SurfEasy VPN Review 2021

3.6/10
Not recommended
Last updated: January 19, 2021

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SurfEasy VPN is an easy-to-use but overpriced service that lacks features. Once a product of Opera, it is located in Canada but belongs to the USA–based 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.

Speed and performance

Speed is the most important point that I’d like to discuss in my SurfEasy VPN review. After all, speed determines how good a VPN is for streaming, P2P file sharing, or gaming.

Server coverage

LocationCountries
EuropeFrance, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Spain, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Sweden, Czech Republic, Ireland, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Finland, Denmark
The AmericasBrazil, Canada, United States, Mexico
Africa, the Middle East, and IndiaTurkey, South Africa, Israel
Asia PacificAustralia, Japan, Singapore

SurfEasy has 2000+ servers in 31 countries (yet only 28 are mentioned on the official SurfEasy regions page), which is not much both in sheer numbers and the overall coverage. It is an improvement over what they had before, but it’s hard to believe their claims when they mention different numbers on other pages.

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.

Speed test results

Let’s have a look at how well SurfEasy does with various server locations. I did my test from Europe, with the no-VPN speeds reaching 217 Mbps download and 228 Mbps upload:

SurfEasy VPN speed test baseline

Then I launched SurfEasy VPN and got to test the server locations around the world.

The United Kingdom

SurfEasy VPN speed test with UK server

  • Download: 41 Mbps (81% drop-off)
  • Upload: 76 Mbs (68% drop-off)

The United States

SurfEasy VPN speed test with US server

  • Download: 1 Mbps (99% drop-off)
  • Upload: 15 Mbs (93% drop-off)

Australia

SurfEasy VPN speed test with Australia server

  • Download: 9 Mbps (96% drop-off)
  • Upload: 2 Mbs (99% drop-off)

Japan

SurfEasy VPN speed test with Japan server

  • Download: 16 Mbps (93% drop-off)
  • Upload: 3 Mbs (99% drop-off)

This leads me 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.

Pricing and plans

You can pay on a monthly or yearly basis (the latter option is somewhat cheaper). The payment options include credit cards and PayPal.

The two pricing plans are:

  • $5.99/month when paying monthly.
  • $2.49/month when choosing the anual plan, which amounts to a one time payment of $29.88.

SurfEasy pricing plans screen shot

Luckily, both plans include a 14-day money-back guarantee, so there’s at least some time to reconsider! You can also get a refund later by visiting the SurfEasy account portal or by contacting customer support via email, live chat, or phone call.

Another thing worth mentioning about the pricing plans – the 5 device limit. Most 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.

Security features

Those unfortunate Symantec employees who were forced to use SurfEasy VPN can benefit from the following security features:

  • Military-grade AES-256 encryption
  • OpenVPN protocol (or IPSec on the macOS app)
  • Basic leak protection

As you can see, there’s not much to benefit from. SurfEasy 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, I 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.

Does SurfEasy VPN keep logs?

To top off the technical security features, the company behind SurfEasy is based in Canada (one of the Five 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.

Is SurfEasy VPN leak-proof?

My 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.

Compatibility with devices

SurfEasy has custom apps for:

  • Windows
  • macOS (2 different versions)
  • iOS
  • Android
  • iPad

SurfEasy used to be available as a browser extension for Chrome and Opera, however, that is no longer the case.

Desktop apps: Windows, Mac

SurfEasy is available on a laptop or PC if you’re using Windows or macOS, while Linux users are getting the short end of the stick.

To be honest, instead of two Mac apps I 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.
SurfEasy VPN Mac app screenshot

Mobile apps: Android, iOS

Mobile users can rejoice as SurfEasy is available on Android, iOS, and even on iPad. 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:

  • Ad Tracker Blocking – shows the number of trackers blocked over a period of time. The feature itself can be toggled in Settings.
  • The Globe button – lets you choose which country to connect to, provided you have the Ultra plan.
  • The Cogwheel button – clicking it proves how low on features SurfEasy VPN is.

SurfEasy VPN android app screenshot

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.

Unblocking Netflix and other streaming platforms

VPN for Netflix

SurfEasy is not well known for its ability to unlock geo-restrictions of various streaming platforms. Instead, you’re better off choosing a different VPN from our best VPNs for streaming list. But all hope is not completely lost if you already own SurfEasy and a streaming service like Netflix.

SurfEasy VPN has been moving in and out of favor with Netflix over the past year. It was blocked, unblocked, then blocked again.

My latest test has shown that you can stream Netflix US and UK with SurfEasy VPN.

SurfEasy vpn speed test on Fast dot com

Netflix US speed was enough for UHD (4K), but users with slower connections might struggle even with HD quality.

As a side note, I had no issues using SurfEasy VPN to watch BBC iPlayer during my 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.

SurfEasy VPN unblocking Netflix screenshot

Perhaps SurfEasy is good for some other content platforms, but frankly, even if it was, I wouldn’t recommend this VPN for streaming by any means.

Surfeasy VPN for torrenting

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 I am.

If you want a truly great VPN for P2P, better check out our best VPNs for torrenting list.

Online censorship in China and elsewhere

People living under repressive governments might be interested in having a higher level of security than what SurfEasy VPN provides

Honest answer? I’m not sure if it even works over there, but I wouldn’t put my money on it. SurfEasy has not demonstrated a high level of quality in other areas, and I 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.

Customer support overview

As having issues with SurfEasy VPN is very likely, be ready to seek help using one of the following methods:

  • How-to videos
  • FAQ
  • Support email
  • Ticketing system
  • Live chat

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, I 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.

Bottom line

SurfEasy VPN is weak, doesn’t strike me as particularly trustworthy, and has a plethora of issues you can avoid simply by putting your money elsewhere. A VPN is a powerful tool when it can be used for multiple reasons on a variety of different devices, but when the amount of supported devices is pretty small, essential features such as a kill switch are missing, and browsing speeds with the VPN turned on are noticeably slower – it becomes a hard sell. As it stands right now SurfEasy is not appealing for either casual or power users.

If you think there is some important aspect of SurfEasy that I have missed then you are more than welcome to leave a comment about your experience with this VPN. Otherwise, check out our best VPN services list for better alternatives to SurfEasy.

FAQ

Is SurfEasy a good VPN?

With a severe lack of features and an inflated price, SurfEasy cannot be considered a good VPN. Depending on your use case, you’re better off choosing a cheaper VPN with a small number of features or a premium one. You should check out our list of alternative VPN providers for better options.

How much does SurfEasy VPN cost?

SurfEasy costs $5.99/month when paying monthly and $2.49/month when choosing the anual plan, which amounts to a one time payment of $29.88.

Who owns SurfEasy VPN?

SurfEasy is owned by NortonLifeLock – a software company located in Tampe, Arizona, USA.

Good

  • No egregious leaks
  • Apps for all main platforms
  • Unblocks Netflix US & UK
  • 5 simultaneous connections

Bad

  • Very limited feature set
  • Speed is below-average
  • Based in Canada (Five Eyes)
  • No kill switch
  • Few security protocols
  • Very expensive considering features
 3.6 / 10
Total score
$2.49 / month
Minimum Price
6 comments
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  1. Sylvia Barnhill

    I used the SurfEasy a few years ago and if there was any problems, I’d open a ticket and in several minutes my question was answered. My main complaint was that I’d lose the connection when walking through some of the parts of my house. I quit using it when I tried to get the problem resolved but never got a good answer. I’m now using Nord VPN and have never regretted the change.


  2. Cesar33

    Just like you said, there’s no reason why anyone would invest in this particular VPN. I guess I just wanted another opinion before I moved on to search for another VPN. I’m going to read your NordVPN next as I’ve heard good things about it. Thanks.


  3. Ancomettiody

    It sounds like SurfEasy is just a very bottom-of-the-barrel VPN. They claim they have fast speeds and are able to get around Netflix’s VPN restrictions, but according to your review this isn’t the case. You aren’t able to pay anonymously if you wanted to, so this is just a ridiculous plan!


  4. Hugh

    4.99 a month for no kill switch, average speed and decent protection? That’s laughable! Not to mention that they’re based in Canada, a member of the 5 Eyes Alliance. Look for something better, people.


  5. Stevie

    Do you (everyone reading haha) think that a kill switch is a MUST when choosing a VPN? Is it really a necessary feature? And in which cases would I need it, since if the VPN really works it shouldn’t disconnect, right?


    1. Kevin Marlowe

      Hi Stevie,

      There are a few things to say about this:
      1) Your VPN connection may drop due to reasons that have nothing to do with the quality of a VPN service.
      2) In our experience, you will encounter connection drops even using the best VPN services.
      3) It depends on what you’re using the VPN for. If you’re just trying to bypass geo-blocking measures (Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, whatever else), then perhaps it doesn’t matter as much – you just won’t be able to access the content. If you’re using it for torrenting or to hide your identity from the government, then it’s a different matter.

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