When you connect to the Internet through a VPN, all your Internet traffic is connected to the VPN server through a secure, encrypted tunnel. This means that someone spying on your local network, say at a coffee shop, can’t see your online activity.
A VPN also hides your real IP address, making it harder to track you online. If you use a VPN, even your ISP will have a hard time collecting and selling your data.
Although a VPN can greatly improve your online privacy, it won’t protect you from all malicious activities. I strongly recommend installing antivirus software on all your devices, enabling two-factor authentication for all your accounts, and using a password manager to create unique and complex passwords for each website and service.
IPVanish was founded in 2012 by Mudhook Media Inc (a subsidiary of Highwinds Network Group) in Orlando, Florida. They claim to be the fastest VPN with “the most secure connection and the most competitive prices“, but I’m sure I’ve seen similar services at a cheaper price. I will talk about that later in the review.
Their network is huge, with 1,165 servers and over 40,000 IP addresses worldwide. This is great because the closer you are to the servers, the better the internet speed. Since IP Vanish has such a large reach, it is more likely that they will be able to provide you with service. The company owns about 90% of the points of presence (POPs) or data centers, except in areas like Albania where they have to rent hardware. They claim to have servers in over 61 countries, but when I counted the servers I had access to, I found only 49. When I asked the account manager about it, he said it was because some of their servers were being maintained.
Since IPVanish is based in the US, it is under the jurisdiction of the 5 Eyes. The 5 Eyes Intelligence Alliance (which includes Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, and the US) investigates, monitors, and shares personal information when it deems it necessary. For you, this might be too harmful to your personal security, so you need to be aware of this before giving IPVanish a chance.
1 Minute Overview
The current price for IPVanish starts at $2.34 per month for the first installment of a one-year plan, and only $3.49 per month, so IPVanish isn’t a bad deal – but you need to be aware of price fluctuations, VPN deals, and the fact that you’ll have to pay a bit more after a year. Also, SugarSync is no longer free, although you can now add a whopping 500GB of storage for just under a dollar a month extra.
IPVanish has extensive protocol support, some useful custom privacy features like multiple OpenVPN ports, DNS leak protection, and a powerful kill switch. It also claims to be a zero-log provider, but we’d like to see an external audit to prove that.
In the US, connection speeds are on par with the fastest, peaking at over 200 Mbps. In Europe, however, they are less impressive, averaging around 100 Mbps, and speeds suffer over long distances. However, it is by no means a “slow” VPN.
Netflix, Disney+, YouTube and Sling TV can be accessed from anywhere in the world, but unfortunately IPVanish cannot bypass the VPN blocking technology of BBC iPlayer and Amazon Prime Video. Torrent support is excellent, however, and the SOCKS5 setup, along with the kill switch and server-wide compatibility, make it a great choice for P2P sharing.
Finally, customer support is comprehensive, with many excellent articles and a very useful live chat service. Overall, then, IP Vanish is a powerful VPN marred only by a few minor issues, and if you can get it at a good price, it’s good value for money too.
- It allows up to 5 simultaneous connections on multiple devices, more than most competitors
- Zero logging policy
- Torrenting is good, but remember to respect the copyright laws in your country. We do not encourage or condone illegal activity
- Get access to many online services and apps
- In countries where these apps are restricted or blocked, you can access WhatsApp, IMO, Facebook, Gmail, etc. This also includes unlocking VOIP services that are included in some of these apps
- Recent updates have introduced kill switch, obfuscation and DNS leak protection
- Protect your device when using public Wi-Fi networks
- Above average prices, but with discounts
The only thing IPVanish seriously lacks is the number of servers and sites it offers.
IPVanish currently has 1,600 servers in 75 locations in 53 countries. NordVPN only offers 59 countries, but it still has a massive 5,469 servers, giving users more options. The more servers you have, the less likely it is that heavy traffic will slow down the servers you use.
That means IPVanish still has all the major locations the average VPN user would want to use, from the US and UK to Australia and Japan, including countries like the UAE where content is censored or blocked. Even better, I’ve never experienced any slowdown in internet speed when connecting to any of the servers. However, for VPN users in other countries, not having enough servers could be an issue.
On its website, IPVanish claims to offer the “best VPN speeds” through its network of “top-tier” servers around the world. In terms of speed, IPVanish has historically lagged behind other top VPNs, as you can see in the IPVanish vs ExpressVPN comparison.
For this new and updated IPVanish review, I tested a number of servers on the network. My base connection speed (without VPN) was around 500 Mbps. All testing was done using the official IPVanish Windows app and the OpenVPN UDP protocol from my location in the US.
IPVanish speed tests with US servers.
I first tested the IPVanish server in nearby Seattle: 79 Mbps(On average).
The speed was only 79 Mbps, which is much slower than my base speed. So we didn’t get off to a good start with these IPVanish speed tests.
Next up was the IPVanish server in Los Angeles. Again, the IPVanish speeds were not very good, only about 68Mbps(On average).
Then I did some testing with the IPVanish server in New York. This was the slowest IPVanish server I tested, with speeds of about 5Mbps(On average).
Based on all the tests I did with the IPVanish servers in the US, I have to conclude that this is not a fast VPN.
To be sure, I also tested an IPVanish server in the UK. The speed in the UK was around 43Mbps(On average).
Again, we can see that IPVanish does not offer good UK VPN server speeds.
|1 Month||3 Months||1 Year|
All IPVanish packages include the following:
- 40,000+ IP addresses
- More than 1,100 servers
- More than 60 countries
- Unlimited bandwidth
- 256-bit AES encryption
- No logging
- 10 connections across multiple devices
Advanced users may also be interested in anonymous torrenting, unlimited P2P traffic, OpenVPN and L2TP/IPsec VPN protocols, and unlimited server switching.
All this with 24/7 customer support, which I certainly wouldn’t mind paying €3.88 per month.
Security and Privacy
- Jurisdiction: US
- Encryption: AES-256, perfect forward secrecy
- Leakage: No leaks found
- Previous logging scandals
- Shutdown switch included
The question is whether VPNs that don’t log usage data are reliable. ipvanish swears it doesn’t keep logs. As with any VPN, this claim is nearly impossible to verify. One way to determine what a VPN provider must legally do is based on its location (jurisdiction) and whether it has ever been caught logging.
Ideally, the VPN you choose should be audited by an independent third party and the results published, including the use of activity logs. IPVanish is an American company. To maximize privacy, we look for VPN providers that are not covered by the Five Eyes Intelligence Sharing Agreement – that is, not located in the U.S., U.K., Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.
In 2016, IPVanish went through a VPN ritual: law enforcement came knocking with a search warrant (more specifically, a subpoena for Department of Homeland Security records) and put VPN’s “zero logging” policy to the test. IPVanish provided authorities with information that led to the identification and arrest of a child abductor.
To be clear, my problem is not that VPN companies help police catch child abusers using user logs, my problem is that VPN companies lie to their customers to do so. VPNs are international companies. The same lies that help US law enforcement catch child molesters are the same lies that help Chinese law enforcement arrest people who use VPNs in the first place.
IPVanish features a kill button that will shut down your whole internet activity. This is a must-have feature for every VPN. With a kill switch activated, your connection will always be encrypted and your identity will stay hidden.
The IPVanish kill switch is a hybrid of a system-level kill switch (which takes over admin rights to your internet connection and disconnects as soon as a problem arises to prevent your personal data from leaking) and an application-level kill switch (which gives the user more control – he can choose which programs will shut down and which will continue to work in the event of a VPN failure).
Currently, IPVanish only provides the kill switch option on its Windows, macOS, and Android apps, leaving your connection vulnerable on Linux and iOS devices. This implies you need take extra measures when using IPVanish on Linux or iPhone.
I tested the IPVanish kill switch on my Windows desktop and discovered that it constantly worked anytime I was unplugged from the VPN.
Simply follow these instructions to determine if your IPVanish kill switch is turned on. The instructions are for versions of Windows and Mac OS X that presently support this functionality.
On Windows, enable the IPVanish kill switch
- Run the application and input your account information
- On the left side, select Settings
- Go to the Connection tab
- Check the Kill Switch box
- Determine if you want to prohibit LAN traffic in the event of a VPN failure
Activating the IPVanish kill switch on macOS
- Go to the top of the menu bar and select IPVanish
- Select Preferences
- Go to the Connection tab
- Check the Kill switch box
IPVanish’s sibling business is SugarSync. It provides an encrypted cloud storage solution for securely storing up your essential data. SugarSync is now included with IPVanish VPN subscriptions, while the service remains mostly same in price.
The SugarSync account that comes with IPVanish has a storage limit of 250 GB, which is far more than what you get with Apple, Google, and Microsoft’s versions of cloud storage.
As a result of the ease that cloud storage provides, this is a fairly decent product from IPVanish.
IPVanish offers a free password generator that is simple to use. In my testing, creating a password takes only a few seconds – simply choose the password length from the dropdown menu (up to 20 characters) and whether or not to add symbols.
This feature appeals to me since it is really helpful when attempting to generate a secure password on the fly. However, VPNs such as ExpressVPN, PureVPN, and hide.me provide superior free password generators that allow you to make more stronger passwords that are also lengthier and contain unique characters.
Overall, IPVanish’s free password generator is adequate. It is not as configurable as other VPN password generators, but it is user-friendly and enough for rapidly creating a safe password.
VPN providers aren’t always up to snuff when it comes to customer service. Many companies offer the ability to chat directly with an employee to resolve issues quickly, but for more complex problems, you’ll need to find other support methods.
IPVanish offers handy guides that walk you through the process of setting up all your devices. The central Knowledge Center on the website is also useful.
However, there is no live chat, and 24/7 customer support is only available via email. It’s not like emails are answered quickly, and there are delays – makes you wonder why they call it a 24/7 service. Fortunately, email responses are usually short and sweet, and the staff seems to know their way around most issues with the VPN service.
IPVanish is not the best VPN for unlocking subscription streaming platforms. Despite its huge network of servers, it only really works with Netflix in the US.
The VPN service can unlock US Netflix on most US servers, although the website/app can be slow to load.
IPVanish only works with Netflix in Japan and the US. However, only some of the servers work, and there are no dedicated Netflix servers. You have to try different servers until you find one that works.
Netflix recognizes many non-US IP Vanish servers.
Unblocking BBC iPlayer with IPVanish is even worse. All of its UK IP addresses are blocked. And the company has no plans to fix this anytime soon. To stream BBC iPlayer from abroad, you need to use a valid BBC iPlayer VPN.
Also, IPVanish doesn’t work with Amazon Prime Video or Hulu.
On the other hand, the VPN service is a much better option for Kodi and Amazon Fire TV users. There is a great Firestick app that lets you stream Kodi and IPTV apps anonymously.
Installation and Usage
IPVanish offers simple apps for multiple platforms, including Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Windows Phone, Fire TV, routers, and Chromebooks. With so many platforms available, IPVanish makes it easy to secure all of your devices.
Their app offers many security features that are easy to use, even for inexperienced VPN users. You can easily customize the app to suit your needs and stay secure while connected to the internet.
IPVanish has good speeds and is ideal for gaming, torrenting, and streaming. While you watch Netflix, you can’t torrent your favorite movies.
In terms of security, they offer OpenVPN protocol and AES 256-bit encryption to protect you not only from ISP monitoring, but also from hackers and other malicious groups.
When you point your browser at the IPVanish website, you’ll see a clear no-login policy.
“Our strict no-login policy protects the privacy of your identity. We don’t log activity when you connect to our application to protect your civic privacy.”
TOR, or Orion Network, is an encrypted network and transmits your traffic data across multiple servers, ensuring that it’s difficult to track your real-time location.
For those who need serious security measures to combat government surveillance or censorship laws, TOR lets you add a second layer of security on top of your existing VPN to maximize your privacy and ensure that your location and identity remain private.
For most users, this won’t be a problem. But for customers in harsh countries like China or North Korea, that extra layer of security can literally mean the difference between life and death. However, when we flew to China to test VPNs, we found that IPVanish doesn’t really work there.
Results of the Leak Test
To verify that IPVanish was implementing its encryption correctly, I ran some VPN leak tests.
To do this, I connected to one of IPVanish’s VPN servers in London and tested for leaks using our VPN leak test tool. I did not detect any detectable IP leaks or DNS leaks.
My IP address was displayed correctly in London, as was the only DNS address. WebRTC leaks in Chrome also returned negative results on my system.
My ISP does not use IPv6 addresses, so I cannot test for IPv6 leaks.
So to answer the question, is IPVanish secure? Yes, from an encryption standpoint, IPVanish is very good for data security. It even achieves perfect forward secrecy (DHE-2048).
The fact that you have unlimited access to IPVanish on any device you own makes it a great choice for games and game consoles. In fact, it promotes itself as the “best VPN for gaming“. Besides the unlimited device usage, the security measures make it a great choice for gaming. It aggressively fights deep packet inspection, a technique used by ISPs to limit internet speeds based on usage.
In short, with IPVanish you can expect plenty of speed while you play, a high level of encryption and security to keep your true identity secret, a strict no-logging policy and 24-hour support.
How to Cancel IP Vanish
Canceling IPVanish is easy, with login and cancellation options, or contact customer support directly to cancel your account on your behalf.
- Log in to your account: Use your login credentials to access your account on the website.
- Cancel your subscription: Scroll down and click the “I want to cancel my subscription” button.
- Check for confirmation: Check your email to receive confirmation that your account has been cancelled.
If you cancel within the first 30 days of your subscription, you will receive a full refund. If you ordered directly from IPVanish, you will receive an automatic refund within three to five business days. If you purchased your subscription through the iOS App Store, you must contact Apple iTunes to receive a refund.
Pros and Cons
- Zero traffic logging
- Unlimited bandwidth
- VPN servers in 75 countries
- Apps for up to 10 devices per account
- Only 7 days money back guarantee
- BBC iPlayer is not supported
Frequently Asked Questions
Does IPVanish work with Netflix?
IPVanish did not work consistently with Netflix in our testing for this review.
Unfortunately, all of the IPVanish servers I tested seemed to be blocked by Netflix. This results in Netflix only displaying “Netflix Originals” – but no access to country-specific Netflix libraries. For example, I tried to use the US Netflix from IPVanish and it was blocked.
The customer service rep I chatted with also confirmed that IPVanish was having trouble accessing Netflix. If you try, you get annoying Netflix proxy error messages.
Fortunately, there are still some great VPNs that work with Netflix, though many others are not great options.
Will IPVanish work in China?
Currently, IPVanish is not the best VPN for China. That’s because it doesn’t focus on obfuscation. The obfuscation feature masks VPN traffic as traditional HTTPS, so you can easily bypass VPN blockers.
NordVPN and VyprVPN are VPNs that offer good obfuscation features (and work well in China). Obfuscation is useful anywhere a VPN might be blocked. This could be a school network or a work network with limited internet activity.
Is IPVanish worth buying?
IPVanish isn’t powerful enough to justify its price, especially when competitors like NordVPN’s 2-year plan are about the same price. If you want to stream Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, or other services, a VPN with more features is a better choice.
Will IPVanish protect my data?
IPVanish secures your connection and protects your data with military-grade encryption. A strict no-logging policy ensures that your online activities remain completely confidential. However, it doesn’t protect your data from malware or hackers, so you’ll need a special malware and ad blocker to protect yourself from cybercriminals. If you are concerned about security, NordVPN has advanced security features to protect your device. The powerful CyberSec malware blocker can protect your data from hackers and identity thieves without the need for separate software.
Will I have any problems using IPVanish?
It is perfectly legal to use IPVanish! However, if you use it for illegal activities, you can get into trouble. Although the service protects the confidentiality of your connection and the anonymity of your online activities, in some cases (for example, if you disconnect without activating the kill switch) you can be exposed. In these cases, if you do something illegal, you can be prosecuted.
If you live in a place with internet censorship, a VPN is a great way to access blocked sites without getting into trouble. expressVPN is my top choice for easy access to geo-blocked sites – it has the strongest security and best servers, lets you bypass firewalls anonymously, and is one of the few VPNs that actually works in China.
Is there a free version of IPVanish?
There is no free version of IPVanish, but if you cancel within 30 days, you get a money-back guarantee for any reason. If you only need a VPN for a short period of time, you can take advantage of this and just get your money back before the 30 days are up. You can get 2 months for free before your cancellation request is confirmed, like I did. If you need a VPN for even longer, there are some decent free VPNs – but they have significant limitations like annoying ads, data caps, and throttling servers.
Is IPVanish’s upload speed acceptable?
IPVanish upload speeds can vary widely depending on the upload speed offered by your usual ISP, the VPN location and server you connect to, the connection protocol you use, and so on. However, in my experience, IPVanish’s upload speeds are acceptable.
Can IPVanish block advertising?
IPVanish does not offer ad blocking as part of its VPN service. However, you can use an ad blocker along with the IPVanish VPN app.
IPVanish offers a solid VPN service if your main concern isn’t accessing BBC iPlayer and localized versions of Netflix (except for the US), as it doesn’t explicitly support those at the moment. However, it’s a good choice in other respects – connection stability, high browsing and download speeds, strong security, highly customizable apps, many useful features, and phone support.