Every time you turn it is a new VPN service that will protect your browser. A recent beginner is Surfshark, which debuted in 2018. Surfshark is based on the British Virgin Islands, with most of its team scattered throughout Europe and elsewhere, and already offers a great deal for its fee.
The company has more than 500 servers in 49 country locations. It promises to let you see Netflix USA (as well as France and Japan for that matter) and it has extra features such as multi-hop VPN connections, ad and tracker blocking and unlimited simultaneous devices. Sounds like a good one, but is the product as good as the statistics suggested? Let's take a look.
Note: This review is part of our best VPN roundup.
Security, software, servers and speed
Surshark uses IKEv2 / IPsec as a security protocol. For encryption and authentication, it uses the following:
- Data encryption: 256 bit AES-GCM
- Data authentication: SHA-512
- Handshake: Elliptical curve Diffie-Hellman 521
Company is based on the British Virgin Islands in Road Town, located on the island of Tortola. Surfshark's CEO is named Par Kaz, and CTO is Magnus Steinberg.
Surfsharks macOS app is available through direct download from the company's website or via the Mac App Store. For those interested in getting the latest version with all the latest features, direct download from the company's website is probably best. If you are more interested in using Apple's built-in security mechanisms to install apps, stick to the App Store.
When you first open Surfshark, you get a very basic top panel. To the left is a list of all country locations. Click one and the app will automatically connect. To disconnect, click the button on the right panel.
Surfsharks MultiHop function is also available from the left panel via a fan at the top. MultiHop connects to two different VPN sites before turning on the open internet. There were eight different MultiHop options for this writing.
When connected, the right panel does not go much - it hosts a Disconnect button and an animated Surfshark logo. When connected, the logo becomes green and the panel displays the country you are connected to and your new IP address. There is a lot of wasted space if you ask me, but at least it's easy to navigate.
Select the settings bar at the top right of the window to see the app's options. By default, the Internet kill switch is enabled, so if the VPN connection is unexpectedly dropped, it cuts Internet access to the MacBook. You can also enable the CleanWeb ad blocking and tracking feature.
Surfshark had some very good speeds in most places, with the US, UK and Germany registering all 20-30 Mbps on a connection where the non-VPN base rate was 85-90 Mbps. Australia was pretty good with double-digit results, while Japan was weak.
In my tests, I was able to access Netflix using a VPN connection from the United States.
Surfshark's best price option is the 24-month plan, which comes out to $ 84 total. The one-year subscription is $ 72, and the month to month price is $ 12. As is typical of VPN services, the monthly-to-month plan is overpriced to convince you to commit to a longer period. Its one-year plan is a bit high, but not as much as the norm is about $ 60, making the two-year plan the best value overall.
Despite the higher annual cost (if you go for a year), you get pretty much. The best feature is probably unlimited, as most VPN services limit you to five.
Surfshark also guarantees use with Netflix and it has a number of other extras such as ad and tracker blocking and multi-hop for those interested in
Surfshark is a very good service with enough features to justify its higher price and some good speeds. The exotic business location is a bit much for me personally, but I know that many users get nervous about VPNs based on fourteen eyes. I would like to see that the company adds the team's bios and company address to it later, but the general Surfshark has a good start.
Editor's Note: Because online services are often iterative, receive new features and performance improvements over time, this assessment can be changed to accurately reflect the current status of the service. Any changes to the text or our final review will be noted at the top of this article.