Windscribe is popular for providing a 10GB/month free VPN plan. I’ve always wondered what the trade-off was and if this VPN can be truly trusted to keep my data safe. So I put the Canada-based VPN through extensive testing to get a sense of its performance.
After extensive tests, I found Windscribe good for newbies, but not a great VPN. You’ll get 10GB of bandwidth monthly for free. The VPN also provides top-grade security features and speedy torrenting. In addition, you get the option to connect with 110 server locations on the pro plan. However, Windscribe disconnected from its servers repeatedly during my tests. Not just that, Windscribe doesn’t give speeds fast enough for UltraHD streaming, and when using the live chat support, you’ll end up chatting with a bot.
That said, you can go ahead and check out Windscribe for yourself. With its free plan, you can test all its features. However, you’ll be limited to a few server options. If after trying Windscribe, you still find it limiting, I recommend checking these well-curated and top-rated VPNs on the market that offer solid features.
I was impressed when Windscribe unblocked all streaming platforms I tested. But that’s on the pro plan. When I tried to connect with the free plan, I couldn’t get past the geoblocks apart from Netflix. Even then, I struggled to unblock services like my Netflix US account, Hulu, and Prime Video with some servers using the pro plan. However, when I switched servers, Windscribe unblocked all the streaming platforms I tested and allowed me to watch all my favorite shows in HD.
Windscribe’s pro plan unblocked every streaming platform I tested. I tested about 5 servers in the US, and most of them unblocked my Netflix US account seamlessly. The Buffalo server in the US east, Phoenix server in the US west, and Atlanta server in US central worked effortlessly. That said, I had difficulty unblocking Netflix with some servers like the Chicago MIT server. But overall, I had a lag-free streaming experience.
Interestingly, my colleagues in the UK, India, and Japan could also unblock their respective Netflix libraries when connected with Windscribe. Also, there wasn’t any lag while they streamed different shows.
I was pleased to find out that Windscribe unblocked other popular streaming platforms successfully during my tests. I could unblock these services with most servers that I tested. I’d have needed to use the specialized Windflix server in the past, but now, Windscribe has optimized all their servers for streaming. So it was easy to unblock services like Hulu, HBO Max, Disney+, Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer.
Windscribe is fast but not fast enough for UltraHD streaming. I surfed the internet, streamed HD movies, downloaded large files, and even played online games without experiencing any lag. However, there were occasional disconnections from the servers.
Before connecting to Windscribe, my connection speed was about 22.56 Mbps. I connected to Windscribe and saw an average speed of 7Mbps — a 69% drop in speed.
I also connected to different server locations and experienced varying connection speeds. I got decent speeds of 15Mbps with the server in London and 8Mbps with the server in Dallas. However, when I connected with the servers far away from my location, I experienced a significant drop in speed. With the server in Istanbul, I got 3Mbps while, when I connected to the server in South Korea, I got just 1Mbps.
Gaming was fast with Windscribe, but the high latency meant occasional lags. I usually prefer the best server location when gaming since it’s supposed to have low latency, but that wasn’t the case with Windscribe. I got a latency above 150ms — which isn’t ideal for gaming. Ideally, a latency lower than 100ms produces a faster gaming experience so that you wouldn’t experience any lag. While playing Killstreak, the game detected a high latency and prompted me to change location. So, it was evident that I experienced lags.
In comparison, top-grade VPNs have lower latency and better speeds, even with distant servers. For instance, I never get more than a 25% drop in speed when connected with any ExpressVPN server — even with the farthest server from my location.
Speed determines how fast content uploads, so if you're torrenting or streaming, you want the speed to be somewhat identical to your regular internet speed. Since a VPN encrypts your data, it usually takes a bit longer to send your data back and forth, which can slow down your connection. However, if your ISP deliberately slows down your connection (also known as throttling) a VPN might increase your internet speed. Testing a VPN is somewhat pointless because new servers pop up and affect speed. Your speed can also differ according to your location, so your speed test might not match ours. Having said that, we tested the speed in numerous locations to provide you with the average.
Windscribe has many servers that users can choose from in 100+ locations. It offers over 100 servers in 60+ countries. Free users can only access servers in 10 countries, while pro users have access to over 60 countries. Although this number of servers does not make Windscribe rank among top VPNs, it allows it to offer connections to several locations like the US, Argentina, Israel, UK, Spain, France, and lots more. Windscribe offers its best server coverage in countries in Europe and North America.
It also offers servers in Africa, South America, Asia, Middle East, and others. For the continent of Asia, you’ll find servers in Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and more. If you’re using Windscribe’s free plan, you’ll only have access to 10 servers in the US, UK, Romania, France, Germany, Canada, Hong Kong, Switzerland, Norway, and the Netherlands.
Despite this extensive coverage, the connection wasn’t steady during my tests. I experienced occasional disconnections with Windscribe servers. It’s worse for servers far away from your location. With the server in Hong Kong, I had so many disconnections that I couldn’t stay connected to it for more than 2 minutes per session.
Windscribe does an excellent job of ensuring a secure and safe connection. It ensures there are no DNS or I.P. leaks during connection with its DNS/IPv6 leak protection. There are two types of encryption protocol, depending on whether you use web browser extensions or desktop applications.
The desktop applications use the AES-256 cipher with the SHA512 authorization to keep your browsing connection secure. It also uses a 4096-bit R.S.A key to ensure stronger encryption. This encryption protocol is one of the strongest types of commercial encryption that provides military-grade VPN protection for you. Windscribe also supports Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS), which creates new encryption keys periodically so that you get extra protection. This way, you don’t have to worry about hackers stealing your data.
For the security protocol, Windscribe offers three protocols. There’s OpenVPN (UDP/TCP), IKEv2/IPSec, and Wireguard. The default protocol changes depending on your connection type. However, you have the option to manually choose the protocol you’ll prefer to use from the settings tab. If your hardware permits, you can also use your device to serve as a secure wireless hotspot or proxy gateway with Windscribe.
With Windscribe’s port forwarding feature, you can access services on your home network or computer on up to 10 ports. The VPN also has a split tunneling feature that allows you to decide which apps can be excluded from the VPN tunnel. The Windscribe Double Hop feature will enable you to route your internet traffic through two different locations simultaneously when you need extra security. But you’ll need to install the browser extension as this feature uses one location on the VPN app and another location on the browser extension.
You also get the option to get a data center IP address or residential IP which can increase the ease of unblocking streaming services. You can pay more and get static IP addresses in 13 locations that you can share with your friends when using the ScribeForce feature. There are no viruses or malware installed on the app when I tested it with Exodus.
Windscribe might not be the best VPN choice for privacy lovers. It is located in Canada, a member of the 5/9/14-Eyes Alliance. This means any log kept is not private as it can be shared with surveillance agencies. However, you cannot share what you do not have, making Windscribe restrain from asking for user details.
Windscribe ensures your connection is private as it won’t require you to provide any confidential or personal information when registering. You only need to register with your username and password. It ensures you are private with your connection and browsing activities. Your connection is secure and safe from third parties and Windscribe itself. When I ran DNS leak tests, my real IP address was concealed.
The VPN states that it does not store logs, which is a good way of ensuring privacy. There are no records of source I.P.s, websites you visited, or VPN sessions. All these privacy features make the VPN good. However, Windscribe records:
I ran the app through Exodus to see if any hidden tracker will secretly pass my information over to Windscribe. I found that Windscribe has an analytic tool installed to track performance, and also permissions that collect GPS information. The VPN clarifies that the GPS information it collects is to enable its “Network Whitelist” feature work — which is to access wifi network names. But there’s the possibility of the vendor selling this data as many free VPNs do.
Windscribe’s R.O.B.E.R.T feature makes the VPN a suite of privacy protection tools. You can get protection from malware, ads + trackers, block Cryptominers, and fake news/clickbait websites. You can also choose to block or allow gambling websites, porn websites, social networks, and even other VPNs. Similarly, the browser extension has privacy features such as webRTC slayer, time warp, split personality, location warp, Ad crusher, and malware evader.
Windscribe has a transparency report page with a graphical display of how many times it has received a DMCA and law enforcement data request. It has received almost 7000 requests and 18 requests in a month for DMCA and from law enforcement, respectively. The VPN provider noted that these requests couldn’t be complied with in each case due to a lack of relevant data to share.
Windscribe allows P2P activities on most of its servers worldwide, making it a good VPN for torrenting. However, not all Windscribe servers are P2P optimized. Those that do not support torrenting are indicated with a cross on the P2P icon. This includes countries such as India, Lithuania, Russia, and South Africa.
I was able to torrent safely and avoid malware and trackers using Windscribe’s P2P-optimized servers. The VPN also does not block, throttle, or monitor torrent downloads. It also implements high-end security to ensure quick, secure, and anonymous activities. Windscribe also provided me with guides to setting up SOCKS5 proxy with Deluge, qBittorrent, VUZE, and uTorrent. I used BitTorrent while connected to Windscribe to download a movie on a public domain.
While torrenting isn’t illegal in many countries, downloading illegal titles is against the rules of many nations. My team and I don’t condone breaking the laws of any country. So make sure to check the laws where you live before torrenting. For instance, countries like Canada, where Windscribe is located, have fines up to $5000 for breaking copyright rules. So it’s better to obey the copyright rules in the countries you live in and for the VPN you use.
Windscribe works perfectly well in China using its China-dedicated servers. Both its free and pro servers offer services in China. Aside from working perfectly well in a country with high censorship, Windscribe also provides additional features to secure VPN usage in China.
China laws only allow the service of government-approved VPNs. Windscribe is one of the few VPNs that bypass the great firewall of China. I was happy to learn that Windscribe has strong technologies for you to access the internet in China safely. It is common practice for China to fight against VPNs by technologically blocking them and not chasing after tourists who use them. Windscribe still bypasses China’s technological advances to ensure a secure connection.
Since I don’t live in China, I couldn’t personally test the VPN there. However, I reached out to customer support for answers. The chatbot Garry informed me that Windscribe works everywhere. Windscribe has a feature (Stealth VPN mode) that disguises the OpenVPN connection as a secure TLS connection so that the VPN will work effortlessly in China. Similarly, the Wstunnel mode masks your OpenVPN connection as a WebSocket connection. This way, you can safely access the internet when traveling to China, the UAE, Turkey, or Saudi Arabia.
Windscribe can connect multiple devices to one account simultaneously. Whether you’re using a free or paid plan, you can connect unlimited devices to your Windscribe VPN using one account.
I could connect my P.C. and mobile phone at the same time without any issue. I connected to multiple servers while carrying out different activities on all my devices. I didn’t experience any glitches and slow speeds with all my gadgets. I was impressed with Windscribe’s unlimited device connections because most VPNs will only allow 5 or 6 devices to be connected simultaneously.
One of the most significant advantages of Windscribe is its multi-platform compatibility. It is compatible with various leading-edge platforms, including Windows, Linux, and Mac. It also supports operations on Android and iOS devices. The VPN also works with Amazon FireTV, Kodi, NAS devices, Nvidia shield, and routers. There’s a guide to set it up with your router on the website. You also have the option of purchasing a pre-configured router from Windscribe. With this, you can easily connect your Apple TV, Xbox One, and Playstation 5.
Windscribe offers an exclusive extension for various web browsers, including Firefox, Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Opera. Windscribe is also compatible with Tomato, DD-WRT, and ASUS routers. I successfully connected to the Windscribe server on these devices, and there was no problem.
Windscribe is quite easy to use and navigate. The VPN piles on amazing and interesting features yet remain very easy to navigate and use. Its interface, browser and app features, and mode of operations made it easy to use.
It was easy to set up on Windows and other operating systems as it didn’t require me to do anything but follow the laid down steps and procedures. Connecting to the server was also fast and didn’t take much time to start surfing the internet.
Windscribe uses a big on/off button to start connection on both applications and browser extensions. There are also advanced options in the menu that allows me to navigate through the VPN easily.
Windscribe’s interface is indistinguishable across all the operating systems such as macOS, Android, iOS, and Windows. So you can easily switch devices and not struggle to find a menu or button. You have the option to select from 25 languages, and you can easily connect with the best location with a single click. This way, you are connected with the closest and fastest server not far from you.
Unlike the Windows app, the Windscribe Android and iOS apps lack the Firewall (Killswitch), Stealth mode, WStunnel, Secure hotspot, proxy gateway features. This means if you’re traveling to China, you won’t be able to use the stealth or WStunnel features on your phone if you struggle with accessing the internet there.
That said, you can use the “Always On” feature which works as an automatic killswitch to keep your data protected if the VPN isn’t on. You can also set up the app on your Android TV, smart TV, or Amazon FireTV. For the Windows app, you can select the DNS of your choice (Open DNS, Google, and Cloudflare) for extra security and a TAP driver option (Winturn or Windscribe VPN) for network connections.
Windscribe has different support options. You can get live chat support via a chatbot called Garry, and if you aren’t satisfied, you can escalate to a human. However, you won’t get live support. It would generate a ticket for you, and you get contacted via email.
Windscribe also provides an extensive online library of FAQs, Knowledge base, guides, and its subreddit and discord channel. If you want to reach out via social media, Windscribe also has an active social media account. In both my chat and email communication with Windscribe support channels, I got responsive and helpful feedback.
We personally test the customer support team of every VPN we review. This means asking technical question through the live chat feature (where applicable) and measuring the response time for email questions. Whether you need to connect to a specific server, change your security protocol, or configure a VPN on your router, finding a VPN with quality customer support should be important to you.
Windscribe offers good value for its price. It is cheaper than most top-tier VPNs. While maintaining its low price, it also ensures high value.
Windscribe has a free plan and 3 premium subscriptions — the monthly, yearly, and “Build A Plan” pricing options. Payment methods include credit/debit cards (via Stripe), Paypal, Bitcoin, and Paymentwall.
The build-a-plan feature allows you to purchase a server location for $1 each per month. This allows you to cut your cost to only the servers you need, rather than subscribe for all without using the servers. You can pay an extra dollar to have access to unlimited data and the full R.O.B.E.R.T. feature.
Regardless of your choice of payment, you get the same extensive features of the VPN. There is also a customizable package called ScribeForce — for team accounts. It is a subscription plan that allows building a per-seat subscription for five or more team members at the rate of $3 for each seat per month.
The free plan, which offers 10GB monthly data, is also available if you do not wish to pay. Only that it offers a lesser number of servers than the pro plan. The free plan is also a good choice, but if you are a heavy VPN user and need quality service, the pro version is your sure bet.
Getting a refund is straightforward. However, you only have a 3-day money-back guarantee, and you have to use less than 10GB of data. I got my request for a refund processed the same day and got my money after 5 days. To request a refund, you can simply start a chat with Garry and escalate to a human or go through the support ticket.
Windscribe is a pretty good VPN. In terms of security and privacy features, the VPN does an excellent job. It unblocks all popular streaming platforms, supports torrenting, and works in China. However, if you use just the free plan, you have a small number of servers available and will not be able to unblock any streaming services apart from Netflix.
In terms of pricing, Windscribe is decent and can compare favorably with a few popular VPNs in the market. That said, with just 110 server locations and the limited functionalities on the mobile apps, it’s still overrated. You can get a better deal with top-rated VPNs like PIA which provide thousands of servers in 70+ countries for a fraction of Windscribe’s price.
Windscribe is a good VPN but can’t be listed among the best. It ensures a fast connection to several servers. It uses the strongest commercial security and encryption protocol to ensure privacy and secured internet connection. It successfully unblocks US Netflix and other streaming platforms.
For better features, lightning-fast speeds, and a vast server network, my choice is ExpressVPN. You can try ExpressVPN out for yourself with its 30 days money-back guarantee that allows you to buy in confidence.
Yes, you can use Windscribe for free. Windscribe has two plans; the free plan and the pro plan. You can use the free plan and connect to different server locations. The only thing is that you get access to only 10 Windscribe server locations when using the free plan and 10GB of monthly data.
A free VPN can be the right choice for maintaining anonymity and security while surfing the internet. However, most of them come with security concerns. Your data may easily go with the wind and end up sold to other companies or even governments. So I wouldn’t always recommend many free VPNs.
Windscribe is very safe as it employs the strongest commercial security and encryption protocols. It uses AES-256 cipher and SHA 512 authentication to ensure high-level encryption. It also has a minimal logging policy that makes sure you are safe while connected to any server.
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