Windscribe is a brand that often appears on the lists of best free VPN services. As you probably know, free VPNs are quite tricky, as they often collect your personal data and even sell it to advertisers. However, Windscribe VPN stands apart from those services and it managed to build a solid reputation. And due to this, many of its users are more than willing to switch to premium-priced plans. However, how good is this VPN really? Is it capable of protecting your personal data? Can Windscribe unblock Netflix? Well, we’re going to answer all those questions, and then some more. Welcome to our hands-on review of Windscribe VPN!
To start things slowly, we’ll introduce you to this VPN first. We’ve prepared a table containing the most essential information, giving you a glimpse of what to expect. As such, we believe that the following table comes in handy if you’re comparing this VPN to its competitors.
|Jurisdiction||Canada (5-Eyes Alliance)|
|Logs||Collects anonymized data.|
|Number of Servers||60 countries, 480+ servers.|
|Encryption Standards||AES-256; IKEv2, OpenVPN, Stealth.|
|Speed Reduction||38%, on average.|
|Live Chat Support||NO|
|Supported Platforms||Windows, MacOS, Linux, iOS, Android (TV), Web browsers, routers.|
Our readers often ask about using VPNs for media streaming unblocking. That’s why we have a dedicated segment about this in our every VPN review. So, without any exceptions, here’s a brief overview of what to expect from Windscribe.
|Media Streaming Support|
|Amazon Prime Video||NO|
And we have one final table. We understand that you might be in a rush – and you might want to learn just the highlights about Windscribe. For this purpose, we’ve created one more table. This one contains our opinion on this VPN after having done the review.
|The Bottom Line|
|Pros||Supports numerous platforms; Easy to install; Simple UI; Interesting feature set; Unblocks Netflix.|
|Cons||Comes from Canada (5-Eyes Alliance member); Small server network; Semi-helpful customer support.|
|The Final Verdict||If you’re not overly concerned about your online security, Windscribe comes with a compelling set of features that might be aligned with your needs.|
With the basics out of our way, we can jump to what you truly want to know. Keep on reading, as our full review of Windscribe follows.
Windscribe VPN – TechNadu’s Hands-On Review
Before we get started with our review, we need to mention that we’ll be reviewing the premium-priced version of Windscribe. And if you’d like to know more about how we review VPNs, please use the provided link.
Background, Jurisdiction & Reputation
Windscribe comes from Canada, which could be a reason for concern. You can only hope that this VPN will resist any kind of negative influence in the future. Our Score: 7/10.
We’ll start with the basics. Knowing where your chosen VPN comes from is more important than you might think. This has further implications, as explained below.
Jurisdiction & Applicable Laws
Windscribe doesn’t hide the fact that it comes from Ontario, Canada. First of all, you should know that this country is a member of the 14-Eyes Alliance. This means Canada has been providing and exchanging intelligence data with other highly developed countries for a while now. Even though we don’t know if this country’s mass-surveillance is as rigorous as in some other countries, this is definitely a concern.
You should be also aware that Canada has a firm stance against piracy and copyright infringement. A few months ago, it was revealed that Canadian ISPs can sell information related to pirates. There’s also an ongoing lawsuit initiated by Bell Canada against TVAddons, one of the most popular repositories of Kodi addons. And even more worryingly, Bell has already requested from the Canadian government to ban ‘copyright infringing’ VPNs. With all of this said, it’s clear that operating a VPN business from Canada comes with many obstacles and troublesome elements.
Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean that Windscribe is against its own users. Thanks to a combination of strong encryption and capable VPN protocols, this VPN might be able to avoid collecting any data. Still, there’s the question of how things will develop in the future.
Previous Data Leaks
Back in April 2018, it was discovered the Windscribe might be leaking IP addresses. This was a conclusion of an independent team of researches who found a vulnerability in this VPN’s Chrome extension. It didn’t take long for Windscribe to issue an update and resolve this problem.
What’s important to be said is that Windscribe never leaked any IPs. The situation above is about a potential leak that can be caused by a targeted vulnerability. Other than that, this VPN doesn’t have any other problematic situations from the past.
Supported Platforms & Devices
Windscribe is compatible with pretty much every popular platform. Even platforms like Android TV, FireOS, and Kodi are on the list. Our Score: 10/10.
The only way to secure your private data is by installing a VPN on every Web-connected device. This means that you need a service that offers native apps across the board. Here’s what Windscribe offers.
|Desktop Platforms||Windows, MacOS, Linux.|
|Mobile Platforms||Android, iOS.|
|Web Browsers||Chrome, Firefox, Opera.|
|Routers||DD-WRT and Tomato routers.|
|Other Devices||Android TV, Kodi.|
Well, after taking a look at the table found above, one thing is sure. Windscribe has done an amazing job of supporting a wide range of devices. You can use it on your computer, as well as on the go – no matter which platforms you normally use. And to get its ad-blocking features, you can install Windscribe on your Web browser, as an extension. All popular Web browsers are supported, except for Apple’s Safari.
Next, we even have Android TVs which includes Amazon FireOS and Nvidia Shield. And what’s surprising is that Windscribe integrates with Kodi, which is a rare thing to find.
If you’d like to protect your entire household at once, you can just install this VPN on a router. You can do it yourself, or you can simplify the procedure by getting a pre-flashed router.
Installation & Initial Configuration
Aside from an occasional joke, Windscribe doesn’t bring any surprises to its installation methods. All in all, the process is very simple and straightforward. Our Score: 10/10.
The first step toward using this VPN is subscribing to Windscribe. Once you select a subscription plan, fill out your details, and finish with the payment, you’ll have your brand-new username and password. This is when you can download one of Windscribe’s applications, from its official website.
The installation process depends on the selected platform. We’ve tried this application on a Windows 10 machine, where we went through the usual installation process. Double-click on the installation file to get started, and then choose whether you’d like to an ‘Express’ or ‘Custom’ installation. Either way, you won’t encounter anything strange.
What you’ll notice is this company’s sense of humor, which appears on its website and throughout their applications. For example, you’ll be asked whether you’d like to have your Web connection throttled with a note that the button in question doesn’t do anything really (it’s just a joke). Some are going to love this, while others will find it strange. Either way, it doesn’t hurt.
Once installed, Windscribe will be launched. To enter your username and password, click on the hamburger button in the top-left corner, and then select ‘My Account’. Enter your details, and that’s pretty much it.
Windscribe comes with a powerful set of features. However, it doesn’t offer IPv6 leak protection, kill-switch, and uses an extension for ad-blocking. Our Score: 8/10.
We believe that every reliable VPN should cover the basic features in the best way possible. And to provide more value to their users, they should also enter the category of more advanced features. So, let’s see what to know about Windscribe.
|VPN Features Checklist|
|DNS Leak Protection||YES|
|IPv6 Leak Protection||NO|
|Unlimited Server Switches||YES|
Okay, let’s start with the basics. To keep you secure online, top-rated VPNs employ both DNS and IPv6 data leak protection. Windscribe covers that only halfway. Like many VPNs, it doesn’t fully support IPv6 yet, and it asks you to disable this protocol instead. This means that you’ll use IPv4 instead, which should still be more than enough to prevent any data leaks.
In terms of more advanced features, Windscribe doesn’t come with a kill-switch included. However, it comes with a firewall functionality built-in, which can be highly effective in protecting your data. In fact, the company says that this solution is better than using kill-switch and it guarantees that all non-VPN traffic will be blocked. However, it’s important to mention that iOS devices don’t support this functionality, and it’s not available on some routers as well. So, we take these claims with a grain of salt.
When it comes to blocking ads and fighting malware, Windscribe has a feature named R.O.B.E.R.T. We wrote about it back in March 2019, when the first version of this software was published. It didn’t take long for Windscribe to come up with the second major version, which now allows you to enable/disable block lists, set custom access rules, as well as fine-tune options related to malware, ads, trackers, social media, porn websites, and even gambling websites. You can now choose to block such websites, giving you instant control of your Web experience. This is definitely one of the standouts of Windscribe and something we don’t often see in other VPNs.
Finally, you should know that Windscribe Pro doesn’t impose any limitations (unlike its free version). You get unlimited server switches, bandwidth, and unlimited data – just like you would expect from a premium-priced VPN.
With close to 500 servers on offer, Windscribe is on the lower end of the spectrum. Top-rated VPNs bring more than 5,000 units spread across the planet. Our Score: 3/10.
Now, let’s check how many servers this VPN brings. We’ll take a look at the total number of servers, number of locations, and more. Here’s what you need to know.
|Server Count Info|
|Number of Servers||480+|
|Number of Locations||110+|
|Number of Countries||60|
|Specific Cities Selection||YES|
In many cases, VPNs proudly state how many servers they offer. However, finding that information in the case of Windscribe is somewhat complicated. When you ask their support agents about the exact number of servers, they’ll tell you that you can count on 110+ locations. When pressed harder, they’ll say how many data centers they have, instead of providing on-point information. However, after doing our research, we’ve discovered that their network includes 480+ servers.
You get to connect to any server you want, which also includes specific cities and regions. Once again, you’ll see this company’s sense of humor as you browse the list of available servers. And finally, you get to jump between different servers as many times as you’d like – no limitations imposed, whatsoever.
Ease of Use
In general, Windscribe comes with a simple UI that’s suitable for both first-timers and more advanced users. Our Score: 10/10.
As you can see from the screenshots, Windscribe comes with a simple and intuitively designed interface. The home screen allows you to control all of the important aspects, like selecting a server, making a secure connection, and checking information like your real/virtual IP, and more.
When selecting a server, a drop-down list will appear with the names of different countries. On the left side of this list, you’ll see what kind of performance to expect. On the right, you can expand the list even further to connect to individual servers. There’s also an option to make certain servers your favorites, making it easier to connect to those in the future. To connect, simply click on the chosen server. It will take a few seconds until the connection is made active.
To dive deeper into setting up Windscribe, you’ll find a ‘hamburger-style’ button in the top left corner. This is where you can check your account, sign in/out, quit the application, open the official website if you need help, and this is where you’ll find the application’s settings window. Here’s what kind of fine-tuning you can do:
- General: This is where you can launch the application on system startup, and even automatically connect to the most recent location. Then, you can choose to display notifications, activate LAN traffic when the firewall is on, and change different aspects of the application’s behavior.
- Connection: If you want to fine-tune how Windscribe’s firewall is working, and to select between different VPN protocols, this is where you’ll find those options. The application can help you pick the best protocol by offering help, where you’ll be redirected to the official website.
- Proxy: In case you need to configure a LAN proxy, this is where you can do that. Windscribe allows you to set up a SOCKS5 proxy, useful for torrenting. You can also choose from additional options like Automatic and HTTP.
- Share: In case you’d like to share your secure connection with other devices, you can choose to create a hotspot. This is a very interesting feature, not often found among today’s VPNs.
- Debug: Lastly, this is where you can check out logs, review TAP driver information and more. Don’t forget that you can disable IPv6, which is done from this part of the application.
All in all, we can say that Windscribe is suitable for both first-timers and advanced users. It presents a straightforward UI that’s easy to understand and use. And if you need more control over different aspects of this VPN, you will see that Windscribe answers your needs.
Media Streaming & Torrenting Support
Windscribe works with Netflix (American and British). However, it doesn’t support Hulu, BBC iPlayer, not Amazon Prime Video. P2P in on the offer, though. Our Score: 4/10.
We’re now going to inspect if Windscribe is a good media streaming solution. We’ve tested this VPN with several hugely popular video streaming websites, so here are the results.
|Media Streaming & Torrenting Support|
|Amazon Prime Video||NO|
VPNs invest a lot of time and money into battling anti-VPN measures. However, it seems like major Web services such as Netflix and Hulu are always one step ahead. In terms of Netflix, you can use Windscribe to access its American and British version. We experienced zero problems, and it also seems like you can count on fast performance as well.
When it comes to BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and Prime Video – none of those servers work with Windscribe. We’ve tried all of those, and they managed to identify that we were using a VPN. With this said, our access was effectively blocked.
In terms of torrenting, Windscribe imposes no limitations. There are a few servers that don’t support P2P traffic, as clearly indicated within the application’s UI. Still, you should manage to find a nearby server that will bring the speeds that you expect.
Security & Privacy
We’re sure that Windscribe has the means to protect you online, without collecting any questionable data. However, let’s not forget its country of origin. Our Score: 8/10.
Understanding different features and reading the fine print can prove to be more challenging than expected. So, we did this job for you. Here’s in what ways this VPN can protect your data.
Supported Encryption Protocols
Windscribe uses two types of encryption, depending if you use its desktop applications or Web browser extensions. When it comes to desktop software, you can count on AES-256 with SHA512 authorization and a 4,096-bit RSA key. In simple terms, this is the strongest type of commercial encryption. We’re positive that your data will be fully encryption and inaccessible to third-parties. And when it comes to Web browser extensions, Winscribe is using AES-128-GCM. Once again, you’re covered well.
Depending on your needs, you can also count on a wide range of powerful protocols. Some of the best ones available via this application are OpenVPN (UDP and TCP), IKEv2, and StealthVPN.
What’s important to highlight is the fact that Windscribe doesn’t store any personally-identifiable logs. However, it does still collect some data.
Among the collected types of data, there’s your personal info. When you sign-up for the service, your transaction ID is stored for 30 days. Of course, you can also pay with Bitcoin to avoid any logging. And when you start using the application, the company will store data related to the chosen VPN server, OpenVPN username, amount of data transferred, and time of connection. All of this is deleted within three minutes once the session ends.
DNS Leak Test
As you can see from the image above, Windscribe doesn’t leak your personal information. It passed our DNS leak test with flying colors. Once connected to a secure server, third-parties on the Web will only see your virtual IP address, as well as a virtual ISP connected to a country where the chosen server originates from.
Speed & Performance
Windscribe isn’t the fastest VPN around. However, it’s among those with throttle your Web connection without having to affect your Web browsing habits. Our Score: 7/10.
You are probably wondering what kind of performance to expect from Windscribe? To give an answer to that question, we’ll test the speed of various servers on offer. So, let’s start with setting some baseline stats.
First, we need to check the speed of our Web connection, without involving Windscribe. After doing a speed test, we got 147.09 Mbps for downloads and 8.72 Mbps for uploads. We’ll use those numbers to calculate by what degree this VPN throttles our speed.
Windscribe detects your location and offers the closest server, which in turn should provide reliable performance. We’re located in Europe, and we found a server in one of our neighboring countries. Once connected, we run a speed test. We got 93.70 Mbps for downloads and 7.65 Mbps for uploads.
Finally, we’ve also checked the speed of a remote server. Just like in our every review, we connect to a server in the USA, as this country is a popular destination for VPN users. As you can see from the screenshot, we got 88.70 Mbps for downloads and 4.91 Mbps for uploads.
|Download Speed||Upload Speed||Speed Reduction|
|Baseline Speed||147.09 Mbps||8.72 Mbps||0%|
|Nearby Server||93.70 Mbps||7.65 Mbps||36.3%|
|Remote Server||88.70 Mbps||4.91 Mbps||39.7%|
We can conclude that Windscribe made our Web connection slowed by 38%, on average. This is among better results we’ve seen so far, even though there’s a number of VPNs bringing faster performance.
Even though there are several support channels, they are somewhat ineffective. Windscribe could seriously benefit from improving their customer support. Our Score: 5/10.
We can hope that Windscribe won’t give you any problems. However, if something unexpected happens, you’ll want supportive agents to help you. So, let’s take a look at all the ways that Windscribe offers assistance to their customers.
- Live-Chat (Bot): Wherever you go on Windscribe’s website, you will be followed by a friendly bot named Garry. If you have any questions, you can directly talk to Garry and hope he’ll understand your question. In our case, this type of help wasn’t all that useful. The bot understands questions, but it can’t provide the same level of help as a human would.
- Self-Help Material: If you’re willing to dive into finding an answer yourself, you can take a look at a comprehensive knowledge base. There’s also a handy FAQ section. And let’s not forget that you’ll find a series of setup guides
- Subreddit: This is the first VPN we’ve encountered that uses Reddit for customer support purposes. This is an active community and it looks like there’s a number of Windscribe moderators answering questions from time to time.
- Support Tickets: Finally, you can always submit an official support ticket. If you go for this method, expect to take up to 48 hours to receive a response.
All in all, Windscribe offers several ways to get help. However, their team isn’t as responsive, and it might sometime take days for your issue to be sorted out.
Windscribe is more affordable than its competitors. This especially goes for its long-term plan that saves you up to 55%. Our Score: 9/10.
At the moment, Windscribe offers two subscription plans. They come with the same feature set, and their only difference is in their duration. Take a look at the table below for more information.
|Total Price||Per Month||Savings|
Priced at $9.00 per month, Windscribe is among more affordable VPNs. For example, top-rated options right now are priced between $10.00 and $15.00. Therefore, it’s not dramatically more affordable but it comes with a competitive pricing scheme, nonetheless.
For the biggest savings, we recommend signing up for Windscribe via its 12-month plan. That’s how you can save up to 55% and pay only $4.08 per month. This plan fully unlocks the VPN, all of its servers, and it doesn’t impose any limitations whatsoever.
It’s also worth noting that there’s a 3-day money-back period included. However, make sure not to use more than 10GB of bandwidth, as this will make you ineligible for the refund. And finally, you can pay for this VPN by using credit cards, PayPal, and Bitcoin.
Do We Recommend Windscribe VPN?
In case you’re an average Internet user, we think that Windscribe might meet your needs. It can keep you safe online, packs advanced security features, and even unblocks Netflix. However, privacy-conscious users will mind the fact that it comes from Canada, which might be a problem in the long term. Still, we do believe that Windscribe is a very powerful VPN.
- PROS: Nicely designed UI; Covers numerous platforms; Unblocks Netflix; Reliable performance; Capable feature-set.
- CONS: Based in Canada; Not as helpful customer support; Small server network.
- OUR SCORE: 7.4 out of 10!
We’re sure that many of you could be perfectly happy with this VPN and it capable privacy-oriented features. If you’re intrigued by this VPN and want to learn more, go ahead and check our Windscribe on your own.