Surfshark Ltd. is a company based in the remote British Virgin Islands that provides advanced VPN security services at the best prices anywhere on the Internet. In this article, we are going to analyze in depth what our services offer us, with a special interest in two new implementations that they have made: HackLock and BlindSearch.
Of course, we will see in detail the operation of its huge virtual private network with servers located in the most important countries around the world. In addition to its applications, integration, and speed.
We appreciate the trust that Surfshark has placed in us by giving us a temporary account to be able to test all the available solutions.
What is a VPN?
It is convenient to briefly define what a Virtual Private Network or VPN is, what will come in handy to be able to develop what Surfshark offers, and how everything will work.
A VPN network is a local network in which the users connected to it are geographically separated. Access to it, therefore, will be done through the Internet, which is why it is called a virtual network. In this way, we can manage all our Internet connections in a safe and reliable way without having to be physically where our internal network is. Among the benefits of using a VPN we can highlight the following:
- Greater security in public connections
- Avoid certain blocks according to countries or geographical areas
- Avoid censorship in our own internet provider
- Give data more confidentiality
VPN solutions offered by Surfshark
Like other similar connection methods such as OpenVPN, what this company does is give us a comprehensive VPN service to protect all our private data and ensure the confidentiality of what we do on the Internet. This service, as we have already said, is paid, which ensures complete 24/7 support, being able to contact them directly through their website by email.
Among the advantages that we can have with your global VPN we will mention the most interesting:
- By being a VPN we prevent access to our data: one of the key functions of the VPN is to prevent computer attacks and hacking of our data. Surfshark offers an encrypted connection using IKEv2, OpenVPN, or Shadowsocks protocols.
- We will be able to block ads and tracking programs: another advantage of the VPN is being able to browse without the typical Ad Pop-Ups.
- Make online payments more securely
- Connect to public WiFi: without being able to spy on the one at the next table
- We will be able to surf anonymously on the Internet: even without the Internet provider having to know it.
- See censored content in our own country: for example, online channels open in other countries just by connecting to a server in their territory. We can also see content from our country abroad.
- It offers security in P2P downloads: for example, in the download of content by Torrent, etc.
Surely you will all agree that these are the biggest concerns that users have when using the Internet of Things today.
Registration and fees
Surfshark offers a connection from anywhere in the world, although it is true that certain countries are currently limiting the use of VPN networks within their territory. For example, Russia has recently blocked the use of VPNs and even Netflix planned to limit the use of these networks a long time ago, although for now, we have no problem using their services within it.
The registration, as in any other website, is done in the usual way, including the payment method that we consider appropriate, for example, PayPal, Google Play, Card, or Cryptocurrency. At present, we can activate its services in a scaled manner according to our needs, and expand them when we deem appropriate. From the outset, they already offer us most of the services, including the new HackLock and BlindSearch.
The prices that are handled will improve the more months we contract, that is logical and standardized in all cases. Especially the price for 2 years of use is very very low, only €1.79 per month, being one of the best available. The rate will rise to €5 if we opt for 12 months, and €9.89 for a single month. If we’re not happy, Surfshark seems to give us a money-back guarantee for the first 30 days. It is similar to a free trial, although with a refund is required, which may not convince many.
HackLock and BlindSearch: its most interesting new services
After registering and being operational, the Dashboard that we find is very simple, as well as the use of its complete web page. We have an absolutely clean interface with the right and necessary options perfectly categorized and ordered.
In this case, it is not possible to see the devices that are connected to our account, which would be a great option for management. Also, in this way, we could have everything much more controlled and see if someone is using our account to connect to the service.
We will now focus on the sections related to the new solutions implemented, which are still in a test version, that is, HackLock and BlindSearch.
HackLock is a service with which Surfshark protects the integrity of our email account or accounts. It is a real-time mail analysis system that will send us a notice if our mail is at risk of being hacked. This can happen, for example, if we register on an unsafe site or if they have leaked the account with our information. Continuous analysis of databases by this service will evaluate the situation in which the account is located.
Including an email in the list does not even imply that we use our password. The system will send a confirmation email to the email that we just have to accept for the system to start up. In case there is a risk, an email will be sent to the address that owns the account, which, let’s say, will be that of the administrator.
And the system does work, although it does not specify which specific website is compromising the integrity of our data. This information will probably become more complete as time goes by.
The second service it offers is called BlindSearch, and it’s basically a search engine that only shows results clean of advertisements and advertisements, as well as only trusted links.
During the tests we have done, the results it shows are quite consistent and what can be expected from a good search engine, even better than Bing in my personal taste. Although of course, it is not at the level of Google in terms of the number of results, since it plays in its own league.
APP for any device on the market
One of the biggest advantages we have with the Surfshark VPN is that we can use it on practically any device since the company offers applications for all platforms. We have all kinds of personal computers, tablets, and mobile phones, as well as the main browsers such as Chrome and Firefox. Its DNS service also extends to game consoles and all kinds of smart TVs.
And if we want to go a little further in our VPN configuration, we can directly configure our router with Surfshark’s DHCP server so that it is the router itself that is connected to the VPN network and thus extend it to our entire subnet. The company offers different configuration tutorials for the main firmware used in routers.
Surfshark app for Windows
We have of course downloaded the Surfshark application for our Windows 10 and thus be able to connect to the VPN. The application is very easy to use, we just have to authenticate with our account and connect to the fastest server it can find.
In the locations section, we can select from a huge list of servers, including three in Spain in the main data centers in the country. We can choose to take one of those that offers a static IP , in case we plan to access our network remotely and we need the fixed IP to configure a domain, for example.
With a simple switch in the program, we can temporarily disconnect if we wish. In the functions section, we have the option to activate the CleanWeb function to block ads, or a very useful option to create a list of applications that we want to ignore the VPN. Nor can you miss direct access to the HackLock and BlindSearch functions.
The software gives us the possibility of selecting the connection protocol that we think is appropriate, as well as managing our payment plan, updates, and language. The great advantage that this application gives us is precisely that of being able to easily connect to any server in the world, in order to unlock restricted content in our country or vice versa.
If we only want to connect to the VPN through the Web browser, what we must do is install the corresponding extension, available for Firefox and Chrome.
The structure and options of this extension are exactly the same as for the desktop application.
APP for Android
Once again, the app is exactly the same as the previous two. In addition, it is available in the Google Play Store, just by putting “Surfshark” we will find it. It offers us the entire list of contracted services and the same way to connect to the VPN.
Surfshark VPN Testing
We wanted to see and capture the difference between browsing with our normal internet connection and Surfshark’s VPN. In this way, we will see how it influences speed, ad blocking, P2P downloads, or being able to watch channels outside our territory.
Direct download speed test
The main problem with VPNs is usually slow speed and increased latency. We will see here what differences there are between the two types of connection, for this we have used the typical Movistar speed test.
In the first case, we have the normal download speed of the connection, while with the VPN the differences found are practically nil. The download speed has decreased by only 1 Mbps, and the upload speed by just 0.6 Mbps. What we do observe is an increase in ping to consider, with about 46 ms more.
To verify information, we have decided to download a file of a certain volume to see how this translates into the download speed in MB/s. And the results match those shown above, being slightly lower (0.1 MB/s) throughout the process.
Download in P2P
Surfshark also ensures that its VPN has low leverage when it comes to P2P downloads. So we have used µTorrent to download any content and at least in my connection the difference is very little too. The values are located at approximately 1.9 – 2.0 MB/s, although it is true that the gap rises a bit compared to direct download as is normal. The location of the server greatly influences these connections.
Outside content and ad blocking
Also in this aspect, we have been very satisfied with what it offers us since it fulfills exactly what it promises. We have been able to access CNN live and we have not had any problems with its pre-production, while if we do it in normal mode the geolocation will block the possibility of seeing it. Obviously, we will have to connect to a US server to be able to access this national content.
The blocking of pages with ads is also totally effective, and also this type of page will not detect the blocker as it happens with the Chrome extension AdblockPlus. So it is a great advantage to consume multimedia content or any type on the network with more comfort.
Final words and conclusion about Surfshark VPN
We have come to the end of this particular analysis of Surfshark and its VPN services. If this company stands out in something, it is in the extreme simplicity of use that it offers in its services. With a clean interface, applications are always the same, and very simple account management.
Compatibility with all types of devices is almost guaranteed, including DNS services for SmartTV and consoles. One thing we would have liked is a list of connected devices to appear on the web Dashboard.
As for services, HackLock and BlindSearch are still at a very good level in their Beta phase, the first to secure our data and mail, and the second in the form of a clean advertising search engine.
Regarding the speed of the connection, at least in my connection I have not noticed major differences, both in direct download and in P2P the records are quite similar. Although it is true that eventually, the ping will rise depending on the location of the server against which we connect.
We love being able to see open content from other countries by connecting to their servers, which are spread all over the world. This way we can also avoid the censorship of certain pages in our territory of residence, and eliminate advertising and Pop-Ups from where we navigate.
Finally, we talk about prices since this platform is fully paid. Currently, three types of plans are offered that will become cheaper the longer we contract, being €9.89/month for one month, €5/month for one year, and €1.79/month for two years. This last case is quite good because it is a very low expense, although we would have liked that the trial period does not require a prior payment, although it offers the possibility of returning the money in the first 30 days.