Windscribe is a relatively-new VPN service, in 2016 by Windscribe Limited in Toronto, Canada.
Despite that, their Chrome extension, which provides free proxy access to users, has already been used by over 630,000 people.
Not bad for a newcomer.
In this Windscribe review, we set out to discover if their VPN protocols (OpenVPN), encryption, and private network of worldwide servers was extensive enough to support this demand. Or whether their connection might buckle under the pressure.
Here’s everything we liked, disliked, and outright hated.
Windscribe has excellent device compatibility. Their encryption and protocol options are strong. The app was very user-friendly. Torrenting allowed (albeit, slightly limited).
And their Netflix-specific servers worked brilliantly.
Here’s what we loved about their service.
1. Strong Privacy & Encryption Features
Windscribe supports the best VPN protocols known to man (and women), including OpenVPN, IKEv2, and SOCKS5 protocols.
Curiously, the IKEv2 protocol is used by default, despite OpenVPN being the industry standard. (So you might want to make a mental note to switch back over ASAP when you start using it.)
The reasoning is because you’ll get access to best-in-class AES-256 cipher encryption (with SHA512 auth and a 4096-bit RSA key) for their desktop apps, and AES_128_GCM cipher for their browser extensions. These technical details will have security professionals salivating.
If you’re not a security professional, just realize that these basically mean “really f-ing secure.”
No known hacks have occurred at either end of this encryption spectrum.
But let’s not stop there.
Because all of the encryption in the world won’t protect you from the very VPN service you’re using. Many of the shady ones log your data. Or they use it to sell to the highest advertising bidder.
That’s not acceptable here.
So to verify, we dug through the snooze-worthy details and discovered that Windscribe does not keep any logs.
They do collect a few details.
This includes about a month’s worth of bandwidth to keep free users in check. Otherwise, they will also keep your OpenVPN username, server, connection time, and amount of data transferred for about three minutes.
Otherwise, their terms are pretty standard an in-line with the rest of the VPN market. No secrets or fine print that might come back to haunt you in the end.
2. No Leaks, No Viruses = Safe to Use
DNS and WebRTC leaks give users a false sense of security.
You don’t actually know they exist. You have no way of knowing when they occur.
The only way to spot them is to actively check the IP address your client is showing, with the one that each test actually sees.
The two better match.
Because if not, it means that everyone else observing this connection can also see where you’re truly located.
Windscribe’s leak tests show up under the Pros column for a good reason:
No leaks detected across five tests.
WebRTC leak test result:
IP leak test result:
DNS leak test result:
Leak test result 5
Just to triple check, we also ran their installation files through VirusTotal.com to make sure you weren’t exposing your devices to any other hidden, malicious software.
These tests also came out clean. Three cheers for Windscribe.
3. Windflix Feature to Bypass Netflix Restrictions
Windscribe’s normal servers won’t work with Netflix (we got zero out of three when testing).
If you have the impression that you can simply connect to any of their US or UK servers and start to use Netflix, you might be disappointed.
However, they do have special “Windflix” servers. And here’s where our luck turned around.
Both Windflix servers we tried, including the UK and US ones, worked perfectly.
- WINDFLIX US (New York – Radiohall)
- WINDFLIX UK (London – The Tube)
All in all, you can stream Netflix using Windscribe. If you’re using the right, Netflix-compatible Windflix ones.
4. Torrenting is Allowed
A VPN can help safeguard torrenting sessions, creating that impenetrable tunnel around your internet connection to keep you safe.
But a VPN won’t do you any good if it doesn’t work allow restriction-free use.
Some are starting to discourage or ban torrenting to make sure they don’t fall into any issues with DMCA complaints. Others will offer torrenting servers, but only a handful of them at best.
Where does Windscribe fall?
Technically, the allow it. Here’s a statement from their FAQ page regarding torrenting:
They also have tutorials on how to configure the following torrent clients:
However, not all of their servers support torrenting.
This comes down to the individual countries, and their stance on digital copyrights.
So yes, you can use Windscribe to lock-down torrenting sessions. But have a run through their servers, first, to make sure you can find some P2P-friendly ones that are relatively close to you.
5. Supports Multiple Devices Across Most Platforms
This might be one of Windscribe’s best aspects.
They have built-in apps for almost every platform imaginable.
That includes the basics, like Windows, Macs, iOS, and Linux. But it also extends to browsers with Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. Plus, they’ll also throw in a few smart TV apps for Amazon, Nvidia Shield, and Kodi.
Oh, and you can connect unlimited devices, too.
Pretty awesome, right?
They’re also compatible with routers, however, this will involve a few manual steps to go through the standard OpenVPN option as a workaround.
You can also connect gaming consoles through these routers. Otherwise, there are no pre-built options to point, click, and install.
6. User-Friendly App
We downloaded Windscribe apps on both Windows and Android devices.
The 14.4MB Windows install file only took about a minute to install. Here’s what the app’s interface looked like upon opening it for the first time:
Next, we clicked the drop down to cycle through their 124 data centers in 51 countries:
The Dallas server only took around ten seconds to connect. Not bad!
Next up, we installed the 12.30MB Google Play file on an Android and were up-and-running in no time.
Unfortunately, unlike the computer app, there were a few restrictions.
For example, the mobile app only provided access for up to 56 servers (vs. the 124 we saw earlier). We could no longer select individual cities in the U.S., but instead had to settle for “US Central.” We’ll unravel this odd discrepancy under the Cons section below.
Overall, though, usability was smooth and there were no major issues, lags, or crashes.
Windscribe is slow.
And they’re a bit pricey.
Especially when you don’t have access to all of the servers you’re supposed to have access to.
Confused about that last part? Don’t be.
I’ll explain it all over the next few sections.
1. Canadian Jurisdiction Inside Five Eyes
Windscribe is located in Toronto, Canada.
Canada is a founding member of the 5-eyes jurisdiction that dates back to World War II. Not great by itself. But even worse when you consider that this alliance means both the U.S. and UK can get their grubby hands on your personal data.
And Windscribe would have no option but to comply if forced.
The chances are slim, no doubt.
But there is a chance.
So that’s a risk you need to be comfortable living with.
2. Slows Down Your Internet Connection to Less Than 50%
Windscribe’s server performance placed them towards the bottom third of our rankings at 51 (out of 74).
This ranking was the direct result of a combined server score.
First, we take our benchmark reading to see what an unencumbered internet connection looks like. Here was ours:
Second, we start connecting to Windscribe servers across the world to get an average reading. Here’s what we found.
U.S. Central Server
- Ping: 140 ms
- Download speed: 29.74 Mbps (70% slower)
- Upload speed: 2.07 Mbps (96% slower)
- Ping: 46 ms
- Download speed: 17.25 Mbps (82% slower)
- Upload speed: 4.86 Mbps (91% slower)
- Ping: 92 ms
- Download speed: 42.97 Mbps (56% slower)
- Upload speed: 5.12 Mbps (90% slower)
Windscribe’s servers were consistently slow across the board. The upload speeds were especially atrocious, slowing speeds over 90% in each case. We even used a “Premium” account for these speeds!
3. Not All Of The 480+ Servers Are Active
Ok. Here’s where the server discrepancy comes back into play.
According to official records, Windscribe has access to 480+ servers in 51 countries.
But a total server network count around ~500 is respectable. It means you should have plenty of options to easily find fast servers at a moment’s notice.
That is, if they’re all available.
Which, for some strange reason, isn’t the case with Windscribe’s servers.
Check it out:
That image is on their website.
It shows New Zealand as a server location. Yet zero out of zero servers are available.
So in reality, you’re only getting access to a fraction of the servers being promoted.
This, in addition to the already-limited number available to mobile devices (vs. desktop) make Windscribe’s server numbers seem unreliable at best, or an outright lie at worst.
4. Questionable Support (Using Bots)
Some VPN companies still live in the Stone Age of customer support.
They only offer FAQs, forums, or ticket-based systems that can take days to get a response.
Windscribe, in comparison, features a chatbot.
Finally, a simple, fast way to get easy questions answered.
We were pretty excited to ask “Garry” about that odd zero server number under New Zealand.
Here was his response:
Didn’t really answer our question.
And unfortunately, “Garry” never did. He/they just kept repeating irrelevant answers that didn’t line up exactly with the question we were asking.
From there, we had to travel back in time by reaching out through a support ticket.
Ten hours later, we got this response:
GARRY! IS THAT U?!
Another automated, irrelevant answer. This time from Arthur, King of the Britons.
Yes, I get the reference. No, it doesn’t make me feel any better. Besides, Windscribe is a Canadian company. So the damn reference doesn’t even make any sense.
Seeing as we’re complete masochists, we sent yet another follow-up question. This one took 20 hours for a response.
Don’t. Even. Bother.
Windscribe VPN Cost, Plans & Payment Methods
Windscribe has three paid plans.
The monthly one falls around the middle of what you’d expect at $9 monthly. Whereas the annual and biannual plans offer massive discounts of over 55%+.
The Yearly Plan is $4.08/month, while the Biannual Plan is only $3.70/month (paid in full).
Payment options include PayPal, Credit Card, and Bitcoin.
If you’re unhappy for any reason, you can request a refund.
BUT, and this is a big but:
- You have to request the refund within three days of purchasing a plan
- And you can’t use more than 10BG of bandwidth during that time
This is a pretty terrible refund policy, to be honest.
If you have any doubts, don’t sign up. Instead, go forward with their free option for a little bit before committing. Because once you’ve paid, your money is basically gone.
Just keep in mind that the free option only allows access to 14 server locations and 10BG of data each month.
Also, don’t be naive.
‘Free VPNs‘ come with their own risks. Lots of them.
So buyer beware.
Do We Recommend Windscribe?
Windscribe is a pretty good choice if being Netflix-friendly is at the top of your list.
Their protocols, encryption, and logging policy are also legit. And we loved the platform compatibility.
But there are a lot of other troubling signs we experienced.
Server speeds were consistently slow for starters. And that’s a bad sign if you’re trying to stream Netflix movies. Netflix and Chill would be more like Netflix and I’m going home now.
Then, there were more pressing concerns.
A Toronto homebase doesn’t bode well for keeping your private information private, either.
And customer support was utterly useless. (Come at me Garry.)
Windscribe’s pricing doesn’t do you any favors, either. They’re at the high end of the spectrum, despite not having access to ‘all’ of their servers.
To top it all off, the refund policy is only that in name. No way you’re getting money back unless you walk an incredibly fine line for 72 hours.
If you want cheap, there are loads of cheaper VPN options out there.
Otherwise, just start at the top of this list and work your way down.
Add your own review:
Have you ever used Windscribe before? If so, what was your experience like? I’m always interested to hear what other enthusiasts have to say about the VPNs that I review! Let me know below.
20 user reviews for Windscribe
WINDSCRIBE DOES LOG!!!
WINDSCRIBE clearly states that they log for 3 minutes. If an agency/3rd party were to track and request your corresponding info within 3 minutes of initiating, then they will gladly hand your info over and disclose all that’s upfront.
..I agree with everything else though.
Getting better and better
The recent update have definetly taken care of a few issues Windscribe had been experience. I’ve noticed more consistent speeds and haven’t had any more problems when it comes to downloading.
Windscribe is easy to use, reliable, and secure. Pretty much everything you look for in a VPN and more! Great way to have ads and trackers blocked, great selection of countries, and great maintenance. The latest pupdate seems to have work as i’ve found downloading speeds have got even better.
Im not sure if the reviewer used the same service I did, but the speeds are GREAT, especially since their last update. I’m getting 100% of my normal speed while connected. It helps to try a few locations as Internet routing is more art than science.
A big chunk of the review id dedicated to “Why NZ is down”, really? Servers go down, it happens. It seems the reviewer tried to make a big deal over nothing. I’ve been using Windscribe for almost a year, and saw location downtime a handful of times, usually for very brief periods.
A good value that works well for me
I tried several VPN services when my previous VPN subscription was about to expire. These included Torguard, Nord, PrivateVPN, Proxy.sh, VPN.ac, and IbVPN. Actually they all seemed to work well for me and I think I wold be happy with any of them. I didn’t try them all with Netflix but Netflix does work for me on Windscribe. I can’t vouch for Windscribe’s speed because my satellite connection is slow, but it ran as fast on my connection as any of the others.
Windscribe seemed to have one of the better combinations of features, performance and price so I purchased a subscription. Its running without issue on my router, Android phone, Windows and Linux laptops. A solid 8/10 for me. Features like a true server to server double-hop connection (not just VPN to browser extension) and/or providing a TOR connection on a hosted exit node would make them a 10 in my book.
Great overall performance so far and I’m now on my 4th month with them. Would recommend upgrading to pro if you’re looking to have unlimited data, plus it does provide more locations to choose from. The features they have are great too and all of them seem to work really well. My personal favouties are being able to unblock US Netflix and geo-restricted sites, very handy when you’re travelling.
No speed issues anymore
I did have speed issues, however, they were all resolved in the latest version of the app with the new ikev2 protocol. I’m now getting 100% of my ISP’s speed.
Decent interface, but so far is slow.
Signed up for “lifetime” access last month, I think it was $55. The interface is nice and I like the firewall feature that blocks traffic until the VPN is connected, but I can’t get more than 50-60kb/s out of any of the sites even though I have a 60mb/s service. I will try the beta client with the ikev2 protocol that Fred mentioned and see if that improves anything.
Very satisfied with Windscribe and what it offers. They’ve really put a lot of time and thought into producing this VPN provider, and the overall performance definitely shows it was worthwhile. A very reliable provider that has everything you need to surf the internet safely all in one place. Love how you don’t need various other extensions to do other things such as block ads and tracker etc
SLOW!!! No netflix
My main purpose was to use it for NETFLIX, which is not possible, because the speed of the connection is 3mb! so no way it can stream FullHD content, let alone 4k! Forget it if you need to use for this reason.
Drops connection way too often
Started out good, but over the last two months, drops connection often, sometimes as often as every 3-5 minutes. Unless you can get it cheap – I paid $12 for a year on Humble Bundle, stick to the free version for now, even though their Netflix US and UK servers work.
in love with Windscribe! Love how simple it is to use, yet has so many great features. Surfing the net has never been as safe as it is when using Windscribe. I’m not that bright when it comes to this techincal stuff, but i’ve had a few dodgy experiences over the internet and decided to put some research into finding the best VPN that can give me the safety measures I need. I’ve found everything with Windscribe, all for free too! Highly recommending this VPN, it’s a must-have!
No netflix, but works
I use the free version and I like it. I can’t use it on netflix but it goes very well for download and streaming. The software is multiplatform (windows, mac, linux), really simple to use and even if it is free it allows you to choose a server.
Reliable free VPN
I’ve been using Windscribe and so far it seems pretty good. Some locations have better speeds than others, but I did read in one of their blogs or previous responses to a customer that it’s best to connect to a place nearer to where you actually are if the speeds seem to be especially slow that time. Personally, with what you can get on the free plan, it’s good enough to say this a rather satisfying VPN.
Works with Netflix
You have to connect to the WINDFLIX location in order to access Netflix US and UK. Works perfectly.
Speeds WERE bad, but if you get their beta version which includes the ikev2 protocol, I’m seeing 95% of my normal speed. Went from a 3/5 VPN (because of the speeds) to a solid 5/5.
Windscribe is good for the most part
I got a two year subscription to Windscribe VPN at a good price. They always seem to have some sort of a deal going which makes it good value for money. They have no bandwidth restrictions or device restrictions and recently added an Android app as well. They seem to have a wide selection of servers across the world. in the PC app, they have an option to select the best server location automatically.
Wish they would bring this to mobile as well. Speed performance can be a bit lacking during heavy traffic, but has been good for the most part. Overall, I think Windscribe is good value for money.
Windscribe VPN is Average
Based upon your review, I purchased the Pro version of Windscribe with the intent of using it to access Directv Now in Canada. I have satellite internet through Xplornet with about 35 mbps download. That 35 mbps became a maximum of 2.5 using TCP and various ports and US locations. Obviously not enough for my purpose. Constructively, may I suggest that consideration be given to the fact that users choose a vpn not only for security and it may not be the best alternative for avoiding content restrictions.
I’m also a Windscribe user and agree the data cap was a bit of a turn off however, seeing as it is free you can’t really complain. I did end up investing in the pro plan and it’s been great so far and in my opinion worth the upgrade. I’m now on my second month as a pro plan user.
I tried this VPN 6 moths ago and was not happy with the extremely slow performance.
After uninstalling / cancelling my account I am still being billed 6 months later.
My refund requests to support are replied with advice on using the app which I don’t even use anymore.
The account section of the site has no cancel button either. Major red flag!
Ok. This VPN slow. Really slow, even though I had a Pro plan a while ago. I could hardly stream Netflix, which is one of the main reasons I got it. The desktop application was eh. I wish it could have had more proxies. I ended up switching to Psiphon and it was a lot faster, and free.