SurfEasy VPN is an easy-to-use but overpriced service that lacks features. Once a product of Opera, it belongs to the cybersecurity giant NortonLifeLock (ex-Symantec) since 2017. The new owner seems not to have done much with its prized investment, and the Toronto-based VPN seems to be stagnating lately.
In this SurfEasy VPN review, I’ll be looking at its performance, pricing, and multiplatform support. I will also evaluate its security and privacy, logging policy, and customer support. Finally, I will test its streaming and torrenting capabilities.
Those unfortunate Symantec employees who were forced to use SurfEasy VPN can benefit from the following security features:
As we can see, there’s not much to benefit from. SurfEasy VPN lacks IKEv2, IPSec, and other protocols. It also doesn’t have a kill switch, private DNS servers, and VPN over the router. With such core features missing, it’s no surprise that SurfEasy doesn’t provide Tor over VPN, multihop, and other nice-to-have elements that most competitors do.
To conclude, SurfEasy provides only the bare minimum on the security front. Therefore, we can recommend it to neither the new nor to the experienced users. One side will be left vulnerable, and the other will lack the features they got used to when using other VPN tools.
To top off the technical security features, the company behind SurfEasy VPN is based in Canada (one of the 5 Eyes countries – an intelligence-sharing framework). Despite claims to the contrary, the company also keeps some data on its users, albeit not a lot. When you combine that with statements about handing over your personal information and usage data to law enforcement “where subpoenas, warrants or other legal documents have been provided,” it makes for a worrying situation.
Our SurfEasy VPN review team tests show that SurfEasy is not susceptible to the most egregious DNS, IPv6 or WebRTC leaks, but it does have some worrying signs in that department. For one thing, SurfEasy does not have its own private DNS network. Secondly, it hasn’t yet decided how to deal with IPv6 – the VPN neither supports nor blocks it.
Luckily, you can prevent IPv6 leaks by disabling their usage. When it comes to the WebRTC vulnerabilities, it can also be turned off in most browsers.
Speed is the second most important point (ant the most important for some) that we’d like to discuss in our SurfEasy VPN review. After all, speed determines how good a VPN is for streaming, P2P file sharing, or gaming.
SurfEasy VPN has 500+ servers in 28 countries, which is not much both in sheer numbers and the overall coverage. The sad part is that SurfEasy had twice as many servers in 2018, and they haven’t added any countries since then, although their website optimistically says “28 and counting.”
To make matters worse, not all of these servers are made available to users who have purchased the “Total” (regular) plan. The same is true for torrents and P2P – this luxury is available only for “Ultra” (premium) users. And here’s the nail to the coffin – only premium users get to select the server from now on, while others have to live with the optimized location.
Let’s have a look at how well SurfEasy VPN does with various server locations. We did our test from Europe, with the no-VPN speeds reaching 217 Mbps download and 228 Mbps upload:
Then we launched SurfEasy VPN and got to test the server locations around the world.
The United Kingdom
The United States
This leads us to conclude that even the best fiber-optics will not stop SurfEasy from slowing you down and that nothing has been done to improve the speed and performance over the past six months.
SurfEasy VPN has custom apps for:
There are also browser extensions for Chrome and Opera. To be honest, instead of two Mac apps we would prefer a Linux or Router app – but what can you do? The reasoning behind the new macOS app probably has to do with SurfEasy wanting to try a new design, which actually looks much better. The new version also runs on IPSec instead of OpenVPN.
As for the mobile device apps, SurfEasy for Android is a bit safer because you can offset the lack of a kill switch by using Android’s Always-on VPN app.
Downloading and installing SurfEasy is much the same as installing any other piece of software. After you’ve installed SurfEasy VPN, the program should run automatically. It will ask you to log into your account and immediately connect you to the most optimal (closest) server. It won’t take you long to notice this is not the most advanced piece of software.
There are a few options on the Home screen:
In Settings you can toggle Ad tracker blocking, enable or disable wifi security features, and choose whether to run SurfEasy on startup.
The wifi protection feature seems a bit misleading because all it does is functioning as a “connect to VPN upon joining unfamiliar Wifi network” option with the added dubious benefit of sending you warnings about possible insecure Wifi networks in the vicinity.
Not the best choice out there! SurfEasy VPN has been moving in and out of favor with Netflix over the past year. It was blocked, unblocked, then blocked again.
Our latest test has shown that you can stream Netflix US and UK with SurfEasy VPN.
Netflix US speed was enough for UHD (4K), but users with slower connections might struggle even with HD quality.
As a side note, we had no issues using SurfEasy VPN to watch BBC iPlayer during our earlier test but failed to stream any content this time. It comes with no surprise as BBC iPlayer is quite a notorious platform in terms of blocking.
Perhaps SurfEasy is good for some other content platforms, but frankly, even if it was, we wouldn’t recommend this VPN for streaming by any means.
Using SurfEasy VPN for torrenting is a terrible idea! For one thing, torrenting and P2P is blocked with both the Starter and the Total subscription – it’s only available if you buy the overpriced Ultra version.
But even if you do, would you want to use torrents without a kill switch (and with a pretty bad connection)? If so, you’re a braver person than we are.
If you want a truly great VPN for P2P, better check out our best VPN for torrenting list.
People living under repressive governments might be interested in having a higher level of security than what SurfEasy VPN provides
Honest answer? We’re not sure if it even works over there, but we wouldn’t put our money on it. SurfEasy has not demonstrated a high level of quality in other areas, and we see no reason why it would be good for China or any other country with restricted internet freedom.
If you want a reliable service, pick something from our best VPNs for China list.
As having issues with SurfEasy VPN is very likely, be ready to seek help using one of the following methods:
While the latter option sounds like the best, live chat is not active 24/7 and the EST oriented times won’t be convenient for those outside the Americas. In general, we hated the SurfEasy website – information is not easy to find, and when you do find it, often it lacks clarity. The same goes for guides and FAQs – some of the most basic topics seem to be missing from them.
You can pay on a monthly or yearly basis (the latter option is somewhat cheaper). The payment options include credit cards and PayPal.
Here are the two available plans:
Luckily, both plans include a 14-day money-back guarantee, so there’s at least some time to reconsider!
There’s one good point about SurfEasy pricing plans – it’s the 5 device limit. Some VPNs have the so-called device limits which refer to the number of devices you can install the app on. In this case, the limit refers to the number of devices you can connect to your account and use simultaneously.
This is the VPN equivalent of buying a plain white Kanye West t-shirt for $120. There is absolutely no reason why you should ever buy this super limited VPN tool – not even if you’re the CEO’s mother.
SurfEasy VPN is weak, doesn’t strike us as particularly trustworthy, and has a plethora of issues you can avoid simply by putting your money elsewhere.
Jan is a cybersecurity and consumer protection specialist focused on investigations that help readers navigate the complex infosecurity sphere. His research and commentary has been featured in Forbes, ComputerWeekly, PC Mag, TechRadar, ZDNet, The Mirror, Entrepreneur, and many other leading publications around the world.