IPVanish Review: Review of Features and Tests
|Pros of IPVanish||Cons of IPVanish|
|from $6.49 per month*||Poor Netflix support|
|1300+ servers in 75 countries||Doesn’t work with Hulu|
|Allows torrenting||Doesn’t work in China despite having obfuscation|
|Supports all platforms||Speed is low to average|
|No-Logs policy||Slow development|
|Convenient VPN server choice||US jurisdiction|
*- the price usually goes down to $3.25 during special offers
In November 2019, IPVanish lowered its prices by two times for Black Friday. A bit earlier, it changed its owner. But are these things the only recent changes that the provider saw or were there other, more important ones?
To answer this question, I have fully updated the IPVanish VPN review and all the information about this provider.
I will answer the following questions based on my analysis of the latest versions of IPVanish:
- What has changed apart from the prices and whether the performance standards of IPVanish are still some of the best in the market?
- What advantages and disadvantages does IPVanish have currently?
- Should you use IPVanish?
This is not a paid review. Neither I nor anybody else at cooltechzone.com has received a dollar for it from IPVanish or its competitors.
This article will tell you not only about the pros of this VPN service but also about its significant drawbacks. This way, you will form as full an idea about the performance of its apps and the service in general as possible.
Here are the contents to help you understand the process of reviewing:
- What features is IPVanish going to have in 2020?
- Features of IPVanish VPN
- Servers and platforms
- How to use IPVanish?
- How to get IPVanish for free?
- VPN tests
- Information about the company owner
- Conclusion: pros and cons
IPVanish was founded in 2012. Almost at once, it became one of the market’s leaders both in terms of popularity and technological infrastructure. However, the VPN industry has undergone dramatic changes during the last 2 or 3 years: prices dropped and new dynamically developing VPNs appeared in the market that outpaced IPVanish in regards to the infrastructure size and quality of service quite quickly.
What does IPVanish do to keep up? Not too much, sadly. Its network has only grown from 1000 servers in 60 countries to 1300 in 75 this year. At the same time, CyberGhost VPN, for example, has increased its presence from 60 countries to 90 and its number of servers from 3700 to the record 5700.
It also bears mentioning that the technological features of IPVanish are barely being improved.
Its promising Scramble technology that was aimed at bypassing VPN blocks in countries with censorship is practically useless because there are few new servers being introduced while the older ones are already blocked by their IP addresses.
IPVanish still hasn’t implemented such popular extra features as:
- Double VPN
- Port forwarding
- Custom DNS
Another drastic drawback of IPVanish is its kill switch feature. It is only present in the app for Windows while on other platforms, the protection at disconnection from a VPN server and changing locations is unavailable. Generally, you’d expect something like that from an average or even bad VPN service. But IPVanish is still considered one of the best ones and I hope that it will solve this problem as soon as possible.
But the weakest side of IPVanish is its speed. It’s become worse than that of its competitors on average and in some locations (in Spain, for example), it won’t go higher than 0.4 Mbps!
Some things that I can’t criticize are:
- protecting data safety
- energy consumption
- convenient apps (especially in terms of choosing servers in a specific location)
- the number of supported platforms and services
I will discuss these features of IPVanish and many others in following sections. I will also provide some recommendations on how to minimize its flaws.
IPVanish offers three tariff plans with prices depending on the subscription term. All plans are identical in regards to available functions and parameters.
- 1 month - $10.00 per month (Billed $10 monthly)
- 3 months (Most affordable) - $8.99 per month (Billed $26.99 every 3 months)
- 1 year - $6.49 per month (Billed $77.99 every year)
A special offer (all prices halved) was in effect at the moment of writing this article. IPVanish holds such offers once or twice a year. During that time, you can get a 1-year subscription for only $3.25 per month while the 1-month subscription will cost you only $5.00 which is one of the lowest prices in the market.
However, it’s a limited-time offer. At all other times, this provider can be considered pricey. For the sake of comparison, the best VPNs from our Top 10 list cost significantly less. Surfshark’s prices start at $1.99 per month while those of NordVPN start at $3.49.
As I said in the previous chapter, IPVanish has quite a few drawbacks so its steep price must be caused rather by its popularity and unblemished reputation than any outstanding features.
What’s their logging policy?
Here’s what the VPN provider’s policy says about it;
"IPVanish does not collect, monitor, or log any traffic or use of its Virtual Private Network service, under any circumstances, on any platform".
I was glad to find out that even connection logs aren’t collected:
"We do not track user activities outside of our Site, nor do we track the website browsing or connection activities of users who are using our Services".
What does it mean for its users?
It makes you private as not only third parties but also the provider of IPVanish won’t know what you do online and who you are. That’s cool! It’s a very important feature, especially for countries where governments monitor their citizens a lot.
What encryption methods are applied?
It’s AES encryption with a 256-bit key. What do you think? Reliable enough?
It’s one of the safest encryption methods that can codify your traffic and not influence the internet connections as well. (Still, the speed depends on the tunneling protocol applied in the service.)
What protocols are used?
The following protocols are used in the IPVanish software: OpenVPN UDP, OpenVPN TCP, IKEv2, L2TP, PPTP.
As you can see, there’s a great choice of sustainable protocols (except PPTP which is too weak to secure internet connections).
When I tested the IPVanish Windows software, I chose OpenVPN UDP as it’s the fastest protocol. And it’s secure, too.
What IPVanish protocols do I recommend to apply? It depends on what you are going to do on the Internet.
Both types of OpenVPN are good for online streaming (especially, in HD and Ultra HD). It’s fast and secure.
If you care only about your security, and blazing speeds aren’t important for you, IKEv2 and L2TP are a good choice.
Obfuscation of the OpenVPN protocol: what it is, why it’s needed, and why it’s useless with IPVanish
IPVanish has the obfuscation feature on all of its servers. It is called Scramble.
Some countries employ technical means to restrict advanced users’ ability to bypass censorship. They track and block VPN connections.
But how is it possible if a VPN protects and hides all of your traffic?
Simply enough. The thing is, any tunneling protocol (you can read more about how the VPN technology is designed on the homepage) that VPN services use leaves “traces”. They are certain footprints that are commonly repeated in the transferred data sets. Specialized technical means can spot them on the go.
To bypass these devices, various modifications of the popular OpenVPN protocol were developed. They allow altering the footprints and make the detection of the VPN usage harder or even impossible.
Then why isn’t it effective with IPVanish?
Because the governments of such countries don’t simply track the use of a virtual private network but also, first and foremost, blacklist all known VPN servers. And the servers of IPVanish are already on the blacklist.
That’s why it’s not important whether or not IPVanish has obfuscation because its servers are unavailable in any case. This is especially true in China.
Besides government censorship, there are corporate rules. Some companies prohibit the use of third-party VPNs and install detection systems as well. I can’t tell you for sure if obfuscation works in those conditions because breaking the internal regulations of a company goes against my principles.
If you are interested in a VPN that can bypass VPN blocking, you may read our rating of the best paid and free VPNs for China.
What are other useful features?
SOCKS5 web proxy helps you to mask your IP when the connection is not encrypted. It’s applied for P2P and VoIP connections.
10 simultaneous connections on multiple devices is the largest number among the VPN providers I know. If you know the service that allows you to use more devices, let me know.
What do simultaneous connections mean?
You can save your money if you want to secure all your devices, and you have many of them. You just need to obtain one of IPVanish’s plans and download necessary apps compatible with all your gadgets.
24/7 customer support that is available via an online chat. I contacted them before subscribing to ask more about the service. Later I asked them why I failed to connect to their servers. In both cases I got fast and professional assistance.
IPVanish is one of the fewest VPN services that can be used for Kodi. It has apps that are compatible not only with Windows, Mac and Android but also with Smart TV.
The most important characteristics of a modern VPN are likely what platforms it supports, what operating systems it has native apps, and how developed its technological infrastructure is.
What platforms does IPVanish support?
IPVanish works on multiple devices and platforms. Let’s see what they are.
First of all, it has very user-friendly apps for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. If your OS is Linux, you will have to configure a VPN protocol manually. What protocols? For Linux, it’s PPTP and OpenVPN. Don’t worry as there’s detailed instructions on how to do it.
Besides, there’s an extension for Chrome that is installed in a few clicks (that’s real!) and protects your personal information when you surf the Internet via this browser.
IPVanish also offers apps for Kodi, Fire Stick, and TV platforms, settings for routers, and even sells routers with the preconfigured VPN:
How many servers does IPVanish provide and what are their speeds?
In 2019, the number of IPVanish’s servers reached 1300 in 75 countries but it happened back in spring. These parameters did not change during the summer and fall. Compared to its rivals, the pace of this VPN service development is much lower. The latest update of the apps happened 1.5 months prior to the publication of this article. Its competitors improve their apps and fix issues much more frequently.
IPVanish claims that it has ‘’the fastest’’ and ‘’the fastest-growing’’ network. Well…
It couldn’t be farther from the truth! Despite the fact it owns most of its servers instead of renting them, the speeds have dropped considerably. If earlier I used to reckon IPVanish among the fastest providers, today, the situation has changed. Its speed definitely doesn’t seem premium (if its premium-ness is determined by its price).
Tests have shown a much lower speed than its rivals from the Top 10 have. Moreover, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I tested a Spanish location: the speed was lower than 0.5 Mbps. That’s less than most free VPNs have! I tested that location again the next day but the speed remained the same. A very bad result!
You can find more detailed information about speeds in the corresponding section.
So what does IPVanish has to offer that is related to its servers?
It’s certainly how easy they are to choose. You can not only select a country or a city but also a server within them. It’s very convenient when you want to browse the Internet under a virtual private network with the same IP address several times.
So, I tested the app for Windows for this review. What can I say about it? As for me, it’s quite simple to set up and use it: both for beginners and advanced users. It took me a few minutes to download and set up the software. What steps did I follow?
- I visited the site and went to ‘’Apps’’ section.
- The system defined my OS and with one click I managed to download the necessary app.
- Then I opened the installation package and in a few clicks, the software was ready to use.
What about the interface?
It’s quite intuitive and user-friendly, but I’m not pleased with black color of the app. It’s a bit confusing to see it. But it’s just my point of view ☺
All in all, it was easy to use it as everything is clear and understandable: what to click and how to connect to a server.
What about its settings?
The main menu consists of 5 sections:
‘’Quick Connect’’ – for quick connections to the best server.
‘’Server list’’ – for choosing servers for connections.
‘’Account Details’’ – with the information about your subscription.
‘’Settings’’ – with the necessary configurations for using the app.
‘’Information’’ – with Terms of Services and Licenses.
What can you find in ‘’Settings’’?
The settings are divided in general, connection and diagnostics.
In general settings you can configure startup of the system and the IPVanish app itself.
Here is how you can do it in the app:
As far as connection settings are concerned, you have to configure them as you won’t be able to connect to IPVanish servers without them.
I didn’t know that and first I failed to connect several times, but when I chose the protocol and installed the necessary TAP drivers, the connections were successful.
For secure and fast using of the service, I chose OpenVPN UDP and enabled Kill Switch and all kinds of data leak protection. Here’s how I did it:
By the way, I found out that IPVanish is not available Iran, Cuba, North Korea, Syria or Sudan because of the local policy, so if you are going to these countries, you should install the app before you are there.
Here is the extract from their TOS that confirms it:
"Our Services are not intended to be used in countries where offering or providing the Services is illegal, and we do not offer the Services in such countries or to citizens of such countries, including the countries of Iran, Cuba, North Korea, Syria or Sudan".
What do I like about IPVanish?
It’s user-friendly and intuitive. I didn’t have to read any guides or contact online support to use it.
What do I dislike about IPVanish?
I failed to connect to some servers, so I have to look the ones that work. To my mind, they should the interface’s color. But it’s not obligatory ☺
The provider of IPVanish doesn’t offer any free trial, still, you can save you money and use it for 7 days free of charge. But you have to prepay and then ask for refund. Be sure that you manage to do it within first 7 days after your subscription.
Here’s the screenshot from their TOS:
In this section, I will tell you about the test results of IPVanish in more detail and describe a dangerous issue its app for Android has.
IP Leak Test for IPVanish
Does IPVanish leak your IP?
I tested about 15 servers located in different countries, and no IP leaks were detected. The tests were conducted with whatsmyip.com and myip.com.
The kill switch feature was running quite well. I’m pleased with it as my private data was protected.
All of that is mostly relevant to Windows. If you are using the Android app, be careful: some settings combinations and unsteady Wi-Fi or 3(4)G signal may cause the leak of your real location.
I’ll explain. If the auto-connection is turned off, the change of the network (such as from one Wi-Fi to another or from Wi-Fi to the mobile Internet) makes the VPN connection fail and renders all traffic unprotected without displaying any message about the VPN deactivating. IPVanish will only stop updating the visualization of traffic use.
If IPVanish had a kill switch on Android, there wouldn’t be such a problem. It is only included on PC, though, so be careful with the settings.
By the way, even if the auto-connect option is on, it won’t save you from a short location data leak at the moment of reconnection. Keep that in mind when you use torrents or video services that offer free content delivered via the P2P technology (Popcorn Time, Kodi, etc.).
I tested different locations and servers: EU, US and other regions.
I particular, I tested 5 servers in Slovenia, Poland, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain and 5 servers in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Hong Kong, India, and a few US servers.
The speeds are quite fast on most servers, the slowest were the ones located far from my real geo-location. Besides, you have to choose the servers that work as some of them are blocked and show a connection error.
This is the fastest server I managed to find for my geo-location. I applied OpenVPN UDP for my connections.
Here are the speed results for some other servers:
Thus, I am quite pleased with the speeds. If you want faster speeds, you have to try different protocols and locations.
Test for Netflix
Does IPVanish work with Netflix?
Not all servers, but there are a few US servers that mange to unblock Netflix US content.
How did I find out about it?
On this website, I found out the film that is available only in the USA. It’s ‘’Svaha. The Sixth Finger.’’
Then I chose 10 IPvanish’s US servers and tried to stream this film. It’s worth saying that some of them were blocked as I saw Error Code: M7037-1111 as you can see on the screenshot below.
But 5 out of 10 tested servers unblocked Netflix US.
The locations of IPVanish servers that work for Netflix:
- Salt Lake City
- San Jose
- 2 servers in Atlanta
Test for Hulu
I managed to access the Hulu website without any problems but unfortunately, as soon as I attempted to watch a movie, it determined I was using a VPN. So IPVanish can help you sign up for Hulu but not to watch its content.
IPVanish was founded in 2012 by Mudhook Media Inc. but in 2017 and 2019 it changed its owner. Now it belongs to J2 Global which is a large tech company founded in 1995. In 2019, it acquired IPVanish and two other VPN services as a part of its NetProtect project.
It’s too early to say how the change of the owner influences the provider because too little time has passed. Perhaps, we will soon see significant improvements in its work. In any case, we will update this review whenever any considerable changes occur.
J2 Global Inc address:
6922 Hollywood Blvd Suite 500 Los Angeles, CA 90028 United States
Is IPVanish worth using? What are its pros and cons?
Here’s my conclusion:
For me it’s the best VPN I have ever tried, but it’s worth trying as it has lots of pros:
- Very popular, especially in the US
- Unblemished reputation
- Massive experience
- Owns some of its servers
- Supports all platforms
- Stable apps
- Servers are easy to select
Still, I found a few cons:
- Speed issues
- Has changed its owner twice within the past 3 years
- Slow development and infrequent software updates
- Doesn’t have a kill switch for Android, Mac, and iOS
- Poor Netflix support
- No Hulu support
- Doesn’t work in China despite having obfuscation
- US jurisdiction
So to sum it up, should you use IPVanish? It depends on what you need a VPN for. If you don’t torrent on Android, don’t use a virtual private network to unblock geo-restricted video content, don’t reside in China, don’t take on very sensitive tasks that may draw the attention of your ISP or government, and don’t require high speeds, then IPVanish will be a good fit for you. Its technological basis is fairly developed and only a few providers outdo IPVanish’s number of countries. It’s also important that it offers apps and settings for almost every single existing platform that can run a Virtual Private Network.
Top 3 alternatives to IPVanish
I ranked as #1 ‘’All-round’’ VPN in the list of the best VPNs for 2019. It’s perfect for streaming on Netflix and torrenting.
- Multiple compatibility;
- Logs aren’t kept (proved by an independent audit);
- 30-day money-back guarantee;
- Tor over VPN/Double VPN.
$3.49 per month if subscribed for 3 years (Best price!)
To my mind, it’s the best ‘’Budget’’ VPN among cheap services. And here is why I think so:
- Logs aren’t kept ((proved by an independent audit);
- Good intuitive apps;
- Torrenting is allowed;
- IP/DNS leak tests are successful;
- Unlimited devices;
- Works with Netflix.
2 years – $ 1.99 per month if subscribed for 2 years (Best price!)
I ranked as the best VPN for torrenting and Netflix. Why? Here are the reasons why:
- Intuitive apps for multiple platforms;
- P2P is allowed;
- Servers aren’t blocked by Netflix;
- No IP and DNS leaks;
- Tor is supported;
- 45-day money-back guarantee;
3 years – $2.75 per month if subscribed for 3 years (Best price!)
I hope that you enjoyed my IPVanish review! If you are still not sure if it’s good or you want a good free VPN, read my recent overview of free VPN services.
Not good for streaming