Before going into an in-depth IPVanish review, it is worth to mention that it is a US based VPN provider. That immediately raises the question of how reliable the service is?
We noticed a lot of IPVanish marketing activities on a tech-media giant PCMAG’s site, which has huge expertise in VPN vertical. However, we found information that IPVanish was acquired by J2Z Global which is a parent company for the same PCMag. Here’s the proof:
We don’t think it’s a huge thing, but it still makes you question the transparency of those reviews. Anyways, IPVanish was initially released in 2012 and is based inside the US. They do state their no-logging policy, however, IPVanish was embroiled into a scandal back in 2018.
2. IPVanish Pros, cons and quick overview.
|Logging policies?||No logs|
|Encryption protocols||SOCKS5, OpenVPN|
|Customer support||24/7 chat|
|Unblocks US Netflix?||Not all servers|
|Money back guarantee?||7 days|
|Option to pay with cryptocurrencies?||No|
|Cost||$6.49 – $10.00|
Works with major streaming platforms
24/7 customer support
Had a logging scandal
No option to pay in cryptocurrencies
3. App installation and interface
IPVanish is working on all major operating systems including Windows (Windows 7 or higher), macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Windows Phone, FireTV, and Routers. It is worth to mention that IPVanish does not provide Firefox extension. It is quite a disadvantage, as all of our higher-ranked VPN providers to have a Firefox extension.
The app itself is kind of simple – I managed to set-up the connection very fast. However, the interface is a question of taste. I personally didn’t like it and it was pretty boring.
4. Protocols used
One of the reasons why IPVanish stands pretty high on our ranking is their encryption technology and protocols used:
IKEv2 (Internet Key Exchange Protocol Version 2). IKEv2 is a protocol made available through IPSec and it is used to configure the security association. Knowing the fact that IKEv2 is only available in new mobile devices, it is more like a secure extension of the IPSec protocol. Devices can switch between Wi-Fi or cellular networks without disrupting the VPN connection. This allows you to enjoy secure connection no matter its type.
TCP (Transmission Control Protocol)
TCP is the most popular and reliable VPN connection type. It prevents the loss of any kind of information packets during the data transfer process.
L2TP (Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol)
L2TP is best for mobile devices that are not compatible with the OpenVPN protocol. While L2TP fixes the vulnerabilities in PPTP, it may result in slower speeds than OpenVPN. Also, because it uses multiple ports, it can be more difficult to configure on a router and needs advanced knowledge. We kind of lacked the information on how to set-up this protocol, so that’s a heads-up to IPVanish content team.
5. IPVanish Servers & Locations
IPVanish has 40k+ shared IP’s in 75 locations and slightly more than 1300 servers. Quite impressive! Big number of servers allows having a stable and, most importantly, fast connection.
6. Privacy and security (Jurisdiction, logging policies)
The main drawback with IPVanish is that it is based in the United States. The US is not the best privacy jurisdiction due to mass surveillance and being a member of the 5 Eyes alliance.
Another drawback with IPVanish is that they cooperated with the FBI to collect user data for a criminal investigation, despite their “zero logs” policy. IPVanish explained how this was done under a previous management team, but it still raises questions about trust (explained more below).
Although we liked our experience with IPVanish, it is important to mention that the service provider is based in the United States. As you probably know (or not), US is not the best country to host your cybersecurity-related business, as the country is a member of the 5 Eyes alliance. Short history lesson: in March 2017, ISP’s were given the authority to record user activity. Of course, they were not only recording all user data, but they also sold it to third parties with a commercial purpose. Everyone, of course, is aware that internet service providers have been doing this for some time, but knowing the fact that is purely legal makes you wonder if you want to trust a US based VPN provider.
Another important fact – IPVanish was embroiled into a data logging scandal when they handed user internet history to the FBI. Of course, none of us support that kind of activities. However, you should question yourself if it is worth trusting a VPN provider who declares their no-logging policies but at the same time gives records to the police.
7. Performance (speeds)
One of the few reasons why IPVanish received a pretty high ranking on our site was the speeds. Usually, VPN users suffer a drastic internet speed drop when using a VPN, but with IPVanish the download/upload speed decreased just a bit. Here are the results from different locations (our physical location is Europe):
Speed without VPN:
Download: 134.16 Mbps
Upload: 89.91 Mbps
US Server (Los Angeles):
Download: 48.13 Mbps/s
Upload: 13.91 Mbps/s
Asia server (Seoul):
Download: 61.21 Mbps/s
Upload: 26.42 Mbps/s
Europe server (Milan):
Download: 88.03 Mbps/s
Upload: 32.11 Mbps/s
Australian server (Sydney)
Download: 22.54 Mbps/s
Upload: 9.02 Mbps/s
As you can see, there was no huge impact on the speeds and the American servers worked really well. This data was the reason why IPVanish had a higher review ranking on our site.
8. Customer support
As we know, in this Worlds super competitive VPN market it is really important to have responsive and qualified customer support. Unfortunately, IPVanish customer support is not what you would expect when paying almost $80 USD a month… I tried their live chat feature and I had to go through a few steps before someone actually responded to me. Here, take a look:
9. IPVanish Pricing
As previously mentioned, IPVanish pricing is not so cheap. Their prices vary from $6.49/mo (billed $77.99 annually) to $10.00/mo for a one-month plan. It is not as expensive as ExpressVPN, but you’d definitely want to receive a full service including great customer support when paying such price.
10. IPVanish Final verdict
To conclude our IPVanish review, we’d like to say that the service itself is quite nice. However, if you are looking for complete privacy and anonymity while browsing the internet you should definitely look for another provider, for example, NordVPN or Surfshark. IPVanish has decent speeds, allows torrenting and works with US Netflix, but their past events clearly show that it is not the most trustworthy cybersecurity tool.