WHAT’S IN THIS REVIEW?
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Among the many VPN providers to choose from, IPVanish packs a lot of value into its affordable plans. Founded in 2012, IPVanish is a strong contender trusted by thousands today. Where does IPVanish rank among other top providers like NordVPN and Surfshark?
When it comes to browsing the internet nowadays, it’s increasingly difficult to protect personal data. That’s why using a VPN like IPVanish is so crucial. IPVanish claims to go beyond basic VPN features with its zero-log policy, torrenting capabilities, and strong encryption. So, naturally, we put IPVanish to the test to see how it holds up.
IPVanish is a US-based VPN service. Originally founded in 2012 by Mudhook Media Inc., an independent subsidiary of Highwinds Network Group in Orlando, Florida, IPVanish started off with just 32 servers and its own fiber-optic network of tier-1 servers. IPVanish has since been acquired twice and grown its network to more than 75 locations worldwide. As the service is based in the United States, they’re within the clutches of the 5 Eyes.
IPVanish has the benefit of years of growth and customer feedback. Keep reading to see if IPVanish is right for your needs.
Can IPVanish be Used for Streaming?
The ability to access websites and media without restrictions is one of the main reasons why users turn to a VPN service in the first place. Streaming and torrenting are some of the most popular uses for the internet today, yet due to geo-restrictions, government censorship, and hackers, this is largely impossible – without a VPN of course.
IPVanish is a handy solution for your streaming needs, and will be able to unblock a range of services, including the likes of Netflix. It’s great for accessing sports streams, as well as popular international apps like BBC iPlayer.
IPVanish and Netflix
During our research, we experienced decent speeds with various server locations we tested – the best with nearby countries of course. It took a few tries to connect to some streaming platforms, but it was successful in unblocking Netflix libraries like Netflix US and Netflix Japan. In addition, we were able to access Disney+ as well as ESPN+ (primarily watched in the US for sports).
Is IPVanish Good for Torrenting?
What really sets IPVanish apart is its torrenting support. Both IPVanish’s VPN app and SOCKS5 proxy are excellent for P2P file sharing.
All of its zero-logs servers allow P2P traffic and users can choose between over 40,000 dynamic and anonymous IP addresses as well as more than 2,000 servers around the world.
The best VPN for torrenting should be able to legally hide your IP address, log zero data, and offer fast enough speeds to keep up with large downloads.
IPVanish accomplishes all of this easily, judging by the files we were able to download. We also have an excellent list of decent torrenting sites if you’re aiming to torrent with IPVanish.
Platforms & Device Compatibility
IPVanish not only provides unlimited simultaneous connections to subscribers, but it also allows users to connect to a variety of devices, operating systems, and Smart TVs with its VPN. Here is an up-to-date list:
- Windows 10+
- macOS 10.13+
- iOS 13+
- Android 5.1+
- Chrome OS 11
- Fire OS 5+
- Linux Debian or RedHat-based distros
- Router Firmware DD-WRT v2 and v3, Tomato, Asus-WRT, Merlin
The addition of a Chrome VPN extension is great if you’re only able to access a VPN service via the browser. However, there’s no additional support for the likes of Firefox.
Router and Gaming Consoles
Installing a VPN on a router protects an entire network with VPN encryption. IPVanish can either be installed on a VPN-compatible router that has been pre-set for VPNs, or manually installed on another compatible router. IPVanish is compatible with a variety of routers and can provide fast speeds without native VPN applications for game consoles — PlayStation, Xbox, and more.
The most popular IPVanish VPN routers users employ include:
Warning: Installing a VPN on a router is neither cheap nor easy. It requires the right hardware and careful following of the IPVanish router installation instructions.
Users looking for the best IPVanish VPN speed need to perform their own speed tests while sampling different servers IPVanish employs. The farther away you are from a server, the more likely it is that you’ll experience slower speeds.
How Fast is IPVanish?
When testing IPVanish, I experienced varying speeds depending on which server I chose. The further away you are from your server, the slower speeds inevitably get. However, with IPVanish, I was satisfied with the overall performance, even if I did experience a 61% loss from my original speeds with a US server.
To start, I ran an internet speed test without connecting to a VPN server to check my baseline speeds. I averaged roughly 381 Mbps down and 23 Mbps up.
Then, I tested various countries. For the sake of brevity, I’ll show my speed results from just three locations: US, UK, and Japan.
Since I live in Texas, I selected the closest server to me, which was in Dallas. You can see that only my download speeds were significantly affected. My upload speeds stayed relatively the same.
Next, I tapped into a UK server located in London. Again, upload speeds remained about the same while I saw another dip in my download speed. It’s not amazing, but 100 Mbps download speed is more than enough bandwidth for a few devices connected at once.
Lastly, here are my internet speed test results while connected to a Japanese server.
I averaged 82 Mbps while on an IPVanish Japan server. Again, it wasn’t the best, but definitely enough bandwidth for one user. Unless you have a specific reason for wanting to connect to a server in a distant country, I recommend connecting to a nearby location.
For example, here’s a result from a UK tester while connected to a London server. This time, the download speeds were much better.
As with the best VPNs, IPVanish comes with unlimited bandwidth and thousands of servers you can choose from. So, if you experience average speeds on one local server, it’s easy to find an alternative node.
We recommend running a few speed tests on different devices while using IPVanish to see how it works for you. Try various server locations and times of day too, as they can also affect your overall performance.
Server Locations & Network
IPVanish’s multiple acquisitions haven’t stopped them from continually growing. Starting out with just 32 servers and a small fiber-optic network of its own, IPVanish has since grown its server network to include over 40,000 dynamic IP addresses on more than 2,000 servers in 75+ locations.
Here are the locations of IPVanish servers:
- The Americas: 1,317 servers
- Europe: 534 servers
- Asia: 92 servers
- Australia/New Zealand: 73 servers
- Africa: 0 servers
- South America: 31 servers
The majority of IPVanish’s server network is located in North America, Europe, and Asia.
The self-owned and diverse locations of those servers place this service in the mid-to-high range of VPNs. As previously noted, the current operators of the service have never experienced a security or infrastructure breach. This makes the service an internationally trusted provider from a security perspective.
Privacy & Logging Practices
As we’ve mentioned in earlier sections, IPVanish is headquartered in the US, a home base most other VPNs avoid due to concerns over 5 Eyes surveillance and covert attempts from US government agencies to subpoena individual user data.
However, IPVanish comes stacked with robust end-to-end encryption and a wide variety of server locations that help to dissuade concerns to some extent.
IPVanish claims that it has a “zero-log” policy that does not track, keep, or disperse any identifiable personal data of users. Even so, its HQ in the US does raise eyebrows. This is because the U.S. is a member of the “Eyes” Alliances., Five, Nine, and 14 Eyes Countries have agreed to share defense and criminal investigation information. Over time that sharing has been extended to surveillance of online activity.
So, the bottom line is that if the VPN provider is located in a country that’s a part of this alliance, that service can be forced to hand over any information it collects on its users. The only safeguards against that intrusion are the following:
- Avoid choosing a VPN provider headquartered in any of the 14-eyes countries. By treaty, that country could share any information collected
- Make sure that the VPN provider has an air-tight and strict “no-logs” policy. “No-logs” means nothing is collected, and the VPN provider could not be forced to disclose records it does not have
The VPN industry is peppered with boastful statements that they are anonymous, secure, and private. But we dig deeper into their policies and any audits they’ve undergone to see if their claims stick.
The policy states:
“IPVanish does not collect, monitor, or log any traffic or use of its Virtual Private Network service on any platform.”
The only non-personal data collected, according to IPVanish, is system information to improve the operation of their site—page requests, browser types, the user’s operating system, bounce rate, and average time spent on the site.
IPVanish insists that all the data it collects is strictly anonymous. Likewise, IPVanish has no published incidents of anyone being tracked or arrested due to using its service.
IPVanish has a few audits to back up its claims, which helps confirm that they are a trustworthy, non-invasive VPN service after all.
In February 2017, StackPath acquired Highwinds Network Group, IPVanish’s parent company. They state that “prior to the acquisition, the StackPath team performed an independent audit on the IPVanish platform to ensure that no previous traffic records or VPN logging systems existed. No history of logging was found during this audit.”
As of March 2022, IPVanish’s technology and privacy practices also underwent an official, independent audit by Leviathan Security Group. The audit report confirms that IPVanish’s privacy and no-logs claims are truthful; they keep no traffic or data logs.
In short, IPVanish apps do not work in China. IPVanish service reps freely admit that their VPN won’t work in the country because of government policies and regulations. That explanation, however, is a weak excuse, since many VPN services like ExpressVPN can defeat government censorship.
IPVanish is also blocked in Cuba, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria. Its domain “ipvanish.com” is also blacklisted in Kazakhstan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
For users that travel to these countries or regions often, we do not recommend IPVanish as your VPN solution. Instead, consider VPNs that specialize in circumventing these governmental restrictions like NordVPN or Hotspot Shield.
In regards to other bypassing capabilities, IPVanish does provide features to help defeat geo-targeting. Geo-blocking is frequently used by online vendors to either display higher prices based on the user’s sign-in or block out the completion of sales from outside users. With IPVanish’s Scramble and tunneling capability, the user can sign on to a local VPN server and bypass unfair pricing practices.
Security & Encryption Protocols
When it comes to security, IPVanish ranks highly for its end-to-end encryption practices and use of dynamic IP addresses. The measures IPVanish takes to hide its users’ identity is more than most free and paid VPN services will do.
Below we outline the different security features IPVanish has in its toolbelt to give you an idea of just how secure this VPN is.
IPVanish uses industry-leading AES-256 encryption. AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) is the highest cloud encryption standard. It employs a single, varying length key with an algorithm working on a single block of data that encrypts and re-encrypts the data 10 to 14 times. AES meets all federal government requirements for the protection of health and financial data security.
IPVanish Security Protocols
IPVanish employs the following VPN protocols for its supporting clients:
- PC: Open VPN, IKEv2, L2TP, SSTP, PPTP, WireGuard
- MacOS: OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP, WireGuard
- Android: Open VPN, WireGuard
- iOS: IKEv2, IPsec, WireGuard
- Smart TV: Open VPN
With the exception of PPTP, which provides the weakest security, each of those protocols employs 256-bit encryption and high security, as well as very stable connections.
DNS Data-Leak Prevention
IPVanish passed the tests for IPv4, IPv6, and DNS leaks. IPVanish DNS leak protection prevents the operating system from defaulting to the DNS (Dynamic Name System) of the internet service provider when the user connects to a web address. Without DNS leak protection, the user’s original IP address is shown, defeating the original purpose of a VPN.
IPVanish, a top-tier VPN, has the requisite kill switch (on most devices), and is especially important for those who always need a reliable private connection such as journalists and business owners. The kill switch feature ensures that no data goes through the user’s connection unless it is through the VPN. Users need only to connect once to this feature for it to work automatically.
IPVanish is a feature-rich VPN service that provides users with comprehensive protection online. We go into detail about these features below and their functionality below:
A no-logs policy
One feature that distinguishes premium-grade VPNs from free services is their no-logs policy. Data-mining giants like Google, Facebook, and Amazon have harvested online usage records for marketing resale and ad targeting systems for years. Free VPN providers want a piece of that action and only remain “free” through exploiting users’ records of online browsing and financial activity.
IPVanish claims it has a “zero-logs” policy, which assures users that it neither collects nor stores any user information, even though its former owners helped the FBI with criminal investigations in the past. This exchange of ownership is IPVanish’s saving grace when it comes to refuting logging complaints. Through our testing, we did not encounter any irregular targeting or evidence of logs.
Automatic Kill Switch
IPVanish offers a kill switch feature that automatically disconnects your device from the internet if your VPN connection drops out unexpectedly. This stops your real IP address from being exposed to any platform or service. It’s also ideal if you’d prefer to keep clear of trackers, hackers, or anyone interested in your personal data.
Strong security protocols
IPVanish employs state-of-the-art security protocols, including 256-bit AES encryption, SOCKS5 web proxy to hide the IP address of the user’s server, WireGuard, OpenVPN, and L2TP/IPsec VPN protocols. This robust suite of protocols is particularly helpful because most VPNs only take one or two steps to secure user information and IP addresses. In addition to these protocols, IPVanish also uses its dynamic IP addresses to further protect client info. Plus, IPVanish now has a new Wireguard protocol for faster speeds and more security.
Scramble & split tunneling
IPVanish has a Scramble feature that thwarts efforts to detect and block VPN connections. Split Tunneling allows the user to select apps the user prefers to launch outside the VPN, which is good news for those who have apps that won’t work with a VPN.
IPVanish’s platform applications offer a decent suite of easily accessible features, allowing the user to change servers and access advanced privacy settings quickly. The aesthetics of its app could use some work, and at times feels congested, but for an intermediate or experienced user, this is no problem at all.
The IPVanish apps download quickly from their respective Windows/MacOS/Amazon/Android app stores. Beginners receive detailed set-up guides on the IPVanish website with an optional tutorial upon the first login.
IPVanish offers smartphone apps for both Android and iPhone devices. While smartphones are generally secure from PC and Mac malware attacks, users are prone to signing on to WiFi servers as a way to cut smartphone data costs.
One major security problem is that mobile users are exposed on unsecured public WiFi networks. This leaves your personal information vulnerable to cyberattacks unknowingly. Loading a VPN on a smartphone is the safest way to protect a smartphone from these sneaky attacks. The premium IP Vanish VPN offers the same protection for a smartphone on a WiFi connection as it does for a tablet or laptop.
The IPVanish Android app is impressive. It has more functionality than any of its other offerings and includes a feature-rich UI that is easier to navigate. The iOS app appears radically different from the Android version, and it doesn’t offer much in the realm of advanced features, such as a kill switch.
Packaged with 12-month subs, VIPRE is lightweight antivirus software for Windows and Mac. It’s a great added bonus for anyone willing to sign up for longer periods, and it will protect personal devices from malware, phishing, and data loss.
Simultaneous connections on unlimited devices
IPVanish users can have an unlimited number of VPN connections active at once, be it your smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer. There are no restrictions as to the number of devices the user can install the IPVanish app on. This is an excellent perk to have for a VPN service, as most VPNs – free and premium – limit users to 5-10 simultaneous connections.
IPVanish Features: Summary
Unfortunately, IPVanish does not offer a few advanced features like an ad blocker or a browser extension. However, you can always download an independent service you think is missing while on an IPVanish connection. We considered this a small price to pay when weighing up the rest of IPVanish’s security and privacy features.
The following features are newly released as of 2022:
- Launching Wireguard for greater speed and security
- Continuously improving streaming support
- Launching new and improved Android apps
- Bundling award-winning malware protection with IPVanish yearly subscriptions at no additional cost to customers
How Much Does IPVanish Cost?
- 1 Month: $10.99/mo.
- 3 Months: $5.32/mo.
- 12 Months: $3.99/mo.
Arguably, the plan with the best bang for your buck is IPVanish’s 1-year subscription.
All plans include unlimited device connections and 24/7 customer service if you need assistance. IPVanish’s standalone 1-year plan comes with a 30-Day Money-Back guarantee where users can request a full refund if asked within the first 30 days of a term – no questions asked. The one caveat is that refunds do not apply to anyone signing up for IPVanish via the Apple App Store, which is a common practice for many vendors.
Users can pay via credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, JCB, Visa Electron, and Delta) or with PayPal.However, there are no anonymous payment methods like cryptocurrency. This means that subscribers cannot use IPVanish from a position of absolute anonymity.
In summary, IPVanish offers fairly competitive pricing on its plans. We recommend going with its yearly plan if you choose IPVanish as you’ll see the most savings.
IPVanish Pros & Cons
No two VPNs are the same. In addition to their features and pricing, you must also consider things like their company history, location, and network presence. After taking those components of IPVanish into account, we compiled a list of the pros and cons which separate IPVanish from other leading VPN providers.
Packed with an impressive list of added security features, IPVanish does have weight behind many of its claims. Here are the aspects that we liked:
- Company-owned server network that guarantees no network interference from outside parties or loss of their network to unwanted acquisitions or shutdowns
- Blazing fast speeds on nearby servers
- Technology and privacy practices were audited by Leviathan Security Group
- Solid privacy features and end-to-end encryption
- DNS/IP/WebRTC leak protection that ensures no data is lost should there be a drop in signal or interference
- 40,000+ dynamic IP addresses to choose from
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Unlocks various Netflix libraries worldwide despite the service recently becoming more adept at blocking VPNs
- Windows kill-switch
- Great compatibility, working with a wide range of applications and operating systems
Even with IPVanish’s pros, we did notice a few things to consider. Here’s a rundown of IPVanish’s disadvantages:
- Based in the United States, meaning IPVanish is technically under the 5 Eyes surveillance network
- Does not work in China
- Has no Firefox browser extension
- Certain operating systems do not include all features (i.e. kill switch)
- Does not accept cryptocurrency payments
Do We Recommend This VPN?
IPVanish pros include its ownership of a widely dispersed global network, as they’re not dependent on third-party support. It has solid privacy features, and offers an unlimited number of connections across the spectrum of computer, tablet, and mobile devices. It does unlock Netflix and other services, though with some inconsistency, and has very reliable speeds with stable connections. The service has a decent number of servers worldwide.
IPVanish cons are its aging interface and lack of additional privacy features. However, their recent third-party audit conducted by Leviathan Security Group proves its no-logs and privacy claims hold up.
The service’s torrenting and streaming capabilities are somewhat inconsistent and testers have had difficulties unblocking services like BBC iPlayer. The service cannot bypass the China firewall and is banned in a number of other repressive countries.
With over 2,000 servers in 75 locations in 50 countries, IPVanish is among the top 25% of VPNs with wide coverage throughout the world. However, the service is blocked in China and other authoritarian countries, and its web domain is blacklisted elsewhere.
IPVanish has requisite state-of-the-art encryption that meets federal government requirements for protection of health and financial security data. Likewise, IPVanish employs security protocols that provide seamless and secure network connections.
Our final evaluation of IPVanish is very positive. IPVanish is a solid VPN service that, for the most part, has garnered significant trust from users. Since being acquired in 2017, IPVanish has not had any controversial instances of customer data breaches of any sort, and its overall functionality is competitive with most premium providers.