This is another part of Tech Jury‘s efforts to find and rank the best VPN software on the market. In this Windscribe VPN review I will tell you about the most interesting and useful features of this software, its performance and perks.
Then we’ll examine together the results of the security and data leak tests I performed. Finally, we’ll look at all the other aspects of Windscribe that can help you decide if it’s right option for you.
What is Windscribe VPN ?
Windscribe VPN is an easy-to-use VPN client, highly suitable for first-time users. All settings have automatic functions by default, so all you have to do is select a server from the menu and enjoy a secure connection. You can find a Windscribe VPN download link easily accessible on their website.
The software was launched in Toronto, Canada, in April of 2016, and besides a user-friendly interface has also a free version. This alone can help complete VPN newbies enjoy a safer internet experience without paying a dime.
Like any other VPN service, Windscribe has its positives and negatives. Keep on reading to find out more.
Windscribe VPN Essentials – Speed, Security, Privacy
There are two things that every virtual network strives to provide: encryption that keeps you safe without sacrificing speed too much. There is another thing most users deem valuable and that’s complete anonymity. Let’s see how Windscribe fares in these categories.
1. Windscribe Speed
While performing the speed tests, I was pleasantly surprised by this VPN.
Before trying out the software myself, I read some end-user Windscribe VPN reviews and one of the complaints mentioned often was the slow speed.
My test results painted a different picture, as evident below. Like always, I tested four different servers from the US, Europe and the UK, and Asia and it doesn’t look so bad.
Here is my speed test result without using VPN:
This is the result I had from one of the US servers:
As you can see the download speed loss was about 10%, which is awesome. Windscribe Pro performs even better because it gives you more servers to choose from and achieves higher speeds. All the same, there is a huge loss in upload speed.
In Europe everything was almost perfect. Negligible loss of download speed and somewhere about 10% in upload. I tested a Switzerland server and the best server by default, as suggested by the app (a Romanian node in my case).
The UK server didn’t impress me with its speed however:
As you can see, the upload speed is abysmal.
And here is the Hong Kong server I tested in Asia:
Here the losses are too great for my liking, but in this 2019 Windscribe VPN review I also compare this software with other top VPNs. Overall, the more distant servers of other providers cut down my speed to 20-30% of its original rate.
In other words, Windscribe is indistinguishable in the Asia’s server speed department and fares like everyone else.
Verdict: Windscribe is in top 3 in terms of speed.
2. Windscribe Security
The tests I performed didn`t show any DNS or IP leaks.
The program offers a variety of encryptions to choose from. By default, it uses IKEv2, which is usually the fastest protocol but can easily be blocked.
You can select UDP mode, which uses the standard OpenVPN protocol, TCP, Stealth, and WStunnel. The last two are promoted as “may be handy in China”.
In some other Windscribe reviews I saw that one of the repeatedly reported cons of this software is the lack of kill switch. This information is plainly wrong and dated.
Windscribe provides a firewall feature that acts as a kill switch (like some other VPN services). The firewall blocks all connectivity outside of the tunnel to ensure there is zero leak chance. You can set its behavior to either automatic, manual or always on.
Verdict: Windscribe delivers solid security through a good variety of protocols and powerful kill switch.
Whenever you run the software and type in your Windscribe login information, you can rest assured that the company doesn’t log your activities while using to the service. It doesn’t store a historical record of VPN sessions and your IP address, nor the history of the sites you visit.
However, it records some data, associated with your account:
Naturally, the VPN keeps any information you have provided willingly, like your username, email address, etc.
The Windscribe jurisdiction is somewhat disturbing. The company is based in Canada, which is one of five countries, who founded the Eyes surveillance alliance. In other reviews I mentioned the 14 Eyes, but for Canada we are talking about the original 5 Eyes.
This Windscribe review is the first service from within the Eyes-alliance I examine.
For those of you who are not familiar with the 5, 9 and 14 Eyes, these are international surveillance collaborations. Various countries around the world work together to collect and share mass surveillance data.
The 5 Eyes are:
- New Zealand
- United Kingdom
- United States
These five have tremendous authority to force companies to hand over personal data.
Still, the no-logging policy of Windscribe offers protection, as the company cannot disclose data it doesn’t have.
Windscribe VPN Pros
Windscribe is fast and secure, but that’s not all that it has to offer.
1. Generous Windscribe free version
When you download the software, you can use it for free for as long as you like. You’ll have access to 11 locations (each location provides a set of servers) and you receive 10GB of monthly data. The bandwidth is reset every 30 days. These are the only limitations of the free version, which is pretty good. You can test all the features of the software, except for Netflix, before paying for it. If you decide to purchase the Windscribe premium package you will have unlimited data and access to over 110 locations and separate servers from free users.
2. Quickly establishes connections
Unlike some of the VPNs I have reviewed (check VyprVPN), Windscribe connects to its servers really fast. I tried different locations and every time it took less than 5 seconds to establish a secure connection.
3. User-friendly interface
The Windscribe client UI is simple and good-looking. Perfectly optimized, it is very welcoming for first-timers as well.
You won’t get lost setting up protocols or finding servers. Everything is easy and conveniently accessible.
4. Good for streaming and torrenting
You won’t be able to watch Netflix simply by connecting to any UK or US server. Thanks to the optimized servers from Windscribe, Netflix can be accessed via the “Windflix” servers. They appear as locations in the servers menu. Windscribe successfully bypasses the geo-restrictions of the popular streaming service. The program is also good for torrenting (check the FAQ section below for more information), except for the Japan, India and Windflix servers.
5. Supports multiple devices
This is one of the best aspects of Windscribe. They have apps for almost every platform and you can connect unlimited devices. On your disposal you have apps for all major OS, like Windows, Mac, and Linux. You can also download the browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. For mobile, you can choose between the Windscribe Android app and the iOS version. Windscribe is also available for your TV and router.
6. Unlimited devices
Yes, unlimited. Pay once and connect everything, even your toaster!
7. Browser extension with exclusive features
The program’s website also offers a browser extension with some nice features. Mind you that it isn’t implemented in the software itself but has to be downloaded.
The extension provides an adblocker, automatic location pick, a time zone changer according to your connection, and some other useful exclusive features.
With Windscribe browser extension you are able to do a double hop (routing your connection through two locations, instead of one), which isn’t that impressive, compared to Perfect Privacy VPN, which allows up to four hops.
However, it’s still better than most VPNs that don’t have this function at all.
8. Bypass DNS requests
You can also change your API (application programming interface) solution from automatic to manually configuring an IP address to access the API, bypassing DNS. If you receive a Windscribe no API connectivity error, you should contact the support for an IP address (which can take a while, see below).
9. Mine for upgrades
Windscribe allows its subscribers to dedicate some of their computing power toward the creation of Monero, a relatively popular alt-coin. It is an interesting feature that allows you to finance your Windscribe account with cryptocurrency directly, while using the VPN service.
As good as everything sounds, I must point out two serious negatives.
1. Based in Canada
Above I explained why this could be an issue. Although the company claims it keeps no logs, a gag order from any agency or the government will force them to log your activities and hand them over to the authorities in secret. So before you download Windscribe, keep that in mind.
2. No live chat (with a human)
The website provides live chat with Garry. Who would be a nice guy… If he wasn’t a bot.
He is also useless, unless you skip the FAQ section or you are bored as hell and want to chat with a bot for some reason.
If you want to talk to a real human being who can answer your questions, you have to submit a ticket and arm yourself with patience. It will take more than 24 hours to receive your answer.
While writing this Windscribe VPN review I wasn’t happy with the support at all. Except for their slow replies (in some cases more than 3 days) their answers were consisted usually of one sentence containing a link toward the Windscribe website that was somewhat related to the issue.
The support definitely needs improvement if the company is aiming at higher position in the VPN industry.
Windscribe offers three paid plans – Monthly Plan (9$), Yearly Plan, and the amazing option to build your own plan, depending on your needs.
For each location and its servers, you will be charged $1 per month. For example, if you want only to watch Netflix and want unlimited data you can use Windscribe for only $2 a month.
As I already mentioned, you can download the Windscribe VPN free version and use it for as long as you like. The only limitations are the 10GB monthly broadband allowance and the number of servers (including Windflix) you can choose from.
There is a refund policy, but you can request a refund only in the first 3 days after your purchase, or if you haven’t yet used 10GB of traffic.
Overall, it can be a truly affordable VPN service, even without counting any possible discounts and Windscribe promo codes.
If you still decide to purchase this software you can choose your payment option from one of the following: PayPal, Bitcoin, Visa, Mastercard, American Express or Paymentwall.
Do I Recommend Windscribe?
There is much to like about Windscribe – a free version, good speed, security, and the ability to bypass geo-restrictions successfully.
Yet, while writing my Windscribe VPN review, I couldn’t get over the fact it was based in Canada. After all, the reason for using a VPN is to be anonymous, and here, the possibility to be spied on is obvious.
Also there is Garry, who could be really annoying and is pretty much useless if you have an issue with the software. All his answers are predefined, and sometimes they even aren’t related to the question asked.
The paid version isn’t that cheap either, when you consider the possible compromise with your privacy.
In conclusion I have to say no, I don’t recommend Windscribe VPN.
If the company operated somewhere outside of the Eyes network, I would strongly recommend this software, despite the lack of live chat support.
Q: Is Windscribe Safe?
A: If you consider using this software and you don’t mind that some agency or government might be spying on you, than YES. Windscribe is safe as it could be. Using the strongest AES-256 encryption with SHA512 auth and a 4096-bit RSA key.
You can also configure OpenVPN, IKEv2, and SOCKS protocols for all your devices. My extensive testing showed absolutely no data leaks. You also receive a firewall with software that acts as a kill switch. So yes, Windscribe VPN is safe to use.
Q: How to Use Windscribe?
A: Windscribe is actually pretty easy to use. The installation is simple and with a sense of humor.
After that, all you need to do is select a server from the drop-down menu and once connected, you are anonymous. Of course, you can configure everything to your liking, but the default configuration works well enough. The firewall is accessible from the main menu and it takes a click to turn it on and off.
The interface is simple and easy on the eye. I liked it from the beginning. There is nothing unnecessary on the main screen and if you want to access the configuration tabs, all you have to do is click on “Preferences”.
Q: Is Windscribe a Good VPN?
A: Yes, generally it is. It provides top-notch security and a lot of interesting features. It is also available for practically any device. It has everything you could want from a VPN service, except for live chat. The Canada-based main office can also be an issue for a lot of users. If you could overlook these problems Windscribe VPN is a very quick, stable, and safe VPN service. It is also can do everything the “big boys” in the industry can – streaming, torrenting, and anonymous browsing.
Q: Is Windscribe good for torrenting?
A: Yes, for the most part. You can use the BitTorrent protocol at any Windscribe server location except India, Japan, and Windflix machines. All you need to do is connect to any other location and use any torrent client you normally would. On the website, you will find guides for all major torrenting clients. So, except for these three locations, P2P traffic isn’t a problem. The good thing about Windscribe is you don’t have to configure your torrent software specifically for the VPN.
Q: Does Windscribe VPN keep logs ?
A: No, it doesn’t. Windscribe records certain user information, but, thankfully, none that could jeopardize your privacy or security. The recorded logs refer to the amount of bandwidth used in a 30-day period to enforce free tier limitations. The service also logs your credentials and everything you do on its website, but the good news is it doesn’t use any third-party tracking or analytics. All your activities on the Windscribe site remain there. There is nothing worrying with the company’s policy except for being in Canada.
If you liked this Windscribe VPN review, make sure to check out our other VPN reviews as well.