IPVanish VPN is a popular VPN service based in the United States with over 750 servers located throughout 60 countries.
IPVanish repeatedly comes up in online discussions around VPN services due to their consistency, strict no-log policies and no bandwidth caps.
After years of foolishly running my online business via public WiFi, I decided to start using a VPN to secure my communications (and access a bit of out of market sporting events while traveling).
But I found out that – similar to web hosting – there is no such thing as a “best VPN provider”. In fact, it’s like a whole world of confusing information because even trustworthy information is near-useless since it’s so complex. This IPVanish VPN review is my notes from trying them out for my own purposes as a security-aware, traveling, US-based businessperson who needs good usability and good pricing. I am not a political activist or someone who regularly travels to firewalled countries.
Whether you are looking for a VPN for privacy, for website access, for avoiding geotargeting, for protecting communications or all the above, hopefully, this IPVanish VPN review will be useful.
Here’s my IPVanish VPN review – structured with pros & cons based on my experience as a customer.
Disclosure – I receive referral fees from companies mentioned on this website. All opinions and data are based on my experience as a paying customer performing independent research.
IPVanish VPN Pros / Advantages
It’s no secret that IPVanish is highly-rated among websites and customers alike. They have plenty of testimonials and slick feature overviews on their homepage. They position themselves as ” your simple solution to Internet privacy.”
It’s a solid, straightforward pitch. But it’s also very similar to other popular VPN providers. Here’s what I found IPVanish does well.
Pricing & Payment Options
IPVanish VPN uses one of the most attractive pricing structures for VPN providers: 1-month, 3-month, and 12-month subscription options. It’s $10 monthly, $26.99 billed for three months ($8.99/month), or $77.99 billed annually ($6.49/month).
As you can tell, you’ll save $42 on an annual subscription over a monthly subscription. If you frequently travel through the year and connect to public Wi-Fi while doing so, the annual subscription is the way to go. They are not the cheapest VPN out there, but they also are not the most expensive. Like many of their features, they seem to be aiming for a happy sweet spot of value for money.
Unlike some other VPNs that require you to pay more to gain access to all the VPN’s features, IPVanish VPN gives you everything with any plan. That means you’ll have five simultaneous connections, full security features, and any choice of a server you wish. There are no cross-sells or upsells.
The website also offers occasional coupons for new subscribers that can save you up to 20% off your first billing cycle. So, if you choose an annual plan, you’re saving 20%, or close to $16, off the full year.
IPVanish VPN offers a 7-day money back guarantee. If you request a refund within seven days after you subscribe and aren’t satisfied with the service, you’ll get all your money back within ten business days, no questions asked. That’s alright, but it’s not as good as the free trial that other providers like NordVPN carry or the 30-day refund that ExpressVPN carries.
That said, IPVanish VPN offers a ton of payment options that can keep your information anonymous, like Bitcoin. They also offer a range of international payment options. You won’t have to worry about your identifying information transferring to the company via your payment method.
With any VPN – you usually get what you pay for. While not perfect, IPVanish’s pricing and payment options are a strong point of their service.
Encryption & Security
IPVanish VPN gives you the option of three different protocols: OpenVPN, PPTP, and L2TP/IPsec VPN. They’re all excellent choices for security, but OpenVPN is among the top protocols for keeping you protected. This one offers 256-bit encryption of your data, which is what banks use to keep your information safe on their websites.
There are also over 40,000 shared IP addresses to choose from to hide your real IP address. You can connect to a different one an unlimited number of times if you wish. IP address switches can further help you keep your identity and internet actions unknown to anyone who might be searching.
Best of all, IPVanish VPN doesn’t keep logs of your traffic. The company doesn’t keep track of where you go, or what you do, online, so even if it’s served with a warrant to investigate something, there’s not any information for IPVanish VPN to give. This is a tough feature to pull off without sacrificing network stability. Some companies like ExpressVPN and VyprVPN try to strike a balance where they only log some information for support & network stability. Then are are some, like NordVPN or AirVPN, that have no-log policies that seem to affect their performance. IPVanish – as we’ll see in the Performance section, seems to pull this balance off.
**Caveat – Note that no VPN is 100% secure. Your traffic is still routing through a company. Any company can go out of business or go rogue. If you are trying to avoid your American ISP – then you are simply replacing distrust of Comcast/Charter with the trust of your VPN. If you are a political activist where trust is a life or death situation, you need to be using something like Tor. This highlights this section of IPVanish VPN’s unique features, but the point remains using a VPN does not instantly create security/privacy. That is something you do via aligning company incentives (ie, paying for companies who maintain security) & being proactive.
IPVanish VPN strikes a good balance with advanced security features that are understandable for the lay user. Many VPNs remove advanced controls for the sake of usability and convenience, but IPVanish’s advanced settings are useful. Here is what their Preferences screen looks like in their app.
Overall, IPVanish deservedly gets praise from online forums and publications for their user-friendly privacy practices and no-log practices.
Usability & Onboarding
IPVanish VPN does a good job moving new customers to active customers (ie, “onboarding”). Their signup process is straightforward. Their apps are seamless and self-explanatory.
After signing up and verifying your email address, you are redirected to the Get Started screen where you can download apps for your respective devices.
When you first log on to the client, you can walk through a tutorial that shows key features. After setup, you can choose a server or have it automatically connect to a server for you based on your selected server location and current location. You can even search a full list of servers using filters, like protocol and current speeds.
The client offers both basic and advanced features to meet the needs of virtually any user. Want to get connected as quickly as possible? You don’t need to change anything because the client sets essential security features for you. If you want to tweak anything according to your preference, there’s always that option.
In the advanced section, you can choose your protocol, IP address settings, activate the Kill Switch and leak protections, and more, with the click of a few buttons.
While not as pretty as some other VPN clients, IPVanish is simple and straightforward and highly usable.
Speed, Performance & Consistency
Like every other VPN, IPVanish VPN calls itself the “world’s fastest VPN.” However, based on my testing, they can actually claim to be one of the fastest VPNs available.
There is a lot that goes into Internet speeds via a VPN. It is quite literally a middleman. So there is going to be a speed dropoff compared to non-VPN speeds, especially if your server is geographically distant from your location. That said, there is a lot that a good VPN can do for Internet speeds. Among other things, they can have a geographically diverse set of servers that correspond to both customer location and in-demand content. They can provide capacity above and beyond demand. And – they can work with server settings depending on connection types and types of content.
I live and work in Atlanta, Georgia, United States, so my tests all have a strong American bias. But, IPVanish VPN is remarkably consistent across its servers, both in the United States and those in other countries, with speed and performance. And, several speed tests conclude that this VPN seems to have the most similar speeds to internet connections without a VPN for both downloading and uploading.
Here is my baseline, non-VPN internet speed.
Here is the typical result with IPVanish.
That is 90% of my non-VPN speeds. That is very impressive.
I was also able to connect to the UK and stream BBC One with zero lag or choppiness.
Additionally, this VPN stays connected with little chance of lagging and dropped connections. So, you likely won’t notice much of a change in your connection once you log on to the VPN.
Overall, IPVanish scores really well on the speed/performance area.
IPVanish VPN Cons / Disadvantages
Of course, no VPN provider is perfect. There are inherent tradeoffs to nearly everything. IPVanish VPN is no exception to the rule, as it has a few negatives to consider that may affect your decision.
Here are some of the disadvantages that I found with IPVanish.
The one thing you should be somewhat concerned with is the lack of transparency when it comes to information about the company. Its website should clearly state a location, contact information, and some background information on the company.
As noted in the Security / Encryption section, trust is the core component of any VPN. Any company can claim to be secure, but it’s another thing entirely to consistently implement security policies consistently all the time, no matter what.
IPVanish VPN is very transparent with its server status, but not its mission, people, values or purpose.
Despite the lack of an about page, a little bit of sniffing around lead me to find out that IPVanish is a subsidiary of Highwinds, which is a subsidiary of the cybersecurity giant StackPath.
Highwinds also operates several VPN brands – and IPVanish is one of them. Their main business is content delivery networks, which explains why a VPN would be a good complementary business for them. On the flip side, it also makes me wonder just how big of a priority IPVanish really is.
There are a lot of reasons to use a big company. They have resources and connections that small companies simply don’t have. On the other hand, if a subsidiary is only a number on a balance sheet, it can be easy to make choices that are bad for many users, even if it makes sense for the company.
If you trust big companies, then the fact that IPVanish is simply a brand in a big company’s portfolio is fine – even good thing. If you trust smaller, independent companies, then this could be a severe disadvantage.
Based in the United States
Again, this isn’t something crucial, but the United States isn’t the most well-known country for internet privacy. The U.S. government is very capable of restricting the internet and quickly finding the information it wants to find.
Since IPVanish VPN is a United States-based company, you abide by the U.S. internet policies and regulations. If the government decides it wants to monitor your internet activity, it can always get a warrant to do so through IPVanish VPN.
However, since IPVanish VPN doesn’t keep logs, the chances of anyone finding out you’re behind one of the VPN’s IP addresses is highly unlikely. Still, if this privacy issue makes you the slightest bit squeamish, then IPVanish VPN may not be the best option.
Additionally, if you plan on using your VPN to violate the DMCA, then be aware that if you are caught with a violation, then your account is subject to termination.
Aside – and yes, this fact sounds counter-intuitive to their “no logging” claim to me as well. Either they do log some traffic or they never terminate accounts or they filter specific connections (ie, Torrents). Either way, I’ll just mention the point of trust again.
Customer Support Options
Although IPVanish VPN states on its website that its support staff is “on duty 24/7”, it doesn’t mean you’ll get a quick response. Some customers have mentioned waiting hours before they get a response from a team member through the ticketing system since there’s no live chat support.
So, even if they’re on duty 24/7 via email, there may not be enough of them to go around for all the questions they get asked. Lack of quick support can cause some serious issues when you’re at a loss with a technical problem.
There are some helpful guides on the website that will help you complete a range of tasks on your own, from basic to more advanced, but they still won’t help with most technical issues.
When you click the link to the support center, you’ll see a note that says:
“BEFORE YOU CLICK: Please note that our support representatives are backlogged by about a day-and-a-half. MAKE SURE that you aren’t waiting needlessly and that the answer isn’t already in our support center.”
A day and a half won’t help if you’re on a quick business trip and need to connect to hotel Wi-Fi with your VPN. You’ll likely be back home before you get your problem resolved.
Additionally – they have no chat or phone support.
Can’t Always Access Geo-Restricted Content
You may not be concerned about having access to geo-restricted content, like Netflix or YouTube videos that some countries ban. If not, then you can disregard this issue. For some, accessing geo-restricted content is a vital feature of their VPN.
IPVanish VPN claims to gain access to this content quickly, but some customers have found it hit-or-miss, especially with Netflix. But, to be fair, as more services catch on to VPNs gaining access to their content, more VPNs will have similar issues.
When I was trying to access geo-restricted content, I kept having to jump through hoops, like this one from Google –
It’s not a deal killer but was something that stood out as an inconvenience compared to other VPNs.
IPVanish VPN Next Steps
IPVanish ticks a lot of the boxes of a good VPN for most, but also has some shortcomings that will rule it out for most.
If you are primarily concerned about speed, performance, and no-logging, then IPVanish will be a good fit for you. Go sign up here.
Otherwise, feel free to browse some of my related VPN posts below!