Skip to main content

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 worldwide P2P-friendly server networks, unlimited simultaneous device connections, and competent customer support, IPVanish is hard not to recommend – if you’re not planning to unblock Amazon Prime Video, that is.

Pros

  • +

    Unlimited device connections

  • +

    Unblocks Netflix US, BBC iPlayer, Disney+

  • +

    Great for P2P

  • +

    Audited no-log policy

Cons

  • -

    Apps are complex and rarely updated

  • -

    No Amazon Prime Video access

  • -

    OpenVPN speeds aren't up to scratch

IPVanish was launched in 2012 by Mudhook Media Inc., an independent child of Highwinds Network Group in Orlando (Florida, the USA).

IPVanish now owns and operates over 2,000 remote servers scattered in more than 75 locations across the world with the highest concentration of servers in the USA, the UK, and Australia, and is often features in roundups of the very best VPN services.

In 2017, its parent company was acquired by StackPath, a US-based CDN provider, meaning that IPVanish became a part of this company as well. Two years later, IPVanish again changed hands by becoming one among many VPN services acquired by J2 Global, an American technology giant, and this trend seems to stop there. 

Although it’s been a couple of years now, well-informed privacy purists will remember an incident when IPVanish handed over user data to the FBI, gaining a reputation of a not-so-privacy-friendly VPN. So, we’ll have to double-check whether it is as safe and secure as it claims to be today in this complete IPVanish review.

All in all, IPVanish is a likable US-based VPN provider with a lengthy list of features and a few surprising bonuses, and here we'll test to see if it can still live up to its rivals.

IPVanish review

(Image credit: IPVanish)
(opens in new tab)

IPVanish 1-minute review

Available for $47.89 for a year's cover, or just $10.99 for a single month, IPVanish is fairly priced - and it's worth keeping an eye on its VPN deals for any bargains.

A wide variety of protocols are supported by IPVanish, and they come with some useful customizable privacy features such as multiple OpenVPN ports, WireGuard, DNS leak protection, and an efficient kill switch.

IPVanish also claims to be a zero-logs provider and proves its words with an independent audit.

WireGuard connection speeds for the US and UK, on 1Gbps lines, were between 700Mbps and an amazing 890Mbps. This shows that IPVanish is a seriously swift service at the top end and on average, only beaten by NordVPN and Mozilla VPN, by a slight margin.

IPVanish works wonders with BBC iPlayer, US Netflix, and Disney Plus, but is unable to bypass Amazon Prime Video's VPN-blocking tech.

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 are detailed, in-depth, and backed by lots of interface options and tons of data at your fingertips. However, they might be somewhat complex for less-experienced users and both iOS and Android apps overlook some features we'd like to see included. Nevertheless, the apps are powerful and stable, but rarely get new features due to the fact they're updated fairly infrequently.

Lastly, IPVanish's customer support seems comprehensive, with plenty of how-to guides and helpful live chat service.

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.

Latest updates

In April 2022, IPVanish completed its independent audit of its privacy policy and server deployment procedures, something we're very glad to have seen.

Otherwise, there's not a lot to report on - but we'll update this page as and when.

IPVanish specs

Number of servers: 2,000
Number of countries: 
75
Platforms supported: 
Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Amazon Fire Stick, Android TV, Chrome OS, Kodi
Simultaneous connections: Unlimited
Split tunneling: Android only
Kill switch: Yes
Supported protocols: 
WireGuard, OpenVPN UDP & TCP, L2TP/IPSec, IKEv2, PPTP
Country of registration: 
USA
Support: Articles, live chat, email, phone

IPVanish website homepage

(Image credit: IPVanish)
(opens in new tab)

IPVanish price: how much is it and is there an IPVanish free trial?

If you’re looking to save some money, your best bet is IPVanish’s yearly plan which starts at $3.99 per month (opens in new tab) and comes packed with ransomware and malware protection. However, after the promotional period comes to an end, the price will spike significantly. The 1-year subscription for the first year of service will cost you $47.89 for that year, but $89.99 for each year after that.

As it usually is, the monthly plan is pretty pricey at $10.99 per month and it renews automatically each month at an identical rate. For the sake of all bargain hunters out there, we should also note that IPVanish often changes its prices and offers all sorts of discounts.

If we compare IPVanish with its cheap VPN competitors (such as CyberGhost) that charge a small fee on three-year plans and don’t raise the price after the initial instalment, IPVanish can seem a bit steep in the long run.

There’s no VPN free trial with IPVanish, but there is a 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 and quarterly plans don’t qualify.

Available payment methods with IPVanish include all major credit cards and PayPal, but Bitcoin isn’t supported, and unfortunately so.

How private is IPVanish?

Since privacy is one of the main reasons people pick up a VPN in the first place, it’s one of the most important parts of our IPVanish review.

Together with a industry-standard 256-bit AES encryption, IPVanish supports both IKEv2 and OpenVPN, which are two of the safest protocols, as well as the old-fashioned and less secure L2TP, SSTP, and PPTP.

The newest addition to this catalog is the WireGuard protocol, which offers both strong security and some of the fastest speeds for VPNs.

Unlike with most VPNs, IPVanish users can customize OpenVPN connections. For instance, you can scramble your OpenVPN traffic to hide your VPN usage or select one of two OpenVPN ports (either 443 or 1194) to optimize your setup.

IPVanish review - desktop client

(Image credit: IPVanish)
(opens in new tab)

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, we decided to test IPVanish’s claims with Do I Leak, a DNS leak test. To our satisfaction, it confirmed that our 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.

With a superb set of security tools, a clearly defined “zero-logs” policy, and no external breaches since the VPN’s creation in 2012, IPVanish seems like a top-notch choice when it comes to privacy.

Understanding that actions speak louder than words, IPVanish decided to back them up with a blog post announcing that Leviathan Security Group had audited its "technology and independently verified that our no-log VPN service complies with our Privacy Policy." This audit was described in detail and included interviews with staff, a full range of technical tests, an inspection of a production server, documentation, system configurations, and much more (if you wish to check the blog post for yourself, click here (opens in new tab)).

All in all, it’s refreshing to see a VPN provider with the courage to put itself through this level of scrutiny, and while IPVanish is by no means the first to do so, it's always good to see.

How fast is IPVanish?

To see if IPVanish is a truly fast VPN, we tested it on two 1Gbps lines, one in the US, one in the UK. To measure the speed performance, we run several benchmarking services - SpeedTest's website and command-line app, SpeedOf.me, nPerf.

WireGuard fired up for the USA and got lightning-fast speeds of 890Mbps and 700Mbps from the UK location, both of which place IPVanish high on the list of the fastest providers - only Hide.me (900Mbps) and TorGuard (950Mbps) scored higher.

UK OpenVPN speeds were quite underwhelming at 120-160Mbps. However, the speed results from the USA were more manageable at 300Mbps, although that’s still only mid-range and lags behind OpenVPN leaders like Hide.me (550-580bps) and Mullvad (490Mbps).

As for long-distance connections, IPVanish delivered speeds of around 70Mbps when connecting to Asia and Oceania from the UK.

It wasn’t without a hitch, since speeds tumbled down to 1-2Mbps when connecting to Malaysia. However, the speeds improved to a reasonable 55Mbps while connected to Australia and about 57Mbps with Japan.

Taking all speed results into account, IPVanish shows superfast speeds with short-distance servers (most notably those in the UK and the USA), and should offer a workable speed with long-distance ones as well.

How good is IPVanish for streaming?

Streaming services have taken a hard-line approach over the past few years and only the most capable streaming VPN providers can safely connect to the most popular platforms. IPVanish promises "secure access to all of your favorite streaming sites” and adds there won’t be any interruptions from “video buffering and lag times."

Since our experience from previous reviews doesn’t paint a pretty picture, we were keen to see how IPVanish performed this time. Right from the get-go, we bypassed BBC iPlayer's defenses which allowed us to stream whatever we liked.

With no trouble, IPVanish also unblocked Disney Plus, which is very welcome news since the service wasn’t able to access the platform last time round. The US Netflix is considered to be one of the most difficult challenges for any VPN, which is why we were particularly glad to see IPVanish unblock US content.

The service wasn't effective with Netflix in other countries, though. So, if this could be a deal-breaker for you, check out unblocking carefully if you decide to sign up.

If one bad news wasn’t enough, in our final test Amazon Prime Video detected the VPN and refused to stream anything at all - so if you're looking for an Amazon Prime VPN, it might be best to seek elsewhere.

IPVanish review - explanation of how a VPN works

(Image credit: IPVanish)
(opens in new tab)

How good is IPVanish for torrenting?

Although IPVanish doesn’t show off its P2P support, it's one of the finest VPNs to consider if you’re searching for a solution for safe torrenting.

Thanks to its no-logs policy, kill switch, and easy SOCKS5 proxy setups it provides everything needed for protecting the privacy of its users while torrenting. What’s more, with IPVanish you won’t have to make a fuss about picking out a compatible server, since all of them are.

With IPVanish, split tunneling is currently limited to the Android and Fire TV clients, which could put off some users, but overall it's very capable. If you’re looking for a VPN first and foremost for torrenting, make sure to check out our guide to the best torrenting VPN.

How good are IPVanish’s desktop apps?

Since IPVanish goes above and beyond to provide its users with complete control over connection preferences (which can’t be said for most VPN providers), the app's opening Quick Connect panel looks cluttered and feels chaotic. While this is a result of having so much functionality, it might confuse those less familiar with the technical side of VPNs.

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 a user-friendly map or view a more typical list of servers. Also, you can easily add servers to a favorites list for easy reference later.

In terms of efficiency, IPVanish is a little stronger than most of its competitors in a couple of ways. Once you enter a map, for instance, you’ll see a selection of general locations rather than hundreds of markers for each individual server. From there, you can click on an area to quickly connect to the best connection in the region - and we find this map superior to NordVPN's.

The ability to pan and zoom feels much more natural than what most of the competition has to offer. It can even be freely resized or maximized, to let you take full advantage of the screen, which is perfect for Windows and Mac.

While the client's kill switch isn't enabled by default, we turned it on and ran a few tests. During them, it consistently worked in response to a variety of interruptions, making sure that our traffic would never be exposed – just don’t forget to turn it on manually before getting started.

IPVanish review

(Image credit: IPVanish)
(opens in new tab)

How good are IPVanish’s mobile apps?

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 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 you on 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.

For some unfortunate reason, the mobile apps don’t seem to be updated often enough. After a minor 3.5.0 iPhone update that introduced dark mode, Siri, Spanish language support, and Dynamic Type support, it was roughly a year before the next iOS update, which merely added app themes, the ability to create customer support tickets, improved Dynamic Type support, and a better On-Demand settings screen.

IPVanish review

(Image credit: IPVanish)
(opens in new tab)

What customer support does IPVanish offer?

If something goes wrong with your VPN, IPVanish’s Help Center should come in handy. Its comprehensive set of support resources starts with a System Status page which will supply you with consistent updates on outages and similar issues. If that doesn’t answer your question, go straight to the knowledgebase where you’ll get lots of in-depth guides on common concerns and more technical problems, all of which are easily searchable by keyword.

While the articles themselves aren’t as polished as you'll see with NordVPN or ExpressVPN, they’re still pretty helpful and offer plenty of information to look into. Also, what they miss in terms of quality, they achieve in quantity. With IPVanish you won’t get one or two run-of-the-mill setup guides, but multiple tutorials for Windows, Android, iOS, macOS, and Linux, as well as guidance on using the system with Chrome OS and various routers, and related advice for Roku, Chromecast, and Kodi.

If you can’t find what you’re searching for in the knowledgebase or simply prefer getting in touch with an actual person, you can do it via live chat. After we sent them a couple of simple questions, IPVanish’s support agent immediately got down to business and provided us with proper answers instead of questioning us about account information or asking for other personal details.

If you’re not in a hurry, you can also contact the support team via email, but we found that browsing articles or using live chat are the most convenient options for most IPVanish users.

IPVanish: Final verdict

IPVanish is a superb choice for all those who are looking to search the internet securely and secretly across multiple devices while bypassing some geo-blocking restrictions, as well as for those who are into torrenting. IPVanish will supply you with top-notch security tools (opens in new tab), blistering WireGuard speeds, helpful customer support, and more.

However, although IPVanish is one of the better VPN providers available in the market today, some stumbling blocks still hold it behind ExpressVPN (opens in new tab) and other top-of-the-line VPN providers.  

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.