WHAT’S IN THIS REVIEW?
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If you’re searching for a VPN service that can unblock streaming websites and offers great compatibility, look no further than Ivacy.
However, it might not be the best choice if you’re solely focused on privacy.
There are numerous benefits that we’ll discuss below, but their association with PureVPN is unfortunate, and speeds and logging practices could definitely improve in the future.
Does Ivacy offer enough to be recommended, or would you be better off opting for a provider that offers entertainment as well as enhanced security and privacy? We answer this fully in our Ivacy VPN review.
For reference, a monthly subscription of Ivacy VPN was purchased for the purpose of testing and reviewing this service.
Promising in some respects, and entirely disappointing in others, Ivacy is an enigma.
I’ve no doubt that many users are happy with what the service has to offer, especially when it comes to unblocking streaming platforms like HBO to Disney +.
However, it’s not necessarily that simple from a privacy perspective, especially when considering the lack of a software audit and a lack of transparency in terms of ownership.
Here’s the lowdown on this provider as we tackle its service in this extensive Ivacy VPN review.
About Ivacy VPN
Singapore-based Ivacy was released back in 2007, when the VPN landscape was very different. Online security wasn’t at the forefront of public discourse, at least not to the degree that it is now.
Ivacy VPN is owned under the umbrella of PMG Private Limited, with a business address openly listed on their website.
However, they appear to be owned by Gaditek, which is “an employee-centric company and the biggest product-based tech company in Pakistan working in multiple industries.”
So, what’s with the secrecy? Gaditek also happens to own PureVPN, who is infamous for playing a role in handing over user data to the FBI back in 2017. It’s easy to see why they’d prefer to distance themselves.
None of this is mentioned on the Ivacy About Us page, which also neglects to mention that they were originally based in Hong Kong.
It’s difficult to put faith in a company with multiple VPNs under their wing, especially as PureVPN has misrepresented their logging claims so publically in the past.
RestorePrivacy goes so far as to suggest that “many people believe that Ivacy and PureVPN are under the same company and using the same network infrastructure.” We won’t hold that against them though, as this so far is just conjecture.
In any case, Ivacy isn’t the most transparent provider, and there are some questions left unanswered.
Pros & Cons
We’ve compiled the main pros and cons we discovered with Ivacy into easy-to-digest bullet points:
Despite questions left unanswered, there are still quite a few advantages to using Ivacy. We list them here:
- Additional features such as Split Tunneling and Port Forwarding
- Unblocks numerous popular streaming platforms
- Helpful Live Chat operatives
- Lots of support for almost every device imaginable
- A wide list of server locations to choose from
- Accepts various forms of cryptocurrency
- Connect up to 10 devices at the same time with a single account
The enigma that Ivacy is lends itself to a handful of cons in our eyes. See what we mean below:
- Lack of a third-party audit for the software
- One month deal is expensive
- Questionable logging practices
- Slow server speeds
- Slow server speeds
- Questions surrounding ownership
- Fewer features on macOS – including not one kill switch
Ivacy has a core range of features that improve its VPN service, although the majority worth mentioning are hidden behind an additional paywall. I was also hindered by my macOS device, which lacked even the basics in terms of expected features.
For example, a kill switch is the least you would expect from a provider that has been operating for almost 15 years. Their support pages note:
“The Internet Kill Switch feature is currently available for Ivacy VPN on Android and Windows. However, it is not available for Ivacy VPN on Mac and iOS.”
It depends on whether you consider the ability to unblock streaming sites to be a ‘feature’, but it’s still disappointing news overall. Nonetheless, here’s a roundup of the extras offered by Ivacy.
As the name implies, Split Tunneling allows you to send some of the traffic through a secure VPN tunnel, while the rest goes through your normal connection.
This allows for various benefits, such as if you split your online activity between things you want to keep private and things you’re not worried about, or if you just want to use it to unblock streaming apps on a specific browser. Unfortunately, it wasn’t available on macOS, so I was unable to test it out.
A dedicated IP assigns the user a specific IP address, so you’ll never be banned or denied service due to the use of shared IPs with your VPN. One Ivacy dedicated IP offers a single login and works on one device at a time.
Ivacy’s dedicated VPN is available in a range of selected countries, including Hong Kong, the UK, and the US.
However, it costs an additional $1.99 per month per single login.
Port Forwarding is another optional add-on which ‘involves the interception of data traffic going to a specific IP address and re-routing it to another IP address entirely.’ Port forwarding is priced at an additional $1.00 per month.
- 1 month: $9.95/mo.
- 12 months: $3.66/mo.
- 2 Years: $2.45/mo.
Ivacy is keen to get the user to sign up for as long as possible, which is evident when looking at their payment page. Take their one-month plan, priced at $9.95. It’s a fee that is on par with some of the best VPN providers on the market, such as NordVPN.
Signing up for 12 months will give savings of 63%, and is priced at $3.66 per month. Two years is just $2.45, or a 75% discount. That’s undeniably cheap, with further savings if you agree to lock in for five years. (We’d advise against such a long deal. After all, who knows what will happen in five years?)
All new Ivacy subscriptions are backed up with a 30-day money-back guarantee, with some provisions. You can’t have been suspended or previously claimed a refund, and they don’t refund crypto payments.
The money-back-guarantee does sound promising, but their support page clarifies that:
“If you opted for the monthly subscription, then you can get a refund within 7 days from the original date of purchase.”
Confusingly, their support page states:
“Yes, you can use one account on five devices simultaneously. Ivacy offers you a multi-login feature, which enables you to secure more than just one device at the same time – ten devices simultaneously to be precise.”
Lastly, payment methods are numerous, with the most popular listed (and pictured) below:
- Major credit card carriers
If you’re looking for money-saving coupons, check Ivacy’s deals page for their current offerings.
“Ivacy collects minimal reports and statistics required for quality customer support and services rendered. The data collected does not contain any identifiable information or user data like DNS requests, traffic details, or IP addresses. The only thing known is the countries where users are originating from, which once again has no information of value.“
During the signup process, the following information is required:
- Your Name
- Email Address
- Payment Method
There’s no real need to give an email address if they really wanted to allow for anonymity. Furthermore, what’s the point of being able to pay via crypto if I have to give my name when I sign up with the service?
In terms of information requests by relevant authorities, they say:
“Since we have a zero-log policy, we keep no information of activities carried out by our customers online. We have information users share with us once he/she signs up for our service, like your email address for instance.”
For all the talk of being a privacy-facing service, the lack of an audit is disappointing. They might have been the first VPN provider to introduce Split Tunneling back in the day, but they haven’t been as quick in terms of adapting to the competition, many of which have backed their claims with independent audits in recent years.
With a large server network and a service focused on unblocking streaming sites, I was hoping that Ivacy would be able to offer speeds that were comparable with some of the fastest VPNs on the market. I’m happy to report it was quite good.
I began by testing my connection without using Ivacy. As you can see in the screenshot, nothing was out of the ordinary, although speeds were a little slower than the 400 Mbps maximum I get during off-peak hours.
I decided to connect to their recommended server, found in London. (It was also the closest in terms of physical location.)
Ping was upped significantly, while the download speed dipped under 100 Mbps. That’s wholly disappointing and represents a result that is roughly 30% of what I’m actually paying for.
Given their access to streaming sites, the U.S. was up next.
As with their UK servers, US speeds were locked in at 100 Mbps. Ping suffered, although the upload speeds held steady.
Finally, I noticed a range of German services in the streaming tab, so I figured I’d test their speeds too.
As you may have guessed, speeds hovered just above 95 Mbps while connected to Ivacy’s German servers.
You’d expect there to be some variance when connecting to different servers, but key locations are remarkably consistent, if not quick enough to be used for the most taxing tasks.
Server Locations & Network
For a network of Ivacy’s size, we appreciate the transparency the VPN offers on their site. They provide a complete server list to browse you can consider before settling on a VPN.
- Americas: Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama, Peru, USA, Venezuela
- Europe: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, UK
- Asia: Brunei, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan
- Oceania: Australia, New Zealand
- Africa: Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Seychelles, South Africa
- Middle East: Jordan, Saudi Arabia, UAE
One area in which Ivacy scores highly is clearly its network. They have over 3,500 to choose from in countries dotted around the globe, with great coverage in Africa and Asia.
However, their Terms of Service has an “anti-fraud” policy which I’ve never actually seen before.
“Ivacy hereby notifies that no accounts will be offered to clients residing in African nations except South Africa. Ivacy had to take this step because of increasing complaints regarding fraudulent activities originating from Nigeria. However, Ivacy reserves its right to allow anyone as an exception to get an account, on receipt of government-issued IDs or landline phones.”
Wait, what? It’s a policy they’re entitled to enforce, but it’s strange that they’re willing to lock out much of the continent, especially as they offer such wide coverage in the region.
In any case, this is a category that warrants a second take.
Streaming & Torrenting
Their main page advertises that:
“All Plans unblock BBC iPlayer, Disney+, Hulu & 7 major Netflix Regions including US, FR, JP, UK, Aus, De & Ca.”
I decided to put their bold claims to the test, easily unblocking Amazon Prime U.S. and Netflix U.S. by selecting a server from the list above. BBC iPlayer wasn’t included on the list of streaming platforms, but it still worked with no issues after selecting a server from the “Unblocking” tab.
In this regard, Ivacy certainly holds up to their end of the deal. It unlocks almost every steaming site worth watching, and there was no lag during playback.
As for torrenting, it’s also good news! They note:
Ivacy VPN has P2P servers in numerous locations around the world and is optimized for file sharing purposes. In case your VPN connection runs into any issues, you have the Automatic Kill Switch option, ensuring that the IP address is never leaked or exposed.
However, there was no Automatic Kill Switch option available on my macOS device.
They get high marks for continuing to allow users to bypass online blocks on content, without charging more for the ability to do so.
The Ivacy Terms of Service states, “We do not involve in any form of censorship.” That’s tempered by the fact they block an entire continent barring one country, which does sound a bit like censorship when looked at objectively.
They don’t appear to donate to any causes within the industry, although they did join the VPN Trust Initiative in 2020 as a founding member.
Ivacy does allow for torrenting and P2P sharing, while they do give access to broadcasters around the world, which is a soft form of censorship. Regardless, they do so for business reasons, rather than a strong anti-censorship standpoint.
Platforms & Devices
Ivacy is available on a wide range of platforms and devices:
If it connects to the internet, there’s a high probability that Ivacy will offer support in some shape or form.
Windows, macOS, Android, Chrome, and Linux are the key platforms covered, with additional apps for routers, and browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, and Edge. Further support is found for Kodi, FireStick, and compatible Android TV devices.
Despite the number of apps available, it wasn’t smooth sailing in terms of installation. You need to set up a password via an email link to get started, which never appeared in my inbox. (Ironically, they did send a trio of marketing messages, so I did use the right email address.)
There was also a message after I paid, with a note which led me to suspect that it happens more frequently than they would prefer.
However, it was easy to get in contact with a support agent via the Live Chat feature, and they resent a link immediately.
The overall design of the app is fairly basic, going so far as to be missing key features on the macOS device I used for testing. It’s not the best result, although it worked with no problems.
One thing to remember is, just because your device has an app, doesn’t mean you’ll be able to benefit from the full range of features they offer.
Encryption & Security
They say that their VPN network “supports encryption levels ranging from zero encryption to the highest SSL or AES 256-bit encryption. The level of encryption you get depends on the protocol you have opted for within the Ivacy VPN app.”
Support pages give the impression that you will be able to change protocols within the app.
To do so, you’re supposed to:
- Access Ivacy VPN
- Select Settings
- Under Connection, choose your preferred protocol i.e. TCP, UDP, L2TP or IKEV
However, I only got as far as the second step, and could find no option to change the protocol within the settings or elsewhere.
It appears to be another feature that is restricted to Windows devices, which is a recurring theme I could have done without.
Lastly, there was no WireGuard support and no mention of the protocol on their website.
Security is also poor, judging from my experience on macOS. There’s no kill switch, and the Settings menu lacks anything of importance.
Given the lack of care on my preferred platform, it’s also difficult to give them the benefit of the doubt without a software audit. If you’re naturally more suspicious, it’s unlikely that Ivacy is the right choice for you.
In summation, we’d categorize this VPN as a targeted VPN – one that works great for select uses rather than an overall frontrunner. Ivacy doesn’t fare well if judged solely on privacy and trust. They haven’t bothered to develop a kill switch for the macOS app, which tends to be the absolute minimum I expect in terms of security features. Yet, it’s fantastic for streaming and torrenting, or budget shoppers.
Are there ties to PureVPN, and why is it difficult to find out who actually owns the service? These are questions we’d still like answered by the source. There’s no audit, and we’ve mentioned the lack of security features above.
It’s usable if you just want unfettered streaming, but there isn’t much else if you were hoping for anything more than entertainment.
One aspect in which Ivacy scores highly is pricing. The one-month deal is the exception to the rule at $9.99, but it’s an incentive to push users towards high percentage savings. Their refund policy is also improved compared to the past, in which they used to enforce bandwidth limits. For longer contracts, it works out to be a capable budget option.
As for speed, it came in average, hovering around 100 Mbps depending on where I connected to. Sure, they have lots of servers. The thing is, none are particularly speedy and are easily outclassed by most modern VPN servers.
Ivacy is both good and bad, depending on what it is you want from a provider. We recommend first creating a list of your dealbreaker needs, and then exploring our VPN reviews to see which one aligns with your list the best.
If you want to explore opportunities to save on a premium VPN provider, browse our VPN deals available today.