Surfshark VPN and Windscribe are affordable VPNs that support unlimited simultaneous connections. However, if you were to pick one VPN service over the other, you need to look past the similarities and see how they differ. We tested the VPN providers for you and detailed our findings in this Surfshark vs Windscribe comparison guide.
- If you’re looking for a better option for streaming or torrenting between Surfshark and Windscribe, the latter is a safe bet. Another reason to edge toward Windscribe is the affordability and flexibility of its pricing structure.
- However, if digital privacy and security are a priority, you should pick Surfshark over Windscribe.
- The two VPN services are on equal footing when it comes to speed.
Keep in mind that Windscribe is the best free VPN; Surfshark has no free plan. To level the playing field, we’ll compare the capabilities of Windscribe Pro with Surfshark VPN. However, we’ll mention the Windscribe free plan here and there in our guide so you know what it delivers.
Updated Windscribe pricing: the paid plan increased to $5.75 per month from $4.08. The Build-a-Plan minimum purchase also increased to $3 from $2. Also updated Windscribe’s free data cap to 15GB due to it offering 5GB extra permanently when you tweet about the service.
Updated the comparison to reflect the latest VPN speed tests results.
Yes, Surfshark has its flaws (all VPNs do), but it’s still one of the best services in the VPN industry.
|$2.49 / month (All Plans)30-day money-back guarantee||$5.75 / month (All Plans)3-day money-back guarantee|
|Surfshark Review||Windscribe Review|
|Payment methods||PayPal, Credit card||PayPal, Credit card|
|Supports split tunneling|
|Free trial available|
|Worldwide server amount||3,200 +, 140 server locations in 95 countries||servers in 69 countries|
|Desktop OSes||Windows, MacOS, Linux||Windows, MacOS, Linux|
|Mobile OSes||Android, iOS||Android, iOS, BlackBerry|
|Browser extensions||Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge||Chrome, Firefox, Opera|
|Can be installed on routers|
|Can access Netflix US|
|Can access BBC iPlayer|
|Can access Hulu|
|Can access Amazon Prime Video|
|VPN protocols available||OpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuard||OpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuard|
|Enabled at device startup|
|Passed DNS leak test|
|Malware/ad blocker included|
Surfshark vs Windscribe Detailed Comparison & Testing
Our Surfshark vs Windscribe comparison is a nine-round fray, where each round focuses on a different VPN aspect. We’ll evaluate the VPNs’ performance in each round, and award a point to the one that performs best.
In case a tie occurs, both VPN providers will get a point. We’ll tally the points at the end of the ninth round, and the VPN with the most points will be our overall winner.
Average speedDownload Speed92 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency117 ms
- : PayPal, Credit card
- : Unlimited
Average speedDownload Speed92 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency3 ms
- : PayPal, Credit card
- : Unlimited
Surfshark and Windscribe both made it onto our list of five fastest VPNs, and our speed test results show why.
To test VPN speeds, we run daily, automated speed tests using a virtual remote desktop. Our internet connection is capped at 100 Mbps for downloads and 10 Mbps for uploads, which we believe is representative of the average internet connection in the U.S. Our testing location is based in the U.S.
Windscribe vs Surfshark Speed Test Result
For download speeds, Surfshark slightly edges out Windscribe in the U.S., and the former performs significantly better when you take a worldwide view.
With upload speeds, there’s not much separating the two VPN providers, whether it’s in the U.S. or worldwide.
However, with latency, you’ll see that Surfshark is much more inconsistent, with ping fluctuating wildly. Windscribe beats out Surfshark in U.S. latency, but Surfshark wins on the global front.
There’s not much separating the two, which means this round is a tie.
Both Surfshark and Windscribe have native apps for major operating systems (OSes): Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. They also work with routers, gaming consoles and smart TVs. As we mentioned earlier, the two providers are among the best VPNs for multiple devices because they allow unlimited simultaneous connections.
Surfshark offers a kill switch in all its native apps. Windscribe, by contrast, has a kill switch built into its Windows and Mac apps, but not on mobile. Moreover, both VPNs allow app, URL and IP split tunneling. Sadly though, Surfshark split tunneling isn’t available on macOS and iOS apps, whereas Windscribe doesn’t support split tunneling on macOS devices.
Beyond that, the two VPN providers come with additional VPN features such as ad blockers, namely Surfshark’s CleanWeb and Windscribe’s R.O.B.E.R.T. In addition, Surfshark offers an antivirus tool as a paid add-on.
When it comes to the fundamental features, the two VPNs are on equal footing. However, when you bring advanced features into the equation, Surfshark has a slight edge. It offers an antivirus (albeit at an extra cost) and has more advanced security features than Windscribe (as you’ll also find out in the security section).
In the table below, you’ll find a Surfshark vs Windscribe pricing comparison.
|One-month plan||$12.95 per month||$9.00 per month|
|Six-month plan||$6.49 per month||N/A|
|One-year plan||N/A||$5.75 per month|
|Two-year plan||$2.30 per month||N/A|
Beyond the basic plans, Windscribe has a forever free plan that comes with VPN usage limits such as a 15GB monthly data cap and only has servers in 11 countries (the U.S. is included, though). Beyond the free version, there’s a build-a-plan option that lets you customize your pricing plan at $1 per location per month, plus $1 for unlimited data.
While Surfshark doesn’t offer a free plan, it has a seven-day free trial for mobile and Mac users. As far as the money-back guarantee goes, Surfshark sticks by the industry-standard 30-day money-back guarantee, whereas Windscribe offers a 3-day money-back guarantee.
Windscribe is the winner in this category, thanks to the flexibility of its pricing structure, its free plan and the affordability of the short-term basic plan. Though Surfshark comes second, it’s still one of the cheapest VPNs, alongside PIA (read our Surfshark vs PIA guide to see how they compare).
4. Security & Privacy
In this section, we’ll evaluate the available VPN protocols, encryption standards and additional security features.
Surfshark and Windscribe Security Features
The two VPN providers support OpenVPN (UDP and TCP), WireGuard and IKEv2 protocols. They automatically choose a protocol by default, based on your internet connection. As far as encryption goes, both Windscribe and Surfshark use the industry-standard AES-256 cipher (read our encryption guide to learn more).
Beyond the standard security features, both Surfshark and Windscribe support a double-hop VPN feature which sends your traffic through two VPN servers for extra protection. The only difference is that Windscribe’s double-hop only works through the browser extension.
In addition, Surfshark offers NoBorders mode, a feature meant to allow internet users to enjoy unfettered access in restrictive countries. Windscribe offers wstunnel and stealth features that encapsulate OpenVPN via WebSocket and TLS tunnel, respectively, for a similar level of protection. Read more about these features in our Windscribe review.
Surfshark & Windscribe No-Logs Policies
Windscribe and Surfshark both maintain a strict no-logs policy, meaning they don’t collect, store or share user data, traffic logs, IPs or information about the website you visit. However, Surfshark does keep the user ID and connection timestamps related to the VPN server you connect to for 15 minutes before deleting them.
Surfshark recently launched a privacy tool known as Surfshark Incogni. The software automates the handling of data removal requests. However, since it’s a standalone tool (not part of the Surfshark VPN suite) it has no impact on the results of this category.
The two VPN providers exchange equal blows when it comes to the basic security features. They also abide by their no-logs policies and have had no history of security or data breaches, which is a good sign. However, Surfshark has a slight edge in terms of advanced security features, and for that reason, it takes the point.
Windscribe made it onto our best VPN for streaming list despite its appalling download speeds, whereas Surfshark missed out — and it’s easy to understand why. Windscribe gets you into all the major streaming services — Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Disney Plus, HBO Max and Amazon Prime Video — on the first attempt.
Unlike Windscribe, Surfshark’s streaming performance is a mixed bag. While it unblocks Disney Plus on the first attempt, it takes several attempts to get you into Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max and BBC iPlayer.
Can Surfshark VPN or Windscribe Unblock Netflix?
When it comes to unblocking Netflix, both VPNs are quite capable. It takes several attempts to find your way into Netflix, but once you’re in, everything else is smooth sailing. The Netflix videos load pretty fast and stream without buffering. Read our Windscribe Netflix guide to learn how to get the most from the granddaddy of streaming.
Windscribe’s excellent ability to unblock streaming platforms tips the odds in its favor. Its snail-paced download speeds have little to no negative impact on the streaming experience, and for these reasons, we award it the point here.
We used both VPN services to download a 1GB test torrent file on a 3 Mbps internet connection. Given Surfshark’s better download speeds, we expected it to outperform Windscribe. Our test results proved us wrong.
|VPN:||Top download speed||Download time|
|Windscribe||0.42 MB/s||69 minutes|
|Surfshark||0.45 MB/s||73 minutes|
Even though Windscribe started slowly, it quickly gathered pace to reach a top speed of 0.42 MB/s. Windscribe’s download speed was pretty consistent from start to finish. As a result, it got the job done faster than Surfshark despite having slightly slower download speeds, justifying its spot on our best VPN for torrenting list.
7. Server Locations
Surfshark has a large network of more than 3,200 VPN servers spread across 112 server locations in 65 countries. Windscribe, by contrast, doesn’t disclose the exact number of VPN servers in its fleet. However, it does mention that the servers are spread across 110 locations in 63 countries.
Beyond the shared dynamic servers, Surfshark offers static servers in five countries. Read our dedicated vs shared vs static IP guide to learn more. Keep in mind that with the Windscribe free plan you get access to servers in just 11 countries.
Surfshark outperforms Windscribe, since it has more servers and better geographical distribution. For these reasons, Surfshark wins.
When it comes to user experience, both Windscribe and Surfshark perform admirably well, though Windscribe’s cluttered interface might not be a good choice for beginners.
There’s no fiddling around trying to find your way around Surfshark’s desktop app. You can search for the server you want to connect to by country name or scroll through the server list. Moreover, all settings options are clearly labeled and located in intuitive places for ease of accessibility.
On the other hand, Windscribe uses icons in its menus that aren’t clearly legible, forcing you to hover over them to see what they do. Also, while we appreciate all the info displayed right on the homescreen, it makes the app cluttered, which can look daunting for newbies.
VPN Service Mobile Apps
The mobile apps are similarly easy to use. Surfshark, for example, offers a no-frills Android app with all features including split tunneling and kill switch. The iOS app doesn’t come with a split tunneling tool, but it’s equally easy to use. Windscribe’s mobile apps look a bit better than its desktop versions but lack some features such as firewall mode and use the same confusing icons.
In the end, Surfshark’s clean and intuitive UI helps it take the win in this round.
9. Customer Support
If you encounter a billing, technical or any other issue using Windscribe or Surfshark, there are various options to get help. The VPN providers have self-service options such as knowledgebases and FAQ sections, where you can find quick solutions on your own.
Surfshark offers live chat support as well, but Windscribe’s live chat uses a bot to handle initial inquiries. If you use the bot to escalate to a human agent, you’ll find that it’s more of a ticketing system than a live chat, and we couldn’t actually connect with a live rep.
Beyond that, you can find help via email with both VPNs or direct your questions to other users on the Windscribe subreddit, though there’s no official user forum.
Surfshark again takes the win here, thanks to its live chat system. Though we give props to Windscribe’s amazing support through the subreddit, we can’t count it as an official support channel.
Our Windscribe vs Surfshark bout ends in a win for Surfshark. After rigorous testing and evaluation, Surfshark came away with six points, while Windscribe garnered four points.
For similar comparisons, check our Surfshark vs ProtonVPN and Surfshark vs CyberGhost guides. We also have a Proton VPN vs Windscribe comparison guide with the nitty-gritty details about how the two best free VPNs compare.
What do you think of our Surfshark vs Windscribe comparison? Have you used these services before? Is there a category you think the providers won, drew or lost unfairly? We’d like to hear about it. As always, thanks for reading.