With new VPN providers cropping up practically every week, it’s getting harder and harder to figure out which VPN provider is right for you. Sure, you can rummage through each provider’s marketing, but that will only tell you part of the story. You need to go deeper than that to figure out if a VPN service is right for you. To really get the whole picture of a VPN’s performance, we test the service on key metrics and in varying contexts.
In this article, we bring together the results of those tests to compare Windscribe and AtlasVPN side by side.
Windscribe VS AtlasVPN pricing
|Subscription periods||One month||One month|
|One year||One year|
|Highest price per month||$9.00||$10.99|
|Lowest price per month||$5.75||$1.99|
|Money-back guarantee||3 days||30 days|
A quick glance at the above numbers tells us AtlasVPN is the cheaper of the two. The only exception is if you choose to pay on a monthly basis – in that case, Windscribe is cheaper. But Windscribe offers its users a “Build a Plan” subscription. “Build a Plan” allows you to build your plan by paying $1 per month per server location added to your custom plan. You can add as many server locations as you want. But you’ll eventually reach a point where you’re better off signing up for a monthly or yearly subscription.
AtlasVPN subscriptions come with your standard 30-day money-back guarantee. Windscribe, for its part, provides a 3-day money-back guarantee. That isn’t much time. But, at the same time, Windscribe does offer a free limited subscription that you can use to test the service out before moving onto a paid plan.
It would still be nice to see Windscribe extend its refund period.
Windscribe VS AtlasVPN features
|Operating system apps||macOS, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android, FireTV, Nvidia Shield, KODI||Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, AndroidTV, Amazon FireTV|
|Manual install devices||Routers||Routers|
|Split tunneling||Yes (macOS and Windows only)||Yes|
|Free extras||Ad-blocking (R.O.B.E.R.T.), browser extension for Firefox, Chrome, and Edge||Tracker Blocker|
Both Windscribe and AtlasVPN make apps for the usual suspects: macOS, Windows, iOS, and Android. Both even offer a Linux app – which is pretty rare.
Both providers also support routers and provide clear instructions on how to set them up on their respective websites.
They both also support split tunneling, though Windscribe only supports the feature in its Windows and macOS clients. AtlasVPN supports split tunneling across the board. Hopefully, Windscribe will extend support to other platforms in the near future. Split tunneling allows you to select which apps (or URLs) go through the VPN tunnel and which go through your ISP connection.
Neither Windscribe nor AtlasVPN limits the number of concurrent connections. You read that correctly; both providers allow for unlimited simultaneous connections.
|North America||77 Mbps||260 Mbps|
|Europe||48 Mbps||158 Mbps|
|Asia||41 Mbps||356 Mbps|
|Global||55 Mbps||258 Mbps|
These two VPNs have many things in common, but speed is not one of them. AtlasVPN’s speeds clearly outperform Windscribe.
If VPN speed is critical to you, AtlasVPN is the way to go.
|Amazon Prime Video||No||Yes|
|Channel 4 (All 4)||No||No|
Both providers support streaming. However, Windscribe only supports Netflix US – not exactly a vast selection. But I believe Windscribe to be more focused on a VPN’s primary mission: enhancing your online privacy and security. And so, it’s fair to assume the company would rather focus its resources on the latter.
AtlasVPN, on the other hand, offers some pretty good streaming support. It works with many more services than Windscribe. So, as far as streaming is concerned, AtlasVPN also takes the win.
You can look at our recommended VPN providers for streaming if streaming over VPN is important to you.
Windscribe is one of the few VPN services to actually work from China. Connecting from China should be possible with Windscribe, but it may involve a bit of server surfing before you find one that actually works. It’s getting increasingly difficult to get a VPN working from China. That makes Windscribe’s support all the more impressive.
AtlasVPN does not work in China.
Look at our post listing the best VPN providers that work in China. Remember to download your VPN apps before arriving in China – there’s a good chance they’ll be blocked from inside the country.
Setup and interface
|Automatic setup wizard||Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux||Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, AndroidTV, Amazon FireTV|
|Main location selection||List-based||List-based|
|Extra settings pages||Yes||Yes|
Both Windscribe and AtlasVPN provide their users with desktop apps that are well-designed and functional. Windscribe appears to follow a mobile design philosophy, making its desktop app a bit cluttered when compared to desktop apps that use the bigger screen’s real estate (like AtlasVPN). So Windscribe’s app feels a bit cramped compared to AtlasVPN.
Nonetheless, users should find both apps easy to use and to navigate.
Server selection is list-based in AtlasVPN’s app – allowing you to search for servers by country and city. You can also have the app automatically connect you to the fastest server.
List-based server selection is also the path Windscribe takes; you can search for servers by region and city. Windscribe’s app can also connect you to the fastest server in your selected region automatically.
Both providers’ client apps have Settings pages let users customize the apps’ settings. Windscribe’s app exposes many more settings to its users than AtlasVPN does. And that’s a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, the more advanced settings can accommodate more advanced users that may use edge case configurations. On the other hand, it makes the app harder to understand for greener users. But given that less technical users can use the app just fine without changing any advanced settings, I doubt this will cause any issues.
As stated above, AtlasVPN’s settings menus are much simpler. But simpler doesn’t mean useless. And AtlasVPN exposes the settings that most users will be looking for.
Both providers also have mobile apps for iOS and Android. Both providers’ mobile apps are easy to understand and use. And they’re both adapted to the smaller screens of mobile devices.
|Server countries||63||Over 31|
|Total number of servers||Over 480||Over 750|
In regards to server countries and server locations, Windscribe and AtlasVPN seem to be inversely proportional. Windscribe’s network has servers in more countries but fewer servers in total. AtlastVPN has servers in fewer countries but more servers in total. Neither networks are huge – they’re more what I would consider mid-sized networks. And that’s fine.
Below is a list of countries where each provider hosts VPN servers:
|United Arab Emirates||✔||✔|
|VPN protocols||OpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuard||WireGuard, IKEv2
|OpenVPN data encryption||AES-256||AES-256|
|OpenVPN control channel encryption||RSA-4096||RSA-4096|
|App security||Kill switch||Kill switch|
|DNS status||Private DNS||Private DNS|
Both providers support secure VPN protocols. Windscribe supports OpenVPN, IKEv2, and WireGuard. AtlasVPN supports WireGuard and IKEv2. The fact that Windscribe also supports OpenVPN is the only distinction here – but it could be a big one. While OpenVPN isn’t the fastest VPN protocol, it’s one of the most flexible ones, allowing users to do things like using TCP connections, among other things.
Both Windscribe and AtlasVPN use 256-bit AES encryption with 4096-bit RSA keys for OpenVPN (Windscribe only) and IKEv2. WireGuard uses a different set of ciphers that are also very secure.
Windscribe and AtlasVPN both include a kill switch in all their client apps. And by default, both use their own no-logging in-tunnel DNS servers.
There isn’t much to set our providers apart on the security front, but we’re giving the win to Windscribe simply because it supports an extra secure VPN protocol: OpenVPN.
|HQ base||Canada||United States|
|User details for sign-up||Email address||Email address|
|Anonymous payment options||Bitcoin||Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple|
AtlasVPN is a US-based VPN provider, while Windscribe is based in Canada. Both countries are part of the Five Eyes Alliance. The Five Eyes Alliance is the intelligence-sharing network of select nations, including the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States (which heads the organization). So regarding jurisdiction, neither provider is ideal. Still, if their privacy policies are robust and they don’t log user data, it’s an acceptable risk as they couldn’t hand over data they never had to begin with. Let’s have a look.
- Connection timestamp
- Amount of data transferred
- Number of simultaneous connections
Part of AtlasVPN’s network is made up of SafeSwap servers. When you use SafeSwap servers, whenever you navigate a new website or app, your IP address is automatically changed – which makes you much harder to track.
|Address allocation||Shared or private (add-on)||Shared|
|Static IP address possible||No||No|
|Ad & malware blocking||Yes||Yes|
Shared IP addresses will always be better for privacy than dedicated IP addresses. As their name states, Shared IP addresses are shared between many VPN users. And so all those users’ traffic appears to be coming from the same source. Figuring out which bits of traffic belong to which user is almost impossible.
Both Windscribe and AtlasVPN provide shared IP addresses by default. Windscribe offers dedicated IP addresses as a paid add-on for those who need to host internet-accessible servers and want to benefit from the VPN’s security gains.
Both VPNs can block ads and malware.
|Average email response time||2.6 days||13 hours|
|Searchable knowledge base||Yes||Yes|
Both Windscribe and AtlasVPN offer email support, and their respective websites each feature a searchable knowledge base that provides answers to the most common issues users face. Windscribe takes things a bit further and offers live chat.
To test each provider’s response time with customer service, we sent each one three questions in three distinct emails. The first two emails contain questions that should be very common and hence, should be quite easy to answer – even by a rep without much experience in the VPN space. We made the third question purposefully more challenging to try and see if their representatives have the knowledge required to answer more technical queries appropriately. Note that the third question differs for each provider because their feature sets are different.
The results are below:
|Question||Initial response time||Number of emails||Question answered|
|What kind of logs does Windscribe keep?||2 days||1||Yes|
|Can I install Windscribe on a DD-WRT router?||3 days||1||Yes|
|What's the difference between the Windscribe app and the browser extension?||3 days||1||Yes|
|Question||Initial response time||Number of emails||Question answered|
|What kind of logs does AtlasVPN keep?||13 hours||1||Yes|
|Can I install AtlasVPN on a DD-WRT router?||13 hours||1||Yes|
|What is the difference between a proxy server and a VPN?||13 hours||1||Yes|
We can clearly see that AtlasVPN is the “faster” VPN provider in terms of support request response times. Getting a reply in under 24 hours is excellent support in my book. Windscribe took between two and three days to respond to my questions. And that can be a painfully long time if you’ve stuck with a pressing issue. Hopefully, Windscribe can cut its response time down somewhat. Windscribe does provide 24-hour live chat on its website, but you’ll be chatting with a bot that will redirect you to email support if your query is too complex for the bot to answer.
Both providers sent back responses that were relevant and informative. Windscribe’s answers took much longer to reach my inbox, but were more authoritative and demonstrated a deeper understanding of a VPN’s internal workings and networking in general.
So even though its response time should really improve, Windscribe gets the win because of its more thorough replies.
The winner: AtlasVPN
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
Despite both Windscribe and AtlasVPN being excellent VPN providers, the win goes to AtlasVPN. On practically every metric used to compare these two providers, AtlasVPN manages to outperform Windscribe: sometimes slightly, other times significantly. AtlasVPN will be the better choice for most.
So, in a nutshell, here’s what puts AtlasVPN over the edge:
- AtlasVPN’s speeds are significantly better than Windscribe’s.
- AtlasVPN allows unlimited simultaneous connections (just like Windscribe).
- AtlasVPN is generally cheaper.
- AtlasVPN’s streaming support is much broader than Windscribe.
- Windscribe currently has higher privacy and security standards, but AtlasVPN’s current practices are pretty much in sync with the industry
- AtlasVPN only supports secure VPN protocols: IKEv2 and WireGuard.
For most VPN users, AtlasVPN will be the better choice of the two.