Surfshark VPN 26 Months Subscription
SURFSHARK VPN SPECS
|Simultaneous VPN Connections||Unlimited|
|Supported Protocols on Android||WireGuard, OpenVPN, IKEv2|
|Supported Protocols on macOS||WireGuard, IKEv2|
|Supported Protocols on iOS||WireGuard, OpenVPN, IKEv2|
|Server Locations||65 Countries|
|Geographically Diverse Servers||Yes|
|Free Version Data Limit||No Free Version|
$44.99 – $55.64
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Rarely seen multi-hop and split tunneling tools
- Well-designed app
- Static Servers included with subscription
- Low Price
- Confusing long-term subscription pricing
- Middling speed test results
VPNs help safeguard your privacy by sending all of your online traffic via an encrypted tunnel to a distant server. However, this added security comes at a cost, and with Surfshark, that cost is in the form of real money and cents each month. Our Editors' Choice for VPNs is Surfshark, but it's also the most costly. To stand out in a competitive market, Surfshark offers unique features, has carefully designed applications, and places a high value on user privacy. Even among Editors' Choice winners, Surfshark stands out for its ability to connect to an infinite number of devices at once. As a result, it's a great choice for homes with a lot of electronic gadgets or for big families.
Surfshark subscriptions may be purchased using major credit cards, Amazon Pay, PayPal, and a wide range of cryptocurrencies, all of which are accepted by the service. While it's great that Surfshark accepts semi-anonymous cryptocurrency payments, other providers like IVPN (an inexpensive Editors' Choice winner known for its emphasis on transparency and privacy) and Mullvad offer payments in cash.
What Do You Get for Your Money?
The unique elements that Surfshark offers are its true assets. You may choose which applications and websites utilize the VPN connection with Whitelister, for example. This is useful since certain websites prevent VPN users from accessing them. The solution provided by Surfshark is very well-organized, much beyond the capabilities of the majority of the competitors.
When multi-hop is not available, a VPN connection is established to a server and your data is re-routed to a second VPN server for even better protection. Unlike IVPN, which allows you to establish a multi-hop connection between any two of its servers, Surfshark only offers preset multi-hop connections.
With Surfshark, you get a variety of privacy tools that go beyond VPN protection, such as the CustomDNS service Smart DNS, the CleanWeb brand-named ad-blocker, and the HaveIBeenPwned-like Surfshark Alert that notifies you if your accounts have been compromised. You can also use Surfshark Search to conduct privacy-concerned searches. Surfshark Alert costs $0.99 per month, and Surfshark Search costs $1.99 per month. The add-ons are OK, but considering the expensive cost of the main service, they aren't very noteworthy. With each subscription to Hotspot Shield VPN, you'll have free access to a variety of third-party services.
Virtual private networks may help you protect your privacy and security in certain cases, but not all of them. You may be tracked in a variety of ways on the internet. We suggest utilizing the privacy features integrated into most browsers as well as a tracker blocker such as the EFF's Privacy Badger to protect your privacy online. To further obscure your online activities, we recommend using the free Tor anonymization network. If you're using a password manager, we suggest utilizing two-factor authentication wherever feasible, as well as antivirus software to help keep your data safe.
Surfshark's VPN Protocols
A VPN connection may be established in a number of ways. There are OpenVPN applications for Android and iOS as well as a desktop version of Surfshark for Linux and Windows. While IKEv2 is only accessible on macOS, it is the default security protocol on all other operating systems.
For many years, we've favored OpenVPN because of its open-source heritage, which means any possible security flaws have already been found. In the wake of OpenVPN's demise, WireGuard seems to be its natural successor. WireGuard is an open-source alternative to OpenVPN that utilizes modern technologies and is said to be much quicker than previous protocols.
Surfshark Servers and Server Locations
It makes it easier to locate a server location near your house or wherever you're going, and it also offers a wide range of choices for faking your location. Surfshark's servers reach 65 nations, which is more than the usual number.
South America and Africa are underserved by other businesses, yet Surfshark excels in both of these areas. China, Russia, Turkey, and Vietnam are just few of the nations where Surfshark has servers. We'd want to see other companies follow Surfshark's lead in terms of customer service and support.
There are VPNs that utilize virtual servers and virtual locations. Software-defined virtual servers allow a single physical server to host many virtual ones. These are often used by businesses to meet demand spikes. Servers (virtual or physical) configured to seem in a different place than where they are really situated are referred to as virtual locations. However, none of these issues is intrinsically bad, therefore we prefer businesses to be up front about where and how their servers are located before making a purchase decision.
According to Surfshark, all of its devices are physical. This delighted us since the company's website clearly identifies the firm's virtual locations (Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Philippines, and South Korea). These servers are physically situated in Colombia, Hong Kong, and the Netherlands, according to a spokesperson of the company
Having additional servers is beneficial, since it increases your chances of finding one with a strong connection. However, this does not imply improved service. Surfshark, on the other hand, has more than three times as many servers as the average of the VPNs we've evaluated. However, CyberGhost continues to be the leader in this field, with a total of 6,520 servers.
Surfshark's server infrastructure is provided by “reliable third-party data centers,” according to the company. RAM-only servers with high levels of tamper resistance are used by the business. As a result, removing the server would erase all of the data on it, making it impossible for anybody to recover it. According to the company's blog, diskless servers avoid the theft of encryption keys from server settings.
Your Privacy With Surfshark
The ability for a VPN service provider to track your online behavior, monetize that activity, or hand over your personal data to law enforcement agencies is quite real. So it's critical to know the company's privacy policies as well as the legal environment in which it functions. Surfshark seems to be doing a decent job of safeguarding user privacy from what we've observed thus far. That being said, security is only effective when people have faith in it. Look elsewhere if you don't trust a business.
Internet Protocol (IP) addresses are not logged by Surfshark. Nor is bandwidth use or connection timestamps logged by Surfshark in any way. Your expectations from a VPN service provider should be met in this case, too.
Companies have informed us that they are decentralized, and Surfshark is one of them. They have offices in Cyprus and Lithuania. They have remote workers all over the world in the Philippines and the UK. As a result, we appreciate the openness of the business on this issue.
Many VPN providers use independent auditors to check on the accuracy of their claims regarding the privacy and security of their customers. A year later, in 2021, Surfshark will have completed a second audit. Cure53 performed both tests. Secondly, the audit looked at the infrastructure and VPN setup of Surfshark, providing reassurance regarding the company's hidden areas. Because of this new audit's good outcomes, we hope Surfshark will continue to conduct them in the future. A VPN's commitment to audits, although flawed, is an important step toward building confidence. For example, TunnelBear has promised to conduct service audits on a yearly basis.
Hands On With Surfshark VPN for Windows
Surfshark offers VPN client applications for Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows. In addition, the business provides a FireTV app, which is unusual. Surfshark proxy plug-ins are available for Chrome and Firefox, as well as an Xbox and PlayStation DNS resolver.
Surfshark was put to the test on a Windows 10 Pro 64-bit PC using Intel's NUC Kit NUC8i7BEH (Bean Canyon). With simple colors and a clever design that extends and contracts to display more or less information, Surfshark for Windows is a tiny, beautiful software worth checking out. We particularly like the easy access to the internet, as well as the ability to choose individual servers rather than whole nations. The interface is a little less user-friendly than in TunnelBear, but it's still extremely clean in the manner that the greatest mobile applications are. Like a responsive website, you may resize the app's window and it will adapt its layout accordingly. The app's accessible features may be modified and a smaller version can be accessed from the system tray.
When choosing a server, you have the option to filter by nation, city, or both. There isn't a way to choose and select the server you want at the same time. If you want to access internet material by faking your location, this is a handy function.
In the event that your VPN connection drops, a Kill Switch stops your computer from transmitting web traffic out in the open. Streaming to other devices or using network printers is a snap when you have the ability to restrict or allow traffic on your local network.
Surprisingly, Surfshark has a slew of sophisticated options. There's Whitelister, as well as the previously stated multihop capabilities. In comparison to other split tunneling tools, Whitelister is a little more potent. It allows you to choose whether or not app traffic should go via the VPN. You can use URLs in Whitelister as well, however you can only have URLs that go outside of the VPN connection set up. Additionally, keep in mind that your VPN traffic will seem to be coming from a regular HTTPS web browser in NoBorders Mode. If you're in an area where VPNs aren't allowed, this is a great feature to have. Other VPNs call it something else (as TunnelBear does). Camouflage Mode is the company's name for their obfuscated servers.
VPNs raise the possibility of DNS or IP address leakage. We verified that Surfshark did not leak any DNS information on the server we were using by utilizing the DNS Leak Test application.
When using a US VPN server to watch Netflix, we had no problems. To be on the safe side, remember that Netflix and VPN providers are playing a game of cat and mouse. Even though a service is working now, it may not be in the future.
Hands On With Surfshark for Android
On a Samsung A71 running Android 10, we installed Surfshark's Android VPN software from the Google Play store. While unconnected, the Android app has a basic white design with a teal gradient that emerges when connected to a VPN server, much like the iOS app. A few of the features included in the Windows app are also available in the Android version. Static servers are available, as well as multi-hop connections.
A VPN's most important function is the protection of your privacy and personal data. We put the service through its paces using the DNS Leak Test Tool on a Vienna, Austria-based server. Changing our IP address was a success, and SurfShark didn't disclose any of our DNS information.
We put a few videos from YouTube.com into the app to see how well it worked on Android. It took longer for the movies to load on this site than on others like IVPN. Each video played in approximately six seconds. A live broadcast was also available on the gaming website Twitch.TV. As soon as the stream started playing, there was no perceptible latency or buffering, and the visual quality was excellent.
Hands On With Surfshark VPN for iPhone
On an iPhone XS running iOS 14.4.1, we set up the Surfshark iPhone VPN software. Clean white and teal buttons adorn the app's layout. When you click on the big teal Connect button on the white screen, the screen transforms to different hues of teal to indicate you're now connected to a VPN server.
There are many servers to choose from, but unlike the Windows version, you cannot specify a particular server. Server location may only be set to a single country or a combination of a single country and a city. Static IP addresses and multi-hop connections are also supported by the iPhone app.
Some Windows-exclusive features, such as the Kill Switch and NoBorders mode, are available in the iOS app.
We used DNSLeakTest.com and connected to a server in Toronto, Canada to do an extended test. This has been verified by us: Surfshark altered our public IP address without leaking our DNS information.
After that, we went to Twitch.tv and watched a few broadcasts without experiencing any latency or buffering. That was followed by an unsuccessful attempt to watch a short cosmetics lesson on the YouTube app. As a result, the YouTube video loaded much more slowly on the VPN server. The video quality was great as soon as it began playing, but the load time was much longer than normal for this site.
Hands On With Surfshark for Macs
Surfshark's macOS software for Big Sur 11.2.2 was simple to locate and install on a MacBook Air (2020). The app may be found in two places: the App Store and the vendor's site. In keeping with the iOS version, the app is mostly white with teal accents.
VPN server locations are shown on the app's main screen. You can only choose the nation and, in certain instances, the city where your VPN server is situated when selecting a VPN server. CleanWeb mode and a Kill Switch are also included in the software.
Your private information must be protected if a VPN is to be effective. While connecting to a server located in Sao Paolo, Brazil, we ran an extended DNS leak test by visiting DNSLeakTest.com. Our DNS information was not leaked by this service, and our true IP address was securely concealed.
We opened up a couple YouTube videos while still connected to the Brazilian server and they all played without latency or disruptions immediately. We also went to Twitch.tv and watched a live broadcast for a few minutes; the video loaded lightning quickly and was of excellent quality.
Speed and Performance
Upload and download speeds are reduced while latency increases while utilizing a VPN. We used the Ookla Speedtest program to compute the % difference between batches of tests performed with and without a VPN to get an idea of the deterioration. To learn more about how we get at our results, check out How We Test VPNs.
Despite using the WireGuard protocol, Surfshark failed to impress in our evaluations. It significantly slowed down our download and upload speeds by 61.6% and 59.7%, respectively. That's a respectable upload rate, but the download statistics are appalling. There was a 59.5 percent rise in latency, which is somewhat over the median.
Also, keep in mind that our findings were based on testing the VPN at a certain time and location. This approach allows us to compare services while controlling for factors, although your findings will undoubtedly be different. When looking for a VPN, don't let speed be your only consideration.
Safe Surfing, for a Price
Surfshark has long been a top-notch virtual private network (VPN). It allows you to connect as many devices as you like and includes seldom seen capabilities like split tunneling and multi-hop. Transparent privacy policies and tamper-resistant RAM-only servers are other merits of the business. The most recent audit of Surfshark's VPN infrastructure shows that the business adheres to best practices and is ready to share its findings. Surfshark is the newest recipient of our Editors' Choice award, despite its high initial cost.
Specification: Surfshark VPN 26 Months Subscription