||It’s rare to see a new VPN company become a serious contender as quickly as Sharksurf has. But, when you start from the ground up with absolutely airtight privacy, a clean and easy to use client and back it up with a large global server network that offers excellent performance, it’s time for everyone to take notice.
- Privacy doesn’t get much better
- Great performance
- Unlimited connections
- Purpose optimized servers, including for video streaming, peer-to-peer and Tor
- Works with Netflix and BBC
- P2P and Torrenting support
- Not clear which servers support P2P
- Some features missing on mobile
Whenever I don't see a VPN provider mention speed on their homepage, that worries me a bit. After all, making often over exaggerated performance claims is what all VPNs do. Is trying not to draw attention to speeds a quiet admission that things just aren't that good?
In the case of Surfshark, that's not at all the case.
With my speed tests showing consistent 80 Mbps plus downloads for all but two locations, if anything, Surfshark should be drawing attention to their numbers. Checking against my list of the fastest VPNs, these are definitely top tier results.
The numbers look a little worse with upload speeds where more than a few locations could use some improvement. But, they're still very respectable.
And speaking of needing improvement (and a lot of it), France's up and down numbers were both pretty abysmal. So were Australia's. I will re-test those servers again soon in the hope of seeing better speeds. But, for the time being, if those are countries you'd like to connect to, you may want to take a look at NordVPN instead (whose performance was excellent on both counts).
All in all though, besides those two glaring exception, solid speed test results from Surfshark.
Before getting to those results, just one quick explanation. I run a pretty fast internet connection, much faster than any VPN server can reasonably match. That means the numbers you see for a specific location are theoretically the maximums you can ever expect from it. They're not capped by my own connection speeds.
If your internet is slower than those maximums, you will see lower numbers. There is just no way around that.
With that little caveat out of the way, below are Surfshark's speed test results for the seven locations most popular with us VPN users. I also included what the client figured was my best (and presumably fastest) server to connect to.
Surfshark is a relative newcomer to the VPN market, but, as I cover in detail in my full review, there's already plenty to like about the service.
To start with, Surfshark is based in the British Virgin Islands, which is an autonomous territory with no data retention laws for VPN services (or anything else, for that matter). That's great news for privacy.
The company has also already made great strides in offering a broad range of device support, competitive pricing, excellent security and privacy, and a bevy of user-friendly features.
They're a feisty VPN newcomer, clearly committed to delivering everything you would expect from a top-notch service, and well primed to challenge their larger rivals.
Privacy and Security
If you're on the hunt for a VPN that offers excellent privacy and security, Surfshark is well worth a look.
As previously mentioned, they're based in the British Virgin Islands. As such, they're immune to any potential data requests from internal or foreign authorities.
On top of that, Surfshark follows a strict no-logging policy and doesn't store any of your data beyond an email address and an encrypted account password. They even allow you to pay for the service using cryptocurrency, further anonymizing your use of it.
From an operational privacy and security standpoint, Surfshark also goes above and beyond to protect you from having your data or internet activity exposed to anyone, at any time.
The core of their efforts begins with state-of-the-art 256-bit AES standard encryption. That's a standard which is considered unbreakable with today's technology.
The system also makes use of a SHA512 authentication hash and a 2048-bit DHE-RSA key exchange and PFS which further protects every stage of VPN connections.
Since Surfshark is a multi-platform service, they offer their encryption in two protocol flavors: OpenVPN and IKEv2.
Both standards are considered top-of-the-line, and ensure that Surfshark can extend its protection to just about any internet-connected device built within the last twenty years.
If you're someone who's extra conscious about security, Surfshark even lets you operate in multi-hop mode (sometimes known as a double VPN), passing your data through more than one VPN server for an additional layer of safety and privacy.
The bottom line is, Surfshark is serious about protecting you online. They even recently underwent an independent security audit to prove as much. Good luck to anyone trying to hack or overcome the multi-layered protection system they've implemented.
Built from the ground up to be as practical and complete as possible, Surfshark offers a variety of features that make it an excellent fit just about any type of VPN user.
Notable ones include:
A Built-In Kill Switch
The Surfshark client will disable your internet if the VPN drops or is otherwise compromised. It happens.
The kill switch prevents you from unknowingly sending or receiving data in the clear over your standard internet connection. It helps to maintain your privacy and security at all times.
Private DNS Servers and Leak Protection
Surfshark operates its own DNS servers (which keep no name resolution logs), and the client software enforces its use when you connected. This is an essential feature. DNS lookups can reveal your internet activity to anyone that has access to the DNS server you're using.
For example, if you're using a VPN with your ISP-provided DNS servers, the ISP will still know every website you've tried to access, even if your traffic itself was encrypted at all times.
Surfshark's VPN service offers a feature known as Camouflage Mode, which disguises VPN traffic as ordinary web traffic. That can be helpful when seeking to evade throttling or blocking by an ISP.
It can also help you get around complex internet censorship regimes like the ones found in China or Iran.
As previously mentioned, Surfshark supports passing your data through multiple VPN servers. Doing so even further increases your anonymity and security.
The best news about Surfshark's long list of features is that they offer support for just about every device you can imagine, including:
- Windows Devices
- SmartDNS support for Xbox, PlayStation, and any other device that allows user-specified DNS settings
- Browser plugins for Chrome and Firefox
Surfshark also welcomes on their servers BitTorrent and other P2P filesharing clients and even lets you unblock region-restricted steaming service like Netflix.
As you can tell by this exhaustive list, Surfshark seems to be doing its best to leave no stone unturned for us VPN users.
Compared to the long list of features offered by Surfshark, their list of restrictions is refreshingly slim. In fact, they place no hard limits on any use of their service, beyond the standard prohibition of illegal activities, which would violate Surfshark's Terms of Service.
Surfshark also offers a warning to users regarding abuse of their unlimited device connections, which is intended to prevent resellers and other unauthorized sharing of accounts.
But, beyond those simple and standard restrictions, Surfshark gives you free rein over what you use the service for and how you do it.
Since no VPN service can operate at all times without any interruptions or technical difficulties, customer service is of great importance to all of us, no matter how tech savvy we may be. Surfshark has us covered there too.
They offer 24/7 live support via chat or email, with most emails getting a response within two hours.
The only downside seems to be that Surfshark's online self-help section isn't all that comprehensive. However, that's not unreasonable for a relatively new service, and I expect it to improve over time.
To make sure all new users are satisfied, Surfshark also gives you a free trial of their service in the form of a 30-day no hassle refund policy.
To cancel at any time during that period, you just have to contact customer support via the live chat or email link provided on Surfshark's site. Let them know that you'd like a refund and, provided you haven't done anything to breach the terms of service, you'll get your money back right on the spot.
For those of us who are more technically inclined, or anyone trying to use a VPN to get around content or service geo-restrictions, the number and locations of a provider's servers is a big deal. As a relative newcomer to the industry, you might expect that Surfshark would fall a little short in this area.
But, once again, they seem to be ahead of the curve. As I write this, Surfshark's network consists of over 800 servers spread across 50 countries, from Albania to Vietnam and everywhere in between. With a geographic spread like that, I'm betting you won't have trouble finding a server at a location you need.