Free VPN service
If you’ve been researching VPNs, you must have seen the advice to never use a free VPN. The majority of free VPNs are low quality, limited, full of ads and sometimes even malware-infested services. See our VPN blacklist for examples. But it doesn’t have to be so. Windscribe, A Canadian startup has figured out how to give an extremely generous free VPN service to the world while maintaining high standards of service and software.
Besides, who can argue with free?
Windscribe Company Information
Windscribe is a Canadian startup whose mission is to create easy yet powerfull privacy and anti-surveillance tools. The founders have realized that a VPN by itself doesn’t provide 100% privacy and anonymity. When using a VPN you are still tracked by multiple trackers which plant surveillance cookies in your browser. Your browser can also be easily “fingerprinted” due to a unique combination of data points that browsers give away by default: user agent string, installed plugins and other information about your device.
Windscribe’s idea is to solve this problem with a seamless combo of a VPN and a browser plugin that blocks tracking cookies and randomizes the browser’s fingerprints. You don’t need anymore to try to juggle different VPN apps, ad blocker and other browser plugins recommended in various privacy guides. Windscribe’s tools work in synergy to protect your privacy and give you all the other VPN benefits.
In just one year of operation, Windscribe has reached 1 million users.
WindScribe Pricing & Plans
Windscribe has two tiers of service.
Limited to one device, 8 locations and 2 GB of data monthly . After you verify your email, it becomes 10 GB monthly!
This is already generous compared to the other free VPN providers, but currently Windscribe is running a crazy promotion: 50GB monthly completely for free. Keep reading to find out how to get this promotion or click here to go to the details.
You can only use the free tier service via their official client and browser extension. OpenVPN and IKEv2 configurations are only available for paid members.
Windscribe neither injects ads nor sells your data to third parties like some unscrupulous “free” VPN vendors. The only way they make money is from the paid tier of service. With the paid tier you get unlimited bandwidth, 45 locations and the option to use the VPN with any OpenVPN or IKEv2 client.
It costs $9/m if charged monthly or $90 for the whole year. And there is yet another promotion running, which gives you a lifetime subscription to the service for only $79.
Refunds are given, no questions asked, within 3 days of purchase (unless the customer has used more than 10 GB of traffic).
Signing Up and Ease Of Use
It’s very easy to start using Windscribe for free 50GB of monthly bandwidth. Just sign up using this link and provide an email (it can be a throwaway).
After confirming your email and receiving a Chuck Norris approval GIF, go to your account setting, click on claim voucher and enter the code 50GBFREE
After you claim the voucher, your account will be upgraded.
Now, download the extension for the browser that you use and the client for your device: Windows, Mac, Linux or an iPhone. Android app is still not available but it’s coming very soon.
Where Windscribe really shines is the slickness and the ease of use of their apps.
All the features are easy to find and to modify. The different locations are clearly marked with their connection speed and in some rare cases “no p2p” icon. The firewall (killswitch feature) is very prominent in the app UI.
Same goes for the browser extension
Very easy to change location and to modify privacy features.
Browser extension is what differentiates Windscribe from other VPN providers. While the extension works on its own, the best way to use Windscribe is to run both the app and the extension.
The browser extension features much needed privacy features like ad blocking, tracker blocking, social media blocking (when you’re really tired of the Facebook like button everywhere – just block it) and user agent string randomization. This stops ad companies from tracking you, which they do if you’re connected with just a VPN.
Privacy and Anonymity
Since we store the bare minimum for a customer to actually use our service, any request for user data would yield nothing of value. We do not store any logs on who used what IP address, so we cannot tie user activity to any single user.
Windscribe is engaged in a lot of privacy advocacy online. They make a strong effort to educate users about privacy concepts.
Support is available by submitting a ticket to the support desk or by direct email. In my testing, I’ve received a quick reply to a submitted support ticket.
Detailed setup guides are available for the supported platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, popular browsers, Android, iOS, routers and even a NAS device.
Server Speed & Reliability
I have tested both the free and the paid tiers of Windscribe VPN.
The speeds on both tiers were similar and I haven’t detected any discrimination of free users.
Connection without VPN:
Connection speed with Windscribe VPN (Singapore location):
Connection speed with Windscribe VPN (US East location):
Windscribe doesn’t have a server status page, instead the app shows connection speed bars next to each location. This way you know which location will have fast download speed – usually it will be the one close to you geographically.
According to the company’s response, the “status page” is the actual application’s location selection menu. It’s updated in real time. Individual servers are not exposed, only locations which have multiple servers.
File sharing is fine from almost all of Windscribe’s locations. The app shows a “p2p banned” icon next to the locations that don’t allow p2p file sharing. During my testing, the only location that didn’t allow file sharing was India.
Windscribe offers advanced features that every modern VPN must have:
By default, traffic is configured to always go through the VPN. If the VPN connection drops, your traffic will be blocked by the firewall so you don’t leak your actual IP.
Windscribe offers a stealth VPN mode where your traffic is routed through a port normally used by basic Internet applications (like telnet or FTP). This circumvents the Chinese censorship of VPN traffic.
Double Hop (Cascaded Connection)
Your traffic can be routed through two different VPN locations, thus making it more complicated to track you. This is implemented in an ingenious way: you connect to location #1 in the Windscribe app, then connect to location #2 in the Windscribe browser extension.
This Windscribe extension feature automatically connects you to the location closest to you and also helps you circumvent geo-blocked content.
Windows, Mac, iOS: native app
Linux, Android: pro only with OpenVPN configuration
Browser extension – Chrome, Firefox, Opera
Additionally can be configured on routers that support OpenVPN
While testing, I have detected no DNS or IPv6 leaks.