Count on fast speeds and unlimited bandwidth
IPVanish is a U.S.-based VPN provider offering over 40,000 IPs on 1,300 servers across more than 75 locations. What sets IPVanish apart are the fast speeds and performance throughout their in-house global server network. We evaluated IPVanish to determine how easy it was to set up, the usability of the interface, performance, cost, and how well it stacks up to the competition.
Setup Process: Generally simple
The setup process IPVanish was generally straightforward and simple. Simply go to the IPVanish website and select the appropriate application to begin the installation. Once launched, the installation screens follow in order and are self-explanatory.
Unlike other VPNs, we had to grant IPVanish permission to install something called the IPVanish Helper Tool, which involved providing the administrator password. The installer also came with a simple tutorial to help you get started, but it was basic and didn’t cover any advanced settings.
Design: On the busy side
IPVanish’s interface is busy. For starters, you have the Quick Connect and Server List options on the left. Quick Connect allows you to choose a country, while IPVanish selects the best city and server for you.
Alternatively, the Server List displays a list of servers from which you choose manually. The top of the screen provides your outward facing VPN IP address (Visible Location) and the IP address of your VPN server. Meanwhile, the bottom right shows your connection information in a different format.
Overall, the interface feels cluttered, with too many different ways to connect (i.e. server connection lists, connection buttons, drop downs, etc). Meanwhile, to change the IPVanish preferences, you need to do it from the application icon — you can’t do it from the main interface. And, while the graph looks pretty, it doesn’t add any value to the browsing experience. On the plus side, the icon features a timer.
IPVanish manages its entire network infrastructure in-house, offering unlimited bandwidth and excellent surfing speeds throughout its global network. To get the best speed and performance, use the Quick Connect feature with Best Server Available selected.
When this is selected, Quick Connect will choose the best server for your location. With IPVanish, we found that webpages loaded quickly and we could watch movies on Netflix with zero latency and buffering. The VPN connection and disconnection times can be a bit sluggish, but it’s not that big of a deal.
We were able to achieve a maximum downstream speed of 186.64 Mbps when connected to a nearby U.S.-based server with out 1 Gbps internet connection. Other servers, including servers overseas, were significantly slower.
Unlike many providers (which may provide five or six simultaneous connections at best), IPVanish allows up to 10 simultaneous connections across multiple devices under one service plan. By contrast, if you wanted 10 connections with ExpressVPN, you’d need to buy two service plans. This can make IPVanish a good value if you have a lot of users and/or devices to protect.
IPVanish offers a split-tunneling feature for Android users. The feature allows you to select which apps use the VPN and stay encrypted, and which apps are routed through your local ISP (no encryption). This feature can be handy when you want to protect some connections with the VPN, but leave other connections local, such as for food delivery services.
Streaming: Supports some services
While IPVanish doesn’t provide dedicated media streaming servers, we were able to stream Netflix through US-based servers. We were also able to watch Hulu, although we weren’t able to get BBC iPlayer working through any of IPVanish’s UK-based servers.
IPVanish also offers support for Kodi, which is one of the most popular media streaming apps out there. Due to geographical restrictions, Kodi users may not have access to certain add-ons. To get around this, you can run the IPVanish app with your Kodi service. Doing so provides unrestricted access to any Kodi add-ons that you wish to install. You can also use Kodi with IPVanish for Fire Stick or Fire TV.
The IPVanish service is based in the United States. This means it falls under the jurisdiction of the United States and the Five Eyes Alliance. The Five Eyes Alliance is an international surveillance group (composed of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, and the US) providing for the collection and sharing of surveillance data.
IPVanish states they are a no-logs provider. Theoretically, that means if a government were to request logs from IPVanish, there would be no data to provide. The issue is that they don’t have any transparency reports or independent audits on file, and they have handed data over in the past.
From the IPVanish website: We care deeply about your privacy rights, and we will never log any traffic or usage of our VPN. IPVanish does not collect, monitor, or log any traffic or use of its Virtual Private Network service, under any circumstances, on any platform.
Security Features: Standard
When it comes to security, IPVanish offers the highly secure OpenVPN protocol, Domain Name System (DNS) leak protection, and a kill switch to keep your connections private. However, the service is a little lacking in extra value-added security features. For instance, you won’t find things like NordVPN‘s Double VPN, or ExpressVPN‘s TrustedServer technology.
IPVanish’s list of security features include:
- OpenVPN protocol with 256-bit AES encryption: This is a military-grade encryption used to protect highly sensitive data. It’s virtually impossible to crack.
- Scramble: This feature helps disguise connections in countries that employ deep packet inspection to identify OpenVPN connections. It’s helpful in bypassing firewalls, and it’s offered on Windows, Mac OS, Android, and Fire Stick/TV.
- DNS leak protection: This prevents requests to convert a URL to an IP address from going through the wrong domain name server (DNS), which could compromise privacy.
- Kill switch: This feature automatically shuts down all internet traffic if IPVanish stops working for any reason. This keeps your internet traffic safe from prying eyes.
- TOR compatibility: IPVanish will work with TOR (The Onion Router), but due to performance issues, it’s best for web browsing only.
IPVanish offers a variety of VPN security protocols to choose from, including OpenVPN over UDP/TCP or L2TP/IPSec, and IKEv2. OpenVPN is considered to be the gold standard in VPN security protocols today. It relies on SSL/TLS for key exchange, features up to 256-bit encryption via OpenSSL, and can run over both TCP and UDP. In other words, it’s highly secure.
IPVanish manages its entire network infrastructure in-house, offering unlimited bandwidth and excellent surfing speeds throughout its global network.
Torrenting: Yes, but with a drawback
While IPVanish suggests their service is great for torrenting, remember that IPVanish is based in the United States. This means it’s subject to Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) copyright violation laws, which are designed to protect music, movies, games, and more.
Even with their no-logs policy, you might have greater peace of mind torrenting with a VPN service that doesn’t operate on American soil. However, if you don’t torrent, you don’t need to worry about this.
While IPVanish has a no-logs policy, the service’s U.S. jurisdiction comes with some drawbacks.
Ad Blocking: Not included
IPVanish doesn’t include a built-in ad blocker. This is a security feature that’s found in some of the best VPN services, because it allows the VPN to cut off requests from overzealous ad trackers and malware at the DNS level. Without this type of protection, your browser may reveal compromising information when it sends requests to ad trackers.
Customer Service: Some of the best in the business
IPVanish provides the highest level of customer service we’ve seen out of any VPN that we’ve tested. They provide phone support during U.S. business hours, 24/7 web chat, and also email as a backup if you don’t need an answer right away. This level of support is almost unheard of in the VPN industry.
Price: Affordable, but not cheap
In terms of pricing, IPVanish is on par with other VPN providers, but it’s definitely not the cheapest option out there. Currently, IPVanish offers three payment plans: $10/month for one month, $8.99/month for three months, and $5.19/month for 15 months. The 15-month plan works out to 17 cents per day, but you must pay for it upfront.
Competition: IPVanish vs ExpressVPN
How does IPVanish compare to the popular ExpressVPN service? In terms of speed and performance, the two services are very similar — that is, fast. IPVanish is the slightly cheaper option, at $5.19/month versus ExpressVPN at $6.67/month.
They both offer OpenVPN, the best security protocol available today. But if you’re after proven privacy, the BVI-based ExpressVPN is the superior choice. Case in point: when the Turkish government demanded data from ExpressVPN in 2017, they simply had no logs to give them.
On the other hand, there is evidence that “no-logs” IPVanish handed over customer logging data to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for a criminal case in 2016. While IPVanish is now under new management with StackPath, the incident, if true, contradicts their stated no-logs policy.
A good option if you’re not concerned about their logging history.
Our final verdict is that IPVanish may work fine for you if you’re after fast speeds, unlimited bandwidth, and multiple device connections. But if you need a more exhaustive feature list and you’re concerned about their U.S.-based jurisdiction history of logging (although IPVanish states they don’t currently log), it may be worthwhile to check out other services first.
- Product Name: IPVanish
- Price: $5.19
- Operating Systems: Windows, macOS, Linux, Chrome OS, Fire TV
- Mobile Platforms: iOS, Android, Windows Phone
- Devices: 10 devices at a time
- Server Locations: 75 Countries
- Number of Servers: 1,300+
- Streaming: Tested Netflix (US)
- Torrenting: Yes, including kill switch
- Encryption: AES 256-bit OpenVPN over UDP/TCP, IKEv2/IPsec, L2TP, PPTP
- Logging: No logs, no transparency report, has handed over data in the past
- Jurisdiction: United States