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Windscribe VPN Review: Best free VPN

Great free plan, even better premium

Windscribe

Our Verdict

Windscribe offers plenty for its free plan and a lot more if you choose a paid subscription.

For

  • 10GB monthly data limit
  • Unblocks Netflix
  • Customizable subscription plans
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections

Against

  • Performance could be better
  • No 24/7 live chat

Windscribe is a provider of VPN services founded in March 2016 in the Canadian province of Ontario. It has a free and premium version, both with plenty of interesting and quality features.

(Image credit: Future)

Pricing

The premium version is available under two basic plans - the monthly plan at $9.00 and the annual subscription at $4.08 per month, billed $49.00 every 12 months. Customers even have the option to create their own subscription plans under the ‘Build A Plan’ option.

This allows them to choose whichever locations they want at only $1.00 per month per location (minimum is two locations). Each location also adds 10GB on top of your allowed monthly bandwidth. For an additional $1.00 per month, users can opt for unlimited data and the provider’s proprietary R.O.B.E.R.T feature.

MORE: Best VPN Service - Reviews of Top-Rated VPN Providers

Payments can be made using credit cards, Paypal, Mint, and cryptocurrencies.

There is no free trial in the classical sense, but the free version is more than enough to test the provider out. Full refunds can be issued for any reason, but only if the request is sent within three business days from the subscription payment and if the traffic volume hasn’t exceeded 10GB.

Compatibility

Windscribe has apps for all the major players - Windows, Android, iOS, Mac, and Linux, as well as browser extensions for Firefox, Chrome, and even Opera.

If your connectivity requirements extend beyond these platforms, there are manuals on the website for installing the service on additional ones, including Amazon Fire TV, Kodi, and Nvidia Shield. Premium users can also set it up on routers and other OpenVPN, IKEv2, or SOCKS5-compatible platforms. An alternative is to buy a pre-configured router from one of the provider’s partners.

The paid service can be used on an unlimited number of devices at the same time, as long as you’re not sharing your account with others.

(Image credit: Future)

What you get

The free plan will give you a very generous 10GB of data traffic per month, under the condition you sign up for an account. If, however, you don’t wish to give out your email address, you can still use the service for free, only with a reduced amount of monthly traffic - 2GB. You’ll also have access to 10 servers, which is probably enough for light users.

If you need more, you can get the full VPN functionality by purchasing one of the paid plans. This will enable you to connect to a solidly sized network of 110 cities in over 60 countries.

A premium subscription will also give you access to content for various reasons blocked in certain regions, including Netflix for which the company has specific servers called Windfllix. Torrenting is supported, although not all servers are P2P-optimized.

Windscribe has a proprietary feature called R.O.B.E.R.T, which allows you to select specific content you want to block - malware, ads & trackers, social media trackers, porn, gambling, fake news, cryptominers, other VPNs, and more. You can also create a custom list of domains or IPs you want to block or those you want whitelisted.

If you’re using the desktop app with the extension, there is an interesting option at your disposal called Double Hop. It allows you to connect to a second location, additionally masking your traffic. Be advised that this can slow down your Internet connection.

The browser extension also has specific ‘Privacy Options’ for blocking ads, social media and other trackers and beacons from the websites you visit. It can also rotate the browser’s user agent every time you open it to help fight browser fingerprinting.                                                                            

Privacy

Users’ privacy is safeguarded with the help of the AES-256 cipher with SHA512 auth and a 4096-bit RSA key. The provider also supports perfect forward secrecy.

Windscribe uses several connection modes for connecting to its server and ensuring you can still connect if a certain port is blocked or your ISP is performing a deep packet inspection to discover VPN usage.

These include IKEv2 and OpenVPN (UDP and TCP) protocols, as well as the ‘Stealth’ mode which encapsulates OpenVPN in a TLS tunnel via Stunnel and ‘Wstunnel’ which encapsulates it in a WebSocket.

All of the apps have a firewall (called a kill switch by other VPN services). This feature blocks all Internet connectivity outside the VPN. This way your data is safe from leaking if your Internet connection suddenly drops or you restart your computer. The firewall operates under three modes - automatic, manual, and always on.

Windscribe doesn’t store any connection logs, IP timestamps, session logs, or monitor what users do on its platform. While these claims do sound reassuring, an outside confirmation would be even better.

Performance

Windscribe always connects without failures, although the OpenVPN connection takes a bit longer to establish (7-14 seconds) than IKEv2 (3-5 seconds). Download speeds are high, but they can get a bit flimsy when using the OpenVPN protocol. The results are much better with IKEv2.

Customer Service

Help is available in the website’s support section, which is divided into categories including setup guides, FAQs, and knowledgebase. You should also read the company’s blog which is full of well-written, informative and witty articles about the VPN industry such as ‘Shattering the Grand Illusion of Cookie Flavored Lies’ and ‘Best VPN for Your Cat 2019’.

If these resources aren’t enough to address your issues, you should try contacting the customer support. It’s available via chat on the website, although the questions are answered by a bot called Garry. You can also submit a ticket and wait for an email response from some on the team. Windscribe also has its own Subreddit where it answers all of Redditors’ questions.

(Image credit: Future)

Bottom line

Windscribe is an excellent VPN provider which offers a lot for its medium-range price. It will allow you access to various region-specific Netflix content wherever you are, as well as the secure exchange of large files via torrenting. It has wide platform support and a decent server network with unlimited concurrent connection support, which is astonishing in comparison to other providers which often allow only 3-5.

Our score: 4.5/5

Specs

Client software platforms: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux; Chrome, Firefox and Opera extensions
Supported protocols: IKEv2, OpenVPN
Number of servers: 480
Number of countries: 52
Country of registration: Canada
Payment options: Credit card, PayPal, bitcoin, Paymentwall
Real name necessary? No
Encryption protocol: AES-256
Data usage: Unlimited
Bandwidth usage: Unlimited
Max. number of simultaneously connected devices: Unlimited
Customer support: Email
Privacy policy: No logging

  • annahuangboston
    Looks like you weren't able to try the new (and very secure) IKEv2 protocol that is now available as beta to all users. Speeds are MUCH faster now. As a former PIA user, I find Windscribe's benefit/cost ratio to be MUCH better than the competition. Unlimited devices/connections is virtually unheard of in this industry. In addition, their active and vibrant Reddit (which the founder frequents) is a valuable extra advantage. I highly recommend them!
    Reply
  • georgebow
    Have to agree with the comment above. The new version of their app solved all speed issues for me. WINDFLIX works great, and connects almost instantly. ExpressVPn software crashed on me daily, Windscribe was connected for almost a week now, with zero problems.
    Reply
  • patricia32
    Being able to watch Netflix easily withou speed interuptions is what I love about the many windscribes features! I would recommend this vpn to anyone based on the speeds alone, not to forget the great features it also provides.
    Reply
  • jessime
    Works like a charm for me! Great to see they are continuing to update their services and features, other providers just stick to what they've got. Windscribe continuyes to amaze me with their overall performance, and I'm on the free plan which is even better!
    Reply
  • ltoreteleak
    A lot faster than the other VPN's i've tried, a lot more features too. Very affordable and easy to use. Speeds are good but there is room for improvement, That be said, they have improved since the last update which tells me they are continuing to monitor the overall performance of the VPN. Always a good sign!
    Reply
  • davidbautistaqf
    This VPN is amazing. I have the free version, and even with that I have 16 gb of VPN usage and I don't really use that much per month (normally I use 3gb). So that's wonderful. Besides, it's easy to use with the Chrome extension and simple/fast. Great VPN.
    Reply
  • ltoreteleak
    Very happy with the overall outcome of Windscribe. It was by far much better than I had expected it to be especially on the free plan, so was pleased to see good speeds and all the extra features work. Very handy to have on your desktop and mobile phone.
    Reply
  • k.
    Great for people on the go such as travellers. Easily lets you access geo restricted websites and Netflix! Can't live without that :) Worth the investment especially seeing as you aren't tied to just one device.
    Reply
  • mark_887797
    Windscribe HAS a kill switch, it's called "FIREWALL". As far as speeds go, they're quite dismal. Support tends to remain silent on major issues and discreetly remedies them in the background, sometimes not at all. There's major inconsistency between features in their Chrome extension and client. Windscribe is ok for what you pay when there's a promotion. However, don't expect reliability with this VPN because servers go up and down.
    Reply
  • lark09
    A lot better than the over vpns i've tried out. I think Windscribe has a lot of potential in becoming one of the best VPN's out there in history. So many cool features plus the servers are great, and the speeds. It may be a little bit more expensive than your average vpn, but you definitely get what you pay for with Windscribe.
    Reply