PrivateVPN vs Surfshark
It’s great to see the public at large adopting Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to help keep themselves safe online. However, there are hundreds of providers to choose from. That’s where we come in. We’ve put PrivateVPN and Surfshark, two extremely popular services, to the test to find out how they compare.

More importantly, though, we’ve also explained, point by point, what each of their features actually does. This will let you know exactly what you’re paying for and help give you a better understanding of VPNs in general.

Can’t choose between PrivateVPN and Surfshark?

If you’re struggling to decide whether to use PrivateVPN or Surfshark, we’d recommend giving Surfshark a try first. This VPN is quicker, works with a huge range of streaming platforms, and has a fantastic set of security tools. Not only that but it currently offers a steep discount on long-term plans. PrivateVPN is a great choice as well, though, and if you’d rather use that, we have an exclusive discount for you.

Our team personally tested both of these services, noting down all of their strengths, weaknesses, and features. Here’s what we discovered when comparing PrivateVPN and Surfshark:

Summary: PrivateVPN vs Surfshark


  • Very fast connections
  • Great for streaming
  • Fantastic set of security features
  • No-logs provider that accepts Bitcoin


  • Speedy enough for flawless streaming
  • Works well with platforms like Netflix
  • Strong on security and privacy
  • Secure all of your devices at once

PrivateVPN vs Surfshark pricing

No valuePrivateVPNSurfshark
Subscription periodsOne month, three months, one yearOne month, one year, two years
Special offerGet an extra two years of coverage for free with the annual plan
Highest price per month$9.90$17.95
Lowest monthly cost$2.00$2.19
One year price$72$41.88
Money back guarantee30 days30 days
Best deal (per month)$2.00
Save 85% on a one year plan + 24-months free
Save 86% on a 2 year Starter plan + 3 months free

If you’re looking to sign up for one month at a time, PrivateVPN is the cheaper option. In fact, there’s about a $5 difference, which is actually quite substantial. However, if you’re willing to sign up for longer periods of time, Surfshark narrows the gap.

PrivateVPN remains cheaper over multiple years because of its special offer, which sees subscribers get three years of coverage for the price of one. This means that you can get 36 months of PrivateVPN use for just $2 per month.

Although Surfshark is a few cents more per month, it also allows unlimited connections with a single account. You can share your account with friends and family and split the bill. PrivateVPN allows up to 10 devices concurrently, which is enough for most families.

PrivateVPN and Surfshark both come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. This means that while an upfront payment is required, you can use either service without restriction for almost a month. It’s completely risk-free since you can cancel for any reason within 30 days to receive a full refund.

Best Deal for PrivateVPN:Get an extra two years of coverage free with PrivateVPN’s annual plan.

Best Deal for Surfshark:Cut the cost of your annual Surfshark subscription by over 80%.

PrivateVPN vs Surfshark features

No valuePrivateVPNSurfshark
Simultaneous Connections10Unlimited
Devices SupportedWindows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Amazon Fire TVWindows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV
Manual install devicesLinux, routersSelect routers
Free extrasStealth modeAutomatic wifi protection, ad-blocking and malware-scanning. Extensions for Chrome, Edge, and Firefox. Stealth mode.
Best deal (per month)$2.00
Save 85% on a one year plan + 24-months free
Save 86% on a 2 year Starter plan + 3 months free

Both of these services offer a wide range of apps, allowing you to stay safe across all of your devices. Notably, they each offer a command-line installer for Linux, a platform that many rival providers simply don’t support. There’s also an official app for each in the Amazon app store, so you don’t have to sideload them to access your usual streaming services on your Fire TV. That said, Surfshark has browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox, while PrivateVPN doesn’t.

Although PrivateVPN and Surfshark both have a stealth mode, the latter has a far greater range of extra features. With Surfshark you get a built-in ad-blocker and malware-scanner, for instance, plus a feature that connects you automatically any time you use a public wifi hotspot. You can even use the split tunneling option to let certain websites or apps pass through the VPN without being encrypted. This feature is helpful if you’re traveling and want to access your services from back home without being locked out of regional streaming sites.

The biggest difference between these two services is the connection limit. PrivateVPN users can secure up to 10 of their devices at once, which is more than the industry standard of five. However, Surfshark lets you connect any number of devices, making it an extremely attractive option for families.

PrivateVPN allows port forwarding, a useful extra for users who want to remotely access network resources or direct people to a web or game server hosted on their local network without publicizing their home IP address.

Port forwarding can be important for torrenters who need seed files. Unfortunately, Surfshark does not support it.

Streaming and Netflix comparison

No valuePrivateVPNSurfshark
Unblocks Hulu
Unblocks Sky Go
Unblocks Prime Video
Unblocks BBC iPlayer
Unblocks ABC
Unblocks CBS
Unblocks NBC
Unblocks ITV
Unblocks Channel 4
Best deal (per month)$2.00
Save 85% on a one year plan + 24-months free
Save 86% on a 2 year Starter plan + 3 months free

The table above makes one thing clear: PrivateVPN and Surfshark are both great options for anyone who wants to access international streaming platforms.

Surfshark worked with every streaming platform we tested it on. This includes notoriously tricky services like Amazon Prime Video, so there’s a good chance it’ll work with any other services you might be thinking of.

While PrivateVPN couldn’t access ABC, it performs exceptionally well when it comes to securely accessing regional Netflix libraries. In our tests, it worked to stream more than 15 different Netflix regions, Hulu, HBO Max, YouTube TV, BBC iPlayer, and countless other popular services.


The internet is heavily censored in China, with everything from social media networks to sources of unbiased news filtered out by a collection of tools known as the Great Firewall. To make matters worse, access to most VPNs is blocked too, and even if you manually configure one on your device, many simply won’t work. Luckily, you won’t have to rely on local services to stay in touch while traveling, since PrivateVPN and Surfshark both work perfectly in China. 

You should note that before you can start unblocking websites in China, you’ll have to turn on the stealth mode (this is called NoBorders mode in Surfshark). Here’s how:

  • PrivateVPN: Click Advanced view, select the Stealth VPN tab, enable Stealth VPN
  • Surfshark: Navigate to Settings > Advanced and enable the NoBorders option

Setup and interface

No valuePrivateVPNSurfshark
Automatic setup wizardWindows, Android, MacOS, iOSWindows, Android, iOS, Linux, MacOS
Main location selectionList-basedList-based
Extra settings pages
Best deal (per month)$2.00
Save 85% on a one year plan + 24-months free
Save 86% on a 2 year Starter plan + 3 months free

Both services provide simple and easy-to-use apps for desktop computers. PrivateVPN’s desktop app offers two viewing modes: simple and advanced. The simple form looks much cleaner but removes access to the settings menu. In advanced mode, users can freely switch servers, tweak options, and monitor their data usage. The settings are separated into various tabs, which prevents the app from seeming too cluttered.

Connecting to PrivateVPN with Windows

Surfshark has had a brand new redesign for version five. This maintains all of the app’s functionality while boasting a bold, two-tone appearance. It’s also easier to find recently used servers, and you can run a speed test to make sure that automatic server selection is showing the one that’s the fastest.

Screenshot showing Surfshark's new main screen

On mobile devices, PrivateVPN mimics the look of the simple view from the desktop app. Settings are listed on one page and the kill switch is missing, but otherwise, there’s no difference. It’s worth mentioning that users can set up a kill switch using tools built into the operating system.

Surfshark’s mobile app moves the tabs to the bottom of the screen but that’s the only major change. All of its security features remain intact, and in fact, there are a couple of new ones specifically for mobile. These are the ability to override your phone’s GPS location (which would usually require a separate third-party app) and to use smaller data packets (which might help improve performance on mobile networks).

Servers and performance

No valuePrivateVPNSurfshark
Server countries63100
Total number of servers200+3,200
Best deal (per month)$2.00
Save 85% on a one year plan + 24-months free
Save 86% on a 2 year Starter plan + 3 months free

Surfshark has recently expanded its network and now has a presence in 100 countries. PrivateVPN remains closer to the industry average of 60, which is nothing to be sniffed at, especially when you consider it supports often-neglected locations like Nigeria, India, and Panama. There are even virtual servers in Russia, a location Surfshark pulled out of over concerns about user privacy. Given that these are actually located elsewhere in the world, there’s no need to worry about governmental interference. That means you can safely get an IP address in Russia without worrying that the server might be raided by Russian authorities.

There is a real disparity in terms of network size. PrivateVPN has roughly 200 servers around the world, whereas Surfshark has 3,200. Of course, because every VPN configures its servers differently, it’s possible that PrivateVPN’s are just better optimized than its rivals as far as spreading load goes.

PrivateVPN posted decent speeds and was able to stream videos without buffering. However, in our most recent tests, Surfshark was considerably faster.

PrivateVPN and Surfshark: supported countries

Check the list below to see where PrivateVPN and Surfshark have servers:

Bosnia and Herzegovina
Costa Rica
Czech Republic
Hong Kong
Isle of Man
New Zealand
South Africa
South Korea
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom
United States

Speed comparison

One of these VPNs is known to be one of the fastest VPNs on the market. In our latest testing, PrivateVPN delivered an average speed of 71 Mbps, which is fast enough for flawless streaming, gaming, and torrenting. However, Surfshark was significantly quicker, averaging 189 Mbps. This makes Surfshark a much better option for data-intensive tasks such as video conferencing, HD streaming, and gaming.

No valuePrivateVPN
Average Connection Speed - North America (USA)94 Mbps
Average Connection Speed - Europe (UK)57 Mbps
Average Connection Speed - Asia (Hong Kong)62 Mbps
Best deal (per month)$2.00
Save 85% on a one year plan + 24-months free
No valueSurfshark
Average Connection Speed - North America (USA)521 Mbps
Average Connection Speed - Europe (UK)702 Mbps
Average Connection Speed - Asia (Hong Kong)561 Mbps
Best deal (per month)$2.19
Save 86% on a 2 year Starter plan + 3 months free


No valuePrivateVPNSurfshark
VPN protocolsOpenVPN, PPTP, L2TPOpenVPN, WireGuard
OpenVPN data encryptionAES-256 (with 128-bit option)256-bit AES
OpenVPN control channel encryptionRSA-2048RSA-2048
Kill SwitchWindows only
Private DNS servers
Best deal (per month)$2.00
Save 85% on a one year plan + 24-months free
Save 86% on a 2 year Starter plan + 3 months free

Both PrivateVPN and Surfshark allow you to connect via the OpenVPN protocol, but they each offer alternatives too. For instance, PrivateVPN supports PPTP and L2TP connections. However, we wouldn’t recommend using PPTP as this is an older protocol with several well-documented vulnerabilities. Surfshark, on the other hand, supports Wireguard connections as well. This is a sleek, speedy new protocol widely expected to become the industry standard. At the moment though, only a handful of major VPN providers offer Wireguard support.

These services are fairly similar when it comes to security. They both use 256-bit AES encryption, although PrivateVPN allows you to reduce this to 128 bits, which should increase your browsing speeds slightly. Surfshark doesn’t provide this functionality, but it does include a kill switch in all of its apps, whereas PrivateVPN only has this in the Windows version.

Additionally, PrivateVPN and Surfshark both have their own stealth mode capable of bypassing deep packet inspection. This will allow you to browse safely and unblock censored websites, wherever you are in the world.


No valuePrivateVPNSurfshark
HQ base of operationSwedenThe Netherlands
Connection logs Effectively none
Activity logs
User details for signupEmail addressEmail address
Anonymous payment optionsBitcoinBitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple
Best deal (per month)$2.00
Save 85% on a one year plan + 24-months free
Save 86% on a 2 year Starter plan + 3 months free

Neither of these providers stores any information that could be used to identify you. In fact, PrivateVPN keeps no logs at all. Surfshark does store some data (such as your frequency of use and details of any unsuccessful login attempts), but this is only for diagnostic purposes.

You’ll be able to sign up anonymously, whichever VPN you choose, too. That’s because they each accept Bitcoin payments and allow you to sign up with just an email address. If you’d prefer, you can even pay for Surfshark with Ripple or Ethereum.

Each of these providers has something to further boost its credentials. PrivateVPN owns its entire network outright. Further, it hosts these itself and acts as its own ISP, meaning no third party ever has access to user traffic. Surfshark, on the other hand, has had its infrastructure independently audited to prove that it doesn’t collect any data that could identify you.

Surfshark vs PrivateVPN for gaming

If you want a VPN for gaming, both of these VPNs deliver decent performance. Both provided speeds that exceed what is necessary for the vast majority of multiplayer games, including titles like Fortnite and Warzone. This ensures a seamless online gaming experience and minimizes lag.

Surfshark achieved considerably faster average speeds. This makes it a more trustworthy option for gamers who want the best ping and download speeds possible.

Surfshark has a more extensive array of server locations for you to choose from. This diversity can prove advantageous when seeking easier lobbies or access to a game server in a specific region.

If your ISP is specifically throttling games, then connecting to a VPN you can hide your online activities so that your ISP can’t discriminate against specific games or types of traffic.

Customer service

No valuePrivateVPNSurfshark
24/7 live chat
Ticket support
Email support
Average email response time6 minutes2 hours, 28 minutes
Searchable knowledge base
Phone support
Video guides
Best deal (per month)$2.00
Save 85% on a one year plan + 24-months free
Save 86% on a 2 year Starter plan + 3 months free

Regardless of which VPN you choose, help is never too far away. You can search for answers to common problems in the knowledge base, and there are even short video guides on each provider’s YouTube channels. Surfshark has a slight advantage here, since its support team runs a 24/7 live chat service. PrivateVPN’s live chat service, on the other hand, goes offline for a couple of hours each day.

The winner: Surfshark

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux


Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

There shouldn’t be any doubt: both PrivateVPN and Surfshark are high-quality, low-cost services with plenty to offer. PrivateVPN, for instance, is among the fastest VPNs we’ve tested, and works with a huge range of services. That said, Surfshark has an edge in a few key areas, making it the better choice for most people.

First, Surfshark has taken steps to stay up-to-date on security. It no longer supports insecure protocols and was among the first to add Wireguard support. It also offers a kill switch in every version of the app and allows you to connect all of your devices simultaneously, meaning you never have to worry about browsing insecurely again. With solid speeds, impressive streaming ability, and over 3,000 servers to choose from, Surfshark is an excellent choice for a range of online activities.

Best Deal for PrivateVPN:Get two extra years of coverage free with PrivateVPN’s annual plan.

Best Deal for Surfshark:Cut the cost of your annual Surfshark subscription by over 80%.

See also:

Methodology: How we compared PrivateVPN and Surfshark

PrivateVPN and Surfshark wouldn’t be two of the most popular VPNs if they weren’t up to scratch. Regardless, there are often major differences between services that seem similar at first glance. We took an in-depth look at what these providers offered in each of the following categories:

  • Server network: The number of available servers is important but so are their locations. This determines which country’s data laws apply and which platforms you can access.
  • Streaming potential: Most streaming services have VPN-detection built-in but users who disconnect may forget to turn their VPN on again, putting themselves at risk. To see which service was best at flying under the radar, we tested PrivateVPN and Surfshark against platforms like Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and Disney Plus.
  • Performance and reliability: Comparing VPN speeds is more difficult than you might expect. Our method involvesrunning multiple speed tests and averaging the results to get a single representative speed.
  • Security and privacy: A VPN can’t keep you safe with sub-standard encryption or outdated protocols. We verify that these are suitable and check for safeguards like kill switches, leak protection, ad-blocking, tracker-prevention, or data obfuscation. We also looked into each provider’s logging policy and audit history.
  • User-friendliness: Everyone deserves to browse the web safely. That’s why we value beginner-friendly apps and 24/7 live chat. We also keep an eye out for things that make the experience even easier, like multi-platform support, a lack of connection limits, or task-specific servers.
  • Value for money: We scour the web to find any deals, discounts, or promotions that are available. We’ll also let you know if there’s a free trial or money-back guarantee you can take advantage of.

Want to learn more about how we test VPNs at Comparitech? Check out our testing methodology post for all the details.

PrivateVPN vs Surfshark FAQs

What is a no-logs VPN?

A no-logs VPN does not store, collect, or transmit information about its users’ activities. This ensures that the provider and third parties cannot access browsing data, download history, connection times, IP addresses, and other users’ personal information. Utilizing a no-logs VPN service can protect your data and remain anonymous while browsing the web.

Will a VPN protect me against viruses?

A VPN can provide an extra layer of security to your device, but it is not a replacement for antivirus software. While using a VPN, your data will be encrypted and routed through secure servers, making it much more difficult for hackers and other malicious actors to access your data. However, even with a VPN, users should still take steps to protect their devices from viruses and other malware by installing a reputable antivirus program.

What's the difference between a VPN and a proxy?

VPNs and proxies are widely used to protect user privacy and increase anonymity while browsing the web. However, they differ in several ways. Proxies only provide a basic level of protection as they do not encrypt data like a VPN does. Additionally, unlike a VPN, proxy servers can be easily identified by websites or other online services

Is PrivateVPN faster than Surfshark?

We regularly speed test leading VPNs to see how they compare and how their performance has improved (or declined) over time. A few years ago, PrivateVPN was quicker than Surfshark, but with the introduction of WireGuard support and 10 Gbps servers, Surfshark now has the advantage.

So how much of a difference is there, really? Well, in our most recent tests, Surfshark delivered an average speed of around 180 Mbps, whereas PrivateVPN averaged 71 Mbps. These are both respectable speeds but there’s a clear winner here.

It’s worth noting that these tests were run on a gigabit connection. This means that if your internet connection is slower than ours, your final speeds likely will be too. Naturally, your base connection acts as a bottleneck, and using a VPN won’t increase your speeds except in very rare circumstances.

Which is better for torrenting: PrivateVPN or Surfshark?

PrivateVPN and Surfshark are both no-logs services, which means that anyone trying to trace your IP address will quickly find themselves at a loss. Both of these VPNs allow torrenting, so there’s no need to be cagey when asking customer support for help.

There is one significant difference between these providers, though. Surfshark doesn’t support port forwarding at all, so if you’re looking to get access to as many peers as possible, PrivateVPN is likely the better option. On the other hand, Surfshark delivers higher speeds, so it really comes down to what you value more: faster downloads or more seeds.