One of the problems with shopping for a VPN is that there are lots of providers to choose from but very few “household names”. It makes it difficult to know who you can trust. If you’re feeling hesitant SurfEasy could be the choice for you. It is part of Toronto-based Opera Software, a global company with more than 1,000 employees that’s responsible for the popular Opera web browser.
More importantly, SurfEasy offers a full slate of features, strong performance and some of the most usable software around.
SurfEasy’s feature-list is certainly impressive once you get past the relatively slim selection of server locations compared to some of the big name VPN providers. Then again, how many of those server locations do most people use?
1,000+ servers in 13 Countries
SurfEasy may offer fewer server locations than some of its main competitors but with all the most important locations covered, and more than 1,000 servers in total, it should provide the flexibility to suit most users.
Five Simultaneous Devices
A premium subscription with SurfEasy comes with five simultaneous logins as standard, which compares favorably with competitors. That means you can have your VPN set up on a PC, Mac, iPhone/iPad, and Android phone/tablet without ever worrying about whether someone else in your household is using your account at the same time.
Unlike some other big-name VPN providers, SurfEasy is friendly to torrenters and file-sharers. Indeed, it offers dedicated torrent servers that promise extra speed, as well as a “kill switch” that automatically cuts your internet connection if the VPN goes down, so your IP address won’t be exposed at the worst possible moment.
Ad Tracker Blocking & Wi-Fi Hotspot Protection
One of the nice things about SurfEasy are the little extras you don’t get with other VPNs. Ad tracker blocking allows you to browse the net with cookies enabled without worrying about ad trackers following your every move. Wi-Fi Hotspot Protection warns you when you’re connected to an unsecured public Wi-Fi hotspot and turns on your VPN so your IP and other details remain hidden.
Privacy and Security
SurfEasy encrypts your internet traffic using a 265-bit OpenVPN protocol, which is about as secure as it gets for a consumer VPN provider.
SurfEasy describes itself as a No-Log Network, meaning it keeps no records of your personal information, browsing or downloading activities. But since it’s based in Canada, which is a member of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network, those expecting “no questions asked” anonymity should proceed with caution.
A quick check for any DNS leakage turned up clean, so there’s no need to worry that you’re drip-dripping personally identifying information when you think you’re protected.
There are also a few nice extras that only add to the protection you already get with a high-quality VPN. Aside from the strong reliable encryption, ad tracker blocker and Wi-Fi hotspot protector, you also get a “Kill Switch,” which automatically shuts off your internet connection if the VPN service drops out for whatever reason.
This is a crucial protection if you’re serious about your online privacy. It means that you’ll never find your identifying IP information suddenly exposed when you’re in the middle of an activity when you want to remain anonymous, such as torrenting.
SurfEasy offers three different plans for you to choose from. As with most competitors, there’s no real difference between the plans other than the duration and price. All of them offer exactly the same features, speed and server selection.
You’ll pay $11.99 for a 1-month subscription, 6 months will run you $8.99 per month, or you can opt for an annual plan at a cost of $6.49.
Overall, you certainly wouldn’t describe SurfEasy as a cheap VPN but there are more expensive options out there. Perhaps you pay a premium for the association with a big-name company like Opera.
If you’re on the fence you can always take advantage of the no-risk 7-day money-back guarantee.
Testing on the German and UK servers, we saw results of around 10 Mbps download speeds, which compares well with what we’ve experienced with some of the leading competitors.
Connecting to the more distant US servers sees an inevitable drop in speed, with our tests returning results of around 4 Mbps.
However, a quick field test of the VPN using US Netflix found everything to be working as it should. Videos loaded in only a few seconds and speeds remained reliable.
Ease of Use
There’s nothing to fault when it comes to SurfEasy’s general user-friendliness. The fact that the SurfEasy site and apps are so clean and well-designed adds to the sense of ease.
From opening the account signup page to connecting to a server for the first time took somewhere in the order of five or six minutes.
We tested the software on a Windows 7 PC, Mac, and Android phone, and found the software to be attractive, reliable and straightforward across the board. The mobile phone client, in particular, was a joy to use. There’s even a home screen widget for Android phones, so you don’t have to open the app to enable/disable the VPN or switch servers.
SurfEasy’s support includes the usual Knowledge Base, which is intended to be the first port of call for customers experiencing common issues. In this case, we found it pretty easy to find the information we were looking for.
You can also contact support by phone, live chat and email. However, it’s only available between 8am and 8pm Monday-Friday, 9am to 5pm, Saturday and Sunday.
If you’re a seasoned VPN veteran you might not be a fan of the reasonably narrow device support or relatively few server locations. But then this VPN is probably not for you. It provides everything that 90% of consumers could possibly need all wrapped up in an attractive, simple and user-friendly package. SurfEasy is exactly what you’d expect from a big software company like Opera and comes highly recommended.
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