Features and Pricing Summary:
Network: Servers in 36 countries
Refund Policy: 7 day guarantee
Retail Price: $6.99 a month
Discount Price: 40% off
Welcome to our review of IronSocket. Despite a re-branding in 2013, IronSocket has been in the privacy industry since 2005. Over time, they have added services to become a robust internet security provider. They state they have developed proprietary technologies to give the users the best possible speed. In this review, we will not only test that claim, but go over the highlights and details of the service as well.
Pricing and Discounts
When searching for a VPN provider, price can be a factor. IronSocket offers three different pricing plans for their unlimited access service, based on lengths of time. One month of their service is $6.99. The next option is six months of their service for $35.95. That makes your monthly price $5.99 for a 14% discount. The final option is a year of service for $49.95. That means you save 40%, and your monthly price is $4.16.
There are many options to pay for your service with IronSocket. Those are credit cards, Bitcoin, PayPal, and even some gift cards. Each one of those methods has their own strong points, but the choice is yours. IronSocket offers their new members a 7 day money back guarantee.
Another factor in choosing a provider is the list of features they have. Unfortunately, IronSocket does not have any custom client software, so we will show you the connection box for the OpenVPN connect client, and speak of the options they provide on their website. Because of the lack of client software, the advanced features we would normally expect to see are not present. The first feature we will mention, is their Wifi hotspot shield. Though this is part of all VPN services, using a VPN at your favorite coffee shop or restaurant is a good idea. The last thing you need is for your sensitive information to be compromised. They also have specific servers set up for p2p traffic. These strategically located servers are designated to be fast for legal transfers of files. Another feature they tout is their limitless device connections. Be aware that you can connect as many devices as you want, but only 3 may be active at one time. Additionally, you may add more for an extra cost.
IronSocket has servers located in 36 different countries, and some of those have multiple locations. The countries that offer more than one server are the US, UK, Netherlands, Japan, France, and Germany. Our image below shows the current country list, but since they are continuously adding servers, that is subject to change.
As you can see, they have servers in good locations. Of course, you may not have an interest in connecting to that many countries, but it is always nice to have the option to pick and choose.
For many activities online, speed is important. It is also another factor to look at when choosing a VPN provider. Any time you use an encrypted connection, you can expect some speed loss. Up to a 25% loss in speed is considered to be in the acceptable range. When running our speed test, we encountered about a 50% speed loss. We tested with the AES-256 bit level of encryption, but IronSocket offers lower strengths which should be faster, but less secure.
Keep in mind also that they have some servers that are faster, because they are p2p allowed. Our internet connection is relatively fast, so even with the 50% speed loss, we were still able to stream HD content through the service. Your results may vary, so please test a few different servers.
Security and Privacy
IronSocket offers some of the protocols that you would expect. They also offer light and no encryption versions of these protocols. The full version uses AES-256 bit encryption, and their light option uses Blowfish 128-bit encryption. The ones they have available are OpenVPN, PPTP, and L2TP. For the best privacy protection, we recommend using the OpenVPN 256-bit encryption protocol. OpenVPN provides the best mix of speed and security. IronSocket also makes a point of saying that they keep no activity logs on their members.
Support can make or break a provider, especially if members have problems with setup or other issues. IronSocket offers step by step setup guides for almost all of the devices they support. If you do have a problem or question however, there is a support ticket option that they say is available 24 hours a day. We received a very fast response to our support request.
Though IronSocket offers no client software, they offer convenient setup guides for just about any desktop operating system, mobile device, gaming system, or router that you can think of. The one that surprises us is that there is no mention of Linux. If you are a Linux/Ubuntu user , we would advise that you contact support for help.
IronSocket makes signing up for their VPN service easy to do. Begin by clicking the join now button, and picking a plan. You may do this at the top or bottom of the website. The one at the bottom shows an image like the one we displayed in pricing earlier. This process is done in three steps, as shown below.
Step one is creating your account like you see here. Step two allows you to customize your order. If you want to add additional connections, that is where you may select it. The final step is selecting which payment option you wish to use. Those are the steps necessary to get started. That is all you have to do.
How to Use IronSocket for Desktop
Because they don’t have client software, using IronSocket can be somewhat invovled. However, they do have thorough guides for a wide variety of devices. Just keep in mind it is not just a simple point and click. We will use OpenVPN here, but you can consult the website for specifics.
- Begin by going to the website, and click on the heading that says setup
- Select the specific operating system you are looking for and click the button. That is where it will give you the option to select your protocol. Again, we recommend using the OpenVPN setup, so follow the link that says connect with OpenVPN.
- Set up the OpenVPN protocol. If you have done it correctly, you should see the IronSocket icon in your tray. We show it here with the red arrow.
- Now, you go to their server page, choose the matching protocol, and select the server you wish to use. You get unlimited switches, but you will need to download the config files for each, as shown below.
- Download and save the file to your computer. Repeat this as many times as you wish. You would want to choose the strong encryption version because it is the safest.
- After downloading the files to a folder, go back to the tray icon, and import them as shown below. You will see the servers you have downloaded at the top. You don’t have to follow these processes every time, but it is necessary when you set up a new server.
- Now, connect to the server you wish to use, and you will see the box pop up that we used in the features section. Enter your information there. The icon in the tray will now have a green check mark over the IronSocket icon, indicating you are connected.
Though we did not show the procedures for the Mac here, the setup guides show a very similar process. Of course, if you have any questions, you can consult the setup guide or contact support.
How to Use IronSocket for Mobile
Now that you have the basics of setting up the OpenVPN connection on desktop, the mobile setup is similar, though somewhat abbreviated. For Android, you will want to go to the Google Play store, search, and download the OpenVPN Connect app. For iOS, you would go to the App Store, and do the same.
Now, you go to the same site where you found the profiles for the servers and download them. For iOS, it gives you the option to open in OpenVPN. Click yes and enter your details. Android users go to your downloads and import the files. Go ahead and authenticate, and you will be connected. As before, additional servers require the same process for both operating systems.
Favorite features of IronSocket:
- 24/7 Support with fast turn around
- 3 connections with the ability to add more
- No activity logs kept
- 7 Day money back guarantee
Thoughts to make IronSocket better:
- Offer stand alone clients for desktop and mobile
- Improve network speed
In conclusion, our biggest problem with IronSocket is their lack of client software. That makes this service more difficult to use than other providers. We were also surprised by the 50% reduction in speed. We did like that they offered a way to add more than three simultaneous connections, and their 7 day money back guarantee. If you have some technical knowledge, this VPN service is OK. Otherwise, consider your options.