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4.3 out of 5

VPN protocols on Surfshark

The advanced technologies that secure your internet connection

  • WireGuard® - sleek, modern, secure
  • IKEv2 - best, fastest choice for mobile
  • OpenVPN - a reliable open-source classic
  • Shadowsocks - top choice in restrictive countries
VPN protocols on Surfshark
What are VPN protocols?

What are VPN protocols?

VPN protocols are a set of rules that define how a virtual private network is set up. They handle important tasks like authorization, authentication, encryption, traffic capturing, and transportation. 

A VPN provider implements them to allow you to safely send your data through the internet – to browse websites, use social media, or do just about anything else online.

The benefits of a VPN protocol depends on how well a VPN provider has established their infrastructure. It is also supplemented by various benefits that the provider baked into their client (read: app), like obfuscation and GPS spoofing.

Surfshark VPN supports these protocols:



WireGuard is a relatively new VPN protocol designed to be simpler than its predecessors. With only 4,000 lines of code, WireGuard is less susceptible to security vulnerabilities as it’s easier to manage and audit. It’s great for any occasion.

Availability: Android, Windows, iOS, and macOS.



IKEv2 (short for Internet Key Exchange version 2) is a fast and secure protocol developed by Cisco and Microsoft security engineers. It has been improved many times. IKEv2 is very popular among mobile users due to its speed.

Availability: macOS, Android, Windows, iOS, and Fire TV applications.



OpenVPN is an open-source protocol, which means that security professionals worldwide can check the code and offer improvements and fixes. It may be cumbersome due to its long development path, but it’s supported by VPN-enabled routers.

Availability: macOS, Android, Windows, iOS, Fire TV, and Linux applications.



Shadowsocks is an encrypted proxy rather than a VPN protocol. It was designed specifically to help people overcome the restrictions of the so-called Great Firewall of China. It works great for that purpose, but if you are not in a restricted country, you’re better off using either OpenVPN, WireGuard, or IKEv2.

Availability: Android and Windows applications.

How to set up the VPN protocol of your choice on any Surfshark app


Open your app’s Settings.


Go to the Advanced section.


Select your protocol. That’s it!


What is the fastest VPN protocol on Surfshark?

WireGuard is currently considered to be the fastest protocol around. It uses advanced cryptographic primitives and lives inside the Linux kernel (kernel is a computer program at the core of an operating system, connecting software and hardware): this ensures high-speed, secure networking.

What is the safest VPN protocol on Surfshark?

There’s no single “most secure VPN protocol” in the world, and thus, we can’t single out the safest VPN protocol on Surfshark. All of our protocols have been selected for their qualities, including security. However, what we can say is that they’re a lot safer than the ones that Surfshark doesn’t support, like PPTP.

How do I know which Surfshark VPN protocol is the best for me?

The best Surfshark VPN protocol largely depends on the device you’re using or the reason you need a VPN:

  • Wireguard is good all around, especially when speed is the issue
  • IKEv2 grants the best speed on mobile
  • OpenVPN works best for desktop devices
  • Shadowsocks is specifically for people who want to overcome the Great Chinese Firewall and similar blocks

If you are still unclear which VPN protocol is the right fit for you, you can switch them around in the Surfshark app and do your own test!

Protect yourself with the latest security protocols

Protect yourself with the latest security protocols