Windscribe VPN Review: Free and Paid
Are you looking for a free VPN? You will find it and many more additional functions in Windscribe. Windscribe is a popular VPN service located in Canada with a free plan.
- extremely low speed of the connection at all popular locations (countries);
- ongoing disconnections;
- pop up error messages;
- long-running connections…
Free Windscribe wastes our time! Servers that are available with paid plans are faster but is it worth paying for this offer?
I will tell you about it and many other things in my new review about the popular and tricky Windscribe VPN.
Windscribe SHOULD offer:
+ Servers in 60 countries in 110 cities
+ No Logging
+ Applications for all platforms (with the apps for the older version of Windows)
+ Static IP
+ Firewall (for desktop version)
+ Stealth protocol
+ 2-10Gb per month for a free trial with the only restriction - no more than 10-11 available countries
+ special servers for streaming for Android.
Here’s the result for a free version:
- it is almost impossible to use it because of the low speed. And I couldn’t check Stealth mode because websites didn’t open.
The paid version doesn’t have this problem, but I can’t advise you to buy it, because you will use the same unstable applications and some additional servers.
Let's take it in order.
1. A free plan
Undoubtedly, a Windscribe free plan is very attractive:
- from 2 to 10 Gb of traffic per month (it depends on email registration)
- up to 11 countries
- full functionality
Of course, that’s a good deal. I would even say that it is the best. But does it work so well? Unfortunately, not. Keep on reading further in the chapter about the Windscribe cons.
2. Extensive infrastructure
Indeed, the network of servers in 60 countries is a serious rate. This is the level of the best VPN services, where you may choose up to 60-65 countries. Also, you can buy dedicated IP, which may be useful, when a resource restricts IP access.
3. “No Logs” policy
Windscribe doesn’t keep logs of your activity when using its VPN servers. It doesn’t record your IP and visited URLs, etc.
The extract from the Windscribe official website about “No logs” policy
The provider collects some information about you related to the time of use and the amount of consumed traffic. But it’s a normal situation because it doesn’t contain your IP and, especially, visited websites. The stored information does not threaten the privacy of users but only relates to their username entered upon registration.
So, “No logs” policy is an excellent plus to your privacy with Windscribe.
4. Platform support
Not all free VPNs have apps for this amount of platforms:
- Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10
- MacOS 10.9, 10.10. 10.11+
- Linux Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, CentOS
- iOS 9+
- Android 4.2.2+
- Google Chrome 39+
- Firefox 57+
- Opera 37+
- Amazon Fire TV Gen 2+
- Nvidia Shield
Configurations for routers:
It looks impressive. But does it work so well? I’ve tested it on 4 major platforms (Windows 10, macOS, Android и iOS 12). And I was seriously disappointed. But read about it in the Windscribe cons.
5. Netflix support
The Android version has a choice of servers that are specifically designed to unblock geo-restricted Netflix content. You may choose from 4 countries:
The US, CA, UK and JP are available to unblock Netflix
However, they are available only with a paid plan. If you try to use them for free, you will see the message:
I also tried watching Netflix via the Google Chrome extension. But…
But everything is great with a paid plan. Moreover, the speed was enough for watching videos in HD. If you want to unblock Netflix for free, I recommend you our review of VPNs for Netflix.
6. Advanced features and configurations
I’ve already told you about the Stealth protocol and the facility to buy a dedicated IP. And now I will tell you about other additional useful features in detail.
But all these functions work well only with a paid version.
A wide range of protocols
Windscribe allows choosing from 1 to 5 VPN protocols depending on the operating system:
- IKEv2 (the only protocol for Apple)
- UDP (read more in the chapter TCP vs UDP)
- WStunnel (is available only for Windows)
UDP and TCP are two types of usual and reliable OpenVPN protocol. Stealth and WStunnel are more interesting but I couldn’t find any information about them. I could only assume that Stealth makes a VPN invisible to any filters or scanners. So I’ve contacted the support service. Here was its response:
‘’Stealth - Encapsulates OpenVPN in a TLS tunnel via Stunnel. Only use this if all other methods fail. May be handy in China.
Wstunnel - Encapsulates OpenVPN in a WebSocket. Only use this if all other methods fail. May also be handy in China.’’
Overall, Windscribe has unusual and useful VPN configurations in difficult cases.
In some cases, the standard port used by the VPN may be unavailable. So, you may choose a protocol with the facility to change it:
Facility to use a dedicated IP
Windscribe offers two options of a dedicated IP:
$2.00 per month: Static IP address in one of the data centers where the Windscribe VPN infrastructure is located.
$8.00 per month: Static IP address “Residential”, which will not be defined as the IP server. It helps to bypass VPN blocking in countries such as China, Iran, and others.
You may buy an IP in addition to the paid plan.
It’s a useful function that is similar to the standard Kill Switch. It allows blocking the connection when it is lost and additionally protects against malicious sites and possible attacks.
The possibility to use a proxy/socks
You need this function when a provider has blocked access to Windscribe. The application will be able to connect with the master server bypassing the blocking.
Adblocker and other functions in the browser extensions
If you get in the browser plugin settings “Privacy Options”, you may find useful features, two of which attract particular attention:
- Ad Blocker
- Proxy Time
Useful settings of Privacy Options
Ad Blocker partially blocks the advertisement published on the visited websites.
Proxy time sets the time that can be determined through scripts in the browser. If the setting is off, the site will see the time of your system. And if it doesn’t match the proxy time zone, the site can block you for trying to hide your location. It happens because Windscribe plugins don’t work as a Virtual Private Network, but via a proxy. But if you press the “Proxy Time”, the time will be identical and the website protection won’t work.
7. An available plan for 1-3 countries
Windscribe has an interesting feature to buy a full VPN for $1 per month but only for one country as selected. If you need more countries, the price will increase proportionally. Taking into account the prices of other plans, it makes sense to pay for only 1-3 countries. I don’t know about more available options for the full use of other VPNs.
1. A slow and unstable connection of free servers
I had to wait for 2 to 5 minutes, while Windscribe on Windows 10 was slowly connecting to a VPN server. It takes too much time in comparison with other tested free VPNs. At the same time, the processor was overloaded. The connection was sometimes faster on Android, macOS, and iOS but it wasn’t fast enough. Instead, the device hung up. At first, I had to click “Disconnect” and then click again “Connect”. This process took up to a minute. I couldn’t test IKEv2 and Stealth protocols because the IKEv2 connection failed:
And Stealth mode was connected, but the websites didn’t open. I tried different servers but failed.
After multiple trials and errors I found the best combination of settings:
It was hard because the connection was interrupted or the error popped up:
Overall, I was EXTREMELY dissatisfied with the quality of the free Windscribe plan. It was the most irritable and slow Internet use in recent years of my work with VPNs.
If I could connect to some available location, the speed of rarely used locations barely reached 5 Mbps. For example, Romanian location was the fastest with the 5 Mbit/s speed. But the speed of the most popular locations (FR and the US) was ridiculous:
Slower than 4 Mbit/s in France
0.37 Mbit/s on the US server!
You need a paid subscription to access faster servers.
However, the interrupted errors don’t depend on a tariff plan but appear because of the Windows application’s problems. That’s why a paid plan can’t make things better.
2. The jurisdiction in Canada
Winscribe is located in Canada which is a member of the “5 eyes” alliance. In some cases, it may become risky for your anonymity because the authorities can legally monitor Windscribe users. Despite the “No logs” policy, I wouldn’t trust the solution of delicate problems to this provider. If you need a VPN service with a good jurisdiction for privacy, choose it from the top 10 VPNs. Moreover, Canada is very serious about copyright protection, so I do not recommend using torrents with Windscribe.
If you need a good VPN for torrenting, you may choose it in our special review.
Prices and plans
Windscribe VPN is available in three versions:
- fully paid
- limited paid
I have already told you in detail about the free version. You may download Windscribe for free here. The fully paid and limited paid plans are:
$4.08 per month for an annual subscription ($49 per year)
$9 every month
$1 per location, per month (limited plan)
Overall, Windscribe is interesting for both a free plan and a $1 plan per month for a fully-featured VPN. But before you buy it, I recommend you to look at the review of the cheapest VPNs where you may find the providers without serious disadvantages as Windscribe has.
Information about the company owner
Windscribe VPN was launched in 2013 by Windscribe Ltd, founded by Yegor Sak and Alex Paguis.
9251 Yonge St., Richmond Hill, Ontario, L4C 9T3 Canada
phone number:(647) 715-2124
Well, can I recommend Windscribe VPN to you? No, I can’t. I had too many troubles with this VPN when I was testing it. I believe that a VPN should make the use of the Internet easier but don’t turn it into a nervous fight with errors and reconnections.
Indeed, it is relating to a free version to a greater extent, but a paid version is not so different. However, some locations are available with a free version, whereas the software is the same. You may download Windscribe if you need interesting additional functionality of this provider.
The top 3 alternatives
There are 3 VPN services without serious disadvantages you can use both on a free and paid basis:
- NordVPN is the best VPN provider with a free trial. It has more than 5000 servers in 60 countries. It provides reliable software with some additional features.
- ProtonVPN has configurations for bypassing the most difficult blocking. It offers both a free tariff and a fully-featured trial. ProtonVPN is especially suitable for security and data protection.
- Hide.me is a free VPN with 2Gb of traffic per month without advertisements or software issues.
10Gb of free traffic per month