Windscribe Review 2021: A User-Friendly and Feature-Rich VPN That Can Benefit From a Speed and Security Makeover

by
Frederik Lipfert
Dr. Frederik Lipfert Founder, vpncheck
Updated on 11 Nov 2021
Frederik is a serial entrepreneur that jumped into entrepreneurship after earning his doctorate in physics. Founding and running an analytics company got him into the online privacy and security space he's now contributing to with vpncheck. Read full bio

Expert Contributions

Barbara Niveyro
Barbara Niveyro User Interface Designer
Alla Robert Aristakesyan
Alla Robert Aristakesyan Business Consultant
Tamara Milacic
Tamara Milacic Pricing Expert
Raeesa Essop
Raeesa Essop Network Engineer
Jaosn Alexander
Jason Alexander Cybersecurity Researcher
Monika Lewko
Monika Lewko Privacy & Data Protection Lawyer
This review is based on the exclusive research, analyses, and tests our experts have conducted of Windscribe VPN.

A User-Friendly and Feature-Rich VPN That Can Benefit From a Speed and Security Makeover

So, why a Windscribe VPN review? Is it the fastest VPN in the world? Taking ten seconds to seek a Netflix video, we’re pretty sure it’s far from it. Does it have the largest VPN coverage? Currently holding just 174 servers spread among 63 countries, the answer would be quite the opposite. 

Yet, surprisingly, if we google “top 10 VPNs 2021,” oddly enough, we’d see the name “Windscribe” right there in that list of results! What’s the catch? Considering its seemingly less than optimal characteristics, how come Windscribe hasn’t just gone with the wind by now?

To find answers to this conundrum, we thought of getting our hands dirty with our suspect Windscribe VPN–along with the help of VPNcheck’s team of experts well-versed on the topics we’re about to explore!

Windscribe Features: A Summary

  • Streaming and Speeds – Unblocking streaming content is a challenge and, when it actually works (on Netflix, for example), the speeds leave much to be desired.
  • Servers – Only 174 servers in 60+ countries – a very limited coverage compared to competitors’.
  • Device compatibility – Windscribe can be used on a wide variety of devices operating on Windows (7, 8, 10), Android (5.0 and higher), or iOS (10 and higher). It is also compatible with routers, Amazon FireTV, Nvidia Shield and KODI media player.
  • User-friendly apps – With its feature-packed but also nicely-packed set of uniformly themed client apps, you won’t have a hard time finding your way around the VPN’s features.
  • Novel features – A specially built firewall working as a Kill Switch and a customizable ad-blocker called R.O.B.E.R.T are two of the features that individualize the Windscribe experience.
  • Security – IKEv2 as default protocol, with WireGuard, UDP, TCP, Stealth, WStunnel as additional options. No external audit to confirm the level of security assured.
  • Flexible plans – Besides the classic Monthly and Annually plans, Windscribe gives you the option to build your own subscription, based on the exact servers you’d use.

Windscribe Performance: Works, If You’re Both Lucky and Patient

It’s no secret that half the VPN subscribers use VPN to bypass those geo-blockings and watch some Netflix or an equivalent. Unfortunately, our Windscribe speed tests and streaming service access had more failures than wins, resulting in an overall negative impression.

Add to that, there used to be a “Windflix”-labeled set of servers dedicated for streaming which are currently not operational as per the website’s statement of streaming services no longer working with Windscribe.

On our tested server pool, some streaming services worked for all the servers while others didn’t work on almost all servers except a random lucky server that managed to pass through the login. For the streaming services that did work, streaming and seeking speeds were unacceptably low, ruling out a few lucky servers that were quite snappy. 

Based on what comparisons, you may ask? Well, we interviewed an industry professional and asked them to test Windscribe’s VPN service to see what the experts would say after having used the applications.

Our Expert Review and Rating of Windscribe’s Network Performance

Raeesa Essop
Raeesa Essop
Network Engineer

Windscribe has a high level of available customization. It is possible that this type of VPN is better suited to the more experienced user that wants a specific browsing experience. A user that also will play around with the settings enough to get better performance. There are a lot of features that allow you to restrict content for employees or even underage users. Some of the features associated with ‘R.O.B.E.R.T.’ will come standard with other VPN providers. These are the most important ones such as malware blockers, adblockers, whitelisting, and split tunneling. However, Windscribe does have more customization available than most and is better at marketing these features.

The rates observed when testing each exit node were lower than any other VPN tested. 17 exit nodes exhibited an upload rate of less than 10Mbps and 7 of them had a download rate of less than that amount. Out of all the servers texted 7 of them showed a latency of less than 200ms. For the 20 exit nodes tested (and that functioned) they exhibited an average upload rate of 9,4Mbps which was a drop of 90% when compared to the base/ISP speed. The average download rate was 23.52Mbps which was a drop of 75%. Both of these drops are extremely significant and break the threshold of what is seen as a decent decrease in performance due to using a VPN. Some of the servers could not be connected to, and as a result, the performance could not be gauged. Having said that, connecting to each node took less than a second, which is much faster than any of the other tested VPNs.

When using the double-hop feature for several server combinations, the upload rates consistently stayed below 1Mbps, whereas the download rate varied considerably but never got above 20Mbps. Most of the double hop configurations made use of the local (South African) server to help the odds, but it did not improve the performance. Additionally, the double-hop feature works as a combined setting between the desktop app and the browser extension. The user must set the primary node using the desktop app and the second one using the browser extension. There are in fact many features that are exclusive to the browser extension. The configuration worked well though, in terms of maintaining anonymity and showing the correct location.

The VPN provider worked well to unblock geo-restricted websites even though several reviews claimed it does not perform this feature well. The designated servers for Netflix were used to test streaming capabilities. These servers again are only accessible through the browser extension. The streaming on Netflix and Youtube experienced significant buffering when skipping through content or when viewing certain series.

Regarding the split tunneling feature, it worked well enough to maintain anonymity in general except for the designated apps and URLs. Windscribe will not let the user down when concealing identity or preventing DNS hijacking. The ad-blocking capabilities were also satisfactory, and the VPN protocols were not out of the ordinary in any way. The VPN protocols that gave the best performances (in marginal increments) were Wireguard and IKEv2. The VPN does allow unlimited devices but will monitor your bandwidth usage so it could function well in a commercial/small business setting. The very poor upload rates may be a counterargument to the previous statement. I do not believe that the customization of the security features can outweigh the very poor performance rates.

Based on my opinion as an Electronic and Automation Engineer, I rate VyprVPN 4.5/10.

    4.5
    4.5

    Streaming With Windscribe

    Here’s where our luck–of finding the right server and our patience–of waiting until the video buffers- gets tested.

    Windscribe Netflix Test: Successfully Unblocked

    Our tested Windscribe VPN server pool consisted of 5 states in the US, Canada, UK, France, Italy, Australia, and Germany. Although there’s no mention of Netflix support on their official site, all of these Windscribe servers managed to log in to the Netflix platform successfully. Further, we stumbled upon 3 lucky servers—namely, New York (Empire), Seattle (Cobain), Canada Toronto (Comfort Zone)—that played Netflix videos at great speeds, and managed to seek them just as well:The Witcher playing on Netflix with Windscribe VPN turned on

    As you can see, we reached highly commendable speeds for the 20 Mbps 4G WiFi connection we tested our lucky servers on.

    However, this was where Windscribe’s Netflix streaming success ended.

    All other servers we tested could barely play videos even with Netflix automatically lowering the buffering quality to ‘basic.’ And, seeking the videos on those servers was just a dream. If you’re patient enough to wait ten seconds each time you seek the video ahead or backward, you’re most welcome to try! But keep in mind that this review doesn’t cover any bodily injuries or property damages caused by any rage-invoked incidents.

    Hulu: Blocked–Unless It’s Your Lucky Day

    Although Hulu is a popular streaming platform housing loads of movies and TV shows, unfortunately, Hulu is available only in the US. Hence, people turn to VPN services to hopefully bypass those geo-blockings and enjoy their favorite shows in peace.

    Thousands if not millions of avid movie-watchers use the aforementioned VPN tactic, but most probably, they don’t use Windscribe to achieve this goal. At least from the set of Windscribe VPN locations we tested, only a single server (Chicago Cub) successfully logged us into Hulu. All other servers simply caught us red-handed:A failed login to Hulu using Windscribe VPN due to geoblocking restrictions

    Disney+: Blocked

    Disney+ entered the streaming arena quite recently in 2019, yet it has gained popularity among streaming enthusiasts worldwide just a year or two later. Still, a large portion of the world is waiting for Disney+ to be released in their area. There’s also a set of Disney+ users looking for ways to watch movies and shows they aren’t allowed to stream just because they live in the “wrong” area.

    Hence, people resort to VPNs to bypass geo-restrictions enforced by Disney+. However, just like our Hulu experience, Windscribe doesn’t come to our rescue. None of the Windscribe VPN servers we tested managed to bypass the Disney+ login screen. For all tested servers, the Disney+ homepage loads, but the login page loops on a blank screen. A quick look at the browser console shows a 400 error with a “forbidden-location” message.A screenshot of a 400 error Forbidden message while using Windscribe VPN to access Disney+

    Prime Video: Unblocked

    With Amazon Prime Video now available in more than 200 countries, that’s one less problem to deal with when we want to binge-watch our favorite TV series. But, don’t forget, we still have to surpass that ugly demon named geo-block. 

    As usual, there’s no official mention of Windscribe supporting Prime Video. But, to our delight, every Windscribe server we tested managed to log in and stream videos on Amazon Prime Video!A screenshot of streaming a movie on Amazon Prime video showing it on Best Video Quality while using Windscribe VPN

    It wasn’t the smoothest ride: there was a considerable delay to initially buffer the video, Amazon even gave “streaming delay” errors periodically. But once buffered, the video played consistently, although the seeking was a bit slow as usual.

    BBC iPlayer: Blocked

    BBC iPlayer can more or less be called the British counterpart of Hulu when it comes to their geo-restrictions. In other words, BBC iPlayer content is exclusively accessible for those living in the United Kingdom.

    We tested all six of the Windscribe UK servers with BBC iPlayer. Quite unfortunately but almost expectedly, iPlayer recognized all six servers as VPN connections catering to users outside of the UK:A screenshot of a warning message from BBC iPlayer detecting a user’s location outside the UK while using Windscribe VPN

    DAZN: Blocked

    DAZN holds a notorious name for being one of the hardest streaming services to break in using a VPN. With a strict DAZN VPN-blocking policy, you would need a really strong VPN to bypass DAZN’s geo-blocking.

    You must probably already know where this is heading…

    Indeed, no Windscribe VPN server we tested bypassed DAZN’s efficient VPN blocking methods. All tested servers instead showed a “DAZN isn’t available in this country” error message like this:Private Internet Access failed VPN to streaming DAZN content

    Windscribe Torrenting

    After our disappointing streaming experience, we won’t blame you if you expect an ill-fated situation when it comes to Windscribe’s torrenting capabilities as well.

    Fortunately, a comprehensive Windscribe set up guides library is available, including a guide for multiple torrent clients. They even supply steps to use Windscribe securely when torrenting.

    And, just as we wished, torrenting served quite passable speeds; P2P connections were available for both free and premium users.

    Impressive Compatibility

    Even if it’s such a contrast compared to Windscribe’s load of drawbacks, a deservingly praiseworthy aspect of Windscribe would be its widespread compatibility.

    Just a quick peek at Windscribe’s client app download page shows us that it supports the following:

    • Desktop platforms:
      • Windscribe for Windows: 7, 8, 10.
        Note: Windscribe still lends out its Windows client app’s legacy version which could work with Windows versions prior to Windows 7.
      • Windscribe for mac: 10.12 Sierra and higher.
        Note: Windscribe still lends out its macOS client app’s legacy version which could work with macOS versions prior to 10.12.
      • Windscribe for Linux: Ubuntu 19.04, Debian 10, Fedora 22+, CentOS 6+.
        Note: Linux client app is still in its beta stage.
    • Mobile platforms:
      • Windscribe for Android: 5.0 Lollipop and higher.
        Note: Windscribe provides a direct APK link as well which you can use for manual installation of the Android client app.
      • Windscribe for iOS: 10 and higher.
    • Browser extensions:
      • Windscribe for Chrome: v39 and higher.
      • Windscribe for Firefox: v57 and higher.
      • Windscribe for Microsoft Edge: v79 and higher.
      • Windscribe for Opera: v37 and higher.
        Note: No dedicated browser extension but provides a guide on how to use the Windscribe Chrome extension in Opera.
    • Routers: 
      • Support and guidance to set up Windscribe VPN on DD-WRT, Tomato, Asus routers.
      • Users can also opt for an Invizbox router that’s pre-configured for Windscribe servers and accounts.
    • Other devices:
      • Amazon FireTV Gen 2+, Nvidia Shield, KODI media player (Android-based and Linux-based).

    Windscribe Server Locations – Not Their Selling Point

    Holding a mere number of 174 servers spread among 63 countries, Windscribe surely has a long way to go when it comes to its location coverage.

    Nevertheless, users can check Windscribe’s Location Status page for an update of currently operational Windscribe VPN locations.

    Windscribe Design: Easy on the Eyes and Uniform Throughout

    As a VPN bearing a wealth of functions and features, Windscribe owes it to us to present them in an efficient and elegant manner. And, thankfully, Windscribe doesn’t disappoint in this context.

    Here’s our UI/UX expert’s view on Windscribe’s look and feel.

    Our Expert Review and Rating of Windscribe’s UI/UX Design

    Barbara Niveyro
    Barbara Niveyro
    User Interface Designer

    Windscribe VPN’s design is efficient and unique, but it could provide accessibility features. Overall, the software and the resources linked to it communicate in an educational tone with iconography based on science and domestic or professional tools that make this product more approachable for users who are trying these kinds of services for the first time.

    That being said, the different versions of the application provide more tools at the core of its interface. Using simple design resources like color and scale, the company created a tool that is easy to read and includes some basic explanations when the app is used for the first time. Something that differentiates Windscribe VPN from most VPNs is that the application doesn’t include a map to select the VPN locations and includes the location’s flag instead. This is preferable because it is a smart way to synthesize the information.

    Another positive aspect of Windscribe VPN is that its settings options are more complete. For example, it includes a “sharing” and “debug” section on its menu. It lets the user sign in and out from two different buttons that are easy to find, and it has a “?” area that is linked to a webpage named “help” where the client will find setup guides, frequently asked questions, and knowledge base articles. This is helpful and many VPN apps and mobile apps don’t link this information to the software, but it would be more consistent if some of this information was inside the app. For example, as an alternative, the app could include more introductory messages with explanations or add a glossary where the user could understand concepts like “Firewall”, “500”, “Kill Switch”, “IKEv2”.

    We should highlight that the setup guides we mentioned above include video tutorials for all the app variations, which differentiates Windscribe from other companies – competitors don’t provide these videos, or they do, but they are not that easy to find.

    The application is available for more OS, platforms, and browsers than most VPN software – it is even available for Opera, Kodi, and various torrent apps, which is practical for users that only need the VPN for specific activities. We should add that after using Windscribe VPN for 4 days with an iPhone we noticed that the application consumes a lot of battery, which is common for these types of applications that are constantly checking the internet connection. Compared to the other VPN applications that I tested – Nord VPN, CyberGhost, and ProtonVPN – the level of battery usage is average, but higher than ProtonVPN.

    Based on my opinion as an Open Designer for Innovation, Communicator and Writer, I rate Windscribe VPN's user interference, user experience and accessibility features 7/10.

      7
      7

      A Plethora of Devices

      What Windscribe lacks in terms of performance, coverage, and reliability, Windscribe makes up for through its almost-no-device-ignored arrangement of device support.

      Windscribe for Windows

      Windscribe provides support for Windows versions 7 and onwards.

      Furthermore, all the main features of Windscribe are easily available in their client app for Windows: the kill switch (Windscribe calls theirs a firewall. More on that later), split-tunneling, multi-hop, quick connect, dark mode, you name it.

      Windscribe for Mac

      All the features available in the Windscribe Windows client app are attainable through their macOS client app.

      Windscribe for Linux

      Windscribe hasn’t overlooked the good-old Linux distro users. Although currently at its beta stage, Windscribe provides a fully-functional CLI client app for Ubuntu 19.04, Debian 10, Fedora 22+, CentOS 6+ Linux distributions.

      The whole bunch of features available in the Windscribe desktop apps with GUIs can similarly be found in their Linux client app.

      But, this time, the split-tunneling feature isn’t available–yet. Who knows, Windscribe just might implement split-tunneling as well later on in their Linux app development, fingers crossed! And lastly, the dark mode feature is missing, too. Because duh it’s a console app it only knows to execute commands.

      Windscribe for Android

      Impressively, Windscribe brings the same bundle of options in their desktop GUI client apps to the Android client app without cutting any corners. If anything, the Android app even lets us choose between ‘Light’ and ‘Dark’ themes, a feature that’s not seen in their desktop or browser extension counterparts!

      Windscribe for iOS

      Due to iOS restrictions, Windscribe could provide neither a kill switch nor a split-tunneling feature on their iOS client app. But, for all other features, Windscribe’s iOS app is a carbon copy of its Android counterpart.

      Windscribe Apps and Extensions

      Any software or service is only as good as its accessibility to the end-user, and no VPN is exempt from this. Windscribe indeed seems to know the validity of this concept judging from the distinctive, easy-to-use, and consistently themed collection of client apps they provide for all of their supported platforms.

      Windows Client App

      Windscribe presents a feature-filled client app for its Windows users:Screenshots of Windscribe for Windows client app interface highlighting the clickable Firewall button and the Locations dropdown menu with Best Location at the top of the list

      And a click on its ‘options’ button brings us a similarly option-packed set of various settings:Screenshots of Windscribe for Windows client app interface highlighting the ‘options’ button of various settings

      macOS Client App

      The client app Windscribe brings for the macOS platform is quite indistinguishable from the Windows client app:Windscribe for Mac client app interface with the Firewall button and Locations menu

      Linux Client App

      Linux doesn’t get the luxury of a GUI app when it comes to Windscribe. But all in all, functionality-wise Windscribe’s Linux client app works just as admirably:A screenshot of Windscribe VPN’s Linux app interface

      Android Client App

      Making desktop users feel right at home, Windscribe offers an Android client app that looks and works almost the same way:A screenshot of Windscribe for Android app interface showing multiple menus and settings

      iOS Client App

      Similarly, a quick look at the Windscribe iOS client app screenshots on the Apple App Store proves it follows suit with the rest just as we expected!

      Browser Extensions for Windscribe

      As we learned before, Windscribe provides extensions for Firefox, Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and even supports Opera through the Chrome extension. And, looks-wise, they appear quite the same as other Windscribe apps:Screenshots of the Windscribe browser extension features and settings

      As an additional option, Windscribe browser extensions provide an easy shortcut to link a desktop client app with itself. This comes in handy when we use the double-hop feature of Windscribe–more on this in just a second!

      Time to Fly the Winds of Windscribe: An Installation Guide

      We already flew through Windscribe VPN’s performance and its design. Thus, instead of just taking our words and pictures for it, why not lay your hands on Windscribe, glide, and wing through it firsthand – see if it floats your boat, so to speak?

      Let us guide you on exactly how to set up Windscribe VPN on your computer.

      1. Head over to the official Windscribe download page and click the button showing your desktop Operating System:A view of Windscribe VPN’s download page interface showing download buttons for Chrome and WindowsNote that the browser and OS versions you’ll see on this download page are customized based on the browser and the Operating System you are using. That is to say, if you’re accessing this page from a Mac, fear not, because the steps will be just the same!Clicking the earlier mentioned button should have downloaded a setup file containing the Windscribe client app for your Operating System.
      1. Open this file and install it on your system.
      2. Run the Windscribe client app and click the “Get Started” button to take you to the Windscribe sign up page:A screenshot of Windscribe VPN’s login page with the Get Started button highlighted
      3. Create your new account:A screenshot of Windscribe VPN’s registration page
        What’s this R.O.B.E.R.T. feature they’re asking me to enable? At this point, your thoughts might be something along these lines, are we right? We’ll be touching on R.O.B.E.R.T.—pun not intended—later on when we discuss Windscribe’s extra features, so for the time being, think of it as a Windscribe-provided ad-blocker with a fancy name. And, it will not cost you a dime in its default setting so we suggest leaving it turned on as it is.Simply click “Create Account” once you’re done! If all goes well, you’ll be taken to an “Account Overview” page listing details of the Windscribe account you just created.
      4. Connect to a Windscribe VPN using your Windscribe account. Head back to your client app, click “Login” and enter your Windscribe account credentials:A screenshot of Windscribe’s login interface
        That’s all it takes! You’re now ready to VPN to your heart’s content. Just click that huge round button for a quick connection to the closest and fastest Windscribe server; or if you have a particular server in mind, click on “Locations” to bring up the set of Windscribe servers you could connect to as you please!A view of a logged-in user interface highlighting a big power button and indicating the user’s chosen server location

      Windscribe Security: Points for Honesty

      Not all internet users use a VPN just to stream a geo-blocked Netflix show. An overseas employee might need to access their online bank accounts from abroad without fearing their funds would disappear the moment they do so. A traveler might need to connect to a public WiFi at a convenient coffee shop only with panic if their coffee would leak, not their personal information.

      Hence, they would turn to VPNs, and in exchange, VPN services bear a responsibility to not break the pivotal trust the users lay on their hands. So, how does Windscribe deliver in this scenario?

      Owing to multiple susceptibility occasions, such as when Ukrainian authorities seized Windscribe servers that weren’t encrypted, and a user IP address leak due to a WebRTC bug, we’re probably better off with another VPN if security is our topmost concern.

      Our Expert Review and Rating of Windscribe VPN’s Security

      Jaosn Alexander
      Jason Alexander
      Cybersecurity Researcher

      Independent VPN provider Windscribes’ offering generally appears thoughtful and authentic, which is a commendable position.

      Windscribes’ candor goes deeper than their transparency report. Their director Yegor Sak has been welcomely honest and responsible regarding a recently exploited configuration weakness compromising some users of some of their Ukrainian services. 

      Windscribe is based in Canada which is part of the ‘5 eyes’. They have several well-written articles to explain how and why their systems are secure and private. And while their privacy policy lacks any information regarding GDPR or CCPA compliance, it is pleasantly direct.

      Several critical areas of their technical implementation seem to have had thoughtful planning – their logging policy, RADIUS configuration, handling of account credentials, and DNS management (including white-listing, and split-tunneling).

      Windscribe offers IKEv2 by default for all Apps, which is tried and true. The alternative VPN protocol offerings are also well-rounded and mature, and they have attempted to bolster some of Wireguards’ privacy weaknesses. However, there is a modest history of vulnerabilities in their applications.

      When blogging about their recent Ukrainian server breach, Windscribe seemed to enjoy taking pot-shots at many competitors – including noting how NordVPNs’ multiple-audited service failed to reveal a configuration weakness in their Open VPN certificate handling process.

      It is true audits are not always perfect; however, in my opinion, it is high time Windscribe committed to one. Vulnerabilities and weaknesses are challenging for any individual or team.

      Exercising the diligence needed to get things perfect every time is not always achievable, and a good audit nearly always helps make up the difference – and probably would have seen their recent headlines avoided.

      Pragmatically they are quite likely to be worth scoring a bit higher, but no auditing and a head office in Canada has lowered the score.

      With the appropriate attitude of their director, I would 100% prefer to be with these guys than anything to do with a non-audited Kape service.

      Based on my opinion as a cybersecurity specialist, I rate Windscribes VPN's security at 6.5 / 10.

        6.5
        6.5

        Security Protocols

        Windscribe uses the IKEv2 protocol by default. But, navigating to the Windscribe client app’s Connection tab inside its Settings lets us choose our preference from a collection of protocols:Windscribe’s Protocol options: IKEv2, UDP, TCP, Stealth, WStunnel and WireGuard

        What’s their stance when it comes to its security features? Let’s find out.

        Kill Switch

        A Kill Switch is more or less a disconnection (or killing) of the user’s whole internet connection in the event their VPN connection drops abruptly. Apparently, a good old Kill Switch is snake oil for Windscribe. In its place, the Windscribe firewall keeps the Windscribe VPN connection tunnel enclosed, just as a standard firewall would. Hence, a sudden internet connection drop won’t matter, since the firewall would recognize it’s about to output packets to a non-Windscribe-protected environment and would simply block it. 

        Windscribe provides its Firewall feature on all of its desktop client apps. And, thankfully, Windscribe allows us to turn this feature off if we need to. Because, at the end of the day, some would prefer not to put a heavy helmet on a turtle if you know what we mean!

        Multi-hop

        As they say, “you can never be too careful.” Hence, if we don’t mind putting our already bogged down Windscribe VPN-tunnelled internet connection through yet another VPN server for the sake of another layer of security, Windscribe allows us to do this through its Double Hop feature. But, the catch is, it’s executed as a 2-hops method where the first hop is the Windscribe VPN tunnel we create using our desktop app, and the second hop is our browser extension creating another tunnel and making the 1st hop flow through the new tunnel. So, in essence, all Windscribe does is chain two of its VPN connections to flow one after the other.

        Double Hop is available on all devices Windscribe supports, with its desktop and mobile client apps stepping in as the first hop and the browser extensions backing up as the second hop.

        RAM-only Servers

        If you’ve ever used a “hard disk data recovery” tool to recover some files and photos you previously deleted, you must know what those data could do if they ended up in the wrong hands. Ergo, almost as a trend, a great feature loads of VPN services have started to implement is to make their servers run solely on volatile RAM memory. This way, any and all of your private data ever stored by your VPN would disappear from the face of Earth the moment the server’s plug is pulled.

        Technically, Windscribe has plans to make all of their servers RAM-only. But at the same time, Windscribe seems to have jumped on the RAM-only bandwagon quite recently. Since there’s no mention of a completion of that shift in Windscribe’s official page, possibly not all of their servers could’ve made the RAM-only transition just yet.

        No-logs Policy

        Windscribe never says it stores “no logs.” Instead, they add an adjective like “user-identifiable” or “identifying” to the word “logs”, and say “no identifying logs” or “no user-identifiable logs” whenever they claim the Windscribe no-logs policy. And, turning to their privacy policy reaffirms this showing a bunch of data and logs Windscribe does store when we use their VPN.

        Windscribe’s Reliability: Not the Best; But Not the Worst Either

        Thanks to a nice load of options on their official site including setup guides, FAQs, a Knowledge Base, and another set of selections to receive technical support, Windscribe sets foot in the right direction when it comes to customer support. But, regrettably, their nonexistent support email address cuts down that good impression and the brainless bot they call live chat, leaving us with the only option to submit a ticket via the Windscribe support page, which could take up to 24 hours to get a response.

        With these pros and cons altogether, is Windscribe reliable or not? Maybe a legal expert could shed some light on this.

        Our Expert Review and Rating of Windscribe VPN’s Data Privacy Protection

        Monika Lewko
        Monika Lewko
        Privacy & Data Protection Lawyer

        Windscribe VPN is a service provided by Windscribe Limited, the company headquartered in Ontario, Canada, since 2015. This country is an active member of the Five and the Fourteen Eyes alliances. The Company is updating its policy relatively rarely, with the current Privacy Policy dating back to 2018. The document is constructed in a rather non-formal manner, clearly putting friendliness above convention. Being in a jurisdiction that is a part of the international data exchange association, it might be a better approach to fall in line with a rigid but concise and precise lawyerly frame for such an important file. However, it must be taken into account that the Company gathers the bare minimum of personal data.

        But yet some information insufficiency strikes the eye of the attentive reader as Windscribe doesn’t propose any specific rules for consent, or data administration, nor do they have a Data Protection Officer equivalent assigned. The Company states that they only use 3rd party payment processors, where the transaction ID is stored for 30 days for legal purposes, however, there is no information on the payment provider, so the user is unable to check this party’s policy beforehand. It is to be welcomed that Windscribe keeps up with the standard of not storing any historical logs on who used which IP address. From the information provided by the Company, it can be concluded that identifiable information mandatory to purchase a premium service are username, password, and – optionally – an e-mail for password restoration.

        On July 8th, 2021, Windscribe disclosed that two VPN servers hosted in Ukraine were seized by local authorities on June 24th, 2021. According to information found in reliable sources, Windscribe had failed to encrypt the servers in question, allowing for the repossession of the private key. No specific information on the possible leaks of personal data was found.

        Based on my opinion as an international business & privacy lawyer I rate CyberGhost VPN's privacy 6/10.

          6
          6

          Windscribe Support

          Are we on our own if something goes wrong in our Windscribe connection or our Windscribe account? As we mentioned before, Windscribe provides a set of support options on their official page. Let us glide through them one by one!

          Self Help

          Why involve another party if we could fix it ourselves, right? Windscribe provides a scope of options for the DIY or the Do It Yourself guys:

          • Windscribe Set Up Guides – A verbose collection of step-by-step walkthroughs to set up Windscribe on any and all of the devices it supports. But, do keep in mind that some of the provided videos could show guides for their client app’s legacy versions instead of their latest.
          • Windscribe FAQs – Answers to general, desktop app, and browser extension-related questions frequently asked.
          • Windscribe Knowledge Base – A stack of articles focusing on various issues faced by Windscribe VPN users.

          Technical Support

          Windscribe brings out multiple routes a user with a technical issue could take:

          • Windscribe Reddit – Quite commendable, there’s an official subreddit for Windscribe! Possibly the fastest way to reach the Windscribe team compared to other methods.
          • Submit Ticket – Allows users to put tickets regarding their Windscribe-related technical issues.
          • Talk to Garry – A basic bot that would reply based on a few keywords it identifies on your query:

          A sample of a response from Windscribe’s support bot, GarryAs you can see, the bot’s surely not the most intelligent of the bunch at least at its current state. So, except for some basic inquiries, we’d suggest you stick to other support options until Garry gets wiser – hopefully.

          Windscribe’s Business Structure

          Yegor Sak and Alex Paguis, Windscribe’s founder and co-founder respectively, established the VPN service in Toronto, Ontario, Canada—a country that is part of the 5 Eyes alliance—on the 1st of July in 2015.

          Currently headquartered in Richmond Hill in Ontario, this entirely self-funded Windscribe service aims “…to develop easy to use yet powerful tools that allow anyone to circumvent censorship”. And, judging from their vast array of user-friendly client apps, WIndscribe sure does seem to live up to its claims.

          Along the way, the company made several false steps, the latest of which ended up being a massive strike to their security-wise credibility in the eyes of Windscribe users. But learning from their mistakes, Windscribe still holds a viable position among the best VPN services in the world.

          Our Expert Review and Rating of Windscribe’s Business Structure

          Alla Robert Aristakesyan
          Alla Robert Aristakesyan
          Business Consultant

          While Windscribe seems to be a well-known service in the field of VPN products, there is insufficient publicly available information for a full assessment of the company in terms of its business performance.

          A Toronto-based company, founded in July 1, 2015 by Yegor Sak and supposingly by Alex Paguis  (as no formal information is found in this respect), Windscribe claims to be an ‘entirely self-funded and profitable’ company with accumulated 25 million users since its launch. Offering different packages for its users, it has adopted a Software as a Service (SAAS) business model targeting private individuals, however no financial data is disclosed, including its revenue and/or profit (loss). 

          In respect to the founders of Windscribe, there is not much available information as well. Yegor Sak, who also seems to be the CEO of the company, as highlighted by different online sources, is a Canadian citizen with a Russian origin and a college degree from the University of Toronto. Yegor Sak is also the Founder at ControlD (founded in Jul 1, 2020), a fully customizable DNS service, and has previously worked as an Operations Director at Spark It Studio (as mentioned on his Linkedin page), a company which is supposingly the same as the one mentioned also on Alex Paguis’s Linkedin Page (Spark It), who has worked there as a Lead Developer during the same period. However, there are many companies named Spark It (or similar) registered on LinkedIn and there is no hyperlink available on both profiles regarding which exact company they have worked for.

          In terms of the company size, Windscribe does not provide any details regarding its employees on their company website. The only information can be retrieved from the Windscribe’s LinkedIn page, which mentions the employee range between 11 to 50, with 17 members listing Windscribe as their current employer. Occupation wise, the majority of the employees specialize in Engineering (8 out of the registered 17 members) and IT (3 out of the registered 17 members) as per the Windscribe’s LinkedIn data. 

          Based on my opinion as a business consultant I rate Windscribe VPN business 2/10.

            2
            2

            Windscribe’s Pricing: Quite Customizable

            What if you found a downright impeccable VPN with all the features and performance you ever wished for, but it’d cost much more than you could afford? On the other hand, what if you found a VPN that doesn’t cost a dime but by the time it loads a webpage you could drink a coffee and have your meal, as well? An average VPN user would look away at both of these occasions. But, when it comes to Windscribe’s pricing, it doesn’t fall into either one of these categories.

            Neither does Windscribe’s run-of-the-mill monthly plan nor the unsurprisingly discounted yearly plan yield anything we haven’t seen before. But, what takes the cake is their Build A Plan option letting us choose the exact servers we’d like to add to our plan costing $1/month for each server we add. This sort of flexibility can hardly be seen on even the most premium VPNs!

            In order to help you make the right choices on what plan to subscribe to, we sought advice from a pricing professional about Windscribe’s pricing plans and how they tally up against other VPN services:

            Our Expert Review and Rating of Windscribe’s Pricing

            Tamara Milacic
            Tamara Milacic
            Pricing Expert

            In analyzing Windscribe’s pricing structure, they offer a deviation from the market norm in terms of their personal plans. Although they do have the market standard monthly rate and the accompanying yearly subscription with a discount, they also provide a bespoke ‘Build a Plan’ with pricing at $1/month/location with a $2 minimum. This plan has options for limited or unlimited data. If a customer is looking for unlimited data and 3 locations or less, this is the cheapest plan.

            In terms of messaging, the pricing page is readily visible in the header and offers the three plans with the yearly plan highlighted as ‘Most Popular’ with a ‘Cool Badge’ on it. Neither of these phrases emphasizes discount or savings. They do not list the total or percentage savings of this plan versus the monthly. Additionally, the build a plan structure requires that customers pre-select data and number of countries before providing the price. They also do not list their free trial plan on the pricing page. There is space to improve the messaging there. 

            In terms of price level, Windscribe are in the mid-market range. While their yearly plan at $9 is one of the cheaper monthly offers, with many competitors at $9.99-10.99, their monthly plan at $4.08 is above quite a few. They employ a freemium pricing strategy. They offer a free trial but, with the lack of discount or price referential messaging, seem to be aiming for premium positioning. This is further supported by the short 3-day money back guarantee where they emphasize that customers should try before they buy.

            Windscribe do miss the opportunity to localize their pricing or to offer tiered pricing for their business plans. This means that they could be leaving money on the table. In terms of pricing psychology, they do use anchoring and good-better-best principles by placing their highest priced plan first and offering 3 plans in total. This means that customers will compare the cheaper plans to more expensive one that they see first. Lastly, their cancellation customer journey is very easy and can all be done online, unlike much of the competition.

            Based on my opinion as a pricing consultant I rate Windscribe VPN pricing 7/10 .

              7
              7

              Windscribe Has Got More in Store for Us

              From ad-blockers and encryption configuration generators to split-tunneling, static IP, and port forwarding, WIndscribe gets us almost overflowingly covered when it comes to its extra features.

              R.O.B.E.R.T.

              Working as a “customizable server-side domain and IP blocking tool”, R.O.B.E.R.T. is Windscribe’s solution for an ad-blocker that doesn’t quite wash its hands of just blocking a few ads. R.O.B.E.R.T. essentially sits in front of the DNS server as a proxy and decides which DNS requests gain access to the DNS server based on a set of block lists provided by the user. Read more on how R.O.B.E.R.T. works.)

              A quick check on our Windscribe account page will show a clickable R.O.B.E.R.T. tab to create block lists:Windscribe’s R.O.B.E.R.T. interface highlighting the ready options for Block Lists from Malware to Cryptominers and an option to customize blocked IPs

              As you can see, R.O.B.E.R.T. provides us with a few Whitescribe-maintained block lists ranging from malware, ads, social networks to explicit content, gambling, and a bunch of others. Additionally, Windscribe lets us add a custom set of IP addresses we’d like to block or whitelist.

              Only the Malware and ads/trackers lists and 3 custom rule entries are unlocked for a Windscribe free account, but a Windscribe Pro subscription would allow us to enable any of the block lists and provide as many custom rules as we want.

              Split Tunneling

              At times, we might need to tunnel particular websites or apps through our VPN while letting other websites and apps directly access the internet skipping the VPN. Imagine watching a geo-blocked Netflix show on one browser tab while googling some local news on another.

              Windscribe allows us to do exactly this and more in its split tunneling feature.

              We can use this feature on our Windows (8 – 10) and Mac (10.12 – 10.15) devices to include/exclude a specific list of apps and/or IP addresses & hostnames from our Windscribe VPN connection. Even the Android client app supports split tunneling but currently, it only allows us to choose apps to split tunnel with (no option to add IPs and hostnames to the split tunneling list). Windscribe conveniently provides a detailed guide to set up split tunneling on both Windows and Android platforms.

              Config Generators

              Just in case the vast collection of devices Windscribe already officially supports doesn’t fit the bill when it comes to our device, there’s a Windscribe config generator tool to generate our own configuration and place it on our devices:Windscribe’s OpenVPN Config Generator showing dropdown fields for Location, Protocol, Port and OpenVPN Version

              The only requirements to use this tool would be for our device to support OpenVPN and for us to have a Windscribe Pro account.

              Static IP

              We’ve seen even the most premium VPN services (*cough*ExpressVPN*cough*) skip on providing their users with a Static IP option. But, probe into Windscribe and we’ve got static IPs that come in 2 flavors: Data-center IPs and Residential IPs. These Windscribe static IPs would cost different amounts based on the flavor that you chose.

              Port Forwarding

              Wish you could check up on your home-installed security cameras while you’re at your office? Doing that with no network security just might give a man-in-the-middle a quite convenient look into all the secret places at your home!

              Windscribe helps in this scenario thanks to its port forwarding feature. With the help of this feature, we can safely monitor our home when we’re outdoors with the peace of mind that all the stuff we saw on our screen would stay exactly that way when we get back home. Windscribe particularly asks us to have a Windscribe Pro account and a WIndscribe static IP to go along with it, to use their port forwarding option.

              Windscribe Pros and Cons

              Pros Cons
              Allows an unlimited number of simultaneous connections on both its free and Pro subscriptions Average to poor network performance.
              A vast collection of security and extra features Unlocks only a few of the popular streaming services
              A large number of platforms and device support  A low quantity of servers is currently operational
              User-friendly client apps that maintain a uniform look all throughout the platforms and extensions Windscribe supports. Not all servers perform as RAM-only
              An all-inclusive set of self-help options: Setup guides, FAQs, Knowledge base Setup guides provide outdated content on occasions.
              Active official subreddit to easily get connected with the Windscribe technical team Live chat provides a bot in place of an actual human assistant
              Supports torrenting Multiple occasions of security leaks
              Static IP support Founded and headquartered in Canada, part of the 5-Eyes alliance
              Flexible pricing plans

              Conclusion

              Windscribe brings a lot of novel ideas and features to the table. With a self-named firewall instead of a kill-switch, R.O.B.E.R.T.–an ad-blocker on steroids, and even a Build a Plan option to customize the user’s own subscription plan, Windscribe pretty much wins the medal when it comes to their creativity. But, quite unfortunately, a wealth of negative points brings it down from being a winner of a VPN service. Just to name a few, the poor performance due to the low count of servers and a bunch of security leaks which they’ve pleaded guilty for but nevertheless remains a user-security infringement they’ve committed, the sum of these negativities end up leaving Windscribe as a not-the-most-recommendable sort of VPN in our books.