Windscribe vs. NordVPN - which VPN is better?
Windscribe and NordVPN aren't the providers you often see mentioned together. But this Windscribe vs. NordVPN comparison review is an exception to the rule.
You’ve probably heard of NordVPN. It frequently appears in rankings of the best VPNs, has been reviewed countless times and has probably sponsored your favorite Youtuber more than once.
But how often do you hear about Windscribe? This Canada-based VPN is not that well known and most frequently appears in occasional Reddit users’ recommendations, not ranking of the bests.
It would be interesting to see how a no-name VPN compares to a giant of the market, and to find out if fame really means everything. You might even find your new favorite VPN.
Read our Windscribe vs. NordVPN review and find out how each VPN compares in different categories such as speed performance, streaming, pricing and more.
NordVPN vs. Windscribe
|🥇 Overall rank:||#1 out of #28||#15 out of #28|
|🖥️ Servers:||5100+ servers in 60 countries||480+ servers in 63 countries|
|📖 No logs policy:||No logs||No logs|
|💵 Pricing:||from $3.71/month||From $4.08/month|
|🔥 Coupons:||NordVPN coupon 68% OFF||Windscribe coupon 55% OFF|
|🔒 VPN protocols:||OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPsec, WireGuard (NordLynx)||WireGuard, OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPsec, WStunnel and StealthVPN|
|🍿 Streaming services:||Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and more||Netflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, DAZN|
|🖥️ Platforms:||Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox||Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS|
|📥 Simultaneous connections:||6||Unlimited|
|💁🏻 Support:||Knowledge base, FAQs, email, 24/7 live chat||Self-help, bot chat, tickets|
Speed performance: Windscribe or NordVPN
The performance of each VPN is compared by counting the average download and upload speed of each protocol. It must be noted, though, that the speed of a VPN connection depends on a number of factors, such as proximity to the server and baseline speed. Nevertheless, counting the averages still allows us to fairly compare Windscribe and NordVPN’s speeds.
What we can tell so far is that Windscribe and NordVPN speeds are fairly similar to each other. Both perform quite well with certain protocols, and equally worse with others. Let’s take a closer look at each case.
NordLynx and Wireguard protocols are pretty much the same. However, NordVPN’s signature NordLynx has a few tweaks here and there which makes it a bit faster than WireGuard. Additionally, with Windscribe, WireGuard is available only for Android, which is a bit of a bummer.
With the NordLynx protocol, we were operating on 63% of the original speed, and 43% of the original upload speed. As for Windscribe’s WireGuard on Android, it doesn’t fall behind NordVPN that much, which is a welcome surprise. Additionally, there has been news that Windscribe is looking to implement WireGuard as their primary protocol.
- Baseline for all speed tests: 300 Mbps download/300 Mbps upload
|Download average||190 Mbps||189 Mbps|
|Upload averafe||131 Mbps||118 Mbps|
Now, when looking at OpenVPN, both NordVPN and Windscribe use UDP and TCP protocols. Windscribe also has implemented two of their own variations, WStunnel and Stealth. Let’s see how they compare to NordVPN.
Looking at the UDP download speeds, it’s clear that NordVPN is the winner here, retaining 65% of the original speed. Windscribe, meanwhile, presents us with a huge 72% drop. The tables, however, turn drastically in the realm of upload averages. Windscribe now is blazing through, while NordVPN just barely catches up.
|Download average||197 Mbps||83 Mbps|
|Upload average||69 Mbps||103 Mbps|
OpenVPN TCP protocols present a different story altogether. From both Windscribe and NordVPN’s average download and upload speeds, it is clear that TCP in general is not extremely fast. However, NordVPN takes the cake here, with its averages being twice as high as those of Windscribe.
|Download average||32 Mbps||15 Mbps|
|Upload average||26 Mbps||13 Mbps|
As mentioned before, Windscribe also has Stealth and Websocket Stealth protocols, but seeing as NordVPN doesn’t have them, there is no point in comparison. If you wish to know more about Windscribe’s signature protocols, check out our Windscribe review.
As for the last but not least protocol, IKEv2 seems to work pretty well with both NordVPN and Windscribe. In the download speed field NordVPN presents slightly better results than Windscribe, and Windscribe is faster with its upload speeds.
|Download average||215 Mbps||155 Mbps|
|Upload average||51 Mbps||153 Mbps|
All speeds considered, NordVPN takes the podium in this race. It demonstrates lesser drops in original speed with virtually every protocol, while Windscribe is somewhat faster in the Upload Corner. The worst performance from both VPN providers stems from the OpenVPN protocols, so this is less about the VPNs themselves and more about the OpenVPN sector of the Speed Circuit.
Netflix and streaming performance
We are glad to announce that both NordVPN and Windscribe perform really well when it comes to unblocking Netflix and other streaming platforms. However, there are some tiny details such as server functionality and connection stability, and NordVPN works with Netflix and other streaming platforms better in this case.
First of all, Windscribe has specialised servers for streaming called Windflix, located in US, Canada, UK, and Japan. Meanwhile NordVPN has a feature called SmartPlay, which is specifically designed with streaming in mind.
Both NordVPN and Windscribe managed to unblock Netflix, DAZN, BBC iPlayer and Youtube without any problems. Streams loaded perfectly and no buffering took place.
However, NordVPN has an advantage over Windscribe in the streaming realm, and it’s the higher number of locations and no need to switch servers when you want to access different streaming platforms.
With Windflix, you’ll only be able to stream in the four countries mentioned above. Regular Windscribe servers work too, but it’s not always guaranteed. Sometimes it takes multiple reconnections to find the one server that unblocks your favourite streaming service.
On the other hand, every NordVPN's server unblocks every mentioned streaming service, wherever in the world you might be, and issues arise rarely and get fixed pretty quickly.
It’s a difficult decision to make, but NordVPN deserves the streaming royalty crown in this one. That doesn’t mean, though, that Windscribe is that much worse - NordVPN is just a tiny bit better.
Both Windscribe and NordVPN support torrenting, which is great for those who don’t live in a torrenting-friendly country. Let’s take a closer look at Windscribe and NordVPN in action.
Most of Windscribe’s servers support P2P connection, and those that don’t are marked with “No P2P” signs, which is actually really convenient. The same can’t be said for speeds, though. They were not extremely consistent throughout the downloading process, and it took 10 minutes to download an over 4GB sized picture. Even though download time depends not only on the internet speed, this is quite a lot of waiting.
As for torrenting with NordVPN, this provider has specialised P2P servers with additional filtering, such as the fastest, nearest, safest, etc. And downloading content was like blazing through the clouds in a supersonic jet. In addition to that, if NordVPN detects P2P activities on regular servers, it automatically switches you to a specialised one to offer maximum speed and security.
When it comes to features, both NordVPN and Windscribe have something to offer. Some of these features are the same with the same names, some of them have different names but do virtually the same things.
Right off the bat, I’d say it’s pretty evident that NordVPN takes the cake in this one. It has way more specialised servers than Windscribe, and while the web filtering features are virtually identical, NordVPN shows better results in the exclusive features section.
Any VPN that functions like a VPN is good, but the one that presents features designed for specific purposes is better. If you’re looking for something case-specific, specialised servers are where it’s at.
NordVPN, if not excels, then does really well in this specialised server pop quiz. Here are the types of servers it offers:
- P2P servers for torrenting;
- Dedicated IP servers if you don’t want your IP address to change every time you connect;
- Double VPN, or Multihop servers for doubled privacy;
- Obfuscated servers to mask the use of a VPN from all websites you visit;
- Onion over VPN to make any trace of your digital footsteps disappear. Good for exploring the dark web.
Windscribe, on the other hand, should do some inventing if it wants to pass this class. With only a couple servers for specific purposes, the only thing I can say about Windscribe’s performance is that it’s not much, but it’s honest work:
- Windflix servers for streaming;
- Double Hop, or Multihop servers for maximum privacy.
Web filtering means protecting you from cyberthreats by blocking malicious ads and websites. This in turn reduces the risk of infecting your device with malware. The existence of malicious ads and websites requires you to always be careful when browsing, but being always on your toes takes a toll on your nerves (and toes). So if a VPN takes this burden off your shoulders (toes) and is constantly on the lookout for any potential threats - kudos to it.
Windscribe and NordVPN both have certain features that take up the work of checking every website you visit for malicious activity, blocking ads and more.
For example, NordVPN’s CyberSec feature that filters insecure websites and blocks ads also notifies you when a threat is present and prevents you from visiting said websites. It constantly cross references pages you visit against blacklists and offers real-time protection. There is also the Dark Web Monitoring feature that checks leaked databases and the dark web for your personal data and notifies if your email or passwords got compromised.
Windscribe also has something similar to CyberSec. It’s called R.O.B.E.R.T. and it blocks ads and trackers, domains and IPs that aren’t absolutely trustworthy. Paid subscribers also get protection against malicious websites and have the option to block or whitelist any questionable websites they (don’t) want to visit.
Aside from aforementioned specialised servers and web filtering features, both NordVPN and Windscribe have something else to offer, something that is exclusive to each of these providers.
NordVPN’s secret gems are its SmartPlay feature and Presets. SmartPlay combines the best features of a VPN and Smart DNS, allowing you to stream content seamlessly without any work from your side. It’s implemented and activated automatically in all NordVPN subscriptions.
And Presets is something that allows you to customise the hell out of NordVPN. You can build your preferred type of VPN connection, add shortcuts to certain apps, filter and toggle various features.
Windscribe, on the other hand, has two exclusive features, and it’s the Time Warp and Location Warp. No, they don’t function like time and teleportation machines. Well, maybe. Time Warp is a feature for browser extensions that allows you to fake your timezone and match it to that of the server you’re connected to, and Location Warp is essentially a GPS spoofer. Both of these features are great for shopping limited-time offers, gaming and spoofing certain apps that rely on GPS location rather than IP address data.
Windscribe vs NordVPN: which is more secure?
Security is The Thing with any VPN. Actually, protecting your IP address and encrypting your traffic is the primary purpose of this service, and if it performs badly, then it should go straight to the file shredder.
Luckily, Windscribe and NordVPN are both pretty good at this security Thing. They both use the military-grade AES-256-CBC cipher for encryption and the SHA-512 hash function for additional access data processing. But encryption and hash functions are not the only thing that make a VPN secure. In terms of infrastructure, privacy and logging, NordVPN is a bit more advanced than Windscribe.
RAM-only servers are becoming more and more commonplace in the VPN industry, and we’re glad to tell you that both Windscribe and NordVPN have taken actions in this area of security.
This basically means that hard drives are no more and data cannot be logged on them. Such measures also make server breaches less likely to happen, and the servers that are RAM-only wipe themselves clean after each restart.
Windscribe has announced their transitioning to RAM-only servers on July 8th 2021, after the incident of Ukrainian authorities seizing Windscribe’s servers without any notice and/or warning. On August 24th an announcement was made that all keys required for server functionality are now stored only in memory. They also proclaimed that the creation of a new in-memory system ensuring ephemeral data storage is in process.
On the other hand, NordVPN has already moved to offering colocated, or RAM-only, servers to their customers. Even though such early action is admirable, it must be noted that such decisions have been set in stone only after the 2018 data centre breach.
The question of privacy is mainly related to the VPN’s country of legislation and whether it belongs to any alliances that have mutual agreements to aid each other in cases related to cyber crimes, such as sharing related intelligence.
Windscribe is based in Canada, which is a member of the 5 Eyes alliance. Even though Windscribe doesn’t log any incriminating information, if you do somehow get in trouble, the information they have on you might be shared with others. More on Windscribe’s logging policy below.
NordVPN, however, is based in Panama, which is neither a member of any intelligence alliances, nor legally requires VPN providers to track and store users’ data. Your online activity will most likely remain unseen by anyone else.
Logging is the number one topic constantly discussed in various VPN related forums and blogs. Let’s take a look at NordVPN and Windscribe’s logging policies.
NordVPN, in turn, logs data related to crash error reports and diagnostics, which in no way leads to a specific user.
Neither of the providers keep track of your IP address or browsing and other online activity.
Plans & pricing
Prices of VPNs are usually pretty easy to figure out, and the shortest subscription plans seem to be the most expensive, the prices going down when the duration goes up. This is true for both NordVPN and Windscribe. However, there are some peculiarities as well. Let’s take a closer look.
|1-year plan||$59 a year, or $4.92 a month||$49.00 or $4.08/month|
|2-year plan||$89 for the first two years, or $3.30 a month||-|
|‘Build a plan’||-||$1.00/location/month|
|Check Pricing||Check Pricing|
The first thing to notice is that Windscribe doesn’t have the 2-year plan, but offers the user to build their own plan with $1 per location per month. This may sound like a pretty good deal if you want to use less than nine locations. After that, the 1-month Windscribe subscription for $9/month would be a better choice, or you could perfectly make-do with the free version, too.
Compare that with NordVPN’s 1-month plan, which is $11.95/month. Windscribe definitely has a better deal, considering that they allow unlimited simultaneous connections, while NordVPN allows only 6. In fact, this seems to be a recurring theme throughout the whole pricing thing.
Windscribe’s 1-year plan is almost $1.00 cheaper than NordVPN’s. However, it’s also good to keep in mind all that NordVPN offers - it’s considerably more than Windscribe, so the additional dollar might be really worth it.
Now, as Windscribe doesn’t have the 2-year plan, we can’t really compare the two VPN providers. Nevertheless, it looks like you’d be getting a pretty good deal with NordVPN’s 2-year subscription plan for just $3.30/month.
All in all, Windscribe may be cheaper for short term subscriptions, but NordVPNs 2-year plan is more cost-effective overall. NordVPN also has a free trial, so you won't need to commit right away.
- If prices seem a bit too high, don't worry. Simply visit our NordVPN coupons or Windscribe coupons to find the best discounted offer for you!
Servers and locations
Server and location count is another highly discussed feature in the VPN world. The more servers in the more locations a VPN provider has, the better it is. Locations are important for streaming and server count is important for traffic distribution.
NordVPN definitely takes the cake in this category, with its more than 5,200 servers in 59 countries. Windscribe, meanwhile, is expected to have around 500 servers in 63 countries. While the country count is bigger than that of NordVPN, the small number of servers doesn’t manage to tip the scale.
Platforms, interface and ease of use
|Supported OS||Windows, Android, macOS, iOS, Linux,||Windows, Android, macOS, iOS, Linux|
|Other software and devices||Android TV, Chromebook, Kindle Fire, Raspberry Pi, Amazon Firestick, Xbox, Playstation, Chromecast, Nintendo Switch, router||Router, Huawei, FireTV|
|Browser extensions||Firefox, Chrome||Firefox, Chrome|
Both Windscribe and NordVPN support all major operating systems and offer the same browser extensions for Firefox and Chrome. However, NordVPN also supports a big number of other software and devices, from routers to Kindle Fire. The same can’t be said about Windscribe, as it supports only three other softwares.
However, when it comes to simultaneous connections, NordVPN offers only 6. Windscribe leaves NordVPN in the dust with its unlimited number of available connections.
Before all consideration, it must be noted that choosing the VPN based on UI design comes down to personal preference. The functionality of the app is where it’s really at.
Windscribe’s desktop apps have a very small interface compared to that of NordVPN. Nevertheless, they’re still perfectly functional and every feature is easy to find. It may not be the pinnacle of UI design, but the easy navigation and witty location names (Helsinki Sauna or Brisbane Bad Koala and Brisbane Good Koala) could make up for the tiny interface.
MacOS and Windows apps look the same without any discernible differences. Linux client, on the other hand, has no graphical interface at all and the only embellishment is the pixelated Windscribe logo that appears in the terminal. Installation and using process could be a bit more intuitive, as it requires quite a bit of updating and configuration.
NordVPN’s desktop interface is light, as big as you want it and aesthetically pleasing to the eye. It’s very easy to navigate and find the features that you need, tweak settings and pause connections. The location selection is available in two forms - there is a list, and an interactive world map with cute little pine trees for decoration.
Just like Windscribe, NordVPN doesn’t have a graphical Linux interface, but the commands are extremely simple and easy to remember. The installation process for every client - Windows, Linux, and MacOS - is also painless and smooth.
NordVPN’s mobile apps are very similar to that of desktop. There is the map, and the side menu with all of the functions - although these could be arranged a bit better. I sometimes had trouble finding where some of the settings were. The Android client also has a dark mode (which depends on your device’s settings).
The only discernible difference is actually between the features. The Android version, for example, doesn’t have the favorites section but has split tunnelling, pausing and auto-connect options, and a configurable kill switch. The latter is always on on the iOS client, in addition to Dark Web monitoring, which is not exactly present on Android.
Windscribe’s mobile apps are a bit more convenient than the desktop version. Firstly, the display is across the whole screen, and the design is simple but still somewhat pleasing to the eye. All of the functions are where you would hope to find them, and the country list is easily accessible. The Android app also has an advantage - as of now, the WireGuard protocol is only available there. One drawback though is that the phone vibrates when you scroll down the country list, but maybe this is something most people can get behind.
Last but not least aspect to look at is the customer support. Both NordVPN and Windscribe have extensive help and knowledge centres with a bunch of tutorials and how-to guides. Windscribe also has a pretty active subreddit where users and support agents alike provide help to those in need.
However, where these providers differ is the live chat feature. NordVPN has a live chat that is available 24/7, and you can also reach support by phone. Windscribe, meanwhile, has only a chatbot, and if it’s not able to answer your questions, submitting a ticket is your only way to reach human intelligence. Nevertheless, the answers usually come in the span of a few hours, which is not that bad.
Windscribe vs. NordVPN – which one wins?
|Ease of use||✔️||❌|
It is clear by now that both NordVPN and Windscribe are really good VPN providers. But only one of them can be the winner today. Considering everything we found out in this NordVPN vs. Windscribe comparison, NordVPN wins without a doubt.
Extensive features, numerous specialised servers, top tier customer support, easy to use interface and new generation, never-before-seen all-round security features - this is what NordVPN is like.
Which is better: Windscribe or NordVPN?
NordVPN is better than Windscribe. It has more features and specialised servers, their security solutions are next level and if you run into any issues, customer support is available all day, everyday.
Can I trust Windscribe VPN?
Yes, Windscribe VPN is a perfectly trustworthy VPN. It uses the latest encryption technologies and doesn’t log any user data. One drawback may be that it is based in Canada, a 5 Eyes country, but other than that, you can really trust Windscribe.
Is Windscribe better than ExpressVPN?
Windscribe is cheaper than ExpressVPN and has more or less the same features. Additionally, Windscribe’s recent scandals are completely minor compared to those of ExpressVPN. You will definitely get yourself a more trustworthy, cheaper and perfectly functional VPN if you choose Windscribe over ExpressVPN.