Good logging policy, but worrying company history
Logging & Jurisdiction
You can trust Ivacy's very minimal logging policy, but can you trust Ivacy itself? Even with its Singapore jurisdiction we have little issues with what Ivacy logs. Our main issue is Ivacy's suspicious and deceitful past behavior, and its opaque corporate structure.
“There is no ethical obligation to reveal who the people behind Ivacy are.”
– Frank, Ivacy Public Relations Manager
Based in Singapore under its parent company PMG Private Limited, Ivacy is particularly evasive about its ownership and operational structure.
After undergoing deeper research into the company’s history, we discovered some secrets around who really owns the VPN service.
In fact, Ivacy is actually operated by a Pakistani organization called Gaditek, which is the same parent company as another VPN we’ve reviewed, PureVPN.
Gaditek was founded by the Gadit family, with Umair Gadit being Gaditek’s current CEO and fellow co-founder Uzair Gadit being the CEO of PureVPN.
After years of rumors online, Ivacy finally admitted to this, although claiming its association with PureVPN is “only minor.”
There’s nothing immediately suspicious about this. Several VPN service providers are owned and run by the same parent company.
But Gaditek’s business practices, alongside its reluctance to openly discuss the ownership structure, means we’re suspicious about using Ivacy VPN.
Firstly, Ivacy doesn’t name its management team anywhere. Ivacy also refused to disclose it to us.
At one point, the Ivacy website did ambiguously name its CEO as ‘Mr. Saad’, but this has since been scrubbed. A spokesperson also let slip in 2018 that the CEO’s name is ‘Saad Khan’.
Currently, we believe Ivacy’s CEO is Muhammad Saad Khan. But you’d never know this either, as he does not mention his affiliation to Ivacy anywhere.
He officially states his position as being ‘Senior Product Marketing Manager at Cloudways’, which is a cloud hosting platform owned by Gaditek.
However, his Quora account has him listed as ‘Growth Marketing Strategist at PureVPN’.
He can also be found replying to VPN-related tweets with recommendations for PureVPN, without ever disclosing that he holds a key stake in its parent business and sister company.
Despite Ivacy’s attempts to distance itself from PureVPN, there is a definite link between the two companies.
Gaditek’s disappointing business practices
On top of the secrecy, and more worringly, Gaditek engages in some unpleasant business practices.
Gaditek owns and runs four VPN review sites, which it uses to artificially rank its VPN products in the top positions without ever disclosing its true ownership.
Also, the company routinely engages in ‘astroturfing,’, creating fake social media accounts to promote its VPN product under the guise of a real person.
Separately, the PR Manager of Digital and Partnerships at Ivacy was caught offering a VPN reviewer a lifetime Ivacy subscription in exchange for more favorable reviews on his review site.
Offering lifetime subscriptions in return for favorable reviews is unforgivable.
Do you want to put your most sensitive data in the hands of a company that refuses to tell you who it is? And whose marketing strategy is to deceive customers into thinking its product is better than it is?
You shouldn’t. For this reason alone, we suggest you think twice about Ivacy.
Ivacy operates under a minimal-logs logging policy – collecting no information that could be used to identify you from your online activity.
This means Ivacy does not collect your connection logs, duration logs, IP address, connection timestamps, or any DNS queries generated by your end.
The only information that Ivacy does gather is your source country, which it claims is to ensure “smooth software functionality.”
Ivacy does not reveal how it determines which country you are connecting from, and could not tell us when we contacted it.
This minimal-logs policy is particularly essential for Ivacy, as it is based in Singapore.
Singapore is a popular but bad location to base a VPN. This is because Singapore has a proven track record of collaborating with the Five-Eyes surveillance network and handing over sensitive information to authorities who request it.
So much so, in fact, that Singapore has regularly been dubbed the ‘sixth-eye’ due to its persistent cooperation with the intelligence alliance.
However, we believe that the minimal logs collected by Ivacy would be of no use to anyone, even a government or police force. This makes the choice of jurisdiction a lot less scary.
Moderate speeds on nearby servers, but slow international speeds
Speed & Reliability
Our top-rated VPN services routinely record faster download speeds than Ivacy on local connections. Ivacy also records mixed results when connecting internationally, too. However, Ivacy is not a slow VPN, but its speeds need to improve.
Ivacy delivers acceptable download and upload speeds. It’s not the fastest VPN we’ve tested, but it’s not the slowest, either.
Local Speed Test results before using Ivacy VPN:
- Download Speed: 95Mbps
- Upload Speed: 98Mbps
- Ping: 7ms
Local Speed Test results with Ivacy VPN:
Download speed loss when Ivacy VPN is running: 13%
Testing connection speeds on nearby servers, we measured a 13% drop in download speed, and a 43% drop in upload speed. These results are good, but certainly not great.
International Speed Test Results
While Ivacy’s short distance speeds are good, the VPN performed considerably worse over far-reaching connections.
Over numerous long distance speed tests, we recorded a 42% download speed drop when connected to a US East Coast VPN server.
To put this speed reduction into perspective, our ExpressVPN speed tests resulted in a mere 17% drop connecting from the UK to a New Jersey server.
Depending on your typical internet speeds, a 42% speed drop can seriously affecting video streaming quality.
Using our 100Mbps fiber optic connection, you can view our speed test results connecting from the UK to various Ivacy servers below:
USA: 55Mbps (download) & 14Mbps (upload)
Germany: 82Mbps (download) & 48Mbps (upload)
Singapore: 47Mbps (download) & 13Mbps (upload)
Australia: 15Mbps (download) & 7Mbps (upload)
Latency remained fairly low with a ping time of 16ms on our local connection. However, this is still to high for lag-less online gaming with a VPN.
Ivacy's dedicated streaming servers unblock 11 Netflix regions
Ivacy can stream 11 international Netflix libraries, including the US. It also works with Disney+ and BBC iPlayer. The rest of its dedicated streaming servers are a little less consistent. Nevertheless, Ivacy is a good VPN for streaming.
Ivacy maintains 64 dedicated streaming servers, with each one designed to gain access to a specific service.
There are streaming-specific servers for popular broadcasters and services like NBC, Amazon Prime, and RaiPlay, but also less common ones like beIN Sports, Hotstar, and FujiTV.
Using Ivacy VPN, we were able to access 11 Netflix regions, including the American library. We also unblocked Disney+ on multiple US servers.
Furthermore, Ivacy’s UK servers worked easily with BBC iPlayer. This is impressive, as many VPNs struggle to bypass BBC iPlayer’s tough geo-blocks.
Streaming speeds were a little disappointing, however. As our speed tests revealed, Ivacy’s connections slow down heavily connecting overseas.
The results of Ivacy’s speed issues is that while we unblocked several streaming platforms, the picture quality wasn’t always in high definition.
We don't recommend Ivacy for torrenting
From a technical standpoint, Ivacy is a good VPN for torrenting. All servers allow P2P traffic, and we experienced high download bitrates in our tests. The VPN includes the all-important kill switch to keep your IP protected, and it also allows port forwarding (as a paid extra). The main issue is that we can't trust Ivacy to protect the privacy of its customers.
In addition to allowing P2P traffic on its entire server network, Ivacy also has a selection of ‘Secure Download’ servers.
It’s not 100% clear what makes these servers different. The Ivacy app and website state that they use ‘real-time threat detection’ to provide ‘advanced server level virus and malware protection’.
In our P2P tests, Ivacy’s file-sharing speeds on nearby servers were fast and stable.
Not to mention that Ivacy provides a kill switch, but only on Windows and Android. As such, we recommend Mac and iOS users avoid using Ivacy for torrenting.
Ivacy allows port forwarding
Port forwarding is a very useful feature for torrenters, as it can increase the speed of your upload and download traffic through BitTorrent.
Ivacy offers port forwarding, but as a paid extra. At only $1.00 per month more, though, you may want to consider it if you’re a prolific torrenter.
Why we don’t recommend Ivacy for torrenting
Despite the positive findings above, we don’t recommend using Ivacy VPN for torrenting.
The company’s lack of transparency makes us hesitant to trust a VPN service with sensitive download data.
Rather than take risks torrenting with Ivacy, we identified much more trustworthy VPNs suitable for secure torrenting in our P2P tests.
Ivacy operates VPN servers in 49 countries
Ivacy operates a very good network of 3,500+ VPN servers across 49 countries in more than 100 total locations. Wherever you are in the world, Ivacy will most likely have a server nearby. The VPN covers most popular locations, and covers Asia and Africa rather well, which many VPNs don't.
Ivacy’s server network covers a good part of the globe, covering 49 countries.
The service’s server count of 3,500+ is one of the highest in the industry, too.
The VPN’s server coverage around the world is as follows:
- 129 servers in North America (including USA, Canada and Mexico)
- 79 servers in South America (Chile, Brazil, Peru)
- 303 servers in Europe (including UK, Germany and France)
- 149 servers in Asia (including Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea)
- 44 servers in Australia and New Zealand
- 62 servers in Africa (including South Africa, Egypt and Nigeria)
Most of the servers listed above are rented bare-metal ones.
Ivacy previously operated a huge range of virtual server locations. At the time, 25% of its servers were not actually located in their advertised location.
The number of virtual server locations has now decreased to just eight server locations. They are marked within the Windows app with a (v) designation, but are unmarked on macOS.
Ivacy Prime app works well in China
Ivacy Prime is a special version of Ivacy's VPN service specifically designed for use in China. It's refreshing to see a VPN put real effort into beating censorship. The app doesn't have a 100% success rate, but it still gives you better access within China than most other VPNs.
Ivacy has a bespoke app just for use in China, called Ivacy Prime. This is tied to your regular Ivacy subscription, so you don’t need to two separate subscriptions.
The Prime app is only available on Windows and Android, and it only supports the OpenVPN protocol.
Frustratingly, there is no documentation relating to Ivacy Prime on the Ivacy web page, despite big differences between it and the regular Ivacy app.
Also, the Ivacy Prime app does not have a kill switch. This means that if your connection drops for any reason, your true IP address will be revealed.
The choice of modes has also been stripped back to just ‘Smart Connect’, ‘Streaming’, and ‘Social Sites.’
The ‘Social Sites’ section is the most meaningful addition of the Prime app. In our tests, it unblocked Facebook, Spotify, and YouTube.
The usual fare of streaming services, like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, have their own dedicated servers. There is a notable addition of YouTube TV, but BBC iPlayer is absent, however.
Robust VPN encryption with a few extra features
Security & Features
Ivacy is a straightforward, feature-light VPN. Windows users get the most for their money (with extras like split tunneling and a kill switch), but there's virtually no additional features on Apple devices. It's secure and doesn't leak, but the lack of a kill switch on iOS and macOS is a serious concern.
Ivacy is a solid VPN choice when it comes to encryption and security.
On the Windows app you get a choice of VPN protocols, including OpenVPN and IKEv2 – two of the fastest and safest protocols available.
However, when we first reviewed Ivacy only a small number of its server locations were able to use OpenVPN. We asked a support representative if that had changed recently, and they sent us a list of all OpenVPN-enabled locations.
There are now 38 VPN server locations which support OpenVPN. This is the majority, but it still misses out a large number of servers.
Confusingly, the Windows app doesn’t tell you which servers don’t support OpenVPN. It won’t stop you from connecting to any servers with OpenVPN selected as your preferred protocol, so presumably it automatically changes you to a different protocol – but we don’t know which.
macOS doesn’t have a protocol selection. A chat agent confirmed to us that Ivacy on macOS uses IKEv2 by default.
When using Ivacy VPN all your data is encrypted through the virtually unhackable AES-256 cipher.
Ivacy provides users with a VPN kill switch, DNS, and IPv6 leak protection – all of which work to prevent your true IP address from being exposed in case of an unexpected connection drop.
Our tests found Ivacy to be fully protected from any DNS or IP leaks, too. Ivacy can be relied upon to successfully hide your true IP address.
But be warned – the internet kill switch is only available on Windows and Android. This means iOS and Mac users miss out on a kill switch, which is a huge downside.
The inclusion of split tunneling is a welcome feature. This allows you to safeguard your web traffic while maintaining compatibility with devices on your network, like your printer or streaming device.
But again, split tunneling is only available on Windows and Android.
Apple users are essentially given a second-rate Ivacy product – if you own a Mac, iPhone, or both, then there’s not much reason for you to choose Ivacy.
Native apps for all major platforms
Platforms & Devices
Ivacy offers an app or extension for almost every platform we check for. In addition to the most popular operating systems like Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS, you can also download it for Linux, Kodi, wireless router, and more.
Ivacy covers the usual suspects with its native VPN apps. These include:
- Microsoft Windows
- Apple macOS
- Smart TV
Ivacy allows a very generous 10 simultaneous connections per account. This makes it a good choice if you want to protect all your family’s devices alongside your own.
However, Apple users be warned – both the kill switch and split tunneling features are unavailable on iOS and macOS.
This is a huge problem if you plan on using Ivacy VPN on either of these platforms, as if your connection drops your true IP address is at risk of being revealed.
If you’re having any issues with downloading, Ivacy does provide helpful walkthroughs on how to install Ivacy VPN on each of its supported platforms.
Games Consoles & Streaming Devices
Ivacy punches well above its weight when it comes to streaming device support.
Ivacy has dedicated applications for both Amazon Fire TV and Android TV. This means you don’t have to fiddle around with manual configurations, but can just download the app and start streaming.
No VPN provider has a native application for any of the major games consoles, so it’s not a surprise to see Ivacy lacking support here.
You are still able to run Ivacy on devices like your PS4 and Xbox, though. To do this, you will need to install the VPN at router level, allowing you to cover all devices on your network with VPN security.
Ivacy has VPN browser extensions for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge.
However, like most other VPN browser extensions, they simply work as an internet proxy.
This is fine if you want to use Ivacy just to unblock Netflix or BBC iPlayer, but if you’re serious about your online anonymity, we suggest avoiding the browser extension and using the full application.
Easy to set up, but clunky to configure
Ease of Use
Simple to a fault, Ivacy is a VPN clearly designed for beginners. We love the different server menus designed to make tasks like unblocking streaming sites and making torrenting more private. However, even on Windows, Ivacy is a very, very simple VPN. If you're a more capable user who wants more extra features or security options then Ivacy isn't for you.
How to Install & Set Up Ivacy VPN
Installing Ivacy is simple, even if you haven’t used a VPN before.
You just have to head to the downloads page of the Ivacy website and click ‘Get Started’ for your preferred platform, then follow the on-screen steps.
Once installed Ivacy is easy to use – although some platforms are definitely simpler than others.
Whatever platform you’re using, though, you still get access to Ivacy’s four server menus:
- ‘Smart Connect’ simply connects you to your nearest Ivacy VPN server
- ‘Secure Download’ is for torrenting and P2P traffic
- ‘Streaming’ is for unlocking geo-restricted streaming services
- ‘Unblocking’ is for connecting to a VPN server in a country of your choosing
Windows and Android have noticeably more features than macOS and iOS. On Apple devices there are practically no extra features. We’re all for simplicity, but the absence of even a kill switch is poor.
On Windows and Android you get the all-important kill switch, as well as access to split tunneling (which allows you to choose certain apps or programs for the VPN to ignore).
There’s no real protocol selection on Mac, Android, or iOS. On Android you are offered the choice of UDP or TCP – two variants of OpenVPN.
On iOS the choice is between IKEv2 or IPSec. Chat support wouldn’t clarify us exactly what it means by ‘IPSec’, as that can refer to multiple different protocols. We’re left believing that it most likely means L2TP IPSec, which is an insecure protocol that you should avoid. Stick with IKEv2 instead.
On macOS there’s no choice at all – IKEv2 is the default.
Microsoft Windows users get the greatest selection of protocols (although there’s still not many). There’s OpenVPN (TCP/UDP), IKEv2, and IPSec (which we still don’t recommend).
Downloading the Ivacy browser extension for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Microsoft Edge is easy.
Just browse to the Ivacy website and click ‘Get Started’ for your preferred browser.
Much like the fully-fledged application, the Ivacy browser extension is split into multiple sections.
Dedicated servers for streaming can be found in the ‘Purposes’ tab, as well as a ‘Quick Connect’ to a local VPN server, and a list of locations around the world to connect to.
Good value for your money on longer plans
Price & Value
Ivacy offers good value for your money on long-term deals, as well as offering a wide selection of payment methods. You can also get your money back within 30 days of purchase if you're unhappy. There's also a 24-hour free trial that requires no payment details upfront.
The longer the Ivacy pricing plan you opt for, the cheaper the monthly cost.
If you pay month-by-month, Ivacy is a relatively pricey VPN option at $9.95 each month.
But if you can afford to pay $60.00 upfront, the 5-year plan reduces the monthly cost by a massive 90% to just $1.00 a month.
US$9.95/moBilled $9.95 every month
US$1.99/moBilled $47.76 every 2 years
US$1.00/moBilled $60.00 every 5 years
Payment & Refund Options
You can take your pick from a wide range of payment methods when subscribing to Ivacy:
Ivacy has a 30-day money-back guarantee. This guarantee is truly no questions asked and is not subject to any restrictions or data usage caps. If you take out a one-month subscription plan then that refund period is seven days
We found requesting a refund through Ivacy’s 24/7 live chat to be swift and painless.
Bad news if you’re a crypto-user, though. Payments made via cryptocurrency (as well as the Paymentwall platform) are ineligible for a refund.
You can also register for a totally free one-day trial. Ivacy doesn’t make it easy to find on its website, though. You can access it here.
Lackluster live chat but comprehensive online resources
Around-the-clock live chat support is always appreciated. However Ivacy's support agents often had a hard time understanding our questions due to a limited grasp of English and poor technical knowledge. Ivacy's online resources go some way to making up for that, and there's always email support for more complicated queries.
|24/7 LiveChat support||Yes|
|24/7 Email support||Yes|
Despite being always available, Ivacy’s customer support is not as good as we’d like.
Ivacy’s 24/7 live chat feature is great if you’re in a hurry, but falls flat most of the time.
However, Ivacy makes up for this with a decent knowledge base which should answer the majority of your questions.
The support section on the website is where you’ll find FAQs, troubleshooting advice, and manual setup guides for lots of devices.
With more technical questions, we were directed to Ivacy’s email support team. Disappointingly, they were not the fastest repliers and were often unable to adequately answer our questions.
More frustratingly, Ivacy’s customer support team outright refused to answer some of the questions we had.
For instance, Ivacy refused to tell us how it determines the source country of its users, and ignored all correspondence regarding the company’s ownership structure.
Ivacy is an acceptable yet flawed VPN
The Bottom Line
Ivacy does a few things well and is not a terrible VPN, but it’s not without its weaknesses.
We have very little issue with the company’s logging policy, but the company’s history is questionable. As such, we have a hard time trusting Ivacy.
And while it works with many streaming platforms, the long-distance speed drops we recorded mean that it can’t challenge the absolute best streaming VPNs.
In short, there are certainly worse VPNs available, but we advise on spending your money on a better one than Ivacy.
EXPERT ADVICE: NordVPN is a secure and trusted VPN, with very quick international speeds.
On top of that, NordVPN unblocks 11 Netflix regions, including USA. Use its 100% refund guarantee and try NordVPN for free.
Additional research by Luke Williams
Alternatives to Ivacy VPN
ExpressVPN is the most trustworthy VPN provider around, with its no-logs policy being verified through server seizures and independent security audits. Read ExpressVPN review
PrivateVPN is one of the best VPN services on the market. It comes with fast speeds, regular unblocking of US Netflix, and a strict zero-logs policy. Read PrivateVPN review