Surfshark VPN is one of the most popular VPN services. And no wonder – its competitive price and unlimited simultaneous connections all look very attractive! Also, this VPN offers some really useful features like split tunneling, SmartDNS, GPS spoofing, the fast WireGuard protocol, and dedicated P2P servers.
This Surfshark VPN review will answer some of the most burning questions. Is it still good in 2022? Can it protect your online traffic, unblock streaming services, allow torrenting, and offer consistent performance all across the world? There’s only one way to find out – let’s test Surfshark out and see if it’s the right VPN for you.
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Surfshark pros and cons
- Fast WireGuard protocol performance
- Strong security features
- GPS-spoofing feature
- Unblocks most streaming platforms
- Superb customer support
- No split tunneling on iOS
- Apple product apps are slightly weaker
Surfshark is well-equipped to be one of the best VPNs for streaming. They have numerous advanced features that will enhance your movie nights. First of all, there’s Smart DNS – you can set it up on any device, even those that natively don’t support VPNs. When it’s enabled, it will unblock geo-restricted US content without a VPN.
It’s possible to use Surfshark with the Kodi application and set it up on Amazon Fire TV stick. The minimum requirements are 2nd or 4K generation Fire TV devices.
Here’s how it did with some of the top streaming platforms out there:
Unblocking Netflix with Surfshark
There are many claims floating around that Surfshark can unlock around 30 different Netflix libraries. We tested the VPN on a few locations like the US, the UK, Canada, Japan, and Australia, and Surfshark was definitely successful.
So if you want to enjoy Japan-exclusive libraries that are difficult to access with other VPNs, this is
definitely doable. This guide will show you how to get Netflix with Surfshark for a seamless streaming experience.
Unblocking Apple TV with Surfshark
Apple TV is a rather difficult service to unblock – and so, we didn’t expect much from Surfshark here. But we were proven wrong.
Surfshark can access several major Apple TV libraries. The overall experience was pretty good. While we needed a couple of tries to find the right server, once we did, everything was going smoothly.
If you’re looking for a VPN to use with the Apple TV streaming service, this is a great option.
Does Surfshark unblock other streaming platforms?
Surfshark had no issues when trying to unblock BBC iPlayer, DAZN, HBO Now, and YouTube TV. Everything was going smoothly, and there were no noticeable drops in resolution or latency.
That’s really impressive. So far, only a few VPNs have been able to unblock platforms like DAZN, including NordVPN. All things considered, Surfshark is an excellent VPN for streaming.
Is Surfshark good for torrenting?
Yes, Surfshark is a good option for torrenting – its servers are fully optimized for P2P downloads. We had no issues making torrent downloads from several worldwide locations – it appears that all Surfshark servers are optimized for torrenting.
It worked on all of our tested torrenting clients, which include:
With no bandwidth limits and data caps, we’ve also noticed some major dropdowns in speeds: they will still mostly relate to your original download connection and the number of seeders. All in all, Surfshark truly deserves its spot on our list of the best VPNs for torrenting.
Plans and pricing
Just like most VPN service providers, Surfshark doesn’t lock certain features behind different plans. The only deciding factor is the duration. The longer your subscription is, the bigger the savings you get.
The shortest subscription is for one month and costs $12.95, a standard entry fee when we’re talking about VPNs. In this pricing segment, the price is almost universally the same.
You get much better savings if you opt for the 1-year option, which charges $47.88 or $3.99/month. That way, your subscription costs are cut in more than a half. The best money saver is a two-year option that charges $59.76 in total or $2.30/month. Considering that the offer is for two years, and is only $12 more expensive than their one-year option, it’s a fantastic deal.
As for payment options, you can pay for Surfshark by credit card, PayPal, Google Pay, and cryptocurrencies. Keep in mind that you’ll also have to enter a valid email address.
Don’t forget that you’ll be able to use Surfshark on unlimited devices, as the service offers unlimited simultaneous connections.
If you want to have a way out if you don’t like the VPN, there’s a 7-day free trial available on Google Play and the Apple App Store. So, after you activate the trial on mobile, you can log in to desktop clients.
Surfshark servers and locations
It’s important for a VPN to offer a solid variety of servers and server locations: and this VPN delivers. Surfshark offers over 3200 servers in 65 countries.
The connection happens automatically, as you click on your desired location, and takes just a few seconds.
Some of the available countries will also offer options for different cities – with multiple options for Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Spain, the UK, and the USA.
When it comes to global coverage, their country count list doesn’t disappoint either.
|Regions||Number of countries|
|Asia and Oceanic region||14 countries|
Although Africa and the Middle East can’t boast of good coverage (a common theme amongst most VPNs), the rest of the world has plenty of options. It won’t be hard to find a fast server nearby.
Does Surfshark VPN work in China?
Yes, Surfshark does work in both Hong Kong and mainland China, and it’s possible to use this VPN to bypass internet restrictions. You might even be lucky enough to unblock Netflix.
Surfshark’s Camouflage Mode feature is available automatically, as long as you’re using the OpenVPN protocol, giving you some additional peace of mind. As long as you have it on, you’re good.
But don’t just take this lowly reviewer’s word for it: here’s what Surfshark’s own customer support said about this.
If you wish to use a different protocol and still use Surfshark in China, you still can: a NoBorders mode is available on Windows and mobile devices. Enable it in the settings, and you can get through the firewall even on a different protocol.
However, keep in mind that the Great Firewall of China works in cycles. This means there are periods when the blocks are reinforced and mitigated.
That said, there may be some times when the client doesn’t work, and you’ll have to set up a manual connection or try a different server. It should work without problems, even in cases when the client fails. That’s why Surfshark earned its place on our top VPNs for China.
Speed and performance: is Surfshark VPN fast?
- Baseline: 1 ms/300 Mbps download/300 Mbps upload
|Location||Download speed||Upload speed|
After our first benchmarks, our initial reaction was to check whether Surfshark was even on. It was. A VPN is supposed to considerably slow down your internet connection. Surfshark didn’t.
It’s one of the fastest VPNs that we’ve ever tested. Presumably, it’s thanks to the modern, fast, and secure WireGuard protocol. On average, on these 5 locations, Surfshark retained 88% of your original download speed.
Let’s compare that to a couple of well-known VPN providers.
|Provider||Average download speed|
No further questions.
Surfshark performance with other protocols
Naturally, Surfshark has more than just WireGuard. The overall VPN performance will strongly depend on which protocol you use – and here are the average Surfshark download and upload speeds on different protocols, combining 10 worldwide locations:
- WireGuard: 262.6/169.8
- IKEv2: 219.8/38.5
- OpenVPN UDP: 120.2/140.3
- OpenVPN TCP: 25.8/28
Of course, the WireGuard performance was by far the best. Compared to baseline, the biggest download was only 23%. It also occurred when connecting to Argentina, so the distance is a factor. The lowest reduction was only a 6% drop in several European countries, which offered the fastest servers. So, if you pick a nearby location, there’s barely any point in turning off your VPN due to performance.
IKEv2 is the second fastest option for Surfshark. During our speed tests, the biggest drop-off from the baseline download speed was 45% when connecting to a server in Australia. The lowest drop was 18% in nearby European countries. That’s still seriously good.
As expected, OpenVPN speeds mostly depend on whether you’re using UDP or TCP. With UDP, the biggest download speed drop was 64%, and the smallest was 54%. On TCP, the biggest drop was a massive 98%, while the smallest one was 49%.
Overall, Surfshark is certainly a fast VPN. We were impressed with its overall performance – and while certain protocols are slower than others, if you’re looking for good speeds, you’ll find them here.
Interface and ease of use
|Windows||Full Surfshark experience|
|macOS||Two different app versions with limited features|
|Linux||No visual interface, only via terminal|
|Mobile||Solid apps for iOS and Android|
|Browser||Browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox, with cookie blocker functionality|
Both desktop and mobile Surfshark applications look really nice and are easy to use. While both Android and iOS versions are virtually identical, the desktop apps have a good list of differences.
The Windows version is the golden standard, while the macOS one comes in two different versions with varying features. Meanwhile, the Linux one requires you to be more tech-savvy in order to use it.
Let’s take a deeper look at each of the available versions.
Surfshark has a slick Windows client that looks quite nice and is pretty intuitive to find your way around. From the main screen, you can pick one of the categories: Locations, Features, or Settings. Each is pretty self-explanatory, and even novice users won’t have a hard time finding what they need. Even when it comes to advanced settings.
There is no map interface, but the country list has flags, and you can use the search function, so it’s hardly a drawback.
Though I found it a bit annoying that countries are sorted alphabetically, but the cities seem to be sorted randomly. However, every server has a marker indicating how much load it currently sustains. So, if you need better speeds, you have a simple way to filter them out.
Overall, the macOS version of Surfshark is much less extensive than the Windows one – it lacks certain features. However, that can also depend on which version you have downloaded.
There are two different versions of Surfshark – one downloaded from Surfshark’s own website, and another from Apple’s App Store.
Surprisingly, it’s the Surfshark site version that’s inferior. It only offers the IKEv2 and WireGuard protocols.
Meanwhile, the version downloaded from Apple’s App Store also offers options for OpenVPN.
But even then, the macOS Surfshark app lacks certain features. Split tunneling (known as Whitelister), meant to turn off VPN for specific applications, is not available on macOS.
Neither is NoBorders, which makes it easier for you to bypass VPN restrictions, set up by various governments.
While there is no way to go around the lack of split tunneling, you can still bypass the VPN restrictions on macOS – you’ll just need to use the OpenVPN protocol – which is only available on the Apple’s App Store version.
Overall, Mac VPN users really get the short end of the stick here with Surfshark. It’s still a very solid VPN – but not even close enough to the complete Windows experience.
Linux users don’t get any visual interface with the Surfshark’s app. Their only option will be terminal, which presents you a list of countries with corresponding numbers that you can connect to. You’ll initiate the connections by typing in the numbers, which isn’t the most convenient method – but it works.
The upside is that the terminal tells you explicitly which servers you’re choosing from. Yet, if you want to jump from one server to the other quickly, this makes the process take longer than it should. Overall, the connections were stable, and the app had no crashes or weird disconnects.
Surfshark mobile apps
Both Android and iOS apps visually look almost identical. If you turn on the system-wide dark mode, the apps will adjust and show you the appropriate theme.
The differences are more prominent when we look at the features. The Android version has GPS spoofing, which is a feature that no other major VPN offers. There’s also the Whitelister (split tunnelling) support, so you’re essentially getting desktop-grade features for your mobile.
In contrast, iOS looks slightly more modest. It lacks the GPS spoofing and Whitelister features. However, it has several features, rarely found on mobile VPNs, such as a kill switch and a WireGuard protocol support for better security and speed. So, although iOS looks less impressive than its Android counterpart, it’s still a solid app.
Aside from their VPN app, Surfshark also offers browser extensions for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.
These have basic functionality like hiding your real IP address, encrypting your connection, and unblocking restricted websites. But also, there’s a new feature that makes this extension separate itself from the rest.
It’s the cookie blocker, removing one of the most annoying things about browsing today: constant requests for you to allow cookies. You can select which sites are blocked or allowed, making your overall browsing experience a lot less cluttered.
Also, keep in mind that the extension will only encrypt the traffic of your selected browser.
Surfshark features – what’s changed over the years?
Launched in 2018, Surfshark has come a long way from its first iteration – and now it’s a fully-fledged VPN that can compete with the best of them.
- In the year of their launch, Surfshark completed an independent browser extension audit.
- For a while, Surfshark only had apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android – the Linux app came in March of 2019. Then it was time for bug fixes, improving the existing apps as much as possible.
- In October of 2019, the VPN received the official AV-test seal of approval. They were noted for being outstanding in the video streaming and security categories only a year after launch.
- A couple of months later, Surfshark unveiled one of their most interesting features to date – GPS spoofing. On Android, it lets you not only hide your IP, but also overwrite your phone’s GPS module. This protects you from websites and apps that read your physical location to confirm you are where you claim to be.
- In 2020, Surfshark added 2FA and introduced WireGuard to all their clients, and upgraded their 3200+ servers to be RAM-only. That’s three big steps towards high-grade security.
- Later that year, the service also added a Smart DNS feature for easy streaming platform unblocking.
- In August 2021, Surfshark announced Surfshark One – a bundle of their VPN and a new antivirus service.
Here are some of the features that make Surfshark what it is today:
Surfshark’s integrated antivirus tool is more than just a basic website blocker tool offered by lots of VPN providers. It’s a full-fledged antivirus program, similar to the ones created by the likes of Avast and Bitdefender.
The feature will protect your device from all sorts of malware including worms, trojans, backdoors, and other types of viruses. All you need to do is scan your device as you would with any other antivirus tool, and Surfshark AV will detect and eliminate the threats.
Soon, it will also offer real-time protection that will keep your computer or phone safe while browsing.
Right now, the feature is available on Windows and Android devices. macOS users will get their hands on Surfshark Antivirus pretty soon as well.
The tool is included in the Surfshark One bundle and will cost you an additional $3.98 per month (Alert and Search tools come as an additional bonus).
Keeping in mind that Surfshark Antivirus covers up to 5 devices, this seems like a pretty sweet deal.
NoBorders is a unique extra feature that allows you to use VPN in heavily restricted countries. If your client detects restrictions imposed by your network, it toggles NoBorders automatically to bypass them. It also then switches your server list to those that perform best under such circumstances. You can also turn this mode on manually, whenever you need it. Available on Windows, and mobile devices.
Camouflage Mode is one of Surfshark’s numerous security features, also known as Obfuscation, or obfuscated servers.
It will make your VPN traffic look like regular network traffic, which will allow you to go undetected. The mode kicks in automatically when using OpenVPN UDP and TCP protocols.
The feature is useful in such situations when your school or office blocks internet traffic, or when your country blocks VPN ports. It renders most VPN blocking measures useless and can provide free internet access in dire situations.
Most VPNs rely entirely on their apps. However, there may be some cases when the app isn’t available for your device. For those using PlayStations or Smart TVs, it may be a deal-breaker. It takes away the possibility to unblock geo-restricted media streaming sites like Disney+ or Hulu on your preferred device.
Surfshark Smart DNS can be set up on many types of devices, even those that don’t support VPN clients. You’ll need to activate it from your main account dashboard, and they will generate DNS addresses that you can then set up on your devices. By default, it allows you to unblock US-based shows and libraries that are often unavailable for users from other continents.
What if you want to be absolutely sure that your real identity is behind several intermediary servers rather than just one? Well, Surfshark has a list of MultiHop servers that come in pairs. After your connections reach the first VPN server, they are then routed to the second one. Meaning, the last intermediary has no ties to your real IP address or location.
When you go to the MultiHop section, you can see which countries will be involved in the process. It’s generally the best idea to pick the first country according to which is the most nearby, while the second should be the one whose location you want to spoof. The speed drops will be pretty severe, but it does add more peace of mind – if that’s what you’re looking for.
Sometimes keeping a VPN turned on at all times can be a nuisance. For example, your banking page may recognize a different country’s IP and flag you or not show the appropriate local version. Or maybe you want to access your local streaming library, but use a different country’s VPN for something else. For that, you need split tunnelling – and Surfshark’s version of it is called a Whitelister.
It works both ways: by routing only some apps via a VPN connection, or routing the whole connection via VPN, and adding exclusions. It’s also possible to set it up on a per IP basis. This means that you’ll be connecting directly without the need to disconnect or switch the server when connecting to your added websites.
Not only is it an amazing feature, but it’s also one that’s still pretty hard to find. This is especially true for customizable split tunneling. During our tests Surfshark routed all the data where you would expect it to go. There were no issues.
Surfshark also offers a safe and fully private search tool that’s entirely ad-free, won’t be affected by previous searches, and collects no user information whatsoever. That’s complete incognito mode, which paid users can access from s.surfshark.com or their VPN dashboard.
You can use it to find videos, images, or webpages. From our perspective, it looks a lot like Bing – if you’ve seen it, Surfshark search will feel very familiar.
Surfshark aims to protect your safety not only via VPN connections. They’ve added the possibility to use alerts that warn you if your data gets leaked for all of their subscribers.
Alerts work with emails, credit cards, and IDs after you type them in and add them to the list. Using two-factor authentication is mandatory to protect your data. When a major breach occurs, and the data is leaked to dark web marketplaces, you will be warned.
You can customize the frequency of these reports. A regular newsletter option informs you about the data breaches that occurred recently and notifications only in cases when your accounts are affected.
CleanWeb is Surfshark’s proprietary DNS feature that blocks ads from loading and various online trackers from gathering your data. It’s not turned on by default. To do that you’ll need to head to settings.
When turned on, it will block IP addresses that are blacklisted. This means that known ad hosts will not be able to load, so you won’t see their popups. The same goes for hosts distributing malware or gathering user data. During our tests, it did work on par with other ad blockers like uBlock origin, so it can be a substitute.
If you’re an Android user, with Surfshark, you can spoof your IP address and your physical GPS location. You don’t even have to install any separate software. Most applications installed on your phone have access to your location data, so it’s one of the most harvested pieces of information about any user.
Spoofing your location not only allows you to match your VPN IP with corresponding GPS data for privacy reasons. You can take advantage of this when catching creatures in Pokemon Go or swiping on Tinder.
Is Surfshark VPN safe and secure?
Surfshark is one of the safest VPN service providers. It has an audited no-logs policy, and there are also options to pick your preferred encryption standard and tunnelling protocol.
Even though it is based in the Netherlands (which belongs to the Nine-Eyes alliance), all its security measures more than compensate for that.
Passwords will also be kept safe, with an advanced hash function, making cracking your credentials virtually impossible.
Let’s have a look at some of the main features that make Surfshark a secure VPN:
Most VPN services offer AES-256 encryption, protecting your data transfers from possible disruption. Surfshark doesn’t stray that far from this path, and it offers AES-256-GCM, an even more secure, updated version of the cipher.
On Android, there is also an option for a Chacha20Poly1305 cipher: it’s very similar, and similarly safe. The main difference between them will be speed: some newer devices with AES hardware acceleration will enjoy better speeds with AES-256, while older phones will be better off with Poly1305.
Either way, you’ll still be protected by a very advanced cryptographic library.
Meanwhile, your authentication is secured by SHA-512 encryption. That means it will be scrambled into 512 binary digits, and then compared to login data stored in their servers, granting you a green light if the passwords match.
Most VPNs use SHA-256. Here, Surfshark goes a step beyond the industry standard.
Even in terms of tunneling protocols, Surfshark offers a good variety of options.
WireGuard – the fastest modern tunneling protocol. Not only is it efficient, it’s also very secure. Available on Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS.
OpenVPN (TCP/UDP) – one of the most popular tunneling protocols. Although released almost two decades ago, it’s still very secure and fast. Plus, it’s automatically obfuscated, and perfect for bypassing government VPN restrictions. If you need better security, go for TCP. If you’re going for speed, choose UDP. Available on Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS.
IKEv2 – one of the most common tunneling protocols. Its support is widespread, and speeds are comparable to those of WireGuard. It’s perfect for weaker devices and performs well on weak Internet connections. Available on Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS.
Surfshark has a kill switch that will block all your internet traffic, unless you’re connected to a VPN. This will help accidental leaks of your original online information.
Compared to other VPN service providers, this approach might seem a bit strict. Other VPNs mostly trigger the kill switch when the link to the VPN servers is interrupted.
While great, this feature could use some improvements. When your whole connection is shut down, you’re not given any notification about what is happening. This may confuse you – thinking your internet connection is down, while it’s just Surfshark’s kill switch doing its job.
Most VPN service providers rent their servers from data centers – that’s how they keep their server count high. However, that also means that they depend on how secure the servers are on each location.
However, some servers might be less secure. Even if logs are instantly purged from the hard drive, the data can still be recovered. Plus, they may hold private keys that could be stolen if hackers manage to access them. Those factors are the major built-in vulnerabilities of such a setup.
Surfshark is one of the few VPN service providers that have transitioned to RAM-only servers. By design, it’s a different form of hardware that purges data so it can’t be recovered. It’s a much safer alternative.
For cybersecurity companies, transparency is crucial for trust. To assure that the trust can be built, Surfshark has been independently audited. Twice.
The first audit was performed in 2018 by Cure53 penetration testers. They focused on the Chrome and Firefox extensions of Surfshark, as browser extensions are usually the least secure pieces of software. Luckily, the tests went well and the extensions were deemed extremely secure.
The second audit was performed in 2021 by the same company. This time, they were focusing on the server infrastructure and general security. Just like before, Surfshark passed the tests with flying colors.
Surfshark has some solid 24/7 customer support options, including:
- Knowledge base
- 24/7 live chat
- Email support
The knowledgebase is excellent, including a lot of helpful guides. For many problems, there are already several solid text and video guides.
For more complicated questions, they have a 24/7 live chat. After bypassing the boring canned chatbot responses, it took me just a few seconds to reach a live chat agent. The agents were friendly, helpful, and genuinely fast, answering all of my queries with ease. Full points to Surfshark there.
Is Surfshark a good VPN?
Surfshark is a good and reliable VPN. Our testing results were impressive – Surfshark VPN unblocks most streaming services, provides a choice of incredibly secure encryption and high-speed tunneling protocols, does not keep any logs, and packs a bunch of proprietary features. All of this is available for much cheaper with the two-year option than its closest competitors.
Keep in mind that it is one of the fastest VPN services on the market. Their apps do favor Android and Windows users a bit more, but this may be a consequence of Apple’s policies rather than Surfshark developer neglect.
They’re not cutting corners with security and providing innovation (where part of the VPN market is stalling). This is visible from their encryption measures to their server fleet that is running only on RAM.
If you don’t have a VPN provider and want an affordable but solid product with many features – Surfshark is a great pick.
In case you have any questions or concerns regarding Surfshark, write us a comment and we’ll be more than happy to answer you!