IPVanish Review

Article written by: Timothy Shim
  • Web Tools
  • Updated: Nov 17, 2020

IPVanish has often been touted as a top-grade VPN. In many cases, I’m inclined to agree with that assessment. However, as with any product, nothing is perfect and there are bumps in the road along the way.

Originally founded by Mudhook Media in 2012, IPVanish has since changed hands. It’s last acquisition was in 2019 and today it belongs to a US-based Internet services company called J2 Global.

IPVanish Overview

About the company

Usability & Specifications

  • Apps available for – Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux
  • Browser plugins – Chrome
  • Devices – Fire TV, Routers
  • Protocols – IKEv2, OpenVPN, and L2TP/IPsec
  • Streaming and P2P allowed

IPVanish

Pros of IPVanish

  • Decent speeds
  • User-friendly apps
  • Good customer support
  • Works on P2P and Netflix US

Cons of IPVanish

  • Relatively high prices
  • Murky past in logging data
  • Lacklustre knowledge base

Price

  • $11.99/mo for 1-month subscription
  • $8.99/mo for 6-month subscription
  • $6.49/mo for 12-month subscription

Verdict

While IPVanish is not a service I would throw money at, I consider it to be one of the better choices in the market. At the very least, it offers a reasonable service that’s stress-free to use for most people.

 


Pros: What's Good About IPVanish?

1. IPVanish Doesn’t Keep Logs

Privacy Policy for IPVanish Site & Services
IPVanish zero-logs policy (screenshot taken on August 10th, 2020).

Logging is perhaps the most pivotal point that most VPN service providers come under scrutiny for. The main purposes of a service like this are privacy, anonymity, and security. Logging can lead to information which identifies users and their activities.

As you might guess, most VPN users frown on service providers that log their data. Thankfully, IPVanish today is very clear on the matter in their privacy policy: they are a zero-logs VPN.

2. Decent Protocols, Secure Service

As with most VPNs today, IPVanish comes with a strong mix of standard protocols and top-notch encryption. It supports IKEv2, OpenVPN, and L2TP/IPsec, the first two of which I recommend you use.

Both are stable and secure, with IKEv2 being the slightly faster of the two. Regardless of speed, at times you may face problems with some apps which need to connect to the Internet to work. If you have this issue, try swapping between these two protocols. 

This isn’t a problem with IPVanish, but more of how each of the apps access the Internet.

For OpenVPN, IPVanish let’s you select the port number as well, so that’s added flexibility for you. IPVanish also tested fine in my DNS leak and WebRTC tests.

FInally, there is of course an option to use a built-in Kill Switch. If enabled, this will allow IPVanish to stop your device from sending or receiving any data if it detects the connection to its server has been lost for some reason.

3. Very Usable Speeds

VPN speeds are affected by many factors. As a rule of thumb, the key influencers are physical distance from your location and the quality of your Internet line. However, other elements also factor in such as quality of the server, load at time of connection, and more.

Because of this, you should take VPN speed test results with a pinch of salt. The results shown below are indicative of general quality and should not be taken as hard and fast results.

With my physical location in Malaysia, expect to see faster speeds in areas nearby. Connection locations further away will be slower and have higher latency (ping).

IPVanish Speed Tests

Baseline Speed

IPVanish Speed Tests - Baseline Result
My Internet connection has an advertised speed of 500Mbps. Normally, I am able to attain the maximum at any given time. During the test period, this was confirmed with a baseline speed test (actual result here).

IPVanish US Server Speed Test

IPVanish Speed Tests - US Results
The furthest location from me physically, IPVanish still managed to impress with their US server speeds. 50Mbps on OpenVPN for a US server is considered good for my case. The latency of under 300ms is acceptable as well (actual result here).

IPVanish Germany Server Speed Test

IPVanish Speed Tests - Germany Results
Speeds in Europe dropped slightly which is a bit surprising. It’s usual for my case that Europe would have faster speeds since it’s closer than the US. Perhaps being a US-based company their focus is on domestic quality of service (actual result here).

IPVanish Singapore Server Speed Test

IPVanish Speed Tests - Singapore Results
Most VPNs will perform well in Singapore for me since it’s practically just next door. IPVanish managed to hit almost 100Mbps here which is around the norm. Still, I’ve seen better, for example on NordVPN with their NordLynx protocol (actual result here).

IPVanish Australia Server Speed Test

IPVanish Speed Tests - Australia Results
Speeds to their Australia server were fair. By this point I was observing something a little unusual though – IPVanish has relatively normal download speeds, but their upstream speeds are quite fast. Still, that’s not much use for most of us (actual result here).

IPVanish South Africa Server Speed Test

IPVanish Speed Tests - Africa Results
Speeds on their South Africa also managed to surprise me since it was quite usable. Most services I know who have a presence here don’t pay much attention and often offer terrible connections to this location (actual result here).

4. An Actually Helpful Connection Map

IPVanish coneection map
IPVanish connection map.

I will be the first to admit that this might sound like a pretty small point. However, it’s more of an indication towards the little things IPVanish is doing to make the service more user-friendly.

What I found is that from start to finish, IPVanish offers a very fuss-free user experience. This starts at sign up and extends easily towards installation and configuration of apps, as well as actual usage.

5. You Can Access Netflix US Content

Unblock any Netflix content using IPVanish.

Michael Scott has become the de facto icon of success in any Netflix connection I test. The Office is a popular series that’s not available where I am, so this indicates to me that the US region content has been successfully unlocked.

Steaming of the movies is also smooth, although the high latency does give a bit of a buffering problem at times. Still, not enough so to hurt the experience too badly.

6. Comes with 250GB SugarSync

Who doesn’t love freebies?

For everyone that signs up for an IPVanish account, you’ll get a free subscription to SugarSync and access to a 250GB Cloud Storage drive thereon. Not really something you’d expect – but hey, it’s free.

7. Torrents Work Well

Torrenting on IPVanish connection.

All IPVanish servers allow you to run torrents. This means you can simply connect to the closest server (and hence, usually, fastest) and torrent safely to your heart’s content. I had zero problems whatsoever with the experience.

In fact, although there’s no real evidence to the effect, I found that torrenting on IPVanish was much smoother than on many others. When I try to torrent on a VPN, many times I feel there is a noticeable lag before peers are able to reliably connect. Not so with IPVanish.

IPVanish Cons: What I Dislike

1. It has a Reputation to Make up for

You may remember the first ‘Pro” that I mentioned way above in this article – that IPVanish doesn’t keep user logs. Just a few years ago under different management, it made the same promise before. 

Things didn’t work out so well then, and the company actually did keep logs and handed them over to homeland security on demand. This led to a user actually getting convicted. Admittedly, he was scum and deserved it, but in theory it was a real con by IPVanish owners (at the time).

Today things are supposedly different, but this type of black mark isn’t likely to be forgotten soon. There is also the fact that they are based in the US to be concerned about. If government agencies come calling – they’ll have to answer somehow.

2. Touch-and-go for Self-troubleshooting

The first line of support for anything in this world is usually a knowledge base or some kind of manual. Troubleshooting problems with the knowledge base that IPVanish provides is sort of iffy. They have some strangely specific things in there of dubious use.

What’s worse is that in some cases, the entries read more like blogs than provide quick and comprehensive access to real support knowledge.

3. Pretty Steep Pricing

For those who have bought web services, you’ll know that prices are sort of elastic. Standard prices get slashed from time to time and at IPVanish this isn’t any different.

However, even with a discount-on-discount rate, the cheapest I found was still around $5 per month for an annual subscription.

Even if we take at face value that IPVanish is a top-tier VPN and worth it, that figure does price it above a few big names in the business. If you’ll note on the image above, the extra discount in this case is also only for the first billing cycle.

IPVanish starts at $11.99/mo for monthly subscription. You'll save 46% ($6.49/mo) if you subscribe for a year.

Verdict: Is IPVanish Worth the Money?

While IPVanish is not a service I would throw money at, I consider it to be one of the better choices in the market. At the very least, it offers a reasonable service that’s stress-free to use for most people.

However, for those who have some workable tech skills, I feel that there are a number of reasons it might be better to look elsewhere. The cons I’ve found make a strong argument against taking up this service.

To recap –

Pros of IPVanish

  • Decent speeds
  • User-friendly apps
  • Good customer support
  • Works on P2P and Netflix US

Cons of IPVanish

  • Relatively high prices
  • Murky past in logging data
  • Lacklustre knowledge base

Alternatives

To see more choices in VPN services, check out our list of 10 best VPN services.

Earning disclosure – We use affiliate links in this article. WHSR receive referral fees from companies mentioned in this article. Our opinions are based on real experience and actual test data.

About Timothy Shim

Timothy Shim is a writer, editor, and tech geek. Starting his career in the field of Information Technology, he rapidly found his way into print and has since worked with International, regional and domestic media titles including ComputerWorld, PC.com, Business Today, and The Asian Banker. His expertise lies in the field of technology from both consumer as well as enterprise points of view.