Windscribe VPN Review 2024: As Fast As the Wind?

Windscribe VPN has flexible pricing plans, fast speeds, and works with different streaming services, including Netflix and Hulu. But it doesn’t have 24/7 customer support.
4.1
Learn More
On Windscribe's website

Windscribe
  • Unlimited device connections
  • Has a customizable plan if you only need access to servers in specific countries
  • No 24/7 live chat option
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Windscribe is a fast and secure VPN with multiple subscription plans, including a free option, that works with different streaming services. We were impressed with its internet speeds and emphasis on privacy while doing our testing and research.

But our Windscribe VPN review shows that Windscribe could do with an independent audit of its no-logs policy, and it has no 24/7 customer support option.

Let’s explore the details of our Windscribe testing, as well as learn more about its features.

In this article
Windscribe VPN overview
Who is Windscribe VPN best for?
Windscribe VPN features
Windscribe VPN test results
Windscribe VPN compatibility
Windscribe VPN customer support
Windscribe VPN prices and subscriptions
Windscribe VPN FAQs
Bottom line: Is Windscribe a good VPN?

Windscribe VPN overview

Price $1.00–$9.00/mo
Free version Yes
Max # of connected devices Unlimited
# of servers 111 server locations in 64 countries
VPN protocol OpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuard, Stealth, Websocket Stealth
No-logs policy No logs
Headquarters Toronto, Canada
Netflix access Yes
Torrenting support Yes

*Prices as of 08/31/2023.

Who is Windscribe VPN best for?

  • Recommended for someone who wants a free or affordable VPN that works with different streaming services and provides unlimited device connections.

Windscribe is a virtual private network (VPN) based out of Toronto, Canada, that focuses on being transparent with its users. This includes owning up to any potential security or privacy issues, such as when two Windscribe servers were seized in Ukraine in 2021.[1]

We know that no technology is foolproof, so it’s nice to see a VPN service openly recognize areas of risk and work to implement solutions. This is far better than trying to brush something under the rug, such as when IPVanish leaked private user information to the U.S. government in 2016 despite claiming it had a no-logs policy.[2]

From our research and testing, we’ve found that Windscribe employs a strict no-logs policy, provides fast speeds, and works with multiple streaming services, including Netflix.

Windscribe VPN pros and cons

Pros
  • Unlimited device connections
  • Works with Netflix and other streaming services
  • Has a customizable plan if you only need access to servers in specific countries
Cons
  • Based in Canada, a Five Eyes Alliance member
  • No 24/7 live chat option

Windscribe VPN features

Our Windscribe VPN testing was done using the Windscribe Windows desktop app on a PC computer from a physical location in the U.S. We also used the Chrome browser to access the Windscribe website and our Windscribe account.

We found the Windows app to be straightforward and easy to use, with a minimalistic style that suits our preferences. If you don’t like big VPN windows on your desktop, you’ll probably like the small but expandable Windscribe app.

Keep in mind that your experience with Windscribe could differ depending on which app you use. For example, the iPhone app will likely be slightly different from the Linux app. Windscribe has many apps, including macOS, Linux, Apple iOS, and Android.

Overall, we found our experience with Windscribe to be above average. It’s not hard to navigate its app or connect to VPN servers. But we did have some issues with the app causing our computer’s central processing unit (CPU) to run more than it needed to, which we’ll get into below.

Server count and countries

  • 111 server locations in 64 countries

Windscribe doesn’t officially publish a server count, citing reasons about its number of servers always changing. That’s likely true, but we still think it’s helpful to have some sort of idea of how many servers a VPN provides.

What we do know is that you can find Windscribe servers in 111 different locations across 64 countries. See how this compares with other popular VPNs:

Windscribe falls short of what ExpressVPN has to offer, but it still provides a reasonable number of countries to choose from compared to these VPNs. And having used Windscribe, it seems like there are more than enough servers to satisfy the average VPN user.

Keep in mind that Windscribe has more than 56 million registered users and often hundreds of thousands of users connected at the same time. Because Windscribe offers a free plan, you might find certain servers (the ones available to free members) are busier than others. Connecting to a busy server means less bandwidth to go around for everyone and could cause a slower connection.

If you want a potentially faster connection, look for Windscribe servers with a “10 Gbps” symbol next to them. These servers are designed for 10 Gbps speeds, which are higher than the speeds of other servers. Note that you might not have access to some of these servers on a free plan.

High CPU utilization

We encountered an issue while connecting to Windscribe where a process would suddenly start using huge amounts of CPU utilization. This was brought to our attention by a pop-up box from Windscribe.

The CPU utilization on a computer spiking from “OpenJDK Platform binary” with about 74% utilization, along with a pop-up from Windscribe.

Ignoring our memory-hogging Chrome tabs, you can see the CPU utilization spiking from “OpenJDK Platform binary.” The screenshot shows that task with about 74% utilization. This is far above the norm, especially considering we’re usually sitting around 10% or lower for CPU utilization when only using Chrome.

It was a bit frustrating seeing our CPU utilization climb to 100% in some cases while using Windscribe, but the fix was to turn off the “Terminate Sockets” option in the VPN connection settings and restart our computer.

The Windscribe connection screen with a highlight around the terminate sockets option.

It wasn’t a huge deal because the fix was so easy, but a beginner VPN user might not arrive at the solution as quickly and may end up frustrated by the experience.

No-logs policy and headquarters

  • Windscribe VPN logs policy: No logs
  • Windscribe VPN headquarters: Toronto, Canada

Windscribe is a Canadian VPN with a strict no-logs policy. This means that Windscribe doesn’t keep any identifying logs or logs that can identify you; so no connection logs, internet protocol (IP) time stamps, or session logs.

This type of policy protects users’ privacy and anonymity because outside organizations, such as government agencies, wouldn’t be able to access personal user data. Windscribe backs up its no-logs claims by publishing a transparency report each month showing how many requests for information it receives from law enforcement and other organizations.

Because Windscribe doesn’t keep any relevant data, it can’t comply with these requests to release user information. Simply put, you can’t release what you don’t have.

We like how Windscribe publishes transparency reports, but we’d also like to see an independent audit of its no-logs policy. It’s one thing to claim that you don’t keep logs, but having an unbiased and trusted party verify those claims is also important.

Note that Windscribe is based out of Canada, which is a Five Eyes Alliance member. The countries within the Five, Nine, and Fourteen Eyes alliances are known for their global surveillance tactics, including the monitoring of their citizens’ online activity.

This doesn’t automatically mean Windscribe is untrustworthy, especially because there shouldn’t be any user logs to track anyway.

Kill switch

A kill switch can help keep your internet traffic secure by disconnecting your device from the internet if you lose your VPN connection. Windscribe doesn’t have a “kill switch,” but rather a firewall feature that performs similarly. As described in the Windscribe Windows app, the firewall “blocks all connectivity in the event of a sudden disconnect.”

We tested the Windscribe firewall by turning it on without connecting to the VPN. Because it’s supposed to block all internet traffic if you don’t have a secure connection, we figured we wouldn’t be able to connect to the internet if the firewall was turned on (even if the VPN was off).

And that’s exactly how it worked. We couldn’t connect to the internet with the firewall turned on and the VPN off.

A webpage reading your internet access is blocked after using a VPN kill switch.

Split tunneling

Split tunneling is a common VPN feature designed to let you bypass your secure connection with specific apps. You might use split tunneling if you don’t have privacy concerns with a certain app and want a faster internet connection.

For example, you could be using your VPN to stream foreign content, but you want to browse the internet in your local region. You could use split tunneling to let your web browser bypass the VPN, while you continue accessing regional streaming content through your secure connection.

You can find the split tunneling feature in the connection settings of the Windscribe VPN app.

The split tunneling feature turned on in the Windscribe VPN app.

Encryption

Windscribe uses AES-256 encryption with its desktop applications. This type of VPN encryption is nearly impossible to crack, considering it would likely take billions of years to break.

VPN protocol

Windscribe provides a variety of protocols to help secure your VPN connection. We recommend most users select the “automatic” connection mode to let Windscribe choose the best protocol for you. But if you know your way around VPNs, you can select the “manual” connection mode and choose your settings yourself.

The Connection page on the Windscribe VPN app, highlighting the Connection mode section.

Here’s how Windscribe describes its available protocols:

IKEv2 Fast, but easily detectable
WireGuard Very fast
OpenVPN UDP Moderately fast, but easy to block
OpenVPN TCP Moderately fast, but harder to block
Stealth Slow, but harder to block
Websocket Stealth Slow, but harder to block

Windscribe VPN free plan

Windscribe provides a free VPN plan that offers 2GB of data per month and access to servers in 11 countries, including the U.S., the U.K., Canada, France, Germany, Switzerland, and more.

Windscribe doesn’t throttle speeds on any of its servers, whether you’re on a free or paid account. But you might see some performance issues while using a free Windscribe plan because the servers available to free subscribers are generally more crowded.

Pro servers are reserved for Pro users and are typically less crowded, leaving more bandwidth available and reducing potential performance issues. Pro accounts also provide unlimited monthly data, access to all 111 server locations in 64 countries, Ephemeral Port Forwarding, and more custom blocklists. Ephemeral Port Forwarding lets you set up port forwarding for seven days without a static IP address.

Other Windscribe features

Windscribe Pro users will notice a variety of other, somewhat advanced features available in their app settings, including:

  • Network options
  • Proxy settings
  • MAC spoofing
  • Secure hotspot
  • Proxy gateway
  • R.O.B.E.R.T. blocklists

Windscribe lets its users play with a lot of different settings, which could be helpful for users with specific needs. For the average VPN user, you likely wouldn’t need to access much more than the server list.

R.O.B.E.R.T. is a domain, IP, and ad-blocking tool that you can use to block trackers, malware, and more. Pro users get access to more R.O.B.E.R.T. functionality than free users.

Windscribe VPN test results

We used speed tests, DNS leak tests, and WebRTC leak tests to see if Windscribe provides fast speeds and high levels of security and privacy. We also checked to see whether you can use Windscribe to watch Netflix and other streaming services.

We ran these tests using the Windscribe VPN Windows app on a desktop PC running Windows 10 from a physical location in the U.S.

Windscribe successfully passed all the tests we conducted. Let’s jump into the details for each test.

Speed tests

  • Windscribe VPN speed test results: Windscribe passed its speed tests.

We ran speed tests while using Windscribe to see whether the service significantly slowed down our internet speed. It’s common for VPNs to slightly impact your bandwidth, but we wanted to see if the impact would be enough to cause performance issues with everyday activities, such as streaming content or playing video games online.

We established a baseline speed by running a speed test before connecting to Windscribe. We then connected to different Windscribe servers worldwide and ran speed tests while connected to each of those servers.

This was our baseline speed: 239.55 Mbps download / 11.94 Mbps upload / 16 latency (ping)

The Windscribe VPN app open on a computer, as well as a window with a speed test for the baseline speed.

Windscribe VPN speed test results

Test type No VPN US to US US to EU US to AU
Download speed 239.55 Mbps 216.76 Mbps 219.79 Mbps 157.57 Mbps
Upload speed 11.94 Mbps 11.38 Mbps 11.25 Mbps 11.42 Mbps
Latency (ping) 16 ms 24 ms 158 ms 185 ms
Download speed % difference N/A -10% -9% -41%
Upload speed % difference N/A -5% -6% -4%
Latency % difference N/A -40% -163% -168%

Test results as of 01/24/2023.

We didn’t see much of a decrease in internet speeds while connected to Windscribe, except for when we connected to a server in Sydney. We experienced a whopping 41% decrease in download speed and a 168% increase in latency, which is essentially how quickly networks communicate with each other. Higher latency means slower communication.

The Windscribe VPN app open on a computer, as well as a window with a speed test after the VPN was in use.

However, we expect to see some drop-off in overall performance as the physical distance increases between our location and the server’s location. This decrease in download speed and increase in latency wasn’t unexpected for a server that’s across the world from us.

The specific servers we tested were in Denver (U.S.), London (U.K.), Toronto (Canada), and Sydney (Australia).

Windscribe VPN Netflix tests

  • Windscribe VPN Netflix test results: Windscribe passed its Netflix tests.

Can you watch Netflix with Windscribe? We’re happy to report that, yes, you can.

We tested Windscribe with Netflix by connecting to different Windscribe servers in the U.S., the U.K., Canada, and Australia. We then tested whether we could open Netflix (in a Chrome browser) while connected to these different servers. Further testing involved seeing whether the content would play without any lag or quality issues.

The Netflix homepage as well a window with the Windscribe VPN.

We had no issues opening and playing regional Netflix content while connected to these servers:

  • Denver (U.S.)
  • London (U.K.)
  • Toronto (Canada)
  • Sydney (Australia)

Windscribe VPN Netflix test results

US to US US to UK US to Canada US to AU
Did it work with Netflix? Yes Yes Yes Yes

Test results as of 01/24/2023.

Note that we didn’t see any specific servers to use with different streaming servers. This means you should be able to connect to any Windscribe server if you want to unblock regional Netflix content.

We also tested Windscribe with a few other streaming platforms, including Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and Disney+. We had no issues connecting to Hulu using a server in the U.S.

The Hulu homepage as well a window with the Windscribe VPN.

BBC iPlayer loaded right up when we connected to a server in London. You can typically only watch BBC iPlayer content if you’re in the U.K.

The BBC iPlayer page for "Our Flag Means Death" with Windscribe VPN open in the background.

We were also able to connect to the Disney+ U.K. content library while connected to a server in London. This is notable because the U.K. library includes Star content, which isn’t available in the U.S.

The Disney+ homepage as well a window with the Windscribe VPN.

Other Windscribe VPN users have noted that the VPN works on Amazon Prime Video as well.

DNS leak tests

  • Windscribe VPN DNS leak test results: Windscribe passed its DNS leak tests.

Domain name system (DNS) leak tests are designed to show whether you have private information leaking through your internet connection. We used the DNS Leak Test tool from BrowserLeaks to test whether we had DNS leaks before and after connecting to Windscribe.

We were able to see private information when we ran the DNS leak test before connecting to Windscribe. This included our IP address, our internet service provider (ISP) and its IP address, and the general location of our ISP.

After connecting to Windscribe and running another DNS leak test, we could only see the IP address, ISP, and general location associated with the VPN server.

WebRTC leak tests

  • Windscribe VPN WebRTC leak test results: Windscribe passed its WebRTC leak tests.

A WebRTC leak could expose your IP address when connected to the internet. We used the BrowserLeaks website to test if our IP address was leaked before and after connecting to Windscribe.

Our IP address immediately showed up on BrowserLeaks before we connected to Windscribe. Our IP address was then successfully masked after we connected to Windscribe. The only visible IP address was the one connected to the VPN server.

Masking your IP address is important if you want to browse and use the internet anonymously. This doesn’t necessarily mean doing anything illegal, and it could be as simple as stopping your ISP from seeing what websites you visit.

Windscribe VPN compatibility

Windscribe supports a variety of devices, operating systems, mobile apps, and browser extensions:

  • Windows (7, 8, 10)
  • macOS (10.12+)
  • Linux (Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, CentOS)
  • Google Chrome (39+)
  • Mozilla Firefox (57+)
  • Microsoft Edge (79+)
  • iOS (10+)
  • Android (5.0+)
  • Amazon FireTV (Gen 2+)

You can also set up Windscribe on certain routers using tutorials or you can purchase a router that’s preconfigured with the Windscribe VPN.

Windscribe doesn’t have a built-in smart DNS option for you to use some of its VPN features on devices that don’t natively support VPN apps. For example, you can’t typically download VPN apps on many smart TVs and video game consoles.

If you want to unblock regional streaming content on one of those devices, you would need software with smart DNS, like NordVPN or ExpressVPN. Or you can go with CONTROL D, another service from the creators of Windscribe that provides a feature to bypass geo-restrictions on different devices.

Windscribe VPN customer support

Windscribe doesn’t have a 24/7 live chat support option, which is unfortunate because this is often our preferred way to contact VPN providers with questions. Instead, you can contact Windscribe support through an online form and it will email a response.

You can also chat with Garry, the resident Windscribe chatbot. We’ve found that support bots tend to be hit or miss with their usefulness, but we actually received a decent response from Garry about torrenting with Windscribe.

A customer support chat about torrenting with Garry, Windscribe's chatbot.

Garry answered our question about whether you can torrent with Windscribe and even provided us with some servers we should avoid for torrenting.

We also sent our same question about torrenting to the human support team and waited for an email response. It took about 21 hours to receive a response, which is a much longer wait than using a live chat feature. But the response was helpful, and indicated that all servers work for torrenting other than a few you should avoid (India and South Africa).

An email from Windscribe customer support about which servers work for torrenting on their VPN.

Apart from using the Windscribe knowledge base for helpful guides and posts, you can also interact with the Windscribe team on its subreddit, Discord, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and blog pages.

Windscribe VPN prices and subscriptions

Windscribe has three types of plans to choose from: a free plan, a Pro plan, and a Build-A-Plan option. If you want to save money on a VPN, the free plan and Build-A-Plan are your best options.

You don’t have to pay anything for the free plan and the Build-A-Plan starts at $3.00/mo, which is relatively cheap for a VPN. The Pro subscription options range from $1.00–$9.00/mo, which is on the higher end of typical VPN prices.

Here’s how the lowest-priced Windscribe Pro subscription compares with other VPNs and their lowest-priced paid plans:

Windscribe costs more than double some of the other options on the list, but it can also be quite a bit cheaper than ExpressVPN or Hotspot Shield. If you opt for the Windscribe Build-A-Plan, you might be paying only $3.00/mo, which would be one of the cheapest VPNs on the list.

Windscribe VPN cost

Plan Monthly
Yearly
Best Value
Build-a-Plan
Price per month $9.00/mo $5.75/mo Starts at $1.00/mo
Price per year $108.00/yr $39.00/yr Starts at $36.00/yr
Prices as of 08/31/2023.

Windscribe VPN payment methods include:

  • Credit card (Visa, Mastercard, and American Express)
  • PayPal
  • Cryptocurrency (bitcoin)
  • Paymentwall

These are generally common payment methods, other than bitcoin. Although there are some VPNs that offer this option, you won’t find it with every provider out there.

Paying with crypto can help provide increased anonymity over other payment methods because you don’t typically have any personal information attached to the payment. This doesn’t mean your payment is completely anonymous, just that it’s potentially more anonymous than other options.

Windscribe offers both free and paid plans to try its service. The free version has a 2GB bandwidth limit and provides access to servers in 11 countries. You can request a full refund on a paid Windscribe plan with a three-day money-back guarantee.

Windscribe VPN Build-a-Plan subscription

Windscribe VPN provides a Build-A-Plan variety among its paid plans. This isn’t to be confused with Windscribe Pro plans, which range from $1.00–$9.00/mo and provide access to all servers with unlimited data.

Rather, Build-A-Plan lets you choose which locations you want to access at a rate of $1.00 per month per location. So if you choose the U.S. and Canada, you would get access to all the U.S. and Canada locations, including both the free and Pro servers, for $2.00 per month.

Not a bad deal, right? Especially if you have no need for other server locations. But how much data do you get?

For each server location you choose, Windscribe will add 10GB of monthly data to your account. So with two locations, you get 20GB of data per month.

You also have the option of adding unlimited data to your account for another $1.00 per month. So for $3.00 per month, you could have two server locations and all the servers that come with them, as well as unlimited data.

Keep in mind that you have to pay at least $3.00/mo to choose a Build-A-Plan subscription, which is still lower than the standard $1.00–$9.00/mo subscription plans.

If you don’t know which plan — free, Pro, or Build-A-Plan — to go with, consider this simple chart from Windscribe:

A flow chart to determine which Windscribe VPN subscription would work best for you.

Windscribe VPN FAQs


+

Is Windscribe VPN trustworthy?

Windscribe places a heavy emphasis on user privacy and security with its no-logs policy and transparency over potential security concerns. Windscribe doesn’t keep any logs that can identify you, and certain data is discarded after you disconnect from its servers. Windscribe hasn’t had to comply with any Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) or law enforcement data requests because it doesn’t store relevant data.


+

Is Windscribe VPN really free?

Yes, Windscribe VPN provides a free plan that anyone can use. The free subscription limits you to 2GB of monthly data and servers in 11 countries, whereas a Pro plan provides unlimited data and access to 111 server locations. You can also choose the Build-A-Plan option, which allows you to choose specific server locations for at least $3.00 per month.


+

Which is better NordVPN or Windscribe?

We prefer NordVPN for its reliability and ease of use for the average VPN user. It also provides fast speeds, 24/7 live chat, and a lower price ($3.39/mo) than the Windscribe Pro plan ($5.75/mo). We like Windscribe for its unlimited simultaneous connections, but it doesn’t have 24/7 live chat.

Bottom line: Is Windscribe a good VPN?

Windscribe is a fast VPN with a strict no-logs policy that works with multiple streaming platforms, including Netflix and Disney+. You don’t have to provide an email address to sign up and you can pay with cryptocurrency for added anonymity.

We like how Windscribe has both free and paid plans, including the option to build your own plan if you only need to access certain server locations. However, we don’t love how the lowest-priced Windscribe Pro plan is more expensive than lots of other VPN subscriptions.

4.1
Learn More
On Windscribe's website

Windscribe
  • Unlimited device connections
  • Has a customizable plan if you only need access to servers in specific countries
  • No 24/7 live chat option

We also feel Windscribe needs to do an independent audit of its no-logs policy to increase its trustworthiness. And having a 24/7 live chat option would greatly increase its reliability. There are other VPNs out there that cost less, have had independent audits, and provide 24/7 customer support. Learn more in our NordVPN review.

4.1
Learn More
On Windscribe's website

Windscribe
  • Unlimited device connections
  • Has a customizable plan if you only need access to servers in specific countries
  • No 24/7 live chat option
Author Details
Ben Walker is a writer at All About Cookies with a passion for all things internet and technology, whether it's using VPNs while away from home or organizing his life with password managers.

Citations

[1] OpenVPN Security Improvements and Changes

[2] United States of America v. Vincent Gevirtz