good
Surfshark is one of the cheapest providers on the market, but it's a lot more than a great budget option: the relatively new VPN boasts strong protection, many features, and a great support with 24/7 live chat.
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Performance
10 / 10
Bedienung & Features
9.4 / 10
Support
8.6 / 10
Security & Privacy
8.0 / 10
Server Network
8.0 / 10
VPN Provider

Surfshark Review: Best Value for Money?

Ad disclaimer: For links on this page, EXPERTE.com may earn a commission from the provider. This supports our work and has no influence on our editorial rating.

Surfshark is fairly new to the hotly-contested VPN market, promising things that many other services have long offered, such as secure surfing, online anonymity, and the ability to bypass geoblocking. Our test shows whether Surfshark devours, or is swallowed up by its competition.

Top VPN Provider 2024
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from $3.79
per month
NordVPN
from $6.67
per month
ExpressVPN
from $0.00
per month
Proton VPN
from $1.99
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Surfshark
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What Is Surfshark?

Surfshark* is a VPN provider headquartered in the British Virgin Islands that has been on the market since 2017. It offers apps for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS, as well as FireTV, Apple TV, and Android TV. The service also provides Chrome and Firefox browser extensions.

With just a few steps, Surfshark allows for VPN connections to easily be created on devices like gaming consoles and smart TVs. We tested the service on Windows and Android.

Surfshark Review

Review
8.8
good
Visit Website*
Performance
10 / 10
Bedienung & Features
9.4 / 10
Support
8.6 / 10
Security & Privacy
8.0 / 10
Server Network
8.0 / 10
  • Intuitive applications

  • Offers lots of features, including split tunneling

  • High speeds

  • 2-year plan is a bargain

  • Smallish server network

  • No external audits since 2018

1.

Installation and Features

Surfshark's website shows all operating systems the platform supports, offering the ability to download their installation files. Since no free version exists, it's necessary to create an account and choose from one of the subscription options before accessing the program's dashboard. In the "Pricing" section of this review below, we'll go into greater detail about what subscription options are available for Surfshark.

You can download an installation file or follow one its guides to set up Surfshark on your operating system.

The desktop client's interface is clear and easy to use. A blue button on its main window automatically connects you to the fastest server relative to your location. Directly under the button a list that displays the most recently used connections is shown.

The "not connected" tab hides your IP address, while the kill switch deactivates your internet connection in case the VPN connection is lost. This ensures that your IP address will not be made public and that your connection will not create any problems.

Apart from manually selecting a specific server, you can also connect automatically to the fastest server based on your location.

When using the app's horizontal mode, a server list appears to the left, next to the connection window. Otherwise, you can view the server list by clicking on "Locations." Under the search bar, it's possible to select from your favorite servers, those with static IPs, and multi-hop servers.

Marking favorites is easily accomplished by clicking on the star symbol next to a server. Servers with static IPs have the same IP address even when you sever the connection and reconnect later on. However, these shouldn't be confused with dedicated IPs as they are shared with other users. Multi-hop servers create a VPN connection between two VPN servers, adding an extra layer of security and anonymity.

By clicking on the speedometer symbol in the server list's upper right, the real-time ping will be shown next to each server.

Virtual servers are noted with a 'V' in the upper-right corner of the accompanying national flag.

Surfshark's ad and malware blocker, CleanWeb, is also found here. Whitelister is the service's split tunneling feature, which works by exempting selected websites or apps from the VPN tunnel you create.

Also included is an email leak check via Surfshark's web dashboard. The BlindSearch feature enables an incognito search mode that returns organic results free from advertisements or logs. Both of these features come as part of an extra package that you'll need to pay for separately.

Surfshark's Whitelister allows you to select which apps and websites don't use your VPN tunnel.

Under Settings, you can configure autostart and automatic connections by clicking on "Connectivity." To change the VPN protocol, click on Advanced Settings. We'll go into greater detail about these aspects below in the "Security and Privacy" section of this review.

Here, you'll also find NoBorders, which comes in handy for establishing connections in countries that restrict Internet usage, such as China. More on this in the "Performance" section.

Surfshark's browser extension is basically a slimmed-down version of its desktop client that is accessible directly in your browser.

Surfshark offers browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox.

Mobile App

Surfshark's mobile app is very similar to its desktop client. With the exception of the mini version, its menus are the same, appearing on the bottom, rather than the top of the interface. All features, including Whitelister, the kill switch, multi-hop routing, and CleanWeb are offered.

Anyone who has used Surfshark's desktop client will quickly master its mobile apps.

Generally speaking, there's very little wrong with any of Surfshark's applications: They're visually appealing, easy to use, and serve up all the most important features, including split tunneling and multi-hop routing.

Visit Website*
Bedienung & Features
9.4 / 10
2.

Server Network

Surfshark's 3,200 servers are spread across 65 countries. Most of these are in Europe, however, the service also has some presence elsewhere, which is impressive considering its age. As so often, Africa and the Middle East are the least represented, with only four servers (Nigeria, South Africa, Israel, and the UAE) catering to these huge areas.

Europe is particularly well-represented among Surfshark's servers.

Surfshark (still) can't go toe-to-toe with the VPN heavyweights, however, for such a young service, it does have a respectable geographic presence.

Visit Website*
Server Network
8.0 / 10
3.

Performance

We test the speeds of all VPNs from our sample using a server in Europe with a 1 GB/s connection. To do this, we connected to random Surfshark servers in the US and Germany at different times of the day. More information concerning our methodology can be found in our VPN speed test.

The table below shows the average results from the last 365 days, arranged in order of download and upload speed (descending):

1.
NordVPN
195.6 Mbit/s
Download
42.9 Mbit/s
Upload
2.
Surfshark
191.7 Mbit/s
Download
42.8 Mbit/s
Upload
3.
Mullvad
200.8 Mbit/s
Download
18.1 Mbit/s
Upload
4.
ExpressVPN
175.0 Mbit/s
Download
42.0 Mbit/s
Upload
5.
HideMyAss!
167.7 Mbit/s
Download
16.1 Mbit/s
Upload
6.
TorGuard
166.5 Mbit/s
Download
16.3 Mbit/s
Upload
7.
hide.me
153.9 Mbit/s
Download
27.0 Mbit/s
Upload
8.
PrivateVPN
155.1 Mbit/s
Download
21.2 Mbit/s
Upload
9.
Proton VPN
154.8 Mbit/s
Download
18.8 Mbit/s
Upload
10.
IPVanish
156.4 Mbit/s
Download
15.0 Mbit/s
Upload
11.
PureVPN
113.1 Mbit/s
Download
41.4 Mbit/s
Upload
12.
TunnelBear
129.4 Mbit/s
Download
18.4 Mbit/s
Upload
13.
VPN Unlimited
109.6 Mbit/s
Download
37.6 Mbit/s
Upload
14.
ZenMate
126.3 Mbit/s
Download
18.8 Mbit/s
Upload
15.
CyberGhost
118.6 Mbit/s
Download
18.4 Mbit/s
Upload
16.
Private Internet Access
109.7 Mbit/s
Download
17.0 Mbit/s
Upload
17.
Windscribe
82.2 Mbit/s
Download
43.3 Mbit/s
Upload
18.
Hotspot Shield
79.9 Mbit/s
Download
38.8 Mbit/s
Upload
19.
VyprVPN
106.0 Mbit/s
Download
12.2 Mbit/s
Upload
20.
Perfect Privacy
99.3 Mbit/s
Download
12.7 Mbit/s
Upload

With a download speed of 191.7 MB/s and an upload speed of 42.8 MB/s, Surfshark claimed second place, just barely losing out to our overall winner, NordVPN. Compared to its performance in our 2019 review (10th place), this represents a considerable improvement.

The chart below shows Surfshark's average speeds over the past months.

MonatDownloadUpload

To put Surfshark's performance to the test, we used it for an entire day for all of our regular Internet-based activity. We're happy to report that the speed test wasn't an outlier, but reflects what you can expect when using it on a day-to-day basis. There weren't any disruptions or other problems, such as captchas when performing Google searches, as is common with some other VPN providers.

In terms of streaming, Surfshark also did very well, allowing us to view foreign content on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and BBC iPlayer.

For anyone planning a trip to China, you'll be in good hands with Surfshark, so long as you download the client before take-off and activate the NoBorders feature. We recommend using the Shadowsocks protocol (unfortunately, only available for Windows and Android) since automatic protocol selection won't work with many servers.

Taken together, Surfshark did excellently in our performance assessment.

Visit Website*
Performance
10 / 10
4.

Security and Privacy

With Surfshark, data traffic is encrypted with AES 256, considered to be the most secure encryption standard on the market. On Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS, Surfshark supports OpenVPN's TCP and UDP protocols, IKEv2, as well as the new gold standard, WireGuard. Windows and Android users can also take advantage of the aforementioned Shadowsock protocol in order to bypass China's "Great Firewall".

Surfshark passed our VPN leak tests (IPv6, DNS, and WebRTC) without breaking a sweat.

No leaks were identified during testing which that our privacy was preserved.

Like ExpressVPN, Surfshark is headquartered in the British Virgin Islands, a country without strict data storage or data sharing laws. The British Virgin Islands is also not a member of the Five or Fourteen Eyes intelligence-sharing agreements. In terms of privacy, the location of the company's headquarters should be seen positively.

Surfshark's privacy policy states that it does not save or log anything, apart from the registration and payment information necessary for administering its users' accounts.

In 2018, the independent security auditing company, Cure53, conducted an audit of Surfshark's browser extensions which "make a very robust impression and are not exposed to any issues, neither in the privacy nor in the more general security realms." Still, this audit was limited to Surfshark's browser extensions. As such, it can't really go toe-to-toe with its competitors who regularly allow all of their applications to be audited by third parties.

When it comes to security, everything looks good on paper. We think that Surfshark can do better and that the time is right to submit to an extensive external audit for all of its applications.

Visit Website*
Security & Privacy
8.0 / 10
5.

Customer Support

Surfshark's help center contains general FAQs and a knowledge base with tutorials, as well as billing and general information.

Surfshark's help center is nicely divided into different thematic areas.

You can contact Surfshark directly via a 24/7 live chat or support ticket. With the latter, it took roughly a minute for us to be connected with helpful support personnel; our email was answered after approximately seven hours.

Queries in languages other than English were answered by the live-chat support personnel using automatic translations.

Surfshark's short response time scored the provider some points, however, multi-lingual personnel would be a welcome addition.

Visit Website*
Support
8.6 / 10
6.

Pricing

As in many other cases, the longer the subscription with Surfshark, the lower the monthly price. At 81% less than the monthly price, the 2-year subscription is a true bargain among even the most affordable providers from our sample. An overview of current prices can be found in the table below:

24 months12 months1 month
Monthly Price $1.99 $3.99 $13.99
Contract Period (Months) 24 12 1
Limits
Data Volume unlimited unlimited unlimited
Number of Devices unlimited unlimited unlimited
Features
Number of Servers 3,200 3,200 3,200
Number of Countries 100 100 100
No Server Logs
P2P Allowed
Tor Access
Kill Switch
Protocols
OpenVPN
WireGuard
IKEv2
OpenVPN
WireGuard
IKEv2
OpenVPN
WireGuard
IKEv2

Subscriptions can be purchased by credit card, PayPal, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, cryptocurrencies, Alipay, or instant transfer. Special organizational or corporate rates are not offered.

The provider also doesn't allow users to trial the service, however, a 30-day, money-back guarantee is included in all plans.

Conclusion

Review
8.8
good
Visit Website*
Performance
10 / 10
Bedienung & Features
9.4 / 10
Support
8.6 / 10
Security & Privacy
8.0 / 10
Server Network
8.0 / 10

Surfshark might be new to the VPN ocean but can definitely swim with the bigger or older "fish". For one thing, it's faster than nearly all of them. On top of this, it offers intuitive applications, lots of features, and fast support. Taken together, the provider is a solid choice for anyone, but a particularly good catch if you're looking for a VPN for the long haul: Its 2-year subscription plan is one of the most affordable on the market.

In some areas, Surfshark can't get the better of its competitors. While in 2019 we were impressed with its independent audit, this appears to have been a one-off gimmick rather than a regular commitment. Were Surfshark to undergo these more often, and allow its commitments to security and privacy to be put to the test, there wouldn't be much to fault the provider for.

Surfshark VPN
Surfshark VPN
(207,223 )
Surfshark is one of the cheapest providers on the market, but it's a lot more than a great budget option: the relatively new VPN boasts strong protection, many features, and a great support with 24/7 live chat.
3,200+ servers in 100 countries
unlimited number of devices
many apps (Linux, FireTV, ...)
cheap 24-month plan
expensive monthly plan
8.8
good
Data Volume
unlimited
Devices
unlimited
Protocols
3
Contract Period
1 - 24 months
Surfshark 24 months
 $1.99
monthly price
Visit Website*
Get 83% Discount

Customer Reviews

Most reviews on Trustpilot are positive, with a significant number of users rating it "excellent" or "good". The service's solid price-performance ratio is the reason for much of this praise. Alternatively, most criticism of the service is related to the speed of its connections.

Customer Ratings
4.4 / 5
207,223 Bewertungen
Visit Website*

Alternatives

Should you want a provider whose commitment to security and privacy is unwavering and regularly submits to independent audits TunnelBear, NordVPN, and ExpressVPN are excellent choices. Our in-depth comparisons of Surfshark vs. NordVPN and Surfshark vs. ExpressVPN explore precisely where each service is better or worse than the other.

On the other hand, if you're looking for a cheaper alternative to Surfshark, our top free VPNs, Proton VPN and Windscribe, are worth looking into.

A list including more of the best alternatives to Surfshark can be found below.

Best Overall 2024
NordVPN
NordVPN
(877,857 )
NordVPN is our number one VPN because it combines speed, ease-of-use, and functionality in a slick package that's also pretty affordable.
5,500+ servers, 60 countries
excellent performance
no logs
6 devices simultaneously
affordable 2-year package
9.4
excellent
Data Volume
unlimited
Devices
6
Protocols
5
Contract Period
1 - 24 months
NordVPN 2-year plan
 $3.79
monthly price
Visit Website*
30 days money-back guarantee
ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN
(736,465 )
ExpressVPN can impress with a strong performance, a huge server network, and excellently designed applications, but this quality also comes at a higher price.
3,000+ servers
160 cities in 94 countries
reliable performance
good for streaming
secure browser extensions
9.4
excellent
Data Volume
unlimited
Devices
5
Protocols
7
Contract Period
1 - 12 months
ExpressVPN 12 Months
 $6.67
monthly price
Visit Website*
30 days money-back guarantee
Proton VPN
Proton VPN
(144,686 )
With its open source philosophy and extra security features, Proton VPN targets security-conscious VPN users. But thanks to its user-friendly interface and suitability for streaming, it's worth a look for a wide audience.
open source & external audits
2,900+ servers in 67 countries
great performance
free plan without data limit
not suitable for China
9.1
excellent
Data Volume
unlimited
Devices
1 - 10
Protocols
3
Contract Period
0 - 24 months
Proton VPN Free
 $0.00
monthly price
Visit Website*
Free forever
HideMyAss! VPN
HideMyAss! VPN
(86,656 )
HideMyAss' main claim to fame is its impressive server infrastructure, but the VPN also delivers solid speeds and handy features like its IP Randomizer. When it comes to streaming, however, it's not always the most reliable choice.
290 locations in 210 countries
IP Randomizer
strong performance
support with live chat
unreliable for streaming
8.6
good
Data Volume
unlimited
Devices
5
Protocols
1
Contract Period
12 - 36 months
HideMyAss! 36 months
 $2.99
monthly price
Visit Website*
30 days money-back guarantee
hide.me VPN
hide.me VPN
(31,514 )
Hide.me secures its place in our top 10 with good to very good grades in all test categories. The app is filled to the brim with handy features, the performance is solid, and with 10 GB of data per month, the free tier is also worth a look.
78 locations in 49+ countries
many features, incl. split tunneling
free plan with 10 GB monthly
anonymous payment
no recent audit
8.4
good
Data Volume
10 - ∞
Devices
1 - 10
Protocols
7
Contract Period
0 - 36 months
hide.me Free
 $0.00
monthly price
Visit Website*
Free forever
Top VPN Provider 2024
Sponsored
from $3.79
per month
NordVPN
from $6.67
per month
ExpressVPN
from $0.00
per month
Proton VPN
from $1.99
per month
Surfshark
show all
Author (German Version): Martin Gschwentner
Martin has been a freelance writer in the B2B sector for more than eight years, specializing in technical case studies for tech companies like Google Cloud. He lives in London, where he runs his own company, GSCRIBE, focusing on customer success stories and employer branding. At EXPERTE, he shares his knowledge about software and strategies that help freelancers and self-employed professionals optimize their business processes and work more efficiently.
Translation: D Bare
* Ad disclaimer: For links marked with an asterisk, EXPERTE.com may earn a commission from the provider. The commission has no influence on our editorial rating.
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