While five simultaneous connections is the standard, Surfshark VPN blows the competition out of the water with unlimited connections.
Surfshark VPN Review: Unlimited Secure Connections
While the big virtual private network (VPN) battle rages between NordVPN and ExpressVPN, there are other comparatively smaller contenders like Surfshark VPN that still pack plenty of bite. Surfshark’s server and country count isn’t particularly impressive, but it has connection options in 100+ cities.
More importantly, Surfshark is a rarity in the VPN space in terms of simultaneous connections, offering unlimited connections, so you can viably protect all of the supported devices in your home. Surfshark boasts industry-standard military-grade data encryption, but only has half the channel encryption of its closest peers. Despite this, Surfshark is an easy-to-use VPN that protects user privacy.
Surfshark VPN price
At face value, Surfshark VPN looks like a service that offers Australian pricing. When you actually pay, though, prices are in American dollars, which means the AUD pricing on the Surfshark website is actually just regularly updating conversions of US dollars. On top of this, monthly pricing isn’t anything to write home about (roughly $18.86 at the time of writing).
That said, Surfshark VPN has the best value for annual and multi-year pricing out of our top-five VPNs, roughly $87 per year or, for a limited time, the same price for two years (both paid upfront). Like a lot of other notable VPN providers, Surfshark VPN has a 30-day money-back guarantee in lieu of an actual free trial.
Because it’s effectively an Australian dollar estimate on the Surfshark VPN website, you may be surprised by a difference between the amount you think it will be and what comes up on your bank statement. Because of this, it’s easier to think of Surfshark VPN in terms of its US pricing: US$12.95 (monthly), US$47.88 (annually), and US$59.76 (biennially).
Surfshark VPN features
Like ExpressVPN, Surfshark VPN has a low server count (3,200+) compared to its peers, while the latter’s country count is also on the lowish side (65). The location count, though, is a respectable 111. Where Surfshark VPN truly shines, though, is in its offering of unlimited simultaneous connections, which annihilates all of its nearest competitors.
In terms of all-important privacy, Surfshark VPN has a no-logging policy, which is externally auditable. It also has an included ad, tracker, and malware blocker, which is great, but you have to pay extra for Surfshark Antivirus, though it’s nice to have the option if you want to bundle your device protection.
Like ExpressVPN, Surfshark VPN has a user-friendly kill switch, which only blocks your internet connection during an unexpected VPN disconnection. Surfshark’s data encryption is an industry-standard Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 256-bit, but its channel encryption is RSA 2048-bit, which is half that offered by NordVPN, ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and ProtonVPN. That said, Surfshark feels a 2048 key is just as secure as 4096.
Surfshark VPN user experience
Surfshark VPN foregoes the giant power buttons that other VPNs use and opts for a slimmer (but still relatively easy-to-hit) connect/disconnect button. It defaults to the fastest server and lets you know how many attempts it takes to connect (with an arbitrary percentage). Admittedly, we had initial issues with the Windows version, which wouldn’t connect until we uninstalled the CyberGhost VPN Free Proxy from Chrome (even though it wasn’t connected at the time).
Surfshark VPN also has a ‘Nearest country’ option, which will connect you to the nearest New Zealand server in a few seconds if you’re connecting from Australia. Alternatively, Surfshark VPN has a big list of sever locations to scroll through for a one-click connection. Unfortunately, Surfshark doesn’t automatically keep track of recent locations, but you can add locations to your favourites. For additional options, you can pay extra for a static IP (handy for businesses), or there are multi-hop servers that route your connection through two VPN servers for additional privacy and security.
Most of the main-screen options in the Windows version are glorified Surfshark One ads: a pricier Norton-like suite released in late 2021 that bundles VPN; antivirus; no-ad, no-log, no-tracker search; and data-leak notifications. Pricing-wise compared to the standalone VPN, Surfshark One is either a couple of bucks more per month, around $30 more per year, or $50 pricier for two years.
Surfshark VPN Australian privacy
Because Surfshark VPN’s server locations are listed in alphabetical orders, getting to the Australian locations is incredibly easy. Surfshark VPN has servers in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth, which covers the majority of Australians, even if it won’t offer ideal latency and download/upload speeds for those in the middle or northern parts of our vast nation.
If you’re near a Surfshark VPN location, though, the latency impact is negligible for effectively same-speed browsing as when Surfshark is disabled. Upload speeds only have a respectable 5% impact and download speeds took a 16% hit, which is respectable but still behind CyberGhost.
Surfshark VPN defaults to automatically selecting the best protocol for speed and stability, but advanced users can manually choose between IKEv2, WireGuard, or OpenVPN (TCP and UDP versions). Speaking of advanced, there are additional settings including ‘Invisible on LAN’ (to keep your device hidden from local network devices) and ‘Rotating IP’, which is in beta but adds extra security and anonymity by automatically rotating your IP address when connected to a single server.
These advanced options add depth to Surfshark VPN’s offering, and we also appreciate that it gets the basics right by passing our tests for DNS and IP leaks without any issues.
Surfshark VPN vs other VPNs
The table below outlines the key differences between Surfshark VPN and its closest VPN peers.
|US $11.99||US $67.35||5404||60||83||6||Zero||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||AES 256-bit||4096-bit||30-day money-back guarantee|
|US $12.95||US $99.95||3000+||94||160||5||Zero||Yes||No||No||Yes||Yes||AES 256-bit||4096-bit||30-day money-back guarantee|
|US $12.95||US $47.88||3200+||65||111||Unlimited||Zero||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||AES 256-bit||2048-bit||30-day money-back guarantee|
|AU $18.79||AU $85.02 (2 yrs)||7618||91||113||7||Zero||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||AES 256-bit||4096-bit||45-day money-back guarantee|
|US $9.99||US $71.88||1625||63||89||10||Zero||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||AES 256-bit||4096-bit||30-day money-back guarantee|
Prices are accurate as of post date. Read full disclaimer.
*ProtonVPN Plus plan used for comparison. Cheaper plans are available, but offer limited servers, connections, speed, and more.
Surfshark VPN has expensive monthly pricing, a comparatively low server and country count, and it’s debatable whether its RSA 2048-bit channel encryption is less secure than its 4096-bit peers. But if you’re willing to invest in a longer-term plan beyond monthly, Surfshark VPN has plenty of bite.
There are heaps of locations to connect to, inbuilt antimalware, straightforward split tunnelling, and you’re encouraged to protect all of the supported devices in your home with unlimited simultaneous connections. The speeds when connected to a nearby Australian server are great, and Surfshark VPN is reliable enough to act as a dependable background protector.
How we evaluate VPNs
We compare VPNs on several factors, starting with the price and whether you’re paying in Australian currency. After this, we weigh up the numbers: servers, countries, locations, and simultaneous connections for a single account. The bigger the number, the better the ranking. Most VPNs don’t offer a truly free trial, but we like when they do, and we value a reasonable money-back guarantee.
In terms of all-important security and privacy, a no-log policy is considered essential, and we look favourably on VPN providers that are open to third-party security audits. From here, encryption is evaluated alongside meaningful inclusions, such as antimalware and antivirus features, as well as the inclusion of a kill switch and split tunnelling.
Testing is conducted with the VPN running in the background and evaluated through a variety of everyday tasks to rate it in terms of convenience. We also run tests for speed and latency, IP address and DNS leaks, as well as for a kill switch (where available).
Below are the answers to some of the most pressing Surfshark VPN questions.
Surfshark VPN supports unlimited simultaneous connections on the following devices:
- Google Chrome
- Mozilla Firefox
- Fire TV
- Apple TV
- Samsung smart TV
- Android TV
- LG TV
- Nvidia Shield