Editor's Note: What immediately follows is a rundown of the latest changes and additions since this review was last updated.
- Number of servers increased to 1400. (May 2020)
- Money-back guarantee now lasts for 30 days. (May 2020)
IPVanish is a provider of VPN services founded in 2012 in the United States. It is one of the top-tier VPNs, which means all its servers are fully owned and managed by the company and not rented from third parties. As a result, the company has more control over how they are installed and run, theoretically providing better speeds and performance.
Although not the largest in the industry, IPVanish’s server network itself is solid. It counts 1,300+ P2P-friendly units in over 75 countries across the globe. These allow users to access websites and services unavailable in some parts of the world, like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Skype, Spotify, Kodi, YouTube, ESPN, and some others.
So far, BBC iPlayer has been successful in preventing IPVanish users from connecting to its content libraries. Unfortunately, Netflix has also been removed from the list of successfully accessible geo-blocked services, as have some others. The customer service agent told us we can try but there’s no guarantee we’ll be able to bypass the geolocation block of the streaming applications.
Torrenting is supported and the website has instructions on getting the best possible P2P experience.
One of the provider’s main selling points is the support for as many as 10 connections at the same time, as long as only one connection uses PPTP or L2TP. If you have a router that can be equipped with IPVanish, this limitation disappears and you can connect as many devices you like. A router counts as only one device.
Plans and pricing
The provider offers its services under three subscription options. As ever, the least affordable is the 1-month subscription at $10.00 per month, albeit somewhat on the cheaper side in comparison to most competitors. It is followed by the 1-year plan at $6.49 per month ($77.99 billed annually). If you choose to commit to this provider for 2 years, the price drops to $4.12 per month ($99.00 billed every 2 years). Do note that these plans can change and often include a 3-month plan at $4.50 per month ($13.50 billed every 3 months).
If you sign up with our affiliate link, you’ll be able to save up to 60% off the first billing cycle for the annual plan ($4.87/mo), 44% on the quarterly ($6.75/mo), and 38% on the monthly plan ($7.50/mo). IPVanish accepts credit cards and PayPal.
There is no free trial but the plans come with a risk-free 7-day money-back guarantee. This means you do have to sign up and pay for a subscription but you can get a full refund if you cancel it within the first 7 days after the payment. This is a rather limited refund policy in this industry.
Privacy and logging
To safeguard the privacy of your data, IPVanish uses strong security mechanisms including the 256-bit encryption and the usual list of transfer protocols - OpenVPN (TCP and UDP), IKEv2, PPTP, SSTP, and L2TP.
A kill switch is available on the Mac, Android, and Windows clients. It is an essential VPN security feature which shuts down all Internet traffic whenever your VPN connection drops. This maximizes privacy and anonymity as it prevents your sensitive data from leaking into the outside world and becoming visible to snoopers.
The split tunneling feature available on Android allows you to select the apps that you prefer to be routed through your ISP instead of the VPN.
Additional privacy assurances are provided in the no-logs policy. It states that the company will never collect, monitor, or log any data about traffic or other uses of its VPN service, under any circumstances, on any platform. Some statistical information is collected when crashes occur which helps in resolving these issues.
Unfortunately, this is as far as the company goes into explaining its no-logs policy. There has also been no independent confirmation of these claims, placing it behind some competitors who have subjected their platforms to analysis.
Some information can be found on the website claiming that StackPath, the company which acquired IPVanish’s parent company Highwinds Network Group, had performed an independent audit on the IPVanish platform to ensure that no previous traffic records or VPN logging systems existed. However, this is far from having the strength of a publicly available independent audit.
The provider has apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, Chrome OS, and Fire TV. They are extremely user-friendly and easy to get around. Instruction manuals (with images and videos) and configuration files are available for more platforms such as routers (DD-WRT or Tomato), Linux, Roku, and Windows Phone.
IPVanish performs very well in most areas of its service. It connects quickly, without any connection errors, and delivers top download speeds. The speed consistency falters a bit when moving away from the user’s current location (tested in the UK and US), dropping to a measly 5Mbps for one location in India, but this is a rare occurrence and doesn’t affect the entire experience negatively.
If you encounter any difficulties while using the service, there’s a support center at your disposal, with setup guides, troubleshooting, FAQs, and more. Should they fail to address your concerns, you can contact the customer support directly via live chat, email, or even phone, between 9 AM and 5 PM CT (UTC -6), Monday through Friday.
IPVanish ticks most of the right boxes except for its short money-back guarantee, a lack of no-logging policy proof, and unfavorable location in terms of privacy protection from the authorities. However, if you’re trying to access some geo-restricted websites (but not streaming apps) or exchange files via P2P on multiple devices under excellent speeds, IPVanish is a good choice. A nice addition is the phone customer support.