Windscribe boldly claims to encrypt your browsing activity, block ads, unblock entertainment content, and develop “easy to use yet powerful tools that allow anyone to circumvent censorship.”
To make sure this Windscribe review is accurate and up-to-date, we performed multiple tests.
Including speed test, torrenting & logging policy and much more…
Windscribe was launched in April of 2016 by Windscribe Limited in Toronto, Canada. While we can’t find information on exactly how many people use the Windscribe VPN service, we know that their Chrome extension is used by over 630,000 people.
Windscribe Pros (+)
1. Strong Privacy & Encryption Features
While Windscribe claims to have strong encryption and help circumvent censorship, we decided to assess their reliability based on a number of metrics and we got mixed signals!
While they offer strong, military-based encryption, the fact that they are in a 5-eyes jurisdiction means they can be compelled to turn over data they keep about you. However, since Windscribe claims to keep no logs, there seems to be little to worry about.
Here’s our quick analysis of how safe it is to use Windscribe based on some of our key metrics:
- Jurisdiction: Windscribe is located in Toronto, Canada and as a result falls under the 5-eyes jurisdiction. In essence, if Windscribe decides to log your data, it could be compelled by Canadian authorities to release this information.
- Encryption: They use the AES-256 cipher encryption (with SHA512 auth and a 4096-bit RSA key) for their desktop apps and TLS 1.2, ECDHE_RSA with P-256 key exchange, and AES_128_GCM cipher for their browser extensions. You can assured of enjoying military-grade encryption.
- Protocols: Windscribe supports and allows you to generate configurations for the OpenVPN, IKEv2, and SOCKS5 protocols. The IKEv2 protocol is used by default, though.
- Logging policy: It is very important to know the true logging policy of a VPN service. As we revealed earlier on TheBestVPN, while most VPN providers claim to keep no logs, they actually secretly keep logs. Not so with Windscribe, though. After carefully reviewing their logging policy, we found that they indeed do not keep any logs.
2. No Leaks, No Viruses = Safe to Use
For VPNs we review, one of the things we pay attention to is their safety. We pay particular attention to DNS leaks and the Virustotal scan.
If your DNS information is being leaked, you are only getting a false sense of security — because your original DNS information will be revealed despite the fact that you connected to a VPN. Also, most VPN services contain viruses, which makes them unsafe for people who use them.
3. Windflix Feature to Bypass Netflix Restrictions
When we conducted our tests, we found that Netflix can’t be used on some of Windscribe’s US servers (like their Chicago or San Francisco servers).
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, we also tried their UK and US Windflix servers (specially made for Netflix) which are the following:
- WINDFLIX US (New York – Radiohall)
- WINDFLIX UK (London – The Tube)
All in all, you can stream Netflix using Windscribe.
4. Torrenting is Allowed
One of the first things many people look at before deciding to use a VPN is whether it supports torrenting. This is understandable considering the large-scale government crackdown of torrent sites worldwide, with many countries banning several of the biggest torrent sites.
When you use a VPN, you want to make sure you are safe when using a torrent site — as a result, many VPN services go on record to tout their torrent-friendly nature on their homepage.
Our tests and extensive digging shows that Windscribe allows torrenting.
Here’s a statement from their FAQ page regarding torrenting:
They also have tutorials on how to configure the following torrent clients:
That said, not all of their servers support torrenting which they indicate with a crossed out p2p icon.
5. Supports Multiple Devices
- Linux (Ubuntu)
- Windows Mobile
- Amazon FireTV
- Nvidia Shield
We also confirmed that they support gaming consoles, although they do not have tutorials/guides on how to set up specific gaming consoles. That said, we don’t recommend this service for gaming due to how poorly they performed on our speed tests.
You can either install their standalone client on your device or install both their standalone client and browser extension.
Their browser extension is needed to enjoy some extra features such as “Secure.link” (a feature that reveals which websites are tracking you) and “ad blocking” (a feature that blocks ad beacons and third-party trackers that can compromise your security).
While they have their own client, if you prefer, you can generate OpenVPN, IKEv2, and SOCKS configs for your devices.
6. User-Friendly App
When it comes to usability, Windscribe is quite easy to use.
We decided to test their software on an HP Pavilion desktop computer (Core i7-7700 CPU, 3.60GHz processor, and 12GB RAM) running Microsoft Windows 10 and on an Android smartphone (Tecno Camon CX Air).
The installation file for the computer software was 14.4MB and took about a minute to install. After installation, we got the following interface:
Clicking the drop-down menu for available servers brought the interface shown below — allowing us to select from a total of 124 data centers in 51 countries:
We decided to connect to one of their servers in Dallas for this review, and it took about 10 seconds to connect.
For the Android phone, we installed their app from the Google Play store. The app, which was 12.30MB in size, showed the following interface after we logged in:
However, unlike the computer app, we were a bit restricted with the mobile app. While the computer app allowed a selection of up to 124 data centers in 51 countries, the mobile app only allowed connections to regions and countries (about 56).
Simply put, we had fewer options when it comes to determining the exact location of the server we wanted to connect to.
Had we used the computer app, we could have chosen a data center in Atlanta, Dallas, or in Denver if we wanted to connect to US Central. But, with the mobile app we were only able to select “US Central” while connection to the exact data center would be determined by the app. Connecting to US Central in the mobile app also took about 4 seconds.
Overall, the Windscribe VPN app has an intuitive interface both on the computer and mobile phone, and it takes little to no time to connect to available servers.
Windscribe Cons (–)
1. Slows Down Your Internet Connection to Less Than 50%
Our benchmark without VPN is the following:
While using Windscribe, our Internet connection slowed down more than 50%:
We must confess that we are disappointed with Windscribe when it comes to speed. When we tested their US, UK, and EU servers, we got the following results:
US Central Server
- Ping: 140 ms
- Download speed: 29.74 Mbps
- Upload speed: 2.07 Mbps
- Ping: 46 ms
- Download speed: 17.25 Mbps
- Upload speed: 4.86 Mbps
- Ping: 92 ms
- Download speed: 42.97 Mbps
- Upload speed: 5.12 Mbps
But, when compared with ExpressVPN and Astrill, it becomes clear that Windscribe is on the lower end when it comes to speed.
Here’s the download and upload speed for ExpressVPN:
- Download speed: 60.04 Mbps
- Upload speed: 30.41 Mbps
- Download speed: 83.15 Mbps
- Upload speed: 25.18 Mbps
Here’s the download and upload speed for Astrill:
- Download speed: 78.65 Mbps
- Upload speed: 18.99 Mbps
- Download speed: 69.08 Mbps
- Upload speed: 53.30 Mbps
Clearly, Windscribe performs poorly in terms of speed, and we believe there are much faster alternatives out there for less the cost. (note: this speed test was made with a premium account).
2. Not All Of The 480+ Servers Are Active
You might be wondering: “How does Windscribe fare when it comes to server availability and features?”
One of the things that gives Windscribe an edge over many other VPN services is their large number of servers.
At the time of this review, they have an impressive 124 data centers in 51 countries (although there doesn’t seem to be an active server in New Zealand at the moment — as shown in the screenshot below); these data centers, that you can connect to in their app, feature an impressive 480 servers.
That said, when compared to some of our top VPN picks, it becomes clear that Windscribe has fewer servers than the average VPN.
While the fact that they have 480+ servers in 124 data centers across 51 countries might seem impressive, it’s less so when you realize that our top pick, ExpressVPN, has a whopping 1,500 servers, Private Internet Access has a massive 3,200+ servers, and NordVPN has over 3500+ servers.
Some additional server features they have that we believe are noteworthy include:
- A firewall that prevents DNS, IPv6, and WebRTC leaks (a reliable alternative to a kill-switch).
- Support for simultaneous connections (allowing you to connect multiple devices at once).
- Stealth mode connection via Stunnel if other connection protocols fail (this might help if you’re connecting from China).
- A “Secure Hotspot” feature that allows you to turn your VPN connection into a Wi-Fi router others can connect to.
- A “Proxy Gateway” feature that allows you to create a secure proxy server on your computer that other devices not supporting VPN protocols can connect to.
- A “Double Hop” feature that provides an extra layer of security. This allows a double layer of connection through both their desktop client and browser extension at the same time (so you’re able to connect to two servers at once and have an extra layer of protection).
- A “Timezone Spoofing” feature that automatically changes your timezone to that of the location your VPN connects to.
3. Questionable Support (Using Bots)
Unlike many other VPN service providers, we are disappointed with Windscribe’s approach to customer support.
There’s no customer support phone number on the Windscribe website nor an available live chat option. Instead, they have a chatbot named “Garry” that keeps providing irrelevant answers to our questions.
When we asked Garry why there are zero active servers in New Zealand, we got the following response:
The pattern of irrelevant answers continued for most of our questions. While the chatbot was able to answer basic questions (like providing information and a link to where their servers are located), when asked about the location of their servers, it was mostly useless at answering our other questions.
The only other way to have questions answered is by creating a support ticket. When we did, it took almost 10 hours to get a response: we sent our request at exactly 6:02 AM and got a response (which didn’t answer our question) at 3:37 PM.
Needless to say, this customer support is unimpressive.
Windscribe VPN Cost, Plans & Payment Options
Windscribe easily falls on the high end when it comes to their payment options.
They have only one plan that unlocks all their servers, and this plan costs $9 per month if you opt to pay monthly:
If you decide to pay annually, however, you get a huge 55 percent discount and pay $4.08 per month.
If you opt to pay biennially (every two years), you get an even bigger discount and only pay $3.70 per month. You also get a free six month subscription to the Dashlane password manager.
There is no license fee, and they have a referral program that allows you to earn up to a 1 year Pro plan per referral depending on the package your referral selects.
From what we can see, the most you can pay at once is two years. However, there’s some flexibility with the payment options: they accept PayPal, Credit Card, and also anonymous payment, such as Bitcoin.
If you’re not satisfied with their services, you can request a refund provided that the refund is requested within three days of purchasing a plan and provided that you haven’t used more than 10GB of bandwidth.
That said, we also think it is important to highlight the fact that Windscribe has a free plan, which we feel is one of the best out there. With their free plan, you have access to only 14 of the 51 locations their servers are located in (which is fair enough), and you get up to 10GB free data every month.
Do We Recommend Windscribe?
When it comes to torrenting and using Netflix, Windscribe is a good choice. They also offer really good encryption, and their no-logging policy keeps our mind at rest. You can get more info about Windscribe here