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Windscribe VPN review: A very good all-round VPN

Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
($9) per month; £37 ($49) per year

A fantastic choice for getting around geographical restrictions – and you can use it on unlimited devices

Unlimited devices
Works with Netflix and BitTorrent
Great Android app
Outdated iOS app
Limited customer support

A good VPN will tick all the boxes when it comes to price, privacy, speed, servers, number of devices you can use it on, and customer support. Windscribe VPN ticks most of those boxes. We certainly can't complain about it, but there are specific areas where we wish it could have done better.

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Windscribe VPN: What you need to know

Windscribe VPN is ideal for people who want to access geo-blocked content. It has a huge network of servers spread across 60 countries. This opens up all sorts of video streaming services, including Netflix, HBO Go and Hulu. The only site we couldn’t access from any UK server was iPlayer.

Windscribe VPN is well priced too, and allows you to connect any number of devices at once - a useful feature that not many VPNs can boast about. Even though the company is based in Canada, it has a strict no-logging policy, so it cannot tie activity to any related account. 

Buy Windscribe VPN now

Windscribe VPN: Setup and basic use

We started by testing Windscribe on a Windows PC, although there are also versions of the client for the Mac and Linux, browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox and mobile apps for Android and iOS. To activate the software you simply need to create a username and password. We like that they don't even need an email address, which helps mask your identity and avoids you having to create a separate one if needed.

Once the client’s set up, you’ll see a on/off button and a dropdown menu listing the different server locations available. The location list covers over 100 cities, spread across more than 60 countries. For convenience, some of these are grouped together: for example, you can click on US Central, US East or US West to browse the specific server locations within those regions.

Torrenting is allowed via almost any country – the exceptions being India, South Africa and Russia, but these are clearly marked. There’s also a handy latency indicator, giving you an instant indication of the most responsive servers. You can click the heart icon beside any country to add it to your list of favourites, which then appear at the top of your dropdown menu.

In addition to regular servers, there are four “Windflix” locations listed, namely - UK, US, Canada and Japan. These are specially set up to give you fuss-free access to Netflix from those respective regions – something many potential customers will find very welcome indeed.

Windscribe VPN: Privacy and Security

When it comes to protecting your privacy, Windscribe VPN makes a great first impression. The PC client displays conspicuous desktop notifications whenever you connect and disconnect from the VPN to help prevent mishaps. Three different testing websites confirmed that Windscribe VPN wasn’t leaking our DNS or other information, and the software also supports IKEv2 and OpenVPN support with AES256. In simple terms, this helps you conceal your private traffic and get connected even in countries that try to block VPNs.

The software does its best to protect your security, too. “R.O.B.E.R.T.” is a filtering function that can block malware, ads and trackers, social media buttons, porn, gambling and fake news websites at the DNS level, to keep you safe while you’re surfing incognito. Another neat feature is ephemeral port forwarding, which lets you reserve a single port that works across all servers for 24 hours.

Windscribe is based in Canada. While that may raise red flags for some websites, the company have assured that they don't have any identifiable user data, so even if they are asked to provide user data, it would simply be gibberish to the person that has it. To address the data logging concerns that inevitably arise with any VPN company, Windscribe have made their Privacy Policy transparent.

Windscribe VPN: Performance and speed

Windscribe VPN resurrects itself slightly when it comes to speed. Connecting via European servers we got around 75% of our regular browsing speeds – about 60Mbits/sec – and, as usual, speeds generally fall as you move to servers further away. Connecting via the Central US we got 30% of our regular browsing speeds, and when we geo-shifted to India that fell to just 10%.

Most VPN users just want to watch lag-free HD video, and for that Windscribe is great. Indeed, the four Windflix locations are clearly optimised for speed. We found that Netflix was completely lag-free no matter which country we connected to, even Japan which we expected to be slow because it's so far away. In our tests, we also noticed that the four Windflix locations work better for streaming video content from websites other than Netflix.

Windscribe VPN: Chrome extension

Windscribe’s Chrome extension can be installed in seconds from the Chrome Web Store, so you can use it independently without first installing the PC client. While some browser-based VPNs give you a restricted list of countries to choose from, we were pleased to find that Windscribe's Chrome extension offered the same list as the desktop client.

The extension also includes options for cleaning up the web: you can block ads and trackers, remove social media buttons, set your browser time to reflect the country you’re connecting from, delete cookies after you close your tab, and whitelist websites you trust. Windscribe informed us that their ad-blocker feature uses uBlock Origin, which is one of the best-rated ad-blockers on the Chrome Web Store. It's also open source, so people are constantly improving it.

You can also install the extension on a PC that’s already running the Windscribe software: this enables you to “multihop”, by tunneling your traffic through two VPNs in turn. To do this you need to set the PC client to one server and your Chrome extension to another. Needless to say, though, this comes at the expense of speed and there's no clear indication of which multihop combinations are optimised for speed - if any.

Windscribe VPN: Mobile apps

Windscribe’s Android app is easy to use, with a neat tabbed interface. You can view a full list of server locations, browse your favourites, jump to Windflix locations and set up a static IP address. You can also change your VPN protocol and monitor the latency of your connection. It's well-designed, easy to use and works flawlessly.

By contrast, the iOS app only gives you a list of countries and the option to configure a manual IP address, making Windscribe less attractive to iPhone users. It’s also crying out for a major update: at the time of writing it hasn’t been updated in over six months. That said, Windscribe have promised a huge update that will bring the app on par with its Android counterpart in the near future.

A nice touch is that (unlike the browser extension) both apps show latency bars in the country selection interface, so you can see at a glance which servers have the highest load. And we had no problem accessing Netflix from either platform, although some other sites recognised that we were using a VPN and told us to switch it off in order to continue.

Windscribe VPN: Pricing

For very light usage, there’s no need to pay for Windscribe. You get 2GB of bandwidth per month for free, which you can extend to 10GB by simply providing your email address. To keep track of this, Windscribe logs your bandwidth usage. Free users aren't limited to the number of devices they use Windscribe on, but they can only select 10 locations, which is still plenty if you simply want to browse safely on a public Wi-Fi network, for example.

A standard paid plan costs $9 (£6.80) per month or $49 (£37) per year. That’s more expensive than PureVPN but way cheaper than NordVPN – and both those offerings have a limit on the number of devices you can install the VPN on. If you need to connect lots of devices at once, Windscribe is great value.

To share your plan across multiple users, you can get a team account which costs $3 per member per month. Alternatively, if you only want to access a limited number of specific servers, you can build your own plan for $1 per location per month – a great idea that other VPNs haven’t caught on to yet. We were glad to know that this plan also includes the four Windflix servers.

Windscribe also has a static IP option, which you can use to securely access remote services and reduce your likelihood of being blocked or blacklisted. You can pay $2 a month for an address that’s located in a data centre, or $8 a month for one that’s designated for residential use. Whatever services you choose, bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies are accepted alongside more conventional payment methods.

Windscribe VPN: Customer support

One area where Windscribe perhaps falls short is customer support. If you need a quick answer, you have to talk to an AI chatbot called Garry. While Garry is available 24/7, answers are clearly robotic, and it doesn’t always correctly understand the question. For example, when we asked Garry how many servers were there in Japan, the answer we got was “Japan requires a Pro account”.

Even though Garry is updated regularly, we prefer talking to an actual human. If your request is not time-sensitive, however, you can get an actual human to answer your question through the chat window, or by clicking “Submit a ticket” on the page. Our query was answered in about four hours. Aside from this, there’s also an online knowledge base and a subreddit where support staff sometimes respond to questions and issues.

Windscribe VPN: Verdict

Windscribe is a very good VPN, with two main caveats weighing it down slightly: their iOS app is disappointingly basic and there's no 24/7 human customer support. If you can live with those issues, you get a well-designed, easy-to-use VPN that securely gives you access to content you wouldn’t be able to otherwise, including four all-important and speedy Netflix servers. The price is good too, especially for multi-device users, making this a great all-round VPN.

Buy Windscribe VPN now

Windscribe VPN: Quick facts

Based inCanada
Price$9 (£6.80) per month
Money-back guarantee3 days
SpeedGood for its price
24/7 customer supportNo
Netflix allowedYes
BBC iPlayer allowedNo
Torrenting allowedYes
DNS leaksNo
Activity loggingNo

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