IPVanish offers high-speed connections and an impressive list of advanced security features at a budget-friendly price. So, I was eager to test it out for myself.
Overall, I can say that IPVanish is a safe and reliable option with fast speeds and a decent server network. While I came across a couple of issues surrounding its privacy standards, it’s taken several steps to mitigate these issues. If you decide to give IPVanish a try, you can take advantage of IPVanish's 30-day money-back guarantee. If you’re not happy with it, getting a refund is easy.
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Short on Time? Here Are My Key Findings
IPVanish VPN Features — 2024 Update
Money Back Guarantee
Does VPN keep logs?
Number of servers
Based in country
24/7 Live Chat Support
Streaming — Great for Unblocking With Solid Playback8.8
IPVanish has seriously stepped up its game when it comes to streaming. In the past, it could only work its magic on Netflix US, but now it's expanded its repertoire to include lots more platforms. I was really impressed with how it performed.
I tested over 50 server locations and unblocked the following platforms:
|Amazon Prime Video
Unblocked: Netflix US, UK, India, and Japan
The first platform I tried to unblock was Netflix, which was mostly issue-free. The first 4 US servers I tested (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston) could access the US Netflix library without any problems. The only servers I tested that didn’t work were the Miami and Ashburn servers. But considering that even the top VPNs can struggle to unblock Netflix from time to time, this wasn’t surprising.
IPVanish’s website doesn’t tell you which servers work best with Netflix, and its live chat agents couldn’t provide the answers either, so you may have to test a few servers. But once you find one, it’s very reliable.
In addition to Netflix US, IPVanish managed to unblock Netflix libraries in Japan, the UK, and India.
The load time was around 3–5 seconds, similar to my non-VPN connection
I didn't experience any buffering or connection issues on any of these servers, including the Japanese servers, which were the farthest away at over 9,000 km.
Unfortunately, IPVanish didn’t let me access full European libraries, such as Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Spain. I could only access Netflix Originals when connected to these servers. This version of Netflix only offers titles that are available no matter your location, so I couldn’t watch region-locked content. So, it’s a solid Netflix VPN, but there are a few that unblock many more libraries.
I had no issues unblocking Hulu on the 3 US servers I tested, and my load times were under 10 seconds each time. As soon as I accessed the site, I watched The Prank Panel in UltraHD for over an hour on its Boston server.
My stream didn’t lag at all when connected to any of the US servers
A lot of VPNs really struggle to unblock Hulu as it has cracked down on VPN IPs, so I was really impressed that IPVanish was able to unblock it.
I tested 4 US servers with Disney+, and all of them unblocked the platform with ease. After a load time of less than 5 seconds, I streamed A Small Light and The Kardashians on its Dallas and Denver servers.
Again, I had seamless, lag-free streams on IPVanish’s US servers while streaming Disney+
Next, I tested IPVanish’s servers in Canada and Australia with Disney+, and again I had no issues. The only difference was that my load times were closer to the 10-second mark.
Unblocking Max (previously HBO Max) with IPVanish was just as easy. After connecting to a server in Los Angeles, I watched Love & Death without any interruptions.
Max also worked perfectly with every other US server I tried, including New York, Boston, and Dallas
Then, I streamed Euphoria on its Las Vegas server, and again, I had no issues with the load time or picture quality.
Also Unblocked: ESPN+, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, DAZN, Kodi, and more
I was pleased to see that IPVanish’s UK servers also proved to be reliable — I streamed shows on BBC iPlayer and ITV without any issues. I began my tests by connecting to its London and Glasgow servers, which unblocked both platforms in a little under 10 seconds.
My streams were smooth, and the picture quality never dropped below HD the entire time. Many VPNs focus mainly on unblocking US platforms, so I was pleasantly surprised.
It also worked to unblock Amazon Prime Video US, UK, Australia, and Canada. It worked with all the servers I tried, although I had to use the browser version as it didn’t work with the app.
Sports lovers will also be pleased that IPVanish can unblock ESPN+, meaning you’ll never miss out on important matches. I didn’t experience any lag or delay while streaming an NBA match on its Dallas server, and the load time was a little over 10 seconds. Finally, I was also able to unblock DAZN on all the US servers I tried, including Dallas, Boston, and Chicago.
Blocked By: Sky Go
I tried accessing Sky Go with IPVanish’s UK servers, including in London, Manchester, Nottingham, and Glasgow, with no success. I then contacted IPVanish’s live chat support, which confirmed that IPVanish does not support streaming on Sky Go.
None of IPVanish’s UK servers worked to unblock Sky Go
However, I wasn’t surprised by this. Very few VPNs actually work to unblock Sky Go since the platform is so dedicated to blocking VPN IPs.
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Speeds — Super Fast on Most Servers9.4
IPVanish provides fast speeds on both nearby and long-distance servers. While my speeds did drop up to 53% on long-distance servers, I still consider this a decent result since I’ve tried VPNs that have slowed me down by 85%. Long distances tend to slow speeds anyway because your data needs to travel farther. So, I was impressed that long-distance servers were still fast enough for streaming and torrenting.
During my tests, I looked at 3 factors:
- Download speed. This is the time it takes to receive data. It’s measured in megabits per second (Mbps) and indicates how quickly you can load web pages and content.
- Upload speed. This refers to how fast you can send data, such as uploading videos, sending emails, sharing files, and more. Like the download speed, it’s measured in Mbps. But it’s always slower because a lot more data is received than sent.
- Ping. This measures how long it takes for data to travel and is an indicator of latency. A low ping rate indicates a more responsive connection, which is ideal for gaming. It’s measured in milliseconds (ms).
We have a specialized speed expert who has conducted tests on IPVanish servers over several months, consistently using the same location in the UK. The chart below exhibits the average speeds from 10 tests conducted on each server.
The only inconsistency came from the Canadian server, which was slower than I expected
Comparing these results to most other VPNs I’ve tested, IPVanish’s speeds are really impressive. I was especially pleased with the nearby servers, as my speeds barely dropped by 10% on most of the European servers I tried. Even the New York server, which is more than 5,000 km from my location, only dropped my speeds by 4%, which is almost unheard of.
However, other long-distance servers didn’t provide as impressive results, and they were a little inconsistent. For example, the Toronto server dropped my speed by 53%. This was surprising since it’s only around 200 km farther from me than the New York server is. The farthest server I tested was in Sydney, Australia (around 17,000 km), and my speed only dropped to 69.22 Mbps (43%).
The underlying trend was that the short-distance servers provided the fastest speeds. On the Auckland server, the drop was 20%, whereas, on the Sydney server, it was only 8%. For reference, a speed reduction of 10-20% is expected on short-distance servers. Anything above a 55% drop in speed on long-distance connections I would consider a bad result.
It’s normal for a VPN to slow down your speeds because of encryption. While a 53% drop might sound like a lot, I didn’t notice a difference in the VPN’s performance since my base speed was already high.
The first thing I did was record my base speed here in the UK to use for comparison.
No VPN (London, UK):
The WireGuard protocol generally gave me the fastest speeds, so I used this to test. Then, I started recording speeds on my Windows 11 laptop.
First, I used the “Optimal Location” option, which automatically finds you the fastest server based on speed, latency, and distance. It connected me to a server in Birmingham, UK, and I hardly experienced any slowdowns.
|115.87 (5% drop)
|16.45 (5% drop)
Then, I tried a server close to my location in Paris, France. I got almost identical results.
|116.87 (4% drop)
|16.68 (3% drop)
Next, I connected to a couple of other European countries (Germany and Poland) and got similar results. My speeds only fell by 7% connected to a Poland server, which is excellent since it’s over 1,500 km from my actual location.
Overall, IPVanish’s local servers were really impressive. No server dropped my speeds by more than 7%, so I didn’t notice a difference in the VPN’s performance.
In general, I got really fast long-distance speeds. However, I did experience some inconsistencies — some servers were much slower, and some were just unusually fast or slow, no matter how far they were from me. Long-distance servers also take longer to establish a connection. The San Paulo server took 7 seconds to connect (nearby servers usually only took a few seconds).
I started by testing a few servers in the US on both the east and west coasts:
New York, United States:
|116.92 (4% drop)
|16.67 (3% drop)
Los Angeles, United States:
|75.58 (38% drop)
|16.44 (5% drop)
Then, I went the distance and tested IPVanish's servers in the UAE, Brazil, and Australia.
While there was a bigger drop at these distances, my connection was still fast enough for high-bandwidth activities. I was able to stream geo blocked content on all these servers without buffering.
It was strange that my speeds dropped so much on the Canadian server. Even though it’s only 5,300 km from me, my speed was 10% slower than on the Australian server, which is over 14,500 km from my location.
IPVanish’s app shows you the ping and load next to each server, giving you a good idea of how fast your speeds will be. The load tells you the approximate number of users currently connected. With less load, the servers generally give you better speeds. Ping measures how long it takes for data to travel and is an indicator of latency. A low ping rate indicates a quicker connection.
Protocol Speed Test
Next, I tested all of IPVanish’s protocols on my home servers in the UK to see if there were any differences in speed. To my surprise, the differences were very minimal. The fastest protocol was WireGuard, with a download speed of 93.05 Mbps average across the nearby and long-distance servers. I expected this since it’s a modern protocol that’s purpose is to provide strong security without noticeably reducing speeds. I measured the protocols on local (green) and long-distance (yellow) servers.
WireGuard was the fastest protocol, but only marginally
Also, keep in mind that the volatility of your internet connection has a bigger impact on speeds than the VPN you use. However, percentage drops in speed tend to be similar no matter your base speed, so you can use those numbers to determine how IPVanish will affect your connection.
Gaming — Mostly Fast Enough on Local Servers9.5
IPVanish’s short-distance servers are fast enough for gaming, but its long-distance servers proved otherwise. The underperformance of its long-distance servers was primarily attributed to high ping rates. Higher ping rates equal higher latency, which results in slower response times and in-game lag.
I played March of Empires for my tests on a local server in the UK and long-distance servers in the US and Australia. The protocol I used was WireGuard, as it gave me the fastest speeds. The game can get pretty full-on when the battles take place, so having low latency is crucial.
I was only able to game on nearby UK or European servers
While gaming on its London, UK server, I recorded an average ping rate of 10 ms, which is very low latency. A ping rate of under 100 ms is deemed suitable for gaming, so this was highly sufficient. It did not affect the performance of the game: with every press of a button, the action took place almost immediately, as if I wasn’t connected to a VPN at all.
But when I tested its US and Australian servers, everything changed. The US server in Los Angeles gave me a ping rate of 129 ms, while the Australian server in Sydney came in at 272 ms. There were times when the gameplay would freeze for up to 5 seconds, while my scrolling and command inputs would take a bit longer to catch up. With such a disadvantage, I frequently lost my battles on those servers.
However, this is common with all VPNs. Unfortunately, I’ve never tested one that lets you game comfortably on long-distance servers. So overall, IPVanish’s gaming performance is very impressive.
Server Network — Large Network of Self-Owned Servers9.2
IPVanish has an extensive server network of 2,200 servers in 75 countries, with the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and Germany having the most servers. You can choose city-level servers in these countries, as well as Brazil. There are even some servers in Africa and South America, which most VPNs don’t cover. However, no servers exist in restrictive countries like China, Russia, and Saudi Arabia. The domain "ipvanish.com" is blocked in these countries, too.
Having an extensive server network is beneficial because it can provide faster speeds with less overcrowding and give you more IP addresses to access more global content and protect your privacy.
What’s most impressive is that IPVanish owns its entire server network and doesn’t rent any servers from a third party. This provides increased security since it’s very unlikely that your data will ever fall into the wrong hands. IPVanish doesn’t use any virtual servers either, which means all of its servers are physically located in their respective countries.
Connecting to the best server available is easy, too, as IPVanish has a Quick Connect feature, called “Optimal Location.” When I used it, it connected me to a nearby server in Birmingham that was slightly faster than the others. It will also connect you to the fastest server in your chosen location. All you need to do is select the country or city you want to connect to and click “Connect.”
You can search for a location or sort servers by country, city, or load to manually select one. Additionally, you can use its interactive map to find a server on the Home tab. Being able to zoom in and out of the map makes it easy to navigate.
An intuitive map is handy for locating servers and connecting to them
Like other VPNs such as ExpressVPN and PIA, all of IPVanish’s servers are P2P-friendly, which means you can freely torrent on them without any restrictions.
Security — Robust Features With Limited Customization8.8
IPVanish is a safe VPN and one of the main reasons for that is its world-class security features. These features include military-grade encryption, a kill switch, DNS/IP leak protection, split tunneling, and advanced protocols. There’s even a Scramble feature for the OpenVPN protocol, making it look like you’re not using a VPN by obfuscating your traffic. Its main function is to help bypass tough firewalls.
I like that it has its own malware and ad blocker called Threat Protection. It also has a split tunneling feature, which lets you redirect some of your internet traffic through the VPN while the rest uses your regular unencrypted connection. Unfortunately, it lacks multi-hop, which adds extra encryption layers to your connection.
Encryption — Military-Grade Encryption
Military-grade encryption, also known as AES 256-bit encryption, is the highest level of encryption available and is very secure. 256 refers to how long the character key is, which protects your data like a password. The longer the character key, the better, as it takes more time to crack it. In fact, 256 bits is so long that it would take several lifetimes for the world’s most powerful supercomputers to break it.
It also uses the SHA512 algorithm for authentication and the DHE-RSA 2048 key exchange that supports perfect forward secrecy. These encryption standards ensure that none of your data can be read even if a hacker gets hold of the decryption key (which is very unlikely, anyway).
Security Protocols — Several Advanced Options
IPVanish provides strong security through several protocols: OpenVPN (TCP and UDP), WireGuard, IKEv2, and IPSec. These protocols allow you to customize your connection for whatever you’re doing online, mainly through speed and security. IPVanish also has an Automatic protocol setting. When you have this enabled, it will choose the best protocol for you based on what you’re doing, so you don’t need to manually select one.
- OpenVPN: A highly secure open-source protocol. This means that its code is always visible, which allows people to examine and improve it. It offers 2 options: TCP and UDP. TCP provides reliable data delivery but can reduce speeds, while UDP offers faster transmission, but may be less reliable.
- WireGuard: A newer protocol that has quickly become the default for many VPNs. It provides a good balance between speed and security. It gave me faster speeds for long-distance connections than any other protocol the VPN offers. It’s also open source, so you can be confident it’s secure.
- IKEv2: A fast protocol that works well on mobile devices. This is because of its ability to auto-connect, which protects you while you switch between a mobile and WiFi network. However, it’s not as fast as OpenVPN or WireGuard.
- IPSec: A safe protocol that provides a framework for secure transport by encrypting IP packets. While it’s predominantly used for security, it still produced decent speeds in my speed tests, coming in as the 3rd fastest.
Overall, the protocol I’d recommend is WireGuard since it offers strong security without compromising your speeds as was evident in my speed test results.
IPVanish has a reliable kill switch and it performed well during my tests. This is a standard feature with VPNs, so I expect to see it. The kill switch cuts off your internet connection if your VPN disconnects temporarily. It is available on most devices, including macOS, Windows, Android, and iOS. IPVanish also offers a Kill Switch app companion for Android TV and Fire Stick, which is still a rarity with most VPNs.
The benefit is that it prevents any accidental exposure of your data. This makes it a handy feature to use on public WiFi networks because hackers can easily intercept your connection if it’s unprotected even for a minute.
Enabling or disabling the kill switch is very easy on desktops. On Windows, there’s a kill switch check box in the main window, you don’t need to open your settings at all. On macOS, it can be toggled on or off by going to your OpenVPN settings under Preferences.
It works with any protocol on Windows and Android, but only with OpenVPN on macOS
Enabling the kill switch on Android is a bit more complicated. You have to turn it on in your Android’s advanced connection settings. Under the “Connection” tab in the IPVanish app, you’ll see a section called “Android OS kill switch”. When you tap it, a popup will explain exactly how to enable it. It still only took me about 15 seconds to activate.
Threat Protection Ad & Malware Blocker
IPVanish also offers a Threat Protection feature that blocks all ads, trackers, and malicious content, so you can browse the web with peace of mind. I contacted customer support, and the agent confirmed that it uses a custom DNS blocklist to protect you from third parties tracking what you do online.
You can easily toggle the Threat Protection on from the Settings menu
To test this, I visited various sites known to have pop-ups, such as Forbes and Daily Mail, and IPVanish blocked all the pop-up ads on the pages I opened. This also made each page I visited load noticeably quicker. However, it doesn’t block in-video ads like those on YouTube. This feature is available for iOS, Android, Fire TV, and Windows (as a beta).
Leak Test Results — No Leaks Detected
IPVanish provides both DNS and IP leak protection on all of its apps and it worked really well during my tests. This ensures that both your DNS requests and actual IP address remain hidden, so no one can uncover your browsing activity, location, and identity. These features are already in place, so you don’t have to enable them manually.
IPVanish provides strong protection against leaks as shown in tests across several servers
I conducted tests on six different servers, located in the US, France, Australia, Germany, Japan, and Canada, using ipleak.net to check for any DNS/IP leaks. The results showed no leaks.
Privacy — Independently Audited No-Logs Policy9.4
Does IPVanish Keep Logs? No
IPVanish follows a no-logs policy. This means it won’t collect or record your data, such as the websites you visit, DNS queries, and connection timestamps. However, it collects random bits of data to help improve its product performance. But says this is anonymously collected, so it can’t be traced back to you.
The collected information includes user language preference, device model, UI interactions, country, and session lengths. Also, you need to provide your email address, name, and payment information when signing up. And since you can’t pay with cryptocurrencies, there’s no way to pay anonymously.
Location — Inside the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance
A bigger concern with IPVanish is that its home base is in the US, which is at the heart of the 14 Eyes Alliance. This is a global surveillance network where member nations share data about their citizens. Plus, they have the power to make third parties hand over this data by law.
IPVanish has also undergone a change in ownership since the scandal and is now owned by Ziff Davis (previously known as J2 Global). Ziff Davis is a group that has a number of subsidiaries in cybersecurity and digital services, including StrongVPN and Encrypt.me.
Does IPVanish Work in China? No
IPVanish doesn’t work in China. The country has blocked all of its servers and IP addresses and access to the IPVanish website. Even its obfuscation tool called Scramble cannot bypass the great firewall of China and other restrictive nations. I confirmed this by asking customer support.
IPVanish support had no tips for how to bypass the Great Firewall of China
I also asked whether the VPN works in any other restrictive countries like Russia, Iran, or Saudi Arabia, but its agent confirmed that it does not work in these regions. There are other VPNs that work reliably in China, so I’d suggest choosing one of them instead.
Torrenting — Allows P2P Sharing on All Servers9.6
IPVanish is a great option for torrenting since its entire network works for P2P file-sharing. It also has unlimited bandwidth and no data caps, so you can torrent as much as you want, for as long as you want.
It is advisable to use a VPN for torrenting as it shields your online identity and location while also encrypting your data. This adds an extra layer of protection against malicious entities. However, it is critical to activate your kill switch in the event of a VPN disconnection.
During my tests, I connected to its US, UK, and New Zealand servers to download a movie on uTorrent. I got an average speed of 101 Mbps while torrenting Mabel’s Strange Predicament on its London server, which took less than 2 minutes to complete. It was a 700MB file, so this was really fast. However, IPVanish lacks port forwarding, which can help you find a larger number of seeders.
I appreciate that IPVanish supports torrenting on all servers since many VPNs don’t
But keep in mind that your torrenting speeds are largely determined by the number of seeders and leechers that are assigned to your torrent and not by your internet speeds or VPN. Additionally, the IPv6 protection, DNS leak protection, and no-logs policy let you torrent safely.
IPVanish also offers SOCKS5 proxies in more than 20 locations. You can manually configure this in your BitTorrent client to hide your IP address. Since it doesn’t encrypt your traffic, you’ll get slightly faster speeds for downloading. My speeds were 5% faster using the proxy address in London as they were using the regular VPN server.
Even though the proxy offers good speeds, keep in mind that it is less secure since it doesn’t encrypt your data. You can access the full list of SOCKS5 proxy addresses in your IPVanish dashboard and there are guides on its website to help you set it up.
Be aware that many torrents are subject to copyright laws, and we do not endorse any unlawful actions. Before engaging in torrenting, always consult the legal regulations in your jurisdiction and refrain from downloading copyrighted content. Additionally, IPVanish specifies in its Terms of Service that it will deactivate the accounts of users found to be downloading materials protected by copyright.
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