IPVanish Review 2017: Zero logs & Fast speeds

IPVanish Review 2017
  • Price
  • Reliability
  • Speed
  • Policy
  • Support

Summary

IPVanish is our most recommended VPN provider and certainly worth signing up to.

Pros

  •  Windows, Mac, Android & iOS clients.
  •  5 concurrent connections.
  •  Zero traffic logs.
  •  Super fast speeds.
  •  60+ countries with VPN servers.
  •  7-day money back guarantee.

Cons

  •  No live help.
4.6

IPVanish is without a doubt a giant in the industry and in our 2013, 2015 and 2016 reviews we found them to be the best VPN service going scoring our highest ever rating and selecting them as our Editor’s Choice.

In this IPVanish Review 2017 I’ve been testing the service to see if they still live up to the high expectations and in a fast and ever-changing privacy market see if they’ve kept pace and are still top of the tree or if their crown has slipped.

To find out how the IPVanish service stacks up read our review below.

The Packages:

IPVanish like most providers offers just one package that differs in price depending on how long you opt to sign-up for.

The service is at its most expensive if choosing to pay on a monthly basis and becomes cheaper if you sign up for 3-months and cheaper again if you take a full year package.

IPVanish has proven themselves for the past 3 years and the service hasn’t faltered meaning it’s pretty much safe to sign up for a full year and make the biggest saving without worrying that the service will deteriorate.

The package prices are as follows:

  • 1-Month $10.00 p/m (approx £8.14)
  • 3-Months $8.99 p/m (approx £7.32)
  • 1-Year $6.49 p/m (approx £5.28)

It’s definitely worth considering signing up for the 1-year package because it offers the cheapest price, of course, there is a small risk that the service could change and you’re locked in but past experience shows that IPVanish has maintained a quality service over the past three years.

The Service:

The three most common VPN protocols are available on the IPVanish service which includes OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec and PPTP.

Unlike some other providers all VPN protocols are available across the full range of servers allowing you to access the most appropriate protocol for your needs over the whole server range.

Custom Software & Apps

IPVanish support all major systems which include software for Windows and Mac and apps for Android and iOS devices.

There is currently no software support for Linux systems but there are detailed guides available on their website for Ubuntu and if you’re a Linux user you’re likely to have the technical skill to be able to set the service up with other Linux distros.

On top of the Ubuntu guides, there are also guides for Chromebook and various routers.

At the end of 2016 IPVanish completely redesigned their entire software and app suite to make them more user-friendly, intuitive and give an all round better experience for users of their service.

I mostly made use of both their Windows software and Android app and so for the purpose of this review will be concentrating on those platforms but the Mac and iOS apps are almost identical in function and appearance.

The Windows software makes connection extremely simple and from the outset you can see that it has been designed with quick connection in mind. Simply select a country and the software will do almost everything else including choosing the best city and best server, all you need to do is press connect.

IPVanish Windows Main

If you want more customisation then you can, of course, select a city and even a specific server. I especially like this feature because if you have a preference for a specific server then you can reconnect easily in the future.

If you’re after more advanced connection features then a List, Map and Filter area is available allowing you to whittle down the server list to find something more to your preference.

IPVanish Windows Map

An account area showing the status of your account, your renewal date and a few more pieces of information is available on the left-hand side of the software.

The final section is the Settings area that allows large customisation from how and when the software runs, what protocol to use and other options relating to how often your IP Address should change, if at all, what DNS servers to use and log information.

Connection is possible from any screen and the redesign has certainly improved the ability to connect quickly.

As well as a complete overhaul of the desktop software the mobile apps have also been redesigned. The previous IPVanish Android app while functional was a little lacking on design and didn’t offer much in the way of user experience.

The great news is the new app can compete with the best on the market and brings most of the functionality of the desktop client into the mobile environment.

Like its desktop counterpart connection can be made quickly from the main screen with the ability to change Country, City and Server with one touch. If you require further features and servers then a more comprehensive server listing is available.

IPVanish Android App

A settings area allows you to tweak connection preferences such as choosing between TCP and UDP, enabling the Scramble option which should help you bypass more strict network blocks and further options related to auto connecting.

One of the nicest and most surprising features of the Android app which I haven’t seen elsewhere is the Widget option that allows you to connect and disconnect quickly from your main screen without the need to launch the app directly.

IPVanish Android Widget

Both the desktop and mobile solutions are extremely easy to use and the launch of the new apps makes them a breeze to operate even for the novice.

Server Locations

IPVanish offer VPN servers in more than 60 countries around the world covering Europe, North America, Central America, South America, Oceania, Asia and Africa.

The have expanded to 90 cities around the globe and the available IP Address pool has increased from 14,000 last year to a staggering 40,000 this year.

The USA, India and UK are supported with the most locations with 12, 6 and 5 cities covered respectively.

With such a global network of VPN servers available it makes the service suitable for use in almost every country on a permanent basis or if you’re travelling then you’ll be able to stay protected and access geo-blocked content from almost any location.

General Observations

One of the biggest changes from my review last year is IPVanish increased the number of concurrent connections from 2 to 5 and as the price hasn’t changed in the slightest it means you’re now getting much more value for your money.

5 concurrent connections allow you to use the service across your full range of devices and stay protected whilst at home or mobile, it also means you can protect your whole family with just the one account.

Zero traffic logs are kept when using the service which means what you do online and what you access remains private and no log of your activity is kept.

IPVanish use Shared IP Addresses meaning more than one user is assigned the same IP Address at any given time increasing your privacy and making it almost impossible to link what you do online to you personally.

Private DNS servers are also available which stops your ISP or others from logging the URLs you visit.

The service does not discriminate against any type of traffic so you can download from P2P and Newsgroups or stream from services such as Netflix or others without having your connection speed slowed. If your ISP does restrict certain types of traffic then you’ll be able to bypass those speed restrictions using IPVanish.

IPVanish works well with most of the popular online streaming services especially those such as BBC iPlayer and Sky Go from the UK which is often blocked on other VPN services

The Speeds:

IPVanish is without a doubt one of the fastest VPN providers I’ve tested and even when using the highest level of encryption the speed losses incurred are much smaller than some other providers.

Currently on my lowly 35 Mbps internet connection in Australia, I get around 30 Mbps when connected to their closest Sydney VPN server.

In the UK on my 200 Mbps connection, I get around 150 Mbps when connected to their closest UK server.

IPVanish throughout 2016 came either top or within the top three every month on a consistent basis in my monthly speed tests and the same was seen back in 2015 too.

In terms of speeds I’m yet to find many VPN providers that can compete and there is only a small handful that comes anywhere close.

Speed is one of my biggest concerns when using and testing VPN services because let’s be honest, it doesn’t matter how many features or how good a VPN service is, if the speeds are slow then it’s useless. IPVanish certainly doesn’t suffer this fate and you’ll be able to download, stream video and carry out other high-intensity speed tasks on their service without issue.

The Encryption, Policies & Support:

Encryption

IPVanish is using one of the very latest editions of OpenVPN which might seem like something you would expect but the number of times I’ve seen other providers using outdated OpenVPN clients from a number of years ago is more than you would imagine.

OpenVPN uses AES-256-CBC encryption with a 2048 bit RSA key.

It’s possible to choose between a UDP and TCP protocols but not lower encryption via the software or apps.

PPTP and L2TP connections are also available but there were no details available on their encryption levels that I could determine.

Policies

IPVanish has both a Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. The Terms of Service contains the general legal terms that you would expect from any service or software.

The Privacy Policy outlines how IPVanish runs their service. This policy hasn’t changed since 2014 and so is the same from both of my previous reviews.

I found nothing of concern in this Privacy Policy and one of the most reassuring parts of it is the fact they clearly state that “IPVanish does not collect or log any traffic or use of its Virtual Private Network service.”

Aside from that there is nothing to be concerned about and everything appears to be in order from what you would expect from a VPN service.

Support

IPVanish provides 24 hours per day, 7 days per week support which is all year round even on public holidays.

This is great to see because it means you can get help no matter what day of the week. Support is only available via support ticket and considering they offer 24 hour support it would be nice to see a live help function which is sadly lacking.

That said on the numerous occasions I’ve needed to contact support they’ve replied within a few hours at most and generally been helpful to resolve any issues.

I would still like to see a live chat option but what is available already should suffice for most needs.

The Verdict:

IPVanish has been without a doubt my favourite VPN provider in recent years but in a fast paced market it can be easy for others to take the crown.

Surprisingly IPVanish has kept pace with the market and still retain their top position. Although not the absolute biggest they are one of the biggest in terms of countries covered with VPN servers.

My most important factor is speed and IPVanish are top of the class in this area. It’s often easy to tell services that are oversold or who squeeze too many customers onto too smaller infrastructure but with the speeds that are achievable with IPVanish it goes to show there is plenty of hardware backing up the service and the speeds are unbeatable.

The new software and app suite from IPVanish make the service even easier to use and if you’re a new user then you’ll definitely appreciate the sleek and usable interfaces. Small touches like the Android widget polish off the apps and show that thought has gone into both the software and apps.

Increasing the allowable concurrent connections from 2 to 5 makes the service competitive with what else is available and as the price is the same as it has been for many years it now means you’re getting more service for less.

It’s hard to fault IPVanish but one area I would still like to see is a live help feature. While the ticket support is good enough it’s added touches such as live help that would add icing to the cake.

Overall IPVanish is still my go to provider and they haven’t let me down either at home or while travelling. After using them in the UK, Australia, Thailand, Indonesia and host of other countries I can certainly say they’re suitable for use in almost all countries and I definitely recommend them.

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