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IPVanish review

A powerful VPN with some excellent expert-level features

IPVanish review
(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

With robust, attractive apps, IPVanish is a good performer with some powerful expert-level features. Some usability issues and less than class-leading streaming performance hampers in slightly, but for those looking for some extra power under the hood, it's worth considering.

For

  • Unlimited device connections
  • Unblocks US Netflix and Disney+
  • Windows kill switch is reliable
  • Good for P2P

Against

  • No iPlayer or Prime unblocking
  • Apps are a little complex
  • Inconsistent updates

If you want the best VPN, you’re probably looking for a combination of reliable speeds, low prices, powerful security measures, and other features. While IPVanish is uneven in some areas, it’s still a strong, configurable choice for most users, with apps available on Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, and Android devices, as well as Chrome OS, Fire TV, and other unconventional platforms, and we'll test them all in this IPVanish review.

In contrast to many other VPN services, IPVanish uses its own servers instead of outsourcing connections to third-party providers. Furthermore, it doesn’t set any limits on simultaneous connections, and subscribers get access to 24/7 support via live chat. With these tools and a variety of additional features, IPVanish compares favorably with many of the top VPNs currently available.

So, to decide whether it's the right option for you, all you need to do is keep scrolling for our comprehensive IPVanish review.

IPVanish review

(Image credit: IPVanish)

IPVanish 1-minute review

Available for $31.49 for a year's cover, or just $3.49 for a single month, IPVanish is attractively priced – and it's worth keeping an eye on its VPN deals for any bargains. Pay just a few cents more a month, and you'll also bag yourself 500GB of SugarSync cloud storage, worth $10 a month alone. Be aware, though, that prices rise after the first instalment of either a month or a year.

IPVanish has very wide protocol support, some useful customizable privacy features such as multiple OpenVPN ports, DNS leak protection and an effective kill switch. It also claims to be a zero-logs provider, but we'd like to see an external audit to prove this.

In the US, OpenVPN connection speeds are good, topping out at around 380Mbps. However, in Europe it was less impressive, averaging around 150Mbps, and speeds also suffered over long distances. It's by no means a 'slow' VPN, but we're still waiting on WireGuard integration to supercharge these speeds.

US Netflix, Disney+ and YouTube can be accessed from anywhere in the world, but unfortunately IPVanish is unable to bypass BBC iPlayer and Amazon Prime Video's VPN blocking tech. Torrent support is excellent, though, and the SOCKS5 setup plus kill switch and full server compatibility makes it a great choice for sharing P2P.

IPVanish's apps are detailed and in-depth on both desktop and mobile, will a number of interface options and tons of data at your fingertips. To the uninitiated they could seem complex, and both iOS and Android apps omit some features we'd like to see included, but overall the apps are powerful and stable – if not updated all that often.

Finally, customer support is comprehensive, with tons of excellent articles and a very helpful live chat service. On the whole, then, IPVanish is a powerful VPN that's only let down by a couple of small issues, and if you can catch it when it's reduced in price, it's good value, too.

Latest updates

The latest news is that IPVanish has further dropped its price to just $2.40 a month on a one-year plan, or just $3.19 for a single month. Seriously value from the US-based stalwart, then.

While it might be old news at this point, the introduction of an unlimited connections policy put IPVanish on a par with Surfshark as one of the only truly premium VPN providers which doesn’t limit the number of devices you can install the software on with a single policy. This is great for those in large households or individuals with tons of different devices that need cover.

In early 2021 we saw IPVanish upgrade a considerable amount of its servers to 25Gbps network cards. This means the network should be thoroughly futureproofed and ready for increased speeds in years to come.

Finally, IPVanish's price has changed. Gone is the quarterly plan, and now you'll just have the choice between one month and one year. Prices have gone down for the first instalment, but subsequent payments will be a little higher.

IPVanish on paper

Number of servers: 1,600+
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: 
OpenVPN UDP & TCP, L2TP/IPSec, IKEv2, PPTP
Country of registration: 
USA
Support: Articles, live chat, email

IPVanish review

(Image credit: IPVanish)

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

You can subscribe to IPVanish on a monthly or annual basis. The one-year subscription is the best deal at just $2.40 per month for the first year ($28.80 total) and $7.50 per month ($89.99 total) thereafter. Monthly plans are an absolute bargain at just $3.19, but again that's only for the first month, with the price rising to $9.99 every month thereafter. It’s worth noting, however, that IPVanish often changes its prices – we’ll update this section of the review as and when we find out about this, but do check prices yourself before settling on a plan.

IPVanish used to throw in 250GB of free SugarSync storage with all plans, but now it's a paid extra. However, although you'll pay $3.50 extra in the first year and $10 extra in the years thereafter, you'll get a mega 500GB, which retails at almost $20 a month alone. If that's something you'll use, it's still well worth investing in.

So, for first-time subscribers, IPVanish is seriously cheap, but if you stay after than first instalment you'll be paying a fair bit. If you consider a cheap VPN rival like CyberGhost that charges a low fee on three-year plans and doesn't ramp up the price after the first instalment, IPVanish can seem a little pricey in the long term. 

While you can get your money back within 30 days of signing up, IPVanish doesn’t offer a VPN free trial, so don’t forget to decide whether you want to keep the subscription while the refund is still available. IPVanish accepts PayPal and card payments through its website.

How private is IPVanish?

Privacy is one of the main benefits of a VPN, and IPVanish stands out from most other providers when it comes to security. Along with reliable 256-bit AES encryption, IPVanish also supports both IKEv2 and OpenVPN, two of the safest protocols currently used by VPNs, alongside the archaic and insecure PPTP – but there's still no WireGuard.

Unlike most other VPNs, IPVanish gives users the option to customize OpenVPN connections. For example, 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)

Additional security features depend on the client that you’re using. The Windows client 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. While any VPN provider can promise leak protection, we tested IPVanish’s claims with Do I Leak, DNS leak test, and IPLeak, all of which confirmed that our identities were secure with IPVanish.

Similarly, iPhone users can quickly set IPVanish to automatically start up for certain networks and stay off for others. With a deep set of security tools, a clearly described “zero-logs” policy, and no external breaches since the VPN’s creation in 2012, IPVanish seems to be an outstanding provider when it comes to privacy.

However, unlike competitors such as ExpressVPN and NordVPN, IPVanish has never undertaken an independent audit of its zero-logging claims. It’s also worth mentioning that the VPN was involved in a high-profile security incident in which IPVanish was indicated to have shared logs with the government – although this occurred in 2016 and the VPN is now under new ownership.

Again, though, we’d appreciate a full audit of IPVanish’s systems and servers to allay any fears that logs are being kept, and until then, there’s no empirical proof that it truly is a zero-logging VPN – even though its claims are strong and we have no other reason to disbelieve them.

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. We measured speeds using a variety of speed testing tools and services, including TestMy.net Ookla's Speedtest.

When using OpenVPN in the US, we saw fairly middling speeds of 140-150Mbps, and when we used IKEv2, we saw large fluctuations, with speeds between 40-190Mbps. Unfortunately, the performance this time showed a drop compared to our last tests.

In the UK, though, things looked a little better. When using OpenVPN, we saw speeds of 290-380, which is rather impressive – although not quite the fastest we've seen, as VPNs supporting WireGuard (NordVPN, Surfshark, ExpressVPN) all breached the 500Mbps, and then some.

Longer-distance connections didn't fare too badly, however, and IPVanish delivered speeds of around 70Mbps when connecting to Asia and Oceania from the UK. It wasn't all nippy – speeds plummeted to just 1-2Mbps when connecting to Malaysia – but UK to Australia connections we acceptable at around 55Mbps, and Japan leveled out at about 57Mbps.

So, while not dreadful, IPVanish isn't quite leader of the pack when it comes to speeds. However, all our connections were stable and reliable, and for those using slower base connections, it shouldn't prove to be too much of an issue.

How good is IPVanish for streaming?

Streaming services have taken a tougher approach to VPNs in recent years, and only a few providers can reliably connect to the most popular platforms. IPVanish was able to get us access to US Netflix and Disney+ (no mean feat in itself), but unfortunately the VPN doesn't offer access to UK, Canadian, or any other Netflix libraries.

The cant be said for BBC iPlayer and Amazon Prime – throughout our whole testing procedure, we simply couldn't get access.

Of course, you’ll also be able to connect to more easily accessible sites, like Spotify, Sling TV, and YouTube. With success on some streaming services but not others, IPVanish is a middling VPN with respect to streaming. ExpressVPN, Hotspot Shield, and more of the top streaming VPN services can connect to a wider range of platforms.

IPVanish review - explanation of how a VPN works

(Image credit: IPVanish)

How good is IPVanish for torrenting?

While IPVanish doesn’t advertise support for torrenting, it’s actually one of the better VPNs to consider if you’re looking for a way to safely torrent files. With its kill switch, no-logs policy, support for Bitcoin, and easy SOCKS5 proxy setups, it has everything that most users need to protect their privacy while torrenting.

Furthermore, IPVanish doesn’t restrict torrent activity, so you won’t have to worry about picking a compatible server. Unfortunately, though, split tunneling is currently limited to the Android and Fire TV clients, which may make IPVanish less attractive to some users. Make sure to look through our guide if you’re specifically looking for a torrenting VPN.

How good are IPVanish’s desktop apps?

As mentioned, IPVanish offers thorough control over connection preferences that goes beyond what’s available from most other providers. The downside of this approach is that it can clutter the interface, especially for users who aren’t as familiar with the technical side of VPNs.

To be fair, the IPVanish Mac, Windows, and Linux clients do a good job of communicating a complicated set of features as clearly as possible. When choosing a server, for example, you can either select it from a map or view a more typical list of servers. It’s also easy to add servers to a favorites list for easy reference later.

IPVanish is more efficient than other VPN clients in a few notable ways. When you enter the map view, for example, 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 much prefer this map compared to NordVPN's.

Similarly, the kill switch offers an immediate shutdown in case of any issues with the VPN connection. During testing, it consistently worked in response to a variety of interruptions, making sure that our traffic would never be exposed. Keep in mind that it’s disabled by default, so you’ll need to turn it on manually before getting started.

IPVanish review

(Image credit: IPVanish)

How good are IPVanish’s mobile apps?

IPVanish mobile apps are available for both iOS and Android devices. While they’re uneven in a few key areas, they generally match the functionality and performance of their desktop counterparts. We named IPVanish the fourth best mobile VPN available in 2020, a testament to its overall quality and reliability.

iOS has its own restrictions on split tunneling, so it’s no surprise that that feature is limited to Android devices. On the other hand, it’s less clear why ping and server load times are displayed in the iOS server list but completely hidden on Android. In the same way, the iPhone app carries over the Favorites system from the desktop client, but this function is missing from the Android version.

Unfortunately, the mobile apps only receive infrequent updates. 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. With that in mind, it’s unclear whether the IPVanish team will continue adding any major features or capabilities.

IPVanish review

(Image credit: IPVanish)

What customer support does IPVanish offer?

IPVanish has a comprehensive set of support resources, starting with a System Status page with consistent updates on outages and any other issues. There’s also a thorough online knowledge base with detailed articles on common questions and technical problems, all of which are easily searchable by keyword.

While the articles themselves aren’t quite up to par with those of top competitors like ExpressVPN, they still provide more than enough information for most inquiries. Unlike some other VPNs, IPVanish also separates support articles for each client, thus providing more specific advice.

Finally, if the knowledge base doesn’t have what you’re looking for, you can quickly get in touch with an IPVanish agent via live chat. We got a response in under a minute, and they immediately asked how they could help rather than inquiring about account information or other personal details. You can also contact the support team via email if you’d prefer, but browsing articles or using live chat are generally the most convenient options for IPVanish users.

IPVanish: Final verdict

IPVanish has excellent security tools, free cloud storage, great connection speeds in the US, an outstanding set of customer service options, powerful torrent support, and more. While there are a small number of downsides that hold it behind ExpressVPN and other elite providers, it’s still one of the better VPNs available in 2020.