Windscribe is another one of the popular names in the VPN industry… mostly because of their free plan.
But how does Windscribe compare with other premium VPNs?
In this review of Windscribe VPN in 2020, we are going to take an indepth look at the pros and cons of Windscribe.
I hope that by the end of this review, you’ll be able to establish if Windscribe is the best VPN for your needs or whether you should be considering other options.
We’ll look at their connection speeds, streaming capabilities as well as torrenting support among others.
Let’s get started.
Windscribe is a VPN service provider based in Canada that enables you to access the internet securely and anonymously using tamper-proof encryption technologies.
In addition to that, it also has the ability to unblock geo restricted content on popular streaming platforms like Netflix.
How many servers does Windscribe have?
Usually, the more servers a VPN has the better their servers are expected to be.
This ranges from having a ton of options to choose from when looking for an appropriate server to connect to… to server loads being balanced to avoid a single server being overloaded during peak hours.
At the time of writing this review of Windscribe in 2020, Windscribe has a total of more than 450 servers that are spread out in 60 different countries.
While this server count is not great compared to the big players like NordVPN, it is quite a numbers of servers to go around.
They also tend to spread their servers out to cover multiple countries, even though this is an area they still need to improve on.
Does Windscribe unblock Netflix?
While some people would purchase a VPN simply for the purpose of being able to access the internet securely and privately… some avid internet users are particularly interested in unblocking geo-restricted content on platforms like Netflix.
For such users, it is very important to know whether they can use Windscribe to stream Netflix tv shows or not.
And it’s not just Netflix that we are talking about here, but other popular streaming platforms like Hulu, Amazon Prime and BBC iPlayer.
From my tests, Windscribe is able to unblock Netflix in the US, Canada, UK and Japan.
In order to stream Netflix libraries destined for these countries, you need to connect to any of the servers based in these countries.
And the good part…
All Windscribe servers that are dedicated for streaming are labeled “Windflix”.
All you need to do is connect to the Windscribe server in the country of your choice… could be WindflixUS, WindflixCA, WindflixUK or WindflixJP. In fact, once connected to the Windflix servers based in the UK, I was able to stream shows on BBC iPlayer without being blocked.
That same was true for Hulu and Amazon using the US based Windflix servers.
As you can see, Windscribe is a great VPN for streaming Netflix, Hulu and iPlayer.
Is Windscribe fast enough?
In order to be able to enjoy the streaming capabilities of Windscribe servers, you need great connection speeds.
Slow speeds can be downright annoying, especially if it leads to buffering when you are in the middle of an action filled tv series…
First of all, you don’t want to believe a VPN when they say they have the fastest connection speeds, because I have proved this to be pure marketing gimmick, after conducting independent speeds test.
I tested the speeds of Windscribe by connecting to three different servers based in different countries.
I then used the website speedtest.net by Ookla to measure the download and upload speeds of Windscribe servers before and after connecting to these servers.
Before I connected to any of their servers, I had a download speed of 17.08Mbps.
After connecting to their server based in the United States, my speeds dropped to 15.54Mbps, which is 91% of my original speeds.
Then I connected to a UK based server and again my download speed dropped further to 14.25Mbps, 86% of my initial download speeds.
Finally, the Hong Kong based server was a huge flop.
The download speeds dropped all the way up to 6.88Mbps, which is barely 40% of my original Windscribe download speeds.
As you can see there is a downward trend here… the speeds keep dropping further and further.
In fact, this gives me an average download speed that is 72% of my initial speeds, with a speed rating of 3.6 stars out of 5.
Now, that dismal.
Even though it has great unblocking capabilities, Windscribe is not the VPN for you if you are big on speeds… a lot of VPNs have faster connection speeds than this.
What about the ability to download torrent files without being traced?
Downloading torrent files is another one of the most popular activities online, and if you are a torrent freak, you want to know if Windscribe can keep your torrenting private and anonymous or not.
Let’s now review Windscribe in terms of its ability to torrent anonymously.
When it comes to torrenting, Windscribe has you covered.
Unlike other VPNs like ExpressVPN that allow you to download torrent files from any server, Windscribe has specific servers dedicated for torrenting.
In fact, they are also labelled which makes it easy to identify… except in the reverse.
Instead of Windscribe labelling P2P optimized servers, they have chosen to label servers that do not support torrenting.
So if you see a server with P2P crossed out in front of it, then it’s not for torrenting. It means you can torrent while connected to any other server except the ones with P2P labels crossed out.
But considering that the connection speeds of Windscriber servers are rather average, you should not expect some jaw dropping download speeds.
In addition to that, as we’ll establish in a moment, Windscribe enables you to stream anonymously since they do not keep track of your activity online.
Does Windscribe really provide you with true privacy online?
People need privacy online for a number of reasons.
It could be because you don’t want your ISP or government tracking your online endeavors or you don’t want copyright infringement lawsuits after you download a torrent file.
Let’s now see if this VPN, Windscribe, is really up to task when it comes to making you a ghost online.
To begin with, the Canadian location of Windscribe is not very exciting.
Canada is a founding member of the 5 eyes alliance of countries that surveil their citizens and share their personal information. Even though they still don’t have mandatory data retention laws, some people argue that this could be a possibility soon.
That being said, Windscribe cares about the privacy of their users and states that they do not collect any information that could be used to personally identify anyone or tie you to any activities on their servers at any particular time.
In simple terms, Windscribe does not keep logs of your IP address, DNS queries or connection timestamps.
However, I established that they do keep logs of your total bandwidth used for the last 30 days as well as the time of your last connection to the server.
They claim that they use this information to administer the free accounts that have a bandwidth limit.
I find keeping bandwidth usage logs something common among other VPNs like ExpressVPN and even Tunnelbear.
Overall, I think Windscribe is a pretty secure and private VPN for the moment.
Encryption and Data Protection
What really makes a VPN secure?
Is Windscribe able to secure your personal information whenever you are connected to their servers?
Any time you connect to the internet, you should be aware that there could be someone listening to the packets of data that you are sending over the network.
With the right tools, these hackers can capture these packets and decrypt them to see the actual information.
Information could include you usernames and passwords… or even your credit card information.
You don’t want this information in the wrong hands.
A VPN would remedy this by encrypting your data using an algorithm that is impossible to crack… this means that even if a hacker grabbed the packets, they’ll never be able to decrypt and see what it really means.
Windscribe implements the use of AES 256-bit encryption technologies.
It is an encryption algorithm that has never been hacker before… heck it’s even used by militaries and government agencies like the FBI to encrypt sensitive, classified information.
So you can be rest assured that all your data transmitted over Windscribe is secure.
In addition to the encryption technologies, VPNs also use certain connection protocols to ensure that your connection with the VPN server is not compromised.
At the time of writing this Windscribe review in 2020, Windscribe supports two of the most popular and secure connection protocols: OpenVPN and IKEv2.
While OpenVPN is more secure and robust, IKEv2 is known to deliver faster connection speeds.You even have an option of choosing the VPN connection protocol that you want in the apps.
In case you want to be able to block ads while browsing the internet, then Windscribe has you covered.
Some websites are downright annoying with ads, as they get too aggressive with their ad placements. If there are too many ads on a page, they distract you from actually reading the content that brought you there in the first place.
In some instances, these websites start playing video ads in the background which consumes a lot of bandwidth hence making your internet connection slow.
Windscribe has a feature called R.O.B.E.R.T that enables you to block ads.
With this feature, you’ll not only be able to block ads but also block trackers that most websites place on your browser, that they use to build a profile of you and follow you around the internet.
In addition to that, you also have the option of blocking cryptominers and malware.
If you are looking for a VPN with an ad blocker, then Windscribe is one of the best VPN with ad blockers in 2020.
A normal VPN connection uses a shared IP address.
This means that there are many people using the same IP address at the same time as you.
While this is great for security it creates a problem when you want to connect to certain sensitive applications like your work network.
It is in such instances that you need a dedicated IP address, that you can whitelist in your network and then use them for secure remote access.
Does Windscribe have dedicated IPs?
Unfortunately, Windscribe does not support dedicated IP addresses, but you get an alternative called static IPs that you can use for the same purpose.
The difference between static IPs and dedicated IPs is that a dedicated IP is used only by you while a static IP could be used by a couple other people, which makes it better if you want to keep some degree of anonymity.
A dedicated IP has no anonymity because the activities on this IP are tied to your account and will be traced back to you.
However, this static IP feature is a premium addon that you have to purchase separately.
If all you want is a VPN with a dedicated IP then here are the best dedicated IP VPNs.
If you always want to keep your identity online hidden then you need a VPN with an automatic internet kill switch.
Because most hackers are usually caught during those few seconds that they let their guard down.
You could be downloading torrent files then your VPN disconnects for a few seconds before reconnecting… your real IP is then exposed for these few seconds when you were disconnected from the server.
While a VPN will secure your internet connection and make you invisible to your ISP, this is only the case as long as remain connected to their VPN servers.
If you have an automatic kill switch on, the internet access for your entire device will be blocked whenever you VPN app disconnects.
This is great for ensuring that other apps on your device do not continue to access the internet during this time and exposed your identity.
Does Windscribe have a kill switch?
Windscribe does have a kill switch that can offer you this kind of protection but they do call it “Firewall” instead of the good old kill switch.
You can set the firewall on or off from the connection interface.
I works just like a kill switch and will do all you need.
Just remember to look for a “Firewall”, not a kill switch… I also got frustrated at first looking for a “Kill Switch” when it was right in my face the entire time… just by a different name.
There are instances when you need to split your traffic into two channels. You might want to have some traffic channeled through your VPN tunnel while the rest to go through your ISP.
One situation in mind is when you have an app that has a problem working with the random shared IP address that most VPNs give you whenever you connect to their servers.
This is especially true for security-sensitive apps like your banking app that might actually think someone has hacked into your account.
In order to remedy this, you need a VPN that enables you to split tunnels.
Does Windscribe support split tunneling?
Windscribe does have a split tunnel but it is not available in any of the desktop apps… it’s only present in the Android app.
This is an area that they really need to work on as I need it most in my desktop that even in my phone.
In fact, I just put together a list of the best VPNs for split tunnelling that have full feature split tunnels that work on both desktops and mobile devices.
Works in China?
I know you are itching to know if Windscribe really works in China.
In China, internet access is heavily censored and some websites like Facebook are completely blocked.
So, what do you do if you are in China and want to access your Facebook profile or you are a Chinese national wanting to create a Facebook account?
Use a VPN.
Except it’s not that simple.
China also bans the use of VPNs to access censored content. They have a very smart deep packet inspection technology in their firewall that is able to detect and block VPN traffic.
So can Windscribe work in China?
Windscribe VPN will work in China because their apps are able to obfuscate your VPN traffic and make it look like normal HTTPS traffic and bypass the great firewall of China.
If you read around, you’ll find other reviews mentioning that Windscribe has a stealth mode that you can activate in order to access the internet in China.
I can’t seem to find this stealth mode in the settings.
After some enquiry with the support staff, I established that this feature is inbuilt into the VPN and so you don’t need to do anything special about it.
So in order to access the internet in China, simply plug in your VPN and it will detect and do the needful without any intervention from your part… that is to say it is automatic.
It’s for this reason that Windscribe made it to the list of the best VPNs for China.
IPv6, DNS and WebRTC Leaks
While most VPNs will be able to hide your IPv4 address, some struggle to also conceal your IPv6 address. This means that your anonymity could actually be compromised when using these VPNs.
Before writing this Windscribe review in 2020, I tested for any leaks using the ipleak.net website.
This test established that Windscribe does not leak any IPv6, DNS or WebRTC addresses.
Tor, also known as “The Onion Router” is a popular browser that you can use if you want to access the internet completely anonymously.
However, in order to guarantee this, you need to combine it with a VPN.
Fortunately, Windscribe supports the Tor browser and there are even guides on their support website that take you through setting up Windscribe to work with Tor.
So if you are looking for a VPN that will work with your favourite browser, Tor, then Windscribe has you covered.
As we near the end of this review of Windscribe in 2020, let’s now look at the various pricing plans to establish the cheaper one for you.
In order to get the best discount for a VPN, always go for the longest plan.
If you think of it, though, Windscribe has quite a simple pricing plan.
Their monthly plan costs $ 9/month while the yearly plan only costs $ 4.08/month… billed once yearly as $ 49 USD.
And that’s it…
No multiple plans… 6 months, 12 months, 18 months, 24 months or 36 months.
So it just makes logical sense to go for the yearly plan if you want to save some bucks.
What payment methods does Windscribe support?
The more payments options a VPN provides the easier it is to find a payment method that works for you.
That is especially the case if you are looking for payment methods that do not require you to provide any personal identifiable information like cryptocurrencies or gift cards.
Since these payment methods do not require a billing address, you can actually create an account using a fake email address and then pay with some bitcoins.
Heck, Windscribe does not even ask for email address, only a username. Great.
At the time I was writing this Windscribe review, they accept payments through all the major credit cards, PayPal and Bitcoins.
If you want complete anonymity from the word go then pay with Bitcoins.
What happens if you purchase Windscribe and realize that you don’t like what you bought…
Can you get your money back and walk away?
Well, yes, but you’ll need to make this decision quick. Windscribe only allows a 3 days money back guarantee period.
This means that you have up to 3 days from the day you purchase Windscribe premium to evaluate the platform and make up your mind if you want to keep your purchase or have your money back.
3 days refund policy is really a short time though… most VPNs would give you 30 days.
However if you don’t want to risk any money upfront then check out the free trial available below.
Does Windscribe offer a free trial?
Even with an elaborate money back guarantee sometimes you just want to test drive their servers without risking any money upfront.
It is for this reason that VPNs will provide a free trial plan.
While Windscribe does not have a free trial, they have a completely free plan that you can have for as long as you want. With this free plan, you get to access a limited version of the Windscribe VPN pro features.
It means that your bandwidth is limited to 10GB/month and you are only able to connect to servers in 11 countries.
In fact, with the free account, you don’t have access to any streaming servers… no Netflix, Hulu or even BBC iPlayer. However, it gives you an idea of how the actual VPN works before you actually decided to go pro.
How many devices does Windscribe support?
I can confirm in this Windscribe review that they support an unlimited number of simultaneously connected devices because I was able to connect multiple devices to my Windscribe subscription.
However, I don’t know how they safeguard this to prevent it from abuse.
In fact, so far only Surfshark and Windscribe are able to provide true unlimited connected devices.
In addition that, you’ll also get apps for Windows, Android, Mac, iOS and Linux.
If you want to use Windscribe to protect your entire network through your router, then you can either configure it to work with your router or you can purchase pre-flashed routers that work with Windscribe.
There are guides on their support website that take you through setting up Windscribe on your router. Besides the apps, there are browser extensions that protect your browsing sessions even further.
Windscribe has browser extension for Chrome, Firefox and Opera.
While Windscribe has straightforward and easy to apps, sometimes you might be stuck and in need of some help with troubleshooting.
What kind of customer support are you able to access?
To begin with, there is a huge knowledge base on their support website with tutorials and guides that answer all the questions that you may have.
However, if you need to interact with a real human then you’ll have to start with their chatbot named “Gary” that will try to automatically answer your questions.
I find this very inefficient because when I decide to launch real-time chat, I want to talk to a real person… not a bot. Unfortunately, there is no real-time customer support. Your only next option would to raise a ticket and wait for a response in your email.
In an age where real-time chat support is the order of the day, it is quite a disappointment that Windscribe cannot afford to provide real-time chat support on their website.
The tickets also take quite some time to get response.
In fact, Windscribe has some of the worst customer support I have seen among the VPN companies I have reviewed so far. If you are big on great customer support then stay away from Windscribe.
So, all things being said, would I recommend Windscribe to anyone?
If you are looking for a free VPN service that you can use to test the waters then, yes, go ahead and get a free Windscribe plan.
However, if you are really serious about using your VPN for something real.. then consider these others VPNs.
Why do I say that?
First, most of the interesting features that you’ll want in a VPN are hidden behind the pro plan of Windscribe.
Secondly, the pro plan costs $ 4.08/month, which is much more expensive than Surfshark which has plans as low as $ 1.99/month and has all the features that you can imagine in a VPN. So why not just go for the real deal?
Have you used Windscribe before?
Please share your experience in the comments below.