|British Virgin Islands
|Starting from USD 1.99/month
On any given day, 25 percent of users are connecting with a virtual private network or VPN. SurfShark.com is only one out of this burgeoning industry that is expected to grow by over 50 percent by 2022. But how does it stack to the rest in this competitive market?
The essential things to consider when choosing a VPN are privacy, security, speed, and usability. These criteria can help you determine if SurfShark.com is right for you.
SurfShark.com is a relatively new player in the market. Although it’s not as big as the heavy hitters like ExpressVPN or NordVPN, it has over 1700 servers in more than 60 countries. SurfShark.com, which is based in the British Virgin Islands, offers many of the same features like most VPNs. That’s good news if privacy is your primary concern. It’s important to note that SurShark.com is not a part of the so-called 14 Eyes.
14 Eyes refer to the 14 nations that collect and share surveillance data through international agreements. They include data from the United States and the United Kingdom, along with several other European countries like Sweden, Norway, and France. This means that SurfShark.com is under no obligation to share the data it collects with anyone unless by local court order.
That is a significant selling point with American users, given the fact that keeping their anonymity is their top motivator for using a VPN in the first place. It gives SurfShark.com an edge over its competitors like IP Vanish and Norton VPN, which are based in the United States.
Top Features of SurfShark.com
SurfShark.com has a user-friendly interface for connecting, which is beneficial for newbies who don’t want to get into the technical details. It takes only one click, and you’re online. The first time you launch the client, it’ll prompt you to create an account and provide payment information. The company offers three pricing tiers: monthly, annually, or biyearly.
There are also two add-ons that you can tack onto your subscription. HackLock will monitor your email address and alert you if it’s compromised. BlindSearch will ensure that your searches are anonymous and not logged. Together, the two cost an extra $0.99 a month. Given that there are free services that do both, you might consider going that route instead of paying for this convenience.
The company offers a 30-day, money-back trial to give you time to check it out and you get access to all its features. SurfShark.com has several features that stand out from the competition. One top feature is the ability to use the VPN on an unlimited number of devices. Most VPNs cap the number of simultaneous connections.
SurfShark.com also supports Xbox, Play Station, Windows, Mac, iOS, FireTV, and Android, as well as Chrome and Firefox extensions to make connecting a snap. Alternatively, you can download the app on your smartphone and start a 7-day free trial there. You can use your login credentials on any other device to give a test run on all of them.
The app and client both include anti-malware software and an adblocker baked in with a feature called CleanWeb. Blocking marketing content is a welcome feature, given that nearly 90 percent of internet users distrust what they’re advertising anyway. It also has a Whitelister so that you can bypass the VPN on certain websites and apps. Banks, for example, often don’t allow the use of this technology.
SurfShark.com uses both IKEv2/IPsec and OpenVPN protocols. The former is an excellent option with lots of features for the savvy browser. The app selects it by default, the latter works fine for non-demanding usage and all are secure for a safe VPN experience.
SurfShark.com also has another exclusive feature that makes it worth a look. It has three modes in which you can connect to its service. The Camouflage one masks your use of a VPN from your ISP. Some will block some activities if you use one. MultiHop does just what the name implies. You can go globetrotting country to country. NoBorders Mode gives you a pass to a pass to restrictive countries like China.
The app includes a kill switch. If your VPN service loses connectivity, you’re offline and safe from prying eyes. Also, each of its servers has a private DNS to prevent data leaks. You can view a list of them online with the features that they support along with the protocols they use. The company uses AES-256-GCM encryption to keep your information secure.
Another top reason that people use a VPN is to get access to better entertainment choices, and SurfShark.com doesn’t disappoint there either. Users can stream Netflix and get around any restriction preventing them from viewing the content. It also allows for speedy torrenting. While not a major selling point in the United States, it’s a dealmaker in some countries.
It’s worth noting that Netflix takes geo-restricting seriously. While SurfShark.com flies under the radar now, it might not always be so fortunate. Bear in mind that if you lose access to streaming, it’s not the fault of the VPN. It merely means their luck ran out and no more Breaking Bad!
SurfShark.com has a strict no-logging policy. The only things it retains are your payment information for recurring fees and your email address. The fact that the company is located in the British Virgin Island helps too. To further ensure your privacy, they also have a warrant canary. This feature is a means of tipping off users if the government serves a subpoena on anyone’s activity.
The website posts information about any other actions like national security letters and the company goes the extra mile to create trust among its customers. As of this writing, they haven’t received any of these notices.
SurfShark.com isn’t the cheapest VPN on the market and it’s in the same ballpark as larger services like ExpressVPN. However, it’s lineup of features still makes it worth considering even at a higher cost. On the positive side, its annual and biyearly plans are reasonably priced if you decide to take the plunge. The service is an excellent value if you have several users in your household.
Students can also get a 15-percent discount on the VPN service. They need to verify their status with Student Beans to get the code to enter at checkout.
Criticism of SurfShark.com
If you look at the SurfShark.com website, you won’t find an About Us page. The FAQs answer a lot of the questions you may have, but the lack of definitive information about the company is a bit disconcerting. Given the nature of the business, it makes sense that they’d want to safeguard their privacy. However, it’s not unique to the company as other VPNs treat this info similarly.
SurfShark.com has live chat support available 24/7 and the techs are responsive and courteous. The interface is easy to use, which makes it a pleasant experience if you need help. The company is less responsive in regards to email and customers note that they’ve never received a reply. The email issue is fairly minor considering that most users would probably prefer to get an issue fixed right away using chat than waiting for an email.
The site’s FAQ section does an excellent job of anticipating user questions and it includes screenshots where applicable to make troubleshooting easy to follow. The blog is informative and well-written and it’s worth subscribing to its feed even if you don’t end up using the service.
SurfShark.com is a worthy contender in the pool of VPNs because it puts privacy and security at the top with private DNSs and different modes for securing browsing. The app is user-friendly so that even beginners can get up and running quickly. Users can feel confident that their information is safe with state-of-the-art encryption and the company’s no-logging policy.
While the monthly price is spendy, the VPN offers a range of features that many more well-known services do not. That fact alone makes it worth the 30-day trial. The confirmation of its cybersecurity makes it a smart choice for all users. If you need a VPN for everyone in your household, SurfShark.com is an affordable option.