Windscribe is a budget-friendly Canadian-based VPN. They offer two distinct services: a free VPN and a premium paid VPN. This review will focus on both services. Read on to learn everything you need to know about Windscribe.
With over 18,564,118 registered users, Windscribe is surely one of the most popular VPNs in the world. It offers both a free and a premium service, with each having its own features. We used our strict evaluation criteria to review this VPN in hopes that we could help you determine whether it’s worth investing in or not. Therefore, here’s the full 2020 Windscribe review.
Just like any VPN, Windscribe has its advantages and disadvantages. So, to kick off this review, here are the features we liked and disliked about this popular provider.
Versatile Payment Options.
Apps for all popular platforms.
Reliable extension for Chrome.
Stealth mode and port forwarding options.
Unlimited simultaneous connections.
Based in Canada.
Live Chat Support using Bots.
3-day Refund Policy.
1-day free trial.
No Smart DNS.
Users can set up this VPN client on a variety of platforms. In fact, most popular platforms are directly supported:
Windows, macOS, Linux Ubuntu.
Chrome, Firefox, Opera.
Android, iOS, and Windows devices.
DD-WRT, Tomato, and Asus.
Amazon Fire Stick.
We’ve tested the Android application. It’s very easy to use, and anyone can navigate through the options without having any problem.
Here’s what the Android application looks like:
As seen above, the connection process is very simple. We just selected a specific server and the application did its job connecting within seconds. In fact, the connection duration is one of the fastest we’ve ever encountered among VPNs.
They also have a detailed set-up guide section for devices with no native VPN apps, including Smart TVs and other Routers. Users can even find Windscribe pre-flashed routers for extra convenience.
Finally, the best part is that Windscribe allows users to connect an unlimited number of devices using the same account. It doesn’t matter if it’s free or Pro; users are getting unlimited concurrent connections.
Before getting to download any VPN application, one should consider what users have to say about it. Their personal experience helps a lot in determining the credibility of this VPN.
Windscribe has a lot of users around the world. This can be seen on the iOS App Store as the provider’s application has a 4.7/5 rating. Anyone can rate an app on the App Store, but if the ratings reach 7.5K, we must admit that it’s legit.
As for Android users, apparently, the application is very well received on the platform. According to what we saw on Google Play, the Windscribe application has more than a million downloads and a rating of 4.3/5.
Now, these ratings help us a lot in our review. And so far, Windscribe’s reviews are positive.
Trustpilot is one of the most trusting and credible review websites in the world. We certainly take what it has to say about a certain product when we’re evaluating its efficiency.
Even if the VPN provider managed to gather fake reviews, Trustpilot blocks that to maintain credibility. We visited the website to see what it has to say about Windscribe. Well, it was positive.
According to the website, Windscribe has a 4/5 star rating, which marks its services as Great.
Servers and Locations
Windcribe might not have the highest number of servers out there, but they do a great job with the quality of server connections they offer.
They have 110 server locations in 60 countries, covering an impressive bit of the world’s inhabited continents. They even have servers in the Middle East, which isn’t that common.
Their website states that all of their servers are physically present in the countries they’re said to be located in. Sadly, this is also not that common of a feature.
Most VPN providers have servers in the US and the UK, where they simply fake the location with false “IP WHOIS data” to make it appear as if it’s elsewhere.
As you can see, the higher server count is limited to the premium plan. With the free version of Windscribe, you do get equal access to 10 of the 60 countries on offer. Take a look at the huge difference below:
Bosnia and Herz
It’s very clear what the best choice here is. In our opinion, offering 10 servers in its free version is a good thing. Other VPN providers (Freemiums) only allow you to choose one, which they assign in the first place.
Speed and Performance
Windscribe showed some pretty stable connections across the board. While the VPN did slow down our internet speeds on servers with high user counts (mostly the UK servers), it was still good enough to perform most streaming and downloads.
Surprisingly, while using popular servers like Windflix US, our connection sustained the encryption and scored high-speeds. We performed speed tests using several servers. To shed some light on the matter, here’s everything we recorded:
The following image is the speed of our connection without connecting to Windscribe VPN. Don’t mind the speed; there was high traffic at that moment.
Next, we connected to a US Windflix server. Considering most people rely on that server to access American Netflix, we were shocked to see great speeds. Our connection only took an approximate 39% drop.
After that, we performed the same test on a UK Windflix server. According to the results, things took a detour to the south as we witnessed around 75% connection drop.
Finally, we used a random server by clicking on the Best Location feature. The speed was very good, yet not as good as the US Windflix server. Our connection suffered a 41% drop.
As a final verdict, Windscribe does offer some good speeds, even if the server is high in demand. However, other servers showed inconstancy with high ping time, which is considered to be a huge con.
Netflix Streaming Capability
Another great feature they offer is something called Windflix. Not all of Windscribe’s servers offer access to different Netflix libraries.
However, they do offer special “Windflix” servers for premium users. Windflix servers are servers that can bypass Netflix’s regional restrictions, including US and UK Netflix.
That’s a feature only available to those with a premium plan (paying customers). As for those who are looking to unblock the channel using the free service, we hate to be the bearers of bad news, but it’s not possible.
We conducted a few tests on the available servers the free version offers. To be frank, none of the servers worked. Netflix kept blocking our attempts no matter what American server we chose. We only received the following error message:
“Pardon the interruption. You seem to be using an unblocker or proxy. Please turn off any of these services and try again. Error Code: m7111-5059.”
So, basically, the free version will, in no way, access Netflix’s American library. But as we mentioned, Windscribe has dedicated servers for Netflix. They are well optimized to bypass Netflix’s VPN ban and access the channel’s US catalog abroad.
We tried a Windflix server in the United States. The results were positive. We selected Star-Crossed as it’s one of the titles that are only available in the States.
Next, we used a Windflix server in the United Kingdom, and we got the same outcome. Netflix UK was accessed without any issues.
With Netflix constantly blocking VPN providers, it’s good to find a VPN that is able to bypass this issue. However, please note that its Windflix servers are the ones able to do that; its free version did nothing.
Windscribe and Other Streaming Platforms
Netflix isn’t the only destination for most of the streamers out there. That’s why we checked other streaming services to see whether Windscribe is credible enough for such a task or not.
Top streaming channels like Hulu and BBC iPlayer also implement tough algorithms that help block VPN access. Before we performed our tests, we checked their support page. Apparently, Windscribe stated that they’re facing problems while accessing such platforms.
This is what the website states:
“Unfortunately, BBC, Amazon Prime, and some other streaming services have implemented algorithms that actively detect and block VPN traffic as a result of the pressure on them by content producers.
We’re currently working on a permanent bypass solution, but it’s a cat and mouse game at this point, so we don’t have an estimate on when it will work.
Sorry for the inconvenience, and we appreciate your support.”
Well, it doesn’t look so good based on what they had to say on their website. But according to our tests, Windscribe showed completely different results:
Hulu: We connected to a Windflix server in the United States. Windscirbe easily accessed the channel outside the United States. No VPN block occurred.
BBC iPlayer: Using a Windflix server in the UK, we were able to unblock BBC iPlayer with ease.
Amazon Prime Video: This one gave us some trouble while trying to unblock it. A US Windflix server did not unblock the channel at first. After a few trial and error attempts with several servers, we used the US Windflix server again, and it worked. It’s kind of weird, but we’re impressed.
Just like the case with Netflix, the free servers won’t get you these streaming platforms. You’ll get blocked as soon as you try to view them.
Smart DNS Proxies
We’ve tried a lot to get a hold of a human support member but to no avail. Their live chatbot, Garry did not understand what our question was, despite using different approaches every time.
The last time we tried, the bot replied about something that has to do with third-party antivirus software. When we asked again in a different way, the bot explained how to download the app. And finally, it brought up the service’s Firewall. That’s when we gave up.
After that, we went ahead and submitted a ticket. We’re still waiting on that, but did not just stop there. With a bit of research, we found what we’re looking for on Reddit in the form of “an official comment” from Windscribe answering the following question:
“Any DNS servers that can be used on an Apple TV for getting geo-blocked content?”
Apparently, they do not have Smart DNS but are willing to upgrade their R.O.B.E.R.T service into unblocking services abroad.
Windscribe allows users to perform P2P activities on almost every server available on its list. However, when we were checking the servers’ status, we found that a few of them had the P2P status crossed.
According to their FAQ section, users shouldn’t be using any file-sharing/p2p/torrent applications while connected to these locations. In case anyone misses them, users are not supposed to connect to servers in India, Lithuania, Russia, and South Africa.
Windscribe – Privacy
Windscribe’s potential privacy is a little confusing for the average user. On one hand, the VPN is located in Canada. On the other, they have a pretty solid zero-logs policy.
Let us explain why this is both a good and bad thing. Canada is part of the Five Eyes surveillance agreement. It also has laws that force ISPs to keep logs on their users. Even worse, the CSIS has been caught monitoring its citizen’s data. In other words, it’s not the ideal country to base a VPN in.
However, Windscribe’s no-logs policy does lessen the danger. Windscribe is very clear in stating that they only allow one connection on one device at a time. That means that at some point, they do monitor your account, but at a minimal level.
According to their website:
“When you use Windscribe, we keep the following data associated with your account:
Total amount of bytes transferred in a 30 day period. Bandwidth reset date is in your “My Account” section.
Timestamp of your last activity on the Windscribe network.
This data is used to enforce free tier limitations, prevent abuse and weed out inactive accounts.
The following data is NOT stored:
Historical record of VPN sessions
Sites you visited
We are firm believer that one’s browsing history should be taken to one’s grave.”
So, based on what they’re claiming, it’s safe to say that Windscribe is credible when it comes to privacy.
Windscribe – Security
Windscribe uses an AES-256 cipher with SHA512 authorization and a 4095-bit RSA key. The provider also uses DHE to support Perfect Forward Secrecy.
They also support IKEv2, and SOCKS, as well as OpenVPN, which is the industry-standard protocol. They also have:
DNS Leak protection.
P2P supporting servers.
A kill switch also referred to as Fire Wall.
A Double Hop feature for added security on Chrome (an extension).
Stating what they already have on their website is not enough to prove anything. That’s why we take into consideration several factors when it comes to evaluating a provider’s security.
Short for Remote Omnidirectional Badware Eliminating Robotic Tool, this technology is mainly a malware, phishing, botnet, and ad blocker, operating at the DNS level of the provider’s servers.
Whatever the device is, if users are using Windscribe’s VPN on it, R.O.B.E.R.T is there to protect them. The technology also makes browsing faster as it blocks ad-serving and user-tracking data traffic.
Using R.O.B.E.R.T, Windscribe subscribers will be able to:
Create their own blocklists.
Block access to porn sites and several sexually explicit content.
They get to block known sources of fake news and hoax stories.
Stop access to known gambling sites.
Block other VPN service trackers and ad serving tools
Blocking other VPNs is very good for the competition. Almost all VPN companies track you across the web and bombard you with their ads and compromise your privacy before you even become their customer.
With R.O.B.E.R.T, you can block that and stop receiving ads from other VPN providers.
At first, we did some tests to see if Windscribe was leaking any of our data. In order to do so with complete precision, we used to sources, ours and a different one.
The provider recorded mixed results. On the other website (not ours), it came up with excellent results where no data leaks were spotted. Here’s an illustration of what we got:
As seen above, there are no signs of any possible data leaks. However, using our website’s WebRTC leak detector, we’ve witnessed different results. Apparently, there’s a possible leak recorded:
Based on what reviewed before, both sources are credible. In our test engine, there’s a potential leak, but we can’t be certain that it’s actually leaking.
VPN applications are no strangers for virus implementations. Users never know if a VPN has embedded viruses or malware inside the application.
That’s why, when we evaluate and review a certain VPN, we perform a virus scan and give readers the results they need. During our test, it turned out the WIndscribe has 0 infections (Windows application).
All results were green, which is a perfect score as the results come from various websites and scans. Here’s a quick look at what we got:
That shows how well Windscribe works when it comes to their apps’ security.
We do rely on third-party auditing to see if the VPN is up for the task of protecting users. We looked for a credible source, but couldn’t find any.
However, we found a statement by Yegor Sak (Windscribe’s Founder) regarding the no-logging policy of Windscribe. As he said, the provider needs no third-party interference:
“Eventually, I wanna go as far as allowing SSH access to these machines to anyone who wants to verify our “no logging” claims. No need to rely on some 3rd party audit, just go on the VPN server and see for yourself. But that will take some time.”
If they’re that confident about their product, then the no-logging policy should be as legit as it can be.
VPNs, just like any online website, might get a letter from the FBI or government asking them to hand over data on specific users. If they don’t already collect data, the request might involve them to start doing so.
The subpoena also demands that the VPN does not warn the user of the data-logging in any possible way. That’s why Warrant Canaries exist, as they’re an indirect way to inform users of such violations or requests.
In Windscribe’s case, there’s no Warrant Canary, but they do have a transparency report. According to a Tweet by the provider:
It doesn’t end here. According to the Windscribe’s Transparency Report, they’ve received thousands of requests to share user information, but they did not comply with any as there’s nothing to hand over.
Getting requests is not a problem at all, every website/provider gets those. However, disclosing them would mean that your privacy has been compromised. According to the data in the report, exactly zero requests were complied with due to the lack of relevant data.
Windscribe offers customer support via both live chat and email. The thing is, a lot of users have complained about the live chat feature. Apparently, not a lot of people are convinced of the “live” part. or the “human” aspect, for that matter.
We tried contacting the provider via live chat, and we did notice a lot of weird answers. By the end of the chat, the one speaking to us did mention that he’s a bot and if he could redirect us to humans.
Furthermore, not all of our questions were answered properly. We asked if the provider offers a Smart DNS feature, the bot did not understand what we were asking for, so it suggested we speak to a human.
Apparently, and according to the bot, we can only contact their support team via tickets. When we asked them about the time we needed to wait for a response, that’s where everything went south:
Having a bot to answer users’ question may be fast and sometimes effective, emphasis on “sometimes.” In our opinion, we’d rather wait a bit to get a proper answer from a proffesional, rather than chatting with a bot that won’t solve our problem.
Pricing and Accounts
As I mentioned above, Windscribe has two distinct offers: A free VPN service and a premium paid-for service. In general, I suggest staying away from free VPNs. So, unless you just want to test out Windscribe before you subscribe to it, I don’t suggest the free version. However, when it comes to the premium version, you have 3 plans you can choose from:
$9 a month – monthly plan.
$49 every year – yearly plan ($4.08 a month)
Buildable Monthly Plan (1$ per location/service)
These rates aren’t the cheapest VPN rates available, however, they do still beat out a lot of the more expensive VPN providers. One thing that grabbed our attention is the Build A Plan Option.
This feature allowed us to choose whichever location we want for $1 per month. However, there’s one condition; the minimum amount of locations should be at least two.
Moreover, each location added will add an extra 10GB monthly traffic. But while we select the location, we can also check the R.O.B.E.R.T feature, along with unlimited bandwidth for also $1 a month.
The best thing about this is that we get to choose which locations matter to us. Let’s face it, there are hundreds of servers we’re not interested in. So, overall, we can get the Pro Version of Windscribe (Built according to our standards), and eventually pay around $4 dollars a month.
This is something none of the VPNs we came across before offered. It’s something to consider as it allows users to access Windscribe’s Pro service while staying on a limited budget. In the image above, we just checked Windflix US and UK to test out the streaming services below.
Windscribe offers versatile payment options for its users. You can pay with:
We were truly impressed to find that Windscribe offers anonymous payment methods such as Bitcoin. Cryptocurrency has been important for those who care about their privacy, and offering such an option attracts them.
Their refund policy isn’t the greatest, to be frank. At least they do offer one, however:
The window is open for only 3 days.
It only applies if you’ve purchased the service through Windscribe themselves.
You should only have used up to 10 GB of data on the account.
Here’s what the “Terms of Service” section states:
“Once you have subscribed you have the right to obtain a full reimbursement, provided you purchased the subscription directly from Windscribe, and given that your request is sent within 3 commercial days from the subscription payment.”
So…this a fail from us. It isn’t unheard of in the VPN community to offer 30 day window periods for no-questions-asked refunds. Although, in Windscribe’s defense, they do have a free version you can test out as long as you want before upgrading.
Despite having a free version to test out, it’s not that good of an image for the provider. As we mentioned above, the free version is not that credible and it won’t allow users to access Windscribe’s Pro services. So, what’s the point?
Technically, the provider does not offer a free trial. However, we took it to the support team and asked if we could get access to their premium service.
The chatbot helped us with this and offered to give us a 24-hour premiumtrial by signing up with our existing free account. Once we signed in, the bot asked us a few questions about our username and then activated our free Windscribe Pro trial.
While 24 hours may not be much to test a specific service, at least the VPN is trying. Other VPN services lack that privilege, but for a VPN that has a 3-day refund policy, their free trial should be a bit longer.
Windscribe – The Verdict
All in all, Windscribe isn’t a bad VPN if you want to go for something with a user-friendly interface and straightforward features. However, for the more experienced VPN user, this provider simply won’t cut it. In that case, I suggest you go through our best selected Windscribe alternatives.
Name: Windscribe VPN
Description: We were pleasantly surprised with all what this VPN service provider has to offer.
A reader, writer, and avid internet user. Hiba has spent the better part of her adult life looking for ways to have a safer and more user-friendly online experience, all while praising the uses of VPN connections to anyone who would listen.