| IPVanish offers both performance and power. Their server network speeds are some of the best around. And the client is highly configurable and packed with features. Though not without its downsides, especially some concerns about user privacy, IPVanish is a VPN well worth considering.|
- Excellent server speeds
- Great selection of encryption settings and privacy features
- No logging policy
- Allows torrenting
- Up to 10 simultaneous connections
- Customer support reachable by email, chat, and phone
- Based out of the US
- Doesn't work well with Netflix or BBC iPlayer
- Short 7-day money-back guarantee
Front and center on the IPVanish homepage is the claim that they’re the world’s fastest VPN. That’s quite the statement indeed.
Unfortunately, based on my speed tests, the claim is inaccurate and the fastest VPN they are not.
That said, IPVanish still shows excellent performance and has a lot to be proud of. The UK server speeds, for example – highly impressive.
Download numbers are excellent across the board.
If I had to nitpick, I could call out Germany and France as being a little subpar.
Still, at 47.12 Mbps and 41.56 Mbps respectively, those connections are more than quick enough for ultra-high-definition video streaming or reasonably large file downloads.
On the upload side, things look even better. With a 54.6 Mbps average across the eight locations I tested, no other provider does better.
Perhaps IPVanish should change their homepage claim to the world’s fasted VPN for uploads. Then they would be correct.
With that said, here are the IPVanish speed test results.
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You may have noticed the large difference between my VPN speed tests and no-VPN baseline runs. It is to be expected.
I run all my tests with a 500 Mbps down and 100 Mbps up internet connection. Both are speeds no consumer VPN provider servers can currently match.
The point of using a much faster connection is it reveals the actual maximum VPN server performance.
If, for example, I only ran 50 Mbps up, my device would be the limiting factor for speed – we’d never know that IPVanish’s servers are actually capable of much higher performance.
IPVanish was founded in 2012 by Mudhook Media, a subsidiary of the Highwinds Network Group. The company calls Orlando, Florida, home.
From day one, IPVanish was set on running a wholly-owned VPN server network. It’s something very few providers do and certainly set IPVanish apart from the competition.
And, clearly, others took note since, over the years, IPVanish has become a hot commodity and changed hands multiple times.
In 2017 they were acquired by well-known CDN company Stackpath. And in 2019, tech giant j2 Global bought IPVanish – along with several other smaller VPN providers.
Thanks to the multiple acquisitions and the resulting increase in funding, IPVanish has been able to and continues to upgrade its software and grow its network – the latter now includes over 1200 servers around the world.
Privacy and Security
One of the first things most of us VPN users want to know is how well a service handles our privacy and the security of our data.
In that regard, IPVanish holds itself to a very high standard.
IPVanish is a zero-logs VPN service provider, which means that we do not keep a record of any connection, traffic, or activity data in regards to our Services.
In theory, this statement guarantees us anonymity anytime we connect to one of their servers.
Any such policy, however, needs to be backed up with top-of-the-line technology. And there too, IPVanish does not disappoint.
By default, IPVanish uses the OpenVPN protocol with 256-bit encryption for all connections. It’s a fast and secure option many other top VPN providers turn to as well.
The service also uses state of the art cryptographic protocols for key exchange and authentication, further making it impossible for any thirds party to access and read transmitted data.
To top it off, IPVanish runs its own DNS server. It’s yet another layer of privacy that makes your online activities that much harder to identify, not to mention, improves performance.
It is worth pointing out that IPVanish is based in the United States, and as such, has a legal obligation to comply with law enforcement requests made of them. Not ideal for privacy.
For the very security conscious among us, the location may make the service a non-starter.
It’s also important to note that back in 2016, IPVanish was subpoenaed and subsequently provided data to a US court. I cover this issue in much greater detail in my review, but, the gist is, the incident put their no-logging claims into serious question.
However, their current owners – who took control of the company after this incident occurred – insist that although they cannot verify what logging took place before they bought IPVanish, they stand by their current zero-logging policies and promise to uphold them at all costs.
Besides excellent speed, privacy, and security, there is a number of other features we tend to look for in a VPN.
An easy to use and robust client is undoubtedly a must, and IPVanish’s app certainly delivers.
Their software performs very well and is compatible with a wide range of computers and devices. These include:
- Windows devices (PC, tablet, phone)
- Amazon Fire TV
- Some routers
Basically, if a device connects to the internet, there’s an excellent chance you can use IPVanish with it.
For greater compatibility, IPVanish’s client offers several alternate protocol options. They will even let you use a PPTP connection.
PPTP is a decades-old and thoroughly compromised encryption standard, but it’s fast and comes built into almost every internet-connected device manufactured today.
Ultimately, using PPTP is not recommended, but, in a pinch, it’s better than no protection at all.
Another feature many of us look for is BitTorrent support. There too, IPVanish delivers. In fact, considering their excellent speed test results, it’s a great option for large file downloads.
Other features that are present and accounted for include a built-in kill switch – to protect you in the event of a VPN connection drop – as well as DNS and IPv6 leak detection.
Though IPVanish does not have much in the way of restrictions, there are a few things worth a mention.
First, the service doesn’t support connection to the Tor network.
Most of us don’t need to use Tor and a VPN at the same time, and it’s a combination that will significantly slow down connection speeds.
But, if you’re looking to build a layered data security approach, the limitation is one to keep in mind.
Poor Netflix Support
For the streamers among us, IPVanish doesn’t work with Netflix – at least not very well.
Don’t get me wrong. Server speeds are more than fast enough to support high-definition streaming. The problem is IPVanish isn’t great at unlocking geo-blocked content.
This is one of the potential downsides of a VPN owning its servers. Unless they take special steps, it makes their IP addresses easy targets for a service like Netflix to block.
There are a few odd servers that may get you access, but they’re few and far between. This is one case where IPVanish is a poor choice, especially since there are plenty of other VPNs that work with Netflix from which to pick.
No matter how good their software, reliable their hardware, and fast their connections, no VPN service is immune to problems. But, when an issue does come up, IPVanish has your back.
In the past, IPVanish had a reputation for providing somewhat lackluster customer support. Direct response was available only via email, and up to a two-day response time was almost a given.
Lately, however, IPVanish has turned things around.
Real-time chat support is now available through the IPVanish website.
They’ve also brought down their average email support reply time to a much quicker 24 hours, with a two-hour reply fairly common.
The website also offers a good number of helpful articles and troubleshooting guides that can help you figure out your issue while you wait for a response.
And if, when all is said and done, you’re still not happy with the service, IPVanish has a 7-day full refund guarantee. Whatever your reasons, if that’s what you want, you can get your money back.
Other than being fast, the IPVanish network is also quite large. The server list currently includes 1208 endpoints across 75 locations and 53 countries.
No, the network won’t win any awards for size.
But, every location 99% of us VPN users could conceivably want to connect to is there. And let’s not forget that IPVanish owns all their hardware too.
Critically, the IPVanish network is a tier-1 global network, meaning the servers have direct access to every internet backbone provider in the world.
Access to internet backbones translates to zero throughput restrictions, which, in turn, translates to the excellent IPVanish speed test results we have seen.