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.
  • High renewal prices

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

I have been testing IPVanish for well over 10 years now and seen them go from strength, to weakness and back again. I’ve seen them pass ownership multiple times, but are they still worth your consideration?

It’s my opinion that they are. They may not be “top dog” anymore, but they’re certainly up with the best and in my review I aim to find out where they’re winning and where they need improvement.

So, how have they been doing in 2024? What are the IPVanish pros and cons at the moment?

In this IPVanish review, I 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 my IPVanish VPN review I 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 providers 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, I 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 use, there was no noticeable slowdown or issues with the VPN connection speed that I could detect.

I could easily stay connected all day and not notice that I was connected to a VPN.

Using a regular UK residential internet connection I ran speed tests over a range of servers at random on a Windows client using OpenVPN 256-bit.

I’ve been using TalkTalk, but it’ll be much the same for your home connection regardless of which provider you use.

The speed I achieved without using a VPN was: 207.6 Mbps.

When connecting to IPVanish’s servers in no particular order, I 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 I’ve seen, especially at distance. But, I had no issues streaming on Disney Plus in full HD while using the IPVanish Windows app and found the same regardless of device.

The upload speed was great too. When transferring files to my web host, I achieved almost the maximum upload speed of my connection.

Download speed test results while using IPVanish are a little mixed but you won’t have any issues carrying out most tasks.

In comparison with ExpressVPN, their UK server offered up speeds of 361.4 Mbps, compare this with IPVanish’s 148.3 Mbps and it shows its mediocracy. That’s 58% slower!

Against NordVPN which had a speed of 314.6 Mbps, it’s again 52% slower.

Logging

IPVanish has a no logs policy but on it’s own this means very little.

In a nutshell, IPVanish 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 (or any IP addresses you’ve used). 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 zero traffic 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.

In 2022, IPVanish published the results of an audit giving it the all clear. However, this was over 2 years ago and from a user standpoint we’d like to see these claims reverified regularly as with other leading VPN providers.

The no logs claim at the time was 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 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 an independent audit you can now say with confidence that IPVanish is a no logs VPN but my feeling is this needs to be reaudited to be kept relevant.

Simultaneous Connections

Over the past few years IPVanish has considerably upgraded its simultaneous connections offering.

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

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

I found this upgrade incredibly useful as I can use the IPVanish VPN for streaming while my family can all use the VPN too.

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’re looking for a service that providers unlimited connections, then IPVanish VPN ticks this box.

In Comparison:

  • ExpressVPN – 8 connections
  • Surfshark – Unlimited connections
  • NordVPN – 6 connections
  • VyprVPN – 5 connections

Jurisdiction

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

In 2019 IPVanish was purchased by J2 Global from StackPath, which are both US-based companies. J2 Global also own similar services like a smart DNS service.

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.

IPVanish owners J2 Global also own VPN service StrongVPN and have merged SaferVPN, Encrypt.me and BufferVPN into this service.

In Comparison:

  • ExpressVPN – British Virgin Islands
  • Surfshark – Netherlands
  • NordVPN – Panama
  • VyprVPN – United States
  • CyberGhost VPN – Romania

Customer Service

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

I found the 24/7 live chat support to be knowledgeable and able to answer most basic questions although you 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.

I tested their customer service thoroughly asking multiple questions and wasn’t disappointed with the answer.

They do seem to point you to help articles rather than answering you directly which isn’t ideal but I did find them to provide the right article for my needs on most occasions.

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 which

IPVanish still claims they offer phone support in US business hours but I couldn’t find the number. I’m not sure if this still exists or it’s just made difficult to find.

There was a time when IPVanish was our editor’s pick for best overall VPN, but this was many years ago and ExpressVPN has held that mantle for some time now.

So, what’s the difference when you compare IPVanish to ExpressVPN?

IPVanish’s logging blip back in 2018 is no longer an issue being over 6 years ago and no publicly known relapses since.

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 very impressive but in the world of VPNs nothing is static.

IPVanish has a little way to go to pip them to the top spot but as over ten years of VPN experience have shown, every dog has their day.

Server Locations

Server locations

IPVanish server locations are available in over 90 locations across the world with more than 40,000 IP addresses available.

They’ve added in the region of 15 different locations since I tested them last year. They now offer over 56 countries.

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 four UK locations, one less than last year but covering Birmingham, Glasgow, London and Manchester.

IPVanish now operates a broad network with a high number of servers in the high-demand markets like the USA (especially 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.

I’ve used servers from LA, Spain, Greece, USA, Thailand, and more; changing is simple.

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 90+ VPN locations, 40,000+ IP Addresses and 2400+ 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. I 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 my assessment, I 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 or VPN.ac.

Security and Safety

Protocols & Encryption

Protocols and encryption

Many VPN providers have been limited their protocol selection to just one or two but IPVanish continues to offer a range.

They currently support WireGuard, IKEv2, OpenVPN and IPSec.

WireGuard is the fast, lightweight VPN protocol that has taken the sector by storm over the past few years. It’s the natural successor to OpenVPN.

If you aren’t keen on WireGuard, and I 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. You can also customise OpenVPN connections.

IPVanish uses the IKEv2 protocol and it’s 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.

As I use my VPN mainly for streaming and privacy, I’ve never felt the need to use a double hop server, but it could be something you’re looking for.

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 twice since the incident and is adamant no user logs are kept these days.

Their third-party independent audit has now confirmed that this is the case and unless there are further lapses, my 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. I have seen nothing in my 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.

I found this pretty useful, so I can binge my favourite TV shows on my phone instead of being stuck behind my computer screen. I also found it handy when using public Wi-Fi networks.

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. The iOS app came in handy on my iPad, as I was streaming Jack Reacher on Amazon Prime Video whilst on the train.

I’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 Android users to play with.

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

I 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.

I enjoyed this feature while using the IPVanish mobile apps to stream Amazon Prime Video and accessing my online banking using a local server.

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

You can grab the mobile apps from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.

Desktop Apps

IPVanish’s desktop VPN client is available for major operating systems like Windows and Mac OS.

I found that the Windows app in particular is neat and boasts simple features that are popular with users including split tunneling. It has changed somewhat in design since my last review but overall it retains a similar feeling.

If you’ve been using IPVanish for a number of years then you’ll be familiar with the basic layout.

I must say I much prefer the newer design as it is more professional and updated what was a somewhat dated looking app.

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
IPVanish desktop app

IPVanish windows app sports a new design.

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’
IPVanish desktop settings

The IPVanish app has a range of advanced settings.

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

I found this helpful and I’m in no doubt that you will too.

Overall the desktop apps are very well rounded and include all the essential features you will need.

I wasn’t a fan of the IPVanish app’s aesthetics for a long time and while it’s still not perfect it has been updated recently which makes it appear much more modern in design.

IPVanish desktop settings protocol selection

The updated interface brings a more modern design.

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.

I have this installed on my Fire TV Cube and while it isn’t my favourite it does allow you to connect for streaming purposes effortlessly. If you like to watch a lot of content on your TV this addition will be useful for you.

There’s also an app for Linux. I didn’t test this as it’s outside the scope of my review, there also doesn’t seem to be much chatter across the net about this version of the app so it’s difficult to know if it’s good or not.

There is no VPN router app but you can install on VPN-enabled routers. You will have to do this manually using one of their guides on the IPVanish website.

It’s also possible to buy a pre-configured router from Flashrouters or Invizbox that works directly with IPVanish.

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.

It’s disappointing to see that IPVanish still don’t offer these after all these years, but personally I’m not a fan anyway.

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.

Previously if you signed up for one year of subscription you would get their VIPRE malware and virus scanning tool included. However all mention of this seems to have been removed.

I wasn’t personally a fan of this added feature and it wouldn’t have been a selling point for me. However, a few years ago it was common and is still somewhat to see VPN services provided “added value services” to one-up-man the competition.

If you need ad-blocking or anti-virus you’ll need to look at one of the many free decent alternatives.

IPVanish currently offers an automatic Kill Switch feature with their Windows and Mac OS X apps, covering most popular operating system options.

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, IPVanish have their live chat customer support to help 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, leaving you open to security vulnerabilities.

Plus, it doesn’t help with unblocking Netflix libraries from elsewhere which is what most Netflix users want a VPN for.

In my experience I couldn’t access Netflix reliably enough to recommend it.

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 my testing, this was not common.

If it’s streaming services you’re after accessing, 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 Video?

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

Again, you’ll need to use split tunnelling, but this isn’t what you’ll be after. This is simply a way of using your own connection for Amazon Prime while everything else is funnelled via the VPN.

So, as with many other popular streaming services, I didn’t find IPVanish suitable for Amazon Prime.

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

I had success watching episodes on ITVX while I was in Greece. It was pretty handy. I’ve also managed to use it in Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia when the connection was reliable enough.

However, it’s my 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 Plus, 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, I took a look at the pricing in comparison to the competition.

This year the prices have somewhat changed. While a dollar has been added to the monthly package, the annual and 2-year packages have actually decreased in price which is great if you’re after saving.

The current package prices at the time of writing are:

  • Monthly: $12.99 per month (~£10.28)
  • Yearly: $3.33 per month (~£2.63)
  • 2-Yearly: $2.75 per month (~£2.17)

IPVanish pricing from their website

When it comes to the IPVanish cost, the new pricing ranges are competitive. I feel that most of the worthwhile competition charges around the same.

One thing you need to be aware of is the renewal prices are incredibly high. After the first year the renewal price will increase to $89.99 and for the 2-year package it’ll increase to $179.99.

Ensure you cancel and resubscribe at a later date to avoid these increases.

The payment methods accepted are limited to Credit Cards, Paypal and Google Pay. IPVanish appears to have dropped support for Amazon Pay.

While this should suit most, you’re out of luck if you want to use Bitcoin or any other payment types.

Thankfully they’ve not changed their 30-day money-back guarantee which is a bonus.

I’m happy to see the price reductions this year but the renewal cost is a negative and while they do make it clear it’s a little disingenuous in the scheme of things.

Previously IPVanish’s monthly package was cheaper than leading provider ExpressVPN, but this is no longer the case as IPVanish charge $12.99 versus ExpressVPN’s $12.95.

Where you’ll see a huge difference is on the yearly package. IPVanish charges just $3.33 per month whereas ExpressVPN at cheapest is $6.67.

ExpressVPN doesn’t offer a 2-year package so I can’t compare here, but one thing you’ll want to remember is IPVanish’s renewal prices are astronomical.

Unfortunately, there’s no free trial or free version 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 my favourite VPN services in recent years and in my latest tests I’ve found they still offer the robust and reliable service you would expect from a leading provider.

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. They’re not the fastest provider I’ve tested but they’re usable for nearly all purposes unless you need the very top tier of speeds.

Encryption remains robust with Wireguard and there’s a range of other protocols available including OpenVPN.

I’m happy to see their no-log policy was audited, although this was a few years ago and I feel this needs to be reconfirmed to remain relevant and keep up with the competition.

Customer service is impressive with excellent live chat support, although they often point you to their knowledge guides rather than answering a question directly.

On the downside, it is still not able to work inside China and I’m disappointed to see that many of the most popular streaming services such as Netflix and BBC iPlayer still don’t work since my 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, I do not recommend IPVanish VPN if you’re a heavy streamer. This view won’t change until IPVanish supports more streaming services.

With privacy features such as 256-bit Encryption, IP leak protection, port forwarding, and DNS leak protection, IPVanish offers as much as the competition.

Apps are available for most popular devices such as Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, Fire TV and others. However, I would like to see some browser extensions available.

IPVanish has only a handful of payment options, and they’ve removed support for Amazon Pay which isn’t ideal.

Prices for the service are competitive to the competition but be careful of their renewal prices which in my opinion are expensive.

Overall I still really like IPVanish if you’re after protecting your privacy. They’re not the best of the best, but they’re very good and up at the top of the tree.

Ready to give them a try?

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Author: Christopher Seward

Having used the internet since 1994, 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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