Review

IVPN Review


Review of: IVPN
VPN by IVPN:
Dimitri M

Reviewed by:
Rating:
4
On May 10, 2016
Last modified:December 21, 2016

Summary:

IVPN is among the top VPN providers around with consistent speeds and powerful security. Read our IVPN review to find out more

If IVPN was a decent VPN provider in our last review, it’s made the leap to greatness on account of some impressive speeds, hefty encryption, and a client that almost too responsive to be true. While the pricing could be lower, the overall package on offer amounts to nothing less than a superior VPN solution.

  • ProsPROS
  • Consistent & speedy
  • Multi-hop VPN
  • Strong encryption
  • Intuitive & functional Windows client
  • ConsCONS
  • Price
  • No LiveChat support

Visit IVPN »

Pricing & Plans

IVPN is dissimilar to most other VPN providers in that you may only choose from one service plan, though discounts come into play depending on how long a subscription is for. The good news is that all plans come fully featured, and there’s a 3-day free trial period that allows you to test the waters before you commit for the long haul. This is great as you’d understandably want to see if IVPN is good value for your money considering the overall high price month-to-month.

IVPN Pricing

Refunds for an IVPN subscription are only available for a week, barring “exceptional circumstances.” Said problems would be a fault of their network as opposed to a power outage or virus on your end. The refund policy is clearly aimed then as a deterrent to folks who enjoy taking advantage of freemium trial-services for exploitative gain or some cheap laughs, while ruining a fine, serviceable model for the rest of us. I was pleased to see both IVPN’s stance on the issue, in addition to the screengrab below, posted to avoid customer confusion.

IVPN Refund Policy

Payment is a straightforward process with four options to choose from: major credit card (processed by a third party), PayPal, Bitcoin using BitPay, and cash. The lattermost option has been in effect since 2010, but you’ll need to select an annual plan to view the cash payment option.  Don’t be alarmed at any discrepancy between ‘3-day free trial and 7-day refund’, in the images above. You essentially have a week to get an unconditional refund (I checked).
IVPN Payment

Features

You can quickly check on the state of any of the 21 IVPN servers in 12 countries from the Server Status Page shown below. The usual suspects in the US and UK are represented. However, there’s only one server in Hong Kong, and none in South America, Africa, or Australia – slim pickings for much of the globe. That said, this may not be catastrophic, as is discussed in the speedtesting section of this review.

IVPN Server Status

IVPN has moved locations to Gibraltar since our last review, ostensibly in an effort to keep their headquarters in both a stable geopolitical climate, as well as one friendly to digital privacy. We’ll delve further into Gibraltar’s legal situation regarding data-sharing, but it’s suffice to say that it’s much friendlier than those familiar with the island’s colonial British past might first believe.

IVPN About

As outlined quite clearly in the About section above, and reinforced in the Privacy Policy and Terms of Service (both of which are always worth a look), IVPN is focused on keeping the internet free and open through the paradox of encrypting individual connections. What’s our world without a bit of contradiction, right?

IVPN Shared IPs

Shared IP addresses are in place to ensure that your unique IP isn’t as easily identifiable as it would be otherwise. You’re also allowed up to three simultaneously connected devices per any given session.

Visit IVPN »

Security & Privacy

As mentioned in the bit above, Gibraltar is a friendly hosting location. Better still, IVPN is a logless service. The VPN software doesn’t keep usage or connection logs which is just about all we could ever hope for from any provider. That being said, it’s always worth remembering that VPNs never make you completely anonymous, strictly-speaking, in that an element of faith is required that IVPN is true to its claims. My experiences in testing and other user responses have led me to conclude nothing less than honest business practices, but it’s always worth keeping in mind nonetheless.

IVPN DMCA

As you can see above, there’s a sort of fail safe in that IVPN can’t respond to DMCA notices with any particular user’s information, seeing as how none of it is stored.

Moreover, P2P is happily allowed, provided you stick to non-US servers – whether or not you happen to be using a VPN server based in the US as an entry or exit node to a multi-hop connection.

IVPN P2P

Now for some weighty bits on encryption. The data channel is encrypted using AES 256-bit keys, with SHA-1 used for HMAC authentication. Meanwhile, the control channel is encrypted using 4096-bit certificates generating using SHA-1. This level of security should be more than enough for anyone not looking to use the web for illicit activities beyond circumventing free speech restrictions or access to blocked sites. Port forwarding is enabled, but off by default.

The Website

IVPN Website

IVPN’s business model is enhanced through an overall modern, stylish, and minimalist website. Navigation wasn’t harder than scanning around for a split second, then clicking on the relevant section. Links were well laid out in that regard.

IVPN Blog

IVPN’s blog is also a pleasant surprise, with more nuanced privacy fare then provider blogs tend to have. The IVPN team have taken the time to delve deeper than alarmist clickbait or bland media-orientated regurgitation, instead taking a practical magnifying lens to the sometimes confusing world of information security.

Support

IVPN Intro Guides

Support is somewhat mixed, as LiveChat isn’t currently offered. You’ll have to make due, instead, with a plethora of (quite frankly splendid) setup guides, and a well-populated FAQ section. There are also close to 20 free privacy and technical guides covering everything from how to pay anonymously to creating nested chains of Tor and VPN. The guides shown above have been featured in tech forums across the web, and helped to grow the IVPN brand while also aiding those in search of technical information in an easy-to-understand format. 
IVPN Advanced Guides

If you can’t find the answer to your problem in the aforementioned guides and FAQ, you may open a support email ticket or directly email the support team.

IVPN BestVPN Review

The team responded back to my queries with professionalism and properly addressed my points within roughly a single day’s time.

The Process

Signing Up

Signing up is a three step process: enter your (working) email address, pay, and open the email for its instructions.

The IVPN Windows VPN client

Once you’ve followed the setup instructions and installed the IVPN Windows client (it should take no more than 10 minutes), it’s readily apparent how smooth the interface is. Best of all, you’ll quickly find the app to be full of the features you’d need, including a killswitch, auto-boot, and the aforementioned multi-hop connection.

IVPN Client

What’s interesting about the IVPN firewall (killswitch) is that you may opt to have it on at all times to keep any connections to the internet withing the VPN tunnel, even if you haven’t opened or run the IVPN client. These advanced options are in Settings – IVPN Firewall, as shown below.

IVPN Review

You may also opt to modulate your connection settings, according to speed needs at any given moment, or use obfsproxy or another option to evade government censors. This is great news, especially in light of recent developments in China.

IVPN Client Proxy Settings

What good are bells and whistles if the substance is lacking? Nothing at all, which is why I can honestly rate IVPN’s Windows client as one of, if not the most pleasing I’ve come across. Its interface has a great look and functionality which the majority of users will find easy to use and navigate.

Performance (Speed, DNS, WebRTC and IPv6 Tests)

Speeds were in the average to excellent range. As expected, multi-hop slowed down the HK-NL double connection against the UK test server, but not by too much. US server speeds were surprisingly excellent related to our test location proximity and overall above-average than those of some competitors, coming in at an identical 9.4 Mbps downstream.

IVPN Download
IVPN Upload
Graphs show highest, lowest and average speeds for each server and location. See our full speed test explanation for more detail.

Better yet, DNS leak checks came back fine, though it’s always good to give these an occasional look-over, to keep your devices as secure as possible. Head over to ipleak.net for most DNS checks, and test-IPv6.com for the ones in its title. For that extra peace of mind, you may also use a third test amalgamating the two at doileak.com.

Other Platforms

IVPN is available on most major platforms besides Windows, including Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, and DD-WRT routers. It offers the same high-grade security benefits across devices. The OS X client is identical to its Windows counterpart in both function and form, which is great news for Apple fans, or those who like variety in their tech. The setup guides were well-illustrated and clearly geared at a primer level to help beginners get started, in contrast to the more technical guides in the dedicated ‘Privacy Guides’ section.

IVPN Windows Setup

IVPN Review Conclusion

I liked

  • Consistent speed
  • Flawless client
  • Detailed guides
  • Transparency

I wasn’t so sure about

  • No user forum or LiveChat
  • Price
  • Lack of server coverage on some continents

I hated

  • Nothing

IVPN is on a decided upswing, despite some concerns about support and sparse server coverage in some areas. That’s because the existing network is fast to begin with, coupled with excellent reliability. What’s more, the entire IVPN service is built on the same privacy and security model as we are, as shown by its EFF membership, up-front customer relations, and educational privacy guides. Click the blue jump and give the trial a go today – you won’t be disappointed.

Visit IVPN»


Dimitri M Expat in Europe - pathos for good conversation and Italia's Grande Juventus.

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7 responses to “IVPN Review

    • Not Rated

    Signed up to test IVPN today and compare it to my existing provider IP Vanish. IVPN definitely feels a lot snappier when browsing than ipvanish, and also provides significantly better ping times to certain game servers that I use which are based in France (I am in London and use the London VPN servers). However I have been having endless trouble loading their own website when connected to IVPN, giving timeout errors most of the time. I also have various intermittent issues which seem to be related to SSL and cause both my bank and my accountants websites to fail to load. None of this is an issue when I am on ipvanish or when without a vpn.

    Gaming is an even bigger issue, I am getting random lag spikes when playing TF2. I went and tested various sites (BBC, a TF2 game server and thinkbroadband) with a pinging tool and it also showed regular lag spikes to all of the sites I tested (tested each site with 2000 pings, several times over and had no such lag spikes when using ipvanish). This is a dealbreaker for me, I cannot put up with random lag spikes all the time.

    It’s a real shame as aside from the lag spikes and the issues with their own website and with SSL, the service is definitely faster than ipvanish, and with IVPN, I have no trouble loading ryanair or british airways websites, and no irritating captchas all the time when using google, all of which are issues on ipvanish. I have emailed support using the IVPN ticketing system to see what they say (and the ticketing system doesn’t work very well either because it has flagged the department to send it to as “Billing” when it has nothing to do with billing, and there is no way to change it).

      1. I have now ditched them. After initially trying to blame their own website failing to load on packet loss, they then ignored it when I told them it wasn’t. The biggest issue was the gaming ping and after a lot more testing, I wouldn’t touch this VPN with a barge pole if you want to game on it or do anything that requires a stable low ping. The ping was very low, but the spikes up to 250-350ms were very poor. They completely failed to address it and the response I got was basically that they are focused on security and so gaming/low latency was not a goal for them. In other words they don’t care that their network is crap and are not going to do anything about it (they didn’t even try to dispute it). If the network was good then you wouldn’t see ping spikes all the time. Yes the low ping was definitely better than ipvanish but I do not have the lag spikes with ipvanish. They go on about being focused on security, yet ipvanish (and many others) are just as secure, and do not have the issue with lag spikes. IVPN had potential as their network is clearly fast but they apparently have no interest in sorting out the issues and I have cancelled my trial.

        I still have issues with ipvanish (google captchas, torrent trackers not working, ping not great, ryanair not working, british airways not working, naitonal lottery not working….all of which was not an issue on IVPN) so I am still on the lookout for something better. A VPN with a good no logs policy and that doesn’t have these niggling issues. The search continues.

  1. I did not see any mention of IVPN services being governed by US law on their website, however, the IVPN User Acceptance Agreement for the Desktop Client would suggest further clarification on this point is needed.

    In order to download the IVPN Desktop Client, users are required to accept the User Agreement. My understanding was that IVPN were based in Gibraltar and beholden to EU Data Retention Laws. However, Section 9.2 – Governing Law & Venue for the USer Agreement in their Desktop Client states:

    “9.2 Governing Law and Venue.
    This Agreement shall be governed, construed, interpreted, enforce and litigated by, and the relations between the parties shall be determined in accordance with, the laws of the State of Texas, USA, excluding conflict of laws and provisions, and the applicable Federal laws, regulations and international treaties of the United States of America, but specifically excluding the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods. This Agreement, which is in English, shall be interpreted in accordance with the commonly understood meaning of the words and phrases in the United States of America.”

    I have contacted IVPN tech support seeking clarification as to whether or not they would be obliged to comply with the provisions in the US Patriot Act and others.

    I received the same reply twice asking me to link them to the part of their website where it shows this information with no answer to the specific questions posed.

    It seems that the tech support representative cannot, or will not, seek out the IVPN User Acceptance Agreement for themselves and provide an answer.

    Full Agreement, which I did send to IVPN, pasted below (Edit – full agreement takes me past the maximum amount of characters allowed in a post).

    1. Hi Alan,

      Please note that review was written by Dmitri, who is no longer with BestVPN.com. That is certainly very interesting. I believe we have plans to re-review this service i the near future, so will investigate further then.

    Been using IVPN for nearly 2 years now. Been very happy with their service from day one, and I will definitely renew my subscription the next year as well. Very fast, very stable, even using the Hong Kong server in slow-internet-Thailand is not bad. Some people think it’s “pricey” but I feel you get the quality you pay for! 5/5

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