I have reviewed a few VPN services recently, all of which have been quite good, but I am always on the lookout for new affordable options.
Surfshark appears to be a relatively new VPN for Android and Windows, but with their current Christmas promotion, they are quite an appealing choice. At the moment you can pick up 24 months of access for just £38.16. However, their monthly plan is quite expensive, though this is not unusual for a VPN.
With them being reasonably new they are not listed on thatoneprivacysite.net but they claim:
Surfshark does not collect or gather any data that could be used to identify you as a particular user. This includes:
- Incoming and outgoing IP addresses;
- Browsing, downloading or purchasing history;
- VPN servers you use;
- Used bandwidth;
- Session information;
- Connection timestamps;
- Network traffic;
The only information that our service stores:
- User’s e-mail address (used for purposes of connecting to VPN, marketing, and troubleshooting purposes);
- Information regarding Billing (used in case if a refund is requested);
Furthermore, Surfshark is based in the British Virgin Islands, where this is no obligatory data retention law.
So in terms of privacy, you should be more than safe, and it certainly should be enough for the average user that is not committing a serious crime.
Surfshark has an impressive range of compatibility with a variety of apps for Windows, MacOS, Android and iOS. They also have a Chrome and Firefox extension.
There is no dedicated Linux application, but there are options for OpenVPN or IKEv2 which allows you to use the service on pretty much any device. Similar to other feature-rich VPN services they provide a detailed guide for router integration too, this includes DD-WRT, AsusWRT and Tomato.
Surfshark is the only VPN which allows unlimited devices for your whole family. I only tested this on two devices, and I wouldn’t recommend sharing your login details, but you should be safe using it on several devices within your home.
There are apparently 500+ online services covering 50 countries. You can’t individually select a server just the country, though with some options you have extra cities too. All the major western countries are included with the USA having several exit points, many Asian exit points including Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, and many South American options.
They also have a MultiHop feature, which is not something I have seen in my previous reviews, as the name suggests this will route your traffic through two VPNs to further improve security.
There are not quite as many customisable features as some of the reviews I have done; however, I find this makes the user experience a little friendlier. The main options within the app you can optionally select includes Kill switch, CleanWeb (blocks adds etc), whitelist for apps and whitelist for web pages.
Within the app you can also select which protocol you want to use, this is set to Auto by default but you can choose OpenVPN with UDP or TCP or also IKEv2
Windows and Android App Performance
I used both the Windows and Android app to see how well the service works and I came away pleasantly surprised.
Virgin provides my broadband and I am on the 350Mbps package, at the time of testing I was receiving the full speed which was actually 376Mbps with 20.91Mbps upload and an 8ms ping.
The VPN couldn’t max out my connection on any server even when I chose the nearest option in Manchester. I don’t regard this as an issue, I just want a VPN that is fast enough to do my work without noticeable slowdowns.
Connecting to the Manchester server achieved a download of 74.28Mbps with 19.28Mbps upload and a ping of 50ms. I found this was around the peak speak for most of the servers tested, however unlike some of the other VPN reviews I have done, I found the speeds to be more consistent. With some reviews, I have found some of the more unusual server locations would not successfully carry out a speed test due to poor connectivity.
The lowest speed I found was Albania with 33.64Mbps and 1.36Mbps upload with a 73ms second ping. The upload is quite poor here, but the overall browsing experience is fine. I put up with a worse upload speed for years with ADSL.
I was surprised to find that the MultiHop technology was also quite fast achieving a higher speed than Manchester with 79.47Mbps with an 18.18Mbps upload and 65ms ping. I used the France to Sweeden connection for this, while I have no way of knowing if it really went through France, the endpoint was definitely in Sweeden.
During my testing the performance and general user experience was similar on both Windows and Android. The Android app looks almost identical to its Windows counterpart, you just received a warning when allowing it to alter your internet connection at first.
One feature Surfshark does offer is access to US Netflix regardless of your location. Netflix put a lot of effort into blocking VPNs with many major VPNs avoiding explicitly saying they support it.
During my testing it suffers the same problems as other VPNs, which is that it can be hit or miss dependant on your chosen location. I opted for New York at first which failed. Then choosing Las Vegas worked with no issues. The Vegas option worked on both Windows and Android too.
Surfshark appears to be an excellent choice for a VPN. For my main requirements is something that is affordable, quick to connects and offers consistently good speeds even if it is not quite as fast as my ISP speed. Surfshark does all of this while also providing a superb range of endpoints, universal device compatibility and unlimited devices for each account.
Surfshark VPN Review
Name: Surfshark VPN
Offer price: 38
Operating System: Android
Application Category: VPN
Overall - 90%