Hackernoon logoIPVanish VPN Reviev 2021: Speed, Privacy and All You Need to Know by@dmitry.leijko

IPVanish VPN Reviev 2021: Speed, Privacy and All You Need to Know

IPVanish provides a variety of tools to ensure the security of your web traffic, enhance privacy, and access any websites in the world. The company holds physical servers in 75 countries and has some virtual ones that gain traction nowadays. It is especially good for P2P torrenting, bypassing geo-restrictions, and accessing most streaming services. The customer support operates around the clock via live chat or email, and it is not one of these highly customizable services. It does not have extensions for browsers like many other alternative platforms.
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@dmitry.leijkoDmitry Leiko

Entrepreneur, product owner, SEO specialist, cryptocurrency enthusiast. All you need to know;) [email protected]

Without a VPN, you can barely feel safe while surfing on the Internet. VPN helps you maintain your financial and personal information, access blocked content or streaming services, and prevent interception of your data. And IPVanish seems to be a good option for serving all of these purposes. The company operates over eight years and constantly develops its network and features. But is it enough to stay viable in the market of modern VPN services? 

IPVanish provides a variety of tools to ensure the security of your web traffic, enhance privacy, and access any websites in the world. But cannot all modern VPNs do this? Bypassing censorship and geo-restrictions is not a big deal even for free services. In this regard, IPVanish can boast not only a solid degree of security but the lack of any limitations as well as user-friendly mobile apps. Although there are a lot of positive IPVanish reviews and proofs that it is safe and reliable, you should probably dig deeper to find out if you can find a better alternative. 

That is why I have tested this solution for you and made my own review. Thus, in this article, I will look into the service in detail to figure out if IPVanish is good enough to spend your time and money on it.

Before we start, as always, I have negotiated the best rate for you where you can save $ 89. You will receive a special tariff with a discount only by clicking on this referral link. Enjoy ;)

Overview

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I will start with a brief overview to give you an idea of what IPVanish is like. The first thing that prompted me to try this VPN service was the unlimited number of simultaneous connections. This is a comparatively new feature IPVanish offers, but it is a real game-changer when it comes to choosing a VPN. The company holds physical servers in 75 countries and also has some virtual ones that gain traction nowadays.

IPVanish has solutions for Windows, macOS, Linux, Chrome OS, and Fire TV. Apart from that, they offer pretty functional apps for Android and iOS. The interface is nothing special, easy to navigate and it is not a big deal to handle it. Besides, there is an activity graph that is quite helpful for monitoring the connection performance. Overall, IPVanish remains up-to-date and meets the standards of modern VPN services.

As for pricing, it is quite reasonable making an average for the niche. Regular promotions make IPVanish even more affordable. And at the first glance, it is worth its money. The customer support operates around the clock via live chat or email. And it is also possible to contact them by phone (9:00-17:00 on weekdays). On the other hand, it is not one of these highly customizable services. Plus, I did not find any information about the publicly released audit.

Another strength of IPVanish is the solution combining a VPN and cloud storage with 500 GB provided by SugarSync. Herewith, the price for this mix does not significantly differ from the standard payment plan. I will look into this solution and its price in more detail below. Among other advantages, I would like to highlight a decent degree of data protection, reliable AES-256 encryption, and kill switch that is a must for top VPN services. As for the speed of performance, it is fast enough while comparing with the market leaders. Besides, there are a variety of setup guides on the website and a 30-day money-back guarantee. Zero logs policy is ensured, so your activities are not recorded in any way. 

IPVanish is especially good for P2P torrenting, bypassing geo-restrictions, and accessing most streaming services. However, it does not have extensions for browsers like many other alternative platforms. Plus, it does not provide a built-in ad blocker that is pretty disappointing. And you can also face some difficulties when accessing BBC iPlayer or HBO GO.

Pros:

  • Unmetered simultaneous connections;
  • A wide network of servers;
  • Modern privacy features;
  • VPN+storage option;
  • Money-back guarantee. 

Cons:

  • No publicly held audits;
  • No browser extensions;
  • No integrated adblocker;
  • Problems with accessing some streaming services.

Features

As mentioned above, IPVanish is good for any kind of torrenting and file sharing. Some VPN services set certain limitations on torrenting activities such as using BitTorrent. Plus, download and upload speeds might be lower than expected. But IPVanish is definitely not one of these services. It is quite flexible and has no restrictions for BitTorrent use. Herewith, the download speed varies between 2-3 Mbps that is an average mean for VPN services. On the other hand, the service does not offer an in-built ad blocker, multihop connections, or the access to Tor network. The latter slightly makes a difference for VPN users, but I have noticed that some services do not have such limitations. Adblocker integration, as well as malware protection tools, is not a typical feature for VPN. However, VPN services tend to adopt these features to stay viable and stand out among the competitors. As for IPVanish, it can boast a proxy web server included in the VPN+Storage plans. 

Although IPVanish does not offer browser extensions, the fact does not seem to affect its functionality. Plus, it provides native apps for Windows, macOS, Linux, Chrome OS, Android, iOS, Fire TV, and Fire TV Stick. The company elaborated detailed setup guides for every OS and even routers. Yes, you can configure IPVanish with a router that will allow protecting those devices that cannot be configured with a VPN service directly.

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Kill Switch works well on all devices I have tested. Although I came across some comments on the net that it is not available for iOS devices, the feature still works well on Android. IPVanish also provides IPv6 leak protection, OpenVPN Scramble, and LAN blocking that in sum greatly contribute to cybersecurity and freedom by preventing data leaks, illicit access, and bypassing firewalls. Besides, when connecting to the service, you automatically get the fastest server. And you can also choose a desirable server by yourself.

Among other security tools, you can find a basic Password generator and IP checker that are available for all users (even for those, who do not use IPVanish). One more interesting solution that not every service can boast is VPN for Kodi. For those who are not familiar with Kodi, it is an open-source software app that is commonly used for streaming video, sports, listening to the radio, etc. And finally, the last thing to be emphasized is customer support. The customer service operates 24/7 and I did not have to wait more than a minute to get a reply.

VPN Protocols Options

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There are a great many VPN protocols to choose from when you deal with IPVanish. As for me, it is a good omen because you can rely on a stable VPN connection even if some protocols are failing. However, the service does not offer WireGuard. It is not surprising as the technology is quite new and by far not every VPN service managed to adopt it yet. The way services implement new features tells much about their competitive tension. IPVanish positions itself as the fast-growing VPN service, so we will have to see how soon they will come to adopting WireGuard. As for other VPN protocols, they include as follows:

  • IKEv2;
  • OpenVPN;
  • L2TP;
  • IPSec;
  • SSTP;
  • PPTP.

Most users prioritize the OpenVPN protocol as it is known for the decent speeds and fail-safety. However, not all VPN native apps for iOS involve this protocol. Unfortunately, IPVanish preferred to replace it with IKEv2 too.

Pricing and Refunds

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IPVanish is fairly one of the most affordable VPN services out there with performance above average. Regular promotions even contribute to this status. The service has four pricing plans two of which are monthly and the other two are yearly. The first couple of plans refer to a standard VPN service with all these features listed above and an unlimited number of simultaneous connections. In this regard, a monthly plan will cost you $3.49 for the first month and $9.99 per month thereafter. The yearly plan's price starts at $31.49 for the first year, and after that, it will cost you $89.99 per year. The second couple of plans add up the storage to the classic set of features. The monthly one will cost you $3.84 for the first month and then you will have to pay $10.99 per month. The first payment for the yearly plan is $34.99, and it will cost you $99.99 for the further years. 

However, IPVanish has not been that cheap all along. This pricing is the result of the current promotion. So, if you check the service later, prices may be higher. Overall, disregarding the discounts, they vary between $10-11 for the monthly plans and between $90-100 for the yearly ones. Yet, it is hard to find something better that would cost less. All in all, if you ask me to put it in a nutshell, I would say that it is an average offer for slightly below the average price. And this fact makes it pretty competitive. 

As for payment methods, you can pay by all commonly accepted bank and credit cards or PayPal. You cannot use Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies which are often accepted by other popular VPN services. 

IPVanish claims that if you are not fully satisfied with their features and solutions, they will get your money back within 30 days. On the other hand, the later request for a refund will not result in compensation. In this regard, there are different ways to request compensation for yearly and monthly subscribers. If you bought the yearly subscription, it is enough to discontinue it through the Control Panel. After that, you will get your money back within three business days. But when you want to discontinue a monthly plan, after manipulations with the Control Panel it is necessary to contact a support manager. Otherwise, the process will not be initiated. So, beware. 

The other catch to keep in mind is an automatic renewal. It implies that every subscription is renewed automatically and you are charged the price of an initially chosen plan at the end of the term, either month or year. Anyway, you can prevent it by making a cancelation according to the rules described here.

Servers’ Network

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To evaluate the VPN one should pay attention to the network of servers. Herewith, there are two factors that matter - the number of servers and their locations. As you can probably guess, the bigger both numbers are the better for you. A variety of options increase your chances to find a fast and reliable server for your particular needs. 

Well, what can IPVanish offer? The servers' network is constantly broadening. There are over 1 600 servers spread across about 75 locations. And in practice, it is quite enough to provide decent performance. The service can even boast servers in such locations as South America or Africa. However, it avoids dealing with such countries as Russia and Turkey. Plus, in the past, there were some problems with accessing the content in China. Yet, the company owns servers in Hong Kong.

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As for the average number of servers among top-notch VPN services, it varies between 1 300-6 000. Herewith, the number of locations can hardly exceed 200 as servers in some especially restricted countries are useless.

Privacy Policy

VPN services are meant to enhance your privacy and security but it does not imply they do not collect some details about you. Overall, reliable services gather a minimal amount of information. As for IPVanish, it ensures the no-logs policy that means it does not record your online activity. The company does not even store your IP address that is quite a good sign. Although the service can collect some basic details (which are mainly impersonal) to improve the user experience, it is pretty straightforward when it comes to providing a list of partners involved. IPVanish is attentive to its infrastructure and its developers do their best to cut out unauthorized access to it by requiring two-factor authentication and confirmation from several responsible members for any manipulations with code. 

Reputation means a lot in this industry. Thus, commissioned audits of VPN services become increasingly popular. They help companies earn trust and remain transparent for the audience. Sometimes, it results in transparency reports. However, it is not the case for IPVanish as it has not passed a publicly released audit yet. And I do not think that internal audits make a difference in this situation as they do not contribute to transparency in any way. On the other hand, it is understandable that some companies avoid undergoing such audits because of their jurisdiction. For example, IPVanish resides in the USA, Florida where your privacy is not a priority. Companies are often inclined to interacting with law enforcement agencies. Thus, such audits can lead to certain questions and requests. If you know, what I mean.

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In more technical terms, your data is protected with the most reliable 256-bit encryption as well as with OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols that are considered to be really secure. By the way, you can change OpenVPN ports by opting for 443 or 1194 to provide a better connection. Plus, the "Scramble OpenVPN Traffic" feature makes it barely possible to block (or even detect) your VPN in those locations where such services are prohibited. Sometimes, a VPN connection can be cut off. In this case, your data and identity are not safe anymore. To avoid it there is a kill switch that automatically disconnects you from the internet when the VPN connection is lost. Besides, there are IPv6 leak protection and DNS. The native app for iOS has a useful feature that allows you to mark safe networks IPVanish will ignore. 

When you sign up, you will have to provide some personal details such as an email address and payment method. In some cases, it is necessary to submit your name and address of residence. However, it mainly refers to the payment method you prioritize. This information is gathered for the only reason that is payment processing. Plus, you will get some notifications about the service updates via email. On the other hand, you can unsubscribe from them and change the information provided through the Account Control Panel.

Testing

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The IPVanish interface appears to be easy to navigate combining green and black colors. During my testing, Windows and Android apps were particularly responsive. They have an activity graph that helps in traffic monitoring. Yet, I did not find it vital, it just looks good and allows you to understand if the service is doing fine. When you have launched the app, it is ready for use. The only thing you need to do for running it is pressing the button "Connect".

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The best and fastest available server is chosen by default. So, you do not even need to make much effort to get into the swing of things. However, you can select an appropriate server on the lower part of the interface by yourself taking into account a country and city. You can also search a particular server on the list by using filters such as location, latency, and VPN protocol. Plus, there is an opportunity to add preferred servers to the list of your favorites.

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If you want to evaluate the servers' network, you can switch to the map view. Besides, it is possible to run the VPN automatically when connecting to the Internet. While testing IPVanish for the first time, I checked that my IP was replaced as well as ISP details concealed. Then, it was time to try accessing streaming services.

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I prioritized my favorites such as Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and Amazon Prime. Plus, I added to this list other popular platforms such as BBC iPlayer, HBO GO, and ABC. Streaming platforms make efforts to struggle with VPN users by blocking them. However, it is not a big deal for modern VPN services. In this regard, there was no problem accessing Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, or even Disney+. However, I did not succeed to pull this trick with BBC iPlayer. Apart from that, it was challenging to unblock HBO GO and ABC. My first attempts fairly failed which was quite surprising.

I did not notice any decreases in speed while surfing on the net and watching videos. But frankly speaking, I am a fan of torrenting. So, the download and upload speeds also make sense for me. When testing speeds, I employed such tools as Speedtest.net and Fast.com. On their website, they claim that IPVanish is the fastest VPN in the world. But the reality is often disappointing. It is definitely not the fastest VPN but not the slowest one either. As for the speed of performance, it is what I call fairly average.

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It can vary depending on the VPN protocols. Without going into details, I checked the speed with OpenVPN first and it fluctuated between 70-120 Mbps. That was a bit less than I expected but still fine. On the other hand, the IKEv2 test demonstrated better results reaching 200-240 Mbps. In practice, these fluctuations are not really noticeable while surfing the web, watching videos, stream sports, or even gaming.

On a final note, although the service is good at unblocking content, accessing streaming services is not perfect but still ok. Plus, it is quite useful when it comes to watching stream sports. Online gaming was also comfortable as well as torrenting. I am not sure I would prioritize IPVanish in a long run but it seems the service can provide decent speeds and some cool VPN features.

VPN + Storage

One of the upsides IPVanish can boast is the VPN+Storage option. As I have already highlighted, there are two pricing plans exclusively for it. So, what does this option imply? Well, first of all, it is a secure storage space of 500 GB. And as for me, it is more than enough for everything you may need a cloud when it comes to personal use. In comparison, Google Drive gives you just 15 GB. The cloud provider is SugarSync. And you can wonder how the VPN service and the storage are integrated. And the answer may sound surprising as in fact they are not connected at all.

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When you pay for one of these VPN+Storage pricing plans, you receive an additional email from IPVanish that contains all necessary details for accessing SugarSync. Then, you need to download and install the app. SugarSync app is quite user-friendly. It allows you to get all of your devices configured and synchronized with the cloud. So, this is a great way to maintain some documents and information as well as share them with others by creating links like those on Google Drive. So, there is nothing really special. However, if one of your devices is lost, you can remove all synchronized files from it remotely. Overall, it is quite a useful extra service. And if you want to evaluate it before making a final decision on a pricing plan, you can test SugarSync for free within 30 days by creating an account on their website.

Returning to the issue of VPN+Storage plans, all of them include as follows:

  • 500 GB storage space;
  • Remote device wiping;
  • Continuous file synchronization;
  • AES-256 encryption;
  • Data sharing controls;
  • Zero logs;
  • No data transfer caps;
  • Unlimited number of simultaneous connections;
  • Servers in over 75 locations and shared IPs;
  • All available VPN protocols;
  • Proxy web server;
  • Access to blocked content;
  • Around-the-clock customer service.

Customer Support

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Customer service is one of IPVanish's major strengths. It is prompt and well-organized. Their Help Center is always out to help you. The customer support team is really responsive. The easiest and fastest way to reach them out is the live chat. Although I did not try contacting them via email or phone, it is also possible. There are a lot of setup guides and articles sorted over multiple categories. Plus, you can benefit from their knowledge base if you have a specific issue.

Setup guides and some other materials are combined with videos. So, it is quite easy to figure out how the service works. I have noticed an interesting tendency that all reputable VPN services have YouTube channels. I would like to think that they do not only serve the purpose of promotion. Anyway, you can go directly to the IPVanish channel to check helpful videos. On the other hand, they have a blog with a great many informative articles and announcements. Overall, for any device, OS, or solution like Kodi, there is an appropriate tutorial. Nonetheless, I did not check all of them as it was not a big deal to install their apps and sort them out. Apart from that, if a real problem arises, I prefer contacting customer support instead of rooting around all these materials. That is why I appreciate it when support managers reply in a minute.

All in all, you can ask them any question, even if it seems to be insignificant just to check how fast they react. I did exactly the same and did not have to wait for an answer for more than a minute. Support agents never asked me for providing any account details as many other services do. Instead, I had a very positive experience of intersection with their support team.

In Wrapping Up

Before trying any VPN I check a lot of factors and monitor the company for some time. The most reputable VPN services gradually contribute to the development of their solutions. They broaden the network of servers, create new features, include extras in their pricing plans, improve customer service, and work on their reputations. It is a fair minimum for staying competitive. 

So, what can I say about IPVanish? First of all, they do develop a network of servers. 3 or 5 months ago when I happened across this service for the first time, the number of servers barely reached 1 300. Now, they are more than 1 600. The very first IPVanish review I have read dated back to 2016 and was negative. A customer claimed that it was almost impossible to contact customer support, and the situation literally wore him out. Today, the support managers reply in a minute or less. The platform supports live chat and provides multiple ways to reach them out. Plus, all current reviews were positive. If there is any unsatisfactory feedback, the company representative responds to it suggesting ways out.

I cannot judge how fast they develop new features and if they plan to include more extras in their pricing plans. But there is definitely the potential for growth. Some things have to be improved and new unique functions to be developed. As for now, this service is good enough and worth its money. As mentioned, it is an average solution for the average price. Taking into account regular promotions, it is more than affordable. Besides, the unmetered simultaneous connections make it a really good deal. So, if you need a reliable and fast enough VPN service without any specific unique characteristics, IPVanish is a great choice.

Yet, I recommend choosing a VPN service that resides in the territories where privacy is the top priority. In this regard, I am not sure if Florida is the best place for the VPN service as I have heard such platforms can interact with law enforcement agencies. And, of course, we all are aware of these data leaks that are constantly happening in the US. Plus, publicly released audits can be risky in such a situation. However, IPVanish seems to be one of these services that take your privacy seriously. In the end, the USA is not the worst place in terms of data security either.

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