Compared to Virtual Private Networks such as ExpressVPN and NordVPN, SurfsharkVPN is a relatively new offering. It’s also one of the cheapest options around, starting out at just $1.99 a month when you opt for a two-year plan.
At a glance, Surfshark VPN seems like a very worthy choice. For starters, it offers users more than 800 server locations spread across 50 countries. That gives you more than enough IP addresses to bypass geo-restrictions on streaming services and other content. In addition, Surfshark VPN permits torrenting and even lets an unlimited number of devices connect to it simultaneously.
All of this sounds quite impressive but is it as fast as other popular VPNs on the market? Does it offer good customer support? What about Peer-to-Peer downloads and bypassing Netflix restrictions? These questions and more will be addressed in this article.
Surfshark VPN at a Glance
- Based in the British Virgin Islands
- Employs a strict No Logging Policy
- More than 800 servers located in 50 countries
- Supports Peer-to-Peer and Torrenting
- Unblocks Netflix USA
- Offers 24/7 Live Chat Customer Support
- Subscriptions can be as low as $1.99 a month.
Strict No Logging Policy
People use VPNs to remain anonymous while they browse the internet. Hence, it would be counterintuitive to use one that keeps track of your data. Fortunately, the good people at Surfshark VPN have implemented a strict No Logging Policy. This means that traffic data such as destination URLs, IP addresses, session timestamps, and browsing history are not stored in their databases.
- Payment and Billing information
- Your email address
- Account diagnostics report
The above data are collected so that the company can provide a better service to users. But what if your Internet Service Provider or government asks Surfshark to hand in these details about you? That brings us to the next point.
The jurisdiction in the British Virgin Islands
The British Virgin Islands are a safe-haven for VPN companies due to the lack of data retention laws. This means that neither its own government nor a foreign regulatory body can force Surfshark VPN to log its user’s data. As a result, the company does not have to comply with any investigations conducted by foreign governments.
A VPN isn’t all that useful unless it can give you the download speeds necessary to stream content and other data-intensive activities. Fortunately, Surfshark excels in this category, with only about 25% speed loss when connected to a local server. So if you live in Australia, for instance, and you connect to an Australian server with a 100mbps connection, you’ll still get a max download speed of 75mbps. That’s still more than enough for playing Fortnite or streaming Netflix.
As with any VPN, speeds will start to dwindle the further you are physically from a Surfshark VPN server. For instance, a distance of 8000 kilometers will shave off 75% of your max download speed.
Access to Netflix USA
Unblocking Netflix content is one of the biggest reasons for using VPNs. People who live outside the USA may find that they can’t access all the TV shows and movies that Netflix provides. This is because the company has placed restrictions which dictate what you can view based on the geographical location that your IP address points to. This is known as geo-blocking.
Most VPNs these days are fairly ineffective when it comes to bypassing these blocks. This is because Netflix works hard to block all activity coming from them. Fortunately, there are VPNs that keep coming up with ways to circumvent these blocks with their servers. Surfshark VPN is one of them.
While not all of its US servers will unblock Netflix, you’ll be able to find several that do. In addition, several Surfshark VPN servers located in countries such as South Africa, Canada, and the UK also work.
Torrenting and P2P
Surfshark VPN supports both torrenting and Peer-to-Peer downloading. In addition, the VPN does not limit bandwidth. This means unlimited streaming as long as you’re connected.
Industry-Standard Tunneling Protocols
Tunneling protocols are what VPNs use to transmit user data. Basically, these protocols create private ‘tunnels’ that allow anonymous communication to take place over public networks. Presently Surfshark uses two tunneling protocols: OpenVPN and IKEv2.
The former is the default protocol available on most popular VPNs including NordVPN and ExpressVPN. It’s open-source software that makes use of both UDP and TCP to send and receive data. OpenVPN is known for the high level of security it offers, thanks to encryption, authentication, and certification features which it borrows from the OpenSSL Library.
Some users prefer IKEv2 because it offers a ton of features. These include flexible network connections and a wide variety of encryption protocols to bypass geo-restrictions imposed by Netflix and other streaming services.
OpenVPN is the more secure protocol out of the two but also the slower. In contrast, IKEv2 is much faster but relatively less secure.
As if all the above weren’t enough, Surfshark VPN comes pre-packaged with additional features including:
- Kill Switch – sometimes your VPN connection can get cut off while you’re browsing the internet. Once this happens your traffic data will no longer remain anonymous. Surfshark’s Kill Switch feature prevents this from happening by cutting off your device’s access to the internet as soon as the VPN connection is interrupted.
- Camouflage Mode – this prevents your Internet Service Provider from finding out that you’re using a VPN.
- Whitelister – with this feature, you can set up certain apps so that they bypass the VPN connection.
If you plan on using Surfshark VPN for quite some time, then the two-year plan is the most cost-effective. At just $1.99 per month, you’ll only end up spending $47.76 for the entire two year period.
While Surfshark VPN has the capability to give you extremely high download speeds when connected to nearby servers, it does not deliver all the time. Sometimes, its speed may slow randomly even with a local server.
Poor Email Response Time
While Surfshark VPN claims that it answers all emails within 24 hours, this is hardly the case. In some instances, user inquiries are left answered for more than a couple of days (as per both expert and customer reviews).
The live chat support, however, is a different story altogether. The operators are quite friendly and very knowledgeable, and you can expect to get a rapid and detailed response to your questions.
Despite the fact that it’s inexpensive, Surfshark VPN can definitely hold its own against the more premium VPNs. With a strict no-logging policy coupled with the fact that no data retention laws are enforced by its country of origin, Surfshark VPN provides complete anonymity to each user.
The loss in speed when connected is minimal and with more than 800 servers located worldwide, users don’t have to experience latencies. But that’s not all! Surfshark VPN provides several more additional features such as a Kill Switch, dedicated Netflix unblock feature and Camouflage Mode.
- Strict No Logging Policy
- The jurisdiction in the British Virgin Islands
- High Speeds
- Access to Netflix USA
- Torrenting and P2P
- Inconsistent Speeds
- Poor Email Response Time
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