IPVanish is a veteran of the VPN industry. But has its sterling reputation let it rest on its laurels for too long? Several rival VPN providers want to usurp IPVanish with better speeds, pricing, security, apps, and features.
Can IPVanish still compete with the likes of NordVPN, ExpressVPN, or Surfshark? Or is it time to move on? In my 2023 IPVanish review, I wanted to find out if IPVanish is still worth considering. I tested IPV on both desktop and mobile devices to find out the answers:
- How fast is IPVanish?
- Does IPVanish work with region-locked streaming services (such as Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Prime Video)?
- Is IPVanish safe and private?
- Can IPVanish be used in China?
- Does IPVanish offer good value?
I’ll discuss all of that and more in this review.
During my time with IPVanish, I used the VPN service to secure my connection on public wi-fi, hide my IP address while torrenting, and unblock streaming sites. I also put IPVanish through several tests to measure its speed and security.
My thoughts on IPVanish are summarized below. Read the full review to get an in-depth look at this long-running VPN provider.
Do I recommend IPVanish?
IPVanish is a United States-based VPN provider that emphasizes speed, security, and privacy. What it does, it does well, and it checks all the boxes when it comes to the standard features that are necessary for a modern day VPN.
Speeds had improved massively the last time we reviewed IPV, and it remains one of the fastest VPNs around. If you want privacy on public wi-fi or while torrenting, it should suit you fine.
However, IPVanish struggles in China and isn’t the best for streaming. it might be one of the biggest names in the VPN business, but whether its capabilities can extend beyond that of a run-of-the-mill VPN provider is a question we aim to answer in this review.
IPVanish Key data
|OVERALL RANK: #5 of 76 VPNs|
|Average Speed*:||277 Mbps|
|Video Streaming Support:||4K UHD|
|Other Streaming Services:||BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, Youtube TV, Disney+|
|Encryption Type:||256-bit AES|
|Log Policy:||Zero logs|
|Protocols:||L2TP/IPSec, SSTP, WireGuard, OpenVPN|
|Value for Money||
|Lowest Monthly Cost:||$3.33|
|Money Back Guarantee:||30 days|
IPVanish pros and cons
Here’s a quick summary of what IPVanish gets right and where it could use improvement:
- High speeds
- Works with Netflix
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Strong encryption
- Great for torrenting
- Doesn’t work in China
- Doesn’t work with some popular streaming services
- No Linux app
- Based in USA
Speed: Is IPVanish fast?
Yes, but not quite as fast as it used to be.
Our team constantly retests VPNs to make sure that our information is as current as possible. This approach also means that if a service’s performance improves or declines, we’ll notice.
We had previously seen IPVanish deliver dizzying speeds, averaging well over 500 Mbps. In our most recent testing, however, its average had fallen to around 270 Mbps. Make no mistake, it’s still one of the quickest VPNs on the market, but you can’t deny that this is a significant change.
|Website||IPVanish.com||Average Connection Speed - North America (USA)||252 Mbps||Average Connection Speed - Europe (UK)||228 Mbps||Average Connection Speed - Asia (Hong Kong)||352 Mbps|
|Best deal (per month)||$3.33|
SAVE 74% on the 2 yr plan
We test servers in each of these locations at various times of day using a 5 Gbps connection from the United States. You can find more detailed info on how we test VPNs here.
Using nearby servers, I was able to stream 4K video without stopping to buffer. And I didn’t experience any lagging when playing console games online. I simply made sure to be connected to a nearby server to get decent ping times and everything went very well.
IPVanish’s speed improvements did come at the cost of some stability. I encountered connection issues to certain servers – mainly Asian servers. Persistence pays off, and I was eventually able to connect but after quite a bit of trial and error. Hopefully these issues will get ironed out as the Wireguard implementation is fine tuned.
Keep in mind that our tests are not a definitive indicator of which VPN is fastest. The inherent volatility of the internet adds a significant factor of randomness, so VPN speed tests should always be taken with a big grain of salt. Those with faster connections may well notice a larger discrepancy in speeds.
As of time of writing, IPVanish operates more than 2,000 servers in over 75 countries. The countries with the most locations include the USA (20), the UK (4), Australia (6), France (3), and Canada (3). Server switching is unlimited.
You can search the full server list in the location menu, choose a location from a map, or sort servers by country, city, ping time, server load, and the number of servers. Ping times loosely correspond with proximity, and a lower ping time often means a faster connection.
Apps: What devices work with IPVanish?
A single subscription allows unlimited simultaneous devices to be connected at once, making IPVanish a good value for a large household. For context, most other VPNs tend to permit five or six connections at a time.
Apps are available for:
IPVanish does not offer web browser extensions. And while Linux is supported, there’s no dedicated app – you need to configure your connection manually. IPVanish provides guides on how to achieve this.
IPVanish supports routers in two ways. First, you can purchase a preconfigured router from Flash Routers:
Or you can manually configure your connection on one of the supported router firmwares. These are:
IPVanish provides instructions on how to manually configure each of the routers it supports.
Check out our guide on VPN routers if you’d like more information on the subject.
Streaming, Netflix and Kodi
Does IPVanish work with Netflix?
IPVanish now works with US Netflix from abroad. Not all servers are guaranteed to work, so you might have to switch US locations a time or two to find one that does.
Unfortunately, IPVanish struggles with a lot of other popular streaming services like Hulu and Amazon Prime Video. To its credit, it has made a lot of progress in this area recently, and now works with NBC, CBS, and ITV, among other platforms. Still, compared to the top-of-the-line competition, IPVanish falls a little short.
IPVanish is a notable favorite among Kodi users. Kodi, a free home theater software that allows for streaming video and other content from multiple sources, is often installed on Android-based devices like the Amazon Fire TV Stick.
IPVanish makes an app specifically for Fire TV, and devices without access to Google Play or the Amazon App Store can directly download the Android APK directly to their device. The interface is remote-control friendly. Beyond the initial sign in, there is very little typing required to get up and running. Everything can be selected via drop-down menus, and there’s no need to struggle with maps or other interfaces that don’t gel well with remote controls.
If you’re interested in streaming over VPN, check out our recommended VPNs for streaming.
Does IPVanish allow torrenting?
Yes, IPVanish allows torrenting on all servers. P2P filesharers and frequent streamers will be glad to know that there is no cap on bandwidth or data.
The IPVanish apps come with an optional kill switch that halts internet traffic should the VPN connection unexpectedly drop—a necessity for torrenting.
DNS leak protection is built in, including IPv6 leak protection.
The company keeps no traffic or usage logs on its customers. It does not record your source IP or any of your online activity.
If you’re into torrenting over a VPN, look at our recommended VPNs for torrenting.
Does IPVanish have split tunneling?
Yes, IPVanish’s offers a split tunneling feature in the Android and Fire TV apps, but not for other platforms at this time.
Split tunneling, or selective routing, allows users to choose which apps use the VPN tunnel and which use a direct, unencrypted connection. I could, for example, set my torrenting app to always use the VPN while Spotify always uses a normal internet connection.
I hope to see IPVanish add split tunneling to its remaining apps on Windows, MacOS, and iOS soon.
Take a look at our recommended VPNs for split tunneling if it’s something you’d like to use.
Security, privacy, and logging
Other than when an account is first registered, IPVanish keeps no record or log of VPN use on its users. Unfortunately, IPVanish has dropped Bitcoin as a payment method, forcing users to sign up with a credit card or PayPal. That makes fully anonymous signup next to impossible.
We like what we see here.
Regarding VPN protocols, IP Vanish supports:
IPVanish uses 256-bit encryption on the Wireguard protocol by default. SHA512 is used for authentication, and a DHE-RSA 2048 key exchange supports perfect forward secrecy. These are all up-to-date and secure encryption standards, and perfect forward secrecy ensures that past traffic data cannot be decrypted even if a hacker or someone else obtains the current decryption key.
The company operates its own DNS servers and DNS leak protection is built in, as is a kill switch. Our tests showed no DNS, IPv6, or WebRTC leaks.
IP Test – Without VPN
IP Test – With VPN
DNS Test – Without VPN
DNS Test – With VPN
On the Connection page of the app’s Settings are what IPVanish labels Enhanced Security Features. Here you can choose to Block Local Network Interfaces, which blocks LAN access when the VPN is enabled. This is also where you can enable/disable DNS leak protection and IPv6 leak protection. Both these settings are enabled by default.
IPVanish is based in the United States. This might raise concerns for users wary of the NSA, FBI, and other law enforcement or intelligence agencies with a record of covertly spying on people with the help of US-based tech firms. IPVanish’s zero logs policy should ease these concerns, and the company has no public record of anyone being arrested or hacked as a result of using its service. Despite that, some users will still be put off by any VPN provider based in the US and the countries it cooperates with on intelligence gathering.
IPVanish is one of very few providers that owns and operates all of its physical hardware, rather than renting it from a third party. Whereas most VPNs simply rent servers around the world, IPVanish buys them. There are pros and cons to this. Obviously, IPVanish maintains greater control over who has access to its servers. But owning servers also makes a provider less flexible under certain circumstances, such as when a data center where the servers are housed lowers their privacy or security standards. It’s much easier to end a lease and rent another somewhere else than it is to physically move a server.
IPVanish uses external email providers for support and other communication with customers. The only information on hand is users’ email addresses. No customer information is stored or accessible.
Does IPVanish work in China?
IPVanish is not a reliable VPN for users in mainland China at this time. I cannot use it to unblock websites or apps censored by the Great Firewall.
China has blocked connections to the IP addresses and domains of IPVanish’s servers. In the past, IPVanish recommended users in China set up their VPNs manually instead of using the official IPVanish app, but IPVanish now admits that even that might not work.
To learn more about connecting to a VPN from China, have a look at our recommended VPNs for China.
Is IPVanish’s customer service any good?
IPVanish has a support email address but in most cases, the best option is to get in touch via live chat. On a weekday afternoon, it took about two minutes for a response from the website’s live chat support.
A fairly thorough knowledge base is searchable on the company website.
In 2021, IPVanish upped its money-back guarantee from seven days to 30. And the 30-day money-back guarantee is still in effect today, giving you much more time to try it out before making a commitment.
IPVanish offers a 30-day money-back guarantee so, for users looking for a VPN for just a month, you can download the VPN for 30 days and then cancel to receive a full refund. If you change your mind at the end of the 30 days you can still make the most of their low monthly prices in the short term.
- Monthly plan – $11.99 per month
- Yearly plan – First year: $53.88 for the first year ($4.49 a month)
- Two year plan – Billed $79.99 first two years ($3.33 a month)
All plans allow for an unlimited number of simultaneous connections.
Should I buy IPVanish?
IPVanish is an easy-to-use VPN service with no limit on simultaneous connections, apps for the major device platforms, strong security, no logging, and very fast speeds. A wide range of servers are available. DNS and IPv6 leak protection, traffic obfuscation, and a kill switch are all built-in. The interface is easy to use with Kodi and other Android-based media systems.
The service works with Netflix but is hit or miss with other streaming services. Users in China and possibly some other censorship-heavy countries won’t be able to use the slick apps to bypass blocks and blacklists. These are some of the most popular use cases for VPNs these days, so it’s a shame that IPVanish either can’t or won’t overcome those hurdles.
Here’s the latest IPVanish coupon
IPVanish is solid, but it’s not for everyone. If you want something that excels at unblocking region-locked streaming sites or that bypasses China’s Great Firewall, check out these alternatives:
Surfshark is another high-speed VPN, and one of the only VPNs other than IPVanish to offer unlimited simultaneous connections. You also get competitive security, and the company stores no identifying logs. Surfshark works well in China and is great for streaming.
How does IPVanish compare to other popular VPNs?
|Website||IPVanish.com||NordVPN.com||Surfshark.com||OpenVPN data encryption||256-bit AES||256-bit AES||256-bit AES||Kill Switch||macOS, Android Mobile, and Windows||Allows Torrenting||Connection logs||Some aggregated data||Effectively none||Unblocks Netflix US||Unblocks Prime Video||Unblocks Hulu||Unblocks BBC iPlayer||Money back guarantee||30 days||30 days||30 days||Overall rating||8.3||9.7||9.6|
|Best deal (per month)||$3.33|
SAVE 74% on the 2 yr plan
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