Welcome to our IPVanish review. Let us begin by saying that IPVanish is a top tier VPN provider. That means they have a really fast and stable global network, but more about that in a bit. They have recently released new versions of their software, for mobile and desktop. In this review, we will take a look at both, in addition to the other features and functions that IPVanish has to offer.
Prices and Discounts
When looking in to VPN providers, price is often a factor. Your goal should be to find a trustworthy company, but remember, the highest priced service is not always the best. With that being said, IPVanish does a good job of providing a top quality service at a reasonable price. Like many companies, if you sign up for a longer term, you get a better discount. They only offer unlimited plans, and a month of their service is offered to our readers at a discounted rate of $7.50. As mentioned, the discounts get bigger, so three months of their service is just $20.24. By far, the best value is their year plan. At a rate of $58.49 you are getting quite a deep discount. The discount is applied to the first 3 billing cycles.
As far as payment goes, IPVanish offers numerous ways to pay for your service. They offer all major credit cards, PayPal, WorldPay, and we are pleased to say they offer one of our favorites, Bitcoin. If you are worried about your privacy, Bitcoin is a good way to retain some anonymity. PayPal offers a good alternative for managing all of your online subscriptions in one place.
7 Day Risk-Free Money Back Guarantee
A good point to the IPVanish service is, they offer a 7 day money back guarantee. When you buy a product or service, testing it out to see if you like it is one of the most important things you can do. Fortunately, IPVanish understands that, and they offer a 7 day risk-free money back guarantee for all of their new members. That is more than enough time to test their software and network, and make a reasonable decision.
Because every VPN provider is different, they generally have features that separate them from the competition. IPVanish offers several features that make their service an exceptional deal.
A kill switch feature in their software allows the member to kill their internet, if the VPN server drops. That ensures the member will not be left unprotected. You should not have to worry about being vulnerable if you are at your favorite Wifi spot. Another lovely feature we liked was the second connection option. Unless you live alone and never travel, you will want to take advantage of this free feature. You can enjoy the safety of a VPN on any device, whether desktop or mobile. That way, you can protect two devices at the same time. Though policies of other providers state that the user has to use different protocols, IPVanish allows both of them to be the same. They also have other standard features, like the ability to re-connect to the last server you connected to, choosing one specifically, or even setting the service to connect at startup of the computer. Since each client has their own individual features, we will go over each one, specifically under that heading.
We mentioned IPVanish was fast earlier, but here is why. The top tier provider designation means they own and operate every aspect of their VPN platform, and have physical control over the actual servers themselves. This gives IPVanish users speed advantages and additional security over other VPN services. We agree with their assessment. None of the servers in their connection list show a latency of more than 404 ms, and some are as fast as 23 ms. In other words, the most lag you may experience is roughly a 0.4 seconds, and that is to a server half way around the world. Anything below a half second lag time (500 ms) is excellent, especially if you are planning to stream a live event.
IPVanish’s vast network includes servers in more than 60 countries. Within those countries, there are more than 500 servers in 79+ locations around the world. So, if you are traveling overseas and want to watch your favorite shows, or you just want to access sites in other countries, you have a plethora of choices. Though the names may not be visible on this map, we will go over a few of them for you now. In the Americas, you have servers located in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Argentina, and Brazil. The Oceanic region has servers in Australia and New Zealand. In Asia and Africa, they have servers in Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Turkey, Egypt, South Africa, and Vietnam. Finally, the European region offers servers in Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom.
Most of the time, you are not going to need access to servers in that many countries, but it is always nice to have the options available. IPVanish knows that their users appreciate fast connections, so they have several server locations in countries like the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia. If you have specific questions, you may check for yourself.
For anything that is encrypted, you may expect a slight speed loss. When we performed our speed test, we noticed about a 10% reduction in speed. You will notice that our ping time was 28 ms, a mere 2 ms higher with the service than without. A difference of 10-25% is considered reasonable, because of the level of encryption. Unless your internet speed is extremely slow, a 10% loss should not affect your ability to stream. Just be sure to choose the OpenVPN (UDP) protocol. That one provides the right mix of speed and security. We did test the other protocols, and as expected, OpenVPN (UDP) performed the best.
Security and Privacy
All VPN services offer encryption in the form of protocols. However, the security offered is dependent on what protocol you choose. For the desktop application, there are four protocols available. Those are OpenVPN (UDP), OpenVPN (TCP), L2TP, and PPTP. OpenVPN generally provides the strongest encryption algorithm offering 256 bit encryption, so that is our recommended protocol. IPVanish also allows a choice between TCP and UDP, and again, UDP is recommended for better speed. If you have connection problems, TCP is the direction you will want to go in, since it includes error control. Also, IPVanish has a zero-log policy. There are two types of logs that could possibly be kept. Those are traffic logs, and connection logs. They do not keep traffic logs on any of their customers. That means they do not track your activities on their networks.
On the support side, they offer email with 24/7 response, every day of the year. It is based on a first come, first serve policy, but they seem to be pretty quick in answering emails. We sent them a question and got a response within 2 hours. There is also an active forum, and a fairly extensive support center to answer most questions. We have noticed that most of the setup is pretty simple. Though those sources are sure to answer all of your questions, a nice addition might be a limited hours live chat support feature.
Fortunately, IPVanish supports all operating systems, whether mobile or desktop. However, they offer specific apps for the operating systems below.
- Windows – XP or newer
- Mac OS X 10.6 or newer
Though there are no other apps, they have set up guides for Ubuntu, Chromebook, and even various types of routers. As you see, no matter which operating system you use, IPVanish has you covered. There is no additional charge for downloading these clients.
Now, we will have a look at the sign up process to demonstrate how easy it is to get started. After clicking the link from our page, you will see a page with the discounts that we mentioned above. Your first step is to click on the amount of service you want. we suggest the year subscription, because it is the best deal. Once you see the sign up screen, you will see an image like the one below.
To get started, there are a few fields you need to enter, and there is not much information required to create an account. We are happy to see IPVanish does not require much information. The fields required are email address and method of payment. Click on the payment method you want to use, and the box will expand. This is where you may find a more complete list of the payment methods accepted, you can even see them in the above image. Again, if you want our discounted rate, be sure to complete your order for IPVanish through our site, as they no longer use promo codes.
How to Use IPVanish for Windows
VPNs are generally pretty easy to use, but we will take you through the process by using the Windows client first. Once you download the software, locate the file and click the install button. After installing, you will see the main console, showing you where you are located, noted by the green arrow.
- At the top, you see two green boxes. We drew a red box around it so it would be easily seen. It is here where you are able to set your protocol and location of the server you want to connect to. In our example here, we chose OpenVPN (UDP) as our protocol, because again, that is not only the most secure, but the fastest. Be sure to set the protocol box (top green box) first. In the lower green box, select the country you wish to use. If you are going to watch content that is blocked outside of your region, set that one to the country you wish and pick the server with the lowest lag (ms number).
- Once you have made your protocol and server choices, it is time to connect. Next, click on the red connect in the upper right hand corner, pointed out by the blue arrow. In our shot, it is green already, indicating we are already connected.
- The green arrow shows you where your server is located. This will allow you to stream content in the country you choose, no matter where you are.
Now, that we have explained how to connect, we will go over the features specific to the Windows client.
Let’s start where the screen says VPN. This is where you select which protocol you want to use. Again, your options are L2TP, PPTP, OpenVPN (UDP), and OpenVPN (TCP). We suggest using OpenVPN (UDP) for streaming live video. That is because of the difference in speeds. When the packets are sent via UDP, there is no guarantee that the packets of information will get there. However, the OpenVPN (TCP) version is slower because it guarantees the packets will be delivered via error checking. In other words, if you are having issues with staying connected, you would want to switch to OpenVPN (TCP) because it will provide you with a more stable connection. As you see in the image above, there are a series of four check boxes under that heading. Those are auto reconnect, enable ipv6 leak prevention, enable kill switch, and block all LAN traffic.
The first one in this list is the auto reconnect feature. What this does is ensure that if your VPN connection drops while in use, the service will automatically reconnect. The next option you see is enable IPv6 leak prevention. Here, clicking that box will disable IPv6, so you don’t have the option to use it. This will protect you from leaking information. The third option it shows is the kill switch feature. It is nice to see that IPVanish has incorporated this feature in to their Windows client. Enabling the kill switch will block all internet traffic, should your connection to the VPN drop. That will stop you from being vulnerable at that time. The last feature we will mention in this section is the block all LAN traffic option. By choosing this option, you can block all incoming and outgoing traffic from your local area network to your computer, until you are reconnected to the VPN.
In the image above, you see that there are a couple different ports to be used. Those are 443 and 1194. Port 443 is the default used for SSL secure connections. Port 1194 is used as the default for OpenVPN.Countries like china use deep packet inspection to determine that you are using a VPN. Those trying to use port 1194 from behind the Great Firewall will likely find their connection blocked. The first step in solving this issue is to connect to port 443.This is the same port that you would use to securely access banking and shopping sites. Governments are far less likely to block this port.
Under port selection is a box labeled “Enable DNS Leak Prevention”. Checking this box helps to secure your privacy by preventing your computer from leaking DNS information while connected to the VPN.
The next heading is PP2P/L2TP. Here, the only box you may check is the one labeled “Enable Split Tunneling”. Though it is only available for the two protocols we mentioned, it will allow you to choose which applications you wish to have encrypted. For example, you could route your favorite torrent program through the VPN while leaving your email client unencrypted.
Under the startup options, you will have several other choices as well. IPVanish gives you the option to not connect on startup, or you can choose to connect to the fastest server, most recent server, or even a specific server. If you have a favorite server you enjoy connecting to, this is a great option. Additionally, you can choose to have the client launch at Windows startup if you wish.
How to Use IPVanish for Mac OS X
Though the Mac client is similar, we are going to walk you through the Mac version as well. Your first step will be to go to the IPVanish site and download the app. Next, copy the file to your applications folder. Go ahead and launch the app. Enter your user name and password. Clicking the settings options will bring up the screen we show in this image.
Here, we will begin with the first two options. You have the choice to either connect when you login to your Mac, or connect when the app is launched. Just like with the Windows version, you have to option to connect to the closest city, the last location, or a specific city. When it comes to appearances, you can select the dockable/standalone version, or just operate IPVanish from the status bar. Choosing the standalone version will allow you to see other settings like the ability to choose your protocol. Your options are OpenVPN UDP/TCP, L2TP, and PPTP. You can set the client to automatically reconnect. Enabling the kill switch feature will block your internet traffic until the VPN reconnects. You can also set the client to change IP address periodically. This will rotate your IP address at set intervals.
Once you have the settings the way you want them, you can select the server by map or by city, either one works. Choosing map will bring up a map of the world. By selecting the “by city” option, you will see IPVanish’s large list of servers, as you can see in the image below.
You may now choose any server location from the list. You can also click the icon of a star to save a specific server as a favorite. Now all you need to do is connect by moving the slider on the right side to the right, and enjoy the benefits of using a VPN for Mac. As you see, IPVanish has quite a list of servers to choose from. When you see the status change from red to green, you are connected to the server you chose. This signifies that you are now browsing securely.
How to Use IPVanish for Android
For this section, we will use the Android operating system. If you are an Android user, you know that typically, you may get asked to accept a variety of permissions, at least prior to Android 6.0 (Marshmallow). Surprisingly, their Android app doesn’t need any special rights granted. IPVanish is one of the only Android apps that we have seen that did not.
After accepting and opening the app, login with the information you used to create the account. After seeing the IPVanish shield, you will see a screen that looks like the one below. Here, OpenVPN is the default, and the servers are arranged by fastest response time.
Should you want to change the server list to sort by country or server capacity, the red arrow points to the location to do that. Pick a server, and you will get a pop up window that looks like the one below. You are now connected to the server you chose, and if you wish to disconnect, the red arrow shows the disconnect button. Going back to the image above, at the top on the left side of the screen, you see 3 parallel lines. It is there you will find the settings icon. From there, you may change your protocol from the UDP to the TCP setting. You also have the option of turning on the scramble feature. If you are in a country that practices censorship, that is great.
When compared to the Windows and Mac options, there are not many steps in using the Android mobile version. Now that you have connected, you may go to any site you wish, or view content from other countries, directly to your Android device.
How to Use IPVanish for iOS
Earlier, we stated that the iOS version was similar to the Android version, but the iOS client is more straight forward. Whereas the Android client only offers support for OpenVPN, their iOS client supports Internet Key Exchange (IKEv2) and IPSec. Since IKEv2’s reworking in 2005, it is considered to be equivalent to OpenVPN in regards to safety and security. It’s MOBIKE feature will help you quickly reconnect as you switch between WiFi networks.
We’ll go over the steps needed to use the iOS version. After searching for the IPVanish app in the iTunes store, go ahead and download the app. Once you open it, you have the choice of allowing or blocking updates from the app. Enter your credentials to login. Next, you will be asked if you want to install the VPN profile. Click OK, and install on the next page. Now, enter your pass code. Since the profile is now setup, you may proceed to the server of your choice. After connecting, you will see a screen that shows your visible location and connected IP address. Under advanced settings, you will find a setting that says it will disconnect you when the phone goes to sleep, if you choose that option. Also, it is here that you may change protocols. The IPVanish iOS app has some advanced features that are not offered by other VPNs. You can configure the On Demand setting to enable the VPN all the time to connect when using specific WiFi networks, or connect automatically when using certain websites.
Favorite features for IPVanish:
- Zero log policy
- No restrictions on traffic
- Extremely fast
- Great support
- Reasonably priced
- Software is easy to use
- Available for all devices
- Multiple servers/countries
Thoughts to make IPVanish better:
- We would like to see a live chat feature
- Develop a client for Linux
Truly, there are only a few possible improvements that we can suggest in this review about IPVanish. The bottom line is, they put out a great product at a reasonable price. In reviewing the service, it is not hard to see why so many enjoy it. The only constructive changes we would advise for improvement are the ones we mentioned. If you are looking to view content in other countries, IPVanish will do the job very nicely because it features great speeds, and multiple locations. It will also provide you with a high level of encryption. We highly recommend them for whatever goals you may have. Please be sure to use our promotion to receive up to 60% off of the IPVanish VPN service. IPVanish gives new members 7 days to test their service, which is plenty of time to make a good decision.