A look at Windscribe VPN'S R.O.B.E.R.T domain blocking tool

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 12, 2019
Updated • Mar 12, 2019

Windscribe is a VPN provider that is known for its good free offering and commercial plans, and even an option to build a custom plan.

Free accounts are limited in terms of server locations, bandwidth, and available protocols. Free accounts get 10 Gigabytes of traffic when they add an email address and verify it; this could be increased to 50 Gigabytes previously, but the coupon does not work anymore. It is still possible to double the limit to 20 Gigabytes though.

The domain blocking tool R.O.B.E.R.T. is included in free and Pro accounts but the free version is limited to malware blocking and three custom rules.

Windscribe launched an updated version of the tool recently that introduces categories that you may block, options to toggle lists individually, and custom access rules.

A look at R.O.B.E.R.T.

R.O.B.E.R.T. is a DNS-level blocker to block certain types of connections and custom connections right away.

The main advantage that DNS-level blockers offer is that the blocking happens before the content is analyzed, downloaded, rendered, or executed by the browser or applications.

Select R.O.B.E.R.T. on the Windscribe website after signing in to configure the feature. Pro customers may disable it entirely by switching all enabled blockers to "allowing" in the interface.

  • Blocking -- Windscribe blocks connections that match hostnames or IP addresses that is on the list, e.g. Malware list.
  • Allowing -- No blocking takes place.

The blocker blocks malware automatically for all accounts, and may block "ads + trackers", social, porn, gambling, fake news, other VPNs, and Cryptominers for Pro account customers.

The blocking is automated just like it is when you block connections using a hosts file or other DNS-based blocking options. There is no option, however, to check the list of blocked domains; could be a problem if you run into false positive issues.

Custom Rules work similarly. You may set up rules for individual domains to allow or block them. Blocking blocks connections to the domain, whitelisting bypasses R.O.B.E.R.T.'s default filters to allow connections to the domain.

Free users are limited to three custom rules, the limit is increased to 1000 for Pro users.

Changes that you make to the configuration take effect immediately (provided that you are connected to a Windscribe server).

Closing Words

DNS-based blocking is a useful feature as it works on the entire device and not just in individual applications. The blocking works as expected; connections are blocked to domains on default or custom lists.

Windscribe improved R.O.B.E.R.T. recently but there is still room for improvement.

I'd like to see options to access a log of blocked connections and domains that are on block lists, and options to manage these lists individually. Doing so would move the functionality closer to content blocker extensions like uBlock Origin that users install in browsers.

Free users have to use it, Pro users can use it. An option for free users to turn this off would be welcome as well.

Now You: Does your VPN offer filtering and blocking options? Do you (would you) use them?

A look at Windscribe VPN'S R.O.B.E.R.T domain blocking tool
Article Name
A look at Windscribe VPN'S R.O.B.E.R.T domain blocking tool
The domain blocking tool R.O.B.E.R.T. is included in free and Pro accounts but the free version is limited to malware blocking and three custom rules.
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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between name.com domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

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