Surfshark VPN started its services in 2018, intending to secure your digital lives, and became dominant because of its solid performance. However, it recently shifted its jurisdiction to a less privacy-friendly country, i.e., the Netherlands, which falls under the nine eyes jurisdiction. This has made people think that either Surfshark will protect their digital privacy and if it is worth enough to use in 2022?
The baby shark offers competitive price, privacy-focused features, and intuitive native apps, ranking it amongst the top-rated VPN providers. Moreover, because of its immense popularity, it was recognized as the best newcomer VPN at the CES award ceremony in 2019. The VPN provider ensures maximum online security on the web. For this, it utilizes robust encryption and even follows a verified no-log policy. The table below gives you a more quick overview of Surfshark VPN:
Security and Privacy:
- AES-256 bit encryption
- 2048 bit RSA key
- SHA-512 authentication key
Follows a verified no-log policy but do keeps minimum information
Streaming and Torrenting
- Amazon Prime
- BBC iPlayer
- Disney Plus
- HBO Max
- 3200+ servers in 65 countries
- $12.95/m on a 1-month plan
- $2.49/m on a 2-years plan
- $3.99/m on a 1-year plan
- Gaming consoles
- Streaming devices
There’s only one way to find out about the security and performance of Surfshark VPN, and that’s testing and reviewing it. This detailed Surfshark VPN review will explore if it is honest with all its claims and should you continue using it.
Security and Privacy
Security and privacy are the essential parameters when choosing a VPN. To gauge a VPN’s security and privacy, it is best to look into its encryption, jurisdiction, and log policy. A VPN should offer a top-notch level of encryption to safeguard your data from ISP surveillance, hackers, and government agencies. Similarly, the VPN should follow a strict no-log policy and operate from a jurisdiction that doesn’t collect and share user data to keep your activities private.
– What Type Of Encryption does SurfsharkVPN Use?
Surfshark VPN uses the top-notch encryption level to secure your internet traffic. It uses the military grade:
- AES-256 bit encryption
- 2048-RSA key
- HMAC SHA-512 data authentication.
Moreover, Surfshark VPN also uses Perfect Forward Secrecy, which adds an extra security layer by releasing new encryption keys for every session. In short, Surfshark VPN guarantees maximum online security and protection by using such high encryption ciphers to protect your data.
– Jurisdiction of SurfsharkVPN
When Surfshark VPN started the business in 2018, Surfshark Ltd owned it. At that time, it was operating from the British Virgin Island. The country was a privacy-friendly jurisdiction because it wasn’t a member of the global surveillance alliance and didn’t follow any data retention laws giving users another reason to trust the VPN provider.
However, recently Surfshark VPN updated its jurisdiction. The VPN provider now has a new headquarter in the Netherlands, a prominent member of the nine eyes alliance. But the country is not subjected to data retention law as the court strikes down the data retention laws saying that it’s a breach of privacy. The VPN on their website have ensured the users that despite the changed jurisdiction, they won’t compromise user privacy:
Although the Netherlands offers a liberal and friendly political environment allowing Surfshark VPN to remain log-free, the changed jurisdiction is a big blow for the users.
– Logging Policy – Does it Keep Logs?
Surfshark VPN has always been firm on respecting users’ privacy. It claims to offer maximum anonymity to the users and follows a strict zero-logging policy. The VPN provider prevents itself from collecting users’:
- IP addresses
- Browsing activities
- Connection logs
- Session information
However, after getting into much depth, it’s revealed that Surfshark’s logging policy is not wholly no-log. The VPN does store a minimum amount of information for 15 minutes, comprising of:
- Anonymous traffic information
- User ID
- The aggregated amount of performed searches
- Connection timestamps
- Registration information
- Connection to a particular VPN server
- Unique identifier for your access device.
Since the collected data can’t reveal your activities or identity, there is nothing to worry about. It uses RAM-only servers that wipe out all data automatically when the servers are turned off. Moreover, the VPN, to prove its transparency and claims of being a no-log VPN, has twice been audited. Cure53 first audited it in 2018.
At this time, the focus was on Chrome and Firefox browser extensions. The two members of the Cure53 team audited the extensions and found two vulnerabilities with low severity. While the other was not related to the browser, one was a general weakness; the audit teams addressed the issues and guaranteed complete safety.
At the same time, the VPN underwent a second audit of general security and server infrastructure in 2021. Surfshark VPN passed the audit test, and auditors concluded that the VPN is safe to use.
– Which Tunneling Protocols Does it offer?
Surfshark VPN uses a range of secure tunneling protocols such as:
The WireGuard is the default protocol in Surfshark VPN apps, but you can also manually choose any other protocol. It is a fast protocol that consists of 4000 lines of code and is lightweight code that allows easy auditing and improves stability. Moreover, it is less susceptible to vulnerabilities and security flaws.
Additionally, the IKEv2 protocol is known for improved speeds because it consumes less bandwidth and runs faster because of the pruning and optimization of some processes. Because of its fast speed, it makes connectivity much more attractive for mobile users. The best thing about IKEv2 is it’s free from security vulnerabilities, but it’s slower than OpenVPN. The VPN also uses OpenVPN protocol which comes as open-source software and protocol. It uses TLS encryption that improves both speed and security but has bulky code and can be difficult to set up.
The WireGuard and IKEv2 protocols are compatible with Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows platforms, while the OpenVPN also works on Linux platforms and others.
– How good is Surfshark VPN in bypassing Censorship?
Surfshark VPN offers some excellent anti-censorship features, helping users bypass censorship. It comes with two impressive features, i.e., Camouflage and No borders mode, allowing you to bypass censorship easily.
The Camouflage mode uses obfuscation technology, and hence it’s also called stealth VPN servers. It disguises the VPN traffic as regular HTTPS traffic and enables you to circumvent censorship. When using the OpenVPN protocol, the camouflage mode runs automatically, and you don’t need to navigate the settings to turn on this feature.
Besides this, Surfshark VPN also offers a No-borders mode. This feature is pretty effective in restrictive countries. The Surfshark VPN app detects the restrictions on every device within your network and automatically turns on this mode. It gives you a list of servers that provides fast and secure connection under network restrictions.
As a result, you can use Surfshark VPN to access any blocked website and services like Skype and WhatsApp. Also, you can use Surfshark VPN in countries like China, Turkey, Russia, and UAE.
Overall, Surfshark VPN provides great anonymity and protection while bypassing censorship.
Past History of the Surfshark VPN
Surfshark VPN is among the few VPN providers with a clean and transparent record. No history or news records accuse Surfshark VPN or the company of violating users’ privacy. Hence, this gives users another reason to trust the VPN provider.
Any Extra Privacy and Security Features by Surfshark VPN?
Surfshark’s popularity is also because of its extra privacy and security features. These features improve digital security and add more value to your browsing experience. Below is the list of additional supported features offered by Surfshark VPN:
Surfshark VPN lets users double their online security with an impressive multihop feature. It enables you to connect via two different VPN servers located in different locations. The VPN doubles your online security by encrypting your data traffic twice and makes it hard for anyone to track you or the websites you visit. If you’re an activist or journalist, this feature helps prevent government surveillance and protect your sources.
But if you’re using Surfshark VPN for streaming or torrenting or preventing ISP throttling, then it’s better not to use it because a single server gives off better connection speed. This feature is available on Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows platforms. To enable this feature go to Settings > Location > Multihop > Choose a location and tap on Click.
– Device invisibility
Surfshark VPN guarantees more online anonymity and freedom to surf the web and the device invisibility feature. It makes your device invisible to other devices connected to the same network. This feature is extremely useful while connecting to public networks and is only available for Android and Windows platforms. Navigate to Settings menu > advanced > look for invisible for device option and tap on it to turn the feature on.
– Two-factor authentication
Using two-factor authentication is not completely perfect, but it guarantees a top-notch level of online security if used with a VPN. Surfshark VPN enables users to take their security to the next level by adding the 2FA feature to their accounts to prevent unauthorized access and specific types of cyberattacks like brute-forcing and credential stuffing. It is an extremely useful feature for people who reuse their login details. You can turn on the two-factor authentication feature by the website in your account panel.
The bypasser is the other name for split tunneling and gives you more control over your VPN traffic. You can use this feature to decide which apps or websites you want to encrypt via the VPN server while the rest use the internet normally. This feature is of great use during torrenting because you can improve the downloading speed by excluding the data-heavy apps. To enable this feature go to Settings > Toggle on Bypasser > Choose websites and apps you want to exclude.
The Surfshark VPN bypasser feature offers two options i.e., bypasser and route via the VPN. The first one allows you to exclude traffic that you don’t want to encrypt and is best when you have a few apps or sites to work outside the connection. Route via the VPN lets you include traffic that you want to encrypt. This feature is completely safe to use but it’s only available for Android and Windows devices.
– Perfect Forward Secrecy
Along with using the highest encryption standards and secure VPN protocols, Surfshark VPN also utilizes the perfect forward secrecy feature. After every session, it automatically releases new encryption keys to secure your data traffic. This way, it ensures that a minimal amount of information gets exposed if the most recent key was compromised by the hackers.
Nothing irks the users than seeing pop-up ads while browsing or streaming. They not just interrupt the user experience but also affect the browsing speed. Moreover, at times displaying ads is a tactic used by hackers to scam you. Surfshark VPN also offers an impressive ad-blocker feature known as CleanWeb for Android, Apple, and Windows devices.
It blocks intrusive pop-ups and banner ads, and malware before they get loaded and ensures a secure browsing experience. The VPN saves your mobile data and boosts your page loading and browsing speeds. Go to Settings > Features > Tap on the CleanWeb option to use this feature.
– No borders
No border is an advanced feature provided by Surfshark VPN that allows you to use your VPN through network restrictions. You can use it in restrictive countries and surf the web without censorship and restriction. It detects the internet restrictions and automatically connects you to the best server that works well under the network restrictions.
This feature helps evade government censorship and geo-blocks and is available on Android, iOS, MacOS, and Windows devices. Go to Settings > Advanced Tab > Tap on the no borders option to use this feature.
– Kill Switch
Kill switch is a smart feature that disables your connection when the VPN connection is lost. It ensures that all your sensitive information is secured under the industry’s highest encryption and protocols. SurfsharkVPN also provides a kill switch feature that prevents your IP address from leaking when the VPN connection drops unexpectedly. It protects your online identity and location from getting exposed until the connection is re-established.
You can use this feature on Android, iOS, MacOS, and Windows devices and boost your online security. Go to Settings > VPN settings > Toggle on the Kill switch option to enable this feature.
– Tor over VPN
Using a VPN with a Tor browser is the safest method to access the Tor browser. Surfshark VPN and Tor have zero problems working together. The VPN allows users to access the Tor browser anonymously without compromising your security. By connecting to the Tor over VPN feature, you can use the tor browser safely and access the .onion sites without anyone tracking you.
– Camouflage Mode
The obfuscation tool in Surfshark VPN is called camouflage mode. It makes your connection look like the regular HTTPS traffic commonly used by banks or online shopping platforms. In short, it hides traces of the VPN connection. It is used to bypass the content filters by hiding your IP address and using the current network port to establish a secure connection. This way, you can stay private as no one including your ISP can learn about your online identity.
The feature is extremely useful while accessing the restricted content, downloading P2P files , and evading VPN blocks. You can use this mode on all platforms including Android, Apple, Linux, and Windows devices.
– GPS Spoofing
Most Android devices offer a GPS function but not all VPN does except for Surfshark.This feature matches your GPS location with the Surfshark server you’re connected to.It protects you from apps and websites that read your actual location and is available in Android apps.
– Surfshark One
Surfshark VPN has launched a Surfshark One that offers an antivirus program, a private search feature, and a data breach monitoring tool. The antivirus scans your device for potential malware and viruses and provides real-time protection when downloading or installing a program or file. It also customizes and schedules your scans wherever and whenever you want.
The Surfshark search feature protects your searches and provides organic search results. While the Surfshark Alert feature sends you real-time alerts when any threat actor is trying to intercept your emails, IDs, and credit cards. You can add these features to your Chrome or Firefox browsers.
You can get it for an additional price of $3.98/month. But at the moment, this product is only available for Android and Windows users.
Streaming and Torrenting
While streaming and torrenting are often done merely for entertainment purposes, they come with a hoard of issues such as ISP throttling and online restrictions. With torrenting, things notch up a bit further as the activity also results in privacy issues. While t
Streaming and torrenting consume much of the total bandwidth, and hence, ISPs throttle your connection to prevent you from using excessive bandwidth. Moreover, there’s no anonymity in the P2P swarm during torrenting, that violates your privacy and might even get you into legal troubles due to copyright violations. Apart from that, there is always the looming risks of malware-embedded torrent downloads that can potentially harm your device.
Similarly, while streaming sites like Netflix, bypassing the content restrictions amongst a strict VPN-block without a reliable VPN is impossible. Also, many streaming platforms face geo-blocks, and you need the IP address of that particular country to access the content; the best way is to use a VPN.
Thus, it is crucial to look into streaming and torrenting features of a VPN provider.
– Compatible Streaming Platforms
Surfshark VPN is also among the top-quality VPN providers that you can use to access blocked streaming content. It works well with all popular streaming platforms, including
- Amazon Prime
- BBC iPlayer
- Disney Plus
- HBO Max
Surfshark VPN is among the best VPN for streaming Netflix. It unblocks 15 Netflix libraries, and thanks to its Camouflage mode, it helps bypass censorship and enables users to stream their favorite movies and TV shows.
The VPN provider doesn’t offer any streaming servers. Hence, you can connect to any server and start streaming the geo-blocked content anywhere. But to further improve your streaming experience, Surfshark VPN offers a SmartDNS feature. This feature allows you to connect the VPN on any device, even those that don’t support the VPN.
Once you have enabled the SmartDNS feature, you can access the US region content like Hulu without installing a VPN.
As a whole, Surfshark VPN performs quite impressively on all popular streaming platforms and allows users to stream with minimum buffering and connection lags.
– Is Surfshark VPN Good For Torrenting?
Surfshark VPN is a good VPN to consider downloading torrents. It has 18 P2P-optimized servers and an advanced whitelister feature that ensures a fast and safe downloading process. The VPN’s strong encryption and IP leak protection feature hides your P2P activities from all snooping eyes.
In addition, you can use it on all popular torrent clients like uTorrent, BitTorrent, and qBitTorrent, and it allows you to download torrents anonymously. The VPN provider offers unlimited bandwidth, so you don’t face speed throttling issues.
The VPN doesn’t offer a SOCKS5 proxy, but it isn’t a big issue because it already uses the industry’s highest encryption standard and a split tunneling feature. However, since the P2P servers are not much in numbers, speeds can be an issue while torrenting on remote servers.
– How Fast Is Surfshark VPN?
Surfshark VPN is a relatively fast VPN in the market. It offers fast, consistent, and reliable speeds that are more than enough for streaming and downloading. The VPN consists of servers in 65 countries, so you might experience connection drops while connecting to servers at far away distances.
You can enjoy the fastest connection on the WireGuard protocol. The IKEv2 is the second-fastest Surfshark VPN protocol; meanwhile, OpenVPN provides average connection speeds.
As a whole, Surfshark VPN speeds are pretty impressive, and optimal speeds connect to WireGuard protocol.
Surfshark VPN has well-designed, native, intuitive, and easy to download and use apps. It also offers various customization options that enhance your user experience. The interfaces are clean and won’t cause any trouble for the users.
– The Number of Servers Surfshark VPN Provides
Surfshark VPN comes with a decent server network that ensures a fast connection. You can find multiple Surfshark VPN servers in all major countries like:
The VPN consists of 3200+ global servers spread in 65 countries.
Besides this, like NordVPN and ExpressVPN, Surfshark VPN consists of two specialty servers, i.e., P2P optimized and multihop servers. The P2P servers help in fast torrent downloading, and Multihop servers add an extra layer of security by allowing you to connect to two VPN servers of your choice.
– How Good is Surfshark VPN Customer Support?
Surfshark VPN offers fast, responsive, and helpful customer support to its users. It has active email support and a 24/7 live chat option to assist the users. The chat agents are always there to help you. They are well informed and do guide correctly. Suppose your query is a bit technical, so it’s better that you opt for email support. But, it might take at least a few hours or even a day to receive a reply.
Moreover, it also has many online resources on its website. It includes an FAQ section, online video tutorials, blogs, and a news section.
– What Devices Is Surfshark VPN Compatible With?
Surfshark VPN is compatible with all major devices. It is available to install and download for the following devices:
Surfshark VPN also enhances your streaming experience, and hence you can install it on:
- Amazon Firestick TV
- Apple TV
- Android TV
Besides this, you can also use Surfshark VPN on your gaming consoles like Xbox and PS4, and PS5.
Surfshark VPN offers a seven-day free trial on Android, iOS, and Apple devices. Unfortunately, if you’re a Windows user, you can’t avail the free trial period. But, you can avail the 30-days risk-free money-back guarantee offer.
Surfshark VPN allows unlimited simultaneous device connections. You can connect to as many devices as you want with a single account, and this thing impresses the users a lot. However, this can significantly impact your browsing speed. Thus, it is suggested to allow a minimum number of devices to connect.
Surfshark VPN is among the few reliable VPN providers that work in China and other oppressive states. The VPN offers a no-borders mode. This feature is primarily designed to allow users to bypass high censorship like the Great Firewall of China. If you’re in China, enable this feature by navigating the settings and browsing the web without restrictions.
In addition, the VPN has a Camouflage mode that makes your traffic look like normal HTTPS traffic often used by banks or online shopping websites, and removes the traces of VPN on your connection. It hides your actual identity and helps bypass block VPN ports and access the internet freely in China.
Surfshark VPN offers an impressive ad blocker feature known as “CleanWeb.” It blocks ads, banners, and pop-up ads. Also, it blocks malware and allows the user to surf in clean cyberspace. Since these ads take up a considerable amount of mobile data, Surfshark VPN, by stopping them, saves the mobile data and boosts browsing speeds.
Surfshark VPN unblocks all popular streaming platforms, including Netflix. It has a server network spread in 65 countries that establishes a quick connection and a Camouflage mode that helps in bypassing the blocked content. With Surfshark VPN, you can access 15 Netflix libraries, including the US Netflix library, and watch your favorite streaming content without any hassle.
Unlike NordVPN and CyberGhost, Surfshark VPN doesn’t offer a dedicated IP address feature.
Like many other top-tier VPN providers, Surfshark VPN offers a browser extension for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. It provides basic functionality like hiding your identity or accessing blocked websites. But a browser extension will only encrypt the data traffic of your selected browser.
When compared, NordVPN comes on top of Surfshark VPN. Both use robust encryption and protocols to safeguard the data traffic. But there’s a slight difference in the authentication key as NordVPN uses a 4096-bit RSA key, whereas Surfshark VPN uses a 2048-bit RSA key. Moreover, NordVPN has a more transparent log policy and belongs to a safe jurisdiction, while Surfshark VPN has its headquarters in a nine eyes country.
Surfshark VPN is a reliable VPN provider that offers a great value of security and price to the users. It is a high-quality, trustworthy, secure VPN that uses strong encryption to boost your digital privacy and security. Besides this, it is an ideal VPN for entertainment. Whether you want to use it for streaming, gaming, or downloading purposes, Surfshark VPN ensures the best user experience.
The VPN also offers native apps with advanced features and doesn’t cause you any hassle. If you encounter any issues, you can contact the customer support team via the 24/7 live chat feature and resolve your problems quickly. The only worrying thing about Surfshark VPN is that it has moved to a less privacy-friendly jurisdiction, i.e., the Netherlands. But with the independent log audit report, you can still use the VPN without worrying about your privacy.