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Windscribe VPN review

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Windscribe is a well-known and widely liked VPN service. Its official page is actually interesting to read, its servers have witty names, and it has a great marketing team that never fails to send us an amusing newsletter. Also, Windscribe manages to work with lots of streaming sites like Netflix.

However, all of this is only a (very) small part of what makes a VPN truly great. In this Windscribe VPN review, you’ll find out everything you need to know about this Virtual Private Network. Speed, compatibility with streaming platforms, features, and any potential issues – let’s see what this VPN is all about.

Rating:
4.0
Country:Canada
Logs:No logs
Price:From $4.08 a month
Support:Self-help, bot chat, tickets
Locations:60+ countries
Torrenting:Yes
Netflix:Yes
Current deal:Get 55% OFF with 1-year plan!

Windscribe pros & cons

Visit Windscribe to learn more about the features

Speed performance: Is Windscribe VPN fast?

For this Windscribe VPN review, I tested all of its supported tunneling protocols and was a bit disappointed by the overall results - simply because the speeds weren’t that spectacular. I managed to get fast download and upload speeds with certain servers like Germany, Australia, and Lithuania. For example, when the German server was in use, my upload speed dropped by 22%, which is negligible if you have a fast internet connection.

  • Baseline: 1ms, 300 Mbps download speed, 300 Mbps upload speed
LocationDownload Speed (Mbps)Upload Speed (Mbps)
US (NY)5837
US (FL)69227
US (LA)3644
UK6065
Germany190234
Japan3610
Singapore7231
Australia13899
Lithuania147278
India2811
Argentina32

On the other hand, some servers slowed down my connection a lot. For example, I was left with only 1% of my original download speed when connected to the Argentinian server. Unfortunately, the WireGuard protocol is available only for Android users, which leaves lots of users with OpenVPN UDP as the fastest option.

I tested the IKEv2/IPsec tunneling protocol on my Mac device because it didn’t work on Windows for some reason. As a result, the baseline speed is a bit different - 1/296/283 (the first number represents ping, the second - download speed, while the third one - upload speed).

So, my base speed on the phone was 1/257/334. With WireGuard, it dropped to 6/100/183, when connected to the nearest server. In other words, I was left with 38% of my original download speed and 54% of upload speed. I even got slightly better results using IKEv2 on the same server (6/101/255).

Now, the situation with OpenVPN TCP (which I tested on my Windows device) was a bit disappointing. The speed drop was significant in comparison with the results of OpenVPN UDP. For example, I got 276/4/3 with the TCP protocol on the US Florida server while the same server gave me 133/69/227 with OpenVPN UDP.

Both upload and download speeds were extremely slow when WStunnel was in use on a Windows PC. For example, when connected to the UK server, the download speed was only 2 Mbps, while the upload speed reached only 0.05 Mbps. However, sometimes the upload speed dropped to zero. This happened with some of the US, Japanese, Lithuanian, and Indian servers.

The Stealth protocol disappointed me even more. That’s because most of the time, it failed to connect at all. I only managed to connect to the US Florida server, but the speed drop was significant. The connection time was also unusually long. However, this might simply be a compatibility issue with my device or software and your experience may be vastly different.

Streaming: Does Windscribe work with Netflix?

It was nice to discover that Windscribe VPN is great for streaming. Many other VPN services claim to unblock various streaming services and often fail, so Windscribe was truly a breath of fresh air.

PlatformStatus
Netflix✔️ with the US library
DAZN✔️
BBC iPlayer✔️
Youtube✔️

First of all, Windscribe offers servers that are optimized for streaming. These are called Windflix servers and they are available in the US, Canada, the UK, and Japan. I successfully managed to access geo-blocked content on Netflix, DAZN, and Youtube by using Windflix US. I also tried out Windflix UK to unblock BBC iPlayer and it worked.

Netflix

You may have luck even with non-Windflix servers, especially if you try the more obscure ones, not yet recognized by Netflix and other platforms. This service will be a great addition to your Amazon Fire TV or other devices.

Does Windscribe allow torrenting?

Windscribe VPN supports torrenting on the vast majority of its servers. The only locations that don’t allow it are India, Russia, Lithuania, and South Africa. They are marked with the “No P2P” icon.

So, for this Windscribe VPN review, I tried to download a 4.75 GB Linux installation image. It only took me around 10 minutes, even though the download speeds were a bit unstable, fluctuating between 5 and 12MB/s (40-96 Mbps). However, all of this also depends on your internet connection, seeders, and other factors, so you might experience no fluctuations at all.

Windscribe VPN features

Kill switch

Before using a VPN, make sure that it has a reliable kill switch that shuts down your internet connection in case the VPN connection gets compromised. This is done to make sure that your real IP address doesn’t get accidentally exposed.

Thankfully, Windscribe’s kill switch performed really well during my tests. It instantly terminated my internet connection when the VPN was forcefully shut down. When the VPN connection was not at risk anymore, the app reconnected me to the internet, displaying a notification.

Split tunneling

Right now, split tunneling is available only on the Android app of Windscribe VPN. However, it will also appear on Windows, macOS, and Linux applications in the future.

Let’s hope this happens sooner than later, because split tunneling is a really useful feature that allows you to choose the apps that are excluded from the VPN connection. This can be helpful when you need to conserve bandwidth or visit a website that requires your real location.

However, it’s a bit confusing to select the programs that should bypass the VPN connection. That’s because the list you get contains different themes, gestures, and low-level services, and it’s difficult to find the app you want.

Double Hop

The Double Hop feature lets you connect to any two servers of your choice. In other words, instead of connecting to one location, you will be connected through two different locations to hide your real IP address better. The websites you visit will see the second location, which adds an extra layer of anonymity.

To use this feature, you will have to install a desktop application as well as a browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, or Opera. That’s because the second location is added through the extension.

Secure Hotspot

Windscribe VPN hotspot

The Secure Hotspot feature lets you create a secure wifi hotspot on your computer so that other people could connect to it and use the safe connection of Windscribe VPN without the need to install the app themselves.

However, this feature works only on Windows devices, and you can make use of it only if you have a compatible wireless adapter.

Firewall

The Windows and macOS apps of Windscribe have a built-in firewall that’s here to prevent any DNS, IPv6, WebRTC, and other leaks if the VPN connection shuts down. It does this by blocking any other connections outside of the VPN tunnel so that no packets leave your device if the VPN disconnects. A firewall is far more effective than a kill switch in case of real danger.

Auto Pilot

This is a feature available only on the browser extensions of Windscribe. It’s really simple - Auto Pilot will pick the best location for you in terms of speed, so you won’t have to worry about your internet lagging anymore.

In addition, if you visit a site that’s geo-blocked in your country, Auto Pilot will automatically connect you to the server needed for unblocking it. In other words, this feature just makes your browsing much easier.

Time Warp

Yet another feature available on the browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera, Time Warp will fake your timezone to match the one of the server you’re connected to. In this way, websites will be less likely to detect that you’re using a VPN.

R.O.B.E.R.T.

Windscribe VPN Robert

When you have Windscribe VPN installed on your device, you don’t need additional ad blocker software anymore. That’s because R.O.B.E.R.T. does its job pretty well. It’s a highly customizable domain and IP blocking tool that will protect your device from various online threats.

Its free version blocks ads and trackers, while those who have a paid subscription to Windscribe will also get protected from malicious pages that can infect the computer with malware. Paid users can also choose to block or whitelist various sites related to gambling, explicit content, and clickbait.

Is Windscribe VPN safe?

In June, 2021, Ukrainian authorities seized 2 Windscribe servers. In the aftermath, the company revealed that these servers were unencrypted. More specifically, both servers ran a legacy stack and both the OpenVPN server certificate and the private key on them. Windscribe claims this is an anomaly, and also that their no-logs policy means there's nothing on the servers to find. With all that said, this situation raises serious questions about the security of this VPN provider.

We have no way of checking these claims and users should make their own decision. Perhaps erring on the side of caution is a good idea, particularly when using the service in countries like China, Russia, etc.

However, in terms of the features offered, Windscribe is still a safe VPN service provider. Here's a rundown of what they offer.

Encryption

All of the applications of Windscribe VPN use the strongest security options available.

For starters, your data is encrypted using the AES-256 cipher, which is a symmetric encryption algorithm that has never been broken. The fact that a brute-force attack would take billions of years to crack it makes AES-256 a go-to cipher for various organizations that deal with sensitive data, including governments and online banks.

Unlike Surfshark or TorGuard VPN, Windscribe VPN doesn’t let you change the encryption cipher (for example, to choose AES-128 or Blowfish). If implemented in the future, this could be useful on weaker devices.

It’s also worth mentioning that Windscribe VPN uses the strong SHA-512 algorithm for authentication, as well as the 4096-bit RSA key as a handshake method.

Tunneling protocols

Windscribe VPN offers a lot of different tunneling protocols to choose from. However, if you’re an inexperienced user, this freedom of choice might be a bit confusing. In that case, simply leave the default protocol (IKEv2) and don’t worry about it anymore - especially if you experience no connection problems. Unfortunately, my internet connection struggled when IKEv2 was in use, so I had to select another protocol.

Windscribe Security protocols

So, if a given tunneling protocol doesn’t function properly (for example, the connection is very slow), you can try changing it - this should solve the problem. Read the descriptions provided below for a better understanding of how each tunneling protocol stands out.

WireGuard

This is one of the fastest (and safest) VPN protocols available today. Unfortunately, only the Android app of Windscribe VPN supports it.

OpenVPN (TCP and UDP)

Currently, OpenVPN is one of the most widely used protocols thanks to its strength and versatility. Windscribe VPN lets you choose between its two variations, TCP and UDP. Use TCP when security is your top priority, and pick UDP when you want better speed. Both are available on all Windscribe applications.

WStunnel and StealthVPN

These two bad boys are the protocols that might help you unblock websites if you reside in China or other countries where VPN use is restricted. Both of them hide VPN traffic, making it seem like you’re not using a VPN at all. However, your speed might suffer drastically, so use either of them only if absolutely necessary.

IKEv2/IPsec

Set as the default protocol on all Windsribe’s apps, IKEv2/IPsec will often give you the best speeds and great security. On the other hand, the IKEv2 VPN connection can be easily blocked.

Logging

I like how Windscribe VPN is really open about what kind of data they collect. Their privacy policy is short and easy to understand. So, this is what they do log:

  • The transaction ID of your payment (for 30 days)
  • The amount of bytes transferred each month
  • Timestamp of your last activity using the VPN

Windscribe VPN also logs some information during your VPN session, which is immediately deleted after you close the program. This includes the OpenVPN/IKEv2 username, time of connection, and the amount of data transferred.

On the other hand, Windscribe VPN doesn’t log (or monitor) your browsing activity or source IP, making your browsing completely anonymous. In fact, they even issue a transparency report with the legal requests and Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) complaints they have received. They write that none of the requests were complied with due to the lack of data.

Windscribe data requests

However, I’d also like to see an independent audit in the future, especially as Windscribe VPN is based in Canada, which is a Five Eyes country.

Server locations

Even though Windscribe VPN has fewer servers than many other VPNs we reviewed so far (like ExpressVPN, NordVPN, or Surfshark), the selection of countries is quite diverse: you can choose from 480+ servers in 60+ countries.

RegionsNumber of countries
Americas9 countries
Europe35 countries
Asia Pacific16 countries
Middle East and Africa4 countries

The vast majority of server locations are in Europe (35 countries), but there is also quite a lot of coverage in Asia and North America. Meanwhile, the selection of servers in Africa and South America could be better.

On the other hand, Windscribe VPN claims to own only physical servers, which means that it might be difficult to cover certain countries due to legal restrictions. However, I find it hard to believe they actually have servers in Antarctica, especially when the name of the server is “Fake Antarctica - Troll Station”.

When connecting to a Windscribe server, keep in mind that you’ll have better speed when you access servers near your location. You can also check the status of the servers (current usage and availability) on the official page of Windscribe VPN.

Finally, Windscribe is the only VPN I know that gave its servers witty names. For example, you can connect to “Philadelphia - Fresh Prince”, “Miami - Florida Man”, or “Las Vegas - Casino.” I really like this light-hearted touch, which gives Windscribe some personality.

Does Windscribe VPN work in China?

Windscribe has a great track record of bypassing the Great Firewall of China. However, keep in mind that this only applies to their paid version. If you're thinking about bypassing geo-blocks with a free version, it won't be possible.

That said, sometimes outages will be unavoidable. The government does enforce the blocks around protest dates.

Plans & pricing

Windscribe VPN isn’t the most expensive VPN service you’ll see. You can get it for as low as $4.08 a month when buying the yearly subscription (this would cost you $48.96 a year).

You can also try out the Windscribe Pro version for a month, but that makes it more than twice as expensive at $9 a month. In turn, this would cost you $108 a year, so getting the yearly plan sounds like a much better deal.

VersionPrice
1-month plan$9.00
1-year plan$49.00 or $2.49/month
Build a plan$1.00/month/location

Both plans offer the exact same features and give you unlimited simultaneous connections and unlimited bandwidth. There’s also the possibility to build your own plan. However, unless you only need two or three specific locations, it can quickly become more expensive than the yearly subscription.

Additionally, Windscribe VPN lets you purchase a static IP in either a data center or residential locations. The price goes from $2 to $8 a month depending on the type of IP you want to buy.

Just keep in mind that Windscribe’s money-back policy gives you only three days to decide whether you want to keep the VPN service or not.

The free version of Windscribe VPN

It’s nice that Windscribe offers an unlimited free version to those who are on a tight budget. Usually, the only trial version of a VPN you get is a 30-day money-back guarantee, which is definitely not as useful as a real free subscription.

If you don’t want to share your email address with Windscribe, you can simply get its default free version that gives you 2GB of data every month. However, providing an email will give you 10GB of monthly data.

The free version of Windscrive VPN doesn’t offer all the locations available to paid users. You’ll only get to use servers in the US, Canada, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Switzerland, the UK, Turkey, and Hong Kong. On the other hand, this is quite a long list of countries for a free VPN - usually, unpaid users get only three or four locations.

Interface and ease of use

Most of the apps of Windscribe VPN (except for the Linux version) are really easy to install and set up. However, if you encounter any difficulties, you can read the setup guides provided in the Support section on the webpage of Windscribe.

Desktop versions

Windows

Windscribe VPN user interface

Protocols: OpenVPN UDP, OpenVPN TCP, IKEv2, Stealth, WStunnel

The design of Windscribe’s Windows application might not be the most convenient for some users. That’s because its main window is extremely small. Compare it with the design of, say, NordVPN, and you’ll understand what I'm talking about. There’s no map to choose a location from, and you might not spot the settings menu right away.

Also, I found it a bit weird that you can only mark countries as your favorites, but not specific servers. Locations like the US have lots of different servers, and it would be more convenient to be able to bookmark them.

I was also upset to see that some of the available connection protocols didn’t work or worked very poorly. For example, IKEv2 didn’t connect while Stealth and WStunnel provided very poor results.

On the bright side, the OpenVPN UDP protocol worked quite well on a desktop client. I also liked the high level of customization the app provided, as I could choose not only the protocol, but also the port and some DNS configurations.

MacOS

Protocols: OpenVPN UDP, OpenVPN TCP, IKEv2, Stealth, WStunnel

In terms of design, the macOS app of Windscribe is very similar to its Windows counterpart. It has the same options for the kill switch, as well as the same connection protocols. In addition, the UI functions in the same way. Thankfully, it didn’t have the same issues with the IKEv2, WStunnel, and Stealth tunneling protocols.

However, I found it a bit annoying that it would display a “connected” notification before actually connecting.

Linux

Windscribe Linux app

Protocols: OpenVPN UDP, OpenVPN TCP, Stealth

Windscribe VPN offers CLI applications for both Debian and Red Hat users. However, the installation guide for the app could be a bit better - I had some trouble setting up the Linux app. At first, I wasn’t able to connect, as the program failed to create a virtual interface.

In addition, the Linux app of Windscribe has fewer tunneling protocols. Fortunately, the Stealth protocol is still available, giving some hope for Linux users in China.

All in all, this application is definitely geared towards advanced users.

Windscribe mobile apps

Android application

Android app Windscribe VPN

Protocols: OpenVPN UDP, OpenVPN TCP, IKEv2, Stealth, WireGuard

First of all, I really like the look of the Android app of Windscribe VPN. It looks much slicker and more modern than the desktop version. It’s also the only Windscribe application that supports the WireGuard tunneling protocol.

It also allows the user to make lots of connection modifications and choose a specific server. In addition, it includes some cool features like GPS spoofing, MTU customization, and split tunneling. However, I found it annoying that the app made my phone vibrate when scrolling through the country list.

Some of the issues aside, I think that this version of the app is better than its desktop counterparts thanks to the broader selection of features and a nicer user interface.

Windscribe iOS app

Protocols: OpenVPN UDP, OpenVPN TCP, IKEv2

The user interface of the Windscribe app for iPhone and iPad looks almost identical to the Android version. However, the iOS application has the least tunneling protocols of all the Windscribe apps. On the other hand, it has a really good rating of 4.7 out of 5 on the App Store and the user reviews seem rather positive. When it comes to complaints, though, people sometimes report an unstable VPN connection.

Browser extensions

Windscribe Chrome extension

You can also set up Windscribe VPN on the following browsers: Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. These browser extensions offer a lot of features like Smokewall, Ad Crusher, Tracker Eradicator, and Malware Evader, which aren’t present on Windscribe’s main applications.

In theory, the extensions should also allow you to control the desktop app. However, in my case, the Chrome extension didn’t detect the app installed on my computer.

Customer support

If you run into problems while using Windscribe VPN or if you simply want to know more about it before downloading the service, you can check out the self help center on the official site of Windscribe.

Here, you can read through the setup guides, the knowledge base, and the FAQ section. In addition, you might check out Windscribe’s subreddit, which is quite active.

You can also try talking to Garry, a friendly bot that’s capable of answering most questions about Windscribe VPN (and a few other topics).

Windscribe chat - Garry the bot

If you can’t find your answer by using the methods mentioned above, try submitting a ticket. A customer support agent should be able to answer your questions in a span of a few hours or a day.

Is Windscribe VPN any good and worth getting?

Windscribe is a decent VPN that I’d recommend in a heartbeat. I especially appreciate its ability to unblock Netflix and other streaming platforms, which is the main reason to use a VPN for some people.

Also, it’s really nice that Windscribe VPN lets you have unlimited simultaneous connections and offers a generous free version with 10GB of monthly data.

When it comes to security and privacy, you also don’t have anything to worry about. The VPN uses AES-256 encryption, a bunch of secure tunneling protocols, and has a clear no-logs policy.

Don’t forget that Windscribe is one of the most feature-rich VPN providers on the market, offering such features as an ad blocker and double VPN.

All in all, Windscribe VPN has a really good head start to become one of the best services in the industry – but there’s still some work to be done.

FAQ


More on VPN providers from CyberNews:

PrivateVPN review: not famous, but worth attention
IPVanish review: how good is this VPN?
PureVPN review: is it OK to use it?

Comments
Matt
Matt
prefix 2 months ago
Hi, I have windscribe, cause I want to stream HULU outside the US (I don’t live there)… it was all ok, but some days later, I couldn’t watch anymore… I could see the menu, my stuff, etc but I couldnt watch episodes anymore… Netflix works perfectly, also Prime Video… Its just HULU…. what do you recommend me to do??
Rūta Rimkienė
Rūta Rimkienė
prefix 2 months ago
Hi! You can try a few different servers. You can also change the tunneling protocol and see how it goes. However, sometimes, a streaming service just starts blocking VPNs more aggressively. In this case, Windscribe might be able to fix the problem eventually.
Aumgn
Aumgn
prefix 5 months ago
I mostly browse in cafes and I sometimes have to reach sensitive information, like pay with my credit card online. Do you think I need a premium or a free version would be enough for short uses like that?
Rūta Rimkienė
Rūta Rimkienė
prefix 4 months ago
Hello! In your case, a free version is more than enough.
hudson
hudson
prefix 5 months ago
So if windscribe Mac version doesn’t have Ikev2 protocol (which is supposedly the best), this vpn is more suitable for windows users right?
Rūta Rimkienė
Rūta Rimkienė
prefix 5 months ago
Hello, Hudson! The Mac version of Windscribe actually supports IKEv2, but you can also use OpenVPN, which is another great tunneling protocol.
Lefe
Lefe
prefix 5 months ago
whaoaaa, vpn speed can really change from 90% to 2% capability like whaaat 😀 i know y’all supa dupa techy but how can a regular human possibly know which protocols and servers are the best huh O.o
Rūta Rimkienė
Rūta Rimkienė
prefix 5 months ago
Hello! There are a lot of factors that influence the speed of the VPN connection, so your results might be different. As a rule of thumb, the fastest protocols are WireGuard, IKEv2, and OpenVPN UDP. Also, the nearer the server, the better the speed. Once you’re connected to a server, you can check the speed by performing a test on this website.
Hipolito
Hipolito
prefix 5 months ago
I can agree that Windscribe VPN for Windows doesn’t have the best user experience but overall it’s highly configurable. The truth is, you just can’t have it all.
AAYAN
AAYAN
prefix 5 months ago
Windscribe rating is 4.2/5 but the review says it’s only decent which is a bit confusing. Maybe it’s only me but 4 usually equals good, not just decent. Other than that, I quite ike this overview, covered windscribe pretty well.
Artur Cipriano
Artur Cipriano
prefix 6 months ago
I think my firewall might be blocking my vpn cause I can’t access the internet but everything seems to be in order. Is there anything that can be done in regards to windscribe vpn firewall settings so I can use it? Thanks for your advice!
Rūta Rimkienė
Rūta Rimkienė
prefix 5 months ago
Hello, Artur! You can try disabling your firewall or simply selecting another tunneling protocol (which you can change on your Windscribe app).
Preci
Preci
prefix 6 months ago
hi!! I see it works with netflix but does windscribe work with kodi (for streaming) as well?
Rūta Rimkienė
Rūta Rimkienė
prefix 6 months ago
Hello, Preci! Yes, Windscribe indeed works with Kodi. You can go here for instructions on how to set up Windscribe with Kodi.
Denise
Denise
prefix 7 months ago
quite comprehensive review, though i still have one question : does windscribe free allow torrenting from russian server? they offere 10 servers in free version and up to 10gb/month , that’s really what i’m looking for, but i need it to work with russian servers.
Rūta Rimkienė
Rūta Rimkienė
prefix 6 months ago
Hi, Denise! Unfortunately, the free version of Windscribe doesn’t include Russia. What’s more, torrenting is not allowed on Windscribe’s Russian servers even if you buy a subscription.
NeoN
NeoN
prefix 7 months ago
In windsribe preferences there 3 different modes of firewall. Do i need firewall on windscribe vpn? Automatic/Manual/Always on . I want it to work that each team there is a drop or internet connections disappears – that the whole access to internet would just stop working until a manually connect to the internet.
Rūta Rimkienė
Rūta Rimkienė
prefix 6 months ago
Hello, NeoN! In this case, you should leave the Firewall settings on “Always on”. This will prevent any leaks and will block all the connections outside the VPN tunnel.
marla
marla
prefix 7 months ago
is windscribe pro worth it ? what good benefits they offer for the paid version. i use free plan for more than a year and it’s fine. but i’m thinking maybe i should try paying for the service, get more stuff, since i know this provider, and i am satisfied with the service so far. 
Rūta Rimkienė
Rūta Rimkienė
prefix 7 months ago
Hi, Marla! It’s well worth paying for Windscribe VPN because all paid subscriptions include unlimited data, unlimited connections, and a wide selection of countries.
EJ
EJ
prefix 7 months ago
 If someone ever wonders : does windscribe work on firestick? Hell yeah it does. I was surprised when I managed to switch content , and wasn’t detected of using a VPN . You can even find and download the app from the Amazon listing page.Really worth trying.
kona
kona
prefix 7 months ago
Hello. I’m looking for a good free VPN, and the fact that Windscribe has a free plan with 10 GB data/month is really amazing. They are based in Canada, and that makes me think about log and privacy issues.Is Windscribe safe for torrenting, nothing illegal of course.  
Rūta Rimkienė
Rūta Rimkienė
prefix 7 months ago
Hello, Kona! Don’t worry – Windscribe is safe for torrenting because all your traffic is encrypted, making your connection completely anonymous.
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