IPVanish is a popular US-based VPN provider that claims to provide maximum online security and protection.
But some of IPVanish’s claims regarding its no-log policy are skeptical and raise concerns over its reputation. This sparked my interest in learning everything about IPVanish VPN.
Thus, I decided to review it myself and dig out the real story. This detailed review gives a detailed insight into everything that IPVanish offers to the users. So, let’s get started.
Who Owns IPVanish VPN?
Like CyberGhost and PIA VPN, IPVansih is also owned by multiple companies. In 2012, Mudhook Media Inc ( a subsidiary of Highwinds Network Group) founded IPVanish in Orlando, Florida, with a mission statement of offering the most secure connections and competitive prices than anyone.
In 2017, StackPath acquired Highwinds Network Group and also IPVanish VPN. Later in 2019, IPVanish was again taken by J2 Global under their Net Protect business. J2 Global is also the parent company of other websites, including Encrypt.me, Strong VPN, and a cloud storage service SugarSync.
IPVanish belongs to the US jurisdiction, which is part of the five eyes alliance group and is not a safe and reliable place to host a VPN company. At any time, the government can demand the VPN company to track and share personal user data without their consent. Also, the USA abides by mandatory data retention laws, which might sound like a significant breach of your online security and privacy.
IPVanish VPN claims to provide some impressive security and privacy features. But from the birds-eye view, these features were quite basic, and most service providers also come up with them. Here’s a brief insight into the features offered by IPVanish VPN.
|Encryption||Uses AES-256 bit encryption (standard)|
|VPN protocol||OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, IKEv2, and PPTP|
|Servers||More than 1900 servers in 75 plus countries|
|P2P support||Supports torrenting with no bandwidth limit.|
|Device support||Unlimited simultaneous connections on Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, Linux, and Fire TV|
|Kill Switch||The kill switch does not work fine always|
|Log policy||Do not keep logs but previously has logged user data|
|Log audit||Do not have a log audit report|
The table mentioned above gives an impression that IPVanish is a full featured-packed VPN. Before coming up with a final verdict, let’s inspect each of these features in a bit more detail.
IPVanish is a safe VPN and provides essential security features to the users, including protection against VPN leaks.
– IPLeak Protection
When you connect to the internet via IPVanish VPN, your VPN won’t leak your IP address. The VPN, when tested for IP leaks, found no leaks. It means that IPVanish was genuine with their words of protecting the IP address from all snooping eyes.
– IPv6 Leak Protection
You can suffer from a security breach if your VPN isn’t protecting your IPv6 address. Luckily, IPvanish does protect against IPv6 leaks, and it’s also proved via IPv6 leak test.
– DNS Leak Protection
Your DNS requests can be routed to your service providers’ DNS server even if you’re using a VPN. If such a thing happens, your ISP can learn about your actual IP address and browsing activities. Thus, it is essential to choose a VPN that protects against DNS leaks. IPVanish claims to redirect the traffic through encrypted tunnels and ensures protection against DNS leaks. A DNS leak test was conducted to assess their claims and found no DNS leaks.
– WebRTC Leak Protection
It is essential to look for WebRTC leaks to ensure complete online anonymity and IP leak protection while browsing. When the VPN underwent a browser leak test, it found no leaks, which shows how dedicated the VPN is to protect user privacy.
– Encryption Standards
IPVanish is a secure VPN and uses the best security encryption through AES-256 bit encryption. It is the industry’s highest encryption standard and is uncrackable too. It uses the SHA-512 hash function and supports perfect forward secrecy that constantly changes some encryption systems.
Through Wireshark software, I analyzed IPVanish data encryption. Apart from using strong encryption, the VPN also uses secure VPN protocols to safeguard the users’ data traffic that includes:
Wireshark shows that IPVanish uses OpenVPN (UDP/TCP) protocol by default. Both of the ports are secure and fast. IKEv2 also works perfectly fine on mobile devices. You can also manually select any VPN protocol from the setting interface. Unlike many top-rated VPNs, IPVanish lacks proprietary protocols like Lightway or WireGuard to boost their security level further.
Unfortunately, unlike many other service providers, IPVanish offers basic and limited privacy features. Moreover, their claims of a no-log policy are questionable as well. Let’s dive deep into the privacy features provided by IPVanish to know the truth.
– Log Policy
The best VPN is the one that comes with a strict no-log policy. IPVanish claims to follow a strict no-log policy. The VPN does not monitor, gather, or log any user activities and connection data. According to their website:
The only information the VPN collect is your:
- Email address
- Payment method
- Aggregated and anonymous performance data to improve product performance, diagnose crashes, and the overall functionality
Despite IPVanish’s claims of being a no-log VPN, its jurisdiction is a severe concern for the users. IPVanish has its headquarters in the US, and being a five-eye country; it is subjected to strict data collection laws.
Moreover, the data-sharing incident in 2016 also questions IPVanish’s claims of having a zero-log policy. In 2016, the company’s previous owner Highwinds Network Group handed user logs to the FBI to help them in catching a child predator.
When in 2017 StackPath acquired IPVanish, they did not know about this incident. They promised that the VPN wouldn’t store weblogs in the future.
The VPN since then has never audited their log policy nor issued any transparency report to satisfy the users who are suspicious about their logging policy. A log audit report will bury the past and help in developing users’ trust.
– Kill Switch
A VPN kill switch is an overlooked yet crucial feature, and fortunately, IPVanish does have this feature. It protects the IP address from getting leaked when you lose connection to your network. The kill switches automatically close down your browser and disconnect you from the internet until the VPN connection is restored.
Though IPVanish is offering a kill switch protection, when tested, it wasn’t working correctly. The customer service team was also clueless about it. The following is a screenshot I received from one of their representatives.
Another innovative feature IPVanish offers is the on demand feature in which you can automate your connections. With this feature put in place, you can auto-connect to the VPN in predetermined cases. You can set it to connect automatically when accessing specific websites or disable it when using a specific Wi-Fi network.
– SOCKS5 Proxy
IPVanish is among the few service providers that offer a free SOCKS5 proxy when you sign up for its service. It is of great advantage as it adds a protection layer while you download torrent and make your experience worth amazing.
You can configure the SOCKS5 proxy in your torrent client directly without the need for any additional software.
– Split Tunneling
Like many other top-tier service providers, IPVanish also comes with an impressive split tunneling feature. It allows you to access the apps via your regular internet connection, or you can first route them via the VPN tunnel. All VPNs slightly slow down the speed and you’ve to compromise on the bandwidth while establishing a connection. But with the split tunneling feature, you can reduce some burdens and create a better user experience.
This feature is helpful when you are torrenting. At the moment, IPVanish only offers this feature for Android and Fire TV devices.
– Scramble Option
It is yet another innovative feature offered by IPVanish that is specially designed to hide the OpenVPN traffic. This feature helps in disguising the connection in authoritative regimes that can detect the OpenVPN traffic via deep inspection and block the VPN connection. Also, with the scramble option, you can bypass firewalls and enjoy unrestricted internet access.
The Scramble option is exclusively available for Android, macOS, Fire Stick TV, and Windows.
– Tor Over VPN
You should first connect to a reliable VPN for enhanced security and better results if you are a regular Tor browser user. Most of the VPNs are not compatible with the Tor browser. But IPVanish allows the users to use the Tor browser safely.
A test was conducted to check IPVanish’s compatibility with the Tor browser, and the results were reasonably good. The VPN shows an increase in the connection speed, and the OpenVPN protocols protected the network.
IPVanish also comes with extra supported features that enhance its worth in the market. Some of the features like SugarSync are rare and even the top-rated VPN lacks. Interested to know about these features? Here you go:
It is an extra paid-on supported feature offered by IPVanish. SugarSync is a cloud service that allows you to store up to 500GB of data and ensure secure file sharing, syncing, and backup. The best part of this cloud service is that it’s encrypted using the AES-256 bit cipher. It means that all your uploaded files are protected with the same standard as your VPN connection.
With this feature, you can even forward emails with attachments to any unique email address. It offers cross-device compatibility and comes with mobile apps at a monthly price of $4.58 on a yearly plan.
– VPN + Antivirus Protection
IPVanish allows the users to protect their online activity with a VPN and safeguard their device from malware or other potential threats with VIPRE Advanced Security. It is antivirus protection that prevents malware, ransomware, or other threats on ten devices paired with VPN security.
Again, this is a paid ad, and you can buy it for $4.58 per month on a one-year subscription plan.
Here is some more information that you’d like to know about IPVanish VPN.
Does IPVanish Support Torrenting?
Yes, IPVanish allows downloading torrents across all its servers and also keeps you anonymous and secure. With no data caps and bandwidth limits, you can make your torrent downloading experience worth amazing. When tested for torrenting, IPVanish offers a wide range of servers with good downloading speed, especially their SOCKS5 proxy.
Moreover, it does not leak your DNS or torrent IP address, and the kill switch protects you from IP leaks. However, the VPN lacks the port-forwarding feature that might cause issues for increasing seed torrents.
Does IPVanish Unblocks Netflix?
IPVansih does unblock US Netflix from abroad. But not all servers are guaranteed to work well with Netflix. You need to switch locations to form a seamless streaming experience. When IPVanish VPN was tested for Netflix, a couple of servers from the US and Canada were working with Netflix. The VPN is also updating the servers to remain in the race of the VPN that unblocks Netflix.
Unfortunately, IPVanish doesn’t unblock other popular streaming platforms, including Amazon Prime Video and Hulu. Thus, IPVanish lacks behind its competitors regarding streaming.
How Many Users Can Connect to IPVansih At a Time?
You can connect to as many devices as you like with a single IPVanish subscription account. You can configure the IPVanish account on your router or other supported devices. The supported devices include Android, iOS, macOS, Windows, Linux, and Fire TV.
How Many Servers Does IPVanish Offer?
IPVanish offers a pretty decent server network. It comprises more than 1900 servers in 75 plus countries.
Does IPVanish Offer a Free Trial?
IPVanish does not offer any free trial, but it comes with a risk-free 30-days money-back guarantee offer on the two-year subscription plan. If you have subscribed to a monthly plan, then you’re not eligible for the refund.
Does IPVanish VPN Come With An Ad-Blocker?
NIPVanish does not offer ad-blockers in its services. You can use the best ad-blockers to get rid of intrusive ads while you browse the web.
IPVanish has room for improvement. It lacks several privacy-enhancing features compared to big names like NordVPN and ExpressVPN, making it less worthy. Also, it is concerning that IPVanish has been previously involved in keeping users’ logs and falls under the US jurisdiction.
The company should audit its log policy and introduce more features in its list to beg unprecedented success.