There are so many good reasons to get a VPN service nowadays.
Yet, choosing the right service might be more difficult than anticipated. So many companies are fighting for a piece of the pie so they try to woo you in various ways. One of them is IPVanish.
I read heaps of IPVanish reviews with conflicting information, so I decided to test it for myself. This case study will try to answer the following:
Where is the company located?
How does the VPN app work?
Can I watch my Netflix shows with IPVanish?
Are there any discount codes available?
What is IPVanish?
IPVanish was first released in 2012 by Mudhook Media Inc., a Highwinds Network Group subsidiary. Back then the company was running just 32 servers. In 2017, the CDN provider StackPath acquired Highwinds Network Group and all its subsidiaries. It operates under US jurisdiction, which poses questions about the logging policy of the company.
IPVanish deals with sensitive client data on the impressive 1,100+ servers in 60+ countries with over 40,000 IPs available. A notable mention here is that the servers are not spread across evenly – while the US and Europe have plenty of locations to choose from, South America or Africa accommodate just a few. China and Russia are not even on the list.
This VPN provider allows up to 10 simultaneous connections, which is above the industry standard. If you check the company’s site, all you need to do is download IPVanish to get full security, overcome geo-restrictions, and stop hacking attempts.
But does it deliver?
Let’s test it out.
VPNs compete for speed, as everyone loves a quick connection. However, the need for speed should not neglect security and privacy.
I have always been wary of excessive self-praising. Touting yourself as “the best”, “the strongest” or “the fastest” will almost surely set you up for failure.
IPVanish doesn’t seem to mind. Numerous sections on their website convincingly blast praises of “the fastest VPN in the world” or better yet, “on the planet.” Wow, that sure sounds fast!
What did the IPVanish speed test reveal?
I checked 2 European locations – Netherlands and Slovakia. Both delivered similar results, speed drops of a little over 20%. While this is an excellent score, it’s certainly nowhere close to “fastest on the planet”. Similar VPN providers, like ExpressVPN, were able to deliver slightly better numbers without feeling the urge to sing their own praises.
All the same, IPVanish is fast. Maybe not the fastest but fast enough.
The significance of the security factor cannot be stressed enough when it comes to the reliability of a VPN service. The whole idea of a free and safe internet goes hand-in-hand with maximum protection and anonymity.
This provider seems aware of those factors and is actively working towards improving them. The IPVanish kill switch is а feature I always like to keep turned on in case I lose my internet connection, but this is standard protection most VPN providers have.
IPVanish has also state-of-the-art DNS and IPv6 Leak Protection, as well as a Scramble/Obfuscate Traffic option for bypassing firewalls in restricted nations and both are top-drawer security features.
My DNS and IPLeak tests revealed the following:
Nothing alarming here, which is always comforting. The only thing I’d look to improve is the process of switching countries. When changing locations, there were a few moments when the VPN was off, and I could see my real IP. Apart from that minor setback, everything else looked fine.
Overall: Things are looking good security-wise, and hopefully the company will build on this solid foundation.
Back in 2016, various IPVanish reviews suggested the company was involved in a controversy when it willingly provided full user data as part of a Homeland Security investigation. The data included sensitive information like names, emails, real IPs, logging activities, and VPN details. A huge red flag, considering the company denied keeping such information in the first place.
This was a big reputation hit, so shortly after StackPath acquired the VPN provider in 2017 their CEO, Lance Crosby, issued a statement on the matter. He claimed such concerns were left behind with the old management and IPVanish holds a firm “zero-logs policy”.
Overall: As there are no recent indications of privacy breaches, I am inclined to believe the StackPath promise, while still keeping an eye out for alarming signs.
IPVanish is a versatile private network that plans to grow as a service. That’s quite obvious, as the fine selection of tools and features constantly grows and empowers the end user mightily
Top-tier VPN Provider
In the course of this IPVanish review, I regularly encountered the phrase “top-tier VPN provider”. It turns out that IPVanish owns its entire server base, i.e. it is not just renting it from some datacenters. Full control over servers makes the infrastructure and the service more reliable in protecting customer data. I cannot fully validate the claim that this is THE ONLY top-tier VPN provider, but it’s still a praiseworthy achievement.
When you can enjoy the same internet speeds with and without your VPN, that’s one good VPN service. The IPVanish speed test revealed flattering numbers and ranked the company among the fastest VPN services out there. Both my browsing and downloading activities weren’t affected by the fact that I was masking my location through an external server.
IPVanish demonstrates a positive attitude toward torrenting. Even better, it seems to encourage it! You have unlimited P2P traffic at your disposal, and all server locations are suited for it. Another example of the supportive IPVanish torrent policy is the SOCKS5 proxy server, which takes no more than a few mouse clicks to set up.
Up to 10 Simultaneous Connections
This is possibly the best offer for simultaneous connections I have run across so far. Much bigger VPN providers, like PureVPN for example, only allow up to five. IPVanish doubles that. This way you can connect all your devices and browse freely even when using public access WiFi.
Multiple Protocols Supported
Apart from the standard OpenVPN TCP/UDP connection, this service supports IKEv2, L2TP, and SSTP/PPTP protocols. This way you can safely configure IPVanish for Kodi, Amazon Fire Stick, Android TV, and more. Although some of the protocols are a little old and obsolete, specific actions might require a different type of connection, and it’s always handy to have them around.
Some countries block unwanted traffic through deep packet inspection. Such censorship is the exact reason why VPN providers find elaborate ways to bypass the restrictions. This option is called Obfuscate in the IPVanish Windows 10 app and Scramble in the Android, MacOS, and TV devices.
Let’s be honest – everyone loves a good deal! Price is a major factor with VPN services, so any discount is well appreciated. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that, apart from the standard price reductions for long-term contracts, there is a dedicated Coupons section on the company’s site as well. It reveals three different options, each valid for a particular package plan. The best bargain comes with the IPVanish coupon for the 1-year package, which secures you a sweet 57% price reduction.
User-friendly and Intuitive App
Downloading and installing the Windows app was a breeze. Two minutes and a few mouse clicks, and I was ready to start browsing privately.
As you can see from the above screenshots, the app looks very neat. The menus are self-explanatory even for novice users, and I encountered no bugs and glitches while launching various options.
I highly appreciate innovations and unique features. They show a company’s commitment to excel and add more value to the product. The Diagnostics tab in the IPVanish app is one such feature.
It provides real-time updates of your server status, records possible errors, and keeps account of your chosen locations. It might seem like a small thing, but small things often make a big difference.
IPVanish is a service of many merits, but it is far from perfect. Some of its drawbacks can be dealbreakers.
Coming from a marketing background, I firmly believe in the importance of well-written and client-oriented content. When I see a website that exists for the sole purpose of pushing me to buy something, I naturally take a step back.
In the course of this IPVanish review, I must have encountered the orange “Get IPVanish” button at least 100 times.
I spent good two hours on the company website and I’m confident I skimmed through at least 95% of it. Each page there is flooded with orange call-to-action buttons prompting me to make a purchase, repetitive information and confusing page logic.
If they take this “in-your-face attitude” down a notch, their message will get across more efficiently.
Failed to Unblock Netflix US
Netflix is probably the hottest media-service provider right now, hence a highly desired option by VPN users. My IPVanish Netflix experience was rather short-lived.
After the live chat representative assured me it would be a breeze, I went ahead and tried to unblock Netflix US. Three different US servers failed, as well as two outside locations.
Furthermore, Netflix is never mentioned on the company website, regardless of its high marketing value, which is another indication that it’s not accessible.
More often than not, when you develop a product for different platforms, you make sure to offer the same deal for clients across those platforms. IPVanish doesn’t really follow that logic. Split tunneling is only available on Android and the IPVanish kill switch is accessible just for Windows and MacOS users.
Limited Money Back Guarantee
Giving your potential client enough time to test the services before making a final decision is essential for VPN companies. Hotspot Shield generously offers a 45-day money back guarantee, while ExpressVPN offers 30 days, which is still more than decent.
IPVanish gives you a mere week. This is a clear weak point for the service and should not be overlooked.
Is there an IPVanish free trial at least? Sure… but only for iOS users.
Level of Support
IPVanish advertises 24/7 live chat and email support, plus phone assistance in US business hours. Various reviews suggested this was not entirely true and unveiled screenshot of email replies that took days.
Yet if the chat support is truly round-the-clock and helpful, then I wouldn’t need anything else, would I?
So I chose a rather inconvenient time for the US and gave the chat a go. Got connected to Neil a couple of minutes later:
My attempts to unblock Netflix were futile and Neil’s overall responses did not make him sound like a native speaker. Even if the live chat is indeed 24/7, I’d be wary of the information I get through that channel.
The VPN packages fall into the mid-range pricing category. Some might consider it somewhat pricy, even, considering the overall features, but I’d say the service is robust enough.
Note that the best-value deal, the $4.12 per month rate, is only valid with a 2-year contract and not a one-year one, like most other VPN providers. The 1-year subscription comes at a slightly steeper $6.49 rate but reduces the overall IPVanish cost by 46%. Still, this is slightly cheaper than other premium VPN services.
Do I Recommend IPVanish?
Generally, the service is promising.
Fast speeds are a particular highlight and security is up to par. For its speed and log-free policy, I readily recommend IPVanish… to users, who are not particularly interested in streaming Netflix.
The IPVanish app has a comfy feel to it and behaves as expected. A little limited in options and support, but looks well-suited for novice users.
Q: Can I watch all my Netflix shows with IPVanish?
A: Live chat claims that the streaming service works fine with this VPN. These claims fell short during the tests. I was unable to unblock the Netflix US portal from several different locations. In addition, the company website doesn’t mention Netflix at all, which leads me to believe this is currently not possible.
Q: How to Use IPVanish?
A: To get the service you must subscribe and pay for it. The installation of the app is very simple and fast. The uncluttered interface will help you get started within minutes. Once connected, you can use the IPVanish network in any way you like to. You can surf the internet, download torrents, shop online, and whatnot while enjoying complete anonymity and much greater security than your regular ISP could ever deliver. Netflix, however, is likely to remain out of reach.
Q: How to use IPVanish on Kodi?
A: The process of connecting your Kodi device is quite simple
- Launch the VPN app
- Choose your server location
- Verify your location has changed
- Launch Kodi
Q: Can I stream sports with IPVanish?
A: That is entirely possible. The website provides comprehensive tutorials on how to easily connect and watch your favorite tournaments around the world – the Champions Cup, Formula 1, Tour de France, March Madness, the Kentucky Derby, and many more.
Q: Is my information safe with IPVanish?
A: Safety is a top priority with this VPN provider. Past IPVanish reviews disclosed a major security leak scandal, but the new management that acquired the company in 2017 firmly assured the community of the “absolutely zero logs policy” they intend to follow.