Cord Cutting Guides, News, and Reviews
Surfshark vs VPN Unlimited
August 20, 2021
A lot of VPN services look identical at first glance, because most of them promise to do the same thing: protect your data while you’re online. It’s only when you examine what each has to offer that you get a better sense of how they compare. That’s why we like to compare VPN providers side by side to see which one comes out ahead when all features and capabilities are taken into consideration. Here, we’re looking at two well-known VPNs: Surfshark and KeepSolid VPN Unlimited.
When you’re talking about a VPN service, you’ll usually end up talking about servers. Server count is important for a VPN, because more servers means more room to spread out VPN user traffic. In other words: More servers means a faster VPN. More servers also means more location-shifting options — and more servers for streaming services to block, so it’s more likely your favorite streaming service will work with the VPN.
Surfshark has a respectable number of servers, but not as many as some competitors. Surfshark easily takes it to VPN Unlimited in this category though. It touts 1,700 servers in 63 countries, which is a good bit more than the 500 or so servers in 80-plus “locations” (not necessarily countries) VPN Unlimited offers. If you care about the number of servers a VPN provider has — or where they’re located — Surfshark wins here. You may also want to check out other options, such as NordVPN or Private Internet Access, both of which have even more servers than Surfshark and VPN Unlimited.
Things are pretty split on the streaming front. Surfshark and VPN Unlimited both boast about their ability to work with streaming-video services such as Netflix and Hulu, and both lived up to those promises in our tests. Since this is such a highly sought after feature, it’s great that these services can reliably provide it.
Security is another area a lot of VPN customers care about. Keeping your data protected is the name of the game, after all, so it’s important a VPN service can at least do that.
Surfshark seems to have this area down pat since it offers multiple protocols, including IKEv2, L2TP, OpenVPN, Shadowsocks, and WireGuard. The service has a no-logs policy, and it’s headquartered in the British Virgin Islands, which is known for its lack of data-retention laws. All that equals success for Surfshark on meeting the basic requirements of a VPN.
VPN Unlimited doesn’t offer as many VPN protocols as Surfshark. It offers only two: OpenVPN and WireGuard. That isn’t necessarily a security issue since both are very secure protocols, but, as we pointed out in our KeepSolid VPN Unlimited review, it would have been nice to see some more choices. Another issue we raised in our VPN Unlimited review was the location of KeepSolid’s headquarters. The service has a no-logs policy, but KeepSolid VPN Unlimited is based in the United States, which means your VPN activity could be requested by the U.S. government.
The last thing you want is for your VPN service to hamper your internet experience. You don’t want your internet speed to take too big of a hit if you’re using a VPN to watch Netflix or Amazon Prime Video, since it could lead to a lot of unwanted buffering (and a lot of frustration).
In our Surfshark review, the service passed this test with flying colors. We noticed a slight downgrade to our speed, but nothing too outrageous. Our streaming-video services were still quite usable, as were all the other web apps and services we tried.
Our VPN Unlimited review, however, found that the service landed quite a hit on our internet speeds. A gigabit connection went all the way down to around 221 Mbps. VPN Unlimited was still usable, but it was likely saved by its larger bandwidth pipe. It left us wondering how drastically a slower connection may have been affected.
Some VPN providers layer their service with extras such as password managers and ad blockers. We don’t consider them necessary, and you could argue they actually distract the providers from focusing on getting the VPN part right. If you would make that kind of argument, you may be happy with both Surfshark and VPN Unlimited. Both trim the fat and home in on offering a streamlined VPN experience.
Both the Surfshark and VPN Unlimited apps are fairly easy to navigate, regardless of where you use them. Both services appear on all sorts of platforms, which ensures you always have access to either one. You’ll also find that not a lot changes about how the apps look or perform if you move to a different platform. That kind of consistency is something we like to see since it cuts down on the learning curve.
Both Surfshark and KeepSolid VPN Unlimited are very affordable. You can purchase two years of Surfshark for just $59.76 total, which is a nice price compared to most competitors. Plus, you can start your Surfshark subscription with a free trial.
KeepSolid’s VPN service offers a free trial, too, and the subscription options are very competitively priced. In our hands-on review, we were particularly impressed with KeepSolid VPN Unlimited’s lifetime subscription, which provides access to the service forever for a one-time payment of $100.
After comparing Surfshark and VPN Unlimited in all these categories, it’s tough not to land on Surfshark as the VPN service we’d recommend. It nails a lot of the basics, from providing the most security to delivering on speed to offering a pretty good value.
If you care about price, though, VPN Unlimited may still steal you away. It offers a $100 lifetime subscription that lets you pay once and forget about it forever. You may have to do a bit of soul searching to determine how important security and speed are to you. Do you need a VPN quite often or just some of the time? If it’s the latter, perhaps the more affordable lifetime KeepSolid VPN Unlimited subscription is the better fit for you.
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