Peter Selmeczy

Peter Selmeczy

November 18, 2014

SurfEasy Summary

SurfEasy is a Canadian VPN provider which aims to provide easy-to-use protection for the every day person. While they don’t have an extensive number of servers, they do cover the areas most required while allowing a whopping 5 simultaneous connections and providing a great value service.

Pricing & Plans

When it comes to pricing, SurfEasy is unlike most providers in the fact that they have three different packages, though as with most providers if you sign up for a year you will get a discount. Their Starter VPN is a great free account which we will discuss further on in the review, the mobile VPN is suitable for those that are on the move a lot, and the Total VPN is what we’d recommend for everyday users as it provides the most access and the most simultaneous connections. Their pricing is at the lower end of the spectrum but this doesn’t detract from the quality of service they provide.

It was also a pleasant surprise to see that SurfEasy has recently started accepting Bitcoin for payment.

SurfEasy_Pricing

 

On top of this SurfEasy also retails what they call a VPN Private Browser. Since this is a whole service in itself we have reviewed it separately here.

Video Review

Watch SurfEasy’s explanation of their product as described in the case of ‘Canadian lumberjack’ Josh.

Features

SurfEasy is a Canada-based provider targeting middle-of-the-road, every day users. Impressively, one of their board advisers is from web freedom advocacy charity the EFF (whom we support whole heartedly), and they have a solid partnership with antivirus giants AVG. What’s more, they’ve recently become part of Opera Software – that is, the folks who’ve been making the Opera web browser since 1994; as a publically-traded company with over 1500 employees and offices in more than 20 countries worldwide, SurfEasy believes this gives them a real solid base to stand behind in order to offer the best quality of service possible.

Their average security, low price (but good value) and high speeds clearly indicate that they are a made for the masses VPN and as they say they “wish to be bring the tools and information to everyday people so that they can increase their personal protection”. This does however mean that peer-to-peer filesharing is strictly not allowed, although no logs are kept of user activities at any time.

SurfEasy have servers in 13 countries across Europe, the Americas, Asia and Australasia, and allow 5 simultaneous connections.

Visit SurfEasy »

Security & Privacy

SurfEasy simplifies its service and helps increase security by offering 128bit OpenVPN for desktop and Android and 256bit AES IPSec for iOS.

They show dedication to user privacy and they maintain very minimal logs – aggregate bandwidth only. They will also turn on usage logging if it’s required to debug a problem. Unfortunately with relation to the former, they do say the following: “While our service has sufficient capacity to support average personal usage, if your usage is excessive relative to the average, we may need to limit your bandwidth or suspend your account”. With relation to this they have said that they only implement this in very rare case, for example if someone is running a server on their network.

As with most mainstream provides they will co-operate with authorities if required. They will also use your email address for promotional and advertising purposes – but not pass it on to 3rd parties.

The website

SurfEasy has an attractive and easy to use website. While they are keen to highlight the advantages that using a VPN can bring, we wish they would provide a bit more technical data – again this loops back to the fact that their target market is the every day person.

SurfEasy_Homepage

Support

SurfEasy has a searchable knowledge base on their website which allows you to easily access most required information, whether it is for the VPN or for the Private Browser. Alongside this they have telephone support available during work hours for USA, Canada and UK – we found this to be helpful. Their ticket support, while providing good responses, is unfortunately slightly slow (but still within 24hours).

SurfEasy_Support

The Process

Signing Up

Singing up is a very simple affair: enter an email and password and you’ll be ready to get protected. If you wish to purchase for a longer period of time you will have to provide more details in order to pay but you can also use anonymous BitCoin.

The Windows VPN client

SurfEasy have a really friendly-looking Windows client which is easy to use to boot. Launching the client connects the VPN automatically, and by default it’s set to choose the fastest server location for you. Once connected, a neat little map is shown in the app window showing your virtual location and IP address as well as the status of your connection and ad tracker blocking.

SurfEasy_Software

This simplicity does, though, come at a cost: the only option present other than a server chooser and on/off switch is the choice to start the VPN client with Windows. SurfEasy have, however, recently re-written the client’s networking code from scratch, so users should see big improvements to speed and reliability – especially in areas with poor Wi-Fi reception.

Performance (Speed, DNS and IP Test)

We gave SurfEasy our normal performance checks and founds most things to be in order. Their speeds were fantastic, DNS leak was fine (Google DNS) and we had no problems with the allocated IPs. The only thing we had an issue with, was the fact that every time we tried an upload test TestMy.net would crash – they informed us that it’s most likely because it’s triggering a spam/malware bot.

Pure_Speed SurfEasy_Speed
Pure Speed OpenVPN Speed

 

Other Platforms

Since they allow up to 5 simultaneous connections, it is no surprise that SurfEasy has applications for every major platform. All of these maintain a consistent look and feel of professionalism and complement the provider well. Recent updates to the iOS app include a warning for iOS 9 users when they connect to unsecure WiFi, and a smoother user experience on iOS 8 and above with all VPN controls now contained inside the client without the need for installing profiles. Android’s also seen some updates, with the option to automatically start the VPN on insecure WiFi networks.

Android

We gave the Android application a test and found it to function very smoothly and gave the same calibre performance results that we saw from the desktop client.

SurfEasy_Android

Free Services

There is a 500MB free service on offer too with the possibility of increasing this to 1GB or even more by completing a few tasks (sharing, adding another device, etc.). There are no speed limits on this, however, their Ad Tracker Blocking isn’t available. If you’re looking to use a VPN only from time to time then this should suit your needs.

Conclusion

We liked

  • Free service
  • Good speeds
  • 5 simultaneous connections
  • Nice clients for all platforms
  • Great value
  • Good customer service

We weren’t so sure about

  • Bandwidth control
  • Ticket support a bit slow (but still within 24 hours)
  • No P2P

We hated

  • Not much

Overall we found using SurfEasy to be a very pleasant experience and would fully recommend them to anyone looking for a cheap (but full of value) every day VPN. While anyone looking for higher security or P2P capabilities should look elsewhere.

Visit SurfEasy »

Peter Selmeczy

Written by

Published on: November 18, 2014.

June 12th, 2018

I am an engineer by trade and tech geek by night, who's passionate about sharing his knowledge with the people. Find me on Google+.

12 responses to “SurfEasy Review

  1. as per the beginning of april 2016 surfeasy has also an option for p2p (for which you pay extra of course). Do you know anything about it? Is safe, knowing that it is a Canadian company? I am using Surfeasy for almost one year and miss the p2p support.

    1. Hi John,

      Thanks to Bill C-11 (the Copyright Modernization Act), Canada is a not a great place for a VPN company to be based that offers P2P. However, companies that allow P2P do generally know what they are doing, and if SurfEasy says you can P2P download, then you can should be able to do so safely.

    SurfEasy boldly states in the beginning of their statements that it is a zero log company.. I think they hope you don’t keep reading the privacy policy…

    1. : “The SurfEasy network is a no-log network. That means, except for the limited exceptions below, we do not collect any information transmitted through our network.

    More specifically, we do not collect any information regarding the websites you visit or the IP addresses assigned to you when you access the SurfEasy Private Network, and with respect to our VPN service, we do not collect any data stored on or transmitted from your device, including any data that applications on your device may transmit through our network.”

    “no log network” – eh? Let’s see.

    2. : “It may become necessary to temporarily maintain usage data to assist in debugging a problem with the service. This usage data may include such information as the date and time of your login and the IP addresses you visited.”

    “We may also collect information such as your name, address, phone number and payment information in connection with your purchase of our products and services. This information is used to fulfill your purchase and to bill you as necessary based on your service plan.”

    cool, so you DO retain (I love this “may” thing, which means they will)
    1. IP Addresses of the websites We visit
    2. Date and Time of browsing
    3. Data volume transferred
    4. Name, tel, email, physical address, payment info. basically ALL possible info.

    But but what will you do with this info? here we go.

    3. We may collect and disclose personal information, including your usage data, to governmental authorities or agencies, including law enforcement agencies, at their request or pursuant to a court order, subpoena or other legal process, if there is a good faith belief that such collection or disclosure is required by law

    Basically no privacy whatsoever. Google has less data about you then this vpn.

    1. Baurerth,

      Many VPN providers claim to keep no logs when what they mean is no “usage logs” (our term for not monitoring the actual websites you visit). They do , however, keep “connection” (metadata) logs of the type you mention above. For a discussion about this issue, please see my comments on Usage logs vs. connection logs. At BestVPN we always try to flag up exactly what a provider means when it says it “keeps no logs”, and for maximum privacy always recommend providers that keep no logs at all.

    Surf Easy is the worst service out there. They suspended my account, which I paid for with no due cause or reason and after sending them countless emails and tweets, I still did not get any assistance whatsoever. They claimed that my transaction was fraudulent because…. wait for it…. the transaction emanated from Africa. Seeing as we Africans run around in grass skirts and live on trees, there is no way we can possibly pay for stuff online with our cards or Paypal. It is unfathomable that we ‘natives’ can actually do this. It must be a fraudulent! Never mind that I make quite a few purchases online from other vendors and have never had any issues.
    They did absolutely nothing to fix the situation. The customer service at Surf Easy is not even lazy; it is non-existent. Nobody at this organization cares that you paid for their service yet cannot use it.
    Their phone helpline is also fake. You will never get through to a customer service agent. It is simply a phone line for optics. Pay for this service at your own risk. I am sorely disappointed.

    1. Hi Leilani,

      I agree that blacklisting customers because they are African is terrible. If need be, you can always use a provider that accepts Bitcoin payments (most good one do.)

    I signed up in Feb 2015 for family use on a variety of IOS devices and until IOS 9 was very happy. But once IOS9 came out I noticed that the ad blocking feature would all of a sudden turn off. I would get a message in the map area that notifications need to be turned on. I would click ok and if I clicked the red button for ad blocker would get notification about upgrading my plan. I would turn my phone or Ipad off and back on and most times it would work. This would happen once a day at least. I opened a ticket in Nov and the responses were within 24 hours over a course of a month. They would ask me a question. I would respond etc up until Nov 24 when I was told it needed to be escalated to a senior developer for further analysis. I went back a week later to find out the status and no response.

    Although it by far is the cheapest multi-connection VPN out there if I am not able to access all levels of service without having to restart 5 devices I would rather pay up for a different provider which I have relayed to them. I have already done research. I just upgraded to IOS 9.2 today and am experiencing the same issue so they need to figure this out or I am canceling.

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