“Browse the web privately as it was meant to be” – sounds good, right?
That’s what Windscribe VPN promises to grant you on its homepage, but it’s no small task. Does Windscribe have what it takes to deliver such a service?
We tested Windscribe thoroughly and impartially to find out:
- What is Windscribe exactly?
- Is it any good? Is it fast?
- Is Windscribe safe torrenting?
- Does Windscribe have a kill switch?
We answer all that, plus a host of other questions. You can find our most important takeaways just below here, followed by our full Windscribe review.
This page is dedicated to our review of the paid Windscribe VPN app. You can read our review of the free version of Windscribe here.
Windscribe Pros & Cons
Windscribe Key Summary
|Top Download Speed||63Mbps|
|Logging Policy||Anonymous Server Usage Data|
|IP, DNS or WebRTC Leaks||No|
|Jurisdiction||Canada (Five-Eyes Member)|
|IP Addresses||Not disclosed|
|Works in China||No|
|Support||Email & Online Resources Only|
|Cheapest Price||$4.08/mo over 12 Months|
Keep reading to find out more information – plus the in-depth results of our extensive Windscribe VPN test.
About & Logging Policy
Who is Windscribe?
Yegor Sak and Alex Paguis founded Windscribe in 2016 in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada, where it is still based today – independently owned and operated. Here’s a brief video of Yegor talking about the benefits of using VPNs.
Canada is a part of the Five Eyes data-sharing alliance and the CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Service) collects frightening amounts of personal user data to track and identify people of interest.
Additionally, Canada has very strict Copyright Laws which give ISPs the right to monitor and record user activity data for at least six months.
Usually, this would be very concerning, but because of Windscribe’s minimal VPN logging policy (see below), it’s much less worrying.
Windscribe greatly downplays the importance of a VPN’s jurisdiction. While we agree with several points raised by Windscribe, it’s still much safer for a VPN company to be based in a jurisdiction that isn’t legally obliged to hand over company information to authorities, particularly foreign ones like the US.
Nevertheless, Windscribe is a trustworthy service and if Canadian law enforcement seized any of Windscribe’s VPN servers, they’d leave empty-handed.
Windscribe logs the following information:
- The amount of data transferred in 30 days
- A timestamp of your last activity on the Windscribe VPN network
- The number of simultaneous connections on your account
- Your OpenVPN or IKEv2 username (until the end of your session)
- The time you connected (until the end of your session)
Windscribe collects this information to ensure that the VPN service runs smoothly. There is nothing in the above data that could be used to personally identify you.
Want to know exactly why Windscribe collects this information? Yegor Sak has published a detailed explanation here to show you exactly what data is collected when you use the Windscribe VPN apps. We commend such a transparent approach.
Speed & Reliability
Pretty quick same-country speeds
In our most recent tests, our download speeds dropped by just over 30% when connected to the VPN compared to without it, which is fairly quick.
This means that Windscribe should comfortably handle anything you’re planning on doing online, even with multiple devices connected to the VPN at once.
However, there are faster VPNs available – some only slow your speeds by around 5% on same-country connections. If you want the absolute fastest VPN out there, though, then you should consider choosing an option from our roundup of the fastest VPNs.
Speed results from our physical location in London (100Mbps fibre optic connection) to a London test server.
Before using Windscribe:
When connected to Windscribe:
Download speed without Windscribe: 94.69Mbps
Download speed with Windscribe: 63.60Mbps
Our download speed loss when Windscribe is running: 33%
Ping times on short-distance connections of 18ms aren’t too impressive, so gamers may want to look elsewhere, but Windscribe’s maximum upload speeds of 70Mbps should keep torrenters more than satisfied.
It’s also a very reliable VPN service – we didn’t experience any connection drops while connected to Windscribe’s servers, and speeds were very consistent from one test to the next.
These are the average speeds you can expect when connecting out from the UK to these locations:
- USA: 32Mbps (download) & 32Mbps (upload)
- Germany: 62Mbps (download) & 69Mbps (upload)
- Singapore: 22Mbps (download) & 14Mbps (upload)
- Australia: 13Mbps (download) & 8Mbps (upload)
We currently test speeds using the OpenVPN protocol, as this is widely available among VPN services and therefore helps us maintain a high level of consistency in our results.
It should be noted, however, that Windscribe’s apps default on startup to IKEv2, which it claims is the best protocol, so you could see slightly faster speeds if you connect this way.
If you’d like to know more about how we test VPN performance, take a look at our VPN speed testing methodology.
110 server locations in 58 countries
Windscribe’s VPN server network of 58 countries is a very solid number and includes almost every region around the world. East Asia is especially well represented, which is uncommon – there are Windscribe VPN servers in Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and more.
Altogether Windscribe offers over 110 individual VPN locations, meaning you get city-level choice in a number of different countries. There are multiple servers in a number of locations, but you can choose your city within:
- Australia (Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney)
- Canada (Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver)
- France (Marseilles, Paris)
- India (Chennai, Indore, New Delhi)
- Israel (Ashdod, Jerusalem)
- Italy (Milan, Rome)
- Russia (Moscow, Saint Petersburg)
- Spain (Barcelona, Madrid)
- UK (London, Manchester)
- US Central (Atlanta, Dallas, Louisville, New Orleans, Salt Lake City)
- US East (Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Miami, New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC)
- US West (Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Oregon, Phoenix, Portland, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Seattle)
- Turkey (Bursa, Istanbul)
We’re a little disappointed that Windscribe refuses to reveal the total number of individual VPN servers or IP addresses it maintains, though, and a number of its servers are rented rather than owned outright. We can presume that there are at least 110, of each, though.
There’s also residential static IP addresses available in 13 different locations, which can make it easier for you to get consistent access to streaming services (among other things – Windscribe does a good job of explaining it here).
There are no dedicated IPs though, as that would spoil your anonymity.
Streaming & Torrenting
Easily unlocks Netflix & speedy torrenting
Windscribe’s dedicated ‘Windflix’ servers mean that Windscribe unblocks Netflix in both the US and UK, as well as Canada and Japan (two locations we’re not used to seeing VPN providers commit to).
We’ve never had any issues in all our testing, meaning you can watch all four Netflix libraries in buffer-free Full HD.
The browser proxy will get you access to BBC iPlayer, but the full VPN won’t.
Even Windscribe’s dedicated server can’t achieve this, which has been the case for a long time. Read our guide to the best VPNs for BBC iPlayer for a more reliable solution to streaming BBC videos.
Windscribe’s US servers work well for hassle-free access to Hulu and Amazon Prime Video, though.
Windscribe is a good VPN for torrenting, too, as P2P activity is allowed on the majority of Windscribe’s servers worldwide.
Provides 'hit and miss' access in China
It’s difficult to say how useful Windscribe is in China, especially after the government’s recent crackdown on VPN services.
User reports of how well Windscribe VPN works in China are mixed, but it seems that using the Stealth protocol should provide pretty reliable access on most platforms.
You need to make sure you have Windscribe pre-installed on all your devices before you travel, though, as it’s blocked for download inside the country.
In other high-censorship countries, like Saudi Arabia or Turkey, Windscribe is also an effective solution.
Platforms & Devices
Compatible with a long list of devices
Windscribe has a custom VPN app for almost every platform and OS you could think of, and they’re all very user-friendly.
Apps for Windows, MacOS, Android and iOS are all available, plus apps for more niche platforms like Linux and Android TV, too. There are helpful setup guides for all of these devices on Windscribe’s website.
Importantly, Windscribe allows unlimited simultaneous connections, meaning you and your family can all have the VPN running at the same time.
Games Consoles & Streaming Devices
You can also install Windscribe VPN on your router – or buy a preconfigured router – to protect all the internet-connected devices in your home at the same time. This includes devices such as Apple TV, Microsoft Xbox One, Sony PlayStation 4, and many more.
There are dedicated Windscribe VPN apps for the Amazon Fire TV Stick and Kodi, too, which is still fairly rare to see.
The Fire TV Stick app has a good array of features, including Windscribe’s full range of VPN servers and the ability to favorite your most used locations, plus some extra technical settings.
Windscribe has revamped its hugely popular (almost 1,000,000 installs) browser extension, and we’re impressed by the results.
As a browser proxy it won’t fully protect your data like a full VPN would, and it will only redirect the traffic in your browser, but it will spoof your location; there’s a long list of city or country level servers on offer.
The add-on comes with plenty of browser features, like an ad blocker, a firewall and tools to prevent you from being tracked by advertisers online. There are some advanced tools to help you spoof GPS location and browser time, too.
You can even randomly allocate your user agent to prevent your browser from determining what OS and browser you are using.
This is a great suit of privacy and security focused tools which are easy to use thanks to a lightweight and intuitive user interface.
There is also 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.
Encryption & Security
One of the safest VPNs you can choose
DNS Leak Blocking
IPV6 Leak Blocking
Supports TCP Port 443
VPN Kill Switch
Please see our VPN Glossary if these terms confuse you and would like to learn more.
Windscribe is an extremely safe VPN. We’d even go as far as to say it’s one of the most private and secure VPN services on the market.
Windscribe is encrypted with top cipher AES-256 and uses the safest VPN protocol, OpenVPN, so your IP address remains well and truly hidden at all times. We like Windscribe’s ‘Firewall’ feature too, which serves the same purpose as a VPN kill switch, and you’re also protected against DNS and IP leaks while connected.
There’s also port forwarding and double hop – which makes your Windscribe connection even more secure by bouncing it between two different VPN servers (at the cost of speed).
Windscribe also provides its own ad-tracker and malware blocker, ‘R.O.B.E.R.T’, which is integrated into its custom VPN apps. R.O.B.E.R.T. includes eight different blocklists, making it easy to customize your VPN profile to your needs. You can read more about this feature here.
Ease of Use
Speedy setup and user-friendly apps
How to Install & Set Up Windscribe
Windscribe’s custom apps are incredibly easy to use, without compromising on the need for specific features that serious VPN users are looking for.
The Windscribe home screen keeps it simple on both desktop and mobile, with a big on/off button and a list of VPN server locations. The advanced options are tucked away in their own menu, with users warned not to touch them “unless you know what you’re doing,” which we quite like.
That said, Windscribe’s desktop apps run a little laggier than we’d like, and the mobile apps lack some of the advanced VPN settings – something to be improved on for sure.
Windscribe’s browser extensions are just as simple to use as the main app – log in, select a server, and you’re ready to browse safely.
Comprehensive resources but no live chat
Windscribe’s customer support is missing live chat – it’s something we always look for in a top VPN (ideally it will be 24-hour, too). Instead, Windscribe has a seriously extensive online library of guides, FAQs and even its own subreddit.
Windscribe also provides an online support ticket submission and an automated chat agent, although we’d recommend you don’t waste your time with the latter it as it isn’t much help at all (as seen below).
Pricing & Deals
Pretty cheap on the 12-month plan
Windscribe Pricing Plan
You have two options with Windscribe: pay for a month or pay for a year. The $9.00 cost of a single month is rather steep, but it comes all the way down to $4.08 per month on a 12-month deal.
There’s also a ‘Build-a-Plan’ option, which allows users to purchase Windscribe server locations for $1 each per month. This means that if you only need to access one or two VPN servers, you can keep the monthly cost down to just a couple of dollars.
You get the same extensive set of features and servers regardless of how you choose to pay, as there’s only one tier of paid subscription: Windscribe Pro.
Windscribe accepts the usual range of payment methods including most popular credit and debit cards, PayPal and Bitcoin, as well as several international options through its partnership with Paymentwall.
There’s no free trial as such but Windscribe does encourage potential buyers to check out its free VPN service to see if it will meet their needs before signing up to a paid plan.
Once you’ve signed up for a paid subscription, the refund period is a very stingy 3 days, and you’re only eligible if you’ve used more than 10GB of bandwidth, which isn’t all that much. Windscribe also gives itself up to 30 days to refund your money into your account.
The Bottom Line
Do We Recommend Windscribe?
With just a few tweaks Windscribe could be one of the best VPNs on the market – but as things stand it falls just short.
Still a VPN that will likely keep most users very happy, Windscribe lacks super-fast speeds, refuses to disclose how many server or IP addresses it maintains, and its live chat support is largely useless.
Alternatives to Windscribe
Don't want to have to worry about server counts and available IPs? NordVPN spells it all out clearly and openly, offering thousands of IP addresses in locations all over the world. Read NordVPN review
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Top class VPN!
Windscribe has been something i've had on my computer for almost 6 months now, and it's been a great addition when it comes to working. Being able to switch between servers, access geo restricted sites, and even use netflix on it when i'm travelling (on my phone) has made it even more valuable. The free plan is a great way to start things off, but i'd highly recommend going pro if you want to maximize its full benefits.
Price is great and is a reliable VPN overall. Also works well with most streaming services including Netflix. Would highly recommend.