Surfshark Review: Is It Any Good? | Security.org

Surfshark Review: Is It Any Good?

Read on for our close-up look at Surfshark, one of the most versatile VPNs out there.

By Aliza Vigderman, Senior Editor, Industry Analyst & Gabe Turner, Chief Editor
Surfshark VPN
Editors Rating:
9.5 /10

What We Like

What We Don't Like

  • Static IP address: We received the same IP address every time we connected to Surfshark. This makes it easier for hackers to track us online.
  • Based in the Netherlands: The Netherlands has privacy-friendly data retention laws, but it's under Nine Eyes jurisdiction, which means the government can compel Surfshark to share customer information when necessary.

Bottom Line

Surfshark’s versatility allowed us to access the web while enjoying the peace of mind knowing that others can’t track us. It’s both secure and fast. With its many VPN protocol options, we know we can use Surfshark and still do everything we normally do online, and so can you.

Much like actual surfing, surfing the web can be dangerous. And like surfing in the ocean, the dangers of surfing the web are lurking just beneath the surface. There are cookies that can be used to track you, data breaches, hacking, and even spying from Big Brother.

The best and safest way to surf the web is to do so privately, and Surfshark is one of the tools that can help you. Surfshark is a VPN. Its job is to encrypt your web traffic so that no one can see it, and then route it through secure servers for extra protection.

But there’s so much more to Surfshark than meets the eye, and in this review, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about this popular VPN. We tested it personally, and there’s so much we want to share. So let’s get started.

Mac Testing

Latency difference 2%
Upload speed difference 9%
Download speed difference 31%
DNS leak test Passed
WebRTC test Passed
Editor's Rating
Overall Rating
  • No-logs VPN company based in the Virgin Islands
  • Allows unlimited connections, double VPN, and split tunneling
  • Choice of OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2P2, Shadowsocks & more

Video Review

Company Background

Surfshark is a young company, having been established in 2018. However, it has grown tremendously over the last four years.

Now, Surfshark has recently moved its headquarters to the Netherlands, which is generally privacy-friendly. The country doesn’t oblige companies to retain data from its users, which enables Surfshark to have a “zero-log” policy. More on that later, but for quick reference, Surfshark’s “zero-log” policy means that it doesn’t store the IP addresses and browsing data of its users.

On the flipside, though, the Netherlands is a member of the Nine Eyes international alliance. Companies based in member-countries of the Nine Eyes, as well as those under the jurisdiction of the larger 14 Eyes alliance, can be compelled by the government to share customer information in certain court-approved cases (for instance, for matters of criminal investigation or national security). That would be concerning, if it weren’t for Surfshark’s “zero-log” policy. Since it doesn’t log any browsing data, it has nothing to share with the government in the first place, so we still trust Surfshark.

Surfshark Features

Okay, now let’s break down the actual VPN (which stands for virtual private network, if you didn’t already know).

Surfshark New York Servers
Surfshark New York Servers

Of course, Surfshark hid our IP addresses and web activity, which we proved with DNS and WebRTC leak tests below. But aside from that, Surfshark had four main features that made us giddy:

  • Torrenting: Despite the ever-expanding list of available streaming services, sometimes we get in a mood to watch a movie that’s not available on Hulu, Disney Plus or any of the like. In those instances, we like to torrent files, which we could do with Surfshark running. Of course, we don’t advocate for illegal torrenting, but for some legal torrenting fun, connect to Surfshark beforehand.
  • Netflix: Every once in a while, we want to hop over to watch Netflix on a U.K. server. With Surfshark, we could switch to Netflix in different countries, which definitely came in handy when we needed to finish “The Good Place” (which we wouldn’t dare spoil for you).
  • Kill switch: No VPN is perfect, and dropping a connection unexpectedly every once in a while is normal. However, if that happens, it could expose your online traffic to your ISP. That’s where the kill switch feature comes in. It automatically disrupts all your internet traffic to prevent it from ever leaking out in case of dropped VPN connections.
  • Split tunneling: In a feature Surfshark calls Whitelister, we connected to public and private networks simultaneously. This saved us much-needed bandwidth as we watched Youtube while still connected to a server from work.
  • Surfshark One: Surfshark One is an add-on service that is sort of an all-for-one digital security solution. It includes access to Surfshark’s antivirus software, identity monitoring service, and secure search engine. Surfshark One costs $1.49 a month if you bundle it with any VPN subscription. The total cost of a two-year VPN and Surfshark One subscription is only $95.52.

How Fast Is Surfshark?

If you connect to a VPN, you can expect slower speeds than usual, as your web traffic has to go through an encrypted server in addition to the public network’s server.

That’s normal, but that doesn’t mean your internet has to crawl to a halt. Aside from testing Surfshark, we tested our speeds while connected to the VPN to make sure it isn’t “killing” our network. We used both a 2011 Macbook Pro and an Acer Aspire 5 in our tests, and here’s what we found out.

As you can see from the below results, our speeds performed much better on the Mac than on the Windows computer, which was a bit lackluster.

Surfshark Speeds While Connected
Connecting to Surfshark on our Macbook Pro

However, speed is determined by a large number of factors, including your distance to the server, device make and model, operating system, browser type, and more, so take our speed tests with a grain of salt.

Surfshark on Windows With VPN
Connecting to Surfshark on our Windows computer
Devices tested on MacBook Pro 2011 Acer Aspire 5 (Windows 10)
Ping without VPN (in ms) 54 7
Ping with VPN (in ms) 53 199
Ping difference 2% 2742%
Macbook download speed without VPN (in mbps) 16.21 23.69
Download speed with VPN (in mbps) 11.87 19.61
Download speed difference 31% 17%
Upload speed without VPN (in mbps) 22.01 24.09
Upload speed with VPN (in mbps) 24 10.58
Upload speed difference 9% 56%

How Secure Is Surfshark?

If your VPN isn’t taking good care of your data, you may be experiencing a “the call is coming from inside the house” situation. But have no fear: we walked around this proverbial house checking under every bed frame, and here’s what we came out with.

Encryption Methods

Using outdated encrypted methods is kind of like using an old lock on a safe; sure, it’s better than nothing, but we want better protection for our valuables. So, after some digging, we found that Surfshark encrypted our information using AES 256-bit, which is what we expect from VPNs in 2022.

On top of that, Surfshark encrypted our traffic through multiple servers, hiding our web traffic even more. This isn’t usually the case for even the best VPNs on the market, so we feel good about Surfshark protecting our web activity.

Logging Policy

But that wasn’t enough for us. No, we wanted to actually read the fine print of Surfshark’s privacy policy to see what data of ours they kept and vice versa. Our findings?

  • What Surfshark logs: Surfshark kept our account information like our email addresses, our passwords, although they were encrypted, billing information and order history, diagnostic reports, which we opted out of, as well as anonymized information from its website like what pages we visited and how long we stayed there. Also, it kept our IP addresses and unique device identifiers, but only from its website as opposed to the actual VPN app. Like most companies, Surfshark collected cookies, which we could opt out of, as well.
Surfshark App Login Page
Surfshark App Login Page
  • What Surfshark doesn’t log: Surfshark didn’t keep our IP addresses, session information, browsing history, the times we connected, the amount of bandwidth we used while connected to the VPN, our network traffic, etc.

Compared to other VPNs we’ve tested, Surfshark keeps the minimal amount of data necessary to run its service, making it a great choice for privacy.

Data Does Surfshark log it?
IP addresses No
Browsing history No
Session information No
Used bandwidth No
Time stamps No
Network traffic No
User’s email address Yes
User’s password Yes
Payment data Yes, unless you use anonymous payment methods such as cryptocurrency

DNS Leak Tests

DNS Leak Test Without VPN
DNS Leak Test Without VPN

A DNS is a domain name server, meaning, the common name that comes with an IP address; think Security.Org (our domain name) as opposed to, one of our website’s IP addresses.

Of course, if a VPN isn’t hiding our DNS when connected, something is off, which is why we tested it out. Fortunately for us, the test showed a different IP address when connected versus not connected. That means Surfshark hid our web activity when we tested it out on both our Mac and Windows computers. Checkmate!

DNS Leak Test Results
DNS Leak Test Results

WebRTC Leak Tests

WebRTC Leak Test Without Surfshark
WebRTC Leak Test Without Surfshark

Finally, we also performed a WebRTC leak test using Surfshark. A little background info: whenever we video chat with friends, transfer files, or live stream Netflix, our computers use something called WebRTC, which is basically a collection of technologies that let web browsers communicate directly with each other as opposed to going through a middle-man server.

Sure, this creates faster speeds and rids us of excessive lag, but it also requires the two devices to know each other’s private IP address; no thank you. The question remained: did Surfshark leak our private IP addresses?

The short answer is: no, it didn’t. Even while we chatted on video, Surfshark hid our real IP addresses. So as far as privacy and security are concerned, Surfshark is at the top of its game.

WebRTC Leak Test With Surfshark
WebRTC Leak Test With Surfshark

Tip: Firefox, Opera, Chrome, and Microsoft Edge all default to WebRTC, making them more vulnerable to WebRTC leaks. If you’re streaming content, video chatting or transferring files on any of these browsers, make sure to connect to a VPN beforehand.

Surfshark Pricing Overview

After our seven-day free trial with Surfshark ended, we had several options when it came to paid subscriptions. In essence, all subscriptions gave us the same features, like being able to connect unlimited devices to Surfshark. The only thing that differs between the subscriptions is its term lengths, namely one month, one year, or two years.

Term length Monthly price Monthly price with Surfshark One Annual price Total amount billed Annual price after first billing period Savings
1 month $12.95 $14.44 $155.40 $12.95 $155.40 n/a
12 months $3.99 $5.48 $47.88 $47.88 $59.76 69%
2 years $2.49 $3.98 $29.88 $59.76 $59.76 81%

Surfshark’s monthly rate is notably more expensive than NordVPN’s pricing, but if you plan to sign a longer subscription, you’ll eventually get more value from Surfshark.

For example, NordVPN’s two-year plan costs about $3.99 a month, while Surfshark’s costs $2.49. That means in two years, you’ll save nearly $30 if you go with Surfshark rather than NordVPN. Of course, there are other factors like features and performance, but price-wise, Surfshark comes out on top. Compare Surfshark vs. NordVPN VPN connections further.

FYI: Students registered with Student Beans can get 15 percent off a Surfshark subscription. We recommend signing up for two years to get the lowest rates.

With prices as low as $2.49 a month for its two-year package, Surfshark isn’t only secure; it’s also about as cheap as VPNs come. For more information, read our Surfshark subscription page, or read about Surfshark deals and Surfshark Black Friday deals. For Black Friday last year, Surfshark added three months to its 24-month subscriptions at no added cost, bringing down the monthly cost to $2.21 per month.


Like any other VPN, Surfshark has its flaws, but they’re very minimal and the benefits definitely outweigh the costs, financial and otherwise. With military-grade encryption, an impressive privacy policy, and extremely low prices, Surfshark is a good fit for most people who want to hide their web activity.

We’d recommend Surfshark if you want…
  • A strict logging policy
  • Netflix and torrenting
  • VPN service with optional antivirus, identity monitoring, and secure browser
But Surfshark is not for you if any of the following are deal-breakers…
  • Slow speeds on Windows
  • Same IP address every time you log on

Using a VPN isn’t the only way to protect yourself online. Check out our list of the best digital security practices for more tried and tested methods.

Surfshark FAQs

Surf’s up! We’re not done riding the wave of Surfshark, so sit back, relax and enjoy the answers to our most frequently asked questions.

  • Is the Surfshark VPN any good?

    Surfshark is a very good VPN and is among one of the best VPN services, with AES-256 bit encryption, a kill switch, split tunneling, Netflix, and torrenting access, plus a headquarters outside of the Five Eyes alliance. And with more than 3,200 VPN servers in 65 countries, it can work for users around the world with fast speeds, particularly on Macs.

  • Is Surfshark better than NordVPN?

    Surfshark is not better than NordVPN. Both VPNs include thousands of servers in over 60 countries each, but NordVPN has about 2,000 more servers overall. Also, both VPNs include split tunneling, torrenting and Netflix access, kill switches, AES-256 encryption, static IP addresses, and 30-day money-back guarantees, but NordVPN has better mobile apps on both iOS and Android than the Surfshark app on either operating system. If you want a better Android app and browser extensions, choose NordVPN over Surfshark.

  • Is Surfshark a Chinese company?

    Surfshark is not a Chinese company nor a company based in Hong Kong. Rather, its parent company, Surfshark Ltd., is based in the Netherlands and was founded in 2018.

  • Is Surfshark better than ExpressVPN?

    They’re close, but ultimately, Surfshark is better than ExpressVPN. Surfshark is more user-friendly, having responsive and intuitively-designed apps, easy-to-use features such as double VPN, and a much lower price range. Surfshark plans cost as low as $2.49 per month, whereas ExpressVPN costs at least $6.67 per month even with discounts.

Editors Rating:
9.5 /10