IVACY VPN REVIEW: Safe but speeds leave much to be desired
|Pros of Ivacy VPN||Cons of Ivacy VPN|
Ivacy VPN is a reliable, safe, and affordable VPN service but it has low speeds in most popular locations as well as a number of other issues.
Does Ivacy have any features that would make it attractive for customers and outweigh the problems?
In this review of Ivacy VPN, I will provide answers to all points of issue. To find out them, I have researched the provider and its apps’ work as thoroughly as possible. I used specialized software in my tests on all OSs including Linux, analyzed user reviews, and put all the experience of our team to use.
I verified that Ivacy can do a lot of things but also found important flaws that made it unappealing for some spheres of its use.
In what ways is Ivacy VPN interesting?
- Free trial of the full version.
- Streaming. This provider consistently supports a wide range of streaming services including Netflix and Hulu.
- Truly reliable data protection.
- Price. Ivacy offers average prices but often holds special offers with discounts.
This review contains not only test results but also some useful advice. You can read it in order or skip ahead to the section you need using the quick nav menu:
- 3 differences between Ivacy and other VPNs
- Free use of Ivacy
- Research of Ivacy (Pros, cons, tests, advice)
- Analysis of prices and plans of Ivacy VPN
- History of Ivacy and information about the owner
- My conclusion
Take a look at the main characteristics of Ivacy:
|Supported platforms||– All OSs, but it has an issue on Android, browser extensions,
– Kodi add-on,
– apps for AndroidTV and Firestick
|Encryption standard||AES 256|
|Data leaks||None found|
|VPN protocols||OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP|
|Servers||1000+ in 63 countries|
|Logs||Doesn’t keep logs|
|Streaming||Netflix, Hulu, and others|
As you see in the spreadsheet, this service doesn’t work well with Android. We couldn’t launch a secure connection on that platform (keep on reading, there is a video down there).
I’m also deeply concerned about the speed of the service.
However, I will start this Ivacy review by describing how it is different from most other VPNs.
3 differences between Ivacy and other VPNs
Ivacy VPN has no technological innovations in store but is perfectly able to unblock geo-restricted content. Streaming is arguably the main focus area of this provider.
So what peculiarities does Ivacy VPN have?
1. 5 modes of launching VPN apps. Ivacy offers 5 variants of VPN settings depending on what you want to use it for:
- Smart Connect. A universal launching method during which the optimal location is chosen automatically but you can also choose it manually.
- Secure Download. This option is used for torrenting and presents the choice of torrent-friendly locations.
- Streaming. It offers the choice of 49 streaming servers or locations on 52 countries that are optimized to unblock geo-restricted content.
- Unblocking. The best mode to unblock websites. The location is chosen manually.
- Dedicated IP. Available on a separate tariff plan. More on that later.
2. Consistent streaming support. There aren’t many good VPN services for Netflix. Ivacy supports streaming but has a significant flaw: its slow server speed in popular locations.
3. Kodi add-on.
I won’t enumerate the flaws that I found while testing Ivacy and that also differentiate Ivacy from other VPNs in this section. I’ll tell you about them in the next chapters.
Free use of Ivacy
However, a blogger has to send the article to Ivacy for approval before they can publish it. The formal reason is to ensure that the post is objective. However, I think that a negative opinion, no matter how objective, will win you free access to this service.
Besides, I don’t quite understand how it’s possible to write about the VPN service if you will only get access to it after the blogpost is written.
Research of Ivacy (Pros, cons, tests, advice)
In this chapter, I provide comprehensive information on all the features, pros, and cons of Ivacy VPN. I conducted dozens of tests on every OS, used modern software to analyze outgoing and incoming traffic, simulated real conditions of unstable connectivity and changing access points as well as tested many other things.
- Safety of Ivacy
- Ivacy features tests
- Ivacy for Windows
- Ivacy for Mac
- Ivacy for Android
- Ivacy for iOS
- Ivacy for Linux
- Ivacy for web browsers
- Ivacy for other platforms
Safety of Ivacy
Ivacy VPN passed my security tests with flying colors. I found no traffic transferred outside of the VPN tunnel as was the case with Astrill, for instance. DNS queries were also reliably hidden. In the picture, you can see a few IP addresses to which outgoing connections have been recorded. All of them, however, are either local or unrelated to the data protocol. All of my traffic including DNS queries went to the IP address inside the blue rectangle. That is a VPN server address.
It’s also worth noting that the provider has its DNS servers in the same locations where the main servers are situated. It is an advantage of Ivacy. First of all, the information about websites you visit (contained in your DNS queries) won’t fall to the wrong hands. Second of all, the countries of the DNS and IP addresses matching adds some extra anonymity.
In summary, Ivacy’s protection of data and visited addresses in excellent.
Ivacy features tests
What can Ivacy VPN do? Now that we’ve confirmed that it’s safe to use, let’s move on to the analysis of its functions and implementation areas, peculiarities of its use on all OSs and some modern platforms.
Ivacy claims that it’s faster than its main rivals in the VPN market:
Using speedtest.net, I tested 10 servers and arrived at a very different result! 9 out of 10 servers had speeds of less than 10 Mbps while a Japanese server positively shocked me with its 0.21 Mbps.
Only one server, the one in the Netherlands, showed the result of 15 Mbps.
Paradoxically, I can’t really say that Ivacy’s claims are not true. Some servers are indeed quite fast.
I should explain. Ivacy wasn’t always a standalone VPN service. It used to be a reseller of Pure VPN. Later, when it became a provider of its own, it kept on using a part of PureVPN’s servers. The 10 servers I tested were all Ivacy’s. I spent a little more time and found a PureVPN server:
It was the only one I saw a really high speed on (65 Mbps):
So can we say that IvacyVPN has high speeds? We can’t. It does have certain fast servers but there are many fewer of them than slow ones.
5 out of 11 tested Ivacy locations*
|Location||Download/upload speed (Mbps)|
* -- the test was conducted over for 3 days. During that time, speeds changed very marginally.
The other 6 servers had speeds of 4 to 10 Mbps.
Jumping ahead, I’ll mention that the US server for Netflix and Hulu had the speed within 4-7 Mbps several times.
I liked how IvacyVPN supports streaming.
First, there is, conveniently, a separate menu section for this area of implementation of a virtual private network:
This section is available on Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS.
Second, a ton of video services and TV channels are available. The only other time I’ve seen such a list was with CyberGhost VPN.
Third, it actually works! I tested 2 services that are the most problematic to unblock: Netflix and Hulu. Both were decisively unblocked in the US region (Hulu works only in the United States).
Netflix also worked in other countries including NL, FR, JP.
Ivacy VPN for streaming has just one although important drawback – its real speed. As I said in the previous section, its speed didn’t exceed 7 Mbps and sometimes was even lower than 4 Mbps (for US locations). It allows watching movies in HD but isn’t enough for 4K while the Japanese and Canadian servers can’t even pull off streaming in HD.
Ivacy is a good fit for torrenting in all respects apart from its speeds in most locations.
! If you use torrents on Android, keep in mind that the Ivacy app for that platform proved inoperable during my tests.
Ivacy protects its users’ activity reliably, doesn’t keep logs and has good reviews by torrent users. Besides, by paying an extra fee of $1 a month, you can enable port forwarding (allows the P2P network to connect directly to your device, increasing the efficiency and speed considerably).
Here’s an excerpt from a Reddit post about torrents and VPN:
Exactly how safe is a paid VPN? Am I still at risk for my ISP to shut my internet down?
I use QBittorrent
>If I got a reliable VPN
Yep if it’s a reliable one ( Like Air vpn , ivacy , cyberghost , express vpn , torguard , Pia , and so on to name a few )
>Which VPNs have them?
Nearly all but different methods "Generally" there are 3
1. Firewall based ( the safest ) like "Air vpn" utilizes just can’t fail if you don’t manually reset the firewall for whatever reason.
2. Driver based ( Most vpn utilize that ) like Pia , Ivacy , and stuff safety is up to the VPN company but it’s fine but can fail at times.
It means that Ivacy can safely be used for torrenting.
4. Google Search and using Gmail
While using Ivacy VPN, I had no issues connecting to Gmail. Google search worked without having to confirm that I wasn’t a bot (as it often happens when using a VPN).
5. IP leak test with an unstable connection
I could conduct the IP address leak test in the conditions of an unstable connection, Internet connection issues, and reconnecting from one access point to another on mobile devices only on iOS. I wasn’t able to connect the Android app to the VPN (more on that in the “Ivacy for Android” section).
When you activate the “On-Demand VPN” option, Ivacy protects your connection under any circumstances and never leaks your real IP:
The IP addresses in the screenshot are determined by the system during the test. They all belong to Ivacy VPN. The test is successfully passed.
6. Other issues with Ivacy
I managed to find some other large and small problems that are likely to affect other Ivacy users as well.
They do not endanger your privacy but lower the VPN’s performance.
1. High CPU load. Ivacy VPN loads the CPU harder than other VPN apps:
You can see in the screencap that Ivacy requires much more computation capacity than other processes.
2. Unstable performance. During the 3 days of tests, I’ve experienced some disruptions which caused Ivacy to lose its ability to connect to the VPN network:
Just to be sure, I launched other VPNs when this happened to eliminate the possibility that my computer was at fault. Those VPNs worked fine.
Moreover, several times, the “on-off VPN” issue happened. It means that the app shows the VPN as not active but when you try to restart the app, a message shows that the VPN is on:
So the VPN won’t start but you also can’t relaunch the app to try again.
Ivacy for Windows
The app for Windows has the largest functionality and a good level of privacy and security. Generally speaking, it works fine but disruptions described in the previous chapter do happen and preclude you from using the VPN in a normal way.
I admit that in some circumstances, the app can work more stably. However, I simulated real and not fictional operational conditions on Windows 10: the computer goes into sleep mode a few times every day, it’s carried around from one access point to another, etc. How Ivacy performs in such conditions was not up to my liking.
What features and options does Ivacy have on PC?
- Five variants of using the VPN:
- Smart Connect
- Secure Download
- Dedicated IP (for a surcharge of $1.99 per IP)
- OpenVPN (TCP and UDP), IKEv2 (the default one), and L2TP protocols;
- Choosing specific apps or websites to work with the VPN (Split Tunneling);
- Port forwarding (for a surcharge);
- Kill switch;
The default settings are not the best ones from the privacy protection viewpoint.
To maximize your privacy, I recommend that you turn IP/DNS Leak protection and Redial Automatically if a connection drops options on. Also, if you plan on using torrents, activate the kill switch in the CONNECTION menu.
Pros of using Ivacy on Windows:
- User-friendly functionality
- Streaming support including Hulu
- 3 VPN protocols
- Reliable protection of data and visited addresses
- Disruptions that cause connection errors
- Low speeds on most locations
- Heavily loads the CPU
You can download Ivacy VPN for Windows from this page of its official website.
The Ivacy VPN app for Mac is similar to the PC one but its functionality is not nearly as expansive. The only thing that is present is the 5 ways of launching the VPN.
Cons of Ivacy for macOS:
- Only the IPsec protocol is available
- No kill switch
Because it doesn’t have a kill switch, Ivacy can’t protect your IP address, addresses of the websites you visit, and other data when you change locations or experience connection failures. It means that you shouldn’t use torrents with Ivacy on Macintosh computers.
You can only download Ivacy software for macOS from this page of the official website as it’s not available in the Apple App Store for Mac).
I couldn’t test the Android app. Neither of my test devices running on different versions of Android couldn’t connect to the server.
I captured both tested gadgets, a tablet and a smartphone, on video:
No changes in settings, protocols, or access points helped. After I studied user reviews on Google Play, I discovered a lot of recent complaints about the app not working. The customer support recommended I restart the device or reinstall the app. I, however, had done it several times before asking them and it didn’t help. Besides, they asked me for my location. I decided to end the conversation because everything worked on other devices and VPN apps of other services worked well on the tested gadgets.
The Ivacy app must be causing the problem.
Contrary to my expectations, the version for iPhone and iPad turned out to be quite functional and safe.
Ivacy managed to balance functionality and privacy protection well on iOS. During my tests, there wasn’t a single disruption on this platform.
Pros of Ivacy on iOS:
- 3 ways of launching the VPN including connection to a streaming server
- No IP address leaks when changing access points
- On-Demand VPN
- 2 kinds of the IPsec protocol
Cons of iOS:
- No kill switch
- No OpenVPN protocol
You can install Ivacy for iOS from the Apple App Store.
Linux users are unlikely to be interested in Ivacy VPN because it is only available as manual settings for the unreliable PPTP protocol built into Ubuntu 14+.
You can find a detailed manual on how to do those settings on support.ivacy.com.
Ivacy VPN can be installed on Chrome or Firefox as a proxy browser extension. I should emphasize that it’s not a real VPN but just an encrypted proxy connection. It is 100% useless for any app other than the browser and doesn’t protect you when you torrent.
One of Ivacy’s strong suits is its support of Kodi and Android TV. The provider offers an add-on and an application for these platforms.
Routers and other devices that support virtual private network technology can be set up manually using Ivacy’s settings. There are corresponding manuals on their website.
We strictly do not log or monitor, online browsing activities, connection logs, VPN IPs assigned, original IP addresses, browsing history, outgoing traffic, connection times, data you have accessed and/or DNS queries generated by your end. We have no information that could associate specific activities to specific users.
I should note that Ivacy has never been a participant of any scandals or exposes related to its activity.
Prices of Ivacy VPN are prone to fluctuations. In 2019, it cost $3.33 per month on a yearly plan which remained the same in 2020. However, a 2-year plan was added at $2.25 per month. Right as I’m writing this review, a Black Friday discount is available making Ivacy cost $1.33 per month but only on a 5-year plan. At the same time, prices on Ivacy’s second website, ivacyvpn.com, start at $3.33.
Soon, I think, we’ll see Christmas sales so it’s hard to determine the price that will stay current for any considerable period.
Prices of Ivacy VPN
|Lowest price per month||$1.33 - $2.25 (during the period of a discount)|
|Normal price per month||$3.33 per month when subscribing for a year|
|Highest price per month||$9.95 when subscribing for a month|
Good news for those who want to try Ivacy VPN out for free: You can use all the features of this service for 24 hours without providing your bank card information. This opportunity isn’t always accessible on the main website, ivacy.com but it is on ivacyvpn.com.
If you haven’t used a free trial or owned Ivacy VPN subscriptions before, you’re guaranteed a refund when canceling within 30 days of buying it. However, it can only be done if you paid with a credit card or via Pay Pal.
It’s worth mentioning that Ivacy accepts most of the modern payment methods including cryptocurrencies.
Ivacy VPN was founded in 2007, which makes it one of the oldest continuously operating VPN services. Today, it belongs to PMG Pte. Ltd. which is based in Singapore. It is a safe jurisdiction far from the 5, 9, and 14 Eyes alliances.
Little is known about this company. Allegedly, it has 12 employees.
As of late, it is partnered with a French company GamersOrigin.
Address of PMG Pte. Ltd:
38 Beach Road #29-11 South Beach Tower
All in all, should you use Ivacy VPN?
- Yes, if you value security, user-friendliness, and streaming support above speed.
- No, if you use Android (Ivacy allows up to 5 simultaneous connections so it makes sense to consider safe use of mobile gadgets as well). Also, Ivacy can’t bypass the Great Firewall of China.
The provider has a sufficiently advanced technical infrastructure (not that many VPN providers maintain more than 1000 servers), fast customer support (it looks like bots are used in the chat), a longstanding history, and acceptable prices.
On the opposite side, it has an Android app that is nonfunctional, lacking speeds by today’s standards, and application disruption on PC.
+ 1-day free trial;
+ Good data protection;
+ Own DNS servers;
+ Doesn’t keep logs and has a safe jurisdiction;
+ Streaming support including Netflix and Hulu;
+ Dedicated IP (for a surcharge);
+ Port forwarding (for a surcharge);
+ Affordable prices;
+ Supports paying with cryptocurrencies;
- Slow speeds;
- Kill switch available only on Windows;
- Disruptions that block access to all websites;
- Android app doesn’t work (or, at least, it didn’t during my tests).
If you have any thoughts to share about Ivacy and its use or if you want to ask any question about it, feel free to leave a comment! We’ll respond to you in a timely manner.