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Windscribe VPN is a well-known virtual private network, beloved for its generous free version. However, just how good is this provider in reality?
In my Windscribe VPN review, I’ll look at the key questions: is Windscribe VPN safe? Does it unblock Netflix? Is torrenting allowed on Windscribe servers? And is it fast enough for all your online activities?
Continue reading to learn whether this VPN is worth your money.
Is Windscribe safe?
Those wondering whether Windscribe is safe can relax – this VPN has enough security and privacy features to be considered as one of the most reliable providers. The good news is that the free version has almost the same level of protection as the paid version. It also makes sense to combine your client with a browser extension as those add even more helpful features.
Encryption and tunneling protocols of Windscribe
Windscribe VPN uses military-grade encryption, which is near-impossible to break. Even if your connection is intercepted by a third-party, cracking this code would take not millions but billions of years!
The protocols offered by Windscribe VPN are as follows:
- Open VPN (UDP)
- Open VPN (TCP)
OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols will be enough for most users, but those residing in countries where internet access is restricted will find Windscribe’s two “stealth protocols” handy.
The first one is named Stealth, and it’s essentially OpenVPN via STunnel. Sadly, it doesn’t work on iOS, so iPhone and iPad users are left with Wstunnel, which is OpenVPN via WebSocket.
Does Windscribe have a kill switch?
Windscribe has a kill switch, and they call it a Firewall.
Considered superior to any regular kill switch by its creators, the Windscribe kill switch ensures that not even a single packet leaves your device in the event of a VPN malfunction.
In Preferences, you’ll have the option to allow LAN traffic with the Firewall turned on and also change its modes from Automatic (default) and Manual to Always On. The latter blocks your internet connection until you connect to a Windscribe server.
To sum up, Windscribe has a kill switch that’s probably even better than those of its competitors. Should this VPN go down, your identity won’t be compromised.
Windscribe VPN split tunneling feature
The great news is that Windscribe has a Split Tunneling feature. With it, you’re able to choose which apps and websites to protect with a VPN, and which ones you’re okay being visible to your ISP.
That’s quite handy, especially, with the apps that won’t work when you’re connected to your VPN.
The bad news is that at the moment split tunneling is available only to Android users. Hence, those who use other devices miss out. However, Windscribe is working on introducing this feature to its Windows, Mac, and Linux apps.
Hopefully, this update is implemented sooner rather than later.
Does Windscribe VPN leak data?
In short, Windscribe VPN has no DNS, IPv6, or WebRTC leaks at all. To check, I ran some online tests, looking for any kind of leak – my IP address showing, or signs of my computer using the ISP DNS to resolve the query.
The image above shows my test results where I connected to a Windscribe server in the UK and checked for DNS, IPv6, and WebRTC leaks. As you can see, I couldn’t find any.
Where is Windscribe based?
Windscribe is based in Canada – one of the Five Eyes countries, where mass-surveillance is prevalent. As a member of this alliance, Canada can share its intelligence data with any other member of the broader Fourteen Eyes alliance.
Does Windscribe keep logs?
Unlike other competitors, Windscribe doesn’t claim to be a “no logs policy” service. Instead, they make a different promise: no identifying logs. In other words, Windscribe does collect some connection and other user data, but it’s not a big privacy risk.
“We do not store connection logs, IP timestamps, or sites you visit”
I’ve also found some positive transparency data: there have been around 400 thousand DMCA and 34 law enforcement data requests in 2018. Here comes the good news you’ve been waiting to hear:
Windscribe claims to have complied with exactly zero requests “due to lack of relevant data”
For a more in-depth look at this provider’s logging practices, read Does Windscribe Keep Logs?
Windscribe offers anonymous payments using Paymentwall gift cards or Bitcoin. What’s more, you can create an account without using an email, so there’s no need to bother creating a throwaway mailbox.
Naturally, Windscribe doesn’t ask your name, address, or any other personally identifiable information. So it’s up to you to not include such data in your username and optional email fields.
Other technical features
Windscribe is rich with security and privacy features, especially if you use both the app and the browser extension of your choice.
Here are the most important ones:
- R.O.B.E.R.T. (Remote Omnidirectional Badware Eliminating Robotic Tool). With it, you can choose which IPs and domains (ads) to block on all the devices you use with this VPN. It helps you reduce tracking, see fewer ads, and use less data.
- Ad Blocking blocks all the annoying ads that you don’t want to see
- Secure hotspot lets your computer act as a secure wifi router.
- Double Hop routes your traffic via two servers for an additional layer of protection.
- Time Warp sets your browser’s time zone according to your chosen server location.
- Location Warp sets your browser’s location based on your chosen server location.
And that’s only a few of them. You can easily check out the rest by installing the free Windscribe version of Windscribe.
Windscribe has 480+ servers in 60+ countries.
The good thing is that all of these are real servers, not virtual ones.
However, those who opt for the free plan only get to use servers in the following 10 countries:
- The Netherlands
- Hong Kong
I’ll discuss Netflix in more depth later, but just so you know – Windscribe has four specialized servers for Netflix.
Is Windscribe fast?
|Average speed||47 Mbps (82% drop-off)|
|Germany server||52 Mbps (79% drop-off)|
|US server||34 Mbps (86% drop-off)|
|Australia server||22 Mbps (91% drop-off)|
|Germany server||94 Mbps (67% drop-off)|
|US server||54 Mbps (81% drop-off)|
|Australia server||26 Mbps (91% drop-off)|
|Germany server||47 ms|
|US server||117 ms|
|Australia server||297 ms|
My baseline speeds were 243 Mbps for download and 284 Mbps for upload.
Windscribe used to provide some of the best speeds, even when compared to our Top 3 fastest VPN services. And while it’s still considered fast, the results are no longer what they used to be.
Nevertheless, my test has shown that Windscribe should be fast enough for most gamers, torrenters, and streamers out there, assuming your connection is decent.
Windscribe speed test results have shown that while it no longer provides lightning-fast connections, it’s still among the fastest VPNs on the market. This is hardly a surprise: Windscribe has a great network of 480+ servers in 60+ countries, none of which are virtual.
Does Windscribe support my device?
Windscribe VPN supports your device or OS if it’s on this list: Windows, macOS, Linux (beta), iOS, Android, Amazon Fire TV, Kodi, routers, and NAS servers.
There are also browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera, which I recommend using with the app for that synergy effect. I love that Windscribe VPN added Opera to their set of extensions, as that is not so common in most providers.
One subscription gives you an unlimited number of simultaneous connections – a rare feat among premium VPNs.
When it comes to usability, all apps are fairly user-friendly, with privacy options that VPN enthusiasts will also appreciate.
You can connect to a recommended location with a single click
Both the desktop apps and browser extensions feature a minimalist design and look slick, although the updated extensions removed the warmer colors from their palette and went for a more strict look, similar to that of mobile apps.
Windscribe VPN desktop apps: Windows, macOS, and Linux
Windscribe for Windows looks like the macOS version. The home screen has an “On/Off” button for connecting to a Windscribe server and a smaller “On” slider below to toggle the firewall.
Pressing the drop-down button will give you a list of all possible locations that can be ordered by geography, alphabet, or latency. Finally, the hamburger menu will lead you to the connection and security settings under Preferences.
Here you can select your connection protocol, firewall mode, DNS servers, and proxy settings.
The Linux version, still in beta, is console-based. Windscribe has clients for Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, and CentOS distributions. The website also gives clear instructions on how to install the app on them.
Windscribe mobile apps: Android and iOS (iPhone & iPad)
Windscribe mobile apps have a different design when compared to their desktop counterparts. They use a different palette and show the extended server list, starting with the best and the most popular ones before switching to the alphabetic order. There are also filters for your Favorites and Windflix streaming servers.
However, the differences between the Android and iOS versions become apparent when we delve deeper into the Windscribe VPN settings. Not only are there fewer features when compared to the desktop versions – the iOS app barely has any of them!
As you can see on the right, iOS users get the Windscribe Firewall and the option to change the protocol or port. Meanwhile, Android users get the native Always-on VPN feature for a kill switch (instead of a firewall) but are compensated with Split Tunneling and more.
The Android version of Windscribe lacks these features:
- Secure Hotspot (your computer becomes a secure wifi router)
- Proxy Gateway (creating a proxy server on your network)
- WStunnel protocol
Despite lacking some features compared to the desktop versions, Windscribe for Android and iOS are safe to use.
Windscribe for web browsers: Chrome, Firefox, and Opera
Windscribe browser extensions have many unique features and should be used together with the app for maximum security and privacy. For example, the browser extension has a Secure.link Generator. You also get the Whitelist feature that disables the VPN on your chosen websites.
The Windscribe browser extension also offers plenty of extra privacy features that other apps don’t have, such as Ad Crusher, Malware Evader, and WebRTC Slayer, to name but a few.
With Ad Crusher, you’ll be able to block all the ads on your device. Using Malware Evader will help you block malicious domains, including malware-spreading or phishing sites. WebRTC Slayer will limit WebRTC requests to make it easier to prevent leaks.
Other platforms for Windscribe VPN
Aside from the major platforms, Windscribe also has apps for Amazon Fire TV & Fire Stick, Nvidia Shield, and Kodi (Android and Linux based).
You can also configure it manually for routers (DD-WRT, Tomato, Asus-WRT) and NAS (Synology, QNAP).
Since Windscribe VPN provides a SOCKS5 proxy, on their website you will find setup guides for uTorrent, Deluge, qBitttorrent, and Vuze torrent, clients.
Streaming with Windscribe: Netflix and other streaming services
For those wondering how to watch Netflix with Windscribe, the provider has dedicated servers called WindFlix US, WindFlix Canada, WindFlix Japan, and WindFlix UK.
When you’re connected to these, your internet traffic isn’t encrypted, which gives you better speeds but, of course, less privacy. As a matter of fact, the speeds are good enough to stream in HD or even Ultra HD.
However, while the speeds are good enough for HD across the globe, Windscribe only managed to ublock the Netflix US library for me.
I didn’t have that much success with other streaming platforms either. For example, I had no luck accessing Disney+, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video. If that’s your goal, there is a solution however – for a little extra monthly cost, you can purchase a Static IP to avoid blocking and detection.
For BBC iPlayer, a Datacenter Static IP ($2/month) should do. But streaming Amazon Prime could be a bit more expensive as it may require a Residential Static IP ($8/month).
All in all, Windscribe will cover your basic streaming needs. However, there’s definitely room for improvement, and I hope to see some positive changes sooner rather than later.
Does Windscribe support torrenting?
Windscribe allows torrenting, but there are a few server locations with a crossed-out P2P icon.
As you can see, Windscribe doesn’t allow using South African, Indian, and Russian servers for torrenting. As a sidenote, also be sure to avoid the VPN servers offered to free users. You can imagine how overcrowded and thus unsuitable for large file transfers those are.
What’s great is that Windscribe VPN offers a free SOCKS5 proxy connection, as well as a handy Split Tunneling feature.
With the Always-on Firewall that also acts as a kill switch, you should be safe from your ISP.
Note: before using any VPN for torrenting, consider that copyright infringement may have severe consequences in your country. If you’re still in doubt as to whether Windscribe is the right choice, check our dedicated Windscribe for torrenting post or our picks for the best VPN for torrenting.
There are six ways for you to get help through the official Windscribe VPN website:
- Setup Guides
- Knowledge Base
- Talk to Garry
- Submit Ticket
“Talk to Garry” is a pseudo-live chat window:
Basically, this chatbot is capable of answering less complex queries like giving the pricing plans or reminding a forgotten password. While chatting with Garry, I found a red Escalate to human! link, which presented me with a ticket submission screen. Nonetheless, despite all the help they try to give, there’s no real live chat support.
Windscribe’s Android client has a live chat support button, but it turns out this is just the same poor bot Garry from the desktop version, which also has trouble fitting in our smartphone screen, making his advice hard to follow.
The setup guides for different devices and OS’ have screenshots and are easy to follow. The FAQ is a bit lackluster – e.g., it says nothing about unblocking Netflix and mentions Bitcoin in an answer that’s not directly related to anonymous payments.
The knowledgebase is a more informative version of the FAQ with a helpful search bar, while the active Windscribe subreddit may be your fastest way to get help from a human.
Pricing: is Windscribe asking for too much?
Windscribe VPN offers its service at relatively low prices:
- Free: 10 servers, 10 GB/month
- 1-month plan: $9.00/month
- 1-year plan: $4.08/month
- Build a plan: $1.00/month/location
Payment options include credit cards, Paymentwall gift cards, and Bitcoin. Since Windscribe account creation doesn’t require your email, you can buy and use this service completely anonymously.
All Windscribe VPN plans have the same security features, including military-grade encryption, tunneling protocols, a kill switch, leak protection, and so on. They also allow an unlimited number of simultaneous connections.
Also, be sure to read the refund policy carefully – your refund is only valid if you:
- Purchase your VPN app directly from Windscribe (no third-party vendors like StackSocial)
- Send your request within three commercial days from your subscription
- Don’t exceed the 10 GB traffic limit
If you meet the following criteria, you can expect a 3-day money-back guarantee.
Windscribe VPN for Free
Windscribe offers one of the best free VPNs available today.
With the free plan, you get the powerful kill switch – Firewall, anti geo-blocking features, IP address masking, and everything else (with only a few limitations). You can also combine your desktop version with a browser extension – this way, your chances of staying private while browsing increase.
However, when you opt for a free plan, you can only connect to 10 countries. Moreover, you are limited to 10 GB, and only one device. You can use the free version without registering with your email address, but your bandwidth limit will shrink to 2 GB.
Data limits and restricted connections lead to a potential privacy issue. Windscribe free VPN doesn’t log what users do on their servers any more than the paid plans of Windscribe.
Should you get Windscribe?
You should get Windscribe VPN, at least its free version. After all, it’s among the best free VPNs and isn’t going anywhere.
As to whether you should pay for Windscribe, which has only been around for several years, well, we believe it has great potential to climb up the ladder. Our only major gripes with this service are the lack of live chat support, the disappointing refund policy, and the somewhat lackluster connection speeds.
All things considered, we can recommend Windscribe for those in search of online privacy, gamers, travelers, and – with some exceptions – streamers.
Does Windscribe VPN work in China?
Windscribe is among the VPNs that work in China. With it, your online activities will stay private, which is your main goal when using a virtual private network in this country.
Is Windscribe good for the dark web?
You can use Windscribe VPN for dark web browsing. However, I highly recommend you do that only if you have a paid subscription.
Not only does it have more security features, but it also allows you to connect to more countries than a Free plan that only offers 10 countries to connect to.
How can I cancel my Windscribe VPN paid subscription?
To cancel your subscription you’ll have to complete 3 easy steps:
- Log into your account
- Find the Claim Voucher option
- Click on Cancel Subscription