Surshark VPN Gives You Blazing Speeds at Competitive Pricing (2024)

Price $11 per month, $48 for the first year (or $59.54 for 2yrs)

Latest Tests No leaks detected, 17% speed loss in 2023 tests

Network 3,200-plus servers in 100 countries

Jurisdiction Netherlands


  • Budget-friendly (for longer-term subscribers)
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • RAM-only server infrastructure
  • Lots of unique features


  • 14-Eyes jurisdiction (Netherlands)
  • No transparency reports
  • Deceptive pricing page
  • Sometimes takes a while to connect
  • Expensive monthly plan

Surfshark is an excellent, well-rounded virtual private network that consistently ranks as one of CNET’s best VPNs. If you want a premium VPN at a budget-friendly price, then give Surfshark a look because it has considerably cheaper long-term subscription plans than other top players like ExpressVPN and NordVPN, while delivering comparable functionality. Surfshark is easy to use, boasts tons of features and is excellent for streaming. It's also made impressive strides in terms of privacy and speed since my last review.

I evaluated Surfshark’s VPN offering through extensive hands-on testing, research and conversations with Surfshark’s team via email and video conference. With the help of CNET’s lab testing team in Kentucky, we ran hundreds of speed tests on Surfshark’s worldwide servers to benchmark its performance. I tried Surfshark on various platforms, including MacOS, Windows, iOS, Android and Amazon Fire TV Stick. I tested for leaks and assessed Surfshark’s streaming capabilities across platforms and various streaming services. I combed through Surfshark’s Privacy Policy and analyzed its recent no-logs audit report.

I found that Surfshark isn’t just one of the best providers available, but it’s also continuously improving. Sure, there are still opportunities to grow and get better -- for example, I’d like to see a more concerted and deliberate push toward increased transparency from Surfshark. But because of Surfshark’s overall progress, I recommend it as a solid, budget-friendly alternative to NordVPN and ExpressVPN.

Surshark VPN Gives You Blazing Speeds at Competitive Pricing (2)

Speed: A massive improvement over earlier speeds

  • 17% speed loss in autumn 2023 tests
  • Number of servers: 3,200-plus
  • Number of countries: 100

I’m thoroughly impressed with Surfshark’s speed improvements over the past year. Surfshark rebounded tremendously from our previous speed tests, where it underwhelmed as an inconsistent slowpoke, sputtering along like a boxy 1989 minivan attempting to merge onto the highway. In our latest speed tests, Surfshark was reminiscent of a Formula One racer, keeping pace with other speedsters like NordVPN and ExpressVPN.

In November 2023, we tested Surfshark’s speeds from Ohio and Kentucky to servers in New York, the UK, Australia, Germany, France and Singapore, connecting through OpenVPN and WireGuard on Mac and Windows devices. We ran 600 individual speed tests on Surfshark’s global VPN servers to calculate a 17% average speed loss across servers, devices and protocols.

The 17% average speed loss we calculated in our latest tests of Surfshark’s speeds is a monumental improvement over the 40% speed loss we calculated in February 2023. Browsing and streaming were noticeably smoother on my Windows laptop than they were previously. The overall quality of the streams from certain regions like Australia was sporadic, with titles taking forever to load and constantly buffering. However, during my recent tests, I ran into no such issues.

In our previous tests, Surfshark’s speeds were frustratingly inconsistent and slow, especially using the OpenVPN protocol on Windows, where I lost a whopping 77% of my regular internet speeds. I brought the issue up to Surfshark then, and a company representative promised that engineers would investigate and address it. I’m happy to report that our latest tests registered a much more acceptable 28% speed loss on Windows through OpenVPN. On MacOS through OpenVPN, we calculated a 19% speed loss. As expected, speeds through the lighter-weight WireGuard protocol were faster than OpenVPN on Windows and MacOS, at 13% and 9%, respectively.

I was also impressed with the overall consistency of Surfshark’s speed performance. Speeds didn’t spike or dip from one test to the next like they were prone to do previously. Overall, the speed readings from our testing locations were largely as expected and consistent across the board. Speeds to New York and the UK were generally the fastest, independent of what protocol or device we were using. Speeds to France and Germany were also fast, but not quite as quick as New York or the UK. As expected, speeds to Australia and Singapore -- the farthest distance from our testing locations -- were generally the slowest.

Although speeds to Australia and Singapore were generally fast, the lone outlier was with MacOS through OpenVPN to Australia, where download speeds hovered between 50 and 60 Mbps on a 140 Mbps internet connection in Kentucky. Otherwise, speeds to Australia were on other platforms, and protocols were fine -- usually around 120 to 130 Mbps.

Nevertheless, Surfshark’s 17% average speed loss solidifies it as one of the fastest VPNs on the planet, alongside NordVPN (an average 11% speed loss) and ExpressVPN (25% speed loss).

Cost: Long-term plans offer a lot of value, but pricing scheme needs to be more transparent

  • $15.45 per month, $48 for the first year (then $60 annually) or $54 for the first two years combined (then $60 annually)
  • Money-back guarantee: 30 days
  • Payment options: Credit card, PayPal, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, cryptocurrency
  • Apps available for MacOS, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android, Fire TV

Surfshark’s monthly plan is now one of the most expensive in the industry at $15.45 per month. The company has been experimenting with pricing recently: That monthly price has bounced between $11 and $14 for the past year or so. Its two-year subscription was briefly priced at $54 for the first two years, but Surfshark recently bumped the price back up to $60 for the first two years. Currently, its yearly subscription costs $48 for the first year and its two-year subscription costs $60 for the first two years combined.

The annual and two-year subscription prices are cheap for a VPN service, but Surfshark doesn’t make it adequately clear that those two subscription plans increase in price dramatically after the first term of the subscription. The annual subscription renews at $60 per year and the two-year subscription renews annually at $60 after the initial two-year term -- but you wouldn’t know that unless you did some poking around on Surfshark’s website.

While the Pricing page mentions (in microscopic lettering) that the price listed is for the initial term of the subscription, there’s no other indication that the price will increase, or by how much. Even once you select the plan you want and get to the checkout page, Surfshark doesn’t immediately show that the price increases -- only that the yearly subscription renews automatically each year and that the two-year plan renews automatically annually after the initial two-year term. To see the pertinent renewal information, you must locate an inconspicuous drop-down menu at the bottom of the checkout page that says “Subscription, Automatic Renewal, and other Terms.” From there, you’ll need to find the link that takes you to the Subscription Renewal Prices page to see the renewal prices for each subscription plan. It’s a multi-step journey just to find out that your annual subscription gets considerably more expensive after the first year and that your “two-year” subscription effectively doubles in price after the first two years. The Terms of Service page doesn’t even mention that the annual and two-year plans feature introductory pricing, only that the renewal price can change and that any change will be communicated to you in advance. The Terms of Service page also includes a link to the Subscription Renewal Prices page.

Many VPNs use introductory pricing to get people in the door, but that's not my issue with Surfshark's pricing. When a company employs sneaky tactics meant to intentionally obfuscate essential subscription information, it can lead to an erosion of trust in the company. Surfshark’s sister company, NordVPN, is somewhat more transparent, because its checkout page at least displays an asterisk next to the price, directing the user to the fine print at the bottom of the page which includes the link to its subscription renewal price page. IPVanish takes it a step further, prominently including the link to its subscription renewal price page right in the “Review your subscription” dialogue box at checkout. I’d like to see Surfshark take a stab at being upfront about its renewal pricing -- there are ways to be transparent about pricing without scaring off potential customers.

Surfshark’s questionable pricing tactics notwithstanding, the standard $60 annual rate is still significantly cheaper than the standard yearly prices fromExpressVPN ($100), NordVPN ($100), IPVanish ($90) or Proton VPN ($72).

Surfshark offers useful add-ons and is great for streaming

Like its competitors, including Proton and Nord, Surfshark is continually expanding its offering into a comprehensive online privacy/security suite. Surfshark’s Starter tier includes the VPN, ad-blocker and cookie pop-up blocker. The prices listed above correspond to the Starter tier, but bundles are available at an additional cost that include tools like antivirus, private search, data removal, breach alerts and alternate ID generator.

You can also purchase a dedicated IP address for an additional $3.75 per month. If you buy a dedicated IP from Surfshark, you’ll get a personal IP address, rather than sharing the same IP address with other users. This is helpful if you want to access your bank account online from abroad. It can also help you avoid running into IP blacklists and reduce the number of CAPTCHAs you have to navigate. Surfshark’s dedicated IPs are currently available in 10 countries, including the US, UK, Germany, France and Australia.

However, be aware that using a shared IP address is usually the better move from a privacy standpoint because with so many people using the same IP address, it becomes much more difficult to pinpoint any activity to a single individual. With a dedicated IP address, that IP address is used only by you, so you run the risk of someone tracing the activity associated with that IP address back to you. To combat this risk, Surfshark offers an anonymous dedicated IP option, where the IP address is completely separated from the user’s email address and cannot be traced back to any specific individual. I asked Surfshark in an interview why anyone would choose the non-anonymous dedicated IP option. Justas Pukys, Surfshark’s VPN Product Lead, told me that besides being a much easier setup, the non-anonymous dedicated IP option is refundable, whereas the anonymous option is much harder to refund because the IP address is not tied to a user in Surfshark’s database. My advice for anyone considering Surfshark’s dedicated IP is to choose the anonymous option, in spite of the more difficult setup process. Just know that you’re essentially waiving your opportunity for a refund -- so be sure you need it before purchasing the add-on.

Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, iOS and Amazon Fire TV. In my experience, Surfshark’s apps generally worked well and delivered a consistent experience across the board. However, I found that Surfshark often took several attempts to connect to a server, especially with its MacOS and Windows apps -- which would consistently take upwards of 30 seconds to establish a successful connection. The Android and iOS apps typically connected quickly, but the experience was frustrating on MacOS and Windows. While 30 seconds is not all that much time in the grand scheme of things, modern technology should respond to our commands instantaneously. Other VPNs, like ExpressVPN and NordVPN don’t have such issues.

Surfshark recently released a graphical user interface (GUI) for Linux -- which is similarly easy to use as its apps on other platforms, but is not yet quite as feature-rich. Surfshark’s Linux app includes some basic privacy features, along with Dynamic Multihop, but doesn’t include features like its CleanWeb ad and malware blocker, NoBorders mode, split-tunneling or a kill switch like its other apps do. Pukys told CNET in an interview that there are plans to potentially make the dedicated IP feature available to Linux users, but additional features are not in the works at this time. Although Surfshark’s Linux app is still rather barebones, it’s a step above many other VPN providers who only offer Linux users the option to connect via a command line interface (CLI) which isn’t as user-friendly for beginners.

If you want to use a VPN to stream content online, Surfshark is a solid choice -- especially if you want to get the most out of your Netflix subscription. During my tests, I was able to access content from various Netflix libraries from around the world, including the US, UK, Germany, Belgium, Japan, Denmark and Hungary. I effortlessly streamed Disney Plus content through Surfshark as well -- an improvement, considering I ran into issues with it previously. I’m happy to report that I was able to stream episode after episode of The Simpsons on Disney Plus in 4K without any issues. Streaming on Amazon Prime Video was also seamless on all platforms I tested. However, I encountered a few issues using Surfshark to stream content on Hulu. It worked well through Surfshark’s Fire TV Stick app but not via iOS. And when I tried streaming Hulu on my Mac, I was able to access the site, but the titles refused to load until I disconnected from the VPN.

Customer support is available around the clock via live chat if you have questions or run into issues. Surfshark’s Help Center is filled with helpful articles, troubleshooting guides and tutorials for folks who prefer to investigate problems on their own.

You can try the service commitment-free, because a 30-day money-back guarantee backs all of Surfshark's subscription plans -- and there’s even a 7-day free trial if you sign up through Apple's App Store or the Google Play Store. You can pay for your Surfshark subscription via credit card, PayPal, Google Pay, Amazon Pay or various cryptocurrencies.

All things considered, Surfshark offers tons of value wrapped up in a package that’s cheaper than many other top-tier VPN options, as long as you choose either the one or two-year plan.

Privacy and security: Consistent privacy improvements, but transparency could use a boost

  • Jurisdiction: Netherlands
  • Encryption: AES-256-GCM, ChaCha20
  • RAM-only server infrastructure
  • Protocols available: OpenVPN, WireGuard, IKEv2

I’m encouraged by how Surfshark continues to make strides in its commitment to user privacy. However, it’s still not quite on the level of ExpressVPN, Private Internet Access or Proton VPN in terms of transparency -- ExpressVPN has an extensive trust center and is unmatched in terms of its third-party audit count, and PIA and Proton are both fully open-source and regularly publish transparency reports.

Perhaps the most noteworthy privacy initiative Surfshark has been working on over the past couple of years is its proprietary Nexus network. With its Nexus technology, Surfshark can connect its entire network of servers together and deploy a few innovative VPN privacy features in the process. Essentially, Surfshark’s Nexus technology helps route users’ VPN connection through multiple servers throughout the network instead of just one. Surfshark is able to leverage Nexus to support features like its IP Rotator and Dynamic Multihop features, adding additional layers of privacy. Pukys said that the technology has boosted stability on the network, resulting in fewer dropped connections.

Surfshark's IP Rotator and Dynamic Multihop features soup up your privacy

The IP Rotator feature changes your IP address every few minutes while staying connected to the same location and without breaking the connection. This can provide additional privacy by making it harder for anyone to track you or pinpoint you to a single IP address. Rotator worked well during my testing, and I maintained a stable connection throughout several IP changes. There was no noticeable disruption in my connection or internet activity as one IP address was swapped out for another.

Surfshark’s Dynamic Multihop is another easy way to boost your privacy while using the VPN. While multihop VPN connections aren’t new or exclusive to Surfshark, Dynamic Multihop takes the idea of double-VPN and enhances it. Traditionally, VPN providers -- like NordVPN, for example -- who offer multihop connections limit users’ choices to a handful of preset double-VPN connections. This is great and provides an extra layer of privacy, but the available preset selections may not be ideal for all users. Surfshark’s Dynamic Multihop lets you choose any two servers you want to route your connection through. Therefore, you shouldn’t have any issues choosing two servers close by for optimizing your speeds while doubling the protection you get from the VPN. That’s advantageous because a multihop connection generally slows your speeds even more than a standard VPN connection. If you have critical privacy needs, Dynamic Multihop is an easy way to boost your privacy with Surfshark while maintaining more of your internet download speeds.

Surfshark has also been teasing a newer Nexus feature it calls IP Randomizer. As the name suggests, IP Randomizer randomizes your IP address -- not every few minutes like the IP Rotator, but every time you connect to a different website -- without disconnecting you from the VPN server. Surfshark’s website lists the feature is “coming soon,” but Pukys told us in an interview that the company is putting it on hold for the time being to focus more on “speeds and content accessibility.” Currently, there isn’t a timetable for IP Randomizer’s release.

Like other top VPNs, Surfshark offers the full lineup of industry-standard privacy protections like a kill switch, DNS leak protection and a no-logs policy. Its kill switch worked as expected during my testing and I detected no leaks.

Surfshark passes first external no-logs audit, but transparency can still use some work

In its Privacy Policy, Surfshark claims that it doesn’t collect “any information about what you do online (your visited IP addresses, browsing history, session information, used bandwidth, connection time stamps, network traffic or any other similar information).” A no-logs policy is vital for any trustworthy VPN provider to declare, but these assertions are impossible to verify with 100% certainty. However, Surfshark passed its first-ever independent no-logs audit in late 2022. Although the independent auditing party can only verify its findings throughout its audit, this serves as a major trust signal to the public that the VPN provider is true to its word when it says it doesn’t log user activity. Surfshark’s no-logs audit is a promising step in the right direction for transparency, but it’s still not in the same ballpark as ExpressVPN, which completed an impressive 12 audits in 2022. When asked about audit cadence going forward, Pukys wasn’t able to commit to a timeline but mentioned that future audits would be forthcoming, not greater than every two years.

Another important trust signal for a VPN is an annual or bi-annual transparency report that discloses how many court orders, subpoenas and government requests the provider has been served with and what, if any, information the VPN provided. Surfshark currently does not publish a transparency report. However, Surfshark representatives told us that the company is “exploring the possibilities” of publishing transparency reports in the future and is moving in that direction but cannot commit to an ETA now. They did note that the company has “not received any subpoenas that would have required [it] to disclose any data.” That said, the company has a Trust Center on its website and has published an Annual Wrap-Up for 2022 that offers additional insight into Surfshark’s stance on privacy and security. Still, I would have liked to have seen more of an explicit commitment from Surfshark to publishing a transparency report, especially when other VPN providers like Private Internet Access post them regularly.

Surfshark’s Netherlands jurisdiction may also be a concern for some users. If you have heightened online privacy needs, you may be leery of signing on with a VPN provider headquartered in a country that is part of the so-called 14 Eyes data-sharing alliance.

Additional privacy features include obfuscated servers, a RAM-only server infrastructure and an ad and malware blocker. Also, Surfshark recently released its CleanWeb 2.0 adblocker functionality for its browser extensions.

“​​CleanWeb 2.0 was specifically introduced for the app for our browser extension. And now, our browser extension not only acts as a VPN, but it also works as a full-fledged ad-blocking tool,” Pukys told us in an interview. “We also implemented such features as malware detection where we give alerts for the users if some specific website that the user is visiting has some potential malware on it, or it had some specific data breaches.”

Surfshark uses industry-standard AES 256-bit encryption for OpenVPN and IKEv2 connections, with ChaCha20 encryption for the WireGuard protocol.

Surfshark patched a dangerous design flaw that could temporarily expose your true IP address

At the time of this review’s original publication in November 2023, I pointed out a potentially dangerous design flaw in Surfshark’s app that could temporarily expose your true IP address. During my testing, I noticed that when I jumped from one server to another, the DNS leak-testing tool I was using displayed my home IP address before switching to the IP address of the server I jumped to.

Though displaying my unmasked IP address does not technically constitute a DNS leak, it can be just as dangerous if you’re unaware of the risks of exposing your true IP address and unencrypted traffic for even a split second. Neither is it a bug, per se. In fact, it’s typical behavior for many VPNs, but it did uncover a potentially dangerous design flaw in Surfshark’s VPN app at the time. In that version of the app, if a user jumped from one server to another, a dialogue pop-up indicated that the VPN was disconnecting before the client established the next connection. The problem was that the warning only appeared after the user had already initiated the change, and was unable to stop the disconnection. The warning was already too late by that point, and the user may have already leaked their true IP address, internet activity, location and identity.

While a seasoned VPN user may anticipate this behavior and close out of anything sensitive before making the jump, some users may not -- and may inadvertently put their online privacy at serious risk. To combat this issue, some VPNs briefly kill the internet connection while establishing the new VPN connection. NordVPN can reconfigure the existing tunnel instead of opening a new one, eliminating the disconnect altogether. ExpressVPN does neither, but it issues a pop-up warning prior to initiating the jump, alerting the user that their traffic may not be secure during the server switch.

I brought the matter up to the Surfshark team during our interview, and they acknowledged the issue at the time. Shortly thereafter, the team deployed a temporary fix while they got to work on building out a permanent solution. The latest version of Surfshark’s app includes a notification pop-up that warns you that the app will need to disconnect you from the server before reconnecting. You need to confirm that you want to proceed prior to switching servers. By displaying the warning prior to the disconnect/server switch instead of after, the app is better able to protect users who may not be aware of the risks. Surfshark is working on a long-term solution to the issue, which will require additional time for development and testing, but the warning pop-up is a welcome short-term fix. I was impressed with the urgency with which Surfshark sprang into action to address the issue and help keep users safe.

Make sure to update to the latest version of the app to ensure you’re reminded of the disconnect that occurs during a server switch. Either way, always make sure to terminate any sensitive online activity you may be engaged in before jumping from one server to another.

Surfshark is a wallet-friendly, reasonably fast and well-rounded VPN

I’m happy with Surfshark’s improvements regarding transparency and user privacy overall. I’m also impressed with how responsive the team was to my concerns and how quickly they acted to begin addressing them to make their VPN product safer. There’s still some work to be done on that front, but I think Surfshark is headed in the right direction. In any case, Surfshark is an excellent option for budget-conscious VPN users who enjoy streaming content and want an affordable VPN that’s innovative when it comes to privacy.

Surshark VPN Gives You Blazing Speeds at Competitive Pricing (2024)


Are Surfshark speeds good? ›

Surfshark fared great in our latest speed tests, and is among the fastest VPNs we've reviewed. We tested multiple Surfshark server locations at three different times of day. The average speed across all tests was 594 Mbps. The server locations were in North America, Asia, and Europe.

Is Surfshark worth the price? ›

Surfshark is a solid option for internet users who want a high-speed, reliable and easy-to-use VPN. While the month-to-month price is on the higher side, Surfshark's rates for long-term plans are competitive.

Does Surfshark throttle Internet speed? ›

Surfshark users don't have any speed, bandwidth, or data limitations. Nevertheless, you might experience slower speeds and response time (ping) with a VPN than without a VPN. The speed may decrease by 20-30%.

Why is NordVPN better than Surfshark? ›

NordVPN offers more than 6,200 ultra-fast VPN servers in 111 countries, while Surfshark has over 3,200 servers in 100 countries. Overall, NordVPN has more servers in Europe and North America, while Surfshark offers more choices in Asia, Africa, and South America.

What are the downsides of Surfshark? ›

Surfshark's Linux app includes some basic privacy features, along with Dynamic Multihop, but doesn't include features like its CleanWeb ad and malware blocker, NoBorders mode, split-tunneling or a kill switch like its other apps do.

Is there a better VPN than Surfshark? ›

NordVPN has a larger network of servers than Surfshark, with over 5,500 servers in over 60 countries. Surfshark, on the other hand, has over 3,200 servers in over 65 countries. This means that NordVPN may have more servers closer to your location, which can help to improve your connection speed and latency.

Should I leave Surfshark on all the time? ›

VPNs like Surfshark work best as “set-and-forget” applications, protecting your online privacy without hampering your day-to-day activities. The only time I would recommend turning off your VPN connection is when you're using an app or service that requires your actual location.

Is Surfshark legal in USA? ›

Yes, you can freely use a VPN in the USA without being restricted by the government or your internet service provider. Since it's a legal app to use in the US, get Surfshark — arguably the best VPN service from Anchorage to Miami.

Is Surfshark hard to cancel? ›

If you don't like Surfshark and think about canceling it, don't fret – it's pretty simple. Go to Surfshark's website and open the Help Center. Scroll down and select “Chat With Us” to open the chat window. Provide your email and name and type in the cancellation request.

Can police track Surfshark? ›

Police can't track live, encrypted VPN traffic, but if they have a court order, they can go to your ISP (Internet Service Provider) and request connection or usage logs. Since your ISP knows you're using a VPN, they can direct the police to them.

Why is my internet so slow with Surfshark? ›

The most common reason is the basic function of the VPN itself. The overhead required by the encryption protocols, the distance to the server, server load — all play a role in slowing down the connection.

Is Surfshark fast enough for streaming? ›

OpenVPN speeds also experienced a boost during my last round of testing, jumping from 130 to 640 Mbps - the faster results I got overall when using this protocol. Surfshark really shines when it comes to streaming, and you'll be able to unblock Netflix, iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and more.

Why is ExpressVPN better than Surfshark? ›

Surfshark: At a Glance. ExpressVPN and Surfshark are both rated one of our best VPNs of 2024. While ExpressVPN is more expensive and limits the number of devices you can use to five, it offers a higher-speed internet connection and more than double the number of server locations as Surfshark.

Is Surfshark a fast VPN? ›

In our most recent speed tests, Surfshark registered an average internet download speed loss of 17%, making it the second-fastest VPN behind NordVPN (11% speed loss). ExpressVPN was somewhat slower on average than Surfshark, registering a 25% speed loss in our latest tests.

Is Surfshark fast for streaming? ›

Surfshark's servers have at least 1Gbps per port, while most are already updated to 10 Gbps. When it comes to locations as hot as the USA and the UK, the number increases to 2x10Gbps per server.

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