NordVPN vs. Windscribe 2024: NordVPN Takes the Lead

Windscribe is the more affordable option, but NordVPN offers a more well-rounded service.
We receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own. Compensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.

Best for Performance and Privacy

5.0
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On NordVPN's website

VPN
NordVPN
Up to 69% off 2-year plans + a Saily eSIM data gift
  • Ultra-secure, high-speed VPN complete with malware protection and automatic blocking of intrusive ads and third-party trackers
  • Other benefits include a premium password manager, dark web monitoring, and access to IP-restricted content
  • 3 plans to choose from for custom protection on up to 10 devices

Best for Your Budget

4.3
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On Windscribe's website

VPN
Windscribe
  • Unlimited device connections
  • Has a customizable plan if you only need access to servers in specific countries

NordVPN and Windscribe are two of the best VPN services and offer a lot for a relatively low price. Each offers fast performance, strong privacy features, and user-friendly interfaces across a range of devices. But how do these services compare?

Overall, Windscribe is the better choice for more budget-conscious users who don’t mind a couple of flaws (but not dealbreakers). On the other hand, NordVPN is outstanding for those who don’t mind paying a bit more for a more complete product.

In this article
NordVPN vs. Windscribe at a glance
NordVPN vs. Windscribe: prices
NordVPN vs. Windscribe: features
NordVPN vs. Windscribe: internet speeds
NordVPN vs. Windscribe: compatibility and ease of use
NordVPN vs. Windscribe: customer service
NordVPN vs. Windscribe FAQs
NordVPN vs. Windscribe: which is better?

NordVPN vs. Windscribe at a glance

Between NordVPN and Windscribe, Nord is a bit more expensive. However, it comes with the NordLynx protocol (based on WireGuard), which can enhance performance. Nord also has an audited no-logs policy, and it's headquartered in Panama, which is a significant boost for privacy because it is not part of the Eyes alliances.

Windscribe offers a lot of bang for the buck — solid performance and compatibility, plenty of streaming options, and a no-logs policy. However, it’s not without compromises, including a headquarters in Canada – a Five Eyes alliance country — and a lack of 24/7 human customer service.

How do NordVPN and Windscribe compare?


NordVPN

Windscribe
Price $3.99–$15.99/mo $1.00–$9.00/mo
Max # of connected devices 10 Unlimited
24/7 customer support Yes No
Compatibility Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux, Android TV, Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux, Amazon FireTV, Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge
# of servers 5,000+ in 60 countries 111 server locations in 63+ countries
VPN protocol OpenVPN, NordLynx (WireGuard), IKEv2/IPsec OpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuard, Stealth, Websocket Stealth
No-logs policy No logs No logs
Unblocks Netflix? Yes Yes
Learn more Get NordVPN

Read NordVPN Review

Get Windscribe

Read Windscribe Review

Prices as of 06/27/2023.

In terms of performance, our testing showed that Windscribe gets better raw speeds and supports unlimited devices, so heavy streamers and downloaders may have a better experience. On the other hand, NordVPN had slightly slower speeds but significantly lower latency, which may make it better for gamers.

We also found that Nord offers more robust customer support since it comes with 24/7 live chat. But both providers have a solid library of help articles, and neither comes with phone support.

Windscribe uses the WireGuard protocol, which is a fast and secure VPN protocol. NordVPN uses NordLynx, which is essentially a customized version of WireGuard. This means we’d expect both to have good performance, which bears out in testing. In theory, a custom protocol should be better, and NordVPN does show lower latency, but the difference isn’t enormous.

One large difference is the number of simultaneous connections each provider allows. Windscribe lets you connect an unlimited number of devices, whereas NordVPN limits you to 10. Ten is likely plenty for most users, but unlimited is clearly better, and this could be the deciding factor for some.

Ultimately, we think both Windscribe and NordVPN are solid choices — it really comes down to how you prioritize your needs. If you want the most affordable option, go with Windscribe. If you want a more robust overall experience, go with NordVPN.

NordVPN vs. Windscribe: prices

NordVPN Windscribe
Best Value
Price range From $3.99–$15.99/mo From $1.00–$9.00/mo
Best value plan Standard 2-Year for $3.99/mo (billed every two years) Build A Plan Starts at $1.00/mo
Money-back guarantee Yes — 30 days Yes — 3 days
Learn more See Full Pricing Details See Full Pricing Details

Prices as of 06/27/2023.

Of the two providers, Windscribe is certainly the more affordable — it even offers a free version (with a 10GB monthly data limit). That said, NordVPN isn’t too expensive, and it can get close to Windscribe’s prices if you’re willing to sign up for a 2-year plan instead of a monthly plan.

Something interesting about Windscribe is that you can build your own subscription. The Build A Plan option lets you select the server locations you want at a price per location of $1.00/mo. Each location also provides 10GB of data, but you can then add unlimited data for an extra $1.00 per month. The plan has a minimum cost of $3.00/mo, which will get you either three locations and 30GB of data or two locations and unlimited data. This can be a great way to save some money on your VPN.

Nord does win out for the best money-back guarantee. You can try the service for a full 30 days risk-free, while Windscribe only offers three days. That’s better than nothing, but definitely not great.

Winner: Windscribe. The provider offers a free plan and lower overall prices than NordVPN, although we wish the trial period was longer.

NordVPN vs. Windscribe: features

Feature NordVPN
Best Features
Windscribe
Number of servers 5,000+ in 60 countries 111 server locations in 63+ countries
No-logs policy No logs No logs
VPN headquarters Panama Toronto, Canada
Encryption AES 256-bit AES 256-bit
VPN protocol OpenVPN, NordLynx (WireGuard), IKEv2/IPsec OpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuard, Stealth, Websocket Stealth
Kill switch
Split tunneling
Netflix support
Torrenting support
Learn more Get NordVPN

Read NordVPN Review

Get Windscribe

Read Windscribe Review

Data as of 05/31/2023.

Reviewed by Dave Schafer
“Windscribe uses the WireGuard protocol, which is a fast and secure VPN protocol. NordVPN uses NordLynx, which is essentially a customized version of WireGuard. This means we’d expect both to have good performance, which bears out in testing. In theory, a custom protocol should be better, and NordVPN does show lower latency, but the difference isn’t enormous.”

Running through the basic features of each VPN, you can see that the two have a lot in common. Windstream and NordVPN both support AES 256-bit encryption and the WireGuard protocol, which help provide strong data privacy without losing too much speed.

However, Windscribe is missing a couple of notable things. First, although it does have a no-logs policy, the provider hasn’t had an independent audit done. Having a no-logs policy audited by an unbiased third party helps verify those claims. Nord’s no-logs policy was last audited by Deloitte in 2022.

Second, Windscribe is headquartered in Canada, which is a Five Eyes alliance member. In theory, this means your data could be less private since the Eyes alliances are intelligence-sharing agreements. In practice, if the no-logs policy is legit, there would be nothing to show the government, but again, since there’s no independent audit, we can’t be 100% positive.

There are other differences, too. Windscribe has servers in more countries than NordVPN. However, NordVPN boasts over 5,000 servers, whereas Windscribe doesn’t disclose the exact number of servers it has.

Both providers offer several VPN protocols, including the excellent WireGuard. However, NordVPN uses a customized version it calls NordLynx. This is a possible reason its latency scores are so much much better than WIndscribe’s, but we wouldn’t worry too much about this.

Finally, each provider offers its own array of special features. Windscribe has a number of advanced settings in its apps, including proxy settings and the R.O.B.E.R.T. tool for blocking domains and IP addresses on the network. This tool is actually pretty impressive — particularly the prebuilt category lists that let you block ads, trackers, gambling sites, and more across your entire network.

NordVPN offers its own slew of features. Threat Protection helps keep you safe from malware, ads, and trackers in real time. Meshnet lets you connect your devices together in a sort of local network so you can access all of them from a single device. For example, you can transfer files among different computers or remotely access a device at home from your office.

A screenshot of the NordVPN dark web monitor feature, which scouts the internet for info linked with your email address and alerts you if anything is found.

NordVPN vs. Windscribe: streaming support

Platform NordVPN
Best for Streaming
Windscribe
Netflix
Amazon Prime Video
Hulu
BBC iPlayer
Disney+
HBO Max Yes (sometimes)
Learn more Get NordVPN

Read NordVPN Review

Get Windscribe

Read Windscribe Review

Both Windscribe and NordVPN work well with streaming services, unblocking all of the major providers on a reliable basis. The one outlier is the unreliability of Windscribe unblocking HBO Max — it works for some people, some of the time, and doesn’t work at all for others. On the other hand, NordVPN unblocks HBO Max consistently.

The Netflix homepage as well a window with the Windscribe VPN.

Winner: NordVPN. Both providers offer robust and well-rounded feature sets, but Windscribe has a list of small gaps and missing pieces, whereas NordVPN is just rock solid all around.

NordVPN vs. Windscribe: internet speeds

When using a VPN, there is typically a hit to internet performance because these services route your traffic through potentially distant servers en route to their destination. However, some VPNs do a better job than others at preserving speed. To test, we took an internet speed test with our plain internet connection (based in the U.S.) and then again by using the VPN through servers in various locations.

NordVPN vs. Windscribe speed test results

Server location NordVPN Windscribe
US
  • Download: 13% slower
  • Upload: 11% slower
  • Download: 10% slower
  • Upload: 5% slower
UK
  • Download: 24% slower
  • Upload: 13% slower
  • Download: 9% slower
  • Upload: 6% slower
AU
  • Download: 33% slower
  • Upload: 9% slower
  • Download: 41% slower
  • Upload: 4% slower
Learn more Get NordVPN

Read NordVPN Review

Get Windscribe

Read Windscribe Review

Reviewed by Dave Schafer
“In terms of performance, our testing showed that Windscribe gets better raw speeds and supports unlimited devices, so heavy streamers and downloaders may have a better experience. On the other hand, NordVPN had slightly slower speeds but significantly lower latency, which may make it better for gamers.”

As far as speeds, Windscribe actually edged out NordVPN in performance across every server region except for Australia. This is somewhat surprising, given that NordVPN uses its own proprietary protocol. However, NordVPN did gain ground in the next category — latency.

Pure data speed isn’t the only story: VPNs also impact latency. Latency can be broadly explained as the time it takes for packets of data to transfer across the network from one device to another. Higher latency shows up as a delay in loading or response time (it’s especially noticeable when gaming). NordVPN had significantly lower latency than Windscribe, perhaps due to the NordLynx protocol.

NordVPN vs. Windscribe latency comparison

Server location NordVPN Windscribe
US 40% worse 40% worse
UK 79% worse 163% worse
AU 120% worse 168% worse

Winner: Tie. Windscribe generally showed slightly better speeds, while NordVPN showed significantly better latency.

NordVPN vs. Windscribe: compatibility and ease of use

NordVPN
Best Compatibility
Windscribe
Windows
macOS
Android
iOS
Linux
Router
Smart devices
Browser extensions Yes — Chrome, Firefox, and Edge Yes — Chrome, Firefox, and Edge

NordVPN and Windscribe both offer excellent compatibility with desktop apps for Windows, Mac, and Linux, mobile apps for Android and iOS, and even browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Edge. Neither really has an advantage over the other here.

The two also have comparable user interfaces — neither is really difficult to use, in our opinion. We did find that NordVPN has a bit more of a modern look, while Windscribe feels a little dated. However, for the amount of time that you spend in the interface (not much), this isn’t a dealbreaker.

Both IPVanish and NordVPN make it easy to click on the map to select a server location, but IPVanish's map kept randomly reloading.

The only real difficulty we ran into was with Windscribe using an excessive amount of CPU resources. This problem cropped up during our Windscribe review. We were able to solve it by disabling a feature and restarting the computer, but the fact that it’s a problem at all could be an issue for less tech-savvy users.

The Windscribe VPN app open on a computer, as well as a window with a speed test after the VPN was in use.

Winner: NordVPN. Although both Windscribe and NordVPN are easy to use, we ran into a couple of issues with Windscribe, while NordVPN was smooth sailing all the way.

NordVPN vs. Windscribe: customer service

NordVPN
Best Support
Windscribe
24/7 live chat
Phone
Email
Support forums
Online guides

Both Windscribe and NordVPN offer useful support websites, email support, and a 24/7 chatbot that can do a decent job of answering basic questions. However, NordVPN offers 24/7 live chat with a real person — and Windscribe lacks this option. As cool as chatbots are, they aren't a substitute for actual people, so it’s a little disappointing not having this avenue available.

On a similar note, neither provider offers any sort of telephone support. We get that it’s 2024 and phones are old-fashioned, but some people prefer this avenue, so we’d really like to see it offered.

NordVPN vs. Windscribe: payment options

Since VPNs are all about privacy, the payment method you use is important. For that reason, both providers offer a variety of payment options, ranging from credit cards and prepaid debit to cryptocurrency and even cash (for NordVPN). Generally, cash is going to provide the most privacy since it can’t really be traced back to you.

NordVPN payment options

  • Credit card
  • Cryptocurrency
  • PayPal
  • AmazonPay
  • Sofort
  • Prepaid debit card
  • iTunes
  • Google Pay
  • Cash (via in-store purchases at major retailers like Best Buy)

Windscribe payment options

  • bitcoin
  • PayPal
  • Visa
  • Mastercard
  • American Express
  • Paymentwall

Winner: NordVPN. NordVPN provides more support options and more payment methods than Windscribe, including 24/7 live chat. The only big omission is phone support.

NordVPN vs. Windscribe FAQs


+

Is NordVPN the fastest VPN?

NordVPN claims to be the fastest, but our testing actually had Windscribe a fair bit faster in every case except an Australian server, where NordVPN pulled ahead. That said, NordVPN did show significantly lower latency in our testing, which is especially important in gaming.


+

Is Windscribe VPN trustworthy?

Yes, Windscribe seems trustworthy. We don’t really see any particular reason to suspect there's anything fishy going on. Windscribe uses strong encryption and VPN protocols. It also has a firm no-logs policy. However, we would appreciate seeing a third-party independent audit of Windscribe’s privacy practices.


+

Is NordVPN safe from police?

Although NordVPN does keep your data very private and secure, the company does comply with law enforcement requests. That means that while what you’re doing online may be obscured, it’s still available to law enforcement.


+

Is there a Windscribe free trial?

Yes. Windscribe offers both a completely free plan (although with limited data) as well as a three-day money-back guarantee trial on a paid plan. Three days isn’t much time, but it’s certainly better than nothing.

NordVPN vs. Windscribe: which is better?

NordVPN and Windscribe each have a lot to offer. Nord is only marginally more expensive and is the more complete service, covering most of Windscribe’s shortcomings and also offering dramatically reduced latency, which can have a big impact on performance.

Windscribe is the overall more affordable option, has faster speeds, and covers the basics extremely well. However, it does have several small pieces missing, such as 24/7 support and an independent audit of privacy practices.

Ultimately, we think NordVPN is the better overall product, but if you want to save a few bucks, Windscribe will serve you well.

Customizable Coverage That is Simple to Use
5.0
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On NordVPN's website
VPN
NordVPN
Up to 69% off 2-year plans + a Saily eSIM data gift
  • Ultra-secure, high-speed VPN complete with malware protection and automatic blocking of intrusive ads and third-party trackers
  • Other benefits include a premium password manager, dark web monitoring, and access to IP-restricted content
  • 3 plans to choose from for custom protection on up to 10 devices
Author Details
Dave Schafer is a professional writer with a decade of experience specializing in cybersecurity. His expertise spans gadgets, technology, and the internet, with a focus on topics such as routers, hardware, and VPN product comparisons.