IPVanish review: Works nicely for your security unless you’re in China
Despite realizing the importance of a VPN, choosing one is always tricky for an average user. Before subscribing to a VPN, you have to make sure that you know all about it. And that you’re investing your money in the right place.
However, it’s not easy to learn all about a specific VPN merely by visiting its website. That’s why we keep reviewing VPNs for you gathering all vital information about a service in one place.
Today, we present a comprehensive IPVanish review. We tested this VPN against all our assessment parameters.
IPVanish VPN overview
IPVanish is also among the old players of the VPN market. The service started off in 2012 with only 32 servers. Yet, the vendors, Mudhook Media Inc., a Florida-based HighWinds Network Group subsidiary, expanded the network in the following years, adding more servers and device compatibility.
Later, in 2017, StackPath, a Texas-based edge computing firm, acquired HighWinds Network Group and, subsequently, IPVanish as well.
However, two years after this acquisition, in 2019, StackPath sold its VPNs IPVanish and Encrypt.me (formerly Cloak), to J2 Global – a California-based tech firm having many famous names on its brand lines. Some of these include PCMag and IGN.com as the digital media brands, and UnityFax, VIPRE, IPVanish, SugarSync, Backup Solutions, and many more products among its business cloud services.
So, concerning the jurisdiction, IPVanish is based in United States – a prominent 5 Eyes Alliance country. However, despite their location, they still claim to have a no-logs policy for the users. (But there is a catch. We’ll talk about it in detail later.)
As for the features, IPVanish VPN offers services comparable to most leading VPNs.
Though, it may lag behind the major players, such as ExpressVPN, Surfshark, and NordVPN, in the case of speed and unblocking streaming libraries. Yet, it’s an affordable VPN for all those looking to protect their online security on a budget.
We’ll discuss this VPN’s features in detail in the later sections of this IPVanish VPN review. For now, let’s start evaluating this VPN against the major VPN parameters.
Servers and network coverage
A colossal server network seems a good indicator of global coverage. Yet, IPVanish has proved this hypothesis wrong.
With a modest network of 1600+ servers, IPVanish has managed to offer over 75 locations across 53 countries globally with over 40,000 IP addresses. These even include a few countries from Asia and Africa, alongside placing a majority of servers in the USA and Europe.
Although, a problem here is that you won’t get more IPs for the exact location. So, if you’re using this VPN to unblock restricted content, you might face trouble due to VPN bans.
However, if you’re simply using it for your security or choosing a location with more servers, such as the US or EU, then IPVanish will surely help you.
VPN connection protocols determine how a VPN facilitates users in exchanging their data with the internet world securely.
Here again, IPVanish has ensured to cater to the needs of customers by offering various VPN protocols. Though, users may not find all of the protocols across all of their devices connected to this VPN. However, as a user, you may still find your desired connection protocols on whichever device you use it.
Precisely, here is how it offers various supported VPN protocols across different devices.
- OpenVPN (TCP/UDP): Windows, Android, Linux, Mac, Amazon Fire devices, Chrome OS, and routers
- IKEv2: Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android
- L2TP: Windows, Linux, Mac, iOS, Android, Chrome OS
- IPSec: Mac, iOS, Android, Linux
- PPTP: Windows only
Since a VPN is all about robust data encryption, our next parameter to assess IPVanish before getting our hands on it was the encryption.
Like any other good VPN, IPVanish also bears robust AES-256-bt encryption. It’s the same military-grade yet unbreakable encryption standard that provides the basis to today’s leading VPNs.
Hence, you can trust IPVanish to protect your online security from all snoopers, hackers, web trackers, and network interceptors.
IP leak/DNS leak protection
As you know, the sole purpose of using a VPN is to hide one’s IP address. But the entire effort of such a subscription goes in vain the moment you find out that your real details remain exposed online. And that’s what most free and substandard paid VPNs do.
In the case of IPVanish, however, things are different. These guys genuinely care about your online security. Thus, they ensure to prevent accidental exposure of your IP address via DNS leaks.
However, they do not offer robust IP leak protection when it comes to IPv6. They have clearly stated on their website (we liked their transparency at this point) that they do not support IPv6 yet.
It means if your device supports IPv6, then the websites supporting IPv6 can still detect your real IP location.
Therefore, if you’re planning to use IPVanish, make sure to disable IPv6 on your device manually before establishing your VPN connection. Once done, you can now safely proceed to enjoy a secure browsing experience.
Another critical feature that PrivacySavvy deems a must-have for every VPN is the kill switch.
That’s because this one-click tool actually plays a great role in maintaining your online privacy. In case of VPN disconnections, the kill switch blocks your internet connection. Thus, it helps accidental (and unnoticeable) exposure of your real IP address online.
In the case of IPVanish, the service does offer a kill switch as a built-in option in its VPN clients.
However, at present, they are offering it on a limited scale. Precisely, the kill switch is available with Windows, Android, and macOS VPN clients only.
Data-logging policy (no logs?)
Okay, before elaborating on this point, let’s first recall what exactly “no-logs” policy means.
When a VPN service says that it does not log user data, ideally, it means that this is what they do – simply maintain “no logs.” To prove this claim, these VPN services often explain their policies and technical structure in detail.
For instance, ExpressVPN has a strict zero-logs policy, for which they run RAM-based servers that simply can’t store data. Furthermore, they have a demonstrated history of presenting no user data logs to courts in response to subpoenas.
Though, in the case of ExpressVPN, they can easily employ this policy as they’re based in the neutral region of the British Virgin Islands.
Nonetheless, we do have the example of Private Internet Access (PIA) VPN with us, which maintains no logs despite being based in the USA. They even proved the same upon receiving subpoenas.
Now, coming back to the IPVanish VPN, this US-based service also claims to maintain no-logs.
“IPVanish does not collect, monitor, or log any traffic or use of its Virtual Private Network service on any platform.”
Plus, they may collect some non-personally identifiable details for site analytics and performance. These include,
- Device’s operating system
- Browser type
- Page requests
- Average time spent on the website
- Bounce rate
For this, they have also elaborated,
“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.”
“We closely review any requests we receive for customer information by a third party. We cannot provide information that we do not have, and we do not provide information that we do have unless we are legally required to. We may also compile some statistical information related to app crashes.”
And that’s what makes things unclear: “and we do not provide information that we do have unless we are legally required to.”
It means that despite claiming zero-logs, they might actually collect certain information that could relate to the users in one or the other way. This can either be some data that they collect but haven’t disclosed. Or, they might have something in place that makes it possible to segregate a specific user’s information from the aggregated data.
Also, they don’t have a past as transparent as ExpressVPN or PIA. For instance, TorrentFreak shared details about how IPVanish handed over a suspect’s details (including the Comcast IP he used) to Homeland Security. They shared this data as they were summoned over the investigations of a 2016 child abuse case.
So, while their purpose was surely lawful, it did raise questions on the VPN’s no data-logging claims.
However, a careful look at the timelines shows that the VPN was then run by different management, Highwinds Network Group, in 2016. Whereas, Stackpath acquired the VPN in 2017.
Thus, the new management didn’t comment on how the previous VPN infrastructure was run and whether or not it logged user data. They only assured, from their end, to keep no logs. (Although, currently, IPVanish is part of J2 Global).
Therefore, the VPN may have changed over time; we can’t be sure about it. Plus, their jurisdiction (USA) also hints that the VPN might be compelled to store and share users’ data at any time.
For now, under the new management (Stackpath and then J2 Global), it seems the VPN has employed a zero-logs policy. However, this will become clearer if IPVanish ever received another subpoena to produce user data.
Although, whether they log users’ data or not isn’t really an essential issue for users like you and us. When you ensure no malicious use of their services, you don’t have to fear your data being shared with your government.
Nonetheless, as we strive to come up with an honest review of IPVanish, we deem it necessary to elaborate on this in detail.
IPVanish key features
After assessing all the parameters, we moved on to see what this VPN has to offer for the users. We certainly expected IPVanish to boast a bunch of worthy features, similar to how NordVPN and Surfshark offer.
Indeed, we could find some noteworthy features that we now mention in this IPVanish review.
With split tunneling, IPVanish lets you mark certain apps to run outside the VPN tunnel. In this way, you can continue using all services that need your real IP location (such as your office network or your online banking account) without turning off your VPN.
Through this feature, your ISP will only see the traffic your device generates for the whitelisted apps. At the same time, the rest of your data will remain encrypted.
However, not all IPVanish users may use this feature. Currently, it is only available on Android and Amazon Fire OS VPN clients.
SugarSync cloud storage
As an exclusive feature, IPVanish offers their VPN users their SugarSync cloud storage services. Although, they have a separate pricing plan for VPN-only subscriptions.
Yet, with slightly more investment, you can get a VPN together with 500GB of storage. And, you are free to use this storage across all your devices.
With SugarSync, you not only get cloud storage, rather you avail yourself of a thorough backup plan with encrypted backups. You can also schedule automatic backups and can roll over to previous folder versions when needed.
This worthy solution also has your back in any unfortunate event of a ransomware attack.
Despite encryption, robust tracking entities, such as your government or streaming platforms like Netflix, can still track VPN use. While they won’t know what exactly you’re doing with the VPN, they would surely know that you ARE using a VPN.
Though, this isn’t a problem for regular users. But those living in repressive regions like China, where governments employ heavy traffic surveillance, such VPN detection is a big issue.
To combat this problem, IPVanish offers a “Scramble” option. You can hide the OpenVPN traffic generated from your device that the tracking authorities detect by deep packet inspection by enabling this option.
In simple words, nobody would know that you’re using a VPN!
Currently, this option is available on Windows, Firestick/ Fire TV, macOS, and Android VPN clients.
IPVanish security add-ons
Given the impressive features, we expected IPVanish to offer some security add-ons as well, like double VPN, adblocker, or phishing protection.
However, we were pretty disappointed to see the absence of any of these features. It means you have to rely on third-party adblockers and phishing protection tools while using IPVanish.
IPVanish user experience
Until this point of our unbiased review of IPVanish VPN, the VPN looks pretty good, with some minor lacking only.
But how does it serve its customers? Is it easy to use?
We know these questions would be popping up your minds. So here we share our hands-on experience with IPVanish VPN.
Web and app interface
Having been around for years, IPVanish certainly knows how important it is for any tool to be user-friendly.
We liked how the VPN has all the important information clearly mentioned under separate tabs after visiting their website.
Besides the website, the VPN app also bears a neat interface that makes it easy to use as well even for average users. Though it has a monotonous color scheme, it would surely attract dark-mode lovers.
Also, the app has all the needed options clearly given on the main screen, from where users can reach the settings for customized configuration.
Download and installation
Aside from an easy layout, IPVanish has also made the overall VPN installation experience very easy for all users.
You just have to visit their website and create an account there. Then, click on the “Apps” tab to proceed with IPVanish download. You’ll automatically be redirected to the app download page for your device.
Download the app and simply follow the instruction wizard to proceed with the installation process. Within a few clicks, you’ll have the VPN installed. Sign in to your account to start using the VPN.
Although, you will surely see a decrease in the speed of internet connectivity with a VPN regardless of which one you choose. But this decrease only makes a difference when you have an extremely slow base speed.
Nonetheless, if that slow speed is due to ISP throttling, your VPN may actually give a boost.
With IPVanish, we were impressed to see how it maintained speed sufficient to carry out browsing activities.
What’s different here, though, was that IPVanish appeared more supportive for Mac devices than Windows. With a base speed of 90mbps, we observed a 30% speed drop on Windows. Whereas on Mac, it only dropped to 17%.
Despite this drop, we didn’t experience any major issues while browsing.
While subscribing to IPVanish, you don’t have to worry about compatibility issues.
IPVanish offers native support for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, Fire TV, ChromeOS, and routers to facilitate the customers.
While you may not find this VPN typically supporting game consoles or smart devices, you can seamlessly protect all these unsupported devices through the router.
Wondering if you can use IPVanish to protect all your devices at once?
Don’t worry because IPVanish offers unlimited simultaneous connections on a single account.
While most leading VPNs, including ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and PIA, offer limited connections. You cannot run the VPN on more than 10 devices at maximum.
Through this generous offer, IPVanish actually surpassed all leading VPNs of today, except Surfshark, which also offers unlimited connections.
Before getting our hands on IPVanish, we went through some older IPVanish reviews from the customers. We noticed that many people have had bad experiences with their support.
But it seems the service has improved its support as the recent reviews are pretty satisfactory.
Yet, we decided to test it ourselves. So, we got in touch with their support.
At first, we were welcomed by a bot that answered many of our queries by sharing the relevant support articles with us. This saved our time to browse through the support center.
Then, we got in touch with a human agent, and within a few minutes, we got the responses.
Despite the good, we didn’t like how the service requires a visitor to enter a name and email address before starting the chat.
At this point, IPVanish lost numbers to ExpressVPN that has super-fast customer support, and doesn’t require you to share any details.
Does IPVanish work with Netflix?
Perhaps, this is what you might want to learn from the beginning of this IPVanish review, isn’t it?
Well, we have some good news and bad news for you.
The good news is, technically, you can use IPVanish VPN to unblock your desired Netflix library anywhere. The same is true for other streaming services as well.
IPVanish ensures this provision by offering its DNS servers to protect your traffic and the Scramble option that makes the VPN data unidentifiable.
However, you may not experience the same good results with any server. So, make sure to connect to a fast server to enjoy uninterrupted streaming.
Is IPVanish good for gaming?
For gaming, you need superfast internet connectivity with little to no connection drops. Of course, when you use a VPN, you expect it not to compromise your existing connection speed despite the security.
Keeping this in view, we can’t really recommend IPVanish to gamers. That’s because the VPN doesn’t exhibit speed consistency across all servers. While it can support streaming, it can’t really facilitate precise connectivity for an action-based precision activity like gaming.
Is IPVanish VPN safe for torrenting?
Technically, IPVanish is good for torrenting. Though you may experience slower torrent speeds on some servers, the VPN also offers dedicated servers supporting P2P. So, you can either use these servers or connect to any fast-speed server near your location.
However, make sure that torrenting isn’t a crime in your country. Nor do you involve in torrenting any pirated or illegal content. While IPVanish does offer thorough security and claims no-logs, you can’t be 100% sure of the latter.
Also, we won’t advise using a legit and useful VPN for any unethical activities.
Will IPVanish work in China?
Those looking for an answer to this query, we regret to disappoint you, but IPVanish doesn’t really work in China.
While it technically should work there, due to China’s harsh policies, many IPVanish IPs suffered blacklisting there. Hence, it can’t serve users there as thoroughly as they deserve.
Does IPVanish offer Tor support?
The combination of VPN and Tor is an indicator of utmost online privacy, security, and anonymity to you. However, this deadly combo is also fatal for your activities since it can drastically slow down your connection speed.
So, while IPVanish does support Tor, again, we can’t advise using it for Tor. In fact, IPVanish itself has stated on their website,
“Using the TOR service will improve your security and anonymity, but it is not going to be easy on your upload and download speeds. Past feedback from our customers has indicated that TOR does work, but primarily only for web browsing. If faster speeds and overall better performance are more important to you, you may not want to use the TOR service.
Indeed, they’ve suggested abandoning Tor for this VPN. Our advice is to use some other robust service like ExpressVPN or Surfshark when using Tor.
IPVanish pricing plans
Here, IPVanish VPN wins over many other VPNs as they offer pretty affordable subscription rates. This is true for both the VPN subscription plan as well as the VPN+storage plan. It costs $10 per month. If you go with paying for three months, you’d need to spend $26.99, saving you 25% compared to the monthly subscription. You pay $79.99 total for the one-year plan, which comes down to $6.49 per month – 46% savings.
If you’re looking for an IPVanish VPN free download option, then you can’t really find one.
But you can certainly test this VPN for feasibility by availing of their 30-day trial with a money-back guarantee. Didn’t find their VPN useful? Have your money back – simple as that.
But, to claim this refund, make sure that you haven’t signed-up via the iOS app. Currently, this refund only applies to users signing-up via the Android app or website.
Payment methods supported
Well, unlike other leading VPNs, IPVanish doesn’t support a wide range of payment methods.
Mainly, what disappointed us is the absence of bitcoin or cryptocurrency as a payment mode. As a privacy tool, IPVanish should ideally support this method.
Currently, users can only pay the subscription fee via credit card or PayPal.
We now reach the end of this extensive IPVanish review.
In short, IPVanish is a modest VPN with numerous worthy features that protect your online security. It’s also highly user-friendly as it supports all major device platforms, including routers, and offers unlimited simultaneous connections. So, this gives you the freedom to protect all your devices with this VPN.
But the VPN delivers sluggish performance for tricky activities like gaming and torrenting. Also, it isn’t robust enough to bypass strict firewalls.
So if you don’t intend to use this VPN for rigorous activities, IPVanish is a pocket-friendly privacy choice. Otherwise, for avid gamers and torrentors, ExpressVPN, Surfshark, and NordVPN are better options.