Windscribe is a relatively new VPN service provider based in Ontario, Canada. Its VPN software packs a nice set of nifty features and offers a high level of protection, which is why it has quickly won over a large number of users. In this Windscribe review, we will highlight all the advantages and shortcomings of this VPN.
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Windscribe has made sure the signup process is as quick and easy as possible and it does not even require an email address, which is great news, as it increases your anonymity. Once you create an account with a username and password of your choice, you need to download the software. The instructions are easy to follow and the wizard takes you through the installation process, allowing you to have the software running in minutes.
Just like the company’s website, the Windscribe client is modern, well designed, and boasts incredible functionality. Everything you need is at your fingertips and there are no unnecessary distractions. The white-on-blue color scheme is pleasant and the font is large enough. Most features come with an on/off slider button, making the app extremely simple to use.
Performance and Reliability
Windscribe operates servers in 45 locations all over the world. These include standard server locations like the United States, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, and the Netherlands, but also some less common countries like Egypt, Eastern European countries, and countries in Southeast Asia. Although the servers are not that numerous, their distribution is excellent, which allows you to unlock virtually any blocked content you want to view.
The speeds are not as great as we hoped they would be. They do fall below average and rarely go above average. That being said, we have to admit that even though we expected more, we had no major issues with downloading and streaming content, regardless of the quality of the video. You may have to wait for a couple of seconds for a video to buffer, but most of the time, there should be no glitches and the experience should not be too different from the one without the use of a VPN. With the recently introduced option to directly connect to data centers in different cities, the experience should be further enhanced.
The performance is rather good and we are happy to report that we detected no DNS, IP or WebRTC leaks. Paying users get to enjoy unlimited bandwidth, which allows for carefree use, without any worries about the amount of data transferred.
Windscribe boasts great device compatibility. It works on Windows (XP, Vista, 7, 8, and 10), Mac (10.8+), Linux devices that support OpenVPN, iOS (8+), and Android (4.0.3+). It can be manually configured on DD-WRT and Tomato routers with the help of tutorials on the Download page of the Windsribe website or you can purchase a preconfigured Windscribe router. You can also opt for browser extensions, which are available for Chrome, Firefox, and even Opera, which is not something you see every day.
Another amazing perk of going with Windscribe is the possibility to use the software on an unlimited number of devices with a single account. Most VPN providers allow you to use their software on up to 5 devices at most, so this is one of the great features that set Windscribe apart from the competition.
Windscribe lets you choose between 3 connection modes, making sure you can connect even if a certain port is blocked. The modes available are UDP, the default mode, TCP, the more resilient, yet slower mode, and Stealth via Stunnel as a last resort for extremely restrictive areas, such as China.
The software comes equipped with a kill switch, labeled as a firewall, with 3 modes. You can choose automatic mode as the safe choice, opt for manual if you know exactly when it should be turned on and off or pick the Always On option, which leaves you without an Internet connection when Windscribe is not active.
P2P sharing is allowed, so you can freely use torrents. Certain servers come with a crossed out P2P icon, which means they are not to be used for P2P sharing. Cruise Control is one of the special Windscribe features. It automatically chooses the optimal server for you and switches servers when necessary. Double Hop is another useful feature that allows you to connect to a second location, making it even harder to trace your traffic. However, this may slow down your connection significantly.
As one of the rare VPNs that are still working on ways to bypass US Netflix blocks, Windscribe offers its users the chance to access the expanded Netflix library from anywhere in the world by using the service’s browser extensions. Just connect to the WINDFLIX location and you should be able to view US Netflix wherever you are.
Windscribe comes with IPv6 and DNS leak protection and also offers great privacy options. Its multi-functional anti-tracking system called R.O.B.E.R.T blocks trackers and other malicious entities at the DNS level, thus preventing the bad guys of the Internet from ever reaching your device. With this useful feature, you can block everything that can spoil your online experience, including malware, ads, clickbait, fake news, sexually explicit content, cryptominers, gambling sites, select social networks and their trackers, and VPNs other than Windscribe that may track your activity and bombard you with ads.
Recently, the service has launched a new beta version of its app, with plenty of handy features to try out. Some of these include creating a secure WiFi hotspot and a local HTTP or SOCKS5 proxy server on your PC, the possibility to select NDIS5 TAP driver, automatic login upon signup, service notifications, and many others. Not only that, but the numerous bugs and shortcomings of previous versions have been successfully eliminated.
Finally, it is worth noting that at the end of 2018, the company launched port forwarding due to overwhelming customer demand. Currently, port forwarding is exclusively available with static IPs, which come with an extra fee.
Security and Privacy
Windscribe uses OpenVPN as its default protocol, with AES 256-bit encryption with SHA512 authentication and a 4096-bit RSA key. If you use devices that support IKEv2 or SOCKS5, you can use Windscribe on these devices thanks to the configuration generators found in the Download section of the site. With the security features described in the previous section of this Windscribe review and strong encryption, this VPN software brings you top-level security and protection.
When it comes to anonymity, Windscribe does extremely well. It does not keep logs of your activity or monitor what you do while using the software. We have mentioned before that signing up does not require an email address and if you pay with BitCoin, there is absolutely no personal information shared between you and the company.
You do not get a wealth of options when it comes to customer support, but the company justifies it by claiming that if you need too much help to use its software, it’s not doing its job right. You can check out the one-page FAQ section, which covers all the basic questions. If you need help setting up the software, you can turn to the handy setup guides. If neither of these options satisfies your needs, you can contact the support staff via the ticketing system and get a response in a couple of hours. We have to say that the Windscribe staff is among the most professional and knowledgeable we have encountered so far. Live chat is not available.
Windscribe offers 3 plans to its users. You can test the service with the limited free version, which can be used on as many devices as you wish. This version allows you to access only 11 server locations and includes 10 GB of free bandwidth, which is rather generous.
Paid subscriptions come in two forms, including the monthly and annual plans. They both include all Windscribe features and come with unlimited bandwidth and devices. The monthly subscription costs $9 per month while the annual subscription is billed annually and costs only $59 ($4.91 per month).
If you want to make use of port forwarding, you can get a datacenter static IP for $2 per month or a residential static IP for $8 per month. Payment options include Visa, MasterCard, American Express, PayPal, and Paymentwall, as well as BitCoin for complete anonymity.
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.
- Bank-grade encryption
- Port forwarding
- Great device compatibility
- Unlimited bandwidth
- P2P sharing allowed
- No activity logs
- Excellent suite of security features
- Great privacy options
- Use the software on an unlimited number of devices
- Free version
- Affordable annual subscription
- Slightly higher prices
- Modest speeds