Are you in search of a simple VPN that provides the tools you need to encrypt and protect your browsing activity? We checked out SurfEasy VPN to see how it compares to some of the other smaller providers on the market. Here’s what we found out in our SurfEasy VPN review 2018.
While some VPN providers focus on packing their products full of advanced features, others focus on providing a streamlined and simple user experience. SurfEasy, a Canadian VPN provider that has been Opera’s built-in VPN of choice since the company acquired it in 2015, is firmly in the latter camp.
In this Surfeasy review, we assessed how its features, Netflix-unblocking credentials and price stack up against the competition.
- Straightforward, easy-to-use product
- Good multi-platform support
- Works for Netflix
- Over 1,000 worldwide servers
- Tracker blocking blocks ad cookies
- Lacks more advanced options
- No router installation
- Free plan is capped at 500MB data
- Bitcoin not accepted
- Windows app needs some design work
Overall Score for SurfEasy: 8.5/10
SurfEasy Setup and Usability
To grab your download of SurfEasyVPN simply head over to their website and create an account. While you need to hand over your email address to get to the downloads screen, SurfEasy does offer both a free plan (although data is capped at 500MB) and a seven day free trial of their premium products, Total and Ultra.
After signing up for an account, it’s the usual process of installing an executable program and clicking yes a few times. It’s also available as a Chrome and Opera extension, meaning that users simply have to add these to their browsers to get up and running with the VPN.
In terms of usability, what struck us first about the app is how streamlined and minimalist its user interface is.
The Windows program tucks away neatly in the notifications area and features only the bare minimum amount of options necessary to get a workable connection through one of the company’s 1,000+ ultra-fast servers.
While we feel it could use a makeover, some users will find its simplicity appealing. Users can toggle between ‘SurfEasy optimized’ and ‘Torrent optimized’ connection points and get connected in one click.
Rating: 9.2/10 – The Windows app is almost too simple to get around!
SurfEasy VPN Features
Feature 1: Dedicated Torrent servers
SurfEasy VPN includes servers that are heavily optimized for peer to peer (P2P) torrenting traffic.
Although these are available only through the Ultra plan, they guarantee the safe and speedy exchange of files with other users of P2P file-sharing networks like BitTorrent. Selecting one is easy. Users just chose need to chose ‘Torrent Optimized’ in the main menu and chose from one of the servers that are listed as options.
Feature 2: Multi-Platform Support
SurfEasy makes its platform available through software for Windows and Mac; extensions for Chrome and Opera; mobile applications for iOS and Android, and as an installation for Amazon Fire TV Stick. Missing from this list, of course, is router-level support, but it should provide more than enough flexibility for the average user.
Feature 3: Unlimited Data
SurfEasy’s Total and Ultra plans both feature unlimited data bandwidth in addition to simultaneous connection support for up to five devices. This makes the service a great choice for users that want to take advantage of the VPN’s high-speed server network while both at home and at work. We’ve also pointed out before that unlimited bandwidth VPNs are a nice way to work around your ISP’s limits, which may be too restrictive for nightly multimedia streaming.
Feature 4: Tracker Blocker
SurfEasy features a tracker blocking algorithm that works by automatically preventing advertisers from preventing tracking cookies that follow what you do online.
Rating 9.2/10 – SurfEasy doesn’t lay on the advanced features, but has all that most users will need.
Can SurfEasy VPN Unblock Netflix?
A big yes!
In fact, SurfEasy’s ability to unblock Netflix (we tested the US servers and they currently work) has drawn it plaudits from across the VPN reviewing universe.
It should be noted, however, that while the situation currently remains rosy, the provider has succumbed to Netflix’s VPN blocking mechanisms on more than one occasion in the past. For now, we would place our faith in the Canadian company’s ability to provision new servers quickly enough to skirt around Netflix’s efforts, but the situation can be expected to remain volatile.
Rating: 9.2/10 It works, but set expectations cautiously
SurfEasy VPN Price
SurfEasy is available at three subscription tiers. ‘Starter’ is essentially Surfeasy VPN Free. Its data, however, its data lifespan is limited to 500MB. In effect, we recommend using it as a Surfeasy VPN free trial, although those wanting to simply try the product out could also simply subscribe to the ‘Total’ and ‘Ultra’ plans and avail of the seven-day money-back guarantee if the product isn’t to their liking.
When purchased yearly, Total is currently available at the equivalent monthly price of $3.99 (20% off the per-month equivalent) while Ultra costs $6.49/month (46% off the per-month equivalent). Subscribed to monthly, Total is $4.99/moth and Ultra costs $11.99. Ultra throws in Torrent Protection (concealing P2P traffic as regular browsing).
These are reasonably competitive prices for the simplicity and speed of the server network, although more advanced users will prefer to get more powerful functionalities for the same price with other providers. There’s a seven-day money back guarantee on all plans and although PayPal and credit cards are taken, Bitcoin isn’t currently accepted.
Up to 500MB
Rating: 6.5/10 Reasonably competitive, but not market-beating
How Fast is SurfEasy VPN – Server and Performance
SurfVPN has done a good job of provisioning a decent network consisting of over 1,000 servers in 28 countries – although it is hard to get a feel for the breadth of the network given the fairly rudimentary apps that don’t drill down far into exact location and connection type.
Admittedly, we ran the test with an unusually low baseline connection of just 9.90 Mbps (downlink).
Nevertheless, directing traffic through faraway Singapore, we only saw a drop to 5.08 Mbps (49%) and were able to obtain lesser overheads through close-by options in Europe.
The company also maintains dedicated servers optimized for P2P traffic and does not leverage bandwidth limits on either of its premium plans. Those on the Ultra plan get access to 12 additional countries not included in Total.
On the downside, while there are some exceptions (such as the IPSec protocol, allowed on iOS devices), all other platforms connect by default through OpenVPN and users do not generally have the option to change the protocol. This will be a turnoff for those with specific protocol needs, such as users that may wish to use the L2TP protocol on legacy hardware or wish to use the newer-generation IKEv2.
Rating: 9.2/10 Good performance and no bandwidth limits.
How Secure is Surfeasy VPN – Surfeasy VPN Logs
In addition – and despite the strong AES-256 encryption used on all connections – users should be aware that Canada, where the company is based, is a member of the Five Eyes signals intelligence sharing association. Therefore, all communications through the VPN could theoretically be intercepted by government spooks able to break the company’s encryption methodology. Legislation, such as the Anti-Terrorism Bill (C-51) gives the agencies a clearly legal footing for engaging in this kind of monitoring.
Rating: 6.5/10 – A zero logs provider, but there are better jurisdictions to be based in for privacy.
Is Surfeasy VPN Reliable – Customer Support
SurfEasy’s team of customer support specialists can be contacted through live chat, email or by telephone (operating hours: Mon.-Sun., 08:00-20:00 EST). There’s also a decent online area designed to provide users with all the information they require to use the service although these can only be accessed by current subscribers.
We tried them with a test ticket and the response came quickly. The availability of telephone support with US, UK, and Canadian contact numbers is also a plus.
Rating 9.2/10: Courteous support which can also be accessed by phone.
Surfeasy VPN Rating by SecureThoughts.com
This option from the North isn’t going to blow anybody away with its vast array of features, but its server network performs reliably fast and many users with standard needs will actually appreciate the simplicity of its programs and apps.
In addition, SurfEasy provides telephone support and has some nice tools like the tracker blocker that are welcome add-ons. The ultra privacy cautious may balk at the Canadian headquarters location, but overall, there isn’t much to find fault with.