A relatively new entry to the VPN space, Surfshark has recently expanded its network to include over 1,700 servers in 63 countries (and growing). With comprehensive privacy features and apps available for every major desktop and mobile device as well as smart TVs and games consoles, Surfshark VPN appears to have it all.
In this Surfshark VPN review, we’ll take an in-depth look at some of the platform’s core privacy features, such as a zero-knowledge DNS server policy, and its latest updates, which range from interface enhancements to extra settings.
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Surfshark review: plans and pricing
There are three tiers of Surfshark subscription: you can pay every month, once a year, or every 24 months. At $11.95 per month, the monthly subscription is expensive, and even the $5.99 per month annual plan is on the pricey side of things. By comparison, many competing VPNs, like PIA and Bitdefender, have annual plans for under $4 per month.
However, things really start to look up when you consider the $1.99 per month 24-month Surfshark package. Many users are justifiably nervous about signing up to such a long-term commitment, but when you consider that it costs just $7.76 more for two years of Surfshark coverage than it does for a year with PIA, it’s obvious that Surfshark’s longest contract offers an incredible level of value.
Surfshark review: features
Given that Surfshark’s extended plan price manages to undercut so many competitors, you might be expecting this service to underperform when it comes to features. Fortunately, that isn’t the case. All the standard VPN encryption protocols are here, including AES-256, OpenVPN, UDP, and TCP. As any good VPN should, Surfshark comes with a kill switch setting to automatically block your internet connection if your connection to a Surfshark server falters.
For additional protection, Surfshark supports multihop server connections. These add an extra layer of privacy by enabling you to connect to more than one Surfshark server consecutively, making it harder to trace your online activity.
Besides privacy features, Surfshark has a CleanWeb tool which, when turned on, will prevent you from accessing malware-infected sites. Surfshark claims to continually update its database of suspicious sites, though it doesn’t state publicly what malware definitions the platform relies upon.
Surfshark review: interface and in use
Until recently, the Surfshark desktop interface was notably clunkier than those of competitors like NordVPN and PIA. Fortunately, that’s all changed, and the Surfshark desktop client now works just as well as that of any alternative service. Personally, we prefer the dark mode version of the desktop program, which is easier on the eyes than the somewhat jarring default color scheme.
Connecting to a server using the Surfshark client is straightforward. Simply click a location name or select a favorite, recently used, or nearby server. A cool feature of the client is that the window automatically adapts as you resize it. When it’s set to its smallest size, you can personalize which option toggles appear. This comes in handy if, for example, you’d like to activate the kill switch option occasionally but not all the time.
On mobile, things are surprisingly similar to the desktop version of the software. On both, you can see separate lists of your favorite server locations as well as those that support special functions like static IP addresses and multihop connections.
Surfshark review: support
During our Surfshark review, we didn’t encounter any difficulties setting up the program on desktop or mobile devices. If you do encounter a problem, the support section of the Surfshark website will be worth exploring. Here, you’ll find FAQs and walk-through tutorials categorized by device type. Unfortunately, we found article navigation to be a little confusing at times.
For harder technical troubles or account billing issues, you can get in touch with a Surfshark support agent via live chat. We are happy to note this service is 24/7, and during our evaluation agents responded promptly and with helpful suggestions to technical queries.
Surfshark review: the competition
Surfshark’s major selling point is its extremely low price point. One competitor that takes things a step further in this regard is PhotonVPN. As long as you’re willing to put up with a choice of just three servers, you can use PhotonVPN for free.
At the other end of the spectrum is ExpressVPN. While Surfshark runs more than 1,700 servers, ExpressVPN’s network contains more than 3,000, giving you a broader choice of IP addresses and locations to connect to. You will however, pay significantly more for this extra selection.
Surfshark review: final verdict
Thanks to a good balance between cost, features, and security, Surfshark is an excellent VPN. If you’re willing to take out a lengthy contract, you’ll struggle to find many services able to compete with Surfshark’s bargain price point. Although Surfshark hasn’t always been such a strong option, recent feature updates and interface improvements mean this VPN is now well worth consideration.
- ExpressVPN review: See why we rate Express as the #1 provider