Updated on January 12, 2019.
What we liked:
What we didn't like:
What we didn't liked:
IPVanish's web sites is a bit outdated design wise, but easy enough to navigate.
We quickly found our way to the Pricing page and began the order process.
Unfortunately we were very disappointed to see that in an industry where Anonymity should be paramount they don't accept Bitcoin payments.
We chose another payment method and proceeded. Upon payment our account was not instantly activated. We had to instead verify our email address, once this has been done the account was activated.
Here is the pricing scheme of IPVanish: 1 month plan - 10$/mo. 3 months plan - 8.99$ a month. 1 year plan - 6.49$/mo. That is not the best offer on market for 1 year deal, for example VPNArea offers 1 year for 2.99$ (with coupon BVA58). But still if you don't mind shedding few bucks/quid extra IPVanish has some good features.
Client Area looked rather limited in options and design, but easy to navigate. However there was a general feeling that if you need support it won't be easy to get, more about that in Support section.
Even though the design of the Mac app was not to our taste, it had everything we could have hoped for. Easy to navigate interface. Killswitch. Automation features, such as auto-reconnect. Change of DNS provision. It even has Ikev2 protocol as a native option, it is worth noting that not many companies support IKEv2 natively.
While installing the Windows App keep in mind that unless you scroll to the bottom of the "Terms" you won't be able to click Accept.
Now we're ready to start the software but there is a red flag - the app requires to be ran as an administrator. This could be a security concern because if any other software hijacks the app it could have full control over the system.
Before 2017 the core of the app - OpenVPN, which is also used by absolutely all VPN companies as the core of their apps, did in fact require Administrator privileges to operate, however since more than 1 year this is not the case and is best security practice not to run software as administrator.
The windows app doesn't leave much to be desired either, it works well and it has plenty of bells and whistles such as the Killswitch option or the server latency test.
IPVanish uses AES-256 for encryption cipher, SHA-256 hash and 2048 bit RSA keys. While a 4096 bits RSA keys would be better, their encryption combination is still considered unbreakable at the date of this article.
IPVanish also claim to own all their infrastructure (which in our opinion is a not very plausible for a provider with servers in 53 countries, but it is also not impossible). The benefits of them owning their infrastructure would be that hypthetically nobody has physical access to their servers, however in todays world of cloud usage and staff that maintains data centers we don't know how much of a benefit it is to own all your servers and data centers, since it will mean enormous costs for something that is hard to prove or demonstrate as a positive.
All that aside we muse emphasise that IPVanish is based in the USA, so not the best choice in our opinion for privacy aware users.
We tested IPVanish against DNS leak test and the service scored with excellence.
We perform our speed testing based on direct download test from 4 worldwide locations, 2 in Europe, 2 in USA, then we also perform a secondary testing via the most popular Ookla test (speedtest.net).
Please note that the results from the download tests are in Megabytes, not Megabits like Ookla's so they should be multiplied by 8 for reference.
IPVanish has servers in 53 countries and overall they tested second best to VPNArea's high speed which makes them fast enough for all internet activities you can think of.
Here are more details of our tests:
Romania server -
2019-01-10 11:04:59 (9.90 MB/s) - ‘100MB-frankfurt.bin.12’ saved [104857600/104857600]
2019-01-10 11:05:45 (6.83 MB/s) - ‘100MB.test.56’ saved [100000000/100000000]
Sweden server -
Netherlands server -
2019-01-10 11:03:42 (10.9 MB/s) - ‘100MB.test.55’ saved [100000000/100000000]
2019-01-10 11:03:32 (6.66 MB/s) - ‘100MB-frankfurt.bin.11’ saved [104857600/104857600]
USA - Chicago server
2019-01-10 11:06:53 (5.19 MB/s) - ‘100MB.test.57’ saved [100000000/100000000]
USA - Los Angeles server
2019-01-10 11:27:17 (4.57 MB/s) - ‘100MB.test.58’ saved [100000000/100000000]
Los Angeles file
While their speeds and software don't leave much to be desired, we have a fundamental dislike about their company setup and that is, they're based in the USA.
USA in our opinion is without a doubt the biggest threat to privacy and to net neutrality in the world.
Therefor operating a VPN business from there does not sit well with us. That aside, if privacy is not your paramount concern then IPVanish is not a bad choice for a VPN provider.
The company does have more than few years on the VPN market and generally a good reputation.
IPVanish provides support via Email. Unfortunately that's as far as it goes about support options, however the service is designed to be automated so unless you run into some issues you shouldn't generally need support to get going.