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IPVanish is a popular VPN service that boasts a larger server network and claims to deliver the “best VPN speeds” in the industry.
Perhaps like you, I’m never satisfied taking these marketing statements at face value. So I decided to put IPVanish through extensive testing for this updated IPVanish review:
- Does IPVanish offer “top tier” speeds throughout the entire server network?
- Do IPVanish’s apps keep all data safe with a good kill switch, IP and DNS leak protection, and secure encryption?
- Does IPVanish provide stable connections without interruptions (good reliability)?
- Is it worth the price?
All of these questions are answered in the review below, with all tests results backed up by screenshots. First we’ll cover an overview explaining the review findings, then dive into the detailed results.
IPVanish Overview (Pros and Cons)
In terms of performance, IPVanish offers some great speeds. I was able to consistently get around 100 Mbps with nearby servers, which is quite good. Nonetheless, there are faster options, such as ExpressVPN.
Security and privacy tests were also good. I did not find any IP address or DNS leaks with any of the IPVanish apps I tested on Windows, Mac OS, and Android. Everything worked perfectly, with data being secured via the OpenVPN protocol using AES 256-bit encryption.
IPVanish has also lowered their prices with the 57% discount coupon while also increasing simultaneous connections allowed per account up to ten. Each subscription comes with a 7 day money-back guarantee. Lastly, IPVanish is one of the few VPNs in the world that owns every server in their network, which improves performance and security.
What are the main drawbacks?
The main drawback with IPVanish is that it is based in the United States. The US is not the best privacy jurisdiction due to mass surveillance and being a member of the 5 Eyes alliance.
Another drawback with IPVanish is that they cooperated with the FBI to collect user data for a criminal investigation, despite their “zero logs” policy. IPVanish explained how this was done under a previous management team, but it still raises questions about trust (explained more below).
- Excellent speeds and reliability
- Large selection of apps for different devices
- Great privacy features, encryption, and leak protection settings
- 24/7 chat and email support + telephone support (based in US)
- 10 connections allowed
- Entirely self-owned server network, including secure DNS (no third parties)
- Based in US (Five Eyes)
- Cooperated with the FBI on logs
IPVanish speed test results
On its website, IPVanish claims to offer the “best VPN speeds” through their “top tier” server network with locations around the world.
I’ve been personally using/testing IPVanish since 2015 and it has generally been among the fastest VPNs I have used. So how does it stack up with the latest round of tests?
To find out, I tested numerous servers throughout the IPVanish network. My baseline (non-VPN) connection speed was about 100 Mbps connection and my physical testing location was Germany. Now let’s examine the results.
Nearby IPVanish speed tests
First up was a nearby IPVanish server in Frankfurt, Germany: 95 Mbps
This is indeed an excellent test result, nearly maxing out my baseline speed. So far, so good!
Next up was a nearby server Amsterdam (Netherlands). Once again, the speeds were amazing at over 95 Mbps:
So far these are amazing test results. The latency (ping) was excellent with every server, and download and upload speeds were near the full baseline.
For the final test I tried out a server in the UK (London), which was further from my location, but still relatively close. Once again the speed was great, coming in over 91 Mbps:
These are great results. I tested other servers throughout Europe and the results were also good. IPVanish offers consistently fast speeds on all nearby servers I tested, which nearly maxed out my baseline connection speed.
Long-distance tests with IPVanish servers in the US and Canada
For the second round of IPVanish performance tests, I went with servers in the US and Canada. And once again, the results were impressive.
The first test was with a server in New York: 85 Mbps
Given the longer distance between me and the NY server, these speeds are pretty good.
Next up was an IPVanish server Dallas, which was even further away, but still had good speeds considering the distance: 73 Mbps
Finally I also tested a few servers in Canada, and the results were also good. Here is my speed with an IPVanish server in Toronto:
Considering my baseline speed of 100 Mbps, these are solid test results.
If you value performance with a VPN, IPVanish would be a good fit based on these results.
Ok, now before we move onto the security/privacy test results, let’s first cover some basics about IPVanish, including the cost, apps, and subscription details.
How much does IPVanish cost?
With the regular prices, the cheapest you can get IPVanish for is $6.49/month with the annual plan. Fortunately, IPVanish is currently offering a nice 57% discount coupon, which saves you quite a bit on the standard prices.
When you use the IPVanish coupon the prices drop down to what you see below:
Note: This coupon only applies to the first billing cycle. Therefore the most savings will come through the annual plan.
Payment methods – IPVanish accepts most major payment methods, including all large credit cards and also PayPal.
Unfortunately, IPVanish offers no support for cryptocurrency payment options at this time, although they have in the past. When I asked a customer service rep about this he explained the change was due to large fluctuations in the Bitcoin price and the high transaction fees, but they may be adding it again in the future.
I am also maintaining an IPVanish coupon page to track the latest deals and promotions. Aside from using the coupon above, you will be able to see if there are any temporary sales, which will be advertised directly on their homepage. (I’ve only seen them offer temporary sales a few times per year, such as for Black Friday or Cyber Security Awareness month.)
Refund policy – IPVanish offers a 7 day no-questions-asked money-back guarantee, which they clearly explain on their website:
If you are less than 100% satisfied with IPVanish VPN service, we will gladly refund your payment as long as the refund is requested within one week from the date of the purchase.
This is pretty clear cut and I did not see any issues or worrisome fine print.
IPVanish provides a wide selection of applications for many devices and platforms.
For this IPVanish review, I tested out their apps on Windows, Mac OS, and Android.
IPVanish Windows app – The IPVanish Windows app did well in testing. It is user-friendly, stable, and never froze up or crashed.
IPVanish Mac OS – The IPVanish Mac OS app also did well in testing. This is an updated and improved version over IPVanish Mac OS apps I’ve tested in the past, which were a bit buggy. I did not notice any bugs or connections issues with the new Mac OS app.
IPVanish Android – The IPVanish Android app performed well in testing without any issues to report. It has a good design and was stable in testing.
We’ll take a closer look at the apps in the privacy/security tests below.
10 device connections
IPVanish now allows 10 simultaneous connections with every subscription. The previous policy allowed five, but then in 2018 they doubled the number. This is above average for the VPN industry.
Privacy and security test results
IPVanish performed well in all privacy and security tests for this review. I tested IPVanish for IP address leaks (both IPv4 and IPv6) and DNS leaks.
Prior to running these tests, I verified the following privacy/security settings were active:
- IPv6 leak protection (IPVanish provides you with an IPv4 address, while blocking IPv6 and ensuring your real IPv6 address does not leak out of the tunnel.)
- DNS leak protection (All of your DNS requests are handled by IPVanish servers, with DNS leak protection activated by default.)
- Kill switch (A kill switch will block all traffic if the VPN connection drops to keep your data and identity secure.)
Now we will move onto the test results.
Windows app: Here is a test using the Windows app with a London, UK server. Everything passed with no issues whatsoever.
Mac OS app: Here are the test results with the Mac OS app using an IPVanish server in Amsterdam: no leaks, everything was working correctly.
Everything checked out with the leak tests: no issues to report.
IPVanish’s privacy and security will:
- Protect you against IP address leaks (both IPv4 and IPv6)
- Protect you against DNS leaks
- Protect your traffic and data if the VPN connection drops (kill switch)
As you can see in the results above, IPVanish passed all privacy and security tests without any leaks discovered.
One unique benefit you get with IPVanish is access to a massive server network with locations spanning all around the world.
IPVanish has one of the largest server networks in the VPN industry, and as we saw with the tests above, it provides users with peak performance.
What good is a large server network?
- More servers generally means better speeds as there is more available bandwidth per user.
- This also helps you to select specific servers for different needs, whether you are looking for a nearby server in your area or another geographic location for accessing media.
- It also gives you more options for geo-spoofing your location, which may be useful when purchasing plane tickets.
Top tier network – Another benefit with IPVanish is that they own and manage their entire server network. In other words, everything is completely under their control. This is what they mean when they refer to their business as “the world’s only Top Tier” VPN provider.
Owning their entire server network infrastructure provides two distinct benefits:
- Excellent performance in terms of speed and reliability
- Great data security (no rental servers from third parties)
Does IPVanish use virtual server locations?
A “virtual server location” is when a server that is advertised as being in a certain location is not actually there. For example, I found that PureVPN has many servers are not actually in the advertised location, and they do not disclose this to their users.
You can identify virtual server locations using ping tests to triangulate the exact location (see here). With IPVanish, I tested a number of different servers and they all checked out. It does not appear that IPVanish is using any virtual server locations.
IPVanish logs (FBI case)
IPVanish is a zero logs VPN service as they explain on their website. But before getting into their exact logging policy, we’ll first examine a logging case that happened a few years ago.
In 2016, when IPVanish was owned and operated by a different company, they cooperated with the FBI for a criminal case. In this specific case, they provided connection data to authorities, after the FBI made two separate requests during an investigation. While this is concerning from a privacy standpoint, especially since IPVanish claims to have a no logs policy, it’s also important to note this happened when the company was under different ownership and management.
IPVanish is now owned by a company called J2 Global, which also owns various media outlets (disclosed at the bottom of this article). This logging case happened when IPVanish was owned/operated by HighWinds Network Group in 2016. The sale to StackPath took place in February 2017, after the logging case.
I requested clarification about this from IPVanish and they provided me with the following statement:
That court case was from 2016 – long before StackPath acquired IPVanish in 2017. IPVanish does not, has not, and will not log or store logs of our users as a StackPath company. We can’t speak to what happened on someone else’s watch, and that management team is long gone. In addition to not logging, StackPath will defend the privacy of our users, regardless of who demands otherwise.
Additionally, I also spoke to IPVanish staff about this case and they provided further assurances that this type of cooperation has not and will not happen with StackPath.
What are IPVanish’s current logging policies?
IPVanish is a zero-logs VPN service provider, which means that we do not keep a record of any connection, traffic, or activity data in regards to our Services.
The only information that is collected during registration is an email address (for account purposes) and payment information for account renewal, refunds, etc.
There are also a few VPN providers that have been verified in real test cases as VPNs with no logs. Some of these include ExpressVPN, NordVPN, VyprVPN, and others.
For a direct comparison, see the ExpressVPN vs IPVanish guide.
Overall, the logging case is troubling because it undermines the credibility of IPVanish and the trustworthiness of those operating the company. Is IPVanish still worthy of your trust? Only you can decide.
IPVanish offers excellent customer support, which I tested and verified for this review. If you need assistance, IPVanish provides:
- 24/7 chat support
- 24/7 email support
- Telephone support (check their website for hours; based in the US central time zone)
I tried phone support, just out of curiosity because I’ve never seen a VPN offer phone support. It went well – I was quickly connected to a guy named Blake, somewhere in the US, rather than an overseas call center in the Philippines. Blake was helpful.
I also tried the chat support and everything worked as expected. I was quickly connected with someone who answered my general questions:
I did not have any technical issues or problems with the apps, so my support interactions were limited to general questions.
The IPVanish website also contains some great guides and informational articles on various topics. These are all accessible from the knowledge base and in the member’s area.
You should be able to get everything set up just using the guides in the member’s area. But if you have any problems then you can try chat support or just send them an email.
I also downloaded and tested out the IPVanish Android app for this review.
Overall it performed well without any issues to report. Here are a few screenshots I took, with the Android app on the left, leak test results in the middle (no leaks!) and a basic speed test on the right (slower speeds were due to the slow network I was on at the time, not the VPN).
Overall the IPVanish Android app seems to work fine. Connecting and switching servers was easy and I didn’t find any leaks or problems to report.
If you want to use a VPN on your mobile devices (Android or iOS), IPVanish would be a good choice.
IPVanish is also a good choice if you want to use a VPN on a router. This will secure (encrypt) your entire home network and all devices that connect to your router. Furthermore, it will only count as only one device when you use IPVanish on your router. But because IPVanish gives you 10 simultaneous connections, this probably is not an issue.
A VPN router is a smart idea simply because most internet providers are now monitoring and recording your online activities. This is now legal in the United States, the UK, and now also Australia (see the best VPN services for Australia).
Want to use IPVanish on a router? Check out the IPVanish router options here.
Does IPVanish work with Netflix?
No. IPVanish does not work with Netflix on a consistent basis.
Unfortunately, all of the IPVanish servers I tried seem to be blocked by Netflix. However, there are occasionally reports of a server getting through.
The support person I chatted with also confirmed IPVanish’s difficulty in accessing Netflix. When you try, you will get the annoying Netflix proxy error message.
Fortunately, there are still some great VPNs that work with Netflix, even though many others are not a good option.
Does IPVanish work in China?
As of right now, IPVanish is not the best VPN to use in China. This is because it does not put an emphasis on obfuscation features. Obfuscation features conceal VPN traffic as regular HTTPS, thereby allowing you to easily get around VPN blocks.
Two VPNs that offer good obfuscation features (and work well in China) are ExpressVPN and also VyprVPN. Obfuscation is also useful wherever VPNs may be blocked. This may include school networks or perhaps work networks, where internet activities are restricted.
IPVanish review conclusion: Is it recommended?
On the whole, IPVanish performed pretty well for this review. It offers good performance and has some decent features – but there’s still a question of trust.
One of the biggest issues when choosing a VPN – or any other privacy tool – is trust. The previous case of IPVanish cooperating with the FBI to collect and share user data definitely undermines that trust, even if it did take place under a previous management structure. Also concerning is that IPVanish is based in the US and completely falls under US laws – so who knows if this could happen again.
Given the history and jurisdiction, I’m not recommending IPVanish, but it may still be a decent choice depending on your needs and threat model. If you want a basic VPN with good speeds and performance for daily browsing, IPVanish may be a good fit. Nonetheless, there are better options available, such as both ExpressVPN and NordVPN.
If you want to give IPVanish a test drive, you’ll have a full 7 day money-back guarantee with all subscription plans. IPVanish is quite reasonable with pricing when you use the 57% off coupon.
You can also check out some alternatives if you want the best VPN services that meet all testing criteria and are located in good privacy jurisdictions.
If you have used IPVanish, feel free to share your honest review (good or bad) below.
Last updated on August 27, 2019.