IPVanish Review 2021: You Could Have Been a Contender!

by
Frederik Lipfert
Dr. Frederik Lipfert Founder, vpncheck
Updated on 7 Oct 2021
Frederik is a serial entrepreneur that jumped into entrepreneurship after earning his doctorate in physics. Founding and running an analytics company got him into the online privacy and security space he's now contributing to with vpncheck. Read full bio

Expert Contributions

Jaosn Alexander
Jason Alexander Cybersecurity Researcher
Tamara Milacic
Tamara Milacic Pricing Expert
Raeesa Essop
Raeesa Essop Network Engineer
Oksana Ivanova
Oksana Ivanova User Interface Designer
Brendan Filipovski
Brendan Filipovski Business Consultant
Monika Lewko
Monika Lewko Privacy & Data Protection Lawyer
This review is based on the exclusive research, analyses, and tests our experts have conducted of IPVanish.

Our team of industry experts at VPNCheck just couldn’t do without a 2021 review of IPVanish. Undeniably enough, it has always been mentioned as one of the most popular VPNs. The VPN service is known for owning and operating its entire server network, something that is supposed to cement its place as one of the best VPN services on the market. It has also gained lots of popularity over time due to its advanced security features that include obfuscation, a kill switch, and IP & DNS Leak Protection. 

However, IPVanish has faced some logging controversies in the past. Since then, it has changed owners twice, and it now promises a reliable and transparent experience. So, are other VPN review websites just creating baseless hype around IPVanish as a top-performing VPN service? Or, is IPVanish actually as good as others claim it is? 

Fortunately, this IPVanish review takes an in-depth look at its security, transparency, performance, pricing plans, device compatibility, and more. But, before we get to our experts’ opinions…

TL;DR: A Quick Overview of IPVanish’s Top Features

  • Proper Server Network: IPVanish owns and controls its entire server network. Only one other VPN can make that claim.  
  • Unblocks Most Streaming Services: You can use the VPN service with Netflix, Disney+, and several other US-based streaming services.
  • Solid Security: IPVanish uses AES-256 bit and other top-of-of-the-class encryption standards.
  • Advanced Functionalities: The VPN offers features such as Scramble, kill switch, and leak protection.
  • Cloud Storage: You can connect to SugarSync’s 500 GB cloud service at just $2 extra a month.

IPVanish Performance: Just Not Good Enough

Just like every other VPN, IPVanish claims to be “the fastest, most reliable VPN.” However, we didn’t want to take their word for it, so we reached out to our network performance expert, Raeesa Essop, to hear what she has to say about the VPN. Here’s her detailed evaluation of IPVanish’s speeds and overall performance.

Our Expert Review and Rating of IPVanish's Network Performance

Raeesa Essop
Raeesa Essop
Network Engineer

The most alarming aspect of this VPN was the DNS  interception. There were, however, no DNS leaks, and the fact that a VPN was being used was never exposed via the various DNS leak tests done on several websites. The interception may not result in any actual hijacking/poisoning, but it is totally unnecessary for it to occur at all. 

Regarding speed, the average drop was around 60% which can be significant depending on the user’s base speed. There was no instance of an increase in download and upload rates (though this is very rare) for any of the tested servers. With an impressive infrastructure in the US, a better rate was expected than what was available for the North American servers but the download and upload speeds dropped by 75% and 81% respectively. The local server (Pretoria, South Africa) showed a drop of around 14Mbps for both metrics and had a latency of less than 10ms. This is a great indication of there being a physical server locally (which sometimes hasn’t been the case for other VPN services). With most of the latencies being over 0.5 seconds long, gaming is not a feasible option for any user living in the same country as the tester.

The speed was tested with the several protocols available. Only the OpenVPN protocol provided decent speed. It seems as if there is an illusion of choice with the available protocols as IKEv2 only works on some servers and the others are slow or outdated.

The servers performed better on some of the local and long-distance checks. Some of them had the odd increase in upload speed while others maintained a healthy rate between local and international points. Depending on the location, some users may experience decent or even impressive rates. 

There are no designated servers for P2P activity/streaming etc. As a result, a user can just select any server for their desired activities but may have to cycle through them to find an optimized one which can be bothersome.

 IPVanish does not have impressive unblocking abilities regarding some streaming platforms but it does work in unblocking geo-restrictions for Netflix. However, once again the user may need to cycle through the servers to find the right one to unblock the international Netflix they desire. It will also automatically update the location when on YouTube and suggest local videos.

The performance was impressive when streaming 4k or 8k videos on Youtube. There was no buffering and skipping ahead in the video had minimal load time (on average 1 second). The streaming quality was equally impressive on US Netflix.

IPvanish can allow 10 simultaneous connections and can work on Amazon Fire Stick and Kodi. This is for streaming without any geo-restrictions straight to the user’s TV, however, it does not perform well in the task of unblocking.

The performance of IPVanish can be satisfactory for a user with specific desires. It is sufficient for someone who wants to stream on very specific platforms or perhaps torrent with anonymity. The speed will also differ with location and the user should know/test how the servers fare in the country they live in before committing.

Based on my opinion as an Electronic and Automation Engineer, I rate CyberGhost VPN 6 /10.

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    6

    Our experts base their opinions on extensive evaluation. You can read more about our methods and how the experts arrive at their conclusions by clicking here: VPN Review Process.

    IPVanish Streaming Capability: What Does it Work With?

    Streaming is a key consideration when choosing a VPN as it determines the streaming services you can access and the extra titles you can unlock. However, streaming capabilities vary from one VPN to another as these services block VPN access to comply with licensing deals. So, how good is IPVanish in accessing streaming services?

    Netflix: US Unblocked but not the Best VPN for Netflix

    Netflix is quite tough when it comes to blocking VPN services, but IPVanish manages to unblock the service through several of its American servers. The VPN recommends that you use Ashburn, Dallas, and Chicago servers, although you’ll also find other servers that work.

    Netflix US is unblocked from a location outside the US using IPVanish's Ashburn US server

    Unfortunately, you won’t be able to access other Netflix libraries as the VPN only supports Netflix US. Note that you will need a Netflix account to access the streams.

    Hulu: Blocked

    Hulu is one of the most popular streaming services, and it has over 41 million subscribers. However, the streaming service is only available in the US, which means that you’ll need a VPN if you are outside the region.

    During our tests, we were disappointed to find that IPVanish doesn’t work with Hulu. We tested the VPN using different US-based servers, but the service blocked our access every time.

    BBC iPlayer: Blocked

    BBC iPlayer provides lots of content from various BBC channels, and the service is available for free (well, they ask if you have a UK TV license, but who doesn’t when it’s a Yes/ No question). However, it is restricted to only users in the UK. If you are not in the region, you’ll need to connect your VPN to a UK server.

    Unfortunately, IPVanish couldn’t unblock BBC iPlayer during our tests.

    BBC iPlayer is blocked despite IPVanish's dashboard showing the user being connected to their UK server

    Amazon Prime Video: Blocked

    Amazon Prime Video is among the top streaming services thanks to its high-quality original shows and movies and its impressive library of movies. The streaming service is available worldwide, but Amazon themselves tell you that most videos are only available in the US during the subscription process. Unfortunately, IPVanish can’t help you bypass those restrictions as Prime Video has blocked the VPN.

    Disney Plus: Unblocked

    Disney+ offers some of the biggest brands in the entertainment world, including Marvel, Disney, Star Wars, Pixar, and National Geographic. The only problem is that the streaming service is only available in a few countries, making VPNs important for people outside the region.

    Thankfully, IPVanish manages to bypass the Disney+ VPN police. You can connect the VPN to several US servers and enjoy your favorite titles.

    DAZN: Blocked

    DAZN is known for being a game-changer for boxing fans around the world. However, the service is more than that in some countries as you can even stream the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League. The only issue is that, unlike Netflix and the others, DAZN ties a user’s account to a specific country. This means that you will need a VPN to access the service if you have moved abroad. Unfortunately, IPVanish is not the best VPN to use with DAZN as virtually all its IP addresses are blocked by DAZN.

    The IPVanish dashboard shows a user is connected to their Las Vegas US server but still blocked by DAZN

    Are IPVanish’s streaming speeds reliable?

    VPNs generally reduce your speed as they introduce encryption and a new server. That said, the speeds you get vary from one VPN to another, depending on several factors. One of these is the VPN’s infrastructure, right from the app to the server. So how does IPVanish perform?

    To give you a clear picture, we connected the VPN to several locations around the world and started streaming. In all cases, we were able to stream in HD without any hitches. However, the overall speeds varied from one region to another.

    We conducted several speed tests using a stable fiber connection capped at 20 Mbps. Below is the speed test without a VPN connection.

    A speed test without a VPN connection shows 20.99 Mbps download and 20.31 Mbps upload speeds

    When connected to a server in the same country, our download speeds averaged 17 Mbps.

    A speed test with a VPN connection in the user's own country shows 17.38 Mbps download and 5.97 Mbps upload speeds

    However, the speeds were not so impressive when connected to distant servers. Servers in different continents averaged anywhere between 8 Mbps and 13 Mbps, with most countries recording an average of 12 Mbps.

    A speed test with a VPN connection outside the user's country shows 12.96 Mbps download and 2.12 Mbps upload speeds

    Overall, IPVanish is not consistent from country to country, but the speeds will still be sufficient for most users depending on their connection speeds.

    Torrenting with IPVanish

    IPVanish is one of the few VPNs that allow torrenting on all their servers. The VPN states:

    “We do not impose a ban on any of the content accessed through our VPN, and we do not prevent P2P access on our servers.”

    This means that, unlike some other VPNs, you won’t have to worry about what you access.

    On top of that, IPVanish goes ahead and provides SOCKS5 proxy servers for torrenting fans. Socket Secure (SOCKS) is an internet protocol that can be used to secure torrent traffic without needing to use the VPN.

    Although the protocol doesn’t provide the encryption of a VPN, it is useful in ensuring anonymity without affecting download speeds. IPVanish SOCKS5 servers are available in 14 countries, and they support web (HTTP) traffic and P2P BitTorrent clients such as uTorrent, Vuze, and Deluge. The VPN provides IPVanish proxy setup guides on all popular torrent clients.

    Compatibility

    You can set up IPVanish on the following devices:

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • Linux
    • Android
    • iOS
    • FireOS
    • ChromeOS
    • Routers

    All of these, except routers, have proprietary apps that you can install.

    Servers and Locations

    IPVanish provides a decent network that consists of 1,900+ servers spread across 75+ locations at the time of this review. These servers are distributed across the world, and they share a total of 40,000+ IP addresses.

    Here’s how the servers are distributed:

    • Asia – 79
    • North America – 1,169
    •  Europe – 53
    •  Oceania – 53
    •  Africa – 11
    • South America – 31

    From the distribution, you can see that you can access every major region of the world on every continent – well, apart from Antarctica.

    IPVanish App Design: It’s Certainly… Different

    A VPN’s interface is a crucial consideration as it determines how easy a VPN is to use and the overall experience the user has. The best VPNs are designed to be both suitable to novice users while at the same time providing advanced capabilities to power users. So how does IPVanish balance this?

    To get a professional opinion, we turned to our UI/UX Design expert, Oksana Ivanova.

    Our Expert Review and Rating of the VPN’s UI/UX Design

    Oksana Ivanova
    Oksana Ivanova
    User Interface Designer

    IPVanish is not a simple application to use even at first glance. Apart from some other examples on the market, with this solution, one will have a learning curve, which may lead to watching some tutorials on YouTube. To help with this, the developer has an extensive knowledge base with lots of tutorials, videos, and screenshots.

    The look and feel of the application varies based on the platform. It has some native components on Mac, iOS, and Android. The color scheme is consistent across all the devices and limited to 2 primary colors with 1 or 2 variations for links and background if needed.

    It’s not so difficult to connect to a server. It’s just not very clear how to accomplish the task right away without some guidance. It takes at least 3-4 clicks to connect to a server via the Quick Connect option on the desktop or Mac, which is a bit excessive for a total newbie.

    It’s also not clear whether the application works well in terms of accessibility. Even though some essential titles and buttons have relatively big fonts, the Settings’ font as well as some other design elements are not aligned to the left for easy screen-reading. There’s also no sound to indicate whether a button was pressed or a tab was changed. The developer also has no information on the keyboard shortcuts or whether an application can be used via the keyboard only.

    With IPVanish, it’s also not clear how (and whether there’s an option) to connect to a P2P or gaming server. The fast connect option can also be a struggle – it is available, but varies in the Settings for Mac and desktop. It’s initially disabled, so unless one knows, one will not be able to figure out how to connect quickly right away.

    Based on my opinion as a UX Designer, I rate IPVanish’s user interface and user experience 7 / 10.

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      Devices

      IPVanish is one of the most generous VPNs as it allows users to connect as many devices as they want simultaneously. This means that you can use the VPN on all your devices and help protect your entire family (and a few friends too?)

      Below are the devices you can secure with IPVanish.

      Windows

      IPVanish provides a Windows app that can be installed:

      • Windows 7
      • Windows 8.1
      •  Windows 10

      If for whatever reason, you are still using the good-old Windows XP and Vista, you can also set up the VPN manually as IPVanish provides manual configuration profiles.

      Mac

      IPVanish provides two Mac clients that can be installed on:

      • OS X 10.11 (El Capitan) and macOS 10.12 (Sierra)
      •  macOS 10.13 (High Sierra), macOS 10.14 (Mojave), macOS 10.15 (Catalina), or macOS 11 (Big Sur).

      Apart from the apps, the VPN also allows users to set up the service manually. The IPVanish website provides several guides on how to do this.

      The setup process should only take you a few minutes.

      Linux

      IPVanish comes up short here as it doesn’t have an app for Linux. However, you can still secure your Linux devices as the VPN supports manual configurations and provides setup guides. You can set up IPVanish on:

      All Linux connections are made through OpenVPN.

      Android

      IPVanish has an app for Android that can be installed on Android 5.1+ or higher. If you’d like to set it up on an older model, you can also do so through the VPN’s manual connections.

      iOS

      You can install IPVanish on iPhone and iPads running iOS 11.0 or later. You also have the option of setting up the VPN manually on iOS 9.0 or later.

      Home Router

      Unfortunately, IPVanish doesn’t offer any apps for routers. Nevertheless, the VPN ensures that you can still secure your entire home network if you have a VPN-capable router.

      IPVanish provides guides for setting up the VPN on DD-WRT v2 and v3, Tomato, Asus-WRT, Merlin – Asus, Belkin, Buffalo, Linksys, D-Link, Logilink, Microsoft, Motorola, Netgear, Nokia, Siemens, Toshiba, TP-Link, Sparklan, and Fuji routers.

      However, this is a highly technical process that also risks bricking your router. To avoid such, you can order an IPVanish VPN router from FlashRouters through the IPVanish website. From there, you’ll only need your IPVanish account to secure your entire network from the source!

      Other Devices

      For those of us who like streaming, IPVanish has not forgotten us. The VPN was among the first to publish an app for Fire Stick and Fire TV Cube on the Amazon App Store. The app is lightweight and enhanced with streaming capabilities such as split-tunneling, and it can be installed Fire OS 2 (based on Android 4.0.3) and higher. This means that you can set it up on Fire Stick Gen 2, Fire Stick Gen 3 & Lite, Fire Stick 4K, and all Fire TV Cubes.

      Usability

      Getting started with IPVanish is quite straightforward, and the process should only take you a few minutes.

      1.  To create an account, head over to the main IPVanish website and click “Subscribe Now.”
      2. You will then be required to choose a subscription plan between the monthly plan and the yearly plan. The yearly one offers a huge discount, but you can also start out with the shorter oneIPVanish subscription process: choose your package then select between $10.99 monthly and $44.99 yearly plans
      3. In the next step, provide your email address and a password. These will be used to log in both on the website and the apps.
      4.  Now, choose your preferred payment method and fill in the appropriate details.
      5. Lastly, agree to the automatic renewal terms and click “Subscribe Now.”

      Once you complete the payment, you only need to verify your email address, and you’ll be set. You can go ahead and install the VPN apps for your device.

      Apps and extensions

      To give you a proper look at the VPN apps, we installed and tested each of them. Below is a walkthrough of all of them.

      IPVanish App for Windows

      To download IPVanish for Windows, click “Apps” on the main website and then select the Windows logo. This should give you a download button, and after pressing it, the app should download within a few seconds. From there, double-click the downloaded file to launch the installation wizard.

      After installing IPVanish on Windows, you will be required to provide your login details. You can then click “Sign In.”

      Once you do, here’s what the main screen looks like.

      IPVanish user dashboard shows your location and connection status; the Connect button on the top right with the Protocol indicator (IKEv2) and Kill Switch option beside it; navigation includes Quick Connect, Server List, Account Details and Settings; connection details and menus for Best Available Country and City are also visible.

      You can explore the various functionalities of the buttons by simply placing a cursor on top, and the app will give you a description. You can also connect with a single button by clicking the “Connect” button on the top right side of the app. This will let the app choose the best country, city, and server, depending on your location.

      To change either of the three, use the selection panel on the bottom right side of the server selection options on the Server List tab.

      IPVanish user dashboard shows your location and connection status; the Connect button on the top right with the Protocol indicator (IKEv2) and Kill Switch option beside it; navigation includes Quick Connect, Server List, Account Details and Settings; connection details and menus for Best Available Country and City are also visible.

      Once you connect, the VPN will show you the time connected, the protocol used, the server you are connected to, and the uplink and downlink data. The app will also display your new IP address and virtual location on the top left side.

      If you’d like to customize your connection, you can do so using the settings button on the left side menu.

      Settings option on IPVanish dashboard includes a Connection submenu to choose OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP, SSTP or PFTP

      This will allow you to:

      • change the protocol
      • change the port
      • activate Scramble (only for OpenVPN)
      • turn on the kill switch
      • prevent DNS leaks
      • prevent IPv6 traffic from leaking.

      The protocols available on the Windows app are:

      • OpenVPN (UDP & TCP)
      • IKEv2
      • L2TP
      • SSTP
      • PPTP

      IPVanish is also testing the new WireGuard protocol, but it’s only available in the app’s Beta version. The protocol will be a welcome addition as it is super-fast and has been proven to be secure.

      IPVanish App for macOS

      IPVanish also provides an app for Mac users, and you can install it from the VPN’s website. After that, the app will then require you to provide your email address and password to log in.

      From there, it will display several details about your connection, such as your IP address, location, and protocol selected. The same page also allows you to choose your country, city, and server. Note that the app won’t let you choose an automatic option for the country selection.

      On the left-side menu, you can select the server option and then choose a server from their detailed list. You can then use the interactive map to choose a server or use a filter with options such as searching, latency, and region.

      To customize the app, click on the IPVanish VPN option in the menu bar at the top of your screen and then select Preferences. This will let you determine how the app behaves as well as activate options such as:

      • Kill Switch
      • IPv6 Leak Protection
      • Scramble
      • Dark mode

      You can also choose a protocol between OpenVPN and IKEv2/ IPSec.

      A highlight feature of the Mac app is a mini mode (IPVanish Menu Control) that can be used to select a country and a server then connect/ disconnect the VPN without opening the main app.

      IPVanish App for Android

      The IPVanish app for Android is available on the Google Play Store, and it can also be downloaded as an APK from the main website. After installing it, you will need to provide your credentials to log in.

      The main page on the app provides a huge Connect button that allows you to secure your connection with just a single click.

      Dashboard of IPVanish app for Android shows a user's Connection Status, IP Address and Location followed by a big CONNECT button and Quick Connect Preferences by Country, City and Server.

      However, unlike the desktop app, it can only choose the best city and server, not the country. You can also select those manually if you so please.

      Once you connect to a server, the app will then show your connection status, IP address, location, connected time, and network performance.

      IPVanish app when connected to the VPN shows the user's status, IP address, location, time connected, server and a graph of connection speed.

      The menu button on the top left side provides several options, with the main two being “Server” and “Settings.” The server option gives you a detailed list of all servers, and you can sort it by country, city, server, and ping.

      The settings button lets you determine how the app behaves and customize your connection. The customization options include selecting a protocol, activating Scramble, split tunneling, and selecting a port.

      The available protocols are OpenVPN (TCP), OpenVPN (UDP), and IKEV2 Beta.

      IPVanish App for iOS

      The IPVanish app for iOS is similar to its Android counterpart, and it’s available on the App Store. Once you log in, you can see your public IP address, current location, and the selected country.

      Just like in Android, the country is not selected by the app as the smart option only works for the cities and specific servers. After connecting, you’ll then see your new IP address, your virtual location, and a network performance graph.

      Unlike the Android app, there are only a few configuration options on the iOS app.

      IPVanish iOS app dashboard settings include Contact Support, Siri Shortcuts, Theme and Licenses. Advanced options include On Demand, Protocol, Refresh Server Lost, Reinstall VPN Config Profile and an Alternative Connection Mode switch.

      The only advanced features are On-Demand and protocol selection, although there are also a few additional features such as dark mode and Siri shortcuts.

      IPVanish for Fire TV

      IPVanish has an app on the Amazon App Store that has been optimized for Fire Stick and Fire TV. The app is a bit simplified, but it still offers all the basics and more you would need in a streaming VPN.

      Once you log in by providing your email address and password, it displays your visible location and selected country.

      You can change the country from a list of 50+ options displayed in a somewhat unnecessarily huge format, which seems common among VPNs.

      To customize your connection, click on the Settings button on the top right side. This will open a side menu that contains options such as:

      • determining how the app behaves
      • LAN access
      • Split Tunneling
      • Scramble
      • protocol selection

      The protocols available are OpenVPN and IKEv2 Beta.

      After you are satisfied with your connection settings, you can then click the Connect button on the home page, and the VPN will change your virtual location.

       

      Any extension for browsers?

      Unfortunately, IPVanish doesn’t provide any browser extensions.

      IPVanish Security: Mediocre.

      Security was the main reason behind the invention of VPNs. However, as years have gone by, commercial VPNs have started focusing on other functionalities. An analysis of privacy and security risks of Android VPN apps done by CSIRO in 2016 found that 18% of the Android VPNs in the study didn’t even encrypt traffic. Most of them even did more harm than good as they intercepted traffic and even contained malware.

      To help dissect IPVanish VPN’s security posture, we enlisted the help of Jason Martin Alexander, a seasoned cybersecurity expert.

      Our Expert Review and Rating of IPVanish's Security

      Jaosn Alexander
      Jason Alexander
      Cybersecurity Researcher

      IPVanish VPN includes a broad set of VPN protocols, and WireGuard (currently in beta) is soon to be added. I repeat their warning that legacy protocols such as PPTP are not recommended for security.

      IPVanish claims to have a Zero Logging policy, however, this has not been verified by a third-party audit. Under prior ownership, IPVanish came under scrutiny for releasing identifiable information (such as that of sex offender Vincent Ilya Gevirtz) that led to the arrest of the IPVanish subscriber by Homeland Security. Since that time IPVanish has been owned by different companies; currently J2 Global. J2 Global is a US-based company, and consequently directly within the ‘5 eyes’ group.

      Another dubious point on privacy is the use of Google’s Firebase for the collection of information on crashes.

      There has been a single historic critical vulnerability of IPVanish VPN (found in their Mac software in 2018). This was caused by a third-party library (ie: not IPVanish developers own code).

      Their Windows-based App passed our tests including no leaking (DNS, WebRTC, etc.), and the Kill Switch works. DNS points to private servers and once running, no unencrypted Internet traffic shows up. Interestingly, there is no Split Tunneling on Windows, but you can use it on Android and FireTV.

      In my opinion as a Cybersecurity Specialist with over a decade of technical experience in VPNs, I rate IPVanish’s technical security at 7 / 10.

      On the other hand, for those requiring anonymity and privacy, I rate IPVanish VPN’s effective security 4.5 / 10. If their logging and data collection was audited by a professional third party resulting in a strong report, I’d be raising that score significantly.

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        Protocols & Security Overview

        Nevertheless, IPVanish does well if we consider its use of the industry-standard AES 256-bit encryption with an RSA 2048-bit key authentication. The HMAC SHA1 standard is used for data authentication, and HMAC SHA 256-bit is used for control authorization. Generally, this kind of security is as good as any, and it meets the recommended security standards.

        The above standards are then combined with various protocols:

        • OpenVPN (UDP & TCP)
        • IKEv2
        • L2TP
        • SSTP
        • PPTP

        These protocols vary depending on the device, with the Windows app offering the most. The VPN states that WireGuard is on the way, so users have a reason to smile.

        However, IPVanish does not offer any advanced security features such as malware and adblocking. These are features that can be found in other VPNs and are quite useful in preventing malware and phishing attacks from websites.

        IPVanish Reliability: Murky Past, but How About Today?

        Using a VPN basically means transferring your trust from your ISP to the VPN provider. And since they have the word “private” right in the name, the best VPNs need to offer high levels of privacy.

        However, most VPNs state that they keep zero logs while they log crucial (or even all) information. IPVanish has a privacy policy that states:

        “IPVanish does not collect, monitor, or log your browsing activity, such as what websites you went on when connected to the VPN Service.

        We collect aggregated and anonymous performance data to improve functionality and product performance, diagnose crashes, identify bugs, and optimize server performance. This aggregated and anonymous data does not include IP address, connection time stamps, or DNS inquiries.”

        However, the VPN’s reliability was put into focus after a 2016 incident where they shared user data with Homeland Security was exposed, as already pointed out by our cybersecurity expert, Jason Alexander. Since then, the VPN has changed owners twice, but what effect has this had?

        Here’s an expert opinion from an international business & privacy lawyer, Monika Lewko, regarding how safe your data is with IPVanish.

        Legal Expert’s Review of IPVanish's Data Privacy Protection

        Monika Lewko
        Monika Lewko
        Privacy & Data Protection Lawyer

        IPVanish is a brand belonging to J2 Global Inc. portfolio since 2019 – a technology company based in California (U.S.). This jurisdiction is involved in guarding personal data – the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA) is operative here, and businesses need to meet its requirements. Additionally, the VPN’s parent company, which is a publicly traded company, must meet strict Security and Exchange Commission obligations and is subject to regular reporting and auditing. J2 Global is an active participant in the business acquisition industry.

         The CCPA gives Californian residents more control over the personal information that various service providers collect about them. Consumers have the right to ask businesses to disclose what personal information they have about them, and what they do with it. They can also ask to delete their personal information and tell service providers not to sell this information. The consumer also has the right to be notified of the types of personal information they are collecting and what they plan to do with it. Moreover, companies cannot discriminate against anyone for exercising their rights under the CCPA, cannot make a person waive their rights, or eliminate any CCPA right by a contractual agreement. California gives more privacy protection than the U.S. at large. The U.S. Congress’ overturning of the FCC privacy protections in 2017 represents the current state of the U.S. privacy regulations. Other state-based businesses are now free to sell user data to third parties without consent.

         It is to be distinguished that IPVanish’s parent company, J2Global, owns other VPN services, which is an ambivalent position for a specific service – especially if it’s also reviewing similar types of businesses. The IPVanish Privacy Policy is user-friendly and legally proper, which is also visible in the publication of a legal glossary on the website (it should be evaluated as a good practice). In the light of its claim of “Zero Logs” policy, the company’s FBI logs share history should be considered. It is essential to read across both the Privacy Policy and the Terms of Service to understand IPVanish data privacy clauses.

        Based on my opinion as an international business & privacy lawyer, I rate IPVanish VPN's privacy 7 / 10.

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          IPVanish Customer Support

          While using a VPN, you are bound to face some issues, whether they be connection-related or something you need some clarification on. IPVanish VPN boosts customer success by providing multiple support systems.

          Live Chat

          The VPN has a 24/7 live chat system that should connect you to an agent within a minute. During our tests, it only took about 30 seconds, and the agent was very knowledgeable.

          Phone Support

          This one is rare among VPNs, but IPVanish provides phone support majorly for billing issues. The support is available via +1-800-591-5241 and it operates between 9 am and 5 pm CT (UTC -6).

          Ticket Support

          If you have a technical query, you can reach out to the team via a ticket system. Most VPNs promise a response within 24 to 48 hours, but it should only take a few hours with IPVanish. We received a response after 55 minutes!

          Knowledgebase, FAQs & Guides

          You don’t have to reach out to the support team every time you face a challenge as IPVanish provides a comprehensive support center. On the site, you’ll find FAQs, Setup Guides, Billing Questions, Troubleshooting Guides, Announcements, and even further information about the VPN service.

          IPVanish Business Structure

          When most users evaluate VPN services, they rarely consider the VPN’s ownership and business structure beyond the jurisdiction. However, this information plays a very crucial role. According to a 2018 study by Metric Labs, 59% of the most popular free VPN apps had links to China.

          IPVanish itself has changed ownership multiple times, and the VPN is operated by a company that is owned by another company that is owned by IPVanish trademark owners. Confused? Well, it will make sense in a minute as we have the analysis of our international business expert, Brendan Filipovski, who followed a thorough research procedure to evaluate IPVanish’s financial background.

          Our Expert Review and Rating of IPVanish's Business Structure

          Brendan Filipovski
          Brendan Filipovski
          Business Consultant

          IPVanish VPN was started by Orlando-based Mudhook Marketing, a subsidiary of CDN and network services company, Highwinds Network Group, in 2012. They obviously saw that the VPN niche was growing and wanted to take advantage. The success of IPVanish led to its acquisition by edge computing company StackPath in 2017. StackPath was acquired by IBM in 2013. StackPath moved IPVanish’s operations to its headquarters in Dallas Texas. IPVanish’s headquarters remains in Dallas today. In 2019, StackPath sold Highwinds and IPVanish to NetProtect, a subsidiary of J2 Global. It also sold encrypt.me to J2 Global at the same time. J2 Global has a stable of VPN and secure data storage companies and IPVanish fits in well with its portfolio.

          To sum it all, IPVanish has been sold twice since it was founded and is now ultimately owned by global tech content and security services company J2 Global, which is publicly traded on the NASDAQ. IPVanish is a well-known brand developed by private companies that now fits into the portfolio of J2 Global. While it is a good fit with J2 Global, it is possible that it could be sold again in the future or have its operations merged with another of J2 Global’s VPN companies. 

          It has always been headquartered in the US. In 2016, evidence in a court case showed that it had provided user information to the Department of Homeland Security in the past. The company has since assured users that it does not log activity. 

          Based on my opinion as a business consultant and economist, I rate IPVanish 6/10 in terms of its business structure.

            6
            6

            IPVanish Pricing: Having Second Thoughts Now?

            IPVanish provides two types of subscriptions, each with two tiers. And as you might expect, the longer the commitment you are willing to make, the more value you’ll get.

            Here’s a breakdown of the plans with their pricing: 

            Plan Price Discount Savings
            Monthly $10.99/month 0% 0
            Yearly $3.75/month 

            (First year $44.99, after that $89.99 per year)

            66% first year

            32% after the first year

            $86 first year

            $41.89 after the first year

            The VPN doesn’t provide a business plan, but they allow you to bundle the VPN with SugarSync Backup (also owned by J2 Global). Here’s a breakdown of the bundle price:

            Plan Price Discount Savings
            Monthly $12.99/month 0% 0
            Yearly $4.58/month 

            (First year $54.99, after that $109.99 per year)

            65% first year

            29% after the first year

            $100 first year

            $45.89 after the first year

            SugarSync 500 GB typically costs $18.95 a month with no yearly savings, so this is a significant discount if you need cloud space. There are also many other regular discounts that you’ll find on the pricing page and the IPVanish Coupons page.

            The IPVanish Coupons page features a 65% discount each on 1-year VPN subscription at $49.99 net and 1-year VPN+Backup subscription at $54.99 net.

            Payment Methods

            IPVanish accepts payments through debit/ credit cards and PayPal. Unfortunately, users seeking anonymity aren’t in luck as the VPN doesn’t support Bitcoin payment.

            Money-Back Guarantee

            IPVanish provides a 30-day money-back guarantee. However, this guarantee only applies to the yearly plan. You can cancel your subscription online, and the company will refund “as soon as possible.”

            So how does this all sound, and how does it rate against other market leaders? Here’s an expert opinion from our pricing consultant, Tamara Milacic.

            Our Expert Opinion and Rating of IPVanish’s Pricing

            Tamara Milacic
            Tamara Milacic
            Pricing Expert

            When analyzing IPVanish VPN’s pricing structure, the two-tiered plans entice customers to sign up for the yearly one at a 66% discount over the monthly one. However, it does come with differential pricing for the first year and subsequent years. The initial $44.99 for the first year (66% discount) goes up to $89.99 (32% discount) in the following years. This pricing structure effectively makes a one-year commitment cheaper than a two-year one. It could incentivize cancellations after the first year.

            Strategically, IPVanish does not call out any pricing or promotion-specific claims which would suggest that they are not looking to be a price leader. IPVanish is within a similar pricing range to Cyberghost and NordVPN which means that they likely track the market but do not have a pricing-first proposition. From a pricing page standpoint, the discount percentages are not called out specifically. There is also no pricing page in the website header which is something that customers would come to expect. The pricing info exists under a solutions drop-down. 

            In terms of pricing psychology, IPVanish does place the more expensive monthly plan ($10.99) first and then the yearly plan ($3.75), which takes advantage of the anchoring strategy. Customers base their expectations on what they see first, seeing $10.99 first makes $3.75 seem very cheap by comparison. For the monthly plan and the yearly totals, they use charm pricing, which is ending prices in 99. People associate this type of pricing with a deal. However, the monthly cost of the yearly plan ($3.75) doesn’t keep that consistent.

            IPVanish does not localize its website pricing. They offer localized pricing in-app, along with different length contracts. The lack of adoption of this strategy on the website is questionable. They also do not offer different enterprise plans which means that they are leaving money on the table because personal and business customers have differing willingness to pay.

            Their 30-day money-back guarantee and cancellation policy are well executed as they can all be done by customers directly online. This may further incentivize customers to cancel after the first year to not experience the price increase for year two. The lack of a trial period also puts them behind some of their competitors like CyberGhost who offer a 1-day trial.

            Based on my opinion as a pricing consultant, I rate IPVanish VNP's pricing 5/10.

              5
              5

              Extra features

              Smart Location

              IPVanish apps make it easy for users by automatically selecting a server depending on the user’s actual location. IPVanish does better than most VPNs in this aspect as you can decide the country and let the app decide the city and the server. You can also decide the two, although the country selection option is only available on Windows.

              Obfuscation Technology

              IPVanish provides an option for scrambling OpenVPN traffic, and this can be quite helpful for people living in countries where internet access is otherwise censored. This feature helps users disguise their OpenVPN traffic as regular HTTPS traffic and avoid deep packet inspection (dpi) detection and blocking. However, IPVanish isn’t reliable when it comes to highly sophisticated censorship firewalls like the Great Firewall of China (GFW), although you can still use the VPN in Russia.

              Split Tunneling

              The VPN provides split tunneling on their Android and Fire Stick/Fire TV/Fire Cube app. This feature allows users to control which apps should be routed through the VPN, and it’s super useful for streaming fans. For example, you can exempt DAZN from the VPN as it blocks almost all IPVanish servers.

              SOCKS5 Web Proxy

              IPVanish is one of the few VPNs that support torrenting on all their servers. On top of that, the VPN provides SOCKS5, an internet protocol that anonymizes torrent users through a proxy server. The protocol does not encrypt user traffic, but it hides a user’s real IP address, ensuring they are not exposed and can’t be tracked.

              IPVanish SOCKS5 proxy servers can be configured on P2P BitTorrent clients such as uTorrent, Vuze, and Deluge. It also supports web (HTTP) traffic.

              Pros and cons

              Pros
              Works with Netflix US
              Self-owned server network
              Solid privacy & security
              Split tunneling
              Supports torrents
              Unlimited simultaneous connections
              Decent tutorials
              Great customer service
              Cons
              Murky logging past
              Based in the US
              Slower than other top-tier VPNs
              Lacks real value compared to other VPNs
              It doesn't support Bitcoin
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