If there is one thing you should know about the internet, it’s that your internet traffic is not safe from spying organization.
You might be inclined to think that the internet is a place full of cute cat YouTube videos and programming geniuses like Aaron Swartz or Addy Osmani, but the fact is that it is not.
There are cyber attackers along with advertising companies and, law enforcement agencies (like the FBI, CIA, NSA, basically all three-lettered government organizations) who have shown great interest in knowing everything about everyone.
That everyone includes you as well.
If you stay connected to the internet all the time, then you need to seriously think about how to protect yourself from these spying organizations. This becomes paramount especially if you use public Wi-Fi networks.
Without a VPN protecting you, it is a big risk to use public Wifi networks.
IVPN can provide you with that protection. It can do lots of other things as well and we’ll come to those in just a bit.
First, let’s get this straight off the bat that IVPN is an extremely well-designed VPN service provider in terms of the client it provides to its subscribers.
The IVPN VPN client has some pretty neat but advanced features such as multi-hop VPN access and others. We’ll explain each of those in the full review below.
How much does it cost? Is it easy to use and to set up?
Well, we’ll talk about that as well.
Perhaps the most important question you want to be answered is that does it rival the likes of KeepSolid VPN Unlimited, IPVanish VPN, NordVPN or even Private Internet Access VPN?
You’re in luck, because after reading this review, you’ll know everything there is to know about IVPN and hence will be able to make an informed decision.
Note: According to our tests, this VPN provider is not at the same standard as the industry leader IPVanish.
IVPN, without a doubt, is one of the most costly VPN service provider that you are likely to find anywhere in the whole market.
It will cost new users about $15 per month. That $15 amount is charged when you sign up for the service for a period of one month.
If you show a bit more trust and sign up for four months, you only have to pay $53.32 which is still slightly on the expensive side but still bearable considering the $15 price tag on the monthly package.
Compare that with some of the other VPN service providers out there like KeepSolid VPN Unlimited, which is one of the top VPN service providers, that cost around $4.99 per month, and you’ll see why we consider IVPN an expensive option.
Our review of this relatively known VPN service provider will focus on the Windows 10 version of the app. But IVPN is available on a decent number of other platforms and operating systems as well.
The company offers its VPN services for platforms and operating systems such as,
- Windows 7
- Windows 10
- Windows 8
Though to get IVPN working with Linux you’ll have to download instructions and manually set it up from the official IVPN website. But the good news, of course, is that IVPN can be configured to work with a Linux machine without any problems.
Unfortunately, IVPN does not have a native application for Android. Windows Phone is also not supported and neither is the iPhone.
As mentioned before, you can manually configure IVPN services and clients to use its VPN services on such devices.
Or you can take the less stressful way and just install IVPN on your router. If your router is supported that is.
Certain routers don’t work with VPN services. But if you’re router is compatible with IVPN then you can configure it to provide protection to each and every one of your devices regardless if they are running Windows or MacOS or Linux.
Routers are able to protect all devices that are connected to your network and hence even a single license of IVPN could be used to protect multiple devices.
The only question you need to answer is if the router supports IVPN.
Some VPN service providers in the market provide routers and streaming boxes which are pre-configured with a VPN software and hence make it quite easy for new users to just plug and play.
Moreover, it doesn’t really matter if a VPN service provider offers a native client for each and every device on the market.
The reason we say that is, VPN service providers usually put a limit on the number of devices you can protect with a single license.
IVPN offers three devices to be connected to its VPN servers simultaneously. Other premium services such as NordVPN offer in the region of five to six simultaneously connected devices.
Let’s start off with what IVPN does not offer. IVPN does not offer any kind of ad blocking features. That isn’t really a deal breaker but considering the amount of malware that is circulating the internet nowadays and knowing that advertisements can be used to infect machines with malware, this feature is starting to become vital for all VPN service providers.
If you want to engage in downloading files using peer-to-peer networks and also want to make use of other downloading methods such as using BitTorrent clients, then there is good news for you: IVPN indeed offers its users to make use of these services without much trouble.
We say much trouble because IVPN only allows BitTorrent and peer-to-peer activity on certain VPN servers. Generally speaking, you can’t use servers that are based in the United States of America for peer-to-peer or BitTorrent activity.
Users who want to engage in such activities have further news as according to official sources, the company will not throttle their connections.
IVPN comes with another feature that is called location spoofing. This feature allows users to view and hence consume content that has been region-locked by their creators or distributors.
If you want to watch Netflix outside the US then you’ll have a very limited collection of movies, TV series and documentaries to choose from.
The US version of Netflix is the best one and you can access that using IVPN.
IVPN will enable you to watch content that is only available to US subscribers as it can unlock that region-locked content.
Our research tells us that while IVPN does unlock region locked content, it doesn’t necessarily unlock all region locked content. Netflix has made a habit of improving its security features and more and more VPN service providers are finding it ever harder to get through Netflix systems in order to unlock content.
So it isn’t’ surprising that IVPN can’t ensure the reliability of this feature.
Perhaps the most unconventional feature of IVPN is that of multi-hop connections. IVPN has this feature enabled by default.
To explain it we’ll have to compare IVPN to other VPN services.
See, most other VPN service providers connect their users from the user’s’ current location to the actual location of the VPN server (which is selected by the user), which may be pretty far away from the user’s location.
With IVPN’s multi-hop connection functionality, users can actually select double the amount of VPN servers at the same time. That is two VPN servers since all other VPN services offer to connect to just one server at the same time.
When you have turned on the multi-hop feature, your internet traffic is routed through an encrypted tunnel towards the first router. After that, the whole process is repeated again as the encrypted traffic is passed through the second router. That is, your internet traffic gets routed twice through two encrypted tunnels.
The second router enables the traffic you send to the router to exit to the internet.
What does it do then?
It makes it impossibly harder for anyone to know your original IP address or track you down. You’ll be able to become invisible to most advanced surveillance systems and other timing attacks.
IVPN Setup, Installation, and Interface
If you have been using other VPN services for a while you might have noticed that their applications have really irritating and outdated interfaces. That is one quality that is specifically found in almost all security applications.
IVPN is different in this regard as it has one of the best interfaces that you can hope to find in a VPN service provider’s app.
The entire VPN app can be accessed from one window. That, of course, reduces a number of clicks you have to perform in order to get anything done.
To start the VPN app, all you have to do is to log in. The only problem with this method is that the VPN app assigns each user a random username every time the app is restarted.
Of course, this improves other security aspects of the VPN app since assigning each user a new username on every startup preserves the user’s anonymity.
Moreover, hackers along with other cyber criminals won’t be able to guess your username with ease since it is changed every time you log in.
No hiding the fact that it is pretty annoying.
As far as the installation process goes, if you’re using Windows 10 then it will take you precisely 20 seconds to get through it.
Once you install the VPN app, it appears on your screen with a single window. That same single window will also show you a guide on how IVPN firewall works. That’s isn’t particularly a ton of information but still enough for most users we think.
As far as the actual interface goes, the VPN app has a largely gray theme with some red. It has a super clean look about it. The IVPN is not as visually stimulating as some of the apps offered by other VPN service providers such as Hide My Ass.
Let’s talk a bit about functionality. If you want to change your VPN server using IVPN app then all you need to do is click the Change button and that’s it.
To make use of the multi-hop connection feature, just to its tab. Simple and effective.
There is a dedicated screen for server selection that displays the available VPN servers. The same screen also shows other information such as latency rates in milliseconds.
Most of the numbers that appear on the screen in IVPN app are color coded. Hence you’ll have no problem in identifying the VPN servers that are not likely to perform well at any given time.
However, if you don’t know what VPN servers’ latency numbers indicate then the IVPN app makes no effort of explaining that to you.
Compared with other elite VPN service providers such as IPVanish and StrongVPN, IVPN does not offer a good number of VPN servers. As of this moment in time, the total number of servers offered by IVPN total to just 22.
To its credit, IVPN does a pretty reasonable job of covering the United States in a rather extensive manner.
It also has satisfactory coverage throughout Western Europe. If you’re in China or want to use a VPN server that is based in China, then you’re pretty much out of luck since IVPN just offers one server in China.
If you look at another VPN service provider in the form of Private Internet Access which offers well over 3000 servers, IVPN server choice looks like peanuts.
Premium VPN service providers also offer VPN servers that are spread over all regions on planet earth. As we have already mentioned, IVPN doesn’t have that.
One of the other unique features of IVPN is the IVPN firewall feature. This feature, which is basically a custom built firewall, blocks your computer machine from interacting with any website or online service through the internet when a secure VPN connection is not available.
Think of the IVPN firewall feature as another term for the Kill Switch feature (which is offered by some premium VPN service providers).
According to IVPN source, however, their feature is more advanced because it has the ability to run independently of the IVPN software application.
IVPN firewall can even be tweaked with enough so that it activates itself during your machine’s initial boot cycle.
This basically ensures that your data doesn’t leak through potential cracks while your operating system is loading up. The firewall gives you lots of configuration options such as allow/block LAN traffic and the like.
Some of the more advanced IVPN features include the capability to automatically connect to the best VPN server on app startup. If you know your way around the Settings panel then you can configure the app to connect to a VPN server on its own as soon as it detects that your machine is trying to connect to an insecure wireless network.
Users who are picky about their settings and preferences related to protocols and ports have the option of changing these to their liking within the IVPN app.
You can even choose a proxy which can be used when connecting to a VPN server. If you want to enable logging then you can, again, within the native app.
You might be asking yourself now, why would anyone want to enable logging through his/her own will?
Well, logs are usually bad. But they can be immensely useful for the VPN service provider if you run into trouble and want them to help you. In other words, logging can be used for diagnostic purposes.
As you might have already figured out, IVPN does offer a lot of advanced features. With that said, let’s come to the one feature that it should have included along with its VPN packages.
That feature is the ability to use OpenVPN protocol.
Yes, your favorite open-source VPN Protocol is not available in IVPN app.
The simple fact of life is that any VPN service provider’s app will have a negative overall effect on your internet connection’s raw speed. Though whether the impact it perceptible or not depends on the VPN service that you’re using.
If you want to know how much a VPN service negatively impacts your internet connection then there is a simple test for it for you to try out. Just download something, first, with the VPN off and then download the same file/document with the VPN app activated. After that, you should be able to notice any difference.
You can go to Security Gladiators Speed Test Tool to actually measure the impact a VPN app has on your internet connection speed.
PCMAG reported that IVPN increased latency rates by 258.4 percent. Believe it or not, but this is a pretty acceptable result when you look at what some of the other VPN services do to you latency rates.
When using IVPN VPN app, expect a marginal decrease in your download rates. Some other VPN services also manage to do the reverse though. The likes of IPVanish, ExpressVPN, and PureVPN actually increase your download speeds.
How do they do it? Well, that’s their best-kept secret and probably shouldn’t matter in your decision of whether to sign up for a particular VPN service or not.
Should You Buy IVPN Or Not?
There is no doubt about the fact that IVPN has a lot of good stuff to offer to its clients.
Advanced features such as multi-hop VPN connections along with its own version of Kill Switch and other features does make IVPN a standout option as a VPN service.
The interface of its native app is very clean and simple and hence you will be able to use the app with quite an ease, which is something that can’t be said about most other native VPN apps.
Of course, the downsides are pretty glaring as well. High cost and lack of a number of servers (variety too) don’t do IVPN any good when it comes to attracting more customers or move up the rankings.
And even though the VPN app has been designed really well, it still requires users to have a bit of knowledge about VPNs and how they work from the start.
Our recommendation is that if you aren’t in love with people behind IVPN, you should go for another premium VPN service.
In other words, If you are serious about getting the best value for money VPN then you should check out IPVanish. They are our top ranked VPN provider.
You can read the IPVanish Review here.
- Advanced features
- P2P and BitTorrent Support
- Simple And Intuitive apps
- kill switch
- multi-hop VPN connections
- low number of servers
- number of simultaneous devices is low
- no native mobile apps
- way too expensive
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