Starting At $4/month
IVPN is a bit of a dark horse in the VPN market. It doesn’t have the marketing clout of big players like NordVPN and ExpressVPN, and it’s only slowly gaining the name recognition of independent players like Mullvad. I took it through its paces to find out what IVPN could do.
As it turns out, IVPN can do a lot, and it’s definitely one of the best VPN services out there. It’s secure, easy to use, and it’s as fast as greased lightning. The only bad thing is that it can’t unblock streaming services. There are also some minor pricing issues I’ll get into as we go along. If you don’t care about streaming, though, IVPN might be one of the best VPNs on the market.
Here's What We Like
- Highly Secure
- Easy to Use
And What We Don't
- Strict device limit
- Can't get through to Netflix
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One of the reasons I like IVPN is because it does part of my job for me; on IVPN’s website, the company debunks many of the false claims its competitors make. Though it may be bad business to ask potential customers whether they really need a VPN, I admire IVPN for being honest and practical about its product. No exaggerated claims or snake oil here.
This straightforward approach extends to the way IVPN discusses its features. It tells you what you need to know, right there on the tin. First off, IVPN is available on a number of devices and operating systems, like Windows, Mac, iPhone, Android, and even routers and NASes. Interestingly, it’s one of the few VPNs that offer a GUI for Linux, which is what I tested it on.
Besides some interesting security features which I’ll discuss a little later, the VPN client also has some nice anti-tracking tools built-in, which should help you fight the good fight against trackers and other malware. It also has a feature that lets you pause the VPN for a specific amount of time, something I haven’t seen much before but could be handy for the right person.
The server spread is okay, but not great. IVPN offers servers across the United States and Europe, but very few are outside of that area. If you need better coverage in Southern Asia, say, or Latin America, there are better VPNs. NordVPN may be a good choice, in that case, or even Mullvad.
It also offers some interesting advanced features, like the ability to hop to multiple destinations—a bit like a double VPN— and port forwarding, both of which you need to pay extra for. I go into a bit more detail in the pricing section.
However, for everything IVPN can do, there’s one thing it can’t: get through to Netflix. I tried about 10 servers and not one cracked Netflix. This is a shame, but, in IVPN’s defense, it doesn’t advertise as a VPN that can get through to Netflix.
Of course, one of the most important facets of any VPN is that your connection is secured against intruders and that your own data is safe from, well, your VPN. In both cases, you have nothing to worry about with IVPN as it takes this very seriously. For one, it’s one of the very few VPNs that let you sign up for an account anonymously, using cash or crypto.
Your only account information is a code, there’s no email or other identifiable information. This keeps things nice and anonymous but comes with the downside that you need to keep the code safe or lose access to your VPN. Since IVPN keeps no record of you other than the code, there’s no way to retrieve your account if you lose it.
As you can imagine, a service that goes through this much trouble to keep signup anonymous is entirely no-logs. It goes into detail on how it all works on the company’s website, and it’s probably the most thorough document of its kind I’ve seen. IVPN explains what data it collects and what it doesn’t, what it does with the little data it collects, and what happens when you cancel your account.
I think transparency is one of the biggest marks of trust a service can give you—which is why I liked ExpressVPN’s details on its TrustedServer technology—so I feel pretty confident that IVPN is entirely above-board with its claims. This service looks completely safe and, if you pay with cash, is entirely anonymous.
If you’re worried about surveillance for whatever reason—though likely because a few U.S-based VPNs have been forced to give up torrenters’ data—IVPN is a great choice.
IVPN’s security is also top-notch. It offers a kill switch that is enabled by default, unlike NordVPN or Surfshark, or every other VPN I have reviewed lately. Not sure why so many VPNs choose to have this vital feature off by default, but IVPN seems to be a lone beacon of sanity in this regard.
Another thing that makes IVPN stand out when compared to the competition is that it only has two protocols you can use. Thankfully, they’re both some of the best VPN protocols around: OpenVPN and WireGuard. Both protocols balance speed and security, meaning you have fast, yet highly encrypted connections every time.
IVPN doesn’t hide mediocre infrastructure using fast, but unreliable protocols like IKEv2, which seems to be standard fare for many big names in the industry—looking at you, PureVPN.
I also really like the IVPN client. I tested it on Linux and Android and had zero issues with it. The installation process was smooth on both operating systems and navigation was as easy as can be. Like NordVPN, IVPN offers you a map of server locations. You pick your server either via the menu on the right or on the map; either works.
The server selection screen defaults to the city filter, meaning it lists every city IVPN has a server in alphabetical order. This doesn’t work very well, but thankfully, you can filter the list in several ways, like per country and even proximity, which is a great feature I wish more VPNs had.
Connection times are lightning fast, too, so no waiting around for a connection to be made. However, switching servers when you’re already connected is kind of tricky and doesn’t seem to always work. I found it easier to disconnect and then reconnect rather than switch servers. It’s not a huge bug, but a little annoying.
The great interface extends to the settings menu, where you can twiddle and tweak to your heart’s delight. That said, changing settings should be left to those who know what they’re doing, so if you don’t know what ports are, be very careful what you do here.
Overall, though, I don’t think you’ll have to do much tweaking here; IVPN’s defaults make pretty good sense, overall, and most of them are the common sense option. The only criticism I have is that I default to OpenVPN over WireGuard simply because it’s the tried and tested protocol, but WireGuard does have the speed advantage.
IVPN maintains decent pricing, though this is one of the few areas where I feel the service could do a little better. Unlike most VPN services, IVPN maintains two plans: IVPN Standard and IVPN Pro. The main difference, aside from price, is that Pro offers more bells and whistles.
Overall, the pricing is really competitive. I like how you have several durations to choose from, and I like how transparent it all is. There are no banners yelling at you how much you could save if you sign up longer; IVPN just gives you the information you need and you can decide things for yourself.
That said, the longer you sign up, the bigger your savings, though the difference isn’t so big that you feel pressured to sign up for long periods. I like how, for example, going month-to-month is a realistic option with IVPN. I wish more VPNs would do this.
When buying IVPN, you’ll of course wonder which of the two plans is the better option. Standard is a solid plan. For $60 per year—less if you sign up longer—you get a really good VPN that can do everything you need except streaming. It’s a good deal and very few VPNs are cheaper.
If you need advanced functions like multi-hopping and port forwarding, IVPN Pro takes a jump in price, to $100 per year, though again, signing up for longer brings that down a little. I take no issue with this. These two features are a bit niche and resource-intensive, so it makes sense that those who want them pay a little more.
What I’m not too happy about is the difference between the number of devices you can have associated with your account at the same time. The Standard plan only allows two, while Pro allows seven. Note that this doesn’t mean simultaneous connections, either. Each IVPN account has a limit of devices associated with it, adding more logs you out of all your connections.
Obviously, some VPN providers want to limit how many devices can use the service at the same time—though not all, read our Surfshark review for one that places no limits. However, placing the limit at just two for Standard users is extremely low. If you could connect an unlimited number of devices, but only have two active at any one time, that would be okay. But having you sign out of all devices each time you use a third is extremely annoying.
The only way around this restriction is to sign up for the $100 Pro plan, which brings with it features you may not need and more than triples the connections you can have. I found while using IVPN that I wished I could add a few extra connections for a few more bucks per year or something instead of having to sign up for the Pro plan. $100 is a lot of money for a VPN.
IVPN is fast, there are no two ways about it. In fact, it may even be as fast as ExpressVPN, which is quite a feat, as you can read in our ExpressVPN review. As usual, I tested IVPN from Cyprus, connecting to four different locations around the globe. I swapped out the usual New York City location, where IVPN doesn’t seem to have a server, for New Jersey next door. The results are below.
|Location||Ping (ms)||Download (Mbps)||Upload (Mbps)|
As you can see, IVPN is as fast as greased lightning, regardless of the protocol used. At a base speed of just over 100Mbps unprotected, I lost only about 20% on the connection to the States, which is phenomenal. It was just as fast as the connection to Israel, which is just a few hundred miles away. The reading to the U.K. was a little disappointing, but it was still a good result, as was Japan, which is usually a dud.
That said, it’s not all good news. I do expect latency or ping to take a hit when using a VPN, I was a little shocked how bad it was using IVPN. Competitors generally do a tiny bit better in this regard, though almost none of them will get the same speeds. If you like your VPNs fast, IVPN is a very good choice.
There are really only two reasons not to use IVPN: you really want to stream Netflix or you don’t like its pricing scheme. Other than that, it’s a great VPN, no doubt about it. The only thing I felt that chafed was the two-device limit on the Standard plan, but you can live with that. The only VPN I like more is Mullvad—ExpressVPN if streaming is a priority.
Starting At $4/month
Here’s What We Like
- Highly Secure
- Easy to Use
And What We Don't
- Strict device limit
- Can't get through to Netflix
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