IPVanish claims to be fast, dependable, and super secure, but it’s hard to know for sure — a lot of mid-size VPNs don’t live up to their big marketing claims. After running extensive tests on its features for myself, I found IPVanish had reliable connections and impressive speeds. However, it still can’t block malware or access streaming services other than Netflix. Since you can get much more powerful VPNs for a similar price, IPVanish is still yet to dethrone the top providers on the market.
If you want speed, security, and access to all the popular streaming services on the market, you can find better VPNs with more advanced features. You don’t need to just take my word for it — you can try any of their money-back guarantees to make your final decision, risk-free.
When it comes to unblocking streaming sites, IPVanish falls short — IPVanish only works with Netflix US, ESPN, Spotify, Vudu, and Kodi. Unfortunately, Disney+, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video gave me errors when I tried to log in or select a show to watch. Although IPVanish’s US servers used to unblock Disney+ pretty reliably, they have since been flagged by Disney’s advanced VPN IP blocks.
You can also use IPVanish’s SOCKS5 proxy to help bypass geoblocks on sites to get much faster streaming speeds. You get an unencrypted IP address to significantly improve your connection for lag-free TV and movies, though it won’t keep you anonymous. While I hoped it would help me access more content libraries and reduce buffering in my HD streams, I couldn’t get it to work.
Instead, you can unblock these streaming services and more with ExpressVPN with its powerful SmartPlay server network that can easily bypass geo-restrictions from anywhere. It also has super-fast connections for watching in HD without lag.
IPVanish’s servers couldn’t consistently unblock Netflix US, but the Denver and Phoenix servers watch Netflix with no problems at all. These servers were consistently fast enough that my streams never had to reduce in quality or stop to buffer. I was able to watch Stranger Things with no lag at all.
IPVanish wasn’t able to unblock any other of Netflix’s global content libraries that I tested. When I tried over 15 servers in the US, New Zealand, Germany, and Asia, very few of them could bypass Netflix’s proxy streaming error so I wasn’t able to watch local content from abroad. If you’re only interested in US shows, IPVanish’s limitations might not be an issue.
When I attempted to log in to Hulu from servers including New York, New Orleans, Phoenix, Chicago, and 6 others, all of them gave me Hulu’s VPN error message.
I got similar results with the BBC iPlayer. When I tried all 3 of IPVanish’s locations in the UK, I got an error message every time I tried to watch.
Since so few streaming platforms worked with IPVanish, I didn’t expect Amazon Prime Video to work either. I got errors every time I tried to start a show or movie with over 10 servers in the US, UK, Europe, and Asia.
While other VPN blogs claim that IPVanish unblocks DAZN, this wasn’t the case while testing. When I tried servers in every country where DAZN is available, they were all blocked.
During my tests, ExpressVPN unblocked most streaming services that IPVanish can’t. That’s why ExpressVPN is my go-to when I want to catch up on Disney+, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and DAZN.
I’ve tested over 30 VPNs, and IPVanish is one of the fastest VPNs I’ve ever used (especially for a mid-range provider). When I ran tests on server locations in the US, Japan, Brazil, and Portugal, I had an average download speed of 76Mbps. That’s an incredible increase — while other VPNs slowed down my speed, IPVanish was almost 50% faster! This was even true when I tested speeds at different times of the day, which would usually fluctuate depending on how many other users are connected. Regardless of whether I connected to a server in my home country or in a country on the other side of the world, speeds were lightning fast.
When checking a VPN’s speeds, you should also look for low server ping. “Ping” is the amount of time (in milliseconds) it takes your device to communicate with the server, so a lower number means a more responsive connection. IPVanish gave me lots of low-ping server options no matter where I was connecting from, and even has an option to sort servers by ping to find the one you want.
With such fast speeds and so many low-ping servers, you’ll never have to worry about lag during video chats, live feeds, streaming, or other high-bandwidth activities. If your internet provider is throttling your speeds, IPVanish’s super-fast servers are a great way to bypass throttling and give you high-speed internet access.
Speed determines how fast content uploads, so if you're torrenting or streaming, you want the speed to be somewhat identical to your regular internet speed. Since a VPN encrypts your data, it usually takes a bit longer to send your data back and forth, which can slow down your connection. However, if your ISP deliberately slows down your connection (also known as throttling) a VPN might increase your internet speed. Testing a VPN is somewhat pointless because new servers pop up and affect speed. Your speed can also differ according to your location, so your speed test might not match ours. Having said that, we tested the speed in numerous locations to provide you with the average.
IPVanish has an impressive server network, with over 1,500 servers in more than 75 locations. Since IPVanish owns its servers rather than renting them from a third party, your data is more secure, as the VPN has much more control over how its servers are run and accessed. IPVanish also doesn’t use virtual servers and all of its servers are where they’re listed.
With the app’s auto-connect feature, you can quickly pair with the fastest server in your country of choice, or click on the server map on the home screen. Only a few location markers appear when the map is zoomed out, this keeps the map from being covered up by tons of markers. Zoom in to make more location-specific servers appear and then double-click one of them to connect to the fastest server in that location.
You can select from 5 VPN protocols to prioritize factors like speed, security, and compatibility. The only downside is that it doesn’t explain the pros and cons of each protocol, making the options confusing for VPN beginners who aren’t sure how a VPN works. To briefly summarize the differences, OpenVPN is popular because it’s open source and developers are always improving it. IKEv2 is great for fast speeds. L2TP is fast but not as secure. SSTP is better at bypassing geoblocks. PPTP is fast but has much weaker security than the others.
You can easily find an IPVanish server to use with the intuitive drop-down menus. The server menu lets you sort by ping, country, load (how crowded they are), or by servers you have starred as favorites. Even though there are no options for P2P, streaming, or other specialized server types, I was always able to connect in just 2-4 seconds without any issues.
IPVanish has a handy “Scramble” setting that helps me bypass geoblocked sites by hiding the fact that I’m using a VPN. It allowed me to access some restricted web content, but it still isn’t powerful enough for IPVanish to work in China. There used to be more advanced security features like an automatic IP address switcher, but it has since reduced to just the basics like DNS and IPv6 leak protection. I decided to run a DNS leak test to see if it really hid my private data. The test only detected data being sent to the secure IPVanish server I was connected to. This means my IP address, location, and browsing activities stayed completely hidden with IPVanish.
In rare cases, VPNs hide malware in their installers or clients to secretly collect data on you. Just to be certain that IPVanish wasn’t one of them, I ran a malware scan on both the installer and the app itself, and am glad to say both came up completely clean. Still, I was a little disappointed that IPVanish doesn’t have its own malware or ad blocker that you can find in more advanced VPNs. Since just one malware attack can permanently corrupt your device or steal your data, it’s a shame that IPVanish doesn’t protect you from it. It also only offers split tunneling (to whitelist certain apps from the VPN) in its Android app, but not in any other versions.
I ran tests on IPVanish’s mobile apps and found they asked for some unnecessary permissions, which can expose you to security risks. I saw requests to access my phone’s external SD card and install a couple of trackers. Thankfully, these trackers don’t identify you and are used for general analytics and crash diagnostics. Many VPNs (even top providers like ExpressVPN) use similar permissions and trackers — so while not ideal, it isn’t necessarily dangerous.
IPVanish has an automatic kill switch to protect your privacy if you lose your VPN connection — and it works great. When I intentionally crashed the app by overloading my PC with background processes, my internet shut off instantly and none of my data was revealed. On Windows and Mac, the app gives me an automatic desktop notification to show the kill switch has been activated, but you’ll need to turn it on manually as it isn’t on by default. It also isn’t included in the iOS version, which can become a major problem if you lose your VPN connection.
Worse yet: IPVanish got a request from the US government for user logs in 2016 as part of a criminal investigation. Despite claiming to be a zero-logs VPN, it surrendered data on the user in question, including his online activities. IPVanish claims it changed its policy since then (and is now owned by a completely different company), but the investigation proved it used to log some of its users’ activities. This is one of the pitfalls of being based in the US — since it’s based in a country within the Five Eyes Alliance, it participates in the global surveillance-sharing network and can force domestic companies to hand over data. That’s why I prefer a VPN that has proven its zero-logs policy through a third-party security audit, like ExpressVPN.
Bigger VPN providers have had third-party audits of their no-logs policies, giving you more guaranteed privacy. They also give you better security with more advanced server features. To get the highest level of online security and privacy, you can try ExpressVPN risk-free. If you decide you don’t need the extra privacy features, you can get your money back.
You won’t find any torrent-optimized servers since all of IPVanish’s servers support torrenting. These servers are designed to protect your privacy and increase your download speed while downloading P2P — but only the top VPNs have them. Even without optimized servers, my speeds were still super-fast! I downloaded a 2-hour public domain documentary with only 5 peers total, and the torrent finished in less than 15 minutes. You just have to make sure DNS and IPv6 Leak Protection are both turned on in the Connection Settings menu to ensure your downloads and uploads stay anonymous.
If you’d rather use a VPN with torrent-optimized servers, you can try ExpressVPN risk-free. Its network is super-secure, with lots of servers optimized specifically for P2P file sharing on apps like BitTorrent.
Like most VPNs, IPVanish’s servers have been blacklisted by the Chinese government — you won’t be able to connect while inside the country. IPVanish’s website is also blocked, so you aren’t able to download it or log into your account while you’re in China.
Only a few VPNs work in China that can bypass the government’s advanced firewalls safely. I suggest trying ExpressVPN risk-free in China. Then you can cancel your subscription within 4 weeks when your trip is over.
IPVanish generously gives you unlimited devices on a premium account. I tested streaming Netflix on 5 devices at once, including smartphones and tablets (both Android and iOS-based). I only noticed very slight slowdowns — I couldn’t stream in HD on all the devices, but I never had to wait for buffering in standard definition.
For a mid-range VPN provider, I was impressed with IPVanish’s device compatibility. It supports 5 different languages on a ton of devices, including many that only work with higher-end VPNs like:
IPVanish is easy to install with native clients for common devices and operating systems like Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. Just keep in mind if you purchase a subscription through the Android or iOS app stores, you may not get a money-back guarantee.
There aren’t any IPVanish apps for game consoles like Xbox or PS4, or on Smart TVs like Apple TV. By connecting via your router or using the Windows Internet Connection sharing feature, you can still protect your online traffic on game systems and other devices that don’t support IPVanish directly. You’ll find handy setup guides on the IPVanish website for routers and other devices. If you prefer manual setup over the native client, the IPVanish website has detailed guides for SOCKS5 setup for BitTorrent along with manual OpenVPN, L2TP, PPTP, and IKeV2 configuration guides for Windows users.
The IPVanish installation and setup on computers and mobile devices is extremely straightforward and takes less than 5 minutes. You shouldn’t have any trouble if you’ve downloaded and installed software before. If you get confused, the website has detailed visual guides for installation and uninstallation on various device types.
To fully uninstall the IPVanish client on Windows, you can’t just delete it in the Add/Remove programs utility. You have to find the TAP drivers in the Network and Sharing menu and uninstall them as well. Lastly, manually delete the IPVanish folder from File Explorer > Local Disk (C:) > Program Files. I wish that IPVanish gave you a quick way to uninstall it 100% in just one step.
The Android and iOS versions have a brief tutorial the first time you open the app, guiding you through basic features and functions. Installing IPVanish on your router is slightly more complicated, but you can find detailed setup guides for any compatible devices on IPVanish’s website to help you get started.
My favorite thing about IPVanish’s interface is the tons of information about your connection on the Quick Connect home screen. You’ll see all the standard data, like which server you’re connected to, your new IP, and how long you’ve been connected. You also get a detailed chart of your download and upload speeds, the total data sent and received, and your current VPN protocol.
While not essential, it’s nice having so much information in one place. If you’d rather view a list of countries to connect to, you can switch using the Server List tab. It’s easy to save a favorite server by clicking the star next to it — this will place it at the top of the list when you choose “Favorites” from the “Sort by” dropdown menu.
I noticed the app also has a Diagnostics screen showing data like which server you used, what time you connected, and the duration of your session. Fortunately, IPVanish only uses this information to diagnose any potential technical problems and doesn’t retain your records.
I experienced a mild glitch that I couldn’t fix even after reinstalling the software. On the Windows user interface, you can check your IP address and location to see if your data is hidden or exposed. Instead of showing the correct information, all I saw was a notification that said “updating” forever. It was annoying to have to check if I was connected through a third-party website instead of the interface. I told support about this months ago, but IPVanish releases new updates very infrequently and the issue remains. There were a couple of times where IPVanish couldn’t connect to my selected server, but this was very rare. Although this wasn’t a big deal for me, you can find a better VPN for Windows with working features.
On the plus side, its apps were easy to uninstall. On mobile and tablets, I just had to drag the app icon to the trash. On the desktop, I used the operating system’s uninstall programs utility with no problems.
If you need to contact support, you can get answers through 24/7 chat, email, phone, or the extensive online knowledge base. IPVanish has 24/7 live chat — the only catch is you have to start with a bot and then request to chat with a live representative.
I found the 24/7 chatbot surprisingly helpful on its own, providing links to knowledge base articles that answered many of my questions about setup, servers, and features. You can opt to leave a message for support if you need further information. Email support replied quickly and answered my question within an hour.
If you prefer to chat with a live agent, you’ll be prompted to pick a department and input a subject line and question. I occasionally had to wait for a representative to get to my place in the queue, but it never took more than 2 minutes.
I tested the live chat bot’s multilingual abilities by connecting to a server in Mexico and asking it a question in Spanish. I only got helpful answers in English, so the bot might not be useful unless you’re an English speaker.
IPVanish offers support phone numbers for 7 different countries, but it’s usually too busy to be immediately helpful. I asked a live chat rep what IPVanish’s hours were, and he said phone support is available 7am – 7pm CST (UTC -6). Unfortunately, I called the US number twice and both times I was put on hold for 5 minutes before being prompted to leave a message and hang up.
I was most impressed by IPVanish’s online knowledge base. You can find a treasure trove of information, including general FAQs to router setup guides that are useful for beginners or advanced users.
We personally test the customer support team of every VPN we review. This means asking technical question through the live chat feature (where applicable) and measuring the response time for email questions. Whether you need to connect to a specific server, change your security protocol, or configure a VPN on your router, finding a VPN with quality customer support should be important to you.
IPVanish’s subscription options give you the same features whether you sign up for 1 month, 3 months, or a year. The annual plan is the best deal — you can get the lowest price with a longer commitment. Just be aware that auto-renewal is turned on by default. Be sure to turn it off and cancel before the end of your plan, or you’ll continue to be charged.
If you need a data storage solution in addition to a VPN, IPVanish offers a package that includes your own SugarSync cloud. For a small price increase, you get 500GB of extra storage space.
You can pay with major credit and debit cards or PayPal. While it might have been available in the past, Bitcoin is no longer an option. Since there aren’t any anonymous payment options, you need to give IPVanish your billing information to subscribe. However, this data is only used for payment processing and won’t be shared.
You have up to 30 days to try IPVanish and get a full refund (unless you buy the 1-month plan, or get it through the Android or iOS app stores). I love that I got my money back automatically after requesting to cancel my subscription on the IPVanish website — you only have to reach out to support if it doesn’t go through.
Canceling my service was easy — I just logged into my account on the IPVanish website and clicked the “Subscription” tab on my dashboard. Then I clicked the button to cancel at the bottom of the screen and confirmed the cancellation. When asked why I didn’t want to continue with my plan, I simply stated that I no longer needed the service.
You can also extend your subscription for a short time without paying extra by pretending to cancel on the website. On the final page before my refund was processed, IPVanish offered me 2 months for free to try to keep me as a customer for a while longer.
After I denied the offer, my refund was processed immediately — the money appeared back in my PayPal account within an hour. If you want to get a couple of months for free, all you have to do is subscribe, begin the cancellation process before the 30-day limit, and click the “Redeem This Offer” button when the above screen pops up. There is a hidden 7-day trial of IPVanish, but it’s only for iOS users who have never signed up before. Plus — since you can get 30 days free with the money-back guarantee, the 7-day trial isn’t really worth it.