may earn a small commission from some purchases made through our site. However, any affiliate earnings do not affect how we review services.

Surfshark vs Windscribe in 2023: VPN Newcomer vs the Best Free VPN

When you think of affordable yet reliable VPNs, two options spring to mind: Windscribe and Surfshark. Our Surfshark vs Windscribe VPN comparison guide delves deeply into how the two VPN services perform on various fronts. Keep reading to find out which VPN best serves your needs and preferences.

Samson Max
By Samson Max (Writer, Linking Editor)
— Last Updated: 2022-11-28T16:58:11+00:00 Facts checked by Eugenie Tiu

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. 

Key Takeaways:

  • 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.  

  • 08/23/2022

    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.

  • 09/05/2022

    Updated the comparison to reflect the latest VPN speed tests results.

  • Overall, Windscribe isn’t better than Surfshark. However, it outperforms Surfshark on the streaming, torrenting and pricing fronts.

  • When we talk about free VPNs, no service is better than Windscribe. However, when it comes to the premium VPN services, ExpressVPN is our best VPN.

  • 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-days money-back guarantee$5.75 / month(All Plans) 3-days money-back guarantee
Payment methodsPayPal, Credit cardPayPal, Credit card
Accepts cryptocurrency
Simultaneous connections Unlimited Unlimited
Supports split tunneling
Unlimited bandwidth
Free trial available
Refund period
Worldwide server amount3,200 +, 140 server locations in 95 countriesservers in 69 countries
Desktop OSesWindows, MacOS, LinuxWindows, MacOS, Linux
Mobile OSesAndroid, iOSAndroid, iOS, BlackBerry
Browser extensionsChrome, Firefox, Safari, EdgeChrome, Firefox, Opera
Can be installed on routers
Can access Netflix US
Can access BBC iPlayer
Can access Hulu
Can access Amazon Prime Video
Encryption types256-AES, ChaCha20256-AES
VPN protocols availableOpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuardOpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuard
Enabled at device startup
Allows torrenting
No-logging policy
Passed DNS leak test
Killswitch available
Malware/ad blocker included
Live Chat24/7
Email support24/724/7
Phone support
User forum

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.

  1. 1
    • : PayPal, Credit card
    • : Unlimited
    • :
    • :
    • :
    • :
  2. 2
    • : PayPal, Credit card
    • : Unlimited
    • :
    • :
    • :
    • :

1. Speed

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

Download Speed (Higher is better)
Upload Speed (Higher is better)
Latency (Lower is better)
Source: Cloudwards VPN Speed Test. We test daily. Data from 05/09/23 to 06/08/23
Data for region:

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.

Round: Speed
No clear winner, points for both
Visit Surfshark1
Visit Windscribe 1

2. Features

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 device compatibility
Surfshark allows you to connect an unlimited number of devices on one account. 

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.

Windscribe split tunneling
Windscribe offers a split tunneling feature on all major OSes, except macOS and Linux. 

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.

Surfshark Bypasser
Surfshark CleanWeb blocks malicious domains and ads to uphold your digital privacy and security. 

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).  

3. Pricing

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 monthN/A
One-year planN/A$5.75 per month
Two-year plan$2.30 per monthN/A
Three-year planN/AN/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. 

Windscribe pricing plans
Unlike other VPNs, Windscribe allows you to build a custom pricing plan. 

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. 

Surfshark pricing
While it’s beaten by Windscribe on the pricing front, Surfshark is still one of the cheapest VPNs around. 

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). 

Surfshark protocols
Unlike Windscribe, Surfshark doesn’t support port forwarding.

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. 

Surfshark multihop
Surfshark offers additional excellent security features such as multi-hop and NoBorders mode.

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.  

windscribe privacy policy
Windscribe has a concise privacy policy.

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. 

Round: Security & Privacy
Point for Surfshark
Visit Surfshark3
Visit Windscribe 2

5. Streaming

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.

windscribe for streaming
Windscribe unblocks most streaming services including Netflix, BBC iPlayer and more. 

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. 

Surfshark for Netflix
Even though Surfshark doesn’t unblock Netflix on the first attempt, it delivers buffering-free Netflix 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. 

6. Torrenting

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 speedDownload time
Windscribe0.42 MB/s69 minutes
Surfshark0.45 MB/s73 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. 

Round: Torrenting
Point for Windscribe
Visit Surfshark3
Visit Windscribe 4

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. 

ios windscribe connected
Windscribe servers are spread across 110 cities in the world. 

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.

Round: Server Locations
Point for Surfshark
Visit Surfshark4
Visit Windscribe 4

8. User-Friendliness

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. 

Surfshark Windows app
Surfshark apps feature a clean and well-organized UI that makes them super easy to use. 

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.

Windscribe app norway
Windscribe is not quite as easy to use as Surfshark.

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.

windscribe ui us
Windscribe’s list of free servers includes locations in the central, eastern and western U.S.

In the end, Surfshark’s clean and intuitive UI helps it take the win in this round. 

Round: User-Friendliness
Point for Surfshark
Visit Surfshark5
Visit Windscribe 4

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. 

Windscribe live chat has a chatbot that suggests helpful articles and guides.

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. 

Round: Customer Support
Point for Surfshark
Visit Surfshark6
Visit Windscribe 4

The Verdict

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.

↑ Top