If you want an easy summary of this review, check out our IPVanish video review.
IPVanish Review | ProPrivacy
IPVanish can be purchased in three different subscription lengths: one month, three months, or a yearly subscription. The good news is that all of these plans are identical in terms of features, which means that you do not need to figure out the difference between each plan. This makes subscribing nice and easy.
As with other VPNs, subscribers are rewarded for committing for a longer period of time. The cheapest subscription is the yearly plan, which works out to the equivalent of $2.67 a month (for the first year). This makes the VPN a contender for the best cheap VPN (which must fall under the $3 mark to be considered).
One thing worth bearing in mind is that a subscription to IPVanish is recurring, which means if you don't cancel the VPN at the end of your subscription period you will automatically be billed again. Thus you must take care to cancel to prevent the yearly plan from rolling onto the full price of $99.99 per year (this works out at $8.33 per month, which is considerably more than the introductory price).
The good news is that subscribers are given a 30-day money-back guarantee to change their minds. This guarantee is even available with a one-month subscription (which is a rarity!) and goes a long way to showing that this provider is confident about its service.
What payment options do IPVanish offer?
Consumers can pay for IPVanish in a large number of different ways, which is awesome.
Supported Payment Platforms
Credit cards and PayPal are both accepted, as well as some other virtual options, such as Apple Pay for iOS users. However, we were 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.
For those who are interested, credit card payments are processed on behalf of IPVanish by the third-party payment handler Chase – with WorldPay used for some international payment types. PayPal and Apple will process payments if you choose to purchase through these platforms (but bear in mind that you can still use the Android or iOS apps if you choose to pay directly).
These are all respected and reputable payment handlers, which is good. And, 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.
What can IPVanish Unblock?
IPVanish is a super-fast service that is suitable for watching HD content. With that in mind, we hoped it would be good for unblocking popular streams; and generally speaking, we weren't disappointed.
During my tests, I found IPVanish was able to unblock Netflix US when connected to the Los Angeles, Dallas, Atlanta, and Chicago servers. As a result, I was able to unblock extra US-catalog Netflix content using our StreamCatcher tool.
Unfortunately, IPVanish does not officially support any other Netflix catalogs, so we can't guarantee access to other international catalogs.
The good news is that IPVanish can unblock US TV channels like CBS, NBC and ABC. However, it does not currently work to unblock Hulu, HBO Max, YouTubeTV, or Sling TV. So there are some streaming limitations when it comes to this VPN (some of which it could easily fix by incorporating its SmartDNS service StrongDNS into the VPN; something that many competing VPN services do for free.
One bit of good news is that if you encounter regionally restricted YouTube or Dailymotion videos – IPVanish will bypass those blocks.
For fans of British TV, IPVanish is, unfortunately, unable to unblock BBC iPlayer. For this reason, you will need to shop elsewhere to stream unlimited British TV. This is a letdown, but the good news is that during my tests I was able to unblock both Channel 4 and ITV.
Whether you decide that IPVanish is good for streaming really depends on what you want to watch. What we can say is that the VPN is a bit of a mixed bag. So check carefully to ensure that it can unblock the specific service you want to stream before subscribing. And if you want to watch iPlayer, try one of the following alternatives:
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IPVanish provides all the advanced VPN features you would expect to get from a top-of-the-range VPN service. These include:
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 52 countries (70 locations)
- 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, we 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 provide 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.
Does IPVanish allow torrenting?
Yes. Anybody looking for a VPN that can be leveraged to engage in secure torrenting will be extremely happy with this service. It allows P2P connections across its network of servers. What's more, the majority of IPVanish's server network is proprietary – meaning that it is highly secure and well maintained.
This is great for torrenting because it helps to ensure fast speeds by routing your traffic through speedy servers that don't suffer from congestion – both factors we look for in a solid torrenting VPN service.
On the other hand, IPVanish doesn't have port forwarding – a feature that more seasoned torrenters may 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, we can recommend IPVanish for torrenting. It provides strong protection to ensure that your downloads are never tracked. And, if you are in a country where torrent sites are completely censored, IPVanish will open the door for you.
Speed and Performance
At ProPrivacy.com, we have a scientific, server-based VPN speed test system that we use to test all the market-leading VPNs three times a day. This allows us to provide our readers with the most detailed and up-to-date picture of how VPNs are doing in terms of speeds. If you'd like to know more about our process, please read VPN Speed Testing Done Right.
Below you can see how IPVanish compares to other VPN services in 2021.
How fast is IPVanish?
As you can see in the graph below, IPVanish typically provides speeds of 63.9 Mbps. These are outstanding average speeds, taken over a three month period at the end of 2020.
As you can see, IPVanish noticed an uptick in speeds at the beginning of October. This is due to the VPN's decision to upgrade its entire network from 10 GB network capacity cards to 25 GB cards. The result has been extremely noticeable – putting IPVanish in amongst the fastest VPNs in the world.
With such great speeds being registered, there is no doubt that this VPN is good for HD streaming, torrenting, VoIP calls, video chats, and gaming.
The image below reveals that IPVanish is sandwiched-in amongst some of the best VPNs in the world – all of which have better-than-average connection speeds when compared to the rest of the industry.
A slow DNS lookup time can cause pages to load slowly, which can make the VPN seem slower to the user. The good news is that IPVanish performs extremely well in this area.
As you can see above, average lookup times are right in line with the very best VPNs on the market, which means that IPVanish will load ages in a flash. In fact, the maximum lookup time beats its competitors, meaning that it won't leave you waiting around.
Finally, we were amazed when we tested IPVanish's connection times:
An average connection speed of 3.4 seconds puts it in the top rank of VPNs. VPN connection times do not get any better than this! Overall, IPVanish scores extremely well and it seems fair to say that it is truly one of the fastest VPNs 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:
|IPv6 leak protection|
|WebRTC leak protection|
|Bare Metal Servers?|
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 used 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:
Leak test results
In order to check that IPVanish implements 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 (June 3, 2021) to see how much tracking it is doing. It detected 97 potential tracker requests, including:
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 we can consider 97 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 mentioned earlier, we 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.
The last time we reviewed IPVanish, we found that the support department let down the service a bit. However, this is an area that has vastly improved. This time we were 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. During this review, 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 on 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.
Do we recommend IPVanish?
Yes. IPVanish is one of the best VPN services around, even if its prices do push it into the premium VPN bracket. Users 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, obfuscation, and network blocking (to name a few).
We found that 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 for any special technical knowledge to set it up.
Admittedly, we were slightly disappointed to find that IPVanish has given up fighting to unblock BBC iPlayer. However, unless this is your primary care – IPVanish is a lightning-fast VPN that is extremely secure, and it unblocks Netflix US!
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.
Overall, this service offers outstanding privacy for P2P downloading, internet telephony apps, online gaming, and access to geo-restricted websites all over the world. And it provides what you need to access censored content in countries where the government blocks things. Definitely worth giving a test run using its 30-day money-back guarantee!
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