If you have been on the fence about paying for a virtual private network (VPN), one service you may want to try is Windscribe. What is cool about Windscribe is that it is a “try before you buy” product. In fact, you can use the free version of Windscribe forever if you want.
This gives you a chance to test drive the VPN for as long as you need in order to decide whether you want to pay for the enhanced premium package. Once you experience all Windscribe free has to offer, you may very well decide you’re ready to upgrade to Pro. In this Windscribe VPN review, I’m going to tell you everything you need to know in order to choose the version which is best for you.
What is Windscribe?
Windscribe is a VPN operated by a company called Windscribe Limited, which is based in Ontario, Canada. There is not a whole lot of information on the company out there, but Windscribe has become quite popular. The service has received media coverage from major sites like Techradar, Lifehacker and CNET.
Why Use Windscribe VPN?
If you want to secure your connection and cloak your location, either the Free or Pro versions of Windscribe can help you do that.
- Windscribe Free VPN is best for simple browsing online, emails, instant messaging, and so forth. Bandwidth and speeds are limited, so its not good for streaming Youtube and Netflix. You can think of Windscribe Free as an extended “trial” for Pro if you just want to try it out before you buy the premium version. Or you can stick with Windscribe Free if that is all you need.
- Windscribe Pro VPN can be used for streaming, torrenting, gaming, and more. Bandwidth is unlimited and speeds are excellent. This is the version most users are going to need.
I will get into this more in the pricing section below.
Windscribe Plans and Pricing
As just discussed above, there are two versions of Windscribe: Free and Pro.
Windscribe Free Review
Windscribe Free VPN actually has a lot of fabulous features considering that it costs nothing. You can use it on unlimited devices with 11 locations, 10GB+ of bandwidth every month, a firewall, support for P2P and adblocking.
Notice the “10GB+?” You may be wondering what the “plus” part is all about. Well, if you opt into Windscribe’s promotional emails, they will give you additional bandwidth. That is a pretty sweet deal.
You can read more about that in the Terms and Conditions page, which by the way is quite cool. Thanks to the plain English “translations” on the right-hand side of the page, it is easy to skim and understand all the terms of service at a glance.
This Windscribe free review wouldn’t be complete however without pointing out that there is one drawback to the Free version of the service, and that is the speed. Windscribe Free is pretty slow. But this is to be expected with any free VPN service.
So while it may be suitable for checking your email or for simple browsing, you will need the Pro version for streaming, gaming, and other more demanding applications.
Windscribe Pro Review
If you are happy in general with Windscribe Free but you want to boost your speeds and get some additional benefits and features, you can upgrade to Windscribe Pro. How much this costs depends on the billing cycle you select:
- If you pay monthly, the cost is $9.00/month
- If you pay annually, the cost is just $4.08/month
That means you are saving more than 50% if you pay for a year at a time. You can save even more if you happen to have a promo code.
Like the Free plan, the Pro plan allows you to use unlimited devices. But the locations have been upped to 50, and the bandwidth is unlimited. OpenVPN configurations are also available.
How Can You Sign Up for Windscribe?
If you want the free version of Windscribe, you can just click “Download” to get started on the Windscribe homepage.
If you want to go ahead and pay for the Pro version, click on “Pricing” instead, and then “Buy Now” on the plan you want. To save time, you can just click the link below to go straight to the purchase page.
Windscribe does offer refunds if requests are sent inside of three days, so there is no risk to trying out the Pro version. I strongly recommend it—it is more than worth it for the unlimited downloading and high speeds.
Windscribe IP Diversity
With Windscribe Pro, you get access to servers located in 100 cities throughout 50 different countries. These countries are located all over the world. Note that with the Free version, however, the service is fairly Eurocentric.
Windscribe Security and Privacy
When it comes to security, Windscribe makes use of the AES-256 cipher along with the SHA512 auth directive and a 4096-bit RSA key. These strong encryption protocols ensure that your data remains private at all times. A firewall provides you with additional protection.
Windscribe also stores no permanent logs, not even connection logs. There is session data, but once you have disconnected from the VPN, it is deleted after 3 minutes. The only logs kept longer concern the amount of bandwidth used (not your specific activity). This is done in order to maintain the bandwidth restrictions on the Free accounts.
Supported Devices and Operating Systems
You can use Windscribe desktop or mobile apps on: Windows XP, 7, 8, 10, Mac OS X 10.8+, Android tablets and smartphones, iOS iPhone, iPad, Linux (Ubuntu/Debian, Fedora/CentOS, Other).
The Windscribe browser extension is available for Firefox and Chrome.
With such broad compatibility, you can connect through Windscribe VPN on almost any desktop, laptop or mobile device. So whether you are looking for Windscribe Android, Windscribe iOS, or any other app, you are good to go.
Windscribe Supported Protocols
On Windscribe, the following protocols are supported:
- IKEv2 (not yet implemented)
Many ports are available as well. So no matter what network you are on, you should be able to connect to the internet through Windscribe VPN.
You can also generate configuration files for IKEv2, SOCKS5 and OpenVPN. You do need a Pro account to do so however, as this feature is not included in the Free version.
Windscribe Browser Extension Features
You can use Windscribe through a browser extension or through the desktop app. Let’s take a look at the browser extension features:
- Cruise Control: With this feature, Windscribe automatically picks a location which is a fit for your needs so that you don’t have to. Both the content you need to un-block and speed are taken into account when selecting a location.
- Ad Blocking: Escape from ads and trackers while browsing.
- Double Hop: This adds an extra step in your routing so that websites are even less likely to detect your true location.
- Time Zone Spoofing: This matches your time zone with the country you’ve selected.
- Cookie Monster: Cookies are tracked by the extension and deleted when you close your tabs.
- Split Personality: This feature masks your “User Agent” information, i.e. your browser version and operating system.
- Secure.link: This service can be used to scan links and give them Privacy Scores based on how safe or invasive they are.
You can see that a lot of these features are quite innovative and unique, and not necessarily something which you will find offered by every VPN.
Windscribe Desktop App Features
Windscribe makes a desktop application available as well. This includes the following features:
- Firewall: Prevent leaks of your data by keeping hackers and viruses out.
- Flexible Connectivity: With the desktop app, you can connect via a range of different protocols and ports, as previously discussed.
- Secure Hotspot: If you are using Windscribe on Windows, you can make use of the Secure Hotspot feature, which makes it possible to turn your computer into a Wi-Fi hotspot. With this feature enabled, others within range can use your secure connection without taking the time to install Windscribe themselves.
- Proxy Gateway: With the Proxy Gateway, you can set up a proxy server on your computer (Windows or Mac only). Devices which are connected to your LAN can use the gateway to secure their connection, even if they fail to support VPN protocols. This works well for consoles, television sets and so forth.
As with the browser extension, the desktop app for Windscribe provides a lot of extra functionality.
Both the browser extension and the desktop app are fast and easy to download and install. Windscribe gets high marks for ease-of-use all around. The applications are minimalist and intuitive, so even if you do not have a lot of VPN experience, you should find them a breeze to configure to your needs.
Windscribe Customer Service and Reputation
If you need to get a hold of customer service to ask a question or deal with a technical issue, you can click on the “Support” link at the top of Windscribe’s homepage.
This will take you to the Support center, where you have a number of options. You can read through the detailed Setup Guides, explore the Knowledge Base, browse the FAQs, or submit your question on the Forum.
If you are unable to find your answer through any of these channels, you can choose “Submit Ticket.” This allows you to input your query and select the application your question is in regard to. Once you submit it, you can await a reply via email.
How responsive is the customer service team? That seems to depend entirely on chance. Windscribe reviews are mixed in this regard. Sometimes you can get a helpful and friendly answer within a matter of hours. Other times, queries go unanswered for days. With respect to that and the fact that no live chat or phone is available, I would say this is an area where Windscribe could definitely use some work.
Is Windscribe a Good VPN?
Is Windscribe VPN safe? Is it user-friendly? Is it feature-rich? In short, is it a good VPN to use? I can answer “YES” to all of these questions. This VPN has a solid reputation, and it has earned it. Let’s briefly review the pros and cons, and then we can conclude this review of Windscribe VPN.
- Unlimited devices are allowed with both the Free and Pro plans.
- Quite a few payment methods are accepted, including bitcoin.
- Bandwidth is unlimited and speeds are fast for the Pro version.
- There are servers around the world for the Pro version of Windscribe. The Cruise Control feature makes it literally effortless to connect through the most suitable location.
- P2P is supported, so Windscribe torrenting is safe and easy.
- There are a number of cool extras which come with Windscribe, like the proxy and wi-fi hotspot features you can set up on the downloadable apps. This does a lot to increase the functionality of Windscribe far beyond that of a conventional VPN.
- With a 3-day refund guarantee, your purchase is safe and protected.
- You can use the Free version for as long as you want, so you can take as long as necessary to make up your mind about purchasing Pro. You can even subscribe to email offers to boost your bandwidth.
- Customer support is hit-or-miss. Sometimes requests go unprocessed for longer than they should, and there is no live support.
- Speeds are slow, and limited bandwidth on the Free version.
Conclusion: Windscribe Is a Great Choice for a Free or Paid VPN
Let’s wrap up this Windscribe review. Windscribe could improve when it comes to customer service, and speeds are slow on the free version of the service. But beyond that, it is hard to find much to complain about.
This VPN has a lot of amazing features for both the free and paid versions. Ease-of-use is fantastic and diverse protocols and operating systems are supported. Whether you are looking for a free VPN for occasional use or a paid VPN for torrenting, streaming and more, Windscribe is an awesome choice.