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 94 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 540 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 Nord and Express do business, it doesn’t tell the whole story. Many providers use virtual (“fake”) servers, or have underperforming servers, or even just position their servers 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 owns 540+ servers. The good thing is that all of these are ‘real’ servers, not virtual ones. The servers are spread across 62 locations in 56 countries.
It’s here that the Windscribe server list begins to look more impressive. IPVanish, for instance, has over 1,200 servers but these are spread across only 48 countries. Similarly, TorGuard has over 3,000 servers spread across 51 countries – twenty times the amount of servers, but five 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 Western Europe, and Windscribe is no different. In total, 47% of its servers 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 73% of its servers in North American and Western Europe, whereas IPVanish has 78%.
To break the numbers down a bit more, Windscribe divides its servers as such:
- North America: 45 (32.8%)
- Central and Eastern Europe: 24 (17.5%)
- Western Europe: 20 (14.6%)
- South and Southeast Asia: 13 (9.5%)
- Northern Europe: 9 (6.6%)
- East Asia: 9 (6.6%)
- Australasia: 6 (4.4%)
- South America: 5 (3.6%)
- The Middle East and North Africa: 4 (2.9%)
- Sub-Saharan Africa: 3 (2.1%)
- Central America: 1 (0.7%)
The drop-off from North America is not as steep as with other VPN providers, and there’s unusually dense coverage in Central and Eastern Europe, which usually get ignored in comparison to Western Europe – the region with the higher population density and internet penetration.
It’s therefore arguable that Windscribe has one of the most evenly-spread server bases on the market today, but it’s still worth discussing the poor showing in one of its sparsest regions, Sub-Saharan Africa.
All three of this region’s servers are in South Africa, which leaves the majority of Sub-Saharan Africa – almost a billion people – without decent access to servers. If those servers go offline, furthermore, the closest servers for South African users are in Egypt, Tunisia, and Brazil.
The other drawback with the spread of the Windscribe server list is, ironically, its overall fleet size. Having almost 3% of its servers in the MENA region is decent compared to, say, NordVPN, which has 0.7%. But 0.7% for NordVPN is 42 servers, which is almost as many as Windscribe has in the States.
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 tended to 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 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 really access 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 servers are usually consistent no matter the distance between you and the server. But 6,000 km will still cause a significant drop-off in connection strength no matter what.
While Windscribe 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 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.