Looking for a VPN? You might have looked at our list of the best VPN services, where you will have found IPVanish, a popular option. Well, the time has come to find out a bit more about IPVanish, and whether it stands up to the high requirements of VPN users.
Is it a VPN you can easily use, enjoy privacy, and get on with your online life without a second thought? Is this truly a VPN service you can trust? But first…
Why Trust Us?
Well, we’ve been compiling lists of the best VPN tools and evaluating them for review for the past five years. During that time, VPNs have evolved from tools occasionally used within the SME space for secure mobile working. They’ve added features for speed, enhanced encryption for superior privacy, and support for streaming video, and P2P downloading.
In short, there is a whole industry of VPN services out there, and we’ve been digging through them all to find out which ones you should be using. We’ve seen it all, and we love this one.
Why Choose IPVanish?
So, why are we suggesting you consider IPVanish? In short, it’s because of the features. The ease of installation is also an advantage, though! We’ll look at that below, but first, an overview of what you can expect with IPVanish, which you’ll find at www.ipvanish.com.
Offering high speeds across an amazing 700+ servers, situated in 60+ countries around the world, IPVanish offers a choice of an unparalleled 40,000+ IP addresses. This gives you the ability to surf anonymously (until you log in to a web-based account, of course!) and enjoy region-blocked content around the world.
IPVanish subscribers enjoy unlimited bandwidth, and it is using the 256-bit AES standard. This means that your data is protected from packet sniffers from beginning to end. Ever heard that using public Wi-Fi is dangerous and insecure? Install a VPN client like IPVanish, and you can overcome this issue.
Happily, IPVanish also maintains zero traffic logs, P2P support for Bittorrent and other peer-to-peer downloading, and up to five simultaneous connections to its servers across devices.
And if you run into problems, IPVanish provides 24/7 support and if you find the service lacking, a 7-day money-back guarantee.
IPVanish: An Affordable VPN
Three main payment options are available.
The best value is to pay for a full year, at a rate of $6.49/month (this translates as an up-front payment of $77.99). However, if this is your first VPN, you’re unsure as to whether you want to use this service, or you simply don’t have the budget for that sort of all-in-one outlay, other options are available.
For instance, you can get a $10/month subscription. This can be cancelled on a month-by-month basis. Or you may prefer the 3-month subscription, where you are billed at $26.99 every three months. That works out at $8.99/month.
Whichever option you choose, you’ll receive the same depth of features and support by signing up here.
Use IPVanish on Any Device with these Apps
IPVanish can be used across every device you own.
For desktop, get it on Windows (as featured in this review), macOS, Linux (specifically Ubuntu), and Chromebook. For mobile, app clients of IPVanish are available for iPhone/iPad and Android. Windows Phone/Windows 10 Mobile users are supported by way of manual setup (that platform has an easy-to-access VPN management tool built in). You’ll find details for all of these at its website.
If for some reason, you don’t own any of these devices — or you don’t want to install an app — IPVanish also offers an OpenVPN router configuration. Configuring your router for use with a VPN means that every device in your house will enjoy private and anonymous browsing, as long as it is connected to the router.
For the best results, you should have installed DD-WRT on your router, or it should be flashable, as per the IPVanish list of approved routers. If you don’t want to use the DD-WRT router firmware, Sabai OS is also supported by IPVanish.
So much support means that your browsing can remain private wherever you are and on whatever you’re using!
Getting Started is Easy with IPVanish
Once you’ve signed up and logged into the IPVanish website, you’ll be able to download the desktop client. If you’re using a mobile app, download it from the corresponding app store — you’ll be prompted to enter your IPVanish credentials upon launch.
On the desktop, we’ve tried out the IPVanish client for Windows 10, but the end results should be the same across all platforms. Note that with Windows, you will need to restart your computer after installation.
After agreeing to the User Access Control warning, enter the username and password that you configured when you signed up, and wait as the server list is updated. This shouldn’t take long. There’s a tutorial you can view if you want, or you can skip and get straight into the task of choosing a server and browsing the web. This is clearly presented, and efficiently done by selecting from drop-down menus and clicking Connect.
Various options are available via the Settings menu, where you can use the General tab to configure autoload options for when Windows boots, the Connection tab to manage DNS and IPv6 Leak Protection (a security problem with VPN clients — see below for more) and the IP Settings tab to specify how often you want the IP address to be changed. You can also change from the IPVanish DNS to select third party service here, while the Logs tab displays a record of what you’ve done with the client.
If you find the main screen too intrusive, meanwhile, IPVanish has a Simple Mode, which you can enable in Settings > General.
With the mobile version, we tested Android, but the results should be similar for iOS. Simply install, sign in, and Connect. There is a good attempt to mirror the options of the desktop client, as outlined above.
If you’re happy with IPVanish, open the Settings menu to ensure the mobile client automatically launches when you start your phone. This will ensure encrypted connections to the internet at all times.
Speed and DNS Leak Tests
To test the speed of IPVanish, we used a standard speed test browser tool, once with the client running, and again without. To test the Windows client, I visited www.speedtest.net, and tested the results with the IPVanish client connected, and then again with the client disconnected.
As you can see below, the results are good, with very little loss of speed for my cable broadband connection. First, the speed without IPVanish connected:
Here’s the speed with IPVanish connected to a server in Luxembourg:
Although slower than hoped in this instance, I’ve had faster results with servers in France and the Netherlands. (Speedtest’s beta service was unavailable in the UK while testing).
Happy with these results, I moved onto DNS Leak testing. This is a security flaw in some VPN services, which leaks the originating IP address to destination websites, or network nodes. Have the developers of IPVanish dealt with this potential stumbling block? Here are my details without using IPVanish, using the ipleak.net website:
This is what the DNS Leak test looks like with IPVanish enabled:
As you can see, IPVanish passed!
I also took the time to check IPVanish’s speed using the mobile version over an open Wi-Fi network. Using the Speedtest.net app, the results are shown here.
The earlier entry is with IPVanish running, and as you can see, the connection is quicker, no doubt due to the anonymizing. Just look at the difference in ping times!
To evaluate the Android client further, I again checked for DNS leak, this time with www.dnsleaktest.com. Happily, the results were favorable, as you can see above. Just one server is listed — the server selected by the app — which means that the IPVanish Android app does not leak DNS (or other) information.
FREEDOM! (Overcome Government Censorship)
Using a VPN gives you freedom to visit the websites you want to, without worrying that your activity will be detected — and acted upon — by unreasonable government policy, or “nanny state” censorship.
If you live under an oppressive regime, a VPN like IPVanish gives you the opportunity to communicate with the outside world. Perhaps you need to upload footage of abuses, or simply access a social network that is banned.
Virtual Private Networks are perfect for obfuscating your activity. Now we know that IPVanish does not suffer from DNS leak issues, we can be reasonably confident that it is safe and secure for its customers.
There is one other question, however, that of server logs. VPNs are required to keep logs of different types, perhaps as part of the deal with the servers they use, or perhaps due to government policy where the servers are located. Server logs is one of the contentious issues with VPNs and their claims of trust.
We’re pleased to tell you that IPVanish maintains — in their words — “absolutely no logs”. As IPVanish put it:
Location Restrictions and P2P File Sharing
Getting around location (or regional) media streaming restrictions is simple with a VPN. All you need to do is select a server in the country where the media is permitted, and visit the website or app.
Here’s an example: Pandora. A few years ago, they closed their doors to listeners from outside the USA. As such, I’ve been unable to regularly enjoy the service’s excellent library and song selection without employing a VPN. By simply selecting United States as my “location” and New York as the city (roughly the closest US city to the UK, to aid with a faster connection), I was able to enjoy some Led Zeppelin and the subsequent selection of tracks. A win for IPVanish!
One of IPVanish’s strengths is support for P2P services, such as Bittorrent. Does using this VPN restrict Bittorrent use? However, if you use Bittorrent, you might have discovered that VPN services are not favorable to the bandwidth that is required. How good is IPVanish’s support for P2P?
Perfect! Our tests show that P2P downloads work exactly as expected, reaching good speeds. There may be a slight reduction in overall speed depending upon your proximity (or otherwise) to the selected IPVanish server, but their much-vaunted reputation for supporting torrenting is well earned.
Note: MakeUseOf does not support or recommend using torrents for illegal activity.
Trust IPVanish as a Your VPN Service of Choice
We’ve destroyed location restrictions. You can use P2P file sharing without restriction. Your VPN activity is not logged. Censorship and online oppression has been circumvented. You’ve got speed, high bandwidth, and not a leaky DNS in sight.
In short, IPVanish is a solid, outstanding VPN service, with 256-bit AES encryption, with SOCKS5 obfuscation for logging into VOIP and P2P services to maintain your privacy where encryption isn’t possible.
With mobile and desktop apps, a DD-WRT image for routers, three affordable price plans, and a surprisingly simple client application, IPVanish has everything you need and expect from a VPN service.