It can be a challenge to see how one VPN provider stacks against another. They all have so many features on offer these days, that it gets confusing quickly.
So, with that in mind, in this post, we compare NordVPN and Windscribe to see which one comes out on top in terms of privacy, security, and convenience.
NordVPN vs Windscribe - Side By Side
[vpn vpn_1="NordVPN" vpn_2="Windscribe"]
Can't choose between NordVPN or Windscribe?
This one is definitely going to be too close to call in advance. These are two of our highest-rated commercial VPN providers.
They’re pretty much at parity with one another in terms of features. They both provide native applications for all major operating systems, with a VPN kill switch. They both offer industry-standard encryption. And they both adhere to a strict no-logging policy
And these are just a few examples, the list goes on.
In the end, this one has a very high chance of being a tie. And I can tell you from the get-go, that we highly recommend both NordVPN and Windscribe VPN.
Speed. Everyone wants fast Internet speeds. And that doesn’t change just because you’re using a VPN. Let’s see how NordVPN and Windscribe compare on speed.
Tested on a 60Mbps (Download) and 30Mbps (Upload) network
Server: U.S.A., New York
Average Download Speed: 65.77Mbps
Average Upload Speed: 22.89Mbps
Tested on a 100Mbps (Download) and 30Mbps (Upload) network
Server: U.S.A., New York
Average Download Speed: 95.36Mbps
Average Upload Speed: 26.54Mbps
As usual, we are looking at the difference between my allocated ISP bandwidth and the result of the speed tests.
And what we see here is that both providers do extremely well on speed.
On download, NordVPN even goes above my ISP bandwidth. This is very likely due to network volatility, but it also demonstrates that there’s no bottleneck on NordVPN’s network.
With Windscribe we see an ever so slight speed dip on download. But this is less than most and such a modest speed hit wouldn’t even be noticeable.
On upload, bot providers do essentially equally well. This is good performance here by both players.
There just isn’t enough to set them apart on speed. Excellent performance on both sides.
Providing client apps is now a given for the overwhelming majority of commercial VPN providers. This came about as more and more non-techies started turning to VPNs.
Supplying a client app simplifies VPN use, especially for greener users.
Both NordVPN and Windscribe provide official client apps to their users for all major operating systems. But Windscribe goes a bit further than NordVPN, by also providing an official client for Nvidia Shield and KODI.
They also both provide Chrome and Firefox browser extensions. And Windscribe also provides an Opera browser extension.
As far as simultaneous connections go, NordVPN allows up to 6 simultaneous connections, while Windscribe places no limit on the number of simultaneous connections.
As streaming services continue growing, supporting streaming over VPN is quickly becoming a major for VPN providers.
Both NordVPN and Windscribe are streaming-friendly. And both of them are able to bypass Netflix’s VPN ban. I tested them both and was streaming Netflix over both services, easily.
However, it would seem that Windscribe’s support for Netflix is hit and miss.
Many reviews online stated they were not able to access the streaming service, while others were able to. I was able to without issue. Plus, Windscribe doesn’t really mention streaming on their website.
NordVPN, on the other hand, officially supports the feature and also provides a support document on what to do if you’re having trouble accessing Netflix.
Again, in my tests, Netflix worked over both providers. However, NordVPN officially supports the feature and will provide assistance if you’re having issues. For Netflix access, NordVPN is simply a safer bet.
4. Security & Encryption
Both NordVPN and Windscribe support only highly secure VPN protocols and ciphers.
They both support:
And they both use the AES-256 cipher, which is the industry-standard, for both IKEv2/IPSec and OpenVPN.
WireGuard uses more modern cryptography (which is no less secure, perhaps the opposite, actually…). The ciphers used are:
Great stuff from both providers here. We’re very happy that neither provider supports weak and obsolete protocols.
This one can only be a tie. No differences here.
5. Logs & Privacy
Both NordVPN and Windscribe commit to robust privacy and no-logging policies. Let’s look at how they communicate this.
"NordVPN guarantees a strict no-logs policy for NordVPN services, meaning that your activities using NordVPN Services are provided by automated technical process, are not monitored, recorded, logged, stored or passed to any third party. We do not store connection time stamps, session information, used bandwidth, traffic logs, IP addresses or other data. From the moment a NordVPN.com user turns on the NordVPN.com software, their Internet data becomes encrypted. Any online traffic coming from user’s device is no longer visible to ISP, third-party snoopers or cyber criminals. Further, NordVPN have a strict no logs policy when it comes to seeing user activity online: NordVPN is based in Panama, which does not require data storage.”
Both are human-friendly (readable) and both are transparent. Both policies also demonstrate an understanding of what online privacy is.
However, Windscribe keeps connection timestamps, while NordVPN does not.
Of course, Windscribe does this to mitigate abuse, but this can be achieved without logging timestamps, as evidenced by NordVPN, who doesn’t log that information.
It would have been a tie, were it not for those connection timestamp logs…
Below, you’ll find the different packages, prices, and accepted payment methods offered by each provider:
NordVPN offers four different subscriptions:
- 11.95 USD for one month of service
- 83.88 USD for one year of service (works out to 6.99 USD per month)
- 119.76 USD for two years of service (works out to 4.99 USD per month) ***This subscription is currently on sale at 83.76 USD for two years, making it the same price as the three-year plan, below.
- 125.64 USD for three years of service (works out to 3.49 USD per month)
- Credit Card
- Apple Pay
- Google Pay
- Amazon Pay
- Union Pay
Windscribe offers three types of subscription:
- 9.00 USD for one month of service
- 49.00 USD for one year of service (works out to 4.08 USD per month)
- 1 USD per active server on their ‘Build Your Own Plan’ plan. With this plan, you choose the servers you want to access and you build your custom plan at 1$ per server.
As mentioned in the opening paragraphs, they also offer a free plan which gives you 10GBs of data transfer per month and 10 VPN servers to choose form.
- Credit Cards
So Windscribe is cheaper across the board, except when compared to NordVPN’s three-year plan. Windscribe also offers a high-quality free option - which is refreshing.
And their ‘Build A Plan’ plan is original in the industry, but it makes so much sense. We hope to see other VPN providers offer this kind of subscription in the future.
In terms of payment methods, NordVPN supports a few more payment methods, but both providers support Bitcoin to allow for anonymous payments - which is what we want to see.
Cash would also have been nice, but neither provider accepts cash at this time.
Their plans are cheaper and they have some innovative subscriptions on offer. The point goes to Windscribe here.
Torrenting is another category in which these two providers will be difficult to distinguish.
And it’s because both NordVPN and Windscribe offer exactly the same thing relative to torrenting. They both provide dedicated P2P servers that are marked within their respective apps.
Simply connect to a supported server and start torrenting.
Excellent performance over both networks.
No differences. No complaints. It’s a tie.
8. Other Features
Let’s see if we can’t find other aspects that differentiate these two providers.
- NordVPN provides Tor over VPN servers.
- Windscribe offers a ‘Build a Plan’ subscription
- Windscribe offers a high-quality free plan
- Tor Over VPN: Tor Over VPN servers provide you with an additional layer of security and anonymity, as your encrypted traffic is bounced over multiple locations via the Tor network. All one needs to do is connect to one of the dedicated Tor over VPN servers NordVPN puts at your disposal. Good stuff.
- Build Your Own Plan: Windscribe takes an innovative approach with its subscription offerings. Windscribe is the only VPN provider I know of to offer a ‘Build a Plan’ option. With this subscription, you simply select the VPN servers you’re likely to use you and build your own custom plan with access to only those servers. Every server you add, adds 1USD to the cost of your custom monthly plan. Given the fact that most people tend to the same few number of servers available, this pricing option makes a lot of sense.
- Free 10BG/per month subscription: With ProtonVPN, Windscribe is the only VPN provider to offer a high-quality free plan. And their free option may well surprise you with how good it actually is. It gives you access to 10 different VPN servers and provides you with 10GBs per month of bandwidth. All this for the modest sum of zero dollars. This is, in my humble opinion, the best free VPN plan you can find today. Impressive stuff.
I’m giving the point to Windscribe for the originality and common sense of their subscriptions. And I’m favoring the ‘Build a Plan’ option more than their free tier. It’s refreshing to see a service provider offering flexibility and affordability to their users. Again, we hope to see more VPN providers offering this type of pricing model in the future.
Conclusion: NordVPN vs Windscribe
And the winner is...?
We had eight categories:
The winner in each category gets one point. And both providers get a point in case of a tie.
The breakdown looks like this:
- Speed - (Tie)
- User-Friendliness - (Windscribe)
- Streaming - (NordVPN)
- Security & Encryption - (Tie)
- Logs and Privacy - (NordVPN)
- Pricing - (Windscribe)
- Torrenting - (Tie)
- Other Features - (Windscribe)
So that’s 5 points for NordVPN and 6 points for Windscribe VPN.
Just as I suspected at the beginning of this post, it’s really, really close - as it should be.
These are two very good VPN providers and I would wholeheartedly recommend either of them. They both take privacy and security seriously while offering relevant and useful convenience features.
We recommend NordVPN. We recommend Windscribe VPN. Take your pick, you can’t really go wrong here…
Go With NordVPN if:
- You want a trustworthy VPN provider.
- You want to use Tor over your VPN.
- You want to make sure you can stream Netflix over your VPN.
Go With Windscribe if:
- You want a trustworthy VPN provider.
- You want to pay less than NordVPN users.
- You want to build your own subscription plan.
Thanks for reading!
NordVPN Vs. Windscribe VPN - Detailed Comparison
By Marc Dahan
Last updated: September 17, 2020