHop servers and CleanWeb nuisance blocking, Surfshark can accommodate all levels of security needs.

But there are a few folks who might be better off with another VPN. Apple users get the short end of the stick when it comes to app features, and while torrenters are free to do as they wish, the lack of port forwarding could be a dealbreaker for some.

For the most part, though, we think it’s safe to say that this is a VPN with teeth – in the best possible way. With superb security, no logs, unlimited simultaneous connections, excellent customer support and a sweet $1.99 price point, Surfshark literally gives its competitors a run for their money.

VPN Service Price Jurisdiction # of Countries # of Servers
$ 1.99
British Virgin Islands
Sink your teeth into top-of-the-line security, worldwide streaming site access and an airtight no-logs policy. Surfshark is one shark you’ll definitely want to get chummy with!

Related Questions

You stuck your toes into the sea of VPNs… why not wade in a little deeper?

What is VPN Obfuscation?

From your boss to the boss of your country, the powers that be have learned to detect and block VPN usage by analyzing the tiny bits of metadata that accompany your traffic. To get around this, many VPN providers offer stealth mode, or obfuscation, which either scrambles or masks your metadata to evade detection.

Which VPNs Offer Multi-Hop?

One VPN protects your data nicely… two make it pretty much impenetrable. Companies like Surfshark and NordVPN offer multi-hop, or double, VPNs, which let you route your traffic through two servers for twice the security.

Would You Like More Privacy, Unrestricted Streaming, and a More Secure Internet Experience?

If so, check out these VPNs:

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