IPVanish is a popular VPN service known for its personal online security products. In this IPVanish review, I’ll explain whether this VPN is a must-have online privacy tool or should be avoided at all costs.
I put this US-based VPN through a real, impartial test so to give you a balanced and clear picture about this service.
Before I could decide whether to recommend it or not, I answered some crucial questions about what IPVanish is, how it works, is it fast, is it secure and whether it’s easy to use.
|Based in||United States|
|Apps||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Fire TV, Linux, Chrome OS|
|Features||Killswitch, OpenVPN obfuscation, LAN traffic block, DNS, IPv6 traffic leak protection, split-tunnelling|
|Works with||Netflix, Kodi, routers|
|Customer support||24/7 live chat, email and phone support|
What is IPVanish?
IPVanish is a VPN service based in the United states.
It’s a veteran market and is particularly popular for streaming purposes, which explains its diverse compatibility with a range of streaming services like Netflix, Kodi, Fire TV and others.
But, besides the streaming use case, the software is also heavily used for privacy reasons. And for this, the provider implements industry-standard security features like AES-256-CBC for encryption, IP leak protection, custom DNS and OpenVPN obfuscation.
IPVanish is a relatively fast VPN, reaching peak download speeds of 149 Mb/s over its OpenVPN protocol. You can expect slightly faster speeds over some of its less secure VPN protocols.
IPVanish price – decent value on one year plan
There are three IPVanish subscription plans to pick from: monthly, quarterly and annual.
Plans with longer commitments come with pretty sizeable discounts.
So if you go for either the 3-month (quarterly) or the 12-month plan, you can snag a deal up to 46% off from the standard monthly rate.
|1 year||$6.49 /mo. (save 46%)||Get started|
|3 months||$8.99 /mo. (save 25%)||Get started|
|1 month||$11.99 /mo.||Get started|
IPVanish often runs special offers with discounted prices and coupons on its VPN plans.
You can find out if an offer is available at this time by heading to IPVanish.com.
Or, head to the VPN coupons page. It’s updated regularly with the latest VPN deals.
IPVanish free trial & refunds
IPVanish does not offer a free trial period. But like with many other VPNs, you can make use of the 30-day money back guarantee after purchasing.
You can pay for an IPVanish subscription either by credit or debit card (Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express, JCB).
PayPal is also an option.
IPVanish speed – fast and reliable (149 Mb/s)
|My speed test shows that IPVanish offers fast and reliable speeds on its service through all of its international locations.|
I tested IPVanish connections to see if the service is as fast and as reliable as it claims.
In all honesty, my expectations were already high going into this review given IPVanish boldly brands itself a ‘top tier’ VPN.
Seven days of testing six different locations later and the results were impressive.
How fast is IPVanish?
- The fastest download speed recorded was 149 Mb/s through a UK server
- The overall average speeds dipped just below 100 Mb/s
- US, Canada and Singapore servers all performed very well given the geographical distance
- The average speed of all locations combined increased throughout the week of testing
|Server location||Top speeds||Average speeds|
|UK – York||148.5 Mb/s||136.1 Mb/s|
|Germany – Munich||110 Mb/s||94 Mb/s|
|US – New York||112.2 Mb/s||87.1 Mb/s|
|US – Austin||122.6 Mb/s||97.5 Mb/s|
|Canada – Toronto||117.3 Mb/s||95 Mb/s|
|Singapore||104 Mb/s||79.2 Mb/s|
I ran these speed tests using a baseline 500 Mb/s broadband connection.
At the time of writing this review, the service doesn’t yet support the faster WireGuard protocol. Therefore, I tested its speeds over OpenVPN (UDP).
Is IPVanish safe? (privacy overview)
|IPVanish is a ‘no-log’ VPN service. It’s also one of the few VPNs to have proved its claim of not keeping traffic logs during a publicised FBI case when the company could only hand over user connection logs, which today it claims it no longer stores. It’s based in the United States where it’s not subject to mandatory data retention, but its jurisdiction does fall into the notorious Five Eyes surveillance network.|
|No logs (audited/verified)||✔️|
|No DNS, IPv6 leaks||✔️|
|No viruses or malware||✔️|
|Passed data packet inspection||✔️|
Every VPN service, without exception, should get one thing absolutely right – user privacy.
To find out if it checks all the right boxes in this department, I tested IPVanish for DNS leaks and unpacked a few important facts about the company’s past that you should know about.
DNS leak test (passed ✅)
After checking a few, random servers for potential DNS leaks, I was pleased to find that none of them exposed my real IP address.
The results – tested on IPLeak.net – showed correct IPv4 and DNS IP addresses assigned to me by the VPN:
Does IPVanish log?
Since its inception, IPVanish has been adamant about having a strict ‘no-log’ policy.
This is the statement you’ll see a lot on their website.
Logs and the FBI case
In 2016, IPVanish – which at the time was owned by another parent company – assisted the FBI with a serious criminal investigation.
The suspect’s IP address was traced back to a server run by the provider, and the company was ordered to provide information about its user.
Its ‘zero-log’ policy held up – the company actually had no traffic logs to share with the authorities.
But it did provide the FBI with the user’s account information and connection logs, matching them with the online criminal activity.
Their cooperation with the authorities helped identify the suspect and ultimately led to a successful conviction.
Make of that what you will. This certainly hasn’t made their PR manager’s job easy.
But my key takeaways on its logging policy are:
- IPVanish has a real ‘zero-logs’ policy (although, hasn’t recently been audited)
- Today, it claims it no longer keeps connection logs
- Remember – No VPN is immune to criminal investigations
Where is IPVanish based?
IPVanish VPN and its parent company are registered in the United States.
It therefore falls under US jurisdiction.
This isn’t ideal for any VPN, as it becomes subject to the Five Eyes international surveillance network.
NetProtect and IPVanish’s global operations are registered in the USA. Ultimately, our customers benefit from the location of our operations more than any implied risk to privacy.
We enforce our zero-log VPN policy through the underlying architecture of our service. Traffic passing through our service is protected by strong encryption.
Who owns IPVanish?
IPVanish is operated by by NetProtect, which is part of publicly-listed tech giant – J2 Global.
J2 Global owns many other recognisable brands, including IGN, Ookla Speedtest, Mashable and PCMag.
But ownership of the US-based VPN has changed hands on a few occasions.
- Originally launched in 2012 by Mudhook Media Inc. – a subsidiary company of Highwinds Network Group
- In 2017, Highwinds was acquired by Texas-based tech security outfit StackPath
- In 2019, just two years later, the company again found a new and current owner in NetProtect – owned by J2 Global
This means these services are part of one family and actually share parts of the network between them.
Virus test (passed ✅)
I ran the IPVanish PC client through a virus scan, which showed no security risks present.
This means, the app is safe to download and install.
To run the scan, I used the online antivirus detector – VirusTotal, which is designed to spot known viruses and malware in the scanned files.
Deep packet encryption inspection (passed ✅)
I also checked to make sure that IPVanish’s encryption was working as it was supposed to.
Using a method called Deep packet inspection, I manually scanned the encrypted OpenVPN data packets created by IPVanish.
Normally, without an active VPN, these packets would show the addresses of the websites I’ve been visiting.
This is precisely the type of personal data your ISP would have access to if you weren’t using a VPN.
When using IPVanish, however, you can see that my traffic data has been completely obscured by the VPN tunnel.
In other words, this is really good news as it means IPVanish can successfully hide your browsing activity from your ISP or any other malicious third party.
How does IPVanish work? (apps & features)
|IPVanish works on many operating systems and devices. It has VPN apps for Windows/PC, Mac, Android, iOS, Amazon Fire TV and Chrome OS. It’s also compatible with routers, Smart TVs and streaming platforms like Netflix and Prime Video. It offers strong security features like AES-256-CBC encryption, a kill switch as well as DNS/IPv6 leak protection.|
IPVanish is also compatible with Linux (Ubuntu, Fedora, Kali Linux, Linux Mint, Lubuntu, Pop! OS).
Additionally, if you plan on running your VPN through your entire WiFi network, the service works with DD-WRT, Tomato, ASUSWRT and ASUSWRT-Merlin routers.
Where are IPVanish servers?
One of the biggest advantages to using IPVanish is having access to a large VPN network (pardon the tautology).
It offers access to more than 1,400 servers in 70+ geographic locations.
This makes it super easy for changing your virtual location to be able to bypass geoblocking or online censorship.
While testing the service for this IPVanish review, I did spot that some locations didn’t completely match those listed in the app.
Though, for the most part, the difference was the app connecting me to another city in the same state.
For example, I selected Houston, but actually landed in Austin – both in Texas, USA.
Otherwise, the list of countries to choose from is big.
You’ll have access to entire clusters (many servers in the same location) in the US, Canada, UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, to name a few.
Therefore, for optimal speeds, you’re bound to find a server close to your location.
Is IPVanish easy to use?
IPVanish is definitely one of the more user-friendly VPNs.
It’s easy to install and takes one click to connect.
The Windows app interface isn’t that compact. In fact, you can expand the client’s window to full screen, if you needed to.
What I also really like about the IPVanish app is that despite all these additional features, the UI itself still feels light.
It’s not clunky or laggy when switching between tabs, unlike some overloaded VPN apps I’ve previously reviewed.
However, the client does take up a chunky 90-100MB of memory while running.
Which security features does IPVanish have?
You’ll want to fine-tune your IPVanish security settings to ensure you’re getting the most out of your VPN.
Below are the security features you can toggle directly from the app:
- Internet killswitch
- DNS leak protection
- IPv6 leak protection
- LAN traffic blocking
- OpenVPN obfuscation (for networks and locations where VPNs are actively blocked, e.g. China)
IPVanish supports various connection types, depending on what you need the VPN for most (i.e. speed, security or bypassing censorship):
- OpenVPN (UDP or TCP) – fast and secure
- IKEv2 – fast and secure
- SSTP – slow but very secure
- L2TP – average speed and security level
- PPTP – fast but not secure
Note: supported VPN protocols will vary by operating system
While testing the VPN for this IPVanish review, I was mainly connecting using the OpenVPN UDP protocol.
IPVanish uses some of the highest encryption standards implemented by VPNs today:
- Encryption: AES-256 bit
- Key authentication: RSA-2048 bit key
- Data authentication: HMAC SHA1 data
- Control authorisation: HMAC SHA-256
IPVanish Android app
The IPVanish Android app is certainly as slick as the desktop version.
There are a few differences, though.
For example, in settings you’ll see the Split Tunnelling option. You can use it to filter out specific apps you don’t need running through the VPN tunnel.
Also, the VPN protocol choice is limited to OpenVPN, as tends to be the case with VPN apps on Android. But you can switch between UDP (for normal connections) and TCP (bypass strict networks).
Can IPVanish be used on multiple devices?
Yes, IPVanish is one of the few providers to allow unlimited connections, making it a suitable VPN for large households and even small businesses.
But, according to the provider’s Terms of Service, it ‘reserves the right to reduce or limit connections to ensure the proper functioning of systems’.
Does IPVanish work with Netflix?
IPVanish works with Netflix without issues.
As you can see, I was able to access the Netflix US library by connecting to a US server using the Windows app.
IPVanish and torrents – allowed through SOCKS5 proxy
IPVanish allows torrenting but only through one of its SOCKS5 proxy servers.
What is SOCKS5?
If you’re not familiar with SOCKS5 proxies, you should know it doesn’t work exactly like a VPN.
A SOCKS5 proxy can hide your IP address for both web (HTTP) and BitTorrent traffic. But what it doesn’t do is encrypt your traffic like a VPN tunnel would.
What’s clear from the the company’s terms of service and from speaking to its support team – the provider prefers you to use the SOCKS5 proxy for torrenting.
This makes sense, especially as the company is based in the US and owns its server infrastructure.
Most likely, this means it runs a higher risk of receiving copyright infringement notices for unauthorised content distribution over its VPN.
It is our policy to terminate in appropriate circumstances the accounts of subscribers who infringe the copyrights of others. You may not upload, download, post, publish, transmit, reproduce, or distribute in any way, files, material, information, software or other material obtained through the System that is protected by copyright or other proprietary right or derivative works with respect thereto, without obtaining permission of the copyright owner or other right holder.Excerpt from IPVanish’s Terms of Service
Is IPVanish safe for torrenting?
You can safely use IPVanish VPN for torrents.
And there are no restrictions on which server you should use for P2P.
It does, however, prefer customers using its SOCKS5 proxy for torrents.
The proxy is quick to set up in your BitTorrent client settings, and you can find information on how to do it along with the server addresses here.
I don’t recommend using the SOCKS5 proxy together with an active VPN connection as this can destabilise your connection and potentially compromise your anonymity.
I also don’t recommend using the SOCKS5 proxy on its own for torrenting as your connection should really be encrypted at all times.
Which is why, if you’re reading this review hoping it’s suitable VPN to torrent with, I would suggest to sticking to VPN servers.
SOCKS5 proxy torrent IP leak test (passed)
To check the proxy works as intended, I ran a quick IP address leak test on IPLeak.net.
My publicly visible IP address was shown to be that of of the SOCKS5 server, proving the proxy works well.
IPVanish reviews on Reddit – what the users say
Reddit is generally a credible source for IPVanish reviews. Although, I do recommend taking some time filter out the noise and shill posts.
After a few searches and filtering for quality user feedback, I found that, for the most part, people who’ve claimed to use the service were usually happy with the VPN.
IPVanish support – is it helpful?
IPVanish offers a broad range of customer support options, including:
- phone support,
- online knowledge base.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get through to a live chat agent, even though the company claims it’s available 24/7.
Phone support is a rarity among VPNs, and IPVanish is one of the very few services that actually offers it.
Note that it’s only available to customers in the United States, Mexico, Brazil, United Kingdom, Spain and Australia.
And you can find the correct contact number here.
IPVanish review verdict – a solid VPN but with drawbacks
|After testing IPVanish for a month, I can highly recommend this VPN for many of its features, though not quite across the board.|
It’s a secure service with strong encryption and a no-log policy. IPVanish is likewise a great option for streaming. However, the company is based in the US, which raises some concerns due its jurisdiction being part of the Five Eyes surveillance network.
Here’s a simple recap of what I liked and disliked about IPVanish:
👍 Why you should buy it (pros)
- Doesn’t store traffic logs and has proven it in the past
- Large server network with access to 1,400+ servers in 70+ locations
- Great applications – very slick and easy-to-use VPN apps
- Works with Netflix and other streaming services and platforms (e.g. Kodi)
- Torrents are allowed through designated nodes or via the SOCKS5 proxy
- Strong security: AES-256-CBC encryption, kill switch, custom DNS, IP leak protection and obfuscation
- Offers live chat & phone support
- Unlimited device connections – perfect for an entire household or even a small business
👎 Why you should look for alternative VPNs (cons)
- Registered in the US, and is therefore subject to the Five Eyes surveillance network
In a nutshell, I’m confident my review shows that this is a very decent VPN.
It’s on the cheaper end of the premium VPN market.
Thus, it’s safe to say you’ll be paying a below-average price for features normally charged at a premium.
The company has had a slightly bumpy past with connection logs, and you’ll see this mentioned in almost every IPVanish review on the web. But, I genuinely disagree with claims there was any major foul play on the part of the company.
At the end of the day, the third party it handed over user data to were the authorities, and it was already transparent about its connection logs.
More importantly, it’s worth noting that, just like ExpressVPN in 2016, IPVanish has also managed to prove itself to be a credible, ‘no-log’ VPN in terms of not logging traffic data.
This is undoubtedly a big deal.
And that’s why I scored IPVanish a solid 8 out of 10.
If you’re a first-time buyer, and especially if you need a VPN for streaming, don’t overlook this provider.
IPVanish alternative – two recommended options
|If you’re still on the hunt for something different – perhaps IPVanish is missing a feature or maybe it’s a little too pricey, I can suggest a couple of very good, fully tested VPN alternatives.|
- Based in the BVI (no data retention)
- No logs (audited)
- Excellent speeds
- Also has nice apps
- Tough encryption
- Torrents allowed
- Worked with Netflix
- A bit expensive
Private Internet Access
- Top speeds
- Proven no-log track record
- Up to 10 simultaneous connections
- Slick VPN clients
- DNS leak protection
- Based in US (5 Eyes network)