IPVanish VPN Review 2019

IPVanish was founded in 2012 in the United States. The U.S.-based Virtual Network Provider (VPN) provider personally owns and operates their VPN server farms around the globe.

IPVanish delivers fast, well-encrypted internet connections, doing an admirable job of protecting their users’ online security. While IPVanish claims to be a no-logs provider, there’s been at least one case where the service shared information with law enforcement personnel.

In this review, I’ll be sharing with you the results of the array of tests I’ve subjected this VPN provider to. I’ll give you answers to many questions, such as:

  • What, if any, streaming services does IPVanish offer access to?
  • Does IPVanish allow P2P file-sharing activity on their servers?
  • How strong are the security and privacy protections that IPVanish provides?
  • Does IPVanish provide connection speeds fast enough for streaming, online gaming and file sharing?

I’ll also provide additional information, including a complete overview of the service’s offerings and overall performance.

Is IPVanish the Right VPN for You?

IPVanish delivers excellent protection for your online activities. While the provider has performed some questionable sharing of user info in the past, the service’s current ownership says that’s all in the past.

The provider’s 1-month subscription price comes in on the high end, although you can grab some savings with their 1-year subscription option.

A 7-day money-back guarantee is available.

My Verdict

IPVanish is a valid option for users in search of a VPN provider that offers acceptable connection speeds and comprehensive global server coverage.

OVERALL RANK:  4.0/5
Speed: 4.0/5
Tested Speed: 47.11 Mbps average download speed (independently tested)
Streaming Support: HD
Streaming Score: 3.5/5
Unblocks Netflix?: Yes, but it’s hit-and-miss
U.S. Streaming Services Supported: Netflix, others
U.K. Streaming Services Supported: BBC iPlayer, others
Security Score: 5/5
Privacy Rating: 5/5
Supports Torrenting: Yes, on all servers
Value for the Money: 4/5
Money-Back Guarantee: 7 days
Website: www.IPVanish.com

Pros:

  • Comprehensive global server coverage
  • Allows P2P file sharing on all servers
  • Military-level encryption
  • Kill switch protection

Cons:

  • Connection speeds could be better
  • Doesn’t reliably unblock streaming services

Features

IPVanish’s native app support has all of the popular device platforms covered.

Apps for the Windows, macOS, Android, iOS and Fire TV platforms are all present and accounted for. Windows Phone, Linux and Chrome OS users will find easy-to-follow instructions for setting up the provider on their devices.

The provider’s service is also compatible with numerous routers, and pre-configured routers are available from FlashRouters.com.

Unfortunately, there are no browser extensions available.

IPVanish connection page

IPVanish’s apps all offer government-level encryption to keep your online activities undercover. Also available are the following options: kill switch, auto-reconnect, connection obfuscation and IPv6 leak protection. (For details about these features, check out my VPN Security Features article.)

When you decide to connect to the IPVanish network of servers, you can manually connect to any server on the network, or you can simply opt to connect to the best available server in any country where the provider has servers.

The provider’s apps are logical in use, and they don’t seem to put a huge hit on your device’s resources.

IPVanish app dashboard

You can make up to 10 simultaneous connections on the same login credentials.

At the time of this article, IPVanish’s VPN network is made up of over 1,300 servers, which are stationed in 51 countries. P2P file sharing is allowed on all of IPVanish’s servers.

Customer support is fairly average, offering email support, a searchable support library and 24/7 live support chat (with a new wrinkle: a chatbot that first attempts to answer your questions before routing you to live chat).

Streaming

Arguably one of the most popular reasons for using a VPN is to gain access to streaming video and music content from outside of your own region. This includes content from such providers as Hulu, Netflix, HBO, BBC iPlayer and many more.

In the early days of streaming, it was child’s play for a VPN to unblock streaming content, no matter which region it was located in.

However, as streaming services became aware of VPN users accessing their services from outside of licensed areas, they began blocking the IP addresses of these VPN providers.

IPVanish has a hit-or-miss record in unblocking streaming providers.

In my testing, I found that while I was able to access Netflix while connected to various U.S.-based IPVanish servers, access to the service was unavailable when connected to servers in the United Kingdom and other countries.

Access to BBC iPlayer was also unavailable. However, HBO streamed just fine when connected to U.S. servers.

When a streaming service did work, they began playing video almost immediately, and playback was smooth and pixelation-free.

Security and Privacy

IPVanish offers excellent privacy and security protections to its users. However, it should be noted that IPVanish does have a history of turning over information to law enforcement.

In 2016, the company that owned IPVanish at the time, Highwinds Network Group, turned over information to the Department of Homeland security. This information included a certain customer’s real IP address, their VPN-provided IP address, the dates and times the customer connected to the VPN network, and some of their activities.

Since the investigation involved illegal and heinous pornography, I firmly applaud that the perpetrator was caught.

However, one of the main reasons to use a VPN is to protect your online activities from being logged and shared with outside parties. The owner of IPVanish at the time was apparently saving at least some information about their customers’ online travels.

The current owner of IPVanish, Stackpath, states strongly that they are not responsible for the actions of the previous owners and that they now follow a strict no-logs policy.

When I last reviewed IPVanish, they accepted Bitcoin as payment, but they no longer do so.

Online security is well covered thanks to the provider’s use of government-level encryption. The protocols the provider uses vary according to the device that’s running it, and include OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP, IPsec and PPTP.

Kill switch, auto-reconnect, connection obfuscation and IPv6 leak protection are also available. You can find more info about these features in my VPN Security Features article.

IPVanish owns and manages its entire server network, keeping third parties away from the servers and from your data. The fewer people who have access to the servers, the better it is for your security and privacy.

Speed

Before I reveal IPVanish’s connection speed numbers, allow me to share the process we here at Pixel Privacy use to determine a VPN provider’s speed figures.

A team of 3 of us perform all VPN connection speed tests using a gigabit Ethernet connection from a computer located in the United States. We perform all tests using the Windows version of the provider’s app, and we connect via OpenVPN over UDP.

To test the speeds, we then connect to 3 different VPN server locations – the United States, the United Kingdom and Hong Kong. For 3 days, we perform the test 3 times per day, allowing for at least 4 hours in between each round of testing.

The results are then averaged to come up with the final measurement.

IPVanish’s encrypted connection speeds measured in at an average of 47.11 Mbps, meaning the provider can easily handle online gaming, streaming of HD content and fast file downloading.

Cost

IPVanish offers 3 subscription tiers, and as you might expect, the longer the commitment you’re willing to make, the better deal they’ll make.

The provider’s shortest subscription term runs one month, and takes the biggest chunk from your pocketbook. That said, the price isn’t unusual for a VPN provider.

Instead of the traditional 1-, 2- and 3-year options that many VPN providers offer, IPVanish asks for shorter obligations, offering 3-month and 1-year subscriptions that are considerably cheaper than paying month-to-month.

A rather short 7-day money-back guarantee is available for all subscription plans.

Alternatives

IPVanish is a more-than-capable VPN provider, delivering excellent protection for your online activities.

However, although the provider offers wide-ranging global server coverage, its content-unblocking abilities are limited.

If you’re looking for a VPN that can provide more reliable access to content from a larger number of streaming services, I suggest taking a close look at one of the following VPN providers.

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN logo

ExpressVPN is a well-known VPN service, widely considered one of the top providers in the industry.

The provider offers excellent global content-unlocking power thanks to its 3,000+ servers that are located in 94 countries around the globe.

ExpressVPN has an excellent record when it comes to opening access to streaming services, such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and BBC iPlayer, and it allows P2P activity on all of its servers.

The provider does a top-notch job of protecting your online activities, both while you’re online and afterward. Around-the-clock support is available in the unlikely event you have an issue with your connection.

ExpressVPN is priced a bit higher than many other VPN providers, but it offers an excellent return on investment.

NordVPN

NordVPN logo

NordVPN is also a well-respected VPN provider, with a strong track record of providing reliable protection to their clients.

The provider’s top-notch, customizable services are available for a low price, making it an attractive option for users looking for a reliable service that won’t take a huge chunk out of their bank account.

The provider offers reliable access to many streaming services, and their connection speeds can easily handle any type of online activities.

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