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Windscribe Review

Verdict

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Windscribe’s free tier is excellent, and so is its speedy, low-cost and streaming-friendly subscription service.

Pros

  • Generous free tier
  • Wide range of endpoint countries
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • Some rivals are faster

Availability

  • UKRRP: £6.45
  • USARRP: $9

Key Features

  • Free tier available: Windscribe offers a generous free tier that comes with 10GB of monthly data and endpoints in 10 countries.
  • Paid tier offers endpoints in 69 different countries:If you subscribe to the paid-for tier, you get access to 69 different countries, which is useful if you want a specific endpoint.

Introduction

Windscribe is a Canadian VPN service that’s gained popularity as a result of its free service, low prices and reliable performance.

It’s consistently quick and reliable for streaming, and although it lacks long-term subscription options, its annual and monthly subscriptions are both very cost-effective.

Windscribe has previously ranked top in our best VPN group test, and still comes highly recommended, despite a slightly disappointing performance in our latest speed test results.

Pricing and Subscriptions

Windscribe offers a generous 10GB-per-month free tier. Free users get access to locations in 10 countries, not including any of the Windflix video-streaming endpoints. Pay for the full service and you get access to endpoints in 65 countries.

If you like the service enough to pay for it, you can either pay for the $9/£6.45 monthly plan or spend $49/£39.04 upfront for the yearly plan, which works out cheaper in the long run. It’s great value, and a clear and simple price that’s remained consistent for several years now, with no increased renewal fees to sneak up on you.

You can pay using cryptocurrency, if you feel that will help keep you anonymous (although it won’t on its own).

Features and Usability

  • Transparent on which data it logs
  • Features include kill switch and ad blocker

Windscribe’s privacy and logging 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 you don’t have to provide an email address to sign up.

The Canada-based firm is transparent about its privacy policies and, although it keeps some logs to help manage its service, it says that it doesn’t keep any identifying information. Windscribe maintains a live transparency report, showing both DMCA and law enforcement data requests. None have ever been complied with because Windscribe doesn’t log any identifiable user data.

I found the Windows desktop client simple to use, including a solid range of extra security features. By default, Windscribe activates its integrated firewall feature, which includes a kill switch that prevents any internet traffic from being transferred if you lose your connection to the VPN for any reason.

You can also share your encrypted connection as a secure wireless hotspot, if your router supports the feature. Windscribe’s powerful integrated ad-blocker is handy, but I found that it entirely blocked access to some ad-gated websites and services.

Options in your online account management interface allow you to instantly apply features including ad- and tracker-blocking, as well as an anti-malware filter.

Performance

  • Below-average speeds for select endpoints
  • Impressive speeds for free tier

All of my testing was carried out on a virtual desktop physically located at a data centre with a high-speed internet connection in London. This testing setup produces results under optimal connection conditions. VPN clients are tested on their default settings.


UKNetherlandsUnited States
Windscribe269.60 Mbps270.40 Mbps208.00 Mbps
Windscribe free215.20 Mbps102.40 Mbps62.40 Mbps
Reference Group Average HTTP310.77 Mbps306.83 Mbps194.52 Mbps
Reference HTTP without VPN489.60 Mbps532.80 Mbps490.40 Mbps
VPN’s HTTP speed test results compared against group average and connection speed without a VPN

Windscribe had a bit of hard time in my speed tests through much of 2021, but this has improved this year. Although some of its results were below the group average for a couple of endpoint locations, its paid service never dropped below a blistering 200Mbps, which is fast enough for extremely high-resolution video and live gaming services (latency allowing).

Unlike most free VPN options from commercial providers, Windscribe’s free service performs just as well as the paid-for version, although the selection of endpoints is limited and you don’t get access to its specialist streaming servers.

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Should you buy it?

You want a free VPN:

Windscribe is one of the best free VPNs available, offering both 10GB of monthly data and access to endpoints in 11 different countries.

You want blistering speeds:

Windscribe isn’t one of the fastest VPNs available, seeing below-average scores in our benchmark tests. If you care about speed, then check out NordVPN, Surfshark and ProtonVPN instead.

Final Thoughts

Windscribe offers a lot of strong features, and is generally reliable for both reasonably fluid day-to-day web browsing and streaming.

The service supports a wide range of devices and is generally easy to use, although its endpoint list isn’t searchable. It’s generally fast, provides a technically unlimited number of simultaneous connections, and its pricing is super-competitive. Windscribe isn’t just one of the best free VPN providers around, it’s also one of the best paid-for services, and its subscriptions are very reasonably priced.

It isn’t the fastest in my latest tests (that honour goes to NordVPN, Surfshark and ProtonVPN), but Windscribe is one of the best general-purpose VPN services around. However, if security is a priority then Perfect Privacy has established its privacy credentials through unfortunate government equipment seizures, which Windscribe hasn’t been unlucky enough to suffer thus far.

Trusted Score
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How we test

We run tests from a London-based connection that typically sees speeds between 500Mbps and 700Mbps, which means that we’re able to get a good idea of what each VPN’s maximum speeds currently are.

We test multiple endpoints from each provider in three locations: the UK, the Netherlands and the U.S.

Tested speeds with three endpoints: UK, USA and the Netherlands

Researched security and no-logging claims

Tested all available features

FAQs

Is Windscribe really free?

Yes, Windscribe has a free tier, although you can only use 10GB of data each month, which could disappear quickly if you’re watching video etc.

Is Windscribe VPN illegal?

It is perfectly legal to use Windscribe as a VPN. However, using the VPN to bypass geolocation restrictions can break the terms and conditions of certain sites and services such as Netflix.

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