IPVanish Review 2019

BEST FOR: Great VPN for Kodi

  • Absolutely zero logs
  • Super fast VPN servers
  • Strong encryption
  • Many native apps
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IPVanish Overview

Joel Timothy

Last updated: 04 April 2019

IPVanish started way back in 1999 and is now one of the top VPNs in the industry. The VPN is also said to be the only ‘top tier’ VPN provider because they completely own and control their own server network. Though based in the US, IPVanish makes up for this by observing a strict zero logs policy. In this IPVanish review, we will explore all aspects of the VPN and help you determine whether it’s the right VPN for you.

Pros

What we liked

  • Zero logs
  • Excellent speeds
  • Five simultaneous connections
  • Super apps
  • OpenVPN, L2TP, and PPTP
  • Works with Netflix and other streaming services
  • 7-day money-back guarantee

Cons

What can be improved

  • No Bitcoin Payment

Security & Privacy

Privacy

Being based in the US could be one of the worst scenarios for a VPN. The US is home to the NSA and other tough law enforcement agencies. Companies and their lawyers in the country are also very active in the protection of their copyrights. Government surveillance and the recent repeal of net neutrality rules in the US only makes the situation worse.

IPVanish however promises that they keep no logs. They declare that “IPVanish does not collect or log any traffic or use of its Virtual Private Network service.

Further, they state that:

“You do not have to give us any personally identifiable (‘personal’) information to browse our Site, but to subscribe to our Services you must create an account and register with us. In general, we collect the following limited information from users and only use it in order to process payments:

  • Account information
  • Site visitors

However, we do not track user activities outside of our site, nor do we track the browsing activities of users who are logged into our VPN service.”

The fact that IPVanish also owns and operates their entire network greatly improves your privacy and security levels. However, they do not mention connection logs in their privacy policy.

There were concerns about their privacy in mid-2017 when Reddit user 8obhex wrote an explosive post about a criminal complaint document (PDF). The post alluded that IPVanish is not as trustworthy as they claim. In the report, they assisted Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) by providing detailed connection logs that clearly identified a suspect.

However, that incident happened before the acquisition of Highwinds Network Group (the company that runs IPVanish) by StackPath. The new owners say that they did an internal audit to ensure their current policy is consistent with their practices and they promise that they do not keep any logs.

We, however, do not like the fact that IPVanish scrapped Bitcoin payments which helped users to pay anonymously.

 

Security

IPVanish is quite serious about security, and they offer military grade AES-256 bit encryption with an RSA-2048 bit key authentication. For data authentication, IPVanish HMAC SHA1 is used, while HMAC SHA-256 is used for control authorization. The Diffie-Hellman Key (DHE) helps implement perfect forward secrecy.

Generally, this is quality security that can’t be breached. IPVanish can therefore be termed as one of the most private and secure VPNs.

IPVanish also offers flexibility to users with a number of protocols available for to choose from. Different platforms employ various protocols, and they are listed below.

  • Windows- OpenVPN 256-bit, OpenVPN Scramble, PPTP
  • macOS- OpenVPN 256-bit, IPSec, L2TP
  • iOS- IKEv2, IPSec
  • Android/ Fire TV- OpenVPN UDP/ TCP
  • Router- OpenVPN, PPTP
  • Linux- OpenVPN, PPTP
  • Chromebook- L2TP (128 bit), IPSec
  • PPTP
  • L2TP/IPSec
  • IKRv2
  • OpenVPN

This wide range of protocols is suitable especially for users who would like to use their VPN for different purposes. A highlight of all of these is OpenVPN Scramble. This is a form of the secure OpenVPN protocol that has been modified to evade VPN blocking imposed by governments in highly censored countries. L2TP is not a recommended VPN, but IKEv2 is a protocol with good-enough security and super speeds.

Pricing & Payment

IPVanish offers 3 pricing plans. These plans only vary in terms of the billing periods and not the features offered within each.

1 Month

$10.00

Per month

7-day money-back guarantee

most popular
1 Year

Save
46%

$143.88

$6.49

Per month

$77.99 billed every 12 months.

7-day money-back guarantee

3 Month

$8.99

Per month

7-day money-back guarantee

*Although we make every effort to ensure all prices are accurate, we cannot guarantee thet they are always up to date

Below are the plans:

  • 1 Month Subscription: The plan costs $10 a month, you save 17%
  • 3 Month Subscription: The plan costs $26.99 billed every 3 months. $8.99 per month
  • 1 Year Subscription: Costs $77.99 billed every 12 months. $6.49 a month

Considering the quality of service and the wide array of features offered by IPVanish, this is great pricing compared to other VPNs.

7-Day Money Back Guarantee

IPVanish offers a no-questions-asked 7 day money back guarantee. Though it’s only 7 days unlike other services that offer 30 days, IPVanish doesn’t include any complicated clauses like many other VPNs do with their guarantees. Further, it is the most hassle-free money back guarantee process that we have seen. You don’t even have to send a email if you wish to get your money back.

All you need to do is log in to the control panel. At the bottom of the subscription page, click on the link “I wish to cancel my subscription.” After completing the cancellation process, you will receive a confirmation email. You will be told that your payments will be processed within 10 business days.

Free Trial

IPVanish doesn’t really offer a free trial. The only free trial is for iOS customers, and it’s only made available by Apple, not IPVanish.

Nevertheless, the 7-day money back guarantee works just like a free trial, and we didn’t experience any issues with their refunds. You may not be eligible for the 7-day money back guarantee if you have already used the free trial for iOS.

Payment Methods

Unfortunately, IPVanish doesn’t offer many payment methods. We were disappointed to find that IPvanish has eliminated Bitcoin payment from their payment options. Currently, they only have credit card and PayPal payments as choices.

Credit cards
Payment Service

Performance

On tests the IPVanish windows client didn’t perform well. The app sometimes took a long time to connect, and a few times it failed to connect. This can be frustrating because whenever it happens, you need to kill the app and start over again.

In addition, sometimes you get a notification that a driver isn’t functioning. In case that happens, they will give you an option to reinstall the driver, and your client should continue working from there. We noticed these problems only with the Windows VPN client, the smartphone functioned fine.

Speed test

We did a few speed tests to test IPVanish’s status as one of the fastest VPNs around. The first screenshot shows my connection with no VPN turned on. This is meant to give us a benchmark for the rest of the tests. All IPVanish speed tests were done using the OpenVPN (UDP) protocol, which is the standard protocol.

IPvanish

The second test was done when connected to a server near me, and below are the results.

 

IPVanishYou can see that the speeds offered are quite high. We then connected to a server far away.

The speeds are still high, and there’s just a minimal drop in speed. Generally, IPVanish is one of the fastest VPNs in the market. However, we noticed that some servers are not as fast as others. You may need to play around with testing various servers if your current one isn’t so fast.

This speed test was recently conducted on April 10, 2019

 

Servers & Location

IPVanish VPN Review

The server network is one of the strongest points of IPVanish. This is especially because of the fact that they own their entire server network. This helps them have control over how user data is treated and allows direct access to enhancing security and privacy.

In total, IPVanish has 1,300+ servers in 75 locations and 60 countries. These servers use 40,000+ IPs, which are all shared. You can set up the VPN to use different IP addresses during the same session, which is enabled by IPVanish IP rotator.

IPVanish servers are distributed across:

  • North America
  • South America
  • Asia
  • Oceania
  • Europe
  • Africa
  • Central/South America

The most widely covered area is the US, home of IPVanish, with a whooping 645 servers in 17 cities. Europe has 462 servers in 34 countries, while Amsterdam is the city with most servers, boasting a total of 98 servers. The total number of IP addresses used is 40,000+.

Server switching in IPVanish is unlimited, as is bandwidth. P2P is also supported across all servers which is good news for torrent lovers.

Features

IPVanish offers quite a number of features.

Kill Switch

Among the features that a VPN offers, a kill switch should be one. IPVanish does offer an automatic kill switch, which immediately blocks any network activities until your VPN connection is restored. This is ensures that during that period when you don’t have your VPN privacy jacket on, you do not get exposed to your ISP or other third parties. IPVanish’s kill switch comes in handy especially when you are downloading torrents and want to leave your device unattended.

Obfuscation Technology

Highly censored countries like China and Iran know how to block VPN traffic. This is where IPVanish obfuscation comes in. With this feature, IPVanish claims it’s able to break down OpenVPN traffic and make it appear like regular HTTPS traffic.

Features
Smart DNS
Bypass Netflix
Onion Tow Web Address
Split Tunneling
Stealth Technology/Servers
Allow Torrenting
Automatic Kill Switch
ipv6
Open Ports

 

P2P

IPVanish allows you to use legal torrents on any of its servers. However, IPVanish notes that you may experience slow speeds when using BitTorrent. To boost filesharing, the VPN now has SOCKS5 proxy. This proxy greatly helps P2P, Bittorrent, and Tor traffic not only be super fast but also anonymous.

IPVanish SOCKS5 Proxy Server

This is a dedicated socket secure (SOCKS) server offered by IPVanish to support web (HTTP) traffic and P2P BitTorrent clients, such as uTorrent, Vuze, and Deluge. It is meant to help users who don’t need advanced security and its slower speeds due to encryption. The IPVanish SOCKS5 proxy server therefore only provides the flexibility and privacy of masking their IP addresses to offer maximum connection speed. To use it, you need to generate custom SOCKS5 proxy credentials from your registered IPVanish account and then set them up within your legal BitTorrent client.

IPv6 & DNS Leak Protection

IPVanish forces all of your internet traffic over IPv4 to keep any IPv6 addresses from leaking. This prevents you from exposure to third parties.

DNS leak protection, on the other hand, protects your DNS requests from being sent back to the ISP, something that can expose whatever sites you are visiting online.

Device Compatibility

IPVanish is highly compatible, and offers a large selection of clients. The supported clients include:

  • Windows
  • Mac OS X
  • Android
  • iOS
  • Linux
  • Windows Phone
  • Fire TV
  • Chromebook
  • Routers

You can install IPVanish on as many devices as you like, and you can connect up to 5 of them simultaneously. That means that with just one subscription, you can protect all your devices and your entire family.

IPVanish Setup & User Interface

The Website

IPVanish VPN Review

IPVanish has one of the best looking VPN websites. It is well organized, and you won’t have trouble navigating within the website. Information is easily found, and the footer side of the website provides links to tons of additional more.

Getting Started with IPVanish

There’s no workaround for getting a free trial with IPVanish, and so you can just click Start Now.

You will be presented with the different pricing plans so that you can make a choice.

To continue with the sign-up, you will be required to enter your email address, password, and then pay using your preferred method. Your account will be created, and confirmation sent via email. You can then download your preferred client from the Apps section.

Installation takes less than 2 minutes.

IPVanish Desktop Client

On the first run, you will be required to enter your login credentials.

IPVanish VPN Review

The app remembers your logins, and so you won’t need to enter them again. After log in, you will be presented with the IPVanish desktop which is not really simple, but quite straightforward.

IPVanish VPN Review

The IPVanish desktop client gives you a lot of flexibility in deciding where to connect. You can connect to a VPN server by selecting the country you want, the city, and even the server. If not sure, you can just use Best City and Best Server. The connection can, however, take a little while with IPVanish. On average, the VPN takes 20 seconds to connect.

Using the Server List, you can also access a more detailed list of servers and even a map of servers near you.

IPVanish VPN Review

You can also filter them by country or latency.

IPVanish VPN Review

Customization Options

IPVanish does a nice job at letting users design their own VPN experience. This is through the many customization options that they provide under Settings.

Under General, you can determine how your IPVanish client behaves. You can choose, for example, from options such as starting when Windows starts, and more.

Under Connection, you get to shape your connection.

IPVanish VPN Review

You can select your protocol between OpenVPN UDP, OpenVPN TCP, L2TP, and PPTP. OpenVPN UDP is the most recommended protocol if you want to have a good balance of security and speeds.

Here, you can also enable the kill switch as well as activate IPV6 and DNS leak protection. Under IP Settings, you can customize your IP rotation as well as choose to use 3rd party DNS.

IPVanish VPN Review

IPVanish Smartphone Client

IPVanish Android app doesn’t look anything like the Windows client, but it’s still quite easy to use. Once you open it, you will get a Connect button that tries to connect you to the best country, best city, and best server.

IPVanish VPN Review

You can also choose the country, city, and server from the homepage, which makes connecting even easier.

If you want to access the full server list, you can do so by clicking the Menu icon on the top left corner and then selecting Server List.

IPVanish VPN Review

You can also customize your connection under Settings> Connection.

IPVanish VPN Review

Compatibility

For this IPVanish review, we decided to test if IPVanish works with various streaming sites.

Does it work with Netflix

IPVanish works with Netflix. However, you can only use the service to watch Netflix US. But with the US having the largest library, you can get lots of titles.

Does it work with BBC iPlayer

IPVanish doesn’t work with BBC iPlayer. The website recognizes IPVanish address. This blockage also applies with Hulu. The support team also confirmed that IPVanish can no longer offer these services.

China

Though they have obfuscation technology, IPVanish states that:

Our automated IPVanish apps will not work if you are attempting to connect to our VPN from inside of China because our domain is being blocked within the region. For our VPN to successfully operate in China, you will need to manually configure and connect to our servers’ IP addresses instead of our server names.”

Devices

  • iOS
  • Android
  • Windows Mobile
  • Windows
  • Mac
  • Linux

Browsers

  • Internet Explorer

Others

  • Android Boxes
  • Router Configuration
  • DDWRT Router

Customer support

IPVanish is a bit tricky when it comes to their live chat customer support. While doing this review we thought that the VPN had actually eliminated their live chat support. We also observed other users on different platforms express frustration with this.

It was only during sign up that we found out that live chat is still supported, 24/7. So, we decided to test it out.

IPVanish VPN Review

It took longer than we expected to connect to an agent (up to 2 minutes), and the agent was also slow to respond as you can see above.

The other way you can get to the customer support agents is through the ticket system.

However, we were pleasantly surprised that the support team was able to reply my ticket in just 2 minutes!

This is something we haven’t experienced with ticket systems of other VPNs. We suppose that this is in a bid to complement the lack of a live chat system. We tried to confirm this, and we got a response in just 6 minutes. Other VPNs can sometimes take 10 hours to reply a ticket! Overall then we were satisfied with IPVanish’s customer support experience.

You can also get assistance through FAQs and set-up guides that IPVanish provides.

Conclusion

The VPN lives up to its name and makes your IP literally vanish with  zero logs, in addition to a number of other security features showcasing IPVanish’s commitment to privacy. Its only major flaw is the fact that it isn’t suited for those who want to stream from Netflix, BBC iPlayer and Hulu. Still, it’s fantastic speeds, as well as superb security, make it one of the top VPNs in the market. IPVanish is definitely worth a try!

Written by: Joel Timothy

Joel is a tech writer and editor with a special interest in cyber security and internet freedom. He likes helping readers tackle tricky tech and internet issues, as well as maximize the boundless power of the internet.

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Questions & Answers

John
Guest
John

Hi, my name is John, I am going to Mainland China this week, the destination is Shanghai. Just want to check while I am in China how could I use my phone and app to go to some Australia websites? Especially bookie app such as Bet365, TAB and Sportsbet. As I known gambling websites are forbidden in China as well as those Aussie bookies are disallowed users in overseas as they would check your IP address.

Please help me with above issues, and if I could please give me some instructions. Thanks

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