Ivacy VPN Pros and Cons
Before I get into the specifics, let me give you a preview of Ivacy VPN’s strengths and weaknesses.
What We Like
- Can access Netflix: In my experience, Ivacy VPN worked perfectly with Netflix and other video streaming websites.
- Affordability: With a long-term commitment, the price of Ivacy VPN is just about as good as it gets.
What We Don’t Like
- Mac app is lacking: The only protocol option you have is IKEv1 (which is not recommended by security professionals) and there is no kill switch on Macs.
- Mixed reviews for customer support: Although I had a good customer support experience, others had less than ideal interactions.
About Ivacy VPN
Like I mentioned previously, Ivacy VPN is based out of Singapore. Singapore is not a member of Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, or Fourteen Eyes surveillance jurisdictions. Time to celebrate, right? Well, not so fast. Thanks to Edward Snowden, we know that Singapore helps the US and their Five Eyes partners (UK, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada) conduct surveillance. VPNs do provide an extra level of protection though and, in reality, this shouldn’t be an issue because Ivacy VPN has a genuinely strict no data logging policy. Regardless it’s better to be informed.
In terms of coverage, Ivacy VPN has over 1,000 servers in more than 100 locations. While they aren’t breaking any VPN record with these numbers, I don’t consider this a drawback. The reason that server numbers are important for VPNs is because your proximity to the server you’re connected to will affect your Internet speed. This is why if you want the fastest VPN speeds, you should normally try to connect with the servers closest to you.
Ivacy VPN Features
These Ivacy VPN features work on any type of internet connection, whether that is a Wi-Fi connection, or an LTE, 4G, or 3G connection from a mobile data carrier.
Will Ivacy VPN Log My Data?
- Online browsing activities
- Connection logs
- VPN IPs assigned
- Original IP addresses
- Browsing history
- Outgoing traffic
- Connection times
- Data you have accessed, and/or
- DNS queries generated by your end.
There is some basic information that Ivacy VPN, like other VPNs, needs in order to provide their service. So Ivacy VPN only logs the following data:
- Email address
- Payment method.
I like how you could stay completely anonymous if you wanted to, because of the many different payment methods they offer. You can pay by cryptocurrency, credit card, PayPal, BitPay, AliPay, and many more.
Does Ivacy VPN Have A Kill Switch?
A kill switch, or network lock feature, will automatically cut your internet access if your VPN connection is momentarily lost. So why do I recommend choosing a VPN with a kill switch? Because otherwise, your privacy could be compromised. Without a kill switch, a server resetting or momentary internet loss could cause your public IP address to be leaked. Now, that’s not always the end of the world, but if you have a reason to use a VPN, a kill switch is going to help protect your privacy. Unfortunately, Ivacy VPN only offers a kill switch for Windows and Android, so if you’re in the Apple ecosystem, I can’t recommend it.
What Kind of Tunneling does Ivacy VPN Offer?
I’m also a big fan of split tunneling, so I’m happy to say that Ivacy VPN has split tunneling on Windows and Android. Split tunneling is a feature that creates two tunnels: one encrypted by the VPN and one connected directly to your Internet Service Provider. This way, you can choose which traffic you want to be encrypted by your VPN, a great way to lower bandwidth.
Can I Use Netflix with Ivacy VPN?
Watching Netflix, one of the most popular reasons people get a VPN, is a feature that can be surprisingly difficult to find. If you’ve tried using Netflix on a VPN that lacks this ability, then you’ll be familiar with the dreaded “Whoops, something went wrong…” page. I’m happy to report that Ivacy VPN will let you watch Netflix. This is great for getting around Netflix’s geographical restriction or just seeing what those people over the pond are watching on their version of Netflix. And last but not least, you can also torrent files with Ivacy VPN.
Ivacy VPN Encryption
How VPN Encryption Works
You can think of encryption like a lock. The security of your data is analogous to how hard that lock is to open. Some locks (encryption methods) are harder to pick (decrypt) than others. The level of encryption you get with Ivacy VPN depends on which VPN protocol you choose, ranging from zero encryption to 256-bit encryption. 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard, otherwise known as 256-AES, is modern and widely-used, the industry standard. But first, let’s get into the VPN protocols.
Ivacy VPN Protocols
Internet protocols determine how data packets are dispatched across a network, determining the security of a VPN service and how fast it will be. Some protocols sacrifice security for speed, and vice versa. I like that Ivacy VPN makes it easy for users to switch between protocols depending on whether they prioritize speed or security.
So which protocols can you choose from? On Windows, you can have your pick between OpenVPN (UDP), OpenVPN (TCP), L2TP/IPsec, and IKEv2 protocols. On iOS, you can choose between IKEv2 and IPsec. On Mac, the only available protocol is IKEv1. This protocol is outdated (see below for version 2, IKEv2) and generally considered to be insecure. I’m content with the security of protocols used for every device except Macs.
OpenVPN is sometimes considered the gold standard of VPN software. Why? Because it offers a great combination of speed, security, and performance. This protocol is open source and supported by a community that improves the code all the time to keep surveillance agencies from tampering with VPN services. OpenVPN is an option with Ivacy VPN, but you have to install it manually.
The Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol works with IPsec to create a very secure VPN client. While the L2TP creates the tunnel itself, IPSec handles the encryption and channel security. It also makes sure that the data’s integrity hasn’t been compromised.
Internet Key Exchange version 2 is a widely used VPN protocol that automatically re-establishes your connection with your VPN after you’re disconnected from the Internet. This comes in handy when you would like to switch between Wi-Fi and mobile hotspots, which happens all the time when you’re on a mobile phone.
UDP, or User Datagram Protocol, sends messages called datagrams that don’t require virtual circuits to transfer data. The advantage of UDP is that it requires lower bandwidth, resulting in less delay. Its disadvantage is that some packets may be lost or out of order.
Transmission Control Protocol is made up of seven layers that transport data and make sure it gets to the right place by breaking it into smaller packets. It’s an excellent combination with UDP, as it can make sure the data is put back together in the right order.
Ivacy VPN is also compatible with TOR if you really want to even more anonymous on the web.
Testing Ivacy VPN
If your brain is hurting after all that VPN protocol technical jargon, you’re not alone. So let’s take a look now at the other, simpler piece of the puzzle: Is Ivacy VPN fast? And will it leak my IP address? I’m running speed and leak tests to find out.
Whichever VPN you choose, you’ll have to accept the fact that your internet speed will decrease. (Although there are some cases where your ISP is throttling you, in which a VPN could increase your internet speed.) But typically, the extra protection from VPN security protocols comes at a price. As I mentioned when covering the VPN protocols above, whichever VPN protocol you choose will affect your internet speed. I’m testing Ivacy VPN on its default protocol IKEv2 in Windows and the only protocol offered, IKEv1, on my Mac. If you opt for the more secure OpenVPN protocol, you may get different results.
Keep in mind that internet speed is determined by many factors – the time of day, location, internet service provider, software, hardware, VPN server distance, and of course, the VPN service provider. I’m testing Ivacy VPN in Poland on a Macbook Pro running Mac OS Mojave and my trusty Lenovo ThinkPad T430 running Windows 10 Pro.
Ivacy VPN Download Speed Tests
First, I measured the difference in download speed in megabits per second. As you can see from the above picture, Ivacy VPN decreased my download speeds more on my Mac than on my Windows computers, which the Mac’s download slowed down by about 71% and Windows at about 58%. These are big decreases in speed (and worse than some of Ivacy VPNs competitors for sure), but my internet still stayed fast enough to watch Netflix without buffering, so I will give Ivacy VPN a pass.
Ivacy VPN Upload Speed Tests
Next, I tested the difference in upload speeds with and without the VPN. This time, Ivacy VPN performed better on the Mac with only a decrease of about 5% compared to 29% on the Windows computer.
Ivacy VPN Ping Tests
Finally, I tested the ping, or latency in milliseconds. For this category, the Mac computer actually performed better than the Windows, but not by much, as you can see. Overall, I can conclude that Ivacy VPN slowed down my Mac and my Windows computer, but my internet speed was still fast enough to stream so I’m alright with the loss in speed.
DNS Leak Test
DNS leak tests are important to do because a device might either send DNS traffic outside of the VPN’s tunnel, or it might use the VPN tunnel but connect to a third-party server. Luckily for us, Ivacy VPN offers DNS leak protection. They have an option in their settings called “IP/DNS Leak Protection”, although the default is for it to be unchecked, strangely.
As you can see above, the IP address detected from my connection is French. Since I’m not eating a baguette while I write this, that means my real IP address wasn’t leaked. To cut to the chase, Ivacy VPN passes DNS leak tests, although I’m a bit surprised that this isn’t the default setting.
WebRTC Leak Test
Are you going to use your VPN with a web browser like Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, or Opera? Then something known as a WebRTC leak may be leaking your IP address. WebRTC, otherwise known as Web Real-Time Communication Test, is a collection of standardized technologies that allows web browsers to communicate directly with each other rather than going through an intermediate server. WebRTC allows for faster speeds for video chat, live streaming, and file transfers. Wait, so what’s bad about that?
Well, the way WebRTC was created, any two devices that are communicating with WebRTC need to know each other’s private IP addresses. So theoretically, websites or third party trackers could use WebRTC to detect your private IP address, which could defeat the point of having a VPN in the first place. After thorough testing, I found that Ivacy VPN protected me from WebRTC leaks.
Ivacy VPN Subscriptions
So is Ivacy VPN going to burn a hole in your wallet? Actually, this is Ivacy VPN’s time to shine. They are one of the most affordable VPNs out there.
You can choose from either one month, one year, or two-year billing. Like with most subscription models, the monthly price gets lower as your commitment term increases. If you do decide to make the commitment, Ivacy VPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee so that if you change your mind, you’ll get your money back. However, please note that the guarantee is only seven days for month-long memberships and that you won’t get a refund if you pay with cryptocurrency.
It might be a good idea to try the service for a month before investing in a lower cost, longer-term plan. They do run limited-time sales from time to time so click on the coupon below to see if they have one currently.
Ivacy VPN Subscription Options
With any subscription, you’ll be able to switch between an unlimited number of servers and connect up to five devices simultaneously. While this isn’t as many as some VPNs out there that let you have twelve, or even an unlimited number of devices connected simultaneously, five should be enough for most users.
You can manually configure Ivacy VPN on just about any device. The list includes Linux, game systems (like Xbox One and Playstation 4), routers, smart TVs, and Blackberry. Ivacy even has instructions on their website for how to use their VPN on Apple TVs.
If you prefer connecting through your browser, you’ll be able to enter an Ivacy VPN network using their Chrome and Firefox browser extensions.
Ivacy VPN Customer Support
Whenever computers are involved, technical problems inevitably seem to arise. With VPNs, the number of things that can go wrong is astronomical: servers can go down, IP addresses can become blocked, and any number of computer/Internet settings could need adjustment. Good customer service really makes a difference when you’re in one of these frustrating situations. Let’s see what kind of customer support Ivacy VPN has.
Customer Support Screenshot of Ivacy VPN’s Windows App
Conveniently, Ivacy VPN has 24/7 customer support through live chat and email. I was half expecting a VPN this affordable would have cut corners on their customer support, so apologies for doubting you, Ivacy VPN. Personally, my preferred form of contacting support is live chat because it’s faster than phone and email most of the time. However, if you’re one of those users who prefers phone support, you’re out of luck. Okay, so we know how you can reach customer support if you need them— but how do users rate their customer experience with Ivacy VPN?
Customer Support Ratings
If you are buying Ivacy VPN through Amazon, you’ll see that they have an overall customer rating of 3.2 from over 80 customer reviews. The reviews were mixed, with around 40% giving a perfect five stars and around 30% giving Ivacy VPN the lowest one-star rating. Next, I looked at the reviews that mentioned customer support specifically, I found that 66% of them were negative. One user mentioned submitting a support ticket and never hearing a response. Yikes. Overall, I would say that users have a mixed experience when it comes to Ivacy VPN’s helpful customer support. I will say that my own experience with customer support was positive. I used their live chat service to ask questions for this article, and I had detailed answers in minutes.
The Ivacy VPN App
Of course, most of your interactions with Ivacy VPN will be through their apps. So let’s take a look at them— what devices are compatible, the user experience they offer, and what kind of functionality they have.
Ivacy VPN has apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. Ivacy VPN focuses their app’s user experience around why you are using a VPN in the first place. In every app, you can choose to connect for “Streaming”, “Secure Downloading”, or “Unblocking”. In “Streaming”, you can select options like “Amazon Prime US” or “BBC (UK)” and Ivacy VPN will find the best server for streaming in that country and redirect you to the streaming website. For users new to VPNs and unsure about their potential, I think this feature will be really convenient. The latter two features, “Secure Downloading” and “Unblocking”, let you choose a country to get around government censorship or to hide your IP address so you can download content.
Overall, people are happy with Ivacy VPN’s apps. The iOS app has an impressive 4.5 rating from the Apple store and the Android app has a solid 4.2 rating from the Google Play store. One recent Japanese Android user かみたきはるみ wrote this in a five-star review:
“The smart purpose selection feature makes it easier to connect to a VPN server.”
Recap of Ivacy VPN
Overall, I would recommend Ivacy VPN as a good option for Windows users, but not to Mac users. The subscriptions are low in price and for Windows, it has all the features I’m looking for like a kill switch and Netflix access. But since everyone has different priorities, I’ll break it down even further.
Ivacy VPN might be the VPN for you if you’d like:
- No logging: All of your personal data, like your IP addresses, browsing history, traffic, etc. are encrypted and not stored.
- Split tunneling on Windows: You’ll be able to access public and private networks simultaneously (fun fact: Ivacy VPN says they pioneered split tunneling).
- Good app ratings: Both Android and iPhone users gave the Ivacy VPN app at least four stars.
- Affordability: Ivacy VPN is just about as affordable as a VPN gets. If you can commit to three or five years, the price goes as low as $1.33 per month.
On the other hand, you might want to avoid Ivacy VPN if you can’t stand:
- Data retention laws: Singapore (where Ivacy VPN is based) is not a member of Five Eyes, but they have been revealed as a Five Eyes spying partner. However, this shouldn’t be an issue because the company doesn’t log your web traffic.
- Mac app is lacking: The only protocol option on Macs is IKEv1, known to be insecure, on its own. On top of that, there is no kill switch on Macs.
- Mixed reviews for customer support: Users had mixed feelings on Ivacy VPN’s customer support.
- Strict Zero Log Policy
- Supports P2P traffic
- Works in China
- Multiport option to bypass port blocking
- Unblocks Popular Streaming Services
- Lacks Double VPN Feature
- No Special mode to bypass ISP VPN traffic blocking
Ivacy VPN offers VPN services that display compatibility with almost every primary device available in the market, be it Windows, Mac, Android, routers, iOS, Linux, smart TVs, or your Xbox.
They offer around 450+ servers in 100 or more locations. Compared to other VPN services, the number of servers is low. However, they provide high performance, and as end-users, we care for that. Their USA and Canada based P2P optimized servers make Torrenting a piece of cake.
With five connections allowed at a time and an internet kill switch, Ivacy could very well make it to the Big Leagues. They also use all the major protocols, like OpenVPN, PPTP, SSTP, L2TP, IKEv2, and have a customer support desk that is available 24x7.
Ivacy VPN is headquartered in Singapore and operates under the umbrella of PMG Private Limited. They have been in the VPN business since early 2007, and have been doing a great job ever since.
They have a user base of about 200,000 across the globe. While this is not a large number when compared to other well-known VPNs, it is still enough to put Ivacy VPN on the map.
Although Singapore has censorship issues of its own, it does not seem to affect Ivacy.
They have a strict no-logs policy, to the delight of their users. They only store the email IDs of the customers, which is no mean feat for a VPN.
Ivacy VPN Feature List
Ivacy VPN offers many impressive features, at a very reasonable cost. Some of the features I found to be the most useful include:
- P2P / Torrent Support
- Internet Kill Switch
- Five simultaneous device connection
- Crypto and Bitcoin support for payment
- Unlimited bandwidth for download and upload
- 256 bit AES encryption
- Multiple Security protocols
- DNS Leak protection
- IPv6 Support
- Excellent customer service with Live chat
Ivacy VPN Review: Getting Started
Multi-platform support, coupled with the fact that it supports up to 5 devices at once, is enough to make it a perfect VPN for most users. Hence, it gives you complete freedom and convenience to log into your VPN, at home or on the go, and enjoy total online privacy.
Ivacy VPN works with almost every device and platform that is present in the market today. Broad platform support is essential, especially with the number of VPNs available today. Ivacy is compatible with Windows, Linux, Mac, Kodi, iOS, Android, Roku, Blackberry, Raspberry Pi, Smart TVs, and even Xbox and PS4.
How to Download Ivacy VPN
Ivacy VPN offers easy and secure download to its users. Android customers can easily install it from Google Playstore, while iOS customers can avail it from the Apple App Store.
I found the download and installation to be a straightforward process that does not take much time. Once you do this for all your devices, you can log in with your credentials, and browse without compromising your privacy.
Ivacy VPN Review: Windows Interface
Ivacy VPN’s Windows interface is neat in design terms. It has a simple minimalist design, which makes it easy for you to navigate through and figure out how to use it.
Once you log in, you will see a server dropdown. It displays the list of available countries or cities, which you can select. On selecting your preferred server, you can see the new IP, and how long you have been connected to it so far.
In case you do not wish to go through the hassle of choosing a server, you can click on the connect button that connects you to the nearest and quickest server. Hence, saving you the trouble.
The lack of a search box for searching servers surprised me. There should be a filter or something. Hence, it will be good to see it in a future app update. Search for Servers is an essential feature as it significantly improves customer experience.
Left Panel Options
The left panel for navigation shows three options:
- Secure download
You can choose countries for each of these options. For streaming, you can even select the channel that you wish to watch- which I mainly found to be a great feature. Selecting the channel redirects you to the server that best fits your needs, saving you the trouble of going through all the servers, and identifying which one is the fastest.
The navigation bar also displays options to edit and view your account information, followed by the Settings tab. It has General and Connection settings that you can customize to enhance your VPN experience.
Windows Interface Final Thoughts
I found the interface of the Windows app to be delightful and had absolutely no difficulty navigating through their application. It is classy, sleek and had an overall modern look, with no confusing directions, or unfamiliar buttons.
You’ll find the interface to be mostly intuitive, and the learning curve is quite comfortable. However, I will deduct some points due to the lack of server search button.
Ivacy VPN Review: Modes & Settings
Ivacy VPN has some settings you can play around with if you want to have a customized experience. While it may take some time for you to get used to, it is always good to have an option to personalize your VPN.
A standard connection option, this allows you to choose locations or countries with the help of a dropdown list. You can even go down to cities to get your best connection. This feature is available with most VPNs, and it’s pretty much a standard feature that Ivacy VPN offers.
These servers are available for peer to peer file downloads, as well as for regular downloads with security options that allow for malware scanning, at the server level. It is is an excellent precaution for added security while using a VPN.
This section lets you choose the country or choose the channels you want to watch. It works for major networks, making it an excellent feature to use if you wish to view overseas content.
This option is meant to get you around geographic restrictions or federal restrictions placed by censorship bodies. Use the unblocking servers to bypass any restrictions.
Hence, you can view content blocked in your geographic region by controlling bodies, making it a handy tool for users in nations with strict censorship laws.
Internet Kill Switch
I found this feature to be extremely useful. The internet kill switch options ensure that you are always connected to the VPN, in turn making sure that your identity is always protected. It is a critical feature for users who are worried about their privacy and security.
The VPN automatically shuts off internet connection if the VPN is down, reconnecting only when the internet is stable again, which ensures that your identity is never out in the network, unprotected.
IPv6 Leak protection option is available in the General tab, and you can choose to make use of leak protection for an added security measure.
Split Tunneling Option
This option allows you to decide the flow of traffic by splitting the traffic in two ways. It gives you a choice to select which application on your system uses connection via your ISP, and which ones use the VPN.
Split Tunneling is handy for me as I keep my Chrome to use ISP connection even when VPN is enabled. As I frequently use my banking facilities via Chrome, I do not need to worry about being connected to other country’s server.
Ivacy VPN Speed Test
Speed is a critical factor that decides which VPN to use. While you can expect a certain amount of speed loss, the VPN should still function with high enough speeds. Hence, it provides you with almost the same experience as browsing with your ISP. If you are getting slower download speeds using a VPN, check the Factors that might be responsible.
What’s the point if a VPN is very secure and protects your anonymity, but is too slow to work with, or stream without buffering? My speed tests show how it scored during my Ivacy VPN review.
While testing the VPN my original connection speed was: 196.13 Mbps
What Can Ivacy VPN Unlock?
Ivacy VPN does quite well in this zone, bypassing geographic restrictions and firewalls. Also, during my Ivacy VPN review, I was able to use a fair number of sites and view content on the following services:
- Amazon Prime
- BBC iPlayer
- PBS kids
- Tubi TV
- Torrent and P2P
- YouTube Red
- ABC, CBS and NBS networks
This list is fairly standard for a VPN provider, and I was quite satisfied with the coverage.
Ivacy VPN Review: Can it Stream Ultra HD Content?
Yes, with Ivacy VPN you can stream Ultra HD videos. With the US Server, I am watching UltraHD content on YouTube as well as Netflix. Till now, I have not faced any lags.
How Secure is Ivacy VPN?
Security is a no-compromise factor when selecting VPNs, as it is their whole purpose. You can judge safety by the protocols they use, as well as how safe user information is in the hands of the VPN provider.
Ivacy offers military-grade 256-bit encryption. Also, it supports many protocols, including OpenVPN, SSTP, PPTP, L2TP, and IKev2. OpenVPN is their default in TCP & UDP protocols, which is also the safest way to browse, especially when it comes to avoiding attacks on a public network.
Know more about VPN Protocols and which one is the best?
Internet Kill Switch
Enabling this option will ensure that you are only connected to the internet when your VPN is active. Hence, the minute your VPN connection is faulty, or unstable, it stops the internet, thereby preventing any identity leak.
No Logs Policy
You can also request to delete your data from the Members Area, which is essential for many who seek to be completely private. Besides, Ivacy allows you to make payments via cryptocurrency, and it doesn’t get more secure than that.
The only cause of concern is that Singapore is part of the Five Eyes Alliance. However, it really shouldn’t affect VPN safety since Ivacy doesn’t keep any logs, but it’s wise to put it out there.
No IP & DNS Leaks
While reviewing Ivacy VPN, I performed an IP & DNS leak test with all popular services. However, none of them detected any leak. So, you can be sure that there is no worry about Ivacy leaking your data.
Ivacy has a superb team for customer support. They give quick responses that are detailed and direct enough to help you to deal with the issue you are facing.
Live Chat and Tickets
Also, their Live Chat is available 24x7, making sure to give you almost instant answers. In case you do not want to make use of chat support, you can always raise a ticket, and rest assured they will get back to you with a solution.
Through the course of my Ivacy review, I have pinged them several times and always got the answers I needed.
Their website explains the basics quite clearly, with a well-maintained blog that takes care of most of the common questions that users might have. Also, the support section on Ivacy website is well written and contains solutions to most common issues.
Ivacy VPN Review: Pricing
Ivacy quickly takes the spotlight when it comes to pricing.
- Monthly Plans priced at $9.95 a month.
- Yearly Plan priced at $3.33 a month, offering 66% more savings, costing you only $40 a year.
- The two year Plan, priced at $2.25 a month, comes up to $27 a year, Hence, you save 77%.
So it's time to conclude my Ivacy VPN review now.
Ivacy is a VPN I would recommend. They offer a secure and safe experience, at a very reasonable price, and could be among the top players if they enhance and fine-tune a few of their features. Also, it is easy to use and has a lot of options. Having a great chat support is a bonus.
Singapore-based Ivacy is definitely not new to the ranks having been around since 2006. This provider has a relatively small network but is a fierce competitor when it comes to price. Claiming to be “the most advanced VPN,” Ivacy has a relatively small user base of over 200,000 across the globe.
We’ve taken it for a test run to see how it stacks up against the competition.
Features and pricing
Ivacy offers a single package with three different pricing plans, dependent on the length of term you sign up for. A monthly plan will cost you $8.95 per month which is about average for a solid service. However, sign up for a longer term and you’ll see steep discounts. The price of a one-year term works out to $3 per month and a two-year term is only $1.99 per month. If you sign up for a five-year plan, it’s a mere $1 per month.
Ivacy also offers a 30 days money-back guarantee. To sign up, you have plenty of payment options, including PayPal, major credit cards, Bitpay, Alipay, as well as various coin payment and fiat payment platforms. The multiple options for paying with bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will please privacy-conscious users.
Ivacy apps are available for Windows, MacOS, Android, and iOS. The VPN can be set up manually on Linux and some routers. With each plan, you can connect up to five devices simultaneously, which is pretty much the industry standard and ample for most users.
An Ivacy account gives you access to over 450 servers covering more than 50 countries. These include some P2P-optimized servers in various countries, including the US and Canada. You get unlimited bandwidth for downloading and uploading as much as you want, making this ideal for torrenters. Kodi users might also be drawn to this provider as it has a dedicated add-on to mask your IP while using the service.
Security perks include 256- bit AES encryption, built-in IPv6 and DNS leak protection, and a kill switch. You can choose from multiple protocols depending on your needs, and take advantage of app-based split tunneling that enables you to choose which traffic goes through the VPN.
Setup and interface
Once you’re set up with an account, downloading and installing the apps is simple. For the purposes of this review, we’re using the Windows and iOS apps.
After you log into the client, you’ll arrive at a sleek, modern-looking main screen. Here you have a server dropdown that you can set to display countries or cities.
Once you’ve selected your server, you’ll see your new IP and the amount of time you’ve been connected to the VPN for your current session.
Using the left navigation pane to switch screens, the next three options are Secure Download, Streaming, and Unblocking, respectively. In each of these screens you can select the country you want to connect through. In the case of streaming, you can alternatively select the channel you wish to watch.
You’ll then automatically be directed to the server that best fits your needs, be it downloading, streaming, or unblocking.
Next on the navigation bar is an option to view your account info, followed by the Settings screen. Here you’ll find two tabs, General and Connection. In the first, you’ll see startup options along with IPv6 leak protection. Note that the latter is disabled by default.
In the Connection tab, you can select your protocol, manually enter a server, turn on the kill switch, and select split tunneling.
Overall, this is a well-designed and intuitive app that won’t be off-putting for beginners but provides enough options for those with more specific needs.
Over in the mobile app, you’ll find an equally intuitive interface with a clean, modern aesthetic. The main screen will take you straight to the Smart Connect option.
By default, the US is selected as the country, so if you simply click the power button, you’ll be connected to the fastest available US server. Here, you can see your current location and IP address. At the bottom of the screen is the Connect to option, which takes you to the country list. You can opt to view cities instead by selecting the Cities tab.
These lists are also accessible by selecting the Locations tab near the top right of the app. Once you’ve chosen your location, you’ll automatically be connected to the fastest available server in that location.
The final tab (on the left of the navigation pane) is Purposes. Here you have three options — Start Streaming, Secure Downloading, and Start Unblocking — similar to those found in the desktop client.
Finally, you have the app Settings accessible by clicking the gear icon in the top left-hand corner of the main screen. Here, you can change your protocol and set up the On Demand VPN and Manual Dialing features.
On Demand VPN enables you to create a list of websites you’d like the VPN to automatically protect. Every time you visit one of these sites, the VPN will connect before you land on the page.
Manual Dialing is a static IP address feature for users who would like to have the same IP address at all times. This is useful for sites like Steam or banking websites that prefer you log in from the same computer.
Servers and performance
Ivacy offers a modest, but not tiny, network of servers with more than 450 in over 50 countries. You can select your server based on country or city, or you can use the special tabs to choose one for a specific use case such as downloading or streaming.
We tested several servers and the overall performance we experienced was excellent. You might expect otherwise from a lower-cost provider, but Ivacy did not disappoint. We were able to play online games using test servers in the US and the UK with no issues. We used the same servers to stream 1080p with no buffering.
The general time to connect to a server was fast and there was no noticeable slowdown with respect to general browsing with any of the servers we tried. We did often get an error message when trying to connect to a Los Angeles server. It worked at times but not at others. Not all servers were tested so this could be a one-off or an ongoing issue.
When performing speed tests, we aim to be as empirical as possible. For each test, we downloaded the same single file (~100MB) from a server located in Oregon. The tests were run at three different times of day, alongside two other providers, NordVPN and StrongVPN. We conducted the tests in Toronto, Canada, and for each provider, we ran tests using sample servers in the US East, US West, and the UK. In addition to testing the VPN servers, we ran control tests at each point in time without the use of a VPN.
In the boxplots below, the median download time is where the two blue boxes meet. Lower is better. The overall box size is an indicator of the spread in results. Smaller is better.
As you can see, Ivacy fared very well in the tests. When connected to a geographically close server in the US East, the speeds were only 15-25% slower than those recorded without the use of a VPN. Even for a geographically distant server in the US West, we saw some speeds which weren’t too far off those of the control.
As expected, the UK server was quite a bit slower, with speeds near to half those of the control. But it isn’t uncommon to see these sorts of slowdowns and more, even with top providers. For such an inexpensive provider, these are surprisingly pleasing results.
It’s important to point out that these tests aren’t definitive and simply serve as a general indication of the performance you may see. The inherent volatility of the internet adds a significant factor of randomness, so these tests should be taken with a grain of salt. They were run while using a 70Mbps connection, so you’ll likely see longer wait times with a slower connection, and perhaps smaller or larger discrepancies.
Does Ivacy VPN unblock Netflix?
First, we tried connecting to several US servers to access Netflix with no luck. Then we contacted live customer support and within minutes we were able to unblock the service. With Netflix cracking down on the use of VPNs to access its libraries, it’s becoming more and more difficult for providers to keep up. As such, it’s commonplace to have to ask customer support for specific servers, as the ones publicly listed have often already been blocked.
It was a similar situation for the mobile app. US Netflix didn’t work with the general US server option or the special streaming feature available within the app. But a live chat agent gave us a selection of three servers to enter and the first one worked to unblock Netflix.
Ivacy can now unblock Hulu and Amazon Prime Video as of a recent update, both in a desktop browser and in their respective apps. We’ve had mixed results with BBC iPlayer.
If you do find yourself contacting a customer service agent for help with streaming, they’ll likely provide you a server address which suits your needs. In the desktop client, simply head to Settings>Connection and enter the server address in the Manual Server spot. In the mobile app, you have to go to Settings>Manual Dialing.
Does Ivacy VPN’s Kodi addon work?
Ivacy is one of very few VPNs with a dedicated Kodi addon. Most VPNs have to be started outside of Kodi, whereas Ivacy’s addon enables you to connect and disconnect from within Kodi itself. However, it’s currently only available for OpenELEC systems.
The addon itself is fairly straightforward to use. Simply enter your login credentials and select a location from within the settings menu. However, you can’t choose a specific server and are automatically assigned a suitable one in your selected region.
Unfortunately, when we tested the Ivacy Kodi addon, it wasn’t capable of unblocking platforms such as BBC iPlayer, Netflix, or Hulu. In fact, it only works with smaller services like PBS Kids and Tubi TV. Still, it’s an impressive addon and with continued development, could represent a change in the way Kodi users stay protected.
Does Ivacy VPN work in China?
With China’s Great Firewall blocking access to many VPN websites as well as connections to VPN servers, it’s often a struggle to find one that still works. Thankfully for Ivacy customers, this is an area that the company is focusing on, and it’s able to provide access to users in China through customized servers.
There is some configuration required and you may need guidance from the support team. While the VPN works in China, the website itself may be blocked, restricting your access to support. As such, it’s a good idea to make sure you know how to set up the VPN for use in China before traveling there. The tutorials are available as PDFs for simple download, although the Windows one appears to be dated as it uses an old version of the app.
Security and privacy
Ivacy is based in Singapore which is far from the reaches of EU mass government surveillance. The name “Ivacy” is a play on “privacy,” but does this provider live up to its moniker?
Security comes in the form of military-grade 256-bit encryption with 2,048 bit RSA keys for authentication and perfect forward secrecy. You have a number of protocol options to choose from, including PPTP, SSTP, L2TP, OpenVPN and IKEv2.
When it comes to DNS leak protection, a section on the website talks about having to activate a secure DNS add-on within the client. However, this appears to be outdated and there is no such option available. We were assured that DNS leak protection is built-in with no additional configuration required. Ivacy uses its own DNS servers.
IPv6 leak protection is built in but disabled by default. You can switch this on by going to Settings>General. A built-in kill switch is also disabled by default, but you can enable it by going to Settings>Connections. This adds an additional layer of security by automatically killing the internet connection if the VPN connection is lost for whatever reason.
A neat feature we mentioned earlier is the option of split tunneling. This isn’t an uncommon feature among VPN providers but it definitely isn’t a standard option so may win over some users. With split tunneling, you can opt for some applications to go through the VPN server and others to go through your regular connection.
This is ideal if you want to access both foreign and local web services at the same time. In this case, you could direct traffic from one browser through the VPN and another not. It also enables you to mitigate potential slowdowns for certain apps.
If you run into any issues or need help with setting things up, Ivacy offers several options for customer support. The searchable support pages cover getting started, troubleshooting common technical issues, and general FAQs. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, you can use the 24/7 live chat to get a prompt answer.
As mentioned, a live chat agent walked us through connecting to Netflix with professionalism and expert knowledge. The response to more technical security questions was a little less knowledgeable. In case a live agent can’t help you out, you could submit a ticket through the contact form. Because the live chat is outsourced, submitting a ticket might be a preferable option for more privacy-conscious users anyway. Alternatively, you could connect with Ivacy through Facebook or Twitter, where the company appears to be fairly active.
With its low prices and relatively small network of servers, you might not expect a lot from Ivacy. However, this provider performed well on all fronts. It offers decent speeds and access to blocked content such as that from Netflix and BBC iPlayer. It gives users unlimited bandwidth to play with, as well as P2P optimized servers, so torrenters won’t be disappointed either. What’s more, security and privacy are comparable to many top providers.
Customer support is generally reliable and knowledgeable, although you may have to contact the company directly with more technical questions. We did run into an issue with connectivity on one server, but for the most part, the service was very reliable.
Jurisdiction – Where is Ivacy VPN based?
Ivacy is headquartered in Singapore, which is known to have lenient privacy laws, however, it is still an ally of the five eyes. Since there’s a lot of talk surrounding Singapore’s potential role as a partner of the five eyes, I contacted their live chat support. Here’s their response:
Although there is no way to confirm whether Ivacy would comply with law enforcement agencies or not, however, as per their chat support representative, user identity stays totally secure with Ivacy.
If you want to know why you should be concerned about surveillance agencies, I urge you to read this guide for selecting a VPN based in five eyes, nine eyes, and 14 eyes nations.
Security – Encryption & Features
In the security department, Ivacy delivers top-notch encryption and security features. On Windows, you can choose between OpenVPN (UDP), OpenVPN (TCP), L2TP/IPsec, and IKEv2 protocols. On Mac, the only available protocol is IKEv1.
This protocol is not a safe option to use. OpenVPN is the most secure option. It is fast, reliable and so far, unbreakable. All this is possible due to the open-source nature of the protocol, which allows for constant updates. As for encryption that Ivacy offers, it all depends on which protocol you use. You’ll either get zero encryption or 256-bit encryption.
Ivacy VPN Logging Policy
Is Ivacy safe? Well, yes. In fact, Ivacy follows a true no-logs policy. More specifically, this VPN does not store any Meta logs or activity logs.
Ivacy Kill Switch
Let’s be honest for a second, VPNs tend to disconnect every now and then. Now if you’re just browsing the web, this might not be a big issue, however, if you’re torrenting, this can mean risking your privacy.
To stop your IP address from accidentally leaking, Ivacy offers a built-in kill switch, which disconnects your internet whenever you lose your VPN connection. This nifty little feature is not just a gimmick and actually works as advertised.
Ivacy Split Tunneling
This VPN service also comes with a built-in Split Tunneling feature. If you don’t know what this feature does, it basically allows you to prioritize the apps that do need security and those that don’t.
You can use the Split Tunneling feature to save bandwidth by excluding certain apps that you don’t want to protect with Ivacy. For instance, when I tested out this feature, I simply excluded Netflix from the tunnel since I didn’t want to burden down my streaming speeds with overhead encryption.
Side Note: Ivacy claims to have invented this technology but I cannot confirm this as of now.
Ivacy Dedicated IP Address
Aside from offering plenty of dynamic IP addresses, Ivacy also offers dedicated IPs for an additional $1.99/mo. Ivacy provides dedicated IP addresses from the following countries:
- Hong Kong
- The United Kingdom
- The United States
Although it’s great to see that Ivacy offers dedicated IP from 7 countries, they don’t give you the freedom to select a particular city of your choice.
Ivacy Port Forwarding
Ivacy also offers a Port Forwarding feature as an addon. If you don’t know, most VPNs use NAT Firewall to prevent users from falling victim to malicious incoming connections. While this feature is pretty useful, it does block peer connections when torrenting. Not only will you find it difficult to establish a connection with peers, but you will also encounter sluggish downloading and seeding speeds.
That being said, Ivacy’s Port Forwarding feature takes care of this issue by giving you the freedom to reroute incoming connections around the NAT Firewall to establish connections. This feature not only works great but also only costs $1.00 additional over your standard subscription plan.
No Tor or Proxy Compatibility
Tor is one of the favorite tools of privacy advocates. Even without a VPN involved, Tor can shield users from cyber-surveillance and online censorship. However, when you combine Tor with a VPN, you get the formula for ultimate online privacy. Fortunately, Ivacy is incompatible with the Tor network.
Leaks – DNS, IP & WebRTC Leak Tests
Much like other premium VPNs, Ivacy passed my VPN leak test with excellence.
DNS Leak Test
This feature works to perfection as my tests showed no DNS leak at all. Many times, Windows uses your default DNS instead of the one provided by your VPN. This can easily expose your location and identity. Ivacy’s DNS leak protection routes your request from the VPN’s DNS server. This keeps your location from being exposed.
As you can see from the screenshot above, my default IP address is nowhere to be seen.
IP Leak Test
Similarly, when I checked for IP leaks, Ivacy showed no signs of leaks. For this test, I visited ipleak.org while connected to the U.S server of Ivacy. As I said, Ivacy did not expose my actual IP address online.
WebRTC Leak Test
Lastly, Ivacy also passed the WebRTC leak test without any issues. In fact, when I visited ip8.com, it only showed the IP address of the VPN server I was connected to and not my default IP address.
Servers – Support for China & Torrenting
An extensive server range is often the main strength of a VPN. While evaluating the service, I discovered that Ivacy’s server list consists of more than 2000+ servers in over 100 locations. These are outstanding numbers if you stop to consider the economical price of this VPN.
With the perfect mix of physical and virtual servers, you can rattle the restrictions without being noticed by your ISPs. You can use the VPN servers to connect to some of the streaming services like Netflix and Hulu that are restricted for viewership in certain regions.
Does Ivacy Work in China?
Ivacy is among the very few VPNs that actually work in China. In fact, Ivacy is the only know VPN provider to offer six servers in Beijing and Shanghai other than PureVPN.
Even though the Chinese government is notorious for blocking VPNs, Ivacy still works efficiently in China. You can either download Ivacy before traveling to China or use these special links for Windows and Android if you’re already in China.
Is Ivacy good for Torrenting?
Aside from working flawlessly in China, Ivacy also fully support torrenting and P2P file sharing. Ivacy not only offers dedicated P2P servers but also dedicated servers for Kodi with no bandwidth restrictions at all.
Most VPN services back away when it comes to providing support for torrenting because of legalities. For instance, TunnelBear no longer supports torrenting. Ivacy on the other hand fully supports P2P and provides optimized servers with blazing fast speeds to ensure your download and upload do not suffer.
Speed – How fast is Ivacy?
Ivacy does not disappoint its users on the speed front. In fact, In this Ivacy review, when connected to the US and UK servers, Ivacy managed to achieve 28.24 Mbps download speed and 18.44 Mbps upload speed on my 30 Mbps connection.
Initially, I tested my speeds without Ivacy and achieved 28.40 Mbps download and 29.78 Mbps upload speeds.
Next, I connected to a US server using OpenVPN protocol and got 28.24 Mbps download and 18.44 Mbps upload speeds.
The results show that Ivacy VPN download speed was slightly less while the upload speeds remained consistent.
Streaming – Does Ivacy work with Netflix & Other VoD Services?
Ivacy VPN worked flawlessly with Netflix at the time of writing this review. However, I would recommend you to stay updated with which servers work and don’t work with chat support. The fact that Ivacy actually unblocks US Netflix is seriously impressive since many VPNs fail to do so.
Ivacy makes it really easy to know which servers to use for streaming. From the dashboard, you can click on the “purpose” drop-down and select servers for Netflix, BBC iPlayer, HBO Now, Hulu, and more.
Here’s a screenshot of me playing Ex Machina on Netflix while connected Netflix USA server. Everything streamed just fine and I didn’t encounter any issues.
Aside from Netflix, Ivacy also easily unblocked BBC iPlayer without any issues at all. Here’s a screenshot of me streaming Ladhood on BBC iPlayer.
Other Streaming Services
Ivacy also works with streaming services like Kodi, FireStick, Hulu, BBC iPlayer & more. Speaking of Ivacy for Kodi, during this review, I was delighted to know that Ivacy has started offering a dedicated Kodi app for all the Kodi streamers out there.
This service comes with OpenELEC compatibility and enables you to unblock any geo-restricted channel on Kodi. The setup process is fairly simple and illustrated in their knowledgebase.
Compatibility – Apps and Supported Devices
Ivacy is one of those VPN services that supports a wide range of devices and operating systems.
For starters, Ivacy supports Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android devices. Apart from providing apps for the aforementioned operating software and devices, it can also be manually set up on Linux, Routers, Roku, Kodi, Firestick, Smart TV, Blackberry, and even on consoles. Overall, getting everything set up is super easy. But if any of the apps don’t work for you, you can find useful tips in this Ivacy not working article.
Ivacy for Windows
For Windows users, Ivacy has designed a sleek and user-friendly client that provides ultimate privacy with a single click. When you use its Windows app, you will find 8 different navigation options available on the left side. These options include Smart Connect, Secure Download, Streaming Unblocking, and Dedicated IP.
Ivacy for Mac
For mac users, Ivacy is one of the best VPNs for Mac as it offers exclusive software and manual configuration. You can use both methods to set up this VPN on your device.
The VPN client for mac has a similar design and feel to the Windows PC software. All the options are neatly placed on the left panel and at the top of the VPN client. You can download Ivacy for mac from their website, follow the installation wizard, and then run the software.
Ivacy for Android
Android users can find the Ivacy app on the Google Play Store. The app has a sleek design and a one-tap connect feature. Further, it lets you choose from the extensive server library of the VPN.
Ivacy for iOS
Not to ignore the Apple lovers, Ivacy has developed an intuitive and eye-catching iOS app that provides digital privacy on the go. Users can download this app for free on iTunes and enjoy guaranteed protection from malware and other forms of online threats.
Pricing – How much does Ivacy VPN Cost?
Hands down! Ivacy is a cost-effective VPN service which starts from just $2.25/mo. This provider offers three basic subscription plans which are listed below:
- 1-month – $9.95/mo (No discount)
- 1-year – $3.33/mo (Save 66%)
- 2-year – $2.25/mo
- 1-month – $1.00/mo
- 1-year – $1.00/mo
- 2-year – $1.00/mo
- 1-month – $1.99/mo
- 1-year – $1.99/mo
- 2-year – $1.99/mo
As a frequent VPN reviewer, I rarely come across services that provide budget-friendly rates for a quality service. Ivacy is an exception to this norm. The VPN is equipped with all the advanced tools to protect your online privacy. More interestingly, Ivacy also offers a 1-day free trial.
The VPN provides multitudes of payment modes including Card payments, PayPal, BitPay, AliPay, Perfect Money, and Paymentwall. Even more impressively, you can pay via multiple cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin.
Cumbersome Refund Policy
Even though Ivacy is quite affordable, I’m not a big fan of its refund policy. Despite advertising a 30-days refund, you can only claim a refund within 7 days if you’ve bought the monthly package. Yearly subscribers, on the other hand, can get a refund within a month, but cannot consume more than 500 MB of bandwidth or 30 sessions.
In addition, you will have to fulfill these below-described requirements in order to get a full refund.
- Your account has not been suspended by Ivacy due to terms of service breach
- You have not claimed for the refund under this policy
- You did not use Bitcoin, BitPay or any other anonymous option to pay your dues
If you fulfill the above criteria, Ivacy may start processing your refunds within two days once you have made the valid refund request.
Trustworthiness – Trustpilot Ratings, Reddit Reviews & Support
What makes Ivacy an interesting choice for European users is its compliance with GDRP. When you use a GDPR compliant VPN, you can be sure about its data collection process. In the case of Ivacy, I found it to be fully compliant with GDPR laws.
Ivacy Stance over Transparency
When it comes to transparency, not many VPN services love to come clean. However, Ivacy has recently released an official statement to clear all the allegations regarding having an affiliation with PureVPN. I think that was a pretty bold move and a one that should enhance the trust level of its prevailing customers.
Ivacy Trustpilot Reviews
Ivacy has a flawless reputation on Trustpilot. Unlike other VPN providers, Ivacy has a spotless 4.7-star rating based on 790 user reviews. More than 87% of users have rated Ivacy as excellent with only 3% bad reviews.
Ivacy Reddit Reviews
Is Ivacy VPN good? Well, according to Reddit reviews, most people either tend to love Ivacy or totally hate it. For instance, here’s one Reddit user suggesting not to use Ivacy because of its Singaporean jurisdiction.
Although I’m sure some users may have experienced issues with Ivacy, I didn’t notice too many issues.
Efficient Customer Support
In terms of customer support, Ivacy offers one of the most comprehensive customer support systems in the industry. The provider has a thorough knowledge base comprised of guides, technical information, and other relevant data about the VPN.
In addition to comprehensive guides and tutorials, Ivacy also offers a 24/7 live chat feature which I got to test out on a few occasions. In reply to most of my queries, the agent provided me an in-depth answer that directly addressed my concerns. Overall, I found the customer support of the VPN to be flawless.
If you don’t wish to use the live chat support option, you can get some useful information by reading their FAQ section, which is mentioned by the name of common questions on the official site.
Do I Recommend Ivacy?
Yes, I do recommend Ivacy. The fact that Ivacy offers tons of features, affordable price plans, excellent compatibility with Netflix / torrenting, and awesome customer support, makes Ivacy totally worth the $2.25/mo price. I also found it’s features list and performance to be on part with some of the industry’s giants.
However, at the time of writing this Ivacy VPN review, I did come across a few little issues that I really wish didn’t exist. For instance, the fact that Ivacy is based in Singapore is a bit of a let down for me. Aside from that, I also found Ivacy’s refund policy to be rather cumbersome. Based on the already covered pros and cons, Ivacy managed to achieve a 4.0/5.0 stars rating in this review.
Pricing and Features
An account with Ivacy VPN costs $8.95 per month, making it one of the most affordable VPNs I've yet reviewed. The average cost of a month-to-month VPN service is currently at around $10.50, well above what Ivacy charges. Ivacy is still pricier than Private Internet Access, however, as that Editors' Choice-winning service runs a mere $6.95 per month.
As with other VPN services, if you select a longer-term subscription, the cost per month is significantly reduced. A one-year plan with Ivacy costs $36.00, and a two-year plan costs $48.00. As with most VPN services, Ivacy does not require you to purchase more expensive plans to get access to everything the company has to offer. ProtonVPN is a noteable exception to this trend, offering a low-cost Basic plan with just a few servers, and a more expensive Plus plan that adds more servers and features.
Some VPN services offer even longer subscription periods. KeepSolid VPN Unlimited, for example, lives up to its name with an effectively life-long plan. It also offers billing periods as short as one week, which is great for travelers who want a VPN only for a vacation or business trip. At PCMag, however, we recommend using a VPN as often as possible.
If cost is a major hurdle, fear not. There are many excellent free VPNs on the market. Our Editors' Choice winner, TunnelBear, offers a free version with a limited amount of data available. ProtonVPN, on the other hand, limits the number of simultaneous devices and available servers to its free customers. Ivacy does not, however, offer a free version.
An Ivacy account lets you connect from up to five devices simultaneously. That's the industry average, although NordVPN provides up to six connections and CyberGhost up to seven. TorGuard, on the other hand, has a simple slider where you simply pick how many simultaneous connections you want, and are charged accordingly.
Notably, Ivacy includes a split-tunneling feature. This lets you decide which apps should send their traffic through Ivacy's encrypted tunnel and which should not. That's particularly handy for gaming with a VPN, since you can avoid the detrimental speed and latency effects of a VPN on your game while remaining otherwise protected.
In the past, it was tricky to set up a VPN and hard to use one, too. Thankfully, that's not an issue anymore, as most companies now provide first-party client apps on a variety of platforms. Ivacy offers apps for Android, the Chrome browser, the Firefox browser, iOS, macOS, and Windows. This last client is the focus of this review.
VPN for Kodi and Streaming Boxes
On its website Ivacy makes a big deal about supporting the Kodi media server. I haven't used this particular aspect of the software, but I know from SEO research that many of you are Googling to figure out which VPN to use with Kodi.
While Kodi is a very popular method to watch your favorite shows and movies, it's even harder to extend VPN protection to streaming boxes like the AppleTV or Roku. Thankfully, some companies like TorGuard make their software available preinstalled on some streaming boxes. Several VPNs I have reviewed can even be installed on your router, in order to provide protection to all your connected devices.
There's more than one flavor of VPN protocol. In fact there's an entire rainbow of protocols designed to protect your data. In general, I prefer OpenVPN. This protocol is newer, known for its speed, and is open-source. This last point is important, because it means many eyes have scoured its code for potential vulnerabilities.
The Windows app supports OpenVPN in TCP and UDP flavors, as well as the older L2TP, and the newer IKEv2. It irks me a bit that the app doesn't clearly label it as OpenVPN TCP and UDP, but that's a minor issue. Ivacy has modern, excellent technology under the hood.
Servers and Server Locations
When comparing VPN companies, it's useful to look at how many servers the company offers and where those servers are located. In general, the closer the server is to you, the better performance you'll experience. So having a lot of servers in lots of different places means that you're more likely to have a better experience, no matter where you might roam.
Ivacy offers only 459 servers, a bit below the 500-server minimum threshold I have come to expect. In fact, so many VPN services are now exceeding 700 and even 1,000 servers that I may need to raise the cutoff soon. NordVPN currently leads the pack with over 3,400 servers, and Private Internet Access is close behind with 3,275. TorGuard recently expanded its offering to 3,000 servers, placing it among the three most robust services I have yet reviewed.
While Ivacy lacks sheer numbers, the servers it has are well distributed. The company offers 100 server locations, oustripping the 59 countries offered by NordVPN and the 22 from TunnelBear. PureVPN, notably, offers 180 locations across 140 countries, but it's Hide My Ass's unbeaten 286 locations in 220 countries that leads this category.
Ivacy also has some very strategically positioned servers. While most VPN companies ignore the entire continent of Africa, Ivacy has six locations. South and Central America is another region passed over by many VPN companies, but not Ivacy. It also provides servers in regions with repressive internet censorship, including China, Russia, and Turkey.
The number of servers, however, can be a bit deceiving. Some VPN companies make extensive use of virtual server locations. These are physical servers configured to behave as if they are actually several servers in different locations. This is an issue for anyone concerned about the precise path of their data. You might be miffed to discover that by selecting a server in the data haven of Iceland, that it was actually being routed through a virtual server in Shanghai.
For its part, Ivacy uses only 26 virtual servers. Hide My Ass, on the other hand, is able to support its incredible number of server locations because only 61 of its servers are physical. The rest, numbering almost 300 servers, are virtual. NordVPN has no virtual servers, while Private Internet Access and TunnelBear use virtual servers to accommodate users rather than support faux-locations.
Your Privacy With Ivacy
Ivacy's privacy is longer and less clear than I like, but entirely readable. It might sound a bit odd, but I actually have preferences when it comes to privacy policies. TunnelBear's, for example, is very easy to read and includes pop-outs to explain the company's thinking and complex issues. TorGuard has, perhaps, the shortest and most glib of privacy policies.
In its policy, Ivacy says that it does not "log or monitor, online browsing activities, connection logs, VPN IPs assigned, original IP addresses, browsing history, outgoing traffic, connection times, data you have accessed and/or DNS queries generated by your end. We have no information that could associate specific activities to specific users." That's exactly what you want to hear from a VPN company.
It goes on to say "Ivacy does not, under any circumstances, share, sell or rent users' personal information provided during the registration process." This is also excellent, since a VPN company should ideally be making its money without monetizing its users. The company also does not inject ads into customer's traffic.
The policy goes on to itemize the only information that Ivacy does collect and why it needs this information. For the most part, the company only retains the email address, name, and payment method in order to carry out billing and other site functions. Notably, the policy says that data regarding "inactive customers" is removed every 12 months.
It's also important to know where your VPN company is located, since this dictates the legal jurisdiction under which it operates. Because of their location, some companies may be required to hold on to certain data for set periods of time, or need to cooperate with different law enforcement bodies. Ivacy is located in Singapore and operates under that legal jurisdiction. Personally, I do not believe that I can judge the quality of any company based solely on its location, but it is still an important consideration. I encourage everyone to make their own decisions in this regard, and use the service they feel comfortable with.
As with the best VPN services, Ivacy tells me that it strives to retain as little usable information as possible in order to protect customers even when presented with a legal subpoena. A representative told me, "Our servers, processes and systems do not keep any personal and sensitive information. By design, Ivacy VPN has no sensitive data to share, even when legally bound to do so."
Hands On With Ivacy
I had no trouble installing the Windows client on a Lenovo ThinkPad T460s laptop running the latest version of Windows 10. I did, however, have some trouble signing up for Ivacy. For some reason, the site wasn't returning an error message when I accidentally used the incorrect payment information. Note that Ivacy accepts all major credit cards, as well as Alipay, Bitty, PayPal, and sundry cryptocurrencies. This last option is important if you want to pay for your VPN anonymously.
I'm not a fan of Ivacy's design. It's slick, and blends in pretty well with Windows 10, but my first thought was that it looked fussy. There's just a lot happening in this little app, and I could easily see someone being overwhelmed by it. I much prefer the simplicity of NordVPN and the cuteness of TunnelBear.
Fussiness aside, Ivacy echoes the scenario-based setup of PureVPN and Hide My Ass. The right rail has presets for Secure Download, Streaming, Unblocking, and Dedicated IP. You can pick the one that meets your needs in the moment, or use the Fast Connect button from the main page. Most scenario-centered VPN services, including PureVPN, eschew the Fast Connect option, to their detriment.
The Streaming option is one I've seen in other products, including CyberGhost and PureVPN. In Ivacy, the streaming option serves as quick links to servers for watching the BBC iPlayer and watching streaming TV in the US. There's an option to request new "channels," but I prefer CyberGhost's setup that allows you to simply create your own presets for different sites and services.
The Dedicated IP option requires an add-on purchase (discussed below). The Unblocking option defaults to a nearby country that doesn't have restricted content. If you're looking to access websites blocked by your local government, this is the option for you. I'm not clear on Secure Download options, however. When I selected it, Ivacy connected me to a VPN server in Belgium. To my mind, the Belgians are known for their excellent beer and not so much their prestige in downloading.
This wasn't the only odd connection I had in my testing of Ivacy. Using the fast connect button, the app automatically selected a German VPN server for me. I prefer VPN apps that locate the closest available server. Someone who had never used a VPN before might be quite confused by Ivacy's choice in my case. Thankfully, a search box lets you peruse Ivacy's server offerings by country or even by city.
Unfortunately, I found that Ivacy didn't always work as advertised. Part of my testing involves connecting to a VPN server in Australia. For whatever reason, Ivacy couldn't successfully connect with any of the Australian VPN servers I selected. That's disappointing. I had a similar problem when testing the Firefox and Chrome browser extensions, except those wouldn't connect to any servers. Ivacy needs to clean up its act in this regard.
Other noteworthy settings within the Ivacy app are a protocol selector, IPv6 leak protection, and a Kill Switch. This prevents your computer from communicating over an unencrypted channel should Ivacy become temporarily disconnected. Also notable is the split tunneling option, which lets you decide which apps should deliver their traffic through the VPN tunnel. I had no trouble using the selector tool to choose my protected apps.
Does Ivacy Work With Netflix
While ubiquitous, streaming video is far from universal. For example, outside the US, Netflix customers can enjoy Star Trek: Discovery, but US residents need a CBS AllAccess account to view those continuing voyages. If you're traveling out of the country, you may discover that the show you were in the middle of watching on Netflix just isn't available anymore.
A VPN can make it appear that you are in a different location, by routing your traffic through a server in a different country. However, many streaming services frown on this behavior. In particular, Netflix is notorious for blocking VPNs. Happily, that wasn't a problem when I tested Ivacy on Windows. I had no trouble loading up Lost in Space on Netflix while connected to a US VPN server. Your mileage, however, may vary.
In addition to creating encrypted tunnels for your web traffic, many VPNs are packing in extra options to help stand out in an increasingly crowded space. It's not unusual to see ad-blocking, network-based phishing protection, and other security features included with your VPN. TunnelBear, for example, even offers standalone apps for ad-blocking and password management, complete with cute bears.
Ivacy has a bare-bones offering out of the box. You can spice things up with a NAT firewall for an additional $1 per month. That's a bit odd, since many other companies include this feature for free. Ivacy also has dedicated IP addresses for $1.99 per month in Australia, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore, as well as the UK and the US. A dedicated IP is less likely to be blocked, since it won't be immediately recognized as part of a VPN's IP block.
Ivacy also includes servers specifically earmarked for Netflix streaming in different countries. It also allows BitTorrent and other P2P file-sharing on its network. It does not, however, include ad-blocking.
Speed and Performance
Using a VPN almost certainly means losing some internet speed because your data is taking a longer, more circuitous path than usual. With a VPN you can expect an increase in latency, as well as a reduction in download and upload speeds. When I review VPNs, I first run a series of tests using Ookla's internet speed test tool. (Note that Ookla is owned by Ziff Davis, which also owns PCMag.) Ookla tests latency, upload speed, and download speed, so those are the figures I look at as well.
I then drop the highest and lowest results and average what remains to use as a baseline. Next I perform the same tests, but with the VPN active, and compare the results in order to find a percentage change. In order to get a sense of how spoofing your location with a VPN affects performance, I perform the international version of these tests, using a VPN server in Australia and an Ookla test server in Anchorage, Alaska. Because I couldn't connect to an Australian server with Ivacy, I selected the next-furthest service from the towering PCMag Labs in New York City.
This testing works well for comparisons, but it is far from a comprehensive assessment of a VPN's overall performance. So many factors can affect network performance, from the time of day to the individual configuration of VPN servers that I cannot account for all of them. Therefore, it's useful to think of these results as a snapshot of performance.
In the latency tests, Ivacy performed noticeably poorly and increased latency by 2,360 percent. This is the second-worst score I have recorded, after AnchorFree Hotspot Shield's abysmal 3,145.4 percent increase. TorGuard VPN had the best score in these tests, actually reducing latency by 6.7 percent. Ivacy performed much better in the international tests, where it increased latency by 292.5 percent. That's nipping at the heels of TunnelBear, which increased latency by 270.31 percent.
Ivacy's domestic download performance was also lackluster, reducing download speeds by 19.1 percent. That's just shy of the third-worst score and a far cry from TorGuard VPN, which only eroded download speeds by 3.7 percent. Ivacy again fared far better in the international tests. Here, it only lowered download speed results by 58.3 percent. That's far from the worst score, but still far from that of AnchorFree Hotspot Shield, which has the best score and only reduced speed test results by 39.9 percent.
Ivacy's streak of mediocrity continued into the upload tests, where it had the third-worst score recorded. Here, it reduced upload speed test results by 31.9 percent. To be fair, the worst score is far worse than that (KeepSolid VPN Unlimited, 71.3 percent), but it's also a long way from the best score. That goes to IPVanish, which slowed upload speed test results by only 2.9 percent. Again, Ivacy's international tests were a mirror of its domestic performance. Here, Ivacy had one of the better scores, reducing upload speed test results by 97.81 percent. It wasn't however, enough to unseat Private Internet Access, which reduced upload speed test results by 97.3 percent.
Overall, Ivacy performed remarkably poorly in the domestic tests. I assume this is because of its comparatively small pool of servers. Companies with more, or more strategic, server placement are more likely to provide better service since you are more likely to be close to their servers. Ivacy's international performance was better, but it only showed better results than its domestic scores; it never stood out in an already crowded space. TorGuard VPN is, for now, the fastest VPN I've yet tested, as it has the smallest impact on internet performance.
Ivacy for Android
From looking at the Google Play store, Ivacy appears to offer three Android apps: Ivacy VPN, Ivacy VPN TV (which appears to be for Android TV devices), and Ivacy Lite (a free version). We have not had the chance to test any of these apps and will update this review in the future. We have, however, looked at a great many other Android VPN apps and look forward to seeing how Ivacy measures up.
In its Android app, Ivacy creates a VPN connection with the OpenVPN protocol. That's great, since this is my preferred protocol.
Ivacy for iPhone
Ivacy's mode for distribution on iPhone is similar to its Android strategy. Again, it offers a free version called Ivacy Lite and the main app called simply Ivacy VPN. We haven't had the chance to test either version, but we look forward to seeing how it compares with other iPhone VPN apps. I'll update this review once we get one of these apps into the lab.
With iOS, Ivacy uses the older, less-secure IPSec and the newer, better IKEv2 protocol. I'm disappointed that Ivacy doesn't support OpenVPN in its iPhone apps, but it's not surprising. Apple requires developers to jump through more hoops to include OpenVPN, and only a few have made the effort.
Ivacy for Mac
For the Mac, Ivacy offers just one app. You won't, however, find it in the official Mac App Store. You have to download it from the Ivacy website instead. We haven't had the chance to bring this app into the labs for testing just yet, but I will update this review once we do. The competition between macOS VPN apps is heating up, as nearly every single VPN company now supports the fruit-flavored computer maker.
According to a representative from Ivacy, the macOS app only supports the IPSec protocol. That's a bit disappointing, as this is an older protocol. I prefer newer offerings, like OpenVPN.
Ivacy for Chrome and Firefox
Many VPN companies now offer browser extensions in addition to native apps. These are much more lightweight than their desktop companions and have the added advantage of being available anywhere you log in to a browser. The downside, as I discovered when working with Chromebook VPNs, is that VPN browser extensions only encrypt your browser traffic. The rest of your computer's data travels outside the encrypted tunnel.
The Chrome extension offers few settings, other than blocking WebRTC leaks. It does, however, provide easy access to Ivacy's pool of servers and offers a search box that makes connecting a breeze. There's also a Purposes tab, which provides fast access to streaming and other server types. Unfortunately, using the Ivacy Chrome plug-in appeared to break my internet connection entirely.
Ivacy's Firefox extension is identical to the Chrome extension in form and function. That's great; I like a consistent experience across apps. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get the Firefox plug-in to work in my testing, either.
An Uninspiring Experience
Ivacy VPN offers the same set of features provided by most other VPN companies at an affordable price. It has one or two noteworthy additions, but beyond that it doesn't bring a lot that's new to a very crowded space. That's not really a problem. What is a problem is that the service has far fewer servers than the competition, which was reflected in my speed test scores. We also weren't able to use Ivacy's browser extensions, and several of the VPN servers I attempted to connect to in my testing simply didn't work. Finally, the app seemed to have difficulty choosing the best servers in our testing.
Ivacy can (probably) get the job done for you, but in the bountiful field of VPNs there are simply better options. We heartily recommend our Editors' Choice winners NordVPN, Private Internet Access, and TunnelBear. These three services have excellent interfaces, features, and robust server networks.
Diverse server locations.
Trouble connecting to some servers in testing.
Nonfunctioning browser extensions.
Lackluster speed test scores.
The Bottom Line
Ivacy VPN is an affordable virtual private network that keeps your data secure across every major platform. But hiccups in our testing and an underwhelming collection of servers reduce Ivacy's appeal.
What Is Ivacy? What Do They Offer?
Headquartered in the weird and wonderful island-nation of Singapore, Ivacy VPN has been protecting their customer’s online experiences since early 2007.
Despite their impressive decade-plus tenure in the VPN marketplace, Ivacy is still a relatively unknown brand. Operated under the umbrella of PMG Private Limited, Ivacy is an understandably secretive company.
In fact, in 2010, it was Ivacy’s technology team that was responsible for unveiling the revolutionary concept of split tunneling, a technology which allows users to decide what traffic is sent through an ISP and what traffic is protected by their VPN.
So with all of this in mind, I decided to review Ivacy for myself to see whether or not this relatively unknown VPN could play in the “Big Leagues”.
Ivacy VPN Overview
|OVERALL RANK:||#66 out of 78 VPNs|
|USABILITY:||Easy to install and use|
|LOG FILES:||No Logging Policy|
|LOCATIONS:||50+ countries, 1000+ servers|
|SUPPORT:||Knowledgeable team, quick responses|
|ENCRYPTION/PROTOCOL:||256-bit, OpenVPN, PPTP, SSTP, L2TP, and IKEv2|
Ivacy offers a VPN services that are compatible with almost every device on the marketplace including Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, routers, smart TVs and even your Xbox.
While Ivacy offers an admittedly sparse network of only 450+ servers across 100 locations+, the servers in question are highly optimized for the price that you are paying (as you will see in a minute).
They make torrenting a breeze with P2P optimized servers in the USA and Canada and also allow their customers to connect to their VPN service using all major protocols including OpenVPN, PPTP, SSTP, L2TP, IKEv2.
Add to that, Ivacy offers 5 simultaneous connections and an internet kill switch.
And, luckily they offer all of these features (plus many more that we will discuss in a moment) for about the same price as a cup of coffee.
How Much Does Ivacy VPN Cost?
One of Ivacy’s biggest selling points is their ultra-affordable 24-month pricing package.
Here’s how it all breaks down.
- $8.95 per month
- $119.4 per year
- 0% Savings
1 Year: $40.00
- $3.33 per month
- $40 per year
- 66% Savings
2 Years: $54
- $2.25 per month
- $27 per year
- 77% Savings
With the exception of their monthly pricing package, Ivacy offers one of the most competitively priced VPN services that I have ever seen. I was also pleased when I saw just how many different payment methods Ivacy allows potential customers to use.
Whether you want to use your MasterCard, PayPal account, Bitcoin, or Paymentwall, they have you covered.
Like several of their competitors, Ivacy technically offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, however, as you will see later in this review, it’s not quite what it seems. For the time being, however, I digress.
With such affordable pricing plans, many of you are probably wondering how Ivacy’s services match up to their more steeply-priced competitors.
Much to my own surprise, the answer is… Pretty well.
Ivacy VPN Overview
|USABILITY:||Easy to install and use|
|LOG FILES:||No Logging Policy|
|LOCATIONS:||50+ countries, 1000+ servers|
|SUPPORT:||Good customer support|
|ENCRYPTION/PROTOCOL:||256-bit encryption; OpenVPN, PPTP, SSTP, L2TP, IKEv2|
|COST:||$2.25/mo for 2 years|
1. Good Speeds (for the price)
In order to ensure the accuracy of this review, I conducted a couple of simple speed tests at speedtest.net to determine just how quick Ivacy really is. Here are the results.
US Server (New York)
- Ping: 115ms
- Download: 45.86mbps
- Upload: 43.92mbps
EU Server (Amsterdam)
- Ping: 42ms
- Download: 53.04mbps
- Upload: 25.39mbps
Asia Server (Hong Kong)
- Ping: 261ms
- Download: Test Failed
- Upload: Test Failed
- Ping: 50ms
- Download: 53.24mbps
- Upload: 33.36mbps
*As always take these speed tests with a grain of salt since they rely on so many different variables and can change from person to person. However, we have tested over 70+ VPNs for this site so we have a baseline that we can compare every VPN against.
All in all, Ivacy’s speeds are solidly middle of the road.
Although I was disappointed to find that their Asia servers were completely unusable, at 53.0 Mbps for an EU server, Ivacy’s speeds are up to par with competitors.
However, at only $2.04 a month, their speeds far exceed the expectations set by their nominal price tag.
2. A True No Logging Policy (That’s Actually Upheld)
One of my biggest pet peeves when reviewing any VPN provider is a falsely advertised “Zero Logging” policy, and unfortunately, this trend seems to become more and more pervasive by the day.
While I was reviewing Ivacy’s VPN, I did indeed scour through the fine print in great detail and quite frankly… I was shocked. Ivacy actually upholds it’s advertised zero-logging policy, and they do it better than just about any other VPN that I have reviewed.
This means that the only data that Ivacy keeps about its customers is the email address associated with each account.
That’s it. No traffic logs, no bandwidth logs, and no duration logs. Just pure, unadulterated privacy.
3. Good Customer Service
I’ll be the first person to admit it…
I did not have high hopes about Ivacy’s customer service. Forgive my cynicism, but after reviewing more than 70 VPNs, I’ve learned to have exceptionally low expectations when reviewing the customer service offered by a budget-friendly provider.
After all, companies have a limited number of resources. If they offer high-quality services at a budget-friendly price (as Ivacy does) it’s typically safe to assume that they had to cut back on another area of their business in order to do so.
And the customer support team is typically the first casualty…
However, with Ivacy, I was pleasantly surprised to find that their customer service agents were quick to respond and extremely helpful. Although I would like to see more detailed and thorough responses from their agents, I’m hard-pressed to complain considering the rapid response times and efficient support that I received.
Here are a few screenshots from one of my conversations with Ivacy’s support (all questions were answered within minutes of being sent).
I submitted several other queries designed to gauge the knowledge and efficacy of the team (all of them were submitted at similar times) and all of these queries were answered in a similarly timely (and brief) manner. To ensure that my experience was an accurate representation of their customer support team, I also reviewed their social media accounts to see how well they handled other customer complaints and questions.
Again, I was impressed to find that their team was extremely effective and knowledgeable and nearly every issue that arose was the fault of a customer and not Ivacy.
Although NordVPN still offers the best customer service that I’ve ever experienced, Ivacy is a close contender in the race and I was both surprised and impressed by the quality of their support.
4. Available Protocols: OpenVPN, SSTP, PPTP, L2TP and IKev2
“What could go wrong?”, you think.
“It’ll only take a second”, you claim.
So you whip out your mobile while waiting for that vanilla latte. The problem is that the network you’re about to connect to might be an ‘evil twin’.
Here’s how it works.
Someone turns their computer into a network access point, and gives is a real-enough sounding name (often imitating popular, well-known ones like “T-Mobile” for instance). When you connect, you’re actually connecting through their computer. And they now will gain access to all of the information you used to log in, as well as your browsing activity.
That means when you pull out a credit card or run a few quick transactions, all of that data gets logged because the connection is unencrypted. Unfortunately, this example of ‘WiFi’ eavesdropping is one of the most common (and oldest) tricks in the ‘man-in-the-middle’ attack playbook.
Now compare that to a normal web session on a legitimate network. You pull up a bank’s website and all of the activities during your entire session will be encrypted by an SSL certificate. These create special keys on each access point so that no one else can monitor or gain access to what’s happening after you get on the site.
The same underlying SSL technology is used to power OpenVPN, which is the go-to protocol for all major (and legitimate) VPN providers. Ivacy is no different, defaulting to OpenVPN whenever possible.
If you’re unable to use OpenVPN for some reason (like device restrictions), Ivacy also has other common protocol options available, including PPTP, SSTP, L2TP, and IKEv2.
Some of these other protocols, like IPv6 for example, have known security vulnerabilities. In this case, though, Ivacy attempts to fix this issue by sending that data and traffic through a VPN anyway.
5. 256-Bit Encryption
Public WiFi networks are some of the most common places that people can gain access to your online activities.
Even hotel and airport WiFi’s, which you would think were rock-solid, are often susceptible to attacks. (In some cases, these institutions are the worst offenders – tracking every single action you make on their networks and often selling your information to third parties.)
Many public networks though are susceptible to bad behavior. Hackers can run automated systems on these networks to monitor and attempt to ‘brute-force’ their way into your accounts.
Brute force attacks will target a specific website’s login page and attempt to crack the username and password combinations by running through endless variations until they eventually land on the right one. They test one letter or number at a time and continue cycling through, adding more digits until they eventually figure out how to gain access.
These attacks are the culprits in some of the most common you hear about every single day on the news. For example, brute force attacks are one of the leading ways people gain access to WordPress websites (which is the single biggest platform on the internet). They’re also the method that’s commonly used to hack into celebrity iCloud accounts and leak… well, private, photos and videos.
Brute force attacks work well when encryption is weak.
In other words, when there are only so many possible combinations of letters and numbers, it’s only a matter of time it takes to break. Generally speaking, the weaker the encryption, the faster it can be cracked.
All encryptions can eventually be cracked. But if they’re strong enough, it might take decades (or centuries) to do it. That’s why 256-bit encryption is considered the strongest possible available on the market today. It’s so strong, that it’s used by government agencies and the cream of the crop security companies.
Ivacy prides itself on their use of 256-bit encryption, which means your connection through them should be nearly impossible to hack.
1. Singapore Has Been Confirmed as a “Five Eyes” Partner
If the above headline is making you scratch your head in confusion and softly mutter “What is he on about?” under your breath, it’s ok.
The term “Five Eyes” is not something that is commonly understood or discussed in the general public… And with good reason. When Edward Snowden executed his now-notorious security breach, he published more than 1.5 million classified NSA documents.
Among the information included in this leak was a document revealing the details of a security operation known as “The Five Eyes”, an information and resource sharing partnership between the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand that allows each government to locate and spy on “anyone, anywhere, anytime.”
In other words, the Five Eyes partnership is a privacy advocate’s worst nightmare.
By tapping fiber optics cables at more than 20 locations worldwide, the governments in question can access personal data and the real-time location of just about any person they so choose.
Unfortunately for Ivacy, other leaked documents have shown that South Korea and Singapore (the location of their headquarters) are partners in the “Five Eyes Agreement” and regularly provide these other governments with access to sensitive information and resources.
While this shouldn’t have any direct effect on Ivacy’s security since they keep 0 logs, you should still be cognizant of the political landscape surrounding the company’s headquarters.
2. No TOR or Proxy Compatibility
While this is a minor annoyance for most VPN users, I was disappointed to see that Ivacy is not compatible with the TOR network or any other third party proxies.
Although this will not affect the VPN experience for most users, the added layers of security provided by TOR and other proxies can quite literally save your life in some of the more Draconian countries.
3. 30-Day Money Back Guarantee Has a BIG Catch
One of the only problems that I had with Ivacy’s pricing package is that they are not up-front about the stipulations for their 30-day money-back guarantee.
It’s a pretty common practice for a VPN provider to set limitations on how many gigabytes of service you can use before you forfeit your money-back guarantee. However, in most instance, this is very well advertised and the customer understands the limitations of the guarantee.
With Ivacy… This isn’t quite the case.
After doing some digging through their various policies and legal disclaimers, here’s how the money-back guarantee actually works.
- You claim for a refund within 30 days (or 7 days for a 1-month plan) of your subscription date
- Your account has not already been suspended by Ivacy for breach of any clause mentioned in the terms of service
- You have not consumed more than 500MB of bandwidth, which includes both upload and download activity using Ivacy; or you have not exceeded 30 sessions i.e. the number of times you connected to Ivacy services, whichever occurs first
- You previously have not claimed a refund under this policy
- You have not used BitCoin, BitPay, Coin Payments or Paymentwall as your payment method
Personally, I think this is a pretty fair agreement.
However, I also think that the clauses in their refund policy should be stated much more obviously. I mean really… How often do customers take the time to review the ToS before making a purchase? You, me, and the folks over at Ivacy all know that the answer to that question is a resounding “Never!”
Although I won’t blame Ivacy of intentionally lying to their user base, I will say that the conditions surrounding their money-back guarantee should be spelled out on their sales page, not buried in their legal disclaimers.
4. Zero Out of Four Netflix Servers Worked
Ivacy doesn’t work with Netflix. And they have no intentions of reversing that stance anytime soon.
To confirm, we tested the following servers. Each one let us down:
- United States
- United Kingdom
Ivacy has even confirmed on their site, that “as the situation stands, internet users will have to cope up with Netflix’s ban policy over the VPN.”
Netflix VPN streaming error
So it seems like this won’t change anytime soon.
Fortunately, we have confirmed a handful of VPNs are still valiantly trying. Check out our top list of Netflix VPNs to the best of the best.
Do I Recommend Ivacy?
At the end of the day, Ivacy is a quality VPN with acceptable speeds, unbeatable prices, and high-quality customer service.
They offer an easy to use platform with an abundance of settings and features to play with and while they are far from perfect, the “Pros” in this case, far outweigh the “Cons”.
What’s good about Ivacy?
- Cheap ($2.25/mo)
- Secure and safe
- True no-logging policy
- Easy to install and use
- Good customer service
What’s bad about Ivacy?
- No TOR compatibility
- Sketchy “money back guarantee”
- “Five Eyes” jurisdiction
- No Netflix compatibility
How Much Does Ivacy Cost?
Ivacy offers a simple basic plan for as little as $1.33 a month. Their one month cost is fairly high, but this drops sharply if you buy an annual or longer subscription. Indeed, it is fair to say that if you buy a long-term plan, Ivacy is a very low-cost service.
Dedicated IPs are not included in the basic plan, and cost an additional $1.99 USD per month per IP. A NAT firewall with port forwarding also costs an additional $1.00 per month.
Payment can be made via card, PayPal, AliPay, Perfect Money, and Paymentwall. You can also pay in Bitcoin via BitPay, and in a variety of cryptocurrencies via CoinPayments.
Do please note that it is possible to use Bitcoin and some other cryptocurrencies to pay for a VPN service such as Ivacy anonymously, but always remember that the VPN service knows your real IP address and can see what you get up to on the internet.
Most subscriptions come with a 30-day money back guarantee, although payment in crypto-currencies is understandably non-refundable. Monthly subscriptions come with a 7-day guarantee instead.
Ivacy is currently offering a free 1 year Sticky Password Premium subscription worth $29.99 with all subscriptions. Sickly Password is a good password manager which offers excellent browser integration, although we prefer free and open source solutions such as KeePass and Bitwarden.
What Features Does Ivacy Offer?
Customers can connect up to five devices simultaneously per account. This is fast becoming the industry average, which is good as this should be more than enough for the vast majority of users.
Ivacy offers 100+ server locations in over 50 countries. It is worth noting here that Ivacy was once a white-label reseller for PureVPN and leveraged the PureVPN server network. The process is not yet complete, but Ivacy has shown us evidence that it is migrating away from using PureVPN servers to servers owned and operated entirely by itself.
Not, it should be said, that we have any problem with Ivacy being a reseller anyway. Especially now that PureVPN has gone 100% no logs.
Servers are a mix of secure bare metal servers and insecure VPN instances. We are pleased to note, however, that unlike many other VPN services, Ivacy was happy to provide a list of which ones are which when we asked. This makes it possible to choose to only connect to bare metal servers.
Ivacy allows P2P torrenting and even offers P2P servers optimized for improved filesharing speeds.
This bolt-on feature gives users a static IP address in one of seven countries, which belongs only to themselves. This means it is unlikely to be blacklisted by sites such as Netflix and is less likely to trigger CAPTCHA verification tests.
Because a dedicated IP is directly linked to a single user, using one is not as good for privacy as using an IP which is shared among many users. There is nothing stopping you from using it only when needed, though, and using a regular shared IP when you want privacy.
NAT firewall + port forwarding
A VPN NAT firewall blocks new incoming connections in order to prevent hackers from exploiting open ports. Many VPN services implement a NAT firewall by default, but this creates problems as some users need to be able to accept new incoming connections.
This includes p2P downloaders and anyone who wants access games and media servers, plus LAN resources such as printers and hard drives, on networks protected by a VPN using a NAT firewall. The solution is to offer port forwarding, which opens selected ports in the NAT firewall to allow new incoming connections through.
Ivacy does not offer a NAT firewall by default, but one can be added as a bolt-on extra. If you do pay extra for one, then Ivacy also allows port forwarding through it should this be needed.
The lack of a NAT firewall by default does not really bother us much, but the risk is hard to quantify. Please see our VPN Port Forwarding Guide for more information on this subject.
Can Ivacy Unblock Netflix and iPlayer?
In our tests, Ivacy successfully unblocked both the full US Netflix catalog and BBC iPlayer flawlessly.
Ivacy claims to unblock a great many additional services. We haven’t tested them all but can confirm that it unblocks Amazon Prime US.
If you do encounter any problems with these or other streaming services, then Ivacy’s dedicated IP feature should provide you with an IP address that hasn’t been blacklisted.
How Fast is Ivacy? Does it leak?
In our 2019 ProPrivacy.com Awards, Ivacy won best the Best Speed Award. And for good reason! In our rigorous speed tests, Ivacy is consistently ahead of the competition.
Speeds & leaks
|IPv6 leak detected?|
|WebRTC leak detected?|
|IPv4 leak detected?|
|ProPrivacy.com SpeedTest (average)||73.24|
|ProPrivacy.com SpeedTest (max/burst)||254.89|
We are pleased to say that we detected no IP leaks of any kind in Windows and macOS when using just the Ivacy app. This includes IPv4 and IPv6 DNS leaks, and IPv4 and IPv6 WebRTC leaks. No IP leaks were detected in Android or iOS either, although we can currently only test mobile devices for leaks using an IPv4-only connection.
This is great, although only browser-based solutions can 100% guarantee against WebRTC leaks. It is therefore great that Ivacy offers browser add-ons for Firefox and Chrome which include full WebRTC leak protection.
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.
How Easy is Ivacy to Use?
Ivacy is simple to use and has custom apps for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. It also has browser add-ons for Firefox and Chrome. In theory, Ivacy offers an OpenELEC VPN add-on for Kodi. This is pretty cool, except that we were unable to connect to the Source URL.
Manual setup guides are provided for various other platforms, including a VPN for Linux (Debian/PPTP and Mint/PPTP and SSTP), Android-based smart TV’s (PPTP and L2TP), DD-WRT routers (PPTP) and games consoles (via VPN sharing).
The Windows Client
The Windows VPN app looks the business and has an easy-to-navigate interface. To auto-connect to a nearby server just hit the big “on” button. The client uses IKEv2 by default but also supports OpenVPN (UPD and TCP), and L2TP/IPsec.
Although IKEv2 is not as proven as OpenVPN when it comes to security, it is very secure in theory and is usually faster than OpenVPN. We presume OpenVPN TCP uses port 443 in order to provide some limited anticensorship capabilities.
The Windows app offers a number of bonus features that are available on all other platforms. Split tunneling lets you choose which programs and apps use the VPN tunnel, and to exclude the rest. Split tunneling is therefore very useful if you only need the VPN for certain reasons.
Secure downloading is an unusual feature which automatically scans all downloads with “advanced server level virus and malware protection.” How effective this might be is anyone’s guess, but while we would certainly not recommend throwing away your current antimalware protection, it can’t do any harm to have an additional layer of protection.
The app comes with a kill switch, although this is not enabled by default. This leverages the Windows system firewall to prevent internet connections outside the VPN interface – even when the client itself crashes.
In simulated tests using Wireshark, we could see that at no point was our real IP address exposed when the internet connection was disrupted, or when it was re-established and the VPN client reconnected.
The macOS client
The Mac VPN app is in most ways very similar to the Windows client. It is IKEv2-only, however, and does not support split tunneling, a kill switch, or dedicated IPs. Mac users who have purchased the dedicated IP add-on must instead manually configure their system settings to use it.
The lack of a kill switch, in particular, is disappointing, but the macOS client does support secure downloading and all streaming options.
Like its desktop siblings, the OpenVPN (UDP and TCP) Android app features an attractive and functional user interface. It is also very fully-featured, with a kill switch, split tunneling, secure downloading, and streaming channel-select, all present and correct.
It also offers Multiport, a feature which auto-scans ports to find ones which are not blocked or throttled. This can be useful for overcoming censorship when regular VPN ports are blocked by a firewall.
As with the macOS app, though, you will need to manually configure Android in order to use a dedicated IP address.
The iOS VPN app looks much like the Android app but uses either the IKEv2 or L2TP/IPsec VPN protocols. There is no kill switch, multiport feature, support for split tunneling, or secure downloading. There is, however, in-app support for dedicated IPs.
Although a number of other platforms are supported, we are a little disappointed that setup guides are primarily for the wildly insecure PPTP only.
Good news is that Ivacy also publishes generic OpenVPN configuration files, allowing you to setup Ivacy on any device which can run an OpenVPN app. Many third-party guides are available for doing this on different platforms, including many hosted on this site.
In addition to apps for the major platforms, Ivacy offers browser add-ons for Firefox and Chrome. These provide a SOCKS5 proxy connection which is encrypted using HTTPS. It should provide robust privacy and security benefits (within the browser only, of course).
Customer support offered is primarily by 24/7 Live Chat. We found responses on this to be quick and knowledgeable, making contacting support by email rather redundant. We did so anyway, and although responses took a little longer the quality of the responses was high.
There is also a database and FAQ on the websites. These are by no means comprehensive but do contain lots of useful information despite many articles referring to outdated versions of Ivacy’s software.
|Money-back guarantee length||30|
Protocols and Encryption
Ivacy 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 DNS requests, traffic details or IP addresses. The only thing known is the countries where users are originating from. We monitor crash reports and conduct diagnostics to evaluate our software to provide smooth functionality of our extensions, client software, and apps.
Since this minimal level of logging poses no credible threat to its users’ privacy, we are happy to label Ivacy a no logs VPN
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.
Protocols and Encryption
The Windows client uses IKEv2 by default but also supports OpenVPN and L2TP/IPsec. The macOS client uses IKEv2 only, and the Android VPN app OpenVPN. The iOS app uses IKEv2 by default but also supports L2TP/IPsec.
For the full lowdown on VPN protocols please see our Ultimate Guide to VPN Encryption. For the purpose of like-for-like comparison with other VPN services, and because we believe the care service takes over its OpenVPN encryption is indicative of its overall attitude to VPN security, we always take a closer look at the OpenVPN settings used:
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. Perfect forward secrecy is provided by the Diffie-Hellman handshake encryption.
This is a highly secure setup. Using a Diffie-Hellman key exchange without RSA 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). The large 4096-bit key size used for this, however, effectively mitigates this issue.
Other privacy and security considerations
Ivacy uses a mix of bare metal and shared virtual server instances, but is happy to provide a list of which ones are which so that customers can make an informed choice about which servers they want to use. All DNS queries are handled in-house by Ivacy’s own DNS servers.
Not so rosy is the extensive tracking performed by the Ivacy website (including the use of Google Analytics), although this does not have any effect on the privacy of VPN sessions.
The only obfuscation technology offered by Ivacy is OpenVPN port selection in Windows and Android. We presume the TCP setting uses port 443 to emulate regular HTTPS traffic. This form of obfuscation is quite easily defeated, but can nevertheless be effective in many situations.
As already noted, we discovered no IP leaks whatsoever when using any of Ivacy’s software.
Ivacy has been around for years but has only recently broken out of PureVPN’s shadow to not only become very much its own service, but also one of the most impressive VPN services on the market. It’s fast, secure, privacy-friendly, cheap (if you buy an annual subscription or longer), offers great 24/7 support, and has a 30-day no-quibble guarantee.
We would prefer to see less website tracking, but other than that, there is little bad we can say about this service.
Ivacy is cheap and has an appealing feature list, but the poor speeds and buggy Windows client are major concerns. Try the service if you're interested, but test it carefully.
- Lots of features
- Responsive support
- Cheap long-term plans
- Unblocks Netflix, iPlayer
- Major Windows client problems
- Didn't unblock Amazon, Disney+
- Best value plan is for a lengthy 5 years
- No security/privacy audit
Ivacy is a Singapore-based VPN which – according to its website – is an 'award-winning best VPN' which offers just about every feature you could possibly need for almost no money at all. True, or just marketing spin? As usual, there's a little of both.
The Servers page on the website claims to offer more than 2,000 servers in over 100 locations across 50+ countries, for instance. The table underneath this headline only lists 766 servers as we write, so we're not entirely confident in the figures, but there's certainly a lot of choice.
A wide range of apps includes downloads for Windows, Android, iOS and Mac, as well as Chrome and Firefox extensions, and there are instructions for manually setting up the service on routers, Kodi, Linux, consoles and more.
Ivacy is torrent-friendly, there’s malware blocking, no logging, the service supports up to five simultaneous connections, plus it has a kill switch to protect your privacy if the connection drops.
Protocol support covers L2TP, OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols, split tunneling allows you to choose which traffic you route through the VPN tunnel, and the feature list goes on.
rices have changed a little since our last review. Monthly billing is still reasonable at $9.95, but this falls to $5 a month on the new 6-month plan. The annual cost is an effective $3.50 a month, up from $3.33 - so in the same kind of region as popular provider NordVPN. The two-year plan has been replaced by a five-year scheme, and although that's way longer that we would normally recommend, it's seriously cheap at $1.16 a month.
To put that into perspective, it's an up-front payment of $69.99. A one-year HideMyAss! plan is significantly more expensive at $83.88. Even if you only use the Ivacy plan for a couple of years, it still looks like great value.
Unusual optional extras include a dedicated IP (US, UK, Australia, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore) for a very reasonable $1.99 a month, and port forwarding support for $1 a month.
Ivacy supports a number of different payment methods.
There's support for multiple payment methods, including card, PayPal, Alipay, Paymentwall, PerfectMoney, and Bitcoin via BitPay.
Ivacy has introduced a free trial, but only if you first install one of the mobile apps (1 day on Android, apparently 3 days on iOS.) That's not long, but it's enough to confirm some basic features, such as whether it can unblock US Netflix or whatever other streaming services you need.
Sign up and you're further protected by a 30-day money-back guarantee (or 7-days for monthly-billed accounts.) This used to include some sneaky catches – you weren't covered if you'd used more than 7GB of data, or connected more than 30 times – but these caveats disappeared long ago, and the process is now hassle-free.
Privacy and logging
'We strictly do not log or monitor, online browsing activities, connection logs, VPN IPs assigned, original IP addresses, browsing history, outgoing traffic, connection times, data you have accessed and/or DNS queries generated by your end. We have no information that could associate specific activities to specific users.'
The policy goes on to detail the personal data Ivacy does collect (name, email address, payment methods), and other collection methods (app crash reports and diagnostics, Google Analytics on the website). This isn't ideal, but it's better than many competitors, and it was good to see that Ivacy also allows you to request the deletion of your personal information via the Members Area of its website.
There's no way to verify any of this information, unfortunately. Other VPNs are increasingly putting themselves through public security and privacy audits - TunnelBear has had three annual audits of its apps, infrastructure, website and more - but Ivacy hasn't done that yet. Hopefully that will change soon.
Ivacy offers apps for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Chrome and Firefox along with setup guides for routers and Linux.
Signing up with Ivacy worked much like any other VPN we've ever used. We chose a plan and payment method, handed over our cash, Ivacy sent us a Welcome email with a link to set up our password, and the website offered links to Ivacy's many clients.
We downloaded and installed the Windows client. There were some small hassles - the installer gave us a 'file not found' error for a Visual C++ redistributable, the Windows firewall asked (just once) for permission to allow an Ivacy action - but we accepted the default option in each case, and the client was ready to go within a few seconds.
The client interface looks similar to many other VPN apps. The opening screen has a large Connect button which automatically connect you to the nearest server, or you can choose your location from a list. This list can be displayed as countries or cities, but there are no ping times or server load figures, no search box, filters or sort options, and no Favorites system to save commonly used servers.
This is the user interface of Ivacy's Windows client.
A left-hand toolbar helps you choose servers for particular tasks. Click Streaming, for instance, and you're able to choose platforms you'd like to unblock and view (Amazon Prime Video, BBC, Hulu, Netflix and many more).
Other options include 'Unblocking' to help you access geoblocked sites, and 'Secure Download', where apparently the service 'scans for any viruses or malware in the data being downloaded and removes it at server level.' The website page on this feature says it 'scans and removes such viruses and malicious files before they even make their way to your devices.'
That makes it sound like it's checking the contents of the files you're downloading, but our tests suggest it's probably using a simple DNS blacklist to block dangerous URLs.
Settings enable choosing your preferred startup mode, for example opening with the Streaming page. There's an option to switch protocol (OpenVPN UDP or TCP, L2TP or IKEv2), split tunneling, a kill switch and (a new addition since our last review) a Multiport setting which enables scanning for multiple ports to help you bypass port blocking (a simple technique aimed at blocking VPNs.)
Ivacy's Android app contains many of the advanced features found in its desktop client.
Desktop clients normally contain the most features, but Ivacy's Android app is surprisingly capable, with the same connection modes (streaming, downloading, unblocking), a connection list displayed by country or city, a kill switch, split tunneling and multiport mode.
Ivacy's Windows client kept displaying error messages when we first tried to connect, but these issues were resolved after speaking with support.
When we first tried to connect, the client displayed an error message stating: 'There's a problem with the connection, please try again later.'
Manually digging into the logs revealed that the real issue was authentication, as our chosen password wasn't being accepted. The client really should have been smart enough to tell us that, rather than recommending we try again. We could have retried an hour, a day, a week later and received exactly the same error.
This made little sense, because the client requires that you log in before you can use it. Our password had been accepted and the client displayed details relating to our account, so why would there be an authentication error with the server?
We changed our password anyway, but it made no difference.
This kind of issue may be annoying, but it's also a good opportunity to test support. We raised a ticket, and three hours later a reply arrived asking if Ivacy could reset our password. We said yes, an email arrived with the new credentials, and - still the same error.
We worked more with Ivacy support, eventually the error was apparently pinned down to a server problem, and we were finally able to connect.
And then yet another problem appeared. Most VPN apps automatically choose your nearest server, but despite testing from the UK, Ivacy's client mostly connected to the US (sometimes we got Panama, for a little variety.)
We asked Ivacy Support about this, and a reply said: 'Our team is already in co-ordination with the relevant authorities, and rest assured the IP Location DB will be updated at earliest possibility and your patience in this regard will be highly appreciated.'
Sounds good, although as we first saw the issue in September 2019, we're not going to expect changes any time soon.
Ivacy's Smart Connect page is the first thing you'll see when opening its Windows client.
Ivacy's client looks good, but we quickly realized that it has several usability issues.
The client opens at its Smart Connect page, with a regular list of locations. The default location is set to Automatic, but this can be changed by simply choosing another option on the sidebar. When we chose Automatic, click Secure Download on the sidebar, then back on Smart Connect, the default location changed to Australia.
The connection status display is poor. If you connect using Automatic mode, for instance, the client tells you you're connected to 'Automatic', rather than the country (important, if it might be choosing a server on another continent.) And while other VPN apps display your new IP address, this client only has a 'Show My IP' link. Clicking that opens the default browser at a special page on the Ivacy site, where you'll finally find your IP. This works, but it's hardly convenient or professional.
The client doesn't minimize to the system tray by default, remaining as a button on your taskbar. Change this in Settings and it'll minimize to the system tray, but Ivacy makes no real use of this option. Some VPN clients have complex right-click menus for their system tray icons, allowing you to choose locations, favorites, connect, disconnect, open Settings and more, but Ivacy's menu has only the two most basic items: Open and Quit.
The Windows kill switch didn't work for us. When we forcibly closed our VPN connection (OpenVPN, IKEv2 or L2TP), the client noticed and reconnected, but our internet connection remained active, our data wasn't protected by the tunnel, and our real IP was exposed until the new connection was made.
While this was a poor performance, Ivacy has at least fixed two issues we noticed last time. Choosing the UDP or TCP protocol correctly got us an OpenVPN connection, instead of L2TP, as happened during the last review. And you no longer have to run the client as an administrator before you can change system-level settings, including DNS and IP leak protection.
Put this all together and although the client has some interesting features, we've a lot of concerns about how they're implemented. There are some very basic issues here, and we'll bet there are plenty more that we didn't have time to uncover.
We use a number of different speed testing sites to evaluate the performance of each VPN we review.
Our performance tests began by looking at connection times. We've seen issues with this in some Ivacy reviews, but this time they were very acceptable, for example connecting via OpenVPN in as little as 6-8 seconds (some VPNs take twice as long, or more)
Speeds to our nearest UK servers were a capable 66-68Mbps on our test 75Mbps connection, only around 7% down on speeds with the VPN turned off. Some services manage maybe 1-2Mbps more, but we're not about to complain.
We crossed-checked our results by running some tests from a US location using an ultra-fast 600Mbps connection.
Performance wasn't bad at all at a surprisingly consistent 100-110Mbps, a major improvement on the 20-30Mbps we saw last time.
Again, some VPNs are much, much faster - Speedify managed 275-400Mbps - but Ivacy has enough power for most purposes.
Ivacy did succeed in unblocking US Netflix in our tests.
The Ivacy website boasts that it allows you to 'stream anything, anywhere', which sounds good to us. And this isn't just vague marketing waffle – the apps include streaming functions which are specifically designed to unblock Netflix and many other streaming platforms.
To try this, we launched the Windows client, clicked Streaming > Select Channel > Netflix, and watched as the client told us we were connecting to 'Netflix US'. Once we were online, the client asked if we wanted to watch US Netflix. We clicked Yes, our default browser opened at the Netflix site, and it worked – we were able to stream Netflix content as usual.
BBC iPlayer can be a challenge to some VPNs, but not Ivacy: we chose the iPlayer tile, the client opened our browser and we streamed content as usual.
Amazon Prime Video didn't work for us. The website loaded, but displayed its annoying 'Your device is connected to the Internet using a VPN or proxy service. Please disable it and try again' warning.
The Streaming page doesn't include a tile for Disney+, maybe not a surprise - it's relatively new as an international service. We tried connecting using Ivacy's US and UK servers, without success - the Disney+ site refused to load while we were connected to the VPN.
This isn't the best of unblocking performances, but it outperforms some, and it's not the end of Ivacy's abilities. The Streaming panel includes support for ABC, BT Sport, CBS, Fox Sports Now, HBO Now, Hulu, NBC and many others.
Ivacy provides support via live chat and email.
The Ivacy support site is always available if you run into problems, with an assortment of installation, troubleshooting and other guides. There's some useful content, but not as much detail as we would like, a few of the articles are outdated (for example using screenshots from old versions of the client), and it can't begin to match the professional articles from major VPN providers such as ExpressVPN.
Fortunately, the website also offers 24/7 live chat support. We had a useful response in around a minute when we posed a test question, much better than we've seen with most of the competition.
Ivacy's email support is a little slower, unsurprisingly, but still acceptable. We typically received helpful replies within around three hours, with the fastest being around 30 minutes, also better than you'll see with many more expensive competitors.
Ivacy offers a pile of advanced features for a seriously low price, but unblocking performance and speeds aren't great, and we noticed significant issues with the Windows client. Bargain hunters may want to check it out, but do some intensive testing before you buy.
Ivacy Pros & Cons
- Collects minimal-logs
- Unbeatable price on long-term plans
- Consistently unblocks US Netflix and BBC iPlayer
- Good speeds on local VPN connections
- Far too secretive about ownership structure
- Deceptive business practices
- No VPN kill switch or split tunnelling for MacOS and iOS
- Big drop in speeds on international connections
Ivacy Key Summary
|Logging Policy||No Logs|
|Jurisdiction||Singapore (Five-Eyes Collaborator)|
|Works in China||Yes|
|Support||24/7 Live Chat|
|Cheapest Price||$1.67/mo over 24 Months|
Our testing has found Ivacy to be concealing its flaws from view, despite solid performance when it comes to streaming and bypassing censorship.
Want to know more? Read on for the full, totally comprehensive Ivacy review — beginning with an in-depth investigation into Ivacy’s ownership structure.
Who is Ivacy?
About & Logging
“There is no ethical obligation to reveal who the people behind Ivacy are.”
– Frank, Ivacy Public Relations Manager
Based in Singapore under its parent company PMG Private Limited, Ivacy is particularly evasive about its ownership and operational structure.
After undergoing some research into the company’s history, we discovered some unsavory secrets — strap yourself in for this one.
You’d never have known it, but Ivacy is actually operated by the same parent company as PureVPN, a Pakistani organization called Gaditek.
Gaditek was founded by the Gadit family, with Umair Gadit being Gaditek’s current CEO and fellow co-founder Uzair Gadit being the CEO of PureVPN.
After years of rumors online, Ivacy finally admitted to this, although claiming its association with PureVPN is “only minor.”
There’s nothing immediately suspicious about this. Several otherwise-discrete VPN providers are owned and run by the same parent company.
But Gaditek’s peculiar, shady business practices, alongside its reluctance to openly discuss the ownership structure, means Ivacy is a VPN to avoid.
Firstly, Ivacy does not name its management team anywhere. Ivacy also refused to disclose this when we reached out to it.
At one point, the Ivacy website did ambiguously name its CEO as ‘Mr. Saad’, but this has since been scrubbed. A spokesperson also let slip in 2018 that the CEO’s name is ‘Saad Khan’.
In fact, we believe Ivacy’s CEO to be Muhammad Saad Khan. But you’d never know this either, as he does not mention his affiliation to Ivacy anywhere.
He officially states his position as being ‘Senior Product Marketing Manager at Cloudways’, which is a cloud hosting platform owned by Gaditek.
Screenshot showing Ivacy CEO Saad Khan’s affiliation with other Gaditek-owned companies.
However, his Quora account has him listed as ‘Growth Marketing Strategist at PureVPN’.
Like an insatiable cold caller, he can also be found replying to VPN-related tweets with recommendations for PureVPN, without ever disclosing that he holds a key stake in its parent business and sister company.
As a result, and despite Ivacy’s attempts to distance itself from PureVPN, there is a definite relationship between the two. So much so, that it’s hard not to see Ivacy as a simple reskin of PureVPN.
On top of the secrecy, Gaditek engages in extremely unpleasant business practices.
Gaditek owns and runs four VPN review sites, which it uses to artificially rank its VPN products in the top positions without ever disclosing its true ownership.
Gaditek also routinely engages in ‘astroturfing’ – where it creates fake social media accounts to promote its VPN product under the guise of a real person.
Separately, the PR Manager of Digital and Partnerships at Ivacy was caught offering a VPN reviewer a lifetime subscription to Ivacy in exchange for more favorable reviews on his review site.
This is completely unforgivable.
Do you want to put your most sensitive data in the hands of a company that refuses to tell you who it is? And whose marketing strategy is to deceive customers into thinking its product is better than it is?
Absolutely not. For this reason alone, we suggest you think twice about Ivacy.
Ivacy operates under a minimal-logs logging policy – collecting no information that could be used to identify you from your online activity.
This means Ivacy does not collect your connection logs, duration logs, IP address, connection timestamps, or any DNS queries generated by your end.
The only information that Ivacy does gather is your source country, which it claims is to ensure “smooth software functionality.”
Ivacy does not reveal how it determines which country you are connecting from, and could not tell us when we contacted it.
This minimal-logs policy is particularly essential for Ivacy, owing to its base within Singapore.
Singapore is a popular but outright bad location to base a VPN. This is because Singapore has a proven track record of collaborating with the Five-Eyes surveillance network and handing over sensitive information.
So much so, in fact, that Singapore has regularly been dubbed the ‘sixth-eye’ due to its persistent cooperation with the intelligence alliance.
This fact would be a great deal more alarming if we had any doubts about Ivacy’s logging policy. We believe that the minimal logs collected would be of no use to anyone, even a government or police force.
Dedicated servers are great for Netflix & torrenting
Streaming & Torrenting
Ivacy is a good VPN choice for streamers, successfully unblocking most major streaming services.
Ivacy regularly unblocked US Netflix and BBC iPlayer in our testing, which is particularly impressive given iPlayer’s infamous difficulty.
Both Netflix and BBC iPlayer can be accessed through Ivacy’s dedicated streaming servers. These servers are clearly labeled and easily discoverable, which remedies a frustration we have with some other VPN providers.
Ivacy’s mediocre speed performance means you may have buffering issues if you’re connecting from further afield, though.
We also wish Ivacy was able to unblock Disney+, which proved inaccessible in our testing.
If streaming is your main concern, check our recommendations for the best VPNs for streaming. These VPNs combine consistent unblocking of all the major streaming services with the fastest VPN speeds.
Ivacy is a great VPN choice for torrenters — providing dedicated servers just for P2P traffic.
These servers are somewhat undiscoverable, but can be found within the ‘Secure Download’ section of the app. We do wish that this was more explicitly explained in the interface, though.
By having servers exclusively for P2P activity, this works to massively reduce the risk of congestion and speed bottlenecks, even at peak times.
Ivacy’s use as a torrenting VPN is made particularly attractive due to its stellar logging policy, ensuring your torrenting activity stays anonymous.
This ensured anonymity is only available to torrenters on Windows and Android, however, as the Ivacy app on both platforms includes an internet kill switch. But Mac and iOS users should avoid using Ivacy for torrenting.
As the kill switch is not supported on any of Apple’s platforms, your true IP address is at risk of being revealed if your VPN connection drops when torrenting from an Apple device.
Good speeds on local servers, but big dip on international connections
Speed & Reliability
Ivacy delivers decent download and upload speeds.
From our base in London, we saw a 13% drop in download speed and a 43% drop in upload speed when connected to a local London VPN server. These results are good, but certainly not great.
Local Speed Test Results
Before using Ivacy:
When connected to Ivacy:
Ivacy fared a lot worse over far-reaching connections, with a significant download speed dip of 42% when connected to a US East Coast VPN server.
Depending on your internet speeds, this magnitude of drop could make US Netflix streaming a chore.
Using our 100Mbps fiber optic connection, you can view our speed test results connecting from the UK to various Ivacy servers below:
USA: 55Mbps (download) & 14Mbps (upload)
Germany: 82Mbps (download) & 48Mbps (upload)
Singapore: 47Mbps (download) & 13Mbps (upload)
Australia: 15Mbps (download) & 7Mbps (upload)
Latency remained fairly low on our local connection, making Ivacy a great choice for gamers. But there are even better VPN options out there for gaming.
If you want to read more about how we test VPN speeds, check out our page on how we review VPNs.
Good value for money on longer plans
Payment & Refund Options
Ivacy does not provide a free trial, but does have a 30-day money back guarantee. This guarantee is truly no questions asked and is not subject to any restrictions or data usage caps.
We found requesting a refund through Ivacy’s 24/7 live chat to be swift and painless.
However, this 30-day guarantee is not available on the monthly plan. Pay monthly subscribers can request a refund within just seven days. Even more reason to opt for the lengthier subscription.
Bad news too if you’re a crypto-user, as payments made via Bitcoin and BitPay are ineligible for a refund.
If spending any money upfront is just too much to swallow, why not check out our rundown of the best truly free VPN trials.
25% are actually virtual server locations
Ivacy has a decent server allocation, maintaining a mid-sized server network with 57 countries to choose from.
Coverage is best in Europe and North America but recent network expansion has seen Ivacy introduce VPN servers in more traditionally underrepresented countries, including Costa Rica, Ghana, Kenya, and Panama.
The overall country spread is mediocre, though, so we strongly recommend checking the server list to ensure your desired location is on there.
Ivacy’s total server number is more pleasing, with over 1,000 spread across the globe.
But be warned — this is not as impressive as it first seems. A staggering 25% are not physically located in their advertised location. Ivacy operates a huge fleet of virtual server locations, which use masking techniques to conceal their location for WHOIS lookups.
For instance, Ivacy’s ‘Luxembourg’ server is actually located in Atlanta, US, and its ‘Turkey’ server is located in New York.
On top of this, you can use OpenVPN, our preferred protocol, in just 17 of those 57 countries.
You can read more about why we endorse OpenVPN and the drawbacks of other VPN protocols in our guide to VPN protocols and encryption ciphers.
Tailor-made app works well in China
Ivacy has a bespoke app just for use in China, called Ivacy Prime. This is tied to your regular Ivacy subscription, so you don’t need to pay for two separate applications.
Ivacy Prime is only available on Windows and Android.
Frustratingly, there is no documentation relating to Ivacy Prime on the Ivacy web page, despite vast differences between it and the regular Ivacy app.
Firstly, the Ivacy Prime app does not offer an internet kill switch. This means that if your connection drops for any reason, your true IP address is at risk of being revealed.
Split tunneling is also not supported, which is less critical of a feature, but still a notable omission.
Ivacy Prime also only supports the OpenVPN protocol, which is a big win in our eyes. OpenVPN is open-sourced and has proven to be the best balance between performance and privacy.
The palette of modes has also been stripped back in the Ivacy Prime app — offering just ‘Smart Connect’, ‘Streaming’, and ‘Social Sites’.
The ‘Social Sites’ section is the most meaningful addition of the Prime app. This allows you to access popular sites like Facebook, Spotify, and YouTube which have been blocked by the notorious ‘Great Firewall of China’.
The usual fare of streaming services, like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, have their own dedicated servers. There is a notable addition of YouTube TV, but BBC iPlayer is disappointingly absent.
Native apps for all major platforms
Platforms & Devices
Ivacy covers the usual suspects with its native VPN apps. These include:
- Microsoft Windows
- Apple MacOS
Generously, Ivacy allows up to five simultaneous connections per account. This makes Ivacy a good choice if you want to protect all your family’s devices alongside your own.
However, Apple users be warned – both the kill switch and split tunneling features are unavailable on iOS and MacOS.
This is a huge problem if you plan on using Ivacy VPN on either of these platforms, as if your connection drops your true IP address is at risk of being revealed.
Fortunately, we’ve got you covered. Check out our run-through of the best VPNs for Apple users.
If you’re having any issues with downloading, Ivacy does provide helpful walkthroughs on how to install Ivacy VPN on each of its supported platforms.
Games Consoles & Streaming Devices
Amazon Fire TV
Ivacy punches well above its weight when it comes to streaming device support.
Ivacy has dedicated applications for both Amazon Fire TV and Android TV. This means you don’t have to fiddle around with manual configurations, but can just download the app and start streaming.
No VPN provider has a native application for any of the major games consoles, so it’s not a surprise to see Ivacy lacking support here.
You are still able to run Ivacy on devices like your PS4 and Xbox, though. To do this, you will need to install Ivacy at router level, allowing you to blanket all devices on your network with VPN security.
Ivacy has VPN browser extensions for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.
However, like most other VPN browser extensions, they simply work as an internet proxy.
This is fine if you want to use Ivacy just to unblock Netflix or BBC iPlayer, but if you’re serious about your online anonymity, we suggest avoiding the browser extension and using the full application.
If you’re unsure about what makes a VPN more trusted and secure than a proxy, check out our ‘VPN vs Proxy’ guide.
Robust VPN encryption with paltry amount of OpenVPN countries
Encryption & Security
DNS Leak Blocking
IPV6 Leak Blocking
VPN Kill Switch
WebRTC Leak Blocking
Please see our VPN Glossary if these terms confuse you and would like to learn more.
Ivacy is a solid VPN choice when it comes to encryption and security.
Disappointingly, OpenVPN (our preferred VPN protocol), is available on servers in just 17 countries and has to be enabled in the settings menu. Otherwise, Ivacy will default to IKEv2.
When using Ivacy VPN, all your data is encrypted through the virtually unhackable AES-256 cipher. AES-256 is offered by most major VPN providers, being the gold standard for online encryption protocols.
On top of this, Ivacy provides a VPN kill switch, DNS, and IPv6 leak protection – all of which work to prevent your true IP address from being exposed in case of an unexpected connection drop.
Our tests found Ivacy to be fully protected from any DNS or IP leaks, too. Ivacy can be relied upon to successfully hide your true IP address.
But be warned – the internet kill switch is only available on Windows and Android. This means iOS and Mac users miss out on a kill switch, which is a huge downside.
The inclusion of split tunneling is a welcome feature. This allows you to safeguard your web traffic while maintaining compatibility with devices on your network, like your printer or streaming device.
But again, split tunneling is only available on Windows and Android. We long for Ivacy to give Apple users as much love as the rest of its user base.
Easy to set up, but clunky to configure
Ease of Use
How to Install & Set Up Ivacy
You can find all of the downloads for various devices on the support section of Ivacy's website.
The installation wizard will give you a good idea of how much longer the process will take.
Once the software is installed, all that's left to do is log into the app and you're ready to go.
The smart connect option is the quickest and most optimal way to get connected.
To connect to your desired country, just click on the 'Unblocking' tab on the left-hand side of the Ivacy app.
Ensure that either TCP or UDP is enabled in the settings menu, as well as the 'internet kill-switch'.
Installing Ivacy is incredibly simple, even for VPN novices.
In short, you just have to head to the downloads page of the Ivacy website and click ‘Get Started’ for your preferred platform, then follow the on-screen steps.
Once installed, the Ivacy app is fine but certainly not great.
The different sections of the app are ambiguously labeled and it can be difficult to determine the particular purpose of each option.
To make this worse, the ‘more info’ button, which presumably explains the role of each section, does not work.
But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
- ‘Smart Connect’ simply connects you to your nearest Ivacy VPN server
- ‘Secure Download’ is for torrenting and P2P traffic
- ‘Streaming’ is for unblocking geo-restricted streaming services
- ‘Unblocking’ is for connecting to a VPN server in a country of your choosing
Configuring some of Ivacy’s security options can also be a chore. Bizarrely, the kill-switch is hidden behind a drop-down menu on the ‘Connection’ tab of settings. IP and DNS leak protection is also off by default.
Some settings are also concealed by technical jargon. It would be useful if the VPN protocol options of UDP and TCP were explained to be the OpenVPN options, for example.
Downloading the Ivacy browser extension for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox is easy.
To do this, just head to the Ivacy website and click ‘Get Started’ for your preferred browser.
Much like the fully-fledged application, the Ivacy browser extension is split into multiple sections.
Dedicated servers for streaming can be found in the ‘Purposes’ tab, as well as a ‘Quick Connect’ to a local VPN server, and a list of locations around the world to connect to.
Lackluster live chat bolstered by comprehensive online resources
|24/7 Live chat support||Yes|
|24/7 Email support||Yes|
Despite being always available, Ivacy’s customer support is not as good as we’d like.
Ivacy’s 24/7 live chat feature is great if you’re in a hurry, but falls flat most of the time.
We found it to work mostly as a conduit to its online resources, as almost all our queries were answered with a link.
However, this is not necessarily a bad thing, as Ivacy does boast a decent knowledge base which should answer the majority of questions.
The support section on the website is where you’ll find FAQs, troubleshooting advice, and manual setup guides for lots of devices.
With more technical questions, we were directed to Ivacy’s email support team. Disappointingly, they were not the hastiest repliers and were often unable to adequately answer our questions.
More frustratingly, Ivacy’s customer support team outright refused to answer some of the questions we posed.
For instance, Ivacy refused to tell us how it determines the source country of its users, and ignored all correspondence regarding the company’s ownership structure.
Do We Recommend Ivacy?
The Bottom Line
In summary, you should avoid using Ivacy due to its purposely hidden ownership structure and its sketchy business methods.
But would you deposit your money with a bank who closes the shutter when you ask about its manager? Buy a car from a dealer that refuses to provide you with the vehicle history? Buy a phone from a company who surreptitiously operates fake review sites?
Certainly not. So long as Ivacy deliberately choose to stay in the shadows, it does not deserve your money.
Although it’s based in Singapore, which sometimes faces censorship issues of their own, Ivacy has proven itself as an exceptional VPN.
The VPN has standard encryption and security with 256-bit military-grade encryption and several protocols including IPSEC, IKeV, L2TP, OpenVPN, TCP and UD.
On top of that, Ivacy has a kill-switch, which will cut your internet connection if there is a leak. While the kill-switch tends to work, we have experienced a few instances in the past where it didn’t. Ivacy also does not store logs; they only keep a track of the login attempts made to their servers.
They have servers in over 100 location with 275 servers and 12,000 IP addresses available. The server list isn’t expansive, but it’s definitely more than we’ve seen with other VPNs.
You can also connect up to five devices simultaneously, and since it works on so many platforms, we’re sure you will use all five.
As for streaming, Ivacy can access Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer among other streaming sites, which is no small feat. The speed is definitely enough to stream without lag or buffering. But the small server count means it might not be reliable forever. I’d suggest one of these five vendors instead, which are all guaranteed to work with Netflix and offer even better speeds.
In addition, Ivacy allows torrents on dedicated P2P servers. They also have dedicated servers for Kodi, and since there are no bandwidth restrictions, you can torrent and stream as much as you want.
Displays Ivacy VPN’s main interface.
But one of the features that makes Ivacy really stand out is the 24/7 customer service. Not many VPNs can pull this off, but Ivacy is available through a variety of ways, and they answer questions quickly and efficiently.
While in the past the prices haven’t been extraordinary, Ivacy recently revamped its prices, and now they are quite affordable.
It does have a 7-day money-back guarantee for their one-month plan and a 30-day money-back guarantee for their one and two-year plans.
Ivacy is simple to install and use. It can be used by novices as well as experienced users.
All in all, Ivacy has stepped up their game, and it’s a good choice. But, we don’t think it offers quite as good value for money as other leading vendors. If streaming is top of your list, you could enjoy access to even more streaming sites with greater speeds and added features, like speciality streaming servers, with one of these top six vendors.
|Number of countries with servers||100|
|Number of servers||275|
|Number of IP addresses||12000|
|Does VPN keep logs?||No|
|Does VPN include a kill switch?||Yes|
|Number of devices per license||5|
Ivacy is available for iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, Linux, game consoles, and more. The installation is simple and quick. Just go to the download page to get the version for your platform.
In addition to the dedicated apps for many platforms, there are instruction manuals for Linux, Blackberry, Smart TV, OpenElec, Kodi, consoles, and routers. Each step is explained clearly with screenshots to help users. And if you still get stuck, contact their team on live chat for guidance.
Separate guides are provided for different versions of the platform.
Ivacy recently changed their prices, and now they are incredibly affordable.
You can purchase a one-month, one-year, or two-year plan. And best of all, you get a 30-day money back guarantee for the year plans, and a 7-day money-back guarantee for the one-month plan.
For the 7-day guarantee, you'll get a refund if you claim it within 7 days and you haven’t breached any terms, you haven’t used more than 7GB, or run more than 30 sessions. This also works for users who accidentally paid extra because they didn’t turn off the auto-recurring option.
Refunds generally take 48 hours but if payment was made with a credit card, it may take up to 40 days.
But if you're still hesitant, you can try out Ivacy first.
Ivacy offers a 3-day trial for just $2.50 and includes all the features of the regular service. But you have to do some extra searching to find it.
The trial is not openly advertised on their site and you’ll need to talk to their customer service to set one up.
Once you've decided on Ivacy, there are several payment options including PayPal, Credit Card, Bitpay, Coin payments, and others although the refund policy does not apply to BitCoin and Paymentwall.
While Ivacy already gives great services at super-cheap prices, you can save even more money with special coupons.
Reliability & Support
Ivacy has 24/7 customer support for a number of different mediums. The live-chat works within minutes. There is also email, Facebook messaging, and a contact form. The team answers questions in a professional manner with many solutions. That alone makes Ivacy stand out as a top VPN.
A feature-rich VPN that’s stepping up their game
Ivacy has been around for some time now (since 2007), and we love to see the new improvements to this VPN.
The Singapore-based VPN comes with everything you need: good security and encryption, a kill-switch, servers in 100 locations, access to Netflix and BBC iPlayer, and dedicated servers for torrenting and Kodi.
In addition, Ivacy provides excellent customer service that’s available 24/7.
The new (lower!) prices give users the options of subscribing for different periods of time, and a 7 and 30-day money-back guarantee (depending on whether you buy the one-month or year plan).
Although Ivacy is an excellent choice, we don’t think it quite matches up to our top recommended VPN, NordVPN. You’ll have a much greater server list on your hands, plus the very best security features on the market for only a little bit more each month.
- Works on all major platforms
- Allows torrenting on dedicated servers
- Unblocks Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer
- Kill-switch and split tunneling
- 275+ servers in 100 locations
- Severs optimized for Kodi