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IPVanish review

IPVanish puts security first and has some great client features

IPVanish review
(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

IPVanish features great security alongside zero-logging and good speeds. While the apps aren't quite as clean as the competition's, IPVanish's service is seriously configurable and is a great choice for those who want full control over their VPN.

For

  • Feature-rich clients
  • Kill switch works well
  • Unblocks Netflix
  • 250GB SugarSync plan included

Against

  • Fails to unblock BBC iPlayer
  • Overall package lacks a little finesse

Founded in 2012, IPVanish is a US-based VPN provider with 40,000 shared IPs and 1,300 servers across 75+ locations. Known as a powerful virtual private network that focuses on security and configuration, It's been a popular choice for years. 

The IPVanish clients collectively have some great features, although one or two important functions are missing from each. You’ll also get great security and speedy support, and some pricing offers can give fairly good value.

So, over the course of this IPVanish review we'll explore if the provider can still compete with the best of the best, and if it's worth your hard-earned cash.

IPVanish review - homepage

(Image credit: IPVanish)

Plans and pricing

IPVanish offers three payment plans: monthly, quarterly, and yearly, and, as you'd expect, paying for a longer period reduces the price per month. 

For a one-month plan you'll be paying a hefty $11.99, but IPVanish is currently offering an indefinite $5 rolling contract in its summer sale which is admittedly good value. A three-month plan can be bought for $8.99 a month, and the best-value annual plan comes in at $6.49.

However, discounts are often available, so it's worth checking Tom's Guide deals pages to find the best prices.

One added bonus of IPVanish is the fact every plan comes with a free 250GB SugarSync cloud storage account, valued at $10 per month. If that's something you're looking for, paying for IPVanish and SugarSync works out cheaper than a standalone SugarSync plan.

Finally, IPVanish offers a 30 money-back guarantee, so you have lots of time to try out the service, and payment can be made by card or PayPal, but not Bitcoin. 

  • More: Grab yourself a bargain with the best cheap VPN

Features

Your privacy is well protected with IPVanish. It owns and operates all of its 1,300 servers, which, according to the company’s website, is absolutely unique in the market (other VPN providers rent hardware from third parties, giving them less control over the networks). IPVanish also features industry-standard AES-256 encryption and support for OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols. 

To protect against exposure, the desktop clients have a kill switch and DNS/IPv6 leak protection. Plus, you can use the Scramble OpenVPN Traffic feature to reduce your chances of being detected in VPN-wary countries like China and Iran. 

We'd also point out that if you've got a lot of devices you want covering, IPVanish's 10 simultaneous connections should do the trick. While it's not quite Surfshark's unlimited policy, it's twice ExpressVPN's five and also beats NordVPN's six.

IPVanish review - desktop client

(Image credit: IPVanish)

IPVanish is unequivocal about its logging policy: “IPVanish is a zero-logs VPN service provider, which means that we do not keep a record of any connection, traffic or activity data in regard to our Services.” 

However, while this is all well and good, we’d love to see an external audit like those done on NordVPN and VyprVPN to confirm these claims and allay any concerns customers may have. 

In terms of unblocking geo-restricted streaming content, IPVanish does the job but doesn't match the very best. The VPN worked perfectly for unblocking Netflix, and connecting to a US server from the UK gave us access to all the US content with some really impressive speeds. 

When trying to access the notoriously difficult iPlayer, IPVanish failed. However, we were able to watch geo-blocked YouTube clips – but that's pretty standard, as most VPN providers have no trouble here. If all you're after is Netflix then IPVanish is a good shout, but hardcore streamers will probably want the full package provided by one of the best streaming VPNs.

Interface and in use

IPVanish works on a variety of platforms – clients are available for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS/iPadOS and FireTV, while manual setup guides are available for Chrome, Firefox, Chromebook, Linux, and more.

No matter which app you’re using, you’ll be greeted first by a Quick Connect screen. From here, you can easily choose a country, city, and available server. If you like it old-school, simply click Server List and you’ll see a more traditional layout. We loved that you could sort by load and response time, as well as pin favorites to the top of the list. The map feature is also very easy to use.

The app interfaces are packed with info, including a scrolling connection speed graph. While it might be overkill, it doesn't detract from the overall experience and we always welcome new ways of monitoring the performance of any program.

The mobile apps have some great functions that we’d love to see streamlined across the family, but also lack some of the best features of the desktop software. For example, the Android app has a split tunneling feature so you can choose which apps work with IPVanish, but doesn’t support favorites or sorting servers by response time. As for the iOS app, you get your favorites list, but there’s no integrated kill switch to protect your identity if your connection fails.

Performance-wise, we averaged 69 Mbps on a 75Mbps European line, and 220Mbps on a 600Mbps US line, which are some great speeds – plenty quick enough for just about anything you'd want to do.

IPVanish review - explanation of how a VPN works

(Image credit: IPVanish)

Support

If you need assistance with your VPN connection or the IPVanish client, you have a few options. The knowledge base has lots of setup guides and tutorials, although some of them get sidetracked with superfluous analogies (comparing a VPN to driving a car, for example).

Compared to other services, IPVanish's articles aren't exactly the best, but they are functional and there's a comprehensive selection.

You can also get support via email or through live chat on the website, which is open 24/7. The agent on chat was friendly, knowledgeable, and quick to answer, so no complaints here.

The competition

If you're after the cream of the crop, we recommend ExpressVPN as the best VPN available today. There's little that IPVanish does that Express doesn't – although if you're after a US-based provider or want to really dig deep into the settings, IPVanish is still worthy competitor.

If you're after rock-bottom pricing alongside premium features, Surfshark offers much of IPVanish's functionality for less than half the price. 

IPVanish: Final verdict

IPVanish has tight security and doesn’t do much in the way of logging. Speeds are also excellent, if not industry-leading. In addition, the clients have some great features, although we’d be happier if these were standardized across all platforms.

Comparing to the competition, there are a number of services on a par with IPVanish that are available for a little cheaper, and more expensive ones that add a lot of value for the price. However, if it's something you're likely to use, the free SugarSync plan is a great incentive to buy.

Overall, IPVanish is a very capable and customizable VPN that we'd happily recommend to anyone interested – there are just a couple of inconsistencies that keep it from reaching the number-one spot.

Specs

Client software platforms: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, BlackBerry, Kindle Fire, Nook, routers, Playstation
Native supported platforms: All of the above, plus Chromebook, Windows Phone, Proxy service (not VPN) available for game consoles, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire Stick, Boxee
Supported protocols: OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, PPTP, SSTP, IKEv2
No. of servers: 3000+
No. of countries: 94
Country of registration: British Virgin Islands
Payment options: Credit card, PayPal, Bitcoin, AliPay, GiroPay, WebMoney
Real name necessary? No
Encryption protocol: AES-256
Data usage: Unlimited
Bandwidth usage: Unlimited
Max. no. of simultaneously connected devices: Five
Customer support: 24/7 chat and email
Privacy policy: No logging

  • Want to check the competition? Read about the very best VPNs