iVPN Review

iVPN

  • Pricing

    From $8.33 / month
  • Available On

    • Windows
    • MacOS
    • Android
    • iOS
  • Features

    • Torrenting
    • Money-back Guarantee
    • Live chat
    • Netflix
ProPrivacy.com Score 7.6 out of 10
Visit Site

Summary

In this IVPN review I find a Gibraltar-based VPN provider that keeps no logs at all. It is a little pricey for what is basically a fairly stripped-down VPN service, but what it does, it (by-and-large) does right. Importantly, it uses strong encryption and does not leak your real IP address. The real killer, however, is IVPN’s speed performance. Quite simply, it is among the best I have ever seen.

Quick Stats

  • Jurisdiction Gibraltar
  • Countries 18
  • Simultaneous connections 5

Alternative VPN Choices for You

From $3.49 / month
ProPrivacy.com Score 10 out of 10
Visit Site Read review
From $6.67 / month
ProPrivacy.com Score 9.1 out of 10
Visit Site Read review
From $2.75 / month
ProPrivacy.com Score 10 out of 10
Visit Site Read review

Features

The following features are available to all users:

  • Servers in 12 countries
  • Up to three simultaneous connections (more available on request)
  • Port forwarding (via web interface or client)
  • Multihop VPN
  • OpenVPN and L2TP/IPsec VPN protocols
  • Warrant canary
  • P2P is permitted

Servers are mainly based in Europe, but also in the US, Canada, and Hong Kong.

Multi-hop (double) VPN

This basically allows you to “chain” VPN servers, so that your data is routed between two VPN servers as it travels between you and the internet.

Your PC/device -> VPN server 1 -> VPN server 2 -> Internet

An excellent (and unique) feature of IVPN’s implementation of multihop VPN is that it allows you to double-hop through any two of its servers. Despite the name, though, it is not possible to hop through more than two servers.

Such chaining can provide some security benefits, but will always result in a major loss of speed. As I argue in this article, I think the privacy/security benefits of multihop VPN using the same VPN service are rather limited. But I understand that this is not a view shared by everyone.

Visit IVPN »

Speeds and Performance

All tests were performed on my Virgin Media UK 50 Mbps/3 Mbps fiber connection, using the OpenVPN UDP protocol. The graphs show the highest, lowest and average speeds for each server and location. See our full speed test explanation for more details

iVPN speeds

As we can see, transatlantic download speeds are very decent, although upload speeds are less so. Those results when connected to nearby servers in Europe, however, are fantastic! They are, in fact, some of the best results I have seen in four years reviewing VPN services.

As we can clearly see here, IVPN uses Google DNS servers. After carefully examining the log files, I can confirm that it proxies the DNS requests so they appear to come from IVPN and not users. I detected no IPv4, DNS, or WebRTC leaks.

Please note that Private Use RFC IPs are local IPs only. They cannot be used to identify an individual, and so do not constitute an IP leak. Unfortunately, my ISP (Virgin Media UK) does not support IPv6 connections, so I am unable to test for IPv6 leaks at this time. This is a situation that should change in the near future.

Update: we have since re-tested for IP leaks on an IPv6 enabled connection and detected WebRTC IPv6 leaks in both Windows macOS. Given IVPN’s otherwise superb technical security, we found this to be very disappointing.

If you are looking for a VPN for Netflix, this service is worth considering. I was able to unblock the American Netflix content with it. As well as Netflix, you will be able to watch BBC iPlayer outside the UK with this service.

Pricing and Plans

At the end of 2019, IVPN split its single plan into two. The standard package is more accessible than it has ever been, covering 2 devices simultaneously and costing just $6 per month or $60 per year if you're committed and want to save $12. The pro tier is much more comprehensive, improving on its previous 5-device offering by catering to 7 devices for $10 per month or $100 annually. There is a hidden quarterly plan for $30 every three months, however, this is only available for existing users that have automatically been upgraded to the pro package.

IVPN doesn't limit locations or protocols on either package, even including access to Wireguard servers and its proprietary AntiTracker tool on both. Somewhat understandably, Multihop and Port Forwarding are locked behind a higher paywall, exclusive to the pro version.

IVPN offers a three-day free trial, but payment details are required in order to take advantage of this. You will be charged if you do not cancel before the three-day trial is over. In addition to this, IVPN offers a seven-day money-back guarantee (from date of payment). A 30-day extended money-back guarantee is available for technical issues.

IVPN accepts payment using credit/debit card, PayPal, or Bitcoins (via BitPay). With care, using Bitcoins allows you to pay for the service anonymously, but please always remember that IVPN will know your real IP address anyway.

Privacy and Security

IVPN is incorporated in Gibraltar, a British Overseas Territory (BOT). Gibraltar has no mandatory data retention laws, which allows IVPN to offer a fully no-logs-at-all VPN service.

We do not store any connection logs whatsoever. In addition, we do not log bandwidth usage, session data or requests to our DNS servers…. Unlike many service providers, IVPN purposefully does not log any usage data associated with an account as we provide an unlimited and unrestricted quota free service.”

Which is great. A question mark, however, hangs over whether Gibraltar should be classified as a Fourteen Eyes spying alliance country. It is true that the UK has little direct influence over internal Gibraltar affairs, but as a BOT, Gibraltar does still lie under the jurisdiction and sovereignty of the United Kingdom.

It would, therefore, seem safest to assume that the UK can exert pressure on the Gibraltan government and its companies and institutions, should it wish to. Being based in Gibraltar is therefore probably safer than being based in a Fourteen Eyes country, but is not ideal.

It might be worth mentioning that when writing this review, the Windows client EULA contained some references to jurisdiction under US law. IVPN assures me, however, that this is not the case, and that the EULA has now been updated to make clear that IVPN is wholly under Gibraltar jurisdiction.

Encryption

For OpenVPN encryption, IVPN uses an AES-256 cipher with RSA-4096 handshake and HMAC SHA-1 hash authentication (control and data channels). A Diffie-Hellman exchange (DHE) introduces perfect forward secrecy PFS), with a new encryption key generated every hour.

This is excellent. And the website’s Qualys SSL report scores an A+ with PFS, which is also excellent.

I am a little dubious about the value of having a warrant canary, but am aware that others appreciate them.

The website

The IVPN website uses a smart grey, red and white theme. There is not a huge amount of information available, but what is there is informative, and answered most questions I had.

The website also includes a good introduction and general guides to how VPNs work, and I appreciate the lack of bombastic language falsely claiming that the service provides “anonymity”.

I also appreciate the clear Privacy Policy, which is written in plain English.

Support

Support is via a ticketed email system (web form available). IVPN promises response with 24 hours, but I generally received a full and knowledgeable answer within a couple of hours.

The website also features a Live Chat option, but it did not work when I tried it. IVPN tells me that “Live chat is an experimental feature we are testing at this time, we do no guarantee the availability of live chat”.

Software

Signing Up

The only personally identifiable information asked for during signup is a valid email address. There is no reason this cannot be a disposable one. Once you have paid, you will receive an introductory email with your username (which can be changed) and a link to IVPN’s setup guides.

The IVPN Windows VPN client

The Windows client is a rather unassuming looking app. The firewall, however, acts as both a kill switch and DNS leak protection, ensuring that internet traffic cannot enter or exit your PC except via the VPN tunnel

An unusual feature is the ability to leave the firewall on even when the VPN client is not running. This can help ensure that you never accidentally connect to the internet without the VPN running

You can change ports from within the client, and select an obsfproxy connection in order to help evade censorship. Obfsproxy is a tool designed to wrap data into an obfuscation layer, which makes it difficult to detect that OpenVPN is being used. It has been adopted by the Tor network, largely as a response to China blocking access to public Tor nodes. It is independent of Tor, however, and can be configured for OpenVPN (as it is here). As already noted, IVPN also allows you to double-hop using any two of its servers.

It might look plain, but the client gets the job done. And the firewall should ensure that you suffer no IP leaks when using the service (see test results below). I did, however, find the client to be very unstable, and suffered numerous crashes while writing this review. On the plus side, this allowed me to confirm that the firewall kill switch works as advertised!

Other Platforms

IVPN provides custom VPN clients for Windows and VPN clients for Mac OSX. They have a VPN for iPhone, and Android VPN apps. It also provides various OpenVPN and L2TP/IPsec setup guides for Windows, Mac OSX, Android, iOS, Windows Phone, DD-WRT routers and more.

Pre-flashed and pre-configured IVPN DD-RT routers are available from Flashrouters .

Final thoughts

I must say that I am very impressed with IVPN. Although a little short on frills, it offers a no-logs VPN service that has all the most important things covered. It does not leak your IP address in use, and it uses very strong encryption.

It was also, for the most part, insanely fast. I have very rarely recorded results to the UK and to mainland Europe anywhere near as good. Results to the US were not quite as impressive, but are still very acceptable.

So IVPN gets a very strong thumbs up from me. Now, if only that damn Windows client would stop crashing!

Visit IVPN »

Written by: Douglas Crawford

Has worked for almost six years as senior staff writer and resident tech and VPN industry expert at ProPrivacy.com. Widely quoted on issues relating cybersecurity and digital privacy in the UK national press (The Independent & Daily Mail Online) and international technology publications such as Ars Technica.

17 Comments

  1. VPN user

    on July 12, 2017
    Reply

    Final note and update: Decided to ditch and cancel IVPN after attempting to use their new "chat" feature which apparently does not work even after being greeted and allowed to type info into the chat window as there was obviously no live person on the other end to respond. They have taken far too long to come up with a reasonable solution for the crashing client and/or diagnostics logs (that cannot be sent) issues so I am done with them. Have to now move on to greener pastures!

    1. Jakuro replied to VPN user

      on August 13, 2019
      Reply

      You write: "I detected no IPv4, DNS, or WebRTC leaks. [...] fortunately, my ISP (Virgin Media UK) does not support IPv6 connections, so I am unable to test for IPv6 leaks at this time. " On the other hand, under "Dislikes": "WebRTC IPv6 leaks in Windows macOS" This seems to be a contradiction, or do I get it wrong? If not, could you elaborate on the kind of leaks?

      1. Douglas Crawford replied to Jakuro

        on August 14, 2019
        Reply

        Hi Jakuru. Well spotted! When I wrote this review back in February 2017 I had no way to test for IPv6 leaks. Our office now has an IPv6 connection, allowing us to test for IPv6 leaks. For our 2019 Awards evaluations, we re-tested most of the VPN services that have reviews for, during which we detected WebRTC IPv6 leaks in both Windows macOS. Given IVPN’s otherwise superb technical security, we found this to be very disappointing. Thanks to those pesky gremlins we updated the pros and cons section of this review to reflect our findings but missed updating the text. My apologies, and fixed now.

  2. VPN user

    on July 6, 2017
    Reply

    Update: IVPN has just updated their website (i.e., new appearance and other links added) and take a look at their "About us" link at bottom of page under "COMPANY" as there are now details on the CEO and seven other employees. Please note the current software version is still 2.6.2 and nothing yet has been done to address the crashing client problem and diagnostics logs that cannot be sent.

    1. Douglas Crawford replied to VPN user

      on July 6, 2017
      Reply

      Hi VPN user, Thanks for the update.

    2. John replied to VPN user

      on July 7, 2017
      Reply

      I only just checked their site. I'm liking the refresh! Personally, I have stopped using IVPN recently, not for any reasons that should cause anyone to stop using their service. I'm just trying out ProtonVPN. Since using ProtonMail (Which I LOVE), and the recent launch of ProtonVPN I decided to give their VPN service a try. If all goes well I will be staying with ProtonVPN. Although, for some reason, I want to keep using IVPN. Would love to see a ProtonVPN review from you legends (Douglas Crawford) here at ProPrivacy. Grace and Peace, John.

      1. Douglas Crawford replied to John

        on July 10, 2017
        Reply

        Hi John, Yup. Look out for a ProtonMail review in the nearish future. I am going away on holiday soon, however, so there may be a bit of a delay.

  3. VPN user

    on June 20, 2017
    Reply

    I still continue to use IVPN as my only VPN since it is the only one I trust in regards to its transparent privacy policy. Already have tried all of the top rated VPN's and must say that IVPN works the best for me on a Mac so far minus the freezing / crashing client issue and not being able to send "diagnostics logs" from the client. It has a very simple but excellent interface and the firewall is an absolute must. Also, most importantly, there are no DNS leaks even when having manually selected your own DNS servers. Have not found a better VPN anywhere and hope they can soon correct the current problems.

  4. VPN user

    on June 18, 2017
    Reply

    Douglas, There is yet another problem with IVPN and that is when you attempt to "Send Diagnostics Logs" from the client it generates a popup error message and the logs cannot be sent. Does not matter if the client is connected or disconnected as the error message is the same. Have reported this problem along with the crashing client issue. So, it stands to reason ... what good are diagnostic logs if they cannot be sent?

    1. Douglas Crawford replied to VPN user

      on June 19, 2017
      Reply

      Hi VPN user, Hmm. It does seem the software is a little buggy. It nevertheless performs very well, and I detected no IP leaks.

Write Your Own Comment

Your comment has been sent to the queue. It will appear shortly.

Your comment has been sent to the queue. It will appear shortly.

Your comment has been sent to the queue. It will appear shortly.

  Your comment has been sent to the queue. It will appear shortly.

We recommend you check out one of these alternatives:

Large brand with very good value, and a budget price

The fastest VPN we test, unblocks everything, with amazing service all round

Longtime top ranked VPN, with great price and speeds

One of the cheapest VPNs out there, but still a good service