08 June 2022
Surfshark has become one of the biggest and most popular VPN providers in the world — and for a good reason. In addition to ensuring your privacy is protected while you’re browsing the web and using online services, it also offers an optional ad blocker and malware protection. Surfshark is almost everything you need to keep your Mac safe online, but it can get pretty expensive.
|Supports an unlimited number of devices
|Pricing model can be confusing
|Completely anonymous browsing
|Many features are optional extras that cost more
|Good connectivity speeds
|No logging policy
Surfshark first launched in 2018 as a VPN built exclusively for iPhone and iPad, but it has come a long way since then. It now supports all of the most popular operating systems in use today, including Mac, while its feature set has expanded significantly to add useful protection tools and advanced customization options. Surfshark has also received plenty of critical acclaim over the years, which has helped it attract millions of customers around the world.
The standard Surfshark package for Mac includes an unlimited VPN (a virtual private network) backed by more than 3,000 servers across 65 countries and an ad blocker, while a malware removal tool can be added if you’re willing to pay more. It can be everything most Mac users will need to ensure their online privacy, keep their system safe, and access online services exclusive to other countries.
Surfshark is competitively priced as a VPN, but it can get expensive when adding extra features. So, is it worth your cash? We’ve been using it for a couple of weeks to find out.
The biggest selling point of Surfshark is, of course, its VPN. It not only conceals your browsing habits when you’re online so that no one — not even your internet service provider (ISP) — can see what you’re doing. It also makes it safe to use unprotected Wi-Fi networks by ensuring that snoopers cannot intercept and monitor your browsing traffic to collect your most sensitive data.
This is incredibly important if you need to work with confidential information, access your bank or other financial services, and for many more activities while you’re on the go. But even if you don’t need to do that, it’s always a good idea to hide your online activities from the trackers used by almost every website these days to build profiles on each visitor.
Once Surfshark is installed on your Mac, which is a simple process, connecting the VPN takes just a couple of clicks. And once it’s active, your real IP address is hidden from every website you visit, so there’s no way to trace your browsing habits back to your computer. What’s more, Surfshark does not log user activity, and it runs 100% RAM-only servers for added privacy protection.
What’s great about Surfshark is that it offers a huge range of VPN servers to choose from around the globe. So, not only can you conceal your real IP address, but you can also make it look as if you’re browsing from another country — almost any country you like. It’s incredibly handy if you want to access websites and streaming services that aren’t usually available where you live, though be aware that you may need more than just a VPN for that.
Surfshark promises high-speed connectivity, and for the most part, we’ve found its speeds to be pretty good. However, as is usually the case when you use a VPN, they’re not quite as fast as a direct connection through your ISP, and using servers in other countries can slow you down a lot. On a 500 Mbps fiber connection, we consistently saw download speeds of around 350 Mbps when using the closest servers — but that rarely rose above 400 Mbps.
One thing we have been impressed by is Surfshark’s stability. It rarely drops a connection, and when it does, you can use its Kill Switch feature to block all traffic to and from your Mac so no data can fall through the cracks from your real IP address when the VPN is down.
Surfshark’s standard VPN package also comes with a unique and handy feature called CleanWeb, which blocks ads and trackers for a faster and much more enjoyable web browsing experience, and stops malware in its tracks. You can activate it by simply toggling a switch inside Surfshark’s settings menu, and it works so long as a VPN connection is active.
However, CleanWeb isn’t a proper malware removal tool, so it cannot help you if a virus does make its way onto your Mac. For that, you’ll need a separate antivirus program, or Surfshark Antivirus, which is (sadly) an optional upgrade as part of Surfshark One.
Pricing is where things can get a little confusing for new Surfshark subscribers. If all you want is the VPN, then that’s simple — you can pay either $12.95 per month or $59.76 per year with the first two years charged as one. That’s about the going rate for a top VPN service.
However, if you also want Surfshark Antivirus and other optional features — which include identity protection and safer online searching — then the price rises to a rather eye-watering $96 per year with the first two years billed as one.
The good news is that once you’ve subscribed to Surfshark, you can use your account on an unlimited number of devices, which is handy if you have multiple computers, smartphones, and tablets that you want to secure and protect.
Surfshark claims to be one of the best VPN services available, and after using it for a couple of weeks, we would have to agree. It has not only been incredibly reliable, but it delivers good speeds — some of the best we’ve seen from a VPN — and some important features, like an automatic Kill Switch. For protecting your privacy online, Surfshark is an excellent choice.
And it doesn’t stop there. Surfshark offers an antivirus application, identity protection, and additional online security tools available as optional add-ons. However, if you want everything Surfshark has to offer, it can get pretty expensive. You can save if you get your antivirus protection elsewhere, but you may prefer the convenience of an all-in-one solution.
Content Manager for the MacUpdate blog
Ruslana is a passionate Mac admirer and tech writer with 5+ years of experience in Mac support.