Having trouble accessing your favorite streaming platforms or scared about someone stealing your data online? There’s a cure for that. It’s called a VPN! In my Windscribe VPN review, we’ll see if this desktop app as well as a proxy browser extension, checks all the boxes regarding its’ jurisdiction, security measures, and streaming/P2P capabilities, finding out whether it is the VPN for you.
Windscribe VPN 2020 – In a Nut-shell
|Servers||100+ servers in 60+ countries|
Before moving ahead, let’s weigh out our options and highlight everything we’ll be discussing in detail later on. The following is all that Windscribe promises and what we’ll be testing out:
- Its jurisdiction, being a Canadian based VPN.
- Encasing over 100 servers in 60+ countries.
- Its’ free and paid plans. (what they offer)
- Unblocking of restricted platforms like Netflix.
- Promises a more than helpful customer chat or helpline.
- Discussing its security protocols and leak protection.
- Fast speeds for P2P and streaming.
Windscribe VPN 2020 – My Rating Criteria
The internet can be extremely thrilling, especially when you have access to the biggest news, entertainment and much more! But it could also be very frustrating at the same time when you’re paying a pretty penny for internet services and still receive only limited access to platforms like Netflix.
Apart from that, how safe do you think you are when using the internet? Not to scare you or anything, but let’s just say that being online can put you and the devices you use at risk. Even when it comes down to the various activities you carry out online, it’s best you be careful and get yourself a VPN that can pretty much make the online world a safer place to be connected to.
In this Windscribe VPN review, I’ll be carrying out a number of tests, as well as discussing the various features it provides; ultimately deciding whether this VPN is worth looking into based on the following:
Pricing – (The freemium plan)
When looking at VPN, besides checking out all the features it has to offer, you have to be able to see if the pricing plan delivers a rate that matches up to these features. Many VPNs deliver big price tags but fail to provide everything it should.
Keeping that in mind, before looking at the rates, you should know that Windscribe offers both a free and paid plan. The details are as follows:
Windscribe offers a free plan for all those who wish to test the VPN out or simply just need access to it for a day. However, this acts as a free-trial for the VPN but with some limitations like only having 10 server locations and 10 GB bandwidth/mo. and no OpenVPN configuration, but still makes a better free VPN choice as compared to most who fail to provide even that, as compared to its premium plan. It also comes with a Firewall security feature; protecting your device and activities from Malware and shady pop-ups.
Build a Plan, starting at $1.00/location/mo.
Okay, so Windscribe seems to break its premium plan into 3 portions. It has a monthly plan that is a little costly. However, the other 2 plans seems a little convenient. Its yearly plan of $4.08/mo. gives you a year full of premium access to the VPN and all its features. The third plan may seem a little shady to you, but to clear the air, I feel it’s a little smart.
We often pay for VPN services and are given the open opportunity of choosing between 100’s of server locations. Sometimes, most of these locations aren’t even utilized by us. For this very reason, Windscribe came up with a customized premium plan that offers you the choice to choose as many server locations you want but having each location go at $1.00/mo. with a 10GB data limit valid till a month. For the “Build A Plan” package, the minimum amount of server locations to buy is 2.
It is further divided into 2 other plans that include additional features:
- Static IP
Sometimes to get better access to streaming or online safety, a Dedicated IP address comes in handy. For this reason, Windscribe also adds a static IP feature with a list of 12 servers to its books, which you can add on with:
Its list of Static IPs….
Run a business or organization? Windscribe VPN now has a way for you to get your entire team under one roof. It has a cool new feature called ScribeForce, giving you the liberty of creating and handling all your team’s VPN accounts under one bill.
With that said, each member of your team under this plan has to pay around $3.00/mo. It’s like getting a discount depending on the number of people that want to join your plan.
This plan includes:
Windscribe offers a variety of payment methods that you can choose per Pro subscription. They are:
- Credit cards
- Mobile in-app purchases
- Gift cards (Via Payment Wall)
The Windscribe refund policy
Besides having a free plan with limited features, Windscribe VPN also has a refund policy of 3-Days. For this, you can try out the paid Pro subscription plan; testing out all the premium features and if you feel like it’s not the VPN for you, you can avail your refund within the 3 day given slot.
However, if you want to avail a refund, you need to make sure that you don’t exceed the 10GB data limit within those 3 days; ensuring you a full refund within 30 days. You should probably still go through the website’s terms and conditions page for more information regarding third party content.
Location – A 5-eyes jurisdiction
Sadly, since this Windscribe VPN is Canadian based, it makes it a tad bit unsafe.
If you’ve heard of the 14-Eyes alliance, then you should know that Canada is part of the 5-eyes organization. There are times when members of the alliance countries share their client’s information with other members to the group but on another note, there are countries like China that would also share their VPN users’ data, while not being part of the 14-eyes alliance.
So in this scenario, I honestly doubt a VPNs safety depends on its location, I believe that it has to do with the providers themselves. And in this case, Windscribe seems to take its retention laws seriously.
Windscribe has a comfortable setting of server locations with 100+ servers in 60+ countries.
They offer their location list dedicated towards all the major parts of the world, some of which include:
- United States
- United Kingdom
- South Africa and (much more!)
Security – (Discussing its protocols, encryption and advanced features)
It’s so necessary that the cyber-world understands the importance of online security; its importance in securing all your online activities. For this reason, a VPN was created as a security blanket, keeping all your cyber-affairs and devices from harm’s way.
So far, we’ve discussed the various price packages that Windscribe has to offer. Keeping that in mind, let’s discuss all the features and security measures that Windscribe incorporates; determining its superiority among the VPN world.
Windscribe packs a pretty decent variety in security protocols. These include:
- OpenVPN (UDP/TCP)
However, it has OpenVPN as a default protocol. IKEv2 has only been rendered towards Windows and Mac by default and will soon be added towards the Android client.
It also supports a number of ports (via OpenVPN) like 21, 80, 8080, 8444 and much more. Just in case you’re wondering why I mentioned these:
When choosing a VPN, free or paid, always make sure you pick one that has the best security protocols and encryption. In the case of Windscribe, it uses AES 256-bit ciphers with SHA512 authentication and 4096-bit RSA key encryption. They believe in nothing but the best kind of security; protecting your data.
Other Advanced Features
If you thought that Windscribe VPNs free and paid plans were peculiarly unique, you should really get into the various advanced features that this VPN has to offer. There are cases where other VPNs don’t provide half the security that Windscribe seems to render. These extended features include:
- Static IP and ScribeForce
I had mentioned that within the pricing plan above. But for a quick recap, Windscribe provides static IP addresses in 12 locations and a feature called ScribeForce, providing its VPN service towards a whole team or group, under one billing platform. Under one housing, you’ll have access to create or tweak around with the VPN settings, per person.
Remember all those annoying ads that come and go like unwanted guests? Well, kiss them goodbye because we now have a R.O.B.E.R.T, a DNS protected tool! It works as a customizable Ad-blocker and protects your devices from malware and click-bait that could harm your device.
- Config Generators
In this added feature, you have the choice to pick protocols for different devices of your choosing. You have choices from SOCKS5, OpenVPN and IKEv2. This, of course, is only applicable to the Pro account holders.
- Port Forwarding
Another additional advanced feature is Port Forwarding. This allows you to access services keeping your connection secure, masks your IP, keeps you DDoS (Distributed-Denial of service) and provides good upload speeds for torrenting. All premium users have the reins to ephemeral (short-lived) port forwarding. However, if you need a permanent one, it’s best you get yourself a Static IP address.
- Firewall (Kill Switch)
Another security feature to look for when getting yourself a VPN is a Kill Switch. Windscribe has something similar to a Kill Switch but much more superior in functionality. It’s called a Firewall. It keeps unwanted connectivity outside the tunnel, keeping it leak-free.
- Secure Hotspot
This feature only works for the Windows client, giving you the freedom to create a Wifi hotspot on your pc, making it secure enough for others to connect to it. This is possible only if you have a compatible wireless adapter at your disposal. With this feature, it not only acts as a Wifi hotspot but also a hotspot for the VPN itself, protecting every device that’s connected to that Wifi, without them having to get a subscription or app of their own.
- Double Hop
Double Hop allows you to connect through any 2 servers on the Windscribe network (one through the browser extension and the other through the desktop app. Some may think of this feature as pointless, but why would you call a double protection unit pointless? This feature helps heighten your chances of security and anonymity on the internet.
- Auto Pilot
There are many VPN first-timers, and sometimes as a beginner, you wouldn’t know which server location to connect to, to get you the best results. There are times when you want to stream through restricted streaming sites like Netflix, but can’t use just about any server. That’s where the AutoPilot feature comes in; navigating you to the best location to get you the best speeds and access to streaming content.
- Time Warp
This feature helps change and set your time zone according to the server location you are connected to. This helps in case there are websites like Netflix that go out of their way to detect unwanted proxies or VPN usages. In these cases, they usually check if someone is connected to a VPN by taking a quick look at the user’s time zone mentioned in the browser. If it doesn’t match up to your IP, well then…you’re busted!
Apart from the featured R.O.B.E.R.T, Windscribe has another AdBlocker, mainly dedicated to blocking all those annoying ad pop-ups that constantly interrupt your online activities and trackers that could majorly distort your privacy.
- Cookie Monster
Besides the super creative name, this feature keeps count of all the cookies that are set with your browser and automatically eats (deletes) them once you’re done with whatever you’re doing.
- Split personality
This feature matches up to its name and specializes in constantly rotating your user agent; making the fingerprinting probability as scarce as possible.
- WebRTC slayer
This feature automatically avoids any WebRTC leaks by disabling the WebRTC prevailing in your browser; double securing your anonymity.
Invisibility – (Testing out if Windscribe is leak protected)
Another thing to keep a close eye out for is whether a VPN will secure you more than enough to prevent any leakages. If this fails, it could seriously hamper your privacy or anonymity.
Keeping that in check, I was more than pleased with the results I rendered after conducting an IP, DNS, and WebRTC leak test. The results were LEAK FREE!
For my IP leak test, I went to ipleak.org, and while connected to a US server, the result I got was:
For my DNS leak test, I went to dnsleak.com and connected to a US server from the VPN. The result I got was:
For the WebRTC leak test, I went to browserleaks.com while connected to a US server. The results were:
Streaming – Gaining access to restricted streaming platforms
For me, this part of every VPN review has got to be the most anticipated bit. For most of us intense streaming geeks, the first thing we really look forward to, is gaining access to restricted streaming services like Netflix and Kodi.
However, not all of us are blessed with full access or rather the privilege, to open through each and every library on the Netflix bandwagon. Especially if you’re from any country outside the US. For this reason, you definitely need a VPN to open those restricted portals up for you.
Many seem to underestimate Windscribe VPNs capabilities, but just taking a quick look at what all we’ve already accomplished in security and leak prevention; adding to that list of awesomeness, you should know that Windscribe does indeed support Netflix, with great speeds. It also is applicable to watching Netflix in the UK, Japan and Canada.
That’s not all! When picking a VPN that will connect to platforms like Netflix, you’ll often find yourself tweedling between servers to get the best one that works with Netflix. Windscribe has taken matters into their own hands by understanding this drawback and come up with Netflix dedicated servers in mainly US and UK, called “Windflix”.
Speaking of streaming, Kodi is a famous and free open-source media player that allows you to stream shows, music, sports and many more forms of Live streaming. Windscribe VPN also happens to be compatible with Kodi; allowing you to stream endlessly and freely. It also has a Kodi setup guide to get you started.
Torrenting – is Windscribe P2P compatible?
Yes! It is!
Windscribe makes a pretty good VPN for carrying out all your torrenting activities. Even though it seems to appear to have a small set of server locations, you should know that the VPN is designed to support not only unlimited streaming but also has a number of servers dedicated to torrenting with ease. However, not all servers are P2P optimized.
Speed – Is it as fast as many reviews claim?
Yes! It sure is! But, to answer this, I conducted a few tests of my own.
I believe that it’s completely pointless to have access to a VPN that supports Netflix and other streaming consoles if the speed results are dry. The point of wanting to stream through restricted content, is to also want it to go smoothly. It’s terrible to watch a game LIVE and to have it buffer endlessly to kingdom come. That’s where Windscribe comes in.
I took a speed test of the VPN, while connected to a US and a UK server and compared it to the speed before connecting to the VPN. They were as follows:
Speed test done on speedtest.net, before connecting to the VPN:
Speed test results after connecting to a US and UK server:
Judging by the speeds mentioned above, you’ll see that it didn’t falter much in download speed as compared to the results before connecting to the VPN. This makes it perfect for Netflix and torrenting.
Note: the results in speed are a little different for the free version as compared to the premium.
Compatibility – Supported platforms
If you thought that speeds and security were the best about Windscribe, you are in for a treat.
Turns out that Windscribe supports a wide and well some of the most major range of platforms that you’ll ever need, which just about sufficing the price range it covers. It is compatible with:
- Browser extensions (Chrome, Firefox, Opera)
- Smart TVs (Amazon Fire TV, Nvidia Shield, KODI)
- Routers (DD-WRT, Tomato, ASUS)
- Config Generators (OpenVPN, IKEv2, SOCKS5)
Discussing its versions
Now that we know that there are different modes of appearance and functionalities that often vary according to the device you use, so let’s break it down by grouping devices according to their performance.
For the Windows client, it supports a smooth or user-friendly interface; covering apps for Windows versions 7, 8 and 10 using OpenVPN or IKEv2.
For macOS, it’s quite similar in comparison to the Windows client, protecting the user from any form of malware or virus that may prevail using the IKEv2 protocol and covering apps for macOS versions 10.11+.
For Linux, it supports versions Ubuntu 18.04, Debian 9, Fedora 22+ and CentOS 6+ which are still under beta testing.
· iOS and Android
For the mobile phone apps, you can set up Android with Windscribe using either its dedicated app or IKEv2. This goes out for Android versions 4.2.2+. It also has an updated version offering OpenVPN/ IKEv2 support, Custom color mode and split routing.
As for iOS, it’s a little different as compared to Android and supports versions iOS 10+. You can set this up using IKEv2 or any iOS version that supports OpenVPN. On other news, Windscribe has also created a new app for iOS; offering IKEv2 /OpenVPN, Whitelister, and short-cuts for Siri.
· Browser extensions
What also makes Windscribe a better option, is that it has browser extensions dedicated to it, available to Chrome, Firefox, and Opera, giving you unlimited access to stream and carry out your usual activities with maximum security. This is available for Chrome 39+, Firefox 57+ and Opera 37+.
Another great part about Windscribe, is its compatibility with routers, securing multiple devices all in one shot with the VPN. Its compatibility, however, is rendered towards DD-WRT, Tomato and ASUS routers.
Where Smart TVs are concerned, you can connect to the VPN through a router using OpenVPN.
Reliability – Can we trust Windscribe?
Yes, even though it is part of the 5-eyes alliance, it has policies of its own that it abides by.
Having discussed every security measure, speeds, and over-all performance and compatibility level, it all comes to whether you can actually rely on or trust Windscribe. Honestly, it really does depend on whether you want to, and I believe I can’t change your mind, but here’s why I have a positive approach towards this VPN.
I know it gets pretty tough trying to trust a VPN that’s part of the eyes alliance and trust me it pains me to constantly have to repeat it over and over again, but I have to remain transparent about my views since this is a review after all.
Compared to most VPNs that have a scanty list of features, they too pay disregard towards their policies and often mistreat their clients’ personal and security information. In this case, Windscribe comes out the other side looking like a complete saint. You should know that they abide by their data retention laws and don’t log nor sell your data.
Plus, its policies are pretty clear, unlike many VPN privacy policies.
Review from Reddit users
Besides my view on things, I like digging a little deeper to see what other communities are saying about the VPN. So I headed to a Reddit forum and found a few comments on Windscribe VPN from a couple of Reddit users.
The 24/7 Gary live chat
Many of us are visited by a whole bucket load of problems when trying any VPN out for the first time or even after a while. For this, it’s necessary that every VPN provider must have a 24/7 helpline to assist you with all your queries, providing you with the ultimate solution.
Windscribe, however, has a rather awkward 24/7 helpline, if I’m, being honest. I’m not saying that every visitation from Gary the robot isn’t helpful, I just mean it would be nice to talk to an actual human on the spot.
Besides Windscribe having an automated Gary-bot as their live chat, they also have a ticketing system, where if not satisfied, you can send in your questions or problems and have to wait around 1-2 days for a response via. Email. All you have to do is type “Live Chat” where you’ll be given the option of talking to an actual human. Once you file the comment, you will receive a confirmation saying “Ticket sent!”
Do I recommend Windscribe?
Being in favor of safe surfing and having access to the best VPN services in the industry; possessing all-round features, solid speeds, tight encryption and protocols, I can’t help but say,
“Yes, I do recommend it! And it’s the perfect VPN that caters towards many of your needs including the free option.”
Coming to the end of the Windscribe VPN review, this Canadian based VPN surely makes the cut for one of the best in the industry providing both, a free and a pro plan to everyone (with 10 GB data for the free plan per month and an unlimited data assurance for premium users) who’s looking for top-notch and unique security features, fast speeds, access to streaming and P2P, almost effortlessly, and a compatibility to all the major platforms.
It works on a solid foundation, blocking all the malicious ads and trackers that are bound to come your way; keeping your privacy and anonymity secured and offering its’ services to secure unlimited connections per subscription, all at $4.08/mo.
For me, the cherry on top was definitely Netflix! What’s yours?