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Windscribe VPN review Australia

Windscribe continues to be a competitive VPN that excels at tackling streaming services.

Windscribe
Windscribe VPN
4 out of 5 stars
4
Price
US$9/mth
Locations
112
Simultaneous connections
Unlimited
Nathan Lawrence
Mar 20, 2023
Icon Time To Read5 min read

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When I first reviewed Windscribe in 2020, it proved to be a virtual private network (VPN) that was great in some areas but lacking in others. Fast-forward to more recent times, and while Windscribe doesn’t manage to topple the likes of NordVPN or ExpressVPN as great all-rounder VPNs, it has some impressive wins in some key areas that make it worth considering.

Windscribe VPN pricing and plans

Plan
Monthly price
Upfront payment
Detail
One-month Windscribe VPN planUS$9US$9
One-year Windscribe VPN planUS$5.75US$69
Windscribe VPN build-a-planFrom US$1From US$1
Windscribe VPN plan pricing effective as of publication. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

Windscribe is the VPN to use if you love to stream, speedily bypassing the geoblocks for all of our test services. This crowning achievement is helped along by competitive monthly pricing, fast Australian servers and a great free version to try. Annual pricing isn’t overly competitive, though, and US download speeds are particularly slow. It’s great that Windscribe has an extra layer of anonymity by not requiring an email at sign-up, but it’s headquartered in Toronto, which means there is the potential for user data sharing.

pro
Pros
pro Speedy streaming powerhouse
pro Fast Australian servers
pro Great free version
con
Cons
con Expensive annual pricing
con Slow US download speeds
con Data-sharing headquarters

Windscribe VPN prices and plans compared

Windscribe offers monthly and annual subscriptions as well as a build-a-plan option, all charged in US dollars. The monthly plan has the third cheapest pricing of the VPNs we’re reviewed, only behind Mullvad VPN and PrivadoVPN. While that’s great, the annual pricing leaves a lot to be desired, only just squeezing into the top 10 for pricing.

While Windscribe has a terrible money-back guarantee (only three days), there is a viable free VPN version to take for a spin if you want to try before you buy. By default, it comes with 2GB per month, but you can up that to 10GB by providing an email address. Plus, there’s bonus data for tweeting, referring and other promotions.

Compare Windscribe VPN prices to other VPN prices

Brand
Price
View plans
Countries/locations
Details
From US$12.99/mo60/83Best VPN
From AU$19.79/mo84/146Stacks of servers
From US$12.95/mo113/151Very user-friendly
From AU$19.99/mo82/112Fast speeds
From US$10.99/mo99/142Unlimited connections
From US$7.99/mth55/82Unlimited connections
From AU$59.99/yr29/29Bundles well with antivirus

Windscribe VPN connectivity and user experience

Like every VPN, Windscribe is free to download. Unlike most VPNs, providing an email address during sign-up is optional. Granted, it has bonus-data benefits for Windscribe free users, plus it’s the only way to reset your password, so it’s worth adding this identifying credential. That said, the option to not include an email address is great news for people who want an extra level of privacy from a VPN.

The Windscribe app itself is pretty lean in its design. With the Windows software, there’s a big connect/disconnect button that’s impossible to miss. Windscribe remembers the last server connection and automatically recommends it, otherwise you can dig into the locations list. Connection times are fantastic: about two seconds to connect and almost instantaneous disconnection.

By default, the so-called Firewall is enabled, which is the term Windscribe uses for its internet kill switch. On paper, a kill switch offers extra peace of mind to ensure your connection is always connected. But there are multiple varieties, and Windscribe defaults to the strictest form, which means you need to maintain a constant server connection to even use the internet on your device. You can, however, dig into the settings and tweak it to be more lenient so it only kills your internet in the event of an unexpected VPN server disconnection (aka the better variety).

When I first reviewed Windscribe, I had a lot of issues with the Windows software. Mostly, it was slow to connect and disconnect, server connections sometimes failed and it was, generally, inconsistent to use. That’s not the case this time around. Windscribe worked with every bit of daily software I threw at it, including torrent tests, while it connects/disconnects so quickly that it doesn’t disrupt real-time internet services like music streaming.

One of the neatest Windscribe extras, which is part of what makes it a great pick for a VPN that also acts as an ad-blocker, is the R.O.B.E.R.T. tool. By default, malware, ads and trackers are toggled on within the Windscribe Windows software. But there are also toggles for the following categories that you may want to block:

  • Social networks
  • Porn
  • Gambling
  • Clickbait
  • Other VPNs
  • Crypto

While there are clear scenarios for almost all of those extras, particularly for parents, the addition of “Other VPNs” is on the cringe side of the cheeky scale.

Windscribe VPN supported devices

Windscribe offers unlimited simultaneous connections and is supported on a great range of devices:

  • Windows PCs
  • Mac computers
  • Linux computers
  • Google Chrome
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Opera
  • Android devices
  • iOS devices
  • Windows Mobile

Windscribe VPN speeds and streaming

Unless your internet provider is throttling your speeds, you can safely a VPN service to impact your latency and download/upload speeds. To highlight this, the table below shows the midday speeds for Windscribe with an Aussie Broadband 100/40Mbps Fibre-to-the-Curb (FTTC) connection.

Windscribe VPN server latency and speeds from Australia

VPN server
Download speed
Upload speed
Latency
No VPN79Mbps38.19Mbps6ms
AU VPN (auto, fastest)75.62Mbps (~4% slower)36.59Mbps (~4% slower)8ms (2ms change)
US VPN (auto, fastest)39.36Mbps (~50% slower)32Mbps (~16% slower)143ms (137ms slower)
UK VPN (auto, fastest)56.13Mbps (~29% slower)27.31Mbps (~28% slower)263ms (257ms slower)

The first thing worth noting is I’m not getting great NBN download speeds for a 100Mbps plan (an unfortunate hang-up from my Superloop NBN days). As for Windscribe, it has excellent results for the automatically selected Sydney server (I’m also in Sydney) with a negligible impact to download, upload and latency.

Things get weirder for the Los Angeles server tests, which boast great upload and latency numbers, but a comparatively hefty impact to download speeds. To highlight the point, my tests to a Windscribe London server have faster download speeds than the Los Angeles results. That doesn’t normally happen with VPN speed tests from Australia, and it was repeated in multiple tests. Admittedly, those UK upload and latency results are decent.

Windscribe VPN streaming

For those who don’t mind running the risk of having their streaming services blocked or banned, a VPN can be used to stream content from geoblocked libraries overseas. A VPN that’s great for streaming should work across popular US, UK and Australian streaming services, loading content libraries in a timely way while buffering content quickly and without errors.

In terms of the table below, buffering speeds are rated accordingly:

  • Fast (1–5 seconds)
  • Moderate (5–15 seconds)
  • Slow (15–25 seconds)
  • Extremely slow (slower than 25 seconds)

Windscribe VPN performance with popular streaming services

Streaming service
Windscribe VPN compatible?
Buffering speed
Netflix USYesFast
HBO MaxYesFast
HuluYesFast
PeacockYesFast
BBC iPlayerYesFast
KayoYesFast
Stan (including Stan Sport)YesFast

When I first tested Windscribe in 2020, it was the best VPN around for bypassing the geoblocks of streaming services. When re-testing for this updated review, the results are the same. Most content loads at blistering speeds, and everything I tested worked as though I was watching it from the country it’s meant for. The only disclaimer there is Kayo Sports has gotten better at sniffing out Windscribe. To get around this, I had to do some location switching with the Australian servers to get it going.

The table below gives you an idea of how Windscribe might work with your NBN connection. It uses the best-case download speeds to give you an idea of how the best-case 50% and 29% download speed changes for US and UK servers, respectively, might impact your overall download speed when using Windscribe.

The three columns on the right offer a number of simultaneous streams per connection. While Netflix has a maximum of four simultaneous streams per 4K account, Hulu and BBC iPlayer have options for unlimited streams. We know these stream numbers get ridiculous for beyond-NBN 100 plans, but they’re a good indication of speed degradation.

Windscribe VPN speeds for popular 4K international streaming services

NBN speed tier
Max NBN download
Windscribe VPN download
Netflix US 4K (25Mbps)
Hulu 4K (16Mbps)
BBC iPlayer (24Mbps)
NBN 1212Mbps6Mbps (US) 8.52Mbps (UK)Too slowToo slowToo slow
NBN 2525Mbps12.5Mbps (US) 17.75Mbps (UK)Too slowToo slowToo slow
NBN 5050Mbps25Mbps (US) 35.5Mbps (UK)1 stream1 stream1 stream
NBN 100100Mbps50Mbps (US) 71Mbps (UK)2 streams3 streams2 stream
NBN 250250Mbps125Mbps (US) 177.5Mbps (UK)4+ streams7 streams7 streams
NBN 500500Mbps250Mbps (US) 355Mbps (UK)4+ streams15 streams14 streams
NBN 1000600Mbps300Mbps (US) 426Mbps (UK)4+ streams18 streams17 streams

Should I buy Windscribe VPN?

Windscribe is a great all-rounder VPN. It has competitive monthly pricing, a viable free version and is second to none for streaming. Still, the inconsistent international speed results, bare-bolts user interface, undisclosed server count and a data-sharing headquarters hold it back from being wholly recommendable.

Windscribe VPN FAQs

Yes, Windscribe is a good VPN, particularly if you want to use it for fast Australian connection speeds and/or streaming geoblocked content.

Windscribe is a trustworthy VPN with military-grade encryption and extra efforts to preserve user anonymity, including the option to sign up without providing an email address. That said, Windscribe’s headquarters is in a data-sharing location, and it doesn’t have RAM servers, which means that data can be stored and potentially leaked.

There really is a free version of Windscribe, but there are also reasonably priced and less-competitively-priced annual alternatives.

Nathan Lawrence
Written by
Nathan Lawrence
Nathan Lawrence has been banging out passionate tech and gaming words for more than 11 years. These days, you can find his work on outlets like IGN, STACK, Fandom, Red Bull and AusGamers. Nathan adores PC gaming and the proof of his first-person-shooter prowess is at the top of a Battlefield V scoreboard.

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