Ivacy VPN review: An affordable hidden gem or just a cheap provider?
A VPN is crucial for every security and privacy-conscious internet user today. It protects you from hackers, unblocks geo-restricted content, enables torrenting, and gives you online anonymity. There are tons of VPNs on the market, with the most popular ones being ExpressVPN and NordVPN. Not many know about Ivacy VPN, which although is a serious player.
The service, founded in 2007, has 3000+ servers spread in over 100 countries. But with our experience of having reviewed dozens of VPNs, server numbers count is only a tiny part of the whole picture. And this is why we will be getting into the nitty-gritty of what Ivacy VPN is all about and what it brings to the table in this detailed and unbiased Ivacy VPN review.
This review will critically analyze its features, subscription information, performance, security, and apps for different devices. We will share with you our speed results with it, and more. Let’s jump in.
Ivacy VPN service background
Ivacy has its base in Singapore, a convenient (and trustworthy for users) location for operating a VPN. That is because the country is not a member of the 5 Eyes, 9 Eyes, or 14 Eyes countries. Hence, it is not under any form of surveillance jurisdiction.
But before you celebrate, you should know this; while Singapore may not be under any surveillance jurisdiction, it cooperates with the US government and its Five Eyes members (including Australia, New Zealand, UK, and Canada) in conducting surveillance. This isn’t an issue, though, as the VPN provides an extra layer of protection and has a strict zero-log policy; regardless, we thought you should note.
Besides, Ivacy has decent coverage. It features over 3000 servers in more than 1000 locations worldwide. Although this is hardly a record-breaking feat, it’s not a drawback either. Now that we have a bit of foundation let’s dive right into the detailed Ivacy VPN service review.
Most talked about features of Ivacy VPN
This feature comes in handy when you want to run a part of your internet traffic through the VPN’s server. It enables users to select the apps they wish to use with Ivacy and those they don’t want to use. It is also needed when you want to unblock Netflix abroad while also enabling you to use a local connection for lower bandwidth gaming.
Ivacy VPN has split tunneling on both Android and Windows. However, before starting, you may want to consider its mode of operation. This is because Ivacy VPN requests that you select the apps that will use the VPN tunnel (and not the reverse).
This means you may have to click multiple times as there is no “Select All” option and no way to exclude some apps. Also, there’s no provision for re-connection or auto-connect with the Android version failing to establish a connection sometimes.
During our Ivacy review, we were impressed with the VPN’s focus on ensuring secure downloads. Its anti-malware feature is unique as it focuses on the data you are downloading. The VPN functions in real-time, meaning it keeps monitoring and watching out for any potentially harmful software. It is a proactive and excellent approach as it can save your device in some situations.
It is another vital feature of every VPN today. It disconnects you from internet when there’s a VPN failure. With this, your location, IP address, and other information are kept intact.
Unfortunately, Ivacy VPN only offers a kill switch for Android and Windows, but not for iOS and Mac. That’s a considerable disadvantage, especially seeing this has been persistent for years with no solution in sight. Although it does work on Windows and Android, it sometimes leaves users offline even after the VPN reconnects.
According to the provider, it doesn’t log your:
- Online internet surfing activities
- Assigned VPN IPs
- Original IP address
- Browsing history
- Connection times
- Outgoing traffic
- Browsing history
- Users-generated DNS queries
- Data accessed by users
Ivacy VPN notes itself that it logs some non-sensitive data that includes:
- Payment method
- Email address
This basic information is the same for other VPNs. It has no link to your online activities; therefore, you are safe.
Ivacy VPN supports anonymous payment; hence you can get away without leaving your personal information. It also supports various payment methods such as PayPal, cryptocurrency, BitPay, AliPay, credit card, etc. Hence, unless you are a journalist who writes on sensitive topics or a political activist, you don’t need a more private VPN service.
Servers and Locations
On the VPN’s website, it states that they have over 3500 servers in 100+ locations. However, when you take the time to count the number of servers in each region they cover, you will get nothing more than 850 servers in 55 countries at max. Since this misinformation is also noticeable on their price page, it’s no mere coincidence but rather deliberate misinformation to bring in customers.
|Regions||No. of Servers||No. of Countries|
|North America||129 servers||5 countries|
|South America||79 servers||4 countries|
|Europe||303 servers||20 countries|
|Asia||149 servers||16 countries|
|Oceania||44 servers||2 countries|
|Africa||62 servers||5 countries|
All the servers support safe torrent downloads and streaming, which is excellent and a great consolation seeing the number of servers isn’t something to brag about. But then again, we would choose quality over quantity any day, anytime. However, Ivacy VPN is not the sole owner of all its VPN servers and has yet to implement the RAM-only approach.
Privacy and security: Is Ivacy VPN safe?
Ivacy offers military-grade encryption. This should be sufficient to keep you safe online. However, there have been some concerns around their servers’ locations and lack of security features on some platforms in the past.
Encryption is a method of converting information into secret code for hiding the true meaning of information. Some encryption methods are more complex to decipher than others. With Ivacy, the level of encryption you get depends on the VPN protocol chosen.
These protocols range from zero to 256-bit encryption. 256-bit AES (short of 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard) is an industry-standard protocol; it is more modern and hence widely used. Let’s take a look at the VPN protocols that this provider boasts in detail.
Like most VPN service providers, Ivacy offers various protocols users can choose from. They include:
- OpenVPN: This is arguably the most popular protocol in the VPN industry. It has a faster UDP iteration along with a more secure and stable TCP option. Open VPN is also an option with this VPN as it’s available on Android and Windows; you will have to install it manually.
- IKEv2: This offers a faster connection time and performs better than OpenVPN. However, it only provides support on limited devices. Ivacy has this protocol available on iOS, macOS, and Windows. The VPN calls its IKEV, which can be confusing as there is also an outdated v1 version.
- L2TP/IPsec: Although an outdated protocol, many providers still offer it to their customers, and Ivacy VPN is no exception. It provides support on iOS and Windows.
- UDP: This sends datagrams (messages) that do not need virtual circuits for data transfers. The good part is that it requires lesser bandwidth, which eliminates delay. On the downside, though, some packets may get out of order or lost.
- TCP: TCP comprises seven layers that transfer data and ensure it reaches the right place securely. That is done by breaking up the information into smaller packets. TCP is best used with UDP as it ensures the data is pieced together ultimately in the proper order.
Ivacy also works great with TOR, especially if you are keen on being anonymous online.
Speed performance: How fast is Ivacy VPN?
Many users are concerned about internet speed when connected to VPNs and how secure they are. So, is Ivacy VPN fast enough? Will it leak IP and DNS? Let’s find out:
Below we share our Ivacy speed test results; please bear in mind that your internet connection speed will decrease to some extent no matter which VPN you decide to go with.
That is not always the case, though.
For instance, if an ISP is throttling your internet, your VPN could boost your connection speed. In the case of this VPN, like many other VPNs, we noticed the extra protection offered by the Ivacy security protocols comes at a cost — the speed. Below you go with our tests’ breakdown for each protocol:
- Baseline: 2ms ping, 300 Mbps upload, 300 Mbps download
|Server location||Ping (in MS)||Download speed (in Mbps)||Upload speed (in Mbps)|
|USA (Los Angeles)||180||193||3|
|USA (New York)||152||204||4|
When we tested IKEv2 on Ivacy, the average download speed we got was 178 Mbps, which is generally good. In our multiple tests, the drop-off was set at an average of 50% of the original speed.
Sadly, the upload results were appalling as we had the average speed coming at 7 Mbps, a score that is more than 95% lower than our speed without a VPN. While the upload score is less significant, the VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) may give users some trouble, as video chat will be practically impossible with the score being that low.
|Ping (in MS)||Download speed (in Mbps)||Upload speed (in Mbps)||Ping (in MS)|
|USA (Los Angeles)||196||114||190||243|
|USA (New York)||136||128||133||189|
When we switched to OpenVPN, things seemed to fluctuate and lacked a pattern. Also, changing from the high-speed UDP to a safer TCP plunged us into the lowest level.
With OpenVPN UDP, the average download speed was 118 Mbps. This was significantly slower than earlier tested IKEv2, with only 39% of the baseline speed left. The upload score was better as we got three-digit speed numbers in all countries except Japan and Singapore.
Unfortunately, it looked the use of OpenVPN TCP is near impossible. Although we got a decent Europe result, the download speed following that is a mere 15 Mbps. This was almost as moderate as IKEv2, where we had 10Mbps or more than 95% slower speeds.
We could not test the VPN’s performance with L2TP/IPsec. But we believe it was for good. That’s because we found its tunneling protocol is outdated; it should not have been offered as an option in the first place.
Our biggest concern is the VPN’s lack of WireGuard protocol. We found in our other VPN reviews that this protocol is faster than other options. That said, even if you have a great protocol but the internet speed is slow, you still won’t be able to download large files or stream in 4K. However, if the ISP throttles your connection, a VPN can increase your connection speed; this is common with P2P traffic.
In conclusion, Ivacy VPN offers a speed that’s above average. Most users are likely to experience a 40% or more drop-off when connecting to an abroad server (one that’s too far away from your actual location). If you wish to upload data online with Ivacy VPN connected, you may opt for using only OpenVPN UDP, otherwise, you may experience a considerable drop in the speeds.
A worthy note:
Ivacy offers you to go with using OpenVPN with UDP or TCP like other top VPN service providers. Which among the two you may pick ultimately boils down to reliability and speed, and what you prefer more. UDP is suitable for gaming, streaming, and real-time communication. TCP, on the contrary, works best for accessing static data. If you are going to use a VPN to send emails, download files, or view webpages, setting OpenVPN protocol to use TCP would be the better option. It also tends to be a more robust choice for defeating ISP or government-imposed censorship.
Testing Ivacy for DNS leakage
When using a privacy or anonymity service, it is critical that all traffic originating from your device gets routed through the anonymity network securely. If any traffic leaks outside of the private connection to the system, any third-party monitoring your internet traffic could log your activities.
Our Ivacy VPN DNS leak tests showed it offers stealthy DNS leak protection. The VPN has an IP/DNS Leak protection option in its setting with an unchecked default setting, which is rather strange. But, with that option selected, we could confirm it does not leak DNS, as you can see in our screenshot below.
The WebRTC leak test
If you are going to use a VPN with web browsers such as Microsoft Edge, Opera, or Firefox, then your WebRTC may be leaking your IP. Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC) is a compilation of standardized technologies that enable web browsers into communicating directly rather than opting for intermediate servers. WebRTC enables file transfers, live streaming, gaming, fast-speed live chats, and so on. With all these fantastic features, what then should you be wary of? We will tell you.
A WebRTC leak boasts a major security and privacy risk, as it can reveal your real IP address even when you’re connected to a VPN that does not protect you against this vulnerability.
WebRTC is structured so that any pair of devices communicating with WebRTC needs to know each other’s IP addresses. In theory, hackers and websites can have access to your actual IP address through WebRTC; this defeats the whole purpose of using a VPN in the first place (subpar VPNs have this issue). When we tested Ivacy for WebRTC leaks, we didn’t discover any.
Streaming: Does Ivacy work with Netflix?
Being able to watch Netflix is one of the reasons many people get a VPN. Ivacy, on its part, has dedicated streaming VPN servers for various content platforms. That means you should be able to enjoy your favorite serials and movies buffer-free. Unfortunately, we did not find Ivacy’s servers to be performing as expected, given that the provider claims they are optimized for streaming.
Yes, Ivacy allows you to unblock Netflix US, but this is not the case for other libraries. While the VPN service claims users can unblock eight more libraries (9 total) as shown in the screenshot below.
While this may be sufficient for some users, for many, being limited to not be able to enjoy programs that are exclusive to the UK, Australia or Japan can be frustrating. Besides this, we also found that the speed is too slow for HD video quality.
We could unblock BBC iPlayer without any issues using Ivacy. Here again though, like Netflix, we were able to access it, but we didn’t have a smooth video streaming experience. YouTube gave us no trouble, as we could stream in HD quality. But even though DAZN is available in UK and US, it didn’t work with Ivacy on both USA and UK servers.
As you can guess, Ivacy VPN is not your best bet if you wish to use a VPN for streaming. Although it does unblock some platforms, there is no guarantee you could watch them in 4K or HD quality.
Torrenting: How safe is Ivacy for torrents?
During our Ivacy review, we found this VPN supports P2P on all its 3000+ servers. But like torrenting with many other providers, speed can affect how smoothly it operates. We could download at 4.3-5.0 MB/s (35-40 Mbps) with a 300 Mbps baseline connection when we tested it. Thus, if you have a slower internet connection, you can expect that the speed will worsen.
It would be safe to say that Ivacy VPN offers secure torrenting. Thanks to its water-tight encryption and strict zero-log policy, no one could link your P2P downloads to your online activities. Still, its Secure Download function auto checks your files for any malware, thereby providing an extra layer of protection.
Unlike many other services, Ivacy VPN offers enough servers in locations that are believed to be safe for torrenting. That ensures stress-free legal downloading of torrent files. The VPN supports all popular torrent clients such as BitTorrent and uTorrent and is capable of unblocking torrent websites.
You won’t get a free SOCKS5 proxy with Ivacy VPN, but it allows the use of split tunneling on Android and Windows. While this is not the most convenient option available, it does get the job done.
Ivacy VPN pricing
|Subscription Plans||Price (Monthly) $||Price (Total) $||Discount (%)|
Considering Ivacy VPN’s most expensive subscription plan costs $9.95 per month, it is a cheap VPN. Not only its monthly subsction costs a couple of dollars less than other competitors, but there’s also a whopping 63% discount on its annual plan. This is such a huge deal as other VPNs (NordVPN or ExpressVPN, for example) will require twice the commitment needed to get this deal.
That’s not all. It even offers a five-year subscription plan (dubbed as Ivacy VPN lifetime subscription) at $1.33 per month (costing you a total of $80). It’s rare getting a 3-year deal these days, so if you like Ivacy’s services, then don’t think twice, sign up for their long-term plan.
It offers you a 30-day no-questions-asked money-back guarantee; this should be enough time to reconsider should you choose to.
Unfortunately, the provider does not offer a free version, still, it has a full-day trial that you can use to test drive the service for 24 hours. If you require more time, you can opt for its one-week trial plan for just $0.99. However, be careful as the service automatically reverts to its annual plan once the weekly plan expires. All Ivacy VPN’s plans allow ten simultaneous connections.
As earlier stated, the VPN allows several payment options, including credit cards, Coingate, BitPay, WebMoney, PayPal, PerfectMoney, and so on. Most importantly, you can pay anonymously to even hide your VPN payment traces.
Ease of use and interface
Ivacy VPN is compatible with almost all devices, from major platforms to Amazon Fire devices and Android TV. Also, it offers various browser addons for Firefox, Edge, and Chrome. Moreover, the VPN has manual configuration guides for Kodi, routers, Linux, and more.
macOS and Windows
Like is the case with most VPNs out there, Ivacy’s Windows version has robust features, but the Mac version does not include advanced features such as split tunneling and kill switch. Although most people would be okay without the former, the latter is critical for your location and IP protection if the VPN fails.
The service allows users to toggle the IP/DNS leak protection, which is a bit of a surprise as it ideally should always be ‘turned on’ by default.
Ivacy boasts a medium-sized window with all the options categorized under various tabs located on the left sidebar. For instance, starting from the top, when you click on the second tab, you can turn on the Malware Protection to ensure secure downloads. Going down you will find account settings, specialized streaming servers, and lots more.
The app is easy to use but looking at the industry standards now, there is room for improvement. For instance, users will have to disconnect from a server first before they can change location. That also stands true for any tweaks you want to make to the settings.
Today, most users’ interaction with a VPN is through its mobile app. So, it’s worth looking into. To start with, its iOS app of Ivacy is rather uninspiring. It offers only two protocols, IKEv2 and L2TP/IPSec (which is an outdated one as noted earlier in this review). In terms of general appearance and experience, VPN’s both of the clients (Windows and mobile) are similar.
Its Android app offers multi-port (an open port scanner), split tunneling, and protocol selection (TCP and UDP). What we liked is, it enables you to choose servers as per the purpose of use; this can either be unblocking, downloading, or streaming.
In summary, Ivacy VPN mobile applications are easy to use, but they have limited features.
The VPN offers browser extensions for Firefox, Edge, and Chrome. These are quick turnaround for easy IP change while browsing but do nothing more. We love that Ivacy addons show the country flag you connect to; this is informative and convenient.
We were not moved by the fact that its Chrome extension has only been downloaded about 30K+ times and has a current rating of 3/5 stars. Also, its version name (0.15.1) does not look very promising, even though it was last updated in March 2021.
Ivacy’s extensions are equipped with only two options, which are Prevent WebRTC leak and Bypass Proxy. To beginners, we recommend having the former turned on, as the latter is mainly for tech-savvy users who may want a direct connection to the host to avoid cached data.
Ivacy VPN allows for manual configuration on virtually almost all the devices out there. This includes Linux, Blackberry, Smart TVs (including Apple TV), Routers, and gaming systems (such as Playstation 4 and Xbox One).
|Device||Easy to follow guide for manual configuration on offer|
|GL iNet router||✓|
During our Ivacy VPN review, we were impressed with the VPN’s friendly customer support system. First, it offers 24/7 live chat assistance. If you contact them again and again, you are sure to find an agent on the other side immediately. We found they respond to queries and questions swiftly. But they can take more time to solve complicated connectivity issues. If you stuck anywhere, you can get out of the trouble quickly by allowing them to use your device via TeamViewer.
Also, the VPN allows you to submit a ticket; this happens in real-time too. If you opt for a self-help option, the provider has a Support Center that boasts video tutorials, step-by-step guides, and FAQs to help you out. The VPN also includes its headquarter address (in Singapore) for those who wish to have a physical conversation or send mail.
How do I start using Ivacy VPN?
- Sign up for the VPN’s free trial or paid version
- Next, install its app on your Android, iOS, or desktop
- Connect to the server of your choice
- That’s it, begin surfing the internet safely!
Ivacy vs. ExpressVPN
|IP Address||Shared IP address with other users. Dedicated IP with extra charge||Share IP address with other users, rotated regularly|
ExpressVPN, one of the best VPNs out there, shares many similarities with Ivacy VPN. While Ivacy boasts 3450+ servers in more than 100 locations, ExpressVPN has almost two times more locations as it boasts servers in 160 locations worldwide. As noted above, Ivacy is based in Singapore, which is a privacy-friendly jurisdiction. Likewise, ExpressVPN has its base in the British Virgin Island, which also does not belong to international surveillance lobbies.
Also, Ivacy and Express VPN have good privacy policies and none logs data. ExpressVPN offers a kill switch feature on iOS and Mac, which puts it ahead of Ivacy and many other VPNs in the industry.
While both providers enable you to stream Netflix and other streaming platforms alongside torrent large files, they also offer split tunneling. One thing worth noting here is, while ExpressVPN works for unblocking all the Netflix libraries, Ivacy unblocks only the USA one. Nevertheless, like ExpressVPN, you can get stealthy protection with Ivacy on all devices.
When it comes to IP addresses, ExpressVPN and Ivacy offer anonymous IPs that are purposefully shared with other users so that tracing a user’s online activities becomes impossible. Ivacy VPN, in addition, offers dedicated IP addresses that you can get at an extra cost.
In terms of speed, ExpressVPN has proven to be a fast VPN on Windows and Mac. However, Ivacy was still speedy enough to let us download large files in mere minutes and stream videos in HD without encountering buffering. Since both VPNs offer money-back guarantees, you can check out both of them and decide which is faster – but as per our tests, ExpressVPN wins here.
Overall, both are quality VPNs, but as things stand, ExpressVPN would be our preferred choice if we were to choose one. For those who use Mac devices, the lack of kill switch on Ivacy and its weak IKEv1 protocol may be too much. On the bright side, Ivacy VPN is cheaper compared to ExpressVPN and other top providers.
Pros and cons of Ivacy VPN
Below are Ivacy VPN strengths and weaknesses in a flash for you:
- Decent privacy and security features
- Good server fleets
- Supports P2P traffic
- Split tunneling
- Good reviews on mobile apps
- Affordable prices
- Accepts payment using cryptocurrencies
- 24/7 live chat support
- Performance is above average
- Lack of Linux app
- It does not feature a kill switch for Apple devices
- Does not have a 100% privacy-friendly jurisdiction (as Singapore has been revealed as Five Eyes spying partner)
Our Ivacy VPN review verdict
No doubt, Ivacy VPN is a good VPN, but it still has to do some work to top the ranks. The service uses military-grade (stealthy) encryption and has a strict no-log policy. It offers multiple handy features and an above-average speed if you are in luck. On the downside, Apple users will miss out on the kill switch, neither does it offer WireGuard protocol to anyone.
Also, our comprehensive Ivacy VPN review found the VPN does not offer more than the Netflix US library for streaming lovers. And even though alongside Netflix it works with other streaming platforms, too, it’s tricky watching content in HD owing to its inconsistent performance.
In essence, we think this VPN has got all the fundamentals right, it needs to keep improving to match the value offered by established players. Looking at the improvements it has done in the recent past, that looks on the card.
As a whole, it’s a feature-rich VPN that keeps stepping its game up. While we recommend Ivacy VPN for Windows users, after extensive review and rigorous testing, we do not think it’s a good fit for Mac users as yet. Again, its cheap prices give users attractive options of subscribing to the service without much fear. Of course, a 30-day and 7-day money-back guarantee (dependent on your subscription length) will serve well to let you decide on the provider.