IPVanish (review) US-based VPN provider claims to be “the best VPN service in the world.”
While they require a lot of endorsements and sponsorships and offer a feature-rich product, the question remains, “Can they live up to your own expectations?”
In this review, I will provide you with a detailed answer to the question.
I’ll provide an impartial assessment of IPVanish, covering everything from the company’s history to its services, features, and price.
Let us begin.
IPVanish VPN Overview
|OVERALL RANK:||#5 out of 78 VPNs|
|USABILITY:||Very Easy, Supports All Devices|
|LOG FILES:||No Logging Policy|
|LOCATIONS:||60+ countries, 1200+ servers|
|SUPPORT:||No Live Chat, response takes days|
|TORRENTING:||P2P & Torrenting Allowed, Encouraged|
|ENCRYPTION/PROTOCOL:||AES 256-bit, OpenVPN, SOCKS5|
Founded in 1999 under the umbrella of Mudhook Marketing (located in the US, Florida), IP Vanish has quickly built a reputation among the top VPN providers on the market.
Over 1300 servers (and counting) in 75 different countries (located primarily in Europe and North America).
They have dedicated apps for Windows, Mac OS, Android, Fire TV, and IOS, and their VPN services are compatible with almost every device and operating system imaginable. Customers can also manually configure an IPVanish setting on Windows Phones, Ubuntu, Chromebooks, and routers for more tech-savvy users.
IPVanish also supports all major VPN protocols and even allows users to access the SOCKS5 web proxy without downloading (which I will be able to touch on later).
IPVanish Pros (+)
Fast Speed (only 18% slower than without a VPN)
I ran a couple of speed tests on the IPVanish servers and this is what I came up with (I am using a 100Mbps internet connection within the EU).
US Server (New York)
- Ping: 133ms
- Download: 34.71 Mbps
- Upload: 24.72 Mbps
EU Server (Amsterdam)
- Ping: 38ms
- Download: 82.67 Mbps
- Upload: 43.19 Mbps
Asia Server (Hong Kong)
- Ping: 341ms
- Download: 7.61 Mbps
- Upload: 5.88 Mbps
UK Server (London)
- Ping: 56ms
- Download: 80.25 Mbps
- Upload: 42.09 Mbps
IPVanish offers respectable download and upload speeds. When I connected from EU to EU, they only reduced my speed by 18%.
However, it is difficult to justify the value of their service once you compare the US speeds they provide to the speeds of other less expensive services.
Decent Working App
Installing your app was a reasonably smooth simple process (although, annoyingly, I had to restart my computer afterward).
When I first started the software, I noticed right away that IPVanish has a very user-friendly interface. Windows and Mac users, now have a kill button.
They make it easy for you to find everything you would like and give you a host of settings and options to play with.
My only criticism of their user interface is that they do not provide directions on how to configure and use the SOCKS5 proxy from the account portal.
While this isn’t a big deal and can be easily solved with a quick Google search (or checking out IPVanish’s article on the subject), since the SOCKS5 proxy is such an important point, I’d think they could streamline the setup process. the maximum amount possible.
Zero Traffic Logs
Unfortunately, our opinions about IPVanish’s “no logs” policy are mixed. Despite saying that they do not keep records, they have been in the news in the past for recording and handing over data for a user to Homeland Security. That does not instill full faith in the users of your service. This, however, occurred in 2016. Since then, they’ve been taken over by StackPath, a new company that offers complete privacy and security.
In his own words,
We have a strict policy against collecting connection and activity logs. We will never store metadata about your VPN session or information about how you used the service.
So while you’re never really anonymous online, IPVanish is one of the few VPNs that brings you close to the brink of total anonymity.
Strong Encryption (AES-256)
IPVanish is based on an equivalent encryption protocol, AES-256, used by many of the world’s leading security agencies and government organizations.
With the increasing number of brute-force cyberattacks, this is often a huge advantage.
In December 2016, WordFence, a WordPress security plugin, noticed a dramatic increase in the number of brute force attacks running against WordPress websites (which power roughly 25% of the internet).
In fact, things got so bad that, at one point, there were 30,000 unique attack IP addresses per day!
While this statistic should serve as a wake-up call for various website owners, it shouldn’t be a cause for alarm either.
Your IP address and all personal data will be shielded from hackers when you browse the internet with an AES-256 encrypted VPN (such as IPVanish), making your data practically “brute force evidence.”
That also means it will avoid specific intellectual property censorship that schools, employers, and governments take advantage of.
Download Free SOCKS5 Web Proxy
Like most VPN providers, IPVanish allows users to access many different protocols, including the default OpenVPN as well as PPTP and L2TP.
While OpenVPNs are generally the recommended protocol, as they provide fast speeds that don’t sacrifice privacy or security, they do have a downside.
That downside is that you simply need to download a client to your device to access the unique certificate required to determine a secure connection.
Fortunately, there is an alternative.
IPVanish provides its customers with access to SOCKS, or Socket Security, a special proxy server protocol. This protocol enables you to get all of the advantages of a traditional VPN without having to install any software on your devices.
This means that you can simply hide your IP address, hide personal information, and enjoy faster performance, all without downloading an intrusive third-party tool.
While this provides a great service to certain customers (especially people looking to circumvent censorship laws or other restrictions related to intellectual property), it should be noted that speed and no-download browsing come at a price.
That is your safety.
The reason a SOCKS proxy is able to achieve faster speeds than a standard VPN is that it does not use equivalent encryption standards.
In other words, it does not offer equivalent security and privacy protocols that prevent hackers, cybercriminals, and governments from accessing your personal information.
While the proxy does an admiral’s job of hiding your location, it is of no use when it comes to protecting your privacy and security.
Although this is often a “Pro” for IPVanish and positively a singular protocol to provide, be careful and educate yourself on the SOCKS proxy before taking advantage of this feature.
Torrenting is Allowed
With IPVanish, it’s not just torrenting (P2P) allowed … it’s blatantly encouraged.
Unlike many other VPN providers, IPVanish has no objections to consumers using their service to “torrent free and privately.”
Its easy-going attitude towards torrents may anger some hacking advocates, however, for the typical VPN user, this feature can be a major plus.
Ten Device Connection Limit
One of my favorite “features” of IPVanish is that they allow you to connect up to 10 devices simultaneously.
Most VPN services, including premium companies like ExpressVPN, limit their simultaneous connections to three devices. This may not seem like a big deal to some of you, however for those of you with relatives or spouses, buying a second license is often a huge frustration and unwanted expense.
Yet with IPVanish’s generous 10-device limit, you, your spouse, and even your children can surf safely … all at the same time.
Some Servers Unblock Netflix
IPVanish does not specifically indicate on its site whether or not they will work with Netflix.
Most VPN providers have started to go beyond official statements in recent years because the video streaming giant now employs one of the most sophisticated VPN detection systems yet.
But no matter their official stance, we still test them.
We connect with servers in different countries, wave Netflix and take a look to stream something. Anything!
The results did not start well with IPVanish:
The first three servers we tested did not work:
- United Kingdom
However, the fourth time was the charm!
We connected to a US server in Chicago and we were ready to avoid detection.
- United States: Chicago
The only problem was that the server lagged a bit. So if you want a VPN that works with Netflix, read this.
TOR or The Orion Network can be a network that encrypts and transmits your traffic information through various servers, ensuring that it is difficult (read: impossible) to track your location in real-time.
For those of you who need serious security measures to fight government surveillance or censorship laws, TOR allows you to create a second layer of security with an existing VPN to maximize your privacy and make sure your location and identity remain private.
For most users, this may not be a deal-breaker. However, for customers living in additional draconian countries like China or North Korea, this added layer of security can literally be the difference between life and death. However, once we flew through China to check VPNs, we found that IPVanish doesn’t really work there. IPVanish ranked 20th out of 28 vendors we tested in China.
IPVanish also offers TOR support.
No IP leaks or Malware found
Multiple DNS and IP leak tests were performed on IPVanish, and they all passed with flying colors.
We run tests on 4 different sites:
- Perfect-Privacy.com DNS & IP leak test
- Browserleaks.com for WebRTC leaks
I also ran a test of Virustotal in its installer and it is as clean as it sounds.
IPVanish Cons (-)
Third-Party Reviews are a Mixed Bag
As I have even said throughout this text, my experience with IPVanish was quite satisfactory.
Outside of the TOR and Netflix compatibility issues, I really didn’t have any issues with their service or customer support.
However, once I looked up third-party reviews … I was surprised to find that IPVanish actually attracted tons of warmth within the online community.
On the top Business Bureau website, IPVanish has received 17 customer complaints and they have not resolved or responded to a minimum of 4 of these complaints.
After searching Reddit, I found that many other users had negative experiences with IPVanish, although it had been difficult to find a consistent topic among the complaints.
In my own experience, IPVanish is not perfect, but it is a high-quality VPN with solid customer service.
However, in the spirit of transparency and full disclosure, it is important that potential buyers understand that not all IPVanish clients have shared my positive experience.
Falsely Advertised 24/7/365 Support
One of the most irritating aspects of using a VPN is the industry’s notoriously unreliable customer service.
Sadly, IPVanish propagates this stereotype … something else.
While their ads and marketing promise users will have access to 24/7/365 support, it is simply not true.
For starters, they don’t even have a live chat option (which makes me wonder how in the world they thought they could advertise 24/7 live support).
This means that if you could ever get instant help, you wouldn’t be ready to do it.
And once you submit a support ticket, you don’t get an instant (or even remotely quick) response.
To fully understand how your assist works, I submitted a simple question, and here is (automatic) your answer:
1-2 days to reply?
So much for 24/7/365 support …
In fact, after submitting my support ticket on Friday afternoon, I didn’t receive a full response from the support team until Monday.
It is about 60 hours of your time during which I did not receive support. never a plus in my book.
Although they have a support center and knowledge domain, which is quite useful, it doesn’t forgive the fact that they blatantly overdo it with their advertising and provide you with customer service that is a far cry from what you hope to get.
Think you just might need instant support for your VPN service? So don’t bother with IPVanish … unless your definition of “instant” is 48 hours or more.
IPVanish Pricing & Plans: (Affordable but Not “Cheap”)
One of the best things about IPVanish is that they don’t offer the typical “Tiered Packs,” which dilutes their services.
There is no “IPVanish Bronze” or “IPVanish Platinum”. Instead, each customer receives exactly the same service with the only difference being the length of their time they need to access the service.
Since I’ve never seen them offering their services for $ 11.99 a month, I will be able to attribute the advertised “17% monthly savings” too smart marketing and say that this plan is the equivalent of:
- $ 7.50 per month
- $ 90 per year
- 0% savings
However, I have seen them offer this monthly service for $ 10 per month. It is good to make sure that they offer this 25% discount on their previous prices. We hope you stay
Unlike most VPN providers (and to our surprise), IPVanish doesn’t offer the normal 6-month pricing option.
Instead, they provide a 3-month quarterly pricing plan billed four times a year at $ 20.24.
This boils down to:
- $ 6.75 per month
- $ 81 per year
- 44% savings
- 12 months: $ 58.49
Most VPN providers are staggering their costs, which means the longer you commit, the lower the monthly price. Anyone trying to find the simplest possible deal on IPVanish will want to choose their one-year commitment.
At just $ 58.49, the plan equates to:
- $ 4.87 per month
- $ 58.49 per year
- 60% savings
IPVanish also offers a 7-day money-back guarantee on each plan and allows you to pay with almost any method you want (including MasterCard, PayPal, and even bitcoin for anonymous payments).
While these prices are nowhere near as expensive as some of their more premium competitors (I’m looking at you ExpressVPN), they are still a long way from “budget-friendly.”
This fact is painfully illustrated once you take a look at the pricing plans offered by PIA and many other cheaper VPNs; You’ll quickly realize that you can simply find other high-quality VPN providers for less than half the value of IPVanish.
I appreciate the all-inclusive pricing and love the simplicity of their offering, but frankly, I think IPVanish is doing their business and their customers a disservice by not offering a bigger discount on their annual plan.
However, in order for you to really determine whether IPVanish is worth investing in, you must initially know what you get back to back for your investment.
Do I Recommend IPVanish?
The solution is… It all depends on what you’re looking for.
IPVanish provides a reliable service at an affordable price, and while it doesn’t offer anything innovative or truly exceptional, it does offer several features (like the SOCKS5 protocol) that make it attractive to a particular demographic of VPN users.
However, for many VPN buyers, you might have a hard time recommending IPVanish (if for no other reason) thanks to the standard of your competition.
IPVanish is not a nasty VPN, but the poor quality customer service, compatibility issues, and thus the simple incontrovertible fact that you will find better deals for cheaper, makes it difficult for me to recommend them to most readers.
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