Ivacy Review

Ivacy

Ivacy is a privacy-friendly no-logs VPN service based in Singapore. As we shall see in this review, it unblocks most major streaming service, is blazing fast, offers servers just about everywhere, and implements great technical security.

BestVPN.com Score 9.4 out of 10
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Ivacy is a privacy-friendly no-logs VPN service based in Singapore. As we shall see in this review, it unblocks most major streaming service, is blazing fast, offers servers just about everywhere, and implements great technical security.

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VPN Stats

  • Server Locations 50
  • Average Speed 81.08 Mbit/s
  • Simultaneous Connections 5
  • Jurisdiction Singapore

Likes

  • No logs
  • Blazing fast speed performance
  • 30-day refund plus 7-day free trial
  • Split tunneling (not Mac)
  • P2P allowed

Dislikes

  • Support wobbles on very technical questions
  • Too much website tracking

Features

Port forwarding
Total servers 450
Countries 50
Simultaneous connections 5
Bare metal or virtual servers A combination
Router Support
Routers Supported DD-WRT
Port selection

Supported platforms

Windows
MacOS
iOS
Android
Linux

Protocols offered

PPTP
L2TP/IPsec
SSTP
IKEv2
OpenVPN

Privacy

Jurisdiction Singapore
Logs Traffic
Logs Connections
Logs Timestamps
Logs Bandwidth
Logs IP Address
Logs Aggregated or Anonymized Data
Website tracking? Extensive

Performance

BestVPN.com SpeedTest (max/burst) 258.28
BestVPN.com SpeedTest (average) 81.08
Data limits
Bandwidth limits
IPv4 leak detected?
IPv6 leak detected?
WebRTC leak detected?

Payment

Visa/MasterCard
Cryptocurrency

Security

Kill Switch
Obfuscation (stealth)
Self-hosted/Proxied DNS Self-hosted
IPv4 leak protection
IPv6 leak protection
WebRTC leak protection

Support

Free trial 7-days
24-hour support
Live chat support
Money-back Guarantee
Money back guarantee length 30

Unblocks:

Netflix
iPlayer
Amazon Prime
Hulu

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Features

Port forwarding
Total servers 450
Countries 50
Simultaneous connections 5
Bare metal or virtual servers A combination
Router Support
Routers Supported DD-WRT
Port selection

Ivacy allows users to connect up to five devices at once using the same account. Although fast becoming the industry standard, we still consider this a generous allowance that will allow most people to connect all their VPN-capable devices at all times.

This provider also offers a very generous 550+ servers in 100+ locations in 50+ countries around the world. This includes locations in areas often neglected by VPN companies, such as South and Central America and Africa.

These servers a mix of bare metal and much less secure software-based VPS instances on shared servers, but unlike many VPN services, Ivacy was happy to provide a list of which ones are which. This makes it easy to choose to use only bare metal servers if privacy is a high priority for you.

P2P torrenting is not only permitted, but Ivacy offers optimized P2P servers which it says provide the best seeds for filesharing.

Split-tunneling

This feature allows you to choose which programs and apps use the VPN tunnel, and to exclude the rest.  Split tunneling is very useful if you only need the VPN for certain reasons.

Ivacy app settings

You can, for example, route all Chrome traffic through the VPN in order to access Netflix and torrent sites, while using Firefox without the VPN for your daily internet needs. This is a great feature, so it’s a bit of a shame that it’s only currently available to Windows and Android users.

Dedicated IP addresses

Ivacy can provide subscribers with dedicated static IP addresses. These are particularly useful for accessing streaming services which block IPs known to belong to VPN services, as it is unlikely the dedicated IPs will be blacklisted. They are also less likely to trigger irritating captchas on websites.

Users must, however, pay an additional $1.99 per month for this add-on feature. It is also worth noting that using a dedicated IP is not as private as using a shared IP, as it very easy to trace that IP back to its sole user.  But can you use the dedicated IP only when you want to, and connect to shared servers when you want more privacy.

Secure downloading

This unusual feature automatically scans all downloads with “advanced server level virus and malware protection.” We have no idea how effective this is at catching viruses, and would certainly not advocate using it to replace your regular anti-malware protection. That said, an additional layer of malware protection can only be a good thing in our book.

NAT firewall and port forwarding

Many VPN services offer a NAT firewall as standard, although this can be a mixed blessing. A VPN NAT firewall runs on the VPN servers and aims to protect users from hackers by preventing unsolicited new connections (once a connection is established incoming connections are permitted, though).

The problem is that this slows down P2P torrenting because it removes the sharing aspect from filesharing. It also makes games and media severs, plus LAN resources such as printers and hard drives, inaccessible from behind a VPN connection.

The solution to this is port forwarding, which allows you to open a door (“port”) through the firewall in order to allow incoming connections to be initiated. Please see What is a NAT Firewall? and our VPN Port Forwarding Guide for more information on this subject.

Ivacy offers a NAT firewall with port forwarding as an add-on feature for an additional $1 per month. Note that port forwarding is redundant without a NAT firewall, as it simply is not needed.

Ivacy VPN settings

Is the lack of a NAT firewall with regular packages something to be concerned about? In our experience probably not, although the threat is hard to quantify. On the other hand, providing a NAT firewall but no port forwarding solution (as many other providers do) can be very frustrating for torrenters and those who need to access resources located behind the VPN connection…

Netflix and iPlayer Unblocking

Netflix
iPlayer
Amazon Prime
Hulu

We are impressed to note that Ivacy is effective at unblocking our benchmark US Netflix and BBC iPlayer streaming services. And although not tested, it should also be effective at unblocking many others.

It should also be noted that if any services proves particularity difficult to access, paying a little extra for a dedicated IP address should fix the problem.

Please also check out our Best VPNs for Netflix and Best VPNs for BBC iPlayer articles if accessing these services is important to you. 

Speed and Performance

BestVPN.com SpeedTest (max/burst) 258.28
BestVPN.com SpeedTest (average) 81.08
Data limits
Bandwidth limits
IPv4 leak detected?
IPv6 leak detected?
WebRTC leak detected?

At the time of writing this review we have only just started speed testing Ivacy, so are not sure how representative the speed results we have will be over a longer period of time. What we have seen so far, however, is very impressive.

Indeed with a Weighted Speedtest Result of 81.08 Mbits/s and Max Speed/Burst Result of 258.28 Mbits/s, Ivacy is currently the fastest VPN service on our books. It will be interesting to see whether Ivacy can keep this level of performance up over an extended period of testing.

Drilling into our data more deeply, Ivacy’s DNS lookup times Average 0.61 seconds and Max 1.95, while connection times Average 5.2 seconds and Max 6.0 seconds. All of which is about average for VPN services.

IP leak tests

We ran DNS and WebRTC leak tests using Ivacy’s Windows and macOS clients (we would love to also test for leaks in mobile apps, but for various technical reasons this is not possible at the present time).

Ivacy told us that to ensure IP addresses are not leaked via the WebRTC browser “feature,” users should use its Chrome or Firefox browser add-on in addition to its client software.

We would normally criticize Ivacy for not warning users more clearly about this, but in our tests we detected no leaks anyway. This includes any regular IPv4 and IPv6 DNS leaks, but also WebRTC (tested with IPv6) leaks even when not using a browser add-on.

For more information about the danger posed by IP leaks, please check out A Complete Guide to IP Leaks.

Pricing

 

All Ivacy customers have access to all basic features this provider has to offer. As is common, however, heavy discounts are available to those willing to buy lengthy subscriptions up-front.

As previously discussed, the dedicated IP addresses and a NAT firewall with port forwarding features require purchasing additional add-ons. This could be viewed as slightly annoying, but year+ packages are very cheap in the first place, and these are not features most users will likely use.

A 7-day money back guarantee is available for one-month subscriptions, and a 30-day money back guarantee for all longer ones. An exception is if you pay in cryptocurrencies, which are understandably not refundable. 

Supported Payment Platforms

Ivacy accepts payment via a wide range of services. PayPal and all major credit/debit cards are, of course, accepted, as is payment via Alipay and Perfect money. A big selection of international and non-standard payment methods also accepted via the Paymentwall payment processor.

You can also potentially pay anonymously for an Ivacy subscription using Bitcoin via the BitPay payment processor, or using cryptocurrencies such as Dash via CoinPayments. As always, remember that even if you pay for a VPN anonymously, the VPN provider will know your real IP address.

Ease of use

To sign-up, just provide payment details, a valid email address, and a password of your choosing. A confirmation email will soon appear in your Inbox which provides links to everything you’ll need to get started.

The Windows Client

The first thing to strike us was that the Ivacy client is visually attractive, with a cleanly laid-out user interface. It is also very easy to use – just hit the big “on” button, fill in your account details (first time only) and you are good to go.

Ivacy VPN app

By default, the client automatically finds the best server for you. You can, of course, choose a country or city if you wish to connect to somewhere specific.

Ivacy VPN app 2

The client uses the IKEv2 VPN protocol by default to secure connections. This is a fast protocol and is considered highly secure, although it has not been battle-tested in the way that OpenVPN has. You can opt to use OpenVPN (UDP or TCP) instead ( and “IPSec”, but why would you want to?). Please see VPN Encryption: The Complete Guide for information on VPN protocols.

The client includes a kill switch, which must be enabled in Settings. This worked well when we simulated an internet drop-out – using Wireshark we could see that at no point was our real IP address exposed when the internet connection was enabled and the VPN client reconnected.

We also force-closed the client and all associated processes to simulate a software crash. Our real IP address remained hidden, which tells us that the Ivacy client modifies the system (Windows Defender) firewall rules to implement the kill switch. This is our favored approach as it means even if the client crashes, your IP address will not become exposed.

macOS

The Mac client looks and functions almost identically to the Windows client, except that split tunneling and dedicated IPs are not available. Dedicated IPs can be set up manually using the macOS system network settings, though.

It also uses the “IPsec” VPN protocol, although as I discuss in Protocols and Encryption section below, it is not entirely clear what this means.

There is no kill switch option, but a quick test showed that a system firewall kill switch is automatically baked into the client.

Android

The OpenVPN (UDP and TCP) Android app is surprisingly fully-featured, with a kill switch and split tunneling present and correct. 

Ivacy mobile app

The app also offers a Multi-Port feature that Ivacy says automatically scan for open ports to quickly connect to, in order to provide best port connectivity. We don’t know any easy way to test this feature, but are happy to take Ivacy’s word on it.

Other platforms

Ivacy also offers an iOS app, which we did not look at. It uses IKEv2 and has Ivacy’s secure download feature. It has no kill switch, but no iOS VPN app we know of does thanks to Apple’s strict developer guidelines.

We are slightly surprised (and concerned) that Linux support comes primarily in the form of a guide on how to setup a PPTP in Ubuntu connection using Network Manager. A PPTP and SSTP guide is also available for Mint, but the focus on PPTP is perplexing since PPTP is a highly insecure protocol.

Fortunately, Ivacy makes regular OpenVPN setup files available so you can configure OpenVPN manually using our own How to install a VPN in Linux guide.

The Ivacy website also provides setup guides for Kodi (OpenVPN), BlackBerry (IKEv2) and consoles (via sharing a VPN connection). There is also a PPTP setup guide for DD-WRT routers.

In addition to actual platform support, Ivacy offers browser add-ons for Chrome and Firefox.

Browser add-ons

These provide an HTTPS-encrypted SOCKS5 proxy connection for the browser only. HTTPS should keep these connections secure, but Ivacy markets the add-ons as for steaming only. And in this regard they work very well, successfully unblocking both US Netflix and BBC iPlayer.

The browser add-ons also provide WebRTC leak protection. Although we didn’t actually detect any WebRTC leaks without the browser add-on installed, it is probably a good idea to use one anyway.

Customer service and support

Free trial 7-days
24-hour support
Live chat support
Money-back Guarantee
Money back guarantee length 30

Support is available 24/7 via Live Chat and email. Live chat response time is instant and friendly, and we found the quality of responses to be generally great. Email response time varied from very quick to a few hours and, again, was good.

There is also a help database with an FAQ and many useful articles, although it is a long way from being comprehensive. Many articles also seem to relate to outdated versions of Ivacy’s software.

Privacy and security

Kill Switch
Obfuscation (stealth)
Self-hosted/Proxied DNS Self-hosted
IPv4 leak protection
IPv6 leak protection
WebRTC leak protection

Jurisdiction and logging policy

Ivacy is based in Singapore, which is a fairly popular location for VPN servers. Singapore suffers from a repressive political atmosphere, but ISPs (and presumably VPN providers) are not legally required to log users’ internet activity.

Ivacy itself claims to keep no logs at all, but it does keep “minimal reports and statistics required for quality customer support and services rendered.

The data collected does not contain any identifiable information or user data like DNS requests, traffic details or IP addresses. The only thing known is the countries where users are originating from, which once again has no information of value.

We monitor crash reports and conduct diagnostics to evaluate our software to provide smooth functionality of our extensions, client software and apps.”

Since IP addresses and other personally identifiable information is not logged, Ivacy meets our definition of a no logs VPN.

Protocols and Encryption

PPTP
L2TP/IPsec
SSTP
IKEv2
OpenVPN

The Windows client uses IKEv2 by default, but also supports OpenVPN and “IPsec.” The Mac client uses “IPsec,” the Android client uses OpenVPN, and the iOS client uses IKEv2.

What “IPsec” actually means here is something of a mystery. IPsec is an authentication suite that must be used in conjunction with a tunneling protocol to provide a secure VPN connection. For commercial services, this tunneling protocol is almost always either L2TP or IKEv2, and where the term is used on its own, almost always refers to L2TP/IPsec.

Ivacy’s support, however, insisted quite strongly that IPsec is used on its own. We assume this is a mistake on the support staffs’ part, and that IPsec means L2TP/IPsec. If it is indeed the case, then Mac users should be aware that although considered generally secure, L2TP/IPsec is widely understood to have been cracked by the NSA.

As always, we look in detail at the OpenVPN settings this provider uses. Not only do they provide a good indicator of the care a service takes over encryption, but it is also the best way to compare like for like across VPN services. Ivacy uses the following OpenVPN settings:

Data channel: an AES-256-CBC cipher with HMAC SHA256 hash authentication

Control channel: AES-256-GCM cipher with DH-4096 handshake encryption and HMAC SHA256 hash authentication.

Ivacy stated to us on more than one occasion that it does not use perfect forward secrecy for OpenVPN, but this should be automatically provided by the Diffie-Hellman exchange used for handshake encryption (and, again, we will assume it is). 

Using a Diffie-Hellman exchange on its own to secure the TLS handshake can be problematic thanks to its susceptibility to the logjam attack (a result of its re-use of a limited set of prime numbers). Using a large 4096-bit key size, however, effectively mitigates this issue.

Assuming that PFS is, in fact, used (which we believe it must be, despite what Ivacy told us), the OpenVPN settings are very strong.

Other security features

As already noted, all Ivacy’s apps (except the iOS one) have a kill switch, which on desktop platforms uses the system firewall settings to ensure it will stay in place even if the client cashes.

We also detected no IP leaks of any kind on any tested platform, although it is safest to use one of Ivacy’s browser extensions to ensure against WebRTC leaks. Most apps also feature “secure downloading” malware protection.

The only VPN obfuscation tech provided by Ivacy is the ability to switch OpenVPN connections to TCP (port 443) in apps which support OpenVPN (Windows and Android). This makes VPN traffic look like regular HTTPS traffic, and can be effective at evading VPN blocks. It will not work if more sophisticated deep packet inspection techniques are used, though.

Website tracking

The Ivacy website uses a number of third-party trackers. Ivacy told us that these include Google Analytics, but we did not detect this tracker in our tests.

Security and Privacy

Ivacy being a Singaporean company means it is in a great environment when it comes to privacy and data retention. While freedom of speech isn't a bright spot in Singapore (thanks to the current ruling party), consumer data and the right to privacy are broadly respected. 

Ivacy gives users the ability to choose from a number of protocols when connecting to a server: OpenVPN (UDP and TCP), PPTP, L2TP, and SSTP. However, the amount of OpenVPN locations (11 in total) is somewhat low when looking at the other protocols (75+ locations).

Ivacy uses an AES-256-CBC cipher in combination with a standard RSA-2048 key for OpenVPN connections. These levels of encryption are more than sufficient for protecting yourself on the web. Ivacy claims a strict no-logging policy and that connection logs expire after 48 hours. 

While it's nearly impossible to confirm this with any VPN provider, it does seem that Ivacy stays true to this policy. P2P activity is allowed on Ivacy, with specific servers available for those looking to torrent or stream P2P content. For more information about torrenting with a VPN, take a look at our best VPN for torrent sites guide.

Final thoughts

Ivacy is a solid enough service if you can get past the poor connection speeds. Streaming services such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Hulu all encounter buffering issues when using Ivacy. That being said, Ivacy is a decent enough budget alternative if you are looking for a solid level of privacy on the web. 

Customer support was pretty good. And Ivacy has useful set-up guides for consoles, routers, and other devices. Finally, the inclusion of features like split tunneling and an internet kill switch could make Ivacy the right option for you. Give Ivacy a try risk-free thanks to its generous seven-day money-back guarantee!

25 Comments

  1. Garry
    on July 5, 2018
    Reply

    I have been using Ivacy for over a year and have been very pleased, until recently. About a week ago my internet speed dropped drastically when connected through Ivacy VPN. This occurred on both my pc and android tv box. 200+ megs without VPN, 10-30 megs with. Customer support offered several suggestions, but so far nothing has helped. I'm not sure what's going on.

  2. Windows Defender Support
    on June 19, 2018
    Reply

    I am using Ivacy VPN recently. it is really great. it offers the best customer support. I am fully satisfied with its service. No connection issues or Internet speed issues are there. I would surely recommend Ivacy VPN best for streaming purpose.

  3. Macy
    on January 27, 2018
    Reply

    Great application great support. Plenty of bandwidth, Plenty of locations to choose from. Thanks Ivacy!

  4. David Ryan
    on December 18, 2017
    Reply

    I have been using Ivacy VPN for last 2 year and I am fully satisfied with their services. No issues in connectivity, no effect on internet speed while streaming with VPN and I would recommend Ivacy VPN best for streaming and torrenting purpose.

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