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You have probably already heard of IPVanish. It is a popular VPN service with a large server network and it claims to deliver fast and reliable speeds. But don’t sign up before you read this IPVanish review. The marketing of IPVanish is impressive, but it always makes sense to see actual test results before investing your hard-earned money.
That is particularly true in this case, because the IPVanish VPN test results left us with some question marks. In short, IPVanish didn’t do all that great in our testing. This VPN comes with some Pros and Cons you will want to consider before taking action.
To determine how IPVanish stacks up against other VPN services, we ran it through a barrage of tests to answer these questions:
- 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 test results backed up by screenshots. First we’ll cover an overview explaining the review findings, then dive into the details.
IPVanish review Pros and Cons
Here are the Pros and Cons of IPVanish:
- Large selection of apps for different devices
- Good privacy features, encryption, and leak protection settings
- Live chat, email, and telephone support
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Clunky desktop apps
- Based in the US (Five Eyes)
- Limited refund policy and payment methods
- Troubled past (logged user data for the FBI)
So now let’s get into the details of this IPVanish review.
IPVanish company background check and ownership
IPVanish has an interesting history that also includes a few different ownership changes over the years.
Here is a brief summary of IPVanish’s history based on my research for this review:
- IPVanish was founded by Mudhook Marketing in 2012, a subsidiary of Highwinds Network Group in Orlando, Florida.
- In 2017, StackPath acquired Highwinds Network Group, which also included IPVanish.
- In 2019, IPVanish was sold off to J2 Global (now called ZiffDavis Inc.) under the “Net Protect” division.
J2 Global (ZiffDavis Inc.) is also the parent company for many websites that publish reviews, such as PCMag. In addition to IPVanish, J2 Global also now owns StrongVPN and Encrypt.me, as well as SugarSync, which is a secure cloud storage service.
With J2 Global owning this collection of VPN services, you now have a situation where VPN review websites recommend the same products that are owned by the parent company. This, of course, is a dubious situation that we discussed in the article on VPNs that own review websites.
Note: We’ll examine the IPVanish logging scandal further below.
IPVanish provides a good selection of applications for different devices and platforms. And if they don’t offer a dedicated app, then IPVanish probably still supports the device or operating system. Here are the options you have for using IPVanish:
Updated apps: At the time of this review, IPVanish is in the process of rolling out new VPN apps. We were able to test out the new Android app below, and the updated desktop apps will probably be released later in the year.
IPVanish Windows app
The IPVanish Windows app did alright in testing. It is user-friendly, stable, and never froze up or crashed. One issue I did notice, however, is that connection times could take a while.
Here is the Windows app that we tested for this IPVanish review:
Aside from delayed connections, we also found the Windows client to be a bit buggy and was sometimes not responsive.
See our other Windows VPN recommendations.
IPVanish Mac OS app
The IPVanish Mac OS app also did well in testing. This is an updated and improved version over the IPVanish Mac OS apps I’ve tested in the past, which also had some bugs and crashes in our testing. I did not notice any bugs or connection issues with the new Mac OS app. Other good Mac OS VPNs are here.
IPVanish Android app
The new and updated IPVanish Android app performed well in testing without any issues to report. It has a good design and was stable in testing. Here is a screenshot of the new Android app design:
The new design is a nice improvement over the old Android app layout and feel. Hopefully they can duplicate this with the desktop apps. (See other options for Android VPNs here.)
Verdict on existing apps: Overall, the legacy IPVanish apps feel clunky and outdated. Fortunately, this problem should be resolved when all of the new apps are rolled out across different operating systems. However, right now, IPVanish feels outdated with the current lineup, as we noted in the IPVanish vs Surfshark comparison.
We’ll take a closer look at the apps in the privacy/security tests below.
IPVanish has long positioned itself as a good VPN for streaming with a wide variety of apps for all types of streaming devices.
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. In terms of speeds, IPVanish has historically lagged behind other top-rated VPNs.
For this new and updated IPVanish review, I tested numerous servers throughout the network. My baseline (non-VPN)internet connection speed was about 500 Mbps. I ran all tests using the official IPVanish Windows app with the WireGuard protocol. In our WireGuard vs OpenVPN tests, WireGuard outperformed OpenVPN in all tests.
IPVanish speed test results
First up was a nearby IPVanish server in Seattle: 158 Mbps.
At around 150 Mbps, this is not a great speed test result. This is especially true when you consider that we’re using WireGuard, which can hit speeds over 400 Mbps, and we’re also using a nearby server in Seattle.
Next up was an IPVanish server Los Angeles. Here we see that the IPVanish speeds were slightly better at around 214 Mbps:
Next, I ran some tests with an IPVanish server in the New York. This was again around 159 Mbps:
The last IPVanish server I tested for this review was in the UK. Here was the London server speed at around 139 Mbps:
Again we are seeing that IPVanish does not offer great UK VPN server speeds, but it still should be fast enough for streaming or other high-bandwidth activities. And with a higher ping (latency), we can expect a slight tradeoff in performance.
Overall, we see that IPVanish is certainly not the fastest VPN we have tested, but it’s also not horribly slow.
Comparison speed tests
In comparison to other top VPNs, IPVanish lags behind the top performers. Aside from the results above, we also discussed this issue in the NordVPN vs IPVanish comparison. NordVPN does very well with performance, regardless of which VPN protocol you are using. That being said, the fastest speeds are usually with the WireGuard VPN protocol.
Here is a speed test with NordVPN using the WireGuard protocol where we hit speeds of 445 Mbps:
You can learn more about NordVPN with WireGuard here.
IPVanish price and refund policy
The cost of IPVanish is about average. It is not really the best cheap VPN, but also not an expensive VPN. Right now they are offering an IPVanish subscription with a free version of the “VIPRE Antivirus” tool. We also see other VPNs offering antivirus solutions, for example with both Surfshark and NordVPN.
Important: One important thing to note here is that the prices increase significantly after the initial subscription period.
In the image above, the annual price starts out at $47.89 in the first year, but then jumps up to $89.99 every year thereafter. This is something we also noticed in the Avast VPN review, where the renewal prices shot up significantly.
With the sharp increase with renewal prices, you would be better off to cancel your account at the end of one year (or one month) and then sign up again with a new secure email and username. If you are looking for a deal, see our VPN coupons page. One of the best deals right now is the NordVPN coupon that includes three months free.
IPVanish refund policy
IPVanish advertises a 30 day money-back guarantee on the homepage — but only for the Yearly subscription, as shown below.
Most VPNs now offer a full 30 day money-back guarantee that applies to all subscription plans. For example, we found this in the PIA vs NordVPN comparison report.
Limited subscription payment methods
At the time of this IPVanish VPN review, the only payment methods that are accepted are credit cards and PayPal. This means there is no support for cryptocurrency payments, gift cards, or sending cash in the mail, which we see with other VPNs like CyberGhost and NordVPN.
IPVanish offers unlimited device connections
When you purchase a subscription to IPVanish, you will get an unlimited number of device connections. Most VPNs limit the number of devices to between four and seven. One other VPN that gives you an unlimited number of device connections is Surfshark VPN – and it’s also a lot cheaper.
IPVanish supported VPN protocols
IPVanish currently supports a wide variety of VPN protocols, but the exact protocols depend on the operating system and app version you are using. In the screenshot below, you can see the available protocols for the Windows VPN app. This includes not only WireGuard and OpenVPN, but also a few others.
I would not recommend even using PPTP, which has known security vulnerabilities. WireGuard would probably be the best bet given the performance advantage and security upgrades it offers. This is why many VPNs are shifting to a “WireGuard first” policy with their VPN apps, as we noted in the Atlas VPN review.
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 on to the test results.
Windows app: Here is a test using the Windows app with a London, UK server. Everything passed with no issues or leaks to report.
Just like the Windows VPN app tests above, the Mac OS app also passed the tests without any leaks discovered.
Everything checked out with the leak tests: no issues to report.
See our VPN tests and checks guide for more info.
One benefit you get with IPVanish is access to a large server network with locations spanning all around the world. This currently includes:
- 75+ worldwide locations
- 2,000+ servers
- 40,000+ IP addresses
This is a pretty large network and it is on par with ExpressVPN and CyberGhost.
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.
- If you need a VPN for gaming, a large network can help you choose a close server to minimize ping times (latency).
- It also gives you more options for geo-spoofing your location, which may be useful when purchasing items online.
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 that are not actually in the advertised location, and they do not disclose this to their users. (This is explained more in our PureVPN review.)
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 logging case (user data provided to the FBI)
For years, IPVanish has claimed to be a “zero traffic logs” VPN service. 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.
During this case, IPVanish did not alert customers to the situation. The truth later came out with public court records, as I explained in my article on the IPVanish logging case.
Since the logging scandal, IPVanish has gone through two different ownership changes.
What are IPVanish’s current logging policies?
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.
The only information that is collected during registration is an email address (for account purposes) and payment information for account renewal, refunds, etc.
IPVanish undergoes no-logs audit by Leviathan Security Group
There are also a few other 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.
IPVanish offers the following channels for support:
- Live chat support
- Email support
- Telephone support
I tested out the live chat a few times and there were no major issues. In some cases, however, it could take 5+ minutes to connect with a chat representative. However, the staff was helpful.
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 by 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.
IPVanish VPN on a router
IPVanish is also a decent 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 an unlimited number of 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.
IPVanish for Netflix and streaming
In our tests for this review, IPVanish does not work well with Netflix on a consistent basis.
Unfortunately, all of the IPVanish servers I tried seem to be blocked by Netflix. This results in Netflix only showing you the “Netflix Originals” — but not being able to access country-specific Netflix libraries. For example, I tested out US Netflix with IPVanish and was blocked.
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.
Likewise, IPVanish has trouble accessing streaming services like Amazon Prime Video and Hulu. That doesn’t mean you can never pull it off, but connecting to most streaming services is a hit-or-miss affair.
Fortunately, there are still some great VPNs that work with Netflix, even though many others are not a good option. Likewise, there are some great VPNs for streaming, ones that will do a better job of it than IPVanish.
IPVanish VPN FAQ
Common questions and answers related to IPVanish:
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.
VPNs that offer good obfuscation features (and work well in China) are NordVPN and VyprVPN. Obfuscation is also useful wherever VPNs may be blocked. This may include school networks or perhaps work networks, where internet activities are restricted.
Can you be tracked using IPVanish?
IPVanish does a good job of protecting your true IP address from the prying eyes and greedy fingers of most hackers and similar troublemakers. Their encryption is strong, and they were confirmed to be a no-logs VPN after a recent third-party audit.
However, IPVanish is based in the United States. Under current laws, the US Government can force VPNs to start tracking your online activities and send the results to the FBI or other agencies. So to answer your question, under most circumstances, you cannot be tracked while using IPVanish. But if you plan to use your VPN to do something that makes the US government curious, IPVanish will not be able to protect you. Here’s a link to our review of the best VPNs for the United States.
Is IPVanish good for streaming?
In our testing, IPVanish had problems with streaming in general, as well as with streaming Netflix. We confirmed with their support staff that they were having difficulty connecting to Netflix regional libraries. If you want to do a lot of streaming, check out our review of the best VPNs for streaming.
IPVanish VPN review conclusion
The VPN industry is incredibly dynamic. A VPN provider needs to keep improving merely to keep from falling behind. IPVanish has made some great improvements over the past year including support for WireGuard, faster speeds, a no-logs audit, and new VPN apps (but this is still in progress). The team should definitely be applauded for the big strides they have made.
While we like the progress the IPVanish team has made, there are still some noteworthy drawbacks to consider:
- They still have some of the clunky old desktop apps to replace
- They are still based in the United States, which remains a bad privacy jurisdiction
- They still only support a limited number of payment methods, and their 30-day refund policy remains limited to only Yearly subscriptions
- Their troubled past, where they logged user data for the FBI, of course, remains
Aside from remedying the drawbacks we just covered, there is something else IPVanish needs to do to really compete with the big dogs like NordVPN and ExpressVPN. The VPN is very vanilla. That is, it offers a very limited set of features. Adding things like obfuscated servers (for dealing with the Great Firewall of China and similar internet blockades) and split tunneling would really boost the value of the service.
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 undermined that trust, even if it did take place under a previous management structure. Also concerning is that IPVanish is based in the US and subsequently falls under US laws, which allow for compulsory data collection via court order.
Considering all the drawbacks, I can’t recommend this VPN. There are simply too many other good services on the market.
Note: IPVanish has a service where they license their VPN to other companies who can then market it under their own brand name. One such service is Namecheap’s FastVPN.
Alternatives to IPVanish
Click the VPN name below to read our full review – or grab the discount for the best savings. All three of these VPNs have a 30 day money-back guarantee with all subscription plans.
You can also read our guide on the best VPN services for other recommendations.
If you have used IPVanish, feel free to share your honest review (good or bad) below.
This review of IPVanish was last updated on August 30, 2023.