Windscribe, a Canadian company that is innovative and offers a free VPN service, has many ways to stand out among the rest.
Although the plan offers 10GB data, Atlas VPN, Hide.me, and other providers offer similar services, Windscribe is better than the rest because it supports unlimited devices and simultaneous connections. It can be installed and used wherever and whenever you want.
The 14 locations spread across 11 countries is more than the rest of the competition. Not only are we talking about the standard choices. There’s also a UK server, Turkey, and Hong Kong.
The free plan does not force you to use overloaded servers that are ‘free’, which can cause slowdowns at peak times. Although your data may be limited, free users can still benefit from the same performance (more details later).
R.O.B.E.R.T is Windscribe’s DNS blocking tool, which offers interesting bonus features. This blocks trackers, ads and malware by default. However, you can use it to filter pornography and other social networks.
You can open an account even without your email address if you want to try a VPN before making a decision. Although you’ll only get 2GB of data per month, it’s still enough to test the apps and determine if they are reliable.
Windscribe says there is no long-term log, except for the data usage. Image credit: Windscribe
Privacy and logging
Windscribe apps offer maximum privacy with strong AES256 encryption, support of the highly secure WireGuard and OpenVPN protocols, multiple layers and leak protection, and a firewall that blocks internet access if VPN is lost (akin to a kill switch).
This isn’t just marketing hype. Windscribe was able to protect us from DNS leaks in all cases. We tested multiple sites to verify this. No matter what we did to force the VPN connection to be dropped, no matter what other extreme methods we tried, Windscribe blocked internet access instantly and protected our data.
This sounds fantastic, but there isn’t any evidence to support it. Windscribe has not yet been subject to a security audit or no-logging audit, so potential customers won’t be able to verify that it is living up the promises. However, we hear this might change soon and will pay close attention to any reports.
Desktop clients achieve a nice balance between being compact and stylish (Image credit to Windscribe).
Windows and Mac apps
Windscribe’s open-source desktop apps are stylish and compact, but still allow for all sorts of options and status details. Some technical references are also provided – UDP 443, Firewall, and a network icon. This might be a bit intimidating for newbies to VPN. These technical references are not necessary, however, the apps are easy to use.
To get started, click the Connect button to connect to the Windscribe server closest to you. Or you can hit Locations and select your city from the drop-down menu. You will need to scroll down or manually search for the locations in the app’s free list. Otherwise, it’s easy enough.
During the review, we didn’t experience any problems with connection. Each server was connected the first time. Connection times were fast at approximately 2-4 seconds. We also didn’t experience any unexpected drop in connection speeds.
If you decide to make a change to something, life can become more complicated. Head to the Settings box to do so. But that’s mostly due to how configurable they are (we counted over 40 settings).
You don’t have to understand everything, but you can look it up on our support site. There are many more simple options available.
Windscribe is extremely configurable and detailed when it comes VPN settings. Image credit: Windscribe
You can choose to launch the app automatically when your device is started. You can change the look of the app, such as a background or custom background. In a few clicks, you can change protocols (IKEv2, OpenVPN and WireGuard). There are also unexpectedly powerful additional features, such as the ability to set up your device to be a Wi-Fi hotspot and allow other devices to use the Windscribe connection.
Windscribe’s configuration is not important if you are looking for VPN simplicity and don’t care about extra control or options. It might be better to use a simpler service like TunnelBear.
For everyone else, however, there is plenty to love. While you may not be able to understand all settings and options, Windscribe’s apps can be used at a basic level. It’s helpful to have these additional tweaks to help you if you need them.
This is the iOS app. It’s a commendable effort.
Android and iOS apps
Windscribe’s mobile apps are more traditional than their desktop versions. Even the most experienced VPN novices can quickly figure the basics: select a location, click Connect to start, then Disconnect when you’re done. There are some real surprises if you want more configuration.
Choose the protocol you prefer. You might be able to choose a protocol and then have it applied every time you connect. Windscribe lets you set custom options for each network. For example, you could set Windscribe for speed and OpenVPN/IKEv2 to access more complex networks where WireGuard is not always available. Although it is a small detail and probably not something you will ever use, it will be a useful feature if you do.
Windscribe’s iOS app is not as powerful as Android, but it offers you control over its look and feel, the choice of protocols (IKEv2, OpenVPN and WireGuard), and the R.O.B.E.R.T tracker, content blocker and ad-blocker.
It doesn’t matter if you use these capabilities, but it’s nice to see a provider that doesn’t exclude key features from the free app in an effort to persuade users to upgrade. For example, Hide.me’s no-cost plan does not include WireGuard. Hotspot Shield’s product is free but doesn’t offer a kill switch. Windscribe’s offering is much more powerful and the type of product that you may want to use over time.
Windscribe’s free plan will likely be enough fast for your needs. (Image credit to nPerf).
Windscribe is unique in that it doesn’t throttle speeds or force all users to use the same low-powered hardware. But is this really what happens?
Windscribe was tested from a UK datacenter with a 1Gbps connection. The results were favorable with average download speeds of 240Mbps. It’s not the fastest VPN we’ve ever seen, though it is faster than others like PrivadoVPN and TunnelBear.
Windscribe’s Free Plan doesn’t include Windflix servers. However, Windscribe offers specialist support to unblock Netflix. Although it didn’t work with Netflix US, Amazon Prime Video, or Disney Plus, there were some successes. We were able unblock UK Netflix using the free service.
The apps worked well for us. However, VPNs can be complex and there are always issues. Windscribe’s support team can be reached by email. We have found that they are able to identify issues and explain how to fix them.
Although it isn’t the fastest or most user-friendly service, Windscribe Free VPN’s 10GB data allowance, 14 locations and open-source, feature-packed apps make it one of the best VPNs available.
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