IPVanish Review: A Leading VPN With Loads Of Desirable Features
IPVanish is a US-based, large VPN service provider that is known to deliver consistent and robust performance. Founded back in 1999, the VPN has everything you look for in a VPN service – a long list of servers, robust security protocols, simple functionality and decent upload and download speeds. It’s one of the leaders in the VPN market right now, and while the VPN has all the desirable features to talk about, there are some downsides too. Overall, it’s a highly secure VPN that comes at a good price. But is there any drawback which you should be worried about? Let’s explore.
- Good download and upload speeds
- Torrenting and P2P sharing allowed
- Zero logging
- Robust encryption
- Works with Netflix (only some servers)
- Based in US
- A bit expensive
Does VPN keep logs?
Compatible with TOR
Does it work in China?
Average Speed Tests
Only available on Mac OS X and Windows client
10 (Unlimited if you connect it to a DD-WRT or Onion router)
Windows: 7, 8, 8.1 and 10
iOS: 9.1 and up
Android: 4.0.3 (ICS) up to the latest stable non-alpha/beta version
Linux: Debian or RedHat-based distros
Router Firmware: DD-WRT v2 and v3, Tomato
No (workaround available)
Ticket-based and live chat support
$10.00/mo for monthly plan
$6.49/mo for one-year plan
$3.33/mo for two-year plan
(7-day moneyback guarantee available)
There’s a reason why IPVanish is one of the VPN market leaders right now. It offers exactly the same set of features which a user would potentially look for in a VPN, including a massive server pool, outstanding security protocols, decent upload and download speeds and an easy to use interface. They have 1300 servers (and counting) in 75 countries, and their server pool is one of the largest in the market. IPVanish is a tier-1 VPN service provider, which implies that they have their own servers all around the world.
Coming to the compatibility bit, the VPN service provider offers separate apps for Windows, macOS, Mac OS X, Android as well as Amazon Fire. The VPN is also compatible with Linux (Debian or RedHat-based distros) and Router Firmware (i.e. DD-WRT v2 and v3, Tomato). With an easy-to-use desktop client interface and unlimited bandwidth and data allowance, no wonder IPVanish has found a place among the most sought-after VPNs in the world. The VPN provider doesn’t have any servers in Russia and won’t help you get past China’s Great Firewall; unless of course you are a tech-savvy user and can almost always find a workaround.
Although IPVanish claims that they have a zero-log policy in place, there have been allegations that the zero-log policy is not as watertight as it seems. On the other hand, connection failures are rare, for which the VPN service provider surely deserves some credit. The best thing is that you can get separate apps for different platforms, including Windows, Android, Mac OS and iOS. If you are looking for a VPN which works with Netflix, IPVanish is a perfect choice. The best part of IPVanish is that they allow their users to access to a special proxy server protocol apart from the usual ones, and this protocol is known as SOCKS5. SOCKS5 (Socket Security) enables the users to get the same benefits of IPVanish VPN without downloading the software application in the device you are using. This implies that you can reap all the benefits of a third-party VPN without even having to download the client.
IPVanish high-speed servers are what you can bank on. But does it mean IPVanish is a natural choice for any user? Let’s find out.
IPVanish Logging Policy
“We do not track user activities outside of our Site, nor do we track the website browsing or connection activities of users who are using our Services.”
Most VPN service providers would tell you that they religiously adhere to a no-logs policy, which sounds great. However, it turns out that many of those advertised ‘zero-log’ policies are not true at all. In fact, choosing a wrong VPN service provider could land you in the worst of scenarios. Fortunately, IPVanish is not a VPN company that fails to deliver on its promises. They have a strict and zero-compromise no-logging policy in place and the company never stores your connection and activity-related metadata. While there have been a few allegations in recent times about IPVanish handing over user data to Homeland Security department, the company has finally come clean about the accusations.
Is It Compatible With TOR Browser?
TOR is a mesh network consisting of several privately hosted router locations that can route your traffic to add a layer of anonymity. The traffic which is routed through the nodes can only be traced by tracking the node it came from and the node it’s going to. This frequent nod hopping makes your activities nearly untraceable. Although TOR works with IPVanish, it might affect your download and upload speeds. IPVanish developers do not recommend using TOR over VPN as it severely affects the download and upload speeds. However, you can use it for browsing the web anonymously.
Is Torrenting Allowed?
IPVanish does not only allow torrenting, but it actually encourages torrenting. While many other VPN service providers would not blatantly encourage P2P file sharing and torrenting, IPVanish has a rather carefree approach toward torrenting, which is not something anti-piracy advocates would be glad to know. But for the average user who just wants to torrent and share files ‘freely and privately’, IPVanish is undoubtedly the best bet. Their servers are actually optimized for unlimited P2P sharing and you can choose these servers from their list easily.
Can You Access Netflix with IPVanish?
IPVanish does not make it explicit whether they are Netflix-ready or not. I guess this is for the streaming giant’s ongoing vigilance. Netflix has one of the most advanced VPN-detection systems in place and not too many VPNs you will find out there that actually work with Netflix. When I started trying their servers, the initial experience was not quite good as the first three servers (Netherlands, Canada, United Kingdom) didn’t work for me. At this point, I had almost given up but decided to try one more server. Voila! The US Chicago server got me through. But the US server also lagged a bit, but I decided to ignore it.
Does It Work In China?
IPVanish is not restricted in China, but the service is limited within the Chinese territory. All the automated applications will stop working if you connect to IPVanish servers from anywhere in China. The domain is blocked in the region, and you might be prevented from accessing any of their servers. Hopefully there is a workaround, but it’s definitely not for not-so-savvy users. What you can do to make it work in China is manually configuring the VPN client and connecting to the IP addresses instead of clicking on the server names. Luckily, the IPVanish official website has a detailed guide on how to configure the VPN client for manually establishing a connection. This is where you can find a comprehensive list of servers along with the respective IP addresses. If you can do this on your own, you would be able to access their servers from China.
Are People Actually Looking For IPVanish Online?
While the VPN service has received mixed reviews in online communities and groups, I decided to gauge the VPN’s overall popularity in the US region over the past 5 years. For this, I used a simple yet powerful tool named Google Trends. It comes from the house of Big G and digs up search trends for internet marketers out there. When I searched with the term ‘ipvanish’, the graphical representation of search data in the US region over the course of five years showed that the search term has grown in popularity by leaps and bounds. Apparently, people also search with the term ‘buy ipvanish’ a lot, and same goes for the search term ‘IPVanish review’.
The peak of popularity begins in 2017, then according to the schedule it falls, but grows again in the winter of 2018. In 2019, we see a stable scale, the beginning of 2020 is characterized by a small jump in popularity, which indicates an overall moderate popularity of the VPN service.
I always like to compare the popularity of search queries with competitors. For example, if we compare IPVanish with such giants as Nordvpn and ExpressVPN, we will see that by the end of 2017, IPVanish was the absolute winner in comparison with competitors, but starting from 2018 has begun to lose its comparative advantage towards NordVPN. Currently, the search query IPVanish and ExpressVPN share the same popularity among users.
Can You Access Social Networking Websites?
IPVanish does not only allow users to access the social media sites of their choice, but they also provide detailed guide on how tweak account settings on the big three social media sites, namely Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. In Facebook, you can choose to bar search engines outside of Facebook from looking up your profile. In Twitter, you can disable ‘data’ options in the ‘Settings and Privacy’, and in Instagram, you can just turn off the ‘Show Activity Status’ feature. With an IPVanish account, however, you can access all your social media accounts from any location without changing the default settings. But if you want better privacy, you can read up their blog to gather pithy tips.
IPVanish Speed Tests (Download and Upload Speed)
IPVanish is one of the fastest VPNs that I have tested to date, and I mean it. I am on a 100 Mbps internet connection and I decided to test their servers using Speedtest.net. When I tried connecting one of their EU servers, the speed was throttled only by 18%, which is quite acceptable. But their US servers didn’t meet match up to my expectations as the download speed was 34.74 Mbps and even worse, the upload speed was only 24.75 Mbps. This simply doesn’t justify the cost of their VPN services as there are many cheaper VPNs that offer far better speeds on their US servers (the one I can recall right now is SaferVPN). Although their UK servers are fairly speedy, their Asia servers (Hong Kong) disappointed me big time. But considering the download and upload speeds on their EU and UK servers, respectively, I would say that IPVanish is a fast VPN service, although there’s a serious lack of consistency.
Installation and Ease Of Use
Installing the IPVanish app was a pushover and I was amazed to see how detailed their setup guide is. Clearly, any user with zero prior experience in installing this kind of application can easily follow the guide and install the application on their system. However, I had to restart my Windows PC after installing the software application, which was quite annoying. Once the application was launched, I found that IPVanish interface is an easy-to-use and intuitive one. This makes it easy for any kind of user to play around with the settings and to choose any server. However, there are no instructions on setting up the SOCKS5 server protocol. This isn’t too big an issue as you can always look up the web to find a setup guide. But given that SOCKS5 is one of the major selling points, I just wish they break it to bare bones for first-timers.
How Good Is The Customer Support?
Before investing in a VPN service, you should always check just how effective their customer service is. Although there have been multiple complaints about the absence of a live chat option in IPVanish website, the devs have pulled up their socks to add one. It’s now easy to get an answer to whatever query you might have. Just click on the Help icon on the bottom right corner, type in your query and wait for the relevant questions to appear. If you can’t find the topic you are looking for, simply progress further to ‘live chat’ option and chat directly with any of their support executives. You can also raise a ticket and wait for a reply from their support team, but that’s the longer route.
IPVanish Pricing Plans
1 Month$5 /month
- Save 59%
- Billed $5 every month
- 7-day money-back guarantee
2 Years$2.75 /month
- Save 80%
- Billed $66 every 24 months
- 7-day money-back guarantee
1 Year$3.25 /month
- Save 73%
- Billed $39 every 12 months
- 7-day money-back guarantee
What I particularly liked about this VPN is that they don’t offer the confusing ‘tiered packages’. There’s no elite club for higher-paying users. Instead, the price entirely depends on the duration you choose and you get exactly same set of features across all the plans. The monthly plan would cost you $10.00 every month. Level up to the one-year plan and the monthly cost comes down to just $6.49 (you save 46%! Wow!). Go for the two-year plan and just pay $3.33 every month. Simple! There’s no ‘bronze’ or ‘platinum’ or ‘gold’ plan to baffle you. While their prices are not exorbitantly high, it’s not too cheap either. They also offer a seven-day money back guarantee and all the major payment methods (including Bitcoin) are accepted.
Should You Buy It?
It boils down to your specific needs and preferences. IPVanish does provide a reliable VPN service at a good price and while there are no exceptional features, there are certain features (e.g. SOCKS5 server protocol) that might be useful for a certain section of users. On the other hand, if you are looking to get good download and upload speeds on US servers, you can actually get it cheaper by subscribing to Trust.Zone VPN or NordVPN. IPVanish is not a poor VPN service overall, but you can actually get the same set of features (and even better) for a cheaper price.
- Netflix support
- P2P sharing and torrenting support
- A bit difficult to use