Network security is a tricky thing, but using a virtual private network (or VPN) like IPVanish goes a long way toward making the web safer and more secure. IPVanish offers a good value with 10 simultaneous connections and an impressive collection of servers, and it goes further with unique features like automatic IP address cycling. IPVanish is an all-around excellent product and one of the best VPNs we’ve reviewed.
While they have an abundance of endorsements and sponsorships and offer an admittedly feature-rich product, the question remains, “Can they live up to their own hype?”
In this review, I’ll be providing you with a detailed answer to that question.
I will be taking an unbiased look at IPVanish, analyzing everything from the company’s background, services, features, pricing, and more.
What Is a VPN?
When you connect to the internet via a VPN, all your web traffic is routed to a VPN server through a secure, encrypted tunnel. This means that someone spying on your local network, say at a coffee shop, won’t be able to see your online activities. A VPN also hides your real IP address, making it harder to track you across the web. Even your ISP will have a hard time gathering and selling your data when you use a VPN, because it can’t penetrate the encrypted tunnel.
VPNs are used every day by people concerned about security or trying to circumvent restrictions on internet access. Journalists and activists in countries with restrictive internet policies use VPNs to keep in contact with the rest of the world and access content that would be otherwise forbidden.
IPVanish has a simple pricing scheme with just three options, all of which have the same features. The service costs $10.00 per month, $26.99 billed every three months, or $77.99 billed annually. As is the case with most VPN services, it offers a variety of special deals and discounts.
Value for the Money
That’s slightly below the average monthly price of $10.30 for a VPN, but there are even-more affordable options out there. Editors’ Choice service Private Internet Access ($8.45/Month at Private Internet Access) has a monthly plan for $6.95.
You can pay for IPVanish with any major credit card or PayPal. If you’re looking to use Bitcoin, prepaid gift cards, or some other anonymous method of payment, you’re out of luck with IPVanish. TorGuard, on the other hand, allows many anonymous payment options. If you ever wanted to use a Subway gift card to buy a VPN subscription, for example, TorGuard is a good option.
Nearly all VPNs allow the use of BitTorrent and P2P file sharing on their networks, although some do restrict the activity to specific servers. NordVPN is one such service, and TorGuard is another. If you’re a heavy downloader, you’re sure to appreciate the freedom and flexibility of IPVanish, which doesn’t restrict BitTorrent at all.
Servers and Server Locations
I value geographic diversity in VPN servers because it means you have lots of options for spoofing your location and can be assured that there will be a nearby server for faster, more reliable connections when you travel abroad. It also means more options for location spoofing.
IPVanish boasts servers spread across 51 countries. That’s fewer than several competitors, but it’s still a good mix of locations, covering most of the globe. IPVanish deserves credit for offering servers in Africa and South America, as those two continents are often completely ignored by VPN companies. It’s a small presence, however, and one I’d like to see expand. ExpressVPN, for example, covers over 90 countries.
Your Privacy With IPVanish
When you use a VPN, it has as much insight into your internet activity as your ISP. That’s why it’s important to understand the information any VPN service may collect and how they use it. In general, the best VPN services will collect as little as possible, and share even less.
IPVanish operates under Mudhook Marketing, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of StackPath, LLC, and is based in the US. A company representative tells me that while it does respond to valid requests from law enforcement, it has no user data to supply. Some VPN companies use a foreign base of operations to add another layer between them and law enforcement requests. In general, I don’t feel qualified to make a judgment about the security implications of a VPN being based in a particular country. Instead, I encourage readers to educate themselves on the issues and go with a product with which they feel comfortable.
In an effort to establish their trustworthiness, some VPN companies have begun releasing the results of commissioned audits. NordVPN had its no-log policy audited, and TunnelBear has committed to releasing annual audits of its service. IPVanish has not undergone a third-party audit. It also has not responded to the Center for Democracy and Technology’s VPN questionnaire, but provided me with much of the same information.
Many VPN companies have begun including additional security features that go beyond what a VPN provides. Ad blocking and malware protection are typical additions, as are static IP addresses. IPVanish does not offer additional services. TorGuard, on the other hand, has a remarkable slate of static IP addresses of various flavors that are less likely to be blacklisted among other add-ons.
VPN service IPVanish secures your web traffic from prying eyes. It packs powerful features veteran VPN users will appreciate, and presents a good value overall, although its interface may intimidate the less experienced.