SurfEasy VPN Review
This review has been independently written and is in no way sponsored or endorsed by SurfEasy or their parent company, NortonLifeLock.
SurfEasy VPN - Full Review
Whether you want to keep your data out of the hands of criminals, stop your ISP from monitoring your online activity or you simply want to bypass geo-restrictions on your favourite streaming app, a VPN has multiple uses – and there are hundreds of competing companies to choose from. We spent a few days reviewing one of the most popular VPNs around, SurfEasy, to see whether it lives up to its reputation.
When you connect to the internet via a VPN, there is a trade-off – the process gives you added security, but the longer route between your device and the internet usually leads to a slower connection.
To see how SurfEasy performed, we first tested our base internet speed. This averaged around 90mbps, which is enough to transfer large files quickly, stream HD video or play games online without any latency issues. Connecting via the VPN had mixed results – when we chose a server near to our location in the UK, we achieved speeds of around 50mbps – a 45% drop, which is pretty standard for a VPN.
However, when we connected via a US server, our average speed dropped further – usually hovering around 30mbps. This could cause issues if you are a data-intensive user or require a server in a long-distance location.
A wide server base makes it easier for you to find a quick and reliable connection – so the more servers a VPN provides, the better. Big-name VPN companies like NordVPN and Cyberghost now offer upwards of 5,000 servers, and smaller services like SurfEasy can’t compete with those numbers, but a base of 2,000 servers in 31 countries means you’ll rarely struggle to find a good connection.
The list of locations is mostly limited to Europe and North America, although there are also servers in South Africa, Australia, Singapore, Japan and Brazil.
Having established that SurfEasy has a large number of servers and reasonable internet speeds, it’s time to have a look at the downside – this VPN is very limited when it comes to advanced features. AES-256 encryption means your data is secure when you’re connected to the VPN, but the absence of a kill switch means that you have no protection should you get cut off, potentially allowing third parties to view your online activity.
It’s also worth taking a look at the company’s logging policy; although it is advertised as a no-logging VPN, the small print is less clear.
An additional benefit of a VPN is that some are able to bypass the geo-blocking software put in place by some streaming apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney Plus – and SurfEasy is one of the better VPNs we’ve tested in this regard.
Many streaming services offer ‘region-specific’ content, which means that their content libraries vary from country to country. This can be annoying if you wish to view foreign media or you’re abroad and want to catch up with shows from home, but a VPN can get around these restrictions by making it appear as if your connection is coming from a country where that media is available.
When we tried to do this with SurfEasy, we were consistently able to access Netflix as well as a number of other major streaming services.
With many ISPs now banning torrenting software due to its connection to illegal sharing of copyrighted material, if you’re a frequent user of torrents then it’s important that you buy a VPN that allows you to evade these restrictions.
Although it is blocked on the free plan – which is probably for the best, given you only get a 500mb monthly allowance – torrenting is enabled on SurfEasy’s paid plans, allowing you to transfer large files quickly and easily on servers that are optimised for P2P file sharing.
If you play games online regularly, you’ll be aware of the importance of a stable connection – and you’ll also know about ‘throttling’, the process some ISPs use to slow down your internet speed during peak times. This can make online gaming difficult, but a VPN can hide your internet activity and therefore prevent your ISP from limiting your speed.
Connecting to the internet via SurfEasy allowed us to avoid any throttling issues, and the increase in latency was minimal, allowing us to enjoy lag-free gaming with no major connection issues.
With a monthly rolling plan available for just $5.99, SurfEasy is one of the cheapest VPNs around if you are unable to commit to a long-term subscription – most similar services cost around $10 per month, so this is a potentially big saving if you wish to pay month by month.
A year-long plan costs $2.99 per month (a total price of $29.88 for the year) and these paid plans allow you to connect up to five devices simultaneously and have no limits on data usage.
SurfEasy does not provide free trials. However, if you sign up to the service and find that it is not suitable for your needs, you can request a no-questions-asked refund if you cancel your subscription within 14 days.
History of the Company
SurfEasy VPN was initially owned and developed by SurfEasy Inc., a Canadian company founded in 2011. Later on, in March 2015, the company was acquired by Opera Software AS (currently known as Otello Corporation), the famous Norwegian technology company that used to run the Opera web browser. In November 2017, the VPN service was acquired by Symantec, an American company that later changed its name to NortonLifeLock.
Both companies have been long time partners as Symantec were heavily reliant on SurfEasy’s services. Later on, the company stated that the main reason behind the acquisition move is to bring in the VPN provider to its consumer digital safety solutions and benefit from the expertise of the team behind it.
Nevertheless, the VPN service itself is still based in Canada, which is a bit alarming considering that Canada is a member of the Five Eyes Alliance, an intelligence-sharing agreement that came to life during the cold war.
DNS Leak Results
DNS leaks are a big no for VPN services. To see how SurfEasy fares when it comes to protection against leaks, we have studied some tests that were conducted by independent labs, and the results were actually great.
There aren’t any positive DNS leak results that have been reported to date. Therefore, we can easily conclude that SurfEasy VPN is a leak-free service.
One of the best things about SurfEasy’s customer support system is that you can contact them by phone, which isn’t something that many VPN services offer. You can also reach out for support by sending an email or live chatting with an agent on the service’s website.
The customer support team is very responsive, and generally speaking, you should expect to get your problem solved on the same day you reached out for support.
Unfortunately, there’s no information about SurfEasy publishing a warrant canary on their website or anywhere else on the web. A warrant canary is a statement that some VPN services publish which states that the service hasn’t received a secret warrant from the government to forcefully give away their users’ data.
It’s a great way to make users more trustful in the service, and we hope that SurfEasy VPN publishes one in the near future.
Pros and Cons
What is SurfEasy VPN?
SurfEasy is a simple VPN that protects your personal details and online activity by encrypting your data and routing your connection to the internet via a server in another location.
Is SurfEasy VPN any good?
How do I use SurfEasy VPN?
To install SurfEasy on your device, you need to enter your login details at accounts.surfeasy.com and choose the relevant download option. Then run the install application, follow the instructions and, when prompted, put in your login details on the app.
How many devices can I connect at once?
SurfEasy allows you to install up to five devices simultaneously.
Is SurfEasy VPN Free?
SurfEasy offers a free version of its VPN service. However, its data usage is limited to 500MB/month, which means that you’ll only be able to use the service for no more than a few hours. It’s highly recommended that you go for one of the paid plans for full protection and a higher data cap.
How Do I Use BitTorrent With SurfEasy?
SurfEasy allows you to use BitTorrent clients with the Ultra plan only, which costs more than the standard one. To optimize your VPN for use with BitTorrent, just open the SurfEasy panel, click on “Region,” and select “Torrenting Optimized.”
How Do I Remove Devices from My SurfEasy VPN Plan?
If you want to remove some of the devices on your SurfEasy VPN plan, just log in to your account on SurfEasy, find the device(s) you want to remove under the “Plans & Devices” tab, and click on the X icon. If you want to remove all of your current devices and add entirely new devices, click on the “Remove All” button at the top of the page.
How Do I Cancel My SurfEasy VPN?
If you’ve already subscribed to SurfEasy VPN and want to cancel your subscription, you can send an email to support@SurfEasy.com using your registered email and include your support PIN (can be found in the profile section on the website).
While SurfEasy VPN has robust security features, a no-logs policy, and a user-friendly interface, there’s no 100% guarantee that your data won’t be shared with third-party beneficiaries. As we’ve mentioned, the service is based in Canada, a member of the Five Eyes Alliance.
However, no user privacy infringements have been reported to date, which can be a good sign, but take it with a pinch of salt.
So there you have it. While with it’s limitations, you can definitely do a lot worse than SurfEasy VPN. Here’s our final rating: