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You probably don’t realize how visible and vulnerable you are on the web. We’ve written a series of articles to explain your first line of defense in Internet security: a VPN. We discuss what they are, why they’re effective, how they work, and the best VPN choices.
But what is a double VPN? Does it make you twice as safe? How does it work? Read on to find out.
How a VPN Works
When your device connects to a website, it sends packets of data containing your IP address and system information. Your IP address lets everyone know where on earth you’re located. Most websites keep a permanent log of that information.
It’s like you’re swimming with sharks. What do you do? A VPN is where you should start. VPNs use two techniques to protect you:
All of your traffic is encrypted from the time it leaves your computer. While your ISP and others can see you’re using a VPN, they can’t see the information you send or the websites you visit.
All of your traffic goes through a VPN server. The websites you visit see the IP address and location of the server, not your own.
How Double VPN Works
Double VPN adds a second layer of security for ultimate peace of mind. Not everyone needs this level of security and anonymity—a normal VPN connection offers enough privacy for daily internet use.
It chains two VPN connections together. Ideally, the two servers will be in different countries. Your data is encrypted twice: once on your computer and again on the second server.
What difference does this make to your privacy and security?
The second VPN server will never know your actual IP address. It only sees the IP address of the first server. Any websites you visit will only see the IP address and location of the second server. As a result, you’re far more anonymous.
Trackers will know that you’re connected to a VPN server and what country it’s in. BUT they’ll have no idea there’s a second server. As with a normal VPN connection, they won’t know which websites you access.
You’ll be able to access online content as if you’re located in that second country.
Double encryption is overkill. Even conventional VPN encryption takes billions of years to hack using brute force.
In short, double VPN makes it much harder to track what you’re up to. Users behind China’s firewall could connect to the United States via a country in Africa. Anyone watching their traffic in China would only see they’re connected to a server in Africa.
Why Not Use Double VPN All the Time?
That extra security sounds appealing. Why don’t we just use double VPN every time we go online? It all comes down to speed. Your traffic is encrypted twice instead of once, and it passes through two servers rather than one. The result? Network congestion.
How much slower is it? That’s likely to vary depending on the location of the servers. When I reviewed NordVPN, one of the few VPN services to offer double VPN, I ran some speed tests to find out.
I first tested my internet speed without using a VPN. It was 87.30 Mbps. I tested it again when connected to several of Nord’s servers using “single” VPN. The fastest speed I achieved was 70.22 Mbps, the slowest 3.91, and the average 22.75.
I then connected using double VPN and ran a final speed test. This time it was just 3.71 Mbps.
The extra overhead of double VPN drastically reduces your connection speed, but it also makes it extremely difficult for anyone to track or identify you.
So What Should You Do?
In most cases, a normal VPN is all you need to protect online privacy and security. Your traffic is encrypted and passes through a VPN server. That means no one can see the information you send, the websites you visit, your real identity, or your location.
That is, no one except the VPN service you use—so choose one that you trust. That’s an important decision, so we’ve written several articles to help you choose wisely:
But there are times you might choose increased security and anonymity over connection speed. Those who live in countries that censor the internet may want to avoid government surveillance.
Political activists would prefer that their online activities not be tracked by authorities. Journalists need to protect their sources. Perhaps you just feel strongly about security.
How do you get double VPN? You sign up for a VPN service that offers it. Two great options are NordVPN and Surfshark.
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If you’re concerned about your privacy on the internet you’ve probably heard about VPNs or Virtual Private Networks. It’s all well and good to say VPNs protect your privacy, but what do they actually hide, and from whom?
Your Browsing Activity
While you can delete your internet history or use “Incognito mode” to hide your usage on your device, it doesn’t stop your ISP or network administrator from being able to monitor your internet usage. Using a VPN, however, will encrypt and relay all of your traffic through the VPN. Your ISP or network administrator will only be able to see that you’re using a VPN. They won’t be able to tell what you’re using it to connect to.
Tip: Some employers will have policies in place against using VPNs as they restrict their network administrator’s ability to monitor internet usage. You should stick to company policy as breaking it could be a fireable offence.
Your IP Address
An IP address is a unique address for your computer on the Internet. Every website that you connect to will know what your IP address is. In the hands of a hacker, your IP address could be used to target hacking attempts at your computer directly. A VPN hides your IP address and replaces it with its own. As far as any websites are concerned, your IP address is the same as the VPNs.
One of the many disappointing features of the modern internet is the region locking of certain content. Due to licencing restrictions, some content is only available on certain sites in certain countries. IP addresses are allocated in such a way that its possible to roughly geolocate them, generally down to which city you’re in. This geolocation can be used to restrict you from being able to access certain content.
As mentioned above, a VPN changes your IP address. If you choose a VPN endpoint that is geolocated in the right place, you can use this to access content that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to.
Your DNS requests
This is a little trickier, some VPN providers are able to tunnel your DNS requests through your encrypted VPN, whereas others do not offer this ability. If your DNS traffic is not tunnelled through the VPN, your ISP can analyse it to work out which websites you’re connecting to, although it wouldn’t be able to tell what pages you’re accessing.
Who are you hiding from?
A VPN can stop your network administrator or ISP from tracking your web usage or stop a website from knowing your real IP address. However, the VPN provider can still see all of this data. Most providers claim that they don’t store logs of your usage, but it’s completely possible for them to do so.
You can’t stop using the intermediary servers used to connect to websites. A VPN will likely change which specific servers you connect through, but you’ll still go through some. Your main protection against them is encryption, both in the VPN connection and through HTTPS. Encryption hides the contents of your network communications from the intermediary servers, they’ll only be able to see the information needed to route the data to its destination.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) offers effective protection from malware, ad tracking, hackers, spies, and censorship. But that privacy and security will cost you an ongoing subscription. There are quite a few options out there, each with varying costs, features, and interfaces.
Both Avast SecureLine and NorVPN are popular choices for many people, but which is actually better? Before making a decision about which one to go with, take the time to consider your options and weigh up which will best suit you in the long term.
Avast SecureLine VPN, from the well-known anti-malware company, doesn’t try to do more than it needs to. The service offers reasonable speed, privacy and security, and a few extra features. If you just need a VPN on your mobile device, Avast will be your cheapest option. Read our full Avast SecureLine VPN review here.
How They Compare
1. Privacy: NordVPN
A VPN can stop unwanted attention by making you anonymous. It trades your IP address for that of the server you connect to, and that can be anywhere in the world. You effectively hide your identity behind the network and become untraceable. At least in theory.
What’s the problem? Your activity isn’t hidden from your VPN provider. So you need to choose a company you can trust: a provider that cares as much about your privacy as you do.
NordVPN has excellent privacy and “no logs” policies. That means they don’t log the sites you visit at all and only log your connections enough to run their businesses (for example, making sure you’re not using more than the number of devices allowed by your plan). They keep as little personal information about you as possible and allow you to pay by Bitcoin so even your financial transactions won’t lead back to you.
Avast SecureLine VPN also doesn’t keep logs of the data you send and receive online, but they log more information about your connections than Nord do: when you connect and disconnect, and how much data you’ve sent and received, and keep the logs for 30 days. They also don’t allow you to pay by Bitcoin—BPAY, credit/debit card, and PayPal are the available options.
Winner: NordVPN has the best privacy practices in the business, though Avast offers enough privacy for most people.
2. Security: NordVPN
When you use a public wireless network, your connection is insecure. Anyone on the same network can use packet sniffing software to intercept and log the data sent between you and the router. They could also redirect you to fake sites where they can steal your passwords and accounts.
VPNs defend against this type of attack by creating a secure, encrypted tunnel between your computer and the VPN server. The hacker can still log your traffic, but because it’s strongly encrypted, it’s totally useless to them. Your security is enhanced but at the expense of performance, which we’ll look at later in the review.
For additional security, Nord offers Double VPN, where your traffic will pass through two servers, getting twice the encryption for double the security. But this comes at an even greater expense of performance.
If you unexpectedly become disconnected from your VPN, your traffic will no longer be encrypted and is vulnerable. To protect you from this happening, Nord provides a kill switch to block all internet traffic until your VPN is active again.
Avast SecureLine offers security through strong encryption but does not have the additional features that Nord does.
Winner: NordVPN. Either provider offers sufficient security for most users, but Nord’s kill switch and CyberSec malware blocker provide a welcome additional level of security, and Double VPN is worth considering when security is your highest priority.
3. Streaming Services: NordVPN
Netflix, BBC iPlayer and other streaming services use the geographic location of your IP address to decide which shows you can and can’t watch. Because a VPN can make it appear that you’re in a country you’re not, they now block VPNs as well. Or they try to.
In my experience, VPNs have wildly varying success in successfully accessing streaming services, and Nord is one of the best. When I tried nine different Nord servers around the world, each one connected to Netflix successfully. It’s the only service I tried that achieved a 100% success rate, though I can’t guarantee you’ll never encounter a failure.
On the other hand, Avast SecureLine was a disaster. I tried twelve servers in total, and only one worked—the worst result out of every VPN that I tried. Netflix somehow worked out that I was using a VPN most of the time, and blocked me. You may have more luck, but based on my experience, I expect you’ll have to work harder with Avast than NordVPN.
I had a similar experience when streaming from BBC iPlayer. Nord worked every time, while only one of the three Avast servers available was successful. Check our Best VPN for Netflix review for more details.
4. Extra Features: NordVPN
I mentioned that NordVPN offers additional security features over Avast SecureLine, including Double VPN and CyberSec. When you dig deeper, this trend continues: Avast offers the basic features in an easy-to-use package, while Nord prioritizes additional functionality.
Nord offers a larger number of servers to connect to (over 5,000 in 60 countries) and includes a feature called SmartPlay, designed to give you effortless access to 400 streaming services. Perhaps that explains the service’s success in streaming from Netflix.
5. User Interface: TIE
If you’re new to VPNs and want the simplest interface, Avast SecureLine may suit you. Its main interface is a simple on/off switch, and that’s hard to get wrong. When the switch is off, you’re unprotected.
When you turn it on, you’re protected. Easy.
By contrast, NordVPN is better suited to users with some familiarity with VPNs. The main interface is a map of where its servers are located around the world. That’s smart since the service’s abundance of servers is one of its key selling points, but it’s not as straightforward to use as its rival.
Winner: Avast SecureLine is the easier to use of the two applications, but achieves this in part by offering fewer features. If the extra features are valuable to you, you won’t find NordVPN much harder to use.
6. Performance: NordVPN
Both services are quite fast, but I give the edge to Nord. The fastest Nord server I encountered had a download bandwidth of 70.22 Mbps, only a little below my normal (unprotected) speed. But I found that server speeds did vary considerably, and the average speed was just 22.75 Mbps. So you may have to try a few servers before you find one you’re happy with.
Avast’s download speeds are a little faster than NordVPN on average (29.85 Mbps), and the fastest server I could find could download at 62.04 Mbps, which really isn’t much slower.
Winner: NordVPN. Both services have acceptable download speeds for most purposes. Nord had servers that were faster, and Avast SecureLine was a little faster on average. If speed is your priority, you’ll probably achieve better results with Nord, but you may have to try a few servers before you find a fast one.
7. Pricing & Value: NordVPN
Avast, on the other hand, charge a yearly subscription for a single device (and charge less if that’s a mobile device), or a discounted price for up to five devices:
One computer (Mac or PC) $59.99/year
One mobile device (Android or iOS) $19.99/year
Up to five devices $79.99/year
Which service is cheaper? Well, that depends. Avast offers the cheapest VPN subscription for mobile devices I’m aware of, just $20 a year. Or if you have a single computer and pay just one year at a time, Avast will still be cheaper.
But if you have multiple devices, or pay for multiple years at once, Nord will win every time. And if you’re committed to using a VPN, that’s exactly what you want: an inexpensive plan you don’t need to keep paying for that covers all of your devices.
Winner: NordVPN. Unless you only intend to use the VPN on a single mobile device, Nord will be significantly cheaper for most users.
For those of you looking to use a VPN for the first time or prefer the easiest-to-use interface, you might want to consider Avast SecureLine. You’re probably not ready to make a multi-year commitment, and you can test the service on a single device quite inexpensively. In addition, you’ll become familiar with the basics of VPNs without the clutter of additional features, and Avast’s interface is about as easy as it gets. As long as you don’t watch Netflix.
If you’re still not sure which to choose, try them both. Avast offers a free trial version, and Nord stands behind their service with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Evaluate each app, run your own speed tests, and try connecting to the streaming services most important to you. See for yourself which one best meets your needs.
The double declining balance (DDB) depreciation method lets you depreciate assets more in early years after you buy them.
The DDB depreciation method is easy to implement and track in most accounting software.
The DDB depreciation method can lead to greater depreciation recapture if you sell an asset before the end of its useful life.
This article is for entrepreneurs and professionals interested in accounting software and practices.
The double declining balance (DDB) depreciation method is an approach to accounting that involves depreciating certain assets at twice the rate outlined under straight-line depreciation. This results in depreciation being the highest in the first year of ownership and declining over time.
Given the nature of the DDB depreciation method, it is best reserved for assets that depreciate rapidly in the first several years of ownership, such as cars and heavy equipment. By applying the DDB depreciation method, you can depreciate these assets faster, capturing tax benefits more quickly and reducing your tax liability in the first few years after purchasing them.
Editor’s note: Looking for the right accounting software for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.What is the double declining balance (DDB) depreciation method?
The DDB depreciation method is a common accounting method of depreciation wherein an asset’s value depreciates at twice the rate it would under straight-line depreciation – another and perhaps even more popular method of depreciation.
When a business depreciates an asset, it reduces the value of that asset over time from its cost basis (what it paid to acquire the asset) to some ultimate salvage value over a set period of years (considered the useful life of the asset). By reducing the value of that asset on the company’s books, a business is able to claim tax deductions each year for the presumed lost value of the asset over that year.
These are the most common depreciation methods:
Straight-line depreciation. This method depreciates an asset from purchase price to salvage value by even amounts over a defined term (the useful life). The annual depreciation amount is equal to the total depreciation amount (purchase price minus salvage value) divided by the asset’s estimated useful life.
Double declining balance depreciation. This method depreciates assets at twice the rate of the straight-line method. Users of this method start by calculating the amount allowed under straight-line depreciation for year one and then doubling it. The next year, they calculate remaining depreciable balance, divide by remaining years and multiply by two. They do this each year until the final year of the asset’s useful life, where they depreciate any remainder over the asset’s salvage value.
Sum-of-the-years digits depreciation. This method requires taking the useful life of an asset and adding up the number of each year (e.g., 5+4+3+2+1 for a five-year useful life). Each year, you divide the number of years left to depreciate the asset (starting with the highest number) by the year-value total. Then you multiply the resulting percentage by the remaining depreciable value of the asset.DDB depreciation formula
The DDB depreciation method is a little more complicated than the straight-line method. Here’s the formula for calculating the amount to be depreciated each year:
(Cost of asset / Length of useful life in years) x 2 x Book value at the beginning of the year
This formula works for each year you are depreciating an asset, except for the last year of an asset’s useful life. In that year, the amount to be depreciated will be the difference between the book value of the asset at the beginning of the year and its final salvage value (this is usually just a small remainder).
Once the asset is valued on the company’s books at its salvage value, it is considered fully depreciated and cannot be depreciated any further. However, if the company later goes on to sell that asset for more than its value on the company’s books, it must pay taxes on the difference as a capital gain. This is called depreciation recapture.
On the whole, DDB is not a generally easy depreciation method to implement. You can also use leading accounting software to track the value of an asset while you depreciate it, though you may need to calculate the annual depreciation amount manually each year, depending on the software and depreciation method that you use.
Just because you may need to calculate your depreciation amount manually each year doesn’t mean you can change methods. Once you choose a method, you need to stick with it for the duration.How to calculate DDB depreciation
Follow these steps to calculate depreciation of an asset using the DDB depreciation method:
Determine your cost basis in an asset. This includes not only the acquisition price, but also any ancillary costs, such as broker fees, legal charges and other closing costs.
Identify the useful life of the asset. These are provided by the IRS and vary by value and type of asset.
Look up the asset’s salvage value. This is an estimate of the asset’s value at the end of its useful life. Guidance for determining salvage value is also provided by the IRS.
Calculate the first year of depreciation. Use the formula above to determine your depreciation for the first year.
Continue calculations until you reach salvage value. Repeat this process until the final year, when you write off any remaining depreciable amount.
Calculating DDB depreciation may seem complicated, but it can be easy to accomplish with accounting software. To see which software may be right for you, check out our list of the best accounting software or some of our individual product reviews, like our Zoho Books review and our Intuit QuickBooks accounting software review.Example of DDB depreciation
Consider a widget manufacturer that purchases a $200,000 packaging machine with an estimated salvage value of $25,000 and a useful life of five years. Under the DDB depreciation method, the equipment loses $80,000 in value during its first year of use, $48,000 in the second and so on until it reaches its salvage price of $25,000 in year five.
Because the equipment has a useful life of only five years it is expected to quickly lose value in the first few years of use – making DDB depreciation the most appropriate method of depreciation for this type of asset.
Here’s a closer look at the depreciation each year:
YearNet book value at beginning of yearDDB depreciationNet book value at end of year1$200,000$80,000$120,0002$120,000$48,000$72,0003$72,000$28,800$43,2004$43,200$17,280$25,9205$25,920$920$25,000
Now compare this with straight-line depreciation. This is what the schedule would look like when depreciating the same $200,000 asset using straight-line depreciation:
YearNet book value at beginning of yearStraight-line balance depreciationNet book value at end of year1$200,000$35,000$165,0002$165,000$35,000$130,0003$130,000$35,000$95,0004$95,000$35,000$60,0005$60,000$35,000$25,000
Using the example above, the same asset would lose $35,000 in the first year and each subsequent year until it was fully depreciated in year five. Comparing the two schedules above, it’s clear that much larger portions of the asset’s value are written off in early years using the DDB depreciation method, creating greater tax savings in early years.
However, this also means that, if you sold the equipment for $180,000 in year three, you would incur much greater tax liability from the DDB depreciation method as a result of depreciation recapture than you would using the straight-line method.
Apple may not be interested in making a full-on television set after all, if Yukari Iwatani Kane’s scathing book, titled Haunted Empire: Apple After Steve Jobs (available on the iBooks Store), is anything to go by. Needlees to say, that’s not stopping those mockups from coming.
Take, for instance, German website chúng tôi which today put out an interesting concept envisioning Apple’s rumored oversized iPad, the iPad Pro with a 12.9-inch edge-to-edge screen.
The same outlet previously mocked up a next-generation Apple TV concept sporting an interesting looking remote with touch controls that resembles the iPod touch. Unlike some other crazy concepts, the publication did its homework by basing the renderings on rumor-mill reporting.
Let’s take a look at the iPad Pro concept first.
Back in June of last year, The Wall Street Journal set the tongues wagging by quoting by citing people familiar with Apple’s plans as claiming that the company had been testing a prototype iPad device with a 12.9-inch screen.
The rumor-mill readily picked up the report though recent reporting seemingly suggests that Apple may have put the project on hold. The usually reliable Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, for instance, thinks we won’t see the iPad Pro until 2023 although the company is accelerating development of the device.
And earlier this month, the hit-and-miss DigiTimes claimed Apple had actually shelved the project due to various developmental issues, based on supply chain and channel inventory sources.
A few salient points by Curved.de:
The iPad Pro design is pretty close to its siblings, the iPad mini Retina and iPad Air. Curved corners and a flat back. Sound is provided from speakers that are placed left and right from the Lightning connector.
Touch ID is integrated in the saphire glass protected home button, which was introduced for iPhone 5s.
The screen is 12.9 inch wide and has a 4K-solution with 3,072×2,304 pixels (298 ppi), using LED-backlights and IPS-technology.
Even though it’s wider, it’s still as thin as the iPad Air: 7.5 mm.
The bigger screen with more pixels requires an A8 chipset with 64-bit-architecture.
Apps for the iPad Air are shown optimized by the iPad Pro. Dedicated apps – labelled with “Pro” – use the higher resolution and performance of the all new iPad Pro.
New pencils may fully employ all the features like pressure sensitivity. But don’t hold your breath for a multi button pen made by Apple.
Here’s the full gallery of iPad Pro mockups.
For what it’s worth, I’m not entirely convinced that the iPad Pro makes sense. Even though such a device would no doubt win heats and minds of creative professionals – think touch-optimized Aperture and Final Cut Pro on a 12.9-inch multitouch screen – it would admittedly lack mass-market appeal and Apple rarely caters to niche markets.
And now, on to Curved.de’s Apple TV concept.
The website is envisioning a 4K resolution-capable next-generation Apple TV thanks to an HDMI 2.0 port, driven by the A7 chip already used in the iPhone 5s, iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display.
“The main attraction is the revamped remote control, completely redesigned as a touch device that might be wirelessly rechargeable via Apple TV,” the story notes, adding you’d still be able to control the set-top box through Apple’s free Remote iOS app.
And here’s the full gallery.
The publication goes on to put DVD Audio, SADC, Dolby Digital Plus, True HD and dts-HD, 32 channel audio and 1536 kHz sample rate on their wish list. We’re of course expecting an Apple TV App Store for games as well, in addition to speedy 802.11ac Wi-Fi networking, Bluetooth and more.
At any rate, these mockups are just that – mockups – so don’t read too much into them as we’re reposting the images here for the discussion’s sake.
While my review will cover Surfshark’s offerings in detail, you can always look at it all from a glance using the section below. However, I strongly suggest reading the entire review to find out if this VPN service is a good fit for your needs or not.Surfshark VPN: Cut to the Chase
Poised to protect an online user’s privacy and security, Surfshark is a VPN service that creates a secure connection and anonymizes all the browsing activity of the user. Using the fastest and secure WireGuard Protocol, Surfshark gives no substantial drop in the VPN speed while maintaining privacy with a prejudice online.
When it comes to VPNs, it’s always better to go in for the long haul compared to paying out monthly. Since Surfshark isn’t the only kid on the block, I decided to check out the prices of its competitors as well. However, I was pleased to find out that Surfshark has one of the most affordably priced VPN services on the market. Moreover, Surfshark unlocks all the premium features once you get a subscription instead of holding back some of them (via a different ultra-premium plan) to extort more money from you.
Compared to players such as ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and CyberGhost, Surfshark offers the most value for money in its 2-year plan. Moreover, the company itself regularly holds sales that offer discounts going as high as 81%. And if you’re someone anxious about dumping a chunk of money on a VPN at once, Surfshark also has a 30-day money-back guarantee. With that said, here’s how much you will have to pay to get a Surfshark VPN subscription:
Subscription Plan TenurePrice1-month plan$12.951-year plan$47.88 or $3.99/month2-year plan$59.76 or $2.49/monthWith a healthy variety of affordable plans, Surfshark can be for everyoneSurfshark VPN User Experience
As a typical online user who is always short on time, I look for apps that are easy to use and still do the job effectively. Surfshark nails that right from the very beginning. A simple download and sign-in got me up and running within just 2 minutes. The VPN comes with a unified scheme of apps available on PC, macOS, iOS, Android, and even as extensions for your favorite browsers.Mac and Windows Desktop App
Surfshark incorporates a simple two-column design on its apps and extensions. Connecting to a server itself is as simple as tapping on a country’s name. That’s it. Within a few seconds, your connection will be established, and you will be located in New York. While I would have appreciated a map selection to sort through countries, the list itself is to the point, and you have flags to represent the countries.Android and iOS Mobile App
The Surfshark VPN mobile apps on Android and iOS share the same simplicity that is demonstrated by a clean and sleek design that just works. A quick tap on a server got me to the country, and I could see the finer details at a glance, including my new IP address, encryption status, and more.
Like the PC apps, the Settings tab holds a lot of options, but if you’re someone not wanting to touch anything, you can simply connect and forget about everything else. Throughout my time using these apps, I didn’t encounter any major bugs or issues that caused me grief. While my iOS app did have trouble connecting to a Boston server twice, that little annoyance didn’t happen after that.
If you’re a daily joe who wants to connect to a VPN server without jumping through hoops, you will love Surfshark’s no-nonsense approach. It makes a potentially frustrating process really simple.Supported Countries and Server Locations
When it comes to location, Surfshark has made sure to spread out its servers across the world. Whether you are in Europe, the Americas, Asia-Pacific or the Middle East, and Africa, there are a plethora of servers distributed. While you might encounter a loaded server once a week, the healthy variety of servers means you can easily switch to a different one and still have a fast and secure experience.Speed and Performance
No matter how well a company packages a product, it is no good if it cannot perform. To see if the Surfshark VPN can actually give me a decent connection speed, I decided to connect to 5 different servers around the globe (London, New York, Tokyo, Singapore, and Hong Kong). Using a connection that offers me native download and upload speeds of 387 Mbps and 304 Mbps, respectively, it was now time to put the shark to the test.
The VPN service handled them all on the chin as my connection maintained extremely fast connectivity. The download speed never went below 320 Mbps, and I actually gained 10Mbps on upload speed in Singapore. The connection itself happened within seconds and was stable. I also checked the connection for packet loss by running the VPN through multiple games like Apex Legends, Fortnite, and even GeForce NOW. I encountered no packet loss, which was something I was afraid might happen.Consistent Performance Across Protocols
One of the reasons for the high speed and stable connection is Surfshark using the new, fast, and secure WireGuard Protocol. This allowed me to connect to any server of my choosing and still retain the Internet performance I have come to know and love.
With fast speeds around the globe and over 3200 server locations, Surfshark is a VPN made for speed. While using the different protocols might affect your experience, I loved the general consistency and stability that Surfshark offers when it comes to connecting and expecting good bandwidth from a VPN service.Is Surfshark Good for General Browsing?
When it comes to general browsing, Surfshark is as plug-and-play as you would expect. By simply choosing the country of your liking, you can open a web browser and get on the Internet. As you would expect, websites recognize you from the virtual country you’re now in and show settings based on that. Furthermore, if you’re a user living in a place that blocks VPN ports, you need not worry as Surfshark’s Camouflage aka Obfuscation mode can grant you access while using the OpenVPN protocols.
However, Surfshark performs exceedingly well when it comes to using the Internet casually and accessing websites and apps that have been geo-locked.How Good Is Surfshark for Streaming?
Surfshark has a reputation for unblocking over 30 Netflix libraries around the world and a plethora of other streaming sites. As a Netflix user, I decided to put that to the test and connected to a few different VPN servers, including Japan, Canada, Australia, France, the US, and the UK. Surfshark performed exceptionally well when it came to streaming Netflix movies and TV series from around the globe. There was a glitch on the PC version that didn’t allow me to connect initially, but I fixed that by restarting the app.
I experienced no drop in quality or performance, and Netflix did not detect the presence of a VPN during the streaming. With geo-locked shows now at my disposal, I had fun watching Japan-exclusive Netflix shows and anime while sitting in India.
However, I didn’t stop there. I tested Surfshark out on other services including Disney+, AppleTV, BBC iPlayer, HBO Now, and even YouTube TV. My overall experience was amazing, and like before, I had no drop in performance or having to sit for the video to buffer. I managed to do that for all three of my devices simultaneously, considering Surfshark has no device limit.How Secure Is Surfshark VPN?
Surfshark by itself is designed in a way where you don’t have to worry about security. No matter which server you’re connected to, nobody can see what you’re up to online. It is powered by Surfshark’s audited no-logs policy. This means that VPN itself keeps no records about your activity online, including what you do, download, and even your IP address. Surfshark has been audited twice by Cure53 testers to see if these claims stand true, and they still do.
The company used to operate under the jurisdiction of the British Virgin Islands, but has since shifted its HQ to the Netherlands. While the Netherlands is under the Nine-Eyes Alliance, the VPN company maintains it’s under no obligation to log any of our data which means the no-logs policy stands. Users get the added benefit of RAM Only servers, which means no data can be physically taken and is wiped right after use. Besides the excellent no-logs policy, some of the Safety Surfshark features that impressed me were:Encryption and Tunneling Protocols
Encryption is the process of ciphering data, so it’s unreadable to third parties. Like other VPN services, Surfshark also has data encryption support. However, what’s refreshing is that instead of the standard AES-256 encryption, the Surfshark VPN offers AES-256-GCM, which is an updated and more secure version of encryption. So if you’re worried about what little data you share not being secure, don’t be.
Even though I did mention the various protocols Surfshark offers, it’s easy to recount them because of their sheer performance. The most modern and fastest remains WireGuard which Surfshark uses in most cases. However, the company claims that your mileage may vary, so experiment with other protocols to find the best fit if you do end up getting a VPN subscription.Multi-Hop Makes Things More Secure
A thing I was concerned about was the VPN leaking DNS queries, so I resorted to checking it out myself. Using a DNS Leak Test, I found that Surfshark VPN was extremely airtight and did not leak any of my information.Kill-Switch
Like other VPNs, Surfshark too has a kill-switch feature that will completely disable your Internet unless you’re connected to a VPN. This is especially helpful when it comes to protecting your real digital identity from being leaked.
To sum it up, Surfshark promises that it does not collect important data like IP Addresses, your browsing history, traffic, or your overall network usage. This means you are free to use this VPN without being worried about timestamps or data leaks. However, the company does collect some information, including anonymized analytical data and some account information.
This is necessary to get the service working but never more than that. You even contact Surfshark and have them modify or further restrict what little data they have. There are also no third-party cookies that the company uses, which is good to hear. So yeah, as far as services go, Surshark is pretty transparent about it, and it shows on their website and offerings.User Reviews and Customer Support
If you feel I’m being too positive about Surfshark, you’re not alone. Do some digging online, and you will see this VPN regularly receives praise from users and reviewers alike. That’s hardly a surprise given this VPNs performance. But does Surfshark help you out if you run into a problem?
Surfshark has wonderful customer support, which includes a full-scale knowledge base, 24/7 live chat, and E-Mail support should you need it. My experience of browsing through the knowledge base was swift as the info dump had answers to all sorts of questions.Want Even More? Get Surfshark One
While the Surfshark VPN itself is a pretty good deal, there is even more in store if you’re willing to pay just a little extra. Introduced a little while ago, Surfshark One is an added list of services that can help you better protect your data and stay safe online. Surfshark One contains three added offerings – Surfshark Alert, Surfshark Search, and the new Surfshark Antivirus.
Surfshark Alert lets you protect your most important credentials, including your personal identity numbers, ID, passwords, and even credit card. In the event of a breach that involves your data, it will inform you of the same immediately, and you can take the necessary action.
Surfshark Search is essentially a search engine free of trackers that only displays organic results. This search engine is on its way to becoming one of the best Google alternatives. And finally, Surfshark Antivirus protects you from viruses and malware system-wide.Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Q. What Is a VPN and What Can I Do with It?
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a software that creates a secure connection between your computer and the Internet. A VPN does that by encrypting and running your data through a virtual tunnel on servers based in remote locations. This encryption allows you to hide your identities, including your IP Address, browsing activity, and other connection details.
You can do all sorts of things with a VPN. However, most casual VPN users get it to unblock geo-locked content such as Netflix and Apple TV libraries from other countries. They also use it to visit websites their ISPs have blocked and engage in P2P file-sharing (Torrenting). A VPN keeps your data hidden while you go about your business.Q. Why Can’t I Just Get a Free VPN?
Absolutely. While Surfshark has a really user-friendly policy written in plain English, your luck might be different with other companies. Nevertheless, whenever you decide to go for a VPN service, take some time to read their policy and usage contracts. This will not only give you a better idea of what to expect, but you can see for yourself if the company does in the fine print what it claims on the website banner.Q. Are VPNs Even Legal? Q. Can I Use a VPN on My Phone? Should I Get Surfshark VPN?
Get Surfshark VPN (starts at $2.5/ month for a 2-year plan, 82% off)
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