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Windscribe VPN Review

Rank #1
Ryan Glenn
Ryan Glenn | VPN Expert
Updated November 1, 2020

Windscribe is a popular VPN service that claims to unblock geo-restricted content and pushes beyond the basics of a VPN by providing an effective Ad & tracking blocker. I ran an abundance of tests to see how well it performs. In this deep dive review, we will answer those questions from security, geoblocking, speed, streaming, and more.

What's in this Review?

Highlights
Pros and Cons
Privacy
Security
Server Locations
Streaming & Torrenting
Speed
Censorship
Ease of use
Pricing
Verdict

Highlights

Server Size
350+

Server Locations
63 countries and 110 cities

VPN protocol and Encryption
OpenVPN(TCP/UDP) IKEv2/IPSec Protocols; AES-256 bit Encryption

App Compatibility
Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Fire TV

Router Compatibility
Yes, installing the VPN on a compatible router is recommended to secure all devices without the need for downloading an app on each device or worrying about simultaneous device limitations. This is great for gaming consoles, smart TVs, and streaming devices.

Streaming
Unblocks popular streaming platforms including Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, HBO, and more

Logging Policy
Anonymous server usage logs

Support
Email & Resources Support

Pros
  • Strong security and military grade encryption (256-bit AES)
  • Premium plan unblocks 42 Netflix libraries
  • Torrenting P2P availabiliity on many servers
  • VPN apps of range of platforms
  • Unlimited simultaneous device connections
  • R.O.B.E.R.T advanced malware and ad blocker
Cons
  • Based in Canada part of the 5 Eyes
  • Smaller server size
  • Live chat support not available
  • Not consistnetly reliable enough to work in China
  • Split tunneling only for Android

Privacy

Windscribe is based in Canada part of the 5 Eyes, 9 Eyes, or 14 Eyes surveillance alliances. This is typically not a good sign because they vould be forced to hand over user information if they logged any of their consumers data. However, lets take a look at their privacy policy to see if they log any user information.

Logging policy

When signing up for the service you provide standard account information this includes username. You can omit the email if you wish. This is standard practice among VPNs as you need an account to use the service and there is no name or personal information tied to your username

Windscribe does not link any personaly identifying logs to their users. But they do collect some details for maintenance purposes. Although there is more information collected than other top VPN providers it won't link to anything that will personally identify you.

Here is what Windscribe collects when using the service:
  • Total amount of bytes transferred in a 30 day period.
  • Timestamp of your last activity on the Windscribe network.
Here is what Windscribe collects when connected to Windscribe's servers. This data is immediately discarded when you disconnect:
  • OpenVPN/IKEv2 username
  • Time of connection
  • Amount of data transferred
Here is what Windscribe does not collect:
  • Your DNS queries
  • The web content you accessed
  • Sites you visited
  • Your session duration
  • Record of VPN sessions

Windscribe provides an updated transparency report which includes real-time data requests from copyright and law enforcement agencies.

Security and Encryption

How secure is Windscribe?

Windscribe uses AES 256-bitencryption algorithm to hide your data. It’s the same encryption standard adopted by many governments and used by security experts worldwide to protect classified information.

AES-256, which has a key length of 256 bits, supports the largest bit size and is practically unbreakable by brute force based on current computing power, making it the strongest encryption standard.

256-bit keys means 2^256 or 1.1 x 10^77 possible combinations. That’s 115,​792,​089,​237,​316,​195,​423,​570,​985,​008,​687,​907,​853,​269,​984,​665,​640,​560,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000 combinations! A brute-force attack on a 256-bit keyspace is simply infeasible, even if all the world’s most powerful supercomputers ran for as long as the universe has existed so far, billions and billions of times over.
Protocols

Windscribe offers a few protocols OpenVPN(TCP/UDP) IKEv2/IPSec. Since OpenVPN is the industry standard it is good to see they offer the most secure protocol.

Windscribe Firewall (aka Kill Switch)

One of the features Windscribe offers is a kill switch. The kill switch is an advanced security measure, which prevents your data from leaking to the web.

The Windscribe Firewall blocks all connectivity outside of the tunnel to prevent IP all leaks (IPv4, IPv6, DNS). You should let Windscribe manage the firewall automatically, which is the default behavior.

Windscribe Firewall is available for both mobile and desktop users. This includes iOS, Android, Windows, and MacOS

R.O.B.E.R.T - Malware & Ad Blocker

R.O.B.E.R.T is a customizable domain and IP blocking tool that allows you to select from a list to block potential security risks while also adding customization to block common genres. You can choose to block malware, ads & trackers, gambling, cryptominers, social, porn, and fake news. R.O.B.E.R.T allows you to whitelist or blacklist domains or IPs of your choice:

"Create custom block lists of domains or IPs of your choice. Whitelist domains you wish to access.
WebRTC Slayer

This feature disables WebRTC in your browser to protect your IP address, a nice extra layer of protection.

Location and Time Warp

Location Warp spoofs your GPS to the location of the connected proxy. Time Warp changes your timezone so appear to be in the country you're connected to. These features add another layer of protection.

The location API in modern browsers bypasses the proxy or VPN, and returns your physical location based on GPS or Wi-Fi SSID name. Some services use it to "prove" that you're physically located in the location of your IP address. Location Warp will trick those services by providing fake GPS coordinates in the location you're connected to.

Server Locations

Windscribe does not list its official server size, but I was able to reach out via their support ticketing system. The representative mentioned they have 350+ servers active at any given time. Their servers are located in 63 countries and 110 cities.

Streaming

Windscribe does a great job of bypassing geoblocks. I tested many of their server locations and all had no problem acessing Netflix, one of the toughest geoblocking services. Their VPN unlocks a ton(42) of Netflix libraries. Here are some of the following:

  • United States
  • Canada
  • Australia
  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • United Kingdom
  • Brazil
  • Sweden
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • Brazil
  • Switzerland

Other streaming platforms that I had no problem with:

  • Hulu
  • Amazon Prime Video
  • HBO
  • BBC iPlayer

Overall, Windscribe is among the best for Netflix.

Torrenting

Windscribe is great for torrenting as many of their servers allow P2P filesharing. They will hide your P2P activity from your ISP and mask your IP address. The Kill Switch feature is nice to have the extra security. Make sure the kill switch is enabled in the VPN app. Due to Windscribes fast speeds, unlimited bandwidth, no identifying logs, and port forwarding make them a superior option for torrenting. The port forwarding feature redirects incoming connections to bypass any NAT firewall. This allows you to increase the number of torrenting peers you can communicate with which often improve your P2P download speeds.

We tested and found Windscribe VPN works with all the popular torrent clients including uTorrent, Deluge, qBittorrent, and VUZE

Speed test results

Windscribe has decent local speeds but plenty enough for 4K streaming, however, it is not the fastest VPN and lags a bit behing top competitors. We conducted a speed test, first by testing local speeds from New York and secondly international speeds. We tested 4 international server locations which are UK, Australia, Japan, and Canada.

We capped our speeds at 100 Mbps to compare VPN results and then by calculating a % loss between our baseline and resulting speeds to understand how much the VPN affected our speeds. The starting baseline speed with no VPN for upload is 94.38 Mbps and download is 85.74 Mbps.

One thing to note when I selected a server furthest away from my location the speed slightly decreases. The longer your traffic travels the slower your speeds will be, however, the best VPNs will mitigate the effects and ideally, won't even notice the difference at all.

Server Location Download Upload Ping
US - New York 74.47 Mbps (21.01% loss) 68.18 Mbps (20.48% loss) 24 ms
UK - London 69.38 Mbps (26.49% loss) 58.73 Mbps (31.50% loss) 88 ms
AU - Sydney 13.75 Mbps (85.43% loss) 10.49 Mbps (87.77% loss) 363 ms
JP - Tokyo 24.67 Mbps (73.86% loss) 18.57 Mbps (78.34% loss) 185 ms
CA - Toronto 70.75 Mbps (25.04% loss) 63.65 Mbps (25.76% loss) 36 ms

Geoblocking, How well does it fare in China?

Finding a VPN in China is difficult, China has tough restrictions and government surveillance. Some VPN's are not powerful enough to bypass these restrictions and are blocked from accessing VPN sites and apps.

Windscribe uses its Stealth protocol to avoid detection by censored countries. The protocol uses an open-source algorithm Stunnel to route OpenVPN traffic through an additional TLS tunnel.

Usrs have reported it working some of the time but other times it is inconsistent. It is a bit of a cat and mouse game, the Chinese government is constantly clamping down on VPNs and this has intensified in recent years.

Your best shot at reliably bypassing censorship is to get on of the top VPNs for China.

Ease of Use and Support

Windscribe makes it very simple and easy to use for all platforms including device specific aps and browser extensions. The user interface is nice with a fresh design.

Split Tunneling

Split tunneling allows you to route some of your device or app traffic through the encrypted VPN tunnel while other traffic through your local IP without VPN protection. This is a good feature for apps or websites that are safe, that way you don't bottleneck your VPN traffic and slow down your speeds.

The split tunneling feature is available for Android but not for Windows, Linux, Mac, or iOS

Browser extensions

Browser extensions are availble for Chrome and Firefox, we recommend getting the browser extensions as they ensure you have full protections and masks any of your web activity without you leaving your browser window.

For instructions on installing the browser extension, please see these guides for Chrome and Firefox.

Customer Support

Windscribe misses the mark on customer service. There is no dedicated live chat but there is a chat bot. The chat bot can retrieve information about the service but cannot have dialogue.

Windscribe has a dedicated support page that includes setup guides,, FAQs,, and ticket support.

Pricing

Windscribe pricing is straight forward, they offer three different plans their free tier, 1 month, and 1 year plan.

Free version

The free version offers 10GB monthly data cap. With the free plan you can connect to 10 of their servers including US, Canada, UK, Germany, Hong Kong, France. Thre free plan also comes with R.O.B.E.R.T but you can only enable the malware blocker. Overall the free plan is pretty good compared to other free VPNs we tested and a great way to get a feel for their service before upgrading to the pro version.

Friendly payment methods including anonymity
  • credit/debit card
  • Paypal
  • Bitcoin

Verdict

8.0
Privacy & Security
Speed & Reliability
Streaming & Torrenting
Advanced Features
Usability & Support

Windscribe offers key additions that make a feature-rich product.

Bottom Line

Windscribe secures your data with military grade encryption while offering a feature packed service in the pro version. Customer support needs some work but they overall shine by offering unlimited device connections, unblocking the most Netflix libraries tested, and an adavanced malware blocker R.O.B.E.R.T.
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