IPVanish Review

IPVanish is a well-established VPN with a strong fan base and a mixed reputation. During this latest round of testing we liked a lot about it, but its track record for privacy, as well as a few other niggles, keep it from being anywhere near the top spot. Read our full IPVanish review for the dirty deets.

obr
By Jacob Roach
— Last Updated: 09 Nov'18
2015-03-05T14:24:27+00:00
Table of Contents Rating
Features
81%
Good
Pricing
71%
Decent
Ease of Use
88%
Very Good
Supported Devices
73%
Decent
Server Locations
74%
Good
Speed
92%
Excellent
Security & Privacy
40%
Terrible
Customer Service
83%
Good

Good
Starts from $ 649 monthly (All Plans)
Visit IPVanish

IPVanish would have made it onto our best VPN list if it wasn’t for a privacy policy that was proven false in court a few years ago. It has a good range of features, plenty of customization and great speeds, to boot.

In this IPVanish review, we’ll go over the areas where the virtual private network shines and where it falls short. We’ll discuss features, pricing, ease of use, supported devices, server locations, speed, security and customer service before giving our verdict.

Overall, we like IPVanish. It has a great client that serves those who want a quick connection or to tweak their VPN. After handing user logs to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, though, IPVanish doesn’t look as enticing; read more about this in the “security” section below.

Alternatives for IPVanish

Starts from$ 666monthly
  • Fast
  • Killswitch
  • Servers in 94 countries
  • Three simultaneous connections
  • Pricey
$ 291monthly
  • Easy & fast server switching
  • Fast
  • Cheap
  • Mediocre server network
  • Doesn’t get into most streaming services
  • Can be a pain to use

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths:

  • Easy to use
  • Killswitch
  • Many protocol options
  • Long list of servers
  • Router support
  • Fast

Weaknesses:

  • Keeps logs
  • Expensive
  • No long-term plans
  • Blocked by Netflix
  • No longer supports IP cycling settings

Features

81% - Good

IPVanish has a good range of features focused on anonymity and usability. The fan favorite IP cycling has bitten the dust, though, as there is no longer an option to turn it on in the user interface and the support page that details how to do so is blank.

We couldn’t find the feature, at least, so we reached out to support. IPVanish told us that IP addresses are cycled every hour. In the past, the client let you configure this setting, turning it on or off and setting how often you’d like your IP to change.

Still, there’s a lot to like. IPVanish includes a killswitch that you can turn on in the “settings” menu. A killswitch cuts your internet connection if you’re ever disconnected from the VPN.

IPVanish has settings for start-up and automatic reconnect, too, meaning your IP address never has to be exposed.

The start-up settings are especially useful. You can configure IPVanish to connect to the last server you used, the fastest one available or the fastest one in a particular country.

IPVanish supports just about any protocol you’d like. OpenVPN is enabled out of the box and you can choose to use it over port 443 UDP/TCP or 1194 UDP/TCP. The latter is the default OpenVPN port and should work in most cases, but you can use 443 to make your traffic look like normal SSL traffic.

If your internet service provider is causing issues with OpenVPN, you can hide your traffic. That will get past deep packet inspection by scrambling your data and hiding the ports you’re using.

Outside of that, IPVanish performs like a normal VPN. You can configure different DNS servers in the “IP settings” menu and verify your IP address using one of IPVanish’s four sources. Overall, there’s nothing missing, but more could be added.

IPVanish Streaming Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer

IPVanish won’t be making our best VPN for Netflix list anytime soon. We received the dreaded proxy error on five servers. BBC iPlayer had trouble, too, so we’re not confident in IPVanish’s streaming performance.

VPNs and streaming platforms are always playing a game of cat and mouse, though, so the stars may align for your night of binge streaming.

IPVanish Features Overview

Starts from$ 649monthly

General

Payment methods
PayPal, Credit card
Accepts cryptocurrency
Simultaneous connections
10
Split tunneling
Bandwidth cap
Trial
Refund period
Server amount
1000+
Desktop OSes
Windows, MacOS
Mobile OSes
Android, iOS
Browser extensions
Router support

Streaming

Netflix
BBC iPlayer
Hulu
Amazon Prime Video

Security

Encryption types
256-AES
VPN Protocols
OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP
Enabled at startup?
Allows torrenting
Logging
DNS leaks
Killswitch
Malware/ad blocker
Virtual servers

Support

Live Chat
24/7
Email
Phone support

Pricing

71% - Decent

IPVanish costs about as much as we’d expect. Monthly rates are around $10, and the three-month and year-long plans offer a slight discount. That said, the lack of long-term plans means you’ll be paying more, no matter how long you subscribe.

Month-to-month rates are good in the sense that month-to-month rates are generally bad. At $10, it’s a lot to front for a VPN, but IPVanish is a couple dollars cheaper than NordVPN’s monthly rate (read our NordVPN review).

While most VPNs have a semi-annual option, IPVanish has a three-month plan. It’s an odd choice and you won’t save much money. If you pay for service upfront, you’ll save $3. We think a six-month plan around $50 would work better.

Annual rates are the best, though, at least compared to the rest of IPVanish’s lineup. An annual NordVPN subscription will run you around $10 more, while an annual CyberGhost subscription is half the cost (read our CyberGhost review).

PlanOne MonthThree MonthsOne Year
Price Plan
$ 10 00monthly
$ 26 973 months
$ 77 88yearly
Bandwidth Unlimited GB Unlimited GB Unlimited GB
Included Devices 10 10 10
Bitcoin

There are issues in the lineup. IPVanish doesn’t offer a free plan, free trial or long term subscription. Free plans are usually bad, anyway, unless you download Windscribe (read our Windscribe review), so we’re not upset about that. The other two sting.

A free trial goes a long way and, though IPVanish offers a seven-day money-back guarantee, you still have to front the money. Likewise, long-term users get a suboptimal rate without the option to purchase a biennial or triennial plan.

Multi-year plans are a win-win for the company and the user. IPVanish can establish loyalty to its service while those sticking around get a better monthly rate. There’s a nice discount for annual subscribers over monthly ones, but we think IPVanish could include more value for longer durations.

Unfortunately, IPVanish doesn’t support payment with cryptocurrency, so you’ll have to reveal your identity to checkout.

Ease of Use

88% - Very Good

IPVanish is in the “commercial” category of VPNs, so it’s easy to use. The sign up process is painless. You’ll create an account with your email and password — no other information required — and IPVanish will auto-detect what operating system you’re on and recommend an installer. In total, signing up doesn’t take more than a few minutes.

When you open the client, you’ll start in the “quick connect” tab. You can choose a country and city and connect without browsing the server list. IPVanish also shows you information about your connection, including the protocol you’re using, the data rate and a speed chart.

For the full list of servers, you’ll need to use the “server list” tab. You can browse the options or use the map to get to the area you want to connect to. You can also filter by country and latency. IPVanish doesn’t have a full list of servers, though. Amsterdam, for example, has almost 100 servers, but you can only choose to connect to Amsterdam as a whole.

As far as ease of use goes, that could be a strength, especially if you’re unfamiliar with VPNs or don’t want to futz around while connecting. The “quick connect” tab covers the area well, though, so a more exhaustive list of servers would be nice for those who want to get in the trenches.

Two of the remaining three tabs deal with your account and the application. You shouldn’t have to click on “account details” or “information” while using IPVanish.

You’ll probably want to check out the “settings” tab, though. You can set up the killswitch, change your protocol, verify your IP address and configure DNS there. IPVanish doesn’t have a large list of settings, but we’re content with what’s offered.

We like the start-up settings most. You can configure the client in one of four ways: don’t activate IPVanish on start-up, connect to previously connected server, connect to fastest server and connect to fastest server in a particular country. That, in combination with the killswitch, means you never connect to the internet while unprotected.

The interface is easy to get around, overall. There’s a top bar that shows what server you’re currently to, an IP address and an on button. No matter where you are in the client, you can disconnect or reconnect.  

We wanted more options, particularly for IP cycling which IPVanish has oddly omitted. For a straightforward VPN experience, though, it gets the job done well.

Supported Devices

73% - Decent

IPVanish has applications for Windows, macOS, Linux and Chrome OS. It has excellent mobile support, too, with clients for iOS, Android and, surprisingly, Windows Phone. It can support other versions of Android, as well, such as Amazon’s Fire TV.

It also supports routers with DD-WRT or Tomato firmware. You can buy a pre-configured router from IPVanish, but you’ll spend $300 on it, at minimum. IPVanish offers visual guides to configuring OpenVPN on routers flashed with DD-WRT or Tomato and a drop-down menu of popular routers so you know which firmware you have.

All in all, going the DIY route is the better option.

IPVanish doesn’t officially support Tor. A support page dedicated to it says “past feedback from our customers has indicated that TOR does work, but mostly only for web browsing.” You may be able to get it to work, but we’re counting it as a loss.

Configuring IPVanish on your router is more of a security concern and less of a device concern. All plans come with support for up to 10 devices, which is more than our top-rated VPN, ExpressVPN (read our ExpressVPN review).

Server Locations

74% - Good

IPVanish has 1,095 servers in over 60 countries. It’s not NordVPN’s level, but few providers are. To achieve that number of servers, there’s likely a mix of rented, owned and virtual servers in the network.  

Locations are focused around the U.S. and Europe. As noted in the ease of use section, you can select the general location that you want to connect to, but not the specific server.

There are a lot of dead areas on the map, though. Most of South America, Asia and Africa have few servers. It’s not surprising, considering those locations house countries with the strictest privacy laws, but they’re still underserved in the VPN space.

Speed

92% - Excellent

IPVanish has impressive upload and latency times, at least if you’re in a popular area. It made our best VPN for gaming list for that reason. It’s among the fastest VPNs on the market, slowing down by, at most, 20 percent, even when traveling across the globe.


Location:Ping (ms):Download (Mbps):Upload (Mbps):
Unprotected (St. Louis, MO)1059.1311.55
Los Angeles, CA9653.598.21
Glasgow, UK1322.362.96
London, UK10549.668.31
Tokyo, Japan16845.604.72
Sydney, Australia24751.133.01

We noticed something interesting during our speed tests, though. Glasgow had pitiful scores, not only compared to other locations, but compared to other VPN providers, as well. We tested another server in the UK as a sanity check and found numbers that were more in line with the rest of our results.

Less popular areas, such as Glasgow, have bad speeds. The rest of IPVanish’s network is so good, though, that it doesn’t bother us much. If you’re looking for a specific location, you may have problems, but that’s unlikely to be the first or last hurdle you encounter.

Security & Privacy

40% - Terrible

IPVanish offers more protocols to choose from than AirVPN, which only has OpenVPN (read our AirVPN review). It uses AES 256-bit encryption, so long as the protocol allows it, too, meaning you’re getting best-in-class security.

You get access to IKEv2, OpenVPN over TCP and UDP, L2TP, SSTP and PPTP. The most secure and configurable option is OpenVPN, but IKEv2 is a good choice for mobile devices.

SSTP is a nice inclusion, too, as it uses an SSL/TLS connection like OpenVPN, but looks like normal HTTPS traffic.

The odd man out is PPTP, as it’s a dated and insecure protocol. There’s an argument to be made that it supports older operating systems and comes with a speed boost, but security should be the primary concern. IPVanish recommends it for “low-risk speed-intensive” browsing, but we don’t recommend it at all.

Still, variety is the spice of life and IPVanish gives you plenty of options. With the latest protocols and most secure level of encryption, there’s nothing here for us to stick our noses up at.

We tested IP, DNS and WebRTC leaks using ipleak.org and IPVanish passed without any issues.

IPVanish Privacy

IPVanish claims it’s a no-logs VPN provider (more on that later), meaning it doesn’t collect information about traffic or usage on its service. It does keep information to process payments, detect fraud and more, though.

We are impressed by how clear IPVanish’s privacy policy is. It breaks down each step in the process — using the site and using the VPN. IPVanish tells you what information is gathered and how it’s used.

IPVanish needs to keep an active email and payment method on file to process payments. This information in no way relates to your use of the VPN, though. It claims it anonymizes all traffic traveling to its services and doesn’t log the usage.

The information kept on record — email address, payment method, etc. — is used for many reasons. IPVanish outlines each service it uses, including SendGrid for email and MaxMind for fraud detection, in its privacy policy.

The best way to stay anonymous is to use a junk email account exclusively for IPVanish. Payment methods can still be tied back to you, though, as IPVanish doesn’t accept bitcoin or cold, hard cash like Mullvad (read our Mullvad review).

IPVanish Logging

In 2018, a Reddit post broke a story that a U.S. resident was suspected of distributing child pornography in 2016. The IP address he used was tied back to Highwinds Network Group, a content delivery network that IPVanish owns.

After receiving the first summons, IPVanish responded, “To protect customer data, we do not log any usage information. Therefore, we do not have any information regarding the referenced IP.”

Once it received a summons from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, though, IPVanish provided records of the user for use in the case. The relevant information is in a screenshot below. You can read the full report here, but be aware that it’s graphic in description.

IPVanish isn’t the first VPN provider to disprove its no-logging policy in court. HideMyAss and PureVPN are guilty of that, as well (read our HideMyAss review and PureVPN review).  That said, Private Internet Access, which is also U.S.-based, has proven in court that it doesn’t keep logs (read our Private Internet Access review).

It’s clear IPVanish was lying in 2015, but it’s not clear if it’s lying now. StackPath owns IPVanish and its CEO, Lance Crosby, said in a 2018 interview with TechRadar, “It’s a completely different company, with a new executive and legal team.”

For the time being, all we have to go on is Crosby’s word and the privacy policy, which has been more or less the same since IPVanish’s inception. If privacy is your biggest concern, IPVanish may not be right for you.

Customer Service

83% - Good

IPVanish offers live chat and phone support, as well as a knowledgebase and setup guide. We’re impressed with the layout and response times IPVanish offers, but it doesn’t come as surprise given the rest of the service.

The knowledgebase is split into sections. You get an FAQ, troubleshooting guides, announcements, setup guides, about and billing. Most of your time will be spent in troubleshooting, the FAQ and setup.

With only 12 articles, the FAQ is small. The topics are general, such as using the service in a specific country or resetting your password. There are topics that lean on troubleshooting more, though, that we wanted to see in that section.

IPVanish has a guide for almost any operating system you could install it on. Common installations, such as Windows and macOS, have separate guides for each protocol, too. The setup guides show you how to configure the VPN, not just how to install it. If you’re content using the client alone, then these areas are irrelevant to you.

There are 54 troubleshooting guides, which cover common problems and how-tos, both with step-by-step instruction and plenty of screenshots.

For direct support, live chat and email are good options. Live chat is available around the clock, and there’s an indicator for where you are in the queue. Email support is decent, too. When we reached out to IPVanish, someone got back to us in around 15 hours.

Their response was disappointing, though. We asked about virtual servers being used. The response was a measly “sorry, we don’t disclose information about our infrastructure.”

We’re not missing phone support much, as live chat and email suffice. IPVanish doesn’t have a forum, though. Given how many configurations a VPN can be set up in, having a spot for the community to shoot ideas off would be nice.

The Verdict

A dishonest privacy policy taints an otherwise good experience. IPVanish has great usability, speeds and features. If the privacy policy was accurate, it’d have great security, too. That said, we know that IPVanish has kept logs in the past.

With new executives in place, the future of IPVanish is uncertain. If it continues to be dishonest about its privacy practices, we can’t recommend it in good faith. Crosby says the company is totally different now, though, and the privacy policy is accurate. If that’s enough for you, then you’ll find an excellent VPN with great speeds, to boot.

For providers that have the same performance without logging, read through our VPN reviews.

What do you think of IPVanish and its recent debacle? Let us know in the comments and, as always, thanks for reading.

IPVanish Review

Privacy concerns give us pause on this otherwise decent VPN.

IPVanish is a well-established VPN with a strong fan base and a mixed reputation. During this latest round of testing we liked a lot about it, but its track record for privacy, as well as a few other niggles, keep it from being anywhere near the top spot. Read our full IPVanish review for the deets.
Starts from$ 649monthly
Visit IPVanish
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