Windscribe VPN is an unexpected combination of security and privacy services. On the surface, it’s an easy-to-use app that quickly connects any device to its VPN servers and a firewall. Behind the scenes, DNS-based tools provide customization controls that block ads, malware, trackers, fake content, and clickbait. It also has controls so that you can choose the type of threats to block and create rules that block specified domains.
Windscribe is an easy-to-use internet tool that helps you get around censorship, access geographically restricted content, download any type of content, hide browsing patterns from marketers, avoid surveillance, and keep criminals away from personal information. It provides access to servers in 110 cities across 60 countries.
Design: Intuitive, Small, and Easy on the Eyes
When the Windscribe app first opens, it’s compact and looks easy to use. It feels very intuitive to work with it. To get started, turn it on. Windscribe defaults to the best server depending on the location. To browse more securely, Windscribe has a built-in firewall that can be turned on and off from the main app.
Courtesy of Windscribe
There’s also an option to change servers, add servers to a favorites list. The Servers list is arranged by country, and each country expands to display the server locations. In the Android app, this list is separated into sections that for all locations (it also expands to display the servers in a country), favorite locations, Netflix servers, and static IP addresses.
When the VPN is turned off, Windscribe displays a notification that includes that amount of data transferred during the session and the duration of the session.
The Windscribe added a cool design feature that makes it easy to see if the VPN is turned on or off. The app changes colors. When the VPN is off, the app is grey. When it’s connecting to a server, the app is dark blue. When the connection is made, the app turns bright blue.
Setup Process: Quick to Install and a Few Preferences to Set
The Windscribe desktop and mobile apps are quick and easy to set up. The Windscribe installation on a Windows PC uses the familiar Windows installer. The only difference is that the programmers at Windscribe added a little humor to the installation wizard. The download and installation on an Android tablet were also straight-forward and completed in a short amount of time.
There are only a few preferences to set up in the desktop and mobile apps. The app is set to launch on startup and show notifications by default. It is also set to start the firewall automatically. There are also options to automatically connect to the most recent location, change the order of the available locations, control when the firewall is on, and enable a secure hotspot.
Website: Cool Features Behind the Scenes
To use Windscribe VPN, you’ll need an account. Having an account does more than provide you with access to the VPN and firewall through the app. Use any web browser to log in to your account and access a variety of extra features. When you set up these features, the settings apply to every device that is associated with the account.
You’ll find many features when you log in to your account on the Windscribe website.
- DNS Blocking: One of these features is R.O.B.E.R.T., an advanced DNS level blocker. Set up blocking from the website and the blocker works on all your devices. Choose which type of content to block or create custom rules to whitelist domains, block domains, change the IP address where a domain resolves.
- Port forwarding: Use Windscribe to set up a small local network for your connected devices. Port forwarding is a convenient way to access apps and data on any of your devices. For example, when you’re away from home, you can use your smartphone to access your PC and check your home security cam.
- ScribeForce: This feature is for small businesses or families. ScribeForce is a way to create a team account to manage multiple users. Each team member has the same protection, has access to the same services, and can connect unlimited devices. Also, there’s only one bill to pay instead of a bill for each team member.
- Secure Link: Give Windscribe a link to a web page, and Windscribe scans the web page for trackers and gives the page a privacy score. Then, it packages this score along with the link to the web page into a secure link. Anyone who clicks on the secure link sees the privacy score and the number of trackers before going to the web page.
Device Support: Works with PCs, Mobile Devices, Web Browsers, TVs, and Routers
A strong feature of Windscribe VPN is its device support. There’s a VPN app for PCs, smartphones, browsers, and more. Windscribe also provides config generators so that you can set up Windscribe on devices that support VPN/proxy protocols.
Windscribe VPN supports these systems:
- Operating systems: Windows 10, 8, 7; macOS 10.11 and newer; and Linux
- Web Browsers: Chrome, Firefox, and Opera
- Mobile platforms: Android and iOS
- TV devices: Amazon FireTV, Nvidia Shield, and KODI
- Routers: DD-WRT and Tomato
- VPN/proxy protocols: OpenVPN, IKEv2, SOCKS5
Browser Extensions: Connect to the VPN Quickly
Windscribe has browser extensions for Chrome, Opera, and Firefox. These extensions are a quick way to connect to the VPN, however, the extension only protects browser traffic.
Along with providing a VPN tunnel, these browser extensions include features to change servers, add URLs to a whitelist, and create a secure link to any web page.
Performance: No Noticeable Difference in Bandwidth Speeds
When we launched Windscribe VPN to start each of our Windscribe VPN bandwidth tests, it took only a few seconds to connect to a server with the best location. Changing to a different server took a few more seconds. This is quicker than we experienced when testing other VPNs.
We measured upload and download speeds with six different internet speed test sites. There was a slight reduction in download speeds after connecting to the VPN. Without the VPN, download speeds varied between 25 Mbps and 35 Mbps and upload speeds were around 35 Mbps. With Windscribe VPN enabled, download speeds stayed about the same and upload speeds went down to 25 Mbps.
Security: A High-Level of Security and Privacy
The privacy and encryption features of Winscribe are impressive. The VPN and encryption protocols used by Winscribe are as strong as can be found. Intruders and hackers have never been able to penetrate this encryption spectrum.
Winscribe uses AES 256 encryption with SHA512 authentication, a 4096-bit RSA key, and forward secrecy. These protocols are the highest level of encryption available, and the forward secrecy means that RSA keys aren’t reused. If a private key gets in the hands of the wrong person, they can only view the data for one session.
Many VPN providers charge between $3 and $6 per month for their service. The Windscribe Pro plan costs $9 a month. For this extra price, Windscribe provides features that other VPN providers such as ExpressVPN and NordVPN don’t include in their basic price. These features include a firewall, adblocker, tracker blocker, and double VPN. Plus, there are additional features you can set up from the Windscribe website that apply settings across all your connected devices.
Windscribe has several pricing plans to fit your budget, and you’ll save money when you commit to a yearly plan. The monthly plan is $9 per month, and the yearly plan is $49 (about $4 per month). Students save even more with the 40% off yearly subscription student discount.
Windscribe offers a free plan that is the same as the paid plan except that the free plan doesn’t provide access to Netflix and is limited to 10 GB of data transfer. This 10 GB is available only if you register with an e-mail address. If you don’t register, you’re limited to 2 GB of data transfer. Also, the free version has access to servers in 10 countries, and the paid version provides access to servers in 60 countries.
With both the free and paid plans, you use as many devices as you want with the VPN service, if you own the devices. You cannot share a subscription with family members or friends.
Competition: Small in size, large in features
Windscribe VPN has fewer server locations than the more popular VPN services such as NordVPN and ExpressVPN, however, they cover the same worldwide area. Windscribe has servers in 110 cities across 60 countries. NordVPN, for example, has 5,742 servers in 60 countries.
Windscribe may have fewer servers, but they offer the same high-level of encryption as the larger VPN services. Windscribe’s prices are higher, but they offer additional services such as a firewall that other VPNs don’t offer.
If you want to find out how Windscribe compares to other VPN services, Windscribe compares their Free and Pro services to 17 popular VPN services. They compare basic features such as price, number of devices, locations, firewall, blockers, P2P, double VPN, and no logs.
- Product Brand: Windscribe
- Price $9
- Supported Operating systems: Windows 10, 8, 7; macOS 10.11+; Linux
- Supported Web Browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Opera
- Supported Mobile Platforms: Android, iOS
- Supported TV Devices: Amazon FireTV, Nvidia Shield, KODI
- Supported Routers: DD-WRT, Tomato
- Log Files: No
- Devices: Unlimited connections, unlimited usage (10 GB for free accounts)
- Server Locations: 110 cities, 60 countries
- Support Type: Live chat, knowledge base, subreddit, support ticket
- Torrenting: Yes, but not all servers support torrenting
- Netflix: Yes (not available with free edition)
- VPN protocols: Open VPN, IKEv2, SOCKS5
- Encryption: AES 256 with SHA512auth and 4096-bit RSA key (desktops), AES 128 GCMcipher with P-256 key exchange and TLS 1.2, ECDHE_RSA for browsing extensions
- Jurisdiction: Toronto, Canada
- Payment options: Credit card, PayPal, Bitcoin, CoinPayments.net, gift cards, Paymentwall
- Price: $9/month