If you look at VPN awards, Ivacy may have caught your eye. It won three BestVPN.com awards in 2019: 1st place for fastest VPN, 2nd place for best overall VPN, and 2nd place for best value VPN.
Woah. Surely, that’s got to mean something, right? If you’ve looked a little deeper, you might have found Ivacy Vpn offers some pretty good prices, including some flashy promotions. Does affordable in this case mean worse quality, and if so, how much worse?
Or, does Ivacy VPN genuinely offer a product with good value? After experimenting with Ivacy VPN for a while, I’m ready to unveil the answers.
These aren’t simple answers, and I’ll go into details soon. But first…
Let’s take a look at some of the positive aspects of Ivacy VPN.
- Takes lots of payment methods.
- Ivacy’s got a lot of servers and a lot of countries, though not as much as some other VPNs.
- On the face of it, Ivacy has good security and privacy practices.
- Ivacy is pretty affordable at one or two year commitments, and its promotional offers are also well-priced.
- On that note, the prices don’t sacrifice features. It’s not as fully loaded as some other first class VPNs, but it’s got all the standards.
- Great for streaming, downloading, and accessing blocked sites. For entertainment in particular, Ivacy shows a list of channels and connecting to one automatically connects you to the best server for that channel. This can be a much easier and more efficient way of streaming content through a VPN.
- In my speed tests, Ivacy VPN has been super-fast. It also consistently performs well.
- Good knowledge base (for a VPN).
So far, Ivacy is sounding great. But wait, there’s more! More…unfortunate stuff.
- Money-back guarantee instead of free trial period.
- Ivacy’s automatic connection doesn’t connect you to the closest or fastest server. You have to do this manually by selecting the nearest city, if you want the fastest connection possible. If there are many servers close by (as there are in my case), you’ll need to do trial and error to figure out the fastest.
- While Ivacy looks like it protects customers’ privacy, it falls into the most common VPN problem: you have to take their word for it.
- On that note, Ivacy doesn’t indicate it owns all its servers. This means it’s likely third parties run at least some servers, and for all we know, most of them. It’s not a fatal flaw, but lowers Ivacy’s credibility for those who are harsh on privacy.
- Ivacy isn’t loaded with certain advanced features that would appeal to the privacy-nut demographic. Its focus on entertainment also overshadows its focus on internet liberty.
- Others have reported issues accessing Netflix or other streaming services with Ivacy. This has not been my experience at all, but it’s worth noting.
- Mediocre live chat.
Pricing and Features
As you can see, Ivacy VPN is a nuanced service. The best way to start picking apart the nuances is to look at the prices Ivacy offers, and the features that come with them.
Ivacy’s prices are definitely on the lower end of the spectrum. True, you have to commit to a long period of time to really take advantage of their offers, but even the one-year commitment is lower than usual.
You can also purchase a dedicated IP for an extra $1.99 a month on top of your package, or port forwarding (which gives you remote access to your devices/servers from basically anywhere) for an extra $1.00 a month.
For more advanced users, these are pretty nifty features. However, a dedicated IP is sometimes included by default with other VPN packages, so it may not be worth the money to those who care about it. Port forwarding is pretty reasonable in my opinion, but again, likely more of interest to advanced users.
Ivacy VPN takes a very impressive list of payment methods. Even some of the best VPNs out there limit themselves to card payments, so Ivacy is definitely on top of things as far as payment goes.
Ivacy does have a 30-day money-back guarantee. Remember that this is different from a free trial, meaning that you will need to pay first before deciding to get your money back (as the name implies). Nonetheless, for a VPN, 30 days is a pretty good amount of time.
Anyway, setting up an account is pretty quick. Once you’ve established your payment (and set up a password) you can download from a variety of platforms. All the popular operating systems are of course supported, plus Chrome.
If that looks a bit limiting, don’t worry. Those are just the big ones.
You might notice that Ivacy’s supported platforms tend to have an entertainment bent: Kodi, Roku, Smart TV, and gaming consoles along with the usual phone/computer/tablet coverage. This is an important indicator of the image Ivacy tries to sell—as being entertainment-friendly.
Of course, those who are concerned with privacy on principle or for very practical reasons other than entertainment will find it’s useful to have so many platforms covered—and most importantly, the router as well. Support for Linux includes 6 distros, more than what other VPNs seem to offer.
As far as the software itself goes, things are very smooth. On a desktop, the window is mostly an “on” button with a dropdown server menu.
Move your cursor to the left and you can view the servers best for various VPN tasks—like streaming, or downloading/torrenting, and so on.
This is sort of a feature—it’s a feature in that it’s made extremely easy for you to accomplish certain tasks, rather than having to figure out what server you need to go for. It’s essentially the same on mobile.
Ivacy VPN calls this Smart Purpose Selection, which is a fancy name for a pretty common feature, but Ivacy VPN does a particularly good job so I’ll let it slide.
“Okay, but how good is the VPN itself? What do you get access to, aside from a decent app?”
The basics of Ivacy VPN look pretty good. You get access to over 1,000 servers, and importantly, over 100 locations. The actual country count is about 70. As Ivacy VPN prides itself on its usefulness in entertainment, this is a pretty decent set of countries.
It’s true that other VPNs offer more, but I’d still consider Ivacy VPN’s counts pretty decent, especially when you take its relatively low prices into account. It does not appear that Ivacy runs all these servers itself, so unfortunately third parties are probably involved.
Aside from that, you can use your Ivacy account on up to five devices simultaneously, use multiple protocols, toggle an internet kill switch (which shuts off your online activities if you get disconnected from Ivacy), and use split tunneling (which lets you choose what traffic you want to get encrypted, rather than just all of it).
I know what you might be thinking: these are basic features. True, but I’ll make a special note for split tunneling: Ivacy claims to be the VPN that introduced split tunneling in the first place. If it’s true, I give them credit. And besides, their split tunneling feature is as good as the best.
And of course, Ivacy VPN has a no-log policy, but a lot of VPNs say that, and we don’t always know which ones are being honest.
The conclusion for Ivacy VPN’s features are that they are nothing crazy. However, in consideration of pretty low prices, Ivacy is well-stocked. It comes with all the tools you’d expect in a more fully-featured VPN, plus it’s highly optimized for popular VPN activities. Which brings me to my next point…
Ease of Use
Most VPNs—definitely all the popular ones—are pretty easy to use. VPN software is pretty straightforward: you either use a VPN connection or you don’t.
Of course, making full use of VPN technology may require some deeper tech understanding, and that is why advanced VPNs can be easy to use for the basics but require more advanced users to use them to their full potential.
Ivacy VPN is not one of those VPNs. Most of its potential is immediately accessible. While Ivacy VPN can be used for pretty much anything you’d do on a more “serious” VPN, it’s particularly geared towards entertainment and file sharing. It’s so good at making this easy I consider it a major bonus.
Let’s start at the beginning. The setup process is really easy, although there are a couple things I don’t like about it. The first is that you have to pay first to set up a password—it’s not a big deal, just a personal thing. I prefer being able to test a software for free first, rather than paying and asking for my money back. Those who are similar to me in this regard may be a bit annoyed.
The other thing that annoyed me is completing the installation requires restarting your computer.
While it’s something I’ve encountered in testing VPNs, it’s not too common, and I find it very irritating Ivacy makes me do this. Nonetheless, those are fairly minor concerns in the scheme of things. The setup process is definitely easily, even if it’s a little annoying.
As I’ve mentioned before, the software itself is very clean and straightforward. I personally find the user interface pleasant to look at, a good quality for VPN beginners.
You don’t need to do too much, as I’ve said. The software does most of the work for you, and in fact does more work for you than even most other “easy” VPNs.
If you wanted to stream, for example, even the VPNs that have a “streaming” tab in their applications wouldn’t make it this easy. IvacyVPN simply shows you the different entertainment options you might be interested in first, and then will connect you in the most efficient way.
Of course, you can also go by country, which is usually the only way of going about things on other VPNs. But again, Ivacy VPN makes a point of its presets. You seriously can choose channels like servers on Ivacy.
Click “yes,” and you’ll get redirected immediately to the URL of the service you want to access.
This basic process works for the other presets and channels as well. Other VPNs that are really good for streaming and file sharing will typically tell you what servers are best for what services.
Ivacy has that option as well, so you don’t lose on user control, but takes it a step further by basically making the software an access point for channels you like. I give Ivacy VPN major props for making it so hassle-free.
Even an experienced user who doesn’t need such easy software will find the speed useful.
Of course, it’s not perfect. I found navigating the software a bit unintuitive on desktop, mostly in that the cursor was oversensitive. But these are really unimportant things you can get used to quickly.
You can also manage your account and settings within the application.
It’s all pretty easy, straightforward stuff. Users with more advanced tastes can switch up their protocols within the application, as well as control split tunneling or the internet kill switch. It’s pretty basic for a VPN app to do this, but good to have.
Lastly, you can manage your account settings more directly on the website (not too much in-app I’m afraid).
It looks boring, but at least it’s very simple to manage. The pricing and add-on services you can manage from the client center are fairly transparent as well.
Overall, Ivacy VPN is not only easy to use, it’s super friendly towards common VPN activities such as streaming, downloading, or accessing blocked sites. It’s ease of use in these areas is a great feature unto itself.
VPNs can be finicky no matter easy to use they are. Sometimes a problem doesn’t even have much to do with the VPN client itself, but something from the user’s end. Whatever the cause and whatever the type of problem, customer support is important no matter how advanced a user you are.
Ivacy VPN includes a customer support tab inside its app, which is a bit unique.
I am a huge fan of this, because I prefer having things centralized in an app. Even VPN software that I really like tends to separate customer support from the application, with usually the best case scenario being a link to the VPN’s website.
So this is something that makes customer support much more accessible. It’s still not super comprehensive, unfortunately: while you can access a few FAQs and submit a ticket, you have to go to Ivacy’s site to access a larger base of help articles, view the status of your tickets, or use live chat.
As far as the latter two go, I’ve found representatives to be speedy but not helpful for anything other than basic tech support.
As you can see from the time stamps, the representative responded pretty quickly, to the tune of about a minute. The problem, however, was that the rep did a bad job of answering my question. I find this extra-frustrating because the question 1) is pretty simple, and 2) is highly relevant to VPN technology.
While the general rule of thumb is that live chats are suited for tech support and quick solutions, I’ve found them to be useful for answering basic questions about a software or platform as well, including on other VPNs. Ivacy’s live chat is more limited than most, but still decent enough overall.
The good news is Ivacy’s tickets are definitely better (on any subject), and the help center/knowledge base is a lot better than the corresponding help centers of other VPNs.
Let me clarify immediately that it’s still a short knowledge base. Most VPNs have short knowledge bases, if they even have such a thing.
However, Ivacy’s knowledge base has dozens of articles on a range of subjects, and the articles are pretty in-depth. In this context, Ivacy VPN’s Help Center is definitely one of the best I’ve seen managed by a VPN.
The conclusion for Ivacy VPN’s customer support is thus overall iffy. Representatives are decent if reached by ticket system, but are a toss-up in quality when you use the live chat. You usually won’t be too disappointed, but chats aren’t always ideal either. On the bright side, at least the Help Center is really good in VPN terms!
Security and Reliability
Last, but certainly not least: security and reliability. These factors are among the most important things one should consider when acquiring a VPN. For some people, they are the single most important thing, and all else comes secondary.
Let’s start with the basics.
Ivacy says it doesn’t keep logs. It’s good they say so, and it’s probably true for all we know. The problem here isn’t unique to Ivacy, it’s endemic to every VPN: almost every VPN of note says it doesn’t keep logs, but ultimately you have to take their words for it.
Some VPNs have been caught keeping logs, or else retaining some kind of customer information through loopholes that would make the typical privacy-conscious customer wary.
A few VPNs are headquartered in certain areas that respect privacy laws, or have third parties verify their lack of log keeping, which provides a layer of trust over the issue of logging. This is not the case for most VPNs, and this is true for Ivacy as well.
Anyway, aside from that, Ivacy has a few other layers of security. The encryption is 256-bit, which is military-grade encryption but also standard for VPNs. Ivacy also has IPv6 leak protection, multiple security protocols (as mentioned before), and a DNS leak prevention add-on.
I think it’s unfortunate this is an add-on and not default, because it’s often included for free with other VPN packages. But considering Ivacy’s prices, it’s not too bad.
That’s not a relevant issue to everyone though. What is important to nearly everyone, however, is speed and performance.
Here’s what my normal speeds look like.
And here’s what happened when I used the “smart connect” tab to connect me automatically with a server.
Uh-oh. Not terrific. Why? Because it turns out that trusting Ivacy to automatically connect you the way I did, isn’t such a smart automatic connection after all. So I tried again by manually selecting the city closest to me from a dropdown menu.
Now there we go! Looks like you don’t need to suffer too much of a speed-drop from VPNs all the time, huh? I’m quite impressed with Ivacy’s speeds. Of course, I do find it frustrating that one must manually pick a city, rather than trust Ivacy VPN to do it automatically.
Nonetheless, Ivacy is great on performance. As far as security goes, Ivacy is fine. It’s no less secure than the typical big name VPN, in my opinion. The problem is that it seems to befall some of the same problems endemic to big name VPNs—primarily, that we simply don’t know how secure they really are.
Therefore, if you are huge stickler on your own privacy online, Ivacy VPN probably falls into the uncertainties common to a lot of VPNs, and may not meet your standards.
In contrast, if you’re someone who simply wants to generally increase their privacy and access other content, Ivacy VPN is definitely pretty secure. And once again, it performs very well!
Conclusion: Do I Recommend Ivacy VPN?
After all this information, where do I stand? Do I recommend Ivacy VPN?
I do, in fact, recommend Ivacy VPN to most people, but definitely not all. I think Ivacy VPN is best for people who want a VPN for more mainstream reasons: they want to add some privacy to their internet browsing, but especially they want to access content.
Such a demographic probably cares about privacy, but isn’t going to be too intense about it as long as some basic VPN standards are met. If this sounds like you, Ivacy VPN is a great value option. It’s got most basic VPN features, good privacy practices, is optimized for easy access to content, and is priced very well.
If you are huge on privacy and want a VPN that meets your standards, Ivacy VPN may not cut it. On paper, it’s fine, plus it’s got a few features that would please customers with more advanced tastes.
However, its logging practices haven’t been audited, it doesn’t necessarily manage all its servers directly, and focuses more on entertainment than serious security practice.
It may lack some of the more advanced features ideal for the sticklers, and support for certain devices nerds love. It’s not that Ivacy VPN is bad, just that trust is essential for such a demographic, and I don’t think Ivacy VPN meets it.
I don’t want to end on a sour note. Ivacy VPN is definitely a great value option, and if you’re unsure, just purchase a plan and decide whether or not to keep it within thirty days!
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