Every time I review a new VPN service, the question is always the same: is it worth recommending to you guys? After extensively reviewing IPVanish, I think this is one of the best out there for Firestick, Kodi, and other streaming popular VPN use cases.
If looks don’t matter to you too much and you can live with a dated user interface straight out the 1990s, then IPVanish is an awesome option for streaming Netflix, Torrenting, and secure web browsing. Due to which it made it to the list of best VPN services for 2020.
Over the years, not much has changed with IPVanish in terms of looks. However, under the hood, it has gone through a major overhaul. Yet the user experience has stayed the same.
It is still fast, somewhat easy to use and it still comes with a decent amount of security options that we all know and love.
But is it better than its competitors? Is it worth the expensive price tag? Does it have what it takes to be recommended on TheVPNExperts? Read on to find out.
Key Findings from IPVanish VPN Review
|Servers||1,400+ servers in 75+ locations|
|Best Feature||Secure protocols (IKEv2, OpenVPN, and L2TP/IPsec|
|Does IPVanish work with Netflix?||Yes, and it also works great with Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime & other services|
|Is IPVanish good for Torrenting?||Torrenting supported on all servers with no bandwidth limit|
|Customer Support||Live Chat support|
|Money back guarantee||30-day money back guarantee|
|IPVanish Pricing||Expensive $6.49/mo 1-year plan with 57% discount|
|Other findings||Zero Traffic Logs & works great with Kodi/Firestick|
IPVanish Speed Test Analysis
I’ve tested a lot of VPNs both slow and fast. On a scale 0f good, average and bad, IPVanish is a solid good.
I found the “Server – Best Available option” to be very handy. You just have to pick a country and IPVanish will automatically pick the best server for you. I also conducted speed tests for different parts of the world just to give you an idea of what to expect from the long-distance servers of IPVanish.
Here’s a table for that if you’re interested:
|Countries||Distance||Download Speed||Upload Speed||Ping|
|Saudi Arabia||4595.26 km||60.23 Mbps||71.9 Mbps||167 ms|
|Singapore||10468.58 km||50.12 Mbps||80.22 Mbps||213 ms|
|South Africa||9354.01 km||45.91 Mbps||65 Mbps||170 ms|
|United States||7505.72||79.80 Mbps||81.20 Mbps||176 ms|
|United Kingdom||677.04 km||88.94 Mbps||84.4 Mbps||95 ms|
|Australia||14792.34 km||73.5 Mbps||62.5 Mbps||231 ms|
You can also pick a server manually by setting a filter for your desired ping range if that’s something you prefer.
To test out the performance of IPVanish on both close and long-distance servers, I decided to rely on the “Server – Best Available option” since that’s what most users would prefer.
Without IPVanish connected, the speeds that I got through my ISP (T-Mobile) in the Netherlands was around 95.12 Mbps download, 89.2 upload, and 10 ms pings on my 100 Mbps connection.
Once I connected to the best available U.S server of IPVanish, which in my case was New York, United States (nyc-c13), I managed to get a download speed of 79.80 Mbps, an upload speed of 81.20 Mbps and a ping of 176 ms. That’s a 16% decrease in download speed and an 8.9% decrease in upload speed.
As you can see, that’s barely a drop in my overall connection speeds. I noticed no difference at all with and without IPVanish connected. I was still able to stream Netflix in HD quality and play 1080p videos on Youtube without any buffering issues.
As for gaming, I played around a couple of matches of PUBG and had no real issues at all. Pings stayed pretty consistent with highs and lows ranging between 160 ms -190 ms.
I also connected to the best available UK servers which we’re quite close to my actual physical location and I was quite impressed by the overall speeds. With the “gla-c03.ipvanish.com” server location, I managed to get a download speed of 88.94 Mbps, an upload speed of 84.4 Mbps and pings between 87-95 ms.
After testing the speeds on automatic connections, I wanted to see how IPVanish would perform if I manually picked servers, especially long-distance ones.
So, I hopped on to the IPVanish app and used the filter option to filter out servers that had the least amount of users and low pings. First, I connected to a server in Singapore, which was approximately 10468.58 km away from my location.
Once I ran the test, I noticed quite a bit of a drop in my downloading speeds. On my 100 Mbps connection, I managed to only achieve 50.12 Mbps. But my upload speeds didn’t suffer too. In fact, I managed to achieve 80.22 Mbps upload speed. Ping was also not that high. At max, my pings would peak at 213 ms with a jitter of 13 ms.
Even though the Singapore server of IPVanish didn’t manage to deliver a noteworthy download speed, I didn’t really notice any difference in my day to day browsing online. From streaming to general web browsing, everything worked just fine.
It is important to keep in mind that your speed test results might vary from mine depending on your internet connection and your geographical location.
Overall, IPVanish performed quite well in my speed tests. Not only did it manage to offer impressive speeds using the best available server option, but it also yielded just as impressive speeds on long-distance manually selected servers.
IPVanish Passed DNS Leak tests
No matter how renowned a VPN might be, every VPN is prone to leaks. A leaking VPN can expose your real IP address. This can allow your ISP to monitor and track your online activities.
This is something no VPN user wants — Trust me…
If you want total anonymity online, you’re going to want to pick a VPN that offers leak protection and manages its own DNS servers. Luckily, IPVanish is one of those VPN providers.
That said, it no longer offers an option to enable or disable the leak protection option in the latest version. However, the live chat representative confirmed that DNS leak protection is built-in into the app and that I should experience any leaks.
To test out if IPVanish could prevent leaks, I connected to several server locations of IPVanish and ran multiple leak tests. Impressively, it didn’t leak my IP or DNS address. Here’s a neat little table that would help.
Here’s a screenshot of the test result.
Since I was connected to the U.S server, both my IP and my DNS addresses are appearing to be from the United States in the screenshot above. That’s a clear sign that IPVanish is actually leak proof.
I also conducted leak tests for other server locations as well, but I’m not going to bore you with too many screenshots. Instead, check out this table:
|Countries||IP Leak||DNS Leak|
But in case you experience any leaks, the support representative told me to manually set up my primary and secondary DNS IP addresses as 198.18.0.1 and 198.18.0.2 on my Windows computer. Fortunately, I didn’t have to mess around with any settings.
IPVanish Can Unblock Netflix Libraries, Disney Plus But Not Hulu & BBC iPlayer
IPVanish’s streaming performance is a bit spotty. I mean it does work with some streaming services, however, not within the first try. What’s a bit annoying about IPVanish is that there are no optimized servers for streaming. You just have to guess which server might work with the streaming service you’re trying to access.
When I tried streaming U.S Netflix, I couldn’t even log in. I had to disconnect IPVanish, log into Netflix, and then connect to a U.S server. However, even after performing this “hack”, I couldn’t stream any U.S shows.
I had to switch different U.S servers until finally, the New Orleans servers managed to work. After that, I searched for “Where the money is” and it played right away. I didn’t encounter any weird buffering issues or proxy errors.
Here’s a screenshot of my Netherlands IP address why I’m physically located:
And here’s a screenshot of me playing “Where the money is” on Netflix U.S with the New Orleans U.S servers:
Then after that, I tried accessing BBC iPlayer, however, unfortunately, that didn’t work out as expected. Even after trying all four U.K server locations (Birmingham, Glasgow, London, and Manchester), I was still unable to stream anything. BBC iPlayer just kept detecting that I was not located in the U.K. Here’s a screenshot of that:
I also tried accessing Disney Plus and it worked flawlessly. Again, I found that the New Orleans server worked the best for unblocking Disney Plus. I tried playing The Mandalorian on Disney Plus and it started streaming without any issues. I watched the show for a good 10-15 minutes and didn’t encounter any issues at all. Here’s a screenshot of that:
Unfortunately, Hulu didn’t work. Despite changing multiple U.S servers, Hulu easily managed to detect that I was using a proxy. I even tried changing my browser and clearing up my history and cache, but nothing seemed to work. Here’s a screenshot of that:
Last but not least, I tried accessing Kodi with IPVanish and that worked out quite well. Although, keep in mind that there’s no IPVanish Kodi add-on that you can install. You will have to run IPVanish in the background.
But despite the minor inconvenience, running Kodi and IPVanish simultaneously was pretty convenient. I tested IPVanish with my favorite Kodi add-on “The Crew” and I didn’t notice any difference in streaming performance.
IPVanish is a Good Option for Torrenting
IPVanish is actually phenomenal when it comes to torrenting performance. I say this because IPVanish supports torrenting on all of its servers. In addition, there are no bandwidth limits either. And it’s not just an over-exaggerated advertisement, I actually didn’t notice any throttling issues whatsoever.
One thing I don’t like about IPVanish is the fact that there are no specialized servers. Unlike CyberGhost which has servers optimized for torrenting and streaming, IPVanish only lets you pick servers based on country, city, and pings. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go and check out my CyberGhost review.
To test out the torrenting performance of IPVanish, I connected to P2P friendly locations like the United States, Netherlands, Switzerland, Mexico, and Spain.
To start off, I connected to the Chicago, United States (chi-c39.vpn.) server location of IPVanish with my 10 Mbps internet connection.
With IPVanish connected, I managed to achieve a downloading speed of around 1.1 MiB/s and an uploading speed of 9.8 KiB/s with 41 seeds.
That’s actually pretty good.
Even after switching to different servers, I didn’t notice any speed drops or throttling issues.
I also tried configuring IPVanish’s Socks5 proxy feature and it worked amazingly well. Although I do have to admit that Socks5 lacks encryption, however, it certainly helps with the upload and download speeds.
Even over long-distance servers like Mexico and Switzerland, I barely noticed any connection issues or speed drops. Overall, considering IPVanish’s torrenting performance and legit no logs policy, I think it deserves a 10/10 rating in this category.
IPVanish Has an Intuitive App
IPVanish might be easy to use for experienced users, however, for newbies, it can be a bit complicated to use.
Personally, I didn’t face any issues getting used to the app.
The Windows setup file is very small in size. It’s only 15.1 MB and took just a minute to download. The installation process is also super quick and took another minute or so to get installed. The same goes for the macOS app as well.
As for the iOS and Android apps, both are very well designed and easy to use. The iOS app of IPVanish has a 4.5/5.0 star rating and the Android app has a 4.1/5.0 star rating. Though, the Android app has more options as compared to the iOS app. We’ll talk more about it in the compatibility section of this review.
Anyways, I do find the apps fairly easy to use, however, I do prefer the simplicity of CyberGhost.
I do like that the IPVanish comes with a “Quick Connect” feature. It is pretty convenient and always connects you to the best servers available.
Another thing I really like about IPVanish is how simple it is to select servers. You can either choose a server location through a map or through a list. Speaking of a list, IPVanish also lets you filter out servers based on Country, Favourites, Load, and Ping. That’s something I find quite handy.
I also like other options that control how the app behaves on startup and when you close the app. If you mess around with options like “System Startup”, “IPVanish Startup” and “Closing”, you can really fine-tune how the IPVanish app behaves when you launch or close the app. It is all quite customizable and just the way I like it.
IPVanish Has a No-Logging Policy
“We do not keep a record of any connection, traffic, or activity data in regards to our Services.”
The information that IPVanish collects is an active email address and an active payment method. That’s about it. This is seriously impressive considering that IPVansih is actually headquartered in the U.S.A where online privacy is virtually unheard of.
Another thing that I find really interesting about IPVanish is that it is compliant with both GRPR and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). This means that you can actually request IPVanish to disclose what personal information they’ve collected about you and get it deleted if you do, please.
IPVanish Gives a 30 days Money-Back Guarantee – Proven
Unlike most VPNs I’ve reviewed, getting a refund is actually the most frustrating part. Despite advertising, no questions asked refund policy, VPN providers go to great lengths to make you stick around. I’ve actually covered an entire research article exposing the reality behind the refund policy of popular VPN providers.
Fortunately, IPVanish didn’t give me a hard time at all. I just hopped on to their websites and asked for a refund. The support representative did ask me a reason for canceling, however, after I refused to provide any information, the support agent simply inquired about my email and processed my refund request right there and then.
After waiting for like 3-4 days, I checked my bank account and I actually got a full refund from IPVanish. Nothing got deducted which really impressed me a lot.
Key Features of IPVanish VPN
If we talk about features, IPVanish is decently equipped. However, I do wish it offered more features. That’s something I wish gets improved in future updates. Following are some of the top-notch features of IPVanish VPN:
256-bit AES encryption
Currently, IPVanish uses 256-bit AES encryption to keep your data away from the prying eyes of ISPs, cybercriminals, and even government surveillance. This encryption standard is an industry benchmark and is the most secure option out there.
Aside from encryption, IPVanish offers a variety of VPN protocols as well. You can choose between OpenVPN (TCP / UDP), IKEv2, L2TP, SSTP, and PPTP.
But do keep in mind that not all these protocols are available on the mobile version of IPVanish. In fact, the iOS app only lets you choose between IKeV2 and IPSec.
One thing you’re not going to find in IPVanish is the WireGuard protocol. Nowadays, a lot of VPN providers like ExpressVPN and others are offering this protocol. But that’s something that can be added in future updates.
Split tunneling is an awesome feature that basically lets you decide which apps or websites get protected by the VPN and which don’t.
IPVanish does offer a Split Tunneling feature, however, only for the Android app. I don’t understand why this feature is not available for other platforms.
While it works great and all, it lacks the option to exclude or include websites. Instead, you can only use the Split Tunneling feature on the application level. You basically select apps that you want to pass through the secure VPN tunnel.
IPVanish also comes with a built-in Kill switch. What I love about it is that you can enable and disable this feature if you like. VPNs like CyberGhost have this feature enabled by default. You can’t turn it off.
Finding the Kill switch option is super easy too. I also like that the “Block Lan Traffic” option can be enabled to work in conjunction with the Kill switch feature to block internet access even when on LAN network.
You know how annoying it gets when you have to manually connect to a VPN server every time it randomly disconnects. Well, IPVanish has thought this problem through.
It comes with an Auto-reconnect option that automatically tries to reconnect you to a VPN every time your VPN connection unexpectedly disconnects. This feature also lets you define the number of retries you want the app to perform. By default, it is set up to 10 reconnects.
Scramble OpenVPN traffic
If you choose to use OpenVPN protocol, then you might really like the “Scramble OpenVPN traffic feature”. Basically, this feature adds obfuscation capabilities to OpenVPN.
With this option enabled, you can bypass strict firewalls and network traffic sensors that can detect and block VPN connections. Sadly, even with this feature enabled, IPVanish will not help you bypass the Great Firewall (GFWC) to access foreign content if you’re inside China.
Analysis of Servers
The server spread of IPVanish is quite impressive. However, I do have to admit that for its relatively expensive price $6.49/mo, IPVanish could offer more servers.
Currently, IPVanish offers 1,400+ servers in 75+ locations. In comparison, Surfshark, which only costs $1.99/mo offers 1700+ servers. That’s quite a bit of difference don’t you think.
While I think that IPVanish has done a great job covering almost all major countries of the world, I find it absurd that they don’t offer servers for a lot of Middle Eastern countries. You’re not going to find servers in Saudi Arabia, Iran and other such countries where there’s heavy online censorship.
While we’re talking about servers, I would like to mention that IPVanish doesn’t offer any servers in China. It only offers servers in the nearby country of Hong Kong.
I know it is quite difficult for any VPN provider to pull something off like that, however, other VPN providers in the industry like PureVPN and CyberGhost are offering servers in China. For more information regarding IPVanish servers, you can check out IPVanish’s server page.
IPVanish Apps Compatibility
IPVanish is compatible with a ton of mainstream operating systems and devices. You’re not going to find support for gaming consoles and casting devices on IPVanish’s website, however, since it can be configured on routers, that’s not a problem at all.
Here are all the devices that IPVanish supports:
IPVanish for macOS & Windows
The Windows and macOS apps of IPvanish are pretty well designed in the sense that you’re not going to experience any lags or crashes.
I’m not a big fan of the green and black UI, however, since everything just works just fine, I can’t complain about it too much.
The Windows app of IPVanish is compatible with Windows 7+ and the macOS app is compatible with macOS 10.10+.
The apps for both platforms look the same, however, the macOS app lacks features like Lan Blocking, OpenVPN Scramble, and IPv6 leak protection. Though on the plus side, it does offer API load balancing features which can automatically suggest the fastest VPN server for your connection based on ping and location.
One annoying issue I found in the Windows app and not in the macOS app of IPVanish is with the Kill switch. When I left it turned on, I was unable to access the internet until I turned off the Kill switch option.
IPVanish for Android & iOS
The mobile apps of IPVanish are also very well designed. However, just like the Windows and macOS apps, the iOS and Android apps of IPVanish vary in features.
For instance, the iOS app only supports the IKEv2 and IPSec protocol. Whereas the Android app supports OpenVPN, L2TP, IPSec. Another feature that the iOS app lacks is the OpenVPN Scramble option straight from the Windows app.
Overall, the Android app of IPVanish is more feature-rich compared to the iOS app. The only customizable option in the iOS app of IPVanish is “On Demand”.
Basically, if you enable this option, then you can customize how the app performs when you launch it, when you connect to Wi-Fi or cellular network or when you access a certain website domain.
Overall, what you are going to notice is inconsistent features across different platforms. It ‘s almost like all the apps are designed and developed by different third-party developers. I would love to see a more unified cross-platform experience like CyberGhost.
IPVanish Browser Extensions
You might think I’m joking, but IPVanish is not compatible with web browsers. Even though IPVanish supports Chrome OS, it doesn’t offer an extension for Chrome.
That’s something I find quite disappointing. I love the convenience of not having to launch the app every time I just want to casually browse the web.
IPVanish Router App
Even though IPVanish isn’t compatible with web browsers and its features are inconsistent across different platforms, IPVanish makes up for it with its excellent support for routers. To be honest, I’ve never seen any VPN provider support 15 different router brands. Here’s are all the router brands that are compatible with IPVanish:
- Linksys (Cisco)
Another thing I love about IPVanish is its setup guides. Even if you’re a newbie, you should have no trouble configuring IPVanish on your DD-WRT supported router.
You can simply head over to IPVanish’s router setup page and use the tool to pick the brand and model of your router. After that, you can simply check out the step by step up guide to get everything configured.
If you’re not cut out for manual setups, you can also purchase a pre-configured router from FlashRouters. The cheapest router they offer pre-configured with IPVanish is Netgear R6400 DD-WRT which costs $1.99.99.
Does it work in China?
As I’ve already talked about it earlier, IPVanish doesn’t offer servers in China. In addition, as per the official support article published by IPVanish, their service is unlikely to work in China because it’s IP addresses are being blocked by the Chinese government.
So, if you’re in China and want to use IPVanish to access blocked websites like Facebook, Twitter, and others, you’re not going to have much luck.
But if you’re outside China and want to access local Chinese websites like Baidu, Youku or BiliBili, you can do that by connecting to the Hong Kong servers. I was able to unblock all three websites easily. But do keep in mind that Chinese websites might load slowly for some reason.
Best Alternative to IPVanish
To be honest with you, I think IPVanish is an awesome VPN service. However, I think it doesn’t justify its high monthly cost. For instance, it offers fewer servers when compared to its competitors like Surfshark, NordVPN, CyberGhost, or even ExpressVPN.
IPVanish also offers fewer features than its competition. CyberGhost for instance offers an insane amount of features more than any other VPN provider in the industry.
Even though IPVanish costs way more than Surfshark, CyberGhost, and NordVPN, it still lacks features like Double hop, Ad-blocker, and Split tunneling (only available on Android).
Now I’m not saying I don’t like IPVanish. On the contrary, I think it delivers excellent performance. But, there are other VPN providers out there that can offer more bang for your buck.
If you want to get a VPNs that’s more affordable than IPVanish and offers more features, you might find my in-depth CyberGhost vs NordVPN vs PureVPN and CyberGhost vs ExpressVPN vs Surfshark comparisons helpful.
Do I Recommend IPVanish?
After extensively playing around with IPVanish for a week, I strongly believe that IPVanish is a reliable VPN service. However, I don’t think it delivers the most value for money.
If you can bear the expensive monthly cost of $6.49/mo, I think IPVanish would be perfect for you. After all, it works with Netflix, offers strong encryption, is easy to use, and offers apps for a variety of devices.