IPVanish Review

Verdict

IPVanish is a perfectly effective VPN provider. It’s reliable, generally quick – except for slightly sluggish UK endpoints – but isn’t great for streaming video beyond Netflix US.

Pros

  • Wide range of endpoint countries
  • Fast US and NL speeds

Cons

  • Gave logs it wasn’t supposed to have kept to US law enforcement
  • Poor UK streaming performance
  • Below-average UK speeds

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £52.84
  • UK pricing: £8.25 per month, £22.27 per three months, £52.84 per year
  • US pricing: $10 per month, $26.99 per three months, $64.02 per year
  • Supports OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP
  • Clients for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Amazon Fire TV
  • Clear information on connecting other devices without dedicated clients

What is IPVanish?

IPVanish is a long-time part of the VPN (virtual private network) landscape that’s been bought and sold by a number of different companies, most recently tech and publishing giant J2 Global.

It is an established and well-regarded name in VPN provisioning, with generally strong performance in our throughput tests from its Dutch and US endpoints.

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IPVanish – Features and usability

IPVanish is easy to use, with a well-designed Windows client that includes a traffic and speed graph and connection options that allow you to let it choose the best endpoint for your chosen country or city, or manually select from its available endpoint servers.

Endpoint auto-selection didn’t always produce the best results for us, so we were pleased by the level of fine-grained manual endpoint selection available. You can choose your endpoint country from a map or filter by latency. IPVanish has over 1000 servers in more than 50 countries across Europe, North America and Asia, with a few scattered endpoints on other continents. It doesn’t have as wide a geographic range as region-shifting specialists such as Hide My Ass!, but it offers a substantial selection that should serve most users well.

A large number of these endpoints include SOCKS5 proxy servers, which are useful for those who need to use BitTorrent from behind a VPN.

The IPVanish Windows client supports OpenVPN, L2TP and PPTP connections, has a number of extra security features including leak protection, a kill switch to ensure that you never send data across the internet without the protection of the VPN, and can connect automatically on boot.

Clients are also available for macOS, Android, iOS and Amazon’s Fire TV, as well as details on how to connect other devices such as Linux PCs, Windows phones, and routers.

IPVanish – Performance

Endpoints/VPN UK Netherlands United States
IPVanish HTTP 86.88Mbps 123.04Mbps 71.92Mbps
IPVanish FTP 63.84Mbps 173.40Mbps 91.39Mbps

IPVanish’s UK performance has always been among its weak points, and this can be seen in our latest throughput tests via high-speed connection, which maxed out at 10.86MB/s (86.88Mbps) via HTTP and 7.98MB/s via FTP – not terrible, but well below average among its rivals.

Its Netherlands and US endpoints, on the other hand, performed brilliantly. Over HTTP, IPVanish’s Dutch endpoints achieved 15.38MB/s, going up to a blistering 21.67MB/s for FTP transfers. Its US download speeds, although not the fastest we’ve seen this month, were well above average at 8.99MB/s via HTTP and 11.42MB/s via FTP.

It’s not a very good choice for streaming, though. It covers the basics – Netflix US and Shudder – but its US endpoints are entirely banned from viewing Crunchyroll and both iPlayer and All 4 detected that we were connected to a VPN.

This time around, we were able to cheerfully watch US Netflix, but BBC iPlayer detected that we were using a VPN.

Related: What is a VPN?

Should I buy IPVanish?

IPVanish has a no-logging policy, and is based in the US, which doesn’t require logging of user activity by law, but also has few data protection requirements and a record of state surveillance.

However, in 2016, when it was owned by its original parent company Highwinds, IPVanish handed over detailed connection information for use as evidence by the US Department of Homeland Security, even though it claimed to keep no logs at the time. Current owner J2 Global, like StackPath before it, says it intends to honour its no-logging guarantee. However, there’s no indication of what, if any, changes have been implemented to ensure this.

Bearing that in mind, it’s safest to assume that IPVanish keeps detailed connection logs until proven otherwise. We’d ideally like to see it have its privacy policy independently audited.

IPVanish’s pricing is around average, working out at £8.25 per month, £22.27 for three months and £52.84 per year. That’s entirely reasonable, but doesn’t stand out. There’s a seven-day money-back guarantee.

Verdict

IPVanish is a perfectly effective VPN provider. It’s reliable, generally quick – except for slightly sluggish UK endpoints – but isn’t great for streaming video beyond Netflix US.

It has a good range of security features, but all of these are undermined by its 2016 betrayal of its no-logging policy. That’s not a problem if privacy isn’t a main factor in your VPN use, but if you want a no-logging policy that’s backed up by either an independent audit or legal action, then Private Internet Access is much cheaper, while ExpressVPN and NordVPN are better for streaming, and they all provide similar or better transfer speeds.

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