Latest update: 02.22.2019
IPVanish is a perfect example of how all the great specs in the world won’t always outweigh a tarnished reputation.
Owned by the US-based VPN provider Stackpath, IPVanish is a well-known player in the VPN industry. However, its renown among VPN users includes copious amounts of both fame and infamy.
On the positive side, this provider owns one of the larger server fleets spread all over the planet. Security-wise, IPVanish comes with a good variety of protocols and security features, including a kill switch.
However, IPVanish is based in the US, which means data retention, corporate surveillance, and serious privacy concerns when it comes to getting private information.
That said, despite its location, this VPN comes with a “strict no logs policy,” which may somewhat balance out our fears. That is if they hadn’t been caught logging in 2016…
Let’s see what else turned up under the microscope…
Security and privacy
IPVanish does a lot for your online security and privacy. Here are some of the features that take care of you while online:
- 256-bit AES encryption
- Zero traffic and usage logs
- OpenVPN, IKEv2, and L2TP/IPsec VPN protocols
- Socks5 Proxy service
- 40,000+ IP addresses for greater privacy
- IP and DNS leak protection
- Kill switch to protect your IP address when the VPN connection drops
All these IPVanish 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) if you can turn a blind eye to their being a US-based service provider.
But there’s one more thing that we don’t particularly like about IPVanish in terms of anonymity: the payment options. IPVanish doesn’t offer any anonymous payment methods, such as cryptocurrencies (e.g., Bitcoin, Dash, and Ethereum). This is a big drawback for users who want full anonymity.
Does IPVanish log your data?
Is IPVanish really as secure and privacy-friendly as it claims to be? As it turns out, this service takes its “zero-logs” policy seriously, at least on the face of it.
Unfortunately, the truth to their “no-logs” claims seems to be somewhat different.
Not so long ago, while IPVanish was still owned by Mudhook Marketing (US), there was a criminal case where a suspect was convicted as a result of IPVanish providing logs of personally-identifiable information to authorities. In this particular situation, it seems rather fortunate that the suspect was caught, but the episode does call the sincerity of IPVanish into question.
Since IPVanish is still owned by a US-based company in Stackpath, we have even more questions about their allegedly most secure connections. The US is one of the founders of the Five Eyes alliance, which makes it one of the key global surveillance countries. And those tentacles reach far and wide.
Therefore, we are especially skeptical about so-called “maximum security” VPN providers that are based in surveillance-friendly countries like the US.
That said, if you don’t plan on doing anything particularly sensitive, you shouldn’t be too worried.
Speed and perormance
IPVanish claims to offer you some of the best speeds available today. However, in reality, long-term use may reveal average download speeds that lag behind ExpressVPN and other fast VPN services, while the upload speeds tend to be on the lower side.
Our connection speed without a VPN was 220 Mbps download and 200 Mbps upload. We were testing from Europe using the speedtest.net tool. Here’s what we came up with:
- Download: 123 Mbps
- Upload: 56 Mbps
New York, US
- Download: 44 Mbps
- Upload: 6 Mbps
- Download: 3 Mbps
- Upload: 4 Mbps
To sum things up, you might expect IPVanish to give very good download speeds from nearby locations, with upload speeds ranging from average to low. These low upload speeds are a drastic change from our previous IPVanish speed tests that had consistently shown very high upload rates.
IPVanish boasts a respectable fleet of 1,300+ servers in 60+ countries, as well as one of the bigger pools of IP addresses (a whopping number of 40,000+), which they own themselves.
For a VPN service provider to have and manage all their own network of servers is quite unique, which is certainly one area where IPVanish may be “the only true Top Tier VPN service in the world.”
In all fairness, VyprVPN may have something to say about the “only true” part since they also operate entirely without third parties.
Ease of use and multiplatform support
As far as its multiplatform capabilities go, IPVanish is available on all most popular platforms:
- Mac OS X
- iOS/Android/Windows Phone
- Routers: you can either buy a router with IPVanish VPN pre-installed or you can manually flash your VPN router
- Amazon Firestick TV
We must definitely highlight the impressive range of clients this VPN service provider offers, rightfully putting it among the top 3 choices in this regard.
You can use up to 10 devices with one single subscription, so you may want to download all the clients you will need in one go.
Having tried some of the IPVanish apps, we must admit that it has done a good job at revamping their application. The older version had some design issues (certain menu screens were clunky or not even properly functional). That, however, is in the past.
The new IPVanish interface actually looks quite clear and informative and has a simple but nice design.
IPVanish also comes with a very useful menu, the Settings. In this menu, 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, our tests for this IPVanish review find 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 certainly a strong point of this VPN service provider.
Streaming Netflix and unblocking content
Is IPVanish good for Netflix in particular? They’re not saying they do not support Netflix, but they do not advertise that they do, meaning you shouldn’t be surprised to see that most servers are blocked.
Bad news for Netflix fans: the speed tests and streaming trials tell us this isn’t the best tool for the job.
It also seems to have issues unlocking ABC. On a positive side, IPVanish still manages to bypass the blocking measures of CBS and NBC, which may or may not be a relief, depending on whether your goal is using a VPN service to stream Netflix. For that, we recommend NordVPN or ExpressVPN, both of which have proven ideal for prevailing in the Netflix vs. VPN battle.
IPVanish for torrenting
Some call IPVanish “a torrenter’s and gamer’s dream,” so let’s see what it really has to offer.
Our tests for this IPVanish review reveal it as one of the best VPN services for torrenting.
IPVanish has its own servers in lots of strategic locations to make its network as fast as possible. It supports the OpenVPN protocol and the L2TP/IPSec protocol with AES-256 encryption, and it has DNS and IP leak protection as well. This means that no one can decode your traffic.
However, don’t forget about the fact that this provider is based in a Five Eyes country and also that the US has powerful copyright legislation (particularly the Digital Millennium Copyright Act).
Customer support is yet another area where IPVanish could use some improvement. That is if they want to step it up a notch and overtake the strongest players on the VPN market.
As is usually the case, there are a few ways to try to get help from the IPVanish support team:
- Knowledge base
- Email support
- Live chat support
While you may actually receive a reply to your emailed questions, user reports indicate that such messages are often robotic and not necessarily helpful. In other words, you may have to try again and again in order to finally solve your issue. IPVanish certainly needs to outwork all those negative comments about their customer service.
We must add that during our tests we were surprised to find that the application also has a live chat support option, was not the case in the past and may finally take IPVanish customer support to the next level.
For many, pricing is the most important factor, while others may prioritize security or speed as their determining criteria.
Here are the IPVanish pricing plans:
- 1-month plan: $10.00 per month
- 3-month plan: $8.99 per month
- 1-year plan: $6.49 per month
At the moment, IPVanish is also offering a 2-year deal for new users at $89.99. That’s $3.75 a month.
With its only 7-day money-back guarantee, this VPN service is not exactly the best buy out there today. Still, these prices are quite fair compared to other, pricier providers (e.g., Astrill and Perfect Privacy). Moreover, if we also consider that IPVanish owns and maintains their entire global network, maybe we should cut them some slack and appreciate the effort.
Since you can now use 10 separate devices at a time with a single license, IPVanish is a great choice even for users with multiple devices or families. Even if this VPN doesn’t have browser extensions at the moment, we believe that it’s still a good choice for streaming HD videos, torrenting, and online gaming.
If you are an iOS user, you can go for the free trial option before investing your money.
As we have already mentioned, this provider has stopped supporting anonymous payment methods like cryptocurrencies. This, unfortunately, 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.
As you can see from the rest of our review, IPVanish has plenty of pros and cons. We may have been a bit rough on this VPN provider but, in general, we can say that it’s still among the better ones we have seen, tested, and reviewed.
Our overall verdict is that there are superior VPNs out there, but, depending on your needs, you may still find IPVanish to be a reliable and secure service.
If you’re still in search of the best VPN service, be sure to check our other reviews and comparisons.
Let us learn from your experience
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