Windscribe Review: Quick Expert Summary
Windscribe has great security features, fast speeds, and easy-to-use native apps. It’s good for torrenting, works with top streaming sites, and allows an unlimited number of simultaneous connections with a single account.
What’s more, Windscribe protects user data with industry-standard VPN security features like 256-bit AES encryption, full leak protection, a firewall (acts like a kill switch), and a no-logs policy. It also has an ad blocker, malware protection, split-tunneling, port forwarding, and double hop. And it has servers in 65+ countries, which are pretty well spread around the world so most users will be able to connect to a nearby server.
However, while Windscribe is pretty good overall, there are a few things that keep it from being one of the best VPNs — it doesn’t publish the total number of servers it has, its firewall feature is only available on desktop devices, and there’s no live chat customer support. Plus, its no-logs policy has never been independently audited, and it only offers a 3-day money-back guarantee. There are better VPNs out there, like ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access, that provide great security features, fast speeds, live chat support, and more.
Windscribe offers a pretty good free plan, a monthly plan, a yearly plan, and even a build-your-own plan.
|🏅 Overall Rank||#14 out of 80 VPNs|
|🌍 Number of Servers||N/A|
|📱 Number of Devices||Unlimited|
|💸 Starting Price||$5.75 / month|
|🎁 Free Plan||Yes|
|💰 Money-Back Guarantee||3 days|
Windscribe Full Review
I spent weeks researching and testing Windscribe to see how it compares to the top VPNs on the market. I found it was good for streaming and torrenting, and I like how it includes extra features like split-tunneling and an ad blocker. It also has easy-to-use native apps for Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux, and routers.
However, Windscribe doesn’t have the same features on all devices (for example, its firewall feature is only available on desktop), it doesn’t publish a full server count, its no-logs policy hasn’t been independently audited, and it only offers a 3-day money-back guarantee.
Windscribe has the following industry-standard VPN security features:
- 256-bit AES encryption — Windscribe protects user data with the same encryption used by banks and governments.
- No-logs policy — Windscribe doesn’t collect data about the websites you visit or the files you download.
- Firewall (only available on Windows and macOS) — Blocks all connectivity outside the VPN tunnel, meaning there’s zero chance of any kind of data leak.
Windscribe’s native apps use the OpenVPN, IKEv2, and WireGuard protocols on all devices. I like to see WireGuard available on all devices because it’s one of the fastest and most secure connection protocols. Even some top VPNs like PrivateVPN and TunnelBear don’t offer WireGuard.
Windscribe also provides advanced security features like full leak protection (protection against IPv6, DNS, and WebRTC leaks) and perfect forward secrecy (frequently changes your encryption key to help prevent hackers from getting hold of your data). I ran leak tests on servers in 10+ countries and I was impressed that none of the servers reported any leaks.
It’s good to know that Windscribe has upgraded its infrastructure to RAM-only servers, meaning data on its servers is never written to a hard drive and is erased every time the server reboots. This is great, as only a few of the top VPNs on the market (like ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access) have RAM-only servers.
Windscribe also has:
- Ad blocker (R.O.B.E.R.T.) — Windscribe’s ad blocker is incredibly customizable and also offers parental controls. R.O.B.E.R.T. can be set up to only block malware, pop-ups, and other ads, or you can use it to block certain categories of websites (gambling, porn, social networks, etc.). I reached out to customer service and was informed that R.O.B.E.R.T. stands for “Remote Omnidirectional Badware Eliminating Robotic Tool”.R.O.B.E.R.T. works really well at blocking banner ads on websites, and it also does a great job of blocking website categories that you’ve set as restricted. I tested this by blocking “social media”, and I was prevented from browsing Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but I could still access Reddit.One thing I don’t like about R.O.B.E.R.T. is that you can’t change the settings directly from the desktop apps, so you have to visit the account page on Windscribe’s website. However, you can change any R.O.B.E.R.T. settings from the mobile apps.
- Split-tunneling — Lets you choose which apps and IP addresses (websites) are routed through your VPN connection and which aren’t. You can create a list of exclusions (apps that won’t use the VPN connection) or inclusions (apps that will use the VPN connection). It was really easy to set up split-tunneling on both desktop and mobile devices, and I tested it by having only my browser route traffic through the VPN. When I opened the Netflix app to stream a movie, everything worked as intended, and when visiting YouTube via my browser while connected to a VPN server, I was able to access regional content with no issues.
- Port forwarding — Redirects incoming traffic, giving a few benefits like faster torrenting speeds.
- Double hop — Lets you choose two server locations to route your internet activity through. While this can make it more difficult for anyone to track your activity, it can also significantly slow your connection due to having to route the traffic through a second location before it reaches its destination. In order to activate the double hop feature, you’ll need to connect to one server with your desktop app, then another server with your browser extension. Your connection will first be routed through the desktop connection, then the browser extension, so websites will see an IP address and location according to the VPN server your browser extension is connected to. This isn’t very intuitive, and I would recommend a VPN like IVPN or ProtonVPN instead, as they both have very easy-to-use multi-hop features.
Windscribe Privacy & Security
Windscribe is based in Canada, which is a member of the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliances (a group of countries that share security data). That said, since Windscribe doesn’t keep logs about your internet activity, even if a government requests user data, Windscribe has nothing to turn over.
An incident in 2021 saw two of Windscribe’s servers seized by the Ukrainian government. A series of blog posts on Windscribe’s website explain the seizure and the impact, which was that Ukrainian authorities could hypothetically impersonate a Windscribe server. The blogs explain the security measures taken to prevent a similar incident in the future. ExpressVPN also had servers seized by authorities a few years ago, and in both cases, there was never any user data collected because neither ExpressVPN nor Windscribe log data about the websites you visit.
Overall, Windscribe has a strict no-logs policy and only collects data about how much bandwidth you use and the last time you were active. Windscribe is based in a 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance member country.
Windscribe Speed & Performance
I ran speed tests on my Windows PC (using the WireGuard protocol) on servers in more than 20 of the countries where Windscribe has servers. I had the fastest speeds when connected to a nearby server, but was very impressed that Windscribe was able to maintain really fast speeds even when I was connected to a distant server. Regardless of which server I was connected to, websites loaded instantly and I could stream HD video with no issues.
First I ran a speed test without being connected to a VPN server to determine my baseline speeds:
I then chose the “best available” option from the server list and was connected to a local server in the US:
And here are my speeds when connected to a server on the other side of the world in Australia:
I was very impressed by these results — when connected to a local server, my speeds only decreased by about 4%, which is really good. Websites loaded instantly and I could stream HD video without any buffering at all. I was also able to download a 5 GB torrent file in around 20 minutes.
Even when connected to a distant server in Australia, my speeds only slowed by about 6%. My ping (the time it takes the request to reach the VPN server) was much higher, though — I experienced a bit of lag when playing online games (though nothing too serious), and HD videos sometimes took 1-2 seconds to begin playing.
Windscribe Servers & IP Addresses
Windscribe has an unspecified number of servers in 65+ countries. I reached out to customer service to try to get a full server count but was simply told there are multiple servers at each location. Its servers are spread around the world pretty well, so most users will be able to connect to a nearby server for optimal speeds. Windscribe’s server network is pretty average — some VPNs have servers in many more countries (like ExpressVPN and CyberGhost, which both have servers in 90+ countries), but there are also VPNs that have smaller networks, like TunnelBear (45+ countries).
Windscribe offers static IPs in 13 different locations for an extra monthly charge. A static IP address is an IP created just for you, as opposed to sharing an IP with other users when you connect to a regular VPN server. Some services may lock or ban your account if they detect that your account is being accessed from multiple IP addresses.
Most of Windscribe’s server locations allow P2P traffic (except India, Lithuania, Russia, and South Africa). The servers that don’t allow torrenting are clearly marked with an icon in the server list. While Windscribe allows torrenting on most of its servers, I’d recommend a VPN that allows torrenting on all of its servers like ExpressVPN or CyberGhost VPN.
Overall, Windscribe has multiple servers in 65+ countries and offers static IP addresses for an extra charge. It allows P2P traffic on most servers, but there are better VPNs for torrenting.
Windscribe Streaming & Torrenting
Windscribe is great for streaming — it consistently works with top streaming sites like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and more. It also works with less popular sites like ITV in the UK, 9Now in Australia, and Canal+ in France.
Windscribe is able to access regional content on YouTube, and I experienced no issues when streaming on less popular sites like Peacock and Crackle.
When it comes to torrenting, Windscribe is pretty good — it allows P2P traffic on almost all its servers (except in India, Lithuania, Russia, and South Africa), and it works with top torrenting clients like BitTorrent, uTorrent, and Vuze. Windscribe also offers port forwarding to get better torrenting speeds. While most users will have no problem being able to torrent when connected to a local VPN server, there are better VPNs out there for torrenting.
Overall, Windscribe is great for streaming and good for torrenting. It works with top streaming sites and is able to access regional content. It allows torrenting on most of its servers, but not all.
Windscribe Plans & Pricing
Windscribe has a free plan, premium monthly and yearly plans, and a customized build-your-own plan.
Windscribe’s free plan gives you access to over 10 server locations, has good speeds, and allows streaming and torrenting. It limits you to 1 device and 2 GB of data per month (verifying your email address can increase your data limit to 10 GB). Windscribe’s R.O.B.E.R.T. is also limited to blocking only malware and ads on its free plan, and it doesn’t include any of the parental controls you get with a Pro account. Windscribe ranks high on our list of the best free VPNs, though ProtonVPN still has a better free plan because it allows unlimited data usage.
Upgrading to a Pro plan (which starts at $5.75 / month) gives you access to all 110+ server locations, unlimited data, and the full protection of Windscribe’s R.O.B.E.R.T. ad blocker. Windscribe’s Pro plan comes with a 3-day money-back guarantee. This is terrible when compared to the competition — ExpressVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on all plans and CyberGhost VPN offers a 45-day money-back guarantee for all yearly plans.
Windscribe’s custom plans let you choose individual server locations and charge you $1 per month for each server. Each additional server location adds 10 GB to your total data cap, or you can choose to upgrade your plan to include unlimited data and full access to the R.O.B.E.R.T. ad blocker for $1, just like adding an extra server location. This sort of plan is pretty unique, and I like that Windscribe allows you to customize a plan. If you only want access to a few servers, you could likely save a good bit of money when compared to the full monthly plan, but if you’d like to access even 10 servers, you’ll end up paying more with this option.
Windscribe Ease of Use: Mobile & Desktop Apps
Windscribe has easy-to-use apps for Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux, and Amazon Fire TV. It offers a sleek and intuitive interface on both desktop and mobile devices, and all the native apps have the same interface and options, though the firewall is only included on the desktop apps. The main screen has a large power button for one-click connections, and selecting a VPN server manually from the alphabetized server list is easy.
Downloading and installing the app to my Windows and Android devices only took about 2-3 minutes and there were no issues. I didn’t have any problems with any of Windscribe’s native apps or experience any glitches during my tests.
Overall, Windscribe has intuitive native apps for nearly all popular platforms. Its apps are sleek and easy to use, but the firewall feature is only included on desktop devices.
Windscribe Customer Support
Windscribe’s customer service is decent, but it could be much better. It offers customer support via email, a chatbot, FAQs, setup guides, a general knowledge base for troubleshooting, and even a subreddit.
Windscribe only offers direct communication with customer service representatives via email. To test the responsiveness and knowledge of the customer support team, I sent emails at different times of the day — whether I submitted a ticket late at night, in the morning, or in the afternoon, it always took 12-24 hours to receive a response. This is a somewhat slow response time when compared to top competitors (ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access both typically respond to emails within 8 hours), though every response was knowledgeable and all my questions were answered without having to follow up for clarification.
Windscribe’s live chat is handled by an AI chatbot named Garry. Garry is able to answer many vague questions about the features included with Windscribe, but when faced with a more in-depth question like “How does a static IP work?”, it simply reacts to keywords and provides links for learning more. While this is a nice touch, top competitors like ExpressVPN and VyprVPN offer 24/7 customer support via live chat with real people, who are better able to answer any questions you might have.
The knowledge base, FAQ, and setup guide pages on Windscribe’s website all provide in-depth explanations of the VPN’s features, common troubleshooting topics, and instructions for installing Windscribe. Windscribe even has a subreddit where you can see what other users are saying about Windscribe and get help from an entire community of people in real time. The biggest issue with this is inconsistency. Windscribe doesn’t reply to many of the posts on the subreddit, and if you get an answer at all, it’s likely coming from a random internet user rather than someone who knows the software inside and out like a customer service rep. If you need real help, I recommend submitting a support ticket and waiting for a response.
Overall, Windscribe’s customer support is decent, but it could be better — It offers email support, FAQs, a knowledge base for troubleshooting, setup guides for all devices, and a subreddit to get help from other users. But it’s missing live chat with real people, and the email support can be a bit slow.
Is Windscribe Worth the Cost in 2023?
Windscribe has fast speeds, easy-to-use native apps for all popular devices, and allows an unlimited number of simultaneous connections.
It has industry-standard security features including 256-bit AES encryption, full leak protection, and a no-logs policy, and it includes extra features like split-tunneling, double hop, and an ad blocker. Windscribe also provides advanced security features like perfect forward secrecy and full leak protection. It uses RAM-only servers, so no data is ever written to a hard drive and any data that’s written to the RAM is erased every time the server reboots.
That said, Windscribe has a few drawbacks that keep it from being one of the best VPNs on the market — it doesn’t provide a total server count, its no-logs policy hasn’t been independently audited, it doesn’t provide the same features across all devices, and it only offers a 3-day money-back guarantee.
Windscribe has a decent free plan, flexible pricing on its Pro plan (starting at $5.75 / month), and the ability to create a customized plan.
Windscribe — Frequently Asked Questions
Is Windscribe free?
Yes, Windscribe has a free plan — it gives you access to servers in more than 10 locations but limits you to 2 GB of data per month and 1 device. This data limit can be increased to 10 GB per month after verifying your email. Windscribe’s free plan also includes basic ad blocking and malware protection features, and it’s ranked #3 on our list of the best free VPNs.
Upgrading to Windscribe’s Pro plan gives you access to all 110+ server locations and unlimited data, and it unlocks the full potential of the R.O.B.E.R.T. ad blocker. Windscribe offers flexible pricing, but upgraded plans only include a 3-day money-back guarantee — this is very poor compared to top VPNs like ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access, which both offer 30-day money-back guarantees.
Is Windscribe safe?
Yes, Windscribe is safe — it protects your data with industry-standard security features like 256-bit AES encryption, full leak protection, and a no-logs policy. It also provides advanced security features like perfect forward secrecy and full leak protection. Its servers are RAM-only, meaning data is never written to a hard drive and all data is wiped every time the server reboots. The desktop apps also include a firewall to protect you from data leaks.
Windscribe’s R.O.B.E.R.T. feature blocks ads and trackers, and it actively protects you from malicious links and malware while you’re connected to a VPN server. R.O.B.E.R.T. also handles parental controls and gives you the ability to block various types of websites like porn, social media, gambling, and more.
Does Windscribe work with Netflix?
Yes, Windscribe works great with Netflix — during my tests, I was always able to access Netflix while connected to a VPN server. Windscribe also works with other popular streaming sites like Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney+, and more.
Does Windscribe allow torrenting?
Yes, Windscribe allows torrenting, but not on all servers — you can’t torrent when connected to VPN servers in India, Lithuania, Russia, or South Africa.
If you’re interested in torrenting, I recommend ExpressVPN — it allows P2P traffic on all its servers, has servers in more countries to allow more customers access to local servers for faster speeds, and its no-logs policy has been independently verified.