Q&A Windscribe ControlID - has anyone used it, if so what do you think of it?

windscribe

From Windscribe
Verified
Developer
Dec 28, 2016
80
I took a gamble on Windscribe VPN back in the early days and got a 'lifetime' licence (which I hope they are going to honour!) I do think its a good VPN and it has got much better over time- for instance it now unblocks BBC iPlayer etc, appears to strip advertisements from some TV streaming sites and can even bypass some paywalls. Very impressive.

Control ID sounds interesting. However, I don't really understand what it does exactly- Windscribe should perhaps consider make this clearer on their website for dummies like myself. On the face of it, I'm not sure I would get any extra benefit from using it. But I'll give it a try once I understand what it does exactly.
Look at this basic comparison matrix, it should give you a "noob friendly" explanation: Compare ControlD to Other Services
 

cliffspab

Level 3
Oct 4, 2019
130
I tried ControlD, and thought it was pretty good. I found the streaming support less reliable than dns4me, though. And the ever so slightly arrogant customer service was also not quite as justified by their product as the tone of the communications implied.

I'm currently back using dns4me with AdGuard despite buying a year of ControlD, although I'll keep trying it every now and again as it has potential, especially the always-on proxy. I really liked that.
 

windscribe

From Windscribe
Verified
Developer
Dec 28, 2016
80
I tried ControlD, and thought it was pretty good. I found the streaming support less reliable than dns4me, though. And the ever so slightly arrogant customer service was also not quite as justified by their product as the tone of the communications implied.

I'm currently back using dns4me with AdGuard despite buying a year of ControlD, although I'll keep trying it every now and again as it has potential, especially the always-on proxy. I really liked that.
May I ask why dns4me is more reliable? I just checked out that service, even signed up for it, it looks like it was made in 1998 based on the designs, 1/2 the features literally don't even work. It doesn't have an anycast network, and forces you to pick the DNS resolver closest to you, if that server fails, you have no DNS at all. What is better about it? Genuinely curious.....
 
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cliffspab

Level 3
Oct 4, 2019
130
It works reliably with all five UK major TV channels in conjunction with Adguard/Ublock/Ghostery etc. I've only been able to achieve the same using an almost completely vanilla browser with ControlD.

When I pointed this out, the response I received put down the efforts of the adblocking community and talked up the industrial scale of your own network of adblocking researchers.

That all may be true, but in my experience, but dns4me+adguard = perfect streaming+cosmetic filtering. The latter of which ControlD has no capacity to achieve. I can quote the reply verbatim if you wish.
 

cliffspab

Level 3
Oct 4, 2019
130
Ironically you've done the same in your description of the dns4me UI. And you can use any of their resolvers, they just recommend you choose the nearest.
 
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windscribe

From Windscribe
Verified
Developer
Dec 28, 2016
80
It works reliably with all five UK major TV channels in conjunction with Adguard/Ublock/Ghostery etc. I've only been able to achieve the same using an almost completely vanilla browser with ControlD.

When I pointed this out, the response I received put down the efforts of the adblocking community and talked up the industrial scale of your own network of adblocking researchers.

That all may be true, but in my experience, but dns4me+adguard = perfect streaming+cosmetic filtering. The latter of which ControlD has no capacity to achieve. I can quote the reply verbatim if you wish.
ControlD is an all-in-1 solution that replaces SmartDNS, Adguard/Pi-Hole/VPNs (for most people in non-restrictive countries). For it to work correctly, it should be used by itself. If you're using other software that does similar things, you will likely have a bad time because they will conflict with each other. ControlD is a unique service, and has a unique set of requirements. The analogy here is if you're used to a horse + buggy, and then upgrade to a car, you cannot use your horse + car at the same time.... well, you can, but you really shouldn't.
 

cliffspab

Level 3
Oct 4, 2019
130
ControlD is an all-in-1 solution that replaces SmartDNS, Adguard/Pi-Hole/VPNs (for most people in non-restrictive countries). For it to work correctly, it should be used by itself. If you're using other software that does similar things, you will likely have a bad time because they will conflict with each other. ControlD is a unique service, and has a unique set of requirements. The analogy here is if you're used to a horse + buggy, and then upgrade to a car, you cannot use your horse + car at the same time.... well, you can, but you really shouldn't.
I think you're the same guy I emailed.

What about cosmetic filtering? I don't like ugly-ass pages.
 

n8chavez

Level 2
Feb 26, 2021
68
I have a couple question if anyone knows...

1. When ControlD says "Proxy Access to 100+ Locations" as a pro for getting the "full control" version does that mean the global proxy, the ability to redirect services to another location, or both? I'm looking at the "some control" version because I already have a VPN (DNS servers pointed to ControlD) and I don't need the other.

2. Is the IP given for "Legacy DNS" tied to my account, or is it universal?

Thanks
 

blackice

Level 32
Verified
Apr 1, 2019
2,186
2. Is the IP given for "Legacy DNS" tied to my account, or is it universal?

Thanks
For this question they told me that you need to use ControlD from the IP using DoH or DoT and that would add that IP to the account. So to use it for my router (which only has "legacy" DNS) I would have my browser using DoH to keep the IP updated since my ISP has a habit of changing our IP address occasionally.

This is opposed to something like NextDNS which you need to use a DDNS service to keep updated.
 

n8chavez

Level 2
Feb 26, 2021
68
For this question they told me that you need to use ControlD from the IP using DoH or DoT and that would add that IP to the account. So to use it for my router (which only has "legacy" DNS) I would have my browser using DoH to keep the IP updated since my ISP has a habit of changing our IP address occasionally.

This is opposed to something like NextDNS which you need to use a DDNS service to keep updated.

Ok. Thank you for this. I have a DoH set up in Firefox, "legacy" set up in my VPN (to let it use ControlD and not its own), and AdGuard for Windows' DNS protection to bind. I think I'm good. But I will remember your advice when I use ControlD on my router.

@ windscribe

Also, I am not sure why but the issue I had with mobile filtering seem to have been resolved. It blocks ads now in the app I mentioned. Did ControlD implement cosmetic filtering yet? If not, will they?
 

Nightwalker

Level 22
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Trusted
Content Creator
May 26, 2014
1,139
Ok. Thank you for this. I have a DoH set up in Firefox, "legacy" set up in my VPN (to let it use ControlD and not its own), and AdGuard for Windows' DNS protection to bind. I think I'm good. But I will remember your advice when I use ControlD on my router.

@ windscribe

Also, I am not sure why but the issue I had with mobile filtering seem to have been resolved. It blocks ads now in the app I mentioned. Did ControlD implement cosmetic filtering yet? If not, will they?

It is not possible for a DNS service to do cosmetic filtering, you need to develop a browser extension for that (aka an adblocker).

Personally I am against that, there is plenty of good adblockers in the market that one can use together with ControlD, so let's keep things lean and simple while improving the core of what a DNS service is capable of doing.

Ps: Windscribe has a extension based on uBlock Origin code, so maybe they can do a ControlD version.

 
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windscribe

From Windscribe
Verified
Developer
Dec 28, 2016
80
Yeah, cosmetic filtering is outside the scope of what DNS/ControlD can do. That being said, I've noticed on many sites that force ads down your throat to see content still work with DNS level ad-blocking, but don't with client level (extension). So there are upsides....
 
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