IPVanish review

Good security, speedy connections, and superb support

IPVanish review
(Image: © Future)

Tom's Guide Verdict

IPVanish’s robust security features make it one of the most secure VPNs in the present day. With solid speeds across a worldwide P2P-friendly server network, unlimited simultaneous device connections, and competent customer support, IPVanish is hard not to recommend – although the apps certainly aren't for luddites.

Pros

  • +

    Unlimited device connections

  • +

    Unblocks Netflix US, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, Disney+

  • +

    Great for P2P

  • +

    Audited no-log policy

Cons

  • -

    Some app functions are hard to find

  • -

    Some important functions aren't set as default

  • -

    Some configuration issues

Why you can trust Tom's Guide Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

In our latest IPVanish review, the US-based provider showed some improvement, and is definitely worthy of being considered as one of the best VPN services. Thanks to additional or improved security features, more unblocked TV streaming services, and an affordable new interface IPVanish, it's got pretty much every base covered.

This VPN has thousands of servers worldwide with plenty in high-demand areas like the US, the UK, and Australia. On top of decent privacy and security tools, which have been independently audited, IPVanish bundles VIPRE, a good antivirus program, to give you additional protection against malware.

A few years ago, IPVanish handed over user logs to the FBI. This caused consumers to question just how seriously the company takes user privacy, and it saw a dip in use and confidence as a result. As part of my review, I look to see if there have been any changes, or if IPVanish still deserves caution when choosing a VPN

Overall, IPVanish has a good list of features that keeps getting bigger and better with each update. So, all you need to do is read on as I explore every facet and feature of IPVanish to see if it's truly worth considering.

IPVanish on paper

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Number of servers2,000+
Server countries75+
Supported platformsWindows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Amazon Fire Stick, Android TV, Chrome OS, Kodi
Simultaneous connectionsUnlimited
Split tunnelingAndroid only
Kill switchYes
Protocols supportedWireGuard, OpenVPN UDP & TCP, L2TP/IPSec, IKEv2, PPTP
Country of registrationUSA
SupportArticles, FAQs, email, live chat, toll-free phone support

IPVanish 1-minute review

You can try out IPVanish for $10.99 per month. This is on the pricier side for VPN services but also isn't totally unexpected for a month-to-month subscription. However, you'll get a really good discount and deal if you commit to a full year. 

IPVanish is usually only $44.99 for the first-year subscription. This averages out to about $3.75 per month, although some seasonal sales can drop this number significantly lower. The biggest caveat, though, is that it jumps up to $89.99 on renewal. So, keep an eye on its VPN deals for any bargains.

IPVanish has always had a lot of good security options including DNS leak protections and a reliable kill switch. But it has bumped up my overall confidence in its privacy ability thanks to an independent audit of its anti-logging policy. 

Speed while connected to both WireGuard and OpenVPN dropped a little since the last round of testing. While it no longer ranks among the fastest VPNs, it's still faster than average with top speeds of 720Mbps when using WireGuard. However, with OpenVPN speeds maxing out at 120Mbps, it's a little sluggish if you really need to use the old faithful protocol.

IPVanish has bumped up my overall confidence in its privacy ability thanks to an independent audit of its anti-logging policy.

When it comes to TV streaming, IPVanish is an excellent choice because it unblocks most Netflix services, BBC iPlayer and Disney+, alongside Amazon Prime Video, ITV, All4, and 9Now. There are a few services that remain locked including Netflix Canada and Australia, and 10Play.

P2P support is a blast, though, and the SOCKS5 setup, kill switch, and full server compatibility make it a great choice as a torrenting VPN.

IPVanish's desktop and mobile apps recently went through a redesign. They are detailed, in-depth, and backed by lots of interface options and tons of data at your fingertips. However, they are still somewhat complex for less-experienced users, especially mobile apps. 

Lastly, IPVanish's customer support seems comprehensive, with plenty of how-to guides and helpful live chat service – and even a freephone number that's available during office hours.

All in all, IPVanish is a powerful VPN that's only let down by a couple of minor issues. And if you can catch it at a discount price, it can offer good value for money, too.

IPVanish Mac and Android apps

(Image credit: Future)

Latest updates

  • Independent audit of no-log policy
  • Updates to apps including a new interface
  • Create a Favorites list and contact Support from in the app
  • Unblocks more TV streaming including Amazon Prime
  • Speeds a little down from our last tests – but still suitably rapid

IPVanish price and payment

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Plan lengthOverall costMonthly cost
1 month$10.99$10.99
First year$44.99$3.75
Subsequent years$89.99$7.50

When it comes to value, IPVanish delivers with its introductory year subscription. For $44.99 you get access to all servers, TV streaming capabilities, unlimited simultaneous connections, and great support options at a reasonable price. On the 1-year plan, this comes out to about $3.75 per month (opens in new tab).

The catch with this is that IPVanish only offers it to new customers and only for the first year. Each year after that the price goes up to $89.99 per year. While this comes out to $7.50 per month and is cheaper than the month-to-month subscription of $10.99, it is more expensive than a lot of other VPN services I've reviewed – so it's well worth cancelling and subscribing again when your time's up.

Other VPN clients offer multiple-year discounts. For example, Private Internet Access has a two-year plan for $48.72 ($2.03/ month). If you compare IPVanish to other cheap VPN competitors overall it seems it's a bit steep in the long run.

Another disadvantage IPVanish has over competitors is it doesn't offer a VPN free trial. But it does have the standard “risk-free” 30-day money-back guarantee. However, if you check the small print, you’ll see that this guarantee applies to yearly plans only. Monthly plans don’t qualify.

IPVanish favorite server list

(Image credit: IPVanish)

How private and secure is IPVanish?

IPVanish is based in the US, which could be a problem. This is because the US is governed by some laws that required the keeping of client information for law enforcement reasons. However, IPVanish has promised it doesn't keep or share these records with anyone.

To prove this, IPVanish allowed a third-party audit of its services. This investigation, conducted by Leviathan Security Group, found that IPVanish doesn't keep logs of any kind. Follow this link (opens in new tab) to read about the audit in full.

Privacy isn't the only area where IPVanish shines. It also has a ton of security features to protect your online. For example, whether you're browsing the internet or sharing files with a colleague (torrenting), everything is encrypted using the industry-standard 256-bit AES encryption.

IPVanish supports both WireGuard, OpenVPN, and IKEv2, some of the best and safest protocols. And unlike most VPNs, IPVanish users can both view and customize OpenVPN connections. For instance, you can scramble your OpenVPN traffic to hide your VPN usage or select one of two OpenVPN ports to optimize your setup.

IPVanish has promised it doesn't keep or share logs with anyone. To prove this, IPVanish allowed a third-party audit of its services.

While the IPVanish apps on most platforms come with a variety of privacy-protecting features, what you’ll get depends on the client that you’re using. The Windows client is probably best-equipped and comes with IPv6 and DNS leak protection and an automatic kill switch, which will immediately disconnect your computer from the internet if the VPN cuts out.

Since any VPN provider can promise leak protection, I decided to test IPVanish’s claims with Do I Leak, a DNS leak test. To my satisfaction, it confirmed that my DNS traffic was safe and secure with IPVanish.

Likewise, iPhone VPN users can swiftly set IPVanish to automatically start up for specified networks and keep off others. This means you can leave the VPN to turn itself on and off as ordered most of the time, protecting your privacy at all times.

IPVanish app

(Image credit: Future)

During my tests, there was something found that was concerning. There was a server configuration issue. This could have left users more vulnerable to a security breach. However, after notifying IPVanish of the issue, it was quickly fixed. 

I didn't see any other issues, and the fact IPVanish was so willing and quick to fix a problem gives me confidence in its overall VPN security.

All in all, it’s refreshing to see a VPN provider with the courage to put itself through scrutiny of an independent audit and is open to user feedback when an issue is found. While IPVanish is by no means the first to do so, it's always good to see.

One more perk of using IPVanish VPN is it comes bundled with VIPRE, an antivirus program. This looks for and blocks malware so your computer doesn't get infected with viruses, rootkits, ransomware, and other threats. It isn't available for mobile versions, and it isn't the top antivirus solution, but it is a nice bonus feature.

How fast is IPVanish?

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WireGuard720Mbps
OpenVPN120Mbps

IPVanish has consistently been pretty fast, but I tested it out just to make sure it's maintained this standard. To measure the speed performance, I ran several benchmarking services - SpeedTest's website and command-line app, SpeedOf.me, nPerf, while connected to a 1Gbps line.

This VPN proved to be above average when using WireGuard, and I saw a top speed of 720Mbps. While this is impressive, it is also a significant drop since the last speed test IPVanish was put through. Six months ago IPvanish topped out at 890Mbps.

A similar drop was seen in OpenVPN tests, and somewhat more significantly. Last time IPVanish topped out at 290Mbps. This time it only reached 120Mbps. Hopefully, this is only a temporary drop. While these speeds are still good enough to avoid lag – and most users will be connecting with WireGuard anyway – I do hope to see IPVanish back near the top in the future.

If you feel you need faster VPN connection speeds than what IPVanish has to offer, look at Surfshark and TorGuard. Both clocked in at an impressive 950Mbps when connected with WireGuard. Hide.me was also speedy at 880Mbps.

How good is IPVanish for streaming?

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NetflixWorking (US, UK, JP)
PrimeWorking
YouTubeWorking
iPlayerWorking
Disney PlusWorking
10PlayUnavailable
9NowWorking
ITV PlayerWorking
All4Working

IPVanish is a capable streaming VPN provider. Tests showed it has no problem unblocking Netflix in the US, the UK, and Japan. It does struggle to open Netflix Canada and Australia.

Other TV streaming sites that IPVanish didn't have trouble opening include Disney+ and Amazon Prime. BBC iPlayer and 9Now in Australia were also no problem for IPVanish. However, there are several sites that remained locked, like 10Play.

If you have some favorite shows that are only streamed on services that IPVanish can't unlock, there are other VPNs that don't have the same issue. ExpressVPN and Surfshark unlock everything, for example.

IPVanish review - explanation of how a VPN works

(Image credit: IPVanish)

How good is IPVanish for torrenting?

IPVanish has very secure P2P support, including using the highest encryption available to make sure your information can't be deciphered if it is intercepted. On top of that, this VPN has a thoroughly tested kill switch and easy proxy setups.

You don't have to worry about picking a compatible server. That's because every one of IPVanish's 2,000+ servers is already compatible. What's more, thanks to its no-logs policy, there isn't any history of transfers or digital communication that can be traced back to you.

The biggest reason IPVanish isn't listed among the top torrenting VPN services is because of its limited split tunneling. This feature lets you send specific files through the VPN while leaving others alone. It helps keep your transfers more secure and increases connection and transfer speeds. However, it's only available to Android and Fire TV users, and I'd love to see it on desktop.

IPVanish desktop app connected to server

(Image credit: IPVanish)

How good are IPVanish’s desktop apps?

IPVanish recently went through a design update. This didn't change the overall function of the app, but it did give the dashboard a cleaner look that is easier to navigate. However, in order to achieve this, IPVanish stripped away some helpful information.

The VPN no longer displays a traffic graph, displays the kill switch, or mentions protocols. Instead, there is a world map with server locations pinpointed on it. There is a Connect button and a small sidebar navigation with a few icons. These take you to the more in-depth information that use to be on the IPVanish dashboard.

Truth be told, the Windows VPN, Mac VPN, and Linux VPN clients do a good job of communicating their sets of features in a pretty clear way. For instance, when choosing a server you can either select it from the map or view a more typical list of servers. 

You have the option to add servers to a favorites list for easy reference later. But the easiest way to get started is to simply press the Connect button and let the VPN connect you to the fastest and closest available server.

The client's kill switch still isn't enabled by default. Instead, you'll need to click through the settings icons until you find the right one where you can turn the kill switch on manually. This setting isn't remembered between connection sessions, so this is a function you'll have to remember to enable each time you launch IPVanish.

IPVanish review

(Image credit: IPVanish)
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How good are IPVanish’s mobile apps?

Like its desktop versions, the IPVanish mobile apps received a design update. One of the biggest changes is the ability to ping Support from right within the app rather than closing it and reaching out through the website.

The mobile apps are available for both iOS and Android devices. Unfortunately, they’re not exactly equal in terms of user-friendliness, performance, and functionality to their desktop counterparts. 

Since iOS has its own restrictions on split tunneling, it’s no fault of IPVanish's that the feature is reserved for Android devices. On the other hand, it’s less clear why ping and server load times are displayed in the iOS server list but fully hidden on Android. In a similar way, the iPhone VPN app carries over the Favorites system from the desktop client, but this function is missing from the Android version.

While this is the only app where the internet traffic graph scrolls smoothly, there’s no built-in kill switch to protect your privacy. The only feature that the iOS version offers over Android is the ability to turn itself off when you're connected to trusted cellular networks - saving your battery life.

The Android VPN offers split-tunneling and a scramble feature, meaning it should be more secure than the iOS counterpart. However, not having a kill switch is a major security let-down, so it’s about fifty-fifty.

How good is IPVanish's support?

If something goes wrong with your VPN, IPVanish’s Help Center should come in handy. It has so many articles and tutorials on just about every VPN subject you can' think about. And it's not limited to just one or two. You'll easily find a plethora of information ranging from set-up to troubleshooting and even billing questions.

For questions that are very specific, or if you need more clarification, feel free to email Support. I found the answers sent back were direct, easy to follow, and usually helpful. But even better is the live chat support.

I sent a question to IPVanish about protocols available and which to use for a specific job. Within a few minutes, I got a response that what very helpful and to the point. I was especially relieved that I didn't have to jump through any hoops, like answering questions about my account, before an answer was given. This is an A+ in my book.

And, uniquely in the VPN industry, IPVanish also offers phone support. I haven't tried this out, but if it's up to the standard of the live chat, I expect it to be worth having on-hand.

IPVanish Support Center options

(Image credit: IPVanish)

Should you buy IPVanish?

IPVanish does everything I expect from a reliable VPN. It bypasses geo-restricted websites, including the most popular TV streaming services, supports torrenting by allowing every one of its servers to be P2P compatible, and has top-notch security tools (opens in new tab)

While IPVanish slipped in its connection speeds with both WireGuard and OpenVPN, it received huge marks for allowing an independent audit of its no-log policy. It's one of the better VPN providers available, however, it still comes in behind ExpressVPN and other top-of-the-line VPN providers.  

Sign up for IPVanish if:

  • You want a VPN with a proven no-log policy
  • You want malware protection
  • You have a lot of devices to use at once

Avoid if:

  • You're on a strict budget
  • You need to watch television programs streaming in Canada or Australia
  • You need the fastest connection speeds around

Luke is a freelance writer and editor with over two decades of experience covering tech, science and health. Among many others he writes across Future titles covering health tech, software and apps, VPNs, TV, audio, smart home, antivirus, broadband, smartphones, cars and plenty more. He also likes to climb mountains, swim outside and contort his body into silly positions while breathing as calmly as possible.

With contributions from