Disclaimer: Affiliate links help us produce good content. Learn more.
Windscribe vs PIA battle is a tough one. It might be that in the end, your personal preferences will be the deciding factor. But since my task is to compare PIA and Windscribe VPN as objectively as possible, I’ll evaluate them using all key criteria.
In this PIA vs Windscribe comparison, I’ll look at their speed, security, privacy, compatibility, and customer support. I will also check which one is better for streaming and torrenting as these two are often the most important factors for VPN users.
Broadly speaking, Windscribe VPN is way faster, but this should change soon when Private Internet Access finishes implementing the next-gen WireGuard tunneling protocol. In the meantime, PIA has much more servers and better global coverage. Finally, Windscribe costs more and doesn’t have a live chat.
Comparing the privacy and security of both contestants will require a more in-depth approach, so let’s dig deeper and find out what we can learn about these providers.
|“Best for” nominee||Best free VPN, Best for Mac||Best overall, Best for streaming, Best for Windows, Best for Mac, Best for Android, Best for iPhone|
|Price starts from||$1.00/month||$2.19/month|
|Review||Windscribe review||PIA review|
Speed and servers comparison
Windscribe vs PIA speed comparison takes two key elements into account. One is the tunneling protocols – neither OpenVPN nor IKEv2 can beat WireGuard, as seen from our in-house speed test data. The second one is the server list quality. If the closest option is thousands of miles away, there’s not much you can do to reduce the ping and the speed drop-off.
Windscribe VPN vs Private Internet Access: 14-Day Speed Average
|Windscribe VPN||Private Internet Access|
|Download Speed||1,022 Mbps||102 Mbps|
|Upload Speed||328 Mbps||263 Mbps|
|Download Speed||736 Mbps||71 Mbps|
|Upload Speed||405 Mbps||302 Mbps|
|Download Speed||810 Mbps||73 Mbps|
|Upload Speed||297 Mbps||189 Mbps|
Thanks to the next-gen WireGuard protocol, Windscribe VPN is a lot faster than Private Internet Access. That being said, the situation should change in 2021 because PIA already offers this protocol in preview mode. Of course, there are significant performance differences even among the WireGuard-ready VPNs, so the chances are that Windscribe will retain its dominance over PIA.
|Owns all servers||No||No|
PIA’s server fleet is twenty-five times bigger than that of Windscribe. Additionally, there are more countries to select from. But most importantly, all PIA servers are physical.
These three factors lead me to believe that Private Internet Access will be faster than Windscribe after implementing the WireGuard tunneling protocol. The only remaining question is when will they do that. Of course, Windscribe performance, given its number of servers, speaks volumes, and this VPN should remain in our speed testing tool’s Top 5 list.
Both providers allow P2P on all servers. This means that you’ll often be able to choose one in your country and get the fastest speeds. And when it comes to owning all servers and using RAM-only versions for extra security, only Windscribe VPN could pull that off in the near future.
PIA vs Windscribe: price comparison
|Money-back guarantee||3 days||30 days|
PIA is considerably cheaper than Windscribe VPN. Not only does it offer better prices, it also has a three-year plan that allows you to save even more. While some users may argue that Windscribe offers unlimited simultaneous connections, I don’t see it as a big advantage when PIA gives you ten devices.
Furthermore, Windscribe has a complicated refund-policy and gives you only three days to make up your mind. On the other hand, you can always try the free version first, which has nearly all premium features. In the meantime, PIA offers a standard 30-day money-back guarantee.
Even though Windscribe costs more, you can’t argue with the free trial and the free version. These features are rare to find among premium VPNs, so even if you’re leaning towards Private Internet Access, I suggest you try its opponent without the need to enter payment details.
Security of Windscribe and PIA VPN
|Protocols||WireGuard, OpenVPN, IKEv2||WireGuard (preview), OpenVPN, IKEv2|
|DNS and IP leaks||No leaks||No leaks|
|Security features||Ad & malware blocker, Double Hop, split tunneling, SOCKS5 proxy, SSL secured network, R.O.B.E.R.T., port forwarding||Ad & malware blocker, split tunneling, Stealth VPN, SOCKS5 proxy, Shadowsocks, HNS, port forwarding|
Both opponents have solid security credentials, including military-grade encryption, modern tunneling protocols, and a kill switch. I also didn’t find any DNS or IP leaks. The only advantage that Windscribe has is the WireGuard protocol, which I’ve already mentioned multiple times in this comparison.
Windscribe and PIA are among the most feature-rich VPNs when it comes to security. They offer malware blockers, split tunneling, free SOCKS5 proxy, and port forwarding, among others. However, Windscribe’s split tunneling is for Android only, while for port forwarding, you need to get Static IP.
Having said that, I lean towards Windscribe because it has Double Hop (multi-hop) and split tunneling that works on all devices. Yes, PIA has Shadowsocks and Stealth VPN, but it’s still not among the best services for China.
Privacy: PIA vs Windscribe
|Logging||No-logs policy||Court-proven no-logs policy|
|Anonymous payment||Bitcoin||Cryptocurrencies, gift cards|
Neither of the two combatants can be proud of their jurisdiction. Both Canada and the United States belong to the infamous Five Eyes intelligence alliance, which means that the governments are always there to snoop around. But is there anything to find about the dear users on those VPN servers?
Well, it seems that when it comes to privacy, Windscribe and PIA are doing good. Both were approached by law enforcement multiple times and had nothing to give away. Therefore, the jurisdiction doesn’t play such a big role if you have a true no-logs policy.
Finally, you can pay for each VPN anonymously to further increase your privacy. Here PIA offers more options, which include gift cards and cryptocurrencies, while Windscripe accepts Bitcoin only.
Ease of use and apps of Windscribe and PIA
|Major dedicated apps||All||All|
|Other dedicated apps||Amazon Fire TV, Nvidia Shield, Kodi||N/A|
|Browser extensions||Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Edge (beta)||Chrome, Firefox, Opera|
|Manual setup||Router, NAS||Router|
Windscribe supports more devices and platforms than PIA does. It also has more dedicated apps, namely for Amazon Fire TV, Nvidia Shield, and Kodi. Both opponents have extensions for popular browsers, but I wouldn’t give Windscribe and edge for having the Edge add-on in beta.
Speaking of simultaneous connections, you can’t get better than Windscribe’s no-limit approach. But as I’ve mentioned earlier, having 10 devices per account should be enough for most users, even if they share the account with family or friends.
When it comes to usability, Windscribe offers a more user-friendly interface for all the supported platforms. However, both VPNs are easy-to-use and shouldn’t cause any problems even for novice users.
Unblocking Netflix with PIA and Windscribe
|Other Netflix libraries||Yes||Yes|
Windscribe provides dedicated servers for streaming multiple Netflix libraries. They don’t encrypt traffic, giving you higher speeds and better video quality. PIA is also great for Netflix, and streaming in 4K should be possible with the WireGuard protocol.
Unfortunately, neither of the two can consistently unblock BBC iPlayer, Disney+, Hulu, or other streaming platforms. Both VPNs also miss the Smart DNS feature.
One good thing about Windscribe is that it has apps for Amazon Fire TV & Fire Stick, and Kodi. This should help you set things up fast before tuning in.
P2P and torrenting: Windscribe vs PIA VPN
|Allowed on||All servers||All servers|
|Free SOCKS5 proxy||Yes||Yes|
|Split tunneling||Android only||Yes|
Because of the WireGuard protocol, Windscribe will give you better download speeds. On the other hand, PIA has a way bigger server list in more countries. I liked that both services have a free SOCKS5 proxy, which is still not that common feature.
However, if you plan to use split tunneling or port forwarding, I highly recommend using Private Internet Access. That’s because Windscribe doesn’t fully support these features: split tunneling works on Android only, and port forwarding comes with the Static IP that costs extra.
Which has better customer support – PIA or Windscribe?
Neither of the opponents has a 24/7 live chat, but Windscribe doesn’t have a live chat at all. They do have a chatbot named Garry that can understand basic requests, but it’s unlikely to solve your case. This may not seem like a huge disadvantage until you actually have to contact customer support.
In the meantime, PIA’s live chat works great, but you have to be in the right time zone to actually benefit from it. The agents are polite and helpful, and the waiting times are a few minutes tops.
For this PIA vs Windscribe VPN comparison, I contacted their support by email with similar queries and checked how long will it take for me to get a response. Both providers sent me a detailed answer the same day, which is a good result.
Finally, I checked the self-help sections of each VPN. I found that Private Internet Access has a better-structured knowledgebase and a more powerful search function. Their setup guides were also more detailed and easier to navigate.
Windscribe VPN vs PIA: best service by category
|Speed and servers||Tie||Tie|
|Total wins||2 out of 8||4 out of 8|
PIA vs Windscribe VPN – which one is better?
After making a detailed PIA vs Windscribe VPN comparison, I conclude that Private Internet Access is a better service. It has better prices, more privacy features, and the industry’s largest server fleet.
Both providers are good for Netflix, but P2P fans will find PIA’s split tunneling and port forwarding handy. What’s more, even without 24/7, a live chat is an invaluable feature. Without one, Windscribe users will need patience and more effort to find help in a less user-friendly knowledgebase.
What PIA lacks is apps for other than major platforms. It’s not a big deal if you set it up on a router, but a client for Amazon Fire TV & Fire Stick has become almost an industry standard.
The biggest argument for Windscribe is the WireGuard protocol that has a major impact on performance. But since PIA already offers it in “preview” mode, I cannot penalize the latter too much, especially when it outperforms its opponent in multiple categories that have nothing to do with speed.
Disclaimer: Affiliate links help us produce good content. Learn more.
Jan is a cybersecurity and consumer protection specialist focused on investigations that help readers navigate the complex infosecurity sphere. His research and commentary has been featured in Forbes, ComputerWeekly, PC Mag, TechRadar, ZDNet, The Mirror, Entrepreneur, and many other leading publications around the world.