SurfShark VPN review: top-notch encryption and speeds for Android devices

Virtual Private Networks (VPN) are online resources that allow users to hide their shared traffic and other connection details, including the IP address (the element that shows the device’s location,) to protect them from spies and snoopers on the web. Among these threats are Internet Service Providers looking to keep and share data logs with governmental surveillance agencies and online advertisers, hackers, crypto miners, and others.

The market is affluent and in constant motion: there is more than enough supply of good, reliable VPN brands, but there is also a lot of demand for online security, privacy, and anonymity.

SurfShark is one of the fastest-growing VPN brands in the field. It has earned a sizable clientele because it is very responsible and dependable and because it is based on the British Virgin Islands, a perfect setting to guarantee people’s data privacy. It has a very solid Android app to provide protection for people with these devices.

A paradise for privacy

The British Virgin Islands are associated with the United Kingdom, being a British Overseas Territory. However, it is not subject to British laws, and it doesn’t have any data retention rules that may threaten people’s anonymity and online security.

SurfShark protects people’s information and privacy like few other VPNs in the industry, implementing AES 256-GCM and SHA-512 encryption. It is a very secure, nearly unbreakable cipher, and is also speedier than the most commonly used AES 256-CBC.

The primary difference between the GCM and the CBC is the speed: the former is much faster. To protect their VPN from chosen ciphertext attacks, brands using the GCM encryption implement a secure Message Authentication Code (MAC) plus the AES algorithm. The AES-256-GCM also has authentication built in, improving the rates.

Elementary tests revealed no DNS, WebRTC, or IPv6 leaks when using SurfShark, which speaks volumes about their privacy measures and applied technologies to protect people’s content online. There is no kill switch, though.

Impressive speeds that can compete with the elite

The SurfShark service is well equipped to offer excellent speeds that will fulfill almost any activity, including torrenting, streaming, gaming, and browsing. In fact, recent speed tests have ranked this company near the top of the lists in this regard.

It is especially impressive given that VPN technology, by default, slows down Internet connection by a small percentage given all the traffic rerouting to remote servers around the world. It is not an issue with SurfShark, though.

The speeds are so good and so fast that SurfShark is gaining ground among streamers as one of the most sought-after VPN apps. To make it all even better, it works with the trendiest platforms, namely American Netflix, Hulu, the BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video.

Some users have reported that SurfShark works in China, which is excellent because it is a country with very heavy Internet censorship and surveillance.

The development team has introduced an Android app and extensions for both Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. They are currently directing all resources to launch apps for iOS, Windows, and Linux as well.

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The Android app

SurfShark’s primary product is a native Android app, compatible with devices starting from the 5.0 version or later. People don’t have restrictions regarding the sites they can access, and the app offers diamond-strong encryption and excellent speeds.

The sign up process is extremely easy, and you can complete it in three steps: installing the Surfshark app for Android, creating an account, and connecting to your desired location.

Prices and plans

As for the price, SurfShark is either very expensive or incredibly cheap, depending on how you decide to look at its pricing arrangements. The monthly cost is $10.95, which is high given that the market does have other alternatives with a greater server network (more on that later), but if you acquire a six-month plan, you would only pay a prorated $6.66 per month (actually, it is billed once).

The best plan for your Android-powered phone or tablet is the annual VPN subscription, which average monthly cost goes down to $3.95, again billed once every year. It represents the best value for your dollar and is a very competitive price.

SurfShark accepts cryptocurrency, a remarkable development for anonymous payments. Users can also pay for the VPN service with financial instruments such as PayPal, Alipay, debit, and credit cards.

There is a week-long free trial for users wanting to test the SurfShark waters. Additionally, there is a 30-day money-back guarantee, fulfilling the industry’s high standards of service.

Protocols available

SurfShark has two security protocols available in its VPN service: one of them is OpenVPN, which is the industry gold standard because of its high speeds combined with robust security measures.

The other one available for security enhancement is the Internet Key Exchange, version 2 (IKEv2). More protocols would be helpful, especially the Secure Sockets Tunneling Protocol (SSTP) and the Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol with Internet Protocol Security (L2TP/IPSec,) but both OpenVPN and IKEv2 are excellent.

Server network

One of SurfShark’s shortcomings is its small server network. Fortunately, the company is working to acquire more servers in the short-to-mid term.

The total of servers available for connection ascends to 100, and those are spread in 14 countries around the world. Some of them are based in critical spots, such as the United States, Australia, Europe, Hong Kong, Japan, and Singapore.

So how can SurfShark maintain such a strong performance and fast speeds when there are so few servers? Being newcomers sure help, but the truth is that the primary reason to explain this is the type of encryption the company implements, the AES 256-GCM with separate authentication.

How to download and install SurfShark

  • The SurfShark’s Android app can be found here. In its web page, people can see a link, as well as the Firefox and Chrome extensions. The steps to get the service are:
  • Go to the website and click on Get SurfShark.
  • Select a pricing plan.
  • Use your email address to create your account successfully.
  • Enter a payment method.
  • Done!

Customer support

The company’s customer support staff is amicable and helpful, and there is a live chat feature for users to solve their most urgent issues. Also, SurfShark has an FAQ section, technical information documents, and installation manuals.

In conclusion, SurfShark is a relatively new VPN service with few servers and available countries, but with unique encryption and excellent speeds for your Android device that push it near the top of the industry.

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