VPNs have become the lifeline of the modern internet user. Without a suitable VPN by your side, you can’t really expect to preserve your anonymity and privacy online.
However, choosing the right one can be a pretty tough task. With most VPNs offering comparable features and similar pricing plans, it’s tough to settle on the one that can fulfill all your needs.
That’s why to help you decide on the best ones available, I’m on a quest to find out the best VPN of the lot with real tests and documentation.
And today, my travails have led me to IPVanish VPN.
An entirely US-based VPN service, IPVanish is known for offering high speeds and state-of-the-art security at affordable rates.
What’s more, it even claims to be able to bypass major geoblocks from anywhere around the world, thanks to their ‘Scramble’ feature where they add obfuscation to OpenVPN.
But is IPVanish all that it lays claim to, or is it just another case of massive misrepresentation?
That’s what I decided to find out.
In order to do so, I tried out the service myself and tested it out across a wide range of parameters.
The results were more than satisfactory, but with a few significant caveats.
Let’s jump into the fray and see what’s what with IPVanish and whether it really lives up to the expectations.
My testing score is 71 over 100!
What’s IPVanish All About?
IPVanish is a VPN service that’s based entirely on the US. Previously owned by StackPath, the service is currently owned and operated by J2 Global, a holding company that operates a number of cyber resources and services.
I did some more digging and was surprised to find that IPVanish is quite an old service provider, having begun its operation way back in 2012, the service was initiated by Mudhook Media, which was later acquired by StackPath.
While at first the changing of so many ownerships seemed to me to be a negative, after searching more I was glad to find that J2 Global has better privacy policies than the previous owners.
This is a significant step in a positive direction if you ask me.
Once I’d done my due diligence regarding the background of the company, I set out to test the service in real-time.
As usual, the first step that I took was to test for the most important use of a VPN, that of geo-unblocking.
Does IPVanish Support Netflix?
No matter which way you look at it, the best indicator of a good VPN is if it’s able to bypass geoblocks and provide good streaming speeds.
Sadly, when it comes to this, IPVanish performs rather sketchily.
While it does offer significant speeds and ample access to the Netflix US libraries, that’s really nothing novel considering the service is based in the US itself.
I also tried the service with streaming services based in the UK, Canada, and even as far as India.
While some services such as HotStar and SlingTV were easily unblocked, I couldn’t find a single server that works with BBC iPlayer.
Overall, I wouldn’t recommend IPVanish for streaming services.
It’s not able to get past many geoblocks, and doesn’t provide great streaming capabilities.
IPVanish Speed Measurement
Next, I decided to test IPVanish for speed, and due to its rather disappointing performance in the streaming department, I wasn’t really expecting much.
I began my tests with a baseline speed of around 32 Mbps, and after connecting to the nearest server as with all my past testing, my speeds dropped significantly to around 26 Mbps, without fail after numerous testing.
I next ventured to a European server (let’s not name the country), and found an even more decrease in both the upload and download speeds.
I do understand that the further distance of your selected server from your origin point, the slower or greater the speed reduction.
This wasn’t something that I’d really expected for the price point, but hey, there’s a silver lining to every cloud, right?
All things considered; I’d say that IPVanish performs below par in the speed front as well as in streaming.
But that’s not the end of the matter, as next, I decided to try out the service’s Torrenting capabilities.
IPVanish And Torrenting
While torrenting might be a big headache for anti-piracy advocates, nevertheless, for the average user it’s something we can’t do without.
And as its website clearly states, IPVanish allows you to partake in P2P sharing with 100% privacy.
Torrenting speeds with IPVanish are satisfactory, and I experienced only a slight lag when downloading, thanks to their SOCKS5 proxy that enable a fast connection for p2p traffic.
What’s more, the service allows unlimited P2P connections, which is a big plus in my opinion.
There aren’t any dedicated servers for torrenting or P2P though as the like of NordVPN.
With that out of the way, I next ventured to seek out the next prize of my quest: to ascertain whether IPVanish had security features to boast of.
IPVanish And Security
After much testing and deliberation, I’ve come to the conclusion that IPVanish is a safe and secure VPN that provides ample features to safeguard your online activity.
It uses industry-grade AES-256 encryption and supports IKEv2, OpenVPN as well as L2TP/IPSec.
IPVanish effortlessly hid all my data traffic with its advanced encryption capabilities.
It also protected me from DNS and IPv6 leaks as well as WebRTC attacks.
It also includes options for advanced features such as split tunneling and manual DNS configuration.
What’s more, it even has a Kill Switch that ensures your data remains protected, even in the case of a connection drop.
For Torrenting, IPVanish offers the option of a SOCKS5 proxy as well.
In a nutshell, it can be said that IPVanish is one of the better VPNs in terms of security technology.
Whether you’re an advanced VPN user, or just starting out, IPVanish has something to offer you, security-wise.
When it comes to the number of servers, IPVanish boasts of over 1400 servers spread across 60 countries, most of which are situated in Europe and North America.
With all servers offering multiple IP addresses, the total number of available IPs is over 40,000.
This means IPVanish can support a large number of simultaneous connections.
I was also pretty impressed to find that IPVanish has never had a security breach in all its years of operation.
This certainly speaks to the level of service that the company is dedicated to providing.
I’ve spoken with the technical support and not all servers are owned by IPVanish, some are rented.
You can check out my chat with the IPVanish support on this matter in my IPVanish testing report.
IPVanish and Privacy
Once I’d ascertained that IPVanish is a sound VPN when it comes to security and server availability, I next sought to verify the privacy features of the service.
This simply means that IPVanish does not collect any private user information, nor does it keep logs of the user activity.
What’s more, the service provider ensures that no data other than the user email and payment info is collected by the company.
This means that the company values the privacy of its customers.
With all the promises though, IPVanish has never gone through a third-party audit.
A history backdated 2016 before the acquiring of StackPath shows that IPVanish indeed does hand over the logs to Homeland Security in an attempt to track down a criminal.
It does raise my eyebrows when the action does not adhere to what IPVanish has claimed all these while.
StackPath acknowledges the problem and had performed an independent audit and jumped into their defense.
Still, a third-party audit would be much more convincing and justifiable.
As the like of NordVPN audit of its no-log policy by an independent party.
Does IPVanish Work In China?
Sadly, I have to report that IPVanish does not work in China, or in any country which has a high degree of internet censorship.
In China, as well as in other nations such as Cuba, North Korea, or Sudan, the IPVanish official domain is blocked.
Or if you happen to be a victim in the “Pearl of the Orient” and are looking VPN for Hong Kong, it might not be working for you.
However, I did find a temporary workaround for this.
If you can get a hold of specific IPVanish server IP addresses, then you might just be able to bypass the DNS blocks and get connected.
However, seeing as China also blocks sites on an IP level, this might not always work.
Whatever the case, if you’re traveling to a highly censored country, you can forget about using IPVanish to access your favorite shows.
Next, I needed to test out IPVanish on multiple platforms to ensure it was a versatile service.
The following are some of the platforms on which I decided to test the service:
Thankfully, IPVanish has dedicated apps for all these platforms and works with all major devices.
It’s also easily configurable for routers and can be installed to ensure network-level protection.
What’s more, if you’re an advanced user, then you can manually configure the service to work on Ubuntu or even Chrome OS.
Another great thing that I discovered about this service is that it supports up to ten simultaneous connections.
This is a significant improvement over other service providers such as NordVPN, who limit the number of active connections to five.
This improves the versatility of the service to a large degree.
I did note that IPVanish doesn’t come with any browser extensions, but this isn’t a very significant drawback in my opinion.
IPVanish Ease Of Use
As I mentioned before, I used the IPVanish app across a number of platforms, and the service has a more or less uniform interface on all app versions.
The UI is easy to use, intuitive and menu items are simple to navigate.
Installation on all platforms is as simple as downloading the app and running the installer.
For beginners, the IPVanish website has detailed guides that explain the installation process.
IPVanish Customer Support
When it comes to customer support, IPVanish scores really well.
The website has an excellent online help section, where users can find answers to most of their queries.
It even provides query resolution via email and has a 24/7 live chat service.
I tried out all the channels, and personally feel that the live chat option is the best way to get in touch with customer support.
User-friendly and helpful, the chat service is always there to answer any queries you may have.
I even poked around a bit and got hold of a customer rep via phone, who immediately offered to resolve the queries I had.
Overall, I think IPVanish has a very responsive and responsible customer service that ensures users aren’t left in the lurch.
Finally, let’s talk a bit about pricing. When it comes to subscription costs, IPVanish is competitively priced.
The subscription plans are three-tiered and come on a monthly, quarterly, and yearly basis.
All subscriptions must be paid in advance and contain the exact same features, the only difference being the time duration.
As I had already guessed, the monthly plan is the priciest at $10 per month, followed by the quarterly one at $8.99 per month.
The yearly subscription of course is the cheapest at merely $6.49 per month.
Payment is accepted through PayPal, credit cards, and even Bitcoin.
I’ve got a 20% off from my first bill when I signed up.
If you’re an iOS user, then you can also opt for the seven days free trial to test the waters before committing to a paid option.
All of the plans are bundle with SugarSync, a cloud storage service. If you had no idea what SugarSync is about, check out the review here.
So, now comes the most important question of all: should you opt for IPVanish?
Before answering that question let’s consider the facts once again. IPVanish is an extremely user-friendly VPN that offers excellent privacy as well as security features.
A no-logs policy (with hesitation), advanced encryption settings, and multiple security protocols make the service a force to reckon with.
However, when it comes to streaming and removing geoblocks, IPVanish leaves a lot to be desired.
And even though the speed is commendable, nevertheless, watching online content is not really a joyful experience.
On the other hand, if you want a VPN service specifically for Torrenting, then IPVanish will be perfect for you.
What’s more, it’s got an excellent UI and has a solid customer service ready to help you out at any moment.
Considering all of the above, I think if you’re looking for a primarily Torrenting VPN with average speeds and good customer service, then IPVanish is right up your alley.
However, if Netflix and unrestricted content are what you require, then it’s best to set this VPN aside and look for greener pastures.
At the end of the day, the choice depends ultimately on your needs.
But for me personally, I just don’t justify the subscription into IPVanish as compare to the like of Surfshark where the price is down as much as 70% with much more speed and features.