Windscribe claims to offer top-notch encryption and access to tons of streaming platforms at a super low price. With so many VPNs on the market offering similar perks but at a higher cost, these features seemed too good to be true. To find out how it really performs, I decided to thoroughly test every aspect of the Windscribe app, including its security, speeds, and unblocking capabilities.
I also looked into how well it works for torrenting and tested it for leaks. In addition, I spent a lot of time learning how the free version stacks up and whether the 10 GB limit is enough for an average user.
Overall, I was impressed with many of Windscribe’s features, but it falls short in several key areas like speeds and gaming. The results actually surprised me, so join me on this vpnMentor review of Windscribe VPN.
Short on Time? Here Are My Key Findings
- Windscribe lets you access the most popular streaming platforms. I was impressed with what it could unlock, only a few platforms were blocked. See the full results of all the sites I tested.
- Speeds are usable but not fast. I managed to stream in HD and play games without any interruptions, but torrenting was slow. Read the results of the rest of my speed tests here.
- It has a large server network. You’ll always be able to find a server that offers good speeds. Learn what countries are supported here.
- It offers excellent security. There’s a kill switch, 256-bit AES encryption, leak protection, and several protocols to choose from. There’s even an option to pay with cryptocurrency. Find out how I made sure your data is really protected here.
- Privacy is solid. With a strict no-logs policy that is backed by powerful security features, your privacy is well protected. Learn why you can trust Windscribe with your vital information here.
- It offers native apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. Whether you’re on mobile or a desktop, you won’t be missing out on features. Learn which devices are supported here.
- It works in China. Windscribe is among the few VPNs that actually work in China. Learn how well it performs in other restrictive countries here.
- Not a bad deal. Windscribe is a good offer for the money, especially if you opt for a yearly plan. Check out a few tricks to get the best price here.
Windscribe Features — Updated in October 2021
|📆 Money Back Guarantee||30|
|📝 Does VPN keep logs?||No|
|🖥 Number of servers||170|
|💻 Number of devices per license||Unlimited|
|🛡 Kill switch||Yes|
|🗺 Based in country||Canada|
|🛠 Support||Online chat/email|
|📥 Supports torrenting||Yes|
I was able to unblock Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, and BBC iPlayer for buffer-free streaming. It worked so well because Windscribe has a proprietary spoofing technology (called Location Warp) that helps mask your IP, so you can access geo-restricted streaming platforms.
I tested Windscribe’s streaming capabilities on my laptop, tablet, and Android Phone. Then, I tried it out on my Firestick TV using the app I downloaded on the Amazon Store, and it worked great.
One minor issue is that compared to my base connection, videos took a little longer to load with Windscribe. However, the streaming quality never dropped below HD, and I didn’t experience any buffering.
I was able to unblock US Netflix and libraries in 5 additional countries. First, I connected to the Atlanta server and opened Netflix. The platform loaded up right away. I selected an episode of Supernatural, and it started playing instantly. The entire episode played back in HD without any buffering.
I also got similar results using the Dallas server. The only difference was that the video took 2 seconds longer to load, which is still an impressive result.
I was able to access Hulu using the Los Angeles server. This let me watch The Wonder Years, one of my favorite shows, in sharp HD.
The show loaded immediately and played back without any dips in quality. Jumping between episodes and different shows didn’t slow down the viewing experience.
All 5 US servers I used managed to unblock Disney+. While connected to Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Chicago, and New York servers, I could easily access all my favorite movies.
It took 2 seconds to load the page and 5 seconds to load each video. However, the movies never stopped to buffer once they started playing.
Unblocked Amazon Prime Video
I unblocked Amazon Prime Video libraries with servers in the US, Germany, and the UK. At first, the videos didn’t load. However, I simply reloaded the page, and I was able to instantly start playing movies and shows.
The quality never dropped below HD, and it didn’t stop to buffer.
Unblocked HBO Max
It was easy to unblock HBO Max. I usually have issues unblocking this platform, but it worked immediately using Windscribe’s Atlanta server.
It took the video 3 seconds to load, but then it played without buffering. It worked just as well on the Denver server but videos took a bit longer to start up (around 5 seconds on average).
Unblocked BBC iPlayer
It was easy to access BBC iPlayer with Windscribe. I was impressed that all the videos loaded immediately with the highest quality already selected.
The quality of the picture remained consistent even though I was downloading a few large files in the background.
Also Unblocked: HBO Go, iTV, All 4, YouTube, Spotify, and DAZN
The UK server even managed to unblock All 4. Most VPNs focus their attention on US streaming platforms as these are more popular. This makes it hard to find a service that works with UK platforms, but Windscribe’s UK server worked great.
Windscribe managed to unblock every platform I tried it with. This is an impressive showing for a relatively small VPN provider.
Windscribe has decent speeds on local servers, but it slows down at long distances. Usually, the farther you are from a server, the slower your speeds will be since the data you are requesting takes longer to reach you. However, the drops in speed are much larger than normal with Windscribe.
Short-distance server speeds are great. I tested its Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Moldova locations using the same IKEv2 protocol on a Windows 10 laptop. These are all less than 300km away from my location, but I did notice that Romanian and Moldovan servers are slower. All together, I got an average speed of 62.10 Mbps which is more than enough to stream 4K content.
However, long-distance speeds are quite slow. I tested its Canada, Hong Kong, Australia, and Singapore (all of these are more than 2500 km away from me) locations for long-distance speeds with the VPN set to the default IKeV2 protocol. On average, I got 12.46 Mbps which isn’t fast, but it’s suitable for streaming since you only need 5 Mbps to stream in HD.
You can’t improve your speeds using different protocols. I wondered whether other security protocols might improve my speeds, so I tested them using the Singapore location.
Every other protocol I tested was slower than IKeV2. Also, WSTunnel (another security protocol) never worked and prompted an error screen.
Are Windscribe’s Speeds Fast Enough for Gaming? Yes, but Not for Cloud Gaming
Windscribe is suitable for PC and consoles, but it’s not a good option for cloud gaming (playing games that you stream rather than download). To start my test, I set up Windscribe on my router and booted up Super Smash Bros Ultimate on a Nintendo Switch. It took me 2 minutes to find a match, and I didn’t notice any lag. During my gaming session, the ping remained low (the higher the ping, the longer your button presses will take to register by the game), and I was never disconnected.
However, when I tried it with GeForce Now using a US server, it took about 4 minutes to load. I tried again using a UK one, and it worked. However, the experience wasn’t good as there was a lot of pixelation, lag, and I was even disconnected a few times.
I also tried Google Stadia and xCloud, but Windscribe failed to unblock them. You won’t be able to stream games using Windscribe. To experience cloud-gaming safely, you’ll need to use one of the top VPNs for gamers.
Windscribe’s vast server network will help you access more streaming sites. It offers 170 servers in 60 countries, enough to unblock a wide range of popular shows from various countries. You can also access several countries many VPNs neglect, including Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Turkey.
Keep in mind, some of Windscribe’s servers are virtual, which can affect your speeds as they aren’t located in the country you’ve selected. Overall, Western Europe and North America have the most coverage.
It doesn’t use fake IP addresses, which are easily blocked by streaming platforms. Some VPNs have their entire server list located in the US and Europe but use fake WHOIS data to make it seem like you’re in other countries. Most streaming platforms can easily detect such addresses and will simply block them. Windscribe offers real IP addresses, meaning you’re much less likely to be blocked.
Navigating the server list is easy and intuitive. In the app, you can expand it to find some useful information about each location. After you’ve opened the server list, select the country you wish to connect to, and hit the “+” icon. This will reveal a list of cities (all accompanied with funny names) you can connect to, along with the option to bookmark a location.
With the expanded list, you’ll also be able to see the latency rate (in ms). This is useful, but I would have preferred if there was a load percentage. The load lets you know how many people are on a server, so you can find one that’s less crowded.
I didn’t like that the sorting option is hidden deep within the app. You can sort by alphabet, geography, and latency. However, you have to open the app and hit the Settings menu, then access the “General” tab to find the sort feature. I wish there were a more straightforward way to arrange the server, like in the browser extension where you simply have to click on an arrow hidden inside the server list.
But I really liked that you don’t need to disconnect from a server to connect to a new one. This might seem small, but you aren’t exposing yourself if you swap servers instead of disconnecting, and the connection process is faster this way.
Windscribe provides you with military-grade security that keeps you safe online. It offers AES 256-bit encryption which makes your data virtually unreadable. This is further enhanced by a SHA512 algorithm and a 4096-bit RSA key, making your information appear as a random set of characters only your device can read correctly.
It also comes with a dedicated kill switch (called Firewall). This feature will disable the network when your VPN connection drops, so you don’t leak any data. You can enable it in the app simply by toggling the white switch near the connect button. There are three modes you can select, Automatic, Manual, and always ON.
There’s also a whitelisting feature that will automatically activate the VPN connection when you connect to an unsecured network. This is a lifesaver for someone like me, as I often forget to turn on a VPN when using public networks. However, with this feature, I set up my home network as “secured” and all others as “unsecured.” That way, my device is secured every time I use a public Wi-Fi network.
Other Security Features
Windscribe also offers additional security features. These include R.O.B.E.R.T., a botnet attack prevention system, Secure Hotspot, Double Hop, Location Warp, Time Warp, leak protection, and multiple security protocols.
The R.O.B.E.R.T. feature can help you protect your network. This is a dedicated domain and IP-blocking system you can use to blacklist IPs, ads, tracking, and crypto miners, which will also help you save internet data. The system is also capable of malware blocking, phishing detection, and location spoofing. R.O.B.E.R.T. is available to both paying and free users, but the free version is paired back in terms of features.
There’s a botnet attack prevention feature — A botnet invasion is a curated attack of several computers that have access to your device through malware or a phishing website. It’ll automatically block such threats so you won’t have to worry about network-related invasions.
Another handy feature is Secure Hotspot which you can use to make your computer work as a protected router. This could be useful, but unfortunately, I wasn’t able to use it. I tried this feature on 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi networks, restarted my device, and even tried to connect via Ethernet port, but it didn’t work.
The Double Hop tool will route your traffic through an extra server. This will make your traffic more secure and untraceable for hackers, trackers, and malware. To activate this feature, you first need to install both the desktop app and the browser extension. Then, simply connect to whichever country you like using the desktop app and do the same using the extension.
Since Double Hop reroutes your traffic, I expected a drop in speeds. I wanted to see how severe the reduction is, so I connected to the Romania server and did a speed test which gave me 18.50 Mbps. I then connected the browser extension to the US and redid the speed test again, resulting in 9.65 Mbps, roughly a 52% reduction. Unless you need an extra security layer, I do not recommend using this feature since you lose so much speed.
Location Warp will make it look like you’re in a specified location. In most cases, a VPN will give you the necessary IP address so you can access geo-restricted content. However, some websites might check your physical location through the GPS module on your device or through your Wi-Fi SSID. This feature helps prevent such issues by giving the website you are visiting fake GPS coordinates.
Time Warp is another feature that’ll help you keep your device anonymous. Some sites can detect that you are using a VPN by looking at your time zone. This feature will prevent that by showing the website you’re on a matching time figure.
It also passed my leak tests. I ran my tests with IPleak.net, and it successfully passed all of them. Many VPNs leak data through your browser (a.k.a WebRTC), so I was glad to see that Windscribe kept my data hidden from the websites I visited.
There are also multiple protocols to choose from, so you can customize your security level. Windscribe supports every major security protocol, including IKEv2, OpenVPN (TCP and UDP), WireGuard, WSTunnel, and its own Stealth option. Overall, I recommend using WireGuard as it offers the best balance of speed and security.
Is it safe to combine Windscribe with Tor? Yes!
You can use Windscribe over Tor for maximum security. Tor, also known as The Onion Router, is a special browser that was designed to offer complete anonymity. It is more secure than a traditional browser which makes it useful in highly restrictive countries.
You can combine Windscribe with Tor to add another layer of security and mask your activities from the ISP. And if there’s something wrong with Tor, Windscribe’s IP will be exposed, not yours. However, Tor is notorious for cutting speed so I decided to test this.
Even though the speed reduction is significant, you can still combine Windscribe with Tor, and have a responsive web-browsing experience.
Windscribe does not reveal any information about you. It follows a strict no-logs policy and does not store any of its customer’s data. Your IP address, the sites you’ve visited, and timestamps for your VPN sessions won’t be collected either. You can be sure that your information will stay safe.
Windscribe offers transparency reports which you can read to verify its policy. There’s a graph you can use on its website to track how many times the company’s received DMCA or law enforcement data requests. It also tells you whether Windscribe fulfilled any of these requests. After reading through them, I could not find any records of Windscribe complying with the requests. This proves the company doesn’t store any of your data.
However, you should be aware that the company is based in Canada, a member of the 14 Eyes Alliance. This is an agreement between Canada, the US, the UK, New Zealand, and 10 other countries to share data on their citizens. In other words, Windscribe can be summoned to turn over any records they have on an individual to the government.
Fortunately, Windscribe does not require you to give out any identifying information. The only things you need to create an account are a username and a password.
|Here’s what Windscribe never collects||This is what Windscribe does collect|
Windscribe states that all of this data is necessary to enforce the free tier’s limitations.
You don’t have to give Windscribe an email or any other type of contact information if you don’t want to. To maximize your anonymity, Windscribe even allows you to pay with Bitcoin. This is a fantastic option as you don’t have to give away your credit card or PayPal info during the checkout process. If you sign up with this method, it won’t have anything to share even if government agencies request your data.
Torrenting — Download Large Files Fast and Safely
Windscribe speeds are fast enough for large torrents. It allows you to torrent on most servers, excluding India, Lithuania, Russia, and South Africa. There are no data caps and download speeds are quick. I did some light torrenting and downloaded Charlie Chaplin Mabel’s Strange Predicament (160MB) in less than 2 minutes using its UK server.
Windscribe also works with popular torrent clients such as uTorrent, Deluge, qBittorrent, and VUZE. I tested all of them and didn’t notice any differences in speeds.
Windscribe can bypass the Great Firewall of China. This is a strict system of censorship that blocks internet users in China from accessing popular websites and apps such as Google, Instagram, YouTube, Netflix, Wikipedia, and many more.
Windscribe uses a Stealth connection protocol that is designed to work in restrictive environments like China. The protocol masks your OpenVPN traffic by hiding it inside a secure tunnel (called TLS) that makes it look like regular traffic. Do keep in mind that non-government-approved VPNs are illegal in China. I suggest that you read up on your local laws to avoid getting penalized.
Simultaneous Device Connections — Use on as Many Devices as You Want
For both the free and paid versions, you can connect an unlimited number of simultaneous devices. I connected my laptop, 2 gaming consoles, 2 smartphones, and my Firestick TV to the same location and started streaming on all of them. Speeds remained the same, and each time I added a new device, I was still able to stream without buffering. You’ll have zero problems using Windscribe on all your favorite devices.
Windscribe apps can be installed on a wide variety of devices. You can install it on Windows, Mac, and even Linux. It also has browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. But keep in mind that the extension does not give you full protection. It only serves as a proxy that doesn’t have the same security features as a VPN. You should always use it in conjunction with a VPN for maximum security.
Windscribe can also be installed on routers which can help you easily protect all your devices and encrypt traffic on devices without native apps, like gaming consoles. It offers router installation guides on its website. There are detailed tutorials for DDWRT, Tomato, and Asus routers. If you don’t have the time to deal with configurations, it even sells pre-configured routers.
The iOS and Android apps are almost identical to the desktop versions. Both apps have the same user interface and share a similar menu structure. In terms of security features, there’s support for IKEv2, WireGuard, Stealth, and OpenVPN (UDP and TCP), network whitelisting, shortcuts for voice assistants, and split tunneling. There’s even a design feature that lets you pick a custom color scheme for the entire app. The only difference is that the mobile apps don’t have access to the WSTunnel protocol and Proxy Settings. If you want to live stream videos on your TV, Windscribe can be installed on Amazon Fire TV, NVidia Shield, and Kodi.