- 5 Simultaneous Connections
- Access to 40,000+ IPs
- 700+ Servers Worldwide
“Super fast and secure but not for beginners or Netflix fans”
Strong security features will outweigh policy niggles for many
Brute speed & city-level servers great for sports live streams.
Ton of tools to beat the blocks on social media and Google.
IPVanish launched in 2012 and is part of the Highwinds Network Group. As well as providing tech infrastructure for PC gaming’s Steam, Highwinds was one of the pioneers of UseNet, the original file sharing technology. IPVanish is also part of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which campaigns for an open and safe Internet.
IPVanish is incredibly fast, which is great for file sharing, gaming and streaming (although it’s blocked by Netflix). Its apps are powerful but not always the easiest to use. Customer support is rather lacking. Experienced users will likely overlook these issues due to the performance, advanced security options, appealing server choice and zero logs policy.
Seekers of online anonymity take note: IPVanish is incorporated in the US and subject to its privacy-unfriendly laws and has some Terms of Service that appear to conflict with its logging policy that it declines to fully clarify.
IPVanish is blisteringly fast, both up and downstream with very low latency on nearby servers. This makes it a torrenter and gamer’s dream. We were blown away by the peak speeds on our nearest server. To be pushing 80Mbps downstream is just incredible and makes downloading large files a breeze.
Upload speeds were also consistently strong, vital to P2P technology and online gaming. Even more impressive was performance on distant servers, such as Australia, which left rivals for dead.
Latency was also impressive with a low of 4ms (UK), which is critical online gamers on twitch shooters, PvP games such as FIFA and Rocket League or eSports like League of Legends.
Our only gripe is that connection times dragged at 14s on average but it’s a minor issue and a price worth paying for such face-melting speeds.
|Max Download Speed||74.87 (UK)||61.14 (UK)||46.57 (US)|
|Max Upload Speed||36.92 (DE)||36.64 (FRA)||36.14 (US)|
|Average time to connect||14s||8s||13s|
|Tested and working with||BBC iPlayer, Facebook, Google-Gmail, Kodi, Torrenting, HBO||Netflix, BBC iPlayer, HBO, Gaming, Kodi, Torrenting||Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Torrenting, Sling TV, Kodi|
|SERVER LOCATION||Download Speed (Mbps)||Upload Speed (Mbps)|
IPVanish may not have the sheer breadth of coverage of some rivals with its server network but it does a very solid job of covering off the most popular locations across the majority of continents. For most users, IPVanish will have a server in their country and frequently more than one. The US is covered well enough for most users’ needs with east and west coast locations plus southern states. The midwest and northern states between the coasts are not covered however, which may have an impact for some US sports fans.
Europe is very well served with good choice in the UK and on mainland Europe. Asia has 77 servers and better than average coverage. IPVanish is also a great choice for Australian consumers with 62 servers (49 in Sydney), helping deliver standout performance. The main gaps are in Central and South America, and Africa, both of which have barely a handful of locations and physical servers.
IPVanish really falls short on customer support compared to the very best providers. We were disappointed to see no live chat option, which is the best channel for solving simple issues. The lack of video tutorials is another own goal, while the FAQ section and knowledge base was poorly organised and and in need of some TLC.
The quality of the email support was very poor in our testing. Our questions about Terms of Service were met with irelevant copy/pasted VPN FAQ text. There’s no excuse for this. IPVanish avoided getting zero on support quality due to this automated response being at least well-crafted.
Given the rather unintuitive software, this makes IPVanish – as powerful as it is – rather intimidating for inexperienced users. VPN veterans on the other hand may well shrug this off in favour of the raw speed and advanced privacy features.
IPVanish is a real mixed bag for ease of use. Some views work really well and get you quickly and optimally connected, others are frustratingly clunky
The main dashboard view may not be the prettiest but we love the concept of picking a country or city and then allowing the software to find you the fastest option available. There’s plenty of visual feedback: the key details of your connection are all very clear.
Not so great is scrolling through the randomly-ordered server looking for your preferred location. It’s very frustrating until you finally realise you can start typing to jump ahead.
This lack of intuitiveness plagues the desktop app. It’s not clear that certain settings can only be changed when disconnected from the VPN. Or that settings from the filter don’t carry across views. Or that the map only allows you to connect to the fastest server in each region. Or that the sort options in List view doesn’t seem to work.
Things get better in the settings, which are numerous but well organised into tabs. There’s also a nice Simple mode but again suffers from redundancy and duplication.
The iOS and Android apps are a bit slicker than the desktop app but also have some near-unforgivable useability dead-ends that will leave even experienced users scratching their heads.
To recap, IPVanish can be unforgiving for beginners but tech-savvy and experienced users may well be able to overlook some useability issues in return for raw power and powerful privacy features.
IPVanish has a lot of privacy positives. It’s got great quality encryption, runs a combination of its own and third party DNS servers (you can choose which to use), supports port 443 (used for secure web traffic over HTTPS), killswitch, DNS leak blocking and plenty more. It also has a zero-logs policy, confirming to us that it does not even temporarily log basic details of your connection.
One downside is that IPVanish is based in the US – the worst location for seekers of anonymity. There are also a couple of niggles in the Terms of Service that rub up against their zero-logs policy: they 1) prohibit simultaneous log-ins from multiple IP addresses and 2) will terminate accounts used for copyright infringement. Neither of these are necessarily problematic, however IPVanish is unwilling to confirm how it enforces these terms without temporary connection logs.
Of course, the importance this depends very much upon you. If all you need is safer browsing on public Wi-Fi and a much-reduced footprint of the data passively gathered about you then IPVanish does an excellent job. If you need to protect yourself from state-sponsored snooping then could be question marks over IPVanish, although to be fair, your data exposure would be limited.
|Open VPN (Auto)|
|Open VPN (UDP/TCP)|
|Supports TCP Port 443|
|Supports SSH Tunnel|
|Supports SSL Tunnel|
|First party DNS servers|
|DNS Leak Blocking|
|Anonymous Payment Method|
|Tor over VPN server|