IVPN Review

IVPN tries to do things differently from other providers, and succeeds admirably. There is a lot to like here, from the speeds to the transparency of the privacy policy, but the pricing is a bit rough. Read all the details in our IVPN review.

By Brian MurrayWriter
— Last Updated: 30 Aug'19
2019-08-29T23:09:42-08:00
Table of ContentsRating
Features
80%
Good
Pricing
50%
Poor
Ease of Use
85%
Very Good
Speed
85%
Very Good
Security
85%
Very Good
Privacy
95%
Excellent
Streaming Performance
40%
Terrible
Server Locations
75%
Good
Customer Service
90%
Excellent
User Reviews & Comments

Good
Starts from $ 667 per month
best-VPN-reviews

The VPN market — and the tech industry as a whole — is a world where, as certain standards begin to emerge, many competitors end up looking and performing the same. IVPN, however, gave us a bit of a welcome break from the monotony. 

IVPN does things a bit differently in numerous regards. From a privacy policy that is laid out like a FAQ, to offering a protocol that is still in development, there are several oddities that stood out to us about IVPN. Some we like, and some we don’t.

Although it may not be ready for our best VPN roundup, IVPN does seem to have significant promise. Solid speeds, good security and excellent customer support make a strong case for IVPN, but the pricing alone is enough to drive many away. Keep reading to see what we liked and what we think still needs work. 

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths:

  • Reliable speeds
  • Built-in ad-blocker
  • Solid security
  • User-friendly interface
  • Easy-to-understand privacy policy
  • Excellent live chat support

Weaknesses:

  • Could not access geoblocked sites
  • Very expensive

Alternatives for IVPN

cloudwards rating
$ per month
top features
  1. 1
  2. /month
    • PayPal, Credit card
    • 5 Simultaneous connections
    • Unlimited bandwidth
    • Can access Netflix US
    • Allows torrenting
    • No-logging policy
  3. Visit IVPN IVPN Review
  1. 2
  2. /month
    • PayPal, Credit card, Bitcoin
    • 5 Simultaneous connections
    • Unlimited bandwidth
    • Can access Netflix US
    • Allows torrenting
    • No-logging policy
  3. Visit ExpressVPNExpressVPN Review
  1. 3
  2. /month
    • PayPal, Credit card
    • 5 Simultaneous connections
    • Unlimited bandwidth
    • Can access Netflix US
    • Allows torrenting
    • No-logging policy
  3. Visit IvacyIvacy Review
  1. 4
  2. /month
    • PayPal, Credit card
    • 7 Simultaneous connections
    • Unlimited bandwidth
    • Can access Netflix US
    • Allows torrenting
    • No-logging policy
  3. Visit CyberghostCyberghost Review
  1. 5
  2. /month
    • PayPal, Credit card, AliPay
    • 5 Simultaneous connections
    • Unlimited bandwidth
    • Can access Netflix US
    • Allows torrenting
    • No-logging policy
  3. Visit AstrillAstrill Review

Features

80% - Good

While using IVPN, we noticed that much of the settings menu layout was unconventional. The most basic features were right where you expect them to be. For example, the first page that you see when opening up the settings has checkboxes that let you run the VPN on startup and connect automatically if you do so. 

The frontpage of the settings is the rightful spot for these options. However, we immediately noticed that one thing was absent from this page: a kill switch. When we discussed this, IVPN said that there is a kill switch, but it is integrated into the firewall.

It claims that this method offers a more robust kill switch because the firewall runs independently from the IVPN client and can integrate with parts of the device’s operating system. 

This allows the combined firewall and kill switch to more carefully examine your computer’s traffic and more reliably cut off the stream of data if something goes wrong. 

Although it is hard to determine whether this method is more effective than a standard kill switch, it doesn’t change the fact that it would be nice to see a dedicated setting for it in the menus. 

A kill switch is essential for security, and not seeing any mention of this in the settings is something that should make users a bit uncomfortable. This configuration also means that if you use IVPN, you should undoubtedly have the “always on firewall” setting selected.

IVPN offers a respectable spread of device options. There is a client available for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS, as well as extensive guides on how to set the VPN up for Linux. 

It is also possible to set up IVPN to run on routers to easily protect all the devices in your home. Alternatively, you can purchase a preconfigured router directly from IVPN, which is a plug-and-play solution to protecting all of your devices.

IVPN Ad Blocker

On its website and within the client, IVPN also advertises an ad- and tracking-blocker feature. It seems that the ad-blocker runs just like any other. The tracking-blocker just reroutes your traffic through IVPN’s private DNS to obscure your destination from your ISP and other potential cyber-snoops.

There is an option in the settings to turn this ad- and tracking-blocking feature onto hardcore mode, as well. The FAQ regarding this feature says that it blocks the websites of “the flagship bearers of the surveillance economy,” including Google and Facebook. This means it also blocks YouTube and any other site or service owned by Google or other similar megacorps.

Although this is an interesting idea, it seems more like a fun little gimmick than anything else. Seeing if you can survive in the digital age without these services could be entertaining for a while. Ultimately, though, you are either going to avoid these kinds of sites on your own or use them while gritting your teeth and wishing the best for your online privacy. 

We will talk more about protocols and security in the dedicated section for that, however, it is interesting to note that IVPN also sports some uncommon features in this regard, as well. 

First, it allows users to use the OpenVPN protocol and configure it with additional custom parameters. This is only for those who know what they are doing when it comes to coding and protocols, but it is a welcome addition for developers and coders who are curious tinkerers.

Finally, IVPN also offers a custom open-source protocol called WireGuard. This protocol is still in development, and even IVPN itself urges users to avoid it for security reasons. 

IVPN Features Overview

Starts from$ 667per month

General

Payment methods
PayPal, Credit card
Accepts cryptocurrency
Simultaneous connections
5
Supports split tunneling
Unlimited bandwidth
Free trial available
3 days
Refund period
7 days
Worldwide server amount
88 servers in 40 locations in 29 countries
Desktop OSes
Windows, MacOS
Mobile OSes
Android, iOS
Browser extensions
Can be installed on routers

Streaming

Can access Netflix US
Can access BBC iPlayer
Can access Hulu
Can access Amazon Prime Video

Security

Encryption types
256-AES
VPN protocols available
OpenVPN, WireGuard
Enabled at device startup
Allows torrenting
No-logging policy
Passed DNS leak test
Killswitch available
Malware/ad blocker included

Support

Live Chat
24/7
Email support
24/7
Phone support
User forum
Knowledgebase

Pricing

50% - Poor

IVPN offers one plan that you can sign up for monthly, quarterly or annually. Starting with the monthly pricing, IVPN is one of the most costly VPNs we have seen to date. 

Even the most top-shelf and expensive competitors, like ExpressVPN, offer better pricing, which you can read about in our ExpressVPN review.

Monthly
  • Unlimited GB Bandwidth
  • 5 Included Devices
  • Bitcoin
Quarterly
  • Unlimited GB Bandwidth
  • 5 Included Devices
  • Bitcoin
6-months plan $ 6.67/ month
$40.00 billed every 6 month
Annual
  • Unlimited GB Bandwidth
  • 5 Included Devices
  • Bitcoin
1-year plan $ 8.33/ month
$100.00 billed every year

The quarterly pricing brings the per-month cost down by about 10 percent, but this is still more than you would be paying monthly for ExpressVPN, which itself is not cheap by any stretch of the imagination. Finally, the annual pricing brings the per-month price down into the single-digit dollars range. 

Considering IVPN is in the stratosphere of VPN pricing, if you’re looking for an affordable budget-friendly VPN, then be sure to check out our CyberGhost review. CyberGhost offers more affordable annual plans, as well as two- and three-year options that are a great value. 

Aside from the relatively astronomical pricing, IVPN does offer a three-day free trial. To get the trial, however, you have to put in your payment information in the form of either a credit card or PayPal. Bitcoin is accepted as a payment form, but you cannot use this to get a free trial. 

After the free trial, you are automatically signed up for the plan of your choice. You can cancel and get a refund any time within seven days

The short duration of the trial and requirement to put in your payment method preemptively will keep IVPN off of our best free VPN services list for now. However, it is nice that it is offered for potential customers to try it out before spending so much money.

Ease of Use

85% - Very Good

The IVPN client is visually pleasing with a clean white-and-blue aesthetic. On the home screen of the application is a large button that says “connect,” which, as you may have expected, connects you to the VPN. 

Above this are toggle switches for both the anti-tracker and the firewall. Both of these are off by default. However, as we mentioned in the “features” section, the firewall should always be on with IVPN because the kill switch is built into it. 

The layout and design of the server list is a bit hit-or-miss, in certain regards. On the one hand, it shows ping times and has a green, yellow or red circle next to each server to indicate how much of a load there is on that specific server at the moment. However, there is no search bar, which can make finding a specific location a bit harder than it needs to be.

Additionally, while the list is alphabetized by the name of the country, it is listed by the names of the cities, which can make trying to search the list for a certain city counterintuitive. Overall, the main interface is clean and easy to use, but the way the servers are laid out could use a bit of refining.

When it comes to the settings, things are just as clean as on the application’s homepage. The settings are broken down into several tabs that are well organized and makes it easy to find what you need.

Speed

85% - Very Good

During our speed testing, we were able to achieve some impressive speeds on the IVPN network. Looking at the table below, we can see that a strong pattern emerged with regard to the distance we were from the server and the speeds we could expect.

Location: Ping (ms)Download (Mbps)Upload (Mbps)
Unprotected (Virginia)1294.775.82
U.S.1191.025.41
UK9080.634.81
Japan19366.433.26
Switzerland13775.823.66
Brazil14682.024.19

The more distant servers not only had higher pings, which is inescapable, but also had lower speeds. The U.S., which is where we were located for the testing, saw the best results. Meanwhile Japan, the most distant location from us, saw the highest ping and the lowest sustained speeds. 

That said, even the Japanese server gave us roughly two-thirds of our bandwidth back, so we were able to browse the web on this server without any real trouble. Sites would take a moment longer to start loading due to the sheer distance the signal has to travel, but ultimately websites still loaded quickly and felt responsive.

Even streaming high-resolution and 60fps video was no problem on any of the servers we tested. Although it might not be making it onto our fastest VPNs list yet due to some of the lagging servers (namely Japan), it still offers respectable speeds that most users would have no problem with.

Security

85% - Very Good

Critiquing the security of a VPN always starts with its protocol and encryption. IVPN offers two choices of protocol and locks in the encryption. 

The first protocol on offer is the one IVPN should use 100 percent of the time: OpenVPN, an open-source protocol with a track record of offering both security and performance. This is set up as the default protocol, and for good reason.

The other choice of protocol is WireGuard. This is an open-source protocol that is currently in development and is so young that it is not even in our VPN protocol breakdown yet, and that’s because it really shouldn’t be.

WireGuard is still in development, as stated on its own website. Even the IVPN website says that the protocol is only there for people to get an early taste and see what it’s about. It is not yet considered to be secure but has potential as it gets further into its development cycle.

IVPN locks users into AES-256 encryption. This is a fine choice, as it is a powerful encryption that will protect your data even if it happens to somehow be intercepted by some nefarious third party.

Privacy

95% - Excellent

As with many other aspects of IVPN, the privacy policy takes a different route from most. While most privacy policies are written in the form of a legal document and can be difficult to parse out exactly what information is being collected and changing hands, IVPN’s privacy policy is structured almost like a Q&A.

The result is a very easy-to-review and simple-to-understand privacy policy, which scores big marks with us. IVPN is very transparent about how it is gathering and using information and even has a transparency report page.

This page shows how many information requests it has received, how many of those were valid and how many resulted in information being handed over to authorities. 

At the time of writing, the four-year transparency track record shows three requests for information, only one of which was valid, and none of which resulted in data being handed over to anyone.

IVPN does not store traffic logs, DNS request logs, connection timestamps, IP logs or any other information regarding the use of the VPN. The only thing required for account creation is an email address, which is the only piece of identifying information that you have to hand over (depending on payment method).

Although IVPN still does not have as long of a track record as some of its competitors, the way it structures the privacy policy and the website’s other features  to be very open about how it uses and gathers information gives us significant confidence in the privacy of this service.

Streaming Performance

40% - Terrible

Despite the lack of DNS or IP leaks and strong overall security, we were not able to get any geoblocked streaming services working. BBC iPlayer told us that we were not in the UK, even when we connected to a British server. It doesn’t seem like IVPN will be joining the ranks of the best VPN for BBC iPlayer any time soon.

Likewise, Amazon, Netflix and Hulu all detected our VPN and instructed us to turn it off before coming back for content. If you’re interested in breaking through to restricted foreign content, then be sure to check out our best VPN for Netflix roundup. 

Aside from geoblocked content, the streaming experience was solid thanks to the performance we saw in the “speed” section. YouTube and Twitch both loaded without any noticeable delay and defaulted to full HD and even 60fps when it was available. Unfortunately, this performance is mostly squandered if the service cannot access the most demanded streaming sites. 

Server Locations

75% - Good

IVPN currently has 88 total servers that are spread across 40 locations in 29 countries (12 of the locations are various U.S. cities.) While this is not an issue at the moment, 88 servers is not a very large network, and there is a potential for a large influx of new users to bog things down.

For some context, the largest network we have seen so far comes from HideMyAss. Its network boasts almost 1,000 servers in more than 280 locations. You can read more about this expansive server network in our HideMyAss review.

Customer Service

90% - Excellent

On its website, IVPN has a small green chat bubble in the bottom right that connects you to the 24/7 live-chat support. Some of the “live” chat features on some websites aren’t really that, and responses can take 15 minutes or just never come. However, with IVPN, this truly is instant live chat without any wait.

We used the live chat numerous times at all hours and were able to quickly get a detailed and friendly response that was always accurate and very helpful. Links were often offered as a resource to get even more information.

There is also an email support option, as well as a reasonably expansive knowledgebase. Overall, the live chat is likely going to be the go-to source of help for most people, and it is one of the better implementations we’ve seen, not only in response time, but also in the level of clear expertise that the people on the other end have.

The Verdict

While it is admittedly refreshing to see things being done a bit differently, there are obviously risks and rewards to doing so. IVPN has done a good job with its privacy policy, customer support, speeds, security and even features.

However, there are still just a few things keeping it from greatness. Namely, the very high pricing and the inability to reliably access geoblocked content. Although we are curious to see if IVPN might change its pricing in the future, for now we recommend value seekers to browse our full list of VPN reviews.

If you’ve had experience with IVPN, we’d love to hear how it compares to ours in the comments below. As always, thanks for reading.

IVPN Review

A quirky, but overall good service.

IVPN tries to do things differently from other providers, and succeeds admirably. There is a lot to like here, from the speeds to the transparency of the privacy policy, but the pricing is a bit rough. Read all the details in our IVPN review.
Starts from$ 667per month
Visit IVPN
Leave a Reply
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Top
Top