VPNs are incredibly useful bits of software. Not only do they help you protect your privacy and personal data online, they can also be used for getting around geo-blocking restrictions and even help you find better deals online. In this guide, you'll learn how to use Surfshark, which is one of the most popular options out there, not to mention the best cheap VPN right now.
You'll see how easy it is to download Surfshark and set it up, plus we'll highlight the best value deals at the moment and tell you about all of the Surfshark free trial options you can try. We'll also go into more detail about some of the things you can do with Surfshark, using relevant examples, and explain how it works.
I've had my hands on most of the big VPN players and Surfshark consistently performs as one of the best. Let's take a look at how to use Surfshark so you can get the most of the VPN service.
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How to Use Surfshark: 6 Simple Steps to Get Started
Surfshark is ridiculously easy to set up and use and on Windows and Mac. It even supports select Linux distros and also has apps for iOS and Android devices.
Here's how to get started using Surfshark in six simple steps:
In addition, this guide will also explain:
1) Choose Your Surfshark Plan
To get started, you first need to go to the Surfshark website and choose your plan. Alternatively, download the appropriate app for Android or iOS.
Right now, the best value Surfshark deal sees the price of its Surfshark One plan just $2.79 a month if you pick it up on a two-year plan. However, grab it using this exclusive Tech.co offer to save even more. It's down to just $2.39 a month for our readers – and you get two months thrown in absolutely free.
I'd recommend ponying up the extra few cents for Surfshark One over the Starter tier, as it comes with added security features that are really useful in today's online world. Starter is cheaper, and you'll pay a bit more if you opt for a monthly or one-year plan, but all of Surfshark's pricing is among the most competitive on the market – especially as it's such a high-quality product.
2) Create a Surfshark Account
Once you've clicked on the plan of your choice, Surfshark's website will take you a new page where you start creating your account. You'll first need to enter an email address, or you can link a Google or Apple account if you'd prefer.
The same screen will then ask you to choose your payment method, with most major credit cards supported alongside PayPal, Google Pay, Apple Pay, and crypto stalwarts like Bitcoin. Enter your details and complete the secure transaction to gain access to Surfshark.
3) Download Surfshark
Now that you've created an account and paid up, you'll finally be prompted to download Surfshark and be able to start using it. One of Surfshark's best features is that one account gets you access on an unlimited number of devices. You might as well as go all-in here and get it on your mobile device as well as installing it on desktop.
You might also be prompted at this point to allow Surfshark to make changes to your computer. This is a permission you'll have to give, as Surfshark is going to be rerouting your IP address and internet activity through one of its anonymous servers.
4) Open Surfshark and Log-in
Once you've downloaded Surfshark, you'll be able to open the app and log-in using with the details you created when making your Surfshark account a few steps ago.
The Surfshark log-in screen looks just like any other, so input your details and click ‘Log In'. You may also be asked to set up two-factor authentication for your account, which is optional but comes highlight recommend as part of password security best practice these days.
If your browser of choice is Chrome, you may even be able to set up a Google passkey, but I haven't tested this functionality yet. I'll update this guide when I do. As an added bonus, Surfshark offers browser extensions for Chrome and other popular choices like Firefox and Microsoft Edge.
5) Start Using Surfshark
Now that you're logged in to Surfshark, you can actually use it! This is just as simple as the set up process, and of the reasons I love Surfshark is that it's so user-friendly.
On the Surfshark app's main interface, there's a big Quick-connect button the right-hand side of the screen. Clicking this connects you to a server Surfshark thinks will given you the best performance based on your location at that particular time.
However, the rest of the screen will let you choose to connect to a server in a specific country. Popular options will auto-populate and you can also search for a location of your choice via the search bar at the top.
6) Check Out Surfshark's Best Features
Now that know the basics of getting online with Surfshark, you can start checking out some of the other cool features that make it one of the most impressive VPNs around.
Follow the Settings > VPN Settings path in the Surfshark app and you'll be presented with a screen where all of its Advanced options live. The ones I'd recommend most people check out first are CleanWeb, which is a Surfshark feature that blocks ads, trackers and malware when the VPN is operating. Auto-connect is also extremely useful if you're going to be using the VPN with most internet sessions.
Another one you might want to look at is the Kill Switch, which when turned on will disable your entire internet connection if the VPN disconnects. This is useful if you're regularly working with sensitive data online.
A final way to bolster your online security when using a VPN is by enabling Rotating IP, which changes your IP address periodically within your selected region.
There's loads more to explore and Surfshark even has a NoBorders feature that lets you use the VPN is restrictive regions. However, while our general advice is that VPNs are legal, we'd always suggest you obey local laws and restrictions as you don't want to end up banged up just because you're trying to watch a new show on Netflix.
How Do VPNs Like Surfshark Work?
Surfshark works just like any other VPN, or Virtual Private Network. Essentially, by changing your IP address and rerouting your internet connection to one in a whole different location, it allows you to enjoy a super-secure internet connection.
More specifically, using a VPN in this way means that all of your traffic and data is encrypted when you're using the internet, which is why VPNs are so good at throwing hackers off the scent.
They also make it that much harder to snoop on your online activity, which at a time when governments, advertisers, and big tech companies all seem determined to get their hands on as much of your personal information and activity as possible, is something many people find reassuring.
What Else Can I Do With a VPN Like Surfshark?
A final thing that VPNs are great for is access geo-blocked content from your home country when you're abroad.
I'll use myself as an example. I live in the UK and pay a TV license fee here that legally allows me to watch streaming services like BBC iPlayer and ITV X.
However, when I travel to the US or other countries around the world, I sometimes find I'm not able to access this as usual due to the geo-blocks put in place by, say, the BBC, to ensure that non-license fee payers from all over the world can't watch its content.
When I use Surfshark or another VPN to connect back to a UK-located server, I'm able to get around these geo-blocking restrictions and log-in to my iPlayer account as usual. This is perfectly legal, too, as I pay my license fee back home and am simply using VPN technology to access a service I already pay for.
It's particularly useful when there's big sporting events being shown back home, with the Rugby World Cup being one example of something I could use a VPN to access my home TV coverage of from abroad. Though the less said about the Ireland vs New Zealand game now, the better.
Is There a Surfshark Free Trial?
Yes, depending on which operating system you use. The good news is Surfshark offers Mac, iOS and Android users a 100% free 7-day trial. This can be cancelled at anytime within the week trial period and you won't be billed at all.
If you go past the seven days, then you'll be billed automatically for a plan, though you can opt out and cancel easily in your Account Settings.
Windows users can get a 30-day money back guarantee, which is almost the same a free trial. If you're not happy with Surfshark, you can cancel and get your money back at any in your first month of use.
This offer actually applies to users of all platforms, the only difference is Windows users have to pay for their subscription first, while Mac, Android and iOS ones can try Surfshark free for seven days without being billed at all.