Tom's Hardware Verdict
Windscribe VPN's free 10GB plan is more than enough for typical browsing, while customizable pricing is available for those with specific VPN needs. But you may want to stick to the IKEv2 protocol.
Has a generous free plan
Lots of payment options
Annual transparency report
Only a 3-day money-back guarantee
Some performance problems
Why you can trust Tom's Hardware
Windscribe is based in Ontario and was founded in March 2016. It’s available as both a free and a paid platform that blocks ads and trackers, restores access to blocked content and helps you protect your privacy, plus unlimited streaming and torrenting on a wide range of devices.
However, performance struggles if you don’t use the OpenVPN transfer protocol. Plus, paid users have a limited amount of time to decide if they like the VPN service before missing out on any potential refund.
|Client Software Platforms
|Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Fire OS, Chrome, Firefox, Opera
|Native Supported Platforms
|Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Fire OS, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Linux, routers, Kodi, Nvidia Shield
|IKEv2 (default), OpenVPN
|Number of Servers
|Number of Countries
|Country of Registration
|American Express, Mastercard, Visa, Paypal, Paymentwall, Bitcoin
|Pro account: unlimited
|Pro account: unlimited
|Max Number of Connected Devices
|Help center, live chat, email
The provider’s free plan offers a generous 10GB of monthly data traffic. You only need to sign up and download the app to use it. If you don’t provide your email address, you’re limited to 2GB. The free version also has 48 fewer server locations available than the pro version.
For the full service, there are two pricing options. You can either choose the 1-month billing option for $9 or the 1-year subscription that costs $4.08 per month.
|Row 0 - Cell 0
*Free and Build A Plan options not shown
Windscribe also allows customization of subscription plans under the Build A Plan scheme. This system gives you the freedom to select only those locations you want for $1 a month per location. You need to choose at least two locations, and each selected location comes with an additional bonus 10GB of bandwidth.
The money-back guarantee is a lot shorter than what most other providers offer. Refunds are only issued up to three commercial days after payment and if you haven’t surpassed 10GB of traffic.
You can pay via American Express, Mastercard, Visa, Paypal, Paymentwall and Bitcoin.
Windscribe currently offers servers in 110 cities across over 60 countries, 10 of which are available to free users.
The service has apps for Windows, iOS, Mac and Android devices, in addition to browser extensions covering Firefox, Chrome and Opera. It can be installed on a range of additional platforms, like Linux, Windows Phone, Kodi, Amazon Fire and routers. You don’t need to be an expert to do this; the website offers installation guides and all the necessary configuration files.
Interestingly, the desktop clients allow importing of custom OpenVPN configuration files from other providers, displaying those servers next to its own.
The provider’s browser extensions let you change your time zone to match that of your selected VPN location. It also allows for random rotation of the browser user agent to circumvent fingerprinting.
You can easily reach Netflix, thanks to Windscribe’s servers that are oriented to specific localized versions of Netflix (U.S., Canada, UK and Japan). Windscribe facilitates access to other similar streaming services and other kinds of geo-restricted content as well, except for the BBC iPlayer.
Torrenting is another service you’ll have unlimited access to, but only if you opt for a pro subscription.
Windscribe allows for an unlimited number of simultaneous connections per account.
The Windscribe website offers plenty of help if you get stuck with the platform. You can check out the support section or blog for guides, troubleshooting or FAQs, as well as for service updates and explanations.
If you can’t find the information needed in the online materials, you can reach out to the company’s customer support staff. They are available through the ticket filing system, live chat and a subreddit. However, given the sheer volume of their user base and lack of team members, you might need to arm yourself with a little patience.
Windscribe offers military-grade privacy protection with the help of multiple mechanisms. In its desktop apps, it utilizes AES-256 cipher with SHA512 authentication and a 4096-bit RSA key. The provider’s browser extensions use TLS 1.2, ECDHE-RSA with P-256 key exchange and AES-128-GCM algorithm.
The provider has its own version of a kill switch called a firewall. In the event of a sudden VPN connection termination, Windscribe’s firewall jumps in and shuts down the entire Internet connection on your device, keeping your sensitive data safe beyond the reach of prying eyes. The firewall mechanism then immediately reestablishes the VPN connection.
In a mission to protect your privacy, Windsribe employs two connection protocols - OpenVPN and IKEv2. The provider also limits IPv6 traffic and blocks ads, trackers, malware and any other web content you might want to block, like gambling and fake news. The blocker option is called R.O.B.E.R.T. (Remote Omnidirectional Badware Eliminating Robotic Tool) and is Windscribe’s proprietary DNS-based mechanism that can be customized to block specific content.
Windscribe’s performance can be less than ideal if you’re using the OpenVPN transfer protocol instead of the company’s default and recommended IKEv2. Our testing found the connection times here are a bit longer, and the download speeds can be slower than what is seen in some other VPN platforms. However, when you switch to IKEv2, the performance gets better and more on par with competing VPN services.
Considering all it has to offer and its price, Windscribe is a top-notch VPN provider. It ticks all the boxes - Netflix and torrenting support, bullet-proof encryption, wide platform support and plenty of payment options.
The only issues are with the very short money-back guarantee and poor performance with OpenVPN protocol, but these are not things that the typical VPN user will find devastating.
Image Credits: Windscribe
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