VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) are becoming increasingly popular. For some users, they are an essential tool for keeping personal details and information private whilst online.
They’re designed to mask your online activity and are used to prevent hackers from spying on you on public networks. VPNs can be used on any WiFi network, even your home network, as they come in the form of software installed on a device.
As they are becoming more popular, there is a breadth of companies that offer VPN services. To get the most out of a company’s VPN service, there is usually some cost involved, by way of a monthly or yearly subscription.
However, many of these companies offer free trials, refer-a-friend promotions, or just a free version of the software.
With all the above in mind, we will be taking a deep dive into one of the best-known VPN services out there, Windscribe VPN.
Windscribe VPN Detailed Overview
Windscribe is renowned in the VPN industry for being their light-hearted approach to their customers without compromising on taking privacy and security seriously. Despite having some issues, Windscribe VPN is safe to use.
Like all VPNs, Windscribe works by encrypting your browsing activity, blocking ads and malware whilst also unblocking entertainment content.
By hiding your IP address, Windscribe VPN allows you to access region-specific entertainment content. In practical terms, by setting your VPN to a server-based in another country (this might sound more technical than it is) you can access that countries entertainment content.
Windscribe VPN’s global network of servers isn’t to be scoffed at. They offer locations in 110 cities across 63 countries. Whilst other companies claim that their servers are physically located in various countries but they are located predominantly in the US and Europe.
Windscribe VPN claims that they have servers in the countries they offer.
In terms of usability, Windscribe VPN has a diverse range of apps for Windows, Mac, Android, Linux, and iOS operating systems. There are also Firefox, Opera, and Chrome extensions/plugins which give advanced connectivity.
They have handy guides on the Windscribe Website to help you set up their VPN service on routers, Amazon Fire TV, Kodi, and any other OpenVPN-enabled device.
In terms of the look and functionality of Windscribe’s apps, they look fantastic and do a fine job of blocking any DNS leaks.
In terms of internet speed, Windscribe VPN can’t quite hold its own compared to other major VPN providers. That being said it’s certainly capable of getting respectable download speeds. In certain speed tests in the UK, the download speed was in the 430-480Mbps range.
However, in the US this speed dropped to the 150Mbps mark even with WireGuard.
If you’re wondering whether Windscribe keeps any logs it’s worth noting that the company keeps logging to a minimum. The total bandwidth used in a month along with a timestamp of your last activity is the only two pieces of information logged.
With regards to connection details, these are recorded temporarily in RAM and are lost when the session closes.
One main downside of Windscribe VPN is its inability to stream geo-specific content from Netflix US. This wasn’t always the case and could be because Netflix might have had some VPN blocking upgrades.
However, some of the major VPN providers have already found workarounds for this and seem to be ahead of the curve. Other entertainment providers, like BBC iPlayer, Disney +, and Amazon Prime Video were all unblocked and accessible with Windscribe VPN.
Technical Features of Windscribe VPN
The Kill Switch is a common feature of many VPN providers. This feature tends to be exclusive to Windows, Mac, and Linux clients.
If the VPN suspects that it has been compromised, the kill switch can be tested by forcibly closing the VPN connection, it will block all internet traffic temporarily.
It also limits IPv6 traffic and will redirect DNS traffic through the VPN.
This is a very useful feature. With Split Tunneling, you can choose which applications access the internet directly and which go via the VPN. It’s important as some apps, like mobile banking apps, don’t allow use whilst through a VPN.
So instead of turning off your VPN for the device, Split Tunneling allows you to turn off the VPN for a particular app.
In recent years, VPN protocols have gotten major upgrades. WireGuard is one of these upgrades.
Even though it’s relatively new, WireGuard has gained overall popularity and acceptance by the cybersecurity community.
WireGuard works with under 5,000 lines of code. This means that it is far more simple in terms of coding weight than other protocols of the same nature. This translates to a multitude of benefits for VPNs with WireGuard.
With less code comes fewer bugs and fewer security vulnerabilities.
We have outlined one of the main supported protocols above (WireGuard) but it is worth mentioning that OpenVPN, IKEv2, Stealth, and WStunnel are also in the list of Windscribes’ supported protocols.
That being said, it can be easier to set protocols to automatic and allow the client to decide.
ROBERT is Windscribe’s bespoke DNS-based tool that blocks ads, malware, trackers, and different internet content types (‘clickbait,’ gambling, and ‘fake news’ for example).
Unlike most DNS blacklists available from other providers and desktop content filtering plugins, ROBERT is exceptionally powerful. It gives you greater control and has great configurability.
One of the best features of the Windscribe family of software is its browser extensions. These addons are very powerful and effective with the bonus of being completely free to use.
They are proxies of the VPN, so they only protect browser traffic. If you need the VPN for simple browsing tasks they’re the most convenient option.
Like all reputable VPN providers, Windscribe makes use of military-grade AES-256 level encryption and SHA512 authentication.
When logging in to a new device, or logging in for the first time, Windscribe uses 4096-bit RSA and a one-time key for each use.
Pros and Cons in Detail
- Extremely generous free plan: Without having to give as much as an email address you have access to a 2GB limit, which might be enough for getting the job done. If you are OK with giving an email address this 2GB jumps to 10GB.
- Amazing amount of features: Even in the free version of Windscribe, many of the features listed above are available to you. Some of these features might seem unusual to the seasoned VPN user. However, they do add genuine value to the service.
- User friendly: The User Interface across the Windscribe suite of apps and extensions is well thought out and very convenient. With a few clicks, you can change your location or hide your IP address for added security.
- Lack of Customer Support: Unlike many leading VPN providers, Windscribe doesn’t have 24/7 technical support. There is a dedicated FAQ website that covers a range of issues, devices, and OSs. That said, Windscribe deals with all support issues in-house, so whilst you might not get a swift response these should be more detailed and well-informed.
Even if you’re a complete novice in the world of VPNs, Windscribe offers a reliable and accessible service. There are multiple payment options available should you want to upgrade, and each of these is well-priced for what you get.
The speed tests left a lot to be desired but we think that this is a relatively small downside compared with the effectiveness and level of online protection Windscribe offers.
If you’re looking for a VPN that can unblock Netflix US, however, Windscribe VPN isn’t for you.
The lack of 24/7 customer support might be off-putting or frustrating to some, particularly if you’re new to using a VPN.
All in all, Windscribe has its charms and is exceedingly good value for both the free and paid versions. Its extensive features on the free version mean you can literally try before you buy.
Whilst VPN services are readily available for anyone, we do not endorse the use of these services for illegal or malicious purposes.