Windscribe vs Private Internet Access (PIA VPN) comparison

Jan Youngren
Jan Youngren | Security researcher
Last updated: January 12, 2021
Windscribe vs Private Internet Access comparison

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.

Highlights

WindscribePIA
Our rating8.1⭐8.9⭐
“Best for” nominee
Best free VPN, Best for MacBest 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
Free version
YesNo
ReviewWindscribe reviewPIA review
Websitewindscribe.comprivateinternetaccess.com

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

More live data from our VPN Speed Test tool
Windscribe VPN Private Internet Access
USA server
Download Speed 1,022 Mbps 102 Mbps
Upload Speed 328 Mbps 263 Mbps
UK server
Download Speed 736 Mbps 71 Mbps
Upload Speed 405 Mbps 302 Mbps
Germany server
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.

Servers overview

WindscribePIA
Servers480+24500+
Countries60+70+
Physical servers
AllAll
Owns all servers
NoNo
RAM-only servers
NoNo
P2P serversAllAll

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

WindscribePIA
Free version
YesNo
Free trial
YesNo
One month
$9.00/month$11.95/month
One year
$4.08/month$3.33/month
Three years
N/A$2.19/month
Money-back guarantee
3 days30 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

WindscribePIA
EncryptionMilitary-gradeMilitary-grade
ProtocolsWireGuard, OpenVPN, IKEv2WireGuard (preview), OpenVPN, IKEv2
Kill switch
YesYes
DNS and IP leaks
No leaksNo leaks
Security featuresAd & malware blocker, Double Hop, split tunneling, SOCKS5 proxy, SSL secured network, R.O.B.E.R.T., port forwardingAd & 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.

Windscribe VPN
Windscribe VPN
VPNpro rating: 8.1 / 10

Privacy: PIA vs Windscribe

WindscribePIA
JurisdictionCanadaUnited States
LoggingNo-logs policyCourt-proven no-logs policy
Anonymous payment
BitcoinCryptocurrencies, 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

WindscribePIA
Major dedicated apps
AllAll
Other dedicated apps
Amazon Fire TV, Nvidia Shield, KodiN/A
Browser extensions
Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Edge (beta)Chrome, Firefox, Opera
Manual setup
Router, NASRouter
Simultaneous devices
Unlimited10

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

WindscribePIA
Netflix US
YesYes
Other Netflix libraries
YesYes
Other platforms
NoNo

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.

Windscribe VPN unblocks Netflix

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

WindscribePIA
Allowed on
All serversAll servers
Free SOCKS5 proxy
YesYes
Split tunneling
Android onlyYes
Port forwarding
Yes*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.

Private Internet Access
Private Internet Access
VPNpro rating: 8.9 / 10

Which has better customer support – PIA or Windscribe?

WindscribePIA
24/7
NoNo
Live chat
NoYes
Phone line
NoNo
Email
YesYes

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

Windscribe🥈PIA🥇
Speed and serversTieTie
PricingLoses❌Wins✔️
Security
Wins✔️Loses❌
PrivacyLoses❌Wins✔️
Compatibility
Wins✔️Loses❌
Streaming
TieTie
Torrenting
Loses❌Wins✔️
Customer supportLoses❌Wins✔️
Total wins
2 out of 84 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.

Top VPN providers
NordVPN
9.6 / 10
30-day money-back guarantee
Military grade encryption
Friendly support
Surfshark VPN
9.4 / 10
Strong encryption
Excellent performance
Unlimited simultaneous connections

Disclaimer: Affiliate links help us produce good content. Learn more.

4 comments
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Yanis P

    Windscribe is a really good VPN, I used it for quite a while before going with NordVPN, and it was doing the job pretty well ! I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a good VPN.


  2. Eddy Price

    Windscribe does its job pretty well. It offers far more services as compared to most if its competitors. The pro version is a life savior; it allows you to connect unlimited devices to your network.


  3. James

    I give it to windscribe. I like the adblocker and pop up blocker and the fact that it doesn’t have to force your pages. I love the free data they give to free users. I recommend it totally to everyone


  4. Julie

    I have been using Windscribe free version and I am pretty satisfied with it.m Gives me preference for location choice. Though bandwidth is limited, speed are good.

Share
Share
Thanks for your opinion!
Your comment will be checked for spam and approved as soon as possible.