It seems to be an industry standard that most VPN providers market themselves as the best you can get. Windscribe does this and NordVPN does it too. So which is closer to the truth? In the Windscribe vs NordVPN comparison, which provider offers the better service and for what kind of cost?
It’s true that NordVPN is currently considered by many to be the very top of the industry, but we wouldn’t discredit Windscribe just yet. In fact, for the majority of applications, the two come in rather close to one another. Find out more below.
A slim advantage in security and privacy
The free version of Windscribe offers decent protection online, but for the sake of fairness, we’ll compare the paid Windscribe vs NordVPN. Both of these services boast military-grade AES-256 encryption, which is the same kind of algorithm used to secure the online activity of the NSA and the US government.
Furthermore, while NordVPN offers a double VPN encryption and DNS leak protection, Windscribe comes with a Double Hop feature and a Firewall that both prevents DNS, IPv6, and WebRTC leaks as well as acts as a kill switch. No issues have been reported for either of the two providers in this respect. So far, so good.
But what about logs? This is where it gets tricky. NordVPN guarantees a “strict no-logs policy” for their users and has gone as far as to order an independent audit by the notorious accounting firm PwC to demonstrate the veracity of their statements. Windscribe, on the other hand, does not claim to observe a “no logs policy” to begin with. What they do promise is that they do not keep any “identifying logs,” which is to say the connection and user data they store cannot be traced back to you.
It’s also noteworthy that while NordVPN is based in Panama, a small country with no data retention laws and no connection to the 5 or 14 eyes groups, Windscribe operates from Canada, a surveillance alliance member of the Five Eyes. This, of course, does not necessarily mean Windscribe can’t be trusted. Consider, for instance, that in 2018, the VPN provider received approximately 400,000 DMCA and 34 law enforcement data requests, but chose to comply with exactly zero of them.
All in all, when it comes to online security and privacy, the Windscribe vs NordVPN contest leans slightly in favor of the latter. But only slightly.
Speed and performance
NordVPN holds the industry record for the number of available servers worldwide, featuring more than 5,300 physical and virtual servers across 60+ countries. Meanwhile, Windscribe offers a modest 540+ servers in more than 55 countries, all of which are physically present at the specified locations.
Obviously, Windscribe’s fleet of servers is not nearly in the ballpark of the giant NordVPN, but according to our tests, this does not discredit the former in the contest for speed and performance.
While NordVPN was able to give us an average of 80 Mbps download/upload speed in the US, 140 Mbps in Europe, and 40 Mbps in Singapore, Windscribe came with a whopping download/upload speed of 170 Mbps in the US, over 300 Mbps in London, and 60 Mbps in Japan. In this respect, the obvious winner in the Windscribe vs NordVPN match is, in fact, Windscribe. At least for now.
Sure, NordVPN currently sets the industry standard in overall performance and security, but this might not necessarily interest you. If, for instance, you want to use your VPN primarily to stream Netflix, play online, or for other activities that demand high download/upload speeds, Windscribe is a solid contender.
Netflix and torrenting
Speaking of high speeds, how does the Windscribe vs NordVPN comparison change when it comes to bypassing Netflix’s geo-fencing and P2P torrenting? Let’s take a look.
Truth be told, Windscribe might be the faster service, but in order to stream Netflix, for instance, you’ll have to use one of their dedicated servers, WindFlix US or WindFlix UK, which do not encrypt your traffic to allow better speeds.
If you attempt to access Amazon Prime or BBC iPlayer, results may vary, though the VPN will let you watch Comedy Central and NBC regardless of your current location.
Meanwhile, NordVPN is a little slower but much more reliable in by-passing geo-blocked content. While using NordVPN, we’ve encountered no issues accessing several US servers for Netflix, watching BBC iPlayer, and even streaming with Kodi.
As for torrenting, both VPN providers allow P2P file-sharing, which is a big plus. Using Windscribe, you won’t be able to connect to Russian, Indian, or South African servers for P2P and you might want to avoid those super-crowded servers made available to other users for free. NordVPN, on the other hand, is ideally suited for torrenting. It comes with optimized servers, good encryption, decent speeds, and a free SOCKS5 proxy for additional speed or security, depending on your needs.
Overall, in terms of Netflix and P2P torrenting, NordVPN is once again slightly in the lead as compared to Windscribe.
Customer support: to live chat or not to live chat
The Windscribe vs NordVPN race can be settled here and now if customer support is very important to you. NordVPN comes with all the traditional self-help resources, including updated FAQs and guides, plus their reliable 24/7 live chat support for truly sticky situations. The live chat option is easily accessible and the support agents are generally well-equipped to help users fix their respective problems.
On the other hand, Windscribe essentially lacks a live chat option altogether. Yes, you can try to find a solution to your problem using their setup guides, subreddit, or FAQs, but if you actually want to talk to someone, you must first go through bot Gary’s pseudo-live chat, then submit a ticket, then complete additional steps, and maybe eventually get what you need from support.
Though Gary obviously tries his best to be a good and helpful bot, the whole process can be disheartening, to say the least.
Does Windscribe put up a good fight against the giant NordVPN? Yes, it certainly does. Does it ever come on top of this Windscribe vs NordVPN contest? Probably not.
Of course, when both parties offer such a decent service, the choice is largely up to you. For a 1-year plan, Windscribe is slightly less expensive than NordVPN and it’s also worth considering that, leaving customer support aside, the security and performance standards of the former are almost always on par with those of the latter. For us, the winner is NordVPN, but we wholeheartedly offer our kudos to Windscribe as well.