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Surfshark VPN Review

 83.33399999999999% 
(90 User reviews)
Surfshark VPN screenshot
Simon Migliano Head of Research at Top10VPN

Simon is a recognized world expert in VPNs. He's tested hundreds of VPN services and his research has featured on the BBC, The New York Times, CNet and more. Read full bio

Ask Simon about Surfshark VPN

Our Verdict

Surfshark is a very affordable VPN filled with advanced features. It's ideal for streaming, unblocking BBC iPlayer, and 15 Netflix libraries. It's also highly secure, keeping you safe while torrenting. Although its speeds could be faster, Surfshark VPN is on the whole great value for money.

Surfshark is a feature-rich yet inexpensive VPN service that suits VPN beginners. It’s highly secure, and its applications for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, and Fire OS are easy to use.

Reviewing Surfshark revealed how good a VPN it is for streaming and torrenting. It works reliably with Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu and Disney+. It’s also ideal for bypassing sports blackouts, with 26 city-level servers in the US.

In terms of P2P traffic, Surfshark doesn’t log any user activity and is protected by the safe jurisdiction of the British Virgin Islands. The apps come with many security essentials too; AES-256 encryption, the WireGuard and OpenVPN protocols, and a kill switch to mask your real IP address if your VPN connection drops.

Additionally, Surfshark’s VPN apps come with many extra security features. These include Camouflage Mode, malicious URL and ad blocking, MultiHop servers, and more. In this Surfshark review you’ll learn just how secure this VPN is and how it will not leak your true IP address location.

There’s room for improvement, though. Surfshark’s speeds are not the fastest at times, and often there’s a minor delay connecting to servers. Also, it’s no-logs policy hasn’t been independently verified yet, which is something we expect of popular VPN services.

Nevertheless, Surfshark is an excellent budget VPN that doesn’t compromise on quality and will satisfy most internet users.

Surfshark VPN Pros & Cons

  1. Excellent budget price
  2. Unblocks Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and more
  3. Supports torrenting
  4. Lots of advanced features & protocols
  5. Privacy-friendly jurisdiction
  6. Unlimited simultaneous devices
  1. Slight delay connecting to some servers
  2. Company could be more transparent
  3. No port forwarding
  4. No audit to confirm logging policy

Surfshark VPN Key Summary

Data CapUnlimited
Speed85Mbps
Logging PolicyAnonymous Server Usage Data
Data LeaksNo
JurisdictionBritish Virgin Islands (Privacy Haven)
Servers3,200+
IP Addresses3,200+
Countries66
US NetflixYes
TorrentingPermitted
Works in ChinaYes
Support24/7 Live Chat
Cheapest Price$2.21/mo over 27 months
Official WebsiteSurfshark.com

Surfshark offers excellent value for money

Pricing & Coupons

Surfshark VPN Coupon

Surfshark VPN Pricing Plan

One of Surfshark’s biggest benefits is its price point. It’s not only one of the best VPNs of 2021, it’s also one of the cheapest, at just $2.21 per month on a two-year subscription. Upfront, that’s $59.76 for the first 27 months, and annually thereafter.

There are also short-term plans – you can see all pricing plans below – and a 30-day money-back guarantee for users not looking to sign up to a long-term contract plan.

If you want to compare how Surfshark’s pricing compares to other top cheap VPNs, see our list of the best cheap VPNs.

Does Surfshark Have a Free Trial?

Surfshark offers a seven-day free trial on iOS and Android. You can access the trial applications directly from the Google Play Store or Apple App store, however you will have to submit billing information upfront.

Once you’ve installed the iOS or Android application onto your device, select ‘Start Free Trial,’ input your payment details and you’re good to go. With your login details you can then also sign into any of the Surfshark apps, including Windows and Mac. Simply download the software on each device from the website and enter your trial details to try out Surfshark on desktop too.

If you choose to continue using the Surfshark after seven days, you will be charged. However, the 30-day money-back guarantee kicks in at that point, meaning you can still get your money back if you cancel within the refund period. Ask customer support for a refund before the 30 days are up and the company will return your money, no questions asked.

  1. Monthly

    US$12.95/mo

    Billed $12.95 every month
  2. 6 months

    US$6.49/mo

    Billed $38.94 every 6 months
    Save 50%
  3. 2 years

    US$2.21/mo

    Billed $59.76 now and annually after 27 months
    Save 83%

All plans have 30-day money-back guarantee

Payment & Refund Options

Credit CardYes
PayPalYes
BitcoinYes
AliPayYes

Surfshark provides a range of payment and refund options including PayPal, all major debit cards, and even cryptocurrency. The full list of payment options includes:

  • Credit/Debit Card
  • Bitcoin
  • Ethereum
  • Ripple
  • PayPal
  • GooglePay
  • AliPay
  • Amazon Pay
  • Apple Pay

The most privacy-conscious users will be happy with the choice of cryptocurrencies, as this makes your payment anonymous. Cash payments are not available, and currently only Mullvad VPN offers this payment option.

Great for P2P and unblocking Netflix & BBC iPlayer

Streaming & P2P

Surfshark is an excellent VPN for unblocking streaming platforms. It unblocks 15 Netflix libraries, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Sky, and HBO Max.

Surfshark unblocks US Netflix and 14 other international libraries, including:

  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • France
  • Germany
  • India
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • South Korea
  • Singapore
  • Turkey
  • United Kingdom

We experienced high video quality and lag-less streaming with Surfshark. All of Surfshark’s UK servers work with BBC iPlayer, too, which is highly impressive. This was also the first VPN to unblock Disney+ on its release, and has been our best choice ever since.

While there are no dedicated streaming servers, the vast majority of servers will unblock streaming platforms anyway. In our most recent tests, only the Charlotte and St.Louis servers didn’t work with US Netflix, for example.

Surfshark also offers Smart DNS and Trust DNS (on Android and iOS only) features. Both are proxy tools that allow you to unblock video content on devices such as Apple TV, games consoles and Smart TVs.

Surfshark’s native Amazon Fire Stick TV is also very well made, and it unblocks many streaming services like HBO Go, Hulu, Netflix, and YouTube. Because Surfshark allows P2P traffic on most servers, you can also use to access Kodi streams anonymously.

Is Surfshark Good for Torrenting?

Surfshark is also an excellent VPN for torrenting. Its almost no-logs policy and high encryption help hide your P2P activity from your ISP, and the VPN comes with an automatic kill switch that stops your IP address from showing if your VPN connection drops. This keeps your download activity safe from any accidental exposures.

All Surfshark servers allow for P2P file-sharing, though some of them are specifically optimized for P2P.

Some of the servers optimized for P2P include:

  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • Germany
  • Hong Kong
  • Italy
  • Luxembourg
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Singapore
  • Spain
  • UK
  • US

If you’re torrenting on a server location that isn’t optimized for torrenting, your traffic will be automatically routed to servers that are. If you’re in Europe or Asia or outside of the UK, P2P traffic will be routed through Surfshark’s Netherlands server. If you’re in the Americas, but outside of the US or Canada, it will be routed through Canadian servers.

These fast P2P-optimized connections will allow you to torrent anonymously using torrent clients like BitTorrent, Deluge, Transmission, uTorrent, and Vuze. You’ll also be able to stream privately P2P-based services such as Ace Player, VLC, and PopcornTime

However, Surfshark does not allow seeding as there is no port forwarding option due to the “security threat.” It makes sense for Surfshark to prioritize safety, but most other VPNs allow the user the option.

Surfshark is quick, but could be faster

Speed Test Results

Surfshark’s speeds are more than fast enough for streaming, torrenting, and other data-intensive activities. It closely competes with some of the fastest VPNs.

We recorded an average speed loss of 15% when connecting to nearby servers, and 41% loss when connecting to US servers. These speed results are good, and fast enough for a good web experience.

Local Speed Tests

We tested our connection speed before and after connecting to a server in London, close to our real location.

Surfshark’s same-country local connection speeds are very good, dropping just 15% to 85Mbps. If you’re in the US and connect to a nearby US server, you can expect similar results. This is more than fast enough to browse the web without issue, though competitors like Private Internet Access and NordVPN have even lower speed losses.

Download speed without Sursfhark: 99 Mbps

Download speed with Surfshark: 84 Mbps

Our download speed loss when Surfshark is running is: 15%

These are very respectable speed results, and you’ll have no trouble streaming, torrenting or surfing the web.

Local Speed Test Results

Before using Surfshark VPN:

  1. DownloadMbps

    99

  2. UploadMbps

    99

  3. Pingms

    1

When connected to Surfshark VPN:

  1. DownloadMbps

    84

  2. UploadMbps

    91

  3. Pingms

    14

Long-Distance Speed Tests

Surfshark’s speeds over long-distance connections were also good. We connected its servers in the US, Australia, Canada, and Germany from our London office and measured our connection speeds before and after.

As expected, the servers located furthest from our office in the UK saw the largest speed losses.

We recorded an average speed loss of 41% when connected to the US, and 40% connecting to Australia. This is not unusual for long-distance connections, though competitors like Hotspot Shield recorded losses of just 17% on US servers.

Here are Surfshark’s full long-distance speed results:

  • USA: 56Mbps (download) & 77Mbps (upload) ‒ 41% speed loss
  • Canada: 71Mbps (download) & 73Mbps (upload) ‒ 28% speed loss
  • Germany: 71Mbps (download) & 93Mbps (upload) ‒ 27% speed loss
  • Australia: 59Mbps (download) & 58Mbps (upload) ‒ 39% speed loss

Surfshark’s international speeds are good and stable across the board, with speed loss consistently under 50% when connecting to servers very far away. However, it’s still slower than the current fastest VPNs.

We test and compare VPN speeds using the same scientific speed-testing methodology, currently testing speeds on the OpenVPN protocol, to keep comparisons fair and consistent. Surfshark uses the IKEv2/IPsec protocol by default, so you may experience faster speeds using this protocol.

How Fast is Surfshark Compared to Other VPNs?

In addition to testing VPN speeds manually, we’ve also developed an automated VPN speed test tool that is constantly testing VPN speeds around the world. Tests run automatically four times per day, and test connection speeds are capped at 100Mbps to recreate a typical home internet connection.

The graph below compares Surfshark VPN’s average loss of internet speed to other popular VPNs for New York to New York connections:

VPN Speed Performance Comparison Chart

Use our Speed Test Tool to see Surfshark’s worldwide speeds.

Surfshark’s VPN speeds have been improving month by month. In fact, the gap with faster providers like NordVPN and Private Internet Access is narrowing down. Moreover, Surfshark is now consistently beating CyberGhost in many speed tests.

Surfshark is safe and private

Logging & Jurisdiction

There is no reason to doubt Surfshark’s commitment to user privacy. It does not keep logs of user activity or connection data, and its jurisdiction of the British Virgin Islands is a privacy haven.

We’ve read the service’s logging policy closely and can confirm that it’s sensible and trustworthy, but not completely zero-logs.

To be specific, Surfshark collects:

  • Aggregated performance data
  • Unsuccessful connection attempts
  • Frequency of use

While Surfshark isn’t a no-logs VPN by definition, it comes close to it. Crucially, it doesn’t collect personally identifiable information, meaning it won’t store your browsing activity or IP address location.

Surfshark Privacy Policy Screenshot

Excerpt from Surfshark’s privacy policy

However, Surfshark does store your account details and billing information, in order to process your payments. This is common among VPN providers, but if you’re uncomfortable with it you can subscribe using cryptocurrencies.

The VPN service’s privacy policy is worded as follows:

“To maintain a perfect quality of our Services and provide you with efficient support we collect diagnostics information and monitor crash reports on our apps. The information we collect contains aggregated performance data, the frequency of use of our services, unsuccessful connection attempts and other similar information.”

There are some very minor causes for concern here. Firstly, we were alarmed by the phrase “other similar information.” A good privacy policy is as specific as possible – it is unclear exactly what “similar information” entails.

Secondly, Surfshark collects advertising identifiers – unique, resettable IDs for advertising provided by third parties. You can opt out of personalized ads by adjusting the settings in your app.

While Surfshark’s browser extensions have been audited by German security company Cure53, there has still been no independent audit of its VPN applications, or its logging policy.

In our opinion, Surfshark needs to follow suit. Without a confirmed audit, there’s always room for doubt around logging practices. Many major VPN companies, like ExpressVPN and VyprVPN, have already done so to earn even greater trust.

Conclusion of Cure53 Surfshark Audit

Conclusion of Cure53 Surfshark Audit

It’s worth noting that there’s a separate privacy policy for its BlindSearch and HackLock features. BlindSearch collects an aggregated number of performed searches and HackLock stores your email address. Both tools are separate from the main VPN applications.

Who owns Surfshark?

Surfshark is owned by Surfshark Ltd, and a company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) in 2018. This is a very sensible place to set up a VPN company. There are no intrusive data retention laws or practices in the BVI, and it’s widely viewed as a privacy-haven.

What’s more, the British Virgin Islands are outside the reach of the Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes surveillance agreements. This means Surfshark Ltd cannot be compelled by foreign governments to collect or share user logs. In the spirit of transparency, Surfshark publishes the number of government agency requests it receives on its warrant canary page. Currently, it has received zero requests for information.

Surfshark Warrant Canary Feature on the Surfshark Website

Surfshark has a warrant canary feature on the website.

As for the people behind Surfshark, the company has taken a similar approach to ExpressVPN in order to protect its personnel. In other words, it’s rather secretive about its company structure, history, and management team. Its CEO is known as “Par Kaz” (a pseudonym) and its CTO is called Magnus Steinberg; he’s quoted frequently on the Surfshark blog and in various publications.

While this level of secrecy can be off-putting to some, we respect the desire of individuals in the VPN industry to remain private. We’ve discovered nothing compromising in our in-depth research, and Surfshark is certainly proactive in advancing privacy and security initiatives.

After all, Surfshark is a member of the VPN Trust Initiative and it has received positive coverage for its Digital Quality of Life Index.

Many advanced features for added security

Privacy & Security Analysis

Protocols

IKEv2/IPSec

OpenVPN (TCP/UDP)

WireGuard

Encryption

AES-256

Security

DNS Leak Blocking

VPN Kill Switch

WebRTC Leak Blocking

Advanced features

Double VPN

Smart DNS

SOCKS

Split Tunneling

Please see our VPN Glossary if these terms confuse you and would like to learn more.

Surfshark includes all of the essential security features you would expect from a top-tier service. This includes robust encryption, a selection of secure protocols, leak protection, and an automatic kill switch on all native applications. We also found no evidence of IP, DNS, or WebRTC leaks.

AES-256 encryption is used on all platforms, with ChaCha encryption also available for Android users. IKEv2 is the default protocol used on all apps, though you can choose OpenVPN in the settings menu. The Windows, Android, iOS and Mac apps also allow you to choose between TCP and UDP OpenVPN connections. Like many other providers, Surfshark also introduced its patched WireGuard protocol recently, which has much less bandwidth overhead than OpenVPN.

Windows users also have access to the Shadowsocks (SOCKS5) proxy. This is another helpful tool to help users bypass internet censorship in countries like China and Russia.

Furthermore, Surfshark is filled with advanced security features built to enhance your experience and safeguard your data. Surfshark’s advanced security features include:

  • BlindSearch is a private search engine designed to allow users to search the web with no ads or trackers. You can add BlindSearch, along with HackLock, to your existing subscription for an extra $0.99 per month.

  • Camouflage Mode, also known as obfuscation. This is a technology that disguises your VPN traffic to make it look like ‘normal’ browsing. This means even your ISP can’t tell you’re using a VPN.
  • CleanWeb is Surfshark’s proprietary ad, tracker, and malware blocker. It is not turned on by default.

  • MultiHop, sometimes known as Double VPN, routes your traffic via two different VPN servers instead of one. This additional step makes you harder to track, though it may reduce connection speeds.
  • Surfshark Alert is a breach detection tool that scans the web in real-time, checking that your email and login information hasn’t been leaked online. This feature comes as an added bundle with BlindSearch.

  • Whitelister is a split tunneling feature that allows you to define which applications and websites shouldn’t use the VPN connection. You can find it in the sidebar menu of the Surfshark app, under ‘Features.’
  • A VPN kill switch is an essential feature for any VPN, preventing your true IP address from leaking if your VPN connection drops. To enable it on Windows, toggle the setting in the app’s security menu. On Android devices, you’ll need to enable it manually in the device settings.

It’s encouraging to see Surfshark display a commitment to privacy even beyond the use of a VPN, and it’s impressive that these features all come bundled for such a low price. For the record, Hacklock and Blindsearch need to be downloaded separately, and cost an extra $0.99 per month.

Surfshark was also the first VPN to develop a GPS spoofing feature. An Android-only feature found under ‘Virtual Location,’ it allows you to easily change your GPS location and bypass GPS geo-blocks set by various mobile apps. Hopefully, GPS spoofing will be rolled out to the iOS app soon, too.

Surfshark have also gone the extra mile to include a two-factor authentication (2FA) option for its users too. It has a guide on how to enable this useful feature here.

For the more technically minded, Surfshark’s encryption uses an RSA-2048 handshake and HMAC SHA256 data authentication. Perfect Forward Secrecy is implemented through the Diffie-Hellman Key Exchange (DHE), which means that encryption keys are not reused between sessions for an added layer of security.

In simple terms, Surfshark is a very safe VPN service. With the recent addition of OpenVPN across all apps, Surfshark’s encryption and protocol offering is as secure as it gets. All of its advanced features come in one easily managed package, which is more than can be said for some VPN services.

Leak, Virus & Tracking Tests

Surfshark uses private DNS on every server to protect your DNS requests. We tested this by connecting to a US server from our office in London, and recorded zero DNS, IPv6 or WebRTC leaks when using its apps. You can see the results of our leak test here:

Surfshark is virus-free too. We scanned the VPN software for any malicious files and it came back completely clean:

We also tested for any trackers in the app that could potentially compromise your privacy, so we ran it through the εxodus tool. This helps expose any trackers or permissions present in Android apps. Here’s what we found:

Surfshark’s Android app has four trackers for Google Analytics, GoogleCrashLytics, Google Firebase Analytics, and AppsFlyer. Analytics aren’t too concerning as it allows Surfshark to maintain the performance of its app and see how users interact with its service. Some of the top VPN services have similar tracking in place, although some – like Astrill VPN and Hide.me – have none at all.

The Israeli-based AppsFlyer is a little more concerning. This is a marketing tracker that “uses artificial intelligence and machine learning for big data analytics.” According to VentureBeat, AppsFlyer leverages metadata from 98% of the world’s mobile devices. While this doesn’t sound good for privacy at all, its privacy policy states that it doesn’t share data with any third parties.

The Android app also has 16 permissions, which dictate the level of access the software has to your device. Three of these permissions are considered ‘special’ or ‘dangerous’ according to Google’s protections levels, including:

  • Access to your camera
  • Access to the contents of your SD card
  • Permission to modify and delete the contents of your SD card

These permissions are unnecessary for a VPN application designed for privacy. We’d like to see these removed, or at the very least explained, in future app updates.

3,200+ servers in 66 countries

Server Locations

Globe with a blue flag66Countries
Image of a city landscape100+Cities
Image of a pink marker3,200+IP Addresses

Surfshark has a large network of over 3,200+ servers in 66 countries. It’s as large a network as CyberGhost or Private Internet Access, but it’s extensive enough to keep most users happy. The majority of servers are in Europe, but this is the case with most VPNs.

The further a VPN server is from your actual location, the slower your internet speeds will typically be. That’s why having as many servers as possible is important. If Surfshark wants to expand its server park, we recommend adding coverage in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.

One of Surfshark’s server highlights is that he gives city-level choice in 12 countries:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • France
  • Germany
  • India
  • Italy
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Russia
  • Spain
  • UK
  • US

The United States has the best location coverage, with 26 city-level server locations. This is very good US city coverage, and will come in handy to US residents looking to bypass sports blackouts.

Furthermore, the three locations in Canada – Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver – cover both Canadian coasts, and the 100 servers in five Australian cities is very good coverage, too.

You’ll see in Surfshark’s apps that it lists different types of server, too. Windows users will see options for static IP, virtual servers, and MultiHop. Mac users will see labels for physical, virtual, P2P, and MultiHop.

Static IP servers are worth clarifying. This means the IP address you connect to remains the same whenever you use that server. This allows for faster speeds and easier access to geo-restricted content. While on paper this poses a greater privacy risk, the reality is that many people will be using the same IP address, not just you. This means that any activity on that static IP address can’t be linked to you.

One very positive inclusion is MultiHop servers, sometimes called ‘Double VPN’. These add an extra layer of security, by ‘bouncing’ your traffic from one encrypted server to another, and then onto a website or application. This may slow down speed, but it brings added privacy.

As it stands, Surfshark’s server listings are difficult to understand for VPN beginners. We’d like to see more consistency with the labeling of servers, especially those optimized for services like Netflix.

Unfortunately, latency and server load information is not available within the app. This is useful information to help select the fastest server, which providers like ExpressVPN and CyberGhost do offer.

What Type of Servers Does Surfshark Use?

Surfshark allows users to choose between virtual locations and physical locations. Virtual locations are marked with a small ‘v’ on the Window app, and listed separately on the Mac app.

Virtual locations will assign you an IP address in the country of your choice even if the actual server is located elsewhere. Physical locations refer to servers actually located in the country you’re connected to.

Virtual locations allow Surfshark to cover more locations around the world, and can often lead to better speeds. However, if the actual server is much further from your physical location than advertised, you may see a drop in performance.

These virtual server locations include:

  • Albania
  • Chile
  • Costa Rica
  • Slovenia

There’s nothing wrong with using virtual locations, and it’s good that Surfshark clearly marks which servers are virtual. However, it’s unclear how much of its network server network Surfshark actually owns. Both types of location – physical and virtual – could be hosted on rented machines, which can pose a risk to your privacy.

Following in ExpressVPN and NordVPN’s footsteps, in July 2020 Surfshark moved away from hard drive technology and now operates a completely diskless, RAM-only server network. This vastly improves security, as information cannot be physically extracted from the servers, and it enables central management of the whole network. Very few VPNs have this feature.

Surfshark bypasses aggressive web censorship

Bypassing Censorship

Surfshark has clearly put a lot of work into bypassing aggressive online censorship. We can confirm that it’s currently one of the best VPNs to circumvent VPN blocks in countries like China, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Its additional anonymity features such as Camouflage Mode and NoBorders Mode, plus its Shadowsocks proxy, allow Surfshark to work reliably in highly-censored countries.

Camouflage Mode is an obfuscation tool designed to make your VPN traffic appear as normal traffic, disguising your VPN usage from ISPs and thereby eluding web censors. This feature is automatically activated whenever you connect with the OpenVPN (TCP or UDP) protocol, and is the main reason why Surfshark works in high censorship nations.

The NoBorders Mode is a tool designed specifically to beat internet restrictions and censorship. This feature detects when you’re connected to a restricted network or in a censored country, and automatically redirects your traffic elsewhere.

Surfshark also uses ShadowSocks, also called SOCKS5. This is an open-source encrypted proxy, usually used by torrenters, that can often bypass strict web censorship in countries like China. However, ShadowSocks requires manual configuration on most devices. Here are helpful online guides on how to do this for Android, MacOS, and Windows.

You can also use Surfshark and the Tor Browser at the same time for extra anonymity, which is useful against censorship. To do this, connect to a server first and then launch your Tor browser. However, it’s worth remembering that combining both tools will reduce your internet speeds significantly. You can find out more about using Tor with a VPN in our Tor vs. VPN guide<.

Surfshark offers unlimited simultaneous connections

Device Compatibility

Apps

Windows LogoWindows
Mac LogoMac
iOS LogoiOS
Android LogoAndroid
Linux LogoLinux
Router LogoRouter

Surfshark is compatible with every major platform including Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS and Fire OS. It also provides VPN browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox, and even a custom app for Linux. The Surfshark website has helpful setup guides for all devices.

Additionally, there is no simultaneous device limit, meaning you can use Surfshark on all your devices with just one Surfshark subscription. This is a great feature that very few VPN providers offer, with most VPN services setting the limit to five devices.

If Surfshark doesn’t have a native app for a device you own, you can always install the VPN on your router. Surfshark’s software is compatible with DD-WRT, Tomato and AsusWRT routers. Any device connected to the router will use the VPN connection, if enabled. Or, you can use Surfshark’s Smart DNS solution on devices like Apple TV, Roku, PlayStation and Xbox.

Games Consoles & Streaming Devices

AppleTV LogoAppleTV
Amazon Fire TV LogoAmazon Fire TV
Android TV LogoAndroid TV
Chromecast LogoChromecast
Nintendo LogoNintendo
PlayStation LogoPlayStation
Roku LogoRoku
Smart TV LogoSmart TV
Xbox LogoXbox

Surfshark can really enhance your streaming experience, especially on Amazon Fire TV Stick and Apple TV.

To install Surfshark on Amazon Firestick, simply subscribe to the VPN and then download the Fire OS app from the Amazon App Store. For extra help, read our guide on setting up a VPN on Fire TV Stick.

You can also access geo-restricted content on your Smart TV, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Apple TV by changing the DNS address provided by your Internet Service Provider (ISP). This can be done using Surfshark’s Smart DNS technology.

You can activate the Smart DNS feature via “My Account” on the Surfshark website. Once you’ve done this, you will be sent an email with further instructions. While Smart DNS will allow you to access restricted content, it does not provide the same security level as normal VPN browsing, because your traffic is not encrypted.

Browser Extensions

Chrome LogoChrome
Firefox LogoFirefox

Surfshark has developed safe and independently audited browser extensions for both Google Chrome and Firefox. It’s not free to everyone like CyberGhost’s extension is, but it’s certainly worth adding it to your browser if you prefer changing your IP address directly from your web browsers.

Both browser add-ons work similarly to the full Surfshark VPN app, but there are very little settings and they are proxies. In other words, they spoof your IP location but they don’t protect your privacy as well as full VPN software. Currently, ExpressVPN has a VPN browser extension that’s comparable to a full VPN. It’s worth reading about the differences between proxies and VPNs in our ‘VPN vs Proxy’ guide.

Easy setup and user-friendly apps

Ease of Use

How to Install & Set Up Surfshark VPN

Surfshark’s native applications are well-designed, functional, and reasonably easy to use. The interfaces are clear and, even if you’re new to VPNs, you should have little trouble using Surfshark’s advanced features.

There are also plenty of customization tools to personalize your VPN experience, including language change, auto-connect, status notifications, ‘Dark Mode’, and ‘Mini Mode’.

All of the native apps have an automatic kill switch, NoBorders mode, MultiHop, and CleanWeb. However, there are some differences between platforms, with some features present on certain devices and not others.

Each platform presents Surfshark’s server types in a different way, which can be confusing. We’d like to see more consistency between native applications as well as the option to view server load and streaming-optimized servers on all platforms.

Surfshark’s Windows Client

Surfshark offers a standard looking Windows app with simple navigation options on the left-hand-side. The main dashboard features a large connection button and a list of your most recent country connections.

The menu is a sidebar condensed to just a few options: main screen, locations, settings, and features. A Quick Connect button is also available to automatically connect you to the most optimal server based on your location.

Surfshark provides a clear list of server locations and a search bar to help you quickly find the server you want. Windows users will see options for static IP servers, virtual servers, and MultiHop, and there’s also a favorites system to manage the locations you most commonly connect to. Unlike the Mac client, there is no easily accessible list of P2P servers on the Windows app. You have to use the Smart Search and click the P2P option.Windows users do benefit from added customization options, including the ability to go into Dark Mode and Mini Mode.

You can change the basic menu to a smaller app window by right-clicking the system tray icon. From this smaller window, you can quickly connect to the fastest server or choose your most recent location without having to open the full interface.

The choice to switch between protocols (including OpenVPN) is also made simple on the Windows app, with a drop-down menu in the app Settings.

Overall, Surfshark’s Windows application is nicely designed and easy to navigate. In the location section, we’d like to see an indication of server load or ping times for city-level servers so users can easily find the best-performing server for their location.

Surfshark’s MacOS Client

Surfshark’s Mac application is similar, but the locations are listed as an even simpler side menu for navigation. You’ll also see options between Physical</b, Virtual, P2P and MultiHop servers made much more prominent compared to Windows.

The Settings menu just above the servers is also nicely presented on Mac. The Features menu gives you one-button access to tools such as HackLock and BlindSearch, which means they’re never too far away. This type of access is exclusive to the MacOS client ‒ if you’re a Windows user you’ll have to navigate to the Surfshark website to find these tools.

Surfhshark’s Android & iOS Apps

Surfshark’s mobile apps are also attractive and easy to use. The user interface is deceptively simple, with most of the important features lined up at the bottom of the screen. All of the features and functions work well on mobile devices for both Android and iOS.

Surfshark’s mobile VPN offerings are similar to its desktop counterparts, which is rare. The interface is the same and it includes many of the same advanced features, including CleanWeb, split tunneling via the Whitelister feature, and multihop connections. It runs OpenVPN/IKEv2 and Shadowsocks protocols and comes with a kill switch to protect you if the VPN connection drops.

As mentioned earlier, the Android app also comes with a GPS spoofing feature, as well as a ‘use small packets’ setting to improve network performance.

Surfshark offers 24/7 live chat support

Customer Support

24/7 Live chat supportYes
Email support via an online formYes
Tutorial VideosYes
Online ResourcesYes

Surfshark offers fast, friendly, and helpful customer support with 24/7 live chat and a ticketing system available. There’s also an online help section featuring installation guides, troubleshooting, an FAQ, and knowledgebase, which has everything from setup tutorials to billing information. There’s also the option to send an email, if you’d prefer.

Customer service is an incredibly important part of any premium VPN service. Many VPNs still don’t have a live chat feature, and even fewer have it available 24/7. For this reason, Surfshark’s efficient customer support is a huge advantage.

To access Surfshark’s live chat simply head to the website and click the Chat icon in the bottom right corner of the page. We found their customer support team to be fast and informative, and we got an answer to our query in under a minute.

However, technical questions might take a little longer. When we asked about ChaCha encryption, our support agent took a while to respond and their answer was lacking in detail. If you have a particularly technical question, we’d recommend using Surfshark’s email ticketing system instead.

Do We Recommend Surfshark?

The Bottom Line

We recommend Surfshark as a high-quality, secure, and reliable VPN service. Its native VPN applications come with a great array of advanced features and they easily unblock streaming websites like Netflix and BBC iPlayer. Its 24/7 live chat support is also a great feature for beginners that need help using a VPN for the first time.

Users looking to use a VPN in China or other censored countries can also take advantage of Surfshark’s obfuscation tools that effectively bypass blocks and restrictions. If you’re living in China, Russia, or Turkey, Surfshark is a good anti-censorship tool to use.

However, as we’ve highlighted in this Surfshark review, there are some minor issues with the VPN service. Primarily, we want to see its logging policy independently audited following the example of other major VPN services.

On the whole, Surfshark VPN is an impressive service, especially for the very affordable price. If you’re looking for unrestricted streaming and torrenting capabilities, or unlimited simultaneous connections, then it is excellent value for money.

Alternatives to Surfshark VPN

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is the best all-round VPN and patches up any holes that Surfshark has. The problem is ExpressVPN is much more expensive, priced at $6.67 per month on its best deal. Quality wise it’s better, but be prepared to pay a bit more than what Surfshark is asking. Read ExpressVPN review

NordVPN

NordVPN

NordVPN has more servers than Surfshark and it’s quicker. It’s style and function is very similar as well, so there’s no loss on the usability front. It’s slightly more expensive, but it’s one of our highest ranked VPNs and well worth thinking about if you’re not convinced by Surfshark. Read NordVPN review

About the Author


  • Simon Migliano

    Simon is a recognized world expert in VPNs. He's tested hundreds of VPN services and his research has featured on the BBC, The New York Times, CNet and more. Read full bio


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