Windscribe is a VPN based in Richmond Hill, just outside of Toronto, Canada. While known for its generous free plan, Windscribe also offers a variety of affordable paid plans to suit every need. This VPN also boasts a comprehensive set of features, some of which really stand out from the crowd.
Windscribe divides its VPN offerings into a free tier and a ‘Pro’ paid tier. The free tier has a data cap, while all paid plans feature unlimited data, giving an obvious incentive to upgrade.
Windscribe’s free tier provides a generous 10GB of data that gets reset each month, which is more than most other free VPNs. While there is no free trial for the paid tiers, the free plan effectively stands in for this, and gives prospective buyers a good feel for the service. Limitations of the free offering include users being restricted to servers in only 10 countries, and the requirement of providing an email address to set up the account.
Moving up to Windscribe’s Pro tier means you can access all its servers in over 50 countries, and also gives you unlimited data, which is essential for anything other than the most casual use when it comes to streaming media. The monthly plan costs $9.00 (about £7) per month, which is reasonable. The better deal, which saves you 55%, is the ‘Yearly Plan’ which requires an annual commitment with a single payment of $49 (about £38), and works out to a downright inexpensive cost of $4.08 (about £3.12) per month. There is no lifetime plan.
Additionally, there’s the option to build a custom plan at $1.00 (about £0.77) per location per month, for those who have more specific needs when it comes to server location. Under the ScribeForce umbrella, there is also the option to build a plan for a team of users at $3.00 (about £2.30) per user per month.
Payment can be made via a major credit card, PayPal, bitcoin, or Paymentwall.
Windscribe is a capable VPN service which delivers more than you might expect in many areas. You get clients for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS and Linux, for instance, as well as Chrome, Firefox and Opera extensions, along with guides for manually setting up the service on routers, Kodi and more. The Windows desktop software is nicely streamlined, and on the free tier it has a simple counter to show how much is left of your monthly data allowance.
The server network is a good size with locations in 110 cities spread across over 60 countries. While this sounds great on paper, real-world testing highlighted some problems. Connection times could be slow, and although performance was generally good, some long-distance servers barely managed a crawl.
There's no 24/7 support, so any questions you have might not get answered for a while. Although the company does at least point out that it uses its own in-house staff, rather than outsourcing to some minimum wage worker who just reads off a script – so the reply you get will hopefully be worth the wait.
Windscribe’s feature set is impressive, and includes strong encryption, namely 256-bit via the AES cipher with SHA512 auth and a 4096-bit RSA key. Another standout is Windflix, which as you may have guessed is for Netflix, and tries to unlock geo-blocked content for the US and UK versions of Netflix, no matter where the user is located.
Many users choose the desktop app as this secures all network activity on the computer. However, at times it is more convenient to use Windscribe via the browser extension, and this has plenty of features as well, including the blocking of ads and trackers. There is also the ‘Cruise Control’ feature that automatically picks the best server to connect to. For advanced users, there’s also a ‘Double Hop’ feature that can route the connection through two VPN servers for an additional layer of security. Finally, ‘Timezone Spoofing’ is a neat extra which can be used to change your timezone so you more fully appear to be in the same country as the server.
This VPN also offers R.O.B.E.R.T, a cute acronym which stands for ‘Remote Omnidirectional Badware Eliminating Robotic Tool,’ and gives you granular control to block malware, phishing, botnets, adware, and trackers, thereby keeping you safer online while eliminating those pesky ads.
Windscribe addresses the concern of data privacy by stating that it keeps “no identifying logs,” and therefore cannot identify individual users based on their IP and timestamp.
Windscribe’s overall performance is quite average across the board. This includes average scores on initial connection times, latency, and both download and upload throughput. The desktop software requires resetting at times to re-establish the connection to the encrypted VPN tunnel, which can get annoying. Finally, we witnessed a rather mixed performance on website unblocking, too: we could view US Netflix, but Windscribe didn't get us access to BBC iPlayer.
Verdict and Conclusion
Windscribe doesn’t tick every VPN box, but the service does have a lot of interesting features such as a high level of encryption, malware and ad blocking baked into the software, and the unlocking of popular Netflix content. If you’re looking for a new VPN, use the free plan to find out what Windscribe can do for you.
Client software platforms: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux; Chrome, Firefox and Opera extensions
Supported protocols: IKEv2, OpenVPN
Number of servers: 348
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