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IPVanish is one of the most familiar VPN names on the market today. But just how good is it?
In this IPVanish review, I’ll look at the most pressing questions related to this provider. Is IPVanish safe to use? Does it have a no-logs policy? How fast is it? Is IPVanish good for torrenting? And, most importantly, is IPVanish worth your money?
I’ll try to answer these questions to help you decide if IPVanish is the right choice for your VPN needs.
Is IPVanish safe?
IPVanish offers high online security and privacy. Its features can provide you with a safe online experience for your general VPN needs (streaming videos, torrenting, gaming, file sharing, unblocking geo-blocked content, and so on). Let’s see how IPVanish does in different categories related to security and privacy.
Encryption and tunneling protocols of IPVanish
IPVanish features military-grade encryption, which is one of the safest encryption types used by both financial and military institutions worldwide.
IPVanish offers the following VPN protocols at the moment:
- OpenVPN TCP
- OpenVPN UDP
This is an excellent array of protocols, with plenty of choices for VPN casuals and experts alike. However, as more and more providers are starting to adopt the powerful WireGuard protocol, hopefully, IPVanish is also moving in this direction.
Other than that, IPVanish protocols are solid. Just make sure to avoid the PPTP option unless you know what you’re doing. PPTP is an outdated protocol with severe security vulnerabilities and should only be used as a last resort option.
IPVanish Kill switch
IPVanish has a kill switch that will shut down your entire internet traffic in case of any unexpected VPN connection drop. This is an essential feature for every VPN. With a kill switch enabled, your connection will remain encrypted and your identity secret at all times.
The IPVanish kill switch is a mix of both system-level kill switch (which takes over the admin rights to your internet connection and disconnects as soon as there’s a problem to prevent your personal data from leaking) and an application-level kill switch (which gives the user more control – he can choose which programs will shut down and which ones will continue working in case of a VPN failure).
Currently, IPVanish only offers the kill switch feature on its Windows, macOS, and Android apps, which can leave your connection insufficiently protected on Linux and iOS devices. This means that you should take additional precautions with IPVanish on Linux or iPhone.
I’ve tested the IPVanish kill switch on my Windows desktop and found it to work consistently whenever I got disconnected from the VPN.
To see if your IPVanish kill switch is on, just follow these simple steps. The instructions are for Windows and Mac OS X versions that currently support this feature.
Turning on IPVanish kill switch on Windows
- Launch the program and enter your account credentials
- Click the Settings option on the left side
- Select the Connection tab
- Click the Kill Switch checkbox
- Choose whether you want to block LAN traffic in case of VPN failure
Turning on the IPVanish kill switch on macOS
- Click IPVanish at the top of the menu bar
- Choose Preferences
- Select the Connection tab
- Click the Kill switch checkbox
Split Tunneling for Android
IPVanish provides its Android users with a handy Split Tunneling feature.
By using it, you can select which apps and websites to protect with your virtual private network, and which ones you’re OK with being routed through your ISP. This way you get more control in terms of your online activities management.
You can enable Split Tunneling on your Android by simply going to the Settings on your mobile app. There you’ll be able to compile a list of the apps you want to be protected with a VPN.
As this feature is extremely useful, I hope that IPVanish would introduce it to its other apps shortly.
Free SOCKS5 Proxy service
IPVanish also offers its users a free SOCKS5 proxy feature – something that only advanced virtual private network services (like NordVPN or Private Internet Access (PIA)) typically have.
With this feature, you can change your location and hide your IP without downloading additional software. You can set the SOCKS5 proxy up directly on the app you want to protect, such as your browser or torrent client.
What’s great is that the SOCKS5 Proxy is included in all three pricing plans that IPVanish has, and it works with nearly any program you configure it with. Use it to access censored websites and services, with less of an impact on speed than when using the VPN.
The best part of it all is that this additional protection doesn’t mean sacrificing your speeds.
One of the newest additions the IPVanish team has introduced is the SugarSync feature. Put simply, this is secure cloud storage, now included in all three IPVanish VPN plans.
With SugarSync, you can store, sync, share, and backup your files securely. They will all be protected by AES-256 encryption with a TLS handshake.
The best part of this feature is convenience: you can upload your files by simply sending them to a unique email address provided by IPVanish.
Also, if you’re already using this VPN, you can simply go to your user Control Panel and add the SugarSync feature to your IPVanish subscription – doing so is completely free.
IP and DNS leak protection
A VPN might have the best features, but if it leaks your IP address, then it’s no good. To see how IPVanish does in IP and DNS leaks protection, I ran a test and found no DNS/WebRTC/IPv6 leak issues.
Above you can see the IP address that I was assigned by IPVanish, and not my true IP address – in other words, no leaks.
As this provider has reliable DNS, WebRTC, and IPv6 leak protection, you can be sure that IPVanish is safe to use for masking your IP address.
IPVanish location – USA
Owned by the US-based VPN company Stackpath, IPVanish is not operating in a privacy-friendly climate. The United States is one of the founders of the Five Eyes alliance and has a data-hungry network of intelligence agencies, corporate surveillance, and other concerns. This is especially the case after the Patriot Act was rebooted in May 2020.
Therefore, I’m always skeptical of “maximum security” VPN providers that are based in surveillance-friendly countries like the US. With that said, if you’re not a political activist, journalist, or anyone else of interest to the government, IPVanish should suit you just fine.
IPVanish logging policy: no-logs
While being based in the US is not the best-case scenario when it comes to keeping user data private, a transparent logging policy can improve the provider’s reputation.
Although IPVanish was embroiled in a privacy scandal a long time ago, the VPN is under different ownership now.
The company that currently owns IPVanish is StackPath (part of J2 Global), and they seem to be interested in improving their product’s reputation, starting with an independent third-party audit.
In any case, unless you plan on doing something particularly sensitive, you shouldn’t be worried.
When it comes to the server count, more usually means better. At the moment, IPVanish has 1400+ servers in 50+ countries. While the number may not look as impressive those of some competitors, the overall performance is great.
What is more, IPVanish owns and manages all of its servers, instead of renting them as most providers do. Doing so ensures that IPVanish has more control over quality and security, which many users would consider an advantage.
I’ll discuss torrenting with IPVanish separately, but just so you know – all IPVanish servers support P2P. Hence, if you connect to a server that is close to your physical location, you’re also likely to experience the best speeds possible.
Given all of that, I don’t mind that IPVanish has fewer servers compared to other providers – even with a smaller count, the product delivers what I expect from an excellent virtual private network.
Speed: is IPVanish fast?
|Average speed||80 Mbps (84% drop-off)|
|Germany server||177 Mbps (29% drop-off)|
|US server||136 Mbps (46% drop-off)|
|Australia server||122 Mbps (51% drop-off)|
|Germany server||12 Mbps (95% drop-off)|
|US server||5 Mbps (98% drop-off)|
|Australia server||28 Mbps (88% drop-off)|
|Germany server||51 ms|
|US server||162 ms|
|Australia server||248 ms|
IPVanish claims to offer some of the best speeds on the market today. To see if these claims match with reality, I gave the VPN a test drive. My connection speed without a VPN was 250 Mbps download and 238 Mbps upload.
When it comes to download speeds, you can expect IPVanish to offer outstanding performance, especially, in nearby locations. The most significant speed dropoff comes in the upload section. As a matter of fact, the upload speeds are consistently bad.
The situation with ping is as expected – good nearby, and worsening with distance. As a result, while the change is noticeable in Europe or the US, it is particularly striking in Australia. This is something you will notice with any VPN service.
Yes, it most likely does. As far as its multiplatform support goes, IPVanish is available on all of the most popular desktop and mobile platforms (including, Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux) as well as Chromebook OS, Amazon Fire TV & Fire Stick, Windows Phone, and routers.
You can use up to 10 devices with one single subscription – probably more than enough for the whole family. The best part is that the installation is a piece of cake for any app you’d choose.
To download and install the IPVanish client, visit the ipvanish.com website, go to the Apps tab, and click the Download Now button.
IPVanish desktop apps: Windows, macOS
Once you download your IPVanish app and log in to it, you’ll land on the QuickConnect screen with drop-down server options and a Connect button.
Press the Connect button to automatically connect to the nearest server or select a server manually from the three lists of available locations and IP addresses. You can cancel your connection to the server by clicking the Disconnect button.
The current IPVanish interface on both Windows and macOS looks quite clear and informative and has a simple but nice design.
IPVanish also comes with a handy Settings menu. Here you can tweak your startup and connection preferences, ranging from simple startup behavior options to toggling the kill switch and leak protection features or enabling server obfuscation. This is especially important to those living in countries that restrict internet usage.
Strangely enough, the option to contact the IPVanish support team is now hidden away at the bottom of the Settings menu:
All in all, I’ve found the IPVanish to have a clear-cut, informative, and easy to use interface even for less tech-savvy users. Barring the weird relocation of the support menu, the IPVanish application is undoubtedly a strong point of this VPN service provider.
Another positive is that although most providers tend to produce Mac apps that are almost unrecognizably different compared to their Windows versions, IPVanish offers Mac owners a very similar user experience to their Windows app.
The IPVanish Mac app is just as secure as their Windows client, which is not that common in the VPN industry. Many VPN providers offer macOS apps that have fewer security features and tunneling protocol options. Thankfully, that’s not the case with IPVanish.
If I can compare Windows and Mac apps quite easily, the situation is quite different with the Linux app. The Linux version has no graphical user interface to speak of.
That’s not surprising, considering that the vast majority of VPNs release their Linux versions as configuration instructions for the OpenVPN app. Other than the lack of a user-friendly interface, the IPVanish Linux app doesn’t support static IP, which might be somewhat of a disappointment.
IPVanish mobile apps: Windows Phone, Android, and iOS (iPhone/iPad)
IPVanish Android and iOS apps just streamlined versions of their desktop counterparts, adapted for mobile use. Well-designed and user-friendly, both of these apps will have your back whenever you need online protection for your mobile device.
The Android version of IPVanish doesn’t have a native kill switch. This means you’ll have to use a third-party kill switch app or the default Android OS one, which is perfectly fine.
You can get the IPVanish Android app on Google Play or just download it directly as an APK package file from the official website. The former method is what we prefer because it’s more anonymous. Account creation requires email address only, but if you choose a credit card over PayPal, you will naturally need to provide more personal information.
The IPVanish iOS app is available from the App Store.
IPVanish apps for streaming devices
IPVanish offers apps for Amazon Fire TV & Fire Stick. This means you can also set them up on these other devices access content that’s been geo-blocked in your region.
This provider will also work with Kodi. If you want to access unofficial Kodi add-ons while staying private and not sacrificing speeds, IPVanish is good.
As for Apple TV – yes, you can use it with IPVanish, although you’ll need a DD-WRT or Tomato router to make it work.
Streaming with IPVanish
Bypassing geo-blocking is a popular reason for users to choose a particular VPN. While IPVanish is a decent option when it comes to streaming, there’re a couple of things you should consider before committing to this service.
Does IPVanish work with Netflix?
IPVanish unblocks Netflix US, but not other libraries. What is more, it does so only when you switch from IKEv2 to OpenVPN with traffic scrambling turned on. It’s also hard to say anything about the speeds (other than the quality seemed completely fine) because I couldn’t access Netflix’s Fast.com test, and sometimes I couldn’t even load Netflix’s website.
It’s clear from these test results that IPVanish may have trouble unblocking Netflix. However, I can’t say that you won’t be able to use it for streaming.
Does IPVanish work with Hulu?
Sadly, IPVanish won’t be able to bypass the geo-blocking of Hulu.
When it comes to other streaming platforms, the situation is quite similar. IPVanish won’t be able to unblock Amazon Prime Video or BBC iPlayer.
All in all, IPVanish is simply not that good for streaming. There are plenty of premium VPNs you’ll have more luck with if accessing geo-restricted content is what you’re after.
Does IPVanish support torrenting?
Yes, IPVanish supports torrenting on all servers. As a matter of fact, the service is great for torrenters and gamers.
My tests have shown IPVanish as one of the better VPN services for torrenting.
IPVanish has servers in lots of strategic locations, resulting in good speeds. It supports the OpenVPN protocol and the IKEv2 protocol with AES-256 encryption, and it has a kill switch, DNS leak protection and IP leak protection as well. This means that no one can decode your traffic.
Furthermore, the free SOCKS5 proxy is great for torrenters who want to limit their VPN use to their torrent client.
IPVanish live chat, email support, and knowledge base
There are more than a few ways to get help from the IPVanish support team:
- 24/7 live chat support
- Email support
My experiences with their live chat were only positive. Customer support agents were well-spoken and helpful. It nice to see that IPVanish stepped up their game when it comes to troubleshooting.
For many, pricing is the most crucial factor, while others may prioritize security or speed as their determining criteria when choosing a VPN.
Here are the IPVanish pricing plans – all of them include 250 GB of SugarSync cloud storage for new users:
- 1-month plan: $10.00/month
- 3-months plan: $8.99/month
- 1-year plan: $6.49/month
With its only a 7-day money-back guarantee, this VPN service is not the cheapest. But considering what IPVanish offers, these prices are quite fair compared to other, pricier providers (e.g., Astrill and Perfect Privacy).
Since you can now use ten separate devices at a time with a single license, IPVanish is an excellent choice for users with multiple devices. It’s a great choice for torrenting, online gaming, and can even be used for streaming on select platforms (particularly Netflix US).
If you are an iOS user, you can go for the free trial option before investing your money.
As I’ve already mentioned, IPVanish has stopped supporting anonymous payment methods like cryptocurrencies. This could put off the types of customers (investigative journalists, hackers, activists, and, let’s face it, various criminals) who need the highest possible level of online privacy. On the other hand, IPVanish was never targeting this particular segment to begin with.
Should you get IPVanish?
As you can see from my review, IPVanish has plenty of pros. As a matter of fact, I can say that it’s among the best ones I’ve seen, tested, and reviewed.
Overall, there are a few superior VPNs out there. Depending on your needs, however, you may still find IPVanish to be your favorite.
If you’re still in search of the best VPN service, be sure to check out our other reviews and comparisons.
Does IPVanish have Chrome browser extension?
Unfortunately, as of now, IPVanish still doesn’t have any browser extensions.
Hopefully, introducing Chrome or Firefox extensions is an update IPVanish is working on.
Is IPVanish VPN free?
No, IPVanish only offers paid plans. You can subscribe to this virtual private network for a month, three months, or one year.
Not being free makes IPVanish a more reliable provider. The vast majority of free services not only fail to meet its users’ expectations but also violate their privacy.
What are the best IPVanish alternatives?
IPVanish is an excellent provider for many. However, if you’re eager to explore alternatives, the best way to do that is to see how other providers do when we put them side by side with IPVanish.