|Price||$49 on a 1-Year Plan|
|Servers||600+ Servers in 60 Countries|
|Works in China||No|
|Compatibility||Windows, Android, Apple, Chrome, Firefox, FireTV|
Launched in 2016 and headquartered in Canada, Windscribe quickly started off as one of the best newbie services in the marketplace. It took a fresh approach to a crowded market, presenting an incredibly versatile product.
Sadly, instead of improving over the years, the service has deteriorated in terms of performance. It fails at unblocking streaming sites like Netflix, does not offer any incentive to Chinese users, and has a poor server network.
If anything, I do appreciate the “free” plan offered by the plan with a generous 10 GB bandwidth limit. However, if you are looking for a one-stop solution for all your VPN needs, Windscribe may not be the best provider.
Read this 2020 Windscribe VPN review, to learn more about the providers’ security, transparency, pricing, servers, performance, compatibility, support and more.
- Jurisdiction: Where is Windscribe Based?
- Security: Is Windscribe a Secure VPN?
- Leaks: Does Windscribe Hide Your IP?
- Servers: How Many Servers Does Windscribe Offer?
- Streaming: Does it Work for Netflix & Other VoDs?
- Speed: How Fast is Windscribe VPN?
- Compatibility: Apps and Supported Devices
- Pricing: How Much Does Windscribe Cost?
- Trustworthiness: Trustpilot Ratings, Reddit & Customer Support
Jurisdiction: Where is Windscribe Based?
Windscribe has its headquarters in one of the founding countries of the 5 Eyes Alliance; Canada. This automatically reduces its credibility quite a lot, as the country imposes mandatory data retention and mass surveillance laws on residents.
Surely, Justin Trudeau has worked hard on developing such a “progressive” image of the country, but their legal framework with regards to “privacy” are highly invasive and unjust. Their government regularly cooperates with ISPs, telecom providers, etc.
It also indulges in intelligence sharing with other nations part of the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliances. Therefore, while VPNs may not necessarily be “illegal” in the country, they are mandated to share all personal data to the government.
Security: Is Windscribe a Secure VPN?
After going in-depth into Windscribe VPN’s location, logging policy, encryption and apps, I can say without any second thoughts the VPN is not a safe choice. I will break down the “why’s” in the sections below for your ease-of-understanding.
Since Windscribe is located in Canada, part of the Five Eyes surveillance agreement, they do indulge in the illegal accessing of citizens’ metadata. Not to mention, ISPs in Canada are supposed to comply with the Bill C-11 (Anti-Piracy Legislation).
If you analyze it, you will notice that Windscribe states they record your bandwidth and even timestamps to “prevent abuse and weed out inactive accounts.” However, this is still recording of crucial information, which isn’t safe at all.
Encryption and Protocols
Windscribe does not offer much versatility regarding the protocols available for connection. It uses the most secure option on the market, OpenVPN. Considering that this is the preferred choice for a majority of VPN users, it is not a bad decision by the provider.
You can easily establish a secure connection via UDP (default mode). If you are facing trouble in connecting via UDP, the VPN will automatically shift to TCP to eliminate delayed connections and downtimes.
This may reduce speeds, but offers exceptional security. If TCP does not work either, there is a Stealth mode available. It is the best option for use in countries that boast extremely strict internet laws, like China.
For encryption, Windscribe uses AES-256 ciphers coupled with SHA-512 authentication and the strongest 4096-bit RSA key for handshaking – in addition to supporting Perfect Forward Secrecy using Diffie Hellman (DHE).
App File Check
For a complete security review on Windscribe VPN, I decided to check their apps for viruses. Fortunately, none of their VPN clients contain any viruses, after running them through VirusTotal. The results for their Windows app are shown below:
Advanced Security Features
Though Windscribe VPN does lose some points because of its questionable logging policy and headquarters in an “Internet Enemy” jurisdiction, it tries making up for it by offering a good list of security features. These include:
Windscribe Kill Switch
All Windscribe applications come equipped with a built-in kill switch feature. It typically protects your identity and information, following the disconnection of the VPN service.
Kill Switch does this by disabling the internet on your device, until the VPN client regains connectivity through the encrypted tunnel for keeping your identity secure.
In addition to a Kill Switch feature, Windscribe comes equipped with a handy Firewall feature. This works hand-in-hand with the kill switch. It ensures that there are no packet leaks.
Especially, when the connection drops (as the OS itself will make requests behind the scenes). With a firewall, all connectivity outside of the VPN remains blocked. This guarantees there are no leaks at all.
Ad and Tracker Blocking
One of the best things about the Windows Client is that it comes with built-in ad and tracker blocking features. When you access certain websites, they may leave tracker cookies in your browser.
This means, your internet activity is not safe from the eyes of others. However, with Windscribe automatically blocking ads and trackers, you do not have to worry about compromising on privacy.
IPv6 and DNS Leak Protection
Another exceptional trait of Windscribe is that it offers IPv6 and DNS leak protection. All DNS requests go through an incredibly secure tunnel, which ensures there are no leaks whatsoever.
The client also overrides your ISP’s DNS. This guarantees that they cannot snoop on your activity. To activate this feature, you will have to connect via Stealth – a TCP protocol via Stunnel.
This unique feature built into the Windscribe client automatically selects the best server, according to your location and network speed. This allows users from all over the world to receive nothing but the best service.
The VPN will keep rerouting you to locations that are receiving less load/traffic. However, users can still manually shift to a server, if they want to bypass geo-restricted content.
Windscribe enables users to leverage DoubleVPN, a new form of protocol that uses two server locations for masking your IP address and traffic even further.
For instance, at one side you can connect to Canada, while simultaneously to somewhere in the UK. This may slow down your internet, but offers double the protection – hence why it goes by the name “Double Hop”.
In addition to their VPN product, Windscribe offers a separate Secure.link URL shortening service. It typically allows users to create secure links from their browser by simply right-clicking on any page and hitting the “Copy Secure.link” button.
You can even manually paste any website URL here. The website will scan the destination page for known ad beacons and trackers and alert users by generating a “report card”.
This feature from Windscribe typically helps in keeping tracking of cookies after enabling them on your browsers. It helps in identifying cookies with trackers, so you can disable them.
Windscribe’s infamous Split Personality helps in rotating your user agent for minimizing fingerprinting probability. A user agent is the technology that recognizes type of operating system.
Another remarkable feature, the R.O.B.E.R.T from Windscribe is a malware/ad/tracker blocker that allows you to stay protected from irritating pop-ups and viruses while visiting different websites.
Windscribe is among the few VPNs in the marketplace that offers the option of buying a static IP; either from a datacenter (costing $2.00/mo.) or through a residential connection (priced at $8.00 per month).
As part of its latest features, Windscribe has introduced “Windflix” servers for unblocking the US and UK Netflix libraries. Sadly, it does not work as expected and I received inconsistent performance on Windflix.
Leaks: Does Windscribe Hide Your IP?
Yes, Windscribe VPN is safe for the most part and does not leak your IP, DNS, or WebRTC information. Here are the tools I used to test Windscribe’s grittiness in protecting your real identity, along with the results.
WebRTC and HTTP Request Leaks:
IPv4/IPv6 and Torrent IP Leaks:
Servers: How Many Servers Does Windscribe Offer?
Windscribe offers a limited number of 600 servers in 60 countries worldwide. They definitely need to raise these numbers, as the low server count contributes to poor speeds, high user loads, and downtimes on varied locations.
Since the VPN is still a newcomer (launched in 2007), some leeway can be given. However, if Windscribe wants to grow as a service, they need to work on server expansion. Take PureVPN, for instance, it offers more than 2,000+ servers in 90+ countries worldwide.
Is Windscribe Good for Torrenting?
As far as torrenting is concerned, Windscribe offers good performance to piraters around the world. Although some servers deliver slow speeds, you still face troubles in downloading torrent files and unblocking various torrent sites.
For extra security, Windscribe also employs a strong firewall system that prevents IP, DNS, and WebRTC leaks outside of the encrypted tunnel. This helps keep you anonymous at all times, when engaged in p2p/file sharing.
Does Windscribe Work in China?
No, Windscribe fails at bypassing the “Great Firewall” in China, offering almost no incentives to residents or expats alike. Firstly, they do not offer a mirror Chinese website that can allow residents inside the country to subscribe to a plan or download their apps.
Secondly, Windscribe does not offer any Chinese-specific servers, which means expats cannot access local content through Chinese websites like iQiYi (爱奇艺), QQ Video(QQ视频), Toudou (土豆), Youku (优酷), and others.
Streaming: Does Windscribe Work for Netflix and Other Streaming Sites?
I’d like to answer with a “yes”, but sadly, Windscribe delivers inconsistent performance for unblocking Netflix and other platforms. Despite offering specific servers for the task, known as “Windflix” servers, the VPN still seems to give trouble.
As such, If you have been told that the VPN is a good choice for streaming, then that would be misguided. Instead, check out these Best VPNs for Netflix that deliver consistent performance on other VoDs like BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and even Disney Plus.
Speed: How Fast Is Windscribe VPN?
Windscribe delivers mediocre speed; averaging at 69.25 mbps in download and 64.74 mbps in upload on a 100 mbps connection. I came about these results after performing a speed test on different servers.
The process involved connecting to different servers in the US, UK, and Australia and analyzing the performance when downloading torrents or streaming on different video-on-demand (VoD) services online.
On the US server, I received 72.45 mbps in download and 68.99 mbps in upload with a ping of 115 ms.
On the UK server, I received 68.22 mbps in download and 60.64 mbps in upload with a ping of 126 ms.
On the Australian server, I received 67.10 mbps in download and 64.61 mbps in upload with a ping of 111 ms.
Compatibility: Apps and Supported Devices
Windscribe VPN offers dedicated applications for all famous platforms/devices. This includes Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems, Google Chrome, Firefox and Opera browsers, iOS, Android, and Blackberry smartphones.
You even have support for DD-WRT and Tomato routers, along with config generators for OpenVPN, IKEv2, and SOCKS5 for you to use manually, if you do not trust the VPN’s own client applications.
Windscribe for Windows, Mac, and Linux
Windscribe’s desktop apps are quite simplistic in design, boasting a small and easy-to-use interface, which presents you a list-based map selection navigation and other more important options in the hamburger icon.
As far as Linux is concerned, the beta version of this VPN is out in the market. It supports four different distros that include Ubunto 18.04, CentOS 6+, Debian 9, Fedora 22+.
Windscribe Browser Extensions
Windscribe browser extensions look and work identically to its desktop counterparts on all platforms. It boasts the same streamlined appearance with an uncomplicated set of options and menus, which allows you to configure VPN connections instantly.
You can also choose to “Whitelist” sites that you visit often and want to load fully, such as Facebook or work-related websites. The extension even provides information regarding your previous and current IP address and the bandwidth remaining.
Windscribe for Android and iOS
The Android and iOS apps of Windscribe can be downloaded directly from the website or via the dedicated Google Play and Apple Stores. They adopt a neat and clean interface with dominant light blue colors.
Where the Android version uses the OpenVPN (UDP) protocol by default, the iOS counterparts use the IKEv2 protocol. For the most part, the performance is same across both devices.
Pricing: How Much Does Windscribe Cost?
In addition to a free plan, Windscribe VPN offers three plans to potential customers. The only difference between the three is the pricing and duration of the subscription.
- Monthly: $9.00
- Yearly: $4.08 (Billed as $49 – 54% Discount)
- Build a Plan: Starting at $1.00 Per Month
After you go Pro, you will gain access to Windscribe’s complete list of features, including unlimited multi-logins, ability to connect to 60 countries, P2P/Torrenting, Adblock, Firewall, and OpenVPN configs.
What Payment Methods Does Windscribe Offer?
Windscribe VPN allows users to use Bitcoin to receive utmost anonymity while signing up. It also accepts other methods like Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and PayPal. The provider even offers PaymentWall, which accepts 200+ payment methods globally.
Does Windscribe Offer a Free Trial?
Yes, Windscribe in fact takes things to a completely new level by ensuring the FREE plan never ends. You can use it for as long as you want, without any restrictions imposed on Torrenting.
The only limitation users have on this plan, according to our Windscribe VPN review, is the bandwidth cap. You can only use 10GB per month, but considering you get so much FREE, it’s not bad at all.
Is there a Windscribe Money Back Guarantee Available?
Yes, Windscribe VPN offers a refund/money back guarantee of three commercial days. You have the right to request a reimbursement without giving any explanations, but it is imperative that you do not violate the Terms of Service.
Basically, you must not cross the 10 GB limit or place a request after three days. If you meet these requirements, getting a refund from Windscribe should not be a hassle at all.
Windscribe offers another pricing plan known as “ScribeForce” that allow users to get a package for their entire family or office under one subscription with incentives of adding static IPs as well. It starts at $3.00 per month!
Trustworthiness: Trustpilot Ratings, Reddit & Customer Support
To give a better idea about Windscribe VPN, I have provided details about the provider from the eyes of “users” on Trustpilot and Reddit. These should help with the decision-making process:
Windscribe Trustpilot Review
Windscribe VPN has receiving an average rating of 4/5 on Trustpilot from a total of 134 user reviews. Needless to say, this is quite a remarkable score and indicates that users are satisfied with the provider.
Over 14% of users have given Windscribe a “bad” rating though, which says a lot considering that there are only a total of 134 reviews. Most complaints about the provider surrounded around poor speeds, problem with the free plan, etc.
Windscribe VPN Review Reddit
As any other VPN service, Windscribe has mixed reviews on Reddit. Where some users have had a positive experience, others tend to dislike the provider entirely due to poor speeds and issues with the free account.
However, most reviews do agree on the fact that Windscribe offers a decent bandwidth speeds. Like you can see the reviews below where a few Redditors are talking about using it for download files etc.
Customer Support Review
According to our Windscribe VPN review, the service has quite an active support system. Although there is no live chat available, you have plenty of options available for receiving assistance.
As the most basic method, you have email support at your disposal. If you encounter any issue while using the VPN, you can simply give the provider an email at email@example.com.
In addition to this, there is a separate Support page. Here you can receive help via three methods. First, you can opt to check out setup guides. Second, you can visit the FAQs page.
Third, you can submit a ticket, which is almost as similar as sending an email. The choice is yours, but we will discuss each option below so that you gain better insight into the service’s reliability.
Below is a screenshot of the Setup Guides page. Here you will find step-to-step instructions for configuring Windscribe on a multitude of platforms, browsers, devices, routers, and even software.
If you click on the FAQs option, the site will redirect you to a landing page filled with questions of various types to cater to your support needs. Windscribe smartly divides different questions into categories.
For instance, basic queries will make their way into General Questions. You also have separate assistance for Desktop Applications and Browser Extensions.
If you wish to resolve a technical issue that is not solvable by the FAQs, you can submit a ticket. This option gets all the professionals at the Windscribe team to answer your queries.
Just enter your email, Windscribe username, subject, and message to get started. Usually, it would take around 4 to 5 hours for the provider to reply you urgently.
Comparison between Surfshark & Windscribe VPN
|Servers||1,040+ in 61 Countries||600+ in 60 Countries|
|Compatibility||All Devices||Windows, Mac, iOS, Android|
|Jurisdiction||British Virgin Islands||Canada|
|Logging Policy||No Logs (Audited)||Stores Connection Logs|
|Customer Support||Live Chat & Email||Live Chat & Ticket|
|Website||Visit Surfshark||Visit Windscribe|
Do I Recommend Windscribe VPN?
No, I do not recommend Windscribe VPN to privacy-conscious users and streamers/torrenters. The VPN has a poor server reach, fails to bypass the “Great Firewall”, and delivers inconsistent performance for Netflix.
All this added to the fact that they are based in Canada, an internet enemy jurisdiction, further reduces their credibility. If you are looking for a good, secure, fast and feature-rich VPN service, go for Surfshark instead.