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IVPN Review 2022 - Keep This in Mind Before Buying
Established in Gibraltar in 2009, IVPN is focused on security, privacy, and standing against surveillance marketing tactics. I’d say this is a perfect VPN for enthusiastic privacy beginners — no leaks, no logs, you don't even need to submit your email address to sign up.
Speeds — Varying Download Speeds but Solid Upload Speeds
Even though IVPN prides itself on incredible speed and low latency, I noticed these vary depending on your distance from the servers. If you are lucky enough to be physically closer to the servers, you will get good speeds. As pointed out on its Help Center page:
On IVPN’s support page you can read about the differences in speed
But still, the speeds were reasonably good, even fast enough to stream movies in 4K. The closest servers to my actual location provided better results than those far away. I tested servers in the USA, Amsterdam, Singapore, UK, Germany, Canada, and Australia.
My baseline speed was: 100 Mbps download, 101 Mbps upload, and 12 ms ping. As expected, since the US server was the closest to my location, it produced the fastest results.
IVPN’s faraway servers in Australia, Japan, Germany, and Singapore cut my speed by more than half. The farthest server from my location was the one in Japan, and it had the slowest results.
You can expect slowdown using IVPN’s faraway servers
I am pleased to announce that you can game away all day on IVPN servers.
One of the beauties of IVPN's thoroughness is that it provides you with all the details necessary to set up all the routers it supports. For example, for pfSense or DD-WRT routers. If your console isn't supported, setting up the VPN on your router will cover all the connected devices.
Latency and lags are a big deal when it comes to online gaming. Great news, you won't have these issues with IVPN. When I tested games like Call of Duty and PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds while running IVPN, I found no lagging or freezing issues. Wonderful, right?
Your speeds should be fast enough for gaming when you connect to a nearby server using IVPN
A point to note, though, for the best experience while gaming with IVPN, you should always try to connect to the server closest to your actual location. Doing this will prevent latency issues, and your gaming experience will be just as great when playing with gamers across the globe as with your friends down the block.
Another important thing for me to point out — you should check the ping time of the servers you connect to from the IVPN app on your mobile or desktop. To do this, run a speed test, and the ping time will show. That will help you choose the server that lags the least.
Server Network — Sparse Network but With Self-Hosted Servers
IVPN currently has 70 servers in 30 countries. These servers are all bare metal servers (not virtual ones) and self-hosted, so that’s great regarding security and privacy.
Compared to other VPN providers in its class, I must say that this amount is a bit low. Having so few servers means that you may not be able to unblock as much content as you'd like, and your connection will be slow unless there are enough servers in your country.
Most of the servers are in North America, Western, and Eastern Europe, so users outside these regions may not always get the best speeds.
Here’s a table with all the server countries and city locations:
Hong Kong (Hong Kong)
Israel (Holon, Tel Aviv)
Canada (Montreal, Toronto)
Czech Republic (Prague)
United Kingdom (London, Manchester)
United States (Ashburn, Atlanta,
Chicago, Dallas, Las Vegas,
Los Angeles, Miami,
New Jersey, New York,
Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Seattle)
IVPN provides its Pro plan users with the MultiHop server feature.
Have you ever watched those movies when they try to trace the villain’s phone call and can’t because it’s being bounced all over the world? That is kind of what this feature is. The MultiHop server feature runs your connection through multiple servers. That makes it harder for those trying to snoop to get a hold of your details.
Fastest Server Feature
The Fastest Server feature connects you to the best server automatically.
Sometimes it’s the small things that make the difference. For example, say you had to manually locate the fastest server every time you decided to change servers while using the VPN app. Wouldn’t that be a bit annoying?
You can let IVPN choose the fastest server for you
But if you want to choose the server of your preference manually, you can do so as well.
IVPN has 225 to 380 IP addresses available to users. That may sound like a lot from an individual user standpoint, but it isn’t. I hope that IVPN will get more servers and IPs in the future to improve its service.
Security — Top-Tier Features for Total Privacy
Its security is top-notch and worry-free. IVPN uses AES 256-bit encryption with 4096-bit RSA encryption and PFS (perfect forward secrecy).
While checking out its DNS tab, I discovered that IVPN has the option for you to set a custom DNS server for your VPN connection. For most instances, I recommend that you use IVPN’s in-tunnel, no-log DNS servers as they offer maximum security and privacy.
The IVPN firewall is a great feature that routes all of your network traffic through the VPN to keep you secure. Once activated, it integrates deep into the operating system and filters all network packets. Because the firewall operates independently of the IVPN client, the firewall will continue filtering if any aspect of the VPN client fails. You can set it up to stay on or on-demand (manually on/off).
You can manually turn IVPN’s firewall on in the Settings menu
IVPN apps provide 4 protocol options: WireGuard, OpenVPN, IPSec, and IKEv2. You need to configure those last two manually, but you will be just fine if you use WireGuard or OpenVPN.
Android users can take advantage of IVPN's split tunneling feature. That means that you can run your data-sensitive apps through the VPN, and the others you can send through your regular internet connection.
These are the notable features of IVPN's apps:
Multi-Hop — a feature that routes your internet traffic through two servers making it more difficult for anyone to track you.
Split tunneling — a feature that allows you to choose which data packets to run through the VPN.
TCP Port 443 — a port that firewalls do not block because it is used for secure web pages.
IPV6 Leak Blocking — prevents your ISP assigned IPv6 address from revealing your real location.
First Party DNS — meaning IVPN does not use 3rd-party DNS for customer DNS requests.
DNS Leak Blocking — prevents your ISP assigned DNS details from revealing your real location.
VPN Kill Switch — a feature that prevents data leaks even if the VPN tunnel fails for some reason.
AntiTracker — a functionality that blocks malicious pages, data trackers, spam ads, and adware.
When I did the leak test, I found no leaks. A leak test will check if there are any IP or DNS leaks. To ensure no leaks, you should use the default DNS servers from IVPN.
My tests showed no leaks which means your data is protected with IVPN
"Zero user information is our goal."
This VPN service stores only the bare minimum required to operate. It doesn’t even collect any of your information for registration, not even an email. That is good and a bit bad because if it needs to contact you to provide essential information, they will have no way to do so.
IVPN only records your username, password, and payment information when you start a subscription. It gives you the option to provide an email address. In addition to not logging your information, it also does not log any of your online activity.
What does that mean for you? That's excellent news! If an entity were to seize IVPN’s servers, it wouldn't have any information stored for that entity to confiscate and investigate. So what happens if IVPN receives a legal order to turn over "the files?" Here's what it says about it:
If IVPN receives a legal order to turn over "the files” it reserves the right to refuse
IVPN can be so protective of its users' data because its headquarters are in Gibraltar.
Under the Data Protection Act 2004, companies in Gibraltar must be transparent regarding their information about users. According to the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority, people also have the right to request the data collected about them by Gibraltar-based businesses.
Also, Cure53 did an audit on IVPN, and it published the entire report. A 5-man Cure53 team conducted an audit over 18 days in February and March and verified all its privacy claims.
Speaking of transparency, the team at IVPN decided to publish the source code on GitHub. Only a few VPN providers have made their code public. IVPN has embraced a development model, and now anyone can contribute to developing its apps and software.
IVPN releases a warrant canary once a month to put your mind further at ease. This message states that IVPN did not receive any searches, seizures, or warrants for user information up to the point when the notice was published.
You can torrent with IVPN with only a few limitations. My tests revealed that torrenting worked with non-US servers. Because IVPN has received many DMCA notices, it asks customers not to use US servers and double-hop connections with US exit nodes.
My checks revealed no cap on the data that I can torrent, which is usually the case with the best VPNs for torrenting. However, please make sure to check the rules and regulations of your country as my team and I do not condone illegal torrenting.
Does IVPN Work in China? Yes and No
The answer to this is not a clear-cut yes or no. A few factors will affect this answer, so I contacted its team to explain the matter best. Here is what I got to understand.
You may be able to use IVPN in China
The government of China is known to enforce local ISPs to block outgoing VPN traffic using the Deep Packet Inspection (DPI), making it troublesome for the majority of VPN users to connect. However, even though China is blocking VPNs, there have not been cases of prosecuting tourists for using them.
It all depends on the network you connect to and the IVPN configuration. The only way to find out would be testing this while being connected to a network in China.
As a workaround, if your devices run Windows, macOS, or Linux, you could run obfsproxy together with the VPN app. That is a product from Tor that pretty much disguises your VPN traffic as regular HTTP traffic.
Simultaneous Device Connections — Up to 7, Depending on the Plan
You can only connect 2 devices simultaneously under IVPN's standard plan and 7 under its Pro plan. I think it could also improve in this regard. However, if you install the VPN to your router, you could connect more devices to the router.
Great news — IVPN partnered with Vilfo, and as a result, you can buy a pre-configured Vilfo router, saving you the hassle of setting up the VPN. After purchasing the router, all you’d need to do is enter your account ID and password. That is a great strategy to secure devices that do not get direct support from IVPN.
Point to note, based on the tests I conducted, multiple devices connected to the VPN do not affect its overall speed.
Device Compatibility — Compatible With Most Devices
IVPN has apps for the following device types: Windows, Linux, macOS, iOS, NAS devices (Synology, QNAP), and Android.You can also configure routers (DD-WRT, OpenWRT, pfSense, OPNsense, Tomato, Asuswrt-Merlin).
Setting up the VPN on a router is not exactly the easiest thing to do, but you can find information on how to do so on its Help page. There are also pre-configured routers from Vilfo that you can buy.
More good news, you can get protection even if you do not want to use the IVPN native app. You can always use client apps such as WireGuard or OpenVPN. IVPN does provide the OpenVPN set-up instructions for users who have Kodi or use a Fire TV Stick.
On IVPN’s website, you can find manual configuration set-up guides if you don’t want to use the IVPN app
Sadly, IVPN does not have browser extensions like most top-level VPN services.
Set-Up & Installation — Fairly Easy to Install and Use, With a Few Exceptions
You won’t have issues setting up the app for the most part.
You have to configure the Linux and router apps manually. The Linux app is not too hard, but you may have difficulties setting up the router version. Also, the app crashed on Windows on my first attempt to install it, but the second attempt was excellent.
You won’t have any trouble setting up IVPN’s app
In addition to a helpful customer service team, IVPN also has a comprehensive setup guide that you can use.
IVPN is a bit pricey, but you can pay monthly, yearly, or even weekly. There are 2 plans available: Standard and Pro.
Even though it starts at only $2/week — I still think it is expensive. Unfortunately, there’s no free trial available. There are a lot of VPNs that offer free trials.
You can pay for your plan with Bitcoin, Monero, cash, PayPal, or credit cards. Bitcoin is the most private payment option of the lot.
Unfortunately, you can’t pay with American Express or any other type of prepaid card. If you purchase a plan and find it insufficient or experience a deal-breaker, you can look into its 30-day money-back guarantee. All in all, I did not have any issues paying for my plan.
You can contact its support team any time, but even though it has a live chat option, its support is not always online. If IVPN's chat support team is online, the interface will indicate this. If you need help and the live chat option isn't available, you can use the email option, which is 24/7.
The support will contact you in a few hours (maximum 24 hours), and you can even encrypt your message if it contains sensitive data. I found its support team responsive, friendly, and knowledgeable. In addition to that, IVPN has a vast knowledge base.
Are you looking for a VPN service that takes security and privacy in the highest regard? If that's the case, IVPN is among the best. But, if you are looking for a streaming service, you should be looking elsewhere. The VPN connects to most devices but is a bit pricey, so that's something I’d think about before deciding.