WindScribe Review: A Canada-Based VPN With A Free Version And A Host Of Add-Ons
“There is no such thing as a free lunch” is a much popular adage which implies that it’s not possible to get something for nothing. The idea pretty much applies to VPNs as well. While premium VPNs do a stellar job in terms of providing secure, anonymous and unrestricted internet access, free VPNs cannot match up to their paid counterparts. WindScribe, however, is a notable exception, which you can use totally gratis with a 10 GB data cap every month. Of course, the paid plans come with all the coveted features and benefits, but the free plan isn’t too bad either. Should you buy one of the paid subscription plans of WindScribe, or the free plan is just enough for you? Let’s take a look.
- Free version can be used even without an email address
- Safe and easy to use
- Torrenting is allowed
- Wide compatibility
- Works with Netflix
- Premium version is slow
- Uses ‘chatbots’ for customer support
Does VPN keep logs?
Compatible with TOR
Does it work in China?
Average Speed Tests
No (‘Firewall integrated instead)
Windows, Mac, Linux, Google Chrome, Firefox, Opera, iOS, Android, Blackberry, Amazon FireTV, Nvidia Shield, KODI, DD-WRT routers, Tomato routers, SockS5
Easy to Use
Ticket and email-based and chatbot support (along with setup guides, knowledge base, FAQs and one Reddit forum)
Free Version available (with limited features)
USD 9.00/mo for monthly plan
USD 4.08/mo for one-year plan (billed $49 USD annually)
USD 3.70/mo for two-year plan (billed $49 USD every two years)
WindScribe free version is great, but WindScribe Pro version is just outstanding! With a simplistic interface and ad and tracker blocking features, it’s ideal for anyone looking to browse the web with complete anonymity (and peace of mind). The servers are not alphabetically organized, but that’s definitely not a deal breaker. The VPN comes with a host of free add-ons to take delight in, such as a natty link-shortening feature. It has got dedicated servers for streaming content from sites like BBC iPlayer or Netflix (I will come to this later on), but you cannot get access to these premium ‘WINDFLIX’ locations if you are on the free plan. In fact, most of their excellent features are behind a paywall, but that’s almost a given. With a generous 10 GB data cap per month and pro-level features, the free version is also worth a try.
WindScribe Logging Policy
“We store total amount of bandwidth your account has consumed in 1 month period, which is reset every month on the day of your registration. This is used to enforce free tier limitations as well as prevent abuse. We do not store historical usage. We also store a timestamp of your last activity on the Windscribe network, this is done to weed out inactive accounts. We do not store connection logs, IP timestamps, or sites you visit (we are firm believer that one’s browsing history should be taken to one’s grave).”
Is It Compatible With TOR Browser?
Both TOR browser and VPN are effective in protecting your privacy online and bypassing internet censorship. If you use a VPN with TOR, your ISP would not be able to track whether you are using a TOR or not. WindScribe is totally compatible with TOR, and to use TOR with the VPN, you need to download and install the TOR browser first. You cannot access the TOR or Onion websites on the network without a TOR browser.
Is Torrenting Allowed?
A VPN can help you stay anonymous through your torrenting sessions by channelling your traffic through their encrypted tunnel, but a VPN is of no use if it doesn’t allow you unrestricted access to the internet. As for WindScribe, the VPN allows unlimited torrent downloads and P2P sharing. They technically allow torrenting and P2P sharing, and you can even find tutorials for configuring various torrent clients, including uTorrent, Deluge, qBittorrent and VUZE. But not all of their servers are torrent-friendly. You can download files using the BitTorrent client in any of their server locations, except in Japan, India and WindFlix. You need to connect to any other location and use a torrent client of your choice. It’s possibly the only VPN which allows P2P sharing and torrenting to their free account users too.
Can You Access Netflix with WindScribe?
At a time when VPN blocks by Netflix has implemented a curtain ban on all sorts of VPN services, very few VPNs have been able to provide an all-access ticket to binge watchers around the world. WindScribe is such a VPN that has taken their approach to unblocking Netflix to a whole new level. Although their normal servers do not work with Netflix (I tested three of their normal servers and none worked in my case), you can watch Netflix movies and shows using their WindFlix servers. I tested two of their WindFlix servers (US and UK, respectively) and both the servers worked for me. So in case you are wondering how to watch Netflix using a VPN, here’s the answer. You just need to find their Netflix-compatible servers.
Does It Work In China?
While I had big expectations from the VPN, I was not sure whether it would work in China or not, especially when many top-notch VPNs have failed to bypass China’s Great Firewall. Despite of China’s stringent censorship, the VPN works perfectly for its China-based users. They offer different connection modes, as I mentioned earlier, and if you want to access banned websites in China, you should switch to the Stealth mode, which encloses OpenVPN in a Transport Layer Security tunnel. This actually worked for me during a short trip to Beijing. If Stealth mode doesn’t work, you can take resort to the Wstunnel mode, which encloses OpenVPN in a WebSocket.
Are People Actually Looking For WindScribe Online?
Google Trends helps search marketers in a big way to get an idea of what topics in a particular niche are trending and it also helps them in predicting and analysing search trends. I decided to delve deep into the recent search trends for a number of search terms, including ‘WindScribe’. The recent search trends are astounding, to say the least. If you look at the screenshot taken from Google Trends, you will notice that the interest in the US region for this specific search term has grown by leaps and bounds in recent times, which clearly indicates that a lot of people are actually looking for the VPN service, or at least they want to know more about it. ‘WindScribe review’ is another popular search term in the US region too.
Can You Access Social Networking Websites?
Like all good VPNs, WindScribe also guarantees unrestricted access to social media websites, no matter where you are located. You can access top social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Instagra using WindScribe. However, the VPN also comes with an add-on worth mentioning, which might be handy for some users. Using the ‘Social Network Blocking’ feature, you can block FB ‘like’ buttons, and various widgets that track your browsing activities.
WindScribe Speed Tests (Download and Upload Speed)
WindScribe might be a good choice for binge-watchers and torrent users, but one area where the VPN falls behind its competitors is speed. WindScribe’s server speed is sluggish, to say the least. I tested its servers using Speedtest.net and a couple of other tools and the results were far from being satisfactory. The US Central server’s download speed was 29.74 Mbps, about 70% slower than the 98.71 Mbps download speed benchmark. The upload speed on the same server was about 96% slower than the 53.00 Mbps benchmark. The UK server and the EU server I tested also performed like a snail. Let me remind you that I used a “Premium” account for testing the speed.
Installation and Ease Of Use
I downloaded the VPN on my Windows system as well as on my Android phone and I must say that the entire downloading and installation thing was a piece of old tackie. The Windows setup file, sized 14.4 MB, only took a minute to get installed. The Windows client looks pretty basic and minimalistic and finding the server locations is quite easy. From there, if you start exploring, you can find a host of impressive features. Also, switching servers is as easy as it gets. Also, the mobile app would allow you access to only a fraction of their servers, which is a major downside.
How Good Is The Customer Support?
While some VPN service providers are still living in the Jurassic Age as they only offer forums, FAQs and ticket-based customer support systems, WindScribe has tried to play it smart by featuring a chatbot named Garry. As with any chatbot, Garry is only capable of sharing preset answers, which might or might not pertain to your question. Even if you raise a support ticket, you can only expect automated replies (another chatbot maybe?). Using ‘bots’ for customer support is good as long as the customer asks basic questions, but if you want replies to more complicated queries, you might have to shoot them an email and wait for hours for an appropriate and relevant response.
WindScribe Pricing Plans
1 Month$9 /month
- Billed $9 every month
1 Year$4.08 /month
- Save 55%
- Billed $49 every 12 months
Build a Plan$1 per location /month
- Billed $1.00 per location, per month
Besides the free plan, WindScribe also offers three paid plans. The monthly plan would set you back for 9 USD, whereas the yearly plan would cost you 4.08 USD every month. Regarding the third plan I suppose the company made an experiment as you can now build your own plan. “Build a Plan” allows you to include any location for $1/month each with 20 GB bandwidth, if you want unlimited bandwidth + R.O.B.E.R.T you will have to pay additional $1/month. Eg. WINDFLIX US servers + Unlimited data would cost you $2/month.
You can pay using credit card, PayPal or Bitcoin. They do have a refund policy as well, but there’s a catch. In case you are unhappy with the service, you have to ask for a refund within 3 days and you cannot use more than 10GB bandwidth within that period. If you fail to fulfil any of these conditions, your money is gone.
Should You Buy It?
WindScribe is a reliable VPN service with a number of add-ons. The server pool is not very big, but it definitely offers more anonymity than many of the VPN services I tested out. However, the best part of the VPN is the extras that come along with the VPN service. It’s not a speedy VPN although, and if speed is the biggest factor for you, I would recommend ExpressVPN, which is one of the fastest VPNs at this moment. You can always test out the free version which would definitely help you get a sneak peak of the features and benefits that this VPN truly offers.
- FREE version
- Torrenting and Netflix support
- Ability to build a custom plan