IPVanish Review: Fast Speeds, a Number of Servers, but a Questionable Privacy Policy

IPVanish, like many other VPNs, says that they are “The World’s Best VPN Service.” However, in a world where top-tier VPNs like ExpressVPN and NordVPN exist, that is a very tall claim. What we would like to do is pull back the curtains, go beyond the hype in the marketing, and get down to the core of the service. In order to do this, we are going to look at four things:

  • Server location
  • Server speed
  • Privacy policy
  • Pricing

Overview

ipvanish logoIPVanish is a virtual private network that’s focused on making the World Wide Web a safer and more secure place for its clients. In doing this, IPVanish allows P2P as well as bit torrent traffic. Their servers offer state-of-the-art features, including automatic IP cycling.

IPVanish is based in the United States. However, they have hundreds of servers spread across 60 different countries. IPVanish is run by the web service provider StackPath. They are very proud to advertise the fact that they run on their own hardware.

They also have their own infrastructure, cables, racks, etc. This is something that you only see with a top-tier VPN service. With full disclosure, IPVanish does make use of some cloud service providers in various locations to supplement their proprietary network.

IPVanish is not a company that puts flash over substance. This is something you’ll notice right away when you download their client. You will see that they have a simple dashboard that’s organized, but it doesn’t have a lot of flashes.

In the center of the screen, you will see whether you are connected or not. Below that, you will see status updates, the server you’re connected to, etc. The interface, much like the service itself, is simple but allows users to accomplish the tasks they want to accomplish.

ipvanish connection dashboard-min

Pros:
  • Above average download speed
  • Torrenting is allowed
  • Strong anti-logging policies
  • Strong encryption
Cons:
  • Based in the US
  • Expensive
  • Lacks in-depth customer support
Features:
  • Easy-to-use app
  • AES – 256 encryption
  • Connect up to five devices per subscription
  • Unlimited P2P traffic
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Multiplatform security
  • Unlimited server switching
  • Multiple VPN protocols

Where Are Their Servers Located?

IPVanish servers map-min

IPVanish has one of the most extensive groups of servers for a VPN on the planet. They have more than 1,000 servers in more than 60 countries. They offer their customers over 40,000 IPS. They have 426 servers in Europe, 523 in North America, 20 in Central and South America, 47 in Asia, 14 in Africa and the Middle East, and 65 in Oceania.

A large number of servers offered by IPVanish means that you are able to select the server you need based on what you want to accomplish. For example, if you’re looking to access content that is geo-restricted in your physical location, then you can pick a server in a different country. If you’re simply looking for a server to mask your IP address, you can pick a server that’s close to you. You’ll be able to mask your IP address and still enjoy fast service.

IPVanish has strategically selected the locations for their worldwide servers. They have set up servers that allow anonymous torrenting. This is a plus because many VPNs say that they support P2P sharing, but they really don’t. On IPVanish servers, you can access any torrenting website anywhere on the planet.

Does IPVanish Work with Netflix?

IPVanish has a spotty record when it comes to getting around geo restrictions, such as those encountered by individuals attempting to use Netflix when outside of the United States. When you look on their site, you see that IPVanish does not say that they will work with Netflix. This is typical of what we have seen from a number of VPN providers.

Netflix has done a very good job of detecting and preventing access to geo-restricted content via VPNs. Only the top-tier VPNs, such as ExpressVPN and NordVPN, are able to allow their clients to seamlessly stream content on the streaming services.

Netflix stats-min

We decided to test our fortune connecting to Netflix from outside of the United States using IPVanish VPN. The first few servers we tried did not work. However, about the fourth or fifth time, the computer was able to connect to Netflix and bypassed detection. So while it was a win, we also noticed severe lag, which diminished the experience.

What Is Their Logging Policy?

On the surface, IPVanish seems to have a very strict no logging policy. When you look at their privacy policy, they clearly state that they don’t keep records of connection traffic or active data. Multiple times you will see them say how deeply they care about your privacy rights.

ipvanish privacy policy

Unfortunately, as we have seen with a number of VPNs, what they promise and what they actually deliver are worlds apart. Recently, it came to light that IPVanish, contrary to all of their claims, keeps logs. In fact, there is an ongoing scandal where IPVanish appears to have handed over user logs to authorities who were investigating a criminal case.

Obviously, no one defends criminals engaged in criminal activity. However, when a VPN promises to keep zero logs and then fails to uphold that policy, it is a breach of their responsibility to their clients and to the public.

Here’s something to remember about IPVanish, they are a US-based VPN service. This means that they must comply with the Department of Homeland Security and other US governmental organizations when they make requests for information.

homeland security documentation

In case a took place in 2016, IPVanish, or more specifically their parent company Highwinds Network Group Inc., turned over information to the Department of Homeland Security regarding one of their clients. According to the affidavit, the client was engaged in reprehensible activity, and there’s no defense for that.

However, as you can see, the Department of Homeland Security delivered a “summons for records.” Highwinds Network Group Inc. at first responded to the summons by saying that they don’t have any user data available because they don’t log any information on their clients. However, the investigator followed up on the first request and sent a second summons requesting specific information about an IPVanish client.

They specifically asked for information connected to a particular IP and port. Twelve days after that second request was made, IPVanish responded by providing the following:

ipvanish response summon

The affidavit contains graphic descriptions of criminal activity. The relevant content is on pages 22 and 23. It shows that IPVanish gave authorities the source IP address of the suspect they were looking for and the dates and times that the suspect was connected to and disconnected from their network.

After getting this information, the authorities were able to use the individual’s Comcast IP address to identify his location and subsequently arrested the individual. At the end of the day, a criminal was apprehended, and you can’t complain about that. However, it does make you question IPVanish and their no logging policy.

As a comparison, one of the best VPNs when it comes to logging policies is ExpressVPN. In 2017, their Turkish server was seized by authorities. Because they adhere to a strict no logs policy, the Turkish authorities could not find any information about clients on ExpressVPN’s servers.

What Is Their Pricing?

IPVanish offers their VPN service as one package that has a number of different plans.

ipvanish pricing table

If you subscribe on a month-to-month basis, you will pay $10 a month. A three-month subscription is $8.99 a month. A one-year subscription, the best value, is $6.49 a month.

ipvanish payment methodIPVanish accepts multiple forms of payment. Like most VPNs, they will accept major credit cards, including American Express, Visa, MasterCard, and Discover. You can also pay using PayPal, BitCoin, and other international payment services.

IPVanish is one of a few VPNs that offer their clients a seven-day money back guarantee. This means that you can try out the service and see if you like it. If you don’t, you can cancel within seven days and get a complete refund. IPVanish recommends that you contact their tech support if you have any questions during that seven-day trial. If you do not terminate your service by the end of the seven days, you will be billed for the full service.

Do We Recommend the Service?

IPVanish has a lot of things going for it. They offer their customers 24 hours a day 7 days a week support. With one subscription, you can connect up to 10 devices simultaneously. You are able to do torrenting anonymously and have access to unlimited P2P traffic. IPVanish has more than 1,000 servers in over 60 countries. Customers have access to unlimited bandwidth and their traffic is encrypted with 256 bit AES encryption. IPVanish offers a seven-day money back guarantee.

With all that being said, we do not think IPVanish is worth the money. There are two things that people look for in a VPN. They want privacy and they want to get access to geo-restricted content. When it comes to geo-restricted content, IPVanish is hit and miss. And when it does hit, the service is so slow that it makes watching your favorite streaming service frustrating.

When it comes to privacy, despite all of their promises, we just do not feel that IPVanish VPN is trustworthy. While we applaud the role they played in helping law enforcement apprehend an individual who is accused of a heinous crime, it’s disappointing to know that the reason why they were able to do this is because they have lied all along about keeping traffic logs. In the world of VPNs, this is inexcusable.

NordVPN is one of the most secure VPN services money can buy. When they say that they do not keep logs, they mean it. And there is a lot of evidence to back that claim up.

For our money, the best VPN you can buy is ExpressVPN. They are secure, they are fast, they don’t keep logs, and they have 100 percent success circumnavigating geo restrictions on sites like Netflix.

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