Let’s take the Surfshark VPN to a real-time testing environment to check its actual performance.
Surfshark is a relatively new brand name, but this baby shark has quickly come on par with some of the long-present leading brand names in the market. Surfshark promises to keep your “digital identity safe,” but let’s face it! There is always more to a VPN than that!
And not every VPN provider with a reputation offers the security and privacy we need! What is there to say that the hype is all paid advertising? The only way to find that out is to check the service, which is exactly what I did! So read along what I uncovered on Surfshark within this review.
Who Owns Surfshark?
Surfshark VPN was established in 2018 by Surfshark Ltd. The company is based in the British Virgin Island, the same country which is the home of another top-ranked provider, i.e., ExpressVPN. The British Virgin Island is known as a safe jurisdiction due to the absence of data retention laws.
Moreover, the company doesn’t fall inside the global surveillance alliance group, which gives another reason for the users to trust them. The company has expanded its offices into eight countries with a vision to provide a safe, secure, and private browsing experience. Undoubtedly, Surfshark has lived up to all its promises and emerged as one of the best VPN providers.
They have earned immense recognition from users and media outlets. In 2019, Surfshark was awarded the best VPN Newcomer in the CES Award ceremony. It also has several nominations such as the Best Overall, Best VPN Privacy, and Best Value VPN category.
Surfshark’s popularity is stemmed from the numerous privacy and security features it offers. From a bird’s eye view, it does seem that it takes the “protecting your digital privacy” tagline seriously! Have a look at what Surfshark has to offer a quick overview of its features:
|Encryption||Uses AES-256-GCM encryption with a 2048 -bit RSA key|
|VPN protocol||IKEv2/IPsec (Next Generation Encryption) OpenVPN, WireGuard, and Shadowsocks|
|Servers||3200+ servers in 65 countries|
|P2P support||Dedicated servers with no bandwidth limit.|
|Device support||Unlimited simultaneous connections on various devices such as Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, Linux|
|Browser Extensions||Chrome and Firefox|
|Kill Switch||Has an actively working kill switch protection|
|Jurisdiction||British Virgin Island jurisdiction out of 5.9 and 14 eyes|
|Log policy||Strict log policy|
|Log audit||Has a log audit report|
|Pricing||It is as low as 1.99/month on the biannual plan. Currently on sale 85% OFF.|
All these features make Surfshark an excellent and reliable VPN provider. Let’s begin reviewing these features and learn how Surfshark protects and increases online security and privacy.
VPN leaks are a significant hazard for your online security as they can expose your true identity to your ISPs or other snooping eyes. This is why it is crucial to check your VPN for the following data leaks. Here is Surfshark’s performance for each VPN leak.
– IP Leak Protection
Essentially, for your online anonymity, your VPN must hide your IP address. Surfshark’s zero leaks in the IP leaks test prove its dedication to providing online security.
– IPv6 Leak Protection
IPv6 leak means that both your online identity and web traffic get exposed to anyone monitoring your network. Like IP leak protection, Surfshark also protects IPv6. Using the same IP leak tool, when Surfshark was tested, it found no leaks. It ensures that you stay secure and protected while browsing the web via Surfshark VPN.
– DNS Leak Protection
Surfshark prevents DNS leaks by blocking all the DNS requests your device makes and redirecting them through an encrypted tunnel. Through the DNS leak test tool, no DNS leaks were found while connected to Surfshark VPN.
– WebRTC Leak Protection
WebRTC can have some great benefits, but it is also a fact that it can cause privacy leaks and can expose your IP address. Surfshark, when checked for WebRTC leaks, resulted in no WebRTC leaks. It shows how committed the VPN provider is to protecting your online security and privacy.
The level of encryption a VPN provides ensures the security of your internet traffic. Surfshark claims to offer a top-notch level of encryption to the users, and when tested, they proved their stance.
When Surfshark encryption was tested using data analyzing software like Wireshark or Glasswire, it provided AES-256 bit encryption. It is the industry’s highest encryption standard and is uncrackable. Also, it uses the SHA512 authentication hash and 2048-bit DHE-RSA key exchange for data encryption.
Moreover, Surfshark uses various encryption protocols, including OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPSec, WireGuard, and Shadowsocks.
- Test results show that Surfshark uses ESP, an IKEv2 protocol. ESP ensures fast connection speed and is a built-in protocol for mobile phone devices.
- OpenVPN (UDP/TCP) is still fast, secure, and enabled by default on desktop apps.
- WireGuard is a recent addition to the tunneling protocol. It is available on all major operating systems and ensures blazing fast connection speed.
- Shadowsocks is an encryption protocol for proxy connections. It is used to bypass censorship in high restrictive regions like China.
With this high encryption standard, Surfshark gives the impression that it is safe to use and provides maximum online security and protection.
Surfshark claims to make you anonymous and private over the internet. It comes with privacy-packed features that it uses to achieve this task. The following mentioned below are all the privacy-focused features that Surfshark offers to the users.
– Logging Policy
Surfshark respects user privacy, and like many other service providers, it also claims to follow a strict no-log policy. You should not worry about getting monitored by using this VPN.
- IP address
- Connection logs
- Browsing activities
- Connection timestamp
- Session information
Since the company belongs to the safe jurisdiction of the British Virgin Island, no one can force the company to share users’ data with them. When you sign up for an account on Surfshark, your email address and billing information get stored.
– Log Audit Report
Log audit reports are proof that the VPN provider is fulfilling its “no-logs” promise. The third-party log audits help build user trust like Surfshark that proves its trustworthiness by undergoing an independent log audit twice. The company hired a German-based audit firm, Cure53, to audit the logging policy. The company first audited the logging policy back in 2018 and the second time in May 2021.
The first audit focused on Surfshark’s extension for Chrome and Firefox. While the second time, they discussed general security and server infrastructure. Both times, the auditors don’t find any flaw or security vulnerability. Thus, Surfshark is a reliable VPN to use and doesn’t violate users.
– Kill Switch
A kill switch is the most important yet the most ignored feature within a VPN. It cuts off the internet connection if your VPN connection drops due to any circumstances. In this way, it prevents unwanted leaks of your IP address and location. Surfshark, fortunately, has an active working kill switch protection. This kill switch feature is available on iOS, macOS, and Windows apps.
– Clean Web
The pop-up ads are the most annoying element while streaming, playing games, or simply browsing the web. Most times, they are irrelevant and have malware embedded with them that risks your online privacy. If you are using a Surfshark VPN, then there’s no need to worry.
Surfshark comes with a proprietary DNS feature called CleanWeb. It blocks all the malicious ads, websites, and phishing attempts that harm your browsing experience. With this feature, you will see fewer ads, and also, fewer trackers will be able to track your online activities.
These intrusive ads also slow down your internet connection, and that’s more frustrating. But, a clean web ensures that the web pages you visit load faster.
But, the clean web feature is not turned on by default. Before you start surfing the web, make sure to turn it on by navigating into the settings menu.
– Camouflage Mode
The camouflage model or obfuscation feature offers an additional aspect to online security and diversity to VPN usage. This mode disguises your VPN traffic as regular HTTPS traffic and helps you bypass firewall or internet restrictions. Therefore, this camouflage model is helpful for people living in countries with VPN blocks.
– NoBorders Mode
Apart from the camouflage mode, Surfshark offers the “No Border” feature to get past internet restrictions for people living under authoritarian governments. If the VPN detects any restriction, it automatically toggles to the NoBorders option to bypass them. It also switches the server list and lets you choose the ones that perform best in that circumstance.
However, the feature is not enabled by default. While setting up Surfshark, you will have to configure the setting to enable this mode manually.
Surfshark’s split tunneling feature is called Whitelister. It is an innovative tool that enables users to control their connectivity by selecting what apps or websites they need to route through the VPN. Surfshark’s whitelister functions in two different ways:
- It blocks all the selected applications and websites by using a VPN.
- It only allows the selected and chosen apps and websites to use the VPN connection.
This mode allows you to use two different IP addresses at the same time. For example, you can watch the streaming content with the VPN IP address and surf the web with your actual IP address. It offers fast speed by splitting your data traffic via an encrypted and unencrypted tunnel. Thus, it is a valuable tool for downloading torrents and P2P file-sharing.
Unfortunately, it is only available on Android and Windows apps so, if you use any other device, you can’t enjoy this feature.
If you want extra protection while you use the internet, Surfshark has a feature to cater to your needs. It comes with a multihop feature that adds an extra layer of encryption and protection while you browse the web by connecting you to two different VPN servers.
The multihop feature is of great advantage for people who are security conscious, like the ones who want to prevent government tracking. Also, if you are a journalist or social activist who wants to protect your sources, then this feature will get the job done for you.
Since the multihop feature routes the traffic twice, this slows down the speed, and hence it isn’t a helpful feature during torrenting and streaming.
– RAM-Only Servers
Like ExpressVPN, Surfshark also comes with RAM-only servers. It means that all the data is stored on volatile servers instead of the hard drive. When the server is rebooted or turned off, all the user data from the previous sessions get deleted permanently. It is impossible to recover the user data stored in the RAM-only servers. The users are also assured that their data won’t get into the wrong hands of any third party and give you an added layer of privacy.
– Private DNS Servers
Surfshark VPN is also among the few service providers that use private DNS servers instead of public ones to protect your DNS requests and data traffic from any snooping eyes. The private DNS is available on each server and safeguards the DNS requests, and it also helps prevent DNS leaks.
– Device Invisibility
If you are using public WiFi and don’t want others to monitor your network, then Surfshark has something to offer you. With Surfshark’s device invisibility feature, you can make your VPN-enabled device invisible to all other devices present on your local network to add an extra layer of protection.
Surfshark VPN also has extra supported features that increase their worth and add more value to your browsing experience. Described below are some of the amazing supported features offered by Surfshark:
– Surfshark Alert
Surfshark VPN aims to protect your security instead of just the VPN connections. Now, they have added a paid add-on ‘Alert’ feature previously named Hacklock. A data leak alert system warns you if your email address, credit cards, IDs, or passwords are involved in a breach. By sending real-time alerts, the VPN increases your online protection. But, you have to pay an extra fee per month to benefit from this feature.
– Surfshark Search
Surshark offers a Surfshark Search feature for providing a safe and private searching experience on the web. It is an ad-free and no-log private search engine service that allows you to search the web without letting Google track you back. It displays organic search, but you have to pay an extra fee to buy this service as it is not free.
– Two-Factor Authentication
Surfshark’s two-factor authentication feature adds an extra layer of security and protection to your Surfshark account. Instead of using a password to login into your account, this feature provides you a temporary code on your email when you log in. In this way, it ensures that only authorized persons can access the account.
– GPS Spoofing
If you’re an Android user, then Surfshark can spoof your IP address and GPS location. Surfshark’s GPS spoofing feature makes it seem like you are physically located in the same place as the VPN server. Since both your IP and GPS are hidden, no one can track you, guaranteeing more online protection.
– Does Surfshark Unblocks Netflix?
Yes, Surfshark does allow the users to stream Netflix. It is because it provides fast speed to stream in HD quality and adds more servers to defend the blockage by Netflix. When tested, Surfshark was able to unlock more than 15 international Netflix libraries, including:
– Smart DNS
Surfshark not only unblocks Netflix but also works with other streaming platforms like Amazon Prime, HBO, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and Disney Plus. Thus, Surfshark is one of the best VPN for streaming geo-blocked content. All thanks go to its Smart DNS feature that allows it to unblock streaming content on devices with native VPN support. You can stream any foreign content on your smart TV or Apple TV with the smart DNS feature.
– Trusted DNS
Trusted DNS is a free app that allows you to change your DNS address with a single click. Surfshark comes with 100 plus trusted DNS servers that promise to protect your privacy. Encrypting the DNS requests and enabling you to select one of the third-party, public DNS servers makes your browsing experience more secure.
It is only available on Android and iOS devices and is of more value when streaming geo-blocked content.
Does Surfshark Support Torrenting?
Another bright side of using Surfshark is it allows unlimited torrenting. The VPN comes with 18 P2P-optimized servers and a split tunneling feature that ensures fast downloading. When tested, it works well with BitTorrent, uTorrent, and other popular torrent clients.
The best part is that it doesn’t leak the torrent IP and ensures complete anonymity while you download torrents. The VPN offers unlimited bandwidth and automatically connects you to the closest P2P servers, making it a good choice.
Is Surfshark a Free VPN?
Surfshark is not a free VPN but offers a 7-day free trial period on Android, iOS, macOS devices. Also, you can avail of the 30-days money-back guarantee offer if not satisfied with the service.
How Many Servers Does Surfshark Have?
Surfshark comes with a pretty decent server network. It consists of more than 3200 servers in 65 countries.
How Many Users Can Connect With a Single Surfshark Account?
Surfshark allows unlimited device connection on Windows, Android, iOS, macOS, and Linux. An unlimited device connection might sound perfect, but it isn’t because it slows down the speed.
Is Surfshark Worth Buying?
Everyone wants to invest in a low-price award-winning VPN provider that offers many handful privacy, security, and extra supported features. So, without any doubt, Surfshark is worth the money, and there are several reasons for it.
To conclude, Surfshark VPN is the best all-rounder VPN provider that has rightfully earned the trust of millions of users in less time. Its strict zero-logging policy, private DNS servers, clean web, multihop, search, alert, and GPS spoofing features make it compete with its competitors.
The VPN also uses state-of-the-art encryption and various tunneling protocols to keep your data, device, and online activities safe from hackers, ISPs, and government surveillance.