Windscribe is a Canadian-based VPN service that offers good value for money – and is exceptionally fast. The provider offers a premium (paid) and a free plan, although this review will primarily focus on the premium subscription. This plan gives you access to Netflix with the convenience of Windflix features.
With the premium package, Windscribe offers a comprehensive service that gives users access to servers around the world, unlimited bandwidth, and the ability to connect an unlimited number of devices. Windscribe VPN has software for all major platforms.
Windscribe 1 Minute Overview
For many, Windscribe is primarily known as a free service, but there are ways to upgrade and get full access to all servers and unlimited bandwidth. A flat monthly fee costs $49, while an annual subscription brings the price down to $4.08 per month. You can customize the package, but it may not really be worth it.
Windscribe’s apps and systems look secure and are excellent at stopping any DNS leaks. The kill switch works well, the encryption works as we expected, and although there is minimal logging, Windscribe is very open about it. We’d like to see an audit, but all this is a good start.
In our tests in the UK, connection speeds were excellent, often reaching over 200 Mbps, but average speeds in the US were below 100 Mbps. Curiously, speeds from the UK to the US were better than in the US itself.
The paid version of Windscribe shined at streaming, blocking almost all of the services we tested. The biggest surprise, however, was that Windscribe proved to be an effective free Netflix VPN, successfully unblocking US Netflix and BBC iPlayer on servers available to non-paying users.
The apps on both desktop and mobile are pretty rudimentary, but have everything and work very well. You can get favorites, log options, and even WireGuard support.
Customer support is probably Windscribe’s weakest point – while the ticketing system ensures you get a response from the knowledgeable folks on the core development team, it means you can’t get quick and easy help when you need it, and to make matters worse, the written articles and tutorials aren’t exactly perfect.
- Servers in 60 countries and 110 cities
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Unlimited bandwidth
- DNA leak protection
- Off switch
- Incognito mode
- Ad blocker
One of the main drawbacks of Windscribe is the performance of the OpenVPN protocol. To test Windscribe’s speed, I used a basic connection (without VPN) at 160Mbps and tested various VPN servers around the world. My physical testing was done in Western Europe.
Note: I configured the VPN client to use only OpenVPN UDP, which has better performance than OpenVPN TCP.
The Windscribe VPN client gives you the ability to connect to the “best sites” that offer the best speeds. Here are the results.
“Best Site” speed test with a nearby Windscribe server in Germany: 390 Mbps(On average)
This is definitely not a good test result for a nearby server that should be delivering near full bandwidth.
Next up was the Windscribe server in Switzerland, which delivered an even slower speed of about 480 Mbps(On average)
I also tested some Windscribe servers in the London, which delivered speeds of about 384Mbps(On average)
If you’re looking for a fast VPN in the UK, Windscribe may not be for you. There are certainly better options to consider.
I then tested Windscribe’s servers in the US. The test results were equally disappointing.
Here is a Windscribe server in New York that gave me a speed of about 301 Mbps(On average)
This is also very slow over longer distances.
Fortunately, there are a few different options. You can skip OpenVPN and go with IKEv2 or WireGuard VPN, which is faster than OpenVPN.
Price – How much does Windscribe cost?
In addition to a freemium version, Windscribe also offers users a relatively expensive pricing plan. Windscribe’s pricing structure is divided into a free plan and 3 premium plans.
For the paid plans, Windscribe offers a monthly plan for $9.00/month and an annual plan for $4.08/month. In addition, Windscribe offers a “Build Plan” option that starts at $1.00/month for a single site.
Each site has 10GB of data per month, valid for 1 month. To select the “Build Plan” option, you must select at least two sites to get started.
These are the plans Windscribe currently offers.
- Monthly ($9.00/month)
- Annual ($4.08/month)
- Create a Plan (starting at $1.00/month)
All three paid plans are compatible with multiple devices and offer the same server targets, bandwidths, protocols, and P2P support. On the other hand, the Freemium plan or Windscribe Limited has some limitations that we have already discussed in the Windscribe overview.
Windscribe offers users a number of connection options. As mentioned above, there are more than 530 servers in more than 50 countries. For free users, the company offers servers in only 11 countries. Most of Windscribe’s servers are reserved for professional users only. Since there are a large number of servers in America, Europe, Asia and even some African regions, users should have no problems finding the right server for them.
Since many people living outside the US use VPNs to access services like Netflix and Hulu, they will be satisfied with the number of servers located in the US. However, our tests show mixed results for Netflix and BBC iPlayer. Netflix works with Windscribe when connected to a “Windflix” server. Even when connected to Windflix servers in the UK, we were unable to stream BBC iPlayer. Spotify, on the other hand, seemed to work without a hitch.
Privacy and Logging
Windscribe’s data protection starts with the industry’s strongest AES-256 encryption, SHA512 authentication, 4096-bit RSA keys, and support for perfect forwarding secrecy (keys are not reusable, so even if a snooper gets the private key, they can only view the data in one session).
We turned on the Windows client’s kill switch (which Windscribe calls a firewall) and disconnected the VPN connection to see how it behaved. The result was near perfect: our network access was immediately blocked, the client interface refreshed to indicate a problem and then immediately began reconnecting, and as soon as we were back online, a Windows desktop notification appeared.
There is a small amount of long-term logging, but it is limited to the total bandwidth used in a month (important for managing the use of the free plan) and a timestamp of the last activity on the service to identify inactive accounts.
Some connection information – username, VPN server to which the connection was made, connection time, bandwidth used during the session, number of connected devices – is collected briefly, but is stored only in the VPN server’s memory and is lost when the session is terminated.
That’s all well and good, but we hope Windjammer goes further. Competitors like TunnelBear and VyprVPN have publicly audited their systems for logs or other privacy issues, giving potential customers far more assurance than the reassuring words on their websites. Let’s hope Windscribe (and other VPN providers) do the same soon.
In the meantime, it’s worth noting that WindScribe offers 2GB of data per month for free, without asking for email addresses or other personal information. The data limit will be an issue for streaming users and those who download a lot, but if you just want to protect your email and basic browsing, this automatically provides you with more anonymity security than almost anyone else.
The Internet protocol determines how data is transmitted over the network. Let’s take a closer look.
Suppose you lose connection to the VPN and want to reconnect. Internet Key Exchange (version 2) is used to restore the connection. This is especially useful if you are someone who likes to switch between Wi-Fi and mobile hotspots using your phone. Basically, if you work in a coffee shop, IKEv2 is the protocol for you.
Imagine you’re a girl on the run. What’s the first thing you do? SOCKS, which stands for Socket, is disguised to give you a brand new IP address. Then it transfers the data to the destination, but remember that with SOCKS, the data is not encrypted. That’s why we paired it with an encryption method to achieve both the speed of SOCKS and the security of encryption
The User Packet Protocol is responsible for sending packets, but not for ordering them. Think of UDP as a funny uncle dropping you off at school one morning. You’ll get there eventually, but you might miss your homework or lunch.
This is why Windscribe pairs UDP with TCP (Transmission Control Protocol). It not only transmits data, but also makes sure it gets to the right place. First, it establishes a connection between the source and destination and makes sure it is active. Then it breaks down the data into smaller packets and makes sure they are put together in the right order. If UDP is the fun uncle, TCP is the responsible uncle that picks up the gauntlet.
Is it just me or does steganography sound like a James Bond movie? Stealth disguises VPN traffic as normal network traffic to bypass firewalls. This is especially useful if you are using Windscribe in a country where VPNs are not allowed, such as China, Pakistan, Cuba, or the United Arab Emirates.
Windscribe provides the following extra security features:
R.O.B.E.R.T: This is a useful tool that allows you to ban specific IP addresses and domains (ads). For example, if you want to restrict gambling websites, it will block any gambling-related website.
Static IP addresses: These are the basic IP addresses available on Windscribe servers. The only difference is that you connect to the same external IP address every time.
Port Forwarding: Port Forwarding allows you to remotely access services such as Plex, NAS, Home Security Cam, and other services on your computer or at home.
Split Tunneling: This feature allows you to choose which websites or applications go via VPNs and which do not.
Ad Blocking: Windscribe also includes an ad-blocking function that allows it to properly block advertisements on the internet. It also detects and disables trackers.
Double Hop: This function adds an extra degree of security to your online experience by connecting to two distinct servers before reaching your ultimate destination on the internet.
Streaming and Torrenting
One of the biggest advantages of a VPN like Windscribe is the ability to bypass geographical restrictions on content. This is achieved by masking your real IP address with the IP address of the country you want to access.
This is great news for people abroad and fans of foreign TV and movies.
However, platforms like Netflix have discovered this vulnerability and made it more difficult for VPNs to connect to their service. In 2022, only the best VPNs will be able to do this consistently.
Windscribe offers dedicated VPN “Windflix” servers for streaming in various countries around the world. These servers are labeled as Windflix in the server selection menu and are located in the US, UK, and Canada.
However, most of these dedicated servers are redundant. After a recent update, all Windscribe servers are available for streaming – even the free servers. That makes Windscribe the only truly free VPN that works well with Netflix.
It also works with all 10 free server sites. That’s better than many paid VPNs out there.
We tested the streaming service on all four of Windscribe’s streaming server sites, including Netflix, iPlayer, and YouTube.
We found that Windscribe reliably unblocked Netflix in all four countries: the US and UK, as well as Canada and Japan (two places we don’t usually trust VPN providers).
For reference, Netflix’s official internet speed recommendations are 3 Mbps for SD quality, 5 Mbps for HD quality, and 25 Mbps for Ultra HD quality.
We don’t believe these values are 100% accurate – they’re a bit low – but they do provide an indication of the quality you can expect.
With Windscribe, we can expect to receive HD or Ultra HD streaming from our London location from libraries in the US, UK, and Canada, and at least SD from the Japanese Netflix library.
However, Windscribe’s US servers also lend themselves to easy access to Hulu and Amazon Prime Video.
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to run Disney+ on our US servers, so fans of Mandalorian may have to find an alternative VPN like Surfshark.
We also tested Windscribe to see if it provided access to BBC iPlayer. We found that you can use a browser proxy to access BBC iPlayer, but not necessarily a full VPN.
Even Windscribe’s dedicated server doesn’t necessarily provide access; it didn’t work for a while, but seems to be improving. Read our guide to the best VPN for BBC iPlayer for a more reliable solution to streaming BBC videos.
Windscribe for Android, Firestick and others
Now that we’ve gotten the interesting VPN features out of the way, let’s talk platform support. Windscribe’s native apps are available for Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android.
It also makes its APK accessible, allowing you to install Windscribe on Android devices without having to go via the Google Play store. Normally, this would be used to install Windscribe on a Fire Stick or comparable device. But you don’t have to do it right now.
Windscribe has native applications for both Amazon streaming devices and the Nvidia Shield. These applications are designed to operate on Android TV, which is significant considering this VPN’s emphasis on streaming. More VPN services are starting to offer Android TV applications, and we’re pleased to see Windscribe join them.
You may also install the VPN on your router or purchase a preconfigured router. However, unlike VyprVPN, there is no router app. Aside from that, Windscribe includes a config generator for OpenVPN, IKEv2, and a SOCKS5 proxy, allowing you to configure the service on practically any device.
Supported Platform and Devices
Windscribe is compatible with almost all popular platforms. It even includes platforms like Android TV, Fire OS and Kodi.
The only way to protect your privacy is to install a VPN on all devices connected to the network, which means you need a service that offers native apps everywhere.
Well, after looking at the table above, one thing is for sure. windscribe does a great job at supporting a variety of devices. You can use it on your computer or on the go – whatever platform you normally use. To access the ad-blocking features, you can install windscribe as a plug-in for your web browser. All major web browsers are supported, except Apple Safari. Then even Android TV, including Amazon Fire OS and Nvidia Shield. And surprisingly, Windscribe also integrates with Kodi, which is rare.
Installation and Use
Windscribe has apps for Windows, Mac, Android, and iPhone. It can also be configured on a number of other platforms. For example, you can configure it on Linux, Windows phones, Amazon Fire TV, Kodi, routers, and other devices.
You can download the desktop app from their website. The smartphone app is available in their app store and the configuration settings are available on their website.
The installation takes only a few minutes and the configuration takes about 10-12 minutes depending on your technical knowledge.
However, there is one downside to this service – the speeds aren’t exactly lightning fast. If you can live with that, Windscribe might be a good option for you.
If you need help setting up or using Windscribe, there are several ways to get support. Click on the “Support” tab on the website or select “Help” in the app! which will take you to the main support center. Here you will find a self-help section with installation guides, FAQs and a knowledge base. As for the FAQ section, we found Windscribe’s FAQ section to be quite comprehensive and open, while many other sections are limited and vague.
This may be fine for some users, but it’s essentially the same as setting up a search function in the FAQ section or knowledge base. After asking the same question a few times and getting several different, confusing answers, there was an “upgrade to human” option. Instead of being connected to a real live chat representative, we were instructed to send a ticket via email.
We received a response to one ticket request within about 6 hours, but another took much longer. The option to speak with Garry seems a bit pointless and could be frustrating for some users. Hopefully, as this service grows, it will realize the value of a true live chat option.
How to Cancel Windscribe
You can cancel Windscribe at any time through the website without having to speak to anyone. If you cancel within three days of your initial registration, you will receive a full refund. If you’re looking for a VPN with multiple servers or different VPN protocols, check out the alternatives in our review of the best VPNs.
- Log in to your account – On the Windscribe home screen, navigate to the main account page
- Locate the “Request Coupon” button – Below this button is a “Logout” link
- Click the “Unsubscribe” button – If you do not see the “Unsubscribe” option, automatic billing has not been set up and future subscriptions will not be charged
- To request a refund, you must submit your request to Customer Service within three business days of payment. If you violate the Terms of Service or consume more than 10 GB of data, you will not receive a refund
Pros and Cons
- Instant installation on popular devices
- Extensive network of servers and locations
- Strong encryption features
- Many advanced security features
- Works well with streaming sites
- Allows torrenting
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Based in Canada (five-eyes country)
- Questionable logging policy
- Customer service needs to be improved
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Windscribe block advertising?
A VPN alone does not guarantee online privacy. You can still track your online activity through cookies stored in your browser. However, you can use Windscribe to prevent this. Your browser extension blocks trackers and ads that you can still track after you disconnect from your VPN. This ensures that your data is not tracked.
Can I use Windscribe on my iPhone?
Yes, we have a software client for iOS devices. With this VPN service, you can unblock geo-blocked content, browse anonymously and protect your WiFi connection.
Is Windscribe good for Torrenting/P2P?
Most VPNs block torrenting. windscribe does not. However, not all servers support torrenting. You can configure it using the torrent client configuration guide. windscribe does not restrict torrent downloads, which is good news for torrenters.
Both paid and free users can use this VPN for torrent/p2p downloads. Windscribe is one of the few VPN services that allow free users to download torrent files.
How can I access Geo-blocked content with Windscribe?
In some countries, certain content is geo-blocked by the government and may not be available to people living in certain locations. With Windscribe, you can access the blocked content without being tracked. You can hide your IP address and access blocked content, including news and entertainment, in over 60 countries.
Is Windscribe’s paid service faster than the free service?
With a free account, you get only 10 GB of bandwidth and access to only 10 websites, while with the paid service you get unlimited data and access to all websites. Not surprisingly, the servers of the paid service can be faster than those of the free VPN service.
Can Windscribe be used with Netflix?
The premium plan allows unlimited Netflix with Windscribe’s Windflix feature. To access US/English content, simply connect to the WINDFLIX website. WINDFLIX is a feature specifically for Netflix. It allows users to bypass Netflix’s restrictions and stream US and UK Netflix content.
Is Windscribe browser extension available?
Browser extensions are a cool add-on. The extension is available for most popular browsers like Chrome, Opera and Firefox and helps users block ads and trackers. There are also apps for smart TVs like Amazon, Nvidia Shield and Kodi.
Windscribe VPN is one of the few VPN services that offers a wide range of setup options for different devices and platforms, has wonderful features that users can enjoy, offers a great free VPN plan, and also offers excellent security features. All of this combined makes this fantastic VPN service one that users will want to consider. If there is one area that the service needs to focus on more to improve, it is its customer service.