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Surfshark VPN review: A fast, secure VPN that’s great value for money

Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
per month

Apart from unblocking a few streaming services, Surfshark VPN gets almost everything else right

Unbeatable price
Good security features
Static IP and Multi-hop server
Doesn’t unblock all streaming services

Surfshark is a popular VPN, which you can use to protect your privacy and disguise your location. Like all VPNs, it works by forwarding your internet connection through one of the company’s secure servers around the world.

From your perspective, everything works as normal, but all traffic between your device and the Surfshark server is encrypted, so no one can track what sites you’re accessing – not your ISP and not even the police. Remote sites meanwhile will see your location as that of your chosen server, so you can use the VPN to access video-streaming services and other content that’s not normally accessible in the UK.

A monthly subscription to Surfshark VPN costs around a tenner, but if you sign up for six months the price falls to the equivalent of around half of that. If you’re willing to make a longer commitment, Surfshark gets even cheaper: the annual subscription costs around £45, but the second year is free for new customers, so you get 24 months for under £1.90 per month. After that, renewing costs the same but only gets you one additional year.

All contracts come with a 30-day refund policy, so you can try out the service risk-free, and if a friend signs up with your referral code (and sticks around for a month) then you both get an extra month of free service. Surfshark is also generous when it comes to devices. Most VPNs only allow you to connect with a certain number of devices at once, but Surfshark has no limit on simultaneous connections.

All the major desktop and mobile operating systems are supported, with convenient plugins that let you control the VPN inside Chrome and Firefox. If your router supports outbound VPN connections, you can also configure it so that all internet access within your home network goes through Surfshark. As for exit nodes, Surfshark operates more than 3,200 servers, spread across 65 countries, so you should have no problem finding a server in the region you want.

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Surfshark VPN review: What’s it like to use?

We tested Surfshark on Windows 10 and Android. On both platforms, the app opens with a handy list of shortcuts to recently used servers. On Windows, this is accompanied by a big list of server locations worldwide, which you can browse or search to find a suitable exit node.

For quicker access, you can create a list of your own favourite servers, and there’s a selection of predefined multi-hop routes to make your activity even harder to trace. Android offers the same list, but you need to tap on the Locations tab at the bottom of the screen to access it.

Unusually, Surfshark offers static IP servers too, in Germany, Japan, Singapore, the UK and the US. Whenever you connect to one of these you’ll get the same external IP address, which can help you get around certain access requirements.

Switching to the Features tab lets you configure the CleanWeb and Whitelister options. The former attempts to block adverts, trackers and malware while you’re connected to a Surfshark server, while the latter handles split-tunnelling so that non-sensitive apps don’t have to go through the VPN.

You can enable some optional extras from here too. Surfshark Alert warns you if your personal information has been leaked online, giving you a chance to change your passwords before you get hacked, while Surfshark Search provides a completely private, tracker-free search engine. The two together cost 71p per month.

In all, we’ve no complaints about the Surfshark experience. The app isn’t exactly pretty, but it’s clear and easy to use. If you do hit any problems, you can email the support team directly, open a request on the website, or make use of the 24/7 live chat support that’s offered via the website.

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Surfshark VPN review: How fast is it?

Routing all your internet traffic through a VPN server can have a big impact on performance, but we found Surfshark pretty speedy. We first tested the service on a Windows 10 laptop connected to a 200Mbits/sec Virgin fibre line; when we were connected to a server in London, the Google Speed Test reported a very respectable download speed of 151.8Mbits/sec. Even when we switched to New York, we got 100Mbits/sec.

Predictably, speeds fell away with more remote servers, but they still weren’t bad. We got 46.4Mbits/sec when we connected through a Brazilian server and 31.9Mbits/sec from Australia.

Surfshark gave us a perfectly usable performance on mobile platforms too. Without the VPN engaged, our Android tablet achieved a download speed of 61.9Mbits/sec; when we connected to a VPN server in the UK, this fell only to 44.5Mbits/sec, and after switching to a US server we still averaged 39.5Mbits/sec.

This should be enough bandwidth for anything you’re likely to want to do, but for maximum all-round performance, you can use the Whitelister feature mentioned above. On both desktop and mobile clients, this lets you specify apps and sites that should bypass the VPN, to get the full speed of your ISP connection.

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Surfshark VPN review: Is it good for video streaming?

Surfshark is certainly fast enough to stream video. It’s generally recommended that you need a connection speed of 25Mbits/sec for 4K HDR video, and as we’ve seen, this VPN comfortably exceeds that even when you’re connecting via the other side of the world.

It mostly works for location spoofing too. Connecting our Windows laptop to a server in New York allowed us to browse and watch US-only content on Disney+ and Netflix, and we were also able to watch BBC iPlayer from a UK server – meaning you can use Surfshark to catch up with local programmes while travelling.

However, neither BritBox nor Now TV allowed us to play video while the VPN was active – not on Windows or Android – while the Disney+ Android app insisted on showing us the UK library even when we were connected to a US server.

VPN providers are constantly working to get around problems like these, but at the time of writing other VPNs - like ExpressVPN and NordVPN - will give you more freedom to watch the services you want from wherever you happen to be.

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Surfshark VPN review: Is it secure?

Surfshark is based in the British Virgin Islands, which means it’s under no obligation to share user data or other information with authorities in the UK, US or anywhere else. Like most VPNs, it also has a "no-log" policy, so no records are kept of your online activity. The company hasn’t been independently audited - like ExpressVPN and NordVPN - but we’ve no reason to doubt its good faith.

The software has some good security features too. We’ve mentioned the double VPN options, and the Whitelister isn’t just for bypassing the VPN – you can also configure it to ensure that certain apps always go through a secure server. On Android, you can even define specific websites and IP addresses that should only be accessed through the VPN. There’s a kill switch for extra peace of mind, which suspends all internet traffic if your secure connection is lost: it’s switched off by default, but it only takes a click to toggle it on.

On Windows, you can also tell Surfshark to automatically connect as soon as your computer starts up, and remain connected at all times unless you’re connected to a network that you’ve explicitly marked as trusted. This isn’t entirely possible on Android, but you can tell Surfshark to open a VPN session as soon as you open the app, or whenever you change Wi-Fi networks.

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Surfshark VPN review: Should you buy it?

Surfshark is a likeable, worry-free VPN. It delivers strong speeds from all over the world and its support for unlimited devices means you don’t need to worry about running out of connections. Since the company is headquartered in the British Virgin Islands, we’ve no worries about its ability to protect your privacy either.

There are some caveats. While Surfshark unblocked the most popular video-streaming sites, it didn’t work with all of them - namely Britbox on Now TV (on all platforms) and Disney+ on Android. And remember, although it’s cheap for the first two years, the price effectively doubles after that.

For most people, though, Surfshark will do an excellent job at an excellent price – and you can always cancel the service and start a new 24-month subscription when the time comes. That makes it a great choice for anyone seeking a low-cost, can-do VPN.

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