Most VPN providers try to produce a user-friendly and easy-to-use intuitive client for as many platforms as possible. Some succeed, some fail. On the face of it, Windscribe VPN has all the characteristics to make it one of the nicest and simplest VPNs on the market.
While it’s based out of Canada, a Five Eyes country, Windscribe has a good variety of security and privacy features to provide enough anonymity for general needs or more. Many services claim to have no logs, including connection and usage logs. However, most of them do log some information in the end. Windscribe goes clean on this and only states “no identifying logs,” which actually makes sense (read more about Windscribe’s Logging Policy)
In this case, some user data is logged, but none of it can be used to identify you or link you to any online activity. In other words, even if Windscribe were forced to share information with the authorities, no data shared could result in someone learning your identity or finding your physical location.
This VPN solution has 540+ servers in 55+ countries, which is good global coverage. Combining the desktop and browser apps also gives you an extra layer of security. Another good thing about Windscribe is that you can use the dedicated Windflix servers to access Netflix US and Netflix UK.
Let us now uncover for you in more detail what Windscribe is good for and how to use it.
What is Windscribe good for
In general, we can say that Windscribe is good for any common need that calls for a VPN. These include:
- IP address spoofing
- Staying anonymous online
- Geo-unblocking and accessing censored web content
- Online gaming
- P2P file-sharing (torrenting) excluding three marked servers (India, Russia, and South Africa)
- Public wifi protection
- Video streaming (Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Comedy Central, YouTube, and more).
Since Windscribe VPN has pretty good speeds, it’s possible to stream videos both in HD and 4K. Of course, this also depends on the capabilities of your device. Downloading or uploading large files should also be relatively quick. Thanks to its Stealth VPN features (obfuscation), you can also use Windscribe in VPN-unfriendly internet-censoring countries like China, Iran, or Russia.
So, all in all, we believe that this is a fairly secure and private VPN for most online activities.
How to download and install it
There are two Windscribe versions: Free and Pro. There are two major differences between the free and paid versions. The Windscribe Free VPN can only connect to 10 locations, and your monthly bandwidth cap is 10GB. Of course, this is still way more than other free VPN solutions offer. You may even be completely satisfied with what this free VPN software has to offer.
The two fastest ways for you to download Windscribe is to click on either the Get Started or the Download Windscribe button. For the next step, just select your platform.
Once you have downloaded the VPN app onto your device, installing it shouldn’t take more than a minute. After launching the software, click Next if you are fine with the recommended Express Install option. To finalize the procedure, click Finish. Yes, that’s all. In fact, it’s no more than 10 seconds.
How to use Windscribe VPN
To be able to use Windscribe, first of all, you need to log into your account. And for that, you need to have an account in the first place!
If you don’t have a Windscribe account, click No. Free user wannabes, this is your chance too. After you click No, you’ll be taken to a dedicated webpage, where you can either log in or create a free account. If you want to use Windscribe VPN for free, just enter a username and choose an account password. Then, press the Create Free Account button, and you’re good to go.
Entering your email address is optional. However, if you don’t, your monthly data limit will drop to 2 GB. If you don’t mind giving away a temporary email address, you can have your 10 GB per month.
Windscribe will remind you of this, of course:
Windscribe Free VPN
As we’ve explained, there are some limitations imposed on the free users of this service. First of all, you’re not allowed to use all of the server locations. You’re limited to the following 10 locations:
- United States
- United Kingdom
- Hong Kong
Well, definitely not global coverage, but it’s still more than what most free VPN options offer.
Secondly, there’s the 10 GB monthly traffic cap. This, again, is way more than the majority of VPNs have to offer. For the sake of comparison, the free version of TunnelBear provides you with 500 MB. Of course, if you’re a hardcore torrenter, you may find 10GB quite unsatisfying. Nevertheless, for general use, this should be just enough.
Third, you can’t use the Windscribe Free VPN for Netflix since the dedicated servers (Windflix) aren’t available.
It’s also likely that the free version is somewhat slower since millions of users can easily overcrowd those 10 locations. But, all in all, we believe that this is one of the best free VPN services on the market today.
Windscribe Pro VPN
The Pro version offers unlimited data traffic, 540+ servers in 55+ locations, Netflix US and Netflix UK, and faster speeds. We have found Windscribe to be a reliable service with a “no identifying logs” policy and a couple of useful features. The pricing of the Pro VPN is quite reasonable considering its level of privacy and versatility. For $4.08 per month for the annual plan or $9.00 for the monthly plan – that’s not bad at all.
How to protect yourself with Windscribe VPN
So, now you have either a Free or a Pro account, and you’re logged in as well.
By default, the Windscribe VPN client offers the most optimal location, which is normally the closest and fastest VPN server.
So, to connect to the default server, all you need to do is click the Power button on the right. Once it’s turned on, you’ll be connected within a few seconds.
After you open the location list, you can also select your preferred location or one of the dedicated servers.
As you can see, the signal bars on the left clearly show the load of each server. If you want to create a list of favorite locations, click the heart icon to the right of the location name. If you want to connect to a different location, click the country or city server, and the app will automatically connect. You don’t need to disconnect and connect again. This saves you a couple of unnecessary clicks. We really like that about Windscribe.
If you want leak protection, switch on the Firewall feature (on by default). This Firewall actually functions as a kill switch, which is vital for a reliable privacy tool.
The mobile apps and browser extensions look and function similarly to desktop apps. However, the Chrome, Firefox, and Opera VPN extensions have some extra features. This makes them a useful addition to the other platforms.
Windscribe VPN settings
The main difference between the apps is in the settings and features they offer. So, let’s see what these are and what kind of customizations Windscribe VPN allows you.
It seems that the Windscribe iOS and Android apps are the least-equipped with settings and customization options. If you tap the 3-Bar icon in the top-right corner and select the Preferences option, this is what you’ll find:
All you can do here is switch between UDP or TCP protocols, choose a preferred port, and the connection mode (Persistent connection or Battery saver). If there’s any technical issue, send a debug log by tapping the assigned button at the bottom.
If you’re using a free account, it should be just enough for your general spoofed-IP web browsing activities.
The browser extensions currently already offer a longer list of settings, making them a great addition to the desktop features. The browser extension settings menu is called Privacy Options. You can display this screen if you click the 3-Bar icon and select Privacy Options.
Here’s the list of useful features the Chrome, Firefox, and Opera Windscribe apps have for you:
The Windscribe desktop apps are the best-equipped. They’re also likely to be the most popular. If you click the 3-Bar icon in the top-left corner and choose Preferences, you will open the Windscribe Preferences window.
This window has 5 tabs: General, Connection, Proxy, Share, and Debug. The General tab is the default tab when you display the Preferences window. It contains options related to the general behavior of the Windscribe VPN app.
The Connection tab has more technical settings.
For more experienced VPN users, this tab is close to paradise. Here’s what you can optimize, tweak, and customize on this screen:
- Firewall Mode: Automatic (default), Manual, and Always On
- Connection Mode: Automatic (default) or Manual. If you choose Manual, you can select your desired protocol (IKEv2, UPD, TCP, Stealth, or WStunnel) as well as the Port assigned to it.
- API Resolution: Automatic (default) or Manual IP. Some networks (e.g., China) can block or alter your DNS requests, and this could cause an error for Windscribe. This setting lets you manually configure an IP address to access the Windscribe API (Application Programming Interface). The next setting is also related to this error.
- Ignore SSL Errors: check this box to ignore SSL errors and log in again.
- Force close all TCP sockets after connection
On the Proxy tab, you can configure a LAN proxy as follows:
The Share tab is a great feature that again lets you share your protected VPN connection as a hotspot so that other users or other devices can take advantage of it.
All you need to do is click the Enabled radio button in the Secure Hotspot section, and enter a network name and password. If another device connects to this hotspot, all the web activities will be proxied through Windscribe servers.
Yet another superb security feature is the Proxy Gateway. This allows you to configure an HTTP or SOCKS5 proxy server on your Windows or Mac computer. This way, you can set up your Smart TV, your PlayStation, or Xbox to use the secure VPN connection.
Finally, we have the Debug tab, where you can send and view logs, disable IPv6, and so on.
Windscribe new features
In the past months, Windscribe VPN has added some cool new features worth mentioning.
This feature requires a Static IP that you have to purchase first. There are two types of Static IPs available: Datacenter ($2/m) and Residential ($8/m). The obvious difference between the two is that the Residential Static IP is more effective against all kinds of blocks as it uses a residential connection.
Once you have your Static IP, you can enable this feature through your Windscribe account and configure it as described in the instructions available on the website.
This is a great feature to block malware and advertisements. Now, it’s available for all your devices. Again, you need to log in to your Windscribe account to turn on this feature.
There are 4 configurations to choose from:
- Disabled: no DNS will be filtered.
- Malware/Phishing/Botnets: this is the default option. It blocks all known malware, phishing, and botnet domains.
- Malware/Phishing/Botnets/Ads/Trackers: in addition to option 2, this option also blocks known ad distributing and tracking domains.
- Malware/Phishing/Botnets/Ads/Trackers/Social Networks: in addition to option 3, this option also blocks known social networks due to their tracking practices.
To protect your entire team, now you can build a team account with Windscribe. ScribeForce is available at $3 monthly per team member. You can set this feature up on the website and enjoy the convenience of centralized billing.
In summary, Windscribe is a versatile VPN service that can provide you with decent online security and privacy for all your general needs. If you stay on the lawful side of things, you should be fine using either the Free or Pro version.
Windscribe offers support for most common platforms. Using the desktop VPN software along with the browser extension will also give you a higher level of online security. All in all, this is a very good service with a lot of tweaking opportunities. We hope we made it clear how to use Windscribe VPN. For more information, read our Windscribe VPN review.