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What can IPVanish Unblock?
After finding out how fast IPVanish was, I was also pleased to see that IPVanish unblocks Netflix US and other key Netflix libraries around the world. However, when I connected to server based in the UK to test it with BBC iPlayer, I found that it fell short of the mark.
Based on the streaming services I tested IPVanish with, these are the ones I had success with:
So, if you're looking for a VPN service that unblocks most streaming services, then I can recommend IPVanish to you. However, if you include BBC iPlayer on that list, you may need to look elsewhere, like one of these alternatives:
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Does IPVanish allow torrenting?
Yes, I was pleased to find that IPVanish allows P2P across its network of servers. What's more the majority of IPVanish's server network is proprietary, meaning it owns the network in its entirety.
This is great for things like torrenting because it helps with speeds by routing your traffic through fast servers that aren't congested and provides a boon for privacy - both factors we look for in a solid torrenting VPN service.
Unfortunately, I found that IPVanish doesn't offer port forwarding - a feature that more seasoned torrenters might want from their VPN. However, it offers several other advanced features that can help keep you secure when torrenting, such as a kill switch and a strong zero logs policy.
All in all, I would recommend IPVanish if you want to use it for torrenting. On the whole, it provides adequate protection. However, if you struggle with broadband speeds, you may want to consider other providers that offer port forwarding.
Speed and Performance
When reviewing IPVanish I ran it through a series of performance tests in order to see how well i performs in day to day use. You can find an explanation and the results of these tests below.
How fast is IPVanish?
IPVanish typically gave speeds of around 34 Mbps when I originally tested it, but you can see an up-to-date representation of its performance over the past week in the graph below. This is based on ProPrivacy's daily speed tests, which determine a weighted speed that you won't be able to perform yourself at home. If you'd like to know more about our process, please read: VPN Speed Testing Done Right.
As is usually the case, IPVanish is currently performing excellently, showing that it not only provides fast speeds, but it does so consistently as well. This is why I would recommend IPVanish for any data-intensive tasks such as streaming in HD, gaming, and torrenting.
As you can see in the graph below, in the last few months IPVanish has been sandwiched in amongst some of the best VPNs in the world - which all have above average connection speeds.
A slow DNS lookup time can hinder the process of fetching a page from a web server, but I found that IPVanish performed very well in this area. The average lookup time when I tested was just 0.41 seconds - which makes it one of the fastest VPNs on the market in terms of lookup times!
Finally, I was amazed when I tested IPVanish's connection times
This puts it in the top rank of VPNs. VPN connection times do not get any better than this!
As you can see, IPVanish scores extremely well in all the performance tests I ran, and is one of the few VPNs that can truly claim to be among the fastest in the world.
Privacy and Security
IPVanish left me impressed with its level of privacy and security, with each of its apps packed to the brim with advanced features designed to protect you. Some of those features are particularly useful on mobile devices - such as the network block feature, which protects you against connections to unsafe open networks with no password requirements (which are sometimes set up in public places by hackers). And which your device could connect to automatically.
Here's a list of the features:
The best way to see how secure a VPN is, is by looking at the level of encryption that they offer and looking at how well it is implemented. I'm pleased to report that IPVanish offers OpenVPN implemented with AES 256-bit key - one of the strongest ciphers user today.
The weakest part of IPVanish' OpenVPN encryption that I found is the HMAC SHA1 handshake. However, this does meet our recommended standards for privacy. Thus, all the necessary components of the protocol on both the data and control channels are considered secure. Good news indeed.
Here's a list of the VPN protocols that IPVanish offer:
Encryptions standards will differ depending on which platform you are using.
It's good to see that IPVanish provides three different kinds of VPN protocols: OpenVPN, L2TP, and PPTP. However, PPTP is an outdated encryption protocol that is no longer considered secure, so you should never rely on it for privacy. Out of the three available protocols, we recommend that you stick to OpenVPN.
Leak test results
In order to check that IPVanish implement their encryption properly, I ran it through several VPN leak tests.
My IP address correctly appeared in London, as did the single DNS address. WebRTC leaks performed in Chrome also came back negative on my system.
My internet service provider does not use IPv6 addresses and so I was unable to test for IPv6 leaks.
So, to answer the question, is IPVanish secure? Yes. IPVanish is great for data security from an encryption standpoint. It even implements Perfect Forward Secrecy (DHE-2048).
I have to admit, IPVanish's US base of operations did raise a red flag for me, due to the country's questionable stance on privacy.
The US is the home of the CIA and the NSA, two authoritarian organizations known for their invasive practices in the name of safeguarding. The nation is also a member of the 5 Eyes surveillance agreement. In the US, firms can be served both warrants and gag orders, which means that they could be asked to hand over data without disclosing it to the public (this is a gag order). Naturally, this is far from ideal for a privacy tool.
To make up for this fact, IPVanish implements an excellent zero-logs policy. This means that even if it was served a warrant, it wouldn't have anything to hand over to the authorities, which does alleviate some of my concerns.
Despite this seemingly watertight solution, the question surrounding gag orders is still significant. Due to the Snowden revelations, we know just how invasive the US is. This makes it a hard nation to trust with citizen's data. However, it is also true that many other nations also have similar gag/secrecy orders in place - so this is not a unique problem to the US.
It is my belief that, for most people, IPVanish provides more than adequate levels of protection, so I could recommend it in 99% of cases for privacy. However, anybody who requires higher levels of privacy would probably be better sticking to Tor (not a VPN), or even Tor over VPN for ultimate protection.
I checked the IPVanish website using our third party tracking tool to see how much tracking it is doing. It detected 25 potential trackers, including:
- Google analytics
Fortunately, this is nothing out of the ordinary and does not really pose any risks to the VPN service itself.
However, it is worth noting that there are VPNs out there that have as little as one tracker on their website, so 25 can be considered a high amount.
What about the apps?
Overall, I found the IPVanish app is easy to use on desktop and mobile. What's more, I was pleased to see that it's also available on many other types of devices, like Amazon Fire TV and can be installed on a router.
IPVanish on Mac and iOS
When testing the macOS and iOS versions of the app, I found that they no longer support PPTP, which in reality is good news, because PPTP is out of date and insecure. When I asked IPVanish about this, I was told that they removed the option from release 10 of the apps. So, if you are a Mac user looking for PPTP, which you really shouldn't be, you'll have to look elsewhere.
In addition, I also found that on iOS, IPVanish runs on IKEv2 encryption, not OpenVPN. However, anybody wanting to connect via OpenVPN can do so using OpenVPN Connect software because IPVanish provides .ovpn config files in the member's area.
IPVanish on Fire TV and routers
As I mentioned earlier, I particularly liked the availability of a custom Amazon Fire TV app - this is a really unique feature that is still a rarity in the VPN industry. You can also install the VPN on flashed routers and set-top boxes, and IPVanish has setup guides to help you.
IPVanish provides all the advanced VPN features you would expect to get from a top-of-the-range VPN service. These include:
|Routers Supported||Most DD WRT routers|
|Bare metal or virtual servers||Bare metal|
As well as:
- Unlimited data allowance and no bandwidth limiting
- Unlimited simultaneous connections (unmetered VPN use)
- A kill switch
- DNS leak protection
- Zero logs policy
- Servers in 60 countries
- A pool of more than 40,000 IP addresses across 1000 servers
- Torrenting enabled servers
- SOCKS5 web proxy
- XOR obfuscated servers
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Split tunneling
IPVanish has in excess of 1000 servers located in 60 countries around the world. The company is extremely strong in Europe and the US - but also has servers in useful locations like Australia, Brazil, Japan, Asia, and South Africa.
Unfortunately, I found that IPVanish does not have servers in Russia. If you need a VPN to unblock Russian services (to unblock VK in Ukraine, for example) - or if you require Russian servers for privacy - you will need to look elsewhere.
To be fair on IPVanish, many VPNs have decided to stop providing servers in Russia due to new laws that bring into question the privacy levels that can be promised on servers within the nation. So this is a valid omission.
What is a SOCKS5 Proxy?
SOCKS5 is a versatile proxy that works with any kind of traffic. IPVanish is one of the few VPNs that provides a SOCKS5 proxy for free when you sign up to the VPN. IPVanish VPN also provides a number of excellent guides for using SOCKS5 (with Deluge or uTorrent, for example). The benefit of a SOCK5 proxy is fast speeds, but remember that it does not provide encryption like the VPN client.
IPVanish offers one standard service plan, which can be purchased for three different subscription periods, either a one month, three months, or a yearly subscription.
12 month$79.99 billed every 12 months
3 month$26.99 billed every 3 months
1 month$11.99 billed every month
As you can see, consumers are rewarded for committing over a longer period. This is typical for VPNs, but when you work out how much you pay per month on the cheapest (yearly) subscription, you're looking at $6.49 a month. This places it firmly in the tier of "premium" VPNs, but the service thankfully has the features to back this hefty price tag up.
A subscription to IPVanish is recurring, which means if you do not cancel the VPN at the end of your subscription period - you will automatically be billed the same subscription fee again, so be careful not to roll over.
I found that subscribers are given a 30-day money-back guarantee to change their mind if they wish - even on the one-month subscription, which is a nice touch, showing confidence in the quality of their product.
What payment options do IPVanish offer?
Consumers can pay for IPVanish in a large number of different ways, which is awesome.
Supported Payment Platforms
Typically, credit cards and PayPal are both accepted, as well as some other virtual options, such as Apple Pay for iOS users. However, I was disappointed to find that IPVanish does not currently accept Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies as a method of payment. So, those looking for a truly anonymous way to pay are out of luck.
I was surprised to see that credit card payments are processed on behalf of IPVanish by the third-party payment handler Chase (at least for most payments). WorldPay is also used for some international payment types, or PayPal and Apple if you choose to purchase through these platforms. All of whom are respected and reputable payment handlers.
Having payments managed by a third party in this manner means that payment and subscription records are kept at arm's length from each other - which theoretically benefits your anonymity.
The last time I reviewed IPVanish, I found that the support department let down the service a bit. However, this is an area that has vastly improved. This time I was pleased to find that IPVanish provides both members and non-members with the same 24/7 live chat service on its website. That means you can ask the VPN's customer care questions at any time of day!
This is a really valuable improvement to the service, which highlights that IPVanish is investing heavily in making its service better and better for its subscribers. I tested the live chat a number of times and always got a response right away. 10/10.
The site also provides an excellent FAQ page.
The FAQ can be searched and has instructions for most problems. This is a great resource, that is useful both as a stand-alone feature and as a place for live chat support to send subscribers to walk them through fixing problems. You can access support categories and useful setup guides, by scrolling down the FAQ page.
You may want to look at the Setup Guides once you have subscribed to the service, especially if you intend to make use of IPVanish' native Amazon Fire TV app. Or if you want to set up your VPN for Kodi. It even has 'set up guides' for OpenELEC, which means you can run it with Kodi on a Raspberry Pi, if you want.
If you can't find a solution to a problem, you can also elect to fill in a contact form to ask the support team a question. This is accessible through a link in the FAQ page, as well as in the site footer.
You will get a reply to your query via email. A reply to this email will come pretty quickly because support is now 24/7. Excellent customer service all round.
If you want an easy summary of this review, check out our IPVanish video review.
IPVanish Review | ProPrivacy
Do I recommend IPVanish?
Yes, I'm happy to report that IPVanish is one of the best VPN services around, even if its prices are pushing into the premium VPN bracket. You get the choice of a massive number of server locations and a lot of advanced security features, such as a kill switch, DNS leak protection, and network blocking (to name a few). IPVanish has produced a superb app, which is easy to set up, easy to use, and is available on all major devices without the need of any special technical knowledge to set it up.
I was disappointed to find that IPVanish has given up fighting to keep unblocking BBC iPlayer. However, unless this is a primary care - IPVanish is a superb, lightning fast VPN that is extremely secure. And it unblocks Netflix US, which is great! Plus, this VPN is one of the few services that lets users install and use the VPN on as many devices as they want. This makes it perfect for families or for people who own a lot of devices.
Its service offers outstanding privacy for P2P downloading, internet telephony apps, online gaming, and access to geo-restricted websites all over the world. Definitely worth giving a test run using its 30-day money-back guarantee!