Surfshark VPN is one of the best and affordable VPN on the market in 2023. Its competitive pricing, unlimited simultaneous connections, and headquarters outside of the 5 Eyes alliance make it a very attractive VPN choice for all kinds of users. What’s more, with Surfshark being highly praised online, it’s no surprise that this budget VPN is so feature-packed.
But does this VPN live up to its claims and is actually worth the money? Surfshark also offers thousands of servers around the world, great connection speeds, and next-generation AES encryption. However, users have been questioning its jurisdiction and whether it’s as private as it’s shown.
Despite its popularity, some questions remain – will Surfshark still be as good and safe in 2023? Can it protect your online traffic, unblock streaming services, and deliver consistent performance and steady speeds? There’s only one way to find out. So, in this Surfshark review, we tested every aspect, including functionality, speed, and compatibility. All of this is to provide insight into how this VPN compares to other leading VPNs and to answer any questions you may have.
Pros and Cons of Surfshark
- No split tunneling on iOS
- Apple product apps are slightly weaker
- Fast WireGuard protocol performance
- Powerful Security Features
- GPS spoofing feature
- Unblocks most streaming platforms
- top-notch customer support
- lots of extra features
- 7-day free trial
- Manual WireGuard connection
- No split tunneling on iOS
- Apple product apps are slightly weaker
Surfshark VPN – Overview
Overall, Surfshark is a capable VPN that offers one of the best value for money. So, let’s take a quick look at our insights on this:
- Surfshark is one of the cheapest VPN options on the market. It starts at $2.30/month.
- With Surfshark, you can protect unlimited devices simultaneously.
- Surfshark uses advanced AES-256 encryption for your online traffic. It’s an industry-leading cipher that makes your data invisible to prying eyes.
- Surfshark showed some amazing speed test results. It achieved 1269 Mbit/s when connecting to a UK server with the WireGuard tunneling protocol enabled.
- Unlike most VPNs, Surfshark uses pure RAM servers. Therefore, once the server is shut down, your data will be wiped.
- Surfshark has servers in 100 countries, the most of any popular VPN service. So no matter where you are, you will have a good internet connection.
Is Surfshark VPN safe?
Yes, Surfshark is one of the most secure VPN service providers. It has an audited no-logs policy, a choice of preferred encryption standards and the most secure tunneling protocols – OpenVPN and WireGuard.
Surfshark keeps your data safe and doesn’t require any personal information (other than email) to create an account. All passwords are kept secure with advanced hash functions, making it nearly impossible to crack your credentials.
Let’s take a look at some of the key features that make Surfshark a safe VPN:
- tunneling protocol
- kill switch
- pure memory server
- camouflage pattern
- DNS leak protection
Surfshark offers AES-256-GCM encryption, which is the strongest option on the market today. It protects your data transfer from possible interruptions.
On Android, there’s also a ChaCha20 password option: it’s very similar, and just as secure. The main difference between them is speed: some newer devices with AES hardware acceleration will be faster with AES-256, while older phones will be faster with ChaCha20.
Either way, you’re still protected by a very advanced encryption library.
At the same time, your authentication is protected by SHA-512 encryption. This means it will be scrambled to 512 binary digits, then compared with the login data stored in their servers, and if the passwords match, they give you the green light.
Most VPNs use SHA-256. Here, Surfshark goes above and beyond the industry standard.
With Surfshark, you can choose from several tunneling protocol options. These include advanced WireGuard tunneling, OpenVPN, and IKEv2. Almost all of them are available on Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS.
WireGuard – The fastest modern tunneling protocol. It is not only efficient but also very safe. Additionally, Surfshark was the first VPN provider to make WireGuard the primary protocol for all critical applications. Alternatively, you can configure this tunneling protocol manually; this is beneficial for those who need to bypass restrictions on VPN usage. Manual configuration can also help you establish a faster, more stable connection on VPN-compatible routers or devices that don’t support VPN connections.
OpenVPN (TCP/UDP) – one of the most popular tunneling protocols. Even though it was released almost two decades ago, it’s still very secure and fast. Plus, Surfshark obfuscates protocols by default, making it perfect for bypassing government VPN restrictions. If you need better security, choose TCP. If speed is your thing, choose UDP.
IKEv2 – One of the most common tunneling protocols. Its support is extensive and its speed is comparable to that of WireGuard. It’s great for weaker devices and performs well on weaker internet connections. Unfortunately, this tunneling protocol is no longer available for Windows applications.
Surfshark has a kill switch that blocks all your internet traffic unless you are connected to a VPN. This will help prevent information leakage in case the secure encrypted connection is lost.
Compared to other VPN service providers, this approach seems a bit restrictive. Other VPNs mostly trigger a kill switch when the link to the VPN server is lost. However, Windows application users can choose between soft kill switch functionality and strict kill switch functionality. While the hard app works like every other OS app, the soft app will only disconnect you from the network if the VPN disconnects unexpectedly.
While great, this feature could use some improvement. When your entire connection is closed, you don’t get any notifications about what’s going on. This might confuse you – thinking your internet connection is down when it’s just Surfshark’s kill switch at work.
Losing an encrypted VPN connection can compromise your security and privacy, especially if you handle sensitive information or do something that requires complete anonymity. To prevent accidents due to lost secure connections, always leave the kill switch on when using Surfshark.
pure memory server
Surfshark has pure RAM servers that clear data whenever the server is shut down, so data cannot be recovered. This way, you get complete online anonymity.
Instead, most VPN service providers rent their servers from data centers – this is how they keep their server counts high. However, this also means that they depend on how secure the servers in each location are.
In fact, some servers may be less secure. Even if the logs are immediately cleared from the hard drive, the data can still be recovered. Additionally, they may hold private keys, which could be stolen if hackers manage to gain access to them. These factors are major built-in vulnerabilities for this type of setup.
For cybersecurity companies, transparency is critical to trust. To ensure trust is built, Surfshark has been independently audited. three times.
The first audit was conducted by Cure53 penetration testers in 2018. They focused on Surfshark’s Chrome and Firefox extensions, as browser extensions are often the least secure software. Fortunately, the testing went well and the extension is considered very safe.
A second audit will be carried out by the same company in 2021. This time around, they’re focusing on server infrastructure and general security. As before, Surfshark passed the test with flying colors.
Deloitte last audited in 2023. This time, it was Surfshark’s no-logs policy that was reviewed. The results favored the VPN provider – Deloitte confirmed that Surfshark’s no-logs policy is in effect, and the provider does not keep any user information.
Masquerade mode is one of Surfshark’s many security features, also known as obfuscation or obfuscated servers.
It makes your VPN traffic look like regular web traffic so you won’t be detected. This mode is automatically enabled when using OpenVPN UDP and TCP protocols.
This is useful if your school or office blocks internet traffic, or if your country blocks VPN ports. It renders most VPN blocking measures useless and can provide free internet access in dire situations.
Surfshark also offers a secure and completely private search tool that is completely ad-free, unaffected by previous searches, and collects no user information. This is completely incognito mode, which paid users can access from s.surfshark.com or their VPN control panel.
You can use it to find videos, images or web pages. From our perspective, it looks a lot like Bing — if you’ve seen it, Surfshark search will look very familiar.
DNS leak protection
DNS leak protection is enabled as soon as you connect to any of Surfshark’s servers. It ensures that all DNS requests from your device are blocked. Also, all DNS servers are owned by the provider itself. So there is no activity or connection logging, zero third-party interference, and you receive end-to-end encryption of all traffic.
While there are several reasons why your DNS might be leaking, such as an unsuccessful manual VPN configuration, the consequences are the same. Third parties, including your ISP, can track your online traffic, all you have to do is disclose your browsing activity.
Nexus is Surfshark’s newest security feature. This is a technology that uses software-defined networking (SDN) to connect VPN servers to a comprehensive network. Nexus technology connects all existing VPN servers together, which means traffic is routed through the entire network of servers, not just one VPN encrypted tunnel.
This feature not only hides the user’s traffic, but also makes the overall performance more stable and can increase the VPN connection speed.
How much does Surfshark VPN cost?
- 1 month plan * $12.95/month
- 1 year plan * $12.95/month
- 2-year plan * $2.30/month
Surfshark VPN offers three plan options – one-month, one-year, and two-year long-term plans. The best deal is a 2-year subscription; it’s the cheapest at $2.30 per month, which is a steal.
The 1-year plan is slightly more expensive, but still available at a discounted price of $3.99/month. The shortest Surfshark VPN subscription costs $12.95 per month, which is the standard price of entry when we talk about VPNs.
As for payment options, you can pay for Surfshark services in the following ways:
- credit card
- google play
- Cryptocurrencies (e.g. Bitcoin)
Don’t forget that you will be able to use Surfshark on unlimited devices as the service offers unlimited simultaneous connections.
Even better, with a no-risk 30-day money-back guarantee, you can safely test Surfshark VPN to see if it’s the best VPN for you.
Can you get Surfshark for free?
Yes, you can easily get Surfshark for free with a 7-day free trial. The trial version is available on Google Play and the Apple App Store. The trial version is available on Surfshark’s mobile app and macOS, and once activated on one device, you can try it on other devices as well. If you run into some issues, you can check out our guide on how to request a free trial of Surfshark.
Alternatively, you can take advantage of Surfshark’s 30-day money-back guarantee.