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.
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.
Watch SurfEasy’s explanation of their product as described in the case of ‘Canadian lumberjack’ Josh.
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.
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.
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 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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
5 simultaneous connections
Nice clients for all platforms
Good customer service
We weren’t so sure about
Ticket support a bit slow (but still within 24 hours)
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.