IPVanish VPN Review (2024) - IGN (2024)

IPVanish is a US-based VPN offering impressive speeds and no shortage of North American servers. However, its apps don’t exactly have a reputation for being visually appealing. We’re going to take a deep dive into everything IPVanish, from testing its server speeds to fine-combing its zero-logs policy. The aim? To find out what’s new, where there’s room for improvement, and if it’s still one of the best VPN services for 2024.

IPVanish – Server network and coverage

IPVanish offers roughly 2,200 servers across 50 countries. These are perfectly respectable numbers and likely to be more than enough for most people’s needs. While there are VPNs with far larger server networks, bigger isn’t always better. More servers can mean less load but doesn’t guarantee higher quality, be it in terms of hardware or bandwidth. The cost of maintaining a larger server network can also be reflected in higher subscription prices.

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Still, you might find that IPVanish doesn’t provide servers in a specific country which may be a deal-breaker if you’re trying to unblock a particular website or service. What’s noticeable is that more than 1,400 servers (65 percent of IPVanish’s network) are located in North America, covering 23 cities. This is great if you live in the US or Canada and want to find a very fast server nearby, or if you’re traveling abroad and want to access your usual websites and services from home.

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One small point is that there can be some discrepancies between the server locations listed on a VPN’s website and those available in its apps. This tends to be due to the pace at which VPNs add and remove servers. IPVanish states it has a server in Flagstaff, USA but this was no longer available at the time of review (sorry Flagstaff readers!). It works both ways though because it now offers a Pakistan server that’s not listed on the website.

IPVanish – Speed and Performance

IPVanish excels in the speed arena, particularly due to the very fast WireGuard protocol that it implemented in 2021. Like any quality VPN service, IPVanish offers unlimited bandwidth. This is one of the many reasons why we recommend you use a paid VPN over free VPNs, which almost always throttle user bandwidth, making streaming and gaming a serious challenge, if not impossible.

Many VPN providers claim to be the fastest on the market, so these claims should always be taken with a generous pinch of salt. Indeed, I ran tests to get an idea of the speeds IPVanish offers. I connected to servers in three different locations: Valencia, Spain (400 miles from my location); New York, USA (3,700 miles); and Tokyo, Japan (6,200 miles).

These three server locations were each tested nine times (three mornings, three afternoons, and three evenings) to generate an average connection speed for each location, as well as a global average. Tests were carried out on MacOS over a wifi connection using the WireGuard protocol.

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Unsurprisingly, my connection was twice as fast (277 Mbps) when not connected to the VPN. For the uninitiated, a VPN routes your internet traffic through an encrypted tunnel to the VPN server before forwarding it to its destination. The extra steps in the data routing process results in slower speeds unless you’re already suffering ISP throttling.

However, we don’t use VPNs with the expectation of a faster connection. Instead, they’re primarily to browse anonymously or bypass content restrictions. Keep in mind that the speeds you experience may differ. Influencing factors include your base internet connection, the distance between the server and your actual location, the server load, and VPN protocol used.

As you can see from the results, the further the VPN server from my physical location (and the further data had to travel), the slower the speeds. The good news is that even when connecting to servers further afield, IPVanish is usually more than fast enough for more bandwidth-intensive activities such as streaming and online gaming.

As an example, Netflix recommends a minimum of 3 Mbps for 720p resolution streaming, 5 Mbps for 1080p HD, and 15 Mbps for 4K. You can therefore expect to be able to stream in high resolution without having to contend with much in the way of lag or buffering. This is particularly the case when you connect to a low load, low ping server close to your physical location.

You can also use IPVanish for online gaming as there are usually plenty of low ping, low load servers. Of course, you’ll get better speeds when not connected to a VPN, but if you need to access a server in another country or hide your actual IP address to avoid DDoS attacks, a VPN is the way to go.

IPVanish – Unblocking and Streaming Capabilities

Although not the best unblocker of content I’ve come across, IPVanish has steadily improved in this respect. With it, I was able to securely access multiple Netflix libraries including the US, Canada, UK, France, and Germany. While I also had success with Netflix Australia, it took several attempts to find a server that worked.

It’s worth keeping in mind that using a VPN to bypass geographic restrictions is often a process of trial and error. It’s also a fluid situation with VPNs that fail to work with one platform one day able to work the next (and vice versa). Aside from Netflix, IPVanish successfully unblocked the BBC iPlayer and ITVX, although it has long struggled with Amazon Prime Video and Hulu and this remains the case as of my latest tests.

IPVanish – Security Features

IPVanish stands out from most VPNs in that it owns and operates its server hardware (as opposed to renting it), reducing the risk of third-party interference. It uses 256-bit AES encryption to secure your data, which is the industry standard and considered to be virtually unbreakable. This makes IPVanish suitable for more security-sensitive activities, be it online banking or bypassing strict government censorship.

IPVanish supports the following VPN protocols:

  • WireGuard
  • IKEv2
  • IPSec
  • OpenVPN

When it comes to activities that require a faster connection speed such as streaming, WireGuard is your best bet. It's known for its lightweight codebase (4,000 lines of code compared to the roughly 70,000 of OpenVPN), making it easier to audit and optimize.

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IPVanish also provides DNS leak protection, ensuring DNS requests are routed through the VPN. This prevents your ISP from seeing what you’re doing online based on DNS queries. I ran tests on IPVanish servers in multiple locations and didn’t observe any DNS or IP leaks.

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Another security feature offered by IPVanish is a kill switch which can be found on its desktop and mobile apps. This cuts your internet traffic should the VPN connection drop unexpectedly, preventing data from being exposed. Needless to say, this is a very useful safeguard to have.

IPVanish continues to add to its security offering, recently introducing a Threat Protection feature. Available for Windows, Android, iOS, and Fire TV (and currently in Beta for Mac), it claims to protect your device from ads, trackers, and malicious websites.

IPVanish continues to add to its security offering, recently introducing a Threat Protection feature.

Using an iOS device, I accessed an online adblock test on Safari with no ad blocker activated. Needless to say, my browser pretty much laid out the welcome mat as 136 of 140 ads made themselves at home. Next, I switched on IPVanish’s Threat Protection which blocked 42 of 140 ads. Better, but still far from ideal.

Not to be discouraged, I used Brave browser which stopped 136 of 140 ads in their tracks. So while the new Threat Protection feature of IPVanish is a nice extra to have, there are better options for blocking ads.

IPVanish – Privacy and Logging Policies

IPVanish operates what it calls a zero-logs policy and doesn’t record any of the following:

  • The websites you’re visiting / content you’re viewing
  • Your IP address
  • Connection timestamps
  • DNS inquiries

This means that IPVanish can’t see what you’re doing online and therefore can’t be obliged to share identifying data with authorities upon request. IPVanish also operates its own DNS servers for improved protection.

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Despite the above, IPVanish does keep some aggregated data. This includes device data (device model, OS version), crash reports, session lengths, and protocols used. However, none of this data is tied to individual accounts. IPVanish doesn’t keep any connection logs (IP addresses used, timestamps for each action) unless you consent to this for troubleshooting.

It should be noted that IPVanish is headquartered in the United States which is a member of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance. While the US doesn’t have mandatory data retention laws, IPVanish can be legally compelled to comply with data requests from government agencies. Data collected by one Five Eyes member country could be shared with others.

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This is why it’s important that IPVanish doesn’t log anything of substance to share anyway. We don’t just have to take IPVanish at its word however. It had its no-logs policy independently verified by Leviathan Security Group, a third-party auditor, in March 2022. Admittedly, I would like to see more regular (and recent) audits as with some rival VPNs.

Is there anything else IPVanish can do better when it comes to privacy? Well, CyberGhost has long been publishing quarterly transparency reports detailing data requests received from authorities. ExpressVPN has just introduced biannual transparency reports. With IPVanish operating out of a Five Eyes member country, it would be encouraging if it did the same.

IPVanish doesn’t log anything of substance

Anonymous payment options would be another welcome addition, be it cryptocurrency, gift cards, an IPVanish subscription box (as with NordVPN), or even the option of paying in cash like Mullvad and Proton VPN. Know that you do still have the option of buying a prepaid card with cash and using it to purchase your IPVanish subscription.

IPVanish also requires you to provide an email address during sign up, whereas some VPN providers (Mullvad, Windscribe) use a token-based verification system. Of course, losing the token means losing access to the account which reduces the level of convenience.

IPVanish – Signup and Setup

Getting started with IPVanish is simple, even if it’s your first time using a VPN. Upon completing the checkout process, you’ll receive an email prompting you to create a password for your new account before downloading the app compatible with your device.

IPVanish provides apps for the following platforms:

  • Windows
  • Mac
  • Android
  • iOS
  • ChromeOS
  • Apple TV (tvOS)
  • Amazon Fire TV

Linux is a notable omission. While IPVanish provides a setup guide to help you manually configure a connection, some rival VPNs provide CLI or even GLI Linux apps. It would also be nice to see some browser extensions as they’re a convenient option, even if they only secure your browser traffic.

IPVanish can also be used with select routers, allowing for network-wide security. Here you’ve got a couple of options: purchase a router that’s pre-configured with IPVanish or manually set up a VPN on your existing router, if compatible. IPVanish supports the following router firmwares (and again provides step-by-step instructions to help):

  • DD-WRT
  • Tomato
  • AsusWRT

The first time you access IPVanish, you’ll encounter a tutorial guiding you through the VPN’s key features. This includes how to quickly connect to the “optimal location” (typically the closest server to you for the best possible speeds), and how to access the full server list. IPVanish allows unlimited simultaneous connections which is great if you have a lot of devices to secure (or if you’re feeling generous and want to share your VPN with people at home).

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IPVanish – Apps and Compatibility

I first tested IPVanish over five years ago, so I was pleasantly surprised (and somewhat relieved) to find that its apps have improved significantly in that time.

The desktop app provides useful information such as the amount of data being sent to and from your device when connected, and the VPN protocol currently in use. If you don’t need to see this, you can always expand the server map and hide it from view. It has to be said though that the desktop app’s home view is a bit uninspiring and could do with a facelift. The dark theme looks marginally better than the light one though, in my opinion.

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Overall, I much prefer the simpler, cleaner layout of the IPVanish mobile app. What impressed me most is just how much information is included without it being overwhelming. You can search servers by country and city and even favorite them for faster future reference. Clicking on the dropdown number of servers next to each city displays each server’s ping and load.

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Another underrated aspect of IPVanish’s apps is the clarity they provide. You’ll find short explanations regarding various features including each VPN protocol, making it one of the more beginner-friendly VPNs in that respect.

IPVanish – Customer Support

IPVanish has 24-hour live chat and email support. That’s pretty common with VPNs nowadays but it’s still good to see. What’s really unusual however is that it also offers phone support (in the US, Mexico, UK, Spain, Australia, and Brazil). Phone numbers weren’t made very easy to find however. You also have the option of the IPVanish help section which includes troubleshooting and setup guides (most of which contain helpful step-by-step instructions and screenshots).

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I had my first contact with IPVanish’s live chat support after discovering an issue in its iOS app. Whenever I swipe closed the app, the VPN disconnected instead of continuing to run in the background. I navigated the chat bot (are those things ever useful?) and found myself third in the queue. Not too bad – or so I thought! Half an hour later I was still waiting for a response despite having been at the front of the queue for 15 minutes.

Still, not one to give up quite so easily, I later contacted live chat support again to enquire when IPVanish’s new feature, Threat Protection, is coming to Mac (it's currently in beta). I waited for five minutes in first position in the queue before I received an automated message: “Thank you for your patience. We will connect you with an IPVanish Support team member as soon as one is available.” I received a quality reply that answered my question within a minute of this.

So live chat support was hit-and-miss, but what about email? I sent out three email enquiries to IPVanish, all at different times of day (morning, afternoon, and evening). The first email was a straightforward query, the second required a more thoughtful response, and the third was the most complex and required technical support.

Here are the respective response times and quality of answers from IPVanish support:

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IPVanish VPN Review (2024) - IGN (2024)


IPVanish VPN Review (2024) - IGN? ›

Verdict. IPVanish is a fast VPN service ideal for streaming (works with multiple Netflix libraries), gaming, and video calling. It doesn't have the largest server network but offers plenty of servers in the US in particular.

Is IPVanish a trustworthy VPN? ›

IPVanish is a safe VPN that uses strong military-grade ciphers and has essential security features (for example, IPVanish Threat Protection). You'll be protected against DNS or IP leaks. However, it does have some black spots in its past that make this provider's privacy claims questionable.

What VPN is better than IPVanish? ›

However, if you want a VPN for business- or work-related use, we recommend NordVPN over IPVanish and Surfshark. The company specifically caters to businesses and teams with affordable monthly plans and uses thousands of servers around the world to facilitate high-speed encrypted internet activity.

Which is better IPVanish or Surfshark? ›

Both VPNs are good for streaming, but Surfshark is more reliable. While IPVanish did work for most platforms, our international team of testers reported they sometimes had to switch servers to stream their licensed Netflix libraries and Hulu.

Why would someone use IPVanish? ›

IPVanish makes it easy to use a VPN with VPN apps for all your devices and operating systems. And with unmetered connections, you can protect all your household devices at the same time. We also offer VPN routers, so you can encrypt your entire household network via a single device.

What are the cons of IPVanish VPN? ›

IPVanish is easy to recommend, especially if you want to connect multiple devices at once, but it's pricey and doesn't offer add-ons like browser extensions or support for features like meshnet connections like you get with similarly priced Editors' Choice winners NordVPN and Proton VPN.

Which VPN is most trusted? ›

Best VPN for Speed

With excellent mobile apps for both Android and iOS/iPadOS, Nord is a solid mobile VPN. At $13 per month, $60 per year or $96 total for two years, NordVPN sets you back less initially than premium VPN rivals like ExpressVPN, but more than budget-oriented companies like Surfshark and PIA.

What is the #1 best VPN? ›

ExpressVPN – Best VPN overall

Privacy is important, to be sure, but so are performance, extra features, a wide country selection, and ease of use. ExpressVPN has it all, making it our top choice for VPN.

Is ExpressVPN better than IPVanish? ›

While both IPVanish and ExpressVPN are highly rated on the reliable review site Trustpilot, ExperssVPN wins out on both number of reviews and stars. With 8,050 reviews, IPVanish has an average of 4.3 or “Excellent” ranking.

Which is the strongest free VPN? ›

The Best Free VPNs of 2024
  • Surfshark - Best VPN Free Trial.
  • Hotspot Shield - Fastest Free VPN.
  • NordVPN - Best Full-Featured VPN with Free Offers.
  • PrivadoVPN - Best Free VPN for Unlimited Devices.
  • Atlas VPN - Best Free VPN for Privacy.
  • TunnelBear - Best Server Network.
Mar 22, 2024

What are the downsides of Surfshark? ›

Another drawback I found with Surfshark is that there is no VPN router app. Some VPNs, such as ExpressVPN and VyprVPN, offer a dedicated app that can be used with some routers, with the right firmware. This makes it very easy to get the VPN up and running, assuming you have the right router.

What is the best country to use on IPVanish? ›

Switzerland, Iceland, Estonia, Canada, Singapore, Spain, the UK, Panama, Romania, and Germany are top countries for VPN connections due to their strong privacy laws, robust internet infrastructures, and high-speed connectivity.

Why is Surfshark so good? ›

Surfshark is packed with excellent security features, making it one of the most secure VPNs available. It offers a range of user privacy and security features – AES-256 and ChaCha20 encryption, a kill switch, and RAM-only servers.

Does IPVanish stop hackers? ›

Apps like IPVanish VPN encrypt and conceal your data so unwanted viewers can't intercept it. With a VPN on your device, you can secure your phone against hackers on the same network while protecting your privacy from advertisers and websites online.

Do cheaters use VPN? ›

Many players point out that streamers commonly use VPNs to access specific lobbies for content creation. They argue that while VPNs may not offer an in-game advantage, they still influence the competitive landscape by skewing player matchups.

Who owns IPVanish? ›

We're going to take a deep dive into everything IPVanish, from testing its server speeds to fine-combing its zero-logs policy. The aim? To find out what's new, where there's room for improvement, and if it's still one of the best VPN services for 2024. Disclosure: IPVanish is owned by Ziff Davis, IGN's parent company.

Does IPVanish hide your IP address? ›

Not only does your online data pass through an encrypted tunnel, but your true location is also hidden behind an IPVanish anonymous IP.

How do you know if a VPN is trustworthy? ›

Choosing a safe VPN provider
  1. State-of-the-art encryption. ...
  2. Options around IP address masking. ...
  3. Kill switch. ...
  4. Zero-log policy. ...
  5. Secure authentication. ...
  6. A trusted reputation. ...
  7. Transparent pricing.

Are there any dangers with VPN? ›

A VPN doesn't protect you from hackers

Hackers often use VPNs to gain access to networks. If your business has many third-party vendors, and each vendor has full access to your network, a hacker now has multiple potential routes to break into and exploit your network using VPN traffic.

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