Windscribe Review - 2021

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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.

Why Choose Windscribe


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.

Best VPN for


  • Netflix, Hulu, and streaming online
  • Torrenting and downloading
  • Security and privacy

Works on


Mac

Windows

Android

IOS

Linux


Pros:

  • 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 extensions
  • iOS and Android apps

Cons:

  • No live customer support

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 $49/year ($4.08 per month). Most people are on a $2-$3/month plan – which is to say, there are options along the pricing spectrum.

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; you will find 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.


Features

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.

Their browser extensions, which block ads, trackers, rotate your user agent, and blocks social widgets like Twitter, FB, etc (if you enable this option in Privacy Options) offer the following options:

  • UI with city-level location selection
  • WebRTC blocking
  • Timezone spoofing
  • Location API spoofing
  • Website notification blocking
  • Malware/phishing domain blocking on top of existing ads and social network block lists  

Windscribe now has port forwarding for all Pro users. Before, you had to purchase a static IP to get the benefits of port forwarding. Now, there's Ephemeral port forwarding and it works on all servers, not just the static IP ones. 

Their ROBERT feature offers the ability to spoof domains to any IP of your choice (think server side hosts file) and the ability to block IPs and IP networks (CIDR notation) which is useful for ads that don't use domain names, or for blocking malicious networks. Basically a completely customizable DNS and IP firewall. 

Windscribe is also available on iOS and Android. Their iOS app offers Ikev2 and OpenVPN support, network whitelisting, Siri shortcuts, a custom config mode (the ability to import any OpenVPN config from any provider and use it in the app. Their Android app offers: IKev2 and OpenVPN support, split routing, and dark mode.

Even though Windscribe has great self-service and tutorials, its customer service - should the need arise - is slightly lacking in comparison to similarly priced competitors. In particular,  there is currently no live customer support option, so if issues arise, a ticket-based help desk is your only option. Additionally, the chatbot they employ has been known to be very effective in solving issues. Although they did a great job of streamlining installation and configuration, take this into considering some of the more sophisticated VPN features and are worried about implementation problems.


Tests

There are currently 110 server locations in 65 countries; in doing so, Windscribe has improved speeds for users across the world markedly throughout the years.

Make sure to choose the nearest server location to prevent unnecessary slowdowns.

I ran three before and after tests via Speedtest.net using the Mac client of Windscribe. 

It's important to note that VPN usage of any kind will inevitably result in speed drops versus normal usage. That being said, the speed differences I noted via testing (seen to the right) were not noticeable in everyday use, regardless of my location (office, home, etc.).

As expected, Windscribe performed very well 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 back desirable results.

Testing on mobile

Like the desktop version, setting up and using Windscribe on a mobile device was completely effortless. Furthermore, the UI and is very modern-looking and impressive, making switching back and forth between devices a pleasant experience.

A mobile speed test via the SpeedTest app revealed a similar drop in theoretical performance, with no real-world differences noted from day-to-day usage. 

Additionally, you'll find the first three speed test results to the right (starting from the bottom) along with the three subsequent tests after turning on the VPN. 


Privacy

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.


Security

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.



Website Blocking

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.


Final Thoughts

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.

Alex Grant