IPVanish is a decent, secure VPN service that offers a little bit of everything but isn't as fast or easy to use as we would like.
By Fedor Karmanov – Last Updated: 08 Oct'17
IPVanish is an established VPN service that prioritizes the anonymity of its users. It offers a large selection of servers and shared IPs, has a good range of supported devices and offers decent speeds, to boot.
Overall, IPVanish is a solid choice for an advanced user looking for a VPN that provides the best possible security that money can buy. IPVanish offers a seven-day money-back guarantee, so feel free to visit IPVanish and check the service out for yourself.
Some of the best features of IPVanish are bundled into their applications. The apps for Windows and Mac both offer IP switching, port scrambling and a killswitch, which are great for users who know their way around a VPN. Unfortunately, most of the software is designed in such a way that would make it difficult for newcomers to take full advantage of its features, but more on that later.
From a privacy standpoint, IPVanish has a solid “no logging” policy. The service also openly allows P2P traffic and does not admit to throttling your connection. That being said, speed was a bit of a concern during our tests: download speeds dropped significantly after connecting to nearby servers. Keep reading to find out more.
- Killswitch & IP switching
- 40,000+ shared IPs
- Many supported devices
- Bit slow
- Mediocre support
IPVanish has an assortment of standard and less standard features listed on its website, though some of the best ones go oddly unmentioned. For example, if you look at the Mac app’s home screen, you will see a neatly organized summary of your VPN connection.
The IPVanish app clearly displays your new IP address as soon as you connect to a server. This feature may sound like a no-brainer, but it is often missing from other VPN services, like SaferVPN. The app also provides a very precise geographic location of your connection and a quick overview of the speed and data usage so far.
IPVanish’s interface also organizes all of the available IPs by country and city, allowing you to carefully choose each IP address by its location on a map. Like most VPNs, the application allows you to connect to a suggested server, which provides you with what the algorithm thinks is the fastest possible connection (usually the closest server).
IPVanish has advanced IP search and filtering features: the program lets you search for servers using a keyword, filter by general region and latency (relative to your location) and sort the list of IPs by server load. In short, these search features provide a lot of control over your anonymity and speed.
IPVanish also offers a lot of small, extra features that make the whole service a lot more secure. The app’s settings include the option of turning on a killswitch, which will shut off your Internet in case you get disconnected from the server. IPVanish also has IPv6 leak protection and port scrambling, which makes sure your real address is never accidentally exposed.
One of my favorite features of IPVanish is automatic IP switching, which can cycle your IP address every 45, 60 or 90 minutes. This is great for users who value their anonymity or who use several IPs for software development purposes.
IPVanish is slightly more expensive than similar services (read our PIA review or ExpressVPN review for examples), but not by much. The one-month subscription costs $10 a month, with discounts for signing up for three months or a year. The best deal, unsurprisingly, is the one-year plan.
$ 10 00monthly
$ 8 993 months
$ 6 49yearly
IPVanish accepts quite a few different forms of payment:
- Credit cards
- Gift cards
IPVanish does not offer a free trial, although there is a seven-day money-back policy in case you change your mind about subscribing. Signups run via IPVanish and only take a minute, so it’s definitely worth checking out.
The signup process is very easy, since all you need is a valid email address and a password. After logging in, the desktop and mobile apps have a brief tutorial summarizing the way the interface works.
In terms of video streaming, the IPVanish servers I tested did not pass the Netflix test, which means that Netflix will lock you out before playing any videos. This is unfortunate but not surprising: the Netflix VPN ban has been in place for quite some time now and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.
Sadly, BBC’s iPlayer doesn’t work either. Most modern VPNs (like you can see in our SaferVPN review) tend to pass under the BBC’s radar. If streaming is a priority for you, check out our best VPN for Netflix and best VPN for BBC iPlayer articles.
The fact that IPVanish uses some of their own dedicated servers probably makes them an easier target for the VPN blacklist. Unfortunately, IPVanish can be hard to use if you’re not familiar with the different features and jargon of most VPN services.
It doesn’t help that the interface is clunky and half-baked: note the two disconnect buttons on the screenshot below. These aesthetic quirks make IPVanish look amateurish and unprofessional despite the advanced features under the hood.
During my testing, the interface would freeze up and show incorrect information. For instance, after connecting once to the UK, the “visible location” pane would not change even after I switched to a Canadian server.
Another frustration of mine while using the app was the interior inconsistency in the terminology: “latency” and “ping” are used interchangeably in the filtering panes of the Mac and iOS apps, even though they are not the same thing. Little inconveniences like the above sour the experience, making the whole service a bit less attractive in the process.
IPVanish supports all mainstream operating systems: Windows, Mac OS, iOS and Android. The applications tested in this review, Mac OS and iOS, performed reasonably well under everyday conditions.
Out of the less common devices, IPVanish supports Fire TV, Windows Phone and Linux. The existence of a Chromebook extension, however, is a bit misleading, since there is no dedicated application for Chrome. If you click on the icon for “Chromebook,” you will find yourself at a help page explaining the step-by-step instructions of manually setting up IPVanish in the Chrome browser.
Like most VPN services, IPVanish supports limited (five, in this case) simultaneous connections to its servers across all devices and connection types. The service does offer pre-flashed routers in case you want to extend the amount of possible connections. These pre-flashed routers are sold through FlashRouters and Sabai Technology and are a little on the pricey side, it has to be said.
You can save some money by installing IPVanish on a router yourself, although this shouldn’t be attempted lightly since doing it incorrectly can destroy your router. Not all routers are compatible with VPNs, so check to make sure yours is before proceeding.
Server diversity is IPVanish’s strong suit. According to its website, IPVanish has around 850 servers across over 60 countries, which is impressive. The service acknowledges that each of these servers hosts multiple IPs: they even label and disclose each separate IP and the “server load” that the corresponding server is experiencing.
For that reason, IPVanish provides unfettered access to over 40,000 different connections, which is a huge asset to those users that need to switch IPs frequently.
As you can see above, the interface indicates that Frankfurt has 41 available connections. The app automatically sorts these IPs by server load unless a specific server is flagged, in which case it will be put at the top of the list.
As good as everything else is, we had to dock points for speed: I’m based on the East Coast, so the recommended server for my location at the time was in Toronto. During my tests, I experienced a decrease of more than double my original download speed.
Tests across other locations seemed to prove that the download speed is capped at around 15-30 Mbps across most servers, no matter how close or how far you are from the geographic location where the server is hosted. Though IPVanish status as a Tier 1 network means that it gets consistent speeds across the globe, these speeds are less fast than we see with some competitors.
While these speeds are fine for light streaming, they might pose a problem for the serious torrenter who wants to maximize their use of the VPN. They will likely also prove a deterrent to people who are paying for high-speed connections and would like to stay fast even when connected to a VPN.
|Home||68.07 Mbps||72.63 Mbps
|Toronto, CA (recommended)||27.59 Mbps||72.63 Mbps|
|Chicago, U.S.||15.23 Mbps||26.82 Mbps
|London, UK||11.99 Mbps||45.08 Mbps|
IPVanish has a fairly standard security protocol: 256-bit AES encryption coupled with several secure protocols, such as OpenVPN, PPTP and L2TP/IPsec. It also offers SOCKS5 proxy security, meaning the tunnel is pretty much impregnable.
IPVanish makes several claims about limits and privacy. These claims include not limiting bandwidth or the number of times you can connect to a server. The company also claims that it doesn’t monitor the content or the protocols that you access through its servers, meaning it doesn’t prohibit P2P downloading.
IPVanish also has a no-logging policy in place, which means that it doesn’t keep logs of either your traffic or your connections.
There do seem to be some troubling reports on Reddit from 2014 which point out that some users were getting “TOS violation” and “copyright infringement” warnings despite the service claiming that its users were not being logged.
Fortunately, these issues seem to be contained to 2014-2015; since then, IPVanish appears to have made some effort to make sure that it no longer logs or monitors users’ traffic.
As mentioned above, IPVanish also offers a variety of safety features for users worried about their privacy, such as IP switching and port scrambling, which means that the company takes privacy seriously.
As a quick aside, IPVanish is based in the U.S. and therefore must abide by U.S. laws and regulations. Its lack of a spotless record makes it difficult to fully recommend as a bulletproof solution for privacy and security, so proceed at your own risk.
IPVanish customer service can only be reached by email. There is no phone number or live chat, and the online “email us” form is hard to navigate.
The message box text mines your message and gives you suggestions on recommended support articles that might answer your question. The support articles themselves are not exhaustive, so if you’re having some issues, expect to be in touch with customer service by email or to be doing some Googling.
To give them some credit, IPVanish customer service is responsive when contacted. I emailed them with some questions and received a response about two hours later.
Overall, IPVanish offers a strong product for advanced users looking to have access to a large set of IPs. The service is transparent about its server locations and its shared servers, and provides useful metrics that can help you manage your connection.
Additional tools such as IP switching and DNS leak protection are all part of a robust set of privacy controls.
While the interface and customer service could use some work, IPVanish offers a solid VPN at a decent price. While speed was a bit of an issue throughout our test, it was not enough to disqualify this service for torrenters or heavy streamers.
While it does not offer a free-trial, the seven day money-back guarantee should give you some confidence in taking IPVanish service for a spin.
Thanks for reading, and let us know in the comments what you think about this VPN. Thank you for reading.