Despite being around since 2007, Ivacy doesn’t hold the reputation of an established VPN provider. Ever wondered why? Then look no further than this expert Ivacy review.
When choosing a VPN, trust is essential. As a result, are you willing to trust a VPN provider that outright refuses to tell you who’s behind the curtains?
We put Ivacy VPN under the microscope to find out what’s really going on.
Our rigorous testing addressed many questions we had, like:
- Is Ivacy a good VPN in 2020?
- Who really owns it?
- How fast is Ivacy VPN?
- Does it work in China?
- Does Ivacy unblock US Netflix?
But that’s just the start of our process. By the end of our Ivacy VPN review, you’ll know all about Ivacy’s logging policy, its encryption techniques, its jurisdiction, and much more.
But before all that, here’s a quick look at the best and worst elements of Ivacy VPN.
Ivacy Pros & Cons
Ivacy Key Summary
|Logging Policy||No Logs|
|Jurisdiction||Singapore (Five-Eyes Collaborator)|
|Works in China||Yes|
|Support||24/7 Live Chat|
|Cheapest Price||$1.67/mo over 24 Months|
Our testing has found Ivacy to be concealing its flaws from view, despite solid performance when it comes to streaming and bypassing censorship.
Want to know more? Read on for the full, totally comprehensive Ivacy review — beginning with an in-depth investigation into Ivacy’s ownership structure.
Who is Ivacy?
About & Logging
“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 some research into the company’s history, we discovered some unsavory secrets — strap yourself in for this one.
You’d never have known it, but Ivacy is actually operated by the same parent company as PureVPN, a Pakistani organization called Gaditek.
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 otherwise-discrete VPN providers are owned and run by the same parent company.
But Gaditek’s peculiar, shady business practices, alongside its reluctance to openly discuss the ownership structure, means Ivacy is a VPN to avoid.
Firstly, Ivacy does not name its management team anywhere. Ivacy also refused to disclose this when we reached out to it.
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’.
In fact, we believe Ivacy’s CEO to be 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’.
Like an insatiable cold caller, 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.
As a result, and despite Ivacy’s attempts to distance itself from PureVPN, there is a definite relationship between the two. So much so, that it’s hard not to see Ivacy as a simple reskin of PureVPN.
On top of the secrecy, Gaditek engages in extremely 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.
Separately, the PR Manager of Digital and Partnerships at Ivacy was caught offering a VPN reviewer a lifetime subscription to Ivacy in exchange for more favorable reviews on his review site.
This is completely 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?
Absolutely not. 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, owing to its base within Singapore.
Singapore is a popular but outright 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.
So much so, in fact, that Singapore has regularly been dubbed the ‘sixth-eye’ due to its persistent cooperation with the intelligence alliance.
This fact would be a great deal more alarming if we had any doubts about Ivacy’s logging policy. We believe that the minimal logs collected would be of no use to anyone, even a government or police force.
Good speeds on local servers, but big dip on international connections
Speed & Reliability
Ivacy delivers decent download and upload speeds.
From our base in London, we saw a 13% drop in download speed and a 43% drop in upload speed when connected to a local London VPN server. These results are good, but certainly not great.
Local Speed Test Results
Before using Ivacy:
When connected to Ivacy:
Ivacy fared a lot worse over far-reaching connections, with a significant download speed dip of 42% when connected to a US East Coast VPN server.
Depending on your internet speeds, this magnitude of drop could make US Netflix streaming a chore.
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 on our local connection, making Ivacy a great choice for gamers. But there are even better VPN options out there for gaming.
If you want to read more about how we test VPN speeds, check out our page on how we review VPNs.
25% are actually virtual servers
Ivacy has a decent server allocation, maintaining a mid-sized server network with 57 countries to choose from.
Coverage is best in Europe and North America but recent network expansion has seen Ivacy introduce VPN servers in more traditionally underrepresented countries, including Costa Rica, Ghana, Kenya, and Panama.
The overall country spread is mediocre, though, so we strongly recommend checking the server list to ensure your desired location is on there.
Ivacy’s total server number is more pleasing, with over 1,000 spread across the globe.
But be warned — this is not as impressive as it first seems. A staggering 25% are not physical servers. Ivacy operates a huge fleet of virtual servers, which use masking techniques to conceal their location for WHOIS lookups.
For instance, Ivacy’s ‘Luxembourg’ server is actually located in Atlanta, US, and its ‘Turkey’ server is located in New York.
On top of this, you can use OpenVPN, our preferred protocol, in just 17 of those 57 countries.
You can read more about why we endorse OpenVPN and the drawbacks of other VPN protocols in our guide to VPN protocols and encryption ciphers.
Dedicated servers are great for Netflix & torrenting
Streaming & Torrenting
Ivacy is a good VPN choice for streamers, successfully unblocking most major streaming services.
Ivacy regularly unblocked US Netflix and BBC iPlayer in our testing, which is particularly impressive given iPlayer’s infamous difficulty.
Both Netflix and BBC iPlayer can be accessed through Ivacy’s dedicated streaming servers. These servers are clearly labeled and easily discoverable, which remedies a frustration we have with some other VPN providers.
Ivacy’s mediocre speed performance means you may have buffering issues if you’re connecting from further afield, though.
We also wish Ivacy was able to unblock Disney+, which proved inaccessible in our testing.
If streaming is your main concern, check our recommendations for the best VPNs for streaming. These VPNs combine consistent unblocking of all the major streaming services with the fastest VPN speeds.
Ivacy is a great VPN choice for torrenters — providing dedicated servers just for P2P traffic.
These servers are somewhat undiscoverable, but can be found within the ‘Secure Download’ section of the app. We do wish that this was more explicitly explained in the interface, though.
By having servers exclusively for P2P activity, this works to massively reduce the risk of congestion and speed bottlenecks, even at peak times.
Ivacy’s use as a torrenting VPN is made particularly attractive due to its stellar logging policy, ensuring your torrenting activity stays anonymous.
This ensured anonymity is only available to torrenters on Windows and Android, however, as the Ivacy app on both platforms includes an internet kill switch. But Mac and iOS users should avoid using Ivacy for torrenting.
As the kill switch is not supported on any of Apple’s platforms, your true IP address is at risk of being revealed if your VPN connection drops when torrenting from an Apple device.
Tailor-made app works well in China
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 pay for two separate applications.
Ivacy Prime is only available on Windows and Android.
Frustratingly, there is no documentation relating to Ivacy Prime on the Ivacy web page, despite vast differences between it and the regular Ivacy app.
Firstly, the Ivacy Prime app does not offer an internet kill switch. This means that if your connection drops for any reason, your true IP address is at risk of being revealed.
Split tunneling is also not supported, which is less critical of a feature, but still a notable omission.
Ivacy Prime also only supports the OpenVPN protocol, which is a big win in our eyes. OpenVPN is open-sourced and has proven to be the best balance between performance and privacy.
The palette of modes has also been stripped back in the Ivacy Prime app — offering just ‘Smart Connect’, ‘Streaming’, and ‘Social Sites’.
The ‘Social Sites’ section is the most meaningful addition of the Prime app. This allows you to access popular sites like Facebook, Spotify, and YouTube which have been blocked by the notorious ‘Great Firewall of China’.
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 disappointingly absent.
Native apps for all major platforms
Platforms & Devices
Ivacy covers the usual suspects with its native VPN apps. These include:
- Microsoft Windows
- Apple MacOS
Generously, Ivacy allows up to five simultaneous connections per account. This makes Ivacy 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.
Fortunately, we’ve got you covered. Check out our run-through of the best VPNs for Apple users.
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 Ivacy at router level, allowing you to blanket all devices on your network with VPN security.
Ivacy has VPN browser extensions for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.
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.
If you’re unsure about what makes a VPN more trusted and secure than a proxy, check out our ‘VPN vs Proxy’ guide.
Robust VPN encryption with paltry amount of OpenVPN countries
Encryption & Security
DNS Leak Blocking
IPV6 Leak Blocking
VPN Kill Switch
WebRTC Leak Blocking
Please see our VPN Glossary if these terms confuse you and would like to learn more.
Ivacy is a solid VPN choice when it comes to encryption and security.
Disappointingly, OpenVPN (our preferred VPN protocol), is available on servers in just 17 countries and has to be enabled in the settings menu. Otherwise, Ivacy will default to IKEv2.
When using Ivacy VPN, all your data is encrypted through the virtually unhackable AES-256 cipher. AES-256 is offered by most major VPN providers, being the gold standard for online encryption protocols.
On top of this, Ivacy provides 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. We long for Ivacy to give Apple users as much love as the rest of its user base.
Easy to set up, but clunky to configure
Ease of Use
How to Install & Set Up Ivacy
Installing Ivacy is incredibly simple, even for VPN novices.
In short, 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, the Ivacy app is fine but certainly not great.
The different sections of the app are ambiguously labeled and it can be difficult to determine the particular purpose of each option.
To make this worse, the ‘more info’ button, which presumably explains the role of each section, does not work.
But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
- ‘Smart Connect’ simply connects you to your nearest Ivacy VPN server
- ‘Secure Download’ is for torrenting and P2P traffic
- ‘Streaming’ is for unblocking geo-restricted streaming services
- ‘Unblocking’ is for connecting to a VPN server in a country of your choosing
Configuring some of Ivacy’s security options can also be a chore. Bizarrely, the kill-switch is hidden behind a drop-down menu on the ‘Connection’ tab of settings. IP and DNS leak protection is also off by default.
Some settings are also concealed by technical jargon. It would be useful if the VPN protocol options of UDP and TCP were explained to be the OpenVPN options, for example.
Downloading the Ivacy browser extension for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox is easy.
To do this, just head 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.
Lackluster live chat bolstered by comprehensive online resources
|24/7 Live chat 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.
We found it to work mostly as a conduit to its online resources, as almost all our queries were answered with a link.
However, this is not necessarily a bad thing, as Ivacy does boast a decent knowledge base which should answer the majority of 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 hastiest 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 posed.
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.
Good value for money on longer plans
Ivacy Pricing Plan
If you’re set on using Ivacy as your VPN provider, it is worth committing to the longer term plans.
If you pay month-by-month, Ivacy is a relatively pricey VPN option at $9.95 each month.
But if you are able to pay $42 upfront for the year-long plan, the monthly price for Ivacy drops by a massive to just $3.50.
This is a great price for such a capable VPN service. So if value for money is your absolute priority, Ivacy is a superb choice.
US$9.95/moBilled $9.95 every month
US$5/moBilled $25.98 every 6 months
US$3.50/moBilled $54 every 12 months
All plans have 30-day money-back guarantee
Payment & Refund Options
Ivacy does not provide a free trial, but does have a 30-day money back guarantee. This guarantee is truly no questions asked and is not subject to any restrictions or data usage caps.
We found requesting a refund through Ivacy’s 24/7 live chat to be swift and painless.
However, this 30-day guarantee is not available on the monthly plan. Pay monthly subscribers can request a refund within just seven days. Even more reason to opt for the lengthier subscription.
Bad news too if you’re a crypto-user, as payments made via Bitcoin and BitPay are ineligible for a refund.
If spending any money upfront is just too much to swallow, why not check out our rundown of the best truly free VPN trials.
Do We Recommend Ivacy?
The Bottom Line
In summary, you should avoid using Ivacy due to its purposely hidden ownership structure and its sketchy business methods.
But would you deposit your money with a bank who closes the shutter when you ask about its manager? Buy a car from a dealer that refuses to provide you with the vehicle history? Buy a phone from a company who surreptitiously operates fake review sites?
Certainly not. So long as Ivacy deliberately choose to stay in the shadows, it does not deserve your money.
Alternatives to Ivacy
Has Ivacy’s stubborn secrecy got you longing for a VPN provider you can actually trust? Look no further than ExpressVPN. 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
Ivacy’s lack of free trial period is a shame, but PrivateVPN picks up the slack here. PrivateVPN has a superb no questions asked 7-day free trial. So great, in fact, that you don’t even need to add any payment information when signing up. You also get access to one of the best VPN providers around — with blazing fast speeds, regular unblocking of US Netflix, and a strict zero-logs policy. Read PrivateVPN review
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My personal experience with Ivacy is unfortunately quite awful. The app looks good and has a lot of useful features. None of them seem to work properly though. I could provide a long list of failures, but will just limit myself to the most important of them all; Ivacy does a very bad job of hiding your IP. I have checked my shown IP through an external site regularly. The result is that often my own true IP is exposed even though I'm connected with Ivacy. The Ivacy app does not detect these connection drops and tells me I'm protected even though I am clearly not. Since the app does not detect it's own failure, the internet kill switch also does not kick in. So my advice is simple; avoid at all costs simply because this VPN service is extremely unreliable in doing what it needs to do most; hide the user's IP.