Summary (updated 08.11.2017): IPVanish is a US-based VPN provider that offers streaming, P2P, and BitTorrent support from all its servers. The provider offers a strong server network featuring over 850 machines including some less common locations like Krgyzstan and Saudi Arabia. In this IPVanish review, we put the solution through a comprehensive test to see how it compares to other choices on the market.
IPVanish Review – Pros & Cons
- Wide server network
- Support for many different devices including Amazon Fire TV
- P2P and BitTorrent support
- Quick and easy installation
- Users can chose connection protocols
- Mediocre user interface
- Netflix doesn’t currently work
- No 2 year payment plans
- Support limited to US business hours
Overall Score for IPVanish: 80/100
IPVanish Setup and Usability
IPVanish setup is as straightforward as any modern VPN we’ve tested. To get up and running, users simply initiate the IPVanish download from the website and click next until the program has finished setting up.
Total time taken: three minutes.
The user interface was one aspect of the program that we weren’t taken aback by. While the menu selections are ample and there are some nice features such as plotting connections in wavelength forms, overall, the UI is less minimalist and intuitive than that of some other providers that we have tested.
Rating: 3/5 – quick and easy setup; so-so on UI.
Feature 1: Wide server network
The IPVanish server list is a particularly impressive one, featuring over 850 servers in 60 countries. Comparing NordVPN vs IPVanish, in fact, is just about the only place where IPVanish’s network is outdone (the latter features an impressive 1,445 in 61 countries). Still, it’s a very wide network and should give users plenty of connectivity options. (Especially for those hoping to IPVanish UK media websites.)
For those that want to use IPVanish torrent options, the good news is that all its servers support P2P and BitTorrent traffic making the service a superior choice for those that want to download content through these networks.
Feature 2: Broad device support
Whether you want to encrypt and tunnel your web traffic from your Windows PC, a Linux desktop, or even install IPVanish on Firestick, Amazon’s TV streaming device, the company has gone all out to provide software and apps for nearly every platform possible. (Droid fans will be pleased to hear there’s even IPVanish for Android!) The company allows five simultaneous connections to be made per user account, so this makes it a great option for those that want to bring VPN support to their entire technology arsenal.
Feature 3: Protocol selection and OpenVPN obfuscation
For those that want to specify which VPN protocol the program connects with, the program makes it easy to select from one of its supported options. These include the widely used OpenVPN standard, OpenVPN over UDP, which offers faster performance than the equivalent protocol used over TCP, and L2TP, a good option for mobile devices that aren’t compatible with OpenVPN. IKEv2 and IPSec are also supported.
One nice feature worth pointing out is the ability to choose the OpenVPN connection port
Feature 4: Easily accessible logs
Users of a technical mindset, and those that want to get in-depth information about how the connections are being initiated, will also appreciate the ability to get easy access to the
connections log from within the settings tab on Windows. Timestamps and system messages make it easy to decipher important information about exactly what the program is doing at all times.
Feature 5: Kill Switch and DNS Leak Protection
Users that need to be absolutely certain that the program isn’t leaking out any data due to intermittent connectivity can also activate the kill switch feature, which shuts down all VPN traffic if a connection stops working.
The software also includes DNS leak protection, including automatic disabling of any outbound IPv6 DNS requests.
Rating: 9/10: Plenty of bang for users’ buck here.
Can IPVanish Unblock Netflix?
The latest reports in are in: IPVanish has fallen victim to Netflix’s measures to block traffic that it knows to be emanating from VPN servers. Those hoping to IPVanish Netflix are therefore currently going to be left disappointed.
Nevertheless, plenty of providers have been able to provision new servers quickly to work around the Netflix proxy error message. Given IPVanish’s impressive network reach we would not be surprised if the situation were to change in the new future. Those that want the latest information on whether Netflix can be accessed through the program are advised to ask directly using the live chat support.
Rating: 2/10: Not currently working but maybe in the (near) future.
IPVanish’s best value offering is currently its year subscription, which is available for $77.99, a saving of 46% on the monthly rate. The monthly rate is currently available for $10.00/month while the 3 month membership is billed at $8.99/month.
Although not the cheapest option on the home VPN market, the pricing is reasonable but we would have liked to see a longer term, two year plan, for those looking to lock down the service for the long term at the best possible price.
Users that want to avoid leaving a paper trail, digital or otherwise, are also spoiled for choice. In addition to major credit cards and PayPal, customers are able to pay via Bitcoin as well as region-specific gateways such as Gitopay and Alipay.
Rating: 8/10: Fair, but longer term options would be good.
How Fast is IPVanish: Servers and Performance
IPVanish operates a far-reaching network consisting of over 850 servers in 60 countries around the world. Another plus is that P2P and BitTorrent traffic is supported on all of them.
But what about performance?
Connecting to the server in Prague, Czech Republic, we were able to get 27.28 Mbps on the downlink and even achieve a faster upload speed than before connection (although this is likely due to VPN compression).
Without IPVanish, download speed was 40.24 Mbps.
As VPN performance lags go, about a 30% drop-off isn’t the worst we’ve seen and the connection was still perfectly adequate to stream video content with. Nevertheless, we have seen better speeds with different operators.
Rating: 7/10: Good network; average connection speeds.
How Secure is IPVanish – IPVanish Logs
IPVanish is based in Florida in the United States. For those looking to maximize their online security, given this country’s aggressive surveillance practices and the ability of well-funded intelligence agencies, such as the NSA, to break through “trillions” of encrypted VPN connections, this isn’t an ideal proposition. It’s not all bad news, though: the US currently has no mandatory data retention law, so the only snooping users have to worry about is that of the security apparatus.
One definite advantage IPVanish has, however, is that it is a true zero-logs provider which means that it does not keep records of user activity – at least insofar as they can be linked to a specific individual.
Rating: 6/10: A zero logs provider but one based in the US.
Is IPVanish Reliable: Customer Support
One area IPVanish has not shone in is customer support.
Although the company formerly had a live chat functionality, currently emailing the team is the only available contact method. Unsurprisingly, the team keeps to US business hours. While this is understandable, though many competitors offer some form of 24/7 support through outsourcing resources. Many users have also taken to popular consumer review website Trustpilot to vent about lengthy delays to opened tickets and poor service.
IPVanish claims to offer 24/7 support, they do a decent job to support that.
Rating: 4/5- Decent
Being able to get in touch with your VPN provider in a variety of ways is a nice little perk. If you need a quick fix, live chat gives you answers right away, and phone support is great for when your internet connection is going in and out. IPVanish offers live chat and e-mail support, with a ticket system on their website to track your information requests. Again though, in my experience, that live chat button is just for show.
Rating: 3.5/5-Live chat and e-mail support
Customer Support Test
To really put IPVanish’s customer service to the test, I signed up for a free trial, and then submitted some customer service inquiries.
I was careful to ask my questions at two very different times of day, so I could get a good sense for how factors like odd business hours or peak call volume times would influence my wait time.
Here’s what I ended up with:
E-mail Support Test #1-Wednesday/2:53 p.m.
I sent my first request for information on a Wednesday afternoon, well within the normal parameters for standard business hours.
I finally heard back from them about 4.5 hours later, a little slow in my opinion.
Result: 6 hours and 32 minutes
Rating: 3.5/5- Slow
E-mail Support Test #2- Wednesday/11:31 p.m.
Oddly enough, I received much fast service when I tried contacting them later that night, well after the close of typical business hours.
The response was again pretty cold and abrupt, but nonetheless to the point. With a much faster response this time, I was much happier that they got back to me so quickly.
Result: 17 minutes
Rating: 4/5-Fast response at off hours
Live Chat Support Test #1 – Wednesday/2:15 p.m.
I attempted to use their live chat support feature well within their business hours and got through to them really quickly.
Rating: 5/5- Response in Minutes
Live Chat Support Test #2 – Wednesday/11:41 p.m.
So I tried their live chat feature again, this time well outside of their operating business hours. This would have been at 1:41 a.m. EST, so I didn’t expect anyone to be there.
Still, it was disappointing, because I felt like this definitely wasn’t 24/7 customer service.
Rating: 2/5-No live chat available after 5 pm
Overall I was pretty disappointed by IPVanish’s customer service.
Not only were their claims of 24/7 service pretty misleading, but even their e-mail responses weren’t consistently prompt, and the live chat feature was never even available to me.
Overall Service Rating: 7.5/20-Misleading support claims
Rating: 3/10: This is one area where IPVanish has fallen far behind the chasing pack.
IPVanish Rating by Securethoughts.com
Although IPVanish does not support Netflix, has average connection speeds compared to some of its competitors, and can improve in support, it does offer an impressive server network with some nice advanced user options not easily found elsewhere such as OpenVPN port selection and obfuscation. In addition, we found the service to prove excellent for file sharing, and are assured of its user privacy protection. It’s a top contender in 2017 market.