One of the better VPNs out there, appearing on PC Mag’s Top 10 list, IPVanish combines solid security and better than average privacy. It’s easy for even the tech-blind to set up and use and is affordable, though not the cheapest option out there.
- 0 logs
- Accepts BitCoin
- 700+ servers in 60+ countries
- Solid encryption
- Good leak protection
- Customer support
- No free trial
- Presence in Fourteen Eyes and Enemies of the Internet countries.
- Collects some personal info
- Need separate SmartDNS provider
Who is IPVanish?
Near as I can figure, IPVanish is headquartered in Phoenix. The company’s Facebook page has conflicting claims of having “15 years of experience,” while saying it was founded in 2012, but claiming it won the Info Security Products Guide’s 2016 Startup of the Year Award. Offers 24-7, 365 customer support, has a “zero log policy” and claims to be the fastest, most secure VPN network on the planet.
IPVanish Pricing and Available Plans
Single plan pricing begins at $10/month-to-month, then drops to $6.49/month if you if you sign up for a whole year at $77.99.
7-day money back guarantee will be processed in 10 business days if cancelled on the website. Refunds of variably priced currencies, including BitCoin, are paid at the US Dollar exchange rate at the time of refund.
How to Use IPVanish?
Location, Location, Location
IPVanish has more than 700 servers in over 60 countries, including six in Africa and nearly 70 in Oceania (which I’m told is unusual).
The subscription includes OpenVPN, the protocol most experts prefer, as well as L2TP/IPsec and PPTP, which purists consider unacceptably porous. IPVanish also has two protocols available for mobile devices – IPSec and IKEv2.
You can make up to five simultaneous connections on multiple devices (as long as just one is connected via PPTP or L2TP). The service can be configured for Windows, MAC OS X, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Ubuntu, Chromebook and routers.
IPVanish also provides unlimited bandwidth and unlimited daily access to servers and content. Most notable among the very few limits IPVanish does impose is one on “non-individual” or multi-party usage, complete with a sternly worded threat to terminate or restrict your account if there are more than two simultaneous logins from multiple IP addresses under the same username. You have been warned.
Using IPVanish cut my download speed nearly in half (from 83.53 Mbps to 43.4 Mbps) and reduced upload speed by about 20 percent (from 9.13 Mbps to 7.46 Mbps).
Shows that IPVanish is, apparently, leak proof.
According to these results, my IP address was on the Left Coast rather than in the Midwest.
Ambiguous – results identical with and without IPVanish.
Testing on Mobile
Running IPVanish did not appear to affect speed. Once you login, you can set the app to remember you and you will not see the login screen again.
IPVanish is a mixed bag where privacy is concerned. On the plus side, the site does not keep logs, offers OpenVPN, helps disguise the fact you are using a VPN and accepts anonymous forms of payment, including BitCoin and PayPal. On the other hand, you will need to provide limited personal information to open your account and the bulk of IPVanish’s servers are scattered among all the Fourteen Eyes countries and two – one each in Cairo, Egypt and Hanoi, Vietnam – are in countries on the current Reporters Without Frontiers’ “Enemies of the Internet” list. This is also a US-based company and might provide any info it does have to the FBI or NSA if asked.
IPVanish’s top tier OpenVPN security protocol employs the theoretically unbreakable AES-256 cipher, and although it ultimately communicates using the same protocol as many web browsers, its SSL is rated among the best. Still, there are some concerns regarding the number of persistent cookies and third party cookies it allows.
Was easily able to watch latest Sherlock episode after connecting to a UK server, but puzzled over how to access Netflix for literally hours before getting frustrated and quitting. (Full disclosure: I’m not particularly tech savvy and was, frankly, baffled by the methods for getting round this that I found on Google, all of which seemed to required buying a subscription to a SmartDNS service).
IPVanish Final Thoughts
Like many (most of you?) I didn’t give Internet security much thought until a recent need to send info securely to a potential employer. I couldn’t use the firm’s workaround of using a fax machine and a time crunch made it necessary to trust to email instead which led me to checking out the better option of using a VPN in the future. For the tech-shy, there’s a steep learning curve once you enter the Wonkdom of VPNs, including an alphabet storm of acronyms.
IPVanish’s website eased (though did not speed up) the process considerably. All things considered, IPVanish provides the security and privacy most of us could need at a slightly slower speed and slightly higher price than some other VPNs.