IPVanish Review

IPVanish Review Header
IPVanish Review

IPVanish large logo

Product Name: IPVanish

Overall
4.1









  • Price









  • Service









  • Apps









  • Speed









  • Policy









Summary

.

Pros

  • Good range of apps across most devices.
  • High level of encryption.
  • Live help.
  • Good download speeds.
  • Unlimited device limit.

Cons

  • Poor for unblocking TV services.
  • Dated looking apps.


IPVanish is a popular VPN service and has been around longer than most.

We have written more than a few IPVanish reviews over the years and while they were our favourite for several years, in recent times, other services have managed to surpass them.

But they have definitely stepped up their game in the past year or two and are clearly now keen to be compared once more to the big boys.

So, how have they been doing in 2022? What are the IPVanish pros and cons at the moment?

In this IPVanish review, we aimed to find out, so our team of experts have been testing the IPVanish VPN service thoroughly to see how they're performing, but more importantly, how they compare to our reviews of the competition out there.

Service

Speeds

GooseVPN Speeds header

To start our IPVanish VPN review we ran some speed tests. Download and upload speeds are, after all, one of the most important features of any VPN.

IPVanish has consistently been one of the fastest VPN services over the years, even when faced with fierce competition. But it is always important to run regular speed tests to ensure these speeds are reliable and constant over time.

In testing their service over several weeks, we found no issues with internet speeds when browsing, sending emails or streaming high-quality video from services such as YouTube and others thanks to impressive download speeds.

For regular users, there was no noticeable slowdown or issues with the connection speed that we could detect.

Using a regular UK residential internet connection we ran speed tests over a range of servers at random on a Windows client using OpenVPN 256-bit. Our speed achieved without using a VPN was: 207.6 Mbps.

When connecting to IPVanish's servers in no particular order, we achieved the following download speed during our speed test:

  • UK – 148.3 Mbps
  • France – 89.9 Mbps
  • Netherlands – 66.5 Mbps
  • Switzerland – 90.6 Mbps
  • Sweden – 51.2 Mbps
  • New York, US – 75.4 Mbps
  • Australia – 13.7 Mbps

The IPVanish speeds are very useable, however, they're not the best we've seen, especially at distance.

The upload speed was great. Speed test results while using IPVanish are a little mixed but you won't have any issues carrying out most tasks.

Logging

Next for our IPVanish VPN review, we looked at their logging privacy policy.

IPVanish has a no logs policy. This means it claims that it does not log usage data from any of its subscribers.

This is information like what websites you visit, what you're saying to friends when chatting or the videos you're streaming.

They go one step further and also claim they don't store metadata. This is the who and the what including your own IP Address. For example, metadata isn't what you say to a friend when chatting but it's who you're talking to and the time of the messages.

It's critical on its own and it can link you to your activity, so it's a great addition that IPVanish explicitly states they don't retain this.

The problem with a non logs policy is that users have to take the VPN on trust with its claims unless they have the tech knowledge to check for themselves or the VPN has put its claim through a third-party audit.

The trend recently has been to have VPNs audited by third party providers to confirm such claims are valid. VPN companies such as ExpressVPN, NordVPN and ProtonVPN have all undertaken these.

The good news is that as of April 2022, IPVanish can be added to that list too.

The no logs claim has been put to the test by the Leviathan Security Group and given a comprehensive thumbs up.

This is something that is long overdue for IPVanish. In early 2018 there was an uproar over a historical criminal case dating back to 2016 in which a child sex offender was caught with the assistance of IPVanish.

It was certainly not against the capture of a clear criminal, but how IPVanish assisted with records that they claimed they didn't keep.

The company has since been acquired twice over by other organisations and after the incident came to light recommitted themselves to their no-log policy and distanced themselves from prior owners.

With this new independent audit we can now say with confidence that IPVanish is a no logs VPN that you can trust.

Simultaneous Connections

Since our last IPVanish review, IPVanish has considerably upgraded its simultaneous connections offering.

It is now offering unlimited device connections. Unlimited simultaneous connections really sets this VPN apart.

That means you can have as many devices as you want connected at the same time with just one account.

Most other VPN services are still only offering between 5 – 7 so this is a significant statement of intent from IPVanish to offer unlimited simultaneous connections and one that few other VPN providers can match at the moment.

If you've got a large family or plenty of internet-connected devices, then this will be a huge advantage and a cost-saver too.

If you want private internet access with unlimited connections, then IPVanish offers a great service.

Jurisdiction

IPVanish is based in the US and therefore is under the jurisdiction of the United States.

They were recently purchased by J2 Global from StackPath, which are both US-based companies.

You may want to consider the implications of using a VPN service powered by a company in one of the ‘5-eyes' surveillance countries.

However, there are no logging requirements in the United States at the time of writing and the IPVanish no user logs guarantee has recently been independently verified.

Some users will still not trust a VPN based in the USA. But for most, as long as IPVanish continues to do what it promises and the US law on data retention does not change, there is no reason to be concerned.

Customer Service

IPVanish introduced a new ‘Live Help' feature to their customer support a few years back which lets you get answers quickly.

We found the 24/7 live chat support to be knowledgeable and able to answer most basic questions although some users may be a little frustrated that they have to go through the hassle of engaging with a bot first before being able to speak with a real human.

But once you do get through to someone, they were pretty decent with more complex technical issues too and if they didn't know the answer themselves, the support staff were quick to either connect you to another member of the support staff who did or a written resource that could help.

The live chat customer support can help with most problems including with the likes of Billing support, Sales support, and Tech support.

If you prefer to contact them via another method other than live chat support, then you can send them a support ticket – although this is limited to US business hours and has a slightly longer response time (a few hours).

There did also used to be a phone support line, which was again limited to US working hours. This now seems to have been withdrawn but with the international nature of VPNs these days and the live chat feature, that is not necessarily a bad thing.

There was a time when IPVanish was our editor's pick for best overall VPN, but ExpressVPN has held that mantle for some time now.

So, what's the difference between the two?

IPVanish's logging blip back in 2018 was a factor and for a long time although they have sought to address that with their recent third-party audit of their no user logs promise.

IPVanish lagged behind a little with a short money-back guarantee and a rather stagnant infrastructure offering. But in more recent times, they have rebounded in style.

Investment in infrastructure, a longer 30-day money-back guarantee, unlimited simultaneous connections, and a renewed commitment to their no logging stance means that IPVanish are a serious player in the VPN market once more.

Our most recent ExpressVPN review gave it an overall score of 4.8 out of 5. This is pretty impressive but there is still room to surpass them and IPVanish are definitely a VPN company nipping at their heels.

Server Locations

Server locations

IPVanish server locations are available in over 75 locations across the world with tons of IP Addresses.

The number of locations hasn't changed since last year but there has been plenty of investment in server quality.

Server location options are now available in every continent with details given on precise VPN server numbers, a level of transparency not every VPN offers.

For example, if you are looking for UK servers, you can easily find out that IPVanish has five UK locations, with 61 servers in London, 4 in Maidenhead, 18 in Manchester, 20 in Birmingham, and 6 in Glasgow,

IPVanish now operates a broad network with a high number of servers in the high-demand markets like the USA (esp. Los Angeles) and Europe.

While some providers offer more, when you discount those that use ‘virtual servers' it means IPVanish's offering is pretty decent.

That said, most typical users will only ever connect to around 1 – 3 different locations in their entire VPN lifetime so with over more than 75 VPN locations and 2000+ servers overall, there is more than enough for most people.

The entire server network offers fast and consistent speeds in our tests too and is a rock-solid piece of VPN infrastructure that few other VPN services out there can match.

Does IPVanish use Virtual Locations?

No. We have quizzed IPVanish about this on several occasions.

They are adamant that all of their servers are physically located in the place they claim to be. This is one of the reasons they haven't expanded their network even more at this stage.

In our assessment, we have found no reason to doubt their claims about virtual VPN servers. For IPVanish users, that is good news.

However, when a VPN uses a virtual server, it is pegged to a server located in a completely different country. As a result, VPN users of that server can suffer from slower speeds as a result.

This means VPNs with a lot of virtual servers can offer an all-around poorer service. Fortunately, IPVanish doesn't have such issues.

No. We have tested to see whether it will work in China and found it completely inaccessible.

IPVanish themselves admit that their service does not work inside China. There is also no suggestion that they are making any efforts to make it work there.

If you are looking for a premium VPN that works in China, IPVanish is not the solution.

Instead, you will need to try a VPN such as ExpressVPN.

Security and Safety

Protocols & Encryption

Protocols and encryption

IPVanish offers the regular host of VPN protocols which includes PPTP, L2TP, SSTP and OpenVPN. Even better, they have also in the past year added the new WireGuard protocol too.

WireGuard is the fast, lightweight VPN protocol that has taken the sector by storm over the past couple of years. Adoption has been mixed so far, but to their credit, IPVanish have gone the whole hog and added WireGuard to all their major apps and even their Amazon apps too.

If you aren't keen on WireGuard, and we can't think why you wouldn't be, OpenVPN is still there as the default protocol and offers AES 256-bit encryption (more specifically AES-256-GCM). A 2048-bit RSA key is used for handshaking.

In 2018 they introduced the IKEv2 protocol and it's more common now to see their apps using this by default. They added this as they say it is faster than IPSec and claimed more secure.

IKEv2 also makes use of AES 256-bit encryption which is at the upper end of the scale and one of the most recommended encryption standards currently.

There are however, no extra security features like Tor over VPN and Double Hop IPVanish servers or static IP addresses on any of IPVanish's apps which is a shame.

Has IPVanish suffered any security incidents?

In 2016, IPVanish was owned by a company called Highwinds, a company that also ran cloud storage, CDN, and colocation operation.

A Special Agent with the Department of Homeland Security traced a user spreading child pornography to an IP Address owned by Highwinds. They subsequently admitted the IP Address belonged to their VPN.

Upon a formal request for user information, Highwinds provided the Department of Homeland Security with the user's name, email address, and real IP Address.

This is despite the fact that IPVanish claimed at the time to be a no-logs VPN provider.

IPVanish has changed ownership two times since the incident and is adamant no user logs are kept these days.

Their recent third-party independent audit has now confirmed that this is the case and unless there are further lapses, our judgement is that this issue is one that should now be confined to the history books and that the IPVanish no logs policy stands up to scrutiny.

Is IPVanish safe for Torrenting?

IPVanish does not just permit torrenting, it actively encourages it in a way that few others do.

On their website, they stress that using their service allows you to torrent anonymously and without fear of your web traffic being spotted.

They note that you can torrent “freely and privately” with IPVanish. We have seen nothing in our tests to contradict this.

Apps

Apps

Mobile Apps

IPVanish offers support for all the most popular mobile devices. This includes the IPVanish Android apps, which can be used on just about every Android device you can think of.

There is also the IPVanish iOS app which you can use on any iPhone or iPad. As VPN apps go, these ones are simple but well-designed and very user-friendly.

We've retested the Android application over the past few months, and not much has changed since last years review.

You'll find that all IPVanish apps look pretty similar which makes them easy to use.

Connection and server selection can be made from the main Android app screen, which is an elegant feature if you simply want to use the quick connect option and forget about the VPN.

IPVanish VPN Android app connected

Behind the scenes of the Android application, there aren't too many options for users of Android devices.

Mostly they concern choosing between the TCP and UDP protocol and setting the app up to connect automatically if needed.

We like the ‘Split Tunneling' option that allows you to select apps that fall outside of the VPN connection (a separate VPN tunnel).

If you wanted the entire connection to use the VPN but simply have your banking app use your regular Wi-Fi or mobile data connection, then this is possible with split tunneling. It's an ingenious feature and a massive bonus to the Android app.

Server switching is simple and takes just a couple of clicks and a few seconds. There is an Android OS kill switch options now too and one or two other interesting features as well.

Desktop Apps

IPVanish's desktop VPN client is available for Windows and Mac OS systems.

These haven't changed enormously from our previous review and while they are not overrun with features, the Windows app in particular is neat and boasts simple features that are popular with users including split tunneling.

The desktop client apps function well and connection along with city and specific server selection can all be made from the main screen using their “Quick Connect” option that will connect you to a nearby server.

If you need more of a server selection then behind the scenes you get the following views to help you find the correct server:

  • Map
  • List
  • Filter

Screen grab of the IPVanish Windows App

There's a wealth of options in the ‘Settings' area which includes all the essential requirements such as

  • IPv6 Leak Protection
  • DNS Leak Protection
  • Kill Switch
  • Protocol and Port selection
  • Obfuscate OpenVPN traffic which IPVanish call ‘Scramble'

It's nice to be able to connect and disconnect on every screen of the app so whether you're in the Settings area or browsing your Account Information you can connect or disconnect at will.

Overall the desktop apps are very well rounded and include all the essential features you will need (such as DNS leak protection, which we ran a DNS leak test on and can vouch for).

Again, we're not a fan of the aesthetics of the app which is now looking a little dated, but it's not overly important because all the critical IPVanish features are contained within.

As an IPVanish user, if you require support while using the desktop app, the IPVanish customer service will be able to assist you.

Other Apps

There was a time when, across the entire VPN industry, the VPN company with the most comprehensive range of apps was IPVanish. These days others have caught up, but that's not to say IPVanish doesn't still offer many VPN apps.

A further IPVanish app is available for Amazon Fire TV devices. It works with Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Cube devices.

Having an Amazon app is a massive advantage because it allows you to protect your privacy while streaming on your TV. If you're a big Kodi user, then you'll appreciate the protection.

You can also install the IPVanish Linux app on any Linux device too. It performs well and will keep your internet traffic private and secure. But the app specifically designed for ChromeOS appears to have been discontinued.

There's also a VPN router app that you can install on VPN-enabled routers too, but you will have to do this manually using one of their guides on the IPVanish website.

No. Unlike many other premium VPNs, IPVanish doesn't have browser extensions and instead is investing more time and resources in developing apps for different devices, but that isn't a bad thing.

Browser extensions offer a limited version of a VPN while apps are packed with all available features.

If browser extensions are a selling point for you then look towards ExpressVPN or NordVPN instead.

No. IPVanish does not come with a built-in ad-blocker.

If you do want a VPN with a built-in ad blocker you can opt for the likes of NordVPN and CyberGhost VPN, both VPNs have excellent reviews.

If you sign up for their one-year deal, you get a malware and virus scanning tool included but we wouldn't recommend signing up for this benefit alone as there are far better tools on the market than the VIPRE tool offered by IPVanish.

If you want to stick with IPVanish, then there are no issues with using a third-party ad-blocker with their service.

Despite the fact that IPVanish is, by our reckoning, one of the leading VPN providers around right now, even they experience VPN server cuts every now and then.

All VPNs do.

If you are active online when a cut to your VPN connection happens, you run the risk of an IP leak or DNS leak. This means that your connection automatically returns to your actual IP Address, causing your details to be visible.

A kill switch prevents this from happening and so should be an essential tool for all VPN users. We would particularly recommend them for:

  • To evade online censorship
  • To evade online surveillance
  • Anyone else who needs to be partly anonymous online
  • Torrent users
  • Kodi users
  • Anyone using sensitive documents or materials

We ran a leak test while running IPVanish and they passed with flying colours. The leak test didn't pick up any of our personal details, which is great news. When it comes to additional security features, a kill switch is a must.

IP Vanish currently offers an automatic Kill Switch feature with their Windows and Mac OS X apps.

Fortunately, switching it on is a simple process and can be done by using the following simple step-by-step guide for each app.

Windows
  1. Open the IPVanish Windows client on your computer
  2. Click the Settings button, which looks like a gear wheel, on the left side of the window.
  3. Click on the Connection
  4. Check the box in the Connection menu labelled Kill Switch.
Mac OS X
  1. Open IPVanish on your computer
  2. Click IPVanish VPN on the menu at the top of the app.
  3. Click on the Connection
  4. Check the box in the Connection menu labelled Kill Switch.

If you have problems with the kill switch their live chat customer support will be able to support you.

Streaming

Streaming

Does IPVanish work with Netflix?

IPVanish hasn't been the best for unblocking streaming sites like Netflix in recent years.

Unfortunately, if you want to access Netflix, the streaming service is still inaccessible across the majority of the IPVanish server network.

While you may get lucky and find one or two IPVanish VPN servers that do work with Netflix, it's extremely hit and miss and there are more reliable services for Netflix if you want to connect straightaway and get streaming Netflix (check out Surfshark for example and see the reviews).

When you ask about using IPVanish, they keep talking about split tunneling but while this lets you watch your own country's Netflix, it means you are not protected when doing so, and it doesn't help with unblocking Netflix libraries from elsewhere which is what most Netflix users want a VPN for.

Does IPVanish work with BBC iPlayer?

As with Netflix, the BBC iPlayer streaming sites also aren't readily accessible when using IPVanish's UK server range. You might get lucky, but in our testing, this was not common.

If it's streaming services you're after accessing and again you'll need to look to other reliable VPN services like ExpressVPN or NordVPN that do allow access to iPlayer.

Does it work with Amazon Prime?

IPVanish can work with Amazon Prime video, but probably not in the way you're wanting.

They have created a special feature known as split tunneling which allows you to watch Amazon Prime video while connected to the VPN like normal – but IPVanish is not able to unblock it.

If you want to watch US Amazon Prime or other regions in other countries, you will have to try another VPN such as ExpressVPN that can unblock certain regions.

The IPVanish service does work with some other streaming services such as ITV Hub, My5 and a couple of others from across the world.

However, it's our experience that these are more operating because these services do little to stop VPN usage, rather than IPVanish actively working to support these services.

If you're after accessing premium services like Disney+, Foxtel Go or others, then you'll have no joy here.

Many US services don't work but some do, it really is a bit hit and miss.

This is a massive oversight on the part of IPVanish and something that they need to address quickly if they are to return to their former lofty heights and really challenge the likes of ExpressVPN and NordVPN at the top of our rankings.

Price

Prices and Plans

Lastly, our VPN review took a look at the price.

IPVanish has added one more package to its streamlined offerings from last year so you now have three choices; monthly, quarterly, or annually:

The current package prices at the time of writing are:

  • Monthly: $10.99 per month (~£8.43)
  • Quarterly: $5.00 per month (~£3.84)
  • Annually: $3.75 per month (~£2.88)

We were very disappointed last year to see that IPVanish has dropped their excellent two-year IPVanish account option and we are still sorry to see that it has not returned since it offered by far the best value for money.

We are not sure who will be tempted by the new Quarterly option which is something of a half-way house that we have seen little demand for.

When it comes to the IPVanish cost, the new pricing ranges are frankly still on the pricy side.

Previously there was also an offer to sign up for the SugarSync® file storage service but this seems to have been quietly dropped now.

The payment methods accepted are limited to Credit Cards and Paypal. While this should suit most, you're out of luck if you want to spend Bitcoin or use other payment types.

They have now expanded their money-back guarantee to 30-days which is a great addition.

I'd like to see some great IPVanish deals in the future and the price lowering which at the moment appears to be continually going up.

IPVanish monthly package is cheaper than leading VPN provider ExpressVPN ($10.99 vs ExpressVPN's $13.36) but the gap is not huge unlike the gulf in service offered.

The ending of their two-year deal is a shame and means that other VPNs can trump IPVanish on price if you are willing to sign up for longer.

Unfortunately, there's no free trial on offer from IPVanish.

If you don't like what's on offer, then you'll need to take advantage of their 30-day money-back guarantee.

Verdict

Verdict

IPVanish has been one of our favourite VPN services in recent years and in our latest tests we've found they still offer the robust and reliable service we've come to expect.

The most significant change in recent times has been that IPVanish was acquired by J2 Global and it has now undertaken a third-party audit of its no user logs promise which is welcome and long overdue.

Speeds are good and VPN connections stable, encryption remains robust with WireGuard a new and welcome addition, and their no user logs guarantee appears to be reaffirmed. Customer service is impressive too with excellent live chat support, if a little sales-oriented.

On the downside, it is still not able to work inside China and we're disappointed to see that many of the most popular streaming services such as Netflix and BBC iPlayer still don't work since our last IPVanish review either.

This has been the case for the past few years and it limits the usefulness of the service if you're after it specifically for streaming things like Netflix.

For this reason, we do not recommend IPVanish VPN if you're a heavy streamer.

With privacy features such as 256-bit Encryption, IP leak protection, port forwarding, and DNS leak protection, your data is in safe hands with IPVanish.

They offer apps for most popular devices such as Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, Fire TV and others.

IPVanish has only two payment options, either card payments or PayPal but despite the new quarterly package, their payment plans are still limited and expensive.

Overall we still really like IPVanish and if you're after protecting your privacy. They're not the best, but they're very good.

Ready to give them a try?

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Author: Christopher Seward

After 25 years of using the internet, Christopher launched one of the very first VPN comparison websites in 2013. An expert in the field his reviews, testing and knowledge have helped thousands of users get the correct VPN for their needs.

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