Windscribe is a relatively young Internet privacy and security company headquartered in Ontario. Since its inception in April 2016, it has accumulated more than 4 million users worldwide and received praise from trusted publications like CNET, Techradar, and Lifehacker.
The company is entirely self-funded (and profitable), which allows it to focus entirely on providing its users with the best privacy and security solutions imaginable. If this sounds like something you might be interested in, keep reading our candid Windscribe review to learn more about the service and its capabilities.
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Speed & Performance
Our testing team located in Belgrade, Serbia (Europe) experimented with 21 Windscribe servers over a period of one week to gauge its average speeds and determine how its encryption package affects connections on different server locations.
Surprisingly, our top performer was a server in New York, followed by Stockholm, London, and Perth. Servers in Miami, Paris, and Singapore also provided us with decent performance while we had traditionally subpar results in India (Nagpur), which managed to retain only 0.54% of our original download speed.
Windscribe guarantees unlimited server switching, speeds, and bandwidth (for premium users) and we did not experience any major problems or sudden disconnects during our tests for this Windscribe review. The client takes mere seconds to connect to any server, including those in the US.
|Location||Ping (ms)||Download (Mbps)||Upload (Mbps)|
|New York, US||130||21.07||3.49|
|Los Angeles, US||189||16.39||1.13|
Windscribe supports all the major platforms, including Windows (XP, Vista, 7, 8, and 10), Mac (10.09 – 10.10 and 10.11+), Linux (Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, CentOS), iOS (9+), Android (4.2.2+/direct APK), Amazon Fire TV (Gen 2+), Nvidia Shield, and Kodi. The Blackberry download button on the official website was only implemented as a joke. Windscribe also offers browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera, as well as manual setup tutorials for routers (DD-WRT and Tomato). Alternatively, you can purchase one of the pre-configured Windscribe routers.
Windscribe features hundreds of servers spread across 60 countries and 110 cities, with free users having access to a portion of this network. The company guarantees unlimited speeds, bandwidth, and server switching. Free users, however, have access to 10GB per month and need to purchase a premium subscription in order to get more traffic.
Windscribe offers shared IP addresses, which enables you to “blend into the crowd” perfectly during your online sessions. Alternatively, premium users can purchase a static IP, either for residential or datacenter usage. This option lets you use port forwarding with up to 10 ports per device, avoid blacklists, implement better access control or share IPs with other members of your ScribeForce (subscription option designed for teams).
Windscribe supports unlimited simultaneous connections, which is a vastly superior option to being able to secure only a couple of your favorite devices at the same time. Sharing your VPN connection within one household is allowed, but distant account sharing is perceived as a violation.
Safety & Security
Windscribe supports the following connection protocols:
- OpenVPN (TCP/UDP) – Offers the best balance between security and speed;
- IKEv2 – Used as a default option but easily blocked;
- Stealth – This mode encloses OpenVPN within a TLS tunnel via Stunnel. It should be used only in countries with extremely high levels of government censorship (China, for example) when all other protocols fail;
- Wstunnel – Encloses OpenVPN within a WebSocket. You should use it only in extreme cases.
Windscribe encrypts your traffic with AES-256 cipher paired with 4096-bit RSA key and SHA-512 authentication. This is a very solid setup that even the most modern computers cannot crack. On top of this, the company provides its users with perfect forward secrecy, which means that the software generates a new session key every time you connect to WIndscribe. In other words, even if some malicious online entity manages to get a hold of your encryption key, they will not be able to do anything with it the moment you end your online session.
Windscribe also implements a piece of software called R.O.B.E.R.T. that allows you to block ads and trackers, avoid malware infections, customize access rules, and optimize loading times of the sites you visit since you will not be seeing any ads or trackers.
You can also use split-tunneling to customize your VPN protection by choosing to route some of your apps through a secure VPN tunnel and leave some unprotected.
Apart from featuring a powerful firewall, desktop apps enable you to generate a secure hotspot and effectively turn your device into a Wi-Fi router or create a proxy network for other devices.
Browser extensions, on the other hand, come with the following features:
- AutoPilot – Automatically picks the optimal server for your location;
- Double Hop – Routes your connection through two Windscribe servers instead of one;
- Ad blocking – Blocks ads and trackers, which also lowers overall loading times;
- Time Warp – Alters your time zone to match the location you are connected to;
- Cookie Monster – Keeps track of all the cookies and deletes them when you close the tab;
- Split Personality – Rotates your user agent randomly to lower the chances of basic fingerprinting;
- WebRTC Slayer – Blocks WebRTC to prevent any potential leaks.
Windscribe representatives shy away from the term killswitch, deeming it incorrect and misleading. They use the term firewall to denote the same thing. In other words, the implemented firewall will prevent your devices from establishing any type of connection outside the secure tunnel provided by Windscribe. This functionality will also drop your connection entirely in case your VPN becomes compromised or disconnected.
Logging & Privacy
Windscribe collects the following data:
- When you visit the website – Windscribe uses Piwik web analytics platform to gauge the usage of the official website. The platform is hosted on its own servers, so your activity on the site cannot be seen by anybody else.
- When you sign up – The registration process requires a username and a password, nothing more. You can also provide your email address if you want to be able to recover your password in case you forget it. However, if you choose NOT to enter your email, you will only get 2GB per month instead of 10. If you purchase a premium subscription, the company will also store your transaction ID for a period of 30 days.
- When you use the service – In order to track the aforementioned 10GB caps, Windscribe records the total amount of bytes transferred within one month. It also keeps the timestamp of your last activity on the network. Note that Windscribe DOES NOT monitor or log your source IP, historical records of your VPN sessions or the sites you visited. In other words, you do not have to worry about traffic logs of any kind.
- When you are connected to the server – When you establish a connection with any given server, the company stores your time of connection, OpenVPN/IKEv2 username, and the amount of transferred data. This information is stored in the server’s memory and discarded when you disconnect. In order to prevent account sharing, the company also monitors and stores information about the number of parallel connections on your account.
If you choose to delete your Windscribe account, the only information that will remain is your username, password, and email address (if provided).
Since Windscribe logs a bare minimum of user data, any legal warrants requesting your information would yield nothing of value. In other words, there is no way to link any type of online activity with your user account.
As we already mentioned in this WIndscribe review, the software comes with some pretty impressive speeds that allow you to stream in full HD without any buffering issues or similar problems.
Windscribe features server locations dedicated to unlocking different regional versions of Netflix called WINDFLIX. However, these are premium locations and as such, unavailable to free users. At the moment, there are WINDFLIX US, UK, and Canada. There is still no server dedicated to Japan, but we hope there will be one in the future.
Windscribe allows torrenting on all server locations except India, Japan, and WINDFLIX. Simply connect to any other location and you can enjoy P2P filesharing without any problems. Having said that, the company does warn its users against any illegal activities.
Plans & Pricing
Apart from its free limited version, Windscribe offers three different subscriptions, including 1 month for $9.00 per month, 1 year for $4.08 per month, and a custom plan where you can choose the number of servers for $1 per location. You can also purchase a static IP for $8.00 per month (residential) and $2 per month (datacenter). If you want to buy VPN protection for your entire team, this option costs $3 per seat on a monthly basis.
Windscribe accepts credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, and American Express), PayPal, Paymentwall, and Bitcoin. Since you have access to a completely free limited version of the software, the company only offers a 3-day money-back guarantee. However, if you exceed 10GB of usage, you will not be eligible for a refund.
Windscribe features a very informative and comprehensive support section on the official website paired with a friendly bot named Garry that plays the role of a live chat operator and is perfectly capable of answering most of your questions. Impressive as he may be, Garry is still just a bot, so he will direct you to a human support representative the moment he is unable to provide you with a satisfactory answer. This is a very elegant solution in our opinion and Garry was able to answer 99% of our inquiries.
Windscribe Pros & Cons
As we wrap up this Windscribe review, here’s a quick overview of the features that wowed us and the aspects of the service that could use some improvement.
- Good speed and server performance
- Solid encryption
- Numerous security features
- Automatic killswitch
- Port forwarding
- Perfect forward secrecy
- Servers in 60 countries
- Supports all popular platforms
- Config generators for OpenVPN, IKEv2, and SOCKS
- Dedicated servers for Netflix
- Torrenting is allowed
- No traffic logs
- Excellent customer support bot + live support
- Free limited version
- 3-day money-back guarantee