Pricing & Plans
Windscribe has a straightforward pricing model – forthrightness being a main component of the company policy – with both a free plan and $9 monthly subscription on offer. There are discounts for longer subscriptions. You may buy a year plan for $90, which would save you almost two months of payment. The prices aren’t the cheapest on the market, considering the overall functionality, but that shouldn’t be an issue if you’re looking for a VPN that works as advertised.
The key difference between the free plan and the Pro version, is that the free plan has a 10 GB data limit per month, while the Pro version has no limit. In addition, with the free version you won’t have access to all servers, and only one device can be simultaneously connected to the VPN. The Pro version, on the other hand, has no limits whatsoever, so you can decide based on your needs. Ultimately, the 10 GB limit of the free account is certainly ample, but probably not enough for long-term regular usage.
Refunds are only in effect for the three days following your purchase. Thankfully, there’s a free option so you can try Windscribe out on your devices before you commit.
- Robust encryption
- Stubborn on privacy
- Modern UI
- High transparency
- Superb extension
- Above-average pricing
- Limited support options
Windscribe Ltd. is based in Ontario, Canada, which might initially pose some questions as to ‘5 Eyes‘ surveillance sharing. Luckily these concerns have been readily responded to by the Winscribe DevOps team.
You can choose from 20 different servers, with usual suspects UK and US, and Canada present, as well as Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore servers. Users residing in or passing through Africa or South America might be disappointed at the moment, but hopefully, Windscribe will extend their coverage to these areas soon. In addition, P2P is currently allowed on all servers and users will be informed if anything changes on that front.
Security & Privacy
Windscribe doesn’t skimp on security, but is the provider safe? In fact, the pared-down approach to encryption options ensures that users don’t use a VPN erroneously by connecting to an insecure or entirely compromised protocol at their own expense. Moreover, IP’s are shared, not dedicated, meaning it’s exponentially harder to identify any one single user.
OpenVPN is the only protocol offered, but it’s the most secure option on the market, one of the speediest, and open source to boot. Data encryption is handled using AES 256, with SHA 512 for data authentication, and hefty RSA 4096 handshaking. IPv6 requests are blocked at the client level, and DNS leak protection is included, in addition to a dedicated killswitch. We’ll explore these features further in the ‘Windscribe Windows Client’ portion of this review further below.
Browsing the Windscribe website, it gives off a decidedly modern feel, with an ample amount of spacing, text kerning and a color scheme designed to give it a user-oriented feel. Links are adequate for describing the service, getting started, and support, without being overwhelming.
The bottom portion of the homepage has links to Windscribe’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, which are updated monthly for the former, and weekly for the latter with service updates, promotions, and general information security news.
Support is limited to ticket-based queries with no Livechat offered. There are currently no plans to add one,the reason why being Windscribe’s previously discussed steadfastness on not using third-party API’s on their website.
“No on the LiveChat, as it’s a 3rd party service which I’m categorically against having on our website since they can and do compromise privacy of visitors (potential customers) to our website. I’ve written an article about this a while back. As for the [user] forum, we also currently have no plans to add it. We’re positioning ourselves as a privacy company for those who never used a VPN (or even know what that is), so we’re putting a lot of work into development of our clients so they simply work, in every possible scenario. If you need to go on a forum and ask people questions, we’ve failed at what we’re trying to achieve.”
Despite this, the support replies arrived in my email inbox no more than a few hours after filing the ticket. The responses I received were courteous and professional, as is illustrated in the above quote. They support team were also descriptive and specifically addressed my questions instead of giving auto replies or simple, single sentence answers.
The FAQ section is a single page, but it gives more than enough service information to get started and to get a solid handle on how Windscribe’s VPN and Browser Extensions work together. (The Q&A format screengrabs peppered throughout this review mainly come from the FAQ page.)
Registering with Winscribe is one of the most simple processes I’ve ever encountered during my time reviewing VPN providers. All you need to do is generate a username and password, which are then used for the website client area, Windows (or other) desktop client, and browser extension. No email is necessary. You can choose to provide an email address for support purposes, but it’s not necessary, so don’t use it unless you need to. Paying with a credit card will potentially require a billing address (only for those registered outside the US or Canada), but if you pay via Bitcoin it will leave you almost completely anonymous.
The Windscribe Review Windows VPN client
Windscribe’s Windows VPN client is stylish and functional, without too many confusing or unnecessary frills. Clicking the On/Off toggle in the top right connects you to whichever server you selected. The Firewall (killswitch) blocks all internet connections so that you aren’t left exposed should your VPN connection leak or drop for any reason.
Clicking on the three white horizontal white lines in the top left corner opens up an options menu in which each button functions as its title would lead you to reasonably believe.
The preferences menu gives you a few useful options and some which may well be essential. You can choose to auto-boot the Windscribe VPN client on startup, or auto-connect to whichever server you’ve been most recently using. The connection mode drop-down menu has the three aforementioned port options visible below. Those looking to circumvent the Great Firewallor other repressive censorship measures should opt for the Stealth option (utilizing stunnel technology) over TCP using port 8443.
The Windscribe Chrome Extension
The Windscribe Chrome extension works identically to its desktop counterpart,and looks almost the same.
The Secure.Link option is both a privacy awareness and marketing tool to show potential users to what extent websites track everything they do, while simultaneously suggesting an avoidance measure in the form of Windscribe. Best of all, if someone installs and upgrades (subscribes for at least one month), the user who generated the Secure.link gets exactly 50% of the earnings back. Not a bad incentive for spreading the idea that we should all be privacy-conscious.
Opening up the preferences menu lets you configure to what extent you’d like to remove third party API’s from the sites you visit (not that they’re ever not there, just blocked from sucking up your data). You can also choose to ‘Whitelist’ sites that you visit often and want to load fully, such as work-related websites or Facebook.
Performance (Speed, DNS, WebRTC and IPv6 Tests)
Speeds were on the below-average side, numbers-wise, though data alone never paints the most accurate picture possible, especially when it comes to VPNs, which involve multiple moving parts. Speeds on UK and Dutch servers averaged around 3 Mbps download, which is low compared to some other VPNs. US servers paradoxically averaged out at 12Mbps downstream, despite the geographical distance. Furthermore, and in spite of the low numbers with English and Dutch servers, streaming video full-length length movies in high-definition should be fine as they were for me. I also noticed almost no lag. Then again, the multi-hop connection likely slows things down further, but security comes with its trade-offs like any other service. Despite slightly weak numbers for the European testing, informal usage while browsing, streaming, or downloading, was entirely sans hiccups.
|Graphs show highest, lowest and average speeds for each server and location. See our full speed test explanation for more detail.|
As expected, DNS leakage was nowhere to be found. You should still run some tests periodically to make sure everything is in working order. Use ipleak.net for simple DNS checks and the WebRTC Bug, and test-IPv6.com for IPv6 leakage. There’s also a test mixing parts of the other two at doileak.com, for extra verification.
You may use Windscribe on either of the two aforementioned platforms, in addition to Mac, Linux, Firefox, and Opera. They also now have snazzy Apps for Android and iOS. In addition, they now have a setup guides section, with detailed video guides on how to set up each of their clients!
The Android and iOS Apps that Windscribe have been promising are now up and running and available on their website. As mentioned, they also now have set up guides for each of those platforms. Sadly, for the time being the Android App is only available for Pro account holders, but it will be available to free users in the fall.
Windscribe Review Conclusion
- Dedicated Apps
- Comprehensive protection
- Upfront attitude toward privacy
- Chrome extension features
I wasn’t so sure about
- Lack of LiveChat support
- No setup guides for novices
Windscribe is an excellent VPN provider despite or maybe on account of its fresh approach to a crowded market. The combination of the Windows client and Chrome Browser extension works seamlessly to protect your activities online, with great features on offer to boot. Go ahead and try out Windscribe for yourself using the link below!