Rating 8 / 10
- Jurisdiction: Gibraltar
- 3rd Party Audits: Yes
- Servers Network: 45 locations, 32 countries
- Streaming: Limited
- P2P & Torrenting: Limited
- Browser Extensions: No
- Best price: 1 year, $5 /mo
If you are tired of ISPs and third parties tracking your every move on the internet, don’t settle with going incognito or using a free virtual private network (VPN) like Hola. Neither of these methods effectively protects you.
There are numerous VPNs available, so it can be hard to choose between them all. One of the more popular options is IVPN and our review covers everything you need to know.
While people use VPNs for numerous reasons, from making private their geographical location to streaming shows from around the world, IVPN focuses on protecting its users’ privacy.
Their goal is to help you block anything that could track your history and store your information, giving you peace of mind as you work online. While other VPNs share your data instead of protecting you, IVPN claims that they take protection to the next level.
They don’t use any third-party tools and make their team as transparent as possible, letting you use the internet with confidence, knowing you are protected.
The IVPN Team
If you’re going to put your online protection in the hands of a company, you want to know who you are trusting with your security.
Many competitor VPN services were founded not so long ago ago (ProtonVPN in 2017 and NordVPN in 2012). However, IVPN was established in 2009 by security professionals who were studying at the University of London.
They have since expanded their team to 13 extremely qualified members from across the globe (eight different countries, to be exact). Each employee’s profile is available on their website so you can put a face to the team that is protecting your privacy. You can learn more about the CEO and founder, Nicholas Pestell, and the CTO Fedir Nepyyvoda.
The team started IVPN in London, but their official address is on a British island off Spain’s coast called Gibraltar. This small territory is technically part of the United Kingdom, but it is self-governed and a part of the EU.
Even though their physical address is near the Iberian Peninsula, the IVPN team works globally, with the CEO located in the UK.
What does all this mean?
Being in Gibraltar gives them the freedom not to follow their clients’ data. If they were located directly in London, they would be required to log some information about their customers.
Also, Gibraltar is part of the EU, which puts IVPN under the Data Protection Directive established in 1995. This directive sets several requirements for anyone who wants to process private data. In other words, this is just a new level of protection for IVPN users.
In terms of virtual private networks, IVPN is reasonably transparent. Transparency may seem backward since their purpose is to make sure your information is thoroughly blocked.
Nevertheless, IVPN is very open about who they are and how they work. As previously mentioned, you can learn more about their team members on their website. Also, just this year, they announced that they were open sourcing their applications. Over the next couple of years, they will open-source other areas as well.
Open-sourcing their apps is an excellent step for a VPN to take and shows that the IVPN team dedicates itself to transparency and high-quality protection.
They also do periodic independent security audits to find any weaknesses in their services. They completed the most recent one late last year, and IVPN has published the results and has since resolved the issues.
IVPN’s Supported Projects
IVPN doesn’t just work for its clients, but it also supports several organizations and projects that share the team’s vision and values. They sponsor Fight for the Future, Access Now, The Tor Project, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Torservers.net, and the Open Rights Group.
Highlighted IVPN Features
This IVPN review wouldn’t be complete without going over the unique features that the service offers.
When you install the IVPN app, you can activate the AntiTracker feature. Since so many people use VPNs for privacy, this extra feature takes that to a higher level and protects you from unwanted ads or seemingly harmless websites.
Instead of installing a whole separate adblocker, you can use AntiTracker. Simple, right?
The only downside is the “hardcore mode” this feature has. If you noticed, the name isn’t “AntiAds,” but AntiTracker. The sites that track your online footprint the most are Google, Facebook, and related pages. When you turn on the “hardcore mode,” you will stop these webpages from tracking you.
If your focus is privacy from third parties, the “hardcore mode” could be significant. However, if you use Google and Facebook often, like most internet users, this part of the AntiTracker feature could be very frustrating.
The last thing you want while working is for your VPN to crash suddenly and expose your data to third parties or tracking services. While it seems like a no-brainer to provide a feature that completely protects your data if the network crashes, not every VPN includes one.
Thankfully, IVPN comes with a kill switch just for these situations. If for whatever reason, the VPN connection fails, your information does not leak.
Now, several IVPN reviews will say that the service does not have a kill switch. Technically, what IVPN offers is not a “kill switch” in the way that it does not close everything down in case of a connection failure. Instead, IVPN provides something better: a firewall that continuously filters network packets.
If your connection fails, the firewall works separately to filter the information, giving you time to re-establish the connection without worrying about leaking information.
This advanced IVPN firewall that doubles as a kill switch includes another great feature. You can set up the firewall to work when you wish. Program it to automatically come on when you turn on the IVPN connection or activate it yourself when needed.
The “always-on” feature, though, is probably the best option for most users. It enables the firewall to continually protect your data, even when restarting your computer or initiating Windows. This “always-on” feature makes a separate kill switch unnecessary because you are continually protected.
Connectivity is never a given. The network can fail – even for a few seconds – for multiple reasons. With this in mind, it is good to prepare your devices.
IVPN promises next-level privacy with its Multihop feature, which sends your connection through various servers. For example, if you live in San Diego, IVPN could send your connection to Madrid and then Singapore.
IVPN protects the destination website from seeing your particular IP address by using multiple servers in different countries. Even if the connection in Singapore fails, it will see the Madrid location, not San Diego. As an added plus, you can establish which destinations IVPN uses for their Multihop feature.
WireGuard is a relatively new (founded in 2016) protocol for VPN security. IVPN offers both OpenVPN and WireGuard as protocols (as well as IPSec and IKEv2 if you want to configure them manually). Even with these multiple options, they have recently expanded WireGuard to all their apps and servers.
While OpenVPN has been a favorite over the past several years, WireGuard is becoming increasingly popular with even higher speeds and incredible security.
The only potential disadvantage of WireGuard is that it’s a newer service without the 20 years of expertise that OpenVPN has. Nevertheless, IVPN prioritizes security, so we can trust that they wouldn’t use a protocol that puts its users at risk.
In addition to the impressive firewall and security protocols, IVPN has been using its own DNS servers since the company began. This feature is just another example of how IVPN prioritizes your privacy over everything else.
A DNS server works to change the website to an IP address and tracks the request you make to visit the webpage. Whether the DNS server belongs to your ISP or an external party, both often take your information and sell it.
Of course, this is the last thing you want to happen. As such, IVPN uses their own DNS servers exclusively to make sure no third party tracks your online presence or shares your information.
The final feature of IVPN is yet another protective measure. Most VPNs have some encryption level, which turns the sent information into code so third parties cannot decipher it.
The majority of VPNs use the Advanced Encryption Standard at 256 bits, and IVPN is no different. However, they combine that encryption with a 4096-bit Rivest-Shamir-Adleman (RSA) for an extra security level, far above the competition.
Now that we have gone over all the great IVPN features, let’s review how to connect with the service.
How many devices do you have? Many people have both a smartphone and a computer, not to mention tablets and work computers. If privacy is important to you, you’ll want to protect each one of your devices. Also, if you work with a team of people or want to cover all the devices in your family, you will need a VPN that offers simultaneous connections.
With just one IVPN account, you can access the simultaneous connection. However, the number of devices active at one time depends on which plan you have (we’ll go over the details later on in this IVPN review).
If you go with the Standard Plan, you can use IVPN with two devices. With the Pro Plan, that number increases to seven. Now, you can switch around which two (or seven) devices are actively using IVPN as long as no more than two devices log in at the same time.
IVPN wants to ensure that they protect every device in your house against any potential threat. As such, they have VPN applications for everything you can imagine. Whether you have Windows, macOS, Linux, an iPad, iPhone, or an Android, IVPN has an application just for you.
If you have more than seven devices in your home or work with a large group of employees, you can buy a router with IVPN services integrated into the device.
Despite the variety of apps available, IVPN does not offer any browser extensions.
IVPN has servers in 45 cities around the world, located in 32 countries. Within those cities, there are a total of 78 servers. Now, in terms of VPNs, these numbers are relatively low. However, if you live in Europe or North America, there are numerous locations to choose from on the platform.
Since you want to choose a server that is close to you for increased speed, you may be out of luck if you live outside of those two main regions. There is only one server location in South America, Australia, and the Middle East. There are three locations in Asia: in Japan, Singapore, and Hong Kong.
However, since most users live in the United States, Europe, and Canada, this is not a huge issue.
Now, you may be wondering if the lower number of servers affects the internet speed. IVPN foresaw the problem of numerous people using the same server, and therefore the number of clients per location.
This method, combined with enterprise-class hardware in each server, ensures a high internet speed and low latency.
Some of the features designed to protect your privacy also help provide high-speed internet. The Multihop detail sends your connection through multiple servers, so if one loses connection for some reason, you will still have a great connection from the other available servers. Furthermore, the WireGuard protocol supports both secure and quick internet navigation.
So far, we have foxes almost exclusively on how IVPN provides incredible privacy. However, that’s not the only reason people use VPNs. Let’s say you’re on a trip abroad and you would like to watch your favorite show, but it isn’t available in that country. You can use a VPN and connect to a server in your home country to enjoy the episodes.
However, not every VPN has this purpose in mind. While IVPN takes incredible strides in privacy, it may not be the ideal service for watching movies and shows around the world.
Even the IVPN website acknowledges that providing quality streaming services in various locations is not its strong point. While its performance at streaming BBC, Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+ is not excellent, it has improved over the years.
Netflix is the most popular streaming service, so we’ll focus specifically on IVPN’s performance with it. Many IVPN reviews have varied opinions on whether or not the VPN can give you access to Netflix, and it may depend on which server you’re using.
While there is no black and white answer to whether you can watch Netflix with IVPN, there has been positive feedback. However, Netflix and other streaming services often becomes inaccessible with a VPN.
If steaming is vital to you, you may want to look into other VPNs that focus more on providing high-quality streaming services.
Using IVPN to torrent download is a much different story. The service provides excellent speed and quality while you download it.
However, it is vital to note that IVPN requests that you not use any of their US servers for P2P and torrenting. That means that you can’t even use a US location as an exit server with their Multihop feature.
IVPN took this measure to protect its clients and continue offering their covered services. They received so many DMCA notices that they had to put a stop to torrenting on US servers. Nevertheless, you can quickly get around that by using one of their other numerous locations.
Alternatives to IVPN
We’ve seen how IVPN includes incredible features for privacy but falls short in the streaming aspect. However, how does it compare to other popular VPN services?
Since each service focuses on a different area, keep in mind what you are looking for in a VPN service. What works for one person may not work for another. For more detailed reports on other options, read our VPN reviews.
IVPN vs. VyprVPN
Like IVPN, VyprVPN offers third-party servers, a kill switch, and encryption – although they only have one level, not two. The VyprVPN kill switch is more generic, closing all of your programs in the event of a connection failure, while IVPN includes an intricate firewall.
One of VyprVPN’s key features is the chameleon protocol to avoid VPN blocks. Like IVPN, there are two payment plans. However, there is only an option to pay annually, not monthly, even though they advertise a low monthly fee of $5.
When paid annually, the lowest VyprVPN plan is the same as the IVPN Standard Plan, and the Premium option is $20 less than the annual IVPN Pro Plan.
VyprVPN takes a slight lead over IVPN because it includes three simultaneous connections in the lowest plan and offers 73 server locations.
IVPN vs. Mullvad
IVPN and Mullvad are very similar in that they both focus on the user’s security, and each one has its strengths. For example, Mullvad has a much lower price. There is only one plan, and it costs $5.42 each month. While it is cheaper than IVPN, there are no plans to choose which one works best for you.
Mullvad has a few more features than IVPN. It supports 12 different languages, while IVPN only supports English. Mullvad also offers an anonymous account, mass surveillance protection, and obfuscation layers. However, IVPN’s smaller list of features still provides a comparable level of privacy.
One plus for IVPN is that it does offer much more customer support than Mullvad. In general, though, Mullvad takes a slight lead over IVPN for the number of features and low price.
IVPN vs. ProtonVPN
These two VPN services are very comparable. Both offer excellent service, protection, and speed. The main differences are that ProtonVPN allows more P2P, while IVPN doesn’t permit it in the United States.
ProtonVPN also has a free plan, which gives you access to three countries on one device but with moderate speed. Their monthly plans are comparable to IVPN, with the first costing $5 each month and the second $10. They also have a third option with secure streaming for $24 a month.
There have been a few complaints in the Reddit community about ProtonVPN’s speed due to the servers’ overloading, making the differences between these two services reasonably small.
IVPN vs. NordVPN
NordVPN includes many the same features as IVPN, such as the kill switch, no logging, high speed, and DNS leak protection. However, NordVPN does a much better job with streaming and P2P sharing.
All of NordVPN’s plans allow for six devices to simultaneously connect, while in IVPN, you must pay extra for that many. NordVPN also has larger companies in mind, as they include military-grade encryption.
Paying for just one month of NordVPN is much more expensive than IVPN, costing almost $12. However, the standard plan is $69 a year, only slightly higher than the IVPN Standard Plan. There is a cheaper option if you pay for two whole years, and the company also offers a business option.
NordVPN takes the lead over IVPN because it includes plans and features for a larger business, while IVPN focuses more on individual users or small companies.
The price is probably one of the biggest complaints from users, as IVPN is a more expensive option. However, one can make the argument that the price is entirely valid, considering all of the advanced privacy settings that the service allows.
If you use a VPN primarily for privacy reasons, then the IVPN prices are quite reasonable. However, if privacy is secondary to streaming and torrenting, the price may seem entirely unreasonable.
Either way, IVPN does have several payment options.
There are no free plans, but IVPN does offer a free trial. You can sign up for the 3-day free trial on your computer or phone by simply setting up your IVPN account. To finalize your account, you will need to select a payment plan and enter your information.
While this may turn many potential clients away, IVPN includes a 7-day money-back guarantee. If you forget to stop the trial at the 3-day mark, you can still cancel within the first week. Also, the payment won’t go through until after the short free trial.
The Standard IVPN Plan costs $6 a month or $60 a year. If you choose the annual plan, you will save $12 each year.
In this basic plan, you will have access to every server around the world and unlimited bandwidth. It also includes customer support at any hour of the day throughout the week and apps for Android, Windows, macOS, and iOS.
Most importantly, this service promises that they will not log any of your internet activity.
Unfortunately, this plan only permits two devices to connect simultaneously and does not include the Multihop or port forwarding features.
This plan is ideal for people living alone or someone looking for a simple VPN service.
If you need access to every feature, the Pro Plan will work best, as it includes everything from Multihop to unlimited bandwidth. There is only a small payment increase from the Standard Plan at $10 a month or $100 a year. Plus, with the annual option, you’ll save $20 a year.
This plan is more expensive than most other VPN options, but it is a fairly reasonable price, considering many people pay around $10 or more for their streaming services.
The Pro Plan is ideal for larger families, people with several devices, or small offices, as it allows up to seven devices to connect simultaneously. Even people that want to connect only their computer or phone may opt for the Pro Plan because of the Multihop feature.
As IVPN writes on its website: “Cheap, fast, or secure. You can only choose two.” While there are some significant downsides to IVPN, mainly the price and limited streaming and torrenting, they have done well in providing both a fast and secure connection.
We would recommend IVPN services for anyone who makes privacy and protection a priority. Whether that person is tired of third parties tracking their every move or they want to work in complete privacy, IVPN is a fantastic option for them.
Now, if you want a VPN option that includes a combination of privacy and quality streaming services, it would be best to choose one of the alternatives listed above. Each VPN focuses on a different clientele, so it depends on what you are looking for in a VPN service.
IVPN does a fantastic job fulfilling its intended purpose – speed and protection. Users from various internet communities, such as Reddit, have outstanding commentaries for IVPN’s services. As long as you are looking for a high-quality VPN focused on privacy, you will be quite pleased with IVPN.