Surfshark is a new player in the world of VPNs that is starting to gain popularity compared to some big players in the market, however, it has some powerful arguments to make itself felt.
|💸 Refund||Yes, within 30 days|
|💻🌍 Number of servers / location||More than 3,200 in 95 countries|
|📱Applications||PC/ Mac/ Linux/ Android/ iOS/ Android tv/ Firetv/ Routers|
|👨👩👧👦 Number of simultaneous connections||Unlimited|
|📺 Access to US Netflix||Yeah|
|⏬⏫ P2P mode||Yeah|
Who is Surfshark?
Surfshark is a relatively new VPN service in its field since it launched in 2018, a few years after the giants of the genre. Right from the start, the VPN impresses with its availability on most platforms on the market, be it mobile devices, PCs or even connected TVs. Surfshark also stood out for having a security audit carried out by Cure53, an independent firm specializing in cybersecurity, in its first year of existence.
The following year Surfshark released another app called Trust DNS, an alternative to the initial product that made it very easy to secure your connection for free, but without the perks of a VPN. The company then launched its own antivirus and database tracking system called Alert, which allows users to be warned in the event of a personal data leak.
Surfshark is also one of the first VPNs to use servers running at 100% RAM, which is a strict guarantee that no data from its users is saved, the rare data stored is ephemeral.
Surfshark: a somewhat messy interface (desktop)
The interface is perhaps still the point where Surfshark still has a lot to do: the homogeneity of its applications. The experience is very different depending on the medium, whether it is on Windows, mobile, Mac, Linux or connected TV. On Windows and mobile devices, the apps have a very similar layout. A blue button to connect, tabs to choose a server location, a ” Characteristics » for basic options and « settings for advanced options. The interface is certainly a bit austere, but at least it’s fully translated into French.
The ergonomics aren’t great either. We groped around a bit at first to learn how to navigate the menus and the different types of servers. The titles of the server types are very vague (Positions, Static IP, and Multihop), even if the popups explain what they are. In fact, Surfshark has its own vocabulary to designate functions common to all VPNs. HE split tunneling is present, but here it takes the name ” White list “, logical, but still unsettling when you know the usual terms used by many VPNs.
Servers of type ” multi hop » allowing the connection to pass through two different servers, thus double encrypting your connection. However, be careful: the quality of the connection in the latter case is greatly reduced. Finally, the ” kill switchit can also be activated and we have not noticed any malfunction on its part that causes a connection cut.
The Windows app is by far the most complete, but also the least successful from a design standpoint. The reason: windows that are too small and a general lack of visibility. However, it includes everything you’d expect from a good app:speed testsservers, a dark mode (thanks!), a ad blocker and many connection protocols (IKEv2, OpenVPN, Shadowsocks and Wireguard). However, you have to dig into the advanced settings to see the color, we would have liked a simpler option, especially before connecting to a server. If OpenVPN is selected, it automatically activates a camouflage mode that allows it to be clean with your ISP not being able to see that you are using a VPN, a feature that is not necessarily present with other VPNs.
On mobile, although we regret the absence of the Quick test or the function “Without Borders» ensuring access to special servers that allow bypassing internet blocks imposed in certain countries, we note that efforts have been made to make everything complementary to the applicationdesk. We even gained a very practical option called “Override GPS location”, which matches the GPS position of the phone with that of the server to which it is connected.
Surfshark: Decent performance with Wiregard
When it comes to the number of servers, Surfshark is in the middle of its competitors with 3,500 active servers worldwide. Servers distributed in 65 different countries. However, it covers a good part of the world territory and some cities have different locations. Here is the result of our tests conducted at the NPerf site over a 1 Gb/s fiber home connection:
|DOWNLOAD (Mb/S)||UPLOAD (Mb/S)||WHISTLE|
|FRENCH SERVER (AUTO)||300||9||4|
|US SERVER (NEW YORK)||183||7||81|
|US SERVER (LOS ANGELES)||27||5||161|
|HONG KONG SERVER||244||5||286|
|SOUTH AFRICAN SERVER||244||6||178|
Whether on mobile or PC, tests show that Surfshark is far from the best performing VPN on the market. In fact, although the download speed is sufficient for streaming, it can be a bit low for P2P downloads or other downloads that require significant speed. But what weighs the most on the results are the upload speeds, which do not exceed 10 Mb/s, regardless of the server. This is clearly something Surfshark should improve on. However, we did not detect any DNS leaks, regardless of the server we connect to.
To go further in testing, we decided to switch to Wireguard, a protocolopen sourcemore efficient and secure, instead of the IKEv2 protocol assigned by default to try to detect a difference. And clearly, the results are much better:
So remember to select the Wireguard protocol in the advanced options before using Surfshark, this will have a significant impact on your experience.
Surfshark’s server list does not include specialized streaming or downloading servers. But the US servers allow you to bypass the geo-blocks of the major SVOD platforms. However, once the server was chosen, there was no problem, we were able to connect to all VOD platforms (Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus) and watch exclusive US content in the best possible quality. However, plan abufferinga little more than if you were in France. The same goes for IPTV platforms from abroad that work without worries.
Surfshark is also one of the most secure VPNs for bypassing geo-blocks from authoritarian countries, like China for example. The function “Without Borders» together with the Shadowsocks protocol allows you to bypass the censorship linked to the great Chinese Firewall and therefore provide access to services not available on the site, such as Facebook, Instagram or even Google. This feature is available on both PC and Android.
Surfshark: a secure VPN
Surfshark claims not to keep any trace of its users passing through its servers. The only information it collects about them is their email address (to contact its users or help with problems) and billing information. The company has its locality on its side as it is based in the British Virgin Islands and the policy there does not mandate keeping records of its users.
Unlike other VPN brands, however, Surfshark has not audited its infrastructure. It does indicate that it has carried out an independent audit of its Chrome and Firefox extensions through the company Cure53, but it is still missing the one of the PC and mobile applications and other platforms. Still, this does not prove that Surfshark does not save any data. So you have to take him at his word.
How good is Surfshark’s customer service?
Customer service is obviously part of the Surfshark ecosystem. This is easily accessible from the app.deskor mobile through the “help” section. You then have direct access to the Help Center and a multitude of tutorials that allow you to better configure or better understand certain VPN features. However, this documentation is only in English.
If there is no answer to your questions, you can go to the online chat from the customer area. An easily accessible after-sales service that uses a quite effective machine translation tool for French. The responses we received about our connection issues were accurate, convincing, and the exchange very cordial.
This is undoubtedly Surfshark’s strong argument. the two-year subscription is one of the cheapest on the market, especially against NordVPN and CyberghostVPN. Also note that Surfshark is currently the only VPN provider that offers an unlimited number of simultaneous connections. Thus, you can share your subscription with a large number of people. In any case, if the service is not satisfactory, the first 30 days are fully refunded.
Surfshark does not stop at the VPN either, since it offers an additional subscription called SurfShack One (+1.49 euros per month) that gives access to an antivirus, a personal data leak alert tool (email address, number of credit card) as well as a -home finder.