To get started with Windscribe, simply create an account on its website and click Download Windscribe. From start to finish, you can start using it in under 10 minutes.
All of Windscribe’s apps use the same design. Thankfully, it updated the UI in March 2022. Before then, we criticized the design for being too basic and for not showing enough information, like the selected protocol and port, on the home screen.
Here’s more detail of our experience using Windscribe’s various apps:
Desktop & Laptop (Windows & Mac)
Windscribe’s Windows and Mac apps look and feel identical. Switching between platforms was seamless, with all settings and buttons in the same place. Importantly, both apps are well-presented and easy to use.
Windscribe’s Windows app (left) is identical to the Mac app (right).
One downside to Windscribe’s desktop interface is the relatively small buttons and in-app text. Some members of our research team found it difficult to read the explanatory text underneath some settings, especially on lower-resolution PC monitors.
The app window is very small in comparison to many other VPN services. It’s half the size of ExpressVPN and a quarter of the size of NordVPN. Although this is ultimately down to personal preference, we’d like to see the app size improved slightly to accommodate larger buttons and text.
Windscribe’s desktop apps include a country search bar, which makes it much easier to search and select the country you want to connect to. This is especially useful for a VPN with as many server options as Windscribe.
The desktop apps offer lots of space for customization. You can change the latency display between a performance bar or specific measurement.
You can toggle the app between a window and tray or menu bar, too, which we like (although we prefer the windowed mode). You can also customize notifications and the order in which countries are listed within the app.
All in all, Windscribe’s desktop applications strike a good balance between intuitiveness and customization. It has features to satisfy both advanced and beginner users.
Mobile (iPhone & Android)
Windscribe’s iOS and Android apps are as easy to use as the desktop clients. The app is laid out in the same way, with a large connect button in the top-right and the server list in the bottom half.
Windscribe looks the same on Android (left) as it does on iOS (right).
The app includes a network whitelisting option, which allows you to select certain networks for Windscribe not to activate over — such as your home network or other trusted networks. We like this addition for mobile, where you don’t always notice your phone moving between cellular networks.
Unique to mobile, Windscribe has also included a dark/light mode toggle. Although we’re glad to see this included, we wish it would automatically match the setting on your device. As it stands, we had to manually change it twice a day whenever our device switched to dark or light mode.
The app will also vibrate your phone when scrolling through lists or when clicking buttons, which is more distracting than it is useful. It also had a slight negative impact on our device’s battery life. We turned this off straight away by toggling off the ‘Haptic Feedback’ setting in the app.
Linux GUI App
Windscribe is one of only a few VPN services to provide a GUI app for Linux. The app is much easier to use than many other VPN apps on Linux, such as ExpressVPN and NordVPN.
Windscribe includes an intuitive app for Linux.
Impressively, you can configure the app to connect to non-Windscribe servers. For example, we were able to connect to a VPN server we set up ourselves within the Windscribe app.
The app is compatible with all popular Linux distros. We tested it on Ubuntu and didn’t experience any issues.
Fire TV & Android TV Apps
Windscribe’s Fire TV and Android TV apps look different to its other apps, but they’re just as simple to use. They are fully optimized for larger TV screens, making it easy to see the button that’s currently selected.
However, we would like to see the addition of a search bar. As it stands, you have to navigate through a long list of flags using your device’s remote control.
Windscribe’s VPN app for Fire TV stick.
Thankfully, the app’s well-thought-out split tunneling feature means you can configure certain apps to bypass the VPN tunnel. By doing this, you don’t have to go into the app every time you switch between streaming services.
We don’t recommend picking Windscribe for this app specifically – see our list of the best VPNs for Fire TV Stick instead. But it’s a positive extra if you have already decided on using Windscribe.
Control D Smart DNS Feature
Windscribe has a Smart DNS service, called Control D. It costs $20 a year for existing Windscribe subscribers.
With Control D, you can access geo-blocked streaming services on devices that don’t allow VPN apps, like Smart TVs and games consoles. But it still works on every other device, including Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS.
Control D is by far the easiest-to-use Smart DNS service we’ve tested. Unlike other services we tested, you can select a different proxy server for each streaming service, without having to reconnect. For example, you can configure it to use a US server for HBO Max and Hulu, but a UK one for BBC iPlayer and Sky Go.
Control D allows you to choose a different proxy server for each streaming service.
Control D also supports secure DNS options, like DNS-over-HTTPS. This means that you don’t have to ever give your IP address to Windscribe to use the feature.
All of the other Smart DNS tools we’ve tested, like ExpressVPN’s MediaStreamer, are annoying to use as you have to update your IP address on the website whenever it changes.
That said, we do wish that Control D was included with every paid Windscribe subscription.
Windscribe’s browser add-ons are excellent. They’re simple to use but still come with an unusually large suite of features including ad and malware blocking, advanced leak protection, and GPS spoofing.
This is a great suite of privacy and security-focused tools which are easy to use thanks to a lightweight and intuitive user interface. The extension looks like a minimized version of the desktop app, so there’s no learning curve required.
Windscribe’s Chrome extension looks like its desktop apps.
There is also some limited integration with the desktop app – allowing you to view the status of, but not change, your device-wide VPN. We’re hoping Windscribe will move towards more complete integration in the future.