Ivacy is a secure VPN based in a friendly jurisdiction, making it ideal for privacy-focused users. Performance is pretty quick on local connections, but unimpressive internationally. Access to popular streaming services through dedicated servers means it’s worth considering for casual streaming fans who want to protect themselves without giving up their online entertainment. Custom apps are available for popular devices but can be annoyingly unresponsive at times.
Pricing & Deals
Ivacy offers three different pricing plans so you shouldn’t struggle to find one that’s suitable for you. As is the case with every other provider, the longer subscription you sign up for, the less you pay on a monthly basis.
The monthly plan is the most expensive at $9.95, but even then this incredibly cheap compared to most other VPNs. The biggest savings can be found on the two-year subscription, which is reduced by a massive 77% to just $2.25 monthly. There is also a one-year plan, which will only set you back $3.33 per month. Currently you can also opt for the five-year plan, bringing the cost down to a ridiculously cheap $1.34 per month, a saving of 87%.
Ivacy Pricing & Deals
Ivacy offers a 30-day money-back guarantee instead of a free trial. Unfortunately this only applies if you opted for the 1- or 2-year subscription – those who sign up on a monthly basis only have seven days to change their minds. This guarantee is genuinely “no questions asked” and not subject to any restrictions or data usage caps, so as long as you haven’t breached the terms of service you shouldn’t have any problems getting your money back.
Unfortunately if you pay using Bitcoin, any other form of cryptocurrency or Paymentwall you’re ineligible for a refund, so bear that in mind when you sign up. Ivacy is bound to process refunds within 48 hours of a valid request, so don’t leave it until the last minute, and if you pay using a credit card the money can take up to 40 days to appear back in your account. The free trial is definitely a good way to test out how much you like the service, but having to potentially wait over a month for your money back seems a little excessive.
Ivacy offers a larger than usual range of payment options, including most major credit and debit cards, PayPal, several forms of cryptocurrency and several other methods through its partnership with Paymentwall. This includes Alipay, Dotpay, Neosurf and many more.
Speed & Reliability
Ivacy has recently ramped up local speeds, meaning that if you connect to a nearby server you’ll be able to stream in HD on multiple devices with little to no buffering. However if you’re looking for excellent international performance there are other providers that offer much more reliability across their server networks, such as NordVPN. Uploads were pretty fast on local connections, so coupled with a privacy-friendly logging policy, it’s a great option for torrenters. High ping times aren’t ideal for gamers.
If you’re mainly going to be connecting to nearby servers Ivacy offers fast enough speeds for most, with the UK coming in at just over 60Mbps (we test from London). Connecting to the US from Europe wasn’t very impressive but at 25Mbps you’ll still be able to stream in HD, if only on device. Most distant connections were barely usable, such as Japan struggling to get past 3Mbps.
Latency was unacceptably high, averaging around 24ms even on same-country connections, meaning it’s not a good choice for gamers. Some providers offer ping of under 1ms if you connect locally, so there are definitely better options out there.
Connection time was pretty average, at just over 10 seconds each time, but we were occasionally presented with an error message and would have to try an alternative server or VPN protocol. During this time your true IP address is exposed if you do anything online, so we’d recommend always using the VPN killswitch feature to protect your privacy.
Upload speeds were similar to downloads, peaking at 50Mbps in the Netherlands. This is good news for torrenters, especially considering Ivacy’s robust privacy offering. Uploads dropped considerably over international connections, clocking in at 17Mbps in the US and a paltry 4Mbps in Singapore. This is to be expected and shouldn’t be a problem unless you want to torrent on very long-distance connections.
Ivacy is definitely fast enough for most on local connections, but isn’t at all impressive internationally. If you’re planning on installing it at router level and using it across several different devices simultaneously, you may have some performance issues, but these will be reduced by connecting to the nearest possible server.
To read about our speed testing methodologies, please read How We Review VPNs.
Ivacy maintains a mid-sized server network with over 55 countries on offer. Most popular countries are covered but we’d recommend checking the server list to make sure the locations you need are on there, as there are providers offering over double this amount should you need more choice.
We were pleasantly surprised to find out that Ivacy operates a fairly high number of servers with over 450 spread across the globe, however it’s worth noting that you can’t use our preferred protocol, OpenVPN, with many of these. After speaking to a member of their customer support team we also discovered that each server hosts between 120-140 individual IP addresses, meaning there are almost 50,000 in total. This massively reduces the chance of server congestion, even at peak times.
You can drill down to city-level servers in a handful of countries, including Australia, Canada, Malasia, UK, and the US. Coverage is best in Europe and North America but recent network expansion has seen Ivacy introduce servers in more African and South American countries, including Colombia, Costa Rica, Ghana, Kenya, Panama and many more. We were excited to see mainland China represented with a Beijing server amid solid coverage in Asia.
You can find the complete list of Ivacy server locations by country and purpose on their website below.
Platforms & Devices
Ivacy offers dedicated custom apps for the usual range of devices including Microsoft Windows, MacOS, iOS and Android. There are user-friendly set-up guides for these platforms on the support section of the website, as well as information on how to install the VPN on those devices lacking native apps. This includes devices such as Linux, Kodi, Roku, Xbox, PS4 and many more.
If you want to protect all of the connected devices in your household without installing individual apps on each one, you can also install Ivacy at router level- you’ll find detailed instructions on how to do this on the support section of the site. Unfortunately, you can’t buy a router with Ivacy already installed, so if you’re not comfortable with an element of manual configuration you’ll have to look elsewhere.
Ivacy offers extensions for both Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox browsers. These are incredibly simple to use and can be installed and added to your browser in a few seconds if you already have the main app up and running. You can choose from the same list of countries available on the desktop app, and we love the added bonus of protection against WebRTC leaks, which prevents third parties from seeing what you’re doing online in case of an IP leak.
It’s important to bear in mind that while these are great added bonuses, they are only proxy extensions, and will therefore only encrypt your browser traffic. This is great news for heavy browser users who are only concerned about this, however we’d recommend running them alongside the main app for the highest possible level of protection.
Games Consoles & Streaming Devices
Ivacy can be used with loads of different games consoles and streaming devices either by connected them to a configured router or sharing the VPN connection with another device running the software, such as a laptop or smartphone. This includes devices such as AppleTV, Roku, PlayStation, Xbox, Google Chromecast and several others. There is also a native app for the Amazon Fire TV but it lacks dedicated streaming servers, meaning that access to both Netflix and iPlayer is blocked.
Ivacy is one of the few providers that actually provides really detailed instructions on how to configure your streaming devices to work with the VPN. You can find step-by-step guides in the “HTPC & Other Devices” section of the website, and don’t forget that live chat is available 24/7 in case you get really stuck.
Streaming & Torrenting
Ivacy offers dedicated streaming servers, and is one of very few VPN providers that still works well with both Netflix and BBC iPlayer, as well as several other popular streaming sites such as Hulu, ABC and Sky. We had no problems whatsoever accessing US Netflix by connecting to the dedicated streaming server. Once connected, we found performance to be great, with barely any buffering and excellent quality video.
BBC iPlayer is notoriously difficult to access through a VPN, and we found it to be blocked on the desktop app. A dedicated server is available through the browser extensions, which worked to access the service, but it’s worth noting that these don’t offer the same level of protection as the desktop apps. We hope that Ivacy will regain access to the service on its desktop apps shortly.
Ivacy is also a good choice for P2P users as it provides loads of optimized servers for torrenting, massively reducing the risk of congestion at busier times. It also offers a Kodi add-on, which is a big bonus for fans of the software. Combine this with a minimal logs policy and a robust set of advanced privacy features and you can be sure that your security isn’t being compromised.
Encryption & Security
Ivacy stands out on several privacy fronts. You can choose from several different VPN protocols baked into the app, but we’d recommend choosing OpenVPN whenever possible as this is the most secure – the only downside is that this protocol isn’t available on every server. Encryption is via ‘unhackable’ cipher AES-256.
Other major plus points include a VPN kill switch, DNS and IPv6 leak protection, all of which prevent your true IP address from being exposed in case of an unexpected connection drop. Ivacy also offers a secure DNS add-on that stops your web traffic being routed through less secure third-party DNS servers, such as those operated by your ISP or Google.
We also like the split tunneling feature that means you can reduce the performance hit on your private activity by letting you prioritize your data traffic. You can route your official data (such as online banking and social media) through the VPN tunnel, and less important stuff without the cover of a VPN. Ivacy really delivers on the security front but this does unfortunately come at the expense of performance.
- OpenVPN (TCP/UDP)
- DNS Leak Blocking
- First-party DNS
- IPV6 Leak Blocking
- VPN Kill Switch
- Split Tunneling
Ivacy gets mixed reviews when it comes to connecting out from high-censorship countries such as China, especially following their recent VPN crackdown. The support team told us that they are currently facing issues getting the apps to work in the country, but are working on a solution.
The lack of additional obfuscation tools puts it at a major disadvantage in comparison to other providers, meaning that the Great Firewall will most likely block the VPN traffic. The support team said that users in China can used optimized servers, but weren’t willing to reveal how those work to bypass the censors. There are much safer options out there if you’re going to be connecting from China on a regular basis – look for providers that offer Stealth protocols for best results; Astrill and PrivateVPN are a couple of our top picks for China for that very reason.
Ivacy remains a decent choice for use in other high-censorship countries due to its diverse server network that means you’ll never be too far from a free-speech country. However, because you will appear as a VPN connection rather than normal web traffic, you may struggle depending on the level of censorship in place. Again, there are more reliable options on the current market if this is your main purpose for using a VPN.
For all intents and purposes, Ivacy is zero logs, collecting only the bare minimum of connection metadata needed in order to maintain ‘smooth software functionality’. The data collected doesn’t contain any personally identifiable information or user data including “DNS requests, traffic details or IP addresses”, so there is no way that anything you do online can be traced back to you as an individual.
The only information Ivacy collects is the country you connect from and the amount of bandwidth you use, which again yields no information of any value to third parties. It’s good to see a provider that acknowledges the benefits of minimal logging but doesn’t feel the need to collect unnecessary amounts of personal data.
Ivacy is based in Singapore, a major privacy plus, as this means it isn’t subject to intrusive data laws or intelligence-sharing agreements with other countries.
In the case of a third party or law enforcement agency requesting your data, Ivacy states that “appropriate measures will be taken to address the issue promptly”, but ultimately no information can be handed over, as they cannot connect specific activities with specific users. This is a huge bonus for those seeking the closest possible thing to online anonymity.
Ease of Use
The design of the Ivacy Windows app is rather unpolished but does the job once you have got used to its numerous quirks. The main screen is stripped back to just the basics – chosen server location and connection time (we would have liked a little more info here, such as your new IP address or chosen VPN protocol). The most optimal way to connect is to use the ‘Smart Connect’ option, which selects the best-performing server closest to you.
You can find connection settings behind the cog icon on the left-hand side of the app. There aren’t many on offer in comparison to top-tier providers, but we love the contextual help that comes with the VPN kill switch feature and split tunneling. You can also select a VPN protocol or connect to a manual server. More general settings can also be found here, such as the option to launch the app on startup, as well as an on/off toggle for IPv6 leak protection.
Our one major gripe was the amount of failures we experienced when trying to connect to a handful of servers, especially when using the preferred OpenVPN protocol. There are providers out there offering a much slicker, click-and-forget experience that Ivacy is still yet to achieve.
Downloading and installing Ivacy is an incredibly simple process, taking only a matter of minutes from purchase to connection. There are user-friendly set-up guides for most popular devices on the support section of the website, with helpful screenshots to keep you on the right path.
The general process is to download the relevant software from the site, follow the sequence of installation prompts and you’re good to go. Once the installation is complete you’ll be prompted to restart your device, then you’re ready to log in and begin using Ivacy.
Ivacy provides a good level of customer support, with 24/7 live chat and some useful online resources. The live chat function is great for dealing with immediate issues and on most occasions, we received answers in a matter of seconds. We found the support agents to be friendly and knowledgeable and while they sometimes used scripted answers, they added personal touches and went into more detail if asked. Ivacy also provides a street address that it encourages customers to use, which is truly refreshing in an era of anonymous email-only customer support.
The online support resources are comprehensive, if a little old-fashioned looking, and the handy ‘search’ button means that you can find what you’re looking for with relative ease. We like the extensive range of setup guides, which include helpful screenshots to make them more accessible to beginners, however we’d love to see some video content too. Overall, we were impressed by Ivacy’s customer support but the knowledge base could do with a makeover to compete with the sleek, modern online resources offered by our top-tier providers.
The Bottom Line
- Speeds of up to 63Mbps on local servers
- Access to Netflix and BBC iPlayer through dedicated servers
- Good set of advanced privacy features
- Connect securely to 57 countries
- Based in a privacy-friendly jurisdiction
- Unreliable performance on some servers
- Clunky, unresponsive desktop app
- OpenVPN not available on all servers
Ivacy is a great budget VPN for those who prioritize privacy and aren’t too concerned about performance. The monthly cost is ridiculously low if you opt for the 2-year plan, and you can use it on up to five devices simultaneously. Speeds on local connections are good enough for general browsing and streaming but gamers and torrenters should definitely look elsewhere. You can easily access Netflix and other popular streaming services using dedicated servers.
In terms of privacy, Ivacy performs very well, offering strong encryption and loads of advanced features including DNS and IPv6 leak protection. Their logging policy is also incredibly minimal, collecting only anonymous usage stats to maintain a high level of server performance. We were a little disappointed by the lack of additional obfuscation tools however, as this means that you could struggle when using the app in high-censorship countries such as China.
Custom apps are available for a range of popular devices and Ivacy also offers loads of manual workarounds for games consoles and streaming devices. The software has recently been updated but is still pretty basic and can be unresponsive at times, which is annoying. Customer service is great with friendly, helpful 24/7 live chat support and some useful online resources. All in all a decent VPN for the price.