A large server fleet is usually a solid indication that a VPN provider will offer a great service. For instance, NordVPN has over 5,000 privately-owned servers to its name, and ExpressVPN has servers in 90+ countries. These providers are known for their fast speeds, as well as their ability to bypass geo-restrictions and content filtering.
Both NordVPN and ExpressVPN proudly state their server counts at the top of their homepages, and many other VPN providers with large server fleets do the same. Windscribe, on the other hand, does not. The simplest explanation is that its location status includes little over 480 servers altogether.
But the more complicated reason is that Windscribe knows that server counts are not as important as you may think. While an abundance of servers is integral to how NordVPN and ExpressVPN do business, it doesn’t tell the whole story. Many providers use virtual (“fake”) servers, run underperforming servers, or position them in unhelpful locations.
As such, we’re going to dig into the curious case of Windscribe to see whether it’s truly savvy with its server fleet or whether it has a right to be embarrassed about the low numbers.
How big is the Windscribe server list?
To be precise, Windscribe VPN owns 480+ servers. The good thing is that all of these are ‘real’ servers, not virtual ones. The servers are spread across 100+ locations in 60+ countries.
It’s here that the Windscribe server list begins to look more impressive. IPVanish, for instance, has over 1,300 servers but these are spread across only 50+ countries. Similarly, TorGuard has over 3,000 servers spread across 50+ countries – twenty times the amount of servers, yet fewer countries overall.
Windscribe, therefore, begins to recall another VPN provider: Astrill VPN, which has little over 320 servers but with a larger spread than most providers offer and, most importantly, faster speeds. Let’s take a closer look at the spread of Windscribe’s servers to see how well-optimized it is in this regard.
The spread of the Windscribe server list
VPN providers that cater to English-language markets typically huddle their servers in North America and Europe, and Windscribe is no different. In total, 60% of its server-countries are located in those regions.
The good news here is that Windscribe leaves more servers for the rest of the world than do most VPN providers. Industry leader NordVPN has fully 68% of its server-countries in North America and Europe, whereas IPVanish has 69%.
To break the numbers down a bit more, Windscribe divides its server-countries as such:
- North America: 3 (5%)
- Europe: 33 (56%)
- Asia Pacific: 12 (20%)
- South America: 3 (5%)
- The Middle East, India, and Africa: 7 (12%)
It’s therefore arguable that Windscribe has one of the most evenly-spread server bases on the market today.
The only serious concern is that the African servers are either in North (Tunisia) or in South (South America), which leaves the majority of Sub-Saharan Africa – almost a billion people – without decent access to servers.
Nevertheless, it’s worth bearing in mind that Windscribe is a relatively new VPN provider, and the fact that it already has such a decent spread so early in its development bodes well for the future. The next step, of course, is to see how good these servers actually are.
Windscribe server speed
Our own experience with the Windscribe servers is that they provide consistent connection speeds across the board, and it wasn’t until we got to the Tokyo servers (testing from the UK) that we began to have slight issues with the speed.
We tested Windscribe VPN at multiple times during the day to ensure we weren’t just lucky the first time and saw similar results in each instance.
To make doubly sure, we also consulted some user reviews from around the web, which is where things got interesting. Everyone seemed to have a completely unique experience with Windscribe; it was either completely average, lightning-fast or painfully slow.
What everyone could agree on, though, was that Windscribe’s server speeds were consistently average, consistently fast, or consistently slow. This matched our own experiences, which, as mentioned, saw consistent (good) speeds on a wide range of servers.
This bodes well for the regions where Windscribe has sparser coverage and gives us great confidence in this VPN provider’s server list.
Windscribe servers and streaming
On its regular servers, Windscribe is not a great candidate for trying to bypass geo-restrictions on streaming sites such as Netflix or BBC iPlayer.
Thankfully, Windscribe does have four specialist servers for Netflix. These are called WINDFLIX, and are based in the UK, the US, Canada, and Japan.
On the other hand, Windscribe can only unblock the BBC iPlayer with a static IP address, which costs an extra $2 per month. Either way, though, the provider’s ability to stream content on these sites should be reliable enough to experience Ultra HD video quality.
Windscribe servers and torrenting
Windscribe allows P2P networking on all but three of its servers: India, Russia, and South Africa.
This comes back to the problem we had earlier regarding the lack of coverage in Sub-Saharan Africa. Users in South Africa are barely able to use Windscribe for torrenting at all unless they’re willing to connect to a server over 6,000 km away (the nearest being Tunisia).
Of course, Windscribe connections are usually stable no matter the distance between you and the server. But 6,000 km will still cause a significant drop-off in speed no matter what.
While Windscribe VPN may be a decent choice for torrenting fans in regions with better coverage, then, many African users will be left out in the cold.
Although Windscribe has one of the most evenly-spread bare-metal server fleets on the market today, those servers are not without their problems. A lot depends on the WINDFLIX servers remaining active, for instance, and the lack of torrent support in key locations can be a dealbreaker.
Nevertheless, for overall consistency in terms of performance and availability, Windscribe is certainly a decent choice for users in the regions it caters to.