Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a tool used by many to hide their location and online identity from prying eyes.
When you turn on a VPN service, all your incoming and outgoing web traffic is routed through an encrypted tunnel to a server operated by the VPN company. This is preventing someone else’s ability to intercept your data when they are lurking on the same network that you are using. This prevents the intruder from seeing your activities and also stops the internet service provider from monitoring, tracking, and selling data to some marketing research company.
What happens is, anyone monitoring will see the IP address of the VPN server and not your actual IP address making it invisible on the network that you are using. Which makes it harder to track you across the web and can also be used to fake your location by connecting a VPN server in a further geolocation. Anyone on the same network as you won’t be able to spy on your activities either.
A VPN is a very powerful tool that you could use to prevent someone from stealing information. But, that doesn’t mean that you are protected from every possible threat imaginable.
This is why you must use a standalone antivirus program like Bitdefender or Heimdal Thor Antivirus guard.
A good password manager can also help you to keep your credentials safe and sound from hackers, co-workers, or anyone who got access to your device. Enabling two-factor authentication for online services is also very helpful to protect them from hackers.
SurfShark is a well designed and well equipped VPN service that supports torrenting, streaming to browsing web anonymously.
Features of SurfShark VPN
Security features of SurfShark VPN
The SurfShark protects your data traffic with 256 bit AES encryption to prevent ISP or any third party from spying on your browsing preferences or stealing personal and private information.
There are many ways to create a VPN connection. OpenVPN is the most reliable and fastest VPN protocol in the existence right now but the WireGuard, a new encryption protocol is slowly catching up the ground as we speak.
SurfShark supports OpenVPN for its applications for Android OS, iOS, Linux OS, and Windows OS.
The IKEv2 protocol is also available for all the applications and comes as the default for macOS.
Automatic kill switch
SurfShark VPN comes with an integrated automatic kill switch to temporarily disconnect all the traffic in case of VPN connectivity issues. This feature prevents data and IP address leaks and it also automatically reconnects your internet connection when the VPN connection is re-established.
Multi-hop mode, or the so-called double VPN, routes your traffic through two servers instead of one to add an extra layer of encryption to ensure further protection. But, keep in mind that this could slow down your connection. This feature is extremely useful for anyone living in countries ruled by oppressive regimes such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, or Afghanistan.
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SurfShark VPN provides a search engine called Blind Search which is privacy-oriented and ad-free. It doesn’t keep a log of, track or monitor your online search preferences either. However, it is not powerful or fast as major search engines like Google, Yandex, or Yahoo.
HackLock is a feature that you can use to monitor your credentials for any possible security breaches. When you register with the HackLock, you will receive an email from SurfShark if it finds your information in a leaked or hacked online database.
DNS leak protection and IPv6 leak protection.
SurfShark VPN comes with DNS leak protection to prevent security vulnerabilities in your web browser from routing your DNS requests through your ISP instead of a VPN. IPv6 leak protection prevents IPv6 enabled websites from requesting your real IP address and from finding your real location.
Split tunneling Whitelister
The Whitelister is a split tunneling tool that routes app traffic outside the VPN tunnel to provide access to websites that forbade the use of VPN services. This feature helps you to avoid trouble by pre-setting whitelister to route traffic outside the VPN tunnel.
No Borders Mode.
SurfShark provides the ability to bypass geological restrictions. For example, China has banned many social media apps. To access social media within China, you can connect to a VPN server hosted elsewhere to mask your location. This helps you to bypass geologically enforced restrictions.
Some countries like Saudi Arabia and China are actively restricting the use of a VPN. Camouflage mode in SurfShark makes your encrypted traffic look like regular traffic under deep packet inspection to make sure that nobody can see you are using a VPN. This feature is included in applications for Windows OS, Android OS, and iOS.
China is consistently working on its anti VPN technology to keep data encryption at bay, so VPN services are working at their full capacity to bypass geologically restrictions enforced by the government of China. It is not possible to say for sure that the SurfShark works in China or not, but many China-based users leave positive reviews about the browser meaning that it is working properly despite anti-VPN detection technologies.
No log policy.
However, you can pay with BitCoin or any other cryptocurrency if you are concerned about exposing your identity by giving them your payment details.
SurfShark has a transparent no-log policy and under no circumstance store IP addresses, browsing history, bandwidth usage, connection time stamps, network traffic, session information, etc.
SurfShark VPNs support for Streaming services
The SurfShark can be considered as one of the best VPN services for streaming. It can bypass VPN detection of the BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and many major streaming services. With the high-speed servers of SurfShark, I was able to stream Netflix and BBC iPlayer in HD even though I was connected to a server that was continents away.
Built-in Ad blocker, malware blocker, tracking prevention.
The SurfShark VPN comes with a built-in Adblocker, a malware blocker, and tracking prevention called CleanWeb. This feature is capable of blocking advertisements on social media.
The number of devices protected by SurfShark.
Unlimited Simultaneous connections
SurfShark VPN Speed and Performance
A VPN is usually having a significant impact on upload and download speed due to the distance between your device and its nearest server. So, a fast ad reliable internet connection adds a lot of value to a VPN service and can improve the overall streaming, torrenting, and browsing experience.
To measure the impact of the SurfShark VPN on my connection, I used the Ookla test to measure the upload and download speeds of my internet connection without VPN and with a VPN.
Internet Connection Ping Download Upload
Internet connection without VPN 21 78.42 67.24
SurfShark VPN Chicago, USA 113 67.53 61.29
SurfShark VPN London, UK 148 49.53 38.24
SurfShark VPN Tokyo, Japan 59 31.60 29.24
SurfShark VPN Frankfurt, Germany 136 57.42 31.53
SurfShark VPN Paris, France 131 58.24 65.24
SurfShark VPN NYC, USA 14 69.56 35.74
I started to test speed with USA based Chicago server and then a server located in London. Then I moved to a server in Japan, Germany, France, and the USA. All the connections showed a decent amount of download and upload speed despite the distance and network factors. Though there is a significant slow down of both upload and download speed when connected to servers in Japan and England, it is still fast enough for HD quality streaming, online gaming, and other activities.
SurfShark provides excellent upload and download speed even while connected to high traffic servers which are located far away, making it excellent for streaming, gaming, and other high data consuming activities.
The geographical variety and having access to lots of geo-locations across the globe to choose from is very important if you are traveling a lot as the distance to the nearest server affects the upload and download speed of your VPN network.
SurfShark provides 1724 servers in 64 countries which are above average. CyberGhost provides more than 90 countries in comparison. CyberGhost VPN got 7100+ servers while NordVPN got 5000+ servers.
The SurfShark VPN has implemented RAM only servers and has upgraded its infrastructure to 100% RAM only servers. A RAM only server solution eliminates this security threat by ensuring that no information can be physically taken from the servers. What happens is a centrally controlled network of hard-disk-less servers ensure that updated software is spread through the whole network in a timely fashion.
The SurfShark VPN provides coverage for the South American continent and the African region, the two regions that are neglected by most major VPN service providers. SurfShark also provides servers in locations like Russia, China, and Brazil.
It is a common practice among VPN service providers to offer virtual servers. A virtual server is a software define server which is residing in a physical server. A physical server can host numerous virtual servers. This technology allows the VPN companies to quickly spike the number of available servers to meet demand or to configure a server to appear in a country where the company cannot guarantee the safety of its hardware while being hosted in a much safer place. Many companies are not so transparent about the number of servers or whether what is a real server and what is a virtual server.
SurfShark VPN is transparent about this and clearly states that Albania, Chile, Costa Rica, and Slovenia are virtual locations. All these virtual locations are hosted on servers in the Netherlands.
Ease of Use
SurfShark VPN provides a minimalist, straightforward, well-designed user interface to keep it simple and intuitive even for novice users.
A list of servers and a search bar to find the specific locations and a connect button are in the interface.
The quick-connect button will automatically connect you to the most suitable server based on your location.
Setting up the VPN in the client device is simple and straightforward. The first time you install the SurfShark VPN app on your device, you have to enter your credentials and the app will guide you through the process of giving permissions.
There is a separate interface for the multi-hop feature.
By clicking on Settings, you can access advanced features and settings.
SurfShark VPN is compatible with Windows OS, Android OS, iOS, macOS, Chrome OS, and Android TV, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV. It also provides client applications for Windows OS, macOS, iOS, Android OS, and even for Amazon Fire TV.
It also provides browser plugins for Chrome browser and Firefox browser.
Typical VPN browser plugins are capable of masking your location, but they usually encrypt your data traffic via TLS protocol instead of IKEv2 or OpenVPN protocols.
SurfShark also provides a custom DNS resolver called SmartDNS feature to allow the connection of devices that do not support VPN connections, like the PlayStation and Xbox devices. With SmartDNS, you can bypass geological restrictions to access US-based content. However, SmartDNS does not mask your IP address or encrypt your traffic. But, it doesn’t provide client applications for these devices.
It also allows unlimited simultaneous connections, meaning that you can connect all the digital devices in your household and devices of your friends and relatives to use them all at the same time without worrying about running out of slots. This is a very valuable feature as many VPN service providers only support up to five simultaneous connections.
SurfShark VPN provides 24/7 live chat support. The agents behind the live chat support are professional, informative, and eager to help you in any way they could. They usually respond within a couple of minutes and provides all the necessary information accurately within a short time period.
Pricing and Packaging of SurfShark VPN
The SurfShark VPN provides its services in three packages. Like many other VPN service providers, SurfShark VPN also allows steep discounts to convince users for a long term commitment.
Per month package. – Only $12.95 per month. One year package. – Only $38.94. $6.49 per month. Two-year package. – Only $59.76. $2.49 per month.
The annual plans are more suitable as they are undercutting monthly fee in significant amounts. Cost savings, in the long run, is enough to go for an annual plan instead of opting for a monthly plan.
All the plans provide simultaneous coverage for unlimited devices.
All the plans are coming with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
You can pay using various payment methods including credit cards (Visa, American Express, Mastercard), PayPal, Amazon Pay, Google Pay, Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum.
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The SurfShark is a relatively new player in the field but provides fast, reliable, and secure connectivity and supports unlimited devices simultaneously making it more practical and budget-friendly.
It also provides useful features such as split tunneling and muti hop VPN features. Multi-hop is simply, sending your data through a VPN server to another VPN server to provide another extra layer of additional VPN security. Multi-hop is useful and more secure but can slow down your internet connection speed considerably. However, if you are concerned about privacy and data safety, consider using this feature at least when it is necessary. Spilt tunneling is routing your data traffic outside the VPN tunnel to access websites that you want to access without using a VPN. This is a useful feature as you can pre-define the URLs and domains that you want to access without using VPN encryption, rather than having to disable the VPN every time you have to do so.
It also offers an excellent automatic kill switch to cut off-network to prevent information theft in case of a VPN connectivity issue. It also automatically reconnect the connection when the VPN is running again.
SurfShark VPN provides better value for money and supports and provides client applications for all the major platforms such as Windows OS, Android OS, iOS, macOS, Android TV, and even Amazon Fire TV. It also provides a DNS resolver called SmartDNS to connect the VPN to devices that cannot be connected to VPN normally such as PlayStation and Xbox consoles. It also provides browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox browsers.
The company is bound to a No log policy, meaning that it does not store or monitor user data under any circumstance.
Opting for annual subscription plans can undercut the cost in a significant amount. All three plans are coming with a 30-day money-back guarantee to ensure customer satisfaction.
Highly intuitive user-friendly interface.
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