No-logs service headquartered in Gibraltar
Logging Policy & Jurisdiction
IVPN is a small but transparent VPN company, operated by Privatus Limited, which is incorporated in Gibraltar. Gibraltar is technically a ‘British Overseas Territory’, but in reality is not subordinate to the UK, which is a good thing.
According to IVPN’s website, the company’s team of 13 individuals are located around the world. For example, its CEO, Nick Pestell, is based in Berlin, Germany.
After analyzing its privacy and logging policy, we are confident that IVPN is a true no logs VPN.
IVPN does not log:
- DNS requests
- Connection timestamps or connection duration
- User bandwidth
- IP addresses
- Any account activity, except total simultaneous connections
As you can see, there’s is no personal usage data collected.
IVPN does specify that it will comply with authorities if requested. But, even if its servers were seized by authorities, nothing would be found on them.
The integrity of this logging policy was even verified in March 2019 by Cure53, a respected security auditing firm.
Average download speeds, but great for uploads
Speed & Reliability
IVPN sits towards the middle of the pack for speeds. If you’re connecting to a nearby server, then your internet speeds shouldn’t slow down too much. However, if you’re connecting to a far-away location, then IVPN is quite slow.
Here are the results we recorded when connecting to nearby IVPN servers:
Local Speed Test results before using IVPN:
- Download Speed: 93Mbps
- Upload Speed: 99Mbps
- Ping: 5ms
Local Speed Test results with IVPN:
Download speed loss when IVPN is running: 35%
Clearly, there are faster VPNs available than IVPN, such as Private Internet Access. However, this doesn’t mean that IVPN is slow.
As we mentioned above, IVPN does ok on short-distance connections. A 35% speed loss is not great, but it’s not terrible, either.
Worldwide Speed Test Results
Here are the average download and upload speeds connecting out from the UK to some of IVPN’s other servers:
- Download: 22Mbps
- Upload: 46Mbps
- Download: 47Mbps
- Upload: 87Mbps
- Download: 8Mbps
- Upload: 21Mbps
- Download: 11Mbps
- Upload: 20Mbps
Despite the slower download speeds, IVPN has much better upload speeds. If you regularly upload files to the internet, then IVPN is certainly a VPN to consider.
IVPN is a poor VPN for streaming
IVPN isn’t a very good VPN for streaming. In our latest tests, it did stream US Netflix on the New York server, but that was it. We weren't able to unblock Netflix on UK, Germany, Japan, and other US servers.
Although it occasionally works with US Netflix, IVPN has stated its service is focused on privacy and not bypassing geo-blocks.
IVPN has never worked with BBC iPlayer, Disney+, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video.
Despite working with US Netflix, we can’t recommend IVPN for streaming and there are better streaming VPNs available.
Strong torrenting performance
IVPN is a very capable VPN for torrenting. It doesn't log user activity, and its VPN kill switch masks your real IP address if the VPN connection drops. It blocks P2P activity on US servers, though, which may reduce your download speed.
IVPN is much better for torrenting than it is for streaming. You can torrent privately and freely, with only one exception. The service does not allow P2P traffic on its US servers.
The reason for this is that IVPN says it was receiving a high number of DMCA notices.
As a result, it asks its users to refrain from torrenting files on its US servers. This includes double-hop VPN connections, which use a US exit node.
If you’re based in the United States, you connect to Canada servers, but your torrent speeds will be slower.
Small server network covering 29 countries
IVPN has a relatively small server network, despite it spanning a decent number of 29 countries. There are city-level servers to connect to in just 5 nations, which is disappointing. We'd also like to see more servers in South America, Asia, and Africa.
IVPN has servers in 29 countries and 40 different cities. Most of their servers are concentrated in Western Europe and North America.
These are some of the VPN service’s city-level server choices:
- Australia: 1 location
- Canada: 2 locations
- Germany: 1 location
- United Kingdom: 2 locations
- United States: 11 locations
We were surprised to see 11 server locations spread across the US. These include Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Phoenix, Los Angeles, and New York.
On the flip side, there’s only one server location in Australia: Sydney. We expect to see servers on both coasts, so we hope to see servers in Perth added soon. For this reason, Australian readers should consider using NordVPN, instead.
Also, IVPN provides just one server in South America (Brazil), and three servers in East Asia (Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong).
The VPN service offers three to five IP addresses per server. This equals a range of IP addresses between 228 and 380.
The low number of servers, and IP addresses provided, is probably what’s causing IVPN’s slow speeds.
Reliable but slow option for China
IVPN works reliably in China and other high-censorship countries. However, the VPN uses the Obfsproxy tool, which drastically slows down internet speeds. It's also only available on the Windows and Mac apps, so it won't work on mobile.
In our latest tests, IVPN worked in China. To activate IVPN’s obfuscation mode, enable the “use obfsproxy to circumvent censorship” option in the app’s settings.
This tool masks your VPN traffic, making it look ‘normal’ to web censors. Sadly, it is not available on iOS or Android.
The IVPN website isn’t blocked in China, meaning you can even download the VPN while in China.
Works on most devices, but no browser extensions
Platforms & Devices
IVPN is available for most popular platforms and devices. There are apps for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux. It can also be set up on specialized routers. There are no browser extensions for Chrome or Firefox, though.
IVPN performs well for device compatibility. You’re also allowed up to seven simultaneous connections (with the Pro plan), which is above the industry average.
What’s more, you can also set up the VPN on a number of compatible routers, including DD-WRT, pfSense and Tomato. To do this, use the provider’s Help Center.
Word of warning: setting up a VPN on a router is not for beginners.
Games Consoles & Streaming Devices
That’s because there’s no native Firestick VPN app, and no Smart DNS tool, either.
But, there are options if you want to use IVPN with your games consoles and streaming devices.
The simplest way is to configure the VPN on your home router (see section above). This will protect all the devices that connect to it in your home.
You can also configure some devices with the OpenVPN software. Currently, IVPN only provides guides to do this with Kodi and Fire TV Sticks.
The final option is to connect your games console, or streaming device, to another device running the VPN. However, this isn’t guaranteed to work for all devices.
Good choice of protocols & many security features
Security & Features
IVPN is a secure and trustworthy VPN service. Its apps use safe protocols, such as OpenVPN and WireGuard, and traffic is encrypted using AES-256. The VPN has also open-sourced the code for its apps and commissioned a third-party security audit.
All the VPN apps provide a choice of four protocols: OpenVPN, WireGuard, IPSec, and IKEv2. The latter two require some manual configuration, but you’ll be fine just using OpenVPN or WireGuard.
In addition, all VPN connections are secured using the ‘unbreakable’ AES-256 cipher.
IVPN’s ‘firewall’ (VPN kill switch) feature is a must-have tool. It blocks all your web traffic in the event of a VPN connection drop. This avoids your true IP address from being exposed.
As well as first-party DNS servers, which prevent your IP address from being exposed to third parties, IVPN also provides protection against DNS and IPv6 leaks. As a bonus, it has built-in ad- and tracker-blocking.
IVPN’s Multi-hop feature offers an extra layer of security by rerouting your connection through multiple servers in different countries. This means that even if the exit server were to be compromised, your online activity remains private.
The Android app allows split tunneling, so you can route privacy-sensitive apps through the VPN, and others through your general internet connection.
Third-Party Security Audit
IVPN’s security credentials have been verified by a third-party security audit.
A security audit allows a VPN service to verify its security claims with hard, indisputable facts. For example, just how ‘unbreakable’ is IVPN’s implementation of the AES-256 cipher? A security audit tests that.
To ensure the validity of the audit, it’s key that a reputable third party carries out the audit. It’s also important that the results of the audit are made public.
IVPN’s security audit was completed in March 2019 by renowned German cybersecurity company Cure53. The security company spent a total of 21 days assessing the security levels of IVPN’s applications and systems.
The audit found a total of nine issues with IVPN’s security and encryption. Every issue was fixed and resolved. Much to our delight, IVPN has made the full report accessible by publishing it online.
Open-Sourced VPN Apps
As part of its re-energized commitment to privacy, security, and transparency, IVPN has published its code onto GitHub — becoming one of very few VPNs whose apps are open-source.
Simply, this just means that IVPN is opening itself to a development model where anyone can contribute to its software and apps.
Last but not least, IVPN’s apps are open-source. This allows the larger security community to forensically inspect the various apps. By giving access to the code base, IVPN is being very transparent to how its VPN clients work, and how they safeguard privacy and security.
This is a great move from IVPN, and more VPN providers should follow its lead.
Easy to use app with lots of advanced features
Ease of Use
IVPN's apps are attractive and intuitive to navigate. You can easily connect to the nearest server or change location via the scrollable server list. In all, using IVPN requires minimal effort and no technical know-how.
How to Install & Set Up IVPN
The IVPN main screen includes a big connect button and your chosen server location underneath.
It’s annoying that you have to disconnect every time you want to change servers, but this is unlikely to be a problem for most everyday users. We like that the kill switch (‘Firewall’) can be activated on the main screen with a simple slider.
Within the settings menu you can choose your kill switch preferences, toggle between UDP and TCP, and choose your preferred port. There is also a handy section for configuring OpenVPN parameters, ideal for the more tech-savvy user.
The Android and iOS apps are very user-friendly and modern-looking, too, and they both connect quickly.
Helpful live chat & excellent resources
IVPN has good customer support options. Its website includes helpful guides and installation tutorials. Though it does offer live chat support, we would like this to be 24/7. When live chat is not available, you'll have to contact the email support team instead.
|Live chat Support||Yes|
The only way IVPN could make its support any better would be if its live chat were available 24/7. As it stands, live chat support is only available at random times of the day. Other than that we have no serious complaints.
IVPN’s support agents respond promptly and pleasantly, volunteering useful information where they can – so long as the service is online when you need it.
In the even that support doesn’t have the answers, you can find a wealth of useful and well-presented information on the IVPN knowledge base.
IVPN Pro is good but expensive
Price & Value for Money
IVPN is fairly expensive given the VPN's limited functionality. There are two different subscription tiers, with the more expensive option offering more features and better overall value. Discounts on the long-term plans are negligible, so we recommend paying month-by-month.
IVPN offers two pricing plans: IVPN Standard and IVPN Pro.
Here are the full pricing options:
US$6/moStandard Plan: Billed $6.00 every month
US$5/moStandard Plan: Billed $60.00 every 12 months
US$10/moPro Plan: Billed $10.00 every month
US$8.33/moPro Plan: Billed $100.00 every 12 months
All plans have 7-day money-back guarantee
The Pro tier gives you: seven concurrent connections, port forwarding, as well as multi-hop and anti-tracker features.
On the other hand, the Standard plan only allows just two simultaneous connections, and only offers the anti-tracker as an extra feature. It does only cost $6.00 per month on a rolling plan, which is a decent price. Especially, if you only want to try out the VPN.
Payment & Refund Options
Here are the payment methods that IVPN accepts:
IVPN accepts the usual payment methods including most credit/debit cards and PayPal. You also have the option to pay with Bitcoin and Monero. However, there are no international options like Alipay or UnionPay.
Alongside Mullvad, IVPN is the only other VPN service to allow cash payments. IVPN accepts USD, EUR, and GBP, but it can take up to 10 days to process the payment. Also, you have to sign up to an annual plan to pay with cash.
IVPN offers both a three-day free trial and a seven-day money-back guarantee. This means you can test out the VPN before committing to a paid subscription.
A warning, though: the IVPN free trial does require you to enter your payment details, and you will be charged, unless you cancel within three days.
The seven-day money-back guarantee is genuinely ‘no questions asked’, though. You are automatically issued a refund once you submit a cancellation request. Unless you paid in cash.
IVPN is recommended for privacy
The Bottom Line
If privacy and security is your main motivation to use a VPN, we absolutely recommend giving IVPN a go.
Despite its minnow status, IVPN does the basics extremely well — with encryption techniques and a logging policy that rival the very best VPN providers.
IVPN’s range of custom apps are ideal for VPN newbies, but also offer enough customization options for more experienced VPN users.
However, IVPN too often falls flat on the perks of running a VPN. For instance, IVPN failed to consistently unblock any of the most popular streaming services in our testing and its mediocre speeds are frustrating.
But if you prioritize your anonymity above all else, or you just want a relatively cheap gateway into the world of VPNs, IVPN is a sound choice.
Additional research by Luke Williams
Alternatives to IVPN
Want more IP addresses? Then consider using VyprVPN. There are 300,000 IP addresses available, spread across 73 cities around the world. Read VyprVPN review
PrivateVPN excels when it comes to two of IVPN's major flaws. It's very affordable, and it's one of the best VPNs for streaming. Read PrivateVPN review