Based in Canada, Windscribe is a welcome addition to the VPN market, building on well-received features and functionality of preceding services, while also offering its own unique appeal.
Beyond just a free trial, Windscribe offers a free version (although limited in bandwidth and functionality) for casual users not ready to commit to a paid service. It also boasts excellent privacy, security, and top-of-the-line tutorials and a crisp UI.
Pricing and Plans
Windscribe offers a completely free plan, with 10GB/month of bandwidth and connectivity from a single device at any given time. If this is enough for your Internet needs, then Windscribe obviously provides great value, and you can comfortably put this service near the top of the list as far as free VPNs go.
The standard subscription, with unlimited data runs $9/month, or $90/year ($7.50 per month). While not the cheapest VPN on the market, this is in line with similarly robust products. As of now, there are no plans longer than 1 year, which hurts their pricing model; many competitors offer steeper discounts for commitments of 2 or more years. That being said, the folks at Windscribe reached out with this link - it gets you a permanent 50% discount on their regular prices. FYI this isn't an affiliate link, just a nice gesture.
Windscribe also has a free trial and 3-day money back guarantee. Setting up the service takes a total of 5 minutes, and by all accounts, it is easy and painless to cancel. This gives Windscribe one of the best free trials among current VPN providers.
The first thing a new Windscribe user will notice is the ease of installation and setup. For any issues that may present during this stage, there are a handful of useful and well-made video tutorials. This speaks to Windscribe’s niche as a hassle-free VPN service for the casual Internet user who wants a high level of privacy and security. While it doesn’t have the customization or more technical features of other products, it certainly delivers on its promise of intuitive UI and great Help functionality.
One of Windscribe’s notable features is the ability to connect from unlimited devices simultaneously. This is something that few other services provide, usually topping out around five or six. This might not be exciting for every user, but if you find yourself needing privacy for several devices on a regular basis, Windscribe is a great candidate for your VPN service.
Another notable feature is their browser extension, which blocks ads, trackers, rotates your user agent, and blocks social widgets like Twitter, FB, etc (if you enable this option in Privacy Options). It also has standalone proxying capabilities which can be used by itself, or in tandem with the VPN desktop app to do a "double hop" from location to location.
Even though Windscribe has great self-service and tutorials, its customer service - should the need arise - is lacking in comparison to similarly priced competitors. There is currently no live customer support option, so if issues arise, a ticket-based help desk is your only option. Although they did a great job of streamlining installation and configuration, this should give you pause if you are looking to use some of the more sophisticated VPN features and are worried about implementation problems.
Many users have reported a decrease in performance after turning on Windscribe. There are currently only 45 server locations, so to prevent an even steeper drop in speed it is recommended that you check the nearest server locations to you.
I ran a before and after test on speedtest.net. While any VPN usage will drop speed, these results place Windscribe firmly in the below-average category.
These results are not enough to invalidate the product and all of its features but should give pause to the consumer looking for the highest speed and performance.
As expected, Windscribe performed much better on privacy and security tests, presenting no issues. I ran tests at www.dnsleak.com, www.torguard.net, and www.ipv6leak.com. All tests returned the desired results.
Testing on mobile
Like the desktop version, setting up and using Windscribe on a mobile device was completely effortless. The UI and menu are virtually identical, making switching back and forth between devices a pleasant experience. A mobile speed test did reveal a similar drop in performance, however.
Privacy features are one of Windscribe’s best selling points. Most, if not all, VPN’s keep some logs of user activity. US-based VPNs, for example, sometimes keep 30 days of logs. Not so with Windscribe VPN, which only retains activity logs for three minutes after a session ends. Overall bandwidth usage is tracked, but IP timestamps and browsing history are not recorded or monitored in any way. And since the company is based in Canada, there is no fear of government regulation or intervention.
Windscribe also has excellent encryption technology, using AES-256 cipher with SHA512 authentication and a 4096-bit RSA key. What this means in lay terms: your internet activity remains private and secure, as much as any current VPN can provide that comfort.
Unfortunately, we were not able to access some popular sites (such as Netflix) using the basic Windscript configuration. While there may be workarounds, this is something to keep in mind if you are considering purchasing Windscribe.
Overall, Windscribe is not poised to make major waves in the VPN market but should appeal to a certain type of user. If you are looking for the best privacy in the most user-friendly package, and are not trying to eke out maximum performance or sophisticated features, then Windscribe will be an appealing option as your VPN provider.
- Top tier privacy and security
- Great UI and tutorial features
- Ability to connect any number of devices simultaneously
- Free version allows 10GB/month of bandwidth, enough for some users
- Browser extension
- Lackluster speed and performance
- Pricing is average to below average
- No live customer support