Fastest and Cheapest VPN Review

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The internet is akin to dark, murky waters. You never know what dangers are waiting just beneath the surface. That’s why it’s crucial to take precautions whenever you’re surfing the web.

One of the best digital security measures is to use a VPN. VPNs keep you private by encrypting your data and routing your traffic through VPN servers. It sounds simple, but with just those steps, VPNs can protect you from trackers, hackers, and government spying.

In this review, we’re going to dive deeper into a VPN service that’s considered by many as one of the best. It’s called Surfshark, and throughout this review, we’ll highlight its pros and cons to help you decide if this is the right VPN for you.

Surfshark Pricing Overview

After our seven-day free trial with Surfshark ended, we had several options when it came to paid subscriptions. In essence, all subscriptions gave us the same features, like being able to connect unlimited devices to Surfshark. The only thing that differs between the subscriptions is its term lengths, namely one month, one year, or two years.

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Surfshark VPN overview

Overall, Surfshark is a powerful VPN that offers one of the best price and quality ratio. So, let’s take a quick look at our insights about it:

  • Surfshark is one of the cheapest VPN options on the market. Its starting price is $2.30/month for a 2-year subscription plan. It offers a 7-day free trial, a 30-day money-back guarantee, and a variety of monthly and yearly plan options.
  • By choosing Surfshark, you can protect unlimited devices simultaneously.
  • Surfshark uses advanced AES-256 encryption for your online traffic. It’s an industry-leading cipher that makes your data impossible to access for prying eyes.
  • Regarding privacy, Surfshark doesn’t keep any logs of your online activity. This means that your browsing history, downloads, and other activities are completely private.
  • Surfshark has shown some spectacular speed test results. With the WireGuard tunneling protocol enabled, it reached 1269 Mbit/s while connected to the UK server.
  • Surfshark stands out with its features like an ad blocker (CleanWeb) – it blocks ads, trackers, and malware.
  • Unlike most VPNs, Surfshark uses RAM-only servers. Therefore, your data gets wiped out once the server is turned off.
  • Surfshark has servers in 100 countries, which is the biggest number of all the popular VPN services. Consequently, you will have a good internet connection wherever you are.

How Fast Is Surfshark?

It’s no secret that using a VPN tends to slow down your internet speed, as your online traffic has to go through encryption and be routed through a VPN server. Fast VPNs, however, can keep the speed loss to a minimum.

To test Surfshark’s speed, we connected both a Macbook Pro running macOS and an Acer laptop with Windows 10 to the VPN and performed a few speed tests. It performed better on the Macbook, but its performance on Windows wasn’t half bad either.

However, speed is determined by a large number of factors, including your distance to the server, device make and model, operating system, browser type, and more, so take our speed tests with a grain of salt.

Devices tested onMacBook Pro 2011Acer Aspire 5 (Windows 10)
Ping without VPN (in ms)547
Ping with VPN (in ms)53199
Ping difference2%2742%
Macbook download speed without VPN (in mbps)16.2123.69
Download speed with VPN (in mbps)11.8719.61
Download speed difference31%17%
Upload speed without VPN (in mbps)22.0124.09
Upload speed with VPN (in mbps)2410.58
Upload speed difference9%56%

Later, we tested Surfshark again against other VPNs, and we used a more comprehensive testing process this time around. While Surfshark didn’t come out the fastest, its performance was solid, delivering high download speeds, passable upload speeds, and a consistent latency. You can read more about this test on our VPN speed test page.

Surfshark Features

Now that you know Surfshark as a company, it’s time to get to know Surfshark as a VPN. We tested Surfshark on multiple devices, and we’re ready to break down to you the features that it offers.

Of course, as a VPN, Surfshark’s primary job was to hide our IP addresses and web activity, and we’ve proven that it does exactly that with our DNS and WebRTC leak tests below.

Aside from that, Surfshark had other features that made us giddy. Check them out below.

Torrenting and Streaming

We use VPNs primarily to protect our privacy, but there’s no harm in using them for a little entertainment, right? Surfshark let us torrent from our favorite torrent sites and stream on Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and a bunch more services.

Here’s why that’s important: Our government frowns upon the use of torrenting services because it’s used for piracy, so when you’re torrenting, using a VPN is necessary. It keeps your online activity hidden away from Big Brother’s watchful eyes, so you can download torrent files to your heart’s content.

On the other hand, streaming from a streaming platform with a VPN allows you to unlock regional libraries outside your own. For example, if you connect to a server in Australia, the streaming service will see your Australia-based IP address, so you’ll gain access to, let’s say, Netflix Australia.

Camouflage and No-Borders Mode

Back to the more serious stuff. Camouflage Mode and No-Borders Mode are both Surfshark settings that make it easier and safer to connect to a VPN when you’re in a more restrictive country. There are countries that ban the use of VPNs, and while using Surfshark can land you in jail in those countries, it has features that can help you evade detection.

Camouflage Mode, otherwise known as obfuscation, makes your VPN traffic look like normal traffic so that governments don’t detect that you’re using a VPN. This is helpful in countries or territories where using a VPN is illegal or frowned upon by the government.

No-Borders Mode, on the other hand, automatically kicks in when Surfshark detects that you’re in a restrictive country, and will limit your selection of servers to those designed to bypass censorship specifically.

Just remember that these features aren’t fool-proof, so use it at your own risk. Better still, stay on the good side of the law and don’t use a VPN when you’re in a restrictive country unless absolutely necessary.

Pro Tip: Traveling for business? A VPN is one of the three must-have digital security products, but always check the country’s laws regarding VPNs before using one.

Kill switch

No VPN is perfect, and dropping a connection unexpectedly every once in a while is normal. However, if that happens, it could expose your online traffic to your ISP. That’s where the kill switch feature comes in. It automatically disrupts all your internet traffic to prevent it from ever leaking out in case of dropped VPN connections. All online connections will only resume once Surfshark is up and running again.

Split tunneling

Through a feature called Whitelister, you can configure certain apps or websites to bypass Surfshark’s VPN tunnel. This is useful if you’re using services that don’t allow connections through a VPN, such as online banking. Instead of turning off Surfshark, which would compromise all the other tabs you have open on your browser, you can simply whitelist the online banking website to access it outside Surfshark’s VPN tunnel.

For Surfshark’s browser extensions, split tunneling is available through a setting called bypass list. There, you’ll list all the websites and domains you want to bypass Surfshark’s encryption, so that next time you open those sites, they’ll automatically connect outside the encrypted tunnel.

Dedicated IP Address

Normally, when you connect to a VPN, it changes your IP address to that of the VPN server you’re connected to. That’s advantageous for your privacy, but there are times when you’ll need a dedicated, unchanging IP address. For example, if you’re trying to use a website or service that identifies users based on IP addresses, such as P2P file-sharing services.

Surfshark recently added servers with dedicated IP addresses that users can connect to whenever they need a fixed IP address. These servers are located in the U.S, the U.K., and the Netherlands, with more locations coming soon.

MultiHop and Dynamic MultiHop

Want some extra security and privacy? MultiHop, otherwise known as a double VPN, connects you to not just one but two VPN servers. That means twice the data encryption and double the privacy.

Surfshark’s Dynamic MultiHop feature goes the extra length to provide a pleasant experience. Most VPNs that offer multi-hop have limited and pre-selected server pairings that determine the first and second servers for you. That seriously limits your options. With Surfshark, you’re free to choose your server pairings from a list of servers that support Dynamic MultiHop. Not all its servers support Dynamic MultiHop, though, but it’s still a whole lot better than having a fixed menu of pairings.

Surfshark One

Lastly, Surfshark One is an add-on service that is sort of an all-in-one digital security solution. It includes access to Surfshark’s , identity monitoring service, and secure search engine. Surfshark One costs $1.49 a month if you bundle it with any VPN subscription. The total cost of a two-year VPN and Surfshark One subscription is only $95.52.

How Secure Is Surfshark?

If your VPN isn’t taking good care of your data, you may be experiencing a “the call is coming from inside the house” situation. But have no fear: we walked around this proverbial house checking under every bed frame, and here’s what we came out with.

Encryption Methods

Using outdated encrypted methods is kind of like using an old lock on a safe; sure, it’s better than nothing, but we want better protection for our valuables. So, after some digging, we found that Surfshark encrypted our information using AES 256-bit, which is what we expect from VPNs in 2023.

On top of that, Surfshark encrypted our traffic through multiple servers, hiding our web traffic even more. This isn’t usually the case for even the best VPNs on the market, so we feel good about Surfshark protecting our web activity.

Logging Policy

But that wasn’t enough for us. No, we wanted to actually read the fine print of Surfshark’s privacy policy to see what data of ours they kept and vice versa. Our findings?

  • What Surfshark logs: Surfshark kept our account information like our email addresses, our passwords, although they were encrypted, billing information and order history, diagnostic reports, which we opted out of, as well as anonymized information from its website like what pages we visited and how long we stayed there. Also, it kept our IP addresses and unique device identifiers, but only from its website as opposed to the actual VPN app. Like most companies, Surfshark collected cookies, which we could opt out of, as well.

  • What Surfshark doesn’t log: Surfshark didn’t keep our IP addresses, session information, browsing history, the times we connected, the amount of bandwidth we used while connected to the VPN, our network traffic, etc.

Compared to other VPNs we’ve tested, Surfshark keeps the minimal amount of data necessary to run its service, making it a great choice for privacy.

DataDoes Surfshark log it?
IP addressesNo
Browsing historyNo
Session informationNo
Used bandwidthNo
Time stampsNo
Network trafficNo
User’s email addressYes
User’s passwordYes
Payment dataYes, unless you use anonymous payment methods such as cryptocurrency

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