Even though it’s owned by the very popular Norton company, SurfEasy isn’t a VPN many people know about. Now that its free tier is no longer available, is it still a VPN worth trying?
After all my tests, I do not recommend SurfEasy VPN. While its cheap plans may seem attractive, it doesn't offer much value. It has servers in less than half the locations most VPNs offer, weak device compatibility, and no kill switch. It's better to try one of our top-rated VPNs that is more secure, user-friendly, and better for streaming, gaming, and torrenting.
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Short on Time? Here Are My Key Findings
SurfEasy VPN Features — 2024 Update
Money Back Guarantee
Does VPN keep logs?
Number of servers
Number of devices per license
Based in country
Streaming — Watch Your Favorite Content With Decent Playback6.8
SurfEasy is a solid choice for streaming, but not one of the best. I was surprised at the number of platforms it works with. Playback was good with only a few minor hiccups. However, using the VPN in our home countries, my global testing team and I were still blocked by a few trickier services, and I had to do a little troubleshooting.
You should also be aware that the “SurfEasy Optimized” server is just its “fastest location” feature. I originally assumed it was a special streaming server.
Important. The team at vpnMentor is against any form of copyright violation. SurfEasy VPN has a no-logs policy, meaning your online activities can't be traced back to you. So, it's your responsibility to use the VPN according to the rules and regulations of your country and the streaming service you're using.
Works With: Netflix, Max, Amazon Prime Video, and Peacock
The vpnMentor global testing could watch 1 full Netflix library while connected to SurfEasy. In my tests on other servers, I could only access Netflix Originals. This is a version of the site that only has the content Netflix owns, so you miss out on region-specific shows.
Servers in South Africa, Finland, the UK, France, and Japan gave me Netflix Originals
The best VPNs works with tons of Netflix libraries, but there are also many VPNs that don’t work with any full libraries at all. So, I was slightly impressed with SurfEasy’s performance here, and the playback was perfect with virtually zero load times.
I only had one small playback issue while I was streaming The Flash on the former HBO Max. In the middle of the movie, the quality dropped for about 3 seconds before the picture cleared up again.
Max is available in Latin America, but I could only access it with this location
In my next test, I was pleasantly surprised that the VPN could access Amazon Prime Video. I recommend using the US server because it worked immediately. Though employing SurfEasy to view content from Amazon Prime US outside the country is technically possible, this approach contradicts the T&Cs, and we do not support such use.
The video loaded instantly and played in HD without buffering
I could also watch Peacock while connected to SurfEasy. The image resolved into HD after a couple of seconds, and I didn’t experience any stuttering or other streaming problems when streaming from the US.
Doesn't Work With: Hulu and BBC iPlayer
Hulu detected SurfEasy and blocked it in all my tests. This is a tough platform to access, so it helps when a VPN has several US locations. Since SurfEasy only offers one, I wasn’t surprised it didn’t work.
It’s also available in Japan, but the US library has much more content
During the final test, my UK colleague couldn’t get SurfEasy to work with BBC iPlayer. Overall, this is a slightly above average VPN for streaming. But, if you want a VPN that works with all major platforms, check out our list of the best VPNs for streaming.
Speed — Fast on Most Servers8.4
SurfEasy has impressive speeds on most servers unless they’re very far away. There is no option to switch protocols with SurfEasy, so all the tests were done with its standard connection method.
We have a dedicated tester in the UK that records all of our VPN speeds from a single location with the same connection. This makes all our results easier to compare. Each server is also tested 10 times, so the speeds are as accurate as possible.
We lost 5% of our speeds on nearby servers and 37% on distant ones
Most VPNs drop your speeds between 10 and 20% on close servers, so SurfEasy’s nearby average is quite fast. At its fastest, it only lowered our rates by 4%. There are only a few VPNs I’ve found that perform better in close proximity.
There are some high quality VPNs that will drop your speeds more at this distance
I consider 4,000 to around 7,000 km away to be mid-range because that’s where I generally start to see larger drops in speeds on VPN servers. However, at this range, SurfEasy was still quite impressive. I’ve seen many VPNs drop my rates 40% or more at this distance.
The only time the VPN lost significant speed was on the servers in Australia and Japan, which are both over 9,000 km away. Even so, the drop on the Australia server was huge (80%). The best VPNs rarely drop my speeds by more than 60%. To be fair, this reduction could have been due to server load. Unfortunately, SurfEasy doesn’t give you any access to these stats.
Overall, SurfEasy’s speeds are impressive considering its limited locations and lack of protocol options. If you’re looking for a cheap VPN with fast speeds, this is one to keep on your list.
Gaming — Too Many Glitches Even on Nearby Servers4.6
I couldn’t enjoy gaming while connected to SurfEasy due to lag and constant freezes. Ping is the most important aspect of your speed when you’re playing games. It tells you how long it takes your data to travel, and it needs to be quick so your character can immediately respond to your inputs. Preferably, you’ll want a ping rate below 85 ms to enjoy gaming without lag.
On the optimized server, SurfEasy gave us a measurement of only 10 ms, so I thought we’d be good to go. Unfortunately, my gameplay was still negatively affected on SurfEasy’s server.
There was a noticeable delay each time I tried to fire my gun, too
I had these issues even though I was using the closest server to me. Most VPNs have high ping on distant servers, so I’ve never found one that lets me game comfortably with those. However, the top providers will let you play lag free on nearby locations. If you want to stay safe while you’re playing online, try one of our top VPNs for gaming in this list.
Server Network — Small Network Without Additional Features4.4
SurfEasy’s server network is small, and it doesn’t seem to have the privacy features its competitors offer. During my tests, I could only access 27 locations in the app (although it claims to offer 2,000 servers across 31 countries).
The vast majority of the servers are in Europe where I could find 17 locations. Asia’s next with 4 locations, and North America had 3 total in my app. Africa, South America, and Oceania each only come with one location. That’s too bad because these are all huge regions.
There are no tabs to organize the list or any search function
There’s also only one real optimized server for torrenting. The “SurfEasy Optimized” server is just a fastest location feature.
There is no way to connect to dedicated IPs as far as I can tell. Many VPNs offer these for an additional fee, and they’re helpful if you need a static address for things like running a website. Support was unresponsive when I asked about the network's additional features, like if it uses RAM-only servers or owns its infrastructure.
I’ve also seen it reported that it uses virtual servers, but there was no way to confirm it. It’s frustrating how little information there is on the website about its servers, and support wasn’t eager to help me.
The top VPNs give you many more servers and locations to work with. They’re also transparent about all of the features their servers have to offer. You can get a VPN with a huge network in this list.
Security — Missing Several Important Features4.4
SurfEasy’s leak protection and encryption levels are fine, but the lack of a kill switch makes it unsafe. This is a key feature that most VPNs offer. It blocks your internet connection while you’re switching servers or if the VPN suddenly disconnects. So, you’re consistently protected no matter what, and I see it as a large oversight that SurfEasy doesn’t include one.
It also lacks split tunneling or protocol switching options. The protocol switching is the most important of these features because it allows you to customize your experience. For example, many VPNs offer WireGuard because it’s a safe protocol that’s optimized for speed.
Split tunneling lets you decide what traffic is funneled through the VPN. I like to keep my banking app outside of the VPN tunnel, so I can stream foreign content without having issues on that end. Unfortunately, that’s not an option with SurfEasy.
In addition, the website says nothing about having private DNS servers, IPv6 leak protection, double VPN, or other features many top VPNs offer. These can all potentially increase your security and are nice to have even if you choose not to use them. To get a VPN that can truly keep you safe, check out our highest-ranked VPNs with tried and tested kill switches.
You can rely on SurfEasy to successfully hide your real location.
I tested 10+ servers and my IP address was never revealed
This is the most important test you can put a VPN through because if it can’t hide your IP address, there’s really no reason to use it. Its leak protection also has you covered when it comes to DNS and WebRTC leakage. SurfEasy did great here, so in that regard, it gets the basics of VPN security right.
Encryption & Protocols
This information was harder to find than it should have been, but SurfEasy’s protocols and encryption are adequate. Every app comes with at least 128-bit AES encryption. The industry standard is 256-bit, but even half of that is still nearly impossible to crack.
Depending on the app you use, you’ll either get OpenVPN or IKEv2 protocols. There’s only one protocol available for each app version, which is disappointing for the reasons I detailed above. However, these are both secure protocols. IKEv2 is a bit older and better for mobile connections, while OpenVPN is considered the safest protocol since it’s open source and constantly being checked for vulnerabilities by people all over the world.
I was impressed with SurfEasy’s ad-blocker since it removed more than most. To test the feature, I used a popular site that’s specifically designed to push your blocker to its limits. SurfEasy’s feature got rid of push notification requests, pop-ups, 7 out of 8 banner ads and more. So, this feature gets a thumbs up from me.
Privacy — Solid, but Vague Policy6.0
SurfEasy doesn’t appear to store your identifiable information, but I wish it was more clear. The policy doesn’t tell you exactly what it doesn’t store, and I feel more comfortable using VPNs that make that explicit in their policies.
I could also find no evidence that it has undergone an independent audit, and it could be headquartered in a more privacy-friendly country. I don’t believe it’s an untrustworthy VPN, but you’ll probably want to look into this list of VPNs with the best no-logging policies.
Does SurfEasy Keep Logs? No
SurfEasy claims it won’t log your IP address or browsing history. The policy does say it “collects”, but doesn’t store your IP address. I wish it would have worded this differently, but what this means is that it can see your IP address.
This is true of all VPNs, which is why it’s so important you trust your provider. The crucial thing is that it doesn’t keep this data stored somewhere where hackers, government officials, or anyone else can access it. SurfEasy states that it does not.
Was SurfEasy Audited? No
Based in Toronto, Canada
SurfEasy, a company based in Canada, a member of the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance, might be compelled to modify its policies due to the alliance's agreement to share citizens' data. Despite this, SurfEasy has not yet faced any major privacy issues.
Does SurfEasy Work in China? No
SurfEasy doesn’t have any tips for how to use the VPN in countries like China.
SurfEasy doesn’t offer any obfuscation technology to hide your VPN on restrictive networks
This doesn’t surprise me since most VPNs don’t work in China anymore. Although many VPNs have been banned by the Chinese government, it’s uncommon for them to go after individuals. It usually only goes after the technology.
However, my team and I don’t condone any illegal activities. I recommend you read up on the laws before using a VPN wherever you are. If you choose to use a VPN in this country, you can read this list of VPNs that reliably work in China.
Torrenting — Limited P2P Support With Weak Performance5.0
SurfEasy gave me slow download speeds, and it only lets you torrent with 1 server. Normally, with no VPN connected, I can complete a 700 MB file in about 20 minutes. With SurfEasy, it took about 50 minutes. Plus, it only lets you use P2P apps like uTorrent with its optimized server. This can be annoying because the VPN automatically switches to the optimized server if you open a torrenting app.
I also couldn’t turn the VPN off without first exiting my app. While this can keep you safe if you forget to connect the VPN, it’s also intrusive, and I prefer VPNs that give me more flexibility. Finally, there’s no port forwarding feature which other VPNs offer to improve seeding and downloading speeds. On the plus side, it does support TOR.
Please be aware that while torrenting is legal in most countries, downloading copyrighted files isn’t. I strongly suggest you only access torrent files within the public domain, so you don’t break any laws. If you want to protect yourself on P2P networks, you can test out one of our favorite VPNs for torrenting in this list.
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