Windscribe Review

Trusted Reviews Recommended

Pros

  • Generous free tier
  • Clear data security policy
  • Wide range of endpoint countries
  • Provides international access to Netflix and iPlayer

Cons

  • Extremely variable connection speeds

Key Features

  • Review Price: £36.82
  • 10GB a month free account available
  • $9 (£6.76) per month
  • $49 (£36.82) per year
  • $89 (£66.88) for two years
  • Clients for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Blackberry, Fire TV, Nvidia Shield, Chrome, Firefox, Opera
  • Clear information on connecting other devices without dedicated clients

What is Windscribe?

Windscribe is a Canadian VPN that’s gained popularity due to its free service and dedicated support for streaming TV. Unlike fellow Canadian VPN TunnelBear, Windscribe also allows torrenting.

In the latest round of testing, Windscribe scored an impressive 9 out of 10, earning a rare Trusted Reviews Recommended accolade.

Related: Best VPN

A screengrab of the Windscribe desktop client running on Windows 10.

Windscribe – Features and usability

Windscribe’s privacy policy clearly indicates what data it does and does not keep, with only total bandwidth consumption and the time your account was last used stored in the long term. The service supports anonymous payment via bitcoin and gift vouchers, and you don’t have to provide an email address in order to sign up.

Its desktop client is simple to use and includes a number of extra security features. By default, Windscribe activates its integrated ‘firewall’ feature, which prevents any internet traffic from being transferred if you lose your connection to the VPN for any reason.

Windscribe has dedicated endpoints for streaming video services such as iPlayer and Netflix. Attempting to access most streaming services using the general endpoints resulted in detection, but we were able to watch all of our reference streaming content using the Windflix UK and US endpoints.

You can also share your encrypted connection as a secure wireless hotspot, if your router supports the feature, and view detailed logs kept by the client.

Windscribe has an outstandingly generous 10GB per month free tier. Free users get access to locations in 11 countries – not including any of the Windflix video streaming endpoints.

If you like the service enough to pay for it, it costs $9 (£6.35) per month or $49 (£34.58) per year, working out at a very cost-effective £2.88 per month.

Windscribe – Performance

During speed testing, we saw far more variation from Windscribe than from most of its rivals, with UK FTP and HTTP download speeds ranging from anywhere between 2MB/s to 9MB/s. This seemed to be particularly affected by the time of day – hours when US users were awake saw the slowest speeds.

US speeds were also variable, with some of our connection attempts transferring data at a less than 100KB/s, while others produced a relatively smooth 2.6MB/s. We experienced similar issues with the dedicated Windflix US streaming connection, which usually streamed smoothly enough via a browser, but sometimes had trouble even loading Netflix’s site.

While our VPN speed testing only provides a snapshot of performance, the variability of results we saw from Windscribe indicates that its endpoints may at times be oversubscribed, which may be the due to the popularity of its free service.

Related: What is a VPN?

Why buy Windscribe?

Windscribe has a lot of strong features, including excellent video streaming performance via dedicated endpoints and secure wireless hotspot sharing. However, the performance variability we saw during our latest speed tests makes it hard to recommend when rivals such as Private Internet Access and NordVPN provide more reliable connection speeds at lower cost.

Verdict

If you’re after a free VPN, Windscribe is well worth adding to your arsenal, and is the best free option now that CyberGhost has withdrawn its free service from new users.

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