I know first-hand how hard it can be to choose a VPN provider. It’s not like deciding where to go for lunch. You are entrusting a company to protect your privacy. The choice is made even more difficult by the number of companies advertising VPN service. In response our team has dedicated hundreds of hours to testing VPNs in an attempt to narrow down the list of options. The list of providers that met our expectations and made the final cut was short. There are a few VPN services that stand out in the crowd and one in particular that stands above the rest. Congratulations to IPVanish, our choice for the “Best VPN Provider of 2016”.
IPVanish Features at a Glance:
Zero Log Policy: Does not log VPN traffic or usage
Top Tier Network: 350+ servers in 60+ countries
Features: VPN kill switch, IP rotation, split tunneling
Software: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, router
Protocols: OpenVPN, L2TP, PPTP, IKEv2
Refund Policy: 7 day money back guarantee
Tech Support: 24/7/365 access to support
You can read our full review of IPVanish to learn more about the service. In a moment I’ll share some of the key features that make IPVanish the best VPN in a crowded market. Let’s start with some background. IPVanish is a top tier VPN provider, which means they manage their own network. That fact alone gives IPVanish an advantage over other services in terms of privacy, performance, and price. Managing their own network gives them control over the hardware and connections that members rely on to protect their privacy and unblock geo restrictions.
In researching VPNs we put a lot of focused on two scenarios. The first is privacy protection. Can you trust the VPN to protect your privacy? Do they have the proper security in place to keep your billing information safe from hackers? Do they support the latest protocols and offer high levels of encryption? Do they log your VPN usage? These are all questions you want to ask when deciding on a VPN provider.
Then there is the censorship and geo restrictions side of the coin. In this case you want to look at whether or not the VPN has adequate network infrastructure in the locations you wish to unblock content in. Do they host servers in your desired locations? Do they have the capacity to support your goals? This is especially important if you plan to stream live events or HD content from another region of the world.
Top 5 IPVanish Features
#1 – Top Tier VPN Network
Perhaps the most important feature for IPVanish is their network. We’ve already talked about the privacy benefits of a top tier network. The size and scope of their network will help you unblock access to geo restricted content in other regions. IPVanish hosts a network of over 350 VPN servers in 60+ countries and 94 locations around the world. For example, members have access to 26 servers in New York, 15 servers in London, and 29 servers in Sydney.
You can easily sort the servers by ping or country. You can also filter. The image to the right shows the ping time for the IPVanish servers in New York. We have found their network to be very fast and reliable. Connect to a server in the US to access streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now, and Pandora. Connect to a server in the UK to watch BBC iPlayer.
#2 – Zero Log Policy
#3 – Advanced Features
IPVanish users have the ability to enable a kill switch to drop the Internet connection all together if the VPN connection is lost for any reason. This helps protect your privacy. Otherwise you could expose your online identity if the VPN ever dropped. Members also have the ability to change IP addresses periodically. You can set an interval of time for rotating IP’s in the client. Additional settings include the use of IPVanish DNS or third party DNS servers.
#4 – Desktop and Mobile Apps
IPVanish supports a wide range of devices. They start by offering custom client software for Windows and Mac. Their Mac app is our favorite. You can configure the VPN kill switch (as shown above) and rotate IP addresses on a regular basis. You can even enable split tunneling in their Windows client. Mobile users will find their iOS and Android apps easy to use. We tested their new iOS app and appreciate the support for IKEv2. You can set the app so that the VPN is “Always On” or have the VPN automatically enable when you connect to a specified network or even individual websites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. IPVanish will let you connect to their service from two devices simultaneously. That’s perfect for those who want to protect their privacy and watch content on their desktop and mobile device.
#5 – Performance and Reliability
A slick looking VPN client with advanced features doesn’t mean much if you don’t have a fast, reliable service to back it up. Fortunately IPVanish took care of the network side first. Anytime you use a VPN you can expect a difference in performance as your data is being encrypted. With that said, IPVanish is second to none when it comes to fast connections. We nearly max out our Internet connection when connected to servers in the United States. Server locations throughout Europe also perform quite well. I recommend using OpenVPN (UDP) on desktop and IKEv2 on mobile for streaming content.
IPVanish uses high levels of encryption and shared IP addresses to help protect your privacy. They offer AES 256-bit encryption for OpenVPN connections. You can choose between OpenVPN (UDP & TCP), L2TP, and PPTP protocols in their desktop apps. Apple users will be happy to find their iOS app supports IKEv2 connections which gives you a higher level of security than IPSec without any speed loss.
Those are just a few of key features that helped earn IPvanish our award for the “Best VPN Provider of 2015”. If you haven’t had a chance to give IPVanish a try yet, I suggest you sign up and test it out for yourself. I think you’ll be quite pleased with the speed and reliability of their network. Don’t forget about their full range of client software. Install their VPN apps on as many devices as you want. You can connect from your desktop and mobile device as the same time since IPVanish allows up to two simultaneous connections. Visit IPVanish.com for more details and to sign up for VPN access.