Top Level Overview
Based in the US, IP Vanish, is a fairly well reviewed Tier 1 VPN company with notoriously easy use and secure encryption.
Though IPVanish’s US based location may raise some questions about the actual anonymity and security of the software due to US privacy laws, IPVanish claims that it is a strictly “no log” company.
Careful though, they do store some information, so be sure to read the ‘security & privacy’ section later on in this review.
IP Vanish has servers in over 60 countries and 146 cities, which include US and UK based locations, so you have options. But, you may run into issues if you’re looking to connect to (or from) more obscure places in Asia, Africa, the Middle East or Eastern Europe, which is a downer if you’re a frequent traveler.
IP Vanish has an unexciting refund policy: you have a 7 day money-back guarantee, which may be sufficient time, but isn’t as generous as other providers out there.
To test it out, you can do what I did and get a free 7 day trial, but that’s only if you sign up via their iOS app (at the time of writing).
Additionally, their customer service overall is sort of slacking. They say they have 24/7 support, but I think this is a stretch, personally. I found that LiveChat isn’t available after 5 pm, so it seems that the immediate customer service responders work on a business hours schedule.
In addition, I noticed that emails to their support center are answered sort of erratically, probably in ticket order. It could take anywhere from 15 minutes to 5+ hours to get answered, which is kind of a lot if you’re trying to hunker down and work.
But, IPVanish is cheap for the value you get. So read on, dear reader, as this could be for you.
IPVanish plans start at $10.00 per month, which is on the high-to-average side for a strong and secure VPN service.
Though if you’re looking for more of a deal, check out their other offers, which include a more moderate $8.99/month for 3 months, or the best: $6.49/month for one year.
$6.49 is a pretty great price for what you’re getting with IPVanish. You’d be hard pushed to find a VPN with many of these bells and whistles at that price.
Though IPVanish doesn’t have hugely extensive coverage in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe, the fact that it has servers in 60 countries is still pretty good.
I would say if you’re really invested in visiting or working out of these regions, you might want to search elsewhere, as I have because I travel in Asia a lot, but for more general usage that’s not hugely location-specific, IPVanish would be a fine choice.
Fortunately, IPVanish can also be connected to any device, from Windows to Mac to Android and operates with systems like Routers or iOS or Ubuntu. This flexibility is definitely helpful because sometimes your technology is cherry-picked from different companies.
I don’t really have this issue, as I’m mostly working on Apple. However, I respect that there are Android users out there (I have a Nexus 7 too) and they’ll get just as good a service with IPVanish.
I noticed that the service is actually sort of more friendly with mobile devices, which I’ll dive into more below.
With IPVanish, you’ll be able to connect up to 2 devices simultaneously. This is a pro if you’re a minimalist who just needs a streamlined way to secure your computer and phone from compromised networks, but if you’re juggling three or more devices (like me), using IPVanish will leave at least one out.
I like to work from laptop, mobile and tablet, so I sort of discounted a subscription with IPVanish because I like comprehensive coverage.
Again, if you’re a technological minimalist, one IPVanish subscription might work for you and a partner, but if you’ve got a passel of different devices or a business or a larger family, an additional subscription would be necessary, which is obviously a bit pricey, so I would recommend looking elsewhere.
For those who believe that ease of use and convenient downloading is a deal breaker, IPVanish may be for you.
The company makes it extremely easy to sign up- all you need is an email, a password and a payment method.
Bitcoin is accepted, for those concerned about complete security.
It’s also quite easy to download from the app store on your mobile device or tablet. I’m an iOS user and it was quite simple!
IPVanish’s interface is fairly straight-forward and everything is laid out neatly, from the main menu to the connection options and preferences. Most VPN services I’ve encountered are fairly simple to operate and IPVanish is no different.
Unlike other VPN services that seem to follow a very basic UI, IPVanish has a distinct, ‘computer nerd’ look to its operating system. Not complaining, it actually made it seem more legitimate to me.
Security & Privacy
A recently unveiled feature at IPVanish includes an IP cycle feature, which I actually really like. Every 45 minutes, it cycles out your IP address, which is a definitely plus for anonymity.
Another pro for security: while IPVanish is transitioning between IP addresses, its built in ‘kill switch’ (which prevents exchange of info in case your VPN sputters out) automatically covers you.
I appreciated this feature a lot- I liked that the service was constantly shifting my IP- it definitely felt secure.
IPVanish uses military and government grade encryption, which is 256-bit, so it seems extremely secure.
IPVanish is a zero-log company, and and they state directly that “users privacy is our main concern,” which is a no-brainer if you’re operating a VPN service.
They do not track or log web activity outside of IPVanish.com, nor do they track any web activities when users are logged into their VPN service. But hang on….
When you create an online account with us from outside the United States, you agree to the terms of this Policy and our Terms of Service, and give your consent to the transfer to and processing of such information in the United States, which may not offer an equivalent level of data protection as that in the European Union, Canada or other countries.”
I feel like this is telling enough about US privacy laws to dissuade those who are hyper vigilant about not being hacked, tracked or monitored from using a US based VPN service.
However, my VPN needs are pretty non salacious. I travel frequently, and often my favorite movies and shows are not available in my current location which is such a drag if all you want is a reminder of home in a foreign place.
Fortunately, IPVanish seems pretty effective at allowing users to access previously blocked content and stream to your heart’s content, secure in the knowledge that your personal information is not exposed or potentially compromised, at least abroad, that is.
They also offer anonymous torrenting, if that is your thang.
I mentioned this above, but IPVanish also offers a ‘kill switch,’ which is a fantastic (and necessary) addition to any VPN service because it prevents internet traffic that doesn’t flow through the VPN if you have a blip in connection.
This makes me feel so much better about banking online or checking my mobile finance app on a shared wifi network.
Again, just a word to the wise:
IPVanish is based out of the US and is an American company. Therefore, it is subject to US privacy laws. This may or may not be acceptable, based on your VPN needs.
If you’re a user that is absolutely adamant about not being tracked, or one that wants to stream highly restricted content, you may want to look into a VPN that is sourced from a country with less controversial privacy laws.
For my (simple) needs, IPVanish’s US based location does not seem to be a huge issue, though it does not inspire an enormous amount of confidence about how much of my info can really be hidden.
Lastly, like some other VPN services, IPVanish will allow interested/paranoid users to pay with ‘bitcoin,’ while accepting traditional payment methods, including PayPal. I, however, opted in with their 7 day free trial.
Speed & Performance
I’m not sure why all of these VPN companies keep touting that they have the ‘fastest VPN on Earth,’ because IPVanish still does and they absolutely do not have the fastest. This was a downside for me.
I guess technically, upload and download speeds were only impacted by a few bytes, but it was the effect on the operating system that got me. It made my device feel clunky and slow and that’s definitely not something I want to deal with every time I’m connecting to a VPN service to use the internet…which is all of the time. Definite drawback here.
Do consider though that what’s good for the Goose isn’t necessarily good for the gander. VPN speeds differ wildly for different providers in different locations. That’s why I use 3-4 services – to ensure I always find a fast connection.
So while IPVanish might be slow in Thailand when connecting to a US-based IP address, VyprVPN might be super fast. Take the free trials and test run these things yourself.
As previously stated, IPVanish’s customer service is not that fantastic. Their claim to 24/7 support is legitimate, because they will get back to you, but only after an indeterminate amount of time.
Also, their Live Chat portals close at 5 pm, so if you have an issue after then, you’ll just have to wait for them to answer your email, which- in my experience- could take as long as 5 hours. You can also give them a call.
IPVanish will offer you a refund solely within the first 7 days of using the service. A refund will be provided after 7 to 10 business days. This is not as generous as I’ve seen from other VPN companies, but it’s not to be laughed at and is still ample time to fully test-run the service.
Signing Up & Getting Started
With IPVanish, signing up is pretty easy. Just pick an email address, a password and have your payment details handy. Like some other VPNs, IPVanish allows you to pay with bitcoin, if that’s something you’re interested in. From there, you’ll be prompted to download the program. Easy peasy.
IPVanish Review Conclusion
I thought that IPVanish was (overall) a solid product. They did offer secure encryption and a variety of other features that made me feel secure, like IP switching and the kill switch.
However, the slightly decreased operating speed of my mobile device was, quite frankly, irritating and could be a major drawback for frequent users. Don’t take my word for this though, as in your key locations it might be fine for you.
After experiencing great customer service from other VPNs, I was a bit disappointed by IPVanish’s customer service policies. There was a definite lag in service, although they note that they have 24/7 customer assistance.
IPVanish wins for ease of use, which is a necessity for me. I appreciate simplicity in VPN programs and technology in general. I work in Cyber security; I know how things should work.
Of course I appreciate that IPVanish is a ‘no log’ company and that they are focused on privacy, but it is not totally reassuring to me that they’re based out of the US and consequently subject to the privacy laws there.
The 1-year plan is cheap as chips (as the English say) too. So if you want cheap, reliable, secure enough to bank and watch streaming services in different countries then this will work for you.
- No-log company
- Military grade encryption
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Customer Service
- Maximum 2 device connection
- US based company