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Surfshark Review

By Simon Migliano | Updated January 27, 2020

Ranked #12 out of 74 VPNs

Surfshark screenshot

Read Surfshark user reviews

When picking a VPN, trust is crucial. Would you trust a VPN that was only founded in 2018? Or, more importantly, should you?

That’s one of the key questions you have to ask yourself when considering Surfshark VPN. With so many established rivals, does Surfshark do enough for you to place your trust in such a new product?

We wanted to find out the answer for ourselves, along with a whole load of other questions:

  • Where is Surfshark located?
  • Is it free to use?
  • Does Surfshark work in China?
  • Does it work on Fire TV Stick?
  • What is Smart DNS?
  • And, of course, is Surfshark a good VPN?

We’re relieved to say we’re pleased with what we found – Surfshark is a very good VPN, and by the end of this review you’ll understand exactly why. You can see our key pros and cons just below.


Surfshark Pros & Cons

  1. Good speeds
  2. Works with Netflix and BBC iPlayer
  3. User-friendly apps, quick and easy setup
  4. Connect securely to 60 countries
  5. Minimal data collection
  1. Not as fast as other top-tier VPN services
  2. P2P traffic routed through specific country servers

Surfshark Key Summary

Top Download Speed76Mbps
Logging PolicyAnonymous Server Usage Data
IP, DNS or WebRTC LeaksNo
JurisdictionBritish Virgin Islands (Privacy Haven)
ServersNot disclosed
IP Addresses1000+
US NetflixYes
Works in ChinaUnreliable
Support24/7 Live Chat
Cheapest Price$1.99/mo over 24 Months
Official WebsiteSurfshark.com

Want to know more? Then read on for the full, in-depth Surfshark review – starting with some background on the company itself.

Who is Surfshark?

About & Logging

Surfshark is a relatively new company on the VPN market, but where is it based?

Founded in 2018, Surfshark is based in the British Virgin Islands – one of the most sensible jurisdictions in the world to base your VPN service.

There are no obligatory data retention laws in the British Virgin Islands, and it has no connection to any global data sharing schemes between governments.

Your data and information are well and truly safe from government snooping. 

There’s also the nice feature of a warrant canary on the Surfshark website that provides a daily update on the company’s interactions with law enforcement: to this day it has never received a gagging order, warrant or National Security letter.

Logging Policy

Screenshot of Surfshark Privacy Policy

Excerpt from Surfshark privacy policy

We dove deep into Surfshark’s privacy policy

We’ve resurfaced with some bad news: Surfshark collects data.

What data it collects is:

  • Aggregated performance data
  • Frequency of use of the service
  • Unsuccessful connection attempts and “other similar information” 

Surfshark are keen to express that none of this is “identifiable information” and is collected for diagnostic purposes.

That’s true, and many top VPN providers collect temporary metadata or usage stats in order to maintain its service, including our #1 suggestion ExpressVPN. 

For this reason, it’s not something to worry about too much, but many are seeking that holy grail among VPN services — a no logs.

If you’re not puritan about this, there’s no reason not to consider Surfshark as your VPN. It’s a safe and private choice. 

Good speeds, but can't compete with the best

Speed & Reliability

Surfshark is not a slow VPN, but it can’t compete with the speeds of the best VPN services. 

Surfshark’s same-country download speeds are noticeably slower than the fastest VPNs we’ve seen, but they’ll still be more than enough for casual VPN users.

One thing we can say for Surfshark is the consistency of its connections. There were barely any fluctuations in our testing, with the connection never once dropping.

Surfshark even performed well over longer distances, such as Japan and Australia. It may not be enough to stream in Ultra HD across multiple devices, it’ll certainly do the job for most everyday users.

Uploads are consistently better across the board and ping latency is okay, although perhaps not enough for gamers to consider Surfshark. 

Surfshark even performed well over longer distances, such as Japan and Australia. It may not be enough to stream in Ultra HD across multiple devices, it’ll certainly do the job for most everyday users. 

Speed results from our physical location in London (100Mbps fibre optic connection) to a London test server.

Before using Surfshark:

  1. DownloadMbps


  2. UploadMbps


  3. Pingms


When connected to Surfshark:

  1. DownloadMbps


  2. UploadMbps


  3. Pingms


Download speed without Surfshark: 92Mbps

Download speed with Surfshark: 76Mbps

Our download speed loss when Surfshark is running 18%

We put all of the VPNs on the site through a rigorous scientific speed testing process, determining the average speeds from multiple locations across the globe. These are the average speeds you can expect to pick up from these locations:

  • USA: 34Mbps (download) & 40Mbps (upload)
  • Germany: 56Mbps (download) & 76Mbps (upload)
  • Singapore: 25Mbps (download) & 8Mbps (upload)
  • Australia: 19Mbps (download) & 3Mbps (upload)

Not many locations, but speeds are still decent

Server Locations

Globe with a blue flag61Countries
Image of a city landscape100+Cities
Image of a pink marker1000+IP Addresses

Surfshark’s 100+ location server network is not the most we’ve seen, but it is higher than the industry average and certainly enough to deliver the speeds you need.

1000+ IP addresses is a small number when compared to top-tier VPN services, but it will work to protect your anonymity and provide a reliable connection. This is especially the case in the more popular server locations. 

26 locations in the US available to connect to is a fair distribution and three in the UK should do the job.

Three locations in Canada – Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver – may seem few for such a large region, but it covers both coasts and so helps to spread coverage more evenly.

100 servers in five locations in Australia is good, covering the south and east coast of the nation quite well, but it could do with some northern distribution to equalize coverage. 

But Surfshark only provides two locations in Africa — South Africa and Libya — which is far from extensive for such a huge area.

Screenshot of Surfshark VPN Server List

Surfshark VPN server list

Great for streaming

Streaming & Torrenting

Surfshark consistently unblocks Netflix in the US.

As there is no dedicated server, we tested them all to ensure you get instant access. Check out those that work and those that don’t:

It also unblocks a further 12 Netflix libraries: Canada, Japan, France, Germany, Netherlands, India, South Korea, Italy, Australia, Turkey, Brazil, and Singapore.

Surfshark also works on all UK servers (London, Manchester, Glasgow) to unblock BBC iPlayer, which is often difficult to access with other VPNs.

We used to be only able to access BBC iPlayer through the Surfshark browser extension, but we’ve had consistent, super-quick success in recent tests through the app alone.

There’s also something called Surfshark Smart DNS – but what is it?

Surfshark Smart DNS helps to unlock content more reliably on devices that don’t support VPN functionality, although it also doesn’t offer as much protection as the full VPN service (it does not encrypt your traffic), so think carefully before using it. 

Surfshark also works with:

  • Disney+
  • Amazon Prime Video
  • Hulu
  • Sky
  • HBO
  • Kodi

This is one of the best VPNs you can get for streaming.


While you can torrent on any Surfshark server that you like, traffic is automatically channeled to servers that are optimized for it. These include:

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

If you’re in Europe or Asia and outside of the UK, it will be routed through the Surfshark Netherlands server. If you’re in the Americas but outside of the US or Canada, it will route through Canadian servers.

This way, you get top-notch speeds.

These P2P connections include streaming players:

  • Ace Player
  • VLC
  • PopcornTime

They also include torrent software:

  • BitTorrent
  • qBitTorrent
  • Transmission
  • Vuze
  • uTorrent.

Surfshark’s good privacy policy and the inclusion of a kill switch makes torrenting extra safe for users. 

Those who use their connection for a lot of P2P traffic should take a look at our list of the best VPNs for torrenting

Works in China


illustration of a map of the world.

It used to be quite an effort to get Surfshark working in censored countries, such as China.

They’ve since removed the requirement to download a specially configured file, and now the Surfshark app automatically recognises if you’re trying to connect within a censored country.

Detecting this, Surfshark turns on ‘NoBorders Mode’. This is a big improvement.

Surfshark offers a reliable solution that extends to other high censorship countries like:

  • Russia
  • Turkey
  • UAE

It’s unfortunate that Surfshark’s ability to bypass censorship is not complemented by a range of servers in neighboring free-speech countries.

While it may bypass Turkish or UAE censorship, there are no servers in the Middle East with the sole exception of Israel.

Still, with China and Russia, there are enough neighboring nations to allow decent speeds when connected.

No device limit is a real plus

Platforms & Devices


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

All of the major desktop and mobile operating systems work with Surfshark, including:

  • MacOS
  • iOS
  • Windows
  • Android
  • Linux

Coverage is also available via router and there are setup guides for all of them on the Surfshark website.

Surfshark VPN has no device limit either, so you can protect everything you own all at once.

Games Consoles & Streaming Devices

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

Surfshark is a good VPN for your entertainment needs, available to use with game consoles and streaming devices.

Surfshark can be used with popular consoles like the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, plus streaming devices like AppleTV, by connecting them to a configured router. Surfshark has also just released a native app for Amazon Fire TV Stick.

With Surfshark, you can set up the VPN on almost any smart TV via SmartDNS which will bypass geo-restrictions and provide enough speed to stream content from around the globe.

For more simple, one-click solutions for gaming and streaming devices, you should look into a provider like ExpressVPN, as it offers a MediaStreamer DNS service that’s designed to make this process as easy as possible.

Browser Extensions

Chrome LogoChrome
Firefox LogoFirefox

Surfshark offers browser extensions for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, so you can spoof your IP location and encrypt your web traffic.

We’d recommend using them with the full Surfshark program too, though, as they only cover what goes on in your web browser.Surfshark Browser Extension Screenshot

Good security with OpenVPN availability

Encryption & Security







DNS Leak Blocking

VPN Kill Switch

WebRTC Leak Blocking

Advanced features

Double VPN

Smart DNS


Split Tunneling

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

Surfshark’s Windows app offers the choice of OpenVPN, our personal favorite protocol for making you safe. But if you’re using Surfshark on a different platform then you’ll need to navigate a bit of manual configuration to get OpenVPN. 

Its AES-256 encryption is widely regarded as near-uncrackable and our testing confirmed that Surfshark has no DNS or IP leaks – plus there’s an ad-blocker and kill switch.

Special mention should also go to the MultiHop feature, which routes your traffic through two different VPN servers for extra security (albeit slower speeds) and Surfshark’s split tunneling, which keeps you connected while letting certain apps and websites operate outside of the VPN.

Surfshark also offers plenty of extra security features, such as CleanWeb (blocks malware), BlindSearch (private search tool) and HackLock (a data leak alert), and has ChaCha encryption as a manual choice for Android users.

It is also the only VPN that offers a GPS spoofing feature to avoid unwanted tracking. This takes the GPS coordinates of your connected server and uses that whenever software asks for GPS data. If anyone wanted to do this before they would have had to download third-party apps. This is a great feature, but it’s only available on its Android app.

Surfshark’s browser extensions, however, don’t come with WebRTC leak protection to prevent DNS leaks

Simple, great looking app

Ease of Use

How to Install & Set Up Surfshark

Surfshark’s app looks great and it’s responsive, too.

The Surfshark app is so minimal, in fact, that you’d be forgiven for thinking it was oversimplified. However, all the setting to control the more advanced features of the VPN are hidden away behind a single settings menu – they’re smartly grouped and clearly labeled so there is never any doubt about what you’re doing. 

Browser Extensions

Surfshark definitely has one of the easiest VPN browser extensions around. Just click the shark fin on your browser and location options pop-up. Click once more and watch it swiftly connect.

Fantastic around-the-clock support

Customer Support

24/7 Live chat supportYes
Online ResourcesYes

You won’t find around-the-clock live chat support as snappy and well-informed anywhere else at this price – in fact, most VPNs as cheap as Surfshark won’t have it at all.

Agents were always standing by to answer our questions quickly and pleasantly.

Screenshot of Surfshark Support Page from the Surfshark Website

Surfshark’s online help sections don’t have the same level of depth as we’ve seen from some higher-scoring rivals, but they cover off the basics well.

You can always send off an email for anything that’s not covered.

Extremely good value for money


Surfshark Coupon

Surfshark Pricing Plan

VPNs as good and as cheap as Surfshark are few and far between. A two-year subscription to Surfshark costs the equivalent of $1.99 per month – an 83% saving over the month-by-month cost and a real deal.

Surfshark’s 30-day money-back guarantee period is one of the more generous offerings we’ve seen, and it truly is no-questions-asked – just hop on to the 24/7 live chat and let the support agent know that you want to cancel.

There’s also a seven-day free trial if you’d rather see what you’re in for before investing, available through the Google Play and Apple store. 

Surfshark offers the usual range of payment options including:

  • Debit Card (Visa, Mastercard, Amex, Discover) & Credit Card
  • Bitcoin
  • Ethereum
  • Ripple
  • PayPal
  • GooglePay
  • AliPay
  • Amazon Pay
  • Apple Pay

Privacy-conscious users will be pleased to see so many cryptocurrencies, although the most privacy-conscious individuals may have liked to have seen cash payments, which are not available.

Do We Recommend Surfshark?

The Bottom Line

It may be a new name to many, but over a year of regularly testing Surfshark has convinced us that it’s a reliable, trustworthy VPN with plenty of additional features.

Surfshark is constantly improving its service, it’s feature-filled, and has a trustworthy jurisdiction and privacy policy.

Alternatives to Surfshark

NordVPN Logo


Surfshark isn't as fast as some of our higher-scoring VPNs like NordVPN. Want faster VPN speeds? Try NordVPN, simple as that. Read NordVPN review

VyprVPN logo


If VPN security is your main concern (and we believe it should be) then you can't do much better than VyprVPN. Its logging policy is near-perfect, and it's super secure. Read VyprVPN review

About the Author

  • Simon Migliano Head of Research at Top10VPN

    Simon Migliano

    Simon leads our investigations into VPN safety and digital privacy. His work has been featured on the BBC, CNet, Wired and The Financial Times. Read full bio


You’ve read our expert review - read on for reviews from real users.

User Reviews for Surfshark

12 reviews

We value your opinion, whether it’s positive or negative. Please leave a helpful and informative review, and don't disclose personal information or use abusive language. All user reviews are moderated to ensure they meet our posting guidelines.

Already use Surfshark? Tell us what you think.

When a review is marked "Verified Customer" it means we've verified that the reviewer has had a genuine experience with the company.

Best Positive Review

Worked without any interference

Bought it a few weeks ago, because I wanted to watch Eurovision (you can't watch it in the US). This provider worked without any interference or speed problems. I am definitely using it in the future for my travels if I need to unblock other websites or smth.

Best Critical Review

Firestick disconnects

Have got 2 yr plan and has worked ok on desk top however have loaded onto firestick and wont stay connected. Been on chat numerous times now and left frustrated

Showing 10 out of 10 reviews
  1.  100% 

    Good for Netflix and blocking ads

    I mainly use Surfshark for streaming and, after I read some reviews that it's pretty good at unlocking all the different libraries on Netflix, I tried it out myself. Quite impressed, haven't had any issues when watching The Office from a US server over the past two weeks. I have to admit, I tend to look for movies that aren't on Netflix on various streaming sites on the web, which can be a bit dodgy, but that's where the Clean web feature comes in handy blocking all these sketchy adds.

  2.  20% 

    Surfshark VPN simply DOES NOT work in China

    Don’t buy Surfshark services if you are in China. Surfshark VPN simply DOES NOT work in China. If you live in the USA and need a cheap VPN, why not. But if you are in China, I strongly advise against buying Surfshark VPN. I made the mistake myself, and after three months with intermittent to no connection through Surfshark VPN, I had to buy another VPN. I simply could not stay longer without access to the Internet. Surfshark says that they provide customer service to help you access the Internet: I have spent countless hours making technical operations on my iPhone and my laptop to try to have the service work, but it does not work. Surfhshark is down during weeks at a time, without the possibility to access to Internet. I usually don’t post reviews online, but I must say that my experience with Surfshark has been awful and I do not recommend using their services. After buying a new VPN, I requested a refund for my Surfshark service, since it does not work. They declined it, arguing that they could give technical support to help their VPN work. It simply does not work.

  3.  20% 

    Hotstar does not work

    I have tried surfshark and it was fantastic to start. But suddenly indian hotstar stopped woking and never worked for me in last 1 month both on laptop and mobile

  4.  20% 

    Not great in Australia

    Speed differential in Australia for the FIRST 30 DAYS was reasonably acceptable (ok-ish to good, some struggling inbetween), then unfortunately the speed for all State Servers deteriorated to a trickle. Open ISP speed of 50 Mbps down to 5 - 15 Mbps whilst running Surfshark...actually that's being kind, it can get down to 3. Emailed support who requested I take screen shots of the speeds I get for all 5 State Servers and send it to them, then after that, get no response from them regarding the speed. I did however receive multiple emails alerting me to new features they are developing.

  5.  80% 

    Decent option for students

    I decided to get Surfshark because of their price, clearly, as a student, I can't go splurging around. I have to say I was bought by the unlimited devices feature since it means that I can share this account with my friends and reduce the subscription price even more. Also, as it was mentioned in the article, the speeds are decent, and it worked with all the platforms I use for streaming such as Netflix and Hulu. So far, so good.

  6.  40% 


    I am very dissapointed with surfshark it changes my ip address perfectly on my laptop but never changes my ip address on my 2nd generation tv fire stick no matter how many times i try. I chose the 2 year plan but wont be renewing it.

  7.  100% 

    Cool service.

    Fast to connect. Work for my seedbox, a small wifi/3g router, Winsow$, ubuntu, and android... both with app or with manual configuration...

  8.  80% 

    It exceeded my expectations

    It's cheap, fast and really easy to use. Though, true I wish they had more location supporting torrents. Their support told me that only US, UK, Canada and Netherlands support it right now. Though I don't have any major speed drops while downloading as I'm near UK and Netherlands.

  9.  100% 

    Good service, works for streaming

    Verified Customer

    I've been using Surfshark for nearly two months on my PC. Mostly I use it to unlock geo-restricted content and had no troubles with that. The only annoying thing is that they release updates frequently and I need to constantly update it, but that's a minor issue, in the end it's positive experience.

  10.  80% 

    Decent protection service

    Verified Customer

    Surfshark is a decent VPN as far as my knowledge goes, I use it on my Android when connecting to public wi-fi. Few times connection dropped so I had to reconnect, which was a bit annoying, I hope they'll fix this soon. Overall happy with the service.