NordVPN vs Windscribe: Which VPN is the Best?

NordVPN vs Windscribe: Which VPN is the Best?

July 28, 2023 privacy 0

NordVPN is one of the most popular VPNs in the world, due to its fast connections, industry-leading security, and ability to access all the top streaming sites. 

Windscribe, while lesser known, is still a popular choice, especially for its free plan. 

So, how do NordVPN and Winscribe stack up against each other? Is there really a big difference between the security, performance, speeds, and various features offered by both VPNs? 

We decided to find out by comparing NordVPN and Windscrive side-by-side. This quick review will break everything down in simple language, so you can make the most informed choice and get the best performance. 

NordVPN vs Windscribe – Which is best? 

NordVPN is the #1 VPN in the world, renowned for its security, privacy, speeds, and ability to access content from anywhere. Not to mention its advanced tools and patented software that outperforms every other VPN.

Windscribe is a worthy competitor. It’s reliable, fast enough for most online activities, and secure. However, it lacks the investments in security and customer experience that make NordVPN a standout across the industry. 

So, if you’re in a rush, skip the rest of the review and download NordVPN. It includes a 30-day money-back guarantee on every plan, so there’s no risk in trying it. But we doubt you’ll be disappointed. 

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The first thing to note is Windscribe’s free plan. While it might be appealing, it’s seriously limited. You can only use 10GB of protected data each month on one device, and access servers in 10+ countries. So, we only recommend the free plan if you’ve never used a VPN before and want to try one out for a couple of weeks without paying. 

Windscribe’s monthly paid plan is also cheaper than the equivalent on NordVPN by about 30% and offers unlimited simultaneous device connections (NordVPN covers six devices on a single plan).

So far, Windscribe looks like better value. But not quite. 

Once you switch to longer plans, NordVPN is much cheaper, working out at $3.99 per month, compared to $5.75 on Windscribe. Windscribe does have a “Build a Plan” option that lets you pay for an individual server for $1, but it’s a bit confusing, and we’d rather pay $3.99 to access NordVPN’s network of 5,400+ servers. 

Also, NordVPN is a far superior VPN, performs much better, and includes plenty of advanced software missing from Windscribe. It also includes a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee on every plan. Windscribe only offers a refund within three days of signing up.

So, while it’s close, we’re giving this round to NordVPN for overall value rather than the lowest price. 

Winner: NordVPN

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Which has better features? 

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At first glance, NordVPN and Windscribe offer similar security features and tools. 

Both VPNs have native apps for major devices, including iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, and Linux. They both offer browser extensions for added convenience. While Wndscribe offers unlimited simultaneous device connections, NordVPN has a limit of six devices on a single plan – which is plenty. 

They both use 256-bit AES encryption, DNS/IPv6 leak protection, and numerous VPN protocols to hide your data, location, identity, and online activities. You get automatic kill switches that block your internet if your VPN device connection is disrupted for a second. 

Features offered by NordVPN and Windscribe include split tunneling tools that let you filter specific apps and websites through the VPN while leaving others on your local network. This is handy if you want to stream overseas content while still using local services like your online banking or Google Maps. 

However, NordVPN goes much further than Windscribe – offering some of the most advanced software in the VPN space. 

You can install its apps on more devices, including game consoles and smart TVs. It uses a patented VPN protocol – NordLynx – that’s faster, lighter, and more secure than the standard options Windscribe offers (OpenVPN, WireGuard, and IKEv2/IPsec). And it includes the Threat Protection cybersecurity suite that blocks ads, trackers, and malware across every device.

We also suspect NordVPN has more servers located around the world. It lists 5,400+ servers located in 60+ countries. Oddly, Wndscribe doesn’t disclose how many servers it has, which suggests its network is very small. A smaller network will significantly impact your connection speeds when the VPN is turned on, and its ability to access content. 

In the following sections, we’ll break down the content, speed, performance, security, and privacy features offered by NordVPN and Windscribe. But if you’re in a rush, stick with NordVPN. 

Winner: NordVPN

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Are routers supported? 

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NordVPN and Windscribe support manual installation on various router models. 

Both providers offer manuals and support for installing their apps on a router – which is much more technical than using a VPN on most other devices. However, we found NordVPN’s instructions and Router Setup Wizard much more comprehensive and easier to follow than the equivalent offered by Windscribe. 

Winner: NordVPN

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 What websites do they unblock? 

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NordVPN and Windscribe both claim they access every popular streaming site, such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video.

NordVPN has dedicated streaming servers that apparently work with over 400 streaming services across the globe. We didn’t test it on 400 streaming services (closer to 40), but we were still impressed by how well NordVPN performs when it comes to streaming. 

Aside from accessing every streaming site we tested, NodVPN was fast and reliable enough to stream in HD across every platform. Our team of testers is located across the globe, but we all enjoyed fast, buffer-free streaming. 

Windscribe also has dedicated servers for streaming and claims it can access every streaming site. Our tests show that it works with almost every streaming site, but not as many as NordVPN. However, you should be able to access the most popular ones using Windscribe. 

Overall, though, in streaming, Windscribe was slower and less reliable than NordVPN. We often had to try numerous servers in a single country before accessing a streaming site (for example, Amazon Prime Video in the US and BBC iPlayer in the UK). 

Both VPNs are good at accessing other geo-restricted content and websites (like banks and finance apps) and getting around strict internet censorship in places like China and Russia.

NordVPN uses obfuscated servers to bypass internet censorship and access content in countries like China, Iran, and the UAE. Windscribe also has a feature called “Stealth mode,” which helps users bypass internet censorship in countries like China and Turkey. Both VPNs perform very differently in certain countries, so you’ll need to consider which one to use if you’re visiting a place like China or Iran.

Overall, NordVPN is the better choice for streaming content, while Windscribe is better in countries with internet censorship.

Winner: NordVPN

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Netflix libraries

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When it comes to Netflix, NordVPN and Windscribe are closely matched.  

NordVPN reliably accesses Netflix libraries from around, including those in popular countries like the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, and Australia.

Windscribe has dedicatedWindflix servers specifically designed to access Netflix and other streaming sites anywhere in the world. However, it’s slightly less advanced and reliable than NordVPN.

NordVPN’s SmartPlay technology automatically selects the best server for streaming based on your location, device, and desired library (i.e., Netflix US or Japan). In contrast, Windscribe’s performance varies depending on how close you are to the server it’s using to stream, which can lead to slower streaming and some buffering. 

NordVPN and Windscribe constantly update their server networks to bypass Netflix’s VPN-detection measures, ensuring a smooth streaming experience. But with many more servers to choose from, NordVPN is generally more successful at remaining undetected. 

Both NordVPN and Windscribe can access Netflix libraries. But NordVPN has a slight advantage thanks to its larger server network, SmartPlay technology, and overall faster performance.

Winner: NordVPN

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Torrenting capabilities

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Both NordVPN and Windscribe support torrenting and provide P2P-friendly servers in their networks. They also follow strict “no-logs” policies, ensuring your torrenting activities are never recorded, and your data can never be extracted from either VPN’s servers.

Both VPNs include automatic kill-switches and DNS leak protection, so your data isn’t at risk of exposure as you torrent. And finally, NordVPN and Windscribe are compatible with popular torrent clients like BitTorrent, uTorrent, and Deluge.

There is one big difference: NordVPN has dedicated P2P servers that you can select manually when torrenting for the best experience. These servers are optimized for large file sharing and boosted privacy. 

So, while NordVPN and Windscribe provide strong torrenting capabilities focusing on privacy, security, and speed, NordVPN’s dedicated P2P servers give it a slight edge.

Winner: NordVPN

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Setup & usability

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NordVPN and Windscribe offer easy-to-use apps for various devices and platforms, including Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and Linux, with simple installation guides on their websites for each device. 

NordVPN’s apps are the easiest to use across the entire VPN market. The initial configuration only takes a few minutes, and navigating its apps doesn’t require any thinking or experience with VPNs. We really like that you can select servers using a list or map view, while accessing advanced features like Threat Protection and the customizable protocols are intuitive and beginner-friendly. 

Windscribe is more confusing, especially if you’ve never used a VPN. You can quickly end up with lots of pop-ups and open windows once you start navigating the app and changing settings. Although, this is a bigger problem on desktop than mobile.

Overall, though, we preferred the initial setup and navigation on NordVPN’s apps. We recommend it over Windscribe if you’re a complete VPN beginner.

Winner: NordVPN

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Mobile features

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NordVPN and Windscribe offer easy-to-use apps for Android and iOS phones and tablets, including most of their premium desktop features and technology. 

NordVPN’s mobile apps include its automatic kill-switch, Threat Protection tool (blocking ads, malware, and other threats), and the choice of NordLynx or IKEv2/IPSec protocols – which are lightweight and don’t drain your battery.

NordVPN also offers obfuscated servers within the mobile app to avoid VPN blocking in countries like China and the UAE – great if you’re traveling.

Windscribe’s mobile apps also include kill-switches and other essential tools to keep your data and location safe on the go. Its Cruise Control feature automatically finds the best server based on your mobile network settings. And the mobile app includes an extra firewall feature that blocks any unauthorized traffic or data accessing your phone in the background. 

Both NordVPN and Windscribe’s mobile apps have undergone independent security audits, providing higher confidence in their security credentials at a time when phones are increasingly targeted by hackers and spies.

NordVPN wins this round because, as usual, its iOS and Android apps are more advanced while still beginner-friendly, giving you access to its faster, more secure, much larger network. 

Winner: NordVPN

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Performance & speed

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NordVPN boasts a large server network with over 5,400 servers in 60+ countries, guaranteeing a fast and stable connection from anywhere.

Windscribe doesn’t disclose how many servers it has in its network. This suggests it’s much smaller than NordVPN and other top VPNs. A smaller network means a congested network and slower speeds. 

Our tests reflect the probable difference in NordVPN and Windscribes’ respective networks. NordVPN consistently scored faster average speeds than Windscribe across its network. We could stream, torrent, download, video chat, and much more with fast, lag-free speeds from test locations across the globe. 

NordVPN also offers a patented VPN protocol, NordLynx, that’s lighter and faster than the standard protocols you’ll find on Windscribe’s apps – without compromising your encryption or data security. Meanwhile, its proprietary SmartPlay technology ensures seamless streaming on platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer.

While both NordVPN and Windscribe offer reliable performance and speed, NordVPN has an edge due to its (most likely) much larger server network, consistent high-speed connections, and advanced technologies like NordLynx and SmartPlay.

Winner: NordVPN

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Both VPNs include standard security features like AES 256-bit encryption (also used by governments, banks, militaries, and spy agencies to protect their data), DNS/IPv6 leak protections, industry-best VPN protocols, and much more. 

We have no doubt your data, location, identity, and online activity will remain hidden when using either VPN. 

NordVPN and Windscribe also include obfuscation tools to hide the fact you’re using a VPN, which is crucial in places like China and the UAE that outright ban VPNs. 

They also host their own servers, rather than relying on third parties. So, there’s less risk of data exposure as your traffic bounces around their networks. 

As usual, however, NordVPN has invested in providing the most advanced version of every security feature on its apps. These include its patented NordLynx protocol, Threat Protection cybersecurity suite, rapid automatic kill-switches, split tunneling, and SmartDNS tools. 

If you’re using a VPN to stay secure and hidden online, NordVPN beats every competitor – not just Windscribe. 

Winner: NordVPN

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NordVPN deserves its reputation as one of the most privacy-friendly VPNs in the world. It is located in Panama, (in)famous for its lack of data retention laws and identity protection. 

NordVPN is also one of the few true no-logs VPNs. It only records the minimum necessary data to keep your account and its networks operating. It uses RAM-only servers and wipes all your data within 15 minutes after you disconnect its apps on your devices. 

In contrast, Windscribe is headquartered in Canada, a much less privacy-friendly country, and a founding member of the Five Eyes global surveillance alliance. 

Windscribe also maintains limited user logs, including the bandwidth you use and the timestamp of your last session (so it can enforce user data limits and filter abandoned accounts). However, neither of these types of data can be used to identify you personally or track your online activities.

Both NordVPN and Windscribe allow you to sign up anonymously and pay via cryptocurrency. You can use Windscribe’s free VPN without even providing an email address. And you can pay for NordVPN with anonymous gift cards bought with cash in physical stores. 

While we trust Windscribe’s privacy policies and dedication, we’re always more comfortable with VPNs in privacy-friendly places like Panama. It also offers more advanced tools for wiping your data Windscribe could add to its stack.  

Winner: NordVPN

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Customer service

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NordVPN offers more customer support options than Windscribe, 24/7 live chat with a human support agent from anywhere in the world, responsive email support, and ticket submission.

In contrast, Windscribe has a ticket system and a chatbot named G.A.R.R.Y. that directs you to knowledge-base articles based on keywords in your questions. In our tests, it wasn’t very helpful – especially for complex queries.  

Both VPNs offer extensive knowledge bases with articles on various topics, including torrenting and common troubleshooting issues.

NordVPN also posts multilingual guides on its YouTube channel, while Windscribe has a few video guides but mostly posts short comedy sketches.

If you experience difficulties using your VPN, you’ll have a much better experience getting support from NordVPN.

Winner: NordVPN

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Methodology: how do we compare VPNs?

We put NordVPN and Windscribe through a series of rigorous tests – the same tests we use for every VPN we feature on ProPrivacy (even the bad ones) – to make our final verdict. 

Here’s a quick sample of the features and metrics we test in each VPN: 

  • Server networks: The top VPNs have massive global networks made up of thousands of servers located in countries across the globe. 
  • Fast connections: Large server networks mean VPNs can deliver lightning-fast connections anywhere in the world.
  • Excellent security: The leading VPNs invest in advanced technology like military-grade encryption, leak protections, and much more. 
  • Privacy tools: We also look for VPNs with extras like built-in ad blockers, malware detection, stealth modes, and RAM-only servers. 
  • Access to content: We test every VPN to see if it can access Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO, BBC iPlayer, and every other popular streaming site. 
  • Good value: We only recommend VPNs with simple, low-cost subscriptions, flexible lengths, and generous money-back guarantees. 
  • User-friendly experience: The best VPNs are also the easiest to use. We test each one on various devices to ensure even complete novices will have zero issues. 
  • Customer support: In case you need support, we test every VPN’s live chat, email support, video tutorials, and knowledge bases. 
  • Transparent privacy policies: Finally, we actually read the fine print, to make sure the VPNs we recommend aren’t trying anything shady, like selling your data. 

You can read our VPN review methodology to learn more about the technology behind VPNs and how it all works. 


NordVPN holds onto its crown as the world’s top VPN, with cutting-edge tools and proprietary software that set it apart from every competitor.

Windscribe puts up a good fight, but falls short: it’s slower, more difficult to use, unreliable at accessing content, and lacks NordVPN’s advanced security and privacy tools. 

Try NordVPN out on its risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee and see why it’s the #1 VPN in the world. 

Or… read our most popular VPN comparisons (in case you’re still unsure).  

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