IPVanish Mediocre Speeds and a Troubling Past

VPN IPVanish
Based in USA
Logs No logs
Price $6.49/mo.
Support Email, Chat, Phone
Refund 30 days
Website IPVanish.com
IPVanish is a popular VPN service that boasts a larger server network and claims to deliver the “best VPN speeds” in the industry. Perhaps like you, I’m never satisfied taking these marketing statements at face value. So I decided to put IPVanish through extensive testing for this updated IPVanish review:
  • Does IPVanish offer “top tier” speeds throughout the entire server network?
  • Do IPVanish’s apps keep all data safe with a good kill switch, IP and DNS leak protection, and secure encryption?
  • Does IPVanish provide stable connections without interruptions (good reliability)?
  • Is it worth the price?
All of these questions are answered in the review below, with all tests results backed up by screenshots. First we’ll cover an overview explaining the review findings, then dive in to the detailed test results.

IPVanish review Pros and Cons

Here are the Pros and Cons of IPVanish:

+ Pros

  • Large selection of apps for different devices
  • Good privacy features, encryption, and leak protection settings
  • Live chat, email, and telephone support
  • Unlimited connections
  • Entirely self-owned server network, including secure DNS (no third parties)

– Cons

  • Based in US (Five Eyes)
  • Now owned by J2 Global
  • Cooperated with the FBI on logs

IPVanish Coupon Get 57% off IPVanish (Drops price down to $5.20/month) Get 57% Off IPVanish (Applied automatically.)


IPVanish company background and new ownership

IPVanish has an interesting history. Unlike VPNs such as Surfshark and NordVPN, IPVanish has been bought and sold off twice over the past few years. Here is a brief summary of IPVanish background based on my research for this review:
  • IPVanish was founded by Mudhook Marketing in 2012, a subsidiary of Highwinds Network Group in Orlando, Florida.
  • In 2017, StackPath acquired Highwinds Network Group, which also included IPVanish.
  • In 2019, IPVanish was again acquired by J2 Global under their Net Protect business.
J2 Global is the parent company for many websites that publish reviews, such as PCMag. In addition to IPVanish, J2 Global also acquired StrongVPN and Encrypt.me, as well as SugarSync, which is a secure cloud storage service. Therefore you now have a strange situation where VPN review websites recommend the very products owned by the parent company.

IPVanish speed test results

On its website, IPVanish claims to offer the “best VPN speeds” through their “top tier” server network with locations around the world. In terms of speeds, IPVanish has historically lagged behind other top-rated VPNs, as you can see in the IPVanish vs ExpressVPN comparison. For this new and updated IPVanish review, I tested numerous servers throughout the network. My baseline (non-VPN) connection speed was about 160 Mbps and I ran all tests from my location in Germany. Now let’s examine the results.

Nearby IPVanish speed tests

First up was a nearby IPVanish server in Germany: 87 Mbps ipvanish speed tests This is about 50% of my baseline speed, which is not very good. Next up was an IPVanish server Switzerland. Once again, the speeds were not very good at 73 Mbps. ipvanish review speed Next, I ran some tests with an IPVanish server in the UK, which gave me about 65 Mbps. ipvanish speeds in uk With these slow speed tests, IPVanish is not the best UK VPN. Next, I ran some IPVanish speed tests with servers in the United States and Canada. Again, the results were not up to par. Here was an IPVanish server in New York at about 65 Mbps. ipvanish speeds in usa Next up was an IPVanish server in Dallas, Texas: 46 Mbps. ipvanish speeds slow I also tested some IPVanish servers in Canada, which gave me similar results as before. Here was an IPVanish server in Toronto, Canada at 78 Mpbs. ipvanish canada speeds Although the speeds weren’t horrible, IPVanish is not certainly not the best Canada VPN to choose from. In comparison to other top VPNs, IPVanish does not do very well in terms of speeds. Aside from the results above, we also discussed this issue in the NordVPN vs IPVanish comparison. If you want the fastest VPN, there are better options to consider.

How much does IPVanish cost?

The cost of IPVanish is about average for higher-end VPNs. It is slightly less expensive than ExpressVPN, but a bit more than NordVPN. With the regular prices, the cheapest you can get IPVanish for is $6.49/month with the annual plan. Fortunately, IPVanish is currently offering this 57% discount coupon, which saves you quite a bit on the standard prices. When you use the IPVanish coupon the prices drop down to what you see below: ipvanish prices Note: This coupon only applies to the first billing cycle. Therefore the most savings will come through the annual plan. Payment methods – IPVanish accepts most payment methods, including all major credit cards and also PayPal. Unfortunately, IPVanish offers no support for cryptocurrency payment options at this time, although they have in the past. When I asked a customer service rep about this he explained the change was due to large fluctuations in the Bitcoin price and the high transaction fees, but they may be adding it again in the future. I am also maintaining an IPVanish coupon page to track the latest deals and promotions. Aside from using the coupon above, you will be able to see if there are any temporary sales, which will be advertised directly on their homepage. (I’ve only seen them offer temporary sales a few times per year, such as for Black Friday or Cyber Security Awareness month.) Refund policy – IPVanish offers a 30 day no-questions-asked money-back guarantee. This is on par with most other VPN services.

IPVanish apps

IPVanish provides a wide selection of applications for many devices and platforms. You can read about the IPVanish apps here. IPVanish VPN apps review For this IPVanish review, I tested out their apps on Windows, Mac OS, and Android. IPVanish Windows app – The IPVanish Windows app did alright in testing. It is user-friendly, stable, and never froze up or crashed. One issue I did notice, however, is that connection times could take a while. See our other Windows VPN recommendations. IPVanish Mac OS – The IPVanish Mac OS app also did well in testing. This is an updated and improved version over IPVanish Mac OS apps I’ve tested in the past,  which were a bit buggy. I did not notice any bugs or connections issues with the new Mac OS app. Other good Mac OS VPNs are here. IPVanish Android – The IPVanish Android app performed well in testing without any issues to report. It has a good design and was stable in testing. We’ll take a closer look at the apps in the privacy/security tests below.

IPVanish offers unlimited device connections

Another new update with IPVanish is that it now offers an unlimited number of device connections. Most VPNs limit the number of devices to between four and seven. One other VPN that gives you an unlimited number of device connections is Surfshark – and it’s also a lot cheaper.

Privacy and security test results

IPVanish uses the OpenVPN protocol with AES 256-bit encryption. This is the gold standard for VPNs and it is currently considered unbreakable. IPVanish performed well in all privacy and security tests for this review. I tested IPVanish for IP address leaks (both IPv4 and IPv6) and DNS leaks. Prior to running these tests, I verified the following privacy/security settings were active:
  • IPv6 leak protection (IPVanish provides you with an IPv4 address, while blocking IPv6 and ensuring your real IPv6 address does not leak out of the tunnel.)
  • DNS leak protection (All of your DNS requests are handled by IPVanish servers, with DNS leak protection activated by default.)
  • Kill switch (A kill switch will block all traffic if the VPN connection drops to keep your data and identity secure.)
kill switch privacy with ipvanish Now we will move onto the test results. Windows app: Here is a test using the Windows app with a London, UK server. Everything passed with no issues whatsoever. ipvanish security Just like the Windows VPN app tests above, the Mac OS app also passed the tests without any leaks discovered. Everything checked out with the leak tests: no issues to report. See our VPN tests and checks guide for more info.

IPVanish servers

One unique benefit you get with IPVanish is access to a massive server network with locations spanning all around the world. This currently includes:
  • 75+ worldwide locations
  • 1,500+ servers
  • 40,000+ IP addresses
Read about IPVanish’s server network here. IPVanish has one of the largest server networks in the VPN industry. It is on par with ExpressVPN and CyberGhost. What good is a large server network?
  • More servers generally means better speeds as there is more available bandwidth per user.
  • This also helps you to select specific servers for different needs, whether you are looking for a nearby server in your area or another geographic location for accessing media.
  • If you need a VPN for gaming, a large network can help you choose a close server to minimize ping times (latency).
  • It also gives you more options for geo-spoofing your location, which may be useful when purchasing items online.

Does IPVanish use virtual server locations?

A “virtual server location” is when a server that is advertised as being in a certain location is not actually there. For example, I found that PureVPN has many servers are not actually in the advertised location, and they do not disclose this to their users. Another example of this is with VyprVPN. You can identify virtual server locations using ping tests to triangulate the exact location (see here). With IPVanish, I tested a number of different servers and they all checked out. It does not appear that IPVanish is using any virtual server locations.

IPVanish logs (FBI case)

IPVanish is a zero logs VPN service as they explain on their website. But before getting into their exact logging policy, we’ll first examine a logging case that happened a few years ago. In 2016, when IPVanish was owned and operated by a different company, they cooperated with the FBI for a criminal case. In this specific case, they provided connection data to authorities, after the FBI made two separate requests during an investigation. While this is concerning from a privacy standpoint, especially since IPVanish claims to have a no logs policy, it’s also important to note this happened when the company was under different ownership and management. IPVanish is now owned by a company called J2 Global, which also owns various media outlets (disclosed at the bottom of this article). This logging case happened when IPVanish was owned/operated by HighWinds Network Group in 2016.  The sale to StackPath took place in February 2017, after the logging case. I requested clarification about this from IPVanish and they provided me with the following statement:
That court case was from 2016 – long before StackPath acquired IPVanish in 2017. IPVanish does not, has not, and will not log or store logs of our users as a StackPath company. We can’t speak to what happened on someone else’s watch, and that management team is long gone. In addition to not logging, StackPath will defend the privacy of our users, regardless of who demands otherwise.
Additionally, I also spoke to IPVanish staff about this case and they provided further assurances that this type of cooperation has not and will not happen with StackPath. What are IPVanish’s current logging policies? As they explain in their Privacy Policy:
IPVanish is a zero-logs VPN service provider, which means that we do not keep a record of any connection, traffic, or activity data in regards to our Services.
The only information that is collected during registration is an email address (for account purposes) and payment information for account renewal, refunds, etc. There are also a few VPN providers that have been verified in real test cases as VPNs with no logs. Some of these include ExpressVPN, NordVPN, VyprVPN, and others. For a direct comparison, see the ExpressVPN vs IPVanish guide. Overall, the logging case is troubling because it undermines the credibility of IPVanish and the trustworthiness of those operating the company. Is IPVanish still worthy of your trust? Only you can decide.

IPVanish support

IPVanish offers excellent customer support, which I tested and verified for this review. If you need assistance, IPVanish provides:
  • 24/7 email support
  • Live chat support
  • Telephone support
You can check the website for the exact hours and availability of chat and telephone support. I tested out both the telephone support and live chat support options. Everything worked well. ipvanish support The IPVanish website also contains some great guides and informational articles on various topics. These are all accessible from the knowledge base and in the member’s area. You should be able to get everything set up just using the guides in the member’s area. But if you have any problems then you can try chat support or just send them an email.

IPVanish Android

I also downloaded and tested out the IPVanish Android app for this review. Overall it performed well without any issues to report. Here are a few screenshots I took, with the Android app on the left and leak test results in the middle (no leaks). IPVanish Android app Overall the IPVanish Android app seems to work fine. Connecting and switching servers was easy and I didn’t find any leaks or problems to report. If you want to use a VPN on your mobile devices this Android VPN guide lists our top recommendations.

IPVanish router

IPVanish is also a decent choice if you want to use a VPN on a router. This will secure (encrypt) your entire home network and all devices that connect to your router. Furthermore, it will only count as only one device when you use IPVanish on your router. But because IPVanish gives you an unlimited number of simultaneous connections, this probably is not an issue. A VPN router is a smart idea simply because most internet providers are now monitoring and recording your online activities. This is now legal in the United States, the UK, and now also Australia.

Does IPVanish work with Netflix?

Generally speaking, IPVanish does not work well with Netflix on a consistent basis. Unfortunately, all of the IPVanish servers I tried seem to be blocked by Netflix. However, there are occasional reports of a server getting through. The support person I chatted with also confirmed IPVanish’s difficulty in accessing Netflix. When you try, you will get the annoying Netflix proxy error message. Fortunately, there are still some great VPNs that work with Netflix, even though many others are not a good option.

Does IPVanish work in China?

As of right now, IPVanish is not the best VPN to use in China. This is because it does not put an emphasis on obfuscation features. Obfuscation features conceal VPN traffic as regular HTTPS, thereby allowing you to easily get around VPN blocks. VPNs that offer good obfuscation features (and work well in China) are ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and also VyprVPN. Obfuscation is also useful wherever VPNs may be blocked. This may include school networks or perhaps work networks, where internet activities are restricted.

IPVanish review conclusion: Is it recommended?

On the whole, IPVanish has lots of room for improvement, especially in the area of VPN speeds. IPVanish is also somewhat lacking with features, especially in comparison to other big names such as NordVPN and ExpressVPN. One of the biggest issues when choosing a VPN – or any other privacy tool – is trust. The previous case of IPVanish cooperating with the FBI to collect and share user data definitely undermines that trust, even if it did take place under a previous management structure. Also concerning is that IPVanish is based in the US and completely falls under US laws – so who knows if this could happen again. Considering everything, there are certainly better VPN services on the market.

Alternatives to IPVanish

Click the VPN name below to read our full review – or grab the discount for the best savings. All three of these VPNs have a 30 day money-back guarantee.
  1. ExpressVPN  [49% discount + 3 Months Free]
  2. NordVPN  [68% discount]
  3. Surfshark
You can also read our guide on the best VPN services for other recommendations.

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