Reading Time: 8 min read
Review of: Windscribe
Product by:
Chris Wagnor

Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On August 9, 2017
Last modified:August 16, 2017

Summary:

DailyBeast calls it “the online privacy tool you should already be using.”  Techradar calls it “one of the best free VPNs around.” Dig around a little more and you’ll see a lot more praise.

Windscribe has only been around since July 2015, but in the last two years it’s become one of the most acclaimed VPNs around.

Clearly there’s a lot of good buzz about Windscribe, and it’s coming in at the right time.

Its summer 2017, and online security has never been more important. From the Snowden leaks in 2013 to the Russia-Trump stories that dominate the news, cyber security has become an increasingly relevant topic to the climax that is right now.

And if you think cyber security is a big deal for nations, you’d better believe it’s a big deal for you—an individual that is not armed with powerful intelligence agencies for protection.

Sure, you may not have a foreign head of state breathing down your neck…but then again you might. There is a host of parties interested in your data, and even if they’re not, there’s a plethora of reasons to keep your information well protected.

So it’s natural that lately, a lot of people are trying to find affordable ways they can be safer online. Windscribe is one such option that has, as we can see, been met with a good reception.

But does Windscribe really measure up to the hype it’s been getting lately? Let’s find out.

Windscribe VPN Cons

Okay, cons first. Luckily there’s actually not too much to say here—all the cons are pretty minor.

The 45 locations offered on the unlimited service sounds a lot better than the 8 you get for free and will suffice for most, but that’s still a big chunk of the globe getting left out—Africa and South America mostly.

Customer support leaves a bit wanting, with no livechat or phone support, and there could be more documentation on their site.

Finally, you’ll be dealing with average speeds. It’s not a big deal to me, but for some users, the paid version warrants better.

Average speeds, a less than comprehensive customer support, and limited locations are the main downsides to Windscribe.

Windscribe VPN Pros

Alright, let’s talk about the good stuff.

I’ll start off with something unusual—Windscribe’s services have personality. For example—on the download page, where Windscribe shows the option for mobile devices, there’s an option for Blackberry…with the caption below it reading “just kidding.”

Part of this personality is honesty. Windscribe doesn’t really oversell itself in my opinion, so you won’t worry about the features you get being exaggerated in usefulness or power, and the company seems to go out of its way to respect its users’ privacy (example: they don’t store activity logs).

I think the bandwidth allowance is a significant plus. If you use a free VPN you’d normally expect some bandwidth restrictions, but 10GB a month for Windscribe’s free version is in my opinion pretty sizeable.

It’s easy to use and smoothly integrates with your typical internet use, so ease of use is another strong suit. Aside from modest speeds, it runs just fine, so I wouldn’t really say there’s anything so wrong with the performance.

It’s feature-packed, and with good features too. P2P, a strong firewall, great privacy options, the secure link generator, and other things I’ll mention form comprehensive package that works lightly with your device and browser, and a lot of the features are available for free.

Overall, Windscribe offers plenty of pros: honest service, a decent bandwidth allowance, a streamlined interface, and a lot of features with decent performance—something that makes it good for the money.

Windscribe VPN’s Pricing

Windscribe’s pricing structure is very simple, and affordable whether you’re going for the free version or the paid version. You can view their pricing page here.

The first tier is “Limited,” which is free. However, you can only use it for one device, and only for 8 locations. The bandwidth is 10GB a month, there are no OpenVPN configurations, and firewall, P2P, and adblock services are provided.

The second tier is “Unlimited,” and can be purchased on either a monthly or yearly basis. The monthly version costs $9 a month, whereas the yearly version costs $90 total, which breaks down to $7.50 a month.

The Unlimited tier allows for unlimited devices as opposed to one, and instead of a 10GB monthly allowance or 8 locations, you get unlimited bandwidth and 46 locations. Plus, you get OpenVPN Configs, as well as the firewall, P2P and adblock services you’d get for free.

I appreciate Windscribe’s pricing—they don’t complicate things too much. You won’t really need to spend time researching the “right deal,” you just need to think about what you want.

And if you really need to take that extra step, you’re still getting a lot for a decent price.

Windscribe VPN’s Features and Options

Okay, let’s talk about the features and the options you get when you make an account.

Right off the bat, Windscribe has a lot of different versions for different platforms. You can download it for your computer—PC, Mac, or Linux—and your browser, for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera (sorry IE and Safari!).

 

You can of course download it for your phone as well, assuming you have an iPhone or android, for your router, and they have three config generator options.

 

 

I suppose there could be more options, but realistically, it’s nice to see that Windscribe covers all your bases.

You can use the browser extensions and the desktop applications alone, but you’d probably be best off just using both together (and as Windscribe will tell you, you might as well, since it doesn’t cost extra).

I thought Windscribe’s secure link generator (also known as Secure.link generator) was pretty nifty. It’s a neat service that basically allows you to enter in a link and make a report card for the site as well as a “secure” shortened URL for you to use.

P2P is included, as mentioned, for even the free version, and you get adblock too—something that isn’t strictly necessary for a VPN service, but which is an attractive asset nonetheless.

There’s a nifty thing called cruise control for the browser extension that is unique to Windscribe. It essentially connects you to the best server that is closest to you. You can toggle it on or off and select a different location from a drop down menu within the extension.

Adding to this feature is something for the desktop software called Double Hop, which, when used with the browser extension, lets you connect to a second location to further hide your traffic—though this will of course slow things down a bit.

The desktop app has a good firewall put in place, a nice step to make sure your real IP address isn’t seen. You can, of course, toggle the firewall modes as you want.

What’s more, you get a neat feature called “Privacy Options” for the desktop version, which lets you select between a few different choices: ad-blocker, Anti-social, Untraceable, and Split Personality.

Respectively, these block ads, remove social trackers, remove known ad beacons and trackers that can track across multiple visited sites, and rotate your browser’s user agent each time you restart your browser.

Obviously I can go on, but in the interest of being concise, let’s just say that features are something Windscribe does well. It’s not loaded with unnecessary functions to look cool or techy, but it has everything you’ll need and a little more, and it’s all very streamlined on top of that.

Windscribe VPN’s Customer Support

Windscribe’s customer support isn’t anything great, to be honest. It’s not bad, it’s just pretty average.

I think you probably won’t need much customer support, because using it is pretty self-explanatory. If you don’t know what a button or a feature is, there’s often a handy explanation that will pop up just by hovering your cursor over said confusing object.

Their website does have a bunch of set-up guides for each Windscribe package you can download (per browser, per operating system, etc.).

The thing is, the guides for the operating systems and browsers are YouTube videos. The other formats have written and illustrated set up guides, but overall these guides feel a bit skimpy.

Maybe it’s because Windscribe’s targeted demographic is already knowledgeable enough so they don’t need to be coddled—still, I think some stuff is lacking.

Aside from some simple setup guides, there’s an FAQ section and a “submit ticket” option, which is basically a form that you can use to send a message to the support team.

I’ve heard that they respond fairly quickly to these tickets, and that the staff are very competent and helpful.

However, I think more can be done—there’s no livechat, no phone number to call. Sure, the available options will take care of a lot, but for some users the lack of a livechat or customer service number will look shabby.

Otherwise, the customer support is pretty refreshing though—it’s not too detailed, but it’s spunky and answers the vast majority of the problems customers would ask about. The whole website is tinged with humor and—most importantly—honesty.

So overall the customer support isn’t a strong suit and there are a couple things lacking, but overall I don’t think the flaws are too serious.

Ease of Use

I liked how painless installation was. I’m neither the least knowledgeable nor most knowledgeable guy when it comes to technology, so I sometimes get a slight anxiety when I download things—what if I’m installing weird add-ons?

What am I agreeing to?

No such problems here. My internet isn’t even that fast, but the browser extension was quick and easy, and the desktop software similarly so (note: I’ve been using the extension for Firefox and the desktop app for Windows 7).

You don’t even need an email to make your account, but beware—you’ll be limited to 2GB a month instead of 10, and you can’t reset your password (however, you can always add one later).

Anyway, overall I found it integrates smoothly with the browsing experience, and your desktop experience won’t be bothered by annoying notifications.

I particularly liked how efficient the browser extension was. The Windscribe icon in the browser, when clicked on, opens a very simple control panel.

It shows how many GBs you have left, as well as the secure.link generator I mentioned, which is super easy to use.

If you click a button on the side of the control panel, you can access a more detailed menu that can direct you to your account settings, privacy settings, a help page, and so on.

The main function of a VPN is of course to protect your privacy—but Windscribe takes extra steps to be unobtrusive in your day to day use, so there’s a big plus.

Because it’s so light and compact I feel it’s super handy for on-and-off VPN usage.

What I mean is, if you’re not trying to use a VPN for all your browsing—if, for example, you just want to stream Netflix quickly most of the time—Windscribe is great for that moment when you suddenly need more privacy than before—when you leave home and go onto a public network like a café’s wifi, or an airport’s.

Windscribe VPN’s Performance

Overall, Windscribe has a pretty solid performance.

This is fairly typical to say about Windscribe, but it’s not super-fast. Still, you’ll get the job done just fine. I found it fine for casual browsing, like emails and mostly text-laden pages. YouTube videos were slower than I would have liked, but hey—what can you do?

Otherwise, I thought it was so handy being able to make secure links from website URLs as I wanted, and it was barely intrusive to the browsing experience.

Additionally, just as any good VPN should, Windscribe does its own part in protecting your privacy aside from the tools it gives you. What I mean by that is they don’t store any permanent access logs or employ anything to monitor their users.

The firewall, I assume, holds up well, as there doesn’t seem to be a notable amount of complaints about this.
Though you can’t see it, these things qualify as good performance for sure: dedication to behind-the-scenes user privacy.

Aside from behind the scenes performance, your day to day usage should be just fine. I found it very simple and clean to use, and it never interfered with what I wanted to do on the internet while remaining fast for accessing features I wanted to try playing with.

It doesn’t feel like there’s much to comment upon here, but let’s go with no news is good news. We don’t really notice when things go smoothly, and the same is true for Windscribe. But rest assured, it does indeed run smoothly.

Windscribe’s Average Speed

I have tested windscribe’s speed  before installed and then later installed. I got to see different results which you can see in below screenshots.

 

Conclusion

So to wrap everything up, Windscribe is definitely a solid service. If you’re worried about it being overhyped, you can just try it out for free.

See Windscribe’s plans & pricing here.

Yeah, there are some drawbacks, but I don’t see them as severe enough to outweigh all the positives that come with Windscribe…especially since a lot of the benefits are available for free!

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Chris Wagner

Chris Wagner has 7 years of experience as Network Administrator. His areas of interest includes Servers, Network Management and Cloud Computing.