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Glancing at Windscribe’s homepage, you might think you’re looking at a generic VPN service. As you dig deeper into the site, though, that misconception fades fast: This VPN’s generous free tier and the long list of features make it stand out. But, as numerous as they are, are these the right features for your unique needs? Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about the Windscribe VPN.
Security and privacy are hard to find on the modern internet. Ads follow you wherever you go. Regardless of when you’re reading this page, there’s probably a recent hack or data breach in the news. In this mad world, VPNs are among the easiest and most reliable ways to secure your internet connection.
For cord cutters, VPNs are also useful for getting access to the best streaming content. By allowing you to change your apparent browsing location, VPNs can give you access to all kinds of region-restricted content. Sadly, streaming services are constantly improving their ability to block VPNs, so only some VPNs successfully offer access to this content.
Now that you know why VPNs matter, let’s talk about Windscribe. Windscribe’s VPN plan offers access to VPN servers in more than 60 countries. On the paid plan, you can connect with an unlimited number of devices simultaneously with no bandwidth limit.
Windscribe offers a lot of customizability, including options for WireGuard, OpenVPN, and IKEv2 VPN protocols, three of the best options for security and privacy. On most devices, the service offers two additional VPN protocols: Stealth and WStunnel, which are variants of OpenVPN. These two protocols are slower, but they can bypass the VPN blocks that some countries and internet service providers have put in place. These protocols offer more flexibility than you’d get with a simpler VPN like TunnelBear, but without including inferior security protocols that you’d find available with IPVanish and some other highly customizable VPNs.
Another feature that helps Windscribe stand out is its domain and IP blocking tool, called “R.O.B.E.R.T.” This feature lets you block known sources of ads or malware as well as several specific content types, like pornography, social networking, gambling, and fake news. You can also set up to 1,000 custom rules if there are specific domains that you want to block or unblock.
One other feature worth noting is Windscribe’s split tunneling option. This allows you to run some applications through the VPN while other apps use your standard internet connection. This way, you can access websites and apps that block VPN access without losing protection for your other apps. Currently, split tunneling is only available on Windscribe’s Android and Fire TV apps, but they have stated that it is coming soon to Windows, Mac, and Linux.
Windscribe does not yet have apps for Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, Smart TVs, or video game consoles (PS4, Xbox One, etc.). You can still protect these devices by installing the Windscribe app on your router, but it won’t offer the same device-specific level of control. They also have free browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox.
Here is the full list of devices that have Windscribe apps:
Windscribe’s standard paid tier costs $9 per month. If you are willing to pay in advance, they do have an annual plan for $49 per year ($4.08 per month). Both of these options include unlimited data and Windscribe’s ad- and IP-blocking tool, “R.O.B.E.R.T.”
There is also a build-your-own plan that charges based on the number of VPN locations that you want access to. The pricing for that plan is $1 per month per location purchased. You’ll get 10 GB per month of data for each location you purchase, and R.O.B.E.R.T. is not included. For an additional $1 per month, you can add unlimited data and R.O.B.E.R.T. to this plan. There is a $2 minimum monthly payment, so you either need to purchase two or more locations or one or more locations and the unlimited data and R.O.B.E.R.T. option. In order to purchase static IP addresses, you’ll need to either pick a standard plan or add unlimited data to your custom plan.
Windscribe sometimes offer promo codes with discounts on their annual plan. None are active as of this writing, but the annual plan and the build-your-own plans do offer a potential discount on Windscribe’s service. Depending on your needs, the free plan covered in the next section may also be a good option.
Windscribe also has a referral program. For each person that you refer that signs up for a monthly plan, you get a free month of service. If they sign up for an annual plan instead, you get a free year of service.
Most VPNs offer either a free trial or a limited free tier. Windscribe’s free tier starts you at 2 GB of data per month with an upgrade to 10 GB if you provide and confirm your email address. You can then get an additional 5 GB of data by tweeting about Windscribe’s VPN. Every friend you refer gives you another 1 GB of data when they sign up for a free account (and they get an extra 1 GB too). Altogether, that gives you 15+ GB of data per month. That likely won’t be enough if you stream lots of HD content, but it is more than enough for trying out Windscribe.
There are a couple of other limitations to the free tier. Several of the VPN servers are only available for paid customers, leaving the free servers likely to get more crowded and thus suffer from slowdown. You also cannot purchase static IP addresses on the free tier, and you are limited to three custom R.O.B.E.R.T. rules instead of 1,000.
There are no contracts with Windscribe. Their annual plan does require you to pay for a year in advance, however. Their money-back guarantee only lasts until 3 days have passed or you’ve used 20 GB of data, whichever comes first. Either way, you are unlikely to get your money back if you choose to cancel your service.
On the “My Account” page, you’ll see a button that says “Claim Voucher.” Directly below that is a tiny link to “Cancel Subscription.” Click the link and follow the prompts to cancel your paid account. Once you’ve canceled your paid subscription, you can completely delete your account by clicking the “Delete Account” link a few rows up on the account page.
Decisions about security and privacy should not be taken lightly, and we aim to provide you with all the information you need. If you want to know more, our Windscribe review will tell you all about what it’s like to use this service. You can also find information on other VPNs in our best VPNs of 2021 list or by typing “VPN” into the search bar at the top of this page.