Surfshark VPN Review: Outstanding VPN Choice with Excellent Value

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Surfshark VPN Review: Outstanding VPN Choice with Excellent Value

Surfshark VPN

Pros:

  1. Budget-friendly, especially for long-term subscribers.
  2. Unlimited simultaneous connections, suitable for multi-device use.
  3. Utilizes a RAM-only server infrastructure, enhancing privacy security.
  4. Offers numerous unique features, further enhancing user experience.

Cons:

  1. Subject to 14-Eyes jurisdiction (headquartered in the Netherlands).
  2. Lack of transparency reports, increasing uncertainty regarding privacy protection.
  3. Monthly plan relatively expensive.

If you’re in search of a comprehensive VPN solution and want one of the best values on the market, Surfshark is worth considering. Particularly for users willing to commit long-term, Surfshark’s extended plans are more cost-effective compared to competitors like ExpressVPN and NordVPN. Easy to use, feature-rich, and excellent for streaming, Surfshark has made significant strides in privacy and speed since my last review.

I extensively tested and researched Surfshark’s VPN product, engaging in discussions with the Surfshark team via email and video conferences. With the assistance of the CNET lab testing team, we conducted hundreds of speed tests on Surfshark’s global servers to comprehensively assess its performance. I tested Surfshark on various platforms, including MacOS, Windows, iOS, Android, and Amazon Fire TV Stick. Leak tests were conducted, and Surfshark’s performance on different platforms and with various streaming services was evaluated. Additionally, I scrutinized Surfshark’s privacy policy and analyzed recent no-log audit reports.

Speed: Significant Performance Improvement

  • Tested speed loss of 17%
  • Number of servers: 3,200+
  • Number of countries: 100

Surfshark demonstrated excellent speed performance in the past year, with a significant improvement compared to previous tests. Through tests on Surfshark servers from Ohio and Kentucky to New York, the UK, Australia, Germany, France, and Singapore, we observed an average speed loss of 17%. This is a substantial improvement from the 40% speed loss recorded in January 2023. Surfshark’s overall speed performance is more consistent, making it one of the fastest VPNs, on par with NordVPN (average speed loss of 10%) and ExpressVPN (18% speed loss).

Cost: Clear Advantage for Long-Term Subscriptions

  • $14 per month, $48 for the first year (then $60 annually) or $54 for the first two years (then $60 annually)
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Payment methods: Credit card, PayPal, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, cryptocurrencies

While Surfshark’s monthly subscription is priced relatively high at $14 per month, opting for longer subscription plans provides more affordable rates. The annual plan for the first year is $48, and the two-year plan totals $54, both followed by an annual $60 fee. CNET advises against long-term commitments in the rapidly changing VPN industry. However, Surfshark’s standard annual fee of $60 remains more economical than competitors like ExpressVPN ($100), NordVPN ($100), IPVanish ($90), or Proton VPN ($72).

Like its competitors, Surfshark continuously expands its product into a comprehensive online privacy/security suite. The entry-level package includes a VPN, ad blocker, and cookie popup blocker. Additionally, Surfshark offers extra bundled packages with tools such as antivirus, private search, data breach alerts, and a backup ID generator, among others. All Surfshark subscription plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee, and if registered through Apple’s App Store or Google Play Store, a 7-day free trial is available. Payment options include credit cards, PayPal, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, and various cryptocurrencies.

Surfshark also offers an additional dedicated IP address service, with an additional monthly charge of $3.75. Dedicated IP addresses can facilitate easier access to bank accounts and reduce the number of captchas. While using shared IP addresses is generally a better privacy choice, Surfshark provides an anonymous dedicated IP option, ensuring IP addresses are entirely separate from user email addresses for enhanced anonymity.

Applications and Platforms: Multi-Platform Support

Surfshark’s applications are available for Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, iOS, and Amazon Fire TV. From my user experience, Surfshark’s applications run stably across all platforms, providing a consistent user experience. Recently, the company also released a graphical user interface (GUI) for Linux, making VPN usage on Linux more intuitive. Although the Linux application is relatively basic, it stands ahead compared to other VPN providers that offer only a command-line interface (CLI).

If you’re looking to access online streaming content via VPN, Surfshark is a robust choice, especially if you want to maximize your Netflix subscription. In testing, I successfully accessed content from Netflix libraries worldwide, including the U.S., UK, Germany, Belgium, Japan, Denmark, and Hungary. I also smoothly streamed content on Disney+, and could play “The Simpsons” on 4K. Amazon Prime Video’s streaming on all tested platforms was seamless. However, I encountered some issues with Hulu streaming on iOS, while it worked well on the Fire TV Stick.

Customer Support and Overall Rating: Offers Excellent Value

Surfshark provides 24/7 live chat support, and its help center is filled with useful articles, troubleshooting guides, and tutorials for users who prefer solving issues independently. Overall, Surfshark offers a lot of value, with its packages being more economical compared to other top VPN options.

Privacy and Security: Continuously Strengthening with Room for Transparency Improvement

  • Jurisdiction: Netherlands
  • Encryption: AES-256-GCM, ChaCha20
  • RAM-only server infrastructure
  • Available protocols: OpenVPN, WireGuard, IKEv2

Surfshark has made encouraging progress in user privacy, particularly with its unique Nexus network technology. This technology enhances user privacy by connecting server networks and deploying innovative VPN privacy features, further elevating the level of user privacy protection. Nexus technology not only adds a layer of privacy but also improves network stability, reducing connection interruptions.

Among the Nexus technology features, IP Rotator and Dynamic Multi-Hop are two highlights. IP Rotator changes the user’s IP address every few minutes, increasing anonymity. Dynamic Multi-Hop provides flexibility, allowing users to connect to any two servers of their choice, enhancing privacy. Surfshark also promises to introduce the IP Randomizer feature, randomizing user IP addresses, although this feature is currently in the coming soon status.

While Surfshark continues to progress in privacy, there is room for improvement in transparency. Compared to competitors like ExpressVPN, Private Internet Access, or Proton VPN, Surfshark has fewer transparency reports. However, the company is actively working on strengthening privacy protection to meet user expectations.

Surfshark still offers traditional privacy protection features such as a kill switch, DNS leak protection, and a no-logs policy. In my testing, the kill switch worked as expected, and no leaks were detected.

Summary:

In conclusion, Surfshark is an outstanding VPN service with excellent value, offering rich features and remarkable performance. While there’s room for improvement in certain aspects, its continuously strengthening privacy measures and relatively low pricing make it a reliable VPN choice. For users seeking outstanding performance and budget-friendliness, Surfshark is a VPN service provider worth considering.