Let’s face it: selecting the right or best VPN is tough.
There are a wide number of similar offerings on the market, and comparisons across features are often tough to perform.
Believe me when I tell you that I’ve spent hours on the web, scouring through (often contradictory) reviews, trying to decide whether my VPN of choice is the right one or not.
The trouble is, unless you actually try out a service, you can’t really be in a position to comment on it in a comprehensive and unbiased manner.
That’s why, to help all VPN aficionados out there, I’ve decided to go ahead and review the best VPN services in the market.
That way, not only do I get to help out fellow VPN users, but also get to increase my own knowledge base.
That’s why, when I got my hands on Windscribe VPN, I didn’t think twice before delving deep into it.
This Canadian VPN service provider has been rising fast among the ranks of VPNs (Windscribe ranked 8th with a score of 71), and I wanted to see what makes it tick.
In order to understand what Windscribe was all about, I tested the service across a wide range of parameters, and tried to answer questions such as the following:
- Does the service work with Netflix?
- Are its security and logging features worth it?
- Does it allow torrenting?
- Can it respect the users’ privacy?
These are only some of the aspects I decided to cover, and the results were better than I expected.
Before we dive into the real deal: a sneak peek: Windscribe VPN is good for unblocking US Netflix, and has enough advanced features to keep users hooked. But there are a few weaknesses as well, which I’ll deal with in due time.
Well, let’s not wait any longer and dive in!
Does It Unblock Netflix?
When testing out a VPN service, the first thing I always do is test it for streaming.
After all, unblocking geo-restricted content is one of the major reasons for using a VPN, so any service worth its salt should be able to do this task rather well.
Naturally, this is what I did with Windscribe as well, and the results were more than satisfactory.
The service offers dedicated streaming servers (called Windflix) for streaming across the world, although any server can be used for streaming content.
I first tried out the Windflix service with the US Netflix library and found it to work smoothly.
I was able to unlock all my favorite shows, and streaming speeds were excellent.
There was no buffering whatsoever, and I could enjoy an HD-quality picture.
Next, I headed over to the UK, and Windscribe unblocked Netflix here also.
But it failed to work with BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and Disney+, which was a bit of a damper for me.
However, I was perked up to find that Windscribe can unblock Netflix in Japan and Canada as well.
Overall, if you ask me, I think Windscribe is one of the better VPNs for unblocking Netflix, though it does have trouble getting through the defenses of other streaming services.
And I almost forgot!
Windscribe offers all of the above, even with its free version, which makes it one of those rare services that offer free unblocking for Netflix.
This is a significant plus in my humble opinion.
Does It Offer Enough Speed?
Once I had ascertained that Windscribe was good enough in the streaming department.
Next, I proceeded to check out its speed.
After all, a VPN that doesn’t offer enough speed is like a car without a good engine.
In general, servers close to your actual location tend to give the best speeds.
So, after checking my regular download speed (close to 30Mbps), I connected to the US server and was faced with speeds of around 11Mbps.
That’s an almost 62% speed drop. Check out the details in Windscribe Test Report.
Next, I headed over to the UK, which was a bit better at 15Mbps, but in Germany, the speeds again dropped to around 10Mbps.
Overall, after much testing, I was of the opinion that when it comes to speeds, Windscribe is rather inconsistent.
In short, it does not offers decent speeds, I can’t really place it in the same bucket as the fastest VPNs on the market.
Does It Support Torrenting?
Where’s the fun in using a VPN if you can’t do torrenting?
That’s what I feel, and I’m sure many of you agree with me.
Thankfully, Windscribe offers complete torrenting support, and most servers are optimized to support P2P sharing.
What’s more, the server menu even indicates which servers are suitable for torrenting.
Since Windscribe has a large server distribution over 110 locations spread across 63 nations, this improves your chances of getting good upload and download speeds.
Which means you can support leaching as well as seeding.
What’s more, the VPN service has a good security and logging policy (which I’ll discuss next), that ensures your torrenting activity will remain anonymous and secure.
What’s more, for newcomers to the torrenting fold, Windscribe even provides guides for setting up SOCKS5 proxies with any major torrent client.
Just one caveat: since the service is based in Canada, you need to be a bit aware of using Canadian servers for torrenting.
Canada has pretty strict anti-piracy laws, and you need to be aware that you don’t run afoul of any of these rules.
The US and UK are also locations you need to avoid when selecting torrenting servers.
Till this point, I was mostly testing the service from an application-based perspective.
Now, I decided to delve deeper into the technical aspects, and check out how it performs in terms of security and privacy.
Is Windscribe VPN Safe Enough?
Since Windscribe is one of the rare services that offer Netflix unblocking even in the free version, the lure of the service is understandable.
But is it a safe enough alternative to other, more established VPNs in the market?
That’s what I intended to find out, and my tests took me deep within the service’s security aspects.
And what I found was good enough, to say the least.
Windscribe uses AES-256 encryption standards, which is one of the best encryption methods there is.
It also supports IKEv2/IPSec protocols, which ensure that your IP address is hidden at all times.
I also liked the SHA512 authentication feature, along with a solid 4096-bit RSA encryption handshake.
All this only supports the fact that in its five years of operation, the service hasn’t faced a single breach.
Perhaps one of the best things that I like about the service is that it utilizes Perfect Forward Secrecy.
This standard ensures that there’s no reuse of encryption keys between sessions, and private keys expire once the connection ends.
As a default, Windscribe uses IKEv2 protocol across platforms, though as mentioned above it, also provides the options for WireGuard connections.
For torrenting, it provides SOCKS5 too.
I also really liked Windscribe’s Firewall capabilities, which help to protect against IP and DNS leaks in case of a connection drop.
Along with that, it has several other security features such as protection against WebRTC attacks, Split Tunneling, and ROBERT.
ROBERT is Windscribe’s proprietary malware blocking and ad-tracking software.
Including eight different blocklists, ROBERT makes security customization a simple task.
The system allows users to block malware and adware at the DNS level, and also provides a choice in the type of content users need to block, such as crypto miners, gambling websites, and even adult content.
On that note, I’d like to mention that the feature is not without its flaws, and often blocks legitimate sites in place of the required ones.
This proves that the feature needs further refinement, though it’s a nice addition to have.
After running a complete malware test, I was happy to find that the service is entirely free of any malware.
It also has a very limited number of trackers (two to be exact) as compared to other VPN services.
Overall, I think I can safely say that Windscribe is a rather secure VPN service, though there’s significant room for improvement.
What About Privacy?
As my regular readers already know, security is not the same as privacy, and since Windscribe is a Canadian company, it falls under the jurisdiction of the 5/9/14-Eyes Alliance.
This is something that’s bound to bring a frown to the faces of privacy lovers.
I was glad to find that Windscribe doesn’t collect user data, such as browsing history, source IP, and personal information.
Find out your IP info here and discover what it can reveal about you.
What it does collect is monthly data usage statistics, and timestamp of the last network activity.
This is pretty standard fare and doesn’t give out any personally identifying markers.
Windscribe doesn’t ask for your email or any other contact info; even payments can be made anonymously through Bitcoin.
At the end of the day, the privacy features of Windscribe do seem standard, though I’d like to see this ratified by an independent authority like NordVPN.
After all, in today’s world, there’s no point in taking business at its word, especially when it comes to something as important as personal data privacy.
Check out this fun quiz and see how you score on your privacy awareness.
Does It Work in China?
Countries with high levels of internet censorship usually use technologies such as Deep Packet Inspection for blocking VPN traffic.
Windscribe tries to circumvent this by utilizing obfuscation and stealth protocols.
Technically speaking, the protocol makes use of the open-source Stunnel algorithm to route traffic through an extra TLS tunnel.
In case this fails, it also offers the option of using Wstunnel, where the traffic is wrapped in WebSocket.
The result is that monitoring agencies find it harder to track your online activity.
While all of the above looks theoretically sound, user reports suggest that Windscribe isn’t a very reliable service for use in China.
It’s not available for download in the country and doesn’t get past the Great Firewall.
All things considered, I certainly don’t recommend Windscribe for use inside Chinese borders.
And I’m pretty sure things will be the same when it comes to VPN for Hong Kong.
How Much Does It Cost?
After going through Windscribe’s pricing, I must say that it has one of the most flexible pricing structures in the VPN market.
The Pro version, which offers unlimited bandwidth and full access to all the service’s features, comes at a monthly plan of $9.
However, if you go for the yearly plan, then the price drops to a mere $4.08 per month.
I think that’s a rather steep decline! But still, can’t beat Surfshark $2/mo premium subscription.
Also, there’s the option of going for the a la carte “Build A Plan” option, where you are billed on a location-wise basis at the rate of $1 per location.
This means if you want to access servers in just two locations, your cost comes down to just $2 per month.
For an additional dollar, you get access to ROBERT and unlimited data.
One thing to remember here is that Windscribe has a pretty restrictive refund policy.
Therefore, I suggest you try out the free VPN service before getting on board with any paid plan.
The free service comes with a 10GB monthly data cap and access to 10 server locations.
While that might not satisfy advanced users, I think it’s good enough for most regular web surfers.
So, should you go for Windscribe?
The answer depends on your needs and expectations.
If you’re a newcomer to the world of VPNs, Windscribe’s free version is one of the most attractive and generous options; for advanced users, the paid plans can be an affordable alternative.
That being said, the service definitely has room to improve and needs to be more reliable in terms of speed and privacy.
Speaking on privacy, here are the 7 habits for privacy protection online that you can make in use now.
At the end of the day, I can label Windscribe as one of the better VPNs, but certainly not among the best.
Though they ranked 8th, it’s fierce competition from VPNCodes’ strict selection.