What is IPVanish VPN?
This review tackles, without a doubt, one of the most famous and acclaimed VPN services in the industry right now.
If you’ve been looking into acquiring or changing a VPN service, it’s nearly impossible you haven’t heard of IPVanish.
IPVanish seems like such an established titan that it’s hard to believe it was founded in 2012—seriously, it’s only a few years old!
Even in internet years, that makes it quite young.
So what’s the deal?
Is IPVanish really a rock-star of the VPN world, having shot up so quickly after its founding, or more of a passing fad, bound to be replaced in a year or so?
In this review, we’ll answer that question and more based on my experience with the VPN.
It’s a solid service, but that’s not something I say easily—so let’s roll up our sleeves and dive in!
Before we get to anything else in this review, let’s cover the bad news.
IPVanish, thankfully, has very little to complain about. In fact, there are really only a few minor issues to bring up.
First off would be what is probably the most important caveat: Netflix automatically blocks IPVanish.
Image source: Pixelprivacy.com
Now, Netflix doesn’t just block IPVanish, they also block most other popular VPNs, so this is something outside of IPVanish’s control.
I’d also like to note that this can sometimes be overcome—if you keep bouncing through server after server, or research by Googling or contacting customer support for the best server to use.
Still, many people are interested in IPVanish because it seems like one of the best VPNs for streaming lots of content.
It would be, but unfortunately, you may have a tougher time doing that than you like.
It’s simply too popular, and Netflix has caught on.
Other streaming sites may be similar in this regard—look up your favorites to figure out what you can access.
Secondly, IPVanish is on the pricier side. It’s not too expensive, relative to its competition: it is simply on the upper end of its competition.
It’s not the most expensive popular VPN, but it’s far from the cheapest.
Thirdly, IPVanish may be a little complicated for those who are unfamiliar with VPN technology.
I don’t think this is a huge setback, but I can see where the amount of control given to users could be a little intimidating.
Finally, IPVanish’s live chat could be better. It’s overall timely in my experience, but I didn’t get great answers when I asked something a little less common.
Those four issues are really the notable ones to me.
Please don’t let those bum you out though: let’s get to the positives, because IPVanish has a lot to make up for their few flaws.
Now that we’ve gone through the few things IPVanish falls short in, let’s get to the happy details.
First is their features: VPNs are not exactly the type of software intended to be heavy-set with features, but IPVanish is as well-featured as every other strong VPN.
You should have enough tools at your disposal to make the most of your private and secure internet browsing.
Complementing this is IPVanish’s performance. IPVanish really is very fast, and slows you down as minimally as a VPN can.
I also found I could switch between servers and IP addresses with minimal disruption.
As far as ease of use goes, it’s ultimately a good problem for a user to have.
You simply have so much ability to control your browsing and internet use with the VPN that it can be difficult for newcomers.
It’s still pretty easy to set up and use, though.
See below video for set up.
You can customize your experience pretty easily, and I don’t think beginners will struggle much after their first couple of days at most.
Additionally, although I was a little disappointed by their live chat, IPVanish still has good customer support.
I can’t imagine a user not being able to get a question answered within a relatively short time-span, whether by contacting a representative or browsing articles in the help center.
So overall, things are looking pretty good for IPVanish: the problems are minor and hardly defining.
The result is a service that looks pretty good. But hey—the devil is always in the details, so let’s get to it!
Pricing is important for any product. However, it takes on special relevance for VPNs: unlike a hosting company, which you may be purchasing from for business needs, VPNs are often personal purchases.
That is to say, you’re typically investing in privacy for your peace of mind, or perhaps so you can stream more content, but that’s different from an investment that’s necessary for your business.
All this is to say that we should hope IPVanish has affordable pricing, as it’s so well-acclaimed.
Unfortunately, IPVanish’s pricing is…alright.
At the time of this writing, it is early October. IPVanish has a special offer on its 2-year plans that extends for the rest of the month.
This offer brings the price down to $3.74 a month, which is a good price for a top-tier VPN.
If you’re not purchasing a two-year plan, or if you’re purchasing outside of October, the prices are higher.
Not exorbitant—we’re still talking about ‘normal’ pricing here, for the most popular VPNs—but still on the higher side.
If you purchase for one month of service, you’ll pay $10.
A three-month plan goes for $8.99 a month, and the year-long plan is $6.49 a month.
IPVanish accepts most cards and PayPal, but unfortunately there are no cryptocurrency payment options.
Lastly, there’s a 7-day money-back guarantee for all plans.
It’s not the longest amount of time, but it’s enough for you to test out your speeds, sites, server locations, and so on.
All in all, IPVanish is normally priced, but on the higher side of ‘normal.’ It’s October discount is pretty good, but you need to commit for two years, and it may have ended by the time some of you read this anyway.
If you’re looking to really save money on a VPN, IPVanish may not be for you—but if you’re willing to pay a little more for quality, these prices aren’t too high anyway.
Features are particularly important for the potential IPVanish customer, as IPVanish’s prices are on the upper end of the mainstream VPN spectrum.
So what are you getting for IPVanish’s average-high price tags?
First of all, you get software that’s accessible on a bunch of different platforms.
IPVanish has apps for Android and iOS, and even Windows Phone if you happen to have one. Software for desktops of course includes Mac OS X and Windows, but also Chrome OS (for Chromebooks) and Ubuntu.
As with many other VPNs, you can also get coverage for your router.
As far as the actual software goes, it gives you access to about 40,000+ shared IP addresses, and over a thousand VPN servers across 60+ countries.
You get unlimited bandwidth and 256-bit encryption (industry-standard).
IPVanish also comes with unlimited P2P traffic, and they promise to never throttle if you do engage in P2P sharing—which is expected, but good.
IPVanish offers a SOCKS5 web proxy.
It’s not encrypted, but can mask your IP if you’re P2P sharing or making VoIP connections.
Finally, you get multiple types of VPN protocols, unlimited server switches, and you can run up to 10 simultaneous connections on different devices.
All of this is pretty solid—it’s basically a checklist of everything you need in a good VPN.
With VPNs in general and especially with IPVanish, it’s not the amount of tools on the list that matters, but the quality and speeds of your connection using the network.
So IPVanish has the tools you need. The question now is whether they perform well: for that, let’s go to the next section!
Alright, how does the actual VPN service perform when you use it? To give you a quick answer, IPVanish performs very well.
Something I’ll clarify first is that VPNs typically lower your speed at least somewhat.
It depends on the VPN you’re using and the reliability of their network, but you can typically expect some longer loading times for certain types of content (such as video streaming).
IPVanish calls itself the fastest VPN around. This is tough to objectively measure, given all the variables, and every VPN says it’s the fastest.
Nonetheless, IPVanish does have a robust enough network to lend some credibility to the speed claim.
When I used it I found that I was able to access and use basically everything I usually do in a weekly use of internet.
This includes typical stuff like news sites, YouTube, Google Drive and other cloud storage services, and streaming.
If you’re worried you’ll sink in money and still get slow speeds, don’t.
I have tested by installing IPVanish VPN speed:
Unless your internet itself is pretty slow, you should be able to access everything you normally do without sacrificing pixels or time.
Aside from my experience using the internet with IPVanish, I also tested out some of its features.
It is ridiculously easy to use on more than one device: if you can figure it out on your first device, you can figure it out on your second—but more on this in the next section.
I also tried switching around locations—so I could try accessing content with an IP in a different time zone, including different countries.
It worked like a charm, and I didn’t see many hiccups as I went from server to server.
The same is true of some more minor features—for example, you can toggle an option that automatically changes your IP every 5 minutes.
I expected some interruptions, but I found it pretty minimal, a pleasant surprise.
Now here’s one upset: streaming as a process works fine with IPVanish. Some companies may automatically block content if you access them with certain VPNs: Netflix is one of them.
While there isn’t really anything IPVanish can do (it’s Netflix’s decision), it’s an unfortunate downside and worth noting.
Please note that this block isn’t insurmountable.
You can still try bouncing around different servers: IPVanish at least gives you access to plenty of those, so you can always sink your time into trial and error.
Contacting their customer support team may give you a hint as to which server is best at the moment for accessing a particular country’s Netflix (or other streaming service).
Overall, the performance of IPVanish is great. My only suggestion is that you research which VPNs are automatically blocked by different streaming services, if that’s one of your main interests in acquiring a VPN.
IPVanish’s popularity and great performance unfortunately has unexpected downsides.
Ease of Use
I always say ease of use is very important. It is, but VPN’s have a special type of ease of use factor to fulfill.
VPN customers are typically a little more technologically savvy—they usually have to know a thing or two about the internet and encryption to even be interested in VPNs in the first place.
However, that doesn’t mean they know everything, and what goes into VPNs can be a bit complicated indeed.
Does IPVanish mediate this, and find a good middle ground?
The answer is they do, somewhat. I have found IPVanish to be easy to use overall, but other VPNs have made their services a little more accessible.
Part of the problem is IPVanish gives its users access to a lot.
You get a lot of ability to customize your service—an example would be setting your IP to switch every 5 minutes—and you get a lot of servers.
Your bandwidth is unlimited, and so you’re basically let loose upon the internet with a bunch of tools available to accommodate your pursuits, whatever they are (streaming, accessing blocked websites, etc).
However, this can make things a bit confusing for someone who just wants to a more secure and private internet usage.
The amount of options you have can be a bit overwhelming—are the default settings the best for you, what settings will throw off your experience, etc, are all questions that can crop up for less knowledgeable users.
Now the actual service of IPVanish does present a small learning curve because of this, but it can be overcome quickly.
At the end of the day, everyone can figure out how to turn on or off their VPN, and that’s the most important thing.
The options you have are presented as simply as possible, so I do think IPVanish is doing the best it can with a very robust network.
This is, in other words, a good problem to have.
Installation is also quite easy, as I mentioned—I can’t really imagine a situation in which installation would present a person with problems, regardless of their operating system.
Overall, IPVanish is pretty easy to use, about as easy as possible for such a robust VPN.
The amount of control left to the user might be a little overwhelming to the unfamiliar at first, but that’s about it.
Finally, if there really are lasting confusions, one can always contact customer support—which we’ll talk about right now.
Thankfully, IPVanish has resources available to help those who need to tackle on the onboarding curve.
It’s not just basic stuff either, but more niche uses you might be seeking help for.
IPVanish has on-site informational content and some options for contacting representatives directly.
You can contact representatives by email or by live chat. They don’t have phone support, but that’s okay—at least they have two out of the usual three.
Now to be honest, I wasn’t particularly impressed with their live chat.
They at least have a 24/7 live chat, but the actual quality of the service I got was not too impressive.
The timeliness was not a huge issue, but I do wish it could have been speedier.
As you can see, the responses did take a few minutes, which is a little longer than the best live chat services—on the scale of a few minutes, maybe it doesn’t matter so much though.
It’s not even the fact that I couldn’t get my question answered—it’s that I’m not sure my question was even understood.
However, live chat is often reserved for more quick-fix issues, such as basic product information or tech support.
Using email is typically better for more serious issues, and so I cannot say I’m fully surprised at the outcome.
As for the informational content, everything can be found on their help page.
They don’t have a ton of articles, but they do have enough in my own estimation.
Most issues people will run into, including the less common ones, can be found on their knowledge base.
To synthesize, IPVanish’s live chat was a little rudimentary, but their support page can carry them.
They also have a functional email support that has been generally well received by others.
IPVanish doesn’t have the best customer support, but it’s still pretty reliable nonetheless.
We’ve now gotten through the gist of IPVanish. More can always be said, but I think this is a pretty good summary.
What does the summary conclude about IPVanish?
IPVanish is solid. It has great performance and a solid set of features.
This comes with a higher price tag, but even that isn’t out of the normal range of high-end VPNs.
The only bad thing about IPVanish’s quality is the popularity its brought them—this has led Netflix and others to automatically block those accessing Netflix with it (again: this is not an undefeatable challenge).
Aside from that, the live chat could use a bit of work, but customer support is overall solid.
The service is very easy to use, and though some new users might be a bit overwhelmed, I don’t think there is much IPVanish could do without trimming down its actual services (which I do not think is ideal).
The conviction is that IPVanish is a great option for anyone seriously interested in a VPN, or who would like top-tier VPN services.
For those with more basic or limited needs, cheaper options are available—just keep an eye out for IPVanish’s discounts!